Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Evenings in the Garden

Went back to my parent's house the other night and snapped a few more pictures. Ran around the yard with the cat and watered all of my mom's pots. The days have suddenly been so hot here! Things are drying out in a hurry so I've been busy. I brought dinner with me, so after the work was done I enjoyed sitting on the back step looking at the scenery, munching away. Below are a few snapshots from the yard!

I loved this sun-bathing Siberian Iris

These little guys were catching some of the last evening rays.

These leaves make me smile! So uniform and pretty, they remind me of fireworks.

Hope you're all enjoying your end of June! Can you believe tomorrow is July?!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Week as Caretaker

I have been given the task of watching my parent's house while they are away vacationing on the coast. It's never been a chore! I love it because I get to wander the garden and enjoy their beautiful space. I water plants and relax with their cat in the sun. Yesterday was my first "shift." I drank coffee and ate a Starbucks pink donut on their back step and then snapped a few photos of my mom's peonies.

So pretty! I'll return tonight for more watering and wandering. More photo-taking too! :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Tile!

So, not too long ago, my sister and I noticed that some of the tiles in our bathroom shower were loosening. Uh-oh. After we picked at one, we noticed a fair amount of water damage behind it. Darn! Left a message with the landlady and hoped for her sake that it wasn't too extensive. Before we knew it she'd called in a construction guy to take a look and we scheduled his visit. I'm always interested in improving my rental place and here was another opportunity. My latest inquiry to the landlady was what kind of tile is this guy gonna put in when he fixes the wall? I got excited when she said it would not be the ugly, baby blue color that it was originally! Hurray!

There's that ugly tile and some of the damage we saw!

So, construction guy came and started the job. I stayed home from work to supervise and as I typed away in the kitchen it got louder and louder in the bathroom. Clank, clink, rattle! The tiles were coming down!

Finally all the clanking stopped and out came the saw. More noise! I went and checked in later and he told me that the damage wasn't too extensive but that I had a fair amount of black mold!! Yuck! No wonder our breathing problems have increased in this house! Next came the smell of bleach as he cleaned up the mess. *Cough* I came to look once more before he left for the day and as we stood there he thought out loud "what if we take off the vinyl up top, and tile all the way up?" I was all for that! What do I hate more than baby blue tile? Fake vinyl tile! He called the landlady who called me and asked what I thought. (I felt special.) I decided to go shopping that night for something pretty, happy that she trusted my instincts. The next day started with the vinyl removed and a new wall added!

Then came the tile part! Construction Guy liked my choice and I hoped my landlady would too! He started gluing them in and I loved it already! He returned to grout and then returned again to seal it this morning. Now we're done finally! It's been a whole week of this! I really like the results too, and it passed the Landlady Test with flying colors. Wahoo!

Now time to go take a shower in my deluxe bathroom. :) It's amazing how changing one thing can do so much!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Sewing Machine & A Special Project

So here's a little story about a lovely little sewing machine. Which isn't actually little at all. It weighs about as much as a sedan, and quite ironically is supposed to be the "portable" model. I really can't imagine anyone purchasing it with the intent of carrying it around to all their favorite destinations. With both hands, knees bent for proper lifting, I heave the thing up and on to the kitchen table. Take off the lid and smell the scent of ozone and a lot of years of love. It is from 1963. And it is dusty. But it runs like a dream and it whirs like it's brand new. Originally owned by my beloved Grandmother, it was recently passed on to me. I was so excited! My parents weren't even sure it would still run. I took it home, and opened it up, and gently, with Kleenex and Q-tips, cleaned all of its parts. The entire thing was full of blue fuzzies. Blue fuzzies? I smiled because I realized the last thing my Grandma must have sewn, was blue. I cleaned out the dust monsters, and plugged her into the wall. I gave the aged foot pedal a gentle press, and everything started to move. It worked! Since then, I've been trying out all the different types of stitches. It is the "deluxe" model, so it comes with a box of dies that can change the pattern that you sew. Judging by the one left in the machine for the last 15 years, my Grandma must have liked the Block Stitch: Die Number 19. I got misty eyed when I first removed it, and realized the last hands to touch it were hers. What a wonderful way to reconnect!

