Friday, December 27, 2013

Welcome to my Process.

 What an awfully pretentious thing to say!!!  But everyone has one, and mine is sometimes very strange, even to me.  This time it revolved around some ribbon, some sand, and some glitter.  It always comes down to glitter at Christmastime.  Anyway, I had some lime green and turquoise ribbons, wide ones, and although I know it's a really popular color combination, it didn't strike me as very Christmas-y.  Then I noticed I had lime green and turquoise glitter in my stash, which was very pretty, and it occurred to me that somewhere in the little shop of chaos there was colored sand that I acquired from goodness knows where, a long time ago.  Cut to a Sunday night, when I was going to pick up a pizza, and as I drove around the back of the pizza place I spotted a large container of enormous red Christmas balls, waiting to be brought inside to decorate for the holidays.  For some unknown reason the cylinders in my head clicked into place and the project was suddenly clear, and something totally unrelated to large red Christmas balls came to me. It's a garland, made from styrofoam balls covered first with colored sand, then decorated with glitter, and strung on the wide ribbon.  Of course, though, it didn't get finished.  But that's ok, it will.  Also not finished were all of my skates; I still have 4 left in progress, along with two polar bears and 7 penguins.  I am addicted to starting new projects. 

Here's a fun new project; Santa brought me a Yamaha keyboard.  It's such a pleasure to play, after trying to do stuff on a Casio; it's a very nice Casio, not a cheap one, but the keys seem so cramped it's hard to play with both hands on it.  And I don't have big hands, and I certainly don't have the long fingers that would serve a piano player well, but I still need room to move around.

So Christmas is over, and I have already begun to prepare for spring.  Last year I posted a lot of regalia pieces for sale, not realizing how much in demand they would be RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF PROM SEASON.  I was not able to keep up with demand and also keep up with prom alterations.  So this year, I'm going to be prepared. 

If I can pull myself away from the keyboard long enough.

Friday, December 6, 2013

So There I Was...

 ...sitting at Sparky's table, up to my elbows in Mod-Podge and soot, and my phone went "cha-ching", the noise it makes when I make an Etsy sale.  We had to wait until the project was done to see what sold!  Tortuous.  Anyway, this was my first ever attempt at decoupage (I guess I missed that part of the 70s), and surprisingly enough, it was a success!  I have had this skate and the book of Christmas carols set aside for like 3 years, I kid you not.  I knew just what I was going to do with them, not really sure why it took me so long to do it.  Maybe I was unsure how to proceed, although I understood the technique well enough, because I had never done it.  In the end I just dove in with both hands.  The idea was simple enough; antique the sheet music with tea (which really proved unnecessary as it toasted quite well as I scorched the edges), rip it into pieces, scorch the edges with a candle without burning the house down, and plaster 'em on there with Mod-Podge (which I had never used before, although I guess it has other applications besides this one).  Seriously, I had had this project hanging around waiting to be done for SO LONG that the big jar of Mod-Podge had hardened.  Fortunately, Sparky had some.  Great stuff!  Now I'm wondering what else I can decoupage.  No blank surface is safe!!  And today I will find out if it can be used to stiffen the bases of treetop angels.  I guess I will owe Sparky another jar!
So I've gotten the majority of my skates done, there are still a few left to do but I had to stop and do something else for a while because...well, you HAVE to.  Here's another experiment I did, wanted a rustic Americana kind of look so I used crackle medium and then antiqued it with wood stain.  Of course nothing is complete without a little glitz, even if it is antique bronze instead of shiny gold or silver.  Seemed to go better.
Notice two things about this picture;  one, I have no nails.  Well I mean I have nails, but they are very short and unpainted.  Fussing with my manicure is not in my schedule.  Also I find longer nails get in the way.  Secondly, there's a cup of tea.  There's ALWAYS a cup of tea.  Nothing much gets done here without being fueled by tea.

