Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Q&A

To distract you from the fact there there's no knitting content, I thought I'd answer a few recent questions from the comments recently.
On Victor
Chrisknits said...
Do the cats notice the plant? I wonder their reaction if they saw it close up on a fly. LOL!

They don't. And for that I'm very thankful! It's only recently that I've been able to have indoor plants. A certain feline (*cough, Rocky, cough*) looked on them as his own personal salad bar. I don't know why that changed, but it has, so I'm taking full advantage of it! Victor is pretty small yet too, so I think that's the main reason he escapes notice.

On Bunbun and the cats 
kathy b said...
I worry that the cats might catch fleas if I take them in the yard where the bunnies and squirrels play. Do you protect the cats?
I didn't, until this year when I found fleas on both Tux and Rocky (so presumably Peno had them too)
I get the Advantage drops from the vet. In my opinion, they are one of the best inventions ever. I've had cats my whole life, and we've used everything - flea baths, flea powders, fleas collars.... nothing works like the drops. One drop on the back of the neck and bam! Done. No more fleas. This is only the second time I've ever had to treat them too - the first time was when I brought Rocky home from the barn.
More on Bunbun 
Caffeine Girl said...
Wow! I can't believe the bunny sat still long enough for a photo.

Caffeine Girl is new to the blog (Welcome!) but regular readers will know this. Bunbun (which refers to any of the several bunnies we have booting around the townhouse complex) is pretty much half tame. Several of us feed them, and since dogs aren't allowed to be loose, and there just aren't a lot of cats around (my cats are pretty much useless when it comes to wild game), they just don't have a lot to fear. I can usually get within about a foot of him before he takes off. And even then, he only moves a few feet away to see what I'm going to do next.

On tomatoes
Minding My Own Stitches said...
You definitely have a green thumb! Isn't tomato season the best?

People who know me really well laugh about me growing tomatoes. I don't actually like them. And Dave... well he only sort of likes them (ie, he likes them on certain foods, like nachos and tacos). I grow them because they are easy to grow and ideal for our small yard. And darn fun. That's the main reason I grow cherry tomatoes over bigger ones (this year notwithstanding) - once they start to ripen, every day I can go out and harvest a handful. It's just fun. And the fact that they are small means I can bag them up easily and give them away to friends, family and coworkers... which is what happens with the majority of them

And lastly on Rocky
Elns said (not in a comment, but on her own blog the other day)
Every time she posts a picture of Rocky, I kinda wanna bury my face in him, virtually.

Yeah - he's just one big cuddly teddy bear of a cat. But I must warn you... approach the belly area at your own risk...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Good boy!

The other day I came home from work and was in the process of putting my bags away and see to the cats' dinner, when Dave came by and muttered. "It caught a fly."

I looked down and Tux and Rocky, who were circling my feet waiting for their dinner. "Which one?"

"No, no.. the plant," Dave replied.

"Oh...."I said after a moment, clueing in. "You mean Victor."

"Yeah, whatever," he said. Dave has never subscribed to my habit of anthropomorphizing pretty much everything. "It's got a fly. What does it do with it now?"

I ran over to look.
"I dunno," I answered, inspecting the little trapped fly closer. "I think he slowly dissolves the fly in evil plant juices."

"Oh. Ok." he said and started to walk away. But I pulled him back....

"Look Dave! He's got TWO flies!!!"
"What a good boy you are!" I said to Victor, as Dave shook his head sadly and walked away.

I turned to Rocky and asked him what he got up to all day...
Well... at least someone is earning his keep....

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Feeling hot, hot, hot

As I mentioned yesterday, we're in the middle of a heat wave. It's not humid weather, like we normally get this time of year - but it is darn tooting hot.

During the day, the kitties and I pretty much hang out inside with the a/c on, waiting until the sun had gone behind the trees to venture out and check on the gardens
Even then, it's better to retreat under the raspberries where it's cooler.

And poor Bunbun
There's not much he can do but stretch out and try to catch a breeze. You can't see it in the picture, but the poor guy was panting.

I'm sure they have a water supply somewhere, but I have no idea where it is (and we haven't had any rain in almost two weeks, so there's no nice cool puddles)
So I'm keeping a spare plant saucer full of water in the garden for them. Hopefully it helps when they need a little drink.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


With the first sleeve of Sherlock done, I thought I'd take a little break for a day or two and work on something else (probably helped along by the fact that we are in the middle of a wicked heat wave, and the thought of a long-sleeve wool cardigan just isn't getting me too excited.)

So I decided to pick up April Come She May again. I put a few more rows on it and discovered something disappointing.  The pattern is only half done. The sleeve chart only goes to row 41 - but the raglan shaping actually continues on to Row 76. The only instructions are "Continues working rows 1 and 2 up to row 76".

