Catalpa “bushes” and Morning Glories

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I may (or may not) have mentioned that Sweet Baboo has, for the past 3 or 4 years, planted Morning Glory seeds at the base of our Catalpa “bushes” ( I don’t believe that there is an actual Catalpa bush — we have two in the front yard that were stunted by the previous owners. Sort of like Banzai trees.) During the summer, the leaves go berserk starting about mid July and they have to be trimmed almost weekly. By letting the Morning Glories climb to the top, they keep the leaves from growing (somehow — I don’t understand how the whole thing works, but it does) plus they look kinda cool.

Here’s a close up shot — check out the dark blue blossom amidst the pink ones. We usually have white ones here and there, but this year there aren’t any.

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Another finished object — New York Hat

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SB's finished hatSweet Baboo’s job keeps him out in the nasty winter weather much more than I would like (snow plowing!! Blech!!) so I searched the internet until I found this pattern on this fabulous blog, I Live on a Farm. (There is also a pattern for the matching scarf along with lots of other great goodies.) The hat that she knitted used called Suri Merino Luxury Indecita Blend from Plymouth Yarn Co. It is 55% Suri Alpaca and 45% Extrafine Merino Wool in color number 402, which is a charcoal grey color. A very nice yarn to be sure, but I kept going back to another yarn by Berroco in 100% Extra Fine Merino. I would just go into my LYS and stand there and fondle stroke admire the hand on that yarn. This blue color just blew me away. It was also my first solo with circular needles. A girl could go broke easily just buying needles!! Just when I thought that I had found the DPN’s that I positively loved (KA bamboo) I find myself falling in love all over again with Prym circulars. Dear, oh dear, what’s a girl to do?

(Note to self: Remember to save what I’m writing if I decide that I need to go look at something else or I will risk wiping out the end of my article!! ARGH!!) 😦

SB wearing finished hatBack to my story. The pattern is easy enough that even a novice like me can follow it and not screw it up too badly, although I did have to wing it once I got to the crown. My fingers were just too stiff to be able to manipulate the stitches down to the 7 that the pattern called for. I decided that if it looked too wretched that I would (gasp!! say it isn’t so!!!) sew a pompom or button on the top to cover it. I’m not sure how Sweet Baboo would feel about that but I guess I won’t need to worry because the top came out well enough. Because the author of I Live on a Farm made this for her son, the very last part of the pattern says “Hug the completed hat to your cheek and bless it with Motherly Love while thinking of the dear head the hat will keep warm. Well, that’s what I did anyway.” Okay, so it was Significant Otherly Love but I thought the sentiment was so sweet. Here’s a picture of the dear head and his new hat keeping him warm.

Sock Update 9/16/07

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I actually finished Sweet Baboo’s socks a few days ago but was delinquent in posting the pics. I’m very pleased with how they turned out. I had hoped that I would be able to match the yarn again like I did with Darling Daughter’s socks, but it wasn’t to be. I think that the yarn that I used with DD’s socks was a painted yarn rather than a spun yarn like SB’s socks. At any rate, SB is very happy with his sockies and by God they fit this time!!!


I used Universal Yarn Classic Worsted Tapestry yarn in a Denim colorway. It’s hard to tell from the picture but I actually ran out of yarn on the right toe and had to add some from the blue that I was using for his watch cap. I think I made the leg a little too long (that’s what I get for knitting and watching TV) and that’s why I ran short. I hope the socks wear well — he will no doubt be using them this winter when the floors start to get chilly.

Sunday Scribblings #77 — Collector Personality

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I have always liked the idea of collections. I collected plates that I thought were pretty back in the 70’s when yard sales were first coming into their own. Yard sales were a super way to fill up spaces in your home with items you normally couldn’t afford. After collecting plates for a few years, I tired of them and sold them in my own yard sale. Ditto for books (I had all of Stephen King and Richard Bachman’s books) salt cellars (usually only footed larges, but smalls if they were interesting looking). Displaying things that I had collected gave me a feeling of pride, for some reason. Oh well, I was very young (well, youngish anyway) and defined myself by the material things that I owned.

When I was moving into my own apartment after my separation and subsequent divorce in 1994-95, I wondered why I needed to have all this stuff. I really didn’t have the space to display them and I had come to a point in my life where clutter was distracting and upsetting. I wanted peace and serenity in my life. I decided that I needed to start a huge “pare down” of everything that I owned. I leafed through all of the books that I still owned, reading snippets here and there, then put them in a box and donated them. Ditto with sugars and creamers that I had still in boxes. I realized then that the best thing to do with my “collections” was to not even look in the boxes, just put them back into the car and take them to the Salvation Army, which was exactly what I did. I opened up the hatch of my 1986 maroon over grey with grey fabric interior and sunroof Ford Mustang (can you tell, I just heart icon‘d that car!!) folded down the back seats and packed it all in, then added more boxes to the passenger seat and floor. I had to tie the hatch down with rope to keep everything inside, but I got it out of my life. Can I tell you how empowering it was to be shed of all of this chaos? It was certainly a bright, bright sun shiney day!! Looking back, I can see that what I was doing was subconsciously giving myself a fresh start, but then I just saw it as less stuff I had to wash and dust, giving me more time to heal and move on.

My house with Sweet Baboo is much calmer, no collections to be seen anywhere. My life is at peace and when I come home at night after work, I don’t feel like I want to tear my hair out in frustration because the house is cluttered. However, I am still somewhat collecting.

