04 February, 2019

Early bloomers and learning new tricks

January clung to us, didn't it, keeping us chilled to the bone. I do live in the South so I can't really complain considering what the Midwest and Northeast have experienced. If any of you reading this are in areas hit by that monstrous snow storm, I do hope you're safe and warm and that you'll experience a good thaw soon. Brrrr! I know I've been cold down here with our below average temperatures. I simply cannot imagine what it's like to walk outside in negative 20 degree weather (and colder!).

Despite the cold, there are some plants that thrive in this kind of chill and actually bloom when the temperatures dip below freezing. Camellia bushes keep lovely, glossy green leaves most of the year but as soon as it starts to cool down (usually mid-December) the large buds burst open to reveal gorgeous blooms of either pink, white or red. When we first looked at this house I was keeping my fingers crossed that the tree in the back corner was, indeed, a camellia bush. It is and it gives the most gorgeous hot pink blossoms!

Another early bloomer is the forsythia or as the older folks like to call it, yellow bells. They've always been some of my favorite  flowers. When I was little, I remember how amazing it was to see the huge bushes that blocked my parents' house from the street. My sister and I would clip huge branches and cram them into vases, putting them around the house, imagining they could somehow bring Spring in a little bit sooner. Not that we were ever in too much of a hurry. Cold weather meant that there was still a chance for snow. Fleeting chance, yes, but it was there and we believed all the way up until the Easter Bunny came.

I've been doing a bit of blooming in the house. When I haven't been exhausted from the extra work load, I've put together the first rows of fabric for my very first quilt! I've never put together a quilt before and I've been using the remembered directions from a magazine article I read a year ago BUT so far it looks great. I've got to pin the rows together and stitch them to make the quilt topper, but I'm happy at how it looks.

Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, I've taught myself how to knit! Now, don't get too excited yet. That's literally all I know how to do: the knit stitch. I made a very wonky pot holder and now I'm working on a scarf. Once I finish that off (after learning how to bind the edges off) I'm going to learn how to knit AND purl! 

Look at those colors! The yard is by Lion Brands and I think it's called Coney Island. It's super soft and the color gradient is gorgeous! I can't wait to finish it up and wear my very first scarf. I also can't wait to start on some other projects that I've found on the same website. If you, like me, have tried to learn how to knit and just couldn't seem to wrap your head around it, check out Sheep and Stitch. If you Google it, you'll also find a bunch of YouTube videos. The one labeled "How to Knit a Scarf for a Beginner" is the one that taught me. I can't impress upon you how clear her instructions are and how easy it was to cast on and get to knitting.

Aside from all that, I've been working, doing laundry, moving the plants inside and outside depending on the weather, trying to keep the floors clean with two Siamese cats and generally attempting not to collapse from exhaustion. Living with auto-immune diseases makes life a bit more challenging. Things that most people wouldn't bat an eye at can land me on the sofa for a week, only, I can't spend a week on the sofa. Instead, I go to work feeling rotten and come home only to sit on the sofa until it's time to go to bed. No fun, trust me. But I'm thankful that I have as much energy as I do have and that I'm able to do what I can. It's not as bad as it used to be and it's certainly not as bad as it could be. Still, I get frustrated and tend to retreat into myself. Hence the erratic blog posts these past two weeks.

But here I am, posting on a Monday just like I want to -- later than I'd like, but it's still Monday! I hope you have a fantastic week. Have you learned anything new this year? I know it's just February, but there's been 31+ lovely days in which to teach yourself something you've always wanted to learn. If not, why not use the rest of February to learn something new. Choose something simple, choose something you've always wanted to do and go for it!

Happy learning!


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