Saturday, June 19, 2004

Barbara's boucle shawl is FINALLY done! Whew! It is absolutely beautiful, but I am very glad to be done.

Barbara will be getting her shawl a little later today. I needed to make sure I got good pictures and that I could upload them before she came.

Here is the shawl a couple days ago when I finished the fringe.

Fulling made it much more luxurious.

Here is another picture.

Gabrielle helped by modeling for me.

As soon as I finished, I celebrated by spinning something different.

I picked up this Lorna's Laces fiber at the Destin Spin In in January.

It's been a rough day today so I'm just doing a basic post to make sure I get good pictures on the blog before the shawl leaves my possession. I do want to thank everyone who has prayed for me and for my extended family today. I could definitely feel the power of those prayers. My Dad died this morning and we are grieving. Yet through the process I have truly experienced that peace that is beyond all understanding. Thank you all of my wonderful online friends! And I thank Jesus for being my Comforter as well!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

This post is for my darling nieces, Savannah and Summer. They will be moving to Florida in a couple of weeks and will be staying with us. To ease their transition, I am doing a tour of our home since they have never seen it.

Savannah and Summer will be sharing Gabrielle's room with her.

Gabrielle's has a full size bed that should accommodate all three girls. Otherwise, we will squeeze a toddler bed into the room for Summer.

Gabrielle is very excited for her cousins to come.

She thinks every night will be like a sleep-over party! Gabrielle can't wait to share her toys too.

She got a little silly assisting me with the tour this morning and fell into her toy box.

Savannah's and Summer's Mom and Dad will sleep in the guest room. It still needs some work since it had become a bit of a storage place, but we are getting there!

We also have a school room, which is actually a corner of the lanai.

Naturally, since Gregory and Gabrielle are in the early grades, we have a full kitchen set up.

Gabrielle loves to cook!

Uncle Tom may be glad to hear that we have a home gym in the lanai too. After all, someone around here should be in shape!

We usually start our school day over the breakfast table.

We have a lot of fun in school! In first grade science this year, Gregory planted a sunflower. Boy did it get big!

Even though it is a little too hot right now to spend much time out doors playing, we have a nice big back yard with plenty to do.

The kids have a great swing set next to a beautiful magnolia tree. Magnolia trees have big beautiful white flowers all over them in the summer.

They smell wonderful; unfortunately, I am highly allergic.

The swingset has a private kid-size picnic table for outdoor meals.

Of course, I have my own favorite outdoor spots!

I love sitting on MY swing with my knitting next to me in the basket and a glass of water in the cupholder. Or sometimes Gabrielle and I will sneak out after dark, wrap ourselves in one of my wool shawls and swing while admiring the night sky. Sometimes it is nice to recline in the hammock too. In the Spring, we will often have breakfast on the deck. There is a barbecue grill out there which we use all the time. We also have a portable outdoor fireplace and just received a load of wood for it!

Of course, as my little garden takes shape, I spend more time sitting on the glider in the corner admiring my flowers and listening to the sound of the fountains and waterfall and the fairy tinkle of my wind chimes.

We do have one more swing too. Hanging from the branch of our large Live Oak tree is a tree swing!

The ropes are actually present for a second tree swing. Somewhere in the garage I believe we have the seat. I've given up on Kurt fixing the second swing, but perhaps we can get Uncle Tom to do it. . .

Gregory and Gabrielle have a nice big trampoline in the back yard too!

The children have a wonderful dog named Lillie. She is the most gentle and docile Golden Retriever you could imagine.

She will often lay in the corner of Gregory's room waiting for him to wake up in the morning. Sometimes Gabrielle will sneak into Gregory's room while he sleeps to pet Lillie.

The bane of our home's appearance is the terribly neglected front of the house. However, my sister Mary asked for a picture of it. I decided it is only fair since she and her husband will need to be able to recognize the house when they get here and we do not presently have a house number on it.

So much to do.

Next week, Caroline Morse and her two children Noah and Ashley are coming for a visit. Caroline has promised to teach me to weave on my loom and I am VERY excited! We also plan to play at the beach, explore the local yarn and sewing stores and otherwise have our own private Spin/Weave In.

When Gregory found out I had posted pictures for his cousins, he felt we should add a few pictures of his room for Noah to see. Caroline agreed. So, due to popular (in my world 2 is "popular") request, here is Gregory, introducing, His Room.

For his birthday last year, Gregory really wanted a bunk bed. He always thought it would be cool to sleep on the top of one. So, we accommodated him.

Of course this will work out nicely when Noah gets here since he will be able to sleep on the bottom bunk bed.

Gregory has a lava lamp on the desk under the top bunk, next to the bottom bunk. He thinks the dark top of the lower bunk looks cool, though I think it looks like a cave.

Gregory loves robots and has quite a collection of them. His other favorite toys are the bears he collected when he was small and undergoing substantial medical testing before and after being diagnosed with autism.