But it's not that easy - placement of the flowers changes because of the increase of the raglan. So you can't just repeat those two rows without some serious forethought.

I sat down Sunday night and charted the remainder out
I'll have to create another chart for the sleeve after the increasing stops too, because there's no chart for the sleeve with decreases.

If I'd paid for this pattern, I'd be annoyed (I got it when it was offered on a free promo). If I wasn't a designer, or a less experienced knitter, I'd be really ticked off. Unless you have a decent amount of experience with charting and top down construction, it would be pretty darn hard to figure out. So a word of warning if this is in your queue - knitter beware!

Monday, July 27, 2015

New arrivals

Sometimes.. I think my grocery store know just how to get me.... just when I think I'm done with the garden for the year.... they go and put out a whole display of large potted perennials...
You know there was no way I was leaving the store with out at least one...
Such a pretty foxglove
Or maybe two...
A nice showy Delphinium
They are in nice large pots, so they can stay there for now.. but when things start to cool off and die down, I've got a lot of rearranging to do in the gardens!

The Gladiolus are putting on a good show
Tux hasn't managed to destroy his cat nip yet, and it's blooming with these delicate little flowers.
The butterfly bush is trying very hard to flower. And it seems to have put up a bunch of new flower spikes, so I'm hopeful it's going to be okay.

And check out the Nasturtiums
 They were barely through the soil less than a week ago. Amazing! These would be another great plant to grow with kids - just for the fast results

Oh - and tomato season has started...
These ones got chopped up and put on Nachos Supreme the other day - but there are lots more coming.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

One down, one to go

Once I finally got a chance to work on it, the first sleeve of Sherlock went pretty quickly
Although, not a quickly as I would like... but that's just because my arms are so darn long. You don't know how many times I stopped to try it on and was tempted to just stop right there thinking "Well short sleeves are okay...", "Maybe half sleeves would be fine...", and "3/4 sleeves is more than long enough..." But for some reason, I just feel this one really needs full sleeves, so I perservered.

And now there's just one sleeve left.  And so long as this week is not like last week, I could have Sherlock on the blocking board by the weekend!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meet Victor

Since summer began, Dave's been complaining about all the flies I let into the house. But really, it's not me - it's Peno. She doesn't like to be outside with the door shut....

Anyway, since it was his birthday on Monday, and since I'm incredibly sarcastic, I got him a little something extra with his present...
Yep, that's a Venus Fly Trap. And I have named him Victor. I had to go out and buy him a jug of distilled water because apparently our fancy tap water has too many minerals in it and they will kill him. I could collect rainwater, but we haven't had much rain, so I picked up a big jug of water in the automotive department of Canadian Tire. (I'm sure I could have gotten it somewhere else, but I knew I'd find it right next to the coolant, and I was there buying new fuses for Stella... I really spend too much time tinkering with my car...sigh...)
Anyway, other than the special water, caring for Victor is pretty much the same as my orchids. Keep him moist but not soaking.

So far he hasn't caught any flies (not that Dave's given him a chance... that man seems to live with the fly swatter in his hand lately...) but I'm sure he will when he gets a little bigger. And don't worry about him going all Little Shop of Horrors and eating the cats...
He's still pretty darn tiny... we've got a long way to go before I start hearing "Feed me, Seymour!"

Friday, July 24, 2015

FO: Sacre Coeur

Bet you  thought I forgot about this one... well I did.. mostly. In all the hubub with my back, and the craziness that followed, it got tossed in a corner.

I meant to take it with me when I went to Mom's last weekend, but forgot. Then we had plans today, but our schedules got messed up... so I finally just decided to snap a few quick pics myself
This one was a really fun fast knit. It took me just over a month, but that was by no means monogamous knitting. With steady knitting, it could have been about a week.
It used about 500 yards of a merino/silk blend that Mom spun just for me. It was really nice to work with and is very, very soft.
The pattern was great too. It was very easy to memorize and with just two charts. And it's one of those beautiful patterns where you can make any size you want - just change how many times you repeat each chart. And depending on the combination you do, the finished project can end up looking very unique.

Of course, in the middle of July, it's far too warm to wear right now... but it will be lovely come September.

And yes.. that is one of my new dresses I'm wearing with it. They arrived this morning. Super fast shipping - another thing to love about Old Navy.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy place

Evert have one of those weeks where just a million little things build up and by the end of it, you sure you're going right to the looney bin... ?

This week is one of those weeks

Time to go to my happy place
 Aaaahhhhh... fresh strawberry jam on an English Muffin... that helps (seriously, I think this is one of my desert island foods)

This helps too...
Snuggles in the garden with my best bud.

Now, if I can only find some time to knit tonight, I might just be cheery tomorrow...

