Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Month Of May

May is winding to a close with some loose ends tied up, Firstly the button-of-the-month arrived today. Very apropos - a snake button, remember we saw the snake dens this month. This is a real stunner of a button. Can you see the detail? Thank you Jane!

The wee button is sitting on a piece of Spirit Quartz. Does anyone remember waaaay back to this post about my haunted landing? Well, I did finally give up entirely on plants and I thought the best thing would probably be an exorcism. I toddled off to my nearest crystal/pagan/witchcraft shop and made enquiries. I was told the first step (that's pre-exorcism) is to hang a healing crystal in the window and politely ask the spirit to leave. I'll admit right now that I was very tempted to roll my eyes at the woman - she really didn't understand how bad I thought the situation was. I brought home a few large chunks of crystal that day - forget hanging a little one in the window, I needed great big substantial boulders, and I politely (yes, yes) but firmly asked the spirit to leave (no-one else was home at the time).

I bought some clear quartz, selenite, celestite and spirit quartz (in the photo that's counter-clockwise from the far right).

Clear quartz is suppose to be infinitely powerful and able to dispel negative energies; selenite is used to commune with spirits and angels; celstite is to aid in peaceful communication; and spirit quartz are suppose to bring family harmony.

Sounds good to me.

Here's a better shot of the selenite and spirit quartz. The selenite really is very beautiful when the light shines through it. I can see why people believe it has some connection to unearthly realms. The spirit quartz is very cool. It comes from Boekenhouthoek (...where?), that's in South Africa. It has crystals growing on crystals, really fascinating. It's purple and yellow, I read that it's amethyst growing on citrine, but I'm no geologist.

Here's the celestite. For the first week in the window, this one struggled to survive. Each day it would be left sitting in a small puddle of sand. When I would walk past it I would brace myself for a great explosion a la Voldemort, but it eventually settled and stopped it's shedding.

In the autumn I plan on adding a few plants to the mix and we'll see if physical life can be sustained. I'll keep you posted.

The month of May also meant I sent out Jane's handmade-of-the-month. I made a wee needle case out of woolen felt. On the front are three appliqued fish with embroidered bead bubbles. Jane is a Pisces, remember. On the back I embroidered her name in big letters - JANE. It turned out quite well, but I forgot to photograph that part. Oops.

Here's the inside. A bit utilitarian I suppose.

To go with th needle case, a thimble. Also made out of woolen felt and a bit of embroidery over a tiny piece of raw silk.

Here's me modelling the thimble. Now before you say, "but you don't wear a thimble on your little finger", let me explain. You see I have great big, sturdy 'worker bee' hands, where as Jane has tiny, delicate 'firefly' hands. I'm confident the thimble will fit on her index or middle finger (if it doesn't Jane, I'll make you another).

Recently in the comments Jane asked to see some flowers from the garden. I've found them a bit disappointing do far this year, but here goes:

Where as my little groupings of flowers come across looking a bit stiff and anti-social, Elly's are a different story. She put together one container this year and it's a party! There's all kinds - mums, pansies, pinks, daisies and snapdragons. Elly loves a crowd.

And lastly the Seaweed Shawl continues along. I'm liking this project very much. The seaweed/silk mix of the yarn is sumptuous and there's a peaceful, undulating quality to the pattern, and, though it took a little while, I've found a nice rhythm to the pattern repeat. The perfect summer project.

Now, forward to June.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Look at Me!

I suppose I going to have to read this one now.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

editor's note

Seeing as there was no wee blurb about the character's nature attached to this one, I went further into the quiz and pulled these out:

You Are...Elizabeth Bennet!

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of ridiculousness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

You Are...Elinor Dashwood!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

You Are...Anne Elliot!

You are Anne Elliot of Persuasion! Let's face it; you're easily persuaded, particularly when friends and relatives try to use "the Elliot way" against you. But this doesn't mean that you don't have conviction. Actually, your sense of duty is overwhelming. And though you won't stick your neck out too often, you have learned to speak up when it counts. To boot, you know how to handle sticky situations. You love deeply and constantly.

