Thursday, October 29, 2015


In the hubbub of work deadlines and other commitments, I hadn't fully realized autumn's arrival here at Ashton House until yesterday when I had a moment to survey our landscape. I know it's autumn when pretty gourds adorn my porch and my little rusty toy truck with their intriguing colorations.

 And the ornamental kale that line our sidewalk are the showiest jewels in our garden.

And when soon-to-be-mulched leaves blanket our flowerbeds. I love how they mingle with the silvery, soft foliage of lamb's ears.

And when the rose hips on my rugosa rose turn a rich red.

I hope you are enjoying autumn's many splendored gifts!

Monday, October 12, 2015


It was another fun-filled and productive weekend here at Ashton House. I was delighted to finish a project I've been working on for Quilt Market, which takes place later this month. Riley Blake Fabrics is releasing their new wool line this fall, and they sent me some pieces to fashion into a project for their booth.

I decided to make my Florabunda project with their pretty palette of wools. The wool pieces are glued to the backdrop. They are in the process of drying and will be ready to ship out this Wednesday.

My weekend actually started a little early since my friend Anne was visiting from out of town on Friday. I had promised to take her to the local vintage clothing shops since she shares my love of vintage 1960s fashion. Somehow when I am with her, I end up coming home with more than I bargained for! We both found a vintage dress and I also found a vintage crocheted cardigan that looks like those granny-square afghans. Speaking of vintage clothing, I took advantage of the end-of-summer sales last month and scored this cute pink 1960s dress for $10 (marked down from $40). It was the zig-zag collar that really attracted me to it. I was wishing it was a solid white, though, since it would stand out more. 

I like to pair it with vintage 1960s brooches like this strawberry or floral one. Yesterday we had some unseasonably warm weather (in the 80s), so I was able to get some more wear out of the dress. I am not fond of 80-degree weather, so I was delighted to hear it would be cooler today—in the 70s. The 60s would be even better!

On Saturday morning, I headed over to the local Vintage and Made Fair but forgot my camera. My hubby took this pic of their vintage thermos display with his phone. How fun is that?!

I did not find as much there as I do at the spring version but I still enjoyed seeing all the vintage goodies. This small vintage milk glass hen nesting dish did go home with me. I've seen a lot of large ones but none as small this one (about 3 inches long). She now sits on the shelf in one of my kitchen window wells.

Later that afternoon, my friend MJ came over and we went to the Covered Bridges Festival in nearby Winterset. We enjoyed perusing the many vendor booths on the square. I loved the freshly-picked bouquets in this one and found a few cockscomb stems to harvest seeds for next year's garden.

Several booths boasted yummy-looking baked goods. I was intrigued by the Snickerdoodle fudge and bread that this booth was selling and I bought a loaf for the hubby.

I spotted this cool antique Pfaff sewing machine in one of the booths. I didn't realize the Pfaff company went back that far!

On Saturday evening the local vintage shops were hosting a shop hop and tour of homes, so my hubby and I decided to check those out and didn't get home until after 9 p.m. It all made for a fun but busy weekend! Now it is back to work. Need to make a lot of progress at it this week! Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, October 5, 2015


It's starting to look like autumn here at Ashton House. The gourds and pumpkins are making their annual appearance on the porch...

Summer's bold blooms been replaced by the foliage finery of ornamental kale (shown here) and ornamental cabbage, which adorn urns on the porch. A fairytale pumpkin adds a fanciful touch to the display of autumn splendor.

One of my favorite autumn traditions is picking out pumpkins and gourds from the local pumpkin patch. The wartier the better, don't you think?!

Speaking of pumpkins, we found this enormous one growing in Grandma's garden when we visited her this weekend. She was delighted to hear it and asked if we could harvest it and bring it in to display on her living room table. It is such a treat to see her get so excited at her ripe old age of more than 90 years!

Over the weekend, we were delighted to host the talented duo behind Yellow Creek Quilt Designs for our second photo shoot at the house this year! We hosted one for a flea market magazine earlier this year. Sisters Jill and Vicki are a joy to work with. We first worked together on their debut book, Kindred Spirits. This photo shoot was for the lookbook for Jill's second fabric line with Windham Fabrics. They were shooting quilts for the second installment of their Kindred Spirits Quilt Club. I'm not going to show detailed shots of those since the fabric line is not yet out, but here are a few behind-the-scenes peeks of the shoot. The sisters relied on Aaron, the photographer, to work his magic staging the quilts and projects to best capture their charm.  

After Aaron snaps his shot, Jill and Vicki have a chance to register their opinions. Here they are checking out one of Aaron's vignettes.

I'm always intrigued by what furniture pieces photographers like Aaron choose to incorporate into their shots. The antique upright piano I inherited from my sister when she moved across the country found its way into one of the shots. 

Even a simple sofa can lend a cozy backdrop for a quilt!

If a photo shoot weren't enough to make for an exciting weekend, we also enjoyed attending the last flea market for the year. One of the booths beckoned with vintage 1960s clothing and accessories. I collect vintage milk glass hands like these because they reflect a common Victorian theme that fits right in with our 1885 Victorian home. With this being the last flea market of the season, the vendors had terrific prices and were more than happy to negotiate even better prices.

These sweet pink gloves showed off jewelry pretties. Tempting though they were (especially the owl), I did not buy either. In getting ready for this second shoot, I was able to donate several more items to various charities. So I'm not too eager to add anything back at this moment—unless it's something I really, really want or need!

My favorite finds of the day were these vintage pink pearl buttons made in Washington, Iowa—still on their original cards. I bought one box of them. 

The vendor had a wide array of pearl buttons from the same Iowa factory. Among the hues were ruby reds, rich browns, buttery yellows, and soft aquas. 

As you know, I like to share the wealth when I can. So I'm giving away one card of the pink pearl buttons. If you'd like a chance to win, just leave a comment telling me what your favorite buttons are and I'll randomly draw a name this Wednesday, October 7, and email the winner directly (In order to enter, you will need to provide an email address if you are a no-reply comment blogger as that means that your comment comes through with no email attached. So I have no way of reaching you). I don't know that many readers actually make it through my entire posts, so those who do and want to enter will probably have a good chance of winning!