Dried Hydrangeas

I dry my hydrangeas in probably the easiest way possible.  I wait until they are pretty good and dry on the bush and have turned a dusky color, this is in late summer.  When mine go dusty pink and grayish green and feel a bit papery, I know they are ready.  I snip each head, leaving a 4-5 inch stem, remove all leaves, place in individual half watered filled vase and leave to rest for a month or so.  The water will evaporate from the vase and will leave a pretty, dried hydrangea.  I have about 75% success rate, some of these will wilt, and as they do, I toss them and cut some more.  They usually wilt because I didn't pick them at the right time, that's the tricky part.

I scatter them around the house in all my usual spots.

DIY link for the Faux Jarrahdale Pumpkins here.

 But the majority will dry out in the guest room.

When they are completely dry, in a month or so, I'll make a wreath, make a
dried arrangement or two, add some to fresh arrangements and give some away.

Hydrangeas practically dry themselves in this way.  Give it a try!

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Here's my latest knitting obsession, Tender by Kim Hargreaves in teal KSH.
I love love love Kidsilk Haze and think that Kim does the best job creating
patterns that showcase the beauty of this silk and mohair confection.


I am so glad I was able to keep my focus and finish this summer sweater before summer was over!

Pocket detail and moss stitch.

It's so soft!  I used Berroco Pure Pima, discontinued now and I only just found it.  I love that it's just a simple cotton cardigan with a bit of stitch detail.  Pattern is Wisdom by Kim Hargreaves and my Ravelry link is here.  My husband admired it very much.  I wore it out to lunch and it kept me just warm enough in an air conditioned restaurant.  I hate air conditioning most times.  It was 75 degrees and I hardly think that's AC weather.  Oh well, I am always cold and am used to that, must knit to keep warm.

The sleeves are too short!  In the pattern book, I didn't notice that the model's sleeves were short, but other Raveler's sweaters and the pattern schematics show that they are short.  I lengthened them by about 2 inches which was not enough.  In order to get the moss stitch bands to match up with the body, any sleeve lengthening must be done at the cuff area.  Just a little heads up if you plan to knit this and don't want bracelet length sleeves.

As far as other knitting and crafting goes, I'm all over the map!  I admire all of the "one project at a time" people, but instead of managing one project, I'm tripping over a half dozen UFO bags.  A cross stitch tablecloth, red fuzzy Christmas cardigan, black Kid Classic pullover, pale blue linen cardigan that is almost finished, embroidered baby quilt (no one in mind!) and two knitted shawls are in the wings.  I just pick up what strikes my fancy at the moment but must admit I started a new one, Kim Hargreaves Tender with KSH.

Toby's Eyebrows

My neighbor Toby came over for a little visit.  He does that sometimes. I painted eyebrows on him and sent him home.  He is the kind of dog that walks across the street by himself (a quiet little cul-de-sac) and opens his own front door.  Quite a character.  His mom took a picture of him and sent it to me, asking who was this dog and where was her Toby?  hahaha, we laughed at him all day.

This week I was on jury duty for 3 days.  This was my second time to serve on a jury, and while I think it is an honor and a positive experience, this time it was very distressing.  It was a spousal abuse case where we heard and saw two days of evidence showing degrading, vulgar and explosive threatening verbal and written assaults.  Because he never actually went through with any of his threats, he did not understand how they were abuse or why he should respect a restraining order.  We took less than an hour to deliberate a guilty verdict on all four counts, and when it was read, the accused rolled his eyes and smirked.  I thank God for my small and simple life, and for my kind, practical and non-explosive husband!  The victim in this case, I'm afraid will live in fear of him for the rest of her life, restraining order or not.  She has moved to the top of my prayer list.

Coincidentally, the two books I recently finished are also about domestic violence.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a must, a spooky who-done-it written in two voices, his and hers.  It keeps you guessing, there is a twist of course (I was guessing correctly, have to brag) but the ending is not what you will want to happen.  Maybe a sequel?  Broken Harbor by Tana French, another who-done-it.  It takes place in Ireland with well rounded characters and the investigating detective as the narrator.  I loved both.

I thought I had read every Ivan Doig book, but not so.  Whistling Season was new to me and is a charming coming of age story set in Montana, of course, as that is where all his books are set.  Perhaps not my favorite of his, but still loved it.  It's quick to read, and I read it to get myself in the Montana mood for his NEW book out this week The Bartender's Tale, set in the 60's in Montana.  So exciting, I'm starting it today, it's like opening a present.

