Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rain, more rain and free posting...

Let's begin with the easy stuff. I'd heard from a couple people that you can no longer comment on blogspot unless you have an account. I don't like that. I don't expect people to join blogspot in order to drop comments, but I would surely love to hear some feedback on what little adventures I discuss over here.

So I toss out the question that, if anyone knows a site where I can keep this running dialogue and people could actually post without having to join and it's free, drop me a note. My email is I'd be more than happy to change servers as I have no ties here. I'd have no trouble starting over as I can't think of anything I've posted that would cause world chaos if lost to the annals of time.

We actually had one small glimmer of hope this week. I checked the weathercast on Wednesday and they said some rain on Thursday (buckets, actually), maybe some rain on Friday and then an overcast weekend, but the precipitation would stop. In fact, they promised it would stop for all of next week. I can't explain how excited I became when I read that because the simple thought of two days in a row with actual sun was more than my little peabrain could comprehend. By Thursday morning, however, they'd changed their minds once again. Rain all weekend. Rain all this coming week.



In the Garden

The only things flourishing in all this precipitation is the hostas, grasses and my morning glories are doing suprisingly well. I thought they'd need sun in order to find a direction to grow, but they're 6"-8" above the ground and reaching for the fence. Everything else seems to be rotting before it can actuall bloom. I have a mountain laurel that's a beautiful fuscia color. Very pretty. Very small. In fact, this poor plant has survived some seriously hardship. I actually bought it two years ago and, for some strange reason, never got it planted. I think it got tucked in behind the garage with the pile of castoffs and forgotten. But I found it last year in its tiny little gallon container and planted it anyway. Late, of course, because last year was when I got my late start because of the surgery. So I don't think it got into the ground until about August. But I figured, what the heck. If it's survived winter in that tiny little container, it just might come back. Well, last year, it looked half dead. I thought it was a goner for sure.

And, in fact, it wasn't until about three weeks ago that it actually showed life. But then a few leaves appeared and some buds began to build. Wow! What a survivor! So I was looking forward to the fabulous color that I'd remembered and the rain this year basically took that excitement away. The blooms opened and it was gorgeous in all its spindly glory for all of two days before the blooms rotted and fell off...

/bigger sigh/

If we don't get some sun soon, I have a feeling that the only thing that will do well this year is my mulch. Mark did get me two yards. That's a good start. I know it's going to take me another 2-4 yards to finish what I plan on accomplishing this year.

On The Needles/Wheel

I really have to do both at once because there's very little on the needles that isn't languishing until I go back to work. Whenever I get the itch to knit, I pull out the two pairs of socks that I'd begun months ago. I knit a couple rows and then I just want to toss it across the room. I spend so much time knitting when I'm working that the last thing I want to see during the summer months when I'm off is needles and yarn.

Don't get me wrong. I have tons of yarn. I have a whole basketful of just my handspun, let alone all the various commercial yarn I've bought throughout the knitting season. But I just can't stand the thought of picking up needles right now.

Oh, wait, I do have to update. I did find the perfect "yarn" to finish Dee's Mitered Tank with. While at my spinning group last week, I sorted through their Dale of Norway patterns, tucked a few into a corner for safekeeping and then went back the next day. I didn't want to make Lauren actually work and take care of money when the evening is meant for company and support. So I went back the next day and scoured her store for the perfect finishing yarn. I found it. From Great Adirondack. Don't ask specifics because I didn't keep the ball band once I'd gotten it wound on the ball winder. But it's a cotton/silk blend with all kinds of little sparklies. I started to pick up the stitches around the neck (if you check the pattern from Interweave Mag, it's a three row pattern around the neck and armholes). Yuck! It looked really terrible. My first thought was that I'd made a terrible mistake and the yarn wasn't going to work. Then I tried a single crochet row around the edges. I doubled the yarn by pulling from inside and outside the ball and it worked. I just have to finish it by washing and blocking, but she tried it on briefly and it really looks lovely.

