around my garden

My twisty baby locust tree produces flowers. This is year 3 for the tree. Year one it had flowers, year two zero, and this year they are appearing in the uppermost branches. The flowers are drapey, like a wisteria, and have a sweet fragrance. Hey, I’ve been noticing something that smells like cough syrup grapes, and it is probably the tree. The branches are becoming less twisty as the tree gets bigger, and the older growth gets inch long thorns that look like rooster spurs. So this isn’t a great tree for kids, and of course the nursery people and the tag on the tree didn’t mention the thorns. But the flowers are nice.
tree

Here’s a pretty little rosebud. The variety is Westenra, I think, and it’s a climbing rose of an orangey apricot color. It should spread to about 12 feet–I can’t wait!

rose

And you know how you always snap the photo just a second too late? Hah, I finally snapped a crow just right before it went behind the house and out of sight. I took the photo through the window so it’s a little grainy, but still good enough for artwork!
flight

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double points

I found a set of double pointed knitting needles at Goodwill, with cases, and it looks like all the necessary parts are there. There’s spaces for a little something, but I don’t know what it would have been. The needles have adapters, and fit the wires. I don’t like to knit with double points because I find them awkward, slow and cumbersome, but so many patterns call for them that it seemed dumb to pass these up. All were for $8, and I think one pair usually costs about $4 for the cheap ones. So now I’ll never have to run to the store to pick up that one size that of course I don’t have or can’t find. I like how these are all together so they’re not going to get lost.
needles

Do you see those blue buttons? They have one little hole in the center. Any idea what they are used for?

The outside of the case has a blue and gold pattern, I’d say late fifties, right?

case

We picked up a couple kids’ books, too, but not good ones. There sure all a LOT of lousy ones with lousy artwork.

Horse painting on ebay

I painted this one on one of those evenings where I didn’t feel like painting at all. Sometimes those evening yield disastrous results that the world never sees, but every once in a while something great will come of the effort. This is one of those. As I was working I could tell it was coming together right, even though I didn’t feel much like doing it. So I kept working, an hour past when I usually stop. The highlights are terrific, and the colors look gorgeous in person, very elegant for any home. It’s 16×20 inches, so pretty big! I put it up on ebay for this week.

many

Yay

We won a $25 gift certificate at Goodwill. How cool is that? And I entered the drawing only once, too, although I could have entered a bunch of times. I noticed the jar was full of entries a couple days ago. I was going to skip poking through their stuff this week due to not having quite enough pocket change, but now $25 will buy a whole lot of stuff! Or one nice thing, you never know. The other day we picked up a wood chair to refinish and let Elle use at her desk. The seat will need to be repadded, and then the wood parts painted, but it should turn out perfect. It’s funny that it takes 2 years to find just the right old chair. You really do need to go every single day. And now we’ll be able to afford to go all week!

thrifting friday

I always look at the crocheted afghans, but this is the first one I’ve bought. The colors are nice and will fit well in Elle’s room. It’s just the right size to fit on a single size bed. Usually the colors on these things are awful, maybe people usually use their spare yarns? But this one is thought out, and I like that it’s a modification of the granny square. If I’d learn to crochet I’d make one myself, but in the meantime who could pass this up for $2?
afghan

needlefelting

I’ve picked up a new hobby, which should be no surprise. I seem to dabble a little in all the needle crafts. I’ve been trying to find something to do that can be constantly interrupted, while not being yanked out of my hands, bumped, unravelled, and so on. I received my pack of wool roving and needle yesterday, and have made my first creation.
frontside

Needlefelting is the new craft sweeping the nation, ahem, and is simply wool poked a whole lot of times with a needle until it becomes felted. It’s a special needle, with little barbs on it. You still end up poking your fingers, of course, so I had to re-learn the trick of putting on the band-aids before I poked myself, instead of after.

You’ll notice he’s a little fuzzy, and that’s because I have only the coarse needle, I need to buy a fine one (and you can’t buy just one of course, you need to buy a packet, and by then you might as well order more wool colors!). The fine needle is for finishing, and will smooth him out.

At first I was getting caught up in the excitement of it–why spend $3 or $4 per ounce of wool? Why, I can buy a whole shorn sheep wool at the fair, wash and card it myself, and then dye it whatever I want! But then I was thinking about the work involved in all of that, spending the money on the carders, buying the dyes, and it all still adds up. So I’ll just buy a little bit of wool here and there until it looks like this won’t be another throw away hobby.

Speaking of carding, I’ve been meaning to explain something about fibers. I think about this every time I put on one of my high-quality tee shirts, and also every time I put on one of my very cheap tee shirts. The high quality one gets softer and softer with time. The cheap one gets scratchy and stiff. I read this a long time ago, let’s see if I can explain it to you. When the tag reads “combed cotton” it means that the fibers have been aligned all in the same direction. Picture a box of matches with all the matches lying aligned. And then picture a box of matches with the matches all laying higgeldy piggeldy. When the fibers are all combed and lying in the same direction, they mat down with each washing and become sort of felted. When the fibers start out all higgeldy piggeldy, they get even more messed up with time in the washer and drier.

This is noticeable in poor quality bath towels. The expensive towels absorb water off your body, the scratchy cheap towels mostly move the water around and thins it out a bit so it evaporates quicker. Cotton loses its absorbency after time, so the scratchy towel really is almost useless even though technically it is still a towel. You probably notice this if you stay at a cheap motel–the towels are next to useless.