Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Flowers in the window

My morning glories are blooming.  We see 4 or 5 of them a day, strewn over half the balcony.  I really want to put out some fishing wire or more yarn to give some of the more 'flailing' vines somewhere to go.

I picked all the roses I could reach at Mom and Dad's on Sunday.  And then on Monday I still went down to the community garden and picked some zinnias.  Our table is pretty covered in plants and I love it.

I've got flowers in the window, flowers I can look at through the window, and I'm remembering to take pictures of these lovely flowers.  I even have a philodendron cutting in a jug of water in a windowsill at work!

It makes me happy.

Monday, August 29, 2016

This is just a bunch of my projects

I felt like talking a little bit about the craft things I've been trying out lately.  So here we are. 

I made this Ballband Dishcloth.


 I've tried it before with semi-disastrous results.  But this time?  Everything went fine!  I don't why I haven't been carrying this around and showing it to everyone I meet.  I liked knitting the pattern so much--to say nothing of the end result--that I made another one.

I made this doll because Evelyn asked me to and because I am weak and pitiful. She likes this fine, and has played with it a bit. 

But I really hate knitting toys!  Hate.  I was less than fond of the pattern instructions and the only thing I dislike more than knitting toys is crocheting them.  I'm glad Evelyn was pleased with this because I don't know what I would have done with myself (or her) if she hadn't. 

Still, I won't be letting her accompany me in the crafts section of the library any time soon.  She saw a book (I'm too lazy to link to it and I don't want to anyway) on a shelf and honed in on it like a kid who wants something and asks for it a lot. It's a good thing she's cute.  It's an even better thing that she and her cousins haven't learned to see something cute online and then 'hint' that they'd love for me to make it (like I don't have other projects I want to try.)

Now would be a good time to thank everyone in my life for not asking me to crochet them a mermaid tail blanket thing.  I think they are incredibly stupid and if I have not volunteered to make a blanket-size project for you.....uh, please assume I will get to it in my own time.  But it probably won't be a mermaid tail blanket thing.

Here's a blanket, though.

I thought it would be fun to make something in all blue yarns.  It wasn't.  It turns out I like my granny squares a few rows smaller and in a lot more colors.  But I worked on a way of making my joins a little less obvious, and I think this will make a nice present for a friend if I can ever getting around to stuffing this in a gift bag.  I put off crocheting the edge and weaving in all the ends for a couple of weeks. But now it's done and I'm already thinking of other blankets I want to make. 

I may have already started some.  Photographs to follow.

Here's a baby quilt I'm working on:

It's the Feathers pattern from Strip your Stash (I checked it out from the library. A woman walking by saw me with it and told me it was a great book.  Good enough endorsement for me!).  I've hit a snag with some of the strips I was expecting to use, so I'll need to iron more fabric and rearrange some blocks.  But I'm putting it off because ironing is probably the worst part of sewing and I'm still in the ironing stages.  I also hate cutting out large pieces of fabric on my small table and having to move all the things that normally live on the table to do this.  These are petty excuses, but they are mine and I don't care.  Ironing is an awful way to spend your time.

So for now, I'm sticking with some granny squares that I don't really know how to use yet and a shawl for myself.  Yes, another one.

It's little less red and a lot more orange in real life.  I'm not quite in the mood for fall yet, but when it's gets here I'm going to have some great accessories to get me in the mood.

Friday, August 26, 2016


There's a community garden a few blocks away from us.  Anyone in the area can have a plot for $25 a year and enjoy the soon-to-be decaying raised beds behind a little wire fence.  There are outer beds with plants for the public and signs imploring people in all capital letters to take only what they need.  I've seen greens, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some kind of berries.  The plants are usually pretty picked-over whenever we walk by.

A couple of weeks ago I realized there were zinnia plants in some of the outer beds.  I love zinnias.  They're so hardy and colorful.  They're bright and big.  They're just the best.

So I started picking them.  I've gone over 2 or 3 times lately to pick a few to bring home.  Last week I wound up leaving the bouquet in the orange plastic cup I was carrying to keep them in water.  It was bright and cheerful.  They were bright and cheerful.  It seemed like a good choice for a summer floral arrangement.

When I had a garden as a kid (and a teenager. And a college student home for summer.  And a college graduate who moved back home), I planted a lot of flowers.  Sunflowers, marigolds, and zinnias.  I would try a few others, but those three were the ones that usually survived.  Morning glories would show up as weeds and I'd leave them in the flower areas to creep up sunflowers or other things (a chair with no seat, posts, whatever).  Over a period of ten years or so, I tried just about every zinnia variety I found seed packets for.  Giant ones, miniature ones, green ones--my parents had volunteers popping up for a few years after I got married.

I used to make great bouquets.  They were big and bright and happy.  I loved growing things.  I loved displaying the things I grew creatively.

The first time I picked zinnias this summer, I arranged them in a fancy jelly jar and set them on the table.  Evelyn had gone with me to pick them and Cody stayed home to finish up dinner.  I was talking to him about the different colors of zinnias there are and stopped. "I was still planting zinnias when we met, right?" I asked him.  He said I was.

I'm glad that I was still a person who grew flowers all over the place when we met.  It's important to me, but I don't really know why. 

We have morning glories on the balcony.  They finally started blooming this week.  Cody sent me a text to show me one morning because I'd forgotten to check before leaving for work.  It made my entire day.

Evelyn comes with me to pick flowers some times.  She feels the need to read every sign in the beds, even though they all say the same thing.  THESE BEDS ARE FOR YOU. PLEASE TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED.

"You don't need flowers." she keeps saying.  "No one needs flowers."

I don't bother explaining about bees.  Or how some flowers can repel unwanted insects or how you can use them for medicine or eat them or do something else that's practical.

I just tell her that I do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cousin adventure, belatedly

I meant to go to Memphis all summer, I really did.  I finally did it a couple of weeks before Evelyn went back to school.  We met up with Laine and the boys at the Children's Museum of Memphis and climbed all over everything.  I'd never been, but it was air conditioned (the most important part of that day) and there were tons of cool things to check out.

Like this plane. FedEx donated a plane that kids can check out.  I'm told Ellis doesn't usually like to go inside, but Evelyn was game so he was too.

These children should not be dentists.

Evelyn liked the rock-climbing wall and tried it a few times.

Ellis was a little stressed out about it and kept telling her to get down.

Oh look!  A Calvin sighting!

After a few hours at the museum, we went back to the house and the kids played for hours and hours.  I'm not sure for how long, but they did watch Toy Story 3.  I visited with Laine, ate a sandwich, snuggled kids, and had some coffee for the drive home.  Evelyn slept almost the entire way home.  She would have probably passed out sooner, but was busy pouting at how she didn't want to leave.  Whatever, kid.  We'll have to go back some time soon. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

July's book list

Things I Learned from Knitting...Whether I Wanted to or Not. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.*
Listening Woman. Tony Hillerman.
People of Darkness. Tony Hillerman.
My Grandmother's Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits from Top Designers. Larissa Brown, ed.*

Monday, August 22, 2016

First day of kindergarten

Well, here she is.  The biggest girl in the world is an official kindergartner now.  She's back at the school that she went to for pre-K, so this morning felt a little less monumental.  Which was nice.  We know the teacher, we know the rules, and she's been rearing to go for nearly a month now.  We've got uniforms and a lunchbox and all that good school stuff.

(I still call her 'the baby'.)