Sunday, June 29, 2008

martiangirl has spoken

I've been lazy again about posting. Nearly every other day I think to myself, "time to blog", or, "this might be a good photo op", and then I just don't bother. Oh, for shame. But now wee martiangirl (my niece) has suggested it might now be time to shift myself and post something.

And as it so happens, I have a couple of completed projects.

Here's the Holo Hoops mini-scarf. This was a very quick knit. It only took about two evenings to complete. It's all garter stitch - very simple. Not the best project for a beginner though, the little hoops can be a struggle at times. This project was good fun and I think I've had my novelty yarn fix for a good while.

I also have a substantial piece finished. My Storm Water Shawl.

Here she is all seaweedy and silky draped over the arm of the chaise. The pattern repeat required a fair bit of concentration over the first foot or so, but after that I breezed along. I would absolutely consider making this one again, though I might try using a different yarn next time. The Sea Silk was a bit pricey. I've been meaning to cut back on my (ahem) bounteous spending of late (hmmm...three years). An austerity program has been on my To Do list for about two years, and I really should bump it up to the front of the line, perhaps instead of scouring junk shops and antique malls for vintage linens and buttons.

But enough of that. Let's look at what's happening in the garden;

The disappointment. My Dwarf Lilac has not had any blooms this year. Not one. I think I may have pruned it too aggressively in the Autumn. Note to self: read about the plant before you bring out the pruning shears.

The Irish Moss. Success. Covered in tiny white blooms, it's a shame this plant is only a centimeter tall and the size of a dinner plate. I love moss, it's perfectly primordial, which may be why even I can't kill it - these plants survived even when the dinosaurs didn't.

The peonies have finally started to bloom - everything is very late this year. I love peonies (outside though, not in the house, they're always covered in ants).

Do you remember my Tree Peony. It has officially survived that awful Spring we had, remember a warm spell caused an early melt and then there was a long stretch of cold and frost with no snow cover for protection of all my new perennials. Disaster. The Tree Peony has unfurled it's few leaves and I'm very encouraged. This little fellow is only about 20 centimeters tall right now, but should grow to two meters or so. I'm going to have to wait a few years for flowers.

Here's a shot of the side bed with the pink peonies and a few (more) new perennials. Gus is in the background keeping an eye on the neighbours next door. He longs to get loose and help with their garden, but I think instead I'll opt for being a good neighbour.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's Been Ages

I don't have any good excuses for not posting, so I won't bother trying to think up anything amusing.

My brother Ian came for a second visit - that's twice in two months (thrice in five years). He brought along his friend Brad this time. We had lots of good laughs, though they were exhausted from travels through Montreal and Toronto. Gus and Whimsy just loved Brad. The poor little pups miss them both terribly now they've gone home.

Jane sent the button-of-the-month for June, and just look at the little darlings:

six tiny mother-of-pearl leaves, in honour of the leaves having finally arrived on the trees of Manitoba. In fact, there are now so many leaves and the weather has become so hot that it's hard to believe we ever had a winter. I'll be singing a very different tune come November, or maybe the same tune with different words.

I've been working on a little handmade-of-the-month for Jane. It's not in the post yet so I'll just give a couple of hints.

Hmmm, I wonder what it could be...

In local news, Mrs. Twitchett's Eye closed down at the end of May. This was quite sad, they had lovely embroidery threads and kits and such. On the up side though, it's been replaced with Kathryn's Stitching Studio and it looks as though they're not only at the same address but they've got lots of the same sort of stock. They've changed the layout of the shop a bit and I think there's a new colour on the wall - a very nice green behind the sales counter, and there's a wall of silk threads I could stare at all day.

They're stocking more than just thread and patterns too - loads of tools like needles and threaders and scissors. I love scissors and they have some dangerously beautiful ones. I went to check out the opening day sale and well, I couldn't resist (sorry about the sideways snap - it's blogger's doing).

