Posts filed in: May 2010

Oh dear me.

comments: 84

OMGDoNotTellTheBee

Do not not NOT tell the Bee. . . .

Baby's First Book

comments: 160

BabyBook1

While I was working on the book list last week (I haven't forgotten about it, it's just taking a long time to put it together), I remembered that there was one book I'd been wanting to make that wasn't exactly on the list!

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This is the Baby's First Book project from the totally beautiful book Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist by the super-talented and sweet Meg McElwee. Meg is an amazing designer. Everything she makes is modern and warm and fun and so pretty. I'd actually bought this book a couple of months ago with the intention of making the Blossom Blouse first, or maybe the Petite Artiste Smock (adorable), but since I was watching sixteen episodes of Chuck in a row and didn't want to leave the sofa, and haven't yet figured out how to sew with a sewing machine in my lap (working on that), the hand sewing won out. Applique is not something I do very often (though a million years ago, these felt photo albums were part of my little product line), but everytime I sit down to do it these days I love it. Such it was with this project, which I realized was actually designed and contributed by the equally amazing Melissa Crowe of Checkout Girl. Her work in felt applique is simply beautiful. It's amazing how evocative those little pieces of felt can be, isn't it? Beautiful. I thought this soft book was just the sweetest thing ever. Here's my version:

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I thought about doing it in brown, like our real house, but I thought a little pink Parisian-looking house would be cuter.

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I did make the puppers look like someone we know, though. Mwah, Puppers!

BabyBook5

And the kitterses. The Bee is sitting straight up, and the Vee is lying down, just like in real life.

BabyBook6

There's the tree.

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Birds! These look like my mom's canaries.

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Such a cute boat.

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Happy little fishy.

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Happy baby!

I am so happy with this little book! When I was done I threw my arms up and smiled just like the happy baby. I can't tell you how much I loved working on this. So much. For such a small book, I would say this is not a small project — but that just means you can really get into it. There is a lot of prep work involved in a project like this — gathering up a lot of fabric, copying and cutting out the patterns from so many different pieces of felt (by the way, the felts I have been using for many years are wool/rayon blends thatI buy wholesale from a company called National Nonwovens. They sell some of their felt at a few of our local retail fabric stores here in Portland, and I believe that Prairie Point Junction's Wool Felt Central carries the whole line of their colors, as well). But if you can just take your time and enjoy that part of it, it is SO very worth it. Because I truly loved the stitching part, and watching each picture slowly come together was pretty magical. The directions were wonderful. I used different colors than Melissa, and wound up turning under the edges of each picture and appliquing (sp?) it to the page by hand with invisible hem stitch instead of machine zig-zag as she did in the book (again, didn't want to have to sit the machine), so that's a bit different, but otherwise my version is almost exactly like the one in the book. (I will make an embroidered bookplate when the baby arrives, too. :-) Thanks for such a wonderful project, Meg and Melissa. I felt really proud of myself when I was finished. I think the baby will really like this!

One for the Bee (and Me)

comments: 58

Granny2
What I see when I come downstairs.

Thank you so much for the orders yesterday!!! It feels so good to be wrapping up some of the things I started this spring. There were just too many unfinished ideas happening around here, so I am trying to be more strict with myself about this.

Granny3
She leaves.

I went through my yarn stash this week, looking for moths or evidence of moths, and I couldn't find anything. I'm not sure what that means? I'm going to get more cedar blocks and lavender today. Too much yarn to freeze it all, I'm afraid. I found these green grannies in the stash — Bridget's grannies — a big pile of them, waiting to be turned into something. If you've been hanging around here for awhile, you might remember these, and how I promised Bridget (the Bee) they were for her, and how weirdly fascinated she was by them. It's hard to believe that was over three years ago. Wow, times flies. I went through all of the posts about those squares and linked to them all on my Ravelry project page. I re-read this post, about teaching Arden to make a granny (auntie) square — oh, dear me, sweet, sweet girl. I remember that day. She was so little! Agh. Time flies.

