Thursday, July 18, 2013

Salieri Lilies and More

The Salieri day lily is my favorite flower in our garden. It sits on edge of the North-Western tip of our perennial garden, and it's always the first thing that I weed at the start of the year. It started out as one small lily with a couple of "leaves" or "fronds" or whatever is the proper name, but it has since grown into a lovely round lily that flowers beautifully. Here are three pictures of the Salieri. The third one is very red, because that particular flower was in the bright sunshine. The true color is as seen in the first couple photos, but it's beautiful in the sun as well!

While the Salieri lily may be my favorite, I love day-lilies period. I couldn't have enough of them, and that's the truth. We have quite a few spread throughout the Northern end of the garden which gets a lot of sun. They all started as little plants, but they've filled in to be touching one another and look like a beautiful green mound. Orange lilies are the very traditional kind, and we've got those --- but after the Salieri I LOVE pink. Actually, any pink flowers make me happy. So, a pink lily is perfection.

We are in the middle of a very hot spell at the moment. A tropical storm is sitting over this whole area of the US, and it's not moved at all. Temps are in the 90'Fs in the shade and absolutely no clouds to cover that hot sun. We've been pretty good at getting things done in the morning before the heat of the day. Today is really hot, so we're trying to stay cool.

Over the past few days we have been working through the DVDs of the mini-series called Cranford. It is a period drama set in 1840s England, near Manchester. It was produced by the same team as the 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini-series. I don't know how we missed it! It's fabulous. Watched the final episode last night --- cried through most of it, but it was wonderful. You haven't seen anything until you've seen Francesca Annis as Lady Ludlow. Wow! She's beautiful. Well, got to go for now, but I'll try to get some more pictures to post soon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Entries are in at the State Fair!

We took my felting entries down to the State Fair on Saturday, so they are officially awaiting the start of the fair on the 24th of July. Hooray! This year, I took Captain Hastings and Poirot. I was really hoping to take Mark (the guitar player), but I don't have a permanent enough seat for him. Hastings looks lovely on his little wooden stand. He is what I would consider the nicest doll that I've made so far. Technically, he really has no issues --- and he looks like Hastings.

We spent a whole day last week making zucchini salsa. We managed to make enough to last the year --- and it's done before August! We filled this absolutely gigantic bowl and canned until nine in the evening. It was one long day, though. But worth it.

On the same day as the salsa canning, we had a little stray kitten turn up at the door. Someone must have dropped it off and figured that people would take it in. Boy, was it cute!! It was a black-short-haired little boy kitten. Elizabeth played with it for a couple hours and it was exactly like Oliver must have been as a baby. What real personality. We were able to take it down to one of the local vets who have another kitten of the same age and are happy to find new  owners for both.

Well, we're staying busy. Trying to get things ready and cleaned out. I think that I'll be looking forward to winter this year --- after another month or two of Summer, that is. Wait . . . did I say that?! Well, it's honest, anyway. ;) More later.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Capt. Hastings (played by Hugh Fraser) as a Needle-Felted Doll

Just in time to go to the State Fair, my newest needle-felted wool doll (or sculpture, which seems to be the more technical term!) is finished. This is actually the 21st one that I have finished! This doll is based on Agatha Christie's character Captain Arthur Hastings as portrayed by Hugh Fraser in the Poirot TV show. After having made three little Poirot dolls, I thought it was high time that Capt. Hastings got his chance. Hastings (as played by Hugh Fraser, that is) is my favorite Christie character. Besides, I've always wanted to make one of these wool dolls with a hand in their pocket --- so, this was the perfect chance.

This doll is based on Hastings' outfit in one of the first-season episodes, The Adventure of the Clapham Cook. Although, he is usually wearing this type of outfit in most shows. The back of the jacket even has the belt and pleats --- as do his pants! In contrast to Hercule Poirot, Captain Hastings never wears a "suit". Always the belted jacket with large pockets (usually of some kind of tweed). This is often worn with a knit vest, though he does appear in buttoned vests on occasion. Where Poirot wears the stiff "turned-up" collar and bow tie, Hastings always has the turned-down collar and necktie.

This doll took 59 hours to complete. He stands 10" tall and weighs 2-3/4 ounces. He was felted with .40 and .42 gauge felting needles and is made of Merino and Cotswold roving. His hair is 100% wool doll hair.

