Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Springtime, Lovetime . . . May"

It's the last day of May. It's also the hottest day of the year yet. It hit 91'F in the shade, which beats out the old record heat on this day of the year. Amazingly enough, and sad enough, it is 88'F inside the house!! Less than three weeks ago we were still burning wood to heat the house, now it's so hot that the refrigerator is not working right. Oh dear.

With thunder storms every few days, and record lows followed by record highs, it's not a good year for flowers. Here are some pictures taken over the last few days. Dad spent yesterday weeding, and I was mowing, so things are beginning to look nice. Most of the flowers are fried today, though.

We haven't planted very many new flowers this year, but we were able to get a few more things --- including two shades of "Sweet Williams" (see the fifth picture above). Elizabeth and I thought that it was a great coincidence, as we got them the day after the Royal Wedding, so they were quite appropriate. Next year, in honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, we are planning on buying two "Queen Elizabeth" rose bushes. Cool, huh?!

We're trying to come up with things that don't take a lot of baking/cooking (to keep the heat down) and getting it done in the early morning. This afternoon we went up and watched Maytime. Fitting for this month, right? I love Nelson Eddy. Oh, did I tell you that I love Nelson Eddy? Well, I love Nelson Eddy. :)

It has now taken me so long to upload all of these pictures that Dad is home, and it's about time to eat Dinner. Dad's got the fridge and freezer pulled out from the wall, trying to clean them off and check the gaskets. Of course, leveling them off again is a the tough part. That gave me a chance to wash the decorations that were on top of the two units. There are some old lamps and cookie jars up there, so they had their winter "dust coats" on. They are sparkling now!

I've been working on felting a little gnome. More on the cartoon side like some of the first ones. This is another present, and he's not based on any picture --- just right out of my head. Elizabeth wants me to work on "Hastings" next. We'll see. It's between that or Flavia and Rudolph, so . . .

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back from the 2011 Wooster Fiber Show

Yesterday was the start of the Wooster Fiber Show, Mom and the two of us spent a few hours going through all the buildings there. It's held at the Wooster Fair Grounds and fills four or five buildings. I didn't need a ton of wool this time, but we still managed to do pretty well --- including a bag of stuff for Dad's fly-tying!

I didn't need natural colors (black, gray, brown or white), so we were on a "color" hunt. We were pretty shock that the prices had doubled in the last year and a half. They've gone from $1.50/$2.00 an ounce to $3.50/$4.00 an ounce. Not to mention that most of the vendors were only selling roving by the half or whole pound. If you found 4oz. balls, it was pretty good. That is not a great situation, as a felter, considering that one doll takes one to two ounces all together. Felting (other than the "quick and easy" applique-type stuff) seems to be a bit out.

My favorite ball of roving is a blend of 80% pink-colored wool and 20% white-colored silk. It's unreal looking and will make a perfect dress for a Princess Flavia. Eventually, I'll get to Flavia and Rudolph . . .

The most useful thing that I picked up was the 14oz. of skin-tone --- already dyed! Up to now, I've been carding two different tones together to make the skin, but that is a bit hard as there are still the two different colors of fiber. They tend to show up a little bit as you're felting them, so I have to be really careful to make sure that one or the other does not dominate the face. This stuff looks really similar, so it should work out. If I have to, I can always card a little something in there to change the shade.

One booth was run by a farm down in Indiana that raises "Cotswold" sheep. I'd never heard of them, but it was really interesting. Wow! They are a breed that comes from the 1st Century sheep that the Romans brought into England. Basically, no hybridizing has been done to them, so they are still remarkably similar to their long-ago ancestors. They are huge and have a staple length that can reach 12"! I got a bunch of colors to try out from there, so I'll post more about them later.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Poppies are in Bloom Again

It's that time of year again! All of the plants are really doing well, and they are very happy for all of the rain that we've been getting. A few poppies opened up yesterday, but it seems that they doubled this morning. There are still a bunch to come, though, so I think we'll be enjoying them all week. Here are some other pictures from around the backyard. That is the hops plant that is growing up the clothesline pole. It's more than tripled in size since last year, so I actually think that we'll have to split it soon. We've had sunshine for five days in a row this week, so Mom and I have really been working on hanging laundry out on the lines. Isn't it beautiful when they are so full?!

Dad's been gone on his fishing trip since Thursday. We heard from him once, but he's due home later today some time. We girls have been busy having fun while he's been off on vacation. We spent Thursday down in Columbus. Mom had a follow-up appointment down there, and we met Aunt Darlene for breakfast. Believe it or not, we hadn't seen her in seven years! She brought pictures of her grandchildren --- they are some of the most beautiful children ever. We also went to some stores (they have Whole Foods down there!) and out for pizza, so we didn't get home until nine.

On Friday, we went out garage sale-ing and then down to see Buddy and Kay. We were only going to stay an "hour or two". Well, guess what?! We stayed seven hours. That meant that we didn't even leave their house until nine, so it was another late night. Fun though. I love visiting with them.

