Much of my week has been spent looking at the mess in my craft room, which I'll share only through this tiny peephole view. But multiply this chaos by 1000 and you begin to get the idea. That's why it's primarily been Craft Room Excavation week here.
For me, the problem with Craft Room Excavation is always that I uncover so many alluring bits and pieces of unfinished projects. Inevitably it happens... I think "well, I'll just play with these for a few minutes while I catch the latest news on CNN" -- in the interest of being a well-informed citizen, of course.
So I found some pretty paper butterflies I'd punched from paper scraps about a month or so ago, after I saw this and this. They'd gotten lost under a pile of papers, and I was busy crocheting and quilt dreaming and birdwatching and heaven knows what else. So when I rediscovered these, I thought "how long would it take me to make a little butterfly shadowbox home for them?" Not too long...
And then, excavating further, I came upon my big box of tags from my Sarah Lugg collage inspiration days, and so while listening to CNN some more, I continued to find new uses for old (and new) butterflies.
Butterflies finished, my fabric stash presents another guilt-inducing dilemma. So much cotton, but what to make? The old quilting bug is back and buzzing around my brain with a vengeance. Yet I don't want to do my same old things. The Modern Quilt Workshop, recently ordered "used" via Amazon (but looking brand new) offers promising fresh inspiration.
Then, taking a break from Excavation duties, I spent Thursday battling with my Photoshop Elements program. It was definitely winning, freezing the computer repeatedly. Exasperation! But finally this morning I was able to save and print this newly composed digital collage on inkjet fabric. Not sure if it's the final version, I'll have to play with it a bit now to see what embellishments it may still need.
And last but not least, I've spent part of every day this week watching the Amgen Tour of California, America's premiere cycling event, like the loyal fan/geek I've now become (blame my husband). Welcome back Lance, and go Levi!
Since I haven't got any big project progress to photograph -- the blue ripple afghan is coming along nicely, and other new projects are still percolating in my brain -- I will again turn to my ever-trusty view out the kitchen window for today's amusement.
First, taken Saturday:
A tiny male Costa's Hummingbird at the feeder. His long neck feathers form a sort of low-mustache effect. We call him Pretty Boy...
because his head and neck glow a brilliant iridescent purple when he turns his face into the sun.
At the larger extreme, we had a beautiful female Gila woodpecker at the same feeder this morning. If she were a male, she'd have a bright red patch on top of her head. Woodpeckers love nectar too, especially when a certain someone keeps forgetting to put out more birdseed.
I don't come too close to the window with my camera, so she sits to drink for quite awhile. Pretty Boy buzzes the feeder threateningly a few times, but clearly she is not too impressed.
In yesterday's post comments section, my blog friend and fellow crochet fan Kar mentioned she'd "tagged" me to post my 6th photo from my 6th photo folder and then tell a little about it. Eek! I confess I approached this task with some trepidation, as I'm not very diligent about weeding out my dud photos (or any form of filing/organization, for that matter).
So imagine my relief to find this sweet smiling face as my 6th/6th photo!
This is our beloved Maddie, named for Madaket Beach on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Nantucket Island is a magical spot and is one of my favorite places on earth.
We adopted Maddie in April 2003 from a rescue group that brought adoptable dogs to the local Petco on Saturdays. We had actually gone that day to "meet" another dog that we'd found on the Petfinder.com website, a wire-haired fox terrier, but it turned out that little dog was too fearful of cats. So as we walked around preparing to leave, my daughter's eyes fell upon this little trembling bundle of fur in a volunteer's arms. The volunteer offered to let us hold her, so she snuggled into my arms, and we were pretty much instantly smitten.
We were told she'd been found wandering along a country road with another dog, who they thought might be her sister and who was already committed for adoption. Maddie was thought to be about 8 months old and her temporary shelter name was Sonja.
Suffice to say, our early months were anything but blissful. We discovered Maddie was terrified of most men (my husband included) and would respond to them with submissive "accidents". She was also a wily little escape artist. We had a lot to learn! It took time and patience, but learn we did, and soon we all wondered how we'd ever gotten along without her.
We've never figured out her doggie ancestry; she scents the ground like a hound, but runs low and fast like a herding dog. She cannot resist the lure of a ground squirrel (and they usually don't survive an encounter) so we try to shoo them off before she goes outside. She hates water but loves to lay in the hot sun. Her favorite food is chicken.
Almost six years on, she's still a bit nervous and loves nothing more than to be with her family. She hates thunderstorms and she barks endlessly when someone comes to the door. When we go for a walk, she slows us down by stopping to sniff the ground every few feet. But get her in a big grassy open space and she'll run speedy circles around every other dog.
Above all, she's 20 pounds of endless unconditional love. The day we found Maddie at the rescue adoption fair was OUR lucky day indeed.
The baby blanket from my last post is now done and soon to be on its way across the country to welcome the newest members of the family, our twin great-nephews born February 4. And so, never being one to enjoy too much thumb-twiddling, I've started a new ripple afghan, pictured above.
This new one uses all cotton yarns, 5 colors of Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton and 4 colors of Rowan Handknit DK Cotton. This project came about serendipitously, when I visited the day-after-Thanksgiving sale at my favorite local yarn shop and they had all their Debbie Bliss cotton yarn on clearance. I'd been itching to try a cotton project after seeing so many lovely cotton blankets over at Attic24. But I knew it would have to be a project to tackle in the new year... and now, here we are.
In the meantime, after bringing my bargain yarn home and studying it in various arrangements, I realized the colors were a bit too understated for me. So I searched online and found 4 additional colors from the Rowan palette that added the necessary zing to the color mix, mostly blues with a bit of green and violet. Ordering yarns or fabrics sight unseen online is always a leap of faith (one I am again contemplating for a future project, perhaps something like this...) but I've had good luck buying from suppliers that take pains to represent colors accurately.
After making two all-wool afghans and an acrylic baby blanket in recent months, using this cotton yarn took me a bit of adjustment. It has so little "give" in the yarn compared to the fibers I've used before. But now, more than a week of tv-evenings into this new project, the cotton feels very good and natural to my restless hands. And the cool colors of this blanket will provide a soothing cocoon when our blazing summer heat arrives in just a few months.