tiny bits

Oh man, I was so hoping to get lots of pillows made and plants planted this week, and then I got knocked out by this ridiculous cold. No one wants a play-by-play of someone else’s minor illness, so suffice it to say that I was sick enough to stay home from work for two days, and even a week later I am a snot and cough machine. Blech.

Still, I couldn’t let the week pass without trying to make a few small improvements. I have lots of containers just begging to be filled with green, so I made a good start. I’ve had succulents in the past, and they seem to survive pretty well in our environment, which can be a little harsh. At least until they are subject to extreme neglect, which has happened before (i.e. oops, I forgot to water them for the whole winter, and left them out to freeze). So I’ve been collecting a few here and there.

olive oil

We buy olive oil by the can at a Middle Eastern/Eastern European/Russian market. I loved the color of this can, and it’s been sitting and waiting to be repurposed. So I filled it with some of the succulents.

I also discovered a nursery just up the road from us that sells all sorts of native and drought tolerant plants, so we are slowly adding some trees and shrubs to the yard, but it’s still too weedy to show off just yet. In the meantime, I picked up a couple of strawberry plants and this crazy bright geranium, which just had to go in this black pot I got on sale at Target a few months ago. I love the contrast of the flowers with the black. I have never been able to photograph bright reds and pinks, so this isn’t a perfect depiction of the color, but it’s a deep, deep fuchsia, with lots of blue undertones.

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Another mix of succulents.

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I filled up my old birdcage with lots and lots of different sorts. I’m not sure how well this is going to work in the long run, but so far everything seems happy enough. I stuck a few of the dangly (that’s a word, right?) varieties in from the outside, and I’m hoping more will make their way through the bars of the cage.

birdcage

I finished up with three of these hanging pots along the front (from Ikea), I thought the green bean plant looked nice with the lacy edge. Maybe next I’ll learn the actual names of my plants.

green bean

 

I’ve got some more pots to fill with herbs and maybe some more flowers. But now I need another nap. Pixel agrees. Or maybe he just wants some of my blueberries in that bowl.

porch bed

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the porch, so far

Porch sitting season is here, and I am doing some serious porch nesting right now. I love sitting on the porch and reading, and while the rocking chair is comfy, sometimes I just want to curl up with my book on a bed, but I don’t want to go inside. Ever since we moved here I imagined the perfect vintage French daybed, piled with pillows. The problem, of course, is finding such a thing and having it not cost hundreds of dollars. After all, it is going to be left outside. So I needed something that was maybe not quite so precious. I also didn’t want to have to build something and then find a mattress or some other sort of padding. And then I remembered seeing a cot on Martha Stewart or some place similar. I liked the idea of an old, wooden army cot, but frankly, they didn’t look all that comfortable. After a little searching, I found this nice, substantial-looking number. It folds up nice and small, so I can stash it indoors during the winter. With the addition of a down comforter on top of the pad that came with the cot, it’s super comfortable and roomy, which is good, because if I’m out there laying on it, there’s a pretty good chance that there will be a dog or two on it too. porch

Next up, I plan to add lots of pillows. I’ve got lots of inspiration to work from. I have pots to fill with plants and flowers, and a bird cage I filled with succulents (more on that in another post). This is just one corner of our porch, it continues all along the front and side of the house. I’ll be rearranging things, and sharing more soon.

While the cot was all made up I took the opportunity to spread out the second quilt I’ve finished from my mother-in-law’s collection. I am feeling all accomplished and stuff. This one is a classic double wedding ring. It was pieced by hand, and like the first quilt I finished, it was nowhere near flat enough to be quilted, so I tied it too(Actually, my mom and sister did most of the tying some time ago, but I added some more ties and then a binding). Still, I’m enormously impressed with the amount of work and care that went into it. A double wedding ring is a hard pattern under any circumstances, but like the previous quilt, it’s all hand pieced.

wedding ring quiltIt’s full of so many different scrappy bits. I had a hard time picking a good fabric for the binding, but I think this tiny geometric worked well with a lot of the patterns and colors in the quilt.

wedding ring quiltPixel especially likes curling up with me on the cot, so he watched longingly from the window, while I was taking pictures. I love his short little haircut, he looks like a little boy fresh from the barber shop like this.

pixel

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dogs in hats

 

I promise this isn’t going to become a pugs-in-clothes blog, but now and then I am going to be compelled to make things for Pulley to wear. I particularly have a thing for dogs in hats, as evidenced by several pins on my ‘best friends’ board (which I recommend that you peruse when you are stressed or sad, it is my cure when I’m having a bad day), also there is this board, which is not mine, but will also cheer you right up.

Back to Pulley. There is a certain sci-fi show which had a tragically short run, but if you are a knitter and watched the show, you will remember a very distinctive hat. Apparently, there are now licensing issues, so I won’t mention the name of the show or the character that wore this most excellent article of clothing. I will just let this photo of Pulley speak for itself.

pulley in a shiny hat

 

He wears it with such dignity. The pattern formula was courtesy of Stacy from Boondock Studios.

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chester pulley

It’s been a rather sad/happy time in our little animal kingdom. I’ll start with the happy.