So, Captain Hastings will soon be on his way to the State Fair. After that, he will most likely end up in our Etsy store. I'm planning on taking another doll down to work on while we're at Gramma and Grampa's. Figure I could have another doll finished sometime in September --- we'll see! Elizabeth is anxious for me to make an Elrond doll for her (in his costume as seen in the first part of The Hobbit), but I think I'll wait until late Fall to start that one. That way I'll have the Winter to work on him! More later.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Spring Cleaning Our Bedroom (In the Summer?!)

Since we spent our Spring weather working on outside projects, we're doing our Spring cleaning now. We spent Monday cleaning more stuff out of the attic, but since it is just a glorified crawl-space you have to do all the hefting and heaving bending down. Very tiring. I decided that we should take a break --- not to mention that Dad needs to put a bit of flooring in up there, anyway!

So, Elizabeth and I spent two days cleaning out our bedroom and cleaning, washing and polishing the walls, the floor, the furniture, etc. Just to prove that it can happen --- here are pictures of our room in it's cleaned and picked up state. Max was enjoying the open window and wouldn't leave, so he is in the pictures, too! What a sweetie.

The photos above show:
1.) View from the door. We are hoping to paint the beam and the doors and trim and bookshelf in the Fall. A dark brown color to give an old Tudor-style look.
2.) Wall to the left (behind the door in first picture).
3.) Area to the right of the door, showing the end of Elizabeth's bed. That is one huge teddy bear that we actually shipped back from Florida. The oval pictures belonged to our grandfather. Forget about the double lampshade --- I forgot it was stuck up there. Oops!
4.) Behind our door is a built-in bookshelf that Pop made for us. Books always take priority in our room. We know it's bad when they start to take over the walk ways, right?!

5.) My bed (with Max on it!). The bed is part of the bedroom set belonging to Mom's grandparents when they set up house. Mom's got the dressers that go with it in her room. The mirror belonged to her other grandmother (and probably belonged to her grandmother!). Of course, Edward James Eliot's portrait is hanging up next to my bed, too.
6.) Elizabeth's "snooze den". She's got a book shelf and a big bulletin board. The shelf that goes along the top of the room used to hold stuffed animals and the like, but it was commandeered for our various childhood mystery series books years ago!

Well, there you have it. Our bedroom. More later.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Weekend in Cincinnati

Finally! Enough time to throw up a quick blog entry. We spent last weekend down in Cincinnati visiting with Walt and Janice. We haven't been down to their house since last October, so it was great to get down again. It was our birthday last week, so we had been planning on going down on Friday, but as Dad had to work, we drove down on Saturday. Arrived early afternoon, which gave us some nice visiting time with Walt and Janice. They had a whole group of people over for a barbecue dinner that evening. Danny and his wife came over. We had never met them (other than meeting Danny at a convention in 2005), so it was great to talk to them. Danny must be the #1 Jimmy Stewart fan --- which was so fun to talk to someone who is nuts about old films. We've never met anyone who knew the film, No Highway in the Sky. Wow! Not only know it but watched it, remembered it and liked it. Cool! We covered a variety of subjects from WWII, machine guns and Army jeeps, B-17s and old TV shows.

The highlight of the evening, which Elizabeth and I have been looking forward to for months, was that Dave came! We haven't seen him in several years, actually, so it was so fun to catch up. We had a fun night talking about music, Jazz and Big Bands. He had actually seen Louis Armstrong and his band (same band that appears in High Society with Bing Crosby) when they played in Mankato. Wow! As usual, we didn't take much in the way of pictures. Mom seems to have snapped a few early on in the evening. Guess we'll have to do better next time. ;) Above shows Dad and Walt having some fun clowning around!

The visiting and talking lasted so long into the evening that it was way after midnight before we ended up in bed. That being the case, we all decided to stay home on Sunday morning and eat a slow breakfast and talk. We ate breakfast and second breakfast (Walt and the two of us were feeling like Hobbits that day!) and didn't leave until about noon or one. We made it all the way to King's Island before realizing that we forgot the pillows. Oops! So, back to Walt and Janice's we went. Didn't get home until about 6:30pm in the end. Oliver was sure glad to see us. Let's hope that we get together down there sooner! All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. More later.