Granny4
Where I'd left it the night before.

It turned out I had 25 squares finished, and in the (new) interest of finishing things in general, I decided to call that enough and started stitching them together the other night, five by five. I left the blankie out on the sofa and sure enough, yesterday morning when I came downstairs, there was Bridget, sitting next to her blanket, just like she used to do when I had that thing in major production mode so long ago. I just busted out laughing when I saw her, since I hadn't really seen much of her in the past couple of days. I swear, there really is something about this blanket and Bridget! You might be able to tell this from the blog, I guess, but the Bee does not "sit around" with the rest of us. The Bee is totally on the move, and when she's not on the move, I honestly don't even know where she is most of the time. The Bee is definitely her own woman. She was a stray kitten who came to us ten years ago now, very wild then (our vet didn't think she'd ever been handled by people before we found her) and is quite set in her wild ways. From spring to fall, we see her once a day or so (unless it is constantly raining, when we see her fifteen times a day, as noted), because the Bee really has her own very full, and very invisible-to-us sort of life that is more about the neighborhood than the house. Unlike Clover and Violet, who are very present in the house, even when they are napping, or in another room, or out in the yard, the Bee is sort of a mystery to us all.  We tease her by saying that we are sure she is half cat, half squirrel. Clover likes to curl up in teensy, tiny spaces; the Bee is at home on top of the fence, overlooking the neighborhood, surveying her kingdom (and watching for the other half-dozen or so cats on our block). I forgot to mention yesterday that a few people asked me how we crate-trained Clover, but unfortunately I don't really have any advice about that. Clover has just always naturally loved her crate (and other sort of weird, small places, like the corner behind the bathroom door [we actually put a pillow there for her, which confuses everyone who comes over and uses the bathroom], the space where your feet go under Andy's desk, and the spot behind the chair under the kitchen table), and routinely puts herself into it for her afternoon snooze. I think some dogs are just like that and some aren't, but crate training her was a breeze, and involved almost no "training." Audrey, on the other hand, absolutely hated her crate, and I don't remember that we ever used it once she was old enough to stay in the house by herself. If I had to guess, I think Clover likes the sense that she is somehow "off the clock" when she's in her crate. She has strong watchdog tendencies (Cardigan corgis do, in general) and I honestly think she gets tired of having to be so alert all the time.

Granny5
It kind of matched the flowers and the grass.

Anyway, back to the squares.  I wound up whip-stitching them all together. I was going to single-crochet them, but lately I prefer the flatness of that whip stitch when joining squares. The sizes of the squares were sort of all over the place, too — crazy gauges, even though I used the same yarn and same hook throughout. I'll put a border on the whole thing (almost finished with that) and then block it in sections, and we'll see what happens.

Granny6
She came back.

After going through my stash, I really just have so many partial skeins of so many different colors. I was going to do another little blanket like my grandma's, but after stitching this together the past few nights and working on the border, I have to admit I am also a bit burnt out on crochet for a while. I think I am going to knit for a bit. I have a few ideas for that.

Granny7
I think it is so funny when she lays with her head down like that.

Ravelry has been such a super incredibly fantastic inspiration to me these past several months. I have been a member since 2008, I think, but I wasn't really using it much until lately. I think it's the type of web site that encompasses the best things about the internet, in so many ways. I haven't talked about it too much I guess, but only because I don't even know where to start. I think it has transformed my experience with knitting and crocheting, which was already pretty good, but with Ravelry has been fantastic. I use it mostly to search for patterns and get ideas for new things to make, but it's so much more than that. I do know that keeping all of my projects organized there has given me such a weird sense of satisfaction. And there is just so much inspiration collected there. I am having the best time with it.

Granny1
Several hours later, she was still with it. I think she really loves this thing.

I'm almost done with the border on this, and then I'll show you a top view, because it is kind of cool to look at from above. It's pretty much not even big enough to be called a throw, but good enough for a lap quilt for me, or a big baby blanket? Don't tell the Bee.

