Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Miniature world

When I showed the new gnome home, I mentioned that I had a little more planned for it. On the weekend I finally got to it
That's better
No home is complete without the proper landscaping, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Itty Bitty Bonnet

With Crimson Blossom off the needles it's time to focus on Fair entries. I figured it was a good idea to get a few of the small, quick ones out of the way. I planned to knit Chouette first. I have some pink bulky alpaca blend in the stash. But sadly, I don't have 6mm dpns. So Chouette has to wait until I see Mom and steal a set of hers.

Instead, I decided to make a baby bonnet. I had almost a full skein of Twisted Top Cat left from April Come She May. Normally I wouldn't knit baby stuff in Cashmere... but this is a bonnet... how much is it really going to need to be washed.

And the subtle colour variations of the dye, stitch definition and softness of the yarn are extra points in my favour come judging time.

I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted, so.... I'm designing one!
I will be called the Posey Bonnet... and as soon as I can finish it and wrangle a baby for a photoshoot (Baby Wren lives just a few doors down...) I'll be looking for a couple testers... anyone interested?

Monday, June 26, 2017

More hits than misses

Things are going along pretty well in the garden: Here are some highlights and lowlights of the last few weeks

I'm not sure if this counts as a hit or a miss... the Butterfly Mixture of seed that I started using the winter sow method was supposed to be a mix of Alyssum, African Daisy, Bachelor Buttons, Butterfly Weed, Candytuft, Catch Fly, Columbine, Purple Coneflower, Prairie Coneflower, Plains Coreopsis, Cosmos, Scarlet Flax, Marigold, and Siberian Wallflower. However, other than a few sprigs of Alyssum and one beautiful Bachelor Button...
 ... all I've got is scads and scads of pink Catchfly. It is pretty - and there is a lot of it!
  But it's not much of a mix.
The biggest mystery in the garden is the tomatoes. These little guys are all from the same nursery pot... they all have the same soil. They all get the same amount of sun and water. The only difference is that the middle one was planted about a week earlier than the other two. I can understanding them being a little further behind... but not THIS much!
A definite winter sow success was the Iceland Poppies. I've got three clumps and they are all doing well - and this one is going to bloom soon! I haven't had much luck with getting poppies to come back the next year... so that's the next challenge for these guys!
Another seedy success - Bachelor buttons! I had a  pack and threw them on a bare spot in the Little Bee Garden in late spring. They grew quick and thick and are now getting ready to bloom.
The Dollar Store Crocosmia finally made an appearance too. I almost pulled them out thinking they were crab grass. Thankfully I realized before I did.
Another surprise... I didn't think last year's Blanket Flower made it... in fact, I pulled out the dead, woody left overs, roots and all... but it must have re-seeded, I found this mound when started trimming back the Bleeding Heart. So I guess I've got three Blanket Flower plants since I bought two more this year! Thats ok - they are great bloomers.
The mauve Delphiniums have started to bloom. It's going to Delphinium heaven in the backyard when the new ones I bought on clearance get going too. I've got them in just about every colour
This beautiful flower belongs to the CobWeb Hens and Chicks I bought last year. Sadly, it means this particular Hen is dying....but she's laid lots of little Chicks, so we don't have to say goodbye forever.
They day lilies are covered in buds and a few have started too bloom. This one is one of the new ones... Night Embers! Today is judging day for the gardens, so I hop enough are open to put on a really good show.

Speaking of Day Lilies... The other day Dave and I were at Home Depot so I checked out their garden centre. They had Day Lilies on two for $10 so...
...this one
... and this one came home with me. Hard to say if they will bloom this year.
They also had Clematis roots on half price. They were in opaque bags though, and I couldn't see the condition. When I opened it up, mine was pretty dried out. I probably should have taken it back, but it was only $3. I popped it in some soil, and we'll see if I can bring it back to life... but this one is probably a miss.
And lastly... while you can't tell from his face... he's definitely getting brave and more comfortable in the wilds of the backyard. He used to bolt back in the house when I'd approach him, but now he stays put and I'm allowed to pet him. He knows that clapped hands mean it time to go in though! Training is definitely going well.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blossom blocking

Yep.... she's a-blocking
It was a relatively slow week on the work front, so I was able to snatch a couple hours here and there as I waited for projects to come in. As a result, I was binding off and blocking by Friday evening.