In other news, I now have bifocals!  I know some people balk at the idea because of the age thing, but I am so excited I just can't tell you.  They laughed at me when I picked them up yesterday at the eye doctor's because I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  Gone are the days of taking them off and sitting on them, looking over them, putting them up on my head and putting them back down, etc. etc.  What a pain in the ass that was. I put them on when I picked them up and didn't touch them again until I went to bed last night. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Skating Away

 The tea set is done!  See, every once in a while I DO finish something I started.  But as soon as one is finished, the next one starts.  Or more likely, the next one was already started.  It's hard to have more than one painting project going at once, though, as I just don't have the space.  Probably it's a good thing. So now I've moved on to the pile of skates I picked up over the summer, and so far they are progressing pretty quickly.

 The problem I sometimes have is lack of inspiration when it comes to deciding just HOW I'm going to paint them.  But this time, the ideas came almost faster than I could write them down, and I have plans for 10 of the 12 skates I managed to accumulate.  Here's one I did last summer after finishing the cherry chair and stool and was still in cherry mode.  Right now it's all I can do not to paint one purple with violets on it.  I still might, it's not exactly wintery but then neither are cherries.

Thanksgiving is almost here, and once again I have managed, for the most part, to avoid Christmassing my shop.  I'm old-school, I guess, and I think Christmas should wait until after Thanksgiving.  I understand people like to get shopping early, and my Etsy shop is certainly sporting lots of Christmas stuff, but there's not much that annoys me more than going into a store, any store, and seeing Christmas stuff out in October.  So until Thanksgiving week, Incredible Threads remains, for the most part, a Christmas-free zone.  No holiday displays, and certainly NO Christmas music.  I love Christmas music but it has to wait until this week.  My plan is to go in tomorrow and deck the halls while the store is closed. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

November begins....

...I guess I blinked and missed October.  Well not quite, I did enjoy the foliage.  The view out my new window includes one really nice maple tree!  But that's bare now.  And if it wasn't bare already, today would take care of that.  It's really, really windy!  I even got an update from National Grid yesterday with a high wind warning.  I had forgotten all about having signed up for those, did that during the blizzard last winter and never heard a peep out of them till now. 

 I've been a crocheting fool lately.  Although there are a lot of other things to get done, so I'm trying to limit myself to crocheting while I watch TV.  Lucky for me it's football season!  So I have been getting a lot of crocheting done and a lot of additions to my Etsy shop.  I am trying to convince my friends and Sparky of the validity of the concept of fingerless gloves, without much success.  None of them text.  But that's ok, they are selling pretty steadily so SOMEone gets it! And that just gives me an excuse to make more.  Although I have a lot of yarn that just doesn't lend itself well to that project, so at some point during the winter I may try to learn how to make booties.  If I get really ambitious.

Sue and I hit the motherlode of sewing and fabric stuff!  We bought about 20 big totes-worth of stuff from someone who was cleaning out, and it's going to take us a long time to go through all that.  We plopped it all in Sue's living room for now, and what you see here is just a small part of it.  Good thing she didn't happen to have any furniture in there!  So we are both pretty much all set for the winter as far as raw materials.  I think.

Well the house is all put back together on the outside, the only thing remaining is the inside window casing.  Preston cut the boards out, and I promised to stain and poly them.  So that will be this weekend's project...along with digging through all those totes and boxes!

Monday, October 14, 2013


If this is not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, that's ok...but it ranks WAY up there on MY scale.  It has actually been finished for a couple of weeks, I just have been too busy to post.  It's been not too cold here during the day, but the nights they do get chilly so we have had the stove lit a few times.  Now all that remains is to get the end of the house put back together!  We were delayed by having to fix the leaking fuel lines in Preston's truck, that sucked up several days.  Always something.

And look, I have a window!!  Again, might not seem like such a big deal, but that is the corner where my desk is and it faces east.  Imagine how dark that corner was with no windows in it.  Our house was pretty cave-like, not a whole lot of natural light got in.  Till now!  Just have to frame it in, but that can wait.  Got to get the outside finished.

