July 04, 2011

Cool as a Cucumber

Greetings, all! Long time no post! The last week has been pretty busy, as I accepted a short-term (4-6 month) contract job that started Monday. While the work and experience are good, the commute around the Beltway is not, so I head out of the house by 5:30 to hit the high occupancy vehicle lanes before they shut them down to solo drivers at 6 a.m. The good news is that I get to work almost 2 hours early (and save myself an hour or so of idling in heavy traffic), so I have time to stitch in the morning before work. The company where I'm working has an enormous dining room where I stitch until they serve breakfast at 7:30. After I eat, I go back to stitching. The bad news is that I have to go to bed really early and I miss my days of dancing (or stitching) to my own tune.

It's hotter than heck here, so here's a shot from my garden, where even in the 98 degree sun, the cucumbers are fairly cool. So far it's been a great year for cucumber production and the vines are sprawled everywhere. Cucumbers until recently have been close to $1 apiece (although they've fallen to about 50 cents recently) and I love them, so I'm thrilled. My tomatoes aren't so great; I neglected them somewhat after planting them a bit late, and now the cucumber vines are growing all over them, hard as I try to train them the other direction.

Not so thrilled with this. In fact, it's downright horrifying how quickly they can suck the juice out of a nice firm summer squash, leaving the poor thing deflated and brown. Certain parts of tending a garden are shockingly gross, including pulling a nice tomato of the vine and having it goosh in your hands because the underneath part is rotten or eaten away; then there are the tomato worms and the biting ants, all manner of spiders and creepy crawly things. I try not to reach under leaves and vines without looking. Then there's the massive poison ivy case I got ("gee, I wonder what this vine is; I'll just pull it out and throw it away.")

Since it's so hot, it's been a pleasure to sit in the house with the air conditioning on and the ceiling fans whirling away. I started something new and chilly looking!

I love traditional Santas and have always wanted a few large ones framed and hanging. I was inspired years ago--and about 4 jobs ago--by a co-worker who stitched nothing but elaborate Santas. When they were done and framed she hung them and left them up all year 'round. It sounds weird, but the Santas looked just right, even hanging there in the summer. This is a Dimensions chart (and I love the photograph, which is as clear as can be). I'm stitching it on 34 count white legacy linen using the called-for DMC and Kreinik shiny gold thread. Later there will be gold beads as well.

I spent some time working on Sarah McPhail (made progress on the rose and leaves in the top right corner).

Devoted some time to the border on Catharine Metcalf (Scarlet Letter). I don't like this border, but I love Catherine, so I'm doing it. Granted, it's pretty, and it will look good when it's done, but it's very elaborate with the leaves and the double vine and the sticky-out twiggy green things. It's what short-circuited my progress originally, so I am trying before work to stitch a little on it every day, otherwise, I will just put it way and never work on it again, which would be a shame, because I love the bottom half of this sampler in particular with its duck pond, sheep and brick house, and even like the verse, the birds and the trees.

Just to refresh your memory on what Catharine looks like:

Someone else is cool as a cucumber and having a nice afternoon nap.
Pink: "The end."

Happy Fourth!


The Fab Furs said...

So much info:
1. Love the sampler in your blog header!
2.The idea of stitching a wintry scene in the midst of summer sounds like a greener way of beating the heat than turning the AC way low.
3.I really should do a vegetable garden, but I blame my grandmother for making me shy away: I used to have to cut the tomato worms in half with scissors: her idea of pest control.
4.Congrats on the job!
5.Cool feet, Pink!

Joanie said...

Congrats on the job! I'm still in the hunt. :(

Love the idea of Santa all year round. Why not? And I got squeemish at your veggie garden description, especially the pics of the bugs...ugh, now I'm gonna be looking under every leaf before I pick anything from my little plot o'garden.
I'm trying to stay cool as one of your cucumbers cause it's hot in Upstate NY.
Happy 4th!

Laurie in Iowa said...

I hope you'll be able to stick with stitching Catharine... it's such a gorgeous sampler, despite the irritating border.
Congrats on landing a new position. The early morning commute guarantees that you'll get lots of stitching time.
Gross garden bugs.

mainely stitching said...

One of the advantages of container gardening is that there are fewer bugs. The buggy picture had me seriously squirming. I've never grown potatoes since I tried when I was about 10. When I dug up my potatoes in the late summer, all I found were some horrifically fat and disgusting wormy things that still make me come over all queasy. :(

Margaret said...

