Spring: Early Arrivals to the Bunny Garden

IMG_9258**(Be sure to click each photo to see it in full!)

I was so excited when I saw the two new arrivals to the Bunny Garden; the first this Spring. They’re a continuation of the ongoing evolution of my hand knit bunny creations that began a little over a year ago. Each bunny is one-of-a-kind & I never know who he or she is until they’re totally finished. I’m always  excited to see who emerges from the crossing of two needles and a ball of yarn.

The first arrival this Spring was Olivia.  As it turned out,  Olivia was just passing through the garden- (she sold immediately,)  Assembling her,  a little voice in my head said,  Hmm~  I wonder how she’d look if I attached her ears more behind her head- kind of like this-  and I held them about where I thought they should be…  They might look cute that way!  I’ve seen bunnies hold their ears like that before- and certainly if she was a lop her ears would be like that… but what if they didn’t look good? Once I sew them on I can’t take them off without ruining the bunny-IMG_9247

Then  another little voice sounded in my head~ Why take a chance? Just sew them on top of her head like the others, where you know they’ll look good-  Yes, but…  Back and forth the two voices went- until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I held the ears up to the back of her head one more time~ took a deep breath and began sewing them-  onto the back of her head.  Once I’d finished sewing them on, I looked at her and she seemed to have a little grin on her face. She looked back at me~  (I could swear I saw her wink~ )  with a grin that said, ” Yes!! I’m so cute now!”

That’s an example of the way my bunnies are constantly changing & evolving. I hadn’t planned on putting Olivia’s ears low on her head when I began to knit her. Each bunny is determined more by the shape of their head than anything else.IMG_9246

For some reason I don’t understand, every time I knit a new bunny their head shape ends up being different than any of the others that I’ve knit-  even though I do the same things when knitting them. Once I see the head shape that I’m going to be working with, ideas start coming to mind, guiding me on how to best sculpt the head and stitch the facial features;  my goal being to create a bunny that embodies the unique irresistible nature of live bunnies that I’ve known and  loved so much over the years.

Finished just yesterday, Rebecca is the second of the new Spring bunnies to the garden this year. You can see the difference in head shapes, between Olivia’s, pictured above, and Rebecca’s, (to the left.) Rebecca’s head has a shorter, rounder shape than Olivia’s did. IMG_9382 copyWith Rebecca, I again experimented with the placement of her ears. I also tried to fill her little cheeks out a bit to go with her more rounded head shape, the way real bunny’s cheeks appear. I once had a Netherlands Dwarf bunny that Rebecca’s  more compact, rounded face shape reminds me of. Soon I’ll be ready to begin another bunny. I’m curious to see what my next attempt with the needles is going to produce.
I wonder~ could this be the way a “real” bunny mom feels? Perhaps I’ve discovered the reason bunnies have such large families; they simply can’t wait to see who’s coming next-?
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Springtime In the Bunny Garden

Enjoying the sun

Enjoying the sun

Aha!  I managed to convince a few of the bunnies to hold still long enough for me to snap their picture!  It’s been so long since I’ve written that I thought today I would try to update my blog. I was surprised to find that even though it’s been so long since I’ve last posted, I’m still working on the same thing; knitting bunnies!

When I last wrote, I had just finished knitting the first few that I’d ever knit. To date, I’ve knit 16 ~ and just started on my 17th bunny! They are all one-of-a-kind and as you may be able to tell from the photos I’ll post; each has his/her own very distinct personality. I love knitting them and get so excited as I get close to completing one, because even I don’t know who they are or what personalities they have, until they’re totally finished. More than once,  I’ve stayed up all night working  because I was close to completion and couldn’t wait until morning to  find out who it was.IMG_6594 copy

The bunnies, as I’m sure you’ll notice if you look at pictures of the first ones  I made, (see previous post,)  have been gradually evolving. In creating them, my desire is to capture what I find most dear about rabbits and try to convey that essence in the bunny that I’m making. It’s definitely a challenge! The one thing that seems to really define the bunny, and make one bunny different from another, is it’s head shape and the size and shape of it’s facial features. When I say that they have evolved from the first few that I made, I’m referring to things about their heads and faces.IMG_6664 copy With each bunny that I make now, I’m sculpting their heads to make them closer to the shape of a real bunny. I have no pattern telling me how to do this it’s done purely by how I perceive it to be. The same is true with  stitching the facial features: it’s a process  mostly of trial and error, based purely on my perception at the moment~ about as far from an exact science as it could be and that’s what makes it so difficult to do.

