Monday, May 26, 2008

A light at the end of the tunnel.

Three weeks of school left. Count 'em, three! It's weird. Normally I'm totally burnt out by now. I'm not this year--at least not in terms of teaching the kids. I am for other reasons, however. This past week was busy as I had my spring concert and all that goes with that. Now for the next 3 weeks I will be grading, putting away stuff, cleaning my huge school closet etc. etc. June 13 won't come a day too soon.

I have begun getting ready for summer. My attention has turned to the outside. I went to Behnke Nursery and got annuals for some of my planters. So far, here are some of the goodies:

So far, I've done the two stand planters on the deck and the two concret urns in front. I also planted some basil, Italian parsley, curled parsley and cilantro in the herb pots. The flowers on the steps are for the pots in front and for the 4 hanging baskets I have on the deck. I still need to find coco mats. Everyone around here seems to be out of the size I need! I also got two gorgeous Fuschias!

I've decided that I'm going to spend some time this summer cleaning out my flower beds. I did survey my irises last week and cut some for the family room.

Some years ago, I planted a number of gorgeous rose bushes behind the irises. I've neglected them over the last few years. I need to get in there and prune them all to see what is still surviving. I couldn't resist this beauty when I was cutting the irises:

I took several photos in an attempt to capture the beauty and size of this rose. It is stunning! It measured about 6 inches across. It is the Peace rose.
I found photos online of some of the other rose varieties that I've planted. In order they are Double Delight, Brandy, French Lace and Blue Ribbon.

There are others, but these are my favorites. I used to come home all stressed and walk over to the roses and just gaze. It totally destressed me! There is a small pink rose bush that has a story with it, but I will save that for another time.

I've done very little knitting this week. I did receive the Handmaiden Double Sea for Labyrinth:

I am making the short sleeved version, but I am lengthening the sleeves to be elbow length.

I found 3 cute patterns on Ravelry. One is a baby sweater which is knit seamless.

I just purchased the pattern for the sweater. I may end up getting the one for the pants too. There is an adult tank by the same designer that I purchased as well:

The last pattern is called the Leaf T. It is a seamless top down and it can be found on Ravelry.

I'm thinking that I would like to do that one in a cotton or silk with 3/4 length sleeves. I also think it needs a little ribbing at the neck to keep it from rolling.

I went shopping with Ems to help her find a dress for my nephew's wedding. We ended up at Marshall's where she found a gorgeous teal blue silk sheath dress by Calvin Klein. It is really elegant. I found a cute little cotton dress. It is made out of creamy goldenrod colored cotton batiste and the bodice and hem are edged with hand crocheted trim. It is reminiscent of a 1950's dress.

I love 50's dresses and I have a few nice ones. I sold a bunch of mine on Ebay after I gained weight, but I did keep the premium ones! Hopefully I'll be able to get into them by the end of the summer!

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be winding down school and planning all my summer projects. The first thing I undertake every summer is to totally clean my house. Basically it is my spring cleaning a couple of months behind schedule.

That's it for now! Hopefully, I'll have knitting to show in my next post!

Bushism of the day:
"We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job. That's what I'm telling you." --George W. Bush, Gulfport, Miss., Sept. 20, 2005

Kitty Cam: Samantha checks out the new flowers on the dining room table.


Today is Memorial Day. I was taught to respect this day and those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. I still feel this way and I thank those who put their lives on the line for our country from the bottom of my heart.

Last night I watched the HBO docudrama called "Recount." If you subscribe to HBO, I highly recommend that you watch this movie. It is about the Florida mess during the 2000 election. It truly boggled my mind--the fact that there were powers in play that obstructed the counting of all the votes. What does this have to do with Memorial Day? I can't help but wonder if there would even be a war in Iraq had all those votes been counted. Would Al Gore have sent our forces to Iraq? I truly think not. Assuming the events of 9/11 would still have occurred under his watch, I truly believe that Al Gore would have sent our forces to Afghanistan in search of Bin Laden. I also think such a conflict would be long over.

Should've, could've, would've. It really doesn't matter now, does it? I respect those in the military who do what they are told to do and those families who support them. Let's hope that the voters in our country take stock of the sacrifices these men and women have made when they go to the voting booth. Let's hope they make a choice that will ultimately bring our soldiers home sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I would like to say a heartfelt "Thank you" to those men and women in the military who keep us safe and to those families who have sacrificed a loved one so that the rest of us can enjoy the freedoms that we have.

Thank you.

Self Portrait Challenge: "Fresh" Week 4

Fresh face!

