Tuesday, April 29, 2014

garden tiny bit

Marigolds, radishes, kale, mustard greens, calendula and zinnias are starting to come up out in the garden.  Only a few of the tomato transplants look truly sad after all that rain... they may recover.  The pepper plant is doing well.  No corn, yet... but probably in a few days. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Esme bits

The other day she brought home her math practice test for the state testing, and it was 3 wrong out of 40, which was excellent.  We practiced counting money on her allowance, which she gets for helping with chickens now (it is egg based).  She did not want to cooperate at all for a bit.. I don't know to every question  - but she began to get it.  We counted all of her coins separately and then added them together - her addition is really very good.. it is the categorization and 'value' part of the coins she keeps forgetting.  She remembered some of her totals even the next day.

Later she was using the check writer 'toy' (which is an actual antique checkwriter without ink in it) to put something on her drawings.  She said 'perfect' and then went and hung up her drawing (which was me and her laying on an air mattress staring at the stars above) up on the bulletin board.  I noticed what she had stamped at the top of the drawing (on Saturday) was 201426dollars and 04cents.  She was using it as a date stamp.  She has been really keeping up with the date with her tooth fairy sticker calendar and the egg calendar... but using the machine to stamp I thought was insightful :)

An old picture of Esme playing with the checkwriter from November 2010, when she was newly three.

She helped me plant eggplant seeds and transplant small pepper plants to bigger pots the other day.  She wanted to wash her hands every single time they got dirt on them.. this was the girl who would come in covered in mud and cry to get washed just a year ago.  I will admit to doing the same thing with oil or grease, though.. even when I know I need to get my hands right back into it in a few minutes it feels better to get it off.

//in other news: Reorganized a bit in the studio space... borrowed an unused cabinet from downstairs to put in the empty corner and get things off the flat table space to work better.  Then sat looking through magazines, thinking about time in general, what I want to get done, why I want to get it done, what supplies I have on hand... I made Esme a little robot toy but did not spend much time on it, and she was not very happy with the results compared to the 'professional' one she had seen pictures of... I told her I could add a bit to him another day, another tool for him, once he has learned to use his wrench etc etc.  I know I need to sew her more clothes but she really has a lot of clothes - just not in good condition for school  School is ending here in about a month, and then, of course, it will begin again a few months after that.  Once again, time.. and the shortness of it along the way... what projects need to be done, what is worthy to be done with the time we have etc etc... soon the garden will take up more of our time, as well.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


We all went to the Fish Fry carnival yesterday, and had a lot of fun. Esme was very brave and got on several 'big kid' type rides.  She was so sad to see it end...  I have some things to do with plants and seedlings today - and I have started a woven wall hanging type thing that I saw ideas for on Pinterest.  Esme is holding a 'party' in her room again with her boombox, snacks and basically just repeating the same song over and over again... I'm holding off attending, although I received a written invitation :)  There is coffee brewing and I might bring the loom in there.

I put out nasturtiums and bushel gourds yesterday.. it is supposed to rain tonight and all week long after that so I might try to get another row of beans and one of cucumbers out there before it does.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

next garden bit

Planted quite a bit more yesterday, zucchini, radishes, beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, okra, more lettuce, kale and mustard.  Ordered and received some pink evening primrose seeds and blue delphinium.  Have a few more things to plant yet, of course... thinking to buy an eggplant or plant six seeds to get seedlings... plant some extra backup tomato seedlings, as well... have to transplant the peppers into larger pots and then put them out in about a week...

Need to sew Esme some more pants again, she ripped a few more pairs at the knees.  The fish fry fair is still on Saturday, too.  The chickens are still doing well, two to five eggs a day :) 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

garden bit

No pictures, but I put in seven short rows of corn in the garden, and nine of our tomato seedlings, and a banana pepper.  We ran a new hose to the garden and cut and resealed a pipe that had a water hammer in it - putting in a hose bibb valve that will allow us to bleed off trapped air in the future.  The chickens happily ate a grasshopper and two cutworms I threw to them while digging rows. 

Till 2014

 We each took a turn tilling over the garden - it still needs a bit more today, but we have begun to plant at the outer edges.  The lemon balm, oregano and mints came back from last year, as did some Icelandic poppies that never bloomed last year.  The two areas that are not tilled have those plants and gladiolus bulbs in them, and will be planted with more herbs and annual flowers for the year.

I got my usual sunburn from the first pass - and these are pictures of Mark going over it the second time.

We might have the corn and tomatoes in by the weekend - the fish fry fair starts tonight, and it sounds like we'll try to see what is at the flea market this morning.  I work the rest of the week after today but have the weekend off.

