[misc] Murderface Wednesday


Murderface and Santana have vet appts tomorrow and Friday. Nothing alarming, just an annual visit for an exam and shots. Penny's starting to go all squinty in one eye so she may have pink eye again. I'll asked for more ointment, which I hope they'll give me without needing to bring her in. 


[vermont] Deer in the back yard

Two deer in the back yard

Not sure when a fawn stops being a fawn, but the little one still has spots:

Little one still has spots

I don't mind the deer as much as the woodchucks. I walked around the corner of the house yesterday and startled a huge woodchuck. The stupid thing went loping from a bush, across my path, down a bank. It was so close I could have kicked it as it ran by at 0.00004 miles an hour. Instead, I stomped after it, shouting, "Git out o' here yousonofabitch!!" Wow, so threatening, much terror. I'm sure it was laughing at me as it waddled back into it's rock wall. Siiiigh.


[misc] Festival of Fireworks

This past weekend we went down to Cheshire Fairgrounds for the Atlas Pyro's Festival of Fireworks. The grounds opened at 3pm but we didn't arrive until 5pm. The show began at 9 pm, with live bands and some skydivers providing entertainment in between.

The fireworks were spec. tac. u. lar. First was a short pyro display to the star spangled banner. Then the main Rock show.

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Festival of Fireworks

Pictures don't do it justice. Here are videos:

It was a great show- 30 minutes and it went by quite fast. The fireworks were SO HUGE. They filled up the entire sky. Greatest fireworks display I've ever seen in my life.

This is the first year that the show is being held at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, NH. A couple things we didn't really like:

A. No alcohol. I'm sure they want to cut down on drunk drivers but since I was the designated driver, I know Dollar would have liked to have some beer since we had FOUR HOURS to kill from the time we got there to the time the show started. They said there's a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol, but people brought coolers and we saw some majorly wasted people when we were trying to leave. Which brings me to-

B. Trying to leave. This was so epically screwed up. The cars are parked side-by-side, nose-to-rear. So it is literally impossible to leave when you want. You have to wait for everyone to get back to their car (or at least all the cars directly in front of you) before you can even move. Which made me wonder- what happens if you had an emergency and wanted to leave early? Too bad. What happens if the person in front of you never comes back to their car? Too bad. Plus, it took an hour for any of the event people to come and start directing cars. We all just sat there in our cars, locked in, for an hour. It was seriously so f'ed up. I asked Dollar if he wanted to come back in October for Kaboomfest and the parking situation was bad enough to put us on the fence. Maybe they'll have a better system by then? Maybe we can find somewhere else to park? 

I'd like to see another show now that I know what to expect. I brought a picnic blanket for us to sit on but the real way to go is camping chairs. Oh man, this one couple in front of us had these awesome hammock chairs that reclined and they brought pillows/blankets. They looked so comfy cosy. THAT is the way to see the show. Bring a little folding table and some cards to play while you kill time. And a cooler with drinks/snacks.


[misc] Penny Friday

Double-dose of Penny this week because I have no new crafty stuff to show.

Penny enjoys a blanket straight from the dryer.

I just got a bottle cutter in the mail, so I'm exited to try turning some beer bottles into drinking glasses. Still slogging along on the beaded shawl. Thinking ahead to the VT Sheep and Wool Festival, they're going to showcase handmade items for hands, so I'm brainstorming a project for that. 


[gardening] Sunflower

I winter sowed some red salvia this spring and one of the seedlings did exceptionally well. It was huge. I planted all the salvia in a semi-circle in the back yard, just below the deck. This one large plant just kept getting larger and larger. It became apparent that it wasn't like the others but was it a weed? I had no idea so I just let it grow. This past week it finally revealed itself to be:

Mystery plant finally revealed itself- it's a #sunflower! No idea how it got there but I'm glad I let it grow all summer.

A sunflower. WTF. How did that get into the same milk jug as the salvia? Who knows but I'm glad I let it grow. 


