May 25, 2008

Silver Queen and the Saintly Gardener

We're a couple weeks late putting in the garden because it has rained so much lately. Things have finally dried out and the sun has come out, so here's the boyfriend, the saintly gardener, working the soil for me. I was in charge of buying plants: lots of tomatoes, since they do well here and we love them; a little squash, some onions and some silver queeen corn in this patch. The silver queen is an experiment; each year we try something we haven't grown before, just for fun. Last year it was melons. The watermelons were the little ones and they were just ok--we agreed that the store-bought ones were better. And the canteloupe were nothing special--just as good from the store, and they took up a lot of room. And a broken and spoiled canteloupe?--spectacularly smelly--like rotting flesh. The brussels sprouts didn't thrive. We have a separate patch for herbs, particularly herbs the buns like.

The vegetable garden is about 12 feet by 25. I enjoy the weeding, but not the planting. Last year I was bitten on the hand by a brown recluse spider while I was digging around up here; I have a scar where I dug out the infection, being too stubborn to go to the emergency room. The corn (which came as established plants--I thought it just came as big purple corn kernels) is in the upper right--just 16 plants--perhaps not enough to grow well. You have to have a certain amount of corn for it to pollinate properly, I think.

Pink knocked over the bag of Peter's Meadow Mix and helped himself. It's a treat (the staple is Oxbow timothy), and he got shreds of it everywhere because he buried his head in the bag.
"What? I thought it was my lunch bag!"

And here's some more progress on Bless Our Home, which should be ready to mail to Wendy by the 27th or 28th.

May 24, 2008

Silly Long Weekend

I started the baby blanket today. The baby's due in November. Just to clarify--I'm not having the baby--my boss is. I'm enjoying the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby yarn--very soft. I am remembering though why I don't usually knit; it's pretty boring, and you get lulled into this false sense of in and out and up and down and back and forth and pull a little more yarn off the ball and suddenly your realize that ten rows ago you screwed something up fatally. Funny that I don't find stitching as boring. Or as treacherous.

Pink: "Mom bought me this hat. She said it makes me look like a pink flamingo."

Elvis: "What are YOU looking at?!"

May 20, 2008

Bless Our Home

I've gotten a good bit done on Bine's RR house. It's from Bless Our Home from Country Cottage Needleworks. I'm altering the pattern just a bit to fit the space. The fabric is wonderful and thick; I find it easier to stitch in hand, which is new to me. I think I prefer it to using a Q snap.

Today was the first day that the syllabus was available for each my courses. I'm getting the basics out of the way, and I take a business law course, which given my line of work and even with a major paper due in about 7 weeks, should be a pleasant and interesting class. But then there's the nervous tummy course: College Algebra. I reviewed the exercises and some of the requirements and ran to Borders to buy a couple of refresher books. I also bought a copy of Runner's World and Fine Cooking. I spent the evening ignoring the algebra books and reading the magazines, of course, while Pink tossed one of my Crocs around. My Crocs (pink of course) now have bite marks in them. I'm thinking of Pink as a Croc Chucker. Pink and Elvis send best get-well wishes to Tidbit.

May 18, 2008

Making Lemonade

More work on Lemon Tree. Can you believe I've actually stuck with something this long? On the other hand, you're probably tired of seeing it inch along. Never fear: I'll be showing you pictures of Bine's RR later this week--I've got to get going on that. Frog alert: note that the urn on the left side of the door is three rows higher than the one on the right side of the door. Sigh.

Yesterday I went to get my early-summer kickoff pedicure, even though I don't enjoy it. First of all, the whole idea makes me a bit queasy, and I don't particularly like strangers touching me. Cutting my hair is ok, because hair is sort of apart from one's body. Hoping for an astringent rather than a crunchy or lotion-y experience, I opted for the citrus bath. (Other choices were the coffee bath or the cucumber bath. What is it with soaking the feet in food products?) I was expecting a squirt of some citrusy liquid in the water to simulate the citrus experience, but no--the pedicure woman went into the back room and reappeared with a bowl of quartered lemons and limes, which she dumped into the foot bath water. Then she turned on the jets and allowed my feet to marinate in the mixture. I was working on Lemon Tree (squealed the pedicurist: "My GRANDMOTHER does that!") and I was concentrating on not dropping the chart, the fabric or the scissors into the water. The fruit pieces brushed and bumped against my feet and ankles offputtingly, reminding me of what I don't enjoy about swimming in the ocean. Then the feet were washed and dried and pummeled and buffed and scrubbed and loofahed and finally given a green masque. (From the pedicurist: "Look! Incredible Hulk feet!") Then the nails were trimmed and filed and a couple of layers of paint and shellac later, I had pretty pink nails, and I shuffled off in her toe spacers and disposable flipflops to do some more embroidery at home.
Pink, who has claws like a bear, needs a mani-pedi. Pink: "And I'd like to have my nails painted pink also, just like Granny's."

