Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Look at these plums...

Aren't they just the most delicious color?

This morning I cut it open and it was so beautiful, I just wanted to print the shape and the color on a piece of paper or a piece of fabric. Then I realized that I was insane and that the color would not be reproducible....

So I just ate it.

It was the best plum ever.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Garden phenomena and a little hat...

Happy Birthday Em!! I am thinking that 33 is going to be a good year! Here is a special picture for you...a sunflower and a friend!
Has anyone else noticed bees sleeping in their flowers?? I noticed this both in my dahlias and on these echinacea this summer. I can go out at dusk to cut flowers (I know you are supposed to cut them in the morning, but....) and they will "bee" full of these fuzzy fuzzy bees. Isn't that weird??
Here is my finished Peabody hat. It was fun and an easy way to get back in to the knitting groove. My inspiration initially was the Giving Flower blog. She knits the most beautiful things, and it SOOOO prolific. I am in awe.

Peabody is my own pattern, from the olden days, you know, before children. It knit up so fast that I think that I am going to be able to get through all the yarn that I have purchased at garage sales over the past 5 years. Hooray!

I also "love" the fact that all of my garden is getting ripe, just as I prepare to go to Stockholm and Tallinn. I hope that everything will just be done with this week so that I can eat it or get it frozen or preserved. My sweet husband just is not given to picking food out of the garden, eating it yes, but we all have our gifts...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The tree and my garden...

While we were at the coast for our little "vacation", I thought that I better just dive right in with a project that I wasn't sure I had the skills to complete.

I felt like such a pioneer as I whittled a pencil to a point and drew on an unfolded paper bag. It was also quite liberating because I didn't feel like a mistake would cause me to "waste" precious supplies. (when did I become so anal-retentive?)
I then patched the pattern together with electrical tape...just like Laura would have on "Little House.."
Slowly, but faster than I expected the branches came together and started to look tree-ish. The hardest part for me was not the inside curves, but trying to figure out which parts of the material went under and which parts were tucked in.
Sometimes I had to fudge a bit, but that is OK!
I finally sewed the last little branch on and took an iron to the whole thing and all of the pesky (yet SO WONDERFUL) white lines just disappeared.
I think that my tree looks quite nice at this point and I am thinking about what kinds of leaves to put on it. I am also wanting some birds and some flowers. This could even be a center medallion for my own medallion quilt. (What do you think Diane?) In short, I am excited to have gotten this far and look forward to seeing where I can go with this.

Maybe this should be two different posts, but I have been taking stock of my summer and both my tree and my garden have been large foci for me these past few months. (not to discount the boys and all the energy I have given them, but these other things have been more of a personal challenge for me)
I was talking with my friend Laura at the beginning of the summer about my One Word challenge. She asked how that was going and I kind of sloughed it off, because didn't she see that I FINISHED a quilt in March?? Really.

Then we talked more and I remembered what a hard time I have doing the gardening in August. The past few years that I have planted tomatoes they end up rotting out there, because by August I AM TOO HOT. So, of course the nice friend that she is, Laura says "Well isn't that also a issue of completion too?"

THANKS! You are so right....

Every year I am so gang-busters in the spring and I poop out as the summer progresses. Thus, really inhibiting my ability to reap the rewards of all that hard spring and early summer work....the HARVEST. Please enjoy the latest pictures of what I am harvesting, it is quite amazing what a little box of bio-fish fertilizer can do. A note...I am just about 6 feet tall and I don't think that these canna lilies have ever been over 5 feet before, and that sunflower stalk is probably 12 feet high. Enjoy!
This year I really just planted what I wanted to, kind of all mixed up together. Below are some cosmos, cleome, nicotiana and some lettuce that bolted. I think that it looked great, even though the lettuce is too bitter to eat.

Also, I recommend putting a winter bird feeder in your garden filled with the black sunflower seeds. All winter we got a lot of visitors and we also get a bunch of volunteer sunflowers.

