June 29, 2008

Gotta Run

I'm short on time, so this is just a brief hello and picture of my progress on Americana. Lots to do this last day of the weekend. I'm so excited about July 4 and the week thereafter, when I'm on vacation. Unfortunately, lots to do at work and home and in my homework to get ready. Because summer semester is shorter, the July 4 weekend is not a break from school, and there will be two midterms and an extra load of homework due, so I'm working ahead on the homework. And the garden is popping, so I have some critical weeding to do lest it all be swallowed up by weeds. And workmen are coming to the house to do more stuff, so there are things to move and clean before their arrival. Yikes--too much!

I'll be home for most of the vacation, and then at the end I'll be headed to Cape Cod to visit my parents (while poor BF stays behind to toil at his job and watch over the bunnies and cats), so you may get a chance to look at some different photos for a change! Lots of stashing and poking around in my plans; when I get off the plane in Providence, I'm planning a stash trip and photo expedition to Plymouth, Mass. to visit The Sampler. And there will be a trip to Pear Tree Court in Alexandria next weekend to visit In Stitches. And probably multiple trips to Everything Cross Stitch in Fredericksburg.

Blogging again the Fourth of July. Gotta Run!

June 26, 2008

Imaginary Numbers

So this week we're studying imaginary numbers in algebra. You remember that the square root of 16 is 4, right? Well what's the square root of -16? It doesn't work (since a negative times a negative is a positive), so they designate the answer as 4i. That's what I like about math; if it doesn't work, make up something that does. Anyway, an imaginary number is real, not imaginary, but it's not a real number. And it doesn't obey a lot of the standard rules for multiplication and division and other operations either. So given that, you can imagine how delighted I was to find on the bus the other night when we were stopped nearly two hours because the highway was closed for a tanker accident, that the light was streaming in the windows, the air conditioner worked, I'd forgotten my textbook but remembered Americana, so here it is. I think I may actually have this done by the 4th of July, which is my imaginary deadline. I'm excited about finishing because that starts my vacation and I have a lot of other projects lined up.

When I was at the store last weekend, I picked up some miniature cucumbers. I've posed one next to an egg so you can see the scale. They had mini squash as well, but I grow that (not for me a baseball bat-sized zucchini). The mini cukes are very tasty, if a bit pricey (a little bag costs six times what a regular size cucumber does so I wouldn't buy them again, even if they are very tender) and are very different from the warty, stubby pickling cukes.

What to eat with one's miniature veggies? Why, miniature hot dogs, of course. They're very tasty, especially skewered and grilled (and listen, I love grilled hot dogs--I'm no food snob). It might be fun to make up a mess of these and serve them on tiny buns I'd bake. I wonder if I could find some little quail eggs for tiny deviled eggs! And those miniature corns that come in cans!

Elvis: "Isn't the white rabbit an imaginary character?"
Pink: "I'm going to give you an imaginary bite in the butt."

June 22, 2008

What Sundays are Good For

Stitching: here's a little progress on Americana. I've also started Deb's RR, but there's not enough to show you yet.

Enjoying a meal. It's hot here and we're tired of barbecuing, so we're having a big salad with shrimp on it. Especially good if we lose the electricity; storms are beginning to roll through again.

Having a nap:

Chatting with a friend.

June 19, 2008

Higher Math

So you've all probably already seen this chart: Sail Away, by Shepherd's Bush, sold as a kit. I'm loving that Shepherd's Bush seems to be using darker (silk) threads; if I'm going to be stitching it and framing it, I want to be able to see it across the room. I love this design, and as soon as it is available, I'm going to get one for my vacation project. (Although what is tough is deciding which to stitch among Sail Away, Cinderella shown on Michelle's blog, or the new flowery Rosewood Manor.)

I figure I'll be done with Americana by the time the SB project arrives at the end of June. I think of the eagle as "Eric the Eagle" as it stands now. Sorry for the shadow.