Seat Cushion Pattern and Kits

comments: 24

SeatCushion1

The Summerhouse Seat Cushion sewing pattern is ready for you! The pattern will walk you through creating a custom-shaped cushion 16" x 16" (41cm x 41cm) or smaller. This pattern is, as usual, a downloadable PDF, and I think everyone knows the drill on these. I recently switched my pattern-hosting company, so hopefully the transition has been pretty seamless. I haven't heard of any problems since I switched everything over last week, but do let me know if you have any trouble? The link to download the pattern should be sent to you immediately upon completion of your order. If it isn't, shoot me an email and I will investigate!

I also decided that we would put together kits (pre-order available here) for these, as well. They will include a printed pattern, all of the cut patches, interfacing, cotton batting, and the cotton gingham lining/tie fabric. I like kits. Especially when there are 64 little square patches that otherwise would have to be cut by you. The fabrics I am using are a mix of all of my favorites — stash, scraps, vintage, Liberty, some old, some new — basically, everything I love and use in my work everyday. Each kit will be hand assembled by Andy or me, so your patches probably won't be exactly like those pictured (or these, on the original cushion), since we'll be incorporating one-of-a-kind fabrics that we have in the studio. But they'll be very close, since I picked all of these fabrics out and my tastes are pretty consistent. We've assembled kits like these before, for the Summerhouse Pillows from last summer. But this time I'll leave these pre-orders open for about a week so we can be sure to include everyone who wants one. I'm planning to ship all of these the week of June 21.

If you have a cute seat cushion, no one will notice how muddy your kitchen floor is. Unless you point it out to them. Like I'm doing.

I decided yesterday that I would stop talking [complaining] about the weather.

We all had a nice warm cuddle yesterday afternoon, when Clover and Violet finally decided to come downstairs and get on the sofa with me. (How did people work at home before laptops?) No one even thought about going out into the pouring rain, especially after the longest, loudest boom of thunder I've ever heard rolled across the city. But I didn't complain about it. We almost all fell off the couch in complete fright, but I didn't actually "complain" about it. I mean, you know your life is boring when the most exciting part of your day (and the centerpiece of most of your conversation) is anthropomorphization and thunder. But then, we never do promise excitement here at Posie Gets Cozy.

Sleepy Warmy

comments: 38

Kitters1

It's 11:15 a.m., but some of my sweetly sleeping beauties are having trouble getting going today. I think they've given up on going out.

Kitters4

Not hard to understand. It's still coldy rainy outside and there's nothing fun to do.

Puppers2

"Sweetest Puppers Ever, are you very sure you don't want to come downstairs and . . . watch me spray jet-streams of water at the aphids again?" [When she makes corgi eyes like this it means you must kiss the nose seven or eight times. FYI.]

Puppers1

"Yah, no. I'm good. Thx."

Coldy Rainy

comments: 52

Blanket1

All last week, coldy rainy. Forecast this week, coldy rainy. Hail, thunder, pelting rain, pouring rain, drizzling rain, sun for a moment, wind, an occasionally glorious sky, then more rain. Mud on my floors from cat paws constantly going in and out. It's warm enough for them to want to go out, not warm enough to leave the door open. I let them in my casement window since I am frequently sitting right next to it and I'm lazy. They stand on the outdoor chair right outside the window — at eye level with me on the sofa — and pummel the window pane with their paws (which, try as I might, I find too maddening to ignore) until I let them in again. If I hesitate in opening it (because, let's just say, I might be in the middle of doing Something Else), the puppers runs over and stares at me in a panic on the kitters's behalf: "She wants to come in! She wants to come in!!!" until I sigh and let whichever one it is in again (oh they've trained us well!). Then a kitters comes bouncing in through the window, leaving tiny sopping wet footprints on the sofa. This replays itself probably fifteen times a day, for each cat. The minute one comes in and I get myself resituated, the other one wants out (indicated by plaintive bleating by the front door). So I let her out. For about seven minutes. And then it starts all over again. All rain-day long. I feel like Beatrix Potter caught in a revolving door. It would be funny in fast motion. At least the sofa is ultrasuede, and the color of mud. The only piece of furniture I've ever picked out that actually turned out to be exactly what we needed here — totally unstainable, and the color of mud. But I think the poor pets really hate this weather more than any of us.

