Friday, July 29, 2011

Green Gates and The Green Man

In 2008, writing about honeysuckle and hummingbirds this was a picture of our back garden gate that leads to a larger garden area down wooden stairs.  This is what it looked like three years ago:

Unfortunately, we had some very cold winters that killed off the honeysuckle vines.  We took down the archway, cut back the dead branches, and were left with just the gate that looks bare and in desperate need of a face lift.

So I went looking for garden gates that were green in color, hoping to find something I liked and would inspire me to repaint the wooden gate.  Here are some pretty gates that I found while doing an internet search:

from pinterest 

(from dreamstime)

Using oil paint from a tube, paint thinner and a linseed oil mixture with instructions here, this is our newly refurbished stained gate:

This is the gate yesterday prior prior to staining:

What a difference a little paint makes!

This is a Green Man, cast in iron, similar to one that I just ordered to attach to the fence:

The Green Man that spirit, energy, presence, inherent in every cell of the vegetative realm, and transmitted to the animal/human realms through the foods we eat, the flowers we smell, the trees we hug. He is Pan.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kilkenny Cowl

Several months ago, Paula the Podcaster at Knitting Pipeline,  mentioned that she was knitting a different sort of cowl.  The name of the cowl sounded Irish (the Kilkenny Cowl) and I thought it might be one I would enjoy making and wearing while in Ireland this fall.  And then on her podcast yesterday, she again mentioned finishing it for her future daughter in law, and showed the pretty cowl on her website.  So I, too, will share this pattern and the end results.

In early July, I shopped online at Quince & Company and ordered the pattern and the yarn to knit this cowl.

(The pictures of the Kilkenny and the pretty girl are from the Quince website)

Yes, you too can order the Kilkenny pattern and yarns here.

The "chickadee" yarn in the color nasturtium, in 100% made-in-America wool was purchased and knit over a few weeks, resulting in my rendition of the Kilkenny Cowl:

Remember those beaded glass bracelets I made to go with it?

Thanks, Paula, for the suggestion of a fun knit project with cables and lace making that was not too difficult.

(More Kilkenny Cowl knitting information can be found here on my Ravelry page.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Therapy Dogs International and a New Scarf

Last night was the third Friday of the month Sew-In party hosted by Heidi.  She gives away a couple of door prizes, and everyone shows off  their sewing projects they finished on the night of the virtual party.  Then the "partiers" show off their finished objects on their blogs the following day ... which happens to be today.

And yes, I was late to the party.  But it did give me the incentive to quit looking at that scarf that has been lying pathetically on my sewing machine for more than a few weeks, just waiting for me to do some cutting and sewing and applique.  So I joined the party yesterday and finished my sewing project last night.

  • 1) A red Therapy Dogs International (TDI) scarf that belongs to Libby the Therapy Dog, aka Dr. Libby, aka The Corridor Chaplain at our local hospital.  The scarf is HUGE, the dog is small.  Hence, Libby never wears it because the size of the scarf would literally envelope her like a blanket.
  • 2.  A small piece of watercolor fabric remnant that was too good to throw away.
  • 3.  An inspiration to "save" the emblem of TDI, incorporating it into a smaller kerchief.
After cutting out the emblem and finessing it onto the scrap fabric with interlining and applique, we have a finished product that is wearable by a 10 pound pup.


Friday Night Party Wrap-Up:
  • Sometimes it is handy being your own best friend at a party that only you attend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sassy Water

Have you tried SASSY water?  It is the next best thing since... fill in the blank...  And it supposedly gets rid of belly fat.  Ya think?

This is what you need:

8. 5 cups water
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 cucumber (sliced)
1 lemon (sliced)
spearmint leaves, a dozen or so (I leave them whole)

Combine everything and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Drink!

That is the official recipe, but since cukes and lemons are not cheap, I used half the amount called for and it tasted just fine.  Then the next day, I could make up another batch of sassy water.

The taste?  It was refreshing.  But I doubt it gets rid of belly fat...unless you quit eating.

