Wednesday, May 22, 2013

bits and pieces, crafts and puppies

Today's post is a lot of photos, because I've done a lot of stuff recently and it's always more fun to post and write about photos than it is to just put together large blocks of text.  Plus, I've done that way too much at work recently and I'm sick of it!  So here we go, in themed order...


My irises in the front yard are incredible this year - there are TWENTY flower stalks up, all with multiple buds/blooms on them, and they are just phenomenal.  They're the only thing in my yard that really is amazing, and I am enjoying the heck out of them right now.  Jadzia wasn't quite so sure, however, but she gamely hopped into the flower bed for me to take a photo.  I think this is the year I need to split the irises, so that will be a new adventure later this summer or sometime into the fall.

Martok hasn't learned how to play fetch in the rotation with the girls, so I've been taking some walks with him to get both of us some exercise.  I have also been taking Ezri with me, much to her dismay, as Martok is preferring to walk thisclose to her, as the photo shows.  Ezri is also not a fan of being walked on leash, so she's been pulling a lot, so we got her a harness last weekend to help minimize the effects of her pulls on her own body.  We'll see if that helps!

Craft Projects!

Back in April, I finally got around to getting an ink pad and nice paper to do pawprints of the dogs, and after I was done I used one set of them to put together this frame.  The prints came out really well (and the dogs were surprisingly good about it), although it amuses me that their feet-fur shows up so much in the prints!  The frame is an inexpensive floating-glass frame, so I can easily add one of Martok later, remove them to put together into a bigger frame, or just make a whole new one in the future.  I really like having it up on the wall, it's across from the door to my office so I see it every day.

And of course, I've picked up more spindles, as they're just a big an addiction as fabric for quilting.  These two are Bosworth spindles, both special order.  The smaller dark one has a whorl made from live oak (and a shaft made from bocote) that was harvested in the 1700s and then kept in ponds for use in repairing the US Navy ships at the time.  These ponds were eventually forgotten about and reclaimed by the forest, until they were recently found and the wood reclaimed and used by various craftsmen.  The larger red one has a whorl made from flame box elder and a shaft made from cocobolo, and is stunningly beautiful.  I've coveted something made out of flame box elder for a while, and I am thrilled with this particular spindle.  Both spindles are great to use and have small Phat Fiber sample projects on them right now.

Just this past weekend I cleaned up my sewing room and pulled out the materials to work on Aidan's quilt again.  I have just one panel done so far, though all the pieces are cut out already, and I designed another panel this weekend and it's ready to piece together.  This quilt will be the sibling to Averie's quilt, done very similarly, and hopefully completed in time for his birthday in September.

I finished knitting two pieces in February and March and they're shown here after a wash and during blocking.  The cowl is made from a single skein of fancy variegated yarn I bought from a store going out of business, and I love how the colors pooled to form large blocks in a slanted pattern.  The scarf is made from a skein of Manos merino singles, knitted up on size 9 needles in a simple garter/stockinette pattern I came up with on the fly.  It goes well with our new flyball club colors, and I have a second (nearly identical) one almost done to give to one of my friends on the team.

My first sock has made it to the "turn the heel" phase, and there it languishes.  I'll need to pick up stitches as I continue on, and my pattern isn't very detailed about that so I need to pick up a book or tutorial to figure out how best to make that work.  It's pretty cool, though, and I love the needles I'm using (Signature DPNs), so I plan to pull this one out and figure it out soon.

Still spinning as well, and I set aside my interminable fine spinning of the brilliant red Targhee wool I bought at OFFF last year to ply these two batts together.  The yarn came out very well, one batt is dark purples and one was cream with purple and blue, and I think the overall effect is very nice.  These batts taught me that I'm not so much fond of spinning chunky things, especially uncontrolled chunky things like mohair locks, although I do think the plied yarn came out well.  I still need to wash it, however, as I plied it back when we were still deep into the rainy season.

The last craft for this post is one I did not do myself, but one which I will benefit greatly from - my friend Kristie made me a set of "Unpaper Towels" using the best cheesy Star Trek fabric you've ever seen.  The towels are made from terry backed with quilting fabric, serged into squares, and set with snaps so you can roll them up onto a paper towel roll, then use them instead of paper towels.  I have used them for a few days and I like them a lot!


Between the nicer weather appearing through the last few weeks and my attempts to increase my step count, I've been taking walks along the waterfront at work during my lunch break.  Most days I also take a spindle with me and spin as I walk, garnering several odd looks but no comments as of yet.  Such beautiful views are just a small part of why I love to live here.

And then there was this - I had the bottom couple of inches of my hair dyed a rich vibrant purple.  I LOVE the effect, it's fantastic, and sadly it has already faded away to a pale lavendar after just four weeks.  I'm having it redone this weekend, and will see if there's anything else the stylist can do to help it last longer - I'm already not washing the ends and rinsing them in the shower with as cool water as I can stand.  If not, I will probably keep it up until I am ready to cut my hair again, then just trim it all off and go on with my regular golden blonde.


Today marks sixteen days since we said goodbye to Curzon.  Last Friday we picked up his ashes (or cremains, as they are called in the industry) from the vet, which was a very difficult thing for me to do.  I held him in my lap the whole way home, making Chris drive us, and wished so hard that I was hugging Curzon for real instead.  I know that won't happen, but the thought of that keeps hitting me anew every so often and it's like a punch to the gut every time it does.  For now the nice cherry box that his remains are in sits on top of one of the dressers in our bedroom, along with the blanket I made him when he recovered from his surgery and his collar.  Perhaps it is strange to admit, but I do talk to him even as I hate that he's in that box, and I have hugged the box more than once.  It helps, a very tiny bit, and that's all I can do now.

I've also been thinking more and more about the time we had between when we brought Martok home and when Curzon passed, that too-short span of just eleven days.  Curzon was so amazing with the puppy for the first few days, and we had such a good time with our photo session on that Saturday.  He had a great time at practice on Sunday, even as we realized he'd lost the sight in his right eye.  Monday was very difficult, but with more pain meds he seemed back to his old self and we had a good time all week.  Saturday was a beautiful day, and the rest I've already talked about.  I don't like to append too many human emotions or decisions to animals, but I also do think they are wiser and more perceptive than most people believe.  I'm coming to the conclusion that Curzon had been in pain for a while, and when we brought Martok home that was the signal he was waiting for to release himself from that pain.  Curzon had that wonderful Saturday where he played, saw lots of people he loved, and had steak for dinner, and I think that was his way of saying goodbye to us all.

It was too soon for me and Chris, and maybe it was even too soon for Curzon.  But I could never countenance his bright spirit suffering without hope of respite, and I would not want to hold him here in pain - that's why we had the vet come on that sad day.  I can only hope that his spirit will visit me upon occasion, and continue to inspire me in the future.

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