While I was sewing, I couldn’t go into a fabric store without coming out with something. I must confess, I bought many, many fat quarters just because I liked the hand of the fabric, or the color caught my eye. I was never sure what I would do with it, I just HAD to have it and I usually found some project or another to work them into. I still have lots and lots of fabric that I know that I should part with, but I’m having trouble purging it just yet. Knitting is my newest enchantment, and I’m happily buying yarn that I love the hand of or it has a color that catches my eye…….. plus all of the gadgets and notions that go along with the craft.

Okay, time to turn the car around and get back to the interstate before I get totally lost.

The collections that I have now are small, take up very little room, and don’t need to be dusted. I like to collect knitting patterns from the internet. Free ones, of course. I also like to collect websites with images on them giving me ideas for things that I may or may not want to knit in the future. Ditto with sewing patterns, although I don’t sew very much anymore. It’s just force of habit.

My strangest collection is collecting and using colloquialisms to amuse the girls at work. Because of the difference in our ages and the fact that I was brought up in a different part of the country, they haven’t heard a lot of the expressions that I use. A couple of the other ladies are my age so they usually know what I mean. For instance — off like a prom dress — play it again Sam — pot calling the kettle black — preaching to the choir — Lucy you got a lot of ‘splaining to do — Captain, she can’t take any more. If I hear a phrase that is familiar to me I will often write it down and then work it into conversation to see if they know what it means. It’s just a fun past time that hurts no one. My very favorite kind.

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Would you like to try your hand at scribbling, Sunday or otherwise?

There are lots more scribblings to read HERE

Spotted recently at a Rhode Island beach

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My friend took this pic with her camera phone last weekend — is this an example of after market air conditioning? I have no idea if the person who owns this assemblage was able to make it actually work in the car or if it was a joke.

I should have clarified this picture a little more. My friend Jackie asked a couple of questions that I hadn’t thought of to add to the post.

According to my friend K who took the pic, the back window of the station wagon where the glass normally would be had that pink insulation board type stuff that’s about 1″ thick — I think it’s used in areas where there is a lot of moisture, if my This Old House memories serve correctly. They just shoved that in there and then dropped in the A/C with the cord dragging. For sure, they weren’t moving — just the normal people type stuff inside the car, no boxes etc. Thanks for the nudge, Jackie!!

station wagon AC(2)

…..I’m thinking of renaming my blog…..

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My blog name “My Quilts & Stuff” came from my ebay user ID, qcquiltsnstuff. It was an apt ID at the time — the qc referred to the Quiet Corner of Connecticut, where I live, and I was heavily into all things quilt related and a bit of other stuff.

Along the way with my ebay experience, the items that I was selling online slowly morphed from mostly quilting items (fat quarters, fabric, patterns) to just about all cross stitch items (floss, fabric, patterns). Cross stitching has been around a long time and the patterns seem to be timeless. Patterns that were used in the 40’s were still relevant now. Very lucrative items to sell.

Criminy! I do love a good ramble — okay, onward.

But now — I no longer quilt nor do I sell alot on ebay. Knitting has replaced my quilting and I thought I would rename the blog:

“Knitting and Other Yarns”

or

“Knitting and Yarning”

or

“Knit ~ Purl ~ Smile ~ Repeat”

Jackie from Jackie’s Garden suggested:

“My yarns…knitted and otherwise”

and

“My Knitting and Notes”

Any comments? Would love to hear any suggestions you may have. Personally, I’m leaning toward Knit Purl etc.

Sunday Scribblings #76 — Writing

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It would be nice to say that I have been writing since the first day that I could hold a pencil. It would be even nicer to say that words just pour out of me on demand. And, of course, neither statement would be true.

I have read other blogs and the writing is so much more evolved that what I do. It’s really intimidating to read blogs written by college graduates and lawyers and editors and the ideas and beliefs that they abide by. I’m a country girl from the foothills of the Adirondacks — when I graduated from high school, college was for the well off kids, not so much my lower middle class group. Not that I’m having a pity party — I like my life just fine, in spite of the screaming lefts and rights it’s taken with me in tow.

When I was in high school, one of my classes was a creative writing and public speaking class. The teacher was a young woman, maybe all of 25 or 26 years old. Having always been a ravenous reader, I thought that to be a good writer, you had to write stories like the books that I had read. I would pattern my stories and articles after what I believed constituted good writing, parroting the writing styles of other authors. I had all of the grammar and punctuation correct, wrote everything very neatly (no computers back then!!) but still couldn’t seem to pull the grades that I thought I should be getting. I would feedback from the teacher “too trite”, “too dry”, “lacks animation”, “no imagination” — I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong for the life of me.

Then we were assigned a story that we were to write in outline form and speak in front of the class. We were to take questions and answer them as well as we could. I must have been channeling Stephen King, because this was 1970 or so, and he hadn’t hit it big yet. My recital would be about vampires.

And I aced it. I talked about vampires and sunlight and silver bullets and coffins and the earth from their graves. Elaborated on holy water and non-reflections in a mirror and garlic. Still using my outline, I embellished and enhanced and shot the bull in general. Being more than three decades ago, I don’t remember everything I said but I remember that it kind of took on a life of it’s own and instead of a stiff, dry report, it turned into a story, complete with the rambling that I still do today when I write. Imagine my surprise when I finally got the A that I wanted! Apparently what I was doing wrong was not writing in my own voice. Once I started writing what my head was saying instead of emulating other writers, everything fell into place.

Long story short (something I’m not really able to do very well) I look at what I do as story telling that I write down on my computer. I don’t have any deep and abstract thoughts to impart to others, just stuff that happens in my life. If that makes me a writer, then I’m a writer!!

For more thoughts on writing, check out Sunday Scribblings