In addition to all my other projects, I've been crocheting a lot.  I have quite a bit of trouble reading crochet instructions, but as it turns out there are lots and lots of tutorials on YouTube and that's what I need; to be shown.  I already knew how to crochet, but only in two dimensions.  Now I can make these neat fingerless gloves and I'm trying to figure out how to make a hat.  Because there must have been five extra minutes in my day when I wasn't doing anything else!!  These sold within an hour of my listing them in my Etsy store so that's encouraging.  I think that must be the fastest sale I've ever made.

Time to get out the Christmas stuff I finished off during the year and get that listed, too.  Yes I realize it's rushing the season, which I hate, but I see by my Etsy shop stats that people are already looking for tree skirts and as I usually wait till the last minute to do everything, I don't want to miss the boat.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Potato Tower FAIL...

...sort of.  I grew my potato plants four tires high, and when the time for the unveiling finally came I dismantled them one tire at a potatoes.  Not until I got to the bottom tire of each tower were there any potatoes, and the ones that were there were very small...some barely bigger than peas!!  We called them "pea-tatoes".  I kept them, as there were a bunch of them, we'll see how they taste.  Had the larger ones last night, and they were delicious.  But what you see here is all there were!  No more than if I had just stuck the sets in the ground.  Very disappointing.
this was not even the smallest of the small.
BUT, while the potatoes were less than I expected, I
did get one monstrous butternut squash!  That sucker is over a foot long and weighs 5 pounds.  There are a few smaller ones out there, but I'm hoping they'll get at least a little bigger before I pick them.  We also have loads of tomatoes, some of which are even ripe.  All in all, the garden was not great this year but I'm hearing that from everyone else too so it's not just my brown thumb.  So next year I won't do the tire thing, I'll just grow the spuds in the ground. But I borrowed some tires from Frank for this project, and now for some reason he won't let me return them!  So now I'm stuck with them.

Speaking of Frank, he's been helping us with the house project, thank goodness.  Here he is threatening to put Preston out of his misery.  Those chimney blocks weigh about 85 pounds, and we are now at the point where we have to lift them over our heads.  I have no idea how that's going to work, but Preston has a plan, I'm sure.  I hope.  No, I have faith in him.  He knows what he's doing. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bringing Down The House

 Do you know what this is?  I do.  It's a handy little tool for unzipping the vinyl siding from your house.  It works really well, super easy.  Pray you never have to use one.  Because there are only two reasons for removing the vinyl siding from your house.  Either you don't like the color (in which case you can probably afford to hire someone else to change it), or something has gone horribly, horribly wrong behind your siding.
 Yup....horribly wrong.  It all started with the chimney, but we all know what happens when you get into what seems like a straightforward project.  Right behind that section where the drywall is exposed is my computer desk.  In recent years, when the house is quiet in the morning, I could hear chewing noises.  I kid you not.  I thought I was losing my mind at first, but it turns out the chewing was real.  What I was losing was my house!!  Not even termites, just ants.  Although what's the difference in the long run, I couldn't say.  The house is just as destroyed. Preston assures me that since this is a gable end it doesn't support a whole lot of weight, and he would know, but I still have the nagging suspicion that the siding and cheap T-111 that was under it were the only things holding my roof up. 

This is the part where the chewing was coming from.

So now I'm torn between showing up at work in order to make money to pay for all this repair, and staying home to help repair it!!  I feel so guilty going off and leaving Preston to deal with it alone, but then if I close the shop to stay home and help him, I don't get any work done and no money comes in.

So if my hours are a little erratic this week and next, that's why.  If I could only clone myself.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Today, We Pour.