Okay, so she's a teenaged girl and the pattern really minimizes your chest. I don't know why, but it does. She'd much rather that it would work more like a push-up bra and create some fantastic cleavage, but I think she's willing to forego that effect since it ain't gonna happen... /g/

Oh the wheel.... I'm almost at the end of the Alpaca. It's coming along beautifully and I can't wait to reach the end. Not that I want alpaca to end because it's a dream to spin, but I have so much fiber awaiting my attention. I have that Rambouillet as well as the BFL and some merino in silver grey and some gorgeous garnet that I think is either Corriedale or BFL. I can't remember which, but the color is spectacular. A picture would never do it justice because it looks almost black, it's such a dark wine color. And then there are strands here and there that are the color of a rich burgundy wine that peek out amongst all that almost black color. I have no idea what i can use it for except that it simply had to come home with me the weekend I took Mom up to Torrington to Ginger's store (The Sheep Gathering) to pick up her loom.

De-Clutter Project

Youngest daughter is graduating this week. Her school runs an all-night thing they call Project Graduation. Some people have ongoing projects like their crafts. My project this summer is to de-clutter my dining room so I can take over a corner and finally organize all of my yarn and fiber into one area of my house. I did a walk through the other day and found I have yarn and/or fiber stashed in every single room except my daughters' bedroom. Yes, even the kitchen has a skein of yarn. Why? I haven't a clue how it got there, but there it was nonetheless, looking at me with longing for a project to belong to.

What this all means is I no longer have a clue of what I have, what I need or one tiny inkling of how many needles I truly own. They're everywhere. Yes, I know about the two sets of socks that are languishing in my bedroom next to the Pi Are Squared Shawl that I wonder if I'll ever get around to completing. (I need one more skein of alpaca for this project and, so far, I haven't been able to find that one skein. Since it's knit in natural colors, I know I'll find it one day, I just haven't lived that day yet... /wry g/) I have that EZ sweater with all its various skeins of yarn in my dining room. The Mitered Tank is waiting to be washed. (Being cotton, I just need a day that I'm doing laundry and I'm going to toss that into the wash along with some t-shirts.) The Silk Hobo Bag was washed yesterday and is out on the deck railing, attempting to dry. (Be careful, some sun is peeking through the clouds. I might have to get excited if I think about it... LOL!) Don't forget that huge bin of sale yarn that I'd bought a year ago. I hate to admit it, but our guinea pig cage sits atop the bin so Kip can enjoy fresh air and sunshine. He lives in our living room right at our front window. Once the heat sets in, we'll have to move him away from the sun because guinea pigs don't like hot weather, but I figure he really enjoys the cool fresh air from the window until we reach that day. Considering they're only supposed to live 5-7 years and we've already determined that he's got to be at least 7, if not 8, my goal is to keep him as comfortable as possible.

But I'm meandering as usual. I don't have any plans to de-stash. But I certainly have plans to de-clutter and organize. If I can manage to organize the room and keep the dining room set, kewl. If that has to go to make room for the craft, then I'll have to deal with that also. Decisions, decisions.

Today, my plan is to pack up stuff from the hutch. There are items that I didn't buy, never would have bought, but kept because they were gifts. I'm going to set those aside because youngest daughter has said that she'd be more than happy to run a tag sale. She can keep any money she makes. I just want to get rid of excess stuff. Other items, however, will be packed for storage. We have a storage unit for our Dear Aunt's stuff. I can store my stuff with hers until I can finally get that room done the way I want. I might have room at that time. I don't have room now. Silver can be packed away since I almost never use it. But I need room for my fiber and my wheels. 2.3 lbs of Rambouillet needs space. And priorities must be made. And, unless the DH is willing to give up his office (like that is ever gonna happen /g/), I need room for fiber and yarn.

Yup, I can do this.

Hopefully, next week, I'll have a picture of youngest daughter in her Mitered Tank. I have until Wednesday to get it washed and ready for wear. I can do that. Especially since I'm pretty sure she'd be much happier if I had clean underwear for her graduation, so laundry will have to be worked into the schedule prior to Wednesday...


Friday, June 12, 2009

More Silly Pics...

It was prom night for my baby, Dee. She's kinda hard to miss since she's the only one who's formal. OTOH, I'm getting to like the idea of being silly. So this is me, Dee, my youngeset, Shelby, the oldest and the DH, Mark. Yup, you finally have to suffer by seeing the whole crew.

I definitely would have liked a better background, but it was raining like the devil outside and we would have ruined Dee's hair, so here's my unfinished kitchen. Blech! One of these days, it'll be a room I actually like, but that will come in time.

In the meantime, Dee loved the idea that she's wearing flats and is taller than her older sister. I'm seeing that she's dangerously close to also being taller than me. Hmm... is this where I pounce on her in her sleep and vow to keep her tiny and small and defenseless? LOL!

