Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Greetings

Wishing you all a happy and glorious Easter!  May you be surrounded by those you love and may you rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I have recently attempted to put myself on a blogging schedule of sorts.  I thought I'd try to blog on Mon, Weds, Fri of each week, but not to beat myself up if a day came and I had no ideas or pics/text ready to go.  So, if you'll look back, you'll see that I missed Monday of this week and the preceding Friday.  Then a bunch of things came together for Wednesday.
And now, a new leaf I'm turning over is that I am trying to commit myself to realistic scheduling, anticipating when I can and when I can't expect to be a regular blogger.  I have always admired those bloggers who courteously notify their readers when they are taking a break.  I have habitually just vanished without any hint of why, and I'm sorry about that.  So today, I am announcing that I don't expect to blog next week at all.  I will have a houseful starting later today for the Easter weekend.  My youngest son Sean (who is 17 and a jr in high school), will be on Easter vacation next week, and wants to go visiting colleges.  So, with any level of organization and coordination, I will be back on Monday, April 28th.  Let's see how I do!  (But I will still no doubt, be visiting your blogs and leaving comments; I love seeing what you-all are up to.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

GuEsS what DaY it Is?

I have a brother named Mike, and it's all I can do not to call him up every Wednesday morning. 

 This was the view from my kitchen window this particular hUMp day.
 At least there's blue sky looking to the southwest.
 Which became widespread by 10 am.  It stayed in the 40s but the snow melted.
 This may not be exciting news where you live, but to us it's pretty big stuff.  The maple trees are budding!  I love how the red buds look against the blue sky.
I finally sent out another package to Nantucket.  I finished the yellow moss stitch jacket.  With the bunny buttons.   I almost left off the pompon until I saw it as a sort of "cottontail".

 Yes, I know the little ceramic bunny has a hole in the middle.  That's because it is actually a napkin ring. I bought a set last year from this website. And the little white crochet bootees?  These are so sweet, and I made them from a pattern I borrowed from Olga at her blog Lacy Crochet.  I have more pics of the bootees that I want to share, but I am consulting Olga first, which is in keeping with her wishes.  You see, she recently found her free patterns being stolen and sold on etsy!  She is continuing to share free patterns, because she's just that kind of a generous person, and she loves to share crochet projects with others who love crochet.

And I finally finished the bonnet to go with the Peek-a-Boo Sacque and Bootees.
I kept putting it off because I knew I really needed to practice bullion roses more before I tried to do them on the bonnet.  I used some tips and tricks from Jeannie Beaumeister at Old Fashioned Baby.  I attached the ribbon according to her recommendations (sort of), folding the end over and gathering it at about 3/4" in.  Then I embroidered the rose on it.  The ribbon I used was very ravelly and so I finished the cut ends with Dritz Fray Check, even the end I was folding over.  It didn't want to fold over,  I had to press it to get my point across.  I also cut one ribbon about 3" longer than the other so that it would come out relatively even if it were tied with the bow on baby's right side.
I've saved the best for last.
The precious baby for whom I have been fussing all this time.
 Here she is, the lovely Marie Rose!  These pictures are about a month old.  My brother is tormenting me by not sending me daily cell phone shots.  In the shot above, I believe she shows her mother's eyes and nose, but the chin is directly from her paternal grandfather (my Dad).  He had a distinct cleft; I have a bit of one too, more subtle. 
Mum and I have yet to see this roly-poly cutie pie.  Truth be told, we have been busy caring for someone who is ill, and unable to get away just yet.  I'm setting my sights on Mothers' Day.
I want to cuddle her, smell her, gaze at her, can you blame me?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring WILL Be Here....

Here are some pictures I took on Sunday afternoon.  I walked around my yard to prepare mentally for the yardwork ahead.  Our snow is gone…yea!!  (Okay, except that little bit there....)  Do you remember these pictures?

Well, fortunately, this is all that's left of that big snow bank, created by shoveling the driveway and front walk.  The dogs are also now clipped.  Poor Tucker (the big one) had so much dense fur, that he was panting whenever he was inside, and preferred to spend much of his day lying in the snow to stay cool!  It was probably too soon, but I clipped Tammy too, who depends on her sweater and lying in pools of sun streaming through the windows to keep warm. 
Here is our focal point granite lamp post, looking a little bit pathetic with nothing growing around it at the moment.  There is the remnant of the clematis from last year.  I should have cut it back in the fall.  (There's that word "should" again.)  I'll do it very soon, and let the warmth of the sun stimulate this year's growth.  In the past, I have put daffodil and tulip bulbs around the post, only a little more than half came up, and less than half even had a bloom.  Not very impressive.  That fall, I dug up the bulbs, thinking of trying a different location.  Most had rotted or had been eaten.  I have many perennials die here.  It's really more of a memorial site the more I think about it.  Every time I look at it, I think of all the plants who died there.  I think what it needs is to build up the bed with several inches of loam and fertilizer (the soil is very poor and sandy) and encircle it with some kind of stone or brick border.  I should probably have a soaker hose in there, and keep it heavily mulched, as it gets a lot of afternoon sun, and dries out easily, regardless of how I try to keep it watered.
This is the "island" in our front yard.  Tucker had to follow me around and keep an eye on what I might be up to.  There will be beautiful hosta there later in the summer.   To Tucker's left, you probably can't see it, but there is just one of only three signs of Spring green I found in the whole yard.  It will be a daylily.  I promise.
Between the rhododendron, the lilac is looking a little pathetic... I hope it'll be budding out soon.  It is kind of a weird lilac, blooms later than the common variety, is actually a little ugly-looking when it blooms, smells wonderful, but it's all over in less than a week.  I don't love it, but it is the only way I have for now.
On the corner of the house, the spirea look so scraggly, but they will come back.  The question is whether I want to keep them there where they tend to obscure my roses.
You can't tell that there are 3 David Austin roses behind them.  More decisions about whether they are in the right place.
Can you see the self-appointed Yard Guard checking up on me?  A little territorial testosterone, maybe? (How can that be? He's had those removed...)
Here is the second sign of Spring, found it in the backyard:
Pussy Willows!
I used to clip these and bring them in to display, but in the 17 years we've lived here, this tree has grown to where I can no longer reach them. 
Here is the forsythia, still appearing quite dormant.  I'm not even sure if I can even clip some to bring in to force yet, I didn't see any swelling buds.  Oh, yeah, and that is a little snow there....that was Sunday, though, I think it is gone now.  :)

