Today was spent hauling bark chippings from the nursery. Charlie offered to help but misunderstood what we meant by "bark". However much bark you think you might need, just double it and then you might end up with about the right amount.
We also started planting some of the stuff we bought over the weekend. First was the japanese maple, and then some hostas in the shady corner. I am trying to go with a bit of a Japanese flavour. We went to the Japanese garden in Seattle a couple of years ago which was totally amazing and ever since I have wanted one just like it but I know I do not have the resources or expertise to produce anything like the genuine article. I bought a couple of books on the subject and I will try to follow a couple of the design principles adapted to our climate, budget, and lack of enthusiasm for garden maintenance. We put a rock by the maple and plan to plant a low growing evergreen next to it.
I will finish the planting during the week, but here are a couple of pictures of today's progress.
When we woke up this morning there had been snow in the mountains and it was raining and hailing and thundering. it was only 41 degrees and we had to put the heating back on after having the a/c on for a week or so. Let's hope spring/summer will come back soon.
We went to see Over the Hedge today. It was fun, but apart from Wanda Sykes, I had difficulty picking out the voices, even though one was Bruce Willis and one was William Shatner.
After the movie we went to Costco again. They had some acer palmatums (a Japanese maple) that will be perfect for the new bit of garden. Whilst there we shared a hand-dipped (in chocolate and almonds) ice cream bar. It was absolutely scrumptious and will probably become my new vice for the summer months. Luckily we normally visit Costco at most twice a month. They only accept real money at the food place, and as we don't usually carry any that will further help ration our consumption.
I have finished one tie for my Vogue top. I didn't like the way it said to do them in the pattern - 18 rows of rev st st done on 180 stitches and then folded over. It was way too thick and clunky. I unravelled it and started again and did 33 inches on 8 stitches in k1,p1 rib. Lots of turning between rows but a lot nicer I think - and it will fit nicely through one of the pattern holes which is great as i completely forgot to leave a gap in the side seam. I will do the other one tomorrow, then all I have left is a row of single crochet round the outside edge of the whole thing and deal with the ends.
He woke us up for his presents at 6.00am. He had been asked on no account to wake us before 7.00am. We gave in because it was easier and gave us a greater chance of eventually getting back to sleep for a little while longer. It did get us into trouble with Sam and Lucy who were not awake and who like to be present at family gift unwrappings.
What he was most excited about was the fact that he might at long last get an iPod, which he did. we haven't been able to talk to him much today because he has had it continuously plugged in to his ears since it has been charged up. He ended up with the 30gb video model. I didn't realise that they only made the video ones and the nano now. Don't they come in the neatest little boxes?
He declined my offer to knit him a case and one of his other presents was a jam jacket, that is rubbery and will protect it well if it is dropped.
He seemed to genuinely like his cushion - I was pleased about that.
We went to Costco and bought tickets for Lagoon, our local theme park, so he can go there with three of his friends from school next week. Then he had his haircut at Fantastic Sams where they will do it for free if you can prove it's your birthday.
This evening we went to the Olive Garden for his dinner - just the five of us which was nice. The wait staff did a great job of embarrassing him by singing loudly to him at the end of the meal.
Here he is blowing out the candles on his cake back at home after dinner.
Three parcels arrived in the mail today - sadly none were for Edward. One was the new lid for our coffee maker, one was a 2GB FlashDrive that I got for Gary mainly because it was a real bargain, the third was the SWTC Bamboo yarn for my Lotus Blossom Tank, which I am almost ready to start.
We went to a nursery today to start stocking up with plants for the new bit of garden. It has been raining and very cold today - a typical British holiday weekend - but we are in Salt Lake City where it is meant to be warm and sunny even on holiday weekends. Because of that we haven't been able to actually plant anything. At least the new grass is getting a good watering for free.
It's from pancake and lulu and it's called Australian Rose II and this is the only one. There is an Australian Rose I, but it is different! It was beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and tied with string.
