Friday, July 30, 2010


Gretel. A very pretty little hat with cables. I have redone this FIVE times. I just don't think the same way as the designer I guess. I think I may be screwed up again.

Sunflowers. I didn't even see the bee.

Calla lilies. The flowers are supposed to be colored but so far there are none. Last year they reverted back to white. At least the leaves are attractive.

I'm one of those awful people who pinch off leaves when I find something nice. Three years this September I pinched this succulent leaf off while over in Sebastopol. It was, maybe, an inch and a half total. I have no idea what it's called but it's very pretty.

A rudbeckia that I grew from seed.

Katrina's orchid. Reblooming. I still miss her almost a year later.

Katrina's snake. He helps keep the birds off the fruit trees. I sometimes feel startled when I come upon him and I know that he's not only made of rubber but I placed him there. Okay, so not only am I easily confused, I'm easy to scare.
For the raccoons there is a hot wire. Love to hear them yelp. Leave my fruit alone!

Give a vegetable garden a little chicken poop and it goes crazy. The tomato plants are close to 5' tall at this point.

There are finally starting to be ripe tomatoes along with beans, squash (oh boy, do I have squash), and various other things. Just to keep me on my toes I got an email today saying it was time to start up my fall seeds. Ihaven't even finished cleaning up from the spring fling.

Friday, July 23, 2010



Today the mailman came to my door and handed me a cool package from my cyberfriend, Jollin, who lives in Singapore. She is the proud new mother of an adorable little girl and giver of great presents.

Yarn. Just what I wanted! I love yarn. I sniff it. I fondle it. I do a special little dance when I buy it in a real time store. I like to just look at the stuff.

I redid the ribbing on the shrug and finished it. Things seem to have stretched just a little. I haven't measured yet to be sure. It's superwash so I'm going to do a swatch and see what happens. I have found that with Cascade Superwash 220 you get pretty good results with machine washing and putting it in the dryer while watching it carefully. This might also be the case with tosh dk. Check out my blog next time for the amazing shrunken shrug.

I have started "Gretel" with the "same" yarn. Notice the difference in colors. The new stuff is much darker. Since Madelinetosh doesn't have lot numbers I wrongly assumed that the colors would be close, if not exact (okay, I know it's hand dyed in small batches, hope springs eternal). It's still pretty, still luscious, still in the color family and darn it, it's going to be a hat.

My African violets have rebloomed. Benign neglect pays off again.

A lily from my friend Mia. It finally bloomed and smells so sweet. You can catch a whiff around the yard. Not that I'm out much in the heat until the end of the day. I'm in vampire mode.

A cat in sunshine. Makes you just smile. Opal enjoying the adoration.

Opal discovering that I'm a little behind with cleaning out the back of my cupboards. Hey, it's time out from knitting. Need I say more?

Friday, July 16, 2010


No, not Opie though he will assure you he can be very fierce. Though right now he, and all the other furbots are trying to stay cool in the summer heat.

I'm talking about this.

This is what we call, "the lower terrace". It is impossible to really grow anything. I mean, things do grow but pretty much as they please. In the late summer until mid spring it goes into deep shade. Come summer it's a searing hot spot in full sun. Underneath the piles of good soil we trucked in is an impenetrable layer of clay and multiple rocks (who live to work themselves up to the surface). Some spots are bone dry, others areas (we're talking a distance of a few inches here) are a boggy mess. I've taken to weeding in the spring, mulching, then tossing out any leftover flower seeds and hoping for the best.


I made a pair of pants to go with the toddler shirt. I tried to make a second set that ended up giving me conniptions. I have moved on. Best to have a clean break or go mad.
Yesterday I finished the 5 inches or 2x2 ribbing on the shrug for my niece. As I started to sew up the sleeve seams (chortling Done! Done! to myself and humming a little tune) I immediately realized I had started picking up the stitches at the wrong point causing the right sleeve seams not to align. Some weeks just nothing seems to work out. My next bright idea is to sew the seams up first THEN pick up the ribbing. It's a plan. I can hardly complain since working with the tosh dk is So.Nice. But still...

