April 27, 2008

Blue Skies, Blue Shoes, Blue Houses and the Bluebird of Happiness

Rabbit's Guy asked if my banner photo might be a picture of somewhere in Spain. You're right that it's not in the U.S. (how can you tell? Well, there are no houses built up to the water's edge, for one thing...) It's actually a view up Loch Duich toward the Five Sisters of Kintail from Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland. I love Scotland and am missing it terribly. In the last ten years we've gone approximately every other year, and so this year it would time again. Unfortunately, we agree that it would be wasteful with the dollar so horrible compared to the British pound, and we disagree about Scotland. BF likes it well enough but says we've seen it enough; I say I can never see it enough, never get enough photos, smell the breeze, eat the odd homely food (and yes, Scotland deserves its reputation for difficult cuisine, at least outside of the cities). And the cities--oh, my. Glasgow is my very favorite city, although most people prefer Edinburgh. The skies in Scotland generally aren't blue very long; both pictures were taken within minutes of each other.

Here's a picture of me at the harbor's edge in Portree. I'm wearing my favorite blue hiking shoes. I've learned the reason that many Scots wear hiking shoes rather than running shoes: it's perpetually wet, and running shoes don't do well in the muck.

Closer to home, I caught a photo of this bluebird sitting on my deck railing. He sits here a lot, sometimes joined by his drab-looking bluebird wife. Sorry it's not quite clear--this is shot through the screened kitchen window.

The end of the semester is approaching--two weeks to go--and the work is intense for my accounting course, so I haven't stitched as much as I'd like. This summer will be worse though, so I'm enjoying it where I can.

"Look! I'm the Pinkbird of happiness!"

April 20, 2008

Art Imitates Life

I have begun working on Bine's neighborhood RR, using a design many stitchers will recognize: "Bless Our Home" from Country Cottage Needleworks. I'm changing the design to fit the allotted space, but I'm including the cute puppy under the tree. Leslie's bunny looks as if it is leaving Bine's yard after a satisfying meal.

Which is what this bunny is doing. There's a little family of brown bunnies who make their home in the wild part of our yard and come down to munch on things in my garden. I don't mind--in fact, I welcome them because I love their antics--so I plant extra.

I noticed upon going through my stash that I have an awful lot of charts that I will never have time to stitch, so I thought I might give some away. This is one that I have a duplicate of, Permin of Copenhagen's "Antique Sampler." If you would like to have it, please leave me a comment; first comment requesting it gets it. There will be more; check back every so often.
Edited to add: I borrowed the picture from Permin's site. The picture of the sampler on the package is very light, and I had to look at it twice to see if it was the same sampler. It's charted for DMC on 32 count linen. And, I'll pay for shipping, including to Europe (although I'll choose the cheapest way, which may be slow.)

April 16, 2008


I knew the Pope was coming to town, but I was surprised at how early the crowd formed to see him. This is a view at 8 a.m., across the street from my office, which is at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. The crowds grew until noon. Everyone was extremely enthusiastic and loud; I could hear them up on the 11th floor. There were brass bands, mariachi bands, strolling priests with guitars, people singing and chanting and some loud demonstrators claiming that the Catholic church is evil. The line at the Starbucks bathroom was 50 deep.

We have conference rooms on the second floor overlooking the street. At noon, the Popemobile departed the White House and drove past our window. I was surprised at how small the Popemobile is and how fast the motorcade traveled--maybe 25 or 30 mph, not the stately parade pace I had imagined. Maybe they were rushing him off to have cupcakes and ice cream? Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict!

April 13, 2008


Just a quick fly-by today--lots to accomplish, and always, not nearly enough hours. Nothing interesting, though--mostly just household chores and errands. (Remind me, should I ever strike it rich, to hire someone to cook and shop. I really hate going to the grocery store. I'd love to live someplace that has great grocery delivery. I was reading about the new services being offered by some of the apartment buildings in NYC: a cold storage room for storing the groceries that a delivery service drops off.) Anyway, here's a little stitching I accomplished this week on Lemon Tree Sampler. I'm hard at work on another couple of projects also, but there's not enough to see yet.

And here are the boys. Elvis dropped one of his chew sticks out of the cage, either accidentally or deliberately, we can't tell, and Pink is munching on it. Both of these guys were in need of adoption, so we took each in without trying to see if they liked each other first. While I wouldn't change either adoption, it would be nice if they liked each other better and could occupy the same enclosure. Since the Great Flood of '08 though, since they're now in separate enclosures in the same room, they see (and smell) each other all the time, and things may be improving. They take turns for supervised out-of-the-cage time, but they seem irresistably drawn to each other. They used to pee in each other's faces, and then pull each other's hair hard. Now there's no peeing, and they are pulling gently on each other's faces, and the pull-ee seems to welcome it. A thaw?

Have a good week, all: may your enemies become friends and pull gently at your hair and not pee in your face at all.
Edited to add: it's relatively common for male bunnies to spray, even after they've been neutered. It's territorial and yes, it's related to testosterone. Compared to cat pee, bunny pee is a walk in the park; it doesn't have a lingering stench--it pretty much fades. Elvis is the more aggressive and the bigger sprayer; poor Pink used to get a faceload fairly regularly. Each evening I take a warm wet washcloth and wipe Pink's face, which he seems to enjoy. And I'll also note that in my native Massachusetts, we might refer to them as "wicked pissahs."