More days, coldy rainy. Last weekend I felt like we barely sat down, this weekend it seemed that we hardly got up (except to admit or discharge a pet, as noted). We wound up plowing our way through the first one and a half seasons of Chuck, which several of you recommended, and it was absolutely perfect. Just exactly what I wanted to watch — thank you thank you. Kind of 40-Year-Old Virgin meets Alias (but very sweet). Thank you also for the other similar recommendations, too. We will probably watch La Femme Nikita next, and then hopefully the nice weather will be here and we can go outside again.

Mornings coldy rainy, I'm getting a slow start. My grandma's crocheted blanket up there? Must be forty years old. Something to be said for acrylic yarns, I guess — they'll last forever. I pulled some beautiful pale pink Cashmerino Chunky out of my stash the other day and the skein just totally shredded into dandelion fluff in my hands. Moths. And I have lavender and cedar and what-all in there with it, too. Not that we need another crocheted blanket around here, but Grandma's is so dang cool. I've been looking at it to try to figure out how she did it. Hers is quite small — more lappy than beddy. I'd go bigger, but keep the colors. The navy/cream combo looks so pretty with all of my pinky flowery stuff, I think. Maybe a hammock blankie? With optimism for warmer days ahead? I don't have much on my needles/hook right now, after last week's blowout. Thank you so much for ALL of the such nice comments on the clothes last week! So nice of you. That made me feel really good. Thank you for that.

Some weirdness: We got several (like, ten) new terra cotta planters last weekend. We planted them and set them out all together in their own little corner. This past week they, and pretty much only they, have been absolutely covered with aphids. Is that bizarre? We know I'm no gardener, but I've never seen that happen before. The aphids now seem to be moving over to the older plantings, but this is definitely a spreading thing — they are mostly and heavily concentrated on the new planters (though not the plants themselves). This morning there were about two dozen lady bugs out there, doing their best. Any advice?

*Update: Thanks! I just blew them all off with the hose, and will spray with soap solution, and maybe get more ladybugs. Boy do I feel dumb! I have been looking at them for about six days and not doing anything. Except focusing on the Mystery Part: "Huh — they're only on the new pots — weird!" (Repeated four times a day.) Doi. I've got my hands full with the Animal Kingdom today I guess :-) !

Alice Dress

comments: 230

We saw the movie Alice in Wonderland a few months ago. I thought Alice's dresses in this were so wonderful. She changes clothes several times throughout the movie, but this version of the classic blue-and-white was my favorite:

Alice_in_wonderland-anne_hathaway-505x600

That blue is such a great color. The fabric looks like silk organza, or organdy — that crispy-yet-light sort of texture that has something in common with phyllo pastry. You imagine layers, and layers, and layers — each one rather transparent, together adding up to that wonderful matte opaqueness that translates into a feeling of a particular weight, somehow: I love the feeling of wearing layers like that. I've only done it a very few times (my wedding dress was a froth of layers), but for some weird reason, that sensation of wearing all of those layers stands in my memory as one of my favorite sensory experiences, along with holding my hands under just the right temperature of water, or the smell of lilacs, or kissing a corgi puppy on her cheek. I guess it sounds weird, but frequently I think about clothes purely in terms of their weight.

I started thinking about the Alice dress. It's reputation preceeds it. Is there a more recognizable dress — or interpreted — dress?