Prevention Magazine has more information about Sassy Water, named after its originator, Cynthia Sass.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Beaded Bracelets

Now that I have been knitting with lots of oranges and red yarns, some bracelet bling in those colors was needed for accessories So I went to Michael Sellick on YouTube for instructions about how to make a beaded bracelet.  (He has over 1,700 videos on YouTube about how to make various things.)

Here is the video I looked at to ensure I was making the bracelet correctly.

Using glass beads, I made two bracelets.  One has a toggle clasp and the other has a magnetic clasp.

For 34 free patterns to make even more beaded bracelets, this site from Favecrafts is an excellent web source.  I especially liked this cluster bracelet:

You might also like the Blue Malibu:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wilhelmina Shawlette

One of the best digital downloads that I have recently purchased is the book What Would Madam Defarge Knit? (Creations Inspired by Classic Characters).  Over 20 patterns are available in the download, along with live web links.  A great value for the money, since all patterns are included for one low price of $16.95.  And the links are fascinating, informative, and just plain fun.  Note: the first edition hardcover has been sold out, but you can order the digital download here.

Madam DeFarge was a character in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.  She is known for her knitting activism during the French Revolution, secretly purling names into her knitting of those who would be charged with crimes in the upcoming revolution.  Go to Wikipedia for the quick and dirty about Therese Defarge.

(Madam Defarge found on Google images)

The inside page of the WWMDK book explains a bit about how the book came into being:

What Would Madame Defarge Knit? is a new book of crafty patterns—in pre-orders February 7, 2011 from Cooperative Press—written and designed by the good people who bring you CraftLitCast-onMarch Hare YarnsJen Minnis ArtworksWeaveZine and WeaveCastSilk Road SocksGardiner Yarn Works, and Crochet Compulsive.
It all started back in 2007, while listening to A Tale of Two Cities on CraftLit. Not far into the book, WWMDfK? became a rallying call for t-shirts, knitting, and fun. And now—patterns!
The Wilhelmina Shawlette is the first pattern I'll be knitting from the book.  And the name Wilhelmina? It comes from here:
What would Mina, the heroine of Bram Stoker’s epic novel, Dracula, wear to protect her neck from the bloodthirsty count? Chrissy Gardiner thinks that, as a practical girl, she undoubtedly would appreciate this simple, delicate wool shawlette, featuring Serendipitous Ewe’s Autumn Glow vampire-inspired colorway, one in a series dyed exclusively for

Designer: Chrissy Gardiner, Finished Measurements: 44″ wide and 22″ tall after blocking

(Close up of the knitted lace pattern in the shawl)

This is the variegated Ella Rae lace merino fiber I purchased from Aimee's Yarn Cafe in Paradise, CA for knitting  the Wilhelmina:

My neck will definitely be warm when I wear this, even if I don't need to be protected from vampires.

(Dracula is a book that will be read on the Craftlit podcast in the fall.  I can't wait!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parasols and Umbrellas

This is a reposting from a favorite blog, It's About Time. Enjoy the pictures and go to the original blog posting for further information about the artists.
On the History and Art of Parasols and Umbrellas

Too much sun here today. Umbrellas and parasols come to mind. Many 19th-century paintings are filled with parasols, partially a reflection of the Japonisme influence at the end of the 1800s. An umbrella or parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight.

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). Woman with a Parasol 1872

William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941) Child in Sunlight, The Chinese Parasol 1908

1886 Olga Boznanska (Polish Impressionist painter, 1865-1945)

Jacques-Joseph Tissot (1836-1902) The Traveller

Claude Monet (1840-1926). The Walk, Woman with a Parasol 1875

Monday, July 11, 2011

Best Gazpacho Recipe and Apricot Cooking

Ina Garten showed off her best gazpacho recipe on Food Network.  So I made it.  Don't know about being the "best", but it was good, easy, and was said to take only 20 minutes to make.   I don't know about the 20 minute time frame, but the recipe was definitely worth whipping up again.  In process:
And apricots are finally in season.  We bought five pounds at a local farmers' market and dehydrated 3 pounds. After 12 hours in the drying unit, they still are not ready to bag.  But they are sweet and delicious!

