A Birthday, Rain, Cats, and Lavender

 photo AC__0033_AC438-Country_Lane_zps38ffa840.jpg

Hello friends! It’s a wet, humid day here in the Hudson Valley. I don’t mind the rain, but I could certainly do without the mugginess. Is it awful that I’m already starting to look forward to autumn? It hasn’t even been all that hot this summer, and I do remember how I froze all last winter, but… I’m kind of ready for sweaters and fires and general coziness. That’s just me, I guess!

So, first things first… a very happy birthday to my mom today! We called her first thing in the morning and the kids all sang to her. Hope you’re having a great day, Mom!

I’m trying so hard to remember to post more often. Really, I am! It’s not that I don’t think about my blog it’s just that I’ve found myself choosing other things in my spare time. Usually watching a show or working on my Stitchcation blanket, which is oh-so-slowly coming along. The squares that use the FPDC and FPTC stitches take me so long because I have to hook them up ever so carefully or else my stitch counts end up way off. But after tonight I should be half-way there. I seriously doubt it will be finished in time for the end of the challenge (Labor Day), but oh well! It will definitely be finished for my birthday in October. 

Back in June, a friend and I both bought lavender plants at the Country Living Fair. Mine was absolutely flourishing! I was so happy! And then… I overwatered it. Let me tell you, I have learned that lavender does not like a lot of water. It went from healthy to ill beyond repair sooner than I could make it right. I was bummed because it smelled so wonderful. I confessed to my friend what I had done and we laughed over it. (Hers, incidentally, looks great!) How sweet is this: as a thank-you for taking care of her cats while she was away, she gave me a huge, healthy, new lavender plant! It is just gorgeous. I promised to be more careful with this one!

Let’s see, what else is new… Oh, I’m so disgusted with FedEx SmartPost. Back in July I took advantage of a sale on a summer sticker bundle that ErinCondren.com was having. It was some summer-themed repositionable sticker sheets, markers, the new coil clips, and a lotion sample all in a pouch. I had a bunch of referral credits, so I decided to treat myself. I also picked up the original sticker sheets. Here’s where I made my mistake: I decided to save $2 by not using FedEx Ground. Oh, friends, I have learned my lesson. The package was shipped out on 7/29. The last tracking update was from somewhere in Maryland on 8/1. My EDD was last Friday, which came and went. After dealing with “FedEx SmartPost Trace Research” team, they could not locate my package anywhere. It’s just lost. Vanished into this air. I know the issue will get settled, but it’s so frustrating that a company whose business is delivering packages loses them. 

Well, I guess that’s about all… Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. How can he be 12 years old already? I remember when he was a colicky baby I read this saying somewhere (I’m sure you’ve all heard it too): “The days are long, but the years are short.” How true that is!

Scratch That…

Poison Ivy photo poisonivy_zps8305eace.jpg

Last week my dad was able to get his hands on some free lilacs that a lady nearby was digging up. Because I was obsessing over them this spring, he asked if I wanted any. Of course I did! So Saturday my folks came down for the day (bringing along my sweet little niece to play with Laura). 

We got down to business digging holes and getting the plants in. (My parents now also realize why I put off planting anything. I’ve told them that we have rocky soil, but they learned just how rocky.) We also cleaned up the planting area while we were at it, and I pulled out what seemed like miles of some annoying, invasive vine that wrapped itself around my forcythia. I typically thing of poison ivy as shiny leaves with a red tinge, like the photo on the left up at the top of this post. The vine I was pulling looked (so I thought) a little more innocuous.

Well, a couple days later I woke up with bumps on my arm. I thought maybe I get bit by a spider or some other pest during the night. Then… huh… I also had something on my neck. I soon realized that it was poison ivy. In retrospect, the vine looked like the one on the right.

Sigh…

So far it hasn’t spread too bad, but it is so itchy and uncomfortable. (Not to mention unslightly — especially on my neck!) Unfortunately, aside from riding it out there are only so many things you can do. I’m using calamine lotion and Tecnu scrub (suggested by a friend) and that seems to be helping. Of course, Benedryl is helping the most with the itch factor, but I only take that after everything is done for the day and I can crash. It makes me so groggy, but it’s worth it for a decent night’s sleep.

Let’s hope this clears up fast!

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Guys, last year I had to miss out on the debut of the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. We had events that entire weekend and there was no way I could eek out the time to attend. But this year? I wrote it in my planner as soon as I found out the dates and I was not going to miss it again!

The weather was absolutely perfect for a day of walking around and being absolutely inspired by all of the creative ideas I saw. The fairground was transformed! I had just been there for CamporALL with the Cub Scouts, but it didn’t look anywhere near as pretty as this. Check it out — buntings everywhere! And I swear they were misting the scent of lavender and cinnamon because everything smelled wonderful.

Country Living Fair 2014

Obviously the vendors want you to buy their wares, but I couldn’t help but steal a few ideas for finished products that were out of my budget. This “Pickles” sign was one of them. The sign, while super cool, was not coming home with me for over $100. And while I doubt I could do a perfect lettering job, it still provided some inspiration.