In the comments section Thea mentioned she was Anne Elliot and Jane was Elinor Dashwood - I think the descriptions are pretty close. Jane and Thea, what do you think?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Snakes On A Plain

Warning Warning - there will be no Samuel L. Jackson in this post.

This last week-end we headed out to Narcisse to have a gander at the snake dens . With a name like Narcisse, you'd think there might be fields and fields of daffodils, but there's not.

It's mostly just an awful lot of prairie with an awful lot of snakes. Red-sided garter snakes to be precise. Narcisse has the largest concentration of these little snakes in the entire world, and it's quite a sight to see them all come out of hibernation at once.

They're very gentle wee creatures, though quite fast this time of year - I would assume they're hungry after hibernating - though still not impossible to catch. See, Nigel caught one to pose for a photo. This one is a male. Males are smaller and skinnier. The females are much bigger and should be pregnant this time of year - you're not suppose to pick up the females.

Here's a snap of a female being chased by a male. If you click on the photo, you'll see more detail.

There were also a few caterpillars.

In the garden the tulips are finally (finally) ready to open.

I remembered planting red, orange, purple and pink, but I'd forgotten about the yellow. It opened yesterday, and look at the lovely navy blue burst in the centre.

There's also chives (if you look closely you'll see a perfect hole in the soil - the squirrels ate all my tulips from the front planters. All of them! ),


and peonies (soon).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Guten Morgen!

Look at this gorgeous piece of vintage redwork I found while out thrifting this week! This piece of linen is edged at the top and bottom with a bit of lace, and is fairly large - I think it may have been used as a curtain or wall hanging.

It has the most beautifully executed satin stitch. I can do many things with a needle and thread, but satin stitch isn't among them. I'm always on the look-out for hand embroidery in the thrift shops. So many hours go into creating a piece like this, and then someone decides it's of no more use and sends it off to the charity shops. I'd be willing to bet that the stitcher didn't part with this themselves - no doubt, they passed on and some wretched ingrate of a non-crafting child sent it packing. I'll add here that my children aren't like that - in fact, Elly promptly claimed this for herself when she saw it, though it's going to live with me while she's studying in Ireland.

I'm not sure if my photo is good enough, but there are two shades of red this stitcher has used. Wow. As I said earlier, just gorgeous!

And look! Look!!!

We have a new front door, and it's a real stunner (my photos really don't do it justice). The centre panel of glass is in a Frank Lloyd Wright style - so, so stunning - and the inside is covered in wood which will be stained to match the trim.

And look! Look!!!

We also had a new storm door installed - also a stunner - just a plain sheet of glass, the dogs love it,

but don't look! Don't Look!!! At those terrible brown patches all over the front lawn - I swear we had lots of rain the very next day and it greened up considerably.

And as for my latest projects? Well I've pretty much finished the tot cardigan for Elly's little cousin Johann. I just need to add some buttons - I think mother-of-pearl would be sweet.

And for Elly and Johann's new cousin, who should be arriving in the next few weeks:

A sweet wee jacket, bonnet and booties set. This also needs buttons - again I'm thinking mother-of-pearl - and I'll make some bishop's cord for the bonnet and booties, but now wait, before you start thinking that everything is going super fantastic, well...

I started that Seaweed Shawl, remember?

I made twelve of those long tendrils and began the body of the shawl, I'd worked about six inches, when I realised I was doing one of the stitches all wrong and had fewer and fewer stitches with each row.

It looks like this now:

Very sad.

I decided instead to work on an easier shawl. The Storm Water Shawl by Handmaiden Yarns in the recommended yarn Sea Silk in colourway Lily Pond. It's so much easier than the seaweed shawl (which I'll get to later this summer).

And lastly, here's a sneak peek at the handmade for May:

Glub, glub. I'll try to post sooner next time.

I'll also try to get all my photos going the right direction.

Friday, May 2, 2008

April Button-Of-The-Month

A letter arrived the other day:

Jane sent the button-of-the-month for April:

Another fabulous button, they just seem to get better and better. The little legs move about, both of the kids squealed with delight when they set eyes on it.

(I'm not sharing though.)

Thank you Jane!