Saturday, October 31, 2009

Carving a Pumpkin

My dear friend in Japan once asked me how we carve our pumpkins for Halloween. I was never able to show her because I couldn't get around in my wheelchair and didn't feel like carving anything, let alone a pumpkin. But this year is different! So here goes.......

Cover your working area with newspaper. This is going to get messy! Then cut the top off the pumpkin. Taper it a bit so that the top doesn't fall down into the pumpkin when done. There are lots of special tools for pumpkin carving. Unfortunately I have given them all of mine to my DD so that the students in her class could carve pumpkins. So, I used a knife, but be careful! Pumpkin 'skin' can be really difficult to cut!

Next, hollow out the pulp and seeds. I used an ice cream scoop. This is a kind of messy step, so get the kids to do it! I don't have any kids and Mimi would not even come to take a look, so I guess I'm on my own.

The seeds are edible and can be roasted in the oven. Just spread them onto a baking sheet and bake at a low temperature for a couple of hours - like 275F. Sprinkle with salt and eat! I decided that I didn't want to eat them this year. (I am trying to cut down on salt) so I put them out for the squirrels. After all, it's Trick or Treat for them too, isn't it?
Draw a face on the outside and cut it out. There are lots of really fancy ideas for spooky Halloween faces out there in cyber space. If you can't decide what your pumpkin should look like, do a web search for ideas. I'm calling my Jack-o-Lantern Herpes because my pumpkin was starting to decay in the corner where his mouth is and it looks like a cold sore to me. But you can do anything you want and call it anything you want. That's the fun part!
Place a light or candle inside the pumpkin and set it outside, or somewhere where it won't catch anything on fire. I just used a little votive candle. And tonight my Jack-o-Lantern will sit outside my door to welcome my Ghoulish visitors!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Block #7 of A Tale of Two Cities

This block is called 'Churndash'. It is block #7 for the Toronto/Yokohama wallhanging. To hand piece this block you will need the following.


1. a square template measuring 3in. by 3in.

2. a rectangular template measuring 1 1/2in. by 3in.

3. a triangular template made by cutting a 3in. square template diagonally in half.

Place templates on the back of your chosen fabrics. Outline templates and cut out adding a 1/4in. seam allowance all around.

Cut 1 piece using the 3in. square template. (this can be the background fabric or whatever you like)

Cut 4 pieces using the 1 1/2in. by 3in. template of your churndash fabric.

Cut 4 pieces using the 1 1/2in. by 3in. template of the background fabric

Cut 4 pieces using the triangle template of your churndash fabric.

Cut 4 pieces using the triangle template of the background fabric.

Layout the pieces as in the block below. Notice that I used a pink for the centre. That was purely for balance of colour in my wall hanging. The original Churndash pattern is done in two colours.

Sew your pieces together.

I have enclosed a suggested layout of four blocks that we have already made. The finished quilt will be 3 blocks by 3 blocks. All blocks are 9in. when finished. (9 1/2in. before sewing together)

Notice the thin blue fabric at the top of the house block. I had to add that to make my house block measure 9in. by 9in. For some reason I had cut it too short.

Email me if you have any problems.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Life's a Beach!

Ahhhhh. On the beach at
Cayo Coco, Cuba! Need I say more?
If you want to see more beautiful skies please go to Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Lovage

I thought I would show you my Lovage plant against a sort of mundane sky. I love the way these seeds look. This plant is well over seven feet tall! I can stand under it and look up to see the wonderful lacy flowers and seed pods!

Lovage is a herbaceous perennial. It is also called Maggikraut or Maggi plant. Its seeds and leaves are used to flavour soups and stews. It is a cousin to celery and has a similar growth habit and taste. I bought this plant at a sale of the Scarborough Horticultural Society. I had no idea what it would turn out to be, but I am really happy with this tall plant. It is considered a good companion plant and is said to have qualities that keep insects and diseases away from other plants.

Lovage has been used as an antiseptic to treat wounds. It has also been made into a tea to treat digestive disorders.

Family: Apiaceae. Genus: Levisticum. Species: L. officinale
Common Names: Lovage, Maggikraut, Maggi plant.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Skywatch Friday

I have always been fascinated with the sky. Whether it is a beautiful cerulean blue or swirling with thunder heads and promises of storms, dark black and sparkling with a billion stars, coloured with an artist's paintbrush, or just there for birds to fly in. I love the ever changing sky! That is the reason why I have decided to join the Skywatch Friday. Go have a look. Beautiful skies from across the globe.

This photo was taken right here in Scarborough, Ontario. I was on my way to McDonald's to buy dinner for my family. I was still gainfully employed at that time and I just didn't have any energy left on a Friday evening to cook a meal. The kids loved my rather sketchy mothering skills. And I had my camera with me! Lucky me. It is one of my favourite photos!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely.
Sunshine almost always makes me high.

- John Denver