May Showers

I have decided to credit the last 16 days of rain for the miraculous recovery of my blue hydrangea. I walked out there the other day and noticed buds forming. They still look a little rough around the edges, but they are quickly making a come back. I really think it’s due to all the rain and this is how I’ve come to peace with the current and apparently, ongoing weather. Continue reading

In which patience starts to pay off.

Gardening is one of those hobbies that requires that so-called (and overrated if you ask me) virtue known as patience. It can take years to realize a vision as plants settle in, establish themselves and finally, spread out.  It’s a constant work in progress, with mother nature ultimately the one in control.

My friend Anna, who is a gardener to which I dare not hold a candle to, posted a photo of her bluebells yesterday, which made me go look in the backyard for mine. I had checked last week, but there were little signs of life back there at the time.  It was after all, snowing two weeks ago then warm enough for an outdoor happy hour under a blooming pink tree one week ago, so this week, there finally were signs of life all over.


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Hand made at Christmas.

I’ve had a long tradition, since at least college, of aspiring to make as many of the gifts I hand out at Christmas as I possibly can. In years past, this has led to a furious whirlwind of making in the days leading up to the big holiday (like the year I learned to knit and then knit a scarf for everyone on the list in just over a month), but at some point, it dawned on me to start these endeavors earlier in the year. Actually, that may have been the realization that I could give away things I’d canned over the summer and have them be well received. At any rate, I now attempt to have ideas I can carry out well before the calendar turns to December so that I’m not a complete hot mess leading up to Christmas. Because as we all know, when you are a mom, Christmas is serious work, especially when you are a working mother and you stay put at Christmas, meaning it is all on you to pull that magic out of thin air and throwing the compulsion to hand make a slew of gifts into the mix, well, that’s just a recipe for disaster.

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Aunt Jenny had requested months ago I knit her a scarf, so after I finished Mollie’s birthday gift, I immediately started on this one for her.  Knit of a merino wool in the hourglass eyelet pattern, it has a nice feel and stretch to it. She sent me a photo of herself wearing it Christmas day, so I think she liked it.

For some time, I’ve been kicking around the idea of printing some of my pretty bug and flower pictures on canvases – what’s the point really in taking these images if I don’t do something with them? I took advantage of some online pre-holiday specials and got at least some of my photos printed to share as gifts.  I loved the way they turned out, but more importantly, I loved receiving this photo Christmas day of the gift I sent my Uncle Kevin:
20151225_222204_001My zinnia photo, already hung, right by the front door.  I hope all the flower prints I sent out were as well received.

Edie girl, who has come to expect the mama-made gifts, had a whole section on her wish list of handmade items she would like to see. While I managed to outsource some of it to local crafters (like my friend Jen who was totally down with home delivering her lovely bracelets, as well as stumbling upon the sweetest ceramic gnome ornament from Tasha McKelvey), in the days before Christmas, I managed to pull of a flurry of giftmaking that made my girl quite content.

A cozy for her handle-less teamug, knit up out of scrap yarn while watching a movie one evening (the pattern inspired by one linked to by Food in Jars recently). A beaded necklace inspired by a trip to the bead section at Michael’s one day (where I always seem to think I can do that particular craft, get too ambitious, spend too much money only to come home and realize I bought all the wrong things, but maybe, just maybe since I pulled this one off and my friend Joanne, who does this sort of thing for a living (and does it well!) was kind enough to share some more than helpful hints, I might actually attempt this again?) that we debated about for a few weeks before I sat down one night and just did it. And last, but certainly not least, Mr. & Mrs. Gnome, a Wee Wonderfuls pattern that whipped up quick and easy. I used fabrics and trims from the stash, including the old coverlet from her bed for their hair (last seen in a pillow for purple moose, although I’d forgotten how that fabric really doesn’t respond well to being reused, as it’s an extremely temperamental knit) and while I might not be overly wild about the end result (I skipped a few steps I probably shouldn’t have and definitely got a little too loosey goosey with things maybe I shouldn’t have…), she adores the end result, which is sort of the point, now isn’t it?

I realized the other night as I went to bed, I’ve finished all the books and craft projects I’ve had lined up for months, clearing the deck for me in more than a few ways. The so-called ‘happy corner’ got a little cleaning attention post-holiday,  so that I can jump in and hopefully spend more time making than I have in the last year or so. I’m not one for resolutions, but I’ve decided I’m going to try to and spend more time with my sewing machine this coming year than I have in the past few.

Living in Wild Kingdom

My garden looks rough.  There’s no way around it.  Granted, it’s the middle of October and everyone’s garden looks rough.  August and it’s lack of rain combined with September and early October’s deluges have just left everything looking rather unfortunate.  Partially inspired by an article I recently submitted for publication on the topic of how to winterize one’s garden and partially inspired by the purchase and renewal of the house behind us that has sat vacant for well over a year (and had slipped into neglect the last few years before that), I found myself with a few free hours the other day and decided to do a little bit of a clean up in my sunny perennial bed, aka, the ‘down by the side of the road’ garden. Continue reading

Fading Fast.

It’s a grey, rainy Monday morning here.  Summer is fading fast – the cherry tree in the front yard, always the first to drop her leaves, has been bare for a few weeks and the dogwoods are quickly changing color.  It seems as a good as any to catch up on posting pretty summer flower pictures.

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