Now on to my latest project with said sewing machine. Father's Day was coming, and I planned a mixed-medium picture for him. It is quilt-like, and includes a photo of him and I (me being less than a year old). What is wonderful about his framed piece is that it is a picture of three generations, not two, because it was completely stitched together with his Mom's sewing machine. I was excited! With the cloth finally in hand, I've been stitching like crazy the last few days. I'm really not that good! Thank goodness the machine is up to snuff, because it was the only thing that made it work! Ha ha! As I stitched away, under the curious eye of my cat, I felt like my Grandma was so very close. I'm sure she'd be happy her old machine is back in the hands of someone to use it. And it's still in the family! My next challenge was to make a monogram of our last initial. Yikes. This was not easy for me! It's a new way to use a sewing machine and I was having troubles! With the manual open on the table, I tried until I got it, even if it isn't as fancy as I had originally hoped. One of the last stitches I added to the project (and most important) was the Block Stitch (Die Number 19). It took me forever to get it to work, but I finally did! The last type of stitch my Grandma sewed, now mastered by her Granddaughter. Wahoo! Well, now the project is finished, and under glass, and has been presented to my Dad. He loved it! After taking him to dinner and reminiscing about past memories of my sister and I as little kids, we gave presents and ate cake. It was a great Father's Day, due partially to a lovely little sewing machine. (Which isn't actually little at all.) :)

(Here's a picture of it almost completed. I forgot to take a final photo of it finished!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Delicate Elegance

I took some photos from the Garden Tour with my Mom on Saturday and a few of my own flowers. I enjoy the tiny details in leaves and petals. Enjoy!

My Dahlia!

Dappled Dogwood

I love Marigolds!

Silver Mound after a rain

Snow in Summer!

I hope you all are having a great week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fun Days with Fun People!

What a decadent few days! The fun started on Thursday actually, when my mom and I dressed up for an evening out. We, both in our sparkly jewels and fancy clothes, headed for dessert first and enjoyed good conversation over delicious chocolate cake and ice-cream. Afterward? Off to see Sex & The City 2! In the back row, with our San Pellegrino bottles (Mom snuck them in, in her purse), we were two of only a handful of folks in the theater. The lights dimmed, and the movie started. I loved it! I don't know what all those critics are upset about! It was exactly what I expected and I thoroughly enjoyed the romp. Pleased as punch we discussed it on the way home before parting ways. What a fun evening!

The next round of fun came yesterday. My best friend (who I call Bunny) had a Birthday in April. Well, because of all my tooth problems, etc., we were unable to go celebrate. So, now that I'm healed, we decided to finally go out on June 12th! Just a few months late... I started the day by borrowing my Dad's car (I still don't have one!) and grabbing smoothies. I drove to her house and played chauffeur. We went downtown and headed to the Farmer's Market together. It was a gorgeous morning! A little chilly in the shade, but the sunshine was glorious! After wandering for an hour, we bought mini donuts from a donut-mobile and sat in the sun. Next up? Side-by-side pedicure appointments at 1pm! We headed to one of my favorite spas and enjoyed 45 amazing minutes in Foot Heaven. And now we each have lovely purple toes. :) Our happy feet took us shopping next, and then on to lunch where I gave her her gift. (Her new last name starts with an "I" and it's very difficult to find monogram "I" jewelry. I was so excited to find one, finally, made out of a 1930s "I" typewriter key. She loved it!) We ate well and shared stories and had a great time. Another amazing day!

Up next? A garden tour today with my Mom! We bought tickets to go see various private gardens in town. I'm so curious what they'll look like! (I know that none of them will hold a candle to my Moms though!) The sun is shining with not a cloud in the sky. It's already 60 degrees and a perfect day for wandering amid flowers! I have my camera ready and my allergies under control. LOL. Should be great! I'll post photos later!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Garden Therapy!

Well most of you out there know the joy of putting your hands to dirt and making things grow. I enjoyed such an experience yesterday. The sun was shining, the day was beautiful, I'd just spent a wonderful time picking out flowers with my Mom, and I was home and ready to plant. I set out my three pots, and my three half-empty bags of potting soil that had been rolling around the garage. My boxes of flowers stood right and ready. I thought I had enough soil for the entire job, and started filling pots up about halfway. Well, turns out I had enough for one and a half pots. Dang! I potted up my smallest with purple Million Bells and a yellow Dahlia and then I was stuck. Solution? Call Mom! "Please bring me soil??" Which she did! A new bag of soil and I was back to work.

