Monday, June 30, 2014

More grand plans smashed

The plan was... erect canopy in backyard, prepare delicious feast, invite favourite friends over... picnic!
I spent all yesterday cleaning and cooking, got the canopy ready to set up... friends were invited....

And mother nature hits us with sweltering, move-five-inches-and-you're-a-pile-of-sweaty-goo weather. So the party was moved inside to climate controlled conditions.

But it was still a lot of fun - great company with great conversation

and more than a little humour
Someone found my Monster High collection
The boys were just boys
Tux was fussed over
and there was strawberry short cake...
Who could ask for a better afternoon?

Sunday, June 29, 2014


There it is....

The last Lestrange sleeve is off the needles and on the blocking board. All thats left is the shawl collar and the pretty bottom band.

You're suppose to pick up stitches and knit them directly on the garment, but I'm going to knit them separately and sew them on.
I'm doing this for several reasons:

1) It's lace - and lace is much easier to block in pieces than in a finished garment - especially something like a shawl collar.

2) It's already a large garment, and even though it's light because it's knit in fingering, it would be a lot of knitting to move around and fiddle with as I'm working

3) I don't have to wait for anything to finish blocking before I start on it.

Of course, I do have to wait until I clean my house and get some cooking done. I have company coming tomorrow, but I've been putting of those tasks because I just couldn't put Lestrange down. But now I really better get to it...

Friday, June 27, 2014

The bees are going to love me

Some days, you just can't walk by a sale sign. Today was one of those days. I was popping into the grocery store when I noticed that their garden centre was closing up for the season. Outside was a big sign that said "Up to 50% off." I thought... "Hey, they may have some rose bushes on, or if I'm really lucky, a lilac or a butterfly bush." So I moseyed on in for a looksie.
 Umm.... oops.....

Yeah, so no roses or lilacs but... all the small perennials (normally $3) were on for 50 cents each. And the larger perennials (normally $7) were on for $1. That group of plants would have cost me over $100 at the start of the season... today it cost me $13! That less than I spent on the seeds and soil this spring!

In that pile there is Hens and Chicks, Forget-Me-Nots, Creeping Mazus, Pink Creeping Baby's Breath, Pink Fairy Baby's Breath, Cupid's Dary, Bachelor Buttons, Yellow Stone Blue-eyed Grass, Armeria in White and Pink, Alpine Aster, Mexican Hat, Bleeding Heart, Coreopsis, and one unknow flower that looks a little like a marigold.

Most of it went in the bee garden out back
It's pretty full now - I hope the bees like it! It was a little tricky fitting everything in (okay - I may have bought too much) especially because I had to work around some of the seedlings that I haven't completely given up on yet.

Not all of the plants I purchased today are blooming yet, but the Mexican Hat is
Mexican Hat is actually a plant that's native to Ontario. They had quite a few native plants available. It makes me wish I had a little more room - I'd totally be going back for some Trillium and Jack-in-the-pulpit.
 This is the creeping pink Baby's Breath - a nice delicate flower. Same with the creeping Mazus
Its blooms are about half the size of my pinky finger - but so pretty.

When I moved out front to plant the last of the plants (the ones that needed a little less sun) Rocky came with me
But he doesn't look too thrilled about the whole situation. He prefers the backyard.

Anyway, I planted the Forget-Me-Not, Coreopsis, and Bleeding Heart in the Lily garden
Coreopsis on the left, Forget-me-nots in the middle and Bleeding Heart on the right - though you can't really see it because of the darn Lilies.
The Coreopsis is going to be gorgeous when it's covered in these pretty yellow blooms.
The Forget-Me-Nots are so dainty by comparison.

Oh - and remember the white Alyssum I planted there last year that was suppose to be an annual?
Apparently it wasn't - it's coming up all long the border of the garden. It will mix nicely with the Forget-Me-Nots though, so I can't complain.

Over in the tree garden is where I put the Hens and Chicks
I love Hens and Chicks. We had them all over the place when I was growing up - but I was surprised at how expensive they were this spring. I couldn't pass them up at only 50 cents.

And you can see my English Daisies and Black Clover is doing nicely after it's rough start. All three of these plants should come back next year.
And the Moon Flower seeds I planted have sprouted and are really starting to pick up - with any luck, they will start growing up the trunk of the tree soon!

Okay - I think I'm officially done planting... at least until fall. I've got tulip bulbs to plant... and I have to keep my eye out for some irises...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Best laid plans

Well... plans were made to be broken right?

Despite my grand plan laid out earlier this week, there's been very little time for knitting. I've done about three rows on the second Vanellope sock, and until Wednesday evening, there was no chance to knit at home.

And when I finally got the chance
I was seduced by witchcraft.

Yup, I think I've finally got my love back for Lestrange, so despite my plan, I'm running with it. By bed time the sleeve was half done
If I can keep up this pace, I can start the collar on the weekend. Here's hoping I remain under it's spell for a while longer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Thank you all for you kind words about Russell. It really is the hardest part of owning pets  - they never live long enough. But he had 14 good spoiled years and I'm thankful for that.. So now we give our living fur babies a big snuggle and turn our attention back to life at hand ... and head back out to the garden.