Below is a section of the garden that my husband thought was a "write-off" for the year. I think that he was dubious that any thing useful would grow because of all the annoying bind weed. I cleared the area 2 times and thought that I would just plant some seeds after the last time and hope that the veggies could out grow the blasted weeds. Well, as you can see I have crazy amounts of tomatoes (volunteers from last years rotten fruit) and squash. Hidden in there also are some bush beans and watermelon plants, that despite the "hairy" look to the area, are doing really well.
I also like how the echinacea flowers just kind of grow in the middle and add some interest to all that green.
Here is a picture of our hanging tomato garden. Next year I think that we will decorate the buckets (good idea Em!) but I love to watch them grow and they are also very fun to pick.

Below are some of our everbearing raspberries. The key is just to keep checking them every few days and them you are sure to be gifted a lovely handful of berries. The rains this past week made me a nice bowl for dessert last night!

These last few pictures are just me enjoying what I have grown and wanting to document for myself some of the things that I enjoyed in my garden this season....

Dahlia as big as my sweaty head!

Wonderful sunflower.

A nice border of Alaskan variety nasturtiums

Plant much color, so little work!

My eldest son planted a beautiful sunflower and the most bountiful tomato plant this year. He won't eat them yet, but it does make him excited to go in to the garden!

Here is a wonky kitchen-window perspective on how tall those flowers actually to love the ol' self-portrait!
How did you all spend your summer? Take a look, there might be more there than you first thought!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Little bit of sewing...

I have been waiting for this day.

Earlier this year, I had tempted him..."Hey buddy, let's pick YOU out some fabric".

He picked some with rainbow colored stripes.

After I got him started on a little sleeping bag for his friend Polka dots, he got frustrated. I ended up finishing that project while he cheered me on.

This new project, for his friend Whaley whale, is a pillow. He is much more enthusiastic this time. ME TOO. I am finding, that I am the one needing the patience this time around. He only wants to sew for short increments of time...I need to let him do that. My 4 year-old is not a linear thinking kind of guy, I need that to be OK. If he sews for a while and then wants to cut paper, I need to let him. I need to let him find a way to make sewing HIS own thing.

I wonder if the renewed interest in HIM is seeing ME hand-sewing more. My craft cave is in "other" use right now, so I have been trying to create out among the masses, to share my space, my creative space. I want my kids to enjoy creating as well, what better to get them interested than to let them see how much I enjoy it. (A-ha moment alert!)

We had great fun. We will have great fun. He may even finish that pillow one day. It doesn't matter to me because we got to sew together.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

quilts and fabric, I just can't stop.

A quilt show at the ocean, I was so excited. But then I was driving and driving and I felt a bit selfish for leaving all my boys behind. So, I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted, but this quilt was very cool. (of course I forgot to look at the creator's name, but it was a wedding present. That much I can remember...continual improvement.)

It was not really that eye catching to me at first, some times I think that fans are just so "common". (I am embarrassed about how snobby that sounds, but why lie? That is what I actually thought.) Then I decided that I liked the colors and I was intrigued by the applique. I just fell in love with this little goose block. It was 3-D and just so original with that bird nabbing one of the grapes. The pieces were so tiny and I was quite impressed with the quilter's ability to give this away, because after looking at it for a while it was definitely my favorite!

This quilt was displayed as a "vintage" one. The owner decribed it as a quilt that she remembered her mother cutting up her old dresses and aprons and piecing it together as she was growing up. The quilt was given to her when she went to college. Normally I also don't like the "grandma's flower garden" type quilts. The hexagons kind of freak me out and I just don't like the "cutesy-ness" of them (there you have it, the secrets of my snobbery are out...but I don't think that you can like everything. I would like to say that I do appreciate all of the work that goes in to ANY there's that.)

I LOVED this quilt because of it's fabric choice. The drabness (in such a good way!) of the background really made the patches of fabric sing. The pieces were really cut out so lovingly and pieced with such style that I just want this quilt to be my own!! I loved these roses, all in a circle, next to the weird green cherry fabric.

Here is a picture of the edge. It was also so lovely and well done. The quilt looked like it had been used over the years and washed. It was in beautiful condition still. Look at the fence swirls in the white and rose flower below...I don't know if that was a happy accident...but I thought that it looked great!
I have almost finished the branches on my tree, so hopefully I can share it this weekend! Whoo-pee.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wow, you leave for a week and...

First, a preview of our last few days of vacation when my husband was able to come and enjoy the beautiful weather with us...
Our littlest was so happy that his legs were buried, until he realized his legs were buried...

