Monday, June 29, 2009

Finally Finished Something!

I got home at mid-day today, worked a bit on my day job, had a quick dinner, and was able to spend a little time in the treehouse. The treehouse where I spent far too much time on Saturday commiting a neatness, making sense of the stacks of new patterns and things I've printed from the internet.

The first thing that needed to be done was my portion on a round robin doll for one of the local clubs I'm in (Cloth Souls). I can't show that, even though I doubt any of those members read my blog.

But the other thing I managed to finish was my Healing Sun doll, started way back when. I'm really pleased with her - she makes me very happy.

Just for JudiA - a couple more photos of our mega frog - one from the back, showing what look like his pre-historic eyes.

The beautiful evening sky...and a shot of it reflected in the pond. You know, when we had this pond dug, I wasn't too sure about it, but now I can't believe how much time I spend there, and how much I love it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Around the Yard

So many things bloomed and filled in while I was gone! Here are a few pix from around the yard...other photos of the visit to follow after I do some retrieving and editing.

New variegated agapantha.

One of the many geraniums in the pots on the deck.

The "big oof" feeding at the surface - wish we could get a decent pic of this huge goldfish.

Our other big guy - look at the size of this frog!

My dear Oldtimer, making his way down the lower deck - with lots of fish food.

Yellow dahlias in a deck pot.

Cute little red and yellow dahlias. Love them.

I always think that catalpa blossoms look like orchids.

The butterflies love the blooms on the privet.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What Do YOU Call These?

Yesterday, while gearing up to help shovel and move mulch, I said "Wait, I have to put on my tennis shoes..."

This, of course, got me the typical Oldtimer remark of "Why? Are you going to play tennis?" And the so-called discussion continued from there. (As an aside, why would you take a chance on irritating a woman who is going to help shovel mulch?)

I know some of this is regional, and I know I'm also getting to be a bit of a dinosaur, so I'm curious how everyone else refers to this type of footwear in casual conversation. I mean, you don't all say "don't depart without me - I need to locate my athletic shoes," do you?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On Petunias

A recent comment on one of my soapmaker's lists (one where we discuss lots of other things) about one woman's dislike of boring petunias got me thinking. My first thought, of course, was how boring she would find my deck and yard. Sure, I have 72 pots of flowers around the deck and front yard, but they are mostly filled with easily found petunias and impatiens. Nothing exotic.

But last night, as we enjoyed dinner on the deck, overlooking all those crazy pots of flowers, my Oldtimer and I discussed the merits of each for color, patterning, and effect. Like the one below, apparently a simple hot pink with yellow throat - but look at that faint violet line between the yellow and pink. I love the small detail, and the pop of color it adds to a mixed pot.
Now, my very favorite is this deep red violet, almost identical to the Crayola crayon of that name, with a hint of the same translucency - and look at the dark-colored throat! But my Oldtimer votes without hesitation for the lighter lavender with the exotic dark veining. Luckily, we're able to put them side by side - just like us.
I have to give an extra shot of my favorite; this is one of those Proven Winners, that cascades from the pot, and requires next-to-no deadheading.
And doesn't this one just get that song going in your head? You know, the one that starts "When the deep purple falls, over sleepy garden walls, and the stars begin to twinkle....
I found this pale yellow to be eye-catching for some reason, all on it's own. But when you mix it with the deep purple and display it on a railing, wow! I love it.
This standard issue red looks a little disappointed, doesn't it? He'll do a lot, though, to liven up the other plants sharing the pot.
Another basic that I think I remember from my youth - pale pink with a white throat. Of course, the flower is much larger than most, so it adds a lot to a mixed pot, too.
Another shot of my favorite, touched by sunlight. Hey, it's my blog.
Look at the tiny hairs on the underside of that new blossom in the upper right. I think that's what some folks don't like about petunias - that almost sticky feeling when you deadhead.
A relative newcomer - the various Million Bells - you can see a red and a purple sharing this hanging pot off the deck.

An added bonus - for me - is the scent of petunias; light and distinctive, and not replicated in a man-made perfume, as far as I know. Here's one more shot - our two favorites, tumbled together.
I'm off to photo more - would you like to see the impatiens? Geraniums? Coleus? Oh, how I love color. Even the variety of greens provided by the "topsy-turvy" tomatoes, and the buckets of herbs on the deck make me happy. Oh! And I may have spotted a couple new, huge mushrooms down by the pond! It may have to wait a bit - I think if I wander around with a camera, while there's a truckload of mulch in the driveway, Oldtimer might split up our favorite petunias...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Have a Lot on My Mind...

...and on my worktable!

The photo above is the mess I made of my workspace, just to trim out a couple of little Dotee dolls for a swap I'm hosting on the CPS yahoo group. But, that seems to be the way I work. Amazingly, you can't see all of the mess - there's a box of sequins on the floor next to where my left foot can easily reach it and give it a tumble.

Now, I know you all remember those fabulous earrings I got from Xen Gifts in Little Italy. I love them so much, I bought a whole outfit to go with them, and then I emailed the owner, and asked if it would be possible to get a necklace to go with them. When I went to the shop last Friday, I had a couple to choose from, but this one was the winner.

