July 30, 2007

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

After five intense days, the floors are all in. Away, Crappy Carpet!

The hardwood installers were funny. We had three different crews of floor people working at different times, and I noticed that there are the guys who jabber all day long, generally about nothing (we won't talk about the carpet guy who had long involved conversations with himself in different voices, including a falsetto) and then there are the silent workers. The wood guys were the silent workers. They came in, set up the saws and the tools and went to work, not saying anything other than calling out an occasional measurement, for hours. At lunch, one of them went out to the truck and brought in an ice chest and passed out the best-smelling cold fried chicken to his co-workers. And then opened up a big tupperware container full of green salad and passed that around also. The three of them, chicken and salad in hand, then began to gossip about friends and family in the little town they all live in. After lunch they sealed up the cooler, threw out the bones and the wrappers and went back to working silently.
This is what I accomplished; I fell well short of my goal of finishing this project, but I made a good dent in it. This design is a little mysterious, isn't it? What kind of procession? Wedding? Who's the groom and who's the bride? There is a minster looking guy at the front of the line (and a white sheep). He's wearing a black frock coat. What does it mean? I think the black sheep looks a lot like a black lab.

I've shown you this picture before; it's Keep Me by Moira Blackburn. I felt like stitching a traditional sampler, so I kitted it up today and started it.

Here's the start. I'm working over one on 28 count Cashel in Fairy Dust (although there's no glitter or sheen involved) using a mixture of DMC and Weeks Dye Works fibers.

I accomplished so much this vacation, although I really could use another week to get the place really clean and everything put away. Back to work tomorrow...sigh. But on the plus side, I have another week coming up in September.

July 26, 2007

Things are Hopping on My Vacation

This is very likely my garden culprit. He hangs around quite a bit. I suspected him of munching the canteloupe leaves, blossoms and vines because he pays a call each morning and evening. He may be the tomato chomper as well; here's the circumstantial evidence. There's no smoking gun here, however; he didn't hop away with a tomato vine hanging out of his mouth, and I didn't catch him with a pack of bacon either. I assumed he didn't eat tomatoes because my own bunny hates them--dumb assumption.

Off he goes! This was this morning; I'm watering the plants tonight, so maybe he will slurp the water intead of the tomatoes, since I'll let a pan fill up.

Here's my rabbit, the Bunnyman. All of the noise from the floor layers, including a compressor, a giant staple gun and hammering, didn't faze him. While the cats hid under the basement steps, the Bunny just yawned elaborately, groomed himself and grunted a bit. He's a bit disheveled because he's moulting.

Not surprisingly as I like bunnies so much, I collect bunny stitching charts. Here is Prairie Grove Peddler, called "Garden Hoppin'." It's charted for DMC on 28 count Country French Linen, Antique Gold, by Wichelt.

This is an older chart that I recently bought on ebay by Chessie & Me. I forgot to bring the instructions downstairs with me, but it appears to call for overdyed floss. Note the carrot border!

July 25, 2007

Two Days in a Row!

Here's the house for Leslie's Neighborhood RR. I still have some more to do, but I might even be a day or two early this time!

Along with a little more work on Leslie's house, I added some detail to Procession and then started working on a valance for my bathroom. I think it's a Simplicity pattern; I bought the Waverly polished cotton print fabric at G Street Fabrics' warehouse store for about $4 a yard. A steal! So far I've cut out the face pieces, a laborious job because the print has a definite repeat. If the print doesn't start in the same place on all three pieces, they'll look mismatched. Tomorrow I'll cut out the lining pieces and stitch everything together.

On Sunday we went to the DC Big Flea, which is an antiques and collectibles show held four times a year in our area. Coincidentally, I had been reading in some magazine (maybe Cottage Living) about how collectible the old glass refrigerator bowls have become. They come in lots of colors and patterns and they're likely safer for storing/reheating food than plastic containers. Sure enough, one of the vendors had lots of them in all colors and sizes, so I bought this one. I love to picture some 30s-40s-50s era housewife storing her leftovers in this container.

This particular show had a number of vendors selling 50s stuff. I didn't buy a little juice set, and I now regret it. It consisted of several tiny glasses that were painted with fruits and had a fat but also tiny painted glass pitcher. Each glass might have held 3 ounces, and the pitcher might have held 24. (Note: I just went to ebay, and they're listed as "swanky swigs.") LOL! Anyway, no wonder we're fatter now than in the 50s--now we slug 20 ounces of juice without blinking. I remember as a kid that my mom always served Minute Maid orange juice from concentrate in jelly glasses that had pictures on them. Those jelly glasses might have held five ounces. I saw lots of little jelly/juice glasses at the show.
There was a particularly interesting vendor who had about eight British samplers for sale. They were each wonderful, historic, beautifully stitched. One in particular caught my eye, because it was a "zoo" sampler. Apparently there were a number of samplers from the time that commemorated the opening of the London Zoo. Zoo visitors got their first-ever glimpse of exotic animals and came back to stitch them. The sampler I saw had two zebras on the top of the design--one with black stripes, and one with brown. It was a special, special work of art, but I had to pass--even in less than perfect condition (it was nicely and fairly recently framed) with some wear and small holes in the fabric, it was $2300.