PeterNewell1890
Alice in Wonderland, Peter Newell, 1890

MarjorieTorrey
Alice in Wonderland, Marjorie Torrey, 1955 

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Alice and the Pack of Cards, Arthur Rackham, 1907. (I did my college senior thesis on Arthur Rackham and have always loved his work, and his calico Alice.)

Alice-in-wonderland
Alice in Wonderland, George Dunlop Leslie, 1879. (This is just so gorgeous in so many different ways I couldn't even think of anything to say or think about it.)

So I just got to work. Here is my Alice Dress.

Alice1

PATTERN: Overdress: Open Crescent Set from Christening Sets to Crochet by Kay Meadors. Underdress: McCalls 6552 (vintage), view B (without collar or buttons)
SIZE: 4
YARN: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Quilla
FABRIC: Cotton lawn from Mill End Store; buttons and ribbon from The Button Emporium

It's made from a crocheted dress pattern that was written for bedspread weight cotton thread and a 1.65mm hook to fit a newborn. I did it in sock-weight yarn with a 2.5mm needle, leaving the sleeves off, but otherwise doing the pattern exactly as written. When I finished, I measured it out to be a standard size 4, chest-circumference- and armhole-depth-wise. Just goes to show how important gauge is, I guess! 

McCalls6552

I rummaged through my collection of vintage children's sewing patterns (someday must do a post just about these — they are all so beautiful) to see what I had in a size 4, and found this little dress to use for the underdress. I wanted something very simple in a very lightweight fabric to go underneath. This cotton lawn was like sewing a butterfly wing. It was so fine and floppy, like the perfect summer nightgown weight. Even lighter than that. A bit hard to sew. But, oh does it feel wonderful. The gores in the skirt give the whole thing this wonderful fullness, too (though you really can't see them in the photo). I really adore the shape of this little dress.

Alice4

It has oyster shell buttons going all the way down the back, but I guess I forgot to take a photo just of all of those. Here is the back of the ensemble together, though:

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It also has a murky-dark greenish-gray silk embroidery ribbon woven through the eyelet rows. With black tights and shoes, of course.

Alice3

I tucked the sleeves in so you could see how full the sides really are. I ran out of yarn at the very end, and didn't make the picot edging I planned to make. In fact, I ran out of yarn once in the middle and had to order another skein, which stalled me out for a while, and I wasn't sure I was going to finish. (There are 760 yards of yarn in this dress!!!) But once I got going again, I kept at it. This is possibly one of the fanciest things I have ever crocheted. And oh, so fun to do an interpretation of something so classic like this. In the end, the whole thing just made me happy. Especially since we share our name, I hope Miss Alice herself would be pleased with this (but knowing her, she probably wouldn't :-). I do love that girl.

*On an unrelated note, does anyone have any recommendations for a TV series (that has several seasons already) that would be kind of like Alias? I am really in the mood for a DVD marathon like that but can't think of something similar. . . .

Anna Maria Dress

comments: 77

AnnaMaria

PATTERN: Pretty as a Picture dress from Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner
SIZE: 9 months
FABRIC: Little Folks Dobby Square Dance in Berry, Dobby Pastry Line in Magenta, and Voile Little Honey in Gold

That Anna Maria. She can do anything. I made the Pretty as a Picture dress, almost exactly as it was pictured, from her gorgeous new book, Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby. I call it "Roman's Book," because Anna Maria was pregnant with her sixth child, baby Roman, while she made it. I'll give you a moment to just process that. Having made a couple of books now myself, I simply cannot fathom how she did this, with five kids, a baby on the way, a fabric line, and everything else that she does. But then I remember that Andy and I met her and her husband Jeff at Quilt Market (which was in Portland in 2008, and where her totally amazing booth won prizes, which is even more amazing because I know that she and Jeff did it all by themselves, and I think it was even her first time there). And I remember this teensy little beautiful bird of a girl with that sparkle in her brown eyes, and warm energy in her (super talented) hands, and I get it: Anna is just one of those people who can do anything. And does. There wasn't time to bring them home with us, and feed them cookies and milkshakes, and show them all our favorite things, and talk for hours and hours, the way I wanted to. There were only minutes in a badly lit expo center with a million other people and distractions. But Anna's fabrics and creations, and Anna and Jeff themselves, shone like bright stars in it all. And I always remembered thinking that then. That she was like a starflower.