One of my other weekend plans, beside jamming and working on Lestrange, was to get my poor tomatoes staked up. They were starting to look rather wild and if I didn't do something soon, they'd probably start to die
(Not to mention that garden needed a good weeding.) While I was up at Mom's I mentioned that I needed to get them staked (I used bamboo stake last year) and Dad offered up two tomato cages he wasn't using this  year.
I already had a smaller cage that was perfect for one of the smaller tomato plants (and that little mini one is still mini - though quite healthy - no cage needed) and Dad's two cages were the perfect size for the larger plants. They look much happier now - if a bit wilty. But the sun was hot, so I gave them a nice long drink and they perked right back up. I've even got little green tomatoes on them already.
Verdict is still out on how well the Jalapenos are faring. They haven't gotten much bigger, but they seem healthy.

The strawberries are rocking though - nice big leaves, and I'm just starting to get some flowers.  
Another month or so and I should have some berries.

And over in the bee garden
I have some very strange looking sunflowers. The pack of seeds was mixed... any idea what kind this could be?

Oh and the mini sunflower bloomed
 But apparently it's still at perfect nibbling height....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Russell - 2000-2014

It's with great sadness that I announce the passing of our dearly beloved ginger boy, Russell.
Russell was part of Mom's menagerie (only because she wouldn't let me take him when I moved out) and came to us as a kitten 14 years ago.

Mom found him along her mail route, a tiny orange fluff ball. We already had three cats and when I got home from work that day, the first words out of her mouth were, "He's not staying."
Clearly, Russell had other ideas.
He got his name because of his rusty orange nose. I said we should call him Rusty, and Dad immediately dubbed him Russell - and it just stuck.

We frequently referred to him as Mr. Relaxo.
I think it's clear why.

He was your typical orange goof ball cat.
Always purring. Always up for belly rubs.
Just a sweet, good-natured feline. He will be sadly missed.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lestrange love

I know, I know... you've heard me constantly say that I really need to get back to Lestrange. But somehow I always seem to find something else to work on. Lately it's my new shawl design and the Vanellope socks. I finished the first sock up on the weekend, by the way...
But I'm so close to finishing Lestrange, that I really need to devote the time to it. Unforunately, it's not one of those patterns you can just pick up on the fly. You really need to be able to concentrate. It's the kind of knit that needs a plan. So I made one:

The Vanellope socks were started as travel knitting, so that they shall stay. The only reason I got the first one done so quick was because I spent Saturday afternoon after jam making on Moms porch with it - but that still counts as travel knitting. The second one will mostly be worked over lunch hours, and maybe the odd trip out visiting.

The shawl design - which I'm hoping to have finished and off to my test knitter by the end of July - will be relegated to week night knitting. Right now it's pretty easy to pick up and set down, and is a great way to wind down after work.

But weekends will be devoted to Lestrange. So in between yarn dying and gardening, I'll be making my Lestrange dream a reality. I picked it back up again on Sunday...
This is the second sleeve. After it's done, it's just the colour (large shawl-style) and a lacey bottom band. If I stick to my schedule, I should be able to finish this one up by the end of July too... here's hoping. I started this one back in October of last year - I'd like to get it done well before a year is up!

Then it will be time to turn my attention to some long neglected WIPs (like years long neglected!)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dragon surprise!

Like the fourth season, Our Game of Thrones KAL wrapped up a few weeks ago. The winner was drawn at random and given the choice of one of three skeins of Twisted Slinky Cat:
The colourways were inspired by Daenerys' (one of the show's main characters) dragons - Viserion (cream and gold) Rhaegal (Bronze and Green) and Drogon (Black and red).

She chose Viserion, which just happened to perfectly match the project bag I'd made as part of her prize pack.
I also made a few on-theme stitch markers...
And included my Daenerys shawl pattern.

I'd like to extend a big thank-you to everyone who participated. We're giving the KALs a rest for the summer, but are talking about some other give-aways. Feel free to join our Ravelry group for all the latest Wandering Cat news. Oh, and the remaining Twisted Slinky Cat skeins (one in each colour) will be in the shop soon - keep your eyes peeled.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

We be jammin'

Yep - today was jam-making day. I was up at Mom's early  to turn all these luscious berries into something we can enjoy all year-round.

Jam-making is surprisingly easy. There's very few ingredients and the recipe is very straightforward. What is does take is some prep work  hulling and mashing all the berries (Mom did all that before I even got there!) - and stirring...
Lots and lots of stirring.
Delicious-smelling stirring.
But it went surprisingly quick. In no time, there were eight jars of jam all ready for me to bring home.
 And all that was left was clean-up...
Delicious clean-up!

(And Mom is almost done her treatment - hard to see it in the picture, but her hair is starting to come back!)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reaching for the sun

My sunflowers have not done near as well as I expected when I first saw all those sprouts coming up.  Of the 25 sprouts I planted, less than 10 took in the garden. Since then, several more died off - I only have five left. Some that seemed to be doing really well suddenly rotted away. I suspect it was because they didn't have he proper support and were mostly laying in the dirt.

So, I got out there to give the few that remained a helping handing reaching for the sky.
I taped some wooden skewers together to make stakes that were long enough and loosely tied the stalks to them.  Hopefully that helps them grow right to the top of the fence.

One of them has finally bloomed though.
And remember that little mini one the squirrels ate?
Well it grew a new head.... two in fact. We'll see if manages to bloom.

And the other seedlings have not been as great a success as I'd imagined either, but the columbine and poppies seem to be showing some promise. And I think the handful of daisy and dianthan seeds I tossed in might be coming up.

I planted five sweet pea sprouts, but only two have flourished. I built them a little trestle to keep them off the ground as well.
Soon I'll have to stake the tomatoes too...