Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rock n Roses

Still working in the yard here.  Finally got to it and cleaned the inside of my house too, since it was being neglected by all the yard work. You won't find a lot of manicured lawns and trimmed boxwood  out here in farm/wine country, but I kind of prefer it that way.  We leave parts of our property natural so the quails and pheasants have some cover, and because we just don't go back there.  I  like to approach gardening with a naturalistic, growing with wild abandon attitude.  Nothing too formal.  But when the crab grass finally took over the planting beds around the pool, I got serious.

I love my new blue wheelbarrow!  Anyway I don't know what is kicking my ass more, hauling these rocks, or pulling the crabgrass out.  My shoulders are killing me, and it's putting a limit on my crochet time. However the backyard is shaping up.
Check out the rest of my wild yard!  Here is the path leading to the garden.
Roses growing into the honeysuckle.  Add the blossoms of the lemon tree and you have the best perfume ever!
And more roses in the corner of my garden.....

This one was transplanted from the yard before we dug the pool.  It was only a couple feet high.  Now it's almost 6 feet.

David Austin roses are my favorite.  This is Evelyn.
This one is called Pat Austin, named for his wife I think.  It's one of my favorites.
This rose is not David Austin, but is called Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I planted it years ago after my Grandma died.  Her name was Rose May Ames and her birthday was in May.
I have Simplicity hedge roses all around the property, either in white, or this raspberry color.  They are really easy to care for.

Now for some disappointing news.  My white crochet blanket is doomed.  I laid it out on the floor to check the progress and look what I found.
Obviously some of my yarn balls were from a different lot.  Grrrrrr.  I can't believe I missed that.  The top part is the first three balls, and the rest looks slightly darker.  I am about halfway through, but this is going in the bag until I can figure out what to do.  I had visions of a beautiful white cotton crochet blanket, but now I may just be making a million doilies or dishcloths.
 In the meantime, I found an old quilt block in my stash, and made it into a kind of place mat thing.....
And I finished crocheting a few washcloths with some soft organic cotton.
I'm taking the day of to rest my aching muscles and drink iced tea out by the pool.
Time to stop and smell the roses!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Candy dish

I finished the Candy Dish table runner yesterday while glued to the television watching the manhunt in Boston.  I was glad to keep my hands busy. 
I used some civil war prints, French General for the background and a few scraps from my stash.  It was machine quilted in a grid pattern and measures 15x29.  I'm hoping to finish up the second one this weekend.
Meanwhile, I think we've skipped Spring and landed in the middle of Summer.  I cleaned up the backyard and porch a few days ago, so I am ready! 
I had to wipe down the patio furniture so there would be a clean spot for the Mandala.  Imagine one little bit of colorful crochet inspiring all that cleaning!  

Monday, April 15, 2013

All or nothing

It seems I have a lot on the go and nothing completed.  You've been there right?  Actually, it feels pretty good, being surrounded by little projects strewn about the house.  No pressure, just enjoying the process.

I decided to just use a big running stitch with variegated thread on my log cabin.

Found a free pattern for this table runner at Laundry Basket Quilts.  I loved it so much I'm making it in two colorways.  Check out her quilts while you're there.  She's got me rethinking the use of Batiks in quilting.  I was never really drawn to that kind of fabric until I saw how the colors pop when used along with regular quilting cottons.

Two new books!  Drool.

And a bright crocheted Mandala from here, to keep me from going through color withdrawal while I ignore work on my all white cotton blanket.  Just a few more rounds to go.

Have fun this week!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Impulse scarf

I'm sure you have stood in the check out line at the grocery story and have noticed the last-minute little impulse items set up within arms reach.  You know like gum, candy, chapstick, etc?  I know your kids have noticed. (In fact our grocery store now has a family friendly isle, which is wider, and is devoid of all the sugary entrapment's, that the kiddies beg for while your waiting.)   I usually end up grabbing a pack of gum, or a nail file for my purse.
Well that's what happened to me on Sunday morning, in my sewing room.
I was still in my pajamas, looking through blogs, and just finishing up on the computer.  The plan was to go upstairs and take a shower.  But first I stopped at  Mereknits, who made this scarf (in fact, two of them out of pretty Noro yarn), then onto the pattern from Fiber Flux.  It called for sock yarn and an H hook.  Well, what do you know, I happened to have both.
Even better, I barely had to move.  I reached across the table for the hook, then reached down to my left and pulled the yarn out of the drawer.  Chained 200 before you could say "Do you really need another scarf?".  I finished it up by the afternoon, and  took a shower.  I love it when that happens.

Arugula Scarf by Jennifer Dickerson
H hook
Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn, given to me in a swap by my blog friend Katrin in Germany.  I love the blues and violets in this yarn.
Modifications: I added one more row of dc.

Go ahead.  Make one.

Friday, April 5, 2013


It feels good to be outside again.  The dirt is just right for planting.  We had an incredible thunder and lightning storm last week, and then another day of rain two days ago.  Everything looks clean and green.  My daughter came for a visit and stayed in my sewing room, so I couldn't really get in there to work on my projects.  Perfect time to work in the garden.

"Alchemist" climbing rose (a gift from my daughter) just starting to bloom.

Ladybugs hatching on a board.  Fascinating!!!

 Crape Myrtle tree sporting some very interesting bark and tiny buds.

Odds and ends waiting for some pretty plants.
Since moving to this house 10 years ago, I used the existing planting areas that were set up by the previous owners.  This year I'm finally going to change things around.  Tomorrow a neighbor is coming by with his rototiller to turn the dirt.  I finished cleaning everything up today.
Here is the before picture.
Stay tuned for the after!

I have nothing crafty to show, except a few more rows of my white crochet blanket (boring) so I will leave you with a list of interesting gardening books to think about, and a cross stitch piece that I made over 10 years ago, that still hangs in my kitchen.  Oh, and for you yarn lovers out there.... Jimmy Beans Wool is now stocking Malabrigo Dos Yarn (DK).  It's all natural dyed merino wool in very soft pretty colors, and it's a limited edition, when it's gone, that's it!  I ordered some in "Rosado".


Two Gardeners, A friendship in letters.
Katherine White (editor of the New Yorker and wife of author E.B. White) and Elizabeth Lawrence.
This book chronicles the letters passed between these two women for over 20 years.  I think they would have been great bloggers.

Gardening with a Wild Heart and
The Landscaping of Jays
both by Judith Larner Lowry
If you live in California and have an interest in backyard restoration with native California plants, these books are really worth reading.

Second Nature, a gardeners education
by Michael Pollan
What can I say, this guy is my hero. (Besides Bill Bryson.  I love Bill Bryson, but he has not written a thing about gardening.  Get with it Bill!)  Anyway,  I've read everything by Michael Pollan.  This book just happens to be about gardening.  If he wrote about the lifespan of mold spores I would read it with gusto.

Get outside!!!!