HandmadeBeginnings

The new book is so lovely and all of the projects are adorable (especially the Henny Penny and the Center of Attention Quilt). The pages are filled with her own fabrics, with their beautifully saturated colors and exuberant prints. The photography is evocative and inspiring (and impressive, as anyone whose tried to take a project shot modeled by an actual baby will tell you!). But one of my very favorite things about the book is her writing in the introduction. She excerpted it in entirety on her blog. My favorite part was this:

"What has taken me precisely six children and countless handmade items to realize, is that this sewing, or nurturing, which is intended mostly for the baby or our home, perhaps benefits me more than any one in the family. Slow hand-stitching forces me off my tired feet and allows me to pay attention to the subtle bumps and squirms of the little one within. Running my hands over potential fabrics for the baby's clothing to check for softness sets my mind into daydreams of what color eyes or hair the baby might have. Using what brain power is still available to me while pregnant, I ponder the design of a nursery quilt which gives me less time to ponder those natural fears and doubts that come with motherhood. All this to say — sewing while expecting has kept me healthy, centered on what matters — more joyful than not."

When I read it, I got choked up. (Okay, I burst into tears.) She seemed to express exactly what I am feeling and doing, albeit in my own hopeful-adoptive-mom-to-be way, with my own sorts of bumps and squirms, as I sew through this waiting period, stitching together all the doubts and dreams that come with this journey. I recognized myself in what she wrote with some surprise, and, in seeing that we shared something, was so grateful to feel included.

That's when I realized what it was about Anna Maria that makes me look up to her so much. It's her generosity. She's got so much style, and so much soul, and she shares it so easily, effortlessly.  Like all the best moms seem to do.

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And isn't the back of this dress so cute, too?

Lichen Woods

comments: 200

Drops5

PATTERN:  B 16-3 Jacket knitted from side to side by DROPS Design
SIZE: 6-9 months (but I think this came out a bit bigger?)
YARN: Kitchen Sink Dyeworks merino fine in color Evan from Twisted

I have a little backlog of outfits to show you! This is the Lichen Sweater, and oh, dear, I am so happy with it. I confess that I am proud of this one. I think it is up there with my very favorite things I've ever made. It reminds me of lichen, and those square-dancing-skirt mushrooms we saw on our woodsy walk this spring. I wish you could touch it because it has such a lovely heft and texture, weighty but still thinnish and floppy.

GreenBlueSweater1

This is a sideways sweater, so instead of being knit horizontally, and growing either from the neck down to the bottom or the bottom up to the neck, this one is knit vertically, in garter stitch, so each set of rows runs from the bottom of the sweater to the neck. Each "set" of rows consists of three short rows — one that goes up the first quarter of the length (and then back), one that goes up through the second quarter (and back), and one that goes up six stitches from the neckline (and then back) — and then a last row, which covers the entire length from the bottom up to the neckline edge. Each set of rows then has created a thin, pie-shaped wedge, and as those wedges stack up you get this wonderful, swingy, A-line, circular shape that I just love so much.

Drops7

Oh, it was slow. Slow slow slow. There were moments when I thought I wouldn't make it through. Tiny yarn, tiny needles (for me, anyway), and garter stitch, which sits on itself  — stacks — in such a way that you feel like you are getting nowhere. What this sweater lacks in speed, though, I guess it makes up for in ease (skillwise) — knit knit knit, no increasing or decreasing and no purling, and once you've placed your markers (and, for the record, I ditched the plastic rings for loops of yarn pretty quickly, since I didn't have the snapping lock markers [need some of those] and these rings fell off all the time) you just go. No thinking, no reading the pattern, no seams — once you get to the side, you put some of the side stitches on a holder, cast on some more for the bottom of the sleeve, then go, go, go again. Finish the sleeve and pick up the side stitches again, and do the back. This kind of knitting has the same appeal as the Ripple, you know? It's even easier, because you don't have to even think about color — you just do the same thing over and over, with just a little bit of thinking. It can get boring, but that's what Hallmark movie marathons are for. And when you already have enough worries and other things to think about, this project has a soothing ryhthm that helps you put things back in perspective

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I covered some little buttons with Tana Lawn, and added them to the yoke.