We went to a couple more garage sales yesterday, and I was able to mow the lawn. It's been up in the eighties and sunny, so I even got some sunburn. Hmm. We're all a bit tired today, so it's been an easy afternoon. Our DVDs of the Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy films, Naughty Marietta and Sweethearts, arrived earlier this week, and Lizzy and I are dying to see them. It's the first time that any of their movies have been fixed up and released on disc.

We were also thrilled that our "Royal Wedding" postage stamps (in the form of a presentation pack) came in the mail. They're really cool. We were also able to get some photo-filled magazines with all of the pictures from the wedding day. Hooray! Here's hoping that the DVD and the music album arrive in the near future.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Having Fun Arranging My Collection

We've finally had warm weather here. In fact, it's been in the eighties (in the shade) for the last four days. I've had to mow the lawn three times in the last week, and the red maple in the front yard is completely leafed out. Mom said that she saw the first poppy open this morning, but it's raining now, so I didn't see it.

We took Dad out to breakfast at Panera this morning. After that we went to a couple antique stores. I managed to find five new French figurines for my collection, so I've spent the evening rearranging them. They are in the hutch where I keep my violin. It's on the bottom shelf and they are on the top two shelves. There are a few King George VI things in the middle there. The breakable things that wouldn't survive in the suitcase with the rest. I'm expecting a KGVI vase in the mail this week. It will match the little mug that's in there.

This evening we made a fondue for dinner and then froze some butternut squash. Boy, was it beautiful?! Dad is leaving for his fishing trip soon, so he's getting his gear packed up and all that. We'll have that time to do "girlie" things. Nothing else much to say, so I'll end for now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's been going on at our house?

After eight months of burning wood to heat the house, and having to spend most of that time in the "Winter mode", I was finally able to mow the lawn this Thursday. The grass was actually twelve inches high in some spots towards the back of the yard. With this tall (and very wet) grass I was amazed that the mower only "konked out"once on me. This new Snapper is great --- and a super work horse. Here is a picture of for you all to admire! :)

A lot has been happening around here lately. Last week, Dad brought a friend of his home from work and they cut down a Maple tree from our backyard. It had been sick for a year or two, so we'll be using it for firewood next Winter. Dad's already got it cut, stacked and drying out for splitting.

Poor little Oliver. He did something to his paw on Saturday night. We thought that maybe he had broken it, as he couldn't walk yesterday and it was really hurting him. Today, though, he looks like he is doing much better and is only limping a little. He must have just smashed his paw somehow. Elizabeth took this picture of him yesterday, so you can see how irresistible he is!

We spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday out garage sale-ing. It was Fredericktown's community sale weekend, so we found bunches of places having them. Though, there weren't as many as there used to be. It's almost like garage sales are going out of style around here. We found some great things, including the coolest 1950s table lamp for my end table upstairs. My favorite "thing" that we found is this mid-1920s chocolate box (it's a tin with hinged lid) for Whitman's Salmagundi. There is a painting of an art deco woman on the top and this whole mosaic looking design. It was still filled with mending and darning supplies that look like they are from the '30s and '40s. Cool!

Being that yesterday was Mother's Day, Elizabeth and I made a cake for Mom. This was a spice cake with cream cheese frosting, and we decided to "spice" it up! Elizabeth did the writing and all the little hearts. Isn't she good?! We've already got plans for the Father's Day cake. It's going to have a trout stream (with trout, of course). That'll appeal to Pop more than hearts!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Der Bingle!

Bing Crosby. The best singer. Ever.

His birthday seems to be clouded in just a bit of mystery. Was he born on May 2 or May 3? Was he born in 1903 or 1904? After looking into it a bit, I figured that May 3, 1903 looks to be the most likely birthday. So, this is just a quick entry to say, "Happy Birthday, Mr. Crosby"!

Nobody ever sounded like him and nobody ever will. He's such an amazing singer with a fabulous gift. Those velvet tones. Ahh. He could sing every kind of song and make them all sound wonderful. One of my favorite Bing films is Blue Skies from 1946. The plot is a bit slow, and the story isn't that great, but the songs are the best. It was made as a follow-up to Holiday Inn, so it's another Irving Berlin songfest! My other favorite is Going My Way, where Bing's smooth tones are shown off at their best. Well, every time that he sang he was "at his best"!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Needle-Felted 'Pierrot' of the Commedia dell'arte

It's happened! I finally finished the wool needle-felted doll of Pierrot. This means that the first pair of the Commedia dell'Arte figures is complete. It's taken me a while to finish him, as I haven't had as much "free time" to work on him. It seems like there have been lots of evenings where I am just too tired to felt.

Pierrot is 9-1/4 inches tall (including his hat), which makes him the tallest figure to date. He weighs 1.75 ounces. That actually surprised me, as he feels lighter than that. I think that it's because he is so tall and thin that the weight is distributed differently than, say, the Poirot doll. Pierrot took about 35 hours to complete. It looked for awhile like he was going to take forty or more hours, but his head ended up going together in six hours!

He is made of 100% Merino Wool roving felted with a #40 and a #42 felting needle. I'll certainly be glad to get to a doll with some more color! All of this white was starting to get to me. The next doll, that I'm hoping to start this week, is going to be "Columbine".

If you'd like to see some more photos of Pierrot, just CLICK HERE.