Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday sketches

Next to people, animals are one of the subjects I'm best at. So  I dug out the coloured pencils for this week's sketch and set to work.
The colours are a little off, and I'm even more out of practice with these than the regular pencils... but I think I got his little grump face down.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Felines

A couple months ago, I bought Rocky a little pop-up tent. He'd had one a few years back and absolutely loved it. He didn't bother much with the new one, but someone else took a liking to it...

Which is really odd...
 Generally, she doesn't like to go inside things unless there are at least two exits
 She's rolled around and beat it up so much that now one of the "poles" pokes through the fabric.

I wake up every morning, and its never where I left it the night before
She seems to have forgotten that she's actually the oldest cat in the house - at almost 13 years old, she's a true senior cat.
Oops... sorry Peno, we won't talk about your age again.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nursery time

As if a reminder that life goes on, things continue to grow in my little "nursery"
If I'm honest, my enthusiasm for the garden has waned a little with Rocky's passing. It's hard to get excited about planting knowing he won't be out there keeping an eye on me. I'm sure the feeling will pass and I'll feel better about it in a week or two. So I'll keep watering and tending.

All the Dollar store bulbs are doing great.
 The Dahlias are growing quickly. The will remain in these pots, and as soon as our frost date has past, they'll live on the back patio
The Irises, however, may need to go into the ground soon - frost date or not. They are getting too big for their pot. I started them in pots, just to save them from the squirrels. The last time I planted summer bulbs directly in the garden, the only thing that the squirrels didn't eat was the Gladiolus.
The Sparaxis is almost as big as the Irises
And the Anemones have these cool, curling leaves.

And check out my spinach sprouts!
That's some crazy looking spinach.

I know I told you about the surprise garlic in the garden, but I didn't mention that I planted some in a pot too.
I've read that garlic will do quite well in a pot if its deep enough, so we'll see.

Outside, the weather cooled a bit, so there's been no more blooms... just lots and lots of dandelions
But they still bring a smile...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Thank you to everyone for your kind words about Rocky. It's a testament to how big a part of my life this blog is when you're standing there after the vet gives you the news and leaves to let it sink in, and one of the thoughts that runs through your head is "How am I going to tell Ellen and Dee?" They are people who've never met me, never met Rocky, but their love for the furry boy came right through the computer screen.

And I apologize to anyone I made cry at work. I too read  blogs in the office between projects, and have found myself choked up over a post about a lost pet and struggled to regain composure before a coworker noticed and you have to explain that you're crying over an internet cat. I feel you - I totally do.

And as for life at the studio...
 ... it marches on. We're trying to adjust the best we can. These first days are always the hardest.

But, when life's got you down, there's only one thing you can do...
I realized I actually have more time than I thought to complete the Foxy sock, so the past few days I've only been working on the cropped cardi. I've just needed something mindless and meditative to get me through and colourwork was not it.
As a result.... well you can see for yourself. I've got a few inches to go before I start on the ribbing. The bottom ribbing will be done in the chocolate brown Barn Cat. Whatever is left of the handspun will be divided up to make the sleeves as long as I possibly can - at this point, I'm thinking they will probably end up as halvsies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rockster Weewiggles - 2007-2016

I am very sorry to have to share this with you, but yesterday morning, we had to say goodbye to our dear, sweet, fool of cat, Rocky.

I was a little concerned about him before the weekend, as he was constipated. It was an issue we'd had with him before, and since he was still eating and drinking, purring and screaming at me to let him outside every five minutes,  I wasn't overly worried.

That changed on Sunday night, his breathing was off and he wasn't quite himself. I got up first thing Monday morning to call the vet. He saw the same vet who did Tux's surgery, and she was quite alarmed by his breathing. After a full exam she gave me the bad news - his intestines were full of masses (which explained the reoccurring constipation), his right lung wasn't working, and the left one wasn't in good shape - whatever was in his intestines had spread. While we were talking, his breathing got even worse. We just didn't have any other options
He didn't have a long life - just nine years. But he had a good one - absolutely spoiled and loved. And in returned he taught me many lessons, the way only a cat can.

Persistence pays off
Dave was not happy to come home and discover I'd brought home another family member without consulting him. But Rocky's persistence, and sweetness soon won him over. No matter how much Dave tried to remain aloof and ignore him, he just couldn't. And when we had to say goodbye to Mopar, Rocky stepped up to comfort Dave, and quickly became "his" cat.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease
Rocky had no problem letting us know what he wanted, and that he wanted it RIGHT now. Whether it was outside, cat treats, or just a snuggle, if you speak up, you get it.

Always use the buddy system - especially around water.
It only takes seconds to drown (even in the tub), and you don't really need to poop alone - you never know what could happen.

Enjoy the simple things in life
A box is never just a box. A plastic bag makes a fantastic blanket, and tissue paper provides hours of fun.