As I’m creating a bunny, I can feel it’s story starting to develop in the back of my mind. At that point, I just “feel” it. I don’t really “know” it yet. It usually waits until I begin writing a listing for it to be revealed. I have enjoyed so much writing the beginnings of each of their stories in listings, that I have a new idea in mind that will involve each bunny being accompanied by a little book that will have an expanded version of that particular bunny’s story in it, illustrated by photos similar to the ones I’ve posted in their listings. The small book and the bunnyIMG_6702 copy IMG_6709 copy will be sold together as a set and will, of course, be one of a kind. This is still in the idea stage, but I’m very excited about it and hope to be able to begin the project within the next few months! Below are a few photos of my most recent bunny, finished 3/30/13, and just listed. I am going to include the beginning of her story as I have it listed and that will give you an idea of the kind of thing I have in mind to do. If my idea were now in the finished stage, what you would see in my shops is the bunny and an accompanying little book with an expanded version of her story, illustrated with photos of her~IMG_6960 copy something similar to this abbreviated version about Peony~
Everywhere I look I see Spring! If Spring were a flavor,  it would most definitely be sweet. Think about it.  ~  The spring trees are abloom in cotton candy shades of pink and white that hug their branches like puffs of spun sugar. The spring sky is unpredictable; one minute sun, the next- showers. The clouds pulling sun minutes into  shower minutes are the puffy billowy kind; marshmallow clouds. Sweet again! Spring is also about babies~ and all babies are sweet. Spring simply is~  Sweet!
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Spring has definitely come to the bunny garden! Aahh~ take a deep breath. What do you get? Sweet! The air is intoxicatingly sweet with the scent of Freesia. Looking out over the garden I see bunnies hopping every which way, heels so high in the air it seems they’d pull a bunny right over in a back flip! Like Spring, bunnies are sweet and Spring is bringing new bunnies to the garden.Looking out over the garden I can tell the bunnies are extra excited. They’ve discovered the crop of new spring greens, always the sweetest of the year. A pretty, large, pink flower suddenly hopped into the air with the bunnies. Wait! A hopping flower?? I looked closely before realizing that what I’d been staring at and thinking was a newly opened flower, wasn’t a flower at all, it was a new bunny!!! This little one kicked her heels higher into the air than the other bunnies & because she happened to be in front of a tree, she looked just like one of the tree’s pink blossoms. No question about her name. This was Peony, the sweetest little flower bunny; Sweet as Spring, Sweet as a marshmallow cloud, Sweet as the flower-scented air-  Sweet—– as a bunny! Peony is the newest bunny in the garden, and Peony is a genuine baby bunny, Springtime Sweet as Sweet can be!!

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July/August~ Needles and the Bunny!

Bunnies, bunnies and more bunnies!! Taking a little break from making handsmocked & embroidered dresses, I’ve spent the past few months knitting; one of my favorite things of all, to do. I first learned to knit when I was 12; my teacher was my 13-yr.-old friend who was very gifted & knew how to do more than most adults did. I think of her with gratitude every time I pick up my knitting needles. I never would have imagined when I first held a pair of needles in my hands that knitting would become the much-loved activity in my life that it very quickly became. I’ve truly enjoyed the past two months that I’ve devoted to  knitting!

I started a few months ago knitting a bunny from a Debi Birkin pattern that I found in an Etsy shop and fell in love with. This was the first time in all of the years that I’ve spent knitting, that I knit a bunny doll. I loved doing it! I loved knitting the little bunny so much that I had to knit another right away. To date I have knit several bunnies, each one different. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see the unique personality that emerges with each new bunny.  After knitting the first bunny I started experimenting, making changes to the pattern; molding it to get the “look” that I’m after.

I have always loved bunnies. Over the span of several years, I had 4 house bunnies; all very sweet and very special. I loved to study their faces. There is a special & unique sweetness that even the mischievous ones had. It is that special “sweet” look, so unique to bunnies, that I’m trying to capture in the faces of the bunnies that I knit.

The bunnies aren’t at all easy to make, in fact I find them more difficult than any sweater I’ve  made. It’s not the knitting itself that’s difficult, it’s the assembly; particularly the heads & faces.  