Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Nut House

We have a hazelnut tree in our front yard. It is one of the trees that was here when we moved here 17 or so years ago. Hazelnut's sprout readily from the base and send off all kinds of suckers if you let them. If they are cut down they sprout up again over and over. Over the years we've made it into a living room of sorts - you can walk in and sit on the little bench, and in the summer you are almost completely enclosed in green leaves and bark.

Last night it snowed and The Nut House, as we fondly call it, was quite magical looking with the lights and the snowflakes, it's hard to catch it on camera. 

The sticks you cut from the hazelnut are useful for all kinds of things. They used to use them for hoop skirts and I've found them useful for temporary fencing or a trellis to grow plants on. They are very flexible so if you use them immediately, you can curve them into pleasing shapes.

This little fence was part of our Halloween setup, convenient since fall is a good time to cut back all the branches and suckers you do not want on your tree.

Of course the hazelnut tree will produce nuts if you let it flower and fruit - however, we've found that the squirrels eat them as soon as they are good to eat and we're lucky if we can gather just a few to enjoy while we are out enjoying the yard.
The snow is just a temporary setback for my bulbs, sure is a different picture than from just a week ago.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My first whale

I saw a series of photographs of pilot whales taken by Rory Moore off the Strait of Gibralter, (article and photographs here at the Telegraph ) and it inspired me to try to crochet myself a little whale.  So here's what I came up with. The proportions are a little off, but still quite a charming little thing she is. I also can't decide how to do the mouth. I've got a temporary one there now - but it seems a bit like too much lipstick. The bonus of all these prototypes is we are going to end up with quite a collection of odd animals!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Way Way Way Back, there used to be Geocities

I'm not sure if anyone else remembers the days of free websites at Geocities - but it was back in the day when I was first learning html and was writing webpages using notepad.  I think it was around 1997 or so? I went searching for any copy of it that might exist out there and was tickled to find it at Reocities  
I had such big plans back then - I guess I got caught up in the actual doing of the garden and forgot to keep up with the documenting it. I notice that some of the plants I so proudly mention are long gone, fallen victim to lack of water, weeds, neglect or just bad placement.  But other plants have spread and spread and still delight me every year. 

We still salvage plants from around the neighborhood, and it's all added up to quite a collection, I can hardly believe it myself sometimes.  I referred to the Grape Hyacinth blooming in March, and since it's almost March - here's a picture which never made it onto the website.
I'm firmly keeping my head in a Spring time space - ignoring the fact that there were snowflakes falling yesterday - just enough to be pretty - and really avoiding the weather channel which is telling me it's going down to -13 degrees Wednesday night (that's 8.5 for you Americans). Thankfully here in the pacific northwest the cold will be temporary,  which suits me just fine!

Friday, February 18, 2011

One Almost Spring Day in February 2008

I was looking at my pictures of past Februarys and came across this one I took in 2008. The bumble bee in my memory was HUGE, I'm glad I got the penny in the picture so I could compare, or to make sure my memory of it matched reality.

February 10

Feb 18

The mystery bulbs aren't quite so mysterious anymore. I can see the daffodil buds swelling up and there are tulips for sure. I can hardly wait to see what colors they will be. Each year it's so gratifying to see the things you planted last year bloom and grow. 

It was one of those magical sunny beautiful MetroVancouver days. Snow on the mountains, emerald green grass and birds tweeting everywhere in the trees with the robins hopping and digging for worms.

This one was being pretty quiet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

White Owl with Vintage Button Eyes

A friend requested a white owl, so I've been working on variations of white. The challenge I'm having is making enough contrast for the beak to show.  One thing I have conquered though is changing the way I crochet the beak part of the owl and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. It makes the back of the head appear much more refined.  Now I have to decide which owls if any  I should back to and fix up a bit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lollipop Flowers for Valentine's Day

Here are this years Valentine's Day cards.
I started by crocheting small hearts. Here's the post about that and where to find the pattern.  I was quite pleased to find something to do with this garishly bright red that I got in a grab bag of red yarn. I don't like throwing things away, but I couldn't picture what to make of it. I'm sure the kids will think it's great.
I tied the hearts onto the lollipops - maybe not the best way as it was quite fiddley. We cut out green leaves from construction paper, wrote the names on them, and glued them to the lollipop sticks.