I'm on a mission to organize my life. File folder for patterns. Patterns in sheet covers. I tend to write my notes, yarn used, needle sizes, what problems I had on the pattern. I've found over time it's a great resource because face it - I can't remember what I had for lunch much less what yarn or needle size I used.

7 or 8 years ago I grew some evening primrose (Oenothera). It turned out to be a bit tall for what I wanted and so I ripped it out at the end of the season and moved on. I was done but it wasn't. Year after year, after year it resprouts. For some reason I took pity this year.

A waterlily.

There is more but it's too darn hot to go outside and photograph anything.

Friday, July 09, 2010


Well, the summer heat has finally arrived. I kind of miss the late rains of spring. Still, the garden is going gang busters and I keep hoping that some of the many tomatoes on the vine would show a little color. In the meantime there are green beans and several types of squash to keep us from starving.

I have been sewing a lot but a bit of knitting is always happening. I bought two skeins from someone on Ravelry of tosh dk. I'm making my very first shrug. It's for my niece who's not only young (early 20's) but tiny. I'm having fun knitting something small and fashionable. So far the pattern is easy and the yarn delicious.

I have done about a third of Bakersfield.

Very depressingly I've overshot my increases on Goodale and will have to tink back. I hate tinking. One really should read the pattern beforehand. Other than that though it's a very nice pattern and the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool is light and lovely to work with.

I am taking a break from Saroyan in tosh sock. Knitting on size 1's is so slow. Lovely pattern, incredible yarn, over half way done.


At the sew-in I picked up some lovely cotton twill with a touch of lycra fabric at the RuMage. This is a big table of other sewer's Not Wanted odds and ends. I've been thinking for some time that our couch cushions were a bit dismal. Okay, they were stained, faded, and the ends had been chewed. It was with pleasure that I carried them out to the trash cans.

These babies have zippers so at least the stained part can be easily dealt with.
While visiting The Enabler she not only plied me with Birthday Champagne but presents as well. What can I say, she does present giving extremely well. The sew-in also gives everyone presents pretty much at every meal. I particularly like the pincushion that says in lovely embroidery, "I survived the 2010 sew-in". I did and hope to survive next year's

My very own Day of the Dead pot holder, a very beautiful little notebook, three lip balms, an incredible seam ripper with retractable blades (with replacement blades) and a gorgeous rotary cutter. Underneath it all, several yards of embroidered fabric. It's so pretty which means it will have to be a very special pattern worthy of such fabric. I did have a great top fitted to me by The Enabler....hmmm.

Olive have taken to watching me sew, heck, watching me do most things. She is a darling.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Well, two tries and I move on. Blogspot won't let me load up my knitting photos. Suffice to say I have been knitting but not as much as usual because there has been a lot of...


I joined up with The Enabler in CactusLand for the 2010 Sew-in. Three days of sewing. Then we did a little more sewing. Then to wrap things up we sewed. Stuffed into the odd moment or two was laughing, eating An Enormous Amount of Food, swimming in the hotel's salt water filtered swimming pool in the early hours of the morning, drinking of champagne in our hotel room, talking about life, talking about sewing, and then falling into bed exhausted with fun. I can't wait until next year. It all went far too fast.

Approximately 80 women sewing. The Power! The Energy!

I reached new heights (at least documented) of Bed Head.

The Good News: I finally made my red coat up after talking about it for a few years.
The Bad News: It is far too large. Never fear. With about 300 hours of reworking I can salvage it.
And yes, I am Very.Close.Friends with Harry Potter.

There are now beans and squash being produced and a few tomatoes have set. I still haven't sunk my teeth into the first home grown tomato and I'm tired of waiting. Gardening is very humbling.

Despite there being so much still to do (mulching!) things are doing fine.

A close-up of a euphorbia.

Scabiosa. Original seeds from my friend Elaine who lives and Berkeley and practices the Darwinan Style Gardening. (Picture seeds being tossed out and the words, "Good Luck!" being uttered.) In my garden they reseed, overwinter, take long holidays, send out for take out, and overall Thrive.

I traded for a new type of daylily.

Zinnias grown from seed. They are supposed to be a deep apricot color but have a lot more pink than expected.
No adorable cat photos but they are around doing adorable cat things.

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