This beautiful white amaryllis was started a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. It sat. And sat. And sat. And did absolutely nothing until the week after Christmas when the very first bit of green peeked from the bulb. I think somehow it knew it didn't need to compete with the Christmas cactus or the pointsettias this year. It bided its time-- to make this spectacular splash during some of the dreariest days of winter. It most certainly helps to brighten them.... with the promise of more to come.
Joining Rachel and Corrie for the Lexicon Project.
I have a somewhat love/frustration relationship with my library. No sooner do I settle in with what I think will be a fine book, than I discover something I've put on reserve has become available. (If I don't grab it....it might be months before it crosses my path again!) It happened again this week. So, I put the current read on hold to launch into On Looking: eleven walks with expert eyes by Alexandra Horowitz.
The author (trained as a cognitive scientist) walks the city streets of her Manhattan neighborhood; in spite of her training as an 'observer', she found herself lulled into 'not seeing' what had become ordinary and commonplace. She located 11 'experts' to lead her in walks---seeing her surroundings from their perspective: she walked with an entomologist and discovered a whole world of tiny creatures, she walked with her 19 month old child---and rediscovered shapes and letters and how you can move through them--an artist, a blind friend, a physician, a geologist, an urban sociologist, an acoustic engineer.........and finally her dog. (Freddy has definitely benefitted from this reading--our walks are a bit longer; I'm a bit more patient; I'm noticing a whole lot more.) I got a little bogged down with all the scientific whys, but basically thoroughly enjoyed the premise.
From audible, I downloaded Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter; a love story that hops across continents and decades. I'm enjoying it immensely as I've been stockinetting away onsolo--for what seems like miles. Maybe about 1/2 way to the finish line--with both book and scarf!
joining Ginny for yarnalong and Tami for WIP Wednesday. Hop on over there for inspiration!
I love yarn.....and I love 'decorating' with yarn. (above vases holding some of the mitered square bits).
Over the weekend I decided to flip-flop two tables---one moving from the little sitting space in the kitchen to the den and the little corner table in the den--to the kitchen; the den one is next to one of my knitting 'nests' and has a nice lower 'shelf' perfect for a big old bowl of WIPs. (current WIP--solo with the shibui linen)
this is good--pretty, handy. (and, yes, that's really an outdoor plant stand turned into a table....)
So, I'm messing with the other table in the kitchen---and notice that my 'helper' is not by my side. Uh. Oh.
Remember this? It's a dropcloth sampler that I got last spring at Squam. It was a lot of fun stitching....but what do you do with it when it's done? I stuck it in a drawer.
Then it got stuck on a bulletin board for awhile.
It just needed a better finish than that.
I dragged out the sewing machine. I don't sew. Well, I don't sew well. When I knit, I usually have a plan, a pattern, the right 'tools', what I hope will be the perfect yarn for the project....and (while it might be fleeting...) a LOVE for what I'm making at that particular moment.
When I sew, on the other hand....there is no plan, no pattern, a cupboard full of etc. fabric for who knows what project (I do like to collect fabric which I know is totally nuts for someone who doesn't know what to do with it!).
The sampler has lots of colors, so I grabbed some colorful cotton. It needed some body, so I decided to stitch it on to another piece of fabric.
so far so good.
It's about the right size for a (nother!!!) project bag---and that wouldn't be so awful. So I started ripping strips of fabric to frame the piece, and before I knew it---it was too wide. HMMMM. I think I have an old (rather nasty) knitted pillow that had an antique feather pillow in it. rummage rummage rummage Found it! Oh, yeah. It got stuck away because it had sprung a leak and the feathers were sort of everywhere. I just jammed the whole thing (slightly repaired) in an old pillow case...sewed it shut....and it's the perfect size for the pieced 'thing' I'm making, that is now a PILLOW! Only, I've ripped the fabric up so much that now I have to piece the back as well.
The front and back sort of matched up size-wise.....close enough. (I sew the way #1 daughter knits!) and
once in a blue moon (actually, not even that often!).....I get lucky.
Thanks to a couple Castle marathon evenings, a v-e-r-y slow afternoon at the Quilt Museum, and the fact that the temperatures plummeted--PapaGeek will be wearing his 'Valentine' scarf this afternoon--all 82" of it!! (I knit every last itty bit of that cashmere....he's tall; he can handle it. I didn't want to stop.)
The mitered square blanket got the equivalent of a couple more rows added this week, although a lot of it was done in the car and during meetings---so I grabbed colors and added squares willy-nilly. It's looking very jimmy-wonked right at the moment, but has grown enough that I can 'drape' it over the back of the chair, and it sort of looks done. (believe me, looks are deceiving---it's FAR from done!)
The red is the cashmere scarf kit I got over the weekend.....and since I have Valentines Day as my target, there really isn't much rush to get this finished. It's going pretty fast---there are 4 skeins of yarn, and one is almost knit. It'll get done. (yarn bowl?? not quite. antique creamer posing as a yarn bowl--and doing a mighty fine job!)
Last week I gave up on that Pig book and downloaded Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore. I'm really liking it---it has a bit of everything....a little mystery, a little romance, a few funky bizaare characters. Less than 45 minutes left---and a lot must resolve....but so far, I'll give it two thumbs up.
My reading book is Chris Bohjalian's (Midwives author) Before You Know Kindness. I just started this last night, but I'm hooked already. It's compelling from the prologue.
If you are looking for a bit more inspiration---either reading or projects....please check out Ginny for yarnalong and Tami for WIP Wednesday!!!