Booze?  No, even more fun.  Cement. It seems our chimney has (had) a huge crack in it, and Preston determined that it was not going to make it through one more winter; a fact that was proven when he got on the roof and was able to almost push it over with his bare hands.  I have a video of that, but for some reason it won't upload.  Anyway, we hooked it up to the truck and with very little force, down it went with an anticlimactic "plop".  I was hoping it was going to make a big crash and shatter into a million pieces, but none of that happened.  So this is what the back of our house looks like, minus that big wart of cement you see here.  The reason the bottom half of it is black is from all the creosote that leaked out, hence the need for a new chimney.  So last night he built a form, and today we will pour a footing. A fun way to spend my Sunday, I like playing in the cement.
I found this table in a yard sale and it just begged to be rescued.  It's a good thing there are no yard sales in winter, or I'd never catch up on my projects!  It's a well-made little table, and it even has a drawer!  It is definitely handmade, and pretty old, and surprisingly sturdy.  Usually I avoid those turned legs, because they're a bitch to sand, but I couldn't resist this poor table.  It has issues, of course, but that's the way I like 'em!  There are a couple of places where there are digs in the wood and whoever painted it just painted right over them, so I'm going to try to fix those as best I can. I have this stuff called "Quick Wood" (stop giggling), and although it smells pretty foul, it hardens like cement.  Also the bottom of the drawer will need to be replaced.  The color is just WRONG, and it's no mystery to me why it got relegated to the basement (or maybe the tool shed), as evidenced by all the spider webs and crud on it.  I AM going to finish the tea tray project first, but I wanted to see what was under the hideous paint so I started sanding the top and found that in its first incarnation, it was stained and varnished and had a nifty design painted on it!  I wonder why someone covered it up.  We'll never know that answer, but now I'm debating between two different plans for it.  Which way I go depends on how the top looks when I finish sanding.  I'd really like to stain the top and paint the rest, but can't tell what condition it's in yet.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moving Right Along... the next project.  Always looking for stuff to paint, I picked up this little tray a few weeks ago.  The box is also wood, picked that up meaning to do something with it related to the bureau project.  But then I found this beautiful teapot, and of course I had to have it because it's purple and green, and suddenly these unrelated things started to make sense together.  Of course when I spotted the fabric, it all jelled in my mind, and suddenly the bureau project got pushed down the list again.

The tray seemed a little wobbly, so I decided to give it some wood glue since it didn't seem to have any.  What ended up happening was that I took the whole thing apart, glued it and re-nailed it.  It wasn't put together very well, and I wouldn't trust that lovely teapot to cheap Taiwanese craftsmanship. Sparky laughs at me because I put SO many hours into these projects that I probably end up making the same pay rate as the guy who made the tray did.  But I bet I
have more fun!

Found this guy on my car, and boy, did he have a bad attitude.  He was strolling across my hood, but as soon as he spotted me he stopped cold and put his front legs out in front of him and turned his head to stare me down, trying to look like a badass. We stood like that for what seemed like a long time, neither willing to back down...until I went for my phone and broke eye contact, at which point I guess he decided he won because he turned and continued across the hood and onto the mirror, completely ignoring me but not willing to stop to have his picture taken.  He was apparently on a mission.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

If Only I Didn't Have To Sleep!

The apple table is finally done!  Sometimes projects seem like they're never going come together.  Problems with the painter's tape, problems with the paint drying, and then when I got it all done and put together I discovered that the legs were not all the same length! Didn't notice that when I bought the table.  Off they came, and Preston cut them for me so now it's nice and stable. For a small table (18" by 30" x 29" high), it weighs a ton.  Hardwood.

The next project (I know I said I was going back to the bureau but something else came up!) is a wooden tea tray and tea canister that I'm going to paint to match a lovely little teapot I picked up.  And then yesterday I found a piece of fabric that also matches, so there will be a tablecloth to go with them.  Sometimes I have to wait a long time for inspiration, but these pieces, which all came from different places at different times, just all go together so well I have to move them to the top of the list!

 Try as I might, I didn't get everything done I was supposed to for the powwow.  This little dress was the last thing I finished, and I disappointed several people.  There just are not enough hours in the day to finish everything I think I can do, and I wonder if I'll ever really wrap my head around that reality.  Probably not.  I always think I'm going to have enough time to squeeze in one more thing before a deadline, and the part of my brain that loves to take on a new project does not realize that it also has to sleep and eat and do housework.  BUT, the people whose projects I did manage to finish in time were most appreciative.  I will have to plan better next year.  Please try not to laugh too hard.

