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I’m in love…

with the giant Peacock doily. Here it is last night when I hung it up…

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And in the morning light…

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I think it’s the most beautiful pattern of any I’ve made so far. Just gorgeous. I might make another for the left. That’s usually where I hang them.

The mail carrier was just by…she loves it, too!

I spent a while working on it yesterday even though I had loads of stuff to do outside. I did it because I wanted to. I really wanted a new doily for the front. Even though I didn’t really have time for it, I did it because it made me happy.

It can also be challenging to stop and start a crochet project, although I do it all the time. Any more, though, I really try to push through and get it done. It’s so easy to lose your place in both your project and the pattern. Much better to keep chugging along until it’s done.

I have carved out a huge chunk of work for myself with the garden, cats and ducks. It always amazes me how hard it is to get a garden in, this year especially since I am doing more. And adding the ducks has pushed my daily chores to a new level.

I can’t help but feel it is especially difficult when you live in town. Even in a small town like this where it’s ok for your dog to bark it’s head off…fireworks can be shot in town for days around the 4th of July…you can operate a mechanic’s garage out of your house despite your neighbor’s complaints…and you can drive big trucks with glass packs (=horrendous noise), golf carts and even tanks down the street and that’s all ok. None of the neighbors have said anything about the noise the ducks make…really it’s Turtle who is the loud mouth. But I can already tell they are making a big deal about it with the suggestive looks. Not to mention, my weirdo neighbor to the north was actually peeping through the fence yesterday. He took off when my cat noticed him and I noticed her reaction and then saw him skulking off. Some days I really loathe the behavior of the people I’m surrounded by.

Ok, so that’s my rant for the day. I’m trying to get nearly everything done today so I can breeze through the next two as I leave town for a week on Friday.

Cheerio.

 

 

 

New new life…

Here are the two newest additions to our household…

twonewcropAs you might be able to tell, I’m being hissed at quite seriously here…

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My yellow girl, Noodle, had two (surviving) very dark babies. Her first didn’t make it. She is turning out to be a better mom than I had expected, aside from the mishap with her first. Chances were 50/50 she’d end up like one of her mothers, the one who left all 11 kittens to be nursed by her sister, poor thing. But so far these two have been nicely plumped up, cared for and cleaned.

As for Olive, her kittens are the calmest, happiest, FATTEST babies I’ve ever seen…

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Sweet Olive kept Noodle company throughout her delivery Saturday, so spent extra time nursing her own. You can see by the size of their bellies this worked out very well for the kitties.

They are going to be so much fun. Unfortunately, I will miss a whole week of them since I am headed to LA Friday for a workshop. *sniff*

Work on the giant doily is nearing completion…

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Gorgeous, eh? The colors look so nice in the sun. I wanted to get a pic so I can mark it up and see how I want to finish it. I’d like to add more color with the finishing touches, provided I have enough pink and purple left over.

I started a new walnut dye pot this weekend and muted some floss…

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I’ll work on getting the rest of it carded, asap. In the meantime, I have a ton of gardening to do before I leave…and a long to-do list to write up for H.

I am hoping to come home to most of my plants alive and thriving, as well as ducks and cats well cared for. I have to admit, H is not thrilled to be wearing my hat for a whole week, on top of work. But, his mom loves ducks, lives only 2 blocks away and will hopefully help with the duck sitting. Today they are doing really well being outside on their own. It is such a relief, as I have a lot to do inside, as well.

I hope the beginning of your week has been lovely…

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New old pursuits…

The days lately are turning out to be like most days…duck watching, gardening, cat wrangling, and a bit of stitching here and there…

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Pillow progress has been put on hold for a bit as I started another giant doily for the front porch. Here’s the pattern:

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I am hoping I will have enough yarn to finish, although I am betting I don’t and will have to order another skein. This is always a dilemma as most of the time I am endeavoring to use up the yarn I already have rather than buying more. I will have to give it some thought as I get closer to the end. Most of the doily is purple, but I may finish up with pink. We’ll see.

It’s not rainy today, which is nice. I was out earlier and the sun felt great. I am headed out again soon so the ducks can roam under my watchful eye. They seem especially nervous in the mornings which does make sense because all the cats are particularly interested in them in the morning. Once kitty nap time hits mid afternoon things seem to calm down a touch.

Check out these bookends…on the duck pen, of course…

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I worked for hours yesterday in the garden getting things planted. It wasn’t so bad, just takes a lot of work followed by putting duck and cat protection over everything. That part is frustrating…but the lettuces are happy…

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Two more weeks…

We had a good laugh last week when one of the DJs H works with announced there would be two more weeks of winter predicted by the groundhog.

Expectedly, he caught a lot of flack for that. This guy has a tendency to not research anything.