It's someone's birthday tomorrow, but I don't think he will read this, so I am going to share Secret Project Number 3 with you. He will be thirteen so I doubt this will be his favourite present, but hopefully he will find it useful and, anyway, I had fun making it .
This is the second in my series of ambigram cushions/pillows. (the first was for Sam - there is an explanation of what an ambigram is there too).
The design for EDWARD was quite tricky. The letters fell into two distinct groups - the ED/RD and WA. They didn't seem to want to go together on a square cushion. Then I realised it wanted to be a cylindrical shape and came up with this design:
The two circles are ED one way up and RD the other way up. The centre part is WA both ways up. (Well in my mind anyway!!)
Here are the pieces put together. Sorry the first one is slightly out of focus - If you don't like looking at it, turn the third one round and you will see what it is supposed to look like!
Another challenge was finding fabrics that have half a chance of appealing to a teenage boy. The ones I chose were a hand-dyed red with a hint of black in it and the black is more a charcoal grey with black dots on it that look quite industrial. I will tell you tomorrow what his reaction was.
Cats are so not nice sometimes:-( I know, dear kitty, that you are probably majorly PO'ed at the moment because you have had to wear a cone collar to stop you bothering your skin infection. I know that the dog keeps eating your food and tries to chase you sometimes. But why, oh why, did you have to pee in her bed.
I happened to glance over in the direction of the dog's bed yesterday and saw the cat in there and realised what she was doing. On further investigation we discovered that the whole bed was soaking wet and stinky and she must have been doing it for quite a while. The strange thing is that the dog didn't seem to mind at all and has been lying in it perfectly happily all this time.
I tried washing the bed but the stinkiness remains and I think we might just have to abandon it. I have ordered a Snuggle Sack for her which I hope Charlie will like (It's her first birthday on June 1st!)
I have nearly finished my Vogue top - just the ties to go. I forgot when sewing up the side seams to leave a gap for the tie to go through on one side. It says in the pattern that the gap should be 5" but I am sure that can't be right. The ties are knitted lengthways so I have to knit 18 rows on 180 stitches. I know the actual number of knitted stitches is about the same whether it's knitted lengthways or widthways, but I think lengthways seems to take longer because of the long rows. I guess it should seem quicker because there is less turning between rows.
Yesterday I joined a Knit Along (or KAL as we knitters call it) for the Lotus Blossom Tank top featured on the front of the latest Interweave Knits. This is the first time I have joined a KAL. IT will be fun to compare notes as we go. I have ordered the yarn for it and will post pictures when it arrives. It is made from bamboo which I have never used before.
Today we were on the front porch planting up the final tubs and pots for the summer and I took some pictures of Charlie enjoying the spray from the hose. It is difficult to take good pictures of a constantly moving dog, so please bear that in mind.
The guys were here bright and early again today and finished the job. They finished clearing the weeds from the area, filled in with some top soil, put in the sprinkler heads, and covered the whole area with weed barrier (it's not a tarpaulin!)
They also put down new turf/sod but unfortunately it seems they couldn't get the same dye-lot as the old grass. Here is a picture:
Isn't Charlie sitting nicely? They also poured gasoline over the tree stumps - luckily we don't smoke so less likely to absent mindedly set fire to them.
The guys came to do our garden as promised yesterday. They were here shortly after 7am and were already busy ripping out trees and bushes when we got up. They worked really hard and achieved a huge amount in one day. If it had been me and Gary we would have gone out all enthusiastic, pulled out a couple of weeds, looked back at how long it had taken us to do that, and forward to how much there still was to do, decided it was too overwhelming and gone to Barnes and Noble for a coffee instead. They did have a back hoe to help shift the rocks.
Here are some pictures:
After one days work
All these rocks were already there. Apparently it costs as much to haul rocks away as it does to buy them. Seems like a good business to be in!