Planted yesterday:
English daisy perennial plant (Esme's Earth day plant)
marigold (large and small)
two cocozelle zucchini seeds, as they were left in the package...
sweet basil
lemon basil
cosmos (two colors)
watermelon california poppies
zinnias (several)
morning glories (several)

ordered some more evening primrose in pink and some tall blue delphinium for the 'try mes' this year... but other than that and the yellow tomato (of which I have one seedling so far) the 'try mes' are not a large part of the garden this year.. yet... yet...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter basket

Esme's basket from the Easter Bunny
and a little chick/duckling made by Mom :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

crochet headband

just little bits of things as I go by... have two days off starting tomorrow and hope some 'real' news then.  I was working on this little headband over the past few days in crochet thread - as something small to bring along with me.  It was a ball of crochet thread I had and a size E crochet needle.

Of course, Esme liked it, and now this one is hers - although I may have to downsize them just a little for her to keep the tension in them.  It looks pretty good on her.

I'll have to make some more for me - I have a shirt yoke I've done as well as 'small take with' that is ready to try sewing it to some fabric and see how that looks and how it drapes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

bits in productive mode

Mark made Esme an egg calendar so she can count up all the eggs over the next few weeks.  We are thinking of basing her allowance on this.. we'll see.  They've averaged four eggs a day the past few.  I've been trying to make a few productive steps each day, even with work.  It always makes me feel better to say 'I got that done.'... some days it is hard, like when it is raining, and there can be no progress made outside.  I have a black stitching (not quite blackwork) embroidery towel I am bringing to work with me today.

I refashioned the dragon bolster pillow this morning.  I had taken it off the bed because it was now too wide (We downsized to a full from a queen) and was worming its way out and onto the floor.  But, I have noticeably not slept as well without it filling in the 'dip' in between the headboard and mattress.  Finally I cut up an old pair of corduroy jeans (bought at the flea market years ago, and never the right size) and sewed the legs together to make a long bolster.  I slit the dragon pillow leaving most of the stuffing inside and stuffed him inside the new lining, sewing up the ends with circular patches.  It worked out quite well, and I no longer feel like the regular pillows are falling away from me in between the headboard when I lay down.

Then I cleaned some items out of the fridge.  And now my time is gone - and I have to get ready for work.  I am investigating making a cross stitch sampler for our hallway... silly feeling, old craft but I like the fact that they are a moment in time that we can still look back and say 'this was done X years ago'... and maybe one day Esme will make one.  I'm a bit nostalgic on those things.  Mark says soon I'll be making her a hope chest and filling it up with things.  We were, I guess, some of the few girls that were still meant to fill up our own hope chests back in the 80s... I have some nostalgia about that, too.  I learned to make things, and I still like to do it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

embroidery and eating eggs

soulful faces on Daphne (white) and Nova as they beg for egg sandwich.
 Esme is getting a bit of a cold, so we had some (canned) chicken noodle soup and she ate quite a bit of an egg sandwich, which is a feat for her.  She really wants to go check for more eggs - posted pictures late yesterday onto the earlier post of her checking for eggs after school (same dress, but she has had a hot bath this morning and wanted to put it on again - it is a 'farm girl dress'. hehe)

I took a hand at some embroidering on an old indigo towel last night.  We were watching Fantasia, the old one - and I didn't use a pattern, just went with it.  I need a lot of practice.  Printed out a pattern for another flower and am taking it to work today to bide the time at lunch.

Friday, April 11, 2014

chickens, eggs, a ravioli rug and archery

 Here are our chickens.  There are six hens and a rooster - and they are 'Red Star' type chickens.  They lay large brownish eggs and seem to be quite happy in their new home.  We got four eggs from them this afternoon.

Here is Mark showing them off

 We had the fencing and lumber already in the garage for the pen and the coop, so it was the price of the chickens, from a coworker, and buying some chicken layer feed.  Mark built an incredibly nice coop with the lumber on hand.

Our pretty multi-headed daffodils are blooming, as well.  I'm working on what I'm calling a 'ravioli' rug for Esme's room.. but it is also sort of like a zigzag pattern of little crocheted squares.  The white yarn came in a box from Mark's aunt and had cuts through it - but this is a perfect use for it.  The squares do not take very long to make.  Usually the tough part about making a rug that is a useable size is how long it takes to get it there.  By the time it is the right size it feels odd to lay that much work down on the floor to be walked on.  We will see how this one goes. 