Voila! you have a cute heart flower for the Valentine's mailbox, a candy and a keepsake for each kid.

I went out looking for spring this morning

Here's what I found blooming or budding. It lifts my spirit to watch things grow.


Indian Plum
Native Shrub - can't remember just now.


Candy Tuft


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hearts and more Hearts

Every Valentine's Day we make some kind of handmade valentines for my 9 year old daughters school class valentine's exchange. Of all the kids in her class she and maybe one other are the only ones who bring something original and unique, quite a stand out among the Hannah Montana and Spiderman store bought valentines. You gotta know that this year we can certainly expect some Bieber valentines.
The valentines have usually has been a lot of work for me, but  it's well worth it.  So this year, in honor of my new found love of crochet, it's crocheted hearts for everyone. This is my work from yesterday - we plan to attach them to lolipops and add green paper leaves. Should be way cute.

Set up like this they remind me of cherry blossoms. I really have way too many creative ideas to be able to keep up to myself. Find that part kind of frustrating really, but maybe I'll make a little cherry blossom or two or three.

By the way, the free pattern for these hearts came from  Planet June.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Black Owls

I bought some wool which is soft shiny dark dark grey without checking on black owls. In fact, when I started this process of making owls, I deliberately didn't look at pictures of owls. I didn't look at other's homemade owls after the first one, I didn't look at pictures of real owls until I had made maybe 40 or 50 owls. I think I wanted to just get the essence of owl that we all recognize even though it isn't very realistic.

So now that I've gotten down what it is I like in my owl figures, I'm looking for inspiration in real owls and there seems to be quite a number of black owls. I wasn't much of an owl person before, but I'm beginning to see the attraction. I should qualify that... we used to see a real owl in our yard and hear the real owls in the trees. That was exciting and gratifying that our yard should be attractive to them. The sad thing is, I haven't heard an owl for almost a year now. They are taking down trees in our city everywhere, and there's not much left for habitat. I'm trying to remain positive though, we are growing trees in our yard as fast as nature will allow, and my friend down the street saw and heard one recently, so hopefully I'll get to hear "our" owl again someday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's spring no matter what the calendar says.

When the spring bulbs start pushing their way out of the ground it's spring to me.  I'm quite excited about these bulbs since they are new this year.  I was on a walk through a local park early last summer and came across a whole mound of bulbs they had ripped out of the ground and piled up to rot in the forest. I guess when you are maintaining a city park it's not worth saving spring bulbs, but to someone like me the notion of throwing plants away just makes me crazy.  So I came back with a friend and we carried buckets and bags of them out of there. I set them aside for a few months, trying to figure out what to do with them.
Since they were all mixed, I didn't know what they would be or what colors so I had the hardest time deciding where to plant them. In the end I just lay them in this little garden bed as close as I could to see what would come up in the spring. I still had some left to plant around in the yard and in the tub shown, I tried to pick out all the same ones, and it looks like they are tulips maybe.

Whenever you plant a bulb in the ground there's that unsure feeling because you never know what's going on under there, but when that first green tip pokes up, just a great feeling. Now we just have to wait and see how many actually bloom and what colors they are.

In the meantime I've been crocheting owl bodies like crazy. I got some yarn and I just couldn't stop, must have done 20 in the last two days, staying up way too late and neglecting everything else I should be doing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

* Feathery Gray Owl with Vintage Style Black Button Eyes

This cute gray owl was crocheted freehand and given upcycled vintage style button eyes.

The body is a soft feathery gray with a playfully textured yarn and a beak that is soft and white. It feels nice to hold this owl and the yarn feels soft on your hands. The yarn is made of unknown man made fibers, most likely polyester or acrylic, and stuffed with with polyester fiber fill.

The beautiful button eyes with the shiny black center and metallic surround give this owl a bright look in its eyes. The buttons are vintage style, plastic and upcycled.

The owl measures about 3 1/3 inches by 3 inches and is very light and squeezable.


I'm going to have to make an owl in honor of this cat.


I almost have it in reverse in this owl.


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