Now, there's no way I can have a picture of one baby without including the other. This is my Lacy. If I'm in the house, she's never further than about five feet from wherever I am. And she's highly jealous of anyone who gets hugs unless she's included.

So, yes, as soon as the crew broke up, she jumped in to get her turn at hugs from Mom. Needless to say, she's one baby that I indulge.

Here's the one that's at least semi-serious. At least I tried. Problem is I have to stop tucking my chin in close. See those double chins hanging under my smile? Oh boy. Definitely need to rethink how I pose when pix are being taken.

But Dee looked gorgeous, as my daughters both are without trying. Isn't it scary when you can give birth to two girls who don't need make-up in order to not terrify small children and animals? Me? I try not to terrify those who know me and they don't even have to work at it.

Look out world. Remember that Daddy doesn't own the guns. Mom does... LOL!

Lastly, here's one for the records: This one was taken on Easter Sunday. Dee doctored it up with the frame and the words, but the picture is me, my Mom, Dee, Aunt Lois and my mother-in-law. (Yes, you can see why there was always the chance that my daughters would be taller than me. Course, then poor Shelby took after my Mom who's still not the shortest in my family. No, we're not going there except our women are small of stature but gigantic in heart.)
In the Garden
I started some chives, lemon basil and dill by seed and those are now in my little triangle garden. I did move my established chive plants to that bed also as they were really becoming crowded out by the hostas in what is now my mountain laurel bed. I think that one is pretty much established and done, so I moved my herbs to this other garden right outside my back door. I set the triangular corners with geraniums, celosa and each has a new guinea impatiens. It will be really nice once all the seedlings mature. I filled in the blank spaces with tiny alyssum that I also started from seed.
I'm beginning to dig out around the base of the pool. The hostas really filled in since last year, but I want to keep that area clean and neat. So I'm going to dig it out and bury it in mulch. The hostas will come through whether I want them to or not, so that's not an issue. I just want to keep the spaces in-between clear until the plants really mature. I'm also hoping to work my way right under the pool deck and bury that in mulch so it looks neat and clean.
Our in front, it's rather amusing. My strawberries 'n' cream grasses are taller right now than two of my purple smoke trees. The third three really shot up last year, so that one is okay. Right now, the grasses are shooting up seed heads, so I hope to get sun long enough to go out and trim the seed heads back. That will encourage more root growth and my goal has always been for the grasses to surround the base of the trees. A couple more years with the two shorter trees and everything will fill exactly the way I'd envisioned it.
There's a lot of clean-up that needs to be done out front, but the plants themselves are doing wonderful with all the (damn!!!!!!) rain. I have my cages in place for the purple cone flowers so they continue to stand tall. Last year, I got the cages late and the plants had already started to droop with the weight of the flowers. I got them early this year.
The yarrow that I'd started last year from seed really took off. I'm SO pleased with that. It filled the bottom of the bed and is soft and feathery and I'm sure, once it blooms, will add some gorgeous red color to all the feathery greenery. I also have some sweet william to add to some of the spaces that still exist. The diamond grasses are lovely and truly catch the early morning light and shine like diamonds. So that bed, though still a work in progress, is coming along and shaping into the natural garden that I'd hoped to have. I just need to bury everything in tons of mulch to keep down the weeds. (Course, it has to stop raining long enough to get the mulch and then put it in place... sigh!)
On The Needles
I just finished a beautiful pair of socks in greens and purples. The timing is perfect because I'm gifting a friend on Wednesday and I'm going to enclose her gift inside the socks. My gift is the idea that she can remember and cherish the support and friendship enclosed in those socks every time she puts them on. Kind of like a prayer shawl for feet. And it represents such a large part of my life that, hopefully, it will remind her of me. After all, I am a knitter and a spinner. Yarn is my secondary life and I'm gifting that to now become part of her life also.
Tonight my spinning group meets over at Country Yarns. I'm hoping to find the right beads so I can finally finish the Mitered Tank (Vogue Spring/Summer 2009) for Dee for her graduation. I did finish knitting the Vacation Skirt (Creative Knitting March 2009). I just need to make the belt and get some pony beads to add decoration to the ends of the belt.
I'm making this short because I just made myself a bowl of chili. Yummy!!!!!
Have a terrific week and I certainly hope that the sun finds us soon or we'll all start turning green from mold... LOL!