I finished my other two pots with Zinnias, more Million Bells, Potato Vine, Marigolds, and a big Geranium. It felt so good! I put their pots in their new home by my front step and admired them. I spent the rest of the eve mowing and weeding the other garden beds. Nothing like dirty fingernails from a job well done! It felt good to wash the dirt off my hands, shake the leaves off my shirt, and fish all the flower pieces out of my hair. (How they got there, I'm still not certain.) And today, with its rain clouds and grey sky, my flowers are out there, bright as ever, shining with their pretty faces for all to see! They're definitely making me happy! :) I hope the neighborhood is similarly pleased. Next on the warm-weather agenda? Finding a Mr. Lincoln rose to plant in the yard. They're my FAVORITE, and are hard to find this time of year. Cross your fingers for me that one turns up!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

So Many Markets!

Ahh, my first Market day of the season! They've been up and rolling for a few weekends now, but I was only able to start going today. There is the River Market (produce and meat and fish), the People's Market (jewelry, crafts, and snacks) and the Farmer's Market (flowers, veggies, coffee and chaos). The River Market is the newest and made use of a beautiful spot near our Clark Fork River. I always start at the Farmer's though, and work my way south. Every sidewalk is full of performers and vendors. Petitioners come out in droves, but are kind and polite. The sun was shining today (after a week of rain) and people were smiling at every corner. At one stop light a lady stepped in front of me, and pouring out of her shoulder bag were the green flowing stocks of some lovely plant. Not sure what she had purchased, but it hung out of her bag and waved as she walked, just like a rooster tail. The more I looked around the more bags I saw all bursting forth with greenery; vegetables, herbs, bouquets of spring flowers. Downtown was alive and smelling fresh! My pace was slow, and my eyes treated to the best people watching you can find. I purchased nothing today, but gained so much. On my way home from my wanderings, I stopped on the bridge over the river. It is as brown as chocolate milk! I like to watch it change. In the winter it is a ominous black, before being covered in frozen white. Now it has thawed and is brown and running fast. It carries dirt and trees right through town. The kayakers are crazy this time of year. They must dodge logs to play in this water. The level is high, and it looks to drown those dear plants that line its bank. I cannot wait for it to return to it's refreshing crystal green. Then it's time for me to play in it! Below are a few pictures from my morning adventure. I hope you all have been enjoying your Saturday morning too!

The River Market

Chocolate Milk River!

Runoff Logs as Seen from the Bridge

Flowers Blooming in My Neighborhood

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A HOPEful Hike

June 1st, as a kid, meant two things: Summer was almost here, and it was one of my best friend's Birthdays! There was always a party, lots of presents, and a huge cake. Her cousins and family would descend on her house and we'd throw water balloons and eat like kings. That friend of mine was named Hope, and was a dear part of my growing up. We knew each other since elementary school and were friends all the way up through high school. She had to live a very rough life, though. Her final years in high school were hard to watch, but I stood by and did whatever I could to help her through her struggles. Unfortunately, at the age of 21, she passed away. It was a surprise car accident that shook me and all her friends terribly. That was four years ago. Since she passed, I refused to remember the day she died. Instead, I would continue to celebrate the day she was born. At her funeral that August I took her 11 roses. Everyone probably thought I'd been dooped at the florists, but instead I had saved one of them for myself. I dried it, and almost a year later on June 1st, I hiked up Sleeping Woman's Peak and scattered them to the wind. My church has always been found at the tops of mountains, so that is where I went to remember and celebrate her life. Since then, I have always hiked on June 1st in her memory. Even if it is more of a hill than a mountain, even if it is raining, I still do it. This year I grabbed my sister and we headed up some foothills near town. It sprinkled on us, but we didn't mind a bit. We hiked and laughed and talked and I reminisced about my beloved friend. We reached the top and it was covered in wildflowers and bluebirds. I prayed, said hello and Happy Birthday to my Hope, and enjoyed a beautiful moment above the city. I take a lot of comfort in the fact she's happy now. Though we all miss her so, she has had four very happy years in a much kinder place then she knew down here. She would be 25 this year, and I raise a glass to her and her happiness. :) I love you so, Hopey!

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