Mark also dug out his old recurve bow out of a storage about a week ago.  We took it out today and practiced some target shooting.  There is a lot of muscle memory involved.  It has been about fifteen years since I had a bow of my own and did regular shooting with the 'same feel'... I had about two hours practice today and was able to get everything mostly on or very close to the target (a 2 foot by 2 foot piece of styrofoam on blocks).  We will do more practice later.  I was impressed how kneeling with the bow the memories came back of how to swing it over my neck to the side, how to counterbalance the quiver when I knelt and hold it to the side when walking etc etc... little things you don't even remember until you are in the same position again.

 Father and daughter getting ready to check for more eggs.

 A large brown one in the nesting box, and one more out in the yard.

 That was two more eggs, and that makes six for six.  They are happy chickens.

 Esme, practicing at being a chicken whisperer.  She talked to them for quite a bit. Then we all went and ran a new water pipe from the hydrant to the chicken coop fence, before dinner.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Gypsy green and pink shawl

It took over three weeks, but it is finished.
48 by 26 inches

Monday, April 07, 2014


We finished the chicken yard yesterday, but it was getting later in the afternoon and there was still supper and Esme's bath to get done for the night - so we did not get the chickens.  Instead, we took a walk with Grandma and the dogs down to the lake and back up through the woods.  We saw the herons' nests, and the goat ran around with/after the dogs and made us laugh. 

I saw the peas are coming up in the garden - I had feared them lost and needing replanting.  There is also mint, lemon balm, poppies from last year (Icelandic?) and I found and brought inside the hens and chickens from Grandma I thought the dogs had demolished entirely.  Inside, the tomato seedlings are doing fairly well and the peppers have begun to show in that pot.  My indoor 'salad garden' is producing pretty well. I finished the "shockingly green and pink" shawl - pictures later, and it will probably go into the KnitOwl shop.

I laughed quite a bit yesterday morning.  Esme came home from Grandma's house (She had spent the night) and had a mail order catalog in her hand.  'Mama, I have good news!  There is a new shop open in the town!  We gotta go there.'  She has been picking things out of it ever since that she wants me to buy for her.  *oh dear*

I finished the planes for the workshop, and they will go in the mail today.  The second person asked for the pattern - I just haven't made it up yet.  I need to borrow Grandma's scanner and take a day to do that.  I don't have as much time for making to-order toys as I used to.  There are some 'art' toys I would like to make, though.. some art deco chickens, a bi-plane, and a convertible car.  Those are all in my sketchbook.  I need to work on the patterns for the book, as well.. neither here nor there.

I've been using Pinterest as a lookbook, lately.  It gives me lots of ideas.  I feel I can crochet some more than I used to - and that things don't have to be as perfect as my mind dictates.. what I have always thought was not quite good enough for weaving or crocheting or sewing seems to be 'artistic', now.  That feels odd.. but that is what I am seeing in the pictures...

I also see that many of the things I have made for the house are showing up in other design magazines and interior decorating here and there - all over... apparently I am in on a trend and didn't even know it.  Also, many of the decorating images affirm what I already have 'felt' about my own style, bohemian, gypsy, rustic farmhouse... yes that describes it quite well.  I have been very drawn to certain types of flowers - dahlias, zinnias, poppies and sunflowers, that I continue to see gorgeous pictures of.  And although I hardly ever let myself travel down that road - there are styles of clothes I didn't know I really liked, as well - skirts and lace tops and shawls that I keep seeing and saying 'I like that.'  So very far away from the tomboy I was firmly set on years ago.  Funny, to realize that, now.

So, until I have a picture of the shawl,  here is one of the planes.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Chicken coop built, getting ready for the rest

 Mark built this coop over the past few days with materials we had on hand in the garage.  Some of the materials were used when he built our house.

We were offered eight older hens from someone at my work - they are getting young chickens and needed to make some room.  Since the hens were still laying, he offered to help us get started with some seasoned tame chickens, instead of trying to raise young chicks from the start.  This is all Mark's handiwork - I am like a person trying to eat soup upside-down when it comes to a drill and a saw... my ambidextrousness gets in the way and I try to do everything backwards, which is not often safe.  Mark helped me worry through the nestboxes and I have some exterior mistint paint (purple!) to paint the exterior with.

The coop is moveable so we can try out a few places - and we have some fence on hand that will work for the job, as well.  Now we just have to paint it, move it, and fence it.. then go pick up the chickens and supplies and see how we do as egg farmers :)

 We all got in on painting it - including impromptu folk art by me.  The purple was an exterior mistint and I put varnish over the the enamel paints from my art box.  Esme added flowers, and had to try out all the 'amenities'.