I've been spending more time doing math problems than stitching this week, unfortunately. But sitting in my stitching/rabbit/computer/study room, looking at some doots that the boys left me, gave me an idea for combining rabbit artistry and algebra. One could say it's the intersection of math and art! I call it Doot Math, a math higher than calculus! And since this line passes into infinity, there is room for all the doots the rabbits produce and more.

Pink: "I jumped up onto the shelf of the linen closet. Dad's going to be mad if doots fall out of his towel in the morning."

June 15, 2008

Red, White and Blueberry

I have been working on Americana just a bit, but there's hardly enough to show. And for whatever reason--the difficult times? The approaching 4th holiday? Memories of carefree summers (my current summer is anything but) on Cape Cod?--I've been looking for another one or two patriotic designs to work on. I've looked online, in the LNS, and nothing. Thanks to Sue, who I met for the first time IRL Saturday, I went home with several patriotic projects. Sue and I each took the day off from our studies on Saturday and met to go over the Rappahannock to Sandra Sullivan's Homespun Elegance "1st Saturday Gathering" at her shop/design center/fascinating objects, crafts folk art warehouse. We saw so many samplers. I have some of Sandra's samplers already, but seeing them stitched up made me appreciate them so much more, and some of them had red, white and blue patriotic themes, like this one:

I enjoyed the gathering, and I'm in awe of Sandra-the-artist/designer as well as Sandra-the-businesswoman. Her designs are gentle, precise and historical, photographed nicely on soothing earthtone backgrounds, and in person, they really pop; I wanted to come home with a stack of them. Well, actually, I sort of did come home with a stack. I won this little guy (44 st. x 30 st.) and several other charts as a door prize!

From there, we went on to Everything Cross Stitch in Fredericksburg, where we enjoyed a pleasant search for fabric and fibers and looked at more charts and laughed with Celeste, the wonderful owner of the shop (and another savvy businesswoman) about how none of us will stitch people with faces on our designs.
Sue and I had time just for a quick refreshment on a sidewalk bench before we flew back over the Rappahannock; terrible lightening and thunder and buckets of rain chased us home. I had such a great day with a wonderful fellow blogger, and we agreed we'd do it again, and next time we'll bring our stitching or check out another shop. Psst--Sue--did you hear Celeste mention the great big needlework shop in Baltimore? I've never been to that one....
I went to the garden center today to buy blueberry bushes. These grow as a hedge in our climate and supposedly produce 10 pounds per bush. We'll see. It's producing now, even in its little plastic pot.

"I'm quite sure you meant to name this post 'Pink, White and Blueberry.'"

June 12, 2008

Americana Two

The plates are from Howard Johnsons, which was big in New England in the 1950s and 60s. It was, in fact, one of the first franchise operations (not McDonalds, which wasn't known for franchising but for automation of food preparation). I have a Hojo menu also (steak dinner: $1.75). Hojos was one of the first ice cream vendors to venture into flavors other than vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and used more fat in the preparation of its ice cream (the magic ingredient in premium ice cream). It was one of the first roadside restaurants, with a recognizable orange roof and the Pieman sign, the logo of which is on my dishes. My family was poor, and so we maybe ate out three times a year then, although there weren't that many restaurants either, so it wasn't as if we were missing much, although I do recall that we would go out and get a grinder sometimes, wrapped in greasy paper, or a fifty-cent stuffed quahog with linguica (points if you know what those are) and bring them home.
If we went on a trip to see the grandparents in Vermont or New Jersey, generally we ate a picnic lunch in the car, packed by my mother, but sometimes we'd stop at Hojos and have a "grilled-in-butter frankfort" or a plate of fried clams. Hojos was famous for its clams, and ordering them was sort of bizarre, considering that we lived in an area known for fresh fried clam plates, the clams served with the bellies attached. Hojo's clams were frozen, and were strips. Heresy. Even though we didn't eat out much, I do remember that we went out for ice cream quite a bit. I remember what a thrill it was to eat there, and the big decision between the hot dog and the clams, although they served a lot of other things too. I wonder if it really was good, or if it was just the thrill of eating something my mother hadn't managed to boil, broil or poach to death.
Somehow, Hojos lost its way, and its restaurants and hotels closed, and its stock was delisted (I have an old stock certificate). There are some old Hojos buildings around, repurposed into banks and other restaurants like IHOPs. I remarked to Sue when she guessed correctly (we grew up down the road from each other) that eating out has become so routine in our society that it's no longer particularly special.