Since Sue has been doing the South Kingstown Farmer's Market, and has removed almost all of her stuff from my shop, it occurs to me that most of the things I have been making are things that hang up.  I have lots of surface area in there, and have decided to fill it by finishing some projects I started a long time ago, like these dolls. I used to make dolls and lots of other stuff so long ago when we used to do shows, and haven't made any since before I opened the store.  These two I started when I first opened, but never got around to finishing them. 

It's also time to get out the fall merchandise; not my idea, although I love fall and can't wait to feel that little nip in the air.  But people have actually been coming into the shop and asking about fall and winter clothes for kids, so I guess it's time to think a little ahead.  I did find, when I got out the fall clothes, that the stash was pretty depleted so I guess in between dolls, I'd better get out the fleece and flannel! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Don't Go In The Basement

 Slow going with the table!  I'm determined to get it done so I can get back  to the bureau project, but I ran into a paint won't dry!! It's been really humid here, so I thought that was the problem.  Brought it in the house, where it's significantly less humid, and that didn't work.  Preston said it needs to sit in the sun and bake, which made sense, so we had a couple of really beautiful days with much lower humidity.  I let it sunbathe, and still the paint was tacky.  So I did a little research, and found this to be a widespread problem with latex paint.  The solution everyone had to offer was, use oil-base.  Not helpful at this point.  And since I did see a post from someone who painted a bureau and YEARS later stuff still stuck to it, I decided that I would just go ahead and poly it.  Seems to be working out so far, the water-based polyurethane has no problem drying.  I'm going to put at least 4 or 5 coats on it, since it's a table top.
 As I paint, I have an audience of ginormous humpback crickets, or as i refer to them, my minions.  They hang out on the walls and ceiling of the cellar and are about 1-1/4" long plus legs.  The antenna, which you can't see in this pic, are easily 4" long.  They started to populate the cellar after Crash got too sick to go down there and putter all the time, and it took me some time to get used to them because they're pretty ugly, not cute like the usual black field crickets.  They look kind of spidery, also not a point in their favor.  They definitely are getting bigger every year. But they seem to regard me as a minor nuisance, and if I make too much noise and commotion they go hide till I leave.  I don't like to kill things, as long as they don't bother me I don't bother them.  Sparky is a little disconcerted that such monsters dwell in the nether regions of her house, but I assured her that they don't want to come upstairs.  They like the dark and damp. Plus, I can't remember the last time I saw a spider or a mouse in the cellar.  I'm pretty sure the crickets are eating them. Ah, life in the country.

 Finally, a beautiful evening I could spend in the garden without getting eaten alive!! Maybe mosquito season is over.  Sparky said maybe they decided to fly south for the winter.  Whatever they were doing yesterday, they weren't doing it in my garden.  My friends the cows, as usual, saw me out there and came to demand their fair share of grass and weeds and of course, I'm happy to oblige. They look kind of small in this pic, but actually they're getting pretty big. There's just a drop off behind my garden so they're down lower than me. And they were eating that thistle where it pokes through the fence!  Talk about heartburn!  I would think it would hurt their tongues but I guess cows are pretty tough customers.

The thistle is beautiful, I left it alone because it lives in the DMZ between my garden fence and the pasture fence.  The no-cow zone.  Not a very big space, but big enough! So there have been lots of bees and butterflies checking it out.  No goldfinches, but that's probably Sparky's fault because she feeds them all summer so they don't need to go looking for seeds.

 Some things are doing very well in the garden this year, some not so much.  The butternut squash seems very aggressive toward the bell peppers. Once it started to spread, it made a beeline for them and now is determined to wind its little tentacles around and choke the life out of them.  Not cool. I planted the butternut and the cucumbers more toward the north end of the garden this year because everything that spreads tends to spread south.  However, this year they are traveling north, which baffles me. But at least they're growing so I guess I shouldn't complain.
one lonely little ripe tomato!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Garden is Doing Fine Without Me.