Country Living Fair 2014

I loved these chairs with the ragamuffin strips hanging down the sides — kind of like a prim tutu, isn’t it?
Country Living Fair 2014

Here was another project I thought I could replicate with a shabby frame, some ticking, an old BINGO card, and a cute vintage image:
Country Living Fair 2014

And who knew that if I could safely take down a hornet’s nest I could not only use it as a home dec accent, but I could also charge $35 for it? (But I have to admit — it does look cool.)
Country Living Fair 2014

Here are a few more “this and that” photos of pretty things:
Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

Country Living Fair 2014

I am already excited for next year! I’ll have one more Country Living Fair post this week all about “glamping.” I’d never heard that term before, but if you love the idea of cute caravan/camper decor… just wait! These ladies had more style in their tiny little campers than I do in my entire house, LOL.

This Week

Country Living Fair 2014

Ah… the school year is finally winding down. The last few weeks have been so busy! Four concerts, Field Day, Court of Honor, and Preschool Graduation (just to name a few) have kept us on the go. But summer is actually in sight!

Today was Laura’s preschool graduation. What a sweet ceremony her school put on! Drew wrote and performed a song with the kids — abosultely adorable. She was in tears the other day because she’s going to miss school so much. I reassured her that most of her friends with be in Kindergarten with her in the Fall. “But it won’t be the same!” she said. Awww… So bittersweet.

Laura's preschool graduation

Last weekend a friend and I went to the Country Living Fair here in Rhinebeck. I will have to do an entire post just on the fair because it was SO much fun. Next year I think I’ll opt for the two-day pass and get my mom to come on one of the days. So many pretty things and creative ideas. But more on that soon.

My crochet has been tucked away for now, just because there hasn’t been the time for it. But I have been busy in the garden planting blueberries, rhododendrons, various perennials… My dad was able to get me some lilacs another lady had dug up, so tomorrow my parents are bringing those down and I’ll get them in. I adore lilacs and just pray they take so I can have blooms next year!

Hope you all have been well. I miss my little corner of the bloggy world!

A Perfect Fall Day

autumn

I’d be hard-pressed to choose a better month: May or October. They’re both my favorites. Yesterday some stormed ushered in the most wonderful, cool, fall weather. And finally, finally, finally I was ready to open up that pumpkin spice coffee creamer :-)

Autumn

After getting Noah on the school bus this morning I decided to snap a few photos. The rain brought down a lot of leaves, but really the colors are just starting to show up. I’m hoping that they’ll pop in the next few days. Saturday we’re having a family portrait taken and I would be thrilled to have some brilliant color in the background. Anyway, here are just a couple shots from the yard.

Mums & scarecrows:

Fall Decor

My Knockout Rose, still going strong:

Autumn Rose

My burning bush — I think this is the brightest I’ve ever seen it!

Burning Bush

In the meantime I’ve been puttering around, doing some detailed cleaning. Boy, are those circular knobs that are grooved a pain to clean? We have them on some cupboards and somehow there’s always something stuck in the grooves. I also caught up on laundry — hooray!

Tonight I think I’m making a simple Western frittata for dinner with a salad. Maybe I’ll throw an apple crisp together, too… just because I feel like a bowl of some apple-y dessert and a cup of hot tea would be the perfect way to end to the day. Might have to get peeling those apples now!

In the Garden

welcome to my garden

Well, this year my garden is overgrown and underwhelming. The one-two punch of some heavy rains and two weeks of crazy hot weather made the weeds go crazy and sadly I’m just not motivated to keep up with it. (Happens every year — I’m a gardener in my head, but not in reality, LOL!) But I figured I’d share a few snapshots of the plants that haven’t died!

First, there’s my knockout rose bush. This is one of the hardiest plants we have in the front! And what’s amazing is that a few years ago, I bought the plant half-head on clearance for $1, just to see if it would take. I love how bright the pink is.

rose

Then there are these Black-Eyed Susans that came from my mother-in-law’s garden.

flowers

And the Tiger Lily from my mom’s garden.

tiger lilies

Even though Queen Anne’s Lace might be considered a weed, I love having it around the house. It’s so pretty and delicate and when I feel motivated to cut some flowers to bring in the house, the Queen Anne’s Lace makes such lovely filler.

queen anne's lace

This one is called a Balloon Flower and I think we might have gotten it as a bare-root plant from Spring Hill. We placed an order when we first moved here and while a lot of the plants didn’t take, a few did! The flowers close up in the evening and look like little balloons.

balloon flower

And here’s the Spoon Flower my dad made. This one is pretty rare 😉

spoon flower

I found this spiderweb this morning and I never tire of how magical they look. I left it alone — I feel bad anytime I have to wipe one away. I know it’s silly, but they just seem like so much work and this web wasn’t in a place where it was bothering anyone.

spider web

 

 

And finally, my hydrangea. I had only one pathetic bloom last year and it doesn’t look like I’ll have any flowers this year (no idea why!). I did, however, find this adorable little toad hanging out on a leaf! 

tiny frog

Maybe in September I’ll put out some mums and marigolds and kale… I’ll try to take advantage of fall flowers and pretty things up for autumn. So, how are your gardens doing this year?