Two pounds of the apricots were used immediately for an apricot cobbler with rolled dumplings.
8 or 9 peaches or apricots, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar2 tbsp. self-rising flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. butter, melted

Cook fruit in water until tender. Mix flour, salt and sugar. Add to peaches. Mix. Add melted butter.

1 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening
4 tbsp. sweet milk, or enough to make a stiff dough

Blend flour, salt, and shortening to coarse meal texture. Add milk. Roll on floured surface. Pour half of fruit in 9x13 inch pan. Cut some dumplings and push dumplings down into the peach juice. Pour remaining peaches in and top with more cut pastry. Bake in a 350 degree oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown. I like to sprinkle a little sugar on top before baking. This should be juicy cobbler.

Several days ago, I got out the tried and true Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook and made some vanilla ice cream, so home made ice cream was topping for the cobbler.  It was the first time I had gotten the electric ice cream freezer from its shelf in the garage, and it was not even "cranky" after having been neglected for a number of summers.

The ice cream recipe called for only four ingredients - no infusion of vanilla bean, etc.- just 2 Tbsp of vanilla extract, and no eggs.  Some things don't have to be difficult to be tasty.

And last, apricot freezer jam was a hit.  We only made five cups, but that will be enough for a while.  A previous post about freezer jam can be found here
.  Ingredients:

3 and 1/3 cup pureed apricots
1 and 1/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. freezer pectin

Stir sugar and pectin together.  Add apricots and stir for 2 minutes.  Let it stand for 30 minutes and then ladle into plastic containers and freeze.  Excellent!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Free Patterns for Caftans

Hot weather makes me want to shower early and put on a comfy, cool caftan.  Caftans hearken back to the 70's when they were the rage, and for good reason.  It was (and is) an easy wearing garment reminiscent of muumuus.

Some vintage patterns are available on various websites, but I decided to forgo the purchased patterns and find a tutorial on the internet.

This website by essortment was where I went for general instructions.  Of course, the pattern was tweaked and re-sized, but the general gist of it was used.  I found that after washing my fabric, it did shrink up, so be sure you prewash your yardage, and purchase enough to allow for shrinkage.  And ensure that if you are taller than average that you increase your length.

Weekend Designer highlighted this caftan, along with similar technique instructions.

And here is the finished caftan, with surprisingly little effort:

Can't you just see wearing it on your summer patio with an umbrella drink in hand?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

High Water in Colorado

Driving over to Denver for the weekend holiday, I was amazed at the high water levels on the Colorado River.  In Grand Junction, one local walking and biking path has been obliterated by the mountain water runoff.
(photo by Gretchen Daughtery - Daily Sentinel)

Telluride's Daily Planet said:

A Hazardous Weather Outlook published by the NWS for eastern Utah and western Colorado indicates that recent warm weather has accelerated snowmelt in these areas, increasing runoff into local waterways. Many rivers, such as the Arkansas River near Leadville, are surpassing their banks.
As I was driving solo, it was a bit dangerous to take pictures of the Colorado River overflowing its banks, but I did manage a few by just holding the camera up and to my side, then clicking away.  Here are a few shots.
(in Glenwood Canyon)

(Just off Interstate Highway 70 at a rest stop)

(picture by UpthaCreek)

Whitewater rafting was a popular activity on Saturday, July 3.  I saw lots of rafts on the river with adventure seekers galore and honked and waved at a few from the sidelines.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July Pictures - Summer Poetry

"That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
And the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
-  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry,
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream."
-  John Milton, L'Allegro, 1631

"The summer morn is bright and fresh, the birds are darting by
As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky."
-  William C. Bryant

"I know I am but summer to your heart,
And not the full four seasons of the year;
And you must welcome from another part
Such noble moods as are not mine, my dear.
No gracious weight of golden fruits to sell
Have I, nor any wise and wintry thing;
And I have loved you all too long and well
To carry still the high sweet breast of Spring.
Wherefore I say: O love, as summer goes,
I must be gone, steal forth with silent drums,
That you may hail anew the bird and rose
When I come back to you, as summer comes.
Else will you seek, at some not distant time,
Even your summer in another clime."

-  Edna St. Vincent Millay, I Know I am But Summer to Your Heart