It's not about the destination, it's the journey
And every failure teaches you something new. (Going to miss that bumwiggle this summer)

Sometimes, we all need to be pampered

And always, always soak it up when the sun is shining
Because life is short

I'm glad he got to see one last spring
And when we said goodbye and he breathed his last breath, it was by a big window, looking out on the spring flowers and robins.... with maybe a rabbit or two passing by in the field.

Good bye Rocky Boy
It was short, but oh so sweet.

Monday, April 25, 2016


As mentioned yesterday, I've started a new project.

I really shouldn't have. Not only are the Fox socks on a deadline, but I promised myself that I wouldn't start another garment until the lace tunic was finished.

But then I saw this post over at Canary Knits.

And I've had this skein of Mom's handspun staring me in the face since Christmas
That's 675 yards of BFL silk that she spun for me. I knew as soon as I saw it, it was destined for something more than a shawl or socks.

Then I discovered the KAL and it all became clear.... Friday I cast on.
Of course, I'm modding it from a pullover to a cardigan. (I'm just a cardigan kinda girl and it will work well with my dresses.) And since 675 yards probably isn't enough for the whole project, I've paired with with a skein of Barn Cat (colour is Milk Chocolate).

Mom's spinning, my dying, a cropped cardi, and a flirty swing dress.....perfection!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Foxy lady (sock)

True to my word, I set aside my Johnny socks and started the Fox socks... and...
When I put my mind to it, I can finish one sock pretty quick. I started the first sock on the 18th and was sewing up the toe on the 22nd.

For the main colour,   I'm using some Squoosh yarn I stole from Mom's stash. The colourway is ink. And it's a nice thick, squishy sock yarn. The fox yarns are just little bits of leftovers - not sure at all what they are, other than the perfect colours.

I've yet to cast the second one on, because I got a little distracted (more on that tomorrow). But I've got to start it soon - as I said - this pair has a deadline, and its looming.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

First bloom

Sorry - no Saturday Sketches today. I did sketch, but I'm sending it off to someone as a surprise, so I can't show you yet.

And besides... I'm just too excited about this...
The first bloom of the season - the pink hyacinth the squirrels brought me last year. I wasn't too surprised this was the first. When I came home from work Thursday night, it looked ready to pop. And sure enough, when I kissed Dave goodbye from the porch Friday morning, I looked over and there she was - all bloomed!
And the first of the Turkistan Tulips made an appearance too. The white ones always seem to bloom first - in the next week or so, we'll see the yellow ones too.

Elsewhere in the gardens
The creeping Sedums I planted in the tree garden are starting to perk up and take over
I still have to move the Dianthans and the Campanula from this garden. I'll probably add some Portulaca for colour, but otherwise, this is going to be a low-maintenance, low water garden from here on out. It's just too hard to keep it going come high summer.

In the backyard...
The  Lilacs are inching closer to full glory.

I was getting worried about my Butterfly Bush
But she's starting to show signs of life. I'll have to start collecting coffee pods from mom again.
The Raspberries have gone wild.
 They are sprouting well out of bounds
I'm waiting to hear if my brother wants some for his garden -but either way they have to come up or they are going to take over.

The roses are doing alright
Tournament is doing the best - but she's the most established. She's also right against the house, where its warmer. Blue Girl is there beside her and definitely sprouting. All the other are just a little further behind, but they don't have the warmth of the brick to help things along.
The Bee Garden is all cleaned out and looking great. In another month or so, it will be filling out like crazy.

Overall, the gardens did well this winter. I did lose the Foxglove - though apparently they are fussy to get established (and I save some seeds and have some sprouting). Surprisingly, I lost the Black-Eyed Susans. I'm not sure what happened there, but I'll definitely have to get some more.

Not as surprisingly, the Lavender seems to be toast. And the Heath is probably gone too (it never was a super healthy specimen). I'm not seeing any signs of my poppies or Armeria which is a shame, but some plants just don't take well to being moved.

And it's not like I don't have a whole crop of new plants growing inside....

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday felines

The saga continues
"What...??? I'm just trying to get a little sun here."
Look closely.. he's got his paw tucked around one of the rosettes. It's a good thing Sedum is tough, and he doesn't weigh that much.

Now the poor Columbine under his butt.... that's another story.
"Sorry man..., was time to turn over and do the other side."

Seriously cat... you're pushing my buttons.
 "FINE!!! I'll lay over here...."


....and meanwhile in Rockyland....
 "This is better... but my bum is still a little damp."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pattern release: Missandei

I've been saving the release of this one for a little while - but with the Season Six premiere of Game of Thrones coming up - it's time to let her fly
Missandei is a crescent-shaped shawl that uses the clever placement of beads to create the look of butterflies all over the shawl
It's named for Queen Danaerys' scribe, who hails from Naath, the Butterfly Isle.
 Despite how it looks, the lace and shaping on this one is pretty straightforward. The beading slows it down a bit, but the result is well worth the time.
It uses about 700 yards of fingering weight yarn (in this case Fluffy Cat Light), and creates the perfect little shoulder wrap. (Fantastic for this weather that just can't make up its mind)

The pattern is available on Ravelry now...