A while back, Mom gave me her blocking wires, but I hadn't tried them out yet. While they are a pain to insert, they really made getting that nice straight edge so much easier.
The lace opened right up, just like I knew it would, making this shawl a respectable 64 inches long. You can't really see the  beads with the camera flash, but they are there.
A proper FO post will follow - probably sometime in early July. I think this beauty deserves a proper photoshoot, and for that I need Mom.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Home of the gnomes

(And one fairy!)

Since I'm with out a car still, a couple day a week, Dave drives me into the office and I take the train home. But Dave is a multitasker, so on that drive we're almost always making a stop somewhere - his Grandma's, his tech guy, his mechanic.

A couple weeks back, we made a stop at his mechanic's shop (actually... it was to look at a car for me.. mileage was too high so we passed). We were standing there chatting when his mechanic put a fair sized wooden house in my hands. It looked a little like a doll house (though with no room for play), slightly Victorian, but exaggerated in a cartoonish sort of way.

My first thought was "What the heck am I suppose to do with this?!?" Then it came to me.
On the way home that night, I stopped and got some more fairy garden supplies - a couple gnomes, a little sitting fairy, some mushroom furniture.

And now it's all nicely installed in the front garden (so the gnome from the tree garden can visit easily). I still need to get some pebbles to build them some walkways. But maybe these little friends will be enough to tip the judges into giving me second prize! (Judging day is Monday!)
I know I'm absolutely charmed by it all!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Felines

Last week, several of you commented, that while Rupert looked absolutely adorable... he couldn't possibly be comfortable laying across the metal track of the door.

I agree with you... I can't see how it could be comfortable. It's a lot of metal - there are three doors - an inner glass door, the screen door, and an outer glass door. That's a lot of cold, hard track poking up...

But Rupert....
He doesn't seem to mind one jot. And it's not just that he wants to lay with his head out the door and that's his only option...
When the weather gets hot and humid, and we turn the A/C on, usually just the outer door is closed, leaving two of the tracks exposed. It's not unusual to find him napping at the back door... directly on those hard, bumpy tracks.
 And you know this boy isn't deprived of nice comfy cat beds... he's just weird.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My beauties

 Blue Girl Rose
 Salvia
 Blue Delphiniums
Red/black Lilies
 Peach Dalmatian Foxglove
 Blackberry blossom
 Pincushion plant
White Trumpet lily
Orange Oriental lilies
Spanish Lavender

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A fair affair

Years ago, when my brother and I were kids, Mom was a stay-at-home Mom, and we lived in the country. An idyllic little spot, surrounded by farm fields and forests. And fall fairs...

You all know Mom is the crafty type... not just knitting, but quilting, and baking and canning and more. So every year, she'd enter her works and goodies in the local fairs, and so would would my brother and I. Between the three of us, we came home with a goodly share of ribbons and a modest chunk of prize money.

I'm not sure what got me thinking about it... but I decided to look up the local fair's entry book for this year.
After a quick flip through, I found 15 categories I'd like to try to enter under. I have a few things done, or close to being done...
 Like Fairies Wear Boots for the Boot Cuff category
Port Credit will be done soon ,so I can tuck them away for the sock category.
My lovely Aeolian was knit a few years back, but it's never been used. A good wash and blocking and it should be ready for the shawl category.
The cardigan category may be just the thing I need to get me revved up about the Empire Line Cardigan again. (just one front and two sleeves left)

Of course, there's lots of things I'll need to start fresh.
 Old Shale Cardigan would make a nice entry for one of the baby cardigan... I'm thinking it would be just lovely in a Dove grey House Cat with pretty pearl buttons.
 And Chouette with some matching mitts will be a quick knit for the child's hat/mitt category.

Even with some things already knit, 15 categories in four month may be a bit ambitious... but I do love a deadline, and I think it will be fun to see how much I can get done in time! Are you ready for the ride?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Can you dig it?

...'cause I did!