Here is the digger:
Today (if their aching backs from shifting rocks yesterday allow) they are going to finish clearing the area behind the rock wall of weeds and put down some top soil and a weed barrier, and replace the grass that the digger tore up. Our next big decision will be what to plant there with the backdrop of native scrub oak. Personally I could just cover the whole area in columbines like these http://www.greatnorthernnursery.com/piclib2/GNN%20Perennials/Aquilegia%20songbird%20mix%203059201_2.JPG I think they are wonderful and the wild version which is a little simpler but just as pretty grows in our mountains, so it is definitely suitable.
A small maple or two with their gorgeous autumn colours would be nice. Maybe aubretia in the wall itself. I don't know what else - will have to get the gardening books out and have a look. Of course when we get to the nursery they probably won't actually have any of the things we decide on so will have to think again.
Now of course the rest of the garden is starting to look like it could do with some sprucing up. I will take pictures of the rest of it later so you can see what I mean.
I got a surprise phone call yesterday morning. It was our Power Bar teacher to say she was not going to teach that class anymore - starting that day. She sounded really sad about it, but as I said the other day she has thee little kids and has moved too far away for it to be sensible. She said we were her favourite class, and she is our favourite power bar teacher. It was very thoughtful of her to call, but that is the kind of club it is. I can't imagine an instructor from the gym we went to on Saturday doing that. The upside though is that she will be teaching water aerobics after Memorial Day - the official start of the summer season. Luckily I have a new swimming costume - one that says it makes me look 10lbs lighter (Gary said why don't I get two?) to wear so I am all ready for that.
Needless to say attendance was down at power bar last night. The sub was the fitness director of the club so she did a good class but she does not have Andrea's charisma. She has promised to find us another good teacher soon.
Now I must go and get on with secret project number three. I finished the other front to my Vogue top and it is waiting for the shoulder seams to be sewn and the collar to be done - that is a job for this evening while watching American Idol. Who will win - find out tomorrow. Also can't wait for Lost tomorrow - if the teasers are to be believed we should find out a lot.
Well, we did go and see The Da Vinci Code today. I don't know about it. Gary hasn't read the book and didn't get what was going on some of the time. I have read the book and not all of it matched up. I realise things have to be condensed a little to fit into a reasonable length of time for a movie, and that things have to be exagerated for dramatic effect, but even so! I think Edward found it a bit boring because of the subject matter.
The plot involved a lot of thinking through problems which are hard to show well in a movie, and could easily come across as boring to those who might have expected it to be more of an action movie.
Anyway, glad I have seen it.
We had a nice time with our friends on Friday night. We went to the Indian restaurant and then to an icecream parlour. Even though we took half of our Indian home we still felt stuffed to the gills afterwards. I even felt guilty enough to go to step and power bar on Saturday morning.
On Saturday afternoon we went to look at another gym. It was bigger than ours and probably has more money spent on equipment and stuff, but i have a feeling that their equivalent of Power Bar is a trademarked class that follows exactly the same sequence of exercises every time. I would be bored rigid after the second class! Variety is definitely the spice of my life.
I wish who ever bought our club would let us all know his intentions. It would seem silly to have us all leave because we don't what is happening if he wants to keep the membership up. There is a rumour that he wants to build a batting cage. If so, then I can imagine it being a more male oriented place (I know girls can play baseball too!). The classes are mainly attended by women and I can imagine them deciding to cancel them - an added benefit being that they wouldn't have to pay the instructors. They would keep the cardio and weight machines.
I guess we will find out in the fullness of time.
I have made some progress with secret quilting project number three that can be revealed next Saturday when a certain person becomes a teenager.
My Vogue top is also coming along nicely. I decided to leave the front shaping as I had already done it - it looked fine.
I need to put some serious thought into what to send my One Skein Secret Pal this week - especially if I need to order anything online. I have some ideas. I may have to order two of whatever it is as I am sure I will want one for myself too.