I’m actually ok with there being six more weeks, as I have some garden preparations to do. I got started a couple days ago laying out some cardboard and piling on leaves to make my version of raised beds. The weather was beautiful and not winter like at all. My back is still tired and strained from those efforts.

I’m preparing the garden, even though I don’t know if we’ll actually be here. That’s kind of the story of my life. We’re always making plans and keeping things open for possibilities. It’s grown tiresome. And, perhaps, in spite of that tendency of ours to not know where we’re going to be, I purchased these…

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I’m particularly excited about this one…

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Apparently good for making soup stock. I can’t wait!

I also want to get some ducks. I wanted to last year, but it never happened. We paid a guy to make us a chicken coop last year, but that never happened. I’d like to have some chickens, too. We’ll see what happens…

Over the past week I managed to finish a couple of projects – the weaving I had started and a crochet bag.

H was puzzled by the weaving:

what’s that for?…it’s just some weaving…but what’s it going to be? …I don’t know, it’s just some weaving…but what are you going to do with it?…I don’t know, it’s just some weaving…

I guess he is used to most of my creative efforts having purpose. Of course, I envision it going into cloth work some day, like Jude’s beautiful creations, but obviously I’m not there yet.

The crocheted Rondo bag is a free pattern from my favorite free pattern company…Drops. I want to line it, probably will use up some more of that quilting fabric I have. I think I even have colors that would match.

I didn’t get a lot of drawing done last week, but did manage another hand…and then there was class yesterday.

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We worked with charcoal.

And, there was another Prairie Girl.

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A bit of stitching…

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, I think. We’ve had so much going on I haven’t had a chance to write.

We bought a new bed at Costco last night. I think I’m going to vote for visiting Costco on a week night in the future. The weekends are just so crowded and chaotic. Got the bed back to the house and installed. A few nights ago we got a new washer, so yesterday was spent catching up on laundry. Exciting stuff.

I’ve managed to get a few things crocheted, along with one cloth that’s nearly finished. I’m having trouble deciding what to do on part of it, but think I’ve landed on an idea. I will head upstairs in a bit to finish it.

Here are the two hats I made following a Drops pattern.

One is floppier than the other, as I used different size yarn.

Ever since I got back from Denver I’ve played catchup. The first day home was spent in the garden, gathering up everything that had been left to grow in the Indian summer because that night it was going to freeze. I still haven’t processed all of it and the sweet potatoes are curing. Check out the size of them! I’ve never seen sweet potatoes so large before.

That’s a quart size jar and then a pint size for comparison.

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I have about 2 1/2 gallons of green tomatoes fermenting in a cool upstairs room. I haven’t even gotten to the rest of them yet. Many have turned red. I hope they’re still good enough to freeze. Maybe I can tackle that today.

I have a couple cat pics to close. Matty KNEW I was trying to get her photo and was turning away on purpose. (I’m thinking of changing her name to “Bratty.”) This was the best one I got. Olive is much easier to photograph.

 

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The Spider and Her Web…

Yesterday I completed the Spider and Her Web.

I had to force myself to sit down and put the wire through the legs, stitch them on. It wasn’t too difficult a task, but I had been putting it off. I’m so happy to have this completed in time to enjoy it for Halloween.

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I want to find some purple lights to put around the perimeter. Maybe I will get out and do that today.

Here she is this morning.

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Isn’t she FABULOUS?! I believe my first blog post contains the link to making the crocheted spider. I didn’t make it exactly as instructed, mine’s a bit bigger…and designed to look like our native Jumping spiders, which I love. The doily is crocheted from an old pattern book I have, probably from the 80s. I used the center bit until I ran out of white, and then basically made up my own pattern for the purple perimeter. H really loves it, which makes me happy. I love it, too.

Also yesterday I took loads of flower photos. Even though the gardens are fading in the cooler weather, they are still fabulous. I will enjoy them to the last. Look at that STAR.

 

I just love THIS flower, here, and have been watching it the past few days. I adore how it turns up its head to the light, and how the light shines through it.

 

I would love to be able to stitch this and do it justice. I will have to try.

And this ageing orange zinnia…so gorgeous…

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The rain drops on this fading glory…

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And little Olive, so quiet and observant. She is a joy to have with us. The little stray, scared, hungry, wild and alone…now has a family.

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She is becoming such a beauty.

I got on a silk square kick this weekend. Cut and stitched and stitched some more. Silk thread on silk. I was totally absorbed for hours. This morning I looked in the basket and realized I had SO many. I counted. 76!!! How did I DO that?

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The Spider

Yesterday, as I was sitting here at the computer, I felt something plop onto the top of my head. I knew instantly it was a spider. I hastened to remove it, actually trapping it loosely with my fingers before quickly plopping IT onto the floor. Then I scooped it up in a piece of tissue and released it outside.

