Everyone's sweaters are finished, and they are all set to go. They make a nice group of kids ready for adventure. Hopefully they'll all come back with some great vacation memories!
I'm all excited about the prospect of seeing icebergs soon. This morning there was an article in the paper saying the concentration of icebergs heading south along the Labrador coast was the highest they've seen in years. There's over 250 in a 100 km radius of Belle Isle. They credit the increase to a huge calving of glaciers in Greenland in 2011 and 2012.
We had a run in with the most beautiful iceberg five years ago, last time we visited the "Rock". It was stranded right along the coast of Durrell near Twillingate, and the town had opened the road to the town dump where there was a spectacular view from the cliffs.
We were even given a close-up tour by Melvin, a retired fisherman who lives in Durrell. Melvin has, in my opinion, the most picturesque dock in all of Newfoundland, and the people at Frommers trip guides must have though so too, because they put a photo of his dock on the cover of their new 2009 Newfoundland trip guide. I showed Melvin the travel guide, and he asked us if we could send him a copy when we got back home. But, when we were in St. John's, we went to a Chapters and found another copy. So, on the way back across the island, we just had to go check on the iceberg another time, and deliver the travel guide to Melvin.
He was so thrilled, and asked if we'd taken the iceberg tour out of Twillingate yet. We hadn't. So he offered to take us out in his boat for a private tour. We told us to came back around 8 pm when the tide would be back in - which we did. He took us out of the harbour, out onto the open ocean as it heaved and swelled, and then right in close to the iceberg. I was both awestruck and terrified at the same time. What an experience! We even took home a chunk of ancient ice.
So, here's hoping we get to see some spectacular icebergs on this trip too!
I'm frantically working on final things for the trip. I managed to finish knitting Maya's sweater - which looks amazing. Best sweater yet, I'd say. The whole time I was knitting I was stressed thinking it was going to be way too big, but it turned out the perfect size. Funny how I tend to always want to make the sweaters smaller. Even as a kid when I knit sweaters for my Barbies, I'd always make them too small. Anyway, I tried to just trust my observations I'd made when Maya tried on Lonnie's sweater, and trust it would work out. The sweater still needs to be finished (plackets and buttons), but I had to get a start on the teal green sweater for Erin. I estimate it will take at least another two hours of knitting to finish, and then there's the finishing. I also painted some more "floats" - wooden oblong ones, inspired by floats I photographed in a colourful collection in New England. I still need to twist some "ropes" for the floats.
I'm hoping for a final group shot of everyone in their travel clothes, before we leave, so better get busy.
The miniature lobster traps are coming along nicely, although there's only one completely finished at the moment. I spent (wasted) a lot of time yesterday trying to figure out how to tie the net openings into the traps. It looks easy enough on the Internet, but I've never been any good at macramé, and what is making a net, other than simple macramé? It took me four tries before I got something that looks somewhat reasonable. One thing for sure, I don't ever need to apply for a job in a net-making factory!
A bit of lobster trap trivia I discovered while researching how to make these traps, is that the inside of the trap proper is called the "parlor". Which made me smile, as it brought to mind a group of lobsters gathering in the parlor for some tea and conversation, never realizing their next destination was going to be on a dinner plate in a human parlor.
Well, back to knotting the netting for the last two traps, and then gluing on the rest of those tiny slats. I'm even using the tip of a toothpick to paint on all the tiny "rusty nail-heads".
Went to Michaels again last night to get some more of the variegated cashmere so I can knit a sweater for Maya. I've finally made the final choice of the dolls that will be coming - I think - and there will be five: Lonnie, Nami, Byuri, Maya and Elin. Just plain mid 20th century children - no fantasy or historical stuff. I decided that Elin's light blue sweater looked too "doll-like" on her, so started another in teal green. The sweater for Maya is an earth-tones variegated yarn that's almost the exact same colours as his vest. I managed to squeeze him into Lonnie's sweater so I have a visual for where to lengthen and widen my already altered knitting pattern. The cuffs and bottom band will be the darkest brown in the variegation, so I unwound the ball of yarn to the wanted colour. I'm hoping I can finish the first sleeve before reaching the dark brown again, since I don't want to waste a whole colour sequence before starting the second sleeve. Maybe I'll just "top up" the sleeve with some of the unwound yarn so I won't get into the dark brown.
I really hope I can finish these two sweaters in time, as I have quite a lot of other things to still do this week. If not, I'll just take the knitting with me. There's bound to be plenty of "waiting time" and the ferry itself takes over five hours - that alone is enough to do half a sweater.
The lobster traps are coming along nicely, although they are very time consuming in that I can only glue on a few wooden slats at a time before I have to let it sit and dry. This morning I accidentally knocked over the varnish for the styrofoam floats, and it went all over my pile of wooden slats. So I had to scrub off all the spilled varnish and put the slats in the sun to dry.
Well, better get back to it - the
Today is "Eat Your Vegetables Day", so whether they be green, yellow, white, red or orange,
today is the day to make a special effort to enjoy Earth's bounty.
Overheard at the salad bar......."Mommy says we are supposed to make vegetables our friends, but I don't want to eat my friends!" "Me neither!"
My kitchen table has been turned into a "lobster trap factory" as I'm busy making props for our trip to the Maritimes. I googled lobster traps for reference, but nothing beats the real thing, so I hauled in the souvenir trap from some long past trip, and am making 1/4 scale replicas - with a little help from Jan, of course. Actually, with a LOT of help.
