A week full of marshmallow roasting, hammock swinging, knot tying, sunflower drying, pool dipping, game playing, firefly catching and suncatcher gazing (made by my sweet hubby). Summer is officially here and so is the stifling heat and humidity. Thankfully, our many, many trees keep the yard a tad bit cooler. And if you sit very still, in the shade, it is almost tolerable ;-) The kids have been keeping busy by playing many games outside as well as cooling off in the pool or playing water games with the neighborhood kids. It is now too hot to knit outside, so I am just enjoying the relaxed pace of the day with a good book on the front porch (and trying not to feel guilty about it).
I managed to finish her strawberry dress by Sunday as I was hoping to. The bodice actually knitted up pretty quickly. Kenna was excited to see it finished, well almost finished...she had spied it blocking. Yesterday morning, I sewed on the straps and then she happily put it on. Unfortunately, she is in a "no picture" phase so all these action shots will have to do. I think my guage was a bit off (I never check, bad I know) and probably could have gone up a size on the needles. The dress overall was a bit narrow, but thankfully, my girl is skinny so it didn't matter.
Next on the needles is one of my favorite longie patterns. And just to squash any suspicions that this may arouse, these are going to be gifted to a very good friend's wee babe due in fall :-)
As far as reading, I am still working my way through Radical Homemakers and still enjoying it. I also wanted to share a book we gave to Daddy for Father's Day. The boys were pretty excited to give it to him and I believe they have looked through it more than he has! Right now, a skateboard ramp and go cart are on the top of the to-build list. It is a great book, full of lots of feasible woodworking projects both big and small. If you have a Handy Dad in your life, definitely check it out!
This week, my garden buddy and I have spent lots of time in the yard. Our soil is so full of rocks here, I decided to go around and dig up what rocks I came across and use them to line the border of the wildflower garden. I wasn't sure how many I would find, but I was also hopeful that I would have enough. Let me say, it sure didn't take long! Kenna would follow me around and it was much like a treasure hunt. We would both be giddy when we found one and then proceeded to dig it up. At one point, Kenna brought the little wheelbarrow along with (smart girl!) and we loaded up then wheeled it over to the side of the house. I think the end result looks quite nice!
The front hedges desperately needed a trim. After a quick trip to Lowe's, I came back a happy woman with a pair of (manual) hedge trimmers. There was something very gratifying about whacking away at those bushes, making it all tidy once again. After Kenna saw me, she ran inside to get her scissors. She decided two pairs would do the best job. I like her work ethic :-)
Let's see, we also discovered the kids' first cucumber of the season. I think it has to be the smallest cucumber ever, but it sure is cute. I am waiting to see how big it will get, but I have a feeling it won't grow much bigger.
We also planted the begonias in our hanging planters, planted some dwarf sunflower seeds in a pot and some dill as well. I have a variety of spinach seeds soaking and will be planted tomorrow. I am excited about this particular type as they are supposed to grow all summer!
So far, I am not having much luck with my tomatoes. They are suffering from blossom drop, but I can't quite figure out why. Weather isn't an issue at this point so that only leaves pollination, but they are placed next to the wildflower garden AND in a clover patch which sees lots of action from the honeybees and the bumblebees. I am wondering if they just aren't getting enough sun??? I really, really, really was looking forward to some tomatoes, but may have to put them on hold until we live somewhere that is sunnier.
My mint plants are also under attack from some sort of pest. They are pretty holey and pathetic looking right now. I spotted a powdery white bug on the apple mint and am wondering if he had something to do with it. Otherwise it is a big mystery as there isn't a bug in sight whenever I check. Sigh. I will just keep my fingers crossed and keep investigating. My poor sad little garden!
Still knitting away at my strawberry dress although the end is in sight! I have about 1 or 2 more pattern repeats (I need to check it against my tall girly girl) and then I can start on the bodice. I am still hopeful to have it completed this week, although it may be Sunday. I am loving how it looks *except* my k2tog's are really obvious. Hmm, does anyone know how to fix that???
I am also still reading Radical Homemakers. It has been such an interesting and thought provoking read and I am now into the second half. Peter and I have had some good discussions over many of the points in the book. I definitely recommend it!
This year, MaKenna's birthday was a completely handmade birthday that included gifts from every member of the family. The boys were up late, well late for them, the night before finishing up their gifts as were mama and daddy. It was sweet to see them put so much thought into their gifts and how excited they were to create them. And she loved it all!
I needle felted these quick and simple sheep using a pattern from one of my favorite craft books. They aren't as cute as they are in the book and I had a hard time getting my proportions right the first time around, but she knew they were sheep and that is all that matters! After she opened them, she immediately took them over to the barn and put them in.
Her gift from Daddy was a set of playstands. These were a true labor of love as not only did I make him change something after one stand was complete, but he also got hurt while making them! They turned out beautiful and have already been played with lots by all of the kids. He has plans to make the canopies to go with them soon.
A few days before her birthday, when I realized I was not going to finish her strawberry dress in time, I decided to sew her up a quick birthday skirt. It is the Oliver & S Lazy Day skirt and I can't say enough how easy this was! I wish I had a better picture of her in it, but this is pretty much what you get when you ask your 3 year old to model for you, ha ha. I made it a bit long so that she can get a couple of years wear out of it and thankfully, this very clothing picky girl LOVED it. I have such a hard time keeping her in clothes some days and she did not want to take this skirt off (yay!).
Blake and I painted some wooden spools bought at a craft store with water colors. A simple, fun easy way to make a threading game. She loves to thread buttons and beads and this was simple and perfect for her. It was cute to see her open them up and immediately start threading them (there was also a shoe lace included).
Blake's gift for Kenna was this Princess plaque. Daddy cut the shape he drew and then Blake did everything else including the woodburning. A perfect gift for a little girl who insists we call her princess!
Jacob really wanted to needlefelt her a princess, but settled on painting her a peg princess. I had to explain to him that 9:00p the night before her birthday was NOT a good time to start a needlefelting project!
And Parker used some scraps from the playstand project to make her a table for the barn. Looks like there is room for more peg visitors :-)
What a fun few days we all had and now we are looking forward to our next projects...presents for Daddy for Father's Day and some small woodworking projects planned for the summer.