I bought "Off The Deep End" - a pattern by Raise the Roof Designs. I love their designs, a little bit goofy and great use of colour. You can check out more of their designs here. I also bought some of the threads to work the design and a(nother) new pair of scissors. Ginghers (not my only pair, for shame) in the cheetah print handle. Ooh, la la. Before Nigel asks "another project?" or "more scissors?" or even "how much do Gingher scissors cost?", we should all remind him that there are far worse addictions to suffer from.

Speaking of which, I'm giving up the coke.

I've decided to start substituting coffee.

It's absolutely wretched stuff. It helps a bit to drink it out of a lovely piece of vintage china. Perhaps my next obsession will be just that. Just think of the potential to spend.....

I suppose before I start running around to all those antique shops I'll have to do some training.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Ian

Today is Ian's birthday, not my son little Ian, but my brother, less little Ian.

Ian is the middle child between Jane (the eldest) and me (the least eldest).

Ian was gifted with a great intellect and he's finished a number of University degrees over the years. He has an impressive ability to understand and appreciate (what I consider to be) the most impossible kinds of art, like Bruckner's music, Blake's poetry and Pollock's painting.

He's also a minimalist which takes a tremendous will - to resist modern culture and it's trappings. Ian lives a spartan (sort of) life - free of knick-knacks, collections and unnecessary possessions. The only excesses are a vast number of friends and maybe a bit of good wine.

And even though he's always refined and dignified,

somehow things often turn into a laugh-riot when he's around.

I think that's a pretty nifty trick.

Happy Birthday Ian!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Over the week-end I took a long postponed road trip down to Fargo, North Dakota. Every so often, I find it does a world of good to get away from my everyday routine and venture out into the world all by myself.

I'm not reusing old photos of other trips for this shot. It doesn't really matter which direction you leave Winnipeg, you'll find the same kind of scenery. In some directions that means for thousands of kilometres. It's a prairie thing.

My favourite man-made structure along the road, this tiny church has been left standing and the divided highway has been built up on either side. There's even a little cemetary. I can only assume that one of the parishoners held some sway with the provincial government at the time the highway was being constructed.

Here's a snap of the U.S. border. I've found the U.S. border gaurds to be a somewhat humourless bunch - they didn't give me any trouble this time, but then, I suppose I didn't try cracking any jokes. By the way, that's rain on the windshield, I'm not being attacked by tiny little flying saucers.

Fargo has grown very slowly over the last hundred years, which means many of the older buildings weren't torn down in the name of progress. Most towns now are able to recognise the value in the old signage and architecture, and Fargo's got a few gems.

The local art museum had an exhibit of Rodin's sculptures (this was the same Rodin exhibit that was in Winnipeg recently). I've seen these works twice now and they're still impressive. The second floor of the museum is devoted to the permanent collection. My favourite part of any art gallery are the pieces that make me think I could have been an artist if only I had a little vision and maybe some talent, like this .

On Broadway in the downtown, there's the most fantastic yarn shop called Boucle.

Thre were so many things that just couldn't be resisted. I bought Elly a set of pink Denise needles. Now she doesn't have to borrow mine. Hooray!

And for me, from Lantern Moon, a beautiful small project bag and a pair of ebony needles. Very swish.

I also bought a little bit of yarn (well now, it is a yarn shop). Three skiens (100grams each) of bamboo in a colour called "white", and though it looks white in the photo, really has more of a silver hint to it, and also a hank of Holo Hoops by Great Adirondack Yarn Co., in colourway Beach House. An interesting yarn - I don't generally go for novelty yarns, but this one appealed for some reason. Inside the shop - which was very slick - Holo Hoops had been knit into a skinny scarf and seemed almost avant garde, but now that it's home it seems a bit more disco fever. I'll knit it up none-the-less.

And just one more thing - buttons. I really couldn't resist these.

acorn buttons,

scottie buttons,

shell button,

Here's a better look at the Holo Hoops. The colour has the same shades as the shell button - a bit of silver, hints of pink and green, and maybe a touch of blue here and there.

A very successful outing, don't you think?