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I also made a little smocked bishop dress out of a cotton-lawn orchard of [hazelnut] trees (fabric from Fabric Depot).

Drops1

It all feels so full and warm and cozy (it's cold and raining here again today) that it makes me wish I had an outft like this to put on today.

Drops2 

I'm freezing!

The System

comments: 62

Plants2

As I mentioned, we planted all of our containers this weekend. It was getting dark the night I had the camera out there, so I need to take some photos now that we're done (though it's supposed to rain every day this week). When I look around our property now I try to remember what it looked like ten years ago today. When we moved here ten years ago, things were an absolute mess. The previous owner had taken almost everything out of the yard when he put the house on the market, and left only diseased rhododendrons, a few crooked trees, and about a foot of bark dust covering every inch of both the front and back yards. (We later found his original landscape plans, drawn up a few years before by a local nursery, and could barely reconcile what we saw in the yard with what was on paper — so much of it had been yanked and taken.) It really made me mad. But it gave us a chance to start over, albeit with a smaaaaaaaall budget (budget?), a steep learning curve, and more elbow grease and big dreams than anything else.

Plants5

We are generally sympatico on most things. Our Big Dreams, at the very least, are pretty much exactly the same. Our personalities are intensely different: He is extroverted and has more positive energy than almost anyone I've ever met; I am an introvert, happiest off to the side having deep conversations with cats and dogs. There are a few things that we each do that drive the other crazy. I don't know how to load the dishwasher properly (so true). He doesn't know where the mail goes (in the basket, on the shelf ). He likes to keep stuff. I ruthlessly edit my things. He can't stand it when I watch The Real Housewives of New York (where people senselessly bash each other repeatedly). I really just don't like football (where people senselessly bash each other repeatedly). But when it comes to yard work, our system is virtually (and luckily) sympatico. I do all the "designing" (which I love and he hates) and he does all the planting (which he loves and I hate). I "try" to figure out what we need (not like I know what I'm doing, but I try), which plants like sun or shade, what colors go where, how many hydrangeas/boxwoods/pots to get, and where to put them. He puts it all in the ground while whistling, without complaining incessantly about his back and his knees, and about fourteen times faster than I ever could. I stand, wringing my hands with gratitude and in bewildered awe once again: Whistling! (Not whining!) While planting! Weird!!!!!

Once it's in the ground (or pot), I do the watering, the deadheading. He mows the lawn, blows the leaves, and sweeps the sidewalks. We both pull weeds. I sew all the cushions. He sets up the hammock, and puts the featherbed and pillows back in the storage chest every night if it looks like it's going to rain. I think this is the first year where we haven't had some major project happening: A new fence across the back, a row of ten hydrangeas that need to be planted. A new picket fence in the front. All that's been done in previous years, thank goodness. I really was not up for a Major Project. This is the first year where it was mostly just clean up and planting a bunch of (mostly) annuals (and some herbs) in our forty (I know) containers. The veggie garden (which, I'm sad to say, is mostly ornamental — at least it was last year — as we just don't get a lick of full sun in our backyard, except for our tiny patch of grass we use for games and fetch and mini picnics — and boy, from the looks of last year's May 27 we sure are late in getting this going this year) still needs to be planted. But generally, both of the yards (front + back) are now pretty much ready for a whole lot of lounging.

Plants4

That's how I like it. (More pictures to come.)

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.