Pretty much every time he had a "procedure," we would stop in the hospital gift shop and let him pick a new toy. He always chose a bear. He would take his new bear with him for whatever testing he had to undergo.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

We took the kids to the annual museum open house in historic Pensacola yesterday and had another great family day! Each year on the first Saturday in June, reinactors descend upon Pensacola Village and the museums eliminate entrance fees for the day.

The boys quickly spotted an old machine grinding dried corn into meal. Naturally Gregory wanted to see it first. The machine even drew Kurt away from the soldiers reinacting historical battle maneuvers and demonstrating period weapons.

Gabrielle liked the Irish dancing best.

After the performers finished their first set of dances, they brought up all who were interested in trying. Gabrielle naturally ran on "stage." We went with another family in our neighborhood and their daughter, Morgan, danced as well.

One of the dancers attempted to teach some simple steps to Gabrielle and Morgan.

But, Gabrielle just wanted to have fun. There is actually a place where Irish dance classes are given, but I don't think Gabrielle is ready. There are two summer sessions and the second session begins in July. My sister thinks she will be moving here at the end of the month so perhaps both Gabrielle and her cousin Savannah can take classes in July. With our Celtic/Irish roots, I think it would be fun.

In addition to Irish dancing, the Museum of Commerce had an old trolley from the time when Pensacola offered trolley service.

The children had a great time climbing all over it.

And hanging out of it.

We saw lots of period costumes and period activities.

I saw a lady tatting beautiful lace. The family was not impressed. I saw a few ladies I knew spinning on their wheels in front of the weaver's cottage. The family yawned collectively. Beautiful quilts were being done. The family scanned the area for escape. Rows of woodcarvers carefully changed blocks of wood into art or functional items in the Museum of Industry. The kids found an old boat.

Here Sam (Gregory's friend), Gregory, Gabrielle and Morgan sit in front of an old fishing boat (I think). I took a quick picture before chasing the kids off of the "antiques."

In all, though I thought we spent too few minutes with the spinners and lace makers, we had a good time. We ended the morning with a picnic next to a park in downtown Pensacola.

At home again, I saw a new bloom on my first hybiscus bush. It is a hybiscus exotica and the bloom is beautiful so I included a picture.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

My internal gardening clock is set to the incorrect latitudinal zone. Every year around the months of May and June, I get the gardening bug. Of course, by this time in Florida the weeds are well established and the sun is powerful and capable of producing a sunburn on my pale skin in 5 to 10 minutes. And despite that most people have finished their major gardening work for the year by the time May comes around, something awakens in me and I start to plant, and weed and work.

With our intensive summer home-schooling program, I planned to skip the gardening this year. But, around the middle of May, that little switch in my brain turned on and gardening plans took root. I started with a couple of trees for the front yard. Every now and again I plant trees in the front yard and every time, they die. We have the only house on the street without front yard trees. So I tried again. We'll see how it goes.

While I was tree shopping, I saw the most beautiful hybiscus. I've wanted some hybiscus for a long time now. After thinking about those beautiful flowers for awhile, I had to get a new hybiscus plant for my garden, and then a second one.

Both of my new hybiscus have pink blooms, though they are slightly different in color. This flower is from the second hybiscus I planted. I also planted two new gardenia bushes, thought they are too small yet to produce flowers.

My garden is full of hydrangea. When I bought them 3 years ago, they had blue flowers. Then, they all turned pink. Last year Stasia suggested I put citrus peels around the base of the my hydrangea bushes to alter the color.

The hydrangea are no longer pink, but they are not blue either. They seem to be a purple-ish color. . . with one glaring exception.

While I am by no means an expert on flowers or hydrangea, I have never seen one that was anything but the palest pastel color. What is up with this intense pink color???

I love the sound of water! I also love the fact that mosquitoes cannot breed in moving water and I do not like mosquitoes! So when I found a cute little "fountain kit" at Wal-Mart for under $20, I turned my bird bath into a fountain!

Now I have two sources of "moving water sound" in my garden!

Gregory has really taken to weaving on his potholder loom.

Here he is early Memorial Day weaving an American Flag-like square. (By the way Caroline, Gabrielle is wearing a nightgown made entirely on the serger! I made matching heirloom nightgowns for the two of us last year.)

I'm still working on Barbara's shawl. (Boy am I getting tired of typing that!)

At least I am fringing it. I fear that I will need to spin more yarn to complete the fringe. But I am so burned out spinning this particular designer yarn that I am waiting until I know for sure before doing any more. Thus, the spinning wheel waits, unused, in anticipation.

I am still trying to figure out how I want to finish off the long side of the shawl. I don't know if I want to spin a fingering weight yarn and do a lacey edging or just do a simple edge with more of the designer yarn.

Gabrielle turns 5 on July 1. I started working on matching dresses for her cousin Savannah and her as a birthday present. I'm having a hard time finding adequate sewing time and the project is going slowly. I have not yet begun to cut the fabric. I'm still preparing the material for the bodices.

I have an embroidery machine which I have used to stitch a mock insertion and entredeaux. I am also sewing multiple rows of pin-tucking. Embellishment is the most time consuming part of the job, but it really will "make the dress." I REALLY need to get going with it though!