Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wild America

Despite the cold and the rain, the wildlife has been coming out of the woodwork here (you need to click on the photo for a full-size view)! I was surprised to see both a coyote and a raccoon trotting up our driveway (on different days) this week.  Quick shots taking with an old point-and-shoot camera for expediency's sake. 

I was working in my office later in the week and saw 'our' turkeys.  I took the time to use my new lens and got some much nicer shots.

We know we have beavers (they leave some pretty tell-tale evidence), but I rarely see them in the water.  Recently, though, I spotted one chewing on something down by our woodpile...

...and then frolicking in the water.

I greatly enjoyed his exploits! 

I caught some deer in the yard at dusk the other day...

I love how this lens lets me get closer to the action! 

The unusual cold this spring has really done a number on our winter plants.  Our camellia trees were laden with blossoms, but the nearly single-digit temperatures killed every one.  The temperatures have finally moderated, and new buds are slowly opening.  You can see how the outer petals are blackened from the frost.

We have one single, solitary azalea open.

Not a single bulb is showing itself yet, but our helleborus flowers will be opening soon.

Since it's been so dark and rainy, I've been feeling a little desperate for a sign of spring.  Since nothing was forthcoming from the outside, I decided to make it myself.  I went to a thrift store and bought a large pillow with a zippered removable cover (a nice big one, roughly 25" x 25").  Cost:  $2.  I tossed the cover and thoroughly cleaned the pillow.  Next, I went to my fabric tubs and selected a nice, light, spring-like plaid.  It's a single window panel from Target that I found at a thrift store for $1 a while back.  I cleaned it - again - and I was ready to go.  It was so easy, totally improvised, and anyone could do it!

I decided to make a false front button panel. I just folded the end flap, sewed two tidy parallel lines of stitches...

...then hand-stitched the buttons, evenly spaced across the front.

I laid the pillow onto the fabric and cut around the shape.  I used the sewing machine to quickly sew 3 sides of the pillow.

I hand-stitched the final seam after inserting the pillow, but it didn't take long - maybe an hour from start to finish.  And I love the pillow.

It's the same size as one of our big IKEA pillows that we paid maybe $30 for, sham and all.  This pillow cost me $3 and a little bit of time, and it's a perfect fit for this couch.  I love the colors and the fabric.  It fairly shouts SPRING...to me, anyway!

I'm definitely going to do this again soon!

I finished the front panel of my knitted sweater, but I was thoroughly sick of cabling and dragging my feet about starting the back panel.  The silk in the wool caused it to have less "give", and therefore my wrists have been sore.  I decided to take a break before starting on the back panel with a pair of stranded colorwork socks.

I've fairly flown through the first sock.  I'm getting ready to start the toe, so another two - three hours and it will be done.  I'll have more details and pictures once the pair is finished.  I'll say it again..there's nothing as soft and comfortable as a pair of hand-knit socks!

Otherwise, I've been hard at work on the business.  It's been very busy for the past 2 months.  Oh, well, at least I have a wonderful assistant.

Have a great week!

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