Family "ham" shot
I thought that this one made him look like a magical sea elf.... except elves don't usually go for Thomas wear...maybe they like the teletubbies or something.

The shrimpy thing on the shovel was both attractive and repulsive, go figure...

I have been trying really hard to document myself in family here I am trying to look so sporty and cute!

There is more to be seen and said....I will try to post tomorrow on this cool quilt I saw in a show over the weekend...and guess what???

I am making new things...trying my hand at the ol' applique a bit more...having a good time, more to follow!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What do you do?

What do you do if your husband comes to the computer desk bearing two brassieres and a pair of underwear....all of which have definitely seen better days?

Would you touch them and think...these don't look like my underthings... no, I don't think that I have ever worn those before? (my goodness the straps were 1/2 ripped off!)

No, this is not some seamy, seedy tale of betrayal and won-ton (on purpose, I am still laughing at MY own cleverness...ok, I don't get out much.) desire....

This is a story of a dastardly drawer in a "loverly" old bird's-eye maple dresser that we have owned for at least 5 years. For some reason the top drawer wouldn't shut tonight, it wanted it's naughty tale told.

I thought that it was really funny as I was holding this stranger's underthings to my eye and determining that it was foe....then I was kind of grossed out and sad that those yucky bras had belonged to someone. They were in really bad shape and she DEFINITELY needed new ones....maybe she now has some.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Jimmy Carter and Amy Sedaris, wow (Podcast ALERT!).

Jimmy Carter sez:
Peace is more then just the absence of war. People everywhere seek an inner peace that comes from the human rights to voice their views, choose their leaders, feed their families and raise healthy children.

I read this on Ali Edwards site and it touched me. If "we" could just realize that this is a truth for everyone, it would be (for lack of more eloquent speech) cool.

What I had intended on posting about was Amy Sedaris and a panel of crafters. (that I am (right this second even) listening to) She is on this week's episode of Craftsanity podcast. She is so funny, sometimes a bit raw spoken....SO FUNNY. I was listening to it while I was watching my eldest play "Ernie's Space Adventures", which is amusing, but I was laughing out loud at Missy Sedaris and my guy....was just tickled that I found Ernie so hilarious. The podcast is actually a recording of a panel type discussion from a conference called BlogHer 2007. (I have to stop before I bore myself with a description...) But ANYWAY Crafsanity podcasts are well done and this will not disappoint...listen to it.

**ALERT, Vista update...

BORING, right...that is what I am thinking. I got a new computer and my sweet and lovable husband picked it out and now....WE GOT VISTA. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate change. I fight it kicking and screaming. Deep down I know that it is good, but the transition period is THE WORST.

  1. After looking and looking for all of the scattered components of what used to be my old computer....trying to reload the software... I am realizing that some of my Photo-phixing things (circa 1998?) are not compatible with this "new" Vista thing...PLEASE! The program is only 9 years old, I just figured out how to make it do the things that I want LAST year. (it is probably hundreds of years old in computer years.) (Why me?)

  2. Then after skyping with my pseudo-Swedish friend for over an hour without my webcam (It is so distracting not being able to make faces and fix my hair when we skype) I found the camera only to try and install it and be told that it is not supported on's them apples? NOT EVEN A YEAR OLD, well almost a year old. I guess that is how they GET you for being so cheap that you only spent $34.99 on the pie-snapper. GRRRR.

  3. The last Vista gripe for tonight is this....I received a "super" printer from my in-laws for Christmas. Because I have two small boys and a propensity for piling on the computer desk, the new printer has been a footstool while I blog for 8 months now. I FINALLY found the install disk (after looking for an hour and several calls to my dear sweet husband)....I insert it into the maw of this beast with a great sigh of relief....AND IT DOESN'T WORK.... Since I had already been through all of the other "dinosaur" excavation and extermination this evening, with a small prayer in my heart I searched the HP website and HALLELUJAH there was a new driver. (which I don't really want to know what that is, I just know that I need it.)

So, for tonight, I think that I have done enough for the future of technology in our house. I feel pretty geeky, but only in the sexiest way.

--I won't even tell you how cruel HP is to give you 4 free trys at "Cake Mania", no, I won't even start on that!