Here's some progress on Americana.

"Hey Zeke, what are you doing?" "Oh, hi Harry. I'm posing for a sampler."

We're sad this evening to say that a wonderful bunny mom and dad, Bunny Lady and Rabbits' Guy, have lost one of their furry little ones a couple days ago, Stanley of the big fuzzy feet. Our best wishes go to the Houseful of Rabbits.

June 08, 2008


It's really hot here--in the high 90s--but you'll be relieved to know I staggered off to the LNS this afternoon. I decided I should celebrate my first Alegbra test grade (100%). I've been feeling in need of a smallish project, and I'm excited about my upcoming vacation which commences with the July 4 Friday and goes through the following week. I'm not going anywhere--staying at home to do homework, housework, needlework--the three works. My goal is to finish this and frame it before the end of July. Anyway, here's "Simply Americana" by Waxing Moon Designs. It's done on 32 count Belfast light mocha with GAST threads.

And here's a picture of my start:

Does anyone recognize this graphic? I collect these dishes. They're fairly difficult to find, so I have to add one or two at a time to my collection. This weekend I won two full-size plates on ebay. I suspect most of the supply that's out there was lifted from the original restaurants, so there are a fair number of dessert plates and saucers. It's harder to find the dinner plates. I'm not sure how spread out across the country this restaurant was; I know there were quite a few of them in New England. When we visited my grandparents in Vermont, we used to stop by and have our favorite, one of the restaurant's signature dishes. Anyone know what that might have been? Eating out was a huge occasion for us (gulp--in the 60s), since there weren't that many places to eat and most families didn't have the budget for it. It's weird to me that we've become a society--at least locally--that now eats out so frequently that it's more routine than special.

Pink has discovered popsicles. I offered a taste of mine to each of the rabbits, and little Elvis turned up his nose. Pink loves them though, and gets the juice all over his chin whiskers. He takes dainty little bites. Here he is, begging for one.

June 03, 2008

Pink Peonies

We have a small crop of peonies in VA also, Rabbits' Guy. We have no callas to dress them up, though. But a pair of bluebirds did snip them off, put them in a vase and deliver them to our window sill, just like in Snow White. Or was it Cinderella?

Cinderella has not gone to the ball this evening, I'm sorry to say. She has been studying algebra with Pink's help.

Speaking of algebra, if you want a nifty site for learning about algebra in an accessible and fun way, especially if you help the kids with their homework but you are secretly a little unsure of your skills, take a look at coolmath.com

Rabbit squared:

Hope your Wednesday is exponentially happy!

June 01, 2008

Thunder on the Right

As always, a busy weekend. Lots of progress on various things though. First, Bine's RR, which is off to Wendy tomorrow. I didn't do a rabbit on this one, since Leslie did. I stitched the dog that came on the design; it looks like a nice dog that wouldn't chase a rabbit, doesn't it? School has started in earnest, and I've found and hired a tutor for the algebra and trigonometry class I'm taking, thank goodness. The assignments for that and the other course I'm taking are coming thick and fast and definitely getting in the way of stitching. But it's good stuff, and interesting, and both professors seem to be good people, which is a nice bonus.

Garden, week two. I planted a couple more things: a cherry tomato and another summer squash. We've had quite a few thundershowers over the last week, so we haven't had to water. In between, the sun's been nice and bright.

Here's today's thunderstorm brewing. They follow the path of the Potomac River, which is about three miles from here. Don't know if you can tell from the photo, but that sky is black, not blue.

Pink: "I'm not scared of the thunderstorm. I was just looking for one of my toys under this recliner."