"He is a pink dummy."

May 12, 2008

Ca Pisse (It's pouring)

It has been raining for days. We got six inches last night alone. Because roads were closed, traffic was snarled, it was cold and windy and wet and I was worn to a nub, I called in sick today, then went back to bed and had a three-hr. nap. Is there anything better than catching up on sleep while it pours?
I promised a picture of one of my ebay French charts. This is from Reflets de Soie, called Ann Mitchell 1801. It's charted for Soie d'Alger on 40 count "Pearled Barley de Lakeside Linen." The verse in the top center is in French, which makes it an interesting change from my regular samplers. I like how tiny the house is compared to the urns of flowers, and how a bunch of sheep are squashed into the lower right corner.

I spent some time today stitching Lemon Tree.

My boss is having a baby in November. I thought I would make this little blanket. It's from "Simply Baby: 20 Adorable Knits for Baby's First Two Years," by Debbie Bliss. I'll get the yarn that's called for: Baby Cashmerino, a blend of merino wool, microfiber with some cashmere--very soft. It's even machine washable! I was dithering about driving down to the yarn shop this afternoon and decided against it.

Monday bunday--Pink: "You should see Monsieur Le Pompadour, now that Mom's finished with his haircut." Elvis: "Merde!"

May 10, 2008

Spring, Sprang, SPRUNG

Today was the last day of the spring semester. Summer semester starts the day after Memorial day. To celebrate, I stopped by one of my LNS on the way to lunch with my sister (Happy Birthday, Sis!) to see if I could find this--"Mr Collins' Humble Abode," by the Stitching Parlor. I did not (I could always buy it through an OLS, but I try to do my part to keep local shops viable.)
This is the way it goes: on one visit I'm complaining that I feel everything out there feels stale; the next visit I find 5 things I want to buy.
This was such a visit. I bought this one, called "Dorothy's Garden," by A Stitcher's Hand. I am not kitting it up all at once because it calls for Au Ver a Soie silks. I bought the first half dozen, although oddly, AVAS fibers are not as expensive as many of the other European brands. I bought more charts, too, which I'll show you another time, along with some ebay wins I've had including some nice French charts.

I haven't done much other than study lately, so there's been just a bit of stitching on Lemon Tree Sampler.

It has poured here, and all of a sudden the flowers have popped out in my borders. Here are some pretty irises. I like the streaky white marks--they make the regular blue irises look almost plain.

I gave Elvis a little haircut; his fur has gotten so long that it flopped in his eyes. He seems to enjoy being able to see again, although he does not like to be fussed over. It's a little lopsided and the part over his nose looks like a pompom. I'll have to even it out a bit as the left side is still too long.
"I'm so embarrassed."

May 04, 2008

Wooden Ships

I picked up this WIP this week: The Workbasket's "Bay Sampler." The fiber is The Thread Gatherer's Silk and Colors. I'm glad I kitted it up then (about four years ago; the thread has gone up about 70% since then--yikes. Which leads me to think, since needlework supplies have performed better than many stocks, it may be a very good investment. So tell your Significant Others that "it's not my stash, it's my hedge against inflation.").

Here's a picture of the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, Cape Cod (courtesy of When I was a kid, my dad worked for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. So did a lot of my friends' dads. I thought it was normal to go to work in shorts and sandals, to muck about in marshes and tidal flats, to go out to sea on ships and come back with core samples from undersea trenches. When I was about ten, I negotiated with my parents to attend Vacation Marine Biology School instead of Vacation Bible School. Consequently, I know a great deal more about sea urchins and copepods than about religion. And working in an office, wearing shoes and proper attire seems awfully restrictive.
Quite of few people who lived in our area decorated around things they found at the beach or the stuff the scientists brought home from their expeditions: Japanese glass float balls, strung in nets; shark teeth; whale jaws; gigantic lobster shells from 5-10-pound lobsters (now a rarity, sadly--they used to be common enough); containers of sea urchin shells, dried starfish, jingle and boat shells.

For some reason, putting half-ships on buildings is big on the Cape. I know I've seen more. I'll have to look for them when I go visit my parents in a couple of months.