And here it is:  the final sign of Spring in my yard 
Everybody's favorite -- a dandelion! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Little Baby Bunny Buttons

These are some buttons I have been collecting for baby garments.  I bought the bunny buttons about 7 years ago, when I was knitting this precious little jacket.
I know, right?
I borrowed this pic from the Yarnspiration website which offers the free pattern here.  Well, the baby I was knitting for was really not someone I knew very well, and so, when I didn't finish before baby was born, it got forgotten, and I think I just sent a card.  And so it languished.....
Recently, I pulled out my stash of baby yarn and I rediscovered the jacket pieces, waiting to be seamed, edged, buttoned and pomponed.  (What?  That's not a word?)
After the picture was taken, I found the missing sleeve.  Whew!  But I didn't find it before nearly finishing a new one I was whipping out with the leftover yarn. 

Now, here's where you come in....What? you say, What have I got to do with it? No way am I seaming that thing!
No, no, no. I've finished the seaming, I'm working on the edging and I need to make a decision and I need your help.  It's all about the buttons!
Now, look again at the pic above;  I had originally chosen the bunny buttons for this sweet little jacket.  But another set I really like is the little green flower buttons.  I must really like them because on Tuesday, I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics in Auburn on my way home from Stratton, to take a look at, among other things, little baby buttons.  See what I found?
 See anything familiar?  Yup.  I'm consistent.  I bought the same buttons twice.
 Here they are in a lousy picture made lousier by my amateur editing, but the point is that I have such cute ribbons that could be laced through matching bootees to wear with the jacket, either the gingham or the dots.
And here are the bunny buttons:

And now a quick peek of other little goodies I'm sending to sweet little Marie Rose.

Awaiting blocking and ribbons..
And if you read this post, you'll understand why I had to get this little outfit.
P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment about which buttons look best....Thanks!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Stratton Sojourn

Last Friday, I took a little trip.  I drove up to Stratton, a tiny village in Eustis, to see my mother and my step-father.  They live in a little house that was built by my grandfather (literally) probably about 1950.  It just occurs to me that I don't know really what year, Mum would know.  I'll have to ask.
It's a 3-hour drive from where I live on the coast.  And it's a 1,148 ft. "climb" from sea level.  My ears pop once in the first hour of driving, and several times in the 3rd hour where the drive is the steepest.
Being in the mountains, they aren't insulated by the ocean like I am, and so, fall comes 3-4 weeks earlier and spring about 3-4 weeks later.  I took the picture above on April 1.
This cyclamen will have to do for Spring color, for now.

The windows on the back of the house look out onto the end of the Bigelow Mountain range.
 The mountains are obscured by cloud cover here.  I took this picture looking out the back door, over the deck railing.  That blue thing is a cooler.  We often use "Mother Nature's Icebox" when the indoor freezer is packed to the gills.  Very handy during holidays and when you have stocked up for having guests.  The little trail has been worn by one of the dogs.  See the azalea?  Won't be in bloom any time soon.
This view is the same as above, just shifted slightly to the left.  Isn't the birch gorgeous? The deciduous tree on the right is a cherry tree.  My grandfather planted it over 50 years ago.  There is kind of a family story associated with that tree. When it was still quite small, my grandfather looked out one fall (or maybe early spring? I just know the tree wasn't all leafy) day, and saw a partridge (hereafter, referred to as "pa'tridge", in deference to local dialect) roosting in it.  It looked quite disproportionate, where a partridge is a larger kind of bird and the cherry tree being young was quite small, so he got his camera and got a picture.  For some reason, there are multiple copies of the "pa'tridge in a cherry tree", and one always seem to show up randomly in any collection of pictures my grandmother had.  She even had taken a picture of my grandfather taking a picture of the pa'tridge in the cherry tree.  I never look at that tree without thinking of the pa'tridge story.
My stepfather, Jim, is an avid outdoorsman, and has always kept bird-hunting dogs.  Lil is an elderly Brittany Spaniel, and very sweet and gentle.  She was quite a birder in her day.  May is a younger dog, a French Brittany, which are just a bit smaller, a little more of a delicate build.  She has a personality like a firecracker, or a Jack Russell terrier.  She is as smart as a whip, and very strong-willed.  She has been very difficult to train, but also knows how to win you over, when you're about to give up on her in exasperation.  We had a standoff when she slinked off with a slipper I had kicked off, and so I picked up her Nylabone.  There we were, staring at each other, finally she dropped the slipper and came for the bone.  It was really quite entertaining.  She and I became good friends!
It doesn't take her long to get up in the warm recliner when Jim gets up for a minute!  And being very nosy, she's always making sure she doesn't miss anything.
I think I miss her a little.

Edited 4/5 to add:

If you haven't been over to Mary Jane's Tearoom, I gently suggest you get over there, as there is quite a premium giveaway going, which you can enter through April 17th.  .  See all the Cath Kidston pretties, and the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.  If you enter as a result of seeing this little mention, let me know.    Happy Saturday!