Sunday, April 28, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

Oh, my...we have drama today! 

The maple has finally begun to spread her wings.  Such a beautiful green. 

And look how copper beech is coming out of her shell.  That pale copper shade at the tip is what we can expect the new leaf to look like when it finally emerges.  maybe next week?  The parent tree is already almost in full leaf.

Last night it rained. Now, for a while,  the sun has come back to us.  The lily of the valley were just standing there, clothed in droplets of rain, waiting to dry.  They will be putting on a show for us later this week- the buds are just poised to open. 

And one of my favorite groundcovers, alchemilla, catches every drop.

Each leaf holds a different assortment of water gems.

I think that this is when the true beauty of this plant really shows.  It will eventually push up a bunch of chartreuse flowers that make it look kind of ratty.  Well, I think so anyway.  So, today is a good day to show off. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Stash

 This is a week for making sure I have all the items on the To Do list crossed off.  It was the week of our association's AGM which is always a big deal and a lot of making sure everything is exactly where it should be.  Lots of stuff that you can't forget to do.  Now I've run that marathon, I can get back to what passes for normal around here.

So, this kind of snow-plow knitting was perfect for the week.  I forged ahead with determination and have started the sleeves.  It's really simple stuff.  I am still implementing my one lesson learned.  Count the rows.  Even if it's only stocking stitch forever.  I have fudged too many seams in my life and this really changes that scenario.  Tip of the week for you.

Actually, what I'm heading for with all this plain knitting is the lace part.  Yes, of course, that's what has my attention in this pattern.  It's a very cool lace insert knit in the round.  I just can't wait to get there.  Who needs carrots when there's lace?

And I just might finish my pink cardi.  I dumped jars of buttons on cookie sheets and sifted through hundreds thousands of buttons to find 13 of the smallest I had.  They are not all the same color but I will live with that.  I simply could NOT go out and buy buttons.

I apologize for the fuzzy blue photo.  It was taken in a hurry because Iwas about to run off  to participate in our annual community park clean up.  We get to pull invasive species, plant the good stuff and generally clean up anything that shouldn't be there.  This is a park I'm not familiar with so it should be fun.  We've had several days of sunshine and it is just typical that it is raining this morning.  My gloves are rubberized!

Because Blogger took so long to upload the photos, I had to delay the posting.  Now I'm back from my morning in the park.  I've never been so wet in all my life!  We pulled lamium from the ground for three hours.  People tip their old hanging baskets into the woods and the lamium takes root.  It's a groundcover so it spreads happily.   The morale of the story is: DON'T!  It took a team of us all morning to clear out three good-sized patches of the stuff. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fifty Fridays #35

This morning I was looking for a spring-time photo to share.  I found this one of my Uncle Howard when he was about five. 

It would have been around 1920 and before my mother was born.  He is the brother closest in age to my Mom and the one who, I think, looks the most like her.  There is always a bit of mischief in his eye and the grin is never far away even when the face is serious.  My mother was the same.

It looks as though he's in the tomato garden and the sun is shining so warmly.  So, maybe it's really summer.  I believe this would have been taken at his mother's family farm on the Gulf Shore of Nova Scotia.  But I'm not sure and there is no one who could verify this for me now. 

I went back to the box of photos - this one is on a CD - to see if I could make out more detail.  Like:  is that a line of washing to the right of the building?  Or is it a fence?  And is that a person on the right edge of the photo?  Having a white fence would give it a more town-y location than a farm, I think.   I didn't find this one before I found some that I've never copied onto the disc.  They must arrived after that phase of the project was done.  I'm still looking for the original of this, though.   

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

Oh!  I've just been out to take my tree photos this morning.  It's amazing the changes in two weeks.  I feel as though I've missed an important milestone while I was away last weekend.  You know - like if the baby learned to talk or took its first steps. 

Maple tree has really made great headway.  The leaves are actually looking like leaves on the top storey of the tree.  But my little branch is doing so well, isn't it?

Even copper beech has done a great thing.  The bud doesn't appear too much more advanced but, can you see the big, big change?  Yes!  The old leaves beside the bud have fallen off.  Finally!

Elsewhere in the garden, spring is trying to do more than creep.  My favorite rhododendrons are both out and shouting the news. 

I love the way the pale pink one begins dark and turns almost white.

But those lemon-y bells are gorgeous in their own dainty way.