[cross-stitching] Snoop D - O - double G

Finished the mystery Steotchalong over the weekend:

Late to the finish line but I finally completed this year's #steotchalong. #crossstitch #funkyassshit

A couple minor errors here and there but overall, it came out well. You can't even tell Snoopy's body is all white stitches, but it is. Lots and lots and lots of white stitches. I wish I had chosen a darker aida cloth.

I like it. It's a good reminder to keep coming up with funky ass shit. Like, every single day.


[crochet] Doily #31

The last of the small crochet doilies:

Doily #31

After I completed the 8-petaled flower in the center, I could have stopped there for a pretty coaster. And that's only something like 4 or five rounds. I may do that to use up very small amounts of yarn.

After these doilies, I was ready to move on to something larger. I'm about halfway through a dark green beaded shawl. Annnnnd, I think I'll be ready to go back to smaller projects after this large one is over :)


[crochet] Doily #10

Last of the red doilies I made- and this is the smallest. It's coaster-sized:

Doily #10


[crochet] Doily #83

Another small doily in red:

Doily #83

This is my favorite. I love scalloped edges to doilies like this. 


[misc] Pinstrosity

Thanks so much to Pinstrosity for posting my Pin-win: Gold Toy Lamp! It was a fun project and I'll definitely be making more. 

[crochet] Doily #85

I picked up 99 Little Doilies some years ago and I've even made a couple. Recently I wanted some small, easy and fast projects to work on and these doilies are just the thing. This is pattern #85 from the book:

Doily #85

Yarn: Aunt Lidia's Crochet Thread, size 3.

I like this doily in non-traditional red rather than white. Project is easy to complete in a day or over a couple nights of tv-watching.


[misc] Penny Monday

Penny watches a hummingbird at the feeder:

Penny watching hummingbird

I can't tell if having a feeder so close to the window is entertaining or torture for the cats.

Had a craft weekend, finally. Blocked the small doilies I've been crocheting. Started a new knitting project- gasp! With beads and everything! And I started in on the final text portion of a mystery cross-stitch-along. 


[gardening] Hostas

The largest, fullest hostas I have are getting ready to bloom soon:

Large Hosta

I haven't posted any knitting/crochet here in ages. Once spring sprung, I spent nearly all my free time outside- weeding, planting, watering, weeding... more weeding. The plants are mostly under control and I've entered into "Meh, just let the perennials do their thing" mentality of gardening. 

This past week I've been crocheting doilies in the evenings and have a few to share after they've been washed/blocked this weekend. Nothing like small, instant-gratification projects to get back into the swing of things.


[craft] Pinecone Lamp

I have a glass lamp from my grandmother. It remained empty for a long time because I couldn't figure what to put inside. A layer of sand with seashells on top seems like the standard thing to put into any glass container but I don't have any sand. I walked around the house with the bottle thinking, "What can I put in here? What can I put in here?"

This past spring I picked a basket of small pinecones:

Little pinecones

All the pinecones have been languishing in the garage, unloved and unused. I saw them and tried to slide one into the neck of the lamp. It was a perfect fit. The opening was just barely wide enough. The whole thing was obviously meant-to-be to I started pushing in pinecone after pinecone, trying not to think about how I'd ever get the dumb things out in the future. 

Stuffed an empty lamp full of small pine cones.

Easiest DIY project ever. In that- all I did was put some things inside something else.

I still have a ton of leftover pinecones. I'll probably spray paint them gold since I still have a most of a can leftover from the gold toy lamp. And everything looks better spray painted gold.


[vermont] Hummingbirds

I have a hummingbird feeder right outside one of the front windows. The cats like it and the hummingbirds are fearless- they will sit at the feeder and drink when I'm standing outside, three feet away from them. 

Inside, I'm able to take some nice close-up pictures with my zoom lens. Here is one of the males:

Male Hummingbird

Male Hummingbird

And a female:

Female Hummingbird

Female Hummingbird

And a little video:

Time to refill the feeders. Four tiny birds managed to drain 2 large feeders in one week. 