April 08, 2008

Monkeys Stole My Underwear

I've been looking for this Midsummer Night Designs sampler, which may be out of print. I got it the other day from ebay. If you're not familiar with it, the verse says "Monkeys Steal My Underwear at Night" which in all cases I prefer to the huge proliferation of "If this you see remember me" verses that you see so much these days and which I attribute to the poor economy. I don't want my needlework to remind me that I'm going to die. In fact, when I was at the LNS the other day, I saw a pet memorial sampler. There's a frolic-ing kitty and dog and a sheep or something, and some birds and a hill with flowers and a big gravestone with room for Fluffy's name on it. I have a lot of pets, and I don't want eventually to have a row of these samplers (the stack of little carved boxes is bad enough), or even one sampler with a really huge gravestone on it with everyone's name on it. Last one left, take the sampler to the framer! Ugh! Anyway, I like this upbeat verse which may explain why so many things disappear at my house. I would do it using GAST threads though because I think the big blocks of DMC may be more than I can stand doing.

Here's a little progress on Lemon Tree.

"I'm looking for my underwear."

Note that in the above picture, I thought it was so cute that Pink was rummaging in my work bag. I heard him rustling and then rattling paper and I thought it was so cute that he'd helped himself to my package of crackers. Only, the next morning on the bus, it wasn't the crackers he'd eaten; he'd chewed the ear bud wire on my XM radio, snapping it in two. And chewed a hole in my little pencil case.

"I have an idea for a sampler verse:
That rabbit chews things on a whim,
When this you see, remember him.

April 05, 2008


I frogged out the porcelain pink in Lemon Tree Sampler, and I'm glad I did. There's a lot of pink in it otherwise anyway. The shade I substituted is tan/brown/white, and who knows what I did with the tag, so don't ask me what color it is. It is a WDW though, because of the slight crispness, and it comes as one continuous strand. I like how it's working up, although the large blocks of a single color made me sleepy today.

To wake up, I went for a walk and photographed my neighbor's trees--two different shades of pink. They look like a single poofy tree in this photo.

"I like pink."

April 03, 2008

Just Three More Days of Vacation

Today I went here:

And bought these: (I'm just showing you two of the ones you may not have seen around--I had not). This is "Garden Flowers" by Stone & Thread. I don't think I've heard of Stone & Thread before, but I saw a couple of designs that I liked.

This is "Humbly Born" by Erica Michaels Needleart Designs. I like Christmas Samplers that are a little different.

I came home and did this. Note the cat on the arm of the chair and the one a few feet away on the floor. They're not interested in needlework; they want their dinner.

The chart on my lap translates to this on Bine's Neighborhood.

And I understand we're showing bunny noses on the bunny blogs. Here's Elvis' nose. "Don't beep my nose, or I'll bite you."

April 02, 2008

Dithering about Color

I found the Tin Bucket for the roof, but being a prisoner of the house for these last few days, I haven't been out to the needlework shop for floss for the house on Lemon Tree. They call for a blend of Woodsmoke and Oatmeal, which won't work here, as the model was on 32 count linen with a pinkish hue, while I'm doing mine on 40 count in a browner shade, and one strand will have to do it. I rooted through my stash and came up with porcelain, which is light pink-to-white variegated. It looks ok, but it's more white than pale pink, and I think the coverage is not ideal. And what is it about the white fibers that are so puny and stringy and crisp instead of soft? So I'm borrowing a skein of WDW Fawn from another project and will need to remember to pick another when I finally go out--that's it below the stitching. I hate to frog, but I figure I don't want to look at the house in its frame for the next 50 years (there's an optimistic figure, considering my current age) and regret not taking the time.

Other than I'm getting a bit itchy to get out, it hasn't been bad being here the last few days. I'm getting some cleaning done in the master bath and closet now that the floors are in. They're still working today in the basement, on another project--something not created by Pink. We had ugly "white" berber carpet, and we're having it replaced by something called Konecto, which is a plank vinyl product that floats over the floor (it's tongue and groove, and it's stuck to itself, but not to the floor below). It's good looking for vinyl and most of all, waterproof (Hah, Pink!)--it looks remarkably like wood. Our basement is dry but we sit at the bottom of a slope, and despite having French drains in the backyard and two sumps, we're worried about that inevitable day when the sumps and the drain are overwhelmed. It happened at least once before we moved in; there's a high-water mark in the bathroom linen closet. It's even easy to do yourself if you're not clumsy and inept like us.

So seeing that everything is in the final stages, I'm looking at paints. We live in a neighborhood of approximately 900 houses, each of which has two features in common: a large niche for a television over the gas fireplace and a red-walled room somewhere. It's been kind of fun visiting various houses and looking for the red room. In our case, our powder room is red, and since it's also the cat-box room with lots of gray dust (which shows hideously on the red walls), I'm thinking about this color instead: Benjamin Moore's Dior Gray as pictured in Elle Decor's April issue. I'm wondering though if it will make the room feel like the inside of a stainless or aluminum container. Kind of gives a new meaning to the term "can," doesn't it?

"I don't see color the way you do, but I've spotted the wooden knitting needles in that container, and I want to chew them! Also, I'm available any time to consult on design and materials should you want to redecorate."

Edited later to add, as Anna said, since Pink appears to be wearing those slippers. "I couldn't find my bunny slippers."
Take a nap, Pink!