This is a flower blooming in my garden suddenly. I suspect it's some sort of lily, but I really don't know. The colors remind me of the bowl.

Thanks for your comments about thirsty critters/birds. I'll take the advice and put out a pan of water, especially since it's so dry here.

July 24, 2007

Vacation Whirl

I'm off work for six days, staying home to shepherd all the various workmen who come to the house to do renovations and updates. BF marvels that I don't resent being a captive to the house all day--although the workmen leave around 5 p.m.--but I'm a happy hermit with my crafts and plans and chores and activities. I've been messing with the garden, weeding and trying to figure out what/who is taking big bites out of the green tomatoes on just one plant and leaving half a tomato dangling on the vine. So far it hasn't discovered the other tomato plants.

I've owned this bicycle for over 20 years and probably last rode it 10 years ago. Our last house was located on an unsafe road, but now I have a large community to bike safely around, and there's a library about 3 miles from here that I can pedal to. So here it is, getting a tuneup Saturday. Gallons of gas used to go to the library: none!

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time working on Leslie's RR, and it's nearly complete. I took some pictures, but I'm not happy with them, so I'll re-shoot tomorrow morning. This is today's project: "Procession." I'm hoping to finish it during this vacation.

July 15, 2007


This will be a short post; lots to do yet. I did manage to get some more work done on Whale Hunting. Everything on the church is done except for some back-stitching and the dome and cross on the steeple.

Here's something interesting that I spotted on the way to work. My bus drops me off at the corner of 20th and G, and I walk three blocks, to my office on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC, across the street from the White House. This brick building is an old Methodist church, which notes on their board that they do some services in German. This planter is between the church and the loading dock of the building next door, growing smack in the middle of the city--or at least smack in the middle of Foggy Bottom. It's corn--see the nice tassels? It's no accident either--there's a small pepper plant growing beneath the stalks of corn. The funny thing is that I didn't plant corn in my own garden because I'd always heard you had to have quite a lot of it to be pollinated and produce ears. Guess that's wrong--there are only about 3 stalks here. So nice to see in a city full of cars and irritating politicians!

July 08, 2007

Hot Summer Sunday

I've taken up Whale Hunting again; it's so hot here that stitching on something that looks like Maine is sort of refreshing. The project's better than 1/2 done now, and I'm at the left-hand margin. There are 12 charts total to this, and I've completed a bit more than six of them, although some of the remaining charts have just a small area to work. I'd really like to finish this up, as other than a Christmas design earlier this year and the Neighborhood RR design I did, I haven't completed anything.

And I've made a little progress on Leslie's Neighborhood RR. Those of you who guessed Just Nan is the designer were right. The design is called "Winterhaven," and it's hard to extract just the house and leave behind all the lovely surrounding design and embellishments.

Here's my newest project. I've been collecting house designs, thanks to the RR project, but I couldn't bear not to start this myself. What I have done so far doesn't photograph well on the light-colored hand-dyed linen I chose; hopefully as I get to a darker part of the design, I can show it to you. In the meantime, my LNS was out of the dark brick-colored variegated floss, so I went to ABC stitch's online site to buy some and yikes--found another perfect project by Victoria Sampler, called Harbour Village. The brick house sampler is a Chessie and Me design. The fun thing about it is that it is all specialty stitches. The bricks are done in "brick stitch" which is amazingly realistic and something I'll have to use on future projects.

I mean, really. How can you resist? (Photo borrowed from ABC Stitch.) I love ABC Stitch, by the way. Anytime I've ever ordered anything from them, it has shown up quickly, in my mailbox six states away, always within a few days. And if my two LNS's don't have it--whatever it is--I've been able to get it from ABC Stitch.

I start a vacation in two weeks, which I'm excited about. We are having most of the floors replaced in our house (all the yucky white carpet comes out and is being replaced by hardwood and tile, surfaces that stand up to the messes of six cats a lot better than the white carpet has), and someone has to stay home while the workers are doing their thing, so I'm hoping to get lots of stitching/sewing/ knitting/gardening time in.