And I say that only because during the day it's too stinking hot to stay out there for long, and in the evening the mosquitos make it impossible. Look at my teeny, tiny cucumber though!  All my plants have little veggies on them, and yes, I know, people grow this stuff all the time but as I am not the sort of person who spends countless hours and money on her garden, I'm always impressed when stuff actually grows.  This year I didn't even get around to buying any fertilizer, but things seem to be going along very well in the garden without it.  I never use any pesticides, but so far this year the bugs have been minimal.
I did spring for some hay, and it's all mulched and looks pretty (yeah, I know that's not the point of mulching your garden, but it's a bonus), and smells of hay which I love.  Here's the potato experiment, going quite well also.  Preston says that's a lot of work to go through for a few potatoes, but I'm hoping it'll be more than just a few this year.  The stacks are now 4 tires high, and that's as high as I'm going because to shovel more dirt into a stack 5 tires high even seems like to much work to ME.
Still working on the table, although it's Powwow time so it's been forced to take a back seat for the time being.  This was a disappointing experience with painter's tape, it's not supposed to bleed under the edges but clearly it did.  Fortunately, in a RARE show of foresight, I had set aside some of that pale green paint (It was a color I had mixed up myself) just in case this might happen, and I was able to touch i all up so all that featheriness is gone now.  Once I took the tape off and looked at those stripes, I realized they needed to be a little fancier, so as you can see I've marked off squares so I can do the checkerboard thing.  I'm going to use the dark brown I used for the apple seeds, black seems a little harsh for this project.

And now, off to my real job for a little while.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stairway to Heaven

Many thanks to Kathy for letting me know about this incredible performance.  I had to share it with you; maybe you'll enjoy it and maybe not, depending on your musical taste,  but I just found it riveting. In spite of the fact that the song was cut short of its original 8 minutes, it's still pretty impressive.

When Stairway to Heaven came out I was 8 years old.  Not only wasn't it the kind of music that was played in my house, but I was too young anyway to appreciate the genius that was Led Zeppelin.  Indeed, I didn't appreciate them until I was way older; all weird chord progressions, cryptic lyrics, and Jimmy Page. Now I listen to them a lot, and my band covers a couple of their songs.  We have DVDs, and there is concert footage on Palladia frequently, from when they were young and beautiful and millions adored them and their whole lives lay before them. They broke up in 1980, when drummer John Bonham tragically drank himself to death and the rest of the band decided that there was no replacing him. 
Bonham, Jones, Plant & Page; a match made in heaven.

It is, of course, fitting that Heart should be the band to perform the epic Stairway;  Heart covers many of Zeppelin's songs in their live performances.  It was also gratifying that Jason Bonham should pay tribute to his father, who has been referred to as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest rock drummer of all time.  Jason, obviously, is no slouch either.

But the best part of this video, for me, was watching the surviving Zeppelin members as they watched the performance.  Now aged from 64-69, it's hard to imagine what might have been going through their minds.  Looking back to 1971, you have to wonder if they had any idea what they had wrought or how many people they would touch with just this one song, which stands as the most requested rock song of all time. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Apple Table Update

It's only a small table, the top measures about 18" x 30".  But such potential!  Like most of my projects, the idea for its final design has changed several times since I first got it  First I was going to paint a vine growing up one leg and continuing across the top.  Then I was going to paint koi fish on it.  Then I found a picture I had clipped from somewhere with sliced pears making a decorative border.  But one thing has remained the same, there had to be stain on that lovely maple butcher-block top.  As much as I love to paint stuff, I also love the look of wood grain.  So here, I'll have the best of both worlds!  I finally decided on apples, not pears, for the borders. I was going to paint an off-white stripe as the background for them, until it occurred to me that the sliced apple would be white.  That's way too much white and not enough color. So I mixed a shade I liked, and that's what you see here.  Then I wanted a darker shade to do the edges of the green, the apple leaves, and the table legs; but mix as I might, I couldn't get a shade that worked.  So today it's off to the local home improvement store to buy something I like.  I didn't want to get a full quart, because I'm cheap and I don't need that much, but I also know what I want and even if I have to pay $8 for a quart of paint, the table will look the way I want it to look. So there.  It's Monday, so I have an attitude.  Doesn't everyone?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mission (sort of) Accomplished

