Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Night At The Movies: World War Z: Zombies Never Disappoint

In preparation for the return of Walking Dead next week, I watched this zombie fest.

Brad Pitt reluctantly leaves his family to try to find a cure for the rapidly spreading Zombie Apocalypse.

He travels to South Korea and then Jerusalem and Wales looking for answers.

For a former Operative of some sort, he seems to have more luck than talent.  I'd expect a bit of Chuck Norris or Mission Impossible but nope, just a worried looking guy just barely avoiding swarms.

The zombie swarms were impressive and frightening.  Instead of shambling dead creatures, zombies here moved like lightning.  They swarmed over walls like piles of insects.

Pitt's character is motivated by his desire to keep his family safe.  His love for them and desire to keep them safe is completely believable. He was very likeable and I was rooting for him all the way.  

I almost feel guilty saying it, but his wife and kids were so annoying.  The little girls kept wandering off, the wife was bored and kept calling him and setting off the zombies.  

A charming bit was Peter Capaldi as a scientist working for WHO.

Garden Notes: DOA in the Garden

I used to have this little skellie (I think I tossed it, alas) that was to be my DOA logo/whatever.  I found this shot of her to use as my DOA in the Garden icon/thingie.   (The words are flowing this morning!)

So.  I've started going through my catalogs a second time for an actual order list.  I've pared down the vegetables I'm growing to a more favorable salad size.  I love lettuces so I'll let myself go a bit overboard there.

Since I keep failing with carrots I will try just one variety.  I promise.

Dropping to cherry and grape tomatoes which always grow nicely for me with the exception of two favorites:  Fourth of July and Black Krim.

I am set to grow more flowers this season, with Zinnias in all their forms being given a try. 

Although I've not been successful with Sweet Peas in the past, a few are calling to me.

I downsized my gardens considerably last season so I'm hoping that helps.

Here to cheer you are a couple of pictures from my early vegetable garden.

Some early efforts at having a vegetable garden area.  Beagles, rabbits, and my neighbor at the time "The Creature"  laughed at my fencing efforts.

I wish this covering had lasted a few more seasons.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Garden Notes

There was a hopeful weather tidbit that theorized this winter could be like the miraculous winter of 2012 wherein we could begin gardening in March.

After two years of May snowfall, I hope it is true.  

I've started writing in my Garden Notebook.  This is a sure sign of spring.

I have made my initial run through of my catalogs, wildly marking everything that looks interesting.  That is such fun.  Another more careful list gets made of what I can actually grow and have space for.

After I've ordered, I have many seeds from last season that will be viable so those can get started now.  

I saved seeds from some of my hostas last fall.  I've grown hostas from saved seed before.  Even if they don't end up looking like the parent plant, baby hosta seedlings are adorable.  So cute.

I have high hopes for this gardening season, as always.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crochet: Try Try Again

I've decided to try another approach.  I've been practicing my stitches via a book called Crocheting School.

I decided to look for a project I actually wanted to make as well.  I found this little brochure on Filet Crochet and was mostly able to figure out the blocks and spaces (watching a YouTube video also helped).  

I don't have the correct weight thread but I think it is pretty nonetheless.  My tension is still a problem but my double crochet is coming along nicely.

Crochet: I Can Do This

Figure A, B, C,D

My previous projects....

Crochet: WTF

I've been working away on my "scarf".  My "double crochet" moves are improving, yet my work as always looks NOTHING like the picture in the book.


Thought I'd get a picture before I rip it out again.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Crochet Fail: Half Double Crochet Bracelet

If I had a Crochet Blog, I would have to call it Crochet Fails.  Luckily I am sticking with my all things under the sun blog.

I decided to force myself to push through  making the Friendship Bracelet from my " I Can Crochet" book while watching Downton Abbey and Grantchester last night.

Once again I made my chainstitch row and my single crochet row like a boss.  A boss with a death grip on the hook and yarn...

Next we make a double crochet or two, draw a bead up the string, hook it in, it's all good.

Skip two chain spots and do a double crochet, pull up a bead, repeat 9 times.

Somewhere in here things went south.  I had trouble getting my needle in loops, my hook got stuck on the middle loop of every single half double crochet.  That middle bit of yarn was just pinned to the hook.  

I found I kept muttering "nightmare" as I struggled along.

Finally the beads are all woven in and I'm at step 12 in the pattern.  My "ends" don't remotely resemble the book and I just said "To Hades with this".  I ruthlessly made a chain and tied it to the other end of the piece, and done.

