Friday, July 31, 2009

"Summertime and the Living's" Been.......Really, Really HOT!

Perhaps you've read about the heatwave in our area, and perhaps you haven't. Trust me, it was HOT here, almost too hot to do anything. Normally the natives start to complain when the thermometer tops 80 degrees, and on Wednesday the official temperature was 103 degrees, an all-time record! While that isn't too hot elsewhere perhaps, it's extremely hot for west of the Cascades, especially since very few homes have air conditioning. Today, it is finally cooler and our morning grey sky is back. However, we found proof of the heat in one of our bedrooms where I keep my "wee Willie Winky" candle holders.
Too Hot!

Not much happened over the past week except trying to stay cool. Both of our cats would look out side as if to say, "What's happening out there?" and then go flop down on the sort of cool tile in the front hall or the kitchen linoleum.
It's hot out there!

I did do a little piecing for a CQ project or two. Last spring I bought a nice packet of coordinated fabric from Allie and finally got them pieced for a purse project that Janet and I are doing.
Front
Back and Flap

And then, I received a lovely surprise from Kathy, her puzzle pieces and two pretty fat quarters. I am finished with one of her pieces and have a good start on the other one but won't show them till later so as not to spoil the surprise.
Thank you, Kathy!

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the COOL. It's 8:30 AM and only 63 degrees. Hurrah!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Socks X Two!

Two pairs of socks finished, both with their mates! For me that's a record as usually I knit one sock and then procrastinate the second one. I can think of at least two of those that are waiting in the wings......

David is modeling the first pair, from a kit by Stitchjones. The pattern is called "Chutes and Ladders" which, even though I didn't do it quite right, made sense to David as he's just learning to play the game. Is there anyone out there who hasn't played that game? I'd be surprised. There was enought yarn left that I might be able to make another pair, maybe for Sophia but surely for Daniel who still has little feet.
Chutes and Ladders Socks
Can you see the chute and ladder? They are supposed to switch back and forth, but I misread the pattern and ended up with a very long chute and a very tall ladder. David didn't care.
Close Up

I like the second pattern so much (Lacy Mock Cable by Kat) that I'm well along on my second pair in some yarn from Sock Pixie! This yarn is Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace in the color Rosewater which I also love. I am thinking the pattern looks better in a non-striping yarn, but we'll see. The heat we've had this week isn't very motivating, that's for sure. So, for the moment, I'm content with these finishes.
Rosewater Socks

Saturday, July 25, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Despite having been away for a month, we found lots of flowers still blooming when we returned, along with lots of weeds. The hummingbirds love the coralbells but the irises are long gone and waiting patiently to be divided and replanted.


The daylilies are providing lots of color. This one I purchased for the name, Chicago, and just love its beautiful colors.
Chicago

Our roses have been very late this year, but that meant they are blooming now instead of when were weren't here to enjoy them. Unfortunately one of the tree roses died while we were gone, so we'll have to find a replacement. Now there is only one left of the original three, Brandy, which was always my favorite.
Brandy

Mr. Lincoln came to our yard after a windstorm broke off its predecesor right at the stake. A work friend recommended "him" because its very disease resistant, and she was right. I think its a beauty. This year for some mysterious reason none of the leaves have any bites from them, not that I'm complaining!
Mr. Lincoln

Every year I search until I find a Black-eyed Susan vine for our pots. Its flower with its very black eye intrigues me. So far it hasn't bloomed a whole lot, but Dick did catch this offering. In catching up with our magazines, I found this plant resource in Sunset magazine and thought someone besides me might enjoy its features.
Black-eyed Susan Vine

The birds have been plentiful also. The other day I saw a pileated woodpecked in our neighbor's yard, and we've had lots of visits from a hummingbird. So far, it hasn't stayed still long enough to photograph, but Dick did get this little guy who is one of two different kinds of chickadees that visit our feeder.
Hungry Visitor

Lastly, and not plant related, is a very tardy photo of my ORT jar for TUSAL. So sorry YoYo! The yarn scraps have buried most of the other pieces, but I have done a bit of stitching these past few weeks as well as lots of knitting. It's almost as colorful as a garden, don't you think?
TUSAL

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smiling for Opa

This was my third baby sweater of the spring and was actually finished in May. Because we hand delivered it, it wasn't posted earlier. It was actually fairly challenging to knit: the stitch is called trinity or sometimes blackberry stitch. I incorporated the bobble effect in my standard hat pattern and found a bootie with bobble trim.
A sweater set for Daniel

It was NOT sweater weather in Chicago except when we first arrived, but Jill made sure we got a photo of our new little guy modelling it, and what do you know, he kind of even grinned. We love you, Daniel! And Sophia! And David!
Look at me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pieces of Friendship Fun

When we finally got through a month's worth of mail, I discovered that Pat Winter had sent out the puzzle pieces from the Pieces of Friendship swap. I received 3 very lovely ones plus an IOU from Pat herself.

