Monday, April 16, 2018

fat stacks

Thank goodness for a long, cool spring, but soon it will be warm enough on a regular basis for skirts!  I'm definitely casual and not fussy, and my absolute favorite thing to wear in the summer is knee-length blousy cotton skirts with t-shirts and sandals.  So comfortable.  I've picked up a ton at thrift stores, since these were briefly in fashion several years ago and made a big showing at Target, but I'm excited to start making my own.  I can just buy 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 yards of any fabric that catches my fancy and off I go!  I just found two recently that felt very spring-y and fun.  One is dark navy with carrots and the other is light grey with blocky fireflies.


I've been buying a lot of fabric lately.  I'm absolutely in love with light, cheerful prints and have been buying stacks of fat quarters (quarter of a yard) almost every week!


These are for scrap quilting and oh, I can't wait to make another one.  My scrap boxes have been dramatically enhanced.


I've been buying other cuts of fabric, too, when I see something potentially useful go on sale.  Something I have very little of, but want to start building up, is a stock of "background" fabrics - fabrics on a light background with a neutral or lightly-colored print.


I don't have time to quilt right now, but hopefully soon I will start on another...or at least finish one of the THREE I'm currently in the middle of!

Meanwhile, nice spring days here.


Our clematis vines are in full bloom...


...although they aren't as dramatic as the ones at the local botanical garden!


I love to see their shade garden beds.  It's such a great lesson in non-flower placement, paying attention to leaf shape and color.




Love seeing little seed pots around, too.  I can't WAIT to start growing things again!


The cats are loving the warmer temperatures too.  Sitting in a sunbeam...


...and waking up from one of those 15-hour naps!


A 15-hour nap sounds pretty good right now.  Have a great week!

Monday, April 9, 2018

ren-egg-ade

With the exception of two wiltingly warm weeks, this spring has felt much more like an Indiana spring than one in South Carolina.  It was 38 degrees when we woke up yesterday, and today's high is 58.  I love it!  Lots of blue skies...and hot air balloons over our house!...


...and other signs.  Ants crawling on my peony buds means that they'll be opening soon!


We have house finches nesting in one of our hanging ferns!



They've tried to nest here for years, but I've put balled-up pieces of aluminum foil in the ferns to keep them out.  It's not an ideal place to nest.  They're constantly disturbed as we go in and out of the front door, and the fern also has to be watered regularly.  But I was lax this year about my deterrents, and eggs were laid.  So now we're all going to have to just roll with it!  The female has another week to sit on the eggs, and then the babies will be on the nest 11 - 19 days after hatching.  BABIES!!  And speaking of babies, we should have goslings running around in about 3 weeks.  I can't wait! 

I saw my first anole of the season last week.


Every day, the tentative leafing out of the surrounding trees becomes more pronounced, and all of the azalea bushes are ablaze right now.  I never realize how tired I am of dull brown, dead branches until I see these tender green shoots!


We finished another home improvement project.  Todd's dad came down from North Carolina to repair our deck...


...and I spent several days staining it (screen door webbing causes the photo distortion here).


The cats are incredibly interested in all of the exciting outdoor changes!



Meanwhile, I finished a project I've been slowly picking away at for a couple of months.  My Adelaide sweater! 



I learned a really valuable lesson here.  I measured every few inches as I knitted up from the bottom, but I kept getting gauge so stopping measuring.  My knitting got looser and looser, and by the waist I discovered that I had 3" of extra fabric.  Here is where I should've frogged the sweater down to the bottom band and started over with smaller needles, but I didn't.  "What's three extra inches?" I thought.  Well, the looser knitting made the sweater a little longer than I prefer, but that's not the main issue.  The arms are fine, and I always knit tightly in colorwork sections, so that area is fine too.  But from bottom band to colorwork band, that extra three inches means that a sweater that's supposed to fit snugly against the skin now bags.  It's just too big.  The good news is that I recently took a "sweater surgery" class on Craftsy.com.  I can literally cut this sweater in half, unravel the excess length fabric, and graft it back together.  I can also cut excess fabric out of each side, although I'm a little unsure of that process.  I'm putting the sweater aside until next winter, and then I will fearlessly chop into it!  Meanwhile, I'm ready to start another one!  I originally knitted Ysolda Teague's Pumpkin Ale for my sister-in-law a few years ago (modeled on a friend at the gym):



I've decided to knit one for myself in maybe a deep red or mustard color.  I also want to re-embroider this German language shelf liner that I made a few years ago: 



The work is sloppy and uneven.  I loved the idea and the expression ("There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company, than a good marriage.") and was in a hurry to get started.  I think I will use plain white cotton fabric and navy thread, but perhaps a different font.  So lots of fun projects in the works! 

Have a great week!

Monday, April 2, 2018

it's white all right!

These eighty degree days are really bringing out the blooms!  So many white flowers right now.





It amazes me that even after 5 years, I can find new flowers in the yard.  This is Mountain Snow Pieris, an evergreen which blooms briefly every spring.  Tiny white bells.



And from white flowers to white goats...


It's baby time (!!!!) at the goat farm, so Todd and I took a quick trip there this weekend.  We weren't disappointed. 





So nice!  And lots of other sweet faces there, too.







It's been a hive of activity back at the house, too.  We finally got around to making some much-needed sewer line repairs.



We're also re-staining our deck and doing some painting...phew!  I found some time to take the cats out for some much-needed fresh air.


I found this little garter snake in a corner of the garden.



They are harmless, but I didn't want the cats to startle him so he was carefully relocated.  Garter snakes are great additions to any garden!

Have a great week!