Ahh, so nice to be home today with no jury duty.  Today I'm going to to have lunch with mother, do all my errands that were left undone, do some baking, reading and tend my garden.  Bliss.

Nails brought to you today by OPI's Flashbulb Fuchsia and flowers from a big dahlia bush in my back garden that comes back year after year.  This cozy corner is being set up prettily with flowers because I plan on planting myself there tonight and use these fingers for some knitting.

Faux Jarrahdale Pumpkins

For years I've been wanting to grow these beautiful gray/blue/green pumpkins, but they take up a lot of garden space and my husband has been leery of giving up any of his tomato turf.  Next year I am really going to push for these, but in the meantime, I made some faux.

The stunning slate gray/blue Jarrahdale Pumpkin was my inspiration.
I spotted these fabulous fakes in the PB catalog and saw the price, from $69 to $119 each, and while I loved them I knew I would never pay that price.

Aren't they gorgeous?

I love these newsprint pumpkins too, from $59 to $99.  Possibly worth it as I can't imagine myself decoupaging styrofoam pumpkins.

Still, I am pretty practical at heart and figured I could DIY a little something.  I started out with some orange styrofoam pumpkins bought after season last year at 90% off.   I painted them with Benjamin Moore's Gettysburg Gray, a leftover sample from last spring when we painted our family room and finally decided on Kingsport Gray.  Turns out Gettysburg Gray is the PERFECT choice for this project.  Just the right amount of gray, blue and green.  If you are lucky enough to live close to a Ben Moore store, they sell this in the sample size.

After two coats of the gray I let them dry overnight.

Next, I watered down a brown acrylic glaze, painted it all over and while still wet, wiped most of it off with a damp cloth.  This gave it a bit of depth.  These are a dead ringer for the beautiful Jarrahdale pumpkin.

While I am not ready for summer to be over, not by a long shot, I am starting to feel a little snap of fall in the air and it's only mid-August.  Strange.  The leaves on our mulberry tree are just beginning to fall.  The kids around here are back in school already and I am seeing Halloween displays in the shops.  Even though I got a jump on the pumpkin display, I have not given up on summer and am still working on a white cotton cardigan, (I would have had it done in June if I hadn't started so many other projects.)  So autumn really should just hold tight, I still have a bit of summer to do!

Featured on A Stroll Through Life Tabletop Tuesday , Twirl and Take a BowCenterpiece Wednesday and Wow Us Wednesdays. 
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The Theme is Red

I'm back from a three week blogging break with a lot of pictures that all seem to have a bit of red in them but not much else in common, thus the post title.  I've been on a family vacation and then had family stay, so I wrote up several posts in advance and used the Blogger delay post option which worked out great!

Leaving a large vegetable garden in August is a challenge.  We striped it clean before we left and brought up bags of fresh produce to the lake.   However, when we got home only one week later, it was burgeoning and ready to be harvested again.  I asked my neighbor to pick all she wanted but she didn't!

First thing though was to make a few posies for the house.

You can't imagine the bags and bags we picked the first day back, but I'll just tell you about the red ones, to go along with my theme.

I roasted a few of the beets to make a refreshing cold salad.

First day back we picked 70 pounds of tomatoes.  No joke.  That translates to lots and lots of fresh to eat and share, plus I made 4 quarts of diced tomatoes and 11 quarts of tomato sauce.

Here is one of our favorite summer lunches, cold tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad. 

Daily in the summer we have tomato tastings.  I've been keeping notes and will let you know our favorites.

I oven dried the cherry tomatoes.  I had four pans.


The result was two quart jars of dried tomatoes that look a bit like large raisins.  They taste so sweet and wonderful!  Recipe here.

I picked lots of summer squash and made 3 loaves of banana zucchini bread, substituting grated patty pan.  The right squash on the right is actually a covered sauce dish!

One loaf to eat, one loaf my son took home, and one loaf for the freezer. 


Our orange tree is having a great year!

On my needles were white summer cardi, black winter pullover, and a grey shawl.  I needed color so I cast on something bright and sparkly for Christmas.

Our red-headed grand dog.
These next pictures are of our lake trip.  I hope you love a good wipe out picture as much as me! Enjoy!

Annie an her daddy,

Oops, hit a bump.

LOVE the faces!

Wipe out begins.

Ha Ha!  Skinny legs in upper right corner.

This picture kind of says it all.  We had fun and we were plenty tired at the end of each day.