Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Got Needles?

Here's a riddle for you -
How many knitting needles
does a knitter need?

In the beginning,
when you first learn to knit,
every new project seems to need
a different size (i.e. "new") needle.
So, you start to build a collection.
Of course, you have to try each and every
needle that comes along until you find
your favorite.
There are metal, aluminum, wood, bamboo, plastic, etc.
(I think I just read about glass needles.
Memo to me:
"Need to try those.")
Not to mention you can use
straight, circular or double points.

My "go to" needles are the ones in the
hanging organizer in the first two pictures.
The above are just a mixed assortment that I rarely use anymore.
Why not weed out a few and get rid of some?
Just no.
I just do not part with knitting needles.

That's why I have such a massive collection.
I have accumulated these needles over
forty years of knitting.
I suppose that makes some of them true "vintage."

Of course, it wouldn't be much of a collection
without the double pointed needles.
It's hard to believe,
but these pictures don't even include the
numerous needles stashed around
in my knitting bag(s) with ongoing projects.
(Knitting bags are a whole other malady.)
Would you believe,
I still have occasions when I need to
buy another set of needles?
I know.  I have issues.

Don't even get me started on crochet hooks.
I know how to crochet,
but I am a knitter, not a crocheter.
That being said, every knitter worth her keep
needs a few crochet hooks in her bag too.

Let's just say I have a weakness.
What's yours?

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Garden Tour Time!

"The Friendship Garden" by Nancy Jane Earnest

Aren't garden tours fun?
Last Saturday a good friend of mine,
Susan O. and I toured our local
Shady Oaks Garden Club's "Boundless Gardens."
This is a federated club,
existing in our area for decades.
It is a highly respected group,
with demanding membership and responsibilities.
When you see the pictures,
you'll understand why.
(These pictures, and much of the commentary
is from my friend Susan, who is a dedicated gardener,
daylily master and outstanding photographer.
Thank you Susan!)

The two pictures above are from our first stop.
This garden had extensive use of stone borders,
unusual conifers and shrubs,
and never ending daylilies,
which sadly were not yet in full bloom.

The next stop was  three neighboring gardens.
The first, above had a lovely woodsy feel.

A raised bed vegetable garden
was enclosed with fencing,
which we heard was to keep out a pesky fox.

The "Metamorphosis" Garden
was my personal favorite.
This home is very near mine
and I have probably driven by it
at least a thousand times,
never suspecting what was in the backyard--
 a real "secret garden!"

Here I am viewing the herb garden area
which was bordered with bricks and chimney pipes
filled with thriving herbs.

Bog plants grown in pots fill the deck.
Evidently, these are quite difficult to grow.
The owner said she only waters with
creek and rain water.
This garden has a creek running through
the backyard with a stone bridge over it.
It was breathtaking!

Healthy Pitcher Plants

This is the final picture, taken from the deck
 of the intensely planted backyard at the
Metamorphosis Garden.

A final stop was a "community garden."
This group of adjoining gardens was created
by three condo neighbors.
This front garden was planted as a
memory garden of the owner's sister.

The gated patios were open
and it was inspiring to see what
can be created in a tiny amount of space.

Here is a peek into another small patio garden.

Stacked raised beds for better accessibility.
What a great idea!

This is the area just behind the
neighboring condos' enclosed gardens.
These gardeners have made use of every inch of space.

Here is local artist, Nancy Jane Earnest, 
who started the painting above
using acrylic paint and knife,
at the beginning of the tour.
She was working in a pastorial setting,
adjoining the community gardens.
It was interesting and fun to see the painting
develop during the tour.
Take another look of the finished piece
at the beginning of this post.

If you have the opportunity to join a garden tour
this summer, don't miss out.
It's one of the pleasures of summer!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Books are for Stacking!

 I have a metal and wicker tea cart that has been
waiting for me to create some sort of
interesting display since I moved the large plant
that usually sits there,
outside for the summer.
I have several pretty pots of violets
to put on it,
but kept thinking I needed to find
some sort of risers to get some different heights.

Before Buttermilk Cottage I had lots of
bookcases, overflowing with books.
Sadly, that's not the case here.
My library has been edited to only
those books I cannot bear to part with,
even though they have been read, 
often several times.
Those books are stashed in a basket
on top of a wardrobe.
I have decided to put them to work!

Since space is a factor,
I have started using as much white as possible
for decor accessories.
It seems to add less "chatter."

Why not make some white paper covers for my books?

In just a couple of minutes
I had a whole stack of
white books.

Perfect for displaying the violets
on my tea cart!

This creates a much more interesting display
than just placing the violets all on one level!
And, I love the idea of using what I already have.

Linking this week with

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Reflection Time...Again!!!

I don't know how it happens so quickly,
year after year,
but here it is once again,
my birthday.
I never regret birthdays,
I'm thankful to have another one to celebrate.
I don't regret that my energy level
is not what it used to be.

It's just a reminder that I need to listen to my body
and take the time to sit and
read that book,
watch that old movie on TV,
or spend an hour or two just enjoying the view.
All those piles of home projects
that never seem to end will wait.
I don't really regret my years at all.
On one level it is very liberating
when you come to understand
you don't have to prove yourself to anyone,
Those days of trying to impress bosses,
friends, relative and mere acquaintances
are finished.
I am what I am,
take it or leave it.

That doesn't mean I don't have regrets.
I think my number one regret,
as I reflect on my life this birthday,
is that I didn't relish, really relish,
my daughter Kate's childhood.

What wouldn't I give to have more days
of that sweet little girl by my side,
"helping" me in the kitchen,
or her eagerly bringing me a favorite book
to read to her...for the 100th time
(please let me read it to you another 100 times),
or those countless hours in the car,
just her and me,
when the barriers seemed to come down
and conversations seemed to flow.
Kate now lives hundreds of miles away from home
and is doing precisely as she was taught to do.
She is being independent, and thinking for herself.
And she never ceases to take my breath away!
(An update note on Kate,
who has been living and working in NYC
as an editorial assistant at a major publishing company:

She will be moving to Washington DC
at the end of the summer,
and beginning the next dream of her life
by starting law school.
Bravo Kate!)

So, the lesson learned from this regret
is to hold tight to the time we do have together,
whether it is a phone call or a visit.
And it does not only apply to my time with Kate.
I want to really relish the time I have
with everyone I love.
I want to slow down, even more,
and take the time for
another hour's conversation.
I want to really relish the people in my life,
Kate, my sister Nancy,  my parents,
my brothers and their wives,
my knitting buddies,
my friends, relatives and neighbors.
All dear, dear people,
who are so easy for me to take for granted.

My sister left me a sweet birthday card this morning
with a note telling me to only do the things
I want to do today.
What to do with this wonderful gift of a new day...

Relish it!

(All images are from Google Images,
except the one of Kate and me!)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Needle Cases in a Pretty Blue Ikat Fabric

I have just listed this morning
a complete assortment of
in a fresh and pretty new Ikat fabric.

You'll also find a set of my
in the same fabric.
This is a handy and pretty set
to add to your knitting bag.
Every knitter needs some crochet hooks!
(Drat those dropped stitches!!!)

Not a knitter?
I have also used the same new fabric
to make Accessory Bags.
These little zippered bags, with vinyl fronts
are handy for jewelry, make up, travel,
sewing and small knitting tools.
I'll bet you can find many more uses for them too!

Happy weekend everyone!
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