Hope the new job goes well and all. Bummer about the early rise time! Love the stitching -- of course! Both Catherine and Sarah are on my long list of projects. As you well know. :D (Ew, bugs!)

Siobhan said...

What a cute little bunny tush! ;)

LOVE the blog header picture!

Yikes on the bugs in the garden. I really want to be a good gardener, but the first sign of a bug has me running inside.

The sampler WIPs are fantastic. Love the santa!

Enjoy your 4th.

krayolakris said...

What ARE those horrid little squash suckers??? How dare they attack your veggies~

Deb said...

Love the bunny butt! :o)

And your stitching too. Think I'm going to have to give Catherine some consideration in the future.

And bugs, UGH! We had some huge tomato worms last year and my husband had never seen them before and he about died when he saw them. He came flying in the house thinking that it was some kind of mutant worm! They were huge though!

Melissa said...

Ugh - those bugs! I see what you mean about that 'dark' side of gardening. Great that your cukes are doing great though! I love homegrown ones though we didn't plant them this year.

Congrats on your new job! That's great. I know what you mean about it cutting into your fun time, but you know, you are just re-stocking the piggy bank!

I love how your Sarah and Catherine are looking!

Pink looks in a relaxed mode! Happy 4th, Glenna!

Gabi said...

Congrats on your new job. Pity that you have to rise that early though.
Love your new Santa. Catherine and Sarah are both awesome

Rabbits' Guy said...

It's pretty much all been said! We do not have many garden pests - beyond slugs which are generally controllable with a fairly safe pesticide. But you made me remember the great and fast growing veggie gardens in Michigan - and all the horrid pests including the horned, green tomatoe worms and the white spotty potatoe bugs ... ugh.

No wonder our love-hate relationship with toxic chemicals.

Pink has the answer .. hire the gardening (and everything else) done!

Catherine said...

Congrats on your job! Bummer to have to get up that early - but at least you get some quiet stitching time!! With the boys home for the summer, whatever time I stitch, is anything but quiet!
Love all your projects!

marly said...

LOL! Sticky-out twiggy green things? Catharine is so amazing and I'm anxious to watch your progress. My friend had a small TV room that was her "santa room". A corner cupboard was filled with santa figures, boxes, and stitched ornaments surrounded by framed pieces on the wall. A red toile chair and accent pillows pulled it all together.

Mouse said...

love the ones you are working on ... ooo wee beasties on your plants wonderful... washing up liquid in some water and spray said plants .. works :) well done on the job too :) love mouse xxxx

Giovanna said...

Your stitching is just lovely as always - and the cucumber is picture-perfect :-) The bugs, not so much :-( Good luck against the buggers. Congrats on the job!

Cari said...

I'm glad you're staying as cool as a cucumber this summer! Stitch away friend, stitch away. You're smart to go early to work to miss the traffic plus you get the added time to stitch. Love the pic of Pink...way too cute!

Katrina said...

Wow, that's a lot of information ;-)!!! Congrats on the job, glad you are getting a bit of stiching time before work.

Total yuck on the bugs, that would stop me from gardening, LOL.

All gorgeous projects!!!!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I love all the stitching but I must say that Mr. Pink's cute little bunny bum is the best!

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

Sounds like you've got just the plan for that early morning commute! A little early morning stitching sounds like a great way to get going.

I love my little veggie garden too but yep, those bugs are nasty!

Great stitching progress - on all fronts. Sarah is just gorgeous and Catherine, in time, will be stunning. I can see why that border might cause you some angst.

Alice said...

Beltway traffic. Yuck. Love the stitching! You sure do accomplish a lot. The bugs in that one picture of yours is exactly why I am no gardener!

Michelle said...

I do love me some cucumbers! And it was nice to see your July piece make an appearance in your blog header. Your WIPs are looking great - I think it's a good idea to work a little bit on that border at a time. Dorothy has that double vine too. Ugh. Love the new Santa you've started as well. It's a good time to get started on Christmas pieces. Congrats on the new job too!!!

KarenV said...

Congratulations on the job, that's great news.

Love your WIPs and your new Santa start - I really like the red shade in this one so far.

Pointed Stitcher said...

Your Snowy St. Nick is going to be GORGEOUS when finished. I love Catherine also, tempted to add her to my stash ;)