Monday, July 9, 2012

Needlework Perk

Even though the weather hasn't changed, the summer season is slowly progressing.  I saw a pair of goldfinches the other day, a few weeks ahead of schedule.  I also saw several cicada killers buzzing around.

Strange for them to be out when I hadn't seen or heard any cicadas, but the very next day...

Right outside the back door!  He was still enough that I could lean in and admire his beautiful!

Speaking of wings, this katydid nymph hasn't got much to speak of in that department...

...but those tiny nubs will grow to look exactly like leaves, covering his whole body.

I've seen so many bees this year.  The old standbys...honey, carpenter, and bumble, and a whole range of other bees that I've never seen before.

And still more wasps, too.  Quite a mystery!

Our Rose of Sharon bush with the ridiculous, floppy flowers and comically large leaves is in bloom again.  The flower stigmas are boldly thrust out...

...and it's a strange draw for carpenter bees.  I love to see them dancing there.

I've been able to salvage some of my hormone-rooted plants and have them in one big pot under a shady tree in the back yard, as the 100 + degree temperatures and the blazing sun is just too much for them.  I just noticed a stranger growing there.

I believe it's a pumpkin seedling.  How did it get there?  It's a mystery.  But with all this scorched grass and wilted flowers, it's nice to see something growing robustly.  I repotted it and brought it inside to grow on a sunny window sill.

Could it be...pumpkins this fall??  :)

I've finally gotten some knitting done, mainly gift knitting for Christmas.  I finished these raccoon gloves for my little nephew.

That's right...the thumbs are the tails!  Very cute.  And they have nice, expressive faces.

A quick and enjoyable knit! 

I've also been studying needlework and embroidery, particularly Elizabethan to late 1800s needlework.  The Elizabethan needlework is so symmetrical and detailed...I love it. 

I'm really in love with some of men's clothing from the 18th century, however.  How could you resist a man in this morning glory-embroidered waistcoat?

Or what about this incredibly detailed jacket?  Swoon!

A sketch of part of the pattern shows the detail:

Just lovely!  My embroidery skills are very poor, but I'm determined to get better. 

Modern embroidery has its bright spots, too.  Look at this skillfully-wrought bee, done in gold thread:

Amazing!  I'm partial, though, to Helen Stephens.  She embroiders incredibly detailed nature scenes.  Having the skill to embroider even part of her work is one of my goals.


It's been too hot to bake too much.  I did try a recipe for chocolate cupcakes that didn't turn out very well.  The cupcakes were a basic recipe, baked and then dipped in chocolate ganache.

I'm trying to avoid using artificial products like PAM, but just greasing cupcake tins with olive oil causes a lot of sticking, so I lost a lot of cupcake 'heft' from the beginning.

I then mixed peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar until it made a thick dough, and rolled/flattened it like peanut butter cookies.  It made a nice hat for the cupcakes as a replacement for traditional frosting.

However, I thought the peanut butter taste completely overpowered the chocolate...again, that could've been because my cupcakes were too small.  I didn't like them very much, but I'll try again with something new this week.

Have a great day!

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