Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back on Track

Wait! What? Really? Yes!

I've stitched a flippin' small.

But it wasn't until I started stitching those black dots until I realized I've stitched this one before. Seriously, what has happened to my brain? Fortunately, I gave it away to my friend Lee so I needed a replacement. I changed the color yellow that I used, which I am happy with but now that I look back at the old one, I wish I had used those greens. It's love enough, and I am so pleased to be back on track with this SAL!

While I stitched this, I was thinking about something I saw on Humans of New York. A Jewish man had escaped Kristallnacht only to end up in the Philippines being attacked by the Japanese. I think what I like so much about HONY is the way it shows us the extraordinary of everyday people. Then I started thinking about a story I heard about Philadelphia Futures, a mentorship program for Philadelphia youth. A woman was talking about what her mentor meant to her. She was a junior in high school when her mother took her youngest sister on vacation and ended up abandoning her and her other sister. The interviewee started working so she and her sister could stay in their house. She had trouble her first year or so in college (ya think?) and ended up dropping out, but with the help of her mentor she is still working and back in college. So I guess the thing is we all have to remember that every has a story, you know. And we don't know it just by looking at them or studying history or statistics. Which is probably a lot heavier thoughts that this little stitch deserves!

You can find out more about how to join this SAL by clicking on the graphic in the sidebar, or by going to Stitching Lotus here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Maggie Monday: The Twins Edition

My nieces at one month. What a difference two pounds makes at this size, right? We were just talking last night that when you see Sugar Rea next to Special K you think she is ginormous. And then you hold her and she's a tiny peanut!

On to Maggie, who recently asked my aunt of my sister, "Has she picked a favorite yet?"

Friday, July 25, 2014

In the Garden: In Rememberance of Blooms Past

Now that you have the big picture, let's focus on some of the early (spring) flowers that I have.

This is the geranium everyone wanted to remove last year. Seriously, I had to tell two different people—and one of them twice—that it was a plant and not a weed.

I cut back the other geranium (Johnson's Blue). I love how this spills out onto the path. And I look forward to the re-bloom in the fall.

I've also recently deadheaded the salvia. This is "Caradonna." Two weeks ago or so, I put two more in on the other side of the agastache. It's the right height. But I do hate how it flops when it's done.

Nothing like the baptisia, however, that m-effer finishes blooming and it cannot hold itself up at all. Probably needs more sun, definitely needs for me to put the giant cage on it at the right time. The cage is just so giant, it looks stupid and I can't bring myself to believe this plant gets so huge year after year. Here it is flopping around and hiding the clematis. 

Here's something that you may find unusual, it's zizia auria or golden Alexander. This native plant is pretty widespread but sadly lacking in representation in the garden. I found it when my MIL and I went to Bowman's Wildflower Preserve a few years ago. I bought it because the blooms end up looking like this (right). I see fireworks. Now if only it were still blooming...

I know some people don't like to put the self-seeders in their gardens, but I'm casual about that. Like when these volunteers showed up*, I just let them be. Hey, if they want to propagate all over this garden, that's a-okay with me. Less weeding. Allegedly…

*Yup, they're growing between the air conditioning unit and the house. I've left them because they are spreading! For free!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I Was in the Garden: Weeks Ago

I haven't made many posts this summer, and it's mostly because I've been doing so very many other (non-stitching) things. I've decided to talk to you a little bit about where I have been, and that's the garden.

I still haven't weeded and mulched the whole garden. (And the parts that I have done are already in need of further attention. Sigh.) And forget about all the changes I wanted to make on the side garden. I still have time. Right? RIGHT??

This is my purple island garden. I tend to give it the most attention (well, you know what I mean) because it is right there out in front of our house. This photo was taken a few weeks ago, and now it looks like a jungle more lush and crowded. (A jungle that desperately needs weeding!)

You can see here that I've got some spindly looking day lilies. I recently divided them from five to ten. Next year, they'll be fabulous. Right now, well, at least they're blooming. If I were any kind of a gardener, I'd get out there and take care of the yellow leaves. (I have watered, since mother nature hasn't been cooperative.)

The clematis went wild this year. My mother is blaming/crediting the harsh winter. I'm crediting the fact that I weeded and not the "helpers" I had last year who ripped out a couple of vines (and the geranium, they did not want to leave that alone). And, though I moan about their "help" at least the whole garden was mulched in a day. And it looked good for, like, 15 minutes or something.

Can you tell I have weeding on my mind and in my future?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can't Leave You Hangin'

Sweet Baby Rea
Loving: Nieces. Two (more) of them! And now they are both home and ready to keep their parents on their toes!
Needing: See "Planning."
Making: Dinner. And that means lots of new recipes for vegetables I've never cooked before (fava beans, garlic scapes, etc). (Check out my new board on Pinterest, "What the Hell, Farm Share.") 
Planning: Vacations! Vancouver, Maine, Seattle...
Reading: The Rosey Project, You're Wearing That? and Looking for Alaska. The first was cute but I always find it troubling when the love of a good woman can cure....(in this case Aspergers/borderline Aspergers). As my mother always said, "never marry with intent to change [him]."
Watching: Films! We're taking them out of the library and also heading over to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute more regularly. This week we've seen American Hustle and Chef. 
Listening: Bach Harpsichord Concertos. And this weekend, Ryan Adams.
Special K

Monday, July 21, 2014

Baby Cocoon

Special K, resting at home, modeling her condom*, sleeve**, cocoon. Sissy sent me this photo, which was good of her because all the pictures I have of me holding the baby while she wore it have her looking rather upset.

My sainted aunt was disappointed with the "Baby R" nickname. I read her message to the Dude. "Sweet Baby Rea," he said, "No, Sugar Rea." So Sugar Rea it is. She was getting there with her bottle feeding--six in a row and then, she fell asleep when daddy was feeding her. But she is very close to coming home.Probably the end of the week. Which gives me a chance to fix the dropped stitches in her sock.***

(******There have been a number of descriptors for this project. I was trying to describe what it would be to someone when I was first starting; I came up with "condom" which was greeted with delight at Sunday dinner. My sister keeps calling it a "sleeve" which to me likens the baby to a tablet or a phone. My admin kept calling it a sock when I showed her this photo. Whatever you call it, it's precious.) (Yes, it's supposed to be a form of swaddling, but Special K doesn't like to feel pinned down. Where have I heard that before?)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Twin Knits

I finished the baby cocoons just in time. Special K has gone home from the NICU. Poor Baby R is there by her lonesome. K had some trouble sleeping; you just know she misses her big sister. But R hasn't made her way through an entire bottle yet, so they just can't let her go home. Mom, Dad, and little sister will be really happy when she joins them. 

This cocoon, which looks really blah without a baby inside, was made following Laurel Love's Cocoon free pattern. One came out better than the other mostly because it took me a while to get used to knitting on four needles again. (The pattern is written for magic loop, but I don't know it and didn't have time to learn. Never fear, I shall!) Anyway, once the babies were here, I somehow found my knitting mojo.

IRL, the yarn is a soft baby pink!