More flowers

Just a quick post to heap praise on the tulips at Pike Place Market. I’d never seen the pointy-ended tulips before, but the colors are great. The purple has come out more and more as they’ve opened, which is neat to watch. I picked these up a week and a half ago, and they’re still going strong and acting thirsty. :-) Not bad for an end-of-the-day $6 bouquet!

What happened to our fish?

With the addition of the torch coral and the new location for the xenia, we had to work a bit on the placement of the blowers in the tank. Now instead of having a basic clockwise flow around the edges, we have two back-to-front diagonal currents from each of the back corners. The corals (as hoped) seemed to love it, but the surprising effect is that it’s completely changed the behavior of the fish. Click and Clack love playing in the currents in the middle of the tank now, which impinges on the gramma’s turf, and it appears that there’s been something of a challenge to the current hierarchy. For example, Click (the braver of the clowns) stood his ground when the gramma tried to intimidate him away. (Clack held out for a few seconds, then retreated until things looked safe again.)

Then later, the clowns swam above the opening to the gramma’s home — an unusual spot for them, especially with the gramma out and keeping an eye on things.

They’ve even been around to the far right side of the tank, which is usually a no man’s land. The gramma has also been out and about on the left side of the tank more. Wonder if this will keep up?

Testing out my greenthumb

In a nod to spring and an attempt to quell my desire for a real garden, we went out yesterday and bought new plants. The original plan was to find indoor plants, since right now all we have is this one, brought home from Kevin’s office when it wasn’t getting enough light there:

However, Classic Nursery only really has outdoor plants (good to remember for the future) so that’s what we came home with. I got gem pink antique viola’s and bacoba (small white flowers) to fill the hole left by last year’s impatients (center) in our planter by the front door. I don’t think it will be enough sun for them, but they’re very pretty for now and the people at Classic Nursery said that they’ll cope for now and in about a month it will be alright to put the impatients back in. At that point, I can re-pot them for the back porch. It’s also noteworthy that the elephant’s ears (broad red/green plant, center-right) is sending up buds which look like they’ll be a florescent salmon pink. The color is a little overenthusiastic, but I can’t wait to see them bloom.

My herbs from last year are all still going strong. The pineapple mint completely took over the planter over the the winter so I ripped it back fairly brutally last week. I’m not sure it will come back, but if it doesn’t then I’ll plant something else in its spot and do a separate container of regular mint without much regret. The english lavendar is growing hard — it about doubled its spread over the winter and has grown about two inches over the last two months. I can’t wait till it starts blooming. The honey melon sage (far right) is looking good even after I trimmed it back hard in January. I love the flowers, but it tries to take over the pot and grows so tall that it blocks the other’s sun. I may have to consider re-potting this one, too. The other two herbs are mysteries to me — I lost the labels. I think the variegated yellow one on the left is some sort of oregano, and I haven’t the foggiest about the maroon/dark green one at the back. I’ll have to bring in cuttings at some point and figure out what they are and if I still want them.

Given the early success with the herbs, I decided to try some more plants out back. Enter the dill, lettuce and spinach. I’m questioning whether both the amount of light we get and the size of the tub will be sufficient, but if it works out, I’d be psyched. Time will tell…

When it gets a bit warmer, I’m going to try another tub of basil, lemongrass and chives. I have a small planting of chives now (nearly two months old), but I bought them without realizing that they were covered in aphids. I tried spraying them with sugar water today, as a last attempt at attracting ladybugs, but I don’t think they’re long for this world:

Crafting Along Nicely

I finally got a nice daylight shot of Tie One On without the flash. I’m nearly at the 8-inch decrease, so it feels like great progress. The colors are much more true here, though I still think you see the purple in the tape more than in real life and the gold less.

It’s posing on top of the new, lovely comforter that we got from Ikea this afternoon. This was my first Ikea experience, and it was god-awful. Saturday crowds, more expensive than I was expecting, and too much birch. However, Kevin got an ottoman for his office for $20 (a longtime want), and we decided to buy this comforter interior, which was $50 for the king size. It was the second cheapest of the ten they had, but we liked it the best (don’t you love it when that happens?). We spent some time trying to figure out what we were missing in the pricing, but finally gave up and felt like we’d earned it. I’m all excited about making a cover for it… Kevin’s slightly more skeptical, but I think it will work out brilliantly. The only sad part of the deal is that it will replace the quilt that my grandmother made me as a going-to-college present. The switch is slightly overdue, since the quilt doesn’t quite fit my queensized bed and I’m worried about tearing it, and the bedroom is so bright that it’s really starting to fade. Kevin suggested that we could maybe hang it in the dimmer bedroom downstairs, though, which made me more cheerful.

Now all that’s left is choosing fabric… :-) Something along this idea is what I have in my mind’s eye, but I haven’t run it by kevin yet. I don’t think I’m quite up for a whole quilt (anyone have a sense of how long one takes??), but I’d love to quilt pieces of it and use a uniform color for the rest.

Knitting progress, again.

After a series of weeks with not very much knitting progress, Tie One On has completely reinvigorated the process for me. I would show you that, except that I still haven’t found time to photograph it during the day, when the flash won’t wreak havoc on the colors. Instead, here’s the Bomber jacket, in all its glory, two pockets into the front:

Needless to say, everything I knit at eastside stitchers on wednesday turned out to be incorrect (I forgot an increase at row 20), but I spent an hour and 15 min in the doctor’s wating room today for a rash (non-lethal, non-prescription fix), so luckily I had plenty of time to fix it. If you need my health insurance/care rant, ask me in person. It’s finely tuned.

Happy as a clam

Kevin went out to a movie last night, but I was too psyched to start playing with my new yarn, so stayed at home and finally got caught up on all my blogs. I was much better at keeping up to date when I didn’t have a certain pesky 40 hr/week commitment. :-)

By just before dinner today, I’d finished enough rows to feel that the colors did actually go together. Casting on and seeing them at night had made me worried. This photo will make you all question my taste, but the ribbon blends in much better live than it does on film. It’s definitely more aqua than the ritratto, but not horrifically so.

I just want to keep working, too bad tomorrow’s Monday.

New Yarn!

I haven’t posted in an age, and as a show of contrition: new gorgeous yarn!

It’s slated for Tie One On… I spent a good chunk of time trying to track down the S. Charles Rittrato and the Bouton d’Or Flash, with middling results. I finally found the Rittrato at So Much Yarn in Belltown, and had them hold it for me to pick up. They have such a hugely better selection than when I was there a few months ago!! Still pricey, but lots of great options. I had a lot of fun looking around. The only store I found however that had even heard of Flash was Skeins, which was sad both because they didn’t have the right color, and because regardless I’m not planning on shopping there any more due to the pricing shenanigans. After a lot of wandering around in the yarn store today (poor me! :-P), I settled on using Trendsetter’s Pepita for the accents, instead. I’m a bit concerned with the texture and the amount (only 95 yds, ack), but the color is perfect, and I can’t wait to work with it. :-)