Here is how it is supposed to look:

The next project (yes, I'm soldiering on!!) is a scarf that is Double Crochet. I'm hoping that no beads and nice straight rows will be just the thing.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

From Mom's Sketchpad

Organizational work continues in my craft room.  I think I'm making progress then a pile of something falls over.  (Insert sad face). 

Mom mostly painted, but she did a great deal of sketching too.  She worked mostly in oils, but also dabbled in acrylics and watercolor as the fancy took her.

Here are a few of her sketches.  Not all are completed.


Friday, January 23, 2015

A Cavalcade of Catalogs

Nothing like a good alliteration.  The catalogs have been pouring in.  I haven't ordered anything yet but SOON.   There are a few here I've never gotten before but I present them for your edification.
Note 1/24/15  There are a couple of new arrivals at the bottom, and I scanned in a few 2014 catalogs that I recommend, but haven't gotten a catalog this year from these sources :(

One catalog that is a real pleasure is using their 2013-2014 catalog again.  It is D. Landreth Seeds, billed as the oldest seed catalog company in the U.S.  The catalog is stunningly illustrated and is a grand history of seeds and plants and gardens in America.

     Vermont Bean company isn't a catalog I know but it does have some nice offerings.

This is Baker's Heirloom Seed Company.  Gorgeous photography of each plant, excellent growing information.  Heirloom seeds and other unusual seeds.

An old standby, I haven't ordered from them in a long while. 

Stokes Catalog is for home gardeners but I think small farms are more their audience.

More than tomatoes in this one! 
A wonderful selection of fruit trees and shrubs.
I ordered many seed catalogs last year and requested this one late. Luckily for me they sent the latest catalog so I can try them this year. They seem to be on many "best" and "favorite" seed company lists.
Last January in the midst of the Polar Vortex I ordered some trees and shrubs from Jung.  They all did well during the season.  We shall have to see how this milder (so far) winter treats them.
Another catalog I'm unfamiliar with is The Natural Gardening Company
I've ordered fall planted bulbs from McClure and Zimmerman and have been very pleased.
Always a favorite of mine, they are the only ones who offer many of the things they've developed themselves.
I haven't had this catalog before.  It fits in with the old timey heirloom seeds I was searching far and wide for last year.
I don't know this company at all either but here it tis.
Added 01/24/15
My favorite Bulb Growers!  Beautiful selections, knowledgeable growers.

Formerly a favorite for bulb size and quality, not to mention gorgeous offerings, Dutch Gardens seem to have been bought out by another company.
Last Years Catalogs!  Nothing new for me from these yet, but recommended.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why Crochet?

I used to think I preferred Crochet over Knitting because one hook seemed easier to coordinate than two, and there seemed to be less counting.  As I've been working on these projects, I dug out all of my books with crochet directions and found some old project flyers mom had purchased. 

Ah, doilies, tablecloths, table runners, place mats, bedspreads... now that is what we're talking.

Mom always had some project going using delicate thread with complex patterns incomprehensible to me.

I think my grandmother (paternal, aka The Harridan) taught mom some of her early needlework and perhaps the lessons she learned from her helped her teach herself anything she wanted henceforth (to avoid further sessions) and made it difficult for mom to patiently teach others.

Watching mom create these beautiful crochet objects over the years made me want to learn crochet, I'm sure.  Visions of me working handily on projects has always been in the background.

Now, just to grasp the basics and away I go to mom level glory.  Tis to dream.

Just Start Over

I think there's a technical term for yanking out your stitches and starting from scratch when things go south.  I should familiarize myself with this word.

I prepped for the Half Double by watching a couple of YouTube videos.  This one showed and explained it so I felt I could begin.

Librariandoa has twelve beads rather than the required ten.  I figured I could work in the two extras somehow.

Made my chain of 34, check.
Added a row of single crochet on top of my chain check.
Get to the half double stitch, make one, check.
Go to make a second and it all goes kablooie.  Tried to back up a couple of times and suddenly my tidy end of the row had unravelled and I had to start all over. 

Try try again later.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Blog List Cheerily Updated

Ta da. I now have Books/Authors, Cooking/Baking, Gardening and Craft Blog sections. I cleverly delineated between them by adding nice images to lead the sections.

As always, I enjoy blogs with a nice conversational writing style accompanied as needed by charming pictures.  Just the sort of thing you find on DOA!