Friday, May 29, 2015

Iris and Columbine and (a Few) Things Accomplished

This morning I had a terrible dream. I dreamt it was the last day of September, and that October and autumn were upon us. "It can't be almost October," I wailed. "I don't even remember having a summer!" What a relief to wake up and find it was still only May after all.

But the dream was nonetheless symbolic of how I feel about the year. It's spinning by too quickly, and I don't feel I'm accomplishing much. I had great hopes of Memorial Day weekend: I saw myself completing several sewing projects, writing a blog post or two, taking several long bike rides, and working in some crochet time. But when the weekend was over, most of those things remained undone.

So this post is a reminder to myself of the few things I have accomplished recently. (If it seems to you like a desperate attempt at self-reassurance - it is.)

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But first, the promised iris and columbine, both of which are blooming against the garage wall right now:

The columbine is wild and volunteer. I don't know how it came there, but I am so grateful it did - especially as I haven't spotted any on my rides yet this year. It seems to be missing from all its usual haunts.

The irises too were a gift, left over from the previous tenants. They've had their ups and downs over the years (the iris I mean, not the tenants): divided and replanted by me, they sulked for a season then bloomed furiously and in beautiful profusion for some years. A few summers back about half of them died after being accidentally sprayed with something caustic by the man of the house (grrr). The next fall the leaves of the survivors were mowed down by ignorant landscapers before they had a chance to die back (double grrr). The irises very reasonably took umbrage at this shabby treatment and for a few years refused to bloom at all, but now they've bounced back and are delighting us with their lordly beauty and beguiling scent.

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Something attempted, something done: I re-webbed an old beach chair. Before and after photos:

I'd been putting off this project for years, and it turned out to be so much easier than I thought, thanks in great part to this video tutorial.

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I altered a pair of jeans - another long-deferred project. (No "before" photos on this one, I'm afraid.) This is the one sewing project I did accomplish Memorial weekend, and though time-consuming, it was very worth it.

The jeans fit through the hips, but that was about all. Everywhere else they were an exercise in frumpiness. The waistband was too big in the back, the front crotch depth was all wrong - both waistband and crotch sagged in front - and the legs were floppily shapeless.

So I took off the waistband and beltloops in front (leaving the button and buttonhole intact); took in the top side seams; drew a new, lower front waistline, staystitched and cut off the excess fabric, altered the waistband to fit the new waistline, and re-attached it by simply topstitching around the waist curve.

To avoid multiple seams at the side, the waistband alterations were made closer to center front, under where the front belt loops should go. You can see the seamline in the photo below:

Some tiny darts in the back waistband and yoke solved the rear waist gap. Then the legs were taken in from the ankle up, tapering to the crotch area:

The jeans fit much better now, and have gone from frumpy and saggy to well-fitting and moderately stylish in cut.

No, I'm not going to model them for you. :)

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May can be stormy in Wisconsin, and Memorial Weekend nearly always ends with a day or two of rain. This year was no different, but I did manage to squeeze in two short rides.

What red-twig dogwood looks like in late spring as it flowers:

Another type of dogwood (Alternate-Leaved Dogwood, I think) is blooming right now:

While taking the dogwood photos, I happened to look down and see a large stalk of wild asparagus. A few minutes' hunting produced enough to fill our next morning's omelette:

This is why cycling jerseys have rear pockets. :)

Cattle resting in the shade on a hot day (with one brave bovine working on her tan):

A few days and storms later, the skies cleared long enough for an evening ride....

I fell in love with this little barn:

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What else have I been doing lately?

Admiring the rain on the chive blossoms:

And making the first cherry breakfast focaccia of the year (which we enjoyed with our wild asparagus omelettes):

What have you been up to this week?

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  1. Its just like coming along for the ride...
    Is that a cow I see in the pasture scene. And best I can tell 7 little goslings following in pursuit of their parent.
    Nature endows us with such wonders it is great that you can wander about them while out for a ride.
    The flowers are so gorgeous too. And I do hope that Autumn though I love it is at least a few months away.
    Have a great weekend.
    Susan x

  2. How awesome to take in jeans instead of expand them! That's a real blessing our our age, you know!

    Your irises truly are gorgeous, and your columbine are among the rarest breed here. I'm so excited to see such a gorgeous closeup!

    May you have more perfect weather rides this weekend!

  3. Why do your wild asparagus look better than my cultivated ones? And the columbine and iris are lovely. Thanks for taking us along on your rides and wish I could sample that wonderful cherry bread. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  4. I've never heard of wild asparagus! I would love to find some! Your cherry bread looks yummo. I just got home from swimming so I'm rather ravenous. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  5. Well, my week has been rather wet. But that's a good thing. Anyway, I like all of your photos. I especially like the Alternate-Leaved Dogwood. The asparagus reminds me of home. There are a lot of irrigation ditches throughout the valley I grew up in. The ditch banks were home to lots of asparagus. Nice post!

  6. Oh my gosh are AMAZING! Tailoring jeans????? WOW! And, they look great!

  7. Great photos especially all the mauve and purple flowers. You did an amazing job on the jeans. I agree, good jeans are hard to find and even harder to get rid of.

  8. Beautiful photo's as always Sue, Your Iris are lovely, they won't grow in my garden for some reason. It looks like you have achieved a lot to me I think that we expect too much of ourselves sometimes. You did a fantastic job on the jeans I wouldn't have the patience and the chair is lovely it looks brand new. Have a great weekend. :) xx

  9. Rhubarb flat bread on Anne's blog, cherry focaccia on yours ... right now what I'm up to is contemplating a bread making session.

    Your irises look amazing ... such beautiful flowers.

  10. You may have had storms but the weather still looks better there than here. It's the June holiday weekend and we're getting hailstones and sleet showers! It's as cold as it would be in February. This is the first year since we moved into our house that we've had to light the fire after March.

  11. Cherry Focacia.?? IM headed right over.
    Yes Chicago spring is much the same. Cooler near the Lake and we are near enough, 6 miles, to be affected.
    This is the only time of year I want to live near ROCKFORD.
    I love your description of your pouting plants! Perfect.
    I love your wild asparagus find.
    You've done quite a bit this month lady!

  12. Beautiful photos as always. I am definitely green with envy that you can pick wild asparagus. I think it's quite prolific in parts of Idaho.
    Altering your jeans is a streak of genius. (I nearly typed altering your genes..) Good for you.
    What have I been doing? Spending hours trying to get Marigold my White rotary sewing machine to behave. Granted, she's around 100 years old, but I keep telling her that's no excuse. I am hoping the sewing machine repair man makes house calls. Ha, I bet not!

  13. You must be quite an accomplished seamstress to be able to alter jeans. Never have I been able to master those sorts of repairs. Straight seams yes. Anything else, nope. This year does seem to be flying by at an alarming pace. I want to enjoy the seasons completely not watch them run away from me. :-)

  14. Hey Susan! Last day of May: It's so comforting to have a whole summer ahead. :-) We should most definitely slow donw to make it last longer. Have a nice time! Regula

  15. Ah, there's that dogwood. Yes, I've seen that around here. Both types actually. I have NOT seen wild asparagus though--lucky you!

  16. Your Iris are gorgeous, so glad that they are scented too. Mine smell divine and this year have put out far more flowers than ever before, I have been enjoying them immensely. The Columbine is such a pretty colour. I have lots of them but none as pretty as yours.

  17. I forgot to say that I like your new header picture, what flower is that please?


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