I've been in a whole lot of wonderful yarn shops over the years, but Knit1Oxford in Oxford, MS has become one of my very favorites. It's the kind of place that welcomes you in---and you forget that you really didn't know any of these people when you walked through the door.
I thought I was going to be pretty 'directional' on this visit over the weekend. I had purchased a few skeins of some shibui on my last visit that I hadn't knit.....IF they still had some of the grey----and IF it was the same dye lot---I'd get enough to knit a sweater. That was going to be it. PapaGeek is pretty good in yarn stores....but I didn't want to press my luck. This couldn't be a whole afternoon of playing; we had places we needed to be.
They had it! I'm sort of happy dancing....taking my armload to the register. I hear giggling behind me, then--you've really got to try this! The women in the shop had commandeered my husband---he was at a table with about a dozen different kinds of FUDGE he was sampling!!! No wonder I was having such a quiet time fondling the woolies. Since he was so well occupied, I headed back to the Shibui wall....and found some of this:
I showed GREAT restraint in not buying needles to immediately cast this on. Just a very plain wide, long scarf in Shibui linen. Beautiful colors. And it's not many yarn shop owners who will actually talk you OUT of buying the dark border color that you use for a total of 12 rows on the whole scarf. (I personally think the scarf is going to look better minus that dark border anyway.)
Hubby is now wandering around, although I did hear him pass up the offer of coffee or tea or something. Back to what quickly became my favorite wall....and found some Habu. Another scarf. It will make a swell travel project this spring if it lasts that long in the stash.
Owner, Patsy, and I are chatting away, she's kindly winding yarn for me--I'm so jealous; next weekend there is going to be a fiber festival in Oxford!!! (the fudge people are going to be there, too---by this time, I was into the fudge, too)--when PapaGeek came up with a "Look what I found"...
Really???!!! Granted, his current 'scarf' is sort of loud, crayon box colors (that he picked out!! I might add) but, he's had it for y-e-a-r-s. Maybe it IS time to knit another. Is this the color you want? Sure, whatever. (Mr. GQ he's not.)
It's cashmere. It's gorgeous. I never want to stop knitting with this. (And it just happened to cost more than all my other piled up yarn put together!!!!--he's so worth it, though!)
Now, if I can just convince him it's not exactly a bundle-up-to-go-scoop-the-poop item.
Some weekends are good...some are great....and then once in a while along comes one that is just about perfect in every way.
We ventured to Oxford MS this weekend--to Camp Hopewell--for the LWW staff/volunteer retreat and celebration weekend. About 4 hours in the car---two of which were knitting ones-- and we ended up at Knit1Oxford before even checking in to the camp! (More about that another day.....but, let me assure you, it was FUN!!!) PapaGeek is usually chomping at the bit to get to the camp....so this was a surprise---and real treat!!!
The rest of the time, we spent:
:: catching up with old friends
:: making a few new ones
:: being a part of some strategic planning for the organization
:: celebrating the 'soon-to-be' retirement of the current director and founder of the organization
:: welcoming some of the new leadership
:: eating eating eating
:: enjoying the perfect weather outside during those few little breaks scattered throughout the weekend
As a volunteer.....I was among those served the most amazing dinner of duck stuffed with wild rice, oranged carrots, potatoes Lyonnaise, yummy salad, and a dark chocolate tart with cinnamon ice cream and raspberry sauce (I ALMOST licked my plate, but there were too many people watching)------by the staff. (PapaGeek was staff....of course, I sat at his table...hee, hee!)
Fancy white linen tablecloths, candles, flowers on the table....
I've never seen such a transformation of a church camp dining hall. It was lovely. And so relaxing. (My usual time at the camp is during training sessions....early starts, late nights, continuously running and putting out the proverbial fires, and missing at least a few meals along the way.)
and......We got back home in time for a "trip to Hawaii".....via dinner club.
I didn't cook one single meal----ALL WEEKEND LONG!!!!
This beautiful, early sign of spring is native to much of Europe where there is a long history of cultivation. While they look a bit like roses, they are in the same family as the buttercup. The genus Helleborus comes from the Greek word 'elein' meaning to injure and 'bora' meaning food-- alluding to it's poisonous nature.
For centuries it was used for various medicinal purposes. Used in the treatment of paralysis, gout, and insanity, it's toxic nature often caused tinnitus, vertigo, tongue swelling, vomiting, and cardiac arrest--so the cure was often more lethal than the disease. Hippocrates is said to have used it as a purgative (although many feel he actually used the white hellebores which isn't a true hellebores); it appears in Greek and Roman literature: as a cure for King Midas' daughters who were bewitched by Dionysus and found running naked through the streets of Pylo, but also as a poison--at the Siege of Kirrha in 585BC, the Greeks poisoned the city's water system with crushed dried hellebores leaves, causing such severe diarrhea-- weakening the defending troops, that the Greek soldiers easily took the city.
An overdose is thought to have caused the death of Alexander the Great.
The one sweet tale associated with this little gem of a plant is that of a little girl, so poor she had no gift for the Christ child. As she shed tears...every one of those tears became a little Christmas rose, or Hellebores.
I started with about five plants, bordering a garden. My plants 'shed tears' and baby plants appear by the hundreds every spring and easily transplant. They are probably my one gardening success story, but only because they are so easily grown and cultivated.
They are among my favorite flowers---but, what's not to love? 'Roses' in the garden in January!!!