Everything is pushing up and out of the ground.   Blossom buds are everywhere in evidence.  Next week should be really exciting. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Stash

I had really big plans for my travel knitting.  But I spent so much time walking that I did very little.  I must learn how to walk and knit.  But then I wouldn't have seen the fun stuff that I did.  So, maybe it's not so bad after all.

I took these socks with me plus another ball of yarn in case I finished them while away.  Yes, I know.  But they are for a little kid.  They're little and I figured I'd whip through them on the plane.  In fact, I was almost finished the foot before I got there what with all the hurry up and wait of air travel.  But then, things just stalled. 

They are just ordinary socks but I used the 'afterthought' heel technique.  Not something I'll do again probably.  I didn't enjoy the process although it is a lot quicker.  Picking up stitches is tedious.  And I'm not sure I like the shape generated.  So, it's back to tried and true ways for me. 

I also started a pullover pour moi.  I'm using Veronik Avery's Crosscut Pullover to knit up a large quantity of denim blue cotton yarn.  I used to have a blue cotton pullover that was so comfy and I wore it everywhere.  Then it got too big - or I got too small, actually - and I had to give it away.  It is very happy in its new home but I needed another very useful sweater.   I think I'll be working on this for a while as it doesn't seem to be whirring along.  I like the yarn, though.  It's kind of slubby and very soft.

Meanwhile, the pretty pink cardi is in danger of becoming a UFO.  It needs 13 teeny-tiny buttons and I haven't had an opportunity to buy any yet.  I'm rather shocked that I can't find these buttons in my enormous stash but I can't.  Not 13 that are the same.  I could live with some variety but not enough even remotely similar.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fifty Fridays # 34

I've kind of been delinquent with these posts.  Sorry, life just gets in the way of blogging sometimes.

Today, I thought I'd share the little boy who became the man who got married in Las Vegas last Sunday.  My little brother.  Funny how all that 'little bro' stuff disappears at our advanced age.

This photo was taken while we lived in Abbotsford. It was a very rural community then and we lived in a drafty old house up on a hill at the end of a long driveway.  At least it's very long in my memory.  No way to find out now as all the farmhouses and the farms are long gone.  In fact, my Dad and I couldn't find the exact location when we went looking a few years ago.  It was one of the last outings we had before he couldn't go out any more.  Even his adult memory found no landmarks to direct us.

It looks like this may have been early spring just going by the tree and shrubs in the background.  Maybe one of the first warm days given the short suit he's wearing.  The sweater sleeves are pushed up but - still - a sweater. I do remember playing in the woods and the field behind our house.  It was very wild as I recall and a great place to play.  Even this young, we were fairly unsupervised outside.  Usually, I was the one in charge since I was two years older.  I learned my bossy habits at a very early age.  Obviously Mom was around to take the picture, though. 

Always a merry and fun-loving baby and little boy, he has grown into the same kind of man.  He ain't heavy...

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Whenever we take trip photos there are always some that have to be sorted into the miscellaneous pile.  Here are a few...

Size matters here in Las Vegas.  This is just a bolt fixing a huge pillar which is probably load-bearing.

And this is the pillar.  That's a large waste bin next to it.

A lady made of chocolate...

 And one who isn't afraid to sit on a pigeon's lap.  Better than the other end...right?

I can't remember what this shop was selling.  Does it really matter?  I was astounded by the old sewing machines side by side and top to bottom.

Not just one window but several.  Sewing machines as window blinds.  Imagine collecting them all.  They are real and they are old.

Me - listening at the door of Graceland chapel.  I wanted to know what songs Elvis was singing for the next couple.  Some women are so nosy.

Ladybugs made of flowers.   For some reason these really amused me.

I was never a typist so I did not recognise this object.  Others were more nostalgic, remembering how you could brush away the eraser crumbs with the the blue bristles.  

And, as always, in Las Vegas, there are celebs.  These two are definitely A-list: my great-niece and her Daddy.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vegas, baby!

I've been away!  Since there was only the wired kind of internet - who carries cables anymore? - I had a few days away from my computer.  No emails; no blogging, no news.  Kind of a nice vacation from technology.

Las Vegas has always been about #110 on my bucket list of one hundred things to do.  However, when your little brother remarries after being a widower for a number of years AND he plans to get married here:

well, you just go, don't you?  Since I don't really gamble - I lost my entire stake of $5 - and shows are definitely not my thing, what would I ever find to do?