What's your happy place?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My little slice of paradise

Not much progress has been made on Sherlock. I've been far too distracted by the little 25 square feet of heaven I have outside my back door.
I am at war with the Japanese beetles. Despite that, the roses are doing okay. They never seem to bloom all together. Chicago will bloom and die, then it's QE, then Tourney, then Bluey. But it does mean a steady stream of blooms.
The Black-Eyed Susans are reaching for the sky. Seriously, these things are tall! Almost to the top of the fence. (Definitely have to do a revamp on the way things are laid out next year.). And look....
The Echinacea has bloomed. I am especially pleased with this picture - all three of those plants were started from seed last year. I thought it was a bit of a failed experiment, as last year, none of it bloomed except for one mutant Susan. But look at them now. I guess starting from seed just takes a little patience.

There's one other plant that was started from seed, and while it's growing, no blooms...
The poor Columbine. It just got completely shaded by the daisies. I've moved things a bit so it can get some more sun. Hopefully I'll get a bloom or two before summer is over.

In other seed news
 The sweet peas are looking great
And the Nasturtiums are sprouting!

Around the corner at the side garden...
The Gladiolus are starting to bloom! I thought each plant would only get one flower, but it looks like they have five or six...
 And so darn pretty. Glad I bought these bulbs. 

And just a few feet away, in the front garden I got a little surprise in amongst the lilies
This is Epipactis Helleborine. A native orchid. According to google, some people consider it a weed orchid but I think it's just gorgeous. I hope it sticks around. The neighbour found some in his garden too, so we are guess it's a gift from the birds.

And speaking of gifts from the birds
That is not one of the sunflowers I planted. Mine all got squished or stolen.  This one was growing under the bird feeder so I transplanted it and now it's thriving. It's probably a black oil sunflower... but I'll take it. I love seeing those big flowers bobbing away late in the season.

And last but not least...
 Definitely not cherry tomatoes....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An Ode to Old Navy

Do you have an article of clothing that you can't live with out (and I'm not talking about underpants...). One that fits so well and that you love so much that you have to have it in every colour?

I found mine this spring. It was on a shopping trip with my friend Aneesha. She'd pulled me in to Old Navy to check out their clearance stuff. I'd never been a huge fan of Old Navy - most of the stuff wasn't my style, and I found the quality to be lacking in a lot of stuff. But I followed along because she'd patiently waited as I perused the clearance racks at Reitmans next door.

Well... Old Navy was having a huge dress sale... (and you know I love my dresses). So I grabbed a few likely suspects off the rack, and headed to the change rooms. I fell in love with three... and wouldn't you know it, when I got to the cash, the one I really, really loved wasn't on sale. I hate to pay full price, so I set it aside and left with the other two, still pretty pleased with myself.

But I dreamed about that dress. Oh, did I ever. I rarely regret leaving something behind (except for maybe those Nine West Shoes, which were first spied on that same shopping trip.)

And so, the next week, I began stalking Old Navy's website, watching for it to come on sale. About a month later, it did. The credit card was out of my wallet so fast, it would make your head spin.
And since it was on sale... I grabbed one in another colour.
Because who can resist purple???

When they arrived, I immediately changed into the purple one. I couldn't believe how well they fit. Being extremely busty, and hippy, but with a really short torso, and stupidly long legs, finding dresses that fit perfectly is near to impossible. I almost always have to take something in, let something down and just generally make adjustments.

Not with these dresses. Everything is right where it's suppose to be. And wouldn't you know it, when I ordered those two, it was during their "Super Cash" promotion - which meant they sent me a $20 coupon for my next purchase.

That meant a few weeks later I came home with one in White Linen
Navy print

And crazy print
Since then, I have pretty much lived in these dresses. There were a couple other prints available, but unfortunately, they didn't have them in my size. (The U.S. Old Navy site had even more prints... but the shipping to Canada was more than the dresses.)

And then, this morning I got this crazy idea to go on the Old Navy site once again... just to see... and wouldn't you know it
Three new prints...
All on sale for 60% off...
And all available in my size. And I bought them all. And I don't feel bad about it one whit.  Throw on a tights and a cardigan, these beauties will take me right through winter! (And that last one is going to look great with Sherlock!)

Old Navy.... I think I love you.

Monday, July 20, 2015

On to chapter two...

So.. the other thing I like doing during a heat wave (other than making jam)....
Knitting with wool! Of course, it is only sport weight, and the house is air conditioned, so it's not as bad as it seems.  And as you can see - the body is done! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

I've picked up the stitches for the right sleeve and managed to get a few rows done before bedtime tonight. As written, the pattern has 3/4 length sleeves with colourwork at the wrists. I'm leaving out the colourwork and going full length on this one. Luckily, after knitting the body all in one piece -those sleeves are just going to fly by!

PS ... according to tracking - my shoes should be delivered today!!!!