I’m not afraid of bugs, but I don’t like them crawling on me. I also don’t see the need to kill every bug who crosses my path. They serve a purpose. Except fleas. And mosquitos. Those don’t count. 😉

I found it ironic that a spider dropped into my hair, as I’ve been working on one for Halloween.

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She doesn’t look like much now, but she’s going to be Fabulous! You can find the pattern here. I didn’t follow the pattern exactly. I made my spider a bit bigger.

Today I’m working on some stitching projects, trying my hand at both traditional quilting (of sorts) and making dye. I’ve got some of my marigold flowers simmering as well as some black walnut husks I’ve had in the cabinet for years, leftover from when I made black walnut hull tincture. I made a ton of the stuff, but never used much of it. I went searching for the big container of tincture I had sitting around, but couldn’t find it. I think that may have gone into some detox baths. Anyway, I’m creating something with a fall theme, and the marigold and walnut, yellow and brown, might work well for dying the background.

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I’m having trouble with technology this week. Yesterday and today the computer has been running oddly, not wanting to highlight text. Today I can’t seem to get my phone to send emails, which is strange since one went through just fine. The others are in some kind of limbo holding pattern in my outbox. It’s important I get them because I’m sending myself photos I want to include here. So, for now, I’ll move onto other topics.

There is something restful and calming about typing my thoughts here, on a blog, rather than somewhere else like Facebook. I don’t care much for FB these days, other than for playing words with friends and keeping up with real friends and my fermenting groups. I rarely post there. No matter what I say it always ends up sounding trite and meaningless. I find that in other’s writings, too. They really do speak from the heart, but often the format simply cheapens their words, turning them into passing soundbites. Some days my newsfeed is full of screaming words, like political rantings and social outcries. The sound is deafening, overwhelming. As a result, I’ve turned away from doing the same, choosing to focus more on my own interests and more lighthearted sharings. This summer I’m sure I bored everyone with pictures from my garden, but it was the most fun I’d had there in a long while.

Cats. Cats always seem to find me. I’ve lived with them my whole life. We had our cat numbers down to 3, if you count the elusive Mr. Chick, who only comes around every two or three days to fill up on food.

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I adore this cat. He is so gentle and quiet. He has turned into a real gentleman. While the big girls hiss and yowl at the little girls, he remains calm and passive, even though he is largely wild. He lets them get close and sniff. In truth, the little girls are in awe of him. They stare and tiptoe around him.

Chick – formerly Chicky, but I call him that less these days – is a tom. Gorgeous, even with the mangy spots on his skin. I tried treating him earlier this summer, and now he acts even more skittish. I kept him cooped up maybe two winters ago trying to treat this weird skin problem he had, to no avail. Later I read it was probably ringworm, something young cats are susceptible to but tend to grow out of. As my cats are all indoor/outdoor, they tend to get cat issues sometimes. Who knows where they sleep?

When Chick comes around, he eats his fill and may sleep for a while on the porch. But, I find he’s always on the lookout for the asshole tortoise shell tom who is a bully and tends to show up when Chick does. The two have fought at times, but now I suspect they run together. Their personalities are polar opposites. Here is Chick looking over his shoulder. Sometimes I suspect he feels hunted.

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So, like I was saying, we had our numbers down to 3 from 5, after two left. I won’t get into their stories. I’m actually considering writing a tale about the cats I’ve known. They are all such individual creatures. The longer I live with them, the more I see them as people. It’s impossible not to, their personalities are so unique and distinctive. I suppose the more you love them and allow them to be who they are, the more expressive they become. I think that’s the trouble with lots of people who don’t like cats. They’ve never had the patience to really get to know one.

So, two left and two arrived. Two girl kittens, one from my mom’s cats who together have produced 20 kittens this summer, and one who just showed up. They have a tendency to do that. I’ve been so happy to have the first to keep me company, as the big girls wanted out as soon as it started getting warm and have refused to come back in. This winter they will refuse to go out. The other girl was a stray, wild and scared, much like Chicky when he first turned up 3 years ago. But this girl was soon tamed, probably with the help of the first who reassured her, and is so lovely. Sweet and adores being petted. She has proven to be a good pal for the first, keeping each other entertained with play.

Finally, the photos are here. I’ll post them above.

And, here is the grid I’m going to work on for that fall theme I mentioned. So far, I am loving this basic stitch work.

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I started this project because I missed stitching with thread, and because I found a blog online I wanted to follow, someone I wanted to learn from. Sometimes, between the threads and the fabrics and the stitching, she reminds me of my old quilter friend who is gone now. A quilter and a friend. She liked to teach, too. I still miss her.

I want to stain this grid with my walnut and marigold colors and see what happens. I’ll try some test squares first, to see what I get. I may also mix some rit dye along with it. Just experimenting.