I'm one of those relics who won't leave the house without my makeup on. I just don't feel totally put together without it. There's just something about being showered, dressed, combed and made up that makes me feel ready to face the day ahead. I consider it to be part of a fresh start!

For more photos of "Fresh," visit the Self Portrait Challenge.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge: "Fresh" Week 3

Fresh rain!

I'm not typically a big fan of rain unless, of course, I'm sitting inside with no place to go. This rainy season has had its advantages. First of all, we have had a water deficit due to the drought we had last summer. Now we have a surplus! Secondly, the pollen has been simply awful! Nothing washes away the pollen like a good soaking rain! WoW! I can breathe again! Thirdly, things are growing. I'm delighted to see that the herbs on my back deck are about ready to be used in some culinary delights!

Yea rain!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm biting off more than I can chew!

I keep finding projects I want to make--more than I will ever get to! Here's the newest ones in my queue:

I snagged some yarn on sale at Webs for the first two projects, both of which are from Classic Elite. The rust colored yarn, which is Classic Elite Premier, is for the first top, and the teal yarn, which is Cascade Pima Tencel, is for the second one.

The third project is from the Spring 2007 IK which is probably my most favorite issue ever. I was able to get some Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere for less than half price from Stash on Ebay. I got a lot of 10 skeins and the pattern calls for 7 so someone will get a nice cashmere hat! I haven't decided who the lucky recipient will be!

I also treated myself to another knitting bag. I actually found this one with the scrapbooking stuff at Target! It's perfect for carrying 2 projects. It has pockets on the outside, pockets on the inside and two center flat compartments meant for carrying scrapbook paper. I'm using those to keep my patterns nice and flat!

My last aquisition was two pairs of very comfortable sandals to wear to school. I needed some black ones with high heels to wear with my jeans and I just fell in love the the metallic pair. Both are from DSW.

Other stuff--I'm feel a lot of maternal guilt--not because of my kids, but because of Mikey. Poor baby. I noticed his breath was bad about a month ago. I made a vet appointment and then ended up canceling it. I noticed last weekend that one of his canine teeth was loose and his gums were really inflamed. Of course I saw this the day after he went to the vet for a blood test! So I took him back and he was given an antibiotic. Typically the vet would anesthetize him and scale his teeth and possibly pull the loose one. Because he is diabetic, she doesn't want to do that. So once his glucose level is stabilized then we will decide what to do. Meanwhile his tooth will probably fall out. He'll be a little snaggletooth baby! I'm also on the lookout for a new toy for Harley. He and Samantha are funny. They each have a special toy that gets carried from room to room. These toys are thread bare and well loved. They remind me of little kids with special blankies. Harley got his toy 2 or 3 years ago at Christmas and he has chewed most of the fur off!

It's a "Thing 1" toy from the Cat in the Hat! Even though I've made special toys for them, Harley has to have this one. He takes it upstairs at night and brings it down to the kitchen in the morning. When I get home from work, it is in the family room!

Today is Bird's birthday! He's 22! He'll be coming home this weekend. He and a friend are going to a Craft Beer event at the Mellon Auditorium where they will learn about beer and food pairing and they will get to sample the wares! This was what he wanted, so his mommy got it for him! Sunday, all of us (me, DH. Bird, Ems and KC) are all going to see Lewis Black at the Warner Theater! That was my Mother's Day gift! DH, Ems and I went to Houlihan's for Mother's Day dinner. I love their Sex in the City Martinis! They have a Wednesday night special on them --5 bucks! I may have to add a second happy hour to my week!

Four more weeks of school after this week!

Bushism of the day:
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

Kitty Cam: Here is Mikey in his usual pose next to me on the couch!

Self Portrait Challenge: "Fresh" Week 2

That's a load off my head!

Nothing feels fresher than a new haircut! I'm not sure about this one as the angled sides and extra layers make it more labor intensive, but hair grows, so I will try something new in the fall!

For more "Fresh" photos, visit the Self Portrait Challenge!

Friday, May 9, 2008

And now, for something completely different!

No knitting or sewing to show off today. I've been lazy. I will share a different type of art with you today! Tattoo art! I just bought tickets for the Baltimore Ink: Patterns on Bodies show at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Ems and I are going to have some quality girl time that night! There is also a design contest. The rules are that you must attend the BMA and choose a piece of artwork which inspires you. You then create a tattoo based on that artwork. The design along with the name of the artwork and the artist are submitted for judging. Pretty neat! Now, I don't have tattoos myself. They weren't cool when I was young. In fact, back then, toothless women who lived in trailor parks had tattoos. That is so ingrained in me that I cannot entertain the thought of getting one for myself. I do appreciate the artistic ones though. My kids have created tattoos that are really personal to them. Ems' first one had drama masks imposed over a music staff. That one is on her back. Then she has a self portrait of John Lennon with the word "Imagine" done in rainbow colors on her ankle. The self portrait is a line drawing. Next, we have these:

The one on the left is Ems' wrist and the one on the right is Bird's bicep. The matching tattoos were designed by both of them and they were done as Ems' gift to Jeremy on his 18th birthday. Music is one of the things that they have always done together and Jeremy is a sound recording major so it was very fitting.

