Party, party, party

Whew! July was a month full of parties: neice Ashley’s graduation, sister Annette’s b-day, and husband Mark’s b-day. Now that it’s August, the party season is finally slowing down, although not yet at a dead halt.

Last Saturday night, we had about 30 people over to celebrate Mark’s 50th birthday. No pics, though. I was so busy prepping and hostessing, I didn’t think about taking any photos. I’m ever greatful to Sarah for helping me prep. She and Ernie have made the long drive from Ottawa (Illinois, not Ontario!) to Chicago three times in the past month to attend all these parties. She offered to come up early on Saturday and help prep, and I’m really, really glad she did.

We all had a fabulous time, and although the prep and hostessing is stressful, I really like having people over. I also like mingling my diverse friends together and seeing how they get along. Add in Mark’s friends, family, and our neighbors to the mix and it can get pretty interesting. There were no arguments or fist-fights, so I’m going to consider it a success.

The dogs were pretty good, too. We had gated them into the basement so our guests could arrive and not get immediately jumped on. At a certain point, Mark checked with guests in the yard and then let the girls loose for little romp. Somehow, they wound up in the house on the main floor, but they seemed to behave themselves after all. There was a bit of jumping, but not much, and I didn’t see Hannah wolfing down the baby brie or any evidence that the cake frosting was licked. Yes, I’m quite happy with their social skills during the party.

I did a garden tour at the request of several guests and remembered the name (the common one, not the latin one) of nearly every plant in my extensive beds. I gave a house tour to some neighbors that hadn’t been inside yet. I kept the food table full and served cake. And, I got enough food in my stomach at certain points that all the wine I drank didn’t end up pole-axing me. I only had a tiny touch of the bedspins when I finally fell into bed sometime before 2 AM (I think).

Now I’m planning a special knitter’s party in two weeks: a Stitches Midwest After Party for the ladies of SnB Chicago. Many of us are going to the Stitches Marketplace on Saturday, August 13, so I’m holding a little gathering afterwards. I certainly have enough left over wine, beer and soda to serve an army!

….On the needles…

The promised photo of me in my wonderful W:

Mark took the photo, and he’s obviously more interested in a portrait than a true knitting photo! I’ll have to do a close up of the stitchwork on my own, I guess. I wore W at his b-day party, and got several compliments. Ooooo…I just eat it up at this point!

Still working on Sitcom Chic, but I expect to finish the up to the armholes point tonight at SnB, then I get to put it aside and start on the sleeves. Last night, I swatched up some old Jiffy yarn to see if it will work for one of the baby blankets I need to make.

Yeah, I know that I previously posted that I planned to use the Cotton Ease, but I have this Jiffy yarn that I bought many years ago when I was first learning to knit, and I’d kind of like to do something with it. I’m afraid it’s too hideous for a baby blanket, even. It’s variegated with red, green, yellow, white, and blue in both saturated and soft shades. If I don’t use it for a baby blanket, I have no idea what I’ll do with it. i guess the point is that I really want to get it out of my stash, but am hesitating to foist it onto an unsuspecting colleague. sigh

Anyway, it was really odd that I made a large swatch of this stuff in stockinette and got the same gauge (row and stitch gauge) on size 9, 8, and 7 needles. How the hell does that happen? I was swatching Continental, as I figured for a baby blanket my inconsistencies with Continental knitting wouldn’t really matter. I’m really scratching my head over this puzzler…

…In the garden…

I got a cuke! Woohoo!! Here I was bitching that I haven’t seen any flowers on the cuke plant, then a day later I spy a large cuke hanging there. I was harvesting some Ichiban eggplants and from a bent-over perspective saw that lovely cuke dangling there all ready to be picked. Yum! I also see some cucamelons forming. They do look like little tiny watermelons!

Getting lots of beans that I’m sharing with my neighbor, Mila. The beans are planted on the fence we share and I told her that anything on her side is hers to keep. She likes this bean variety (Trionofo Violetto) too, and wants to save some seeds for next year. I got the original seeds from Cook’s Garden about 3 years ago and decided to try saving a few for the following year. I wasn’t sure if they were a hybrid or an open pollinated variety at the time, but thought it was worth a try. So far, so good. I let a few pods ripen and dry on the vines each year and then save them over the winter. This year, I’ll give some to Mila, too.

I picked a few tomatoes late last week and put them on a salad for Mark. He was singularly unimpressed. Well, he’s just not that into fresh produce, I guess. Peppers are forming, too. Yay! I’ve got peppers! Yep, consistent watering does wonders!

With the return of some regular rain (two weeks in a row where we’ve gotten an inch of rain), the Primula that I thought I’d killed completely seems to be greening up a bit. I still will have to move them to a shadier spot, I guess. I’m just hoping they survive the move!