First is the one from Arlene White. I especially enjoyed her seam treatments. I wonder where she got those cute flower buttons? In reading other blogs I learned that she is from the UK but doesn't seem to have a blog. Or at least if she does, I haven't found it yet.

Thank you, Arlene!

Second, from Canada, is Maggie R's nice piece. Her use of beads was fun to see, and I liked the gold leaf because it reminded me of a very fancy music note!
Thanks, Maggie!

And last, but not least, from our old stomping ground, California, is the one from Terisa of Running with Scissorss. She demonstrated an interesting combination of machine and hand embellishment that gave me some ideas.
Thank you, Terisa!

This was a fun and challenging exchange. I enjoyed seeing and touching others' creativity up close as well as figuring how to make the pieces to Pat's specifications: 4 inches square. It was also fun to discover some new blogging friends. Apparently Pat will run this swap again in the fall, so you can experience the challenge yourself!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Celebrations

While we were in the Midwest celebrating the arrival of Daniel, we found many other reasons to celebrate. One of them was my birthday! We had a lovely brunch at the home of Jill's inlaws and a surprise cake. I can't remember when I last celebrated the passing of another year with most of our family in attendance. Phone calls from our other two kids back home in Seattle made the day complete!
Surprise!
Sisters and Brothers

The folks at Sylvan Lake really know how to celebrate the Fourth! They kicked off the day with a parade, which I watched from the window, because Dick and I babysat for Daniel so Jill and Michael could attend with David and Sophia. You can see that David participated with great enthusiasm. The afternoon rains didn't deter the picnic at the beach, and the day closed with a private and very impressive fireworks display put on by the neighbors across the street. We also celebrated with a nice picnic at Michael's folks' house in nearby Vernon Hills.
Bicycle Parade

Enjoying the Fourth

We also celebrated seeing my sister and her hubby Ted twice in one month, first at Sylvan Lake and then in Minnesota. We had a fun time catching up with our niece and nephews as well as meeting the two newest grandchildren, Analise and Libby.
Analise and Libby

Lastly, we celebrated the good news that our friend Debbie was recovering well from heart surgery on June 1. To speed her along, we sent a prayer shawl that I finished during our visit. Thank God for modern medicine!
for Debbie

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Home Again, Jiggitty Jog........

After an extremely fun and busy month in the Midwest, mostly at Sylvan Lake, we are back home with lots to do in our garden. While we were gone, it looks like there have been several additions to the raccoon population. Carl caught this photo last night while Dick was cooking burgers outside. These little guys are cute, but not as cute as our newest family member, Daniel, who is now a whopping 6 weeks old! Garden Visitors
When we arrived, Daniel was just becoming more wakeful, and when we left this past Tuesday, he was just beginning to smile. What a busy household! Both Dick and I just shake our heads in wonder. We raised three kids ourselves; how did we ever manage? Then it hits: we were 40 years YOUNGER! Anyone who says age doesn't matter hasn't chased three kids around all day!
Daniel with his Opa
During the past month, I spent a lot of time reading......children's books to David and Sophia. I love Richard Scarry as well as the the 1001 Things to See series, but even so they began to pale after the first hundred or so times! Thanks to David's interest in trains and anything else with wheels, Sophia is able to identify dirt diggers, excavators, and taxis! After two recently acquired books from our nephews, she now has added some words like ballerina and tutu to her ever-growing vocabulary. Reading Time
In the middle of our stay, we snuck off to Minnesota for a quick visit with my sister Jane and Ted's family. Unfortunately Dick only managed to catch three of their grandkids, but needless to say, that was a lively gathering also. We also enjoyed a couple of quiet days, exploring Madison, WI. I'd totally forgotten what a beautiful town that is, and what do you know, we found a couple of interesting shops to explore also.
Analise, Libby, and Sydney
With our comings and goings, I did find a bit of knitting time, and I'll share those projects soon. Right now, though, the sun is shining, and I'm headed outside to work in the yard.