Next we have this one:

That one took a couple of sessions! It is on her upper back and it really looks striking with a backless garment!

Next we have this one:

And finally, the above art was augmented with this:

This was Ems' gift to herself for graduating from Graham Webb. The new work is more intensely colored but will match the older tat once it peels.

Bird swears that he is getting a heart with "Mom" on it. Oh boy! I can hardly wait!

You've heard the saying of wearing one's heart on their sleeve. My kids wear their "art" on theirs!

It is Mother's Day weekend and I am writing about my kids because without them, I wouldn't be a mother and I truly adore them! This is the first Mother's Day since my mom passed away. I think about her often and with the fondest of memories. I feel truly fortunate to have had the parents I had and I hope that my kids will feel the same way when they get older!

To all you Moms out there--Happy Mother's Day! Treat yourself to something special this weekend!

Bushism of the day:
"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." --George W. Bush, Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

Kitty Cam: It's super Harley!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A little bit of this, a little bit of that!

I actually feel like I've been somewhat productive this weekend for a change. Saturday, DH and I attended my annual DAR luncheon and auction at the Candlelight Inn in Catonsville. We had a nice time then stopped at the Sew Vac store on the way home to get this:

The power head on our old vacuum had given out (again) and it was over 20 years old anyway. It was time to splurge. DH keeps asking if he should wrap it for mother's day. Ha Ha! Not if he knows what's good for him!

Obviously I spent part of the afternoon vacuuming. My rugs were covered in kitty fur! Then I actually set out to knit. I've swatched for the linen cardigan I showed in my last post. I love the yarn which is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed, now discontinued. It has a little too much texture to fully show off the lace pattern, but I like it anyway. It has a sort of rustic look which is what I want to wear with jeans.

I have to take off my splint to knit and I can only do it for short periods so it will be a slow process for a while.

Today, I made a lining for DH's haversack. That's his tote bag that goes with his Rev War uniform. He needed pockets for his cell phone and wallet, so I lined the whole thing and made custom pockets for his wallet, phone, glasses and two other pockets! It felt good to sew. I haven't really done so in a little while. I need to make a jean skirt and I need to do my curtains for the dining room. I'm really racking up projects. My Victorian bench that I use in the bathroom is literally shredded. I need to bust it apart, glue it, paint it and reupholster it. I can't do any upholstery until I'm completely healed as it involves removing nails and hammering which takes more muscle than I have right now. Applying the new fabric will be easier this time around a I did buy a power stapler/nail gun when I did my dining room chairs!

The other thing I finally got around to was moving into my new wallet! Moving into a new wallet or purse is a big ordeal for me. I'm one of those who uses the same wallet or purse for years -- until it falls apart. I buy really good ones which tend to last forever. My last wallet was a cheaper one which I didn't particularly love. I did love my funny check book cover which totally fell apart so I decided to get a wallet that held everything! I splurged on an Isabella Fiore wallet on Ebay:

Here's what I had to replace:

Note the caption on the checkbook cover--"Deficit spending--It isn't just for governments anymore!" Boy does that describe my finances to a "T!"

I put my recycling in this bag today:

My local grocery store had these bags on Earth Day. I'm guessing a local scout troop decorated them. I got two with different designs. They will look lovely on the curb Tuesday morning! Much nicer than a run of the mill blue plastic bin. Don't you think?

I thought I would post a beard photo of Bird. Here he is in all his grizzly glory:

He looks like one of those Y2K survivalists from Montana!

Then on April 30, he turned into this:

Now, that's my darling little boy! Apparently he is now clean shaven!

I have to get ready for school tomorrow! Weekends are always too short!

Bushism of the day:
"More Muslims have died at the hands of killers than -- I say more Muslims -- a lot of Muslims have died -- I don't know the exact count -- at Istanbul. Look at these different places around the world where there's been tremendous death and destruction because killers kill." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2004

Kitty Cam: The kitties compete for the available sunny spots on the floor. Harley is trying to scare off one of the others so he can get a turn!