[gardening] New sempervivium

I've been adding new plants left and right around my place. A knitting friend divided off some coneflower, iris and a bunch of shade plants for me. I also ordered a bag of 50 sempervivium cuttings from SMG Succulents. They were only 40 cents each! The arrived fast, packaged well and looking perfectly healthy. I plopped them all around my little rock garden- I love gardening tasks that can be done in 5 minutes. They ranged in size from a quarter to a silver dollar in size- quite big for cuttings, if you ask me. Here are a couple:

New Sempervivium

New Sempervivium

It was a very nice selection of different, hardy hen-and-chicks. They'll take it easy in the bed this summer and I think they should perform pretty well next summer. 


[gardening] Olallie Dayliliy Gardens

I was up early Saturday to head down to South Newfane for the weekend sale at Olallie Daylily Gardens. It was a beautiful day and the garden was amazing:

Olallie Daylily Gardens

Not all of the beds were on sale. I was specifically looking for red and purple varieties. They gave me an extensive list of the sale plants/prices and a clipboard to write down what I wanted.

Daylily Gardens

Rows and rows of pretty daylilies:



Some of the interesting varieties:

Some daylilies at Olallies.

I ended up getting 7 different cultivars. I put them into the ground Saturday afternoon and was thankful for all the rain Sunday. They are pretty sparse at the moment but I'm hoping for a lot of growth next year and the year after. I don't have pictures of all 7 (some aren't blooming yet) but the following are currently living at my house now!

Study in Scarlet

Little Grapette



I think I'm all daylilied out now. 

[misc] Penny Monday

Changed the linens on the bed and fashioned a quick pillow fort for Penny:

Made a pillow fort for Penny. ⛺️


[gardening] Flowering sempervivium

One of the hens in my hen-and-chick rock garden is flowering this year:

Flowering sempervivium

Which indicates that it's going to die this year. 

The rock garden is getting a little weedy. I'd like to go through with a little rake and aerate the soil, maybe add some more sand/cactus soil/pebbles. I'd like to, but something is keeping me away. A huge snake. I know there are some people who have a real fear of snakes- so I'm not posting the actual pictures here. Here are links if you do want to look: 

This is the first one I saw. I almost stepped on it while I was out taking pictures and I saw a huge black thing suddenly slithering away. I jumped so high, I landed on the front porch 20 feet away. I went inside and practically crawled under Dollar. He came back outside with me so that I could take the pictures. 

Snakes scare me and I think this is just a learned reaction that I adopted from my grandfather who hated snakes like it was no one's business but his own. And my mom, who screams bloody murder whenever she sees one. I'm obviously startled when I stumble upon one, but then I can calm myself down enough to take pictures.

Here is the second one I saw. This time I was walking with Dollar. We were coming up over the bank when I heard a little rustling in the grass. I thought- "What's that?" I took another step and saw it slither up onto the mulch. My reaction is always and will forever be. I grabbed Dollar's hand and crushed all the bones in it into powder. Then I calmed myself and flanked it to take a picture. 

At the end of the day, they're just non-poisonous garter snakes. And I think they're beneficial for gardens, right? Honestly, I'm more pissed at the woodchucks eating all my young plants. Maybe the snakes will keep the woodchucks away? 


[gardening] Daylilies

I think I might, possibly, get addicted to day lilies. I've had some nice lemony-yellow ones since we move in to the house three years ago. This past spring I divided the six dense clumps into a (slightly irregular) line. They recovered quite well and are blooming better than I thought they would this year:

Day lilies are blooming well after being divided and spread out this spring.

Yellow daylilies

Last year my co-worker divided some of his varieties and gave me a couple different types. Some of the common orange tall (very tall!) that you see at most homes and along railroad tracks:

Orange daylilies

Mixed in (because they weren't marked as different) are these blooming for the first time this year:

Chased a woodchuck away from this daylily this morning.

So pretty. They're much shorter than the orange ones. I think I'll mark them and dig them up this fall and place them together, somewhere else. Just so they don't get lost in the tall orange ones.

Looks like there's a sale coming up at Olallie Daylily Gardens in a couple weekends. I'd love to get some red varieties.