I soaked 1/4" reed for the bent-wood part- yes, I own every manner of craft material ever invented - and the next step is to make the net entrance for the lobsters. From crochet thread. Then I get to glue on all the slats - and paint the little simulated nail-heads. Seems like a lot of work, especially considering there will probably be souvenir miniature traps for sale in the gift shops. But who says they'd be the right size, and most of the miniature souvenir ones I've seen online have starfish and other nautical bric-a-brac glued all over them. Plus, who knows how expensive they'd be, and I want a bunch. So better just make them myself. Oh, and those styrofoam balls are destined to become floats.
We also took care of our impatiens issue today. It was very depressing at first, pulling out all those diseased plants, but I'd rather deal with them now, than when they are all mush in mid July, and there's no plants left in the nurseries. I figured better to be ruthless now, so tossed every plant with even the slightest hint of mildew. Of the six flats - totaling 288 plants - there were just 11 plants that had no sign of infestation (yet). We went to the nursery to buy a few new replacement plants - some New Guinea impatiens, which aren't susceptible to the mildew - and mentioned the downey mildew again. This time they did acknowledge the problem existed, but blamed it on the fact that it was airborne and in everyone's soil now, and added that it will take at least four years before the spores disappeared from the soil. The brush-off sounded oddly familiar! Does no one take responsibility for their faulty products anymore? Anyway, my garden is neat again, albeit very green and noticeably lacking in colour. But neat is a good thing.
I enjoyed knitting Nami's variegated sweater so much, that I bought another ball of the pretty cashmere sock yarn to knit a sweater and hat for Lonnie. I'm still trying to find Lonnie's "look" but have determined she definitely is a "hat girl". Maybe it's because, like all the KIDs, she has a small little face on an otherwise proportionately large head, so the hat helps minimize the top of her head and makes her look "normal". Now I need to make her a T-shirt and jumper.
I'm feeling a bit demoralized by my garden. A few weeks ago we bought several flats of impatiens and potted up lots of pots and hanging baskets, just like we have for 30 years. Well, they've all started dying! First they lose their flowers, then the leaves, then the plants go all limp like they've been cooked. It doesn't seem to matter where in the garden they are, whether they are under a tree, out in the open, or covered by the porch. Which would suggest it's not from the way they are watered, or if it's the cooler rainy weather doing it. Last year I had the same problem, but it started later in the summer, and I lost about 1/4 to 1/3 of my plants, but so far it looks like just about all my plants this year are affected. I googled the problem and discovered there's a plague of downy mildew infestation destroying impatiens right across North America. The undersides of the leaves are thick with downy white mildew, and there's nothing that can be done about it. That in fact there are two kinds of mold spores - one which can become air-borne and infect surrounding (and neighbour's) plants, and then there's the spores that go into the plant itself and the soil, infecting it so that the following year if you plant impatiens in that same spot, the mold will enter the plant through the soil and kill the plant. The problem first appeared in late 2011 and only affects the regular kind, and not the "sunshine impatiens". So now I have to decide which pots I really want to have colour in later this summer, and go replace them with other plants - which is about the last thing I need to be doing when I'm already so busy. I wish I'd researched this issue sooner - like last year - so I didn't have to go waste all that money on sick plants. I will have to research what plants to buy next year, since it looks like impatiens will not be a wise choice for years to come. It's a huge disappointment as I loved the colour the impatiens brought to my shady backyard. They were about the only flowering plant that would bloom in my backyard. Good thing I've learned to like "green", and have come to appreciate all the different colours and textures of the leafy plants in an almost exclusively green garden.
Byuri and Nami are all set to go visit Newfoundland, or as it's affectionately known - "the Rock". I've made them some simpler "ageless contemporary" jumpers with sweaters to better fit in with the the cool, damp Maritimes. It's definitely not the style I usually make for my dolls, but I think for this trip it's the best choice. For Byuri it's a nice change, since she went in First Nations regalia on both the last two trips. I don't know for sure who else will be going yet, but Nami and Byuri are looking forward to beach combing, exploring the fishing villages and tidal pools.
Today is "International Puzzle Day", so why not start a puzzle today? It doesn't matter how many pieces - 100, 500, 750, 1000 or more pieces - it will be fun!
Miki, Hope and Nelly chose a nice little manageable-sized one with colourful balloons....
Some of the other girls chose a huge 1,500 piece puzzle because they liked the underwater
scene with all the colourful coral and fishes - but they gave up. "It's WAY too hard!"
So they found another fun way to amuse themselves on Puzzle Day.
Now that Peach is home for good, I've been playing around to see how she looks in another outfit originally made for Lonnie. I think I actually prefer it on Peach. I made it so Lonnie could come along on our upcoming trip to the Maritimes and play the part of a "pioneer" along with one of my Naraes, Narin, and possibly Maya. I think Peach's tiny little face would fit very nicely with Narae's delicate features. I rather like the unkempt look of the red Roxie wig on her too.
It always takes a little while to figure out a doll's "default look" - the outfit and wig she'll be wearing most of the time - and I don't really have that many KID-size outfits to try on her. I really like her new faceup - she looks like she's about ready to break into a smile.
Martha Boers is an award-winning Canadian doll maker and costumer specializing in fantasy and historical-style costumes.