It took a few hours, but I dug out the whole bottom end of the front yard. Much like the front garden expansion, it was slow going because the ground is mostly clay, and you have to work around the tree roots. But I persevered. After it was dug, in went several loads of rich, black soil... and then all those clearance plants.
Okay... not quite all of them.... The Delphiniums will get really big, so they are in the Little Bee Garden with the other Delphiniums. But from top down, we have the new roses, the coneflowers, the red Susans, the new Columbine, the Speedwell, the Tickseed and the Beard  Tongue, with a million little annuals mixed in until things fill out.

I also rescued the older Columbine from the Big Bee Garden and moved it here - it got over shadowed by the daisies and bachelor buttons and didn't bloom this year. It will have lots more room to grow now .The white Creeping Baby's Breath also got pulled from the Little Bee Garden. It was getting lost under Chicago Peace. Here it can stretch its legs as much as it likes.
I  don't think its enough to compete with a few of the more mature gardens in the yards around here. But I think I still get an 'A' for effort. And the real payoff comes in all the years to come!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Side one done...

Despite digging another garden (more on that tomorrow), I did manage to finish up the first side of the wedding shawl this weekend.
It certainly doesn't look long enough ,but I followed the pattern exactly - five full repeats then the edge chart. I keep reminding myself that it still needs it's second side. And... we all know how lace opens up. This baby is going to grow and grow when it gets wet.

Of course, now the first side is done, I'm suffering from Second Side Syndrome... (much like Second Sock).. but I've got to push myself through it. Not only does this have a deadline... I've got other deadline projects in mind...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I love my calendar boy

Rupert wants to say a big thank you...
Okay... he's busy napping, so I'll say it for him....

Thanks to your support, he raised $175 for the shelter we got him from, and won a spot in their 2018 calendar. (The entire fundraiser raised more than $5000)
So these big golden eyes are going to be famous soon! The calendar will be available in the fall, so I'll see if I can get a couple extra copies and we'll do a little give away.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Maybe I do have a shot at second prize

The bus goes right by my two favourite grocery store garden centres.. and wouldn't you know it... one of them has started their clearance sale.

So you know what that means...

Roses were two for $20. There wasn't a huge selection and I'm picky about roses. While I've got  a couple shrub roses (because the colour and/or smell was amazing), I really prefer tea roses. But I managed to find two that fit the bill.
This is Apollo. I'll let you in on a little secret. I adore yellow roses. I'm not sure why. You may remember Mellow Yellow... it didn't survive its first winter, and I've been looking for a replacement ever since. Mellow was a much brighter yellow, but Apollo's creamy gold is so beautiful.
I managed to scrounge up Garden Party - no blooms on it yet, but as the picture shows, it will be a creamy white with a bit of a blush. I can't wait to see it in person

A flat of Mix and Match perrenials (10 plants) was on sale for $20, so you can bet I snapped that deal up.
I got another Columbine. Like last year's I have no idea what colour this one will be. But Columbine grow nicely here, so it's worth the wait.
This pink Beard-Tongue is suppose to attract hummingbirds. I've never seen one around here, but Mom's had them at her house, so I'm hopefully. Of course anything the hummingbirds like is usually a favourite of the bees too.
I love the pink Speedwell I bought on clearance last year, so I was happy to find a purple one this year.
The butterflies love Coneflowers and I have good luck with them, so they are always a welcome addition. This one could be red, or orange or yellow... we'll have to wait and see.
But there's no surprises with this one... a nice bright pink!
Or this one, in classic white
The Cherry Black-Eyed Susans were so pretty last year, despite them not making it through winter, I'm giving them a second chance.
 And since my Delphiniums are doing so well, I got this bright purple one.
As well as this gorgeous dark pink one!
And last but not least, I got this happy little Tickseed (aka Coreopsis).

But we're not done..... the flats of annuals (12 four-cell packs) were just $10... so I filled a flat to fill in the holes while the perennials get established. I won't show all of them, but here are a few of my favorites...
 You can never have too many snap dragons!
 I have always loved Celosia (Cockscomb) and they had a great selection of happy colours.
 I'm not usually a fan of Cosmos, but this was a smaller, more compact variety I've never seen before. I fell in love.
And finally, zinnias.... who doesn't love zinnias?

Of course, I have no room for any of this in the existing gardens... so I guess I better go dig a new one! So much for working on the wedding shawl...