And then, I found a few pairs of earrings in copper, and you KNOW I just made myself that necklace with the picture jasper and copper dangles, so why not get a pair of copper earrings at the same time?

Now, just to refresh your memories, I'm going to share photos of the boxes these pieces came in - even though I was standing right there, and she could have just put it in some tissue and a plastic bag. Nope, this is quality and pride of workmanship, and I'd really kind of like to just move in there. Here are the beautiful boxes, just for me:

Look at this attention to detail. Look at those sweet little bits tied with silver thread into the ribbon.

Since I was in Little Italy anyway, no sense in making the trip and not visiting other places, so I made a quick stop at Corbo's bakery - pepperoni bread, tiramisu, lemon bars. No wonder I didn't lose weight before this upcoming class reunion.

Saturday I shopped at a little family-owned market for some fresh meats and veggies, and even though I paid a little more than at my big chain grocery, I got personal service and some great atmosphere. (And when I shopped there on Tuesday, I got a senior citizen discount! Over age 55, get a discount. When I told the cashier I was over 55, I practically begged her to ask me to prove it, but...she believed me.)

I bet you're thinking I'm telling you all this just so I can brag about getting new stuff and spending money, right? Wrong. Today I read a blog post on Curious Sofa, about the 5/30 Program. Rather than tell you all about it, let me just tell you it's about shopping locally, in small independently owned retailers, and it just makes so darn much sense... I just want you to read about it. Click for Curious Sofa Diaries... and then, if that's not enough information, there's a link within the text for the 3/50 Project. I can't help but read it and think what a huge difference this would have made in my former retail business - and I want to call all those that are still in that area and tell them they have to promote the 3/50 Project!

So now you know - I'm doing my part. I still buy some stuff online - I've only been in Cleveland four years, and I don't know where everything is yet! But I am proud to frequent Xen Gifts and the bakery and the family owned grocer and yes, even the little local ice cream shop where a quart of homemade ice cream is over $9! Well, that's one way to stay on a diet, right?

In case you think you don't have a lot of small independent businesses near you, think of things other than gift stores and antique shops; think of buying your garden plants from the local nursery instead of Home Depot; seed for your bird feeders from the small shops that sell it (and you'll get better answers there than from the check-out girl at Walmarket); and don't forget the people who cut your hair!

Oh, that mess I made? It's to make these two little bitty dolls - and I have one more to go. I might need some yellow beads, though....

Remember - visit 3 locally owned stores you'd miss if they went out of business, spend $50 a month at locally owned independent businesses, and think of how you are benefitting the local economy! (And make something fun - a Dotee doll, a tote bag for your fabulous purchases, anything that makes you smile. )

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Round Robin

One of the clubs I belong to, Cloth Souls, is doing a doll round robin amongst the members. Our theme is "Queen of..." and we had to decide what we would be queen of. So, despite many brilliant ideas, my muse decided my doll should be Queen of the Swamp. And she should be made of green fabric. And the green fabric should be an old sheet (which really gave me fits and caused me to re-make many parts - and I should have remade much more).

At any rate, we don't see them again till they come home, but here is what I'm launching tonight. I'm reminded of "Alice the Goon" in the old Popeye cartoons. Not what I intended...

Made from the Madame Zlotska pattern by Barbara Schoenoff - I'm anxious to make this again, using decent fabric, and making *several* heads so I can choose the best face. Sigh.

The Yellow Rose of Friendship

I returned from MA late Tuesday evening, after spending five days meeting my new baby granddaughter. She's a delight (well, what would you expect me to say, I guess...). Here I am, 36 hours later, missing that baby scent, those baby grunts and squeaks, and the feel of her in my arms. I wish we weren't so far from each of our children.

In addition to "meeting" baby Paige, I was also able to meet my daughter-in-law's extended family. On Sunday, Robyn's mother, and her "other family" arrived after an hour-and-a-half drive to spend the day, see the baby, and eat with us. I've heard much from both Robyn and Chris about her "Italian family," and how important all of them were to her as she grew up. (My children were also fortunate to have lots of honorary aunties and uncles, and one family in particular was with us often for vacations, long weekends, etc.)

Chris & I went out to pick up the food, and when we returned, the CT contingent had already arrived. We could hear the exclaiming and cooing as soon as we got out of the car! When I carried the food into the kitchen, there was a bouquet of yellow roses on the counter - for me! I got a big hug from Robyn's other mother, and was told that they were, indeed, the yellow rose of friendship.

This, of course, was just one of the many teary moments I had during this visit. Tears of joy, you understand... I was also able to have my first good visit with Robyn's real mom, and I am now delighted to report that both of my married children were fortunate to get good in-laws, a real boon to a good marriage!

The good news, as I am longing to snuggle a grandchild, is that I will get to see our darling Miss O in just a couple of weeks. I'm returning to MN for my class reunion, and staying with one daughter, the other is flying in, and we are going to have a lovely long weekend of girl time!