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22 April 2016

We Have a Winner! (and a newly-finished project!)

Hard to believe that another weekend is upon us!  It's been a busy week here on the farm.  But before we chitchat about farm life, let's congratulate the winner of my Anniversary Giveaway:

Ashlee D.!

The Rafflecopter app picked Ashlee at random from the folks who liked, commented, or shared the Anniversary Giveaway post.  Congratulations, Ashlee!  Monet will be nesting at your house soon!

Last weekend, I finished painting the porch ceiling, a project that got sidelined last summer when I developed plantar fasciitis and couldn't get on the ladder.  I'm glad to say that the entire porch ceiling is now a lovely pale shade of blue.  Old wives' tales say that painting your porch ceiling blue deters insects, because they see the blue and think it's the sky.  Considering the number of wasps and hornets I had to joust whilst painting, I sure hope that's true!

When we last visited, I shared with you a photo of a Carolina chickadee.  Since then, I've captured another feathered friend with my camera, and I'm having a bit of difficulty identifying him.

Any idea who this visitor is?

The red crew-cut and the markings on the face make me think of a redheaded woodpecker; but he's small, and his body is rounder than the woodpeckers I've seen hunting for grubs in the dead locust tree.  Could he possibly be a juvenile redheaded woodpecker?  If you recognize this handsome fellow, please leave me a comment and let me know his name!

The same evening I caught a glimpse of that fine fellow, I sat on the front porch, watching the sun going down.  It's amazing what you can see, if you spend an hour on your own front porch.

 The evening sun cooperated brilliantly with my plans, shining through the wispy seeds of a dandelion.  It likewise illuminated the delicate artwork of a butterfly's wing.  This fellow, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, and his cousins were frequent visitors to the lilac blossoms this spring. I also noticed a gorgeous Black Swallowtail having dinner on the lilac that same evening, just before the last blooms withered.

Before I went in for the night, I saw the moon rising above the dead locust trees.  (We probably should cut them down, but there are woodpeckers and squirrels using them for their homes, so I hesitate to evict them.)  In a way, the moon looks like a dandelion head, perched on the end of the locust tree.

In other news from the farm, Steve the outdoor cat turned up yesterday morning much the worse for wear.  Steve circulates throughout the neighborhood, popping in for a meal now and then, courting the female strays and acting out West Side Story with the male strays.  He now has a big bloody patch on his face, and is favoring one of his front feet.  The man of the place brought out the peroxide and antibiotic ointment, and I gave him a can of whitefish and tuna cat food.  The foot problem appears to be a bee sting, which will heal itself over time.  We've tried several times, without success, to make an indoor citizen of him. He loves his freedom.

Now for my latest project!  I'm still loving the Heidi Bears African flower patterns, and this week I was inspired to get wild and woolly. ;)  My friend Jayne has been sharing with me the ups and downs of lambing season on her farm, and another friend shared with me a photo of his friend's ewe who gave birth to quartuplets -- and all of them lived!  Then my friend Rebecca -- who's been spending this university semester in England -- posted a photo of herself holding the most adorable little lamb.  So with all that inspiration, let me introduce you to Bluebell!

Pattern:  "Shoop the African Flower Sheep" by Heidi Bears.

The pattern is "Shoop the African Flower Sheep", and it was a delight to make.  This pattern requires, for the body, 14 hexagons, 13 pentagons, and 1 octagon.  For the head (made in solid yarn only, but you could make it multi-colored as well), the pattern requires 4 squares, 2 pentagons, 1 hexagon and 1 heptagon. (Total motifs = 36). The ears and tail are crocheted separately and sewn on.  I used 18mm blue safety eyes that I found on Amazon.  The nose is embroidered on after everything is stuffed and assembled.

All of the yarn in this project is Stroll sock yarn by Knit Picks.  For the body, I combined Stroll Tonal in Pearlescent and Stroll Handpainted in Make Believe (this is my favorite painted yarn ever -- I simply love these colors).  The head, tail, and ears are made entirely from Pearlescent.  The nose is embroidered with Stroll Solid in Black.  I used a 2.25mm/US B hook, except for the ears and tail.  When I made the first ear, using the 2.25mm hook, it just looked too small to me.  I tend to knit and crochet with a tight tension, so I bumped up my hook size to a 2.75mm/US C, and that worked just fine for me.  If you choose to do this project, my advice is to be very careful when you begin assembly!  I misread the instructions, and had to undo everything and start over.  Putting the feet onto the belly octagon isn't complicated, but it can be if you skim through the directions (as I did).

For my next project, I'm tackling the most ambitious of the African flower critters:  Smaug the Dragon.  That pattern requires a total of 128 motifs -- including 28 triangles, and you all know how I hate crocheting African Flower triangles!!  That won't be a one-week project!  So I may not have a finished project to show you next week when we visit, but I'll try and get some good photos of the work in progress.  I ordered some Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn from to make the dragon.  I'm very pleased with the "feel" of this yarn. It comes in 58 solid colors and 14 handpainted colorways!!  I foresee more yarn shopping in my future ....

So that's it for this week!  Thanks for dropping by, and don't forget to share our visits with your friends -- and find me on Facebook!  I'm already thinking about another giveaway!  As always, please leave your comments, suggestions or questions in the Comments section below.  See you next week!

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