The patio is done!  Well, almost.  Preston swept the sand into the cracks like you're supposed to, but somehow every time it rains the sand jumps OUT of the cracks and makes piles on top of the pavers.  I don't think it's supposed to work like that.  So there's this stuff called "polymer sand" and what it does is after you sweep it into the cracks, you wet it and it hardens and it never comes out.  I think we'll have to get some of that.
But the last step was to spread out that huge pile of dirt and plant some grass seed, which we did over Memorial Day weekend, once again with Frank's help.  That's a lot of dirt to move.  The ugly table ended up in the scrap pile, and Sparky bought a nice new one.  I had all good intentions, but the new one looks really good and was relatively inexpensive AND I didn't have to sand it.

Now we can sit on the new patio and watch the grass grow.
Our resident Rock Star came home for a weekend last month, and found a few minutes for a photo op with Sparky.  The reason she has that look on her face is because she absolutely hates to have her picture taken, and I believe at the time she was making threats to my person and my camera.  But as you can see, it didn't stop me.  I'm such a brat. 
Sparky and I took a trip to her new doctor's office the other day, and on the way out I spotted this in the window of the office next door.  I couldn't resist snapping a pic, sometimes I wish I could do this!!  I have been taking some time away from the shop lately, but it wasn't by choice and it sure wasn't for pleasure...I had pneumonia, and of course I infected my poor husband who, unlike myself, required medical attention.  We're recovering, but it sure does drag on.                                              

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mint Juleps on the Patio...any minute now.

Building the forms for cement to connect the sidewalk to  the patio
Progress!  The patio pavers are all in, and Preston decided to pour a border of cement around the edge to keep them from shifting, instead of the usual plastic edging which you don't see anyway, and which gets to be very expensive by the time you go all the way around the patio.  So now all that's left is to sweep the sand into the cracks, spread the dirt back into the yard and plant some grass seed.  NEXT project: getting all the firewood out of the garden so we can plant!

Well done, mother nature!!
I don't think I posted this pic before, but here's why we have firewood in the garden.  When Sandy hit, a tree that was in our neighbor's cow pasture fell on my Little Shop of Chaos and our neighbors generously cut it up and let us keep it, since they don't use a wood stove and it was in our yard anyway. Minimal damage to the Shop, all that had to be repaired was the electrical wire going in.  The garden is to the right of the shed.
 I have been in touch with Tom the rototiller guy, and so all that's left is to clear out the wood.  I am excited to try the potato-and-tire trick, since we have an unknown number of old tires hanging around.  I've always wanted to try this, because we don't have a whole lot of garden space and a lot of that is taken up with beans, tomatoes and squash, but in years past my springs have been taken up with...other obligations...and I never seemed to have enough time to play in the dirt.  Last year was the first time in years that we had a garden at all, and it was just more wonderful than I can tell you to be able to do that.
 We are having an actual spring for the first time in...well, I can't remember the last time.  Usually we go right from freezing to sweltering but it's been just beautiful here for several weeks and a lot of people I know have already planted their gardens. All the birds and frogs and various critters are out and about.  I've lived here all my life and never knew we had dung beetles..also never knew how beautiful they are!!  I wish the colors showed up better, he (it's a he) is the most striking metallic green and copper I've ever seen. Preston found him floundering in Myah's water dish.  His feet are built for digging, not for swimming, so we rescued him.

On the sewing front, we are smack dab in the middle of prom season.  Thankfully, I was able to buckle down and work my behind off and get all the Junior prom gowns done and picked up by Wednesday night, so I took Friday off to spend with The Boy, who came home for the weekend to attend the wedding of an old friend.  I've got to stop calling him that, the old fart is going to be 30 at the end of this year.  But he'll always be The Boy to me.  Anyway, senior prom is this week and I'm always so glad when proms are over for the year.  I did finish the funky turquoise-and-mustard dress set, for better or for worse!  I think it's cool and really different.  Because I no longer have any sense of what colors go or don't go together.  It's complete anarchy in my brain.