First off, we walked.  And we walked .  And walked.  The Strip may be only six miles long but a visit to each resort/hotel will mean an extra six miles of walking.  Maybe I exaggerate just a bit but that's how it felt.  I did enjoy the themes.  This is a hotel disguised as the New York skyline with the big roller coaster all around it.  This is all one big movie set, really, and I have now visited many parts of the world with a few hours of walking.  Some places I liked better than others.

This was my favorite part of the world:  Venice.  I'm pretty sure it's not completely like this in reality but the effects were superb.  The sky overhead is cleverly painted and lit so that it's always a warm summer evening.  And you can ride the gondolas through the Grand Canal with a gondolier at the helm.    Not something I did since I only endure boats the size of cruise ships.

I found a wildlife refuge at the Flamingo  with lots of water, trees and birds.  A quiet place to rest from the smoke and noise of the casinos.  You can't escape the casinos...let's be real: that's why the place exists at all.

I stood by the Monte Carlo and cared not a bit for the decor.  It's like all the rest of this world: huge.  Nothing is human scale.

Instead, I fixed my eye on a new-to-me bird: the great-tailed grackle which was splashing and chattering at a fountain.

I was charmed by this Victorian conservatory at the Bellagio.  But see how big it is?  There is also a butterfly habitat but we couldn't get into it.  You can watch them flying about the enclosure from a few feet away, though.  I'm sure they are as happy as captive creatures can be.  And us being inside their environment would not add to their happiness.

One of the features of this part of Las Vegas - they say that there are other parts of the city -  were the ever-present restrooms.  Everywhere.  And so clean and comfortable.  I was very impressed.  The decorating extended to these places, too.  Here is the prettiest entrance to one at the Palazzo - the photos start at my eye level and go up. 

But I was here for a wedding. And here are the happy bride and groom.  Congratulations, Geoff & Kathy! Elvis did good.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

 It's a white umbrella photo shoot today.  The almost summer-like sunshine of last week is just a memory.  Somehow, though, the rain seems gentler and while it's cooler than last Sunday, it's OK.  No winter coat, scarf and mitts.  Walking around in a sweater is quite comfortable - as long as I have umbrella.

The maple is just bustin' out of its shell.  Lots of leaf  curled up inside that bud.  Maybe next week?

And copper beech just plods along without visible change.  Aside from its gorgeous copper-y leaves, no one could ever accuse this tree of being dramatic.  Slow and steady creates the beauty.

This is not a forest of daffodils.  No, it's part of a rapidly colonizing group of Solomon's Seal.  We planted three or four that a woman running a garage sale gave us. a few years ago.   I admired them in her garden and she ran to get her shovel and dug us out some.  Considering their spreadability, I think I see why she was so keen.  I, however, have lots more room for them to expand into. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Stash

It's going to be a quality not quantity stash offering today.  This is newsletter week and that is compounded by the need to create some annual reports, too. My life is not all knitting and picture-taking - as much fun as that would be.

So, I've finished a little cardi for the craft shelves.  It's the same pattern as the last one but with more weird color changes going on.  I thought I had enough yarn but halfway through the sleeves I had to quickly find something that would fit in with the overall color scheme.  Yes, I did have a plan when I started but it soon went wrong.  So, a green-ish gray was added after the elbows.  The button band and collar are also striped.  I kind of like it though.  It has a tough-guy attitude. 

I also love this sock pattern.  It is really quite fun once you get going on the 'fish-scale' pattern.  The charts take a bit of work, though.  There are several versions and five different charts for each sock with three size variations.  Then to add to that there are left and right versions.    I was rocking along quite nicely when I stopped short.  Where was the stitch key to the chart? The designer used some unconventional symbols and I couldn't find them anywhere.  I searched Knitty for help but in the end I just went with what I could see should happen.  I kept puzzling about it until I had an 'aha!' moment: I looked at the same chart in the first size.  Yes!  How dumb was I not to think of that before I pulled everything out of the internet drawers looking for the right answer.  The upside was that my intuition paid off.  It was all smooth clicking after that.  One down; one to go! 

Those who voted on the flecks vs re-dyeing the socks question will be pleased to know that there is a majority of three for keeping the flecks.  I always like it when the easy way is the best.  Thanks!   And thanks, too, to Deb who gave me my lovely wee circular.  I would not be having near as much fun with this pattern without it. 


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