A few weeks ago, on a Friday, I came home from work and found an extra dog in our yard. A little, anxious pug stood just inside the gate, wagging his little corkscrew tail. Our neighbors up the street have a pug, and she had been to visit before when the gate was open, so I just thought it was her and went to get a leash to take our visitor home. I came inside and told Mr. HeyLucy about the dog and he volunteered to walk up the street. He soon returned, with the dog in his arms. Apparently pugs are not fans of long walks.

pulley

It turned out that all nearby pugs were present and accounted for, and he had even gone as far as the sheriff’s station to see if anyone had reported a missing dog. At this point, we started to realize just how puzzling the situation was. The little guy (it turns out he was a boy, not a girl) had a collar and the ring where a tag must have once hung was empty, but undamaged. Our property is completely fenced, and every little gap is sealed so Pixel can’t get out, so there was no place where a dog weighing twice as much could have squeezed through. Our fence along the front is only four feet, and faces the main road through town, so someone could have easily lifted him over and left him. Our neighbors on either side have taller fences, so our yard is obviously the best option if you were to need to lift an animal over a fence.

Of course we had to bring him in and feed him, and determined that we’d take him to our vet to be scanned for a microchip, since the nearest animal shelter is at least 30 miles away. Also, he was so sweet, we just couldn’t imagine putting him through the trauma of a shelter stay. Surely someone was looking for him and we’d see a Lost Dog sign on one of the bulletin boards around town.

pulley

The next morning I took him to the vet, and they found no sign of a microchip. Our town is small, and there are several notice boards where people post Lost Pet flyers. We checked every single one, and no one had put up any signs, desperately looking for a pug. I went to the diner and told all the regulars about him, which is a good way to get word out in a small town. We checked craigslist and fidofinders, and there were no lost pugs anywhere in the entire county. We kept checking for the next ten days or so, and even now, no one is looking for a pug. By about day three we figured we needed to call him something besides “hey dog,” and after extensive name testing, we settled on Pulley (Chester Pulley, to be exact, but we mostly just say Pulley).

pulley

So now, a month later, he’s microchipped and tagged and neutered, and this is his home. He defends the yard ferociously, just like the other dogs. He and Pixel have become fast friends, and wrestle and tumble all around the house. He’s somewhere between a year and 18 months old. The best we can figure, someone brought their dog out to the country to get rid of it. I can’t imagine willingly giving up any of my pets, so I think that they must have been pretty desperate to leave him behind. I hope they know that he has a good home now, and that we will take good care of him. I hope they don’t mind that I will be dressing him up and taking pictures. There’s something about a pug, I just think he needs a dapper wardrobe, and he’s so photogenic. I’m starting off small, with just a bow tie I made the other night. I never thought I was a pug person, but his aggressively happy nature and smooshy face have won me over.

pulley

Now the sad news, which I will be brief with, because it’s been pretty tough. Our beloved Bear, who was nearly twelve years old, became very sick last week. By Monday, we knew this wasn’t just a stomach bug, or something he ate (and he ate all sorts of disgusting things on a regular basis, usually small critters which he pretty much swallowed whole), and we took him to the vet. He had cancer. It was everywhere and he was suffering, so we knew we had to say good-bye.

bear & the chickens

We both held on to him, and told him what a good dog he’s been, our gentle giant, and the alpha dog of our little pack. We told him to go find Reggie, and I hope they are back together again, running and playing like they used to. He taught Winston everything he knew, and while it took him awhile to warm up to Pixel, he learned to tolerate that little puppy who adored him. Every morning, first thing, Pixel would run to find Bear in the living room, and just lick and lick his nose, wagging his whole body with joy at his big Bear.

bear & pixel

Bear was camera-shy, and always acted so goofy when I pointed the camera at him, so I don’t have tons of photos of him. He was beautiful, he was my blonde twin and I loved his velvet face. He will be missed.

bearIt’s so funny that Pulley appeared just before we had to lose Bear. He is pretty much the polar opposite, but it has helped so much to have him here. It feels a little empty when I pull up to our gate at night when I get home from work, and there is only Winston to greet me, but then I go in the house and am mauled by this funny little smooshed face, and that empty space doesn’t hurt quite as much.

 

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this spring

This spring has been nearly perfect up here in our little mountain town. I have loved every last daffodil that has bloomed, cutting weekly bunches to enjoy on my desk at work.

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I usually had some company while I cut my bouquets. Hi Pixel!

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I don’t have any ranunculus growing in the yard, but a $5 bouquet from Trader Joe’s in shades of peach and coral made me happy for over a week.

ranunculas1

ranunculas2

The lilacs were amazing this year, and I  use that word sparingly. Last year, just as they were about to bloom we had an icy snow storm that killed them all. I guess they decided to make up for it this year.

lilacs2

lilacs1

I’ve been documenting all the ways I’ve been enjoying my flowers on Instagram, if you need to see more.

I’m momentarily without flowers for cutting, so I’m planning on some summer dahlias (see here for some of my inspiration), and ordered a few varieties from Swan Island Dahlias. We have lavender and roses growing now, so I’m hoping to have a few little bunches to clip and arrange soon. In the meantime, I’m also thumbing through The Flower Recipe Book, and dreaming of filling the house with bunches of flowers.

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out of hibernation

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Hello! Spring is here and I’ve been wanting to write and share pictures, but haven’t found a way to make the time. Soon, though! I’ve been taking lots of photos of all the spring flowers and sharing them on Instagram. I’ve been working on some projects, and reading books, and playing with Pixel (and the other dogs, too), and making plans, and working at a new job, so I’ll tell you all about it all very soon, I promise!

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