[misc] Penny Laundry

Laundry is Penny's most favorite thing.

Laundry waits for no kitty.

We found her on a basket in the laundry room. We piled on more clean clothes. She purred and wagged her tail (which was still sticking out from the side). Then the basket was carried to the living room where she stayed inside and fell asleep. I guess we can never not have cat fur on our clothes- even freshly laundered clothes.


[misc] 4th of July

We had friends over for a BBQ on the 4th followed by a pretty awesome firework display. 

 backyard #fireworks.

I made some yummy rummy Jello shots:

Finishing up the last of the 4th of July Jell-O shots.

Okay, so they were supposed to be red white and blue but I poured in the cream layer when it was still warm and it mixed a bit with the red layer so... red pink and blue. I'll do better next year.

At the end of the night, moths started getting into the house (lights on inside + doors opening/closing as guests leave). I'm a little (A LOT) paranoid about moths in the house. I have expensive yarn that I'm worried about moths devouring. I'll kill any and all moths the come in. "Sorry," I'll say as I do the killing, "Your fault. You shouldn't have come in here." Well, one moth got into the house that made both my sister and I exclaim "OH MY GOD." A luna moth. I can't kill something so pretty, so my sister brought it back outside. It clung to the doorframe:

Luna moth on front porch. Roughly the size of a condor. So huge.

I wonder if it really is as simple as turning on the porch light to attract them. I might have to conduct an experiment- turn on the porch light and see how many different moths I can photograph.


[crafts] Bottle Cap Tray

Made another bottle cap tray as a last-minute gift:

Made a bottle cap tray in back of wooden sign. Double the use out of store-bought decoration. #beercrafts

I bought the sign because it was wooden and had a deep enough back to glue bottlecaps and pour resin. I added grout, which went a lot more smoothly (literally) that the first time I made one of these trays. The whole project took one afternoon. The only thing I wish I had added were a couple drawer pulls / handles to either end, to make a proper tray.

This sign can be propped to be used as decor or turned over and used as a drinks tray should the need arise. Double the use, double the fun. 


[crafts] Gold Toy Lamp

I've seen quite a few spray-painted toy lamps around Pinterest. Here's a great board with many different styles and colors. I love how customizable and fun it looks.


- Lamp base
- Toys
- Spray Paint (I used Krylon 18kt Gold Plate, 2 cans)
- Hot glue gun

I went to the thrift store and bought a bucket of plastic toys for $10. Time to spray paint. Before:

Toys before gold paint.

After (I sprayed one side, waited an hour, turned everything over and spray painted the other side):

Lamp and toys after gold paint.

This was a really good mix of different sized toys. Wolverine was the largest but included in the toys I bought was a baggie of very small pieces- small swords, weapons, tires, hats, etc. This smaller pieces were really useful when it came time to glue everything on and add finishing touches.

The lamp base was also spray painted after the cord was placed into a ziplock bag and sealed with painters tape. I also covered the bulb holder.

Lamp and toy before gold paint.

Then it was time to glue everything on with a hot glue gun. This part took one morning and was exceedingly fun. For the pieces that had moving parts (bendable arms, legs, knees, heads), I added a spot of glue to any joints that I wanted frozen in place. I placed figures, figured out where glue would need to be added, removed the figure, added the spots of glue and replaced the figure into a permanent position.

Once everything was placed (I didn't use about 20% of the total toys I spray painted), to took the lamp back outside for a final spray to cover up parts of the toy that were missed the first spray-through and the opaque glue that were visible.

The final lamp:

Gold toy lamp


Gold toy lamp


Gold toy lamp

Some arms and legs are still movable. Some of the weapons can still be removed from hands. And I didn't realize until it was all done but Boba Fett reclining in Wolverine's lap?

Storm trooper

His helmet comes off!

Storm Trooper

I think it's funny. I left the face unpainted.

This was an easy project. The only thing left to finish is coating the entire thing in a high-gloss sealant. I think that would be the final touch. Oh, and I guess I need a lamp shade too.