The craft project photos have been piling up, and I thought it would be fun to devote an entire post to the things Ginger and I have been making these past few months. I’ll save Ginger’s items for last, as they’re the most spectacular. Here’s what I’ve been working on:
First, a set of crochet fruits and vegetables that I used as props/toys in the preschool Vacation Bible Camp class I taught in early August.
Aren’t they cute? These were a lot of fun to make and also helped use up lots of odds and ends of yarn I had lying around.
I made progress on my knitted sweater vest. You may remember this project from earlier posts.
I cut the steeks, made an alteration to the length, and sewed up the shoulder seams. Now I just have the ribbing around the arm and neck openings to do. I’m dragging my feet a bit, as that will take a good amount of time, but the weather is cooling down, and I’m sure my enthusiasm will return at some point. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to use up other oddments of yarn from my stash. Scarves seemed like worthy projects for the task. Here’s one I made with a skein of Lion Brand “Scarfie”. I used the Back To School #Scarfie pattern.
Both of these were simple and pleasant to work up – a welcome change from that vest!
Alison has been even busier than I have, cranking out toys and even doing some sewing. Here are some House Elves she crocheted at the start of the summer.
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, you may recognize these and the colors she’s chosen to dress them in. Ginger sent a copy of this photo to J.K. Rowling.
Another early summer project – these slippers:
Ginger is looking forward to wearing these once the weather cools.
Ginger took a short break from crochet to squeeze in some sewing. Here she is at work on a quilt. Mr. Wa thought he was helping.
He was not.
But the real star projects this summer have been Ginger’s fantasy creatures, all made from patterns created by Megan Lapp of Crafty Intentions.
First, this “Pony Alicorn”:
Then a pair of dragons.
These are definitely the most challenging things Ginger has crocheted to date. The patterns, though, were very detailed and had lots of photos and help for each step. Ginger found them very clear and easy to follow, so if you’re interested in making something similar, Ginger definitely recommends these patterns.
From the dining room table, enjoying much cooler weather with the windows wide open and the cicadas singing,
Before I forget, I want to share about Pepper’s experience at the Old Sturbridge Village day camp this summer.
Pepper had a wonderful time at this camp. In fact, I was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. She spent the week immersed in 1830’s life, wearing the clothing and performing the work that someone her age would have engaged in at that time in New England. She learned to sew, cook on a hearth, garden, work with wood, weave a basket, braid straw for a hat, and so much more. The week ended with a dance on the village green:
As you can see, all of the kids were in costume. Pepper was among the oldest, part of a small group of kids aged 14-17. She thought one of the nicest things about the camp was the kinds of kids it attracted. Overall, she found them to be very interesting and friendly.
Pepper says she would definitely like to participate in a similar program at OSV in the future. At seventeen, this is her last year to register for OSV’s youth programs, but there are volunteer opportunities for college students and adults, so she could possibly do one of those.
During the week, Ginger and I had fun visiting OSV twice while Pepper was “on duty” as a volunteer. It was so fun to see her in costume, cooking fritters or dancing on the green. (We tried not to embarrass her too much). OSV is always a nice place to spend the day, and I especially enjoy visiting the herb garden.
This time, a volunteer was on hand, tending the flowers. She demonstrated the miracle of Soapwort…are you familiar with this plant?
The volunteer tore off a handful of leaves, wet them with a hose and rubbed them together in her hands. Here is the result:
Isn’t that amazing? Actual soap from a plant! She told us that centuries back, people used Soapwort to wash their clothing! She also told us that she has an older home with quite a bit of soapwort growing in the yard. She hypothesized that an early owner used the Soapwort for this very purpose. Isn’t that interesting?
It would be fun to grow some in my own garden, though I did read that it can become invasive and isn’t considered very useful to wildlife.
Oh, and if you’re interested in the Old Sturbridge Village day camps, you can find more information about them HERE.
From the dining room table enjoying a deliciously cool evening,
So, let me tell you about my Swamp Milkweed.
First of all – my Swamp Milkweed is not in a swamp.
My Swamp Milkweed is along a busy road, in a sunny part of my front yard, in soil that is not the clay-rich, wet soil that Swamp Milkweed is supposed to like.
And, yet, my Swamp Milkweed is thriving.
I’m so pleased, because I’m interested in insects and their relationships to the plants in my garden, and the milkweed is a great place to watch fascinating plant/insect interaction.
This year, I’m making an effort not only to look at the milkweed flowers, where Bumblebees and Monarch Butterflies feed, but also to check the leaves and stems regularly – to just stand in front of the plant and watch what is going on.
A lot goes on!
For one thing, the Monarchs lay their eggs on the milkweed leaves. And then those eggs become caterpillars that dine exclusively on more milkweed leaves.
Meanwhile, other caterpillars like milkweed, too.
These are Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars, and, yes, there are a lot of them on that leaf (and there are just as many of them on the underside of that leaf!)
And, look what they have done to these other milkweed leaves:
The carnage! Is this what I want for my Swamp Milkweed?
Well,…yes. My goal is to encourage insects and pollinators in my garden, and that means I’m going to see leaf damage. (Would I offer my dinner guests roast chicken and not expect to see chicken bones?)
Other visitors I noted this evening…aphids.
Honestly, I’m not so thrilled to see the aphids. They appear on my Swamp Milkweed each year. They are a wild bunch. They make a terrible mess. Some years, I’ve tried to get rid of them with a dish soap spray, but this year, I think I’ll wait and see what happens. I read an intriguing article this evening that basically said, leave the milkweed alone. Leave the aphids alone. Let predator insects come in and do their job. So, I think I’m going to follow its advice. (If you’re interested, you can find that article HERE.)
So, how will my milkweed look in a few weeks, after it’s been savaged by so many hungry insects? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
From the dining room table, hoping some aphid-hungry ladybugs drop by soon to join the feast,
Greetings to you! I hope you’re staying cool in all of this heat – that is if, like us, your area of the world is currently sweltering! For once, it’s too hot even to go to the pond, so we’re all hunkered down inside, cuddling up to the fans and window A/C units.
The chickens are faring well, despite the weather. We put out electrolyte-enhanced water for them (“chicken gatorade”, CPT A calls it), and the yard provides plenty of shade. Occasionally, we give them watermelon.
The chickens love watermelon.
They also continue to adore meal worms. Here you see our normally skittish guinea hen performing tricks for the worms Ginger offers her.
We escaped the heat one day this past week by driving to New York state for a tour through Howe Caverns. Have you been there? We took the basic tour which drops you 156 feet below the earth’s surface and lasts 90 minutes.
There was even a boat ride!
The cave’s temperature is about 55 degrees, so it was a welcome break from the swelter.
CPT A says he would like to live in the caves. He says we could bring him sandwiches.
Back on the earth’s surface, I’ve been enjoying all of the recent visitors to my garden.
With so much in bloom, there’s a lot to see, and I can easily spend an hour wandering from plant to plant looking for insects.
I have a guide called Backyard Bugs that I used to identify what I see.
Another book that I’m really enjoying is this one:
CPT A’s aunt gave it to me. It’s a wonderful resource for gardeners interested in using native plants to sustain wildlife. I highly recommend it.
Something else I’m enjoying – taking photos with the little macro lens that fits onto my cell phone camera. The lens wasn’t very expensive, and I use it like I would a microscope. It allows me to see so much more detail than I would be able to observe with my eyes alone.
Here you see day lily stamens…
a nice, detailed shot of a bumble bee…
and the center of a black-eyed susan.
Wonderful textures, don’t you think?
I’m really learning a lot by using it.
And, here’s one last photo – a recent crochet project of Ginger’s…a mermaid cat!
If you’re interested, you can find the pattern HERE.
Meanwhile, I’m still working on a crocheted afghan, but the going has been very slow. An afghan probably isn’t the best sort of project to be working on in the summer heat. I’ll finish it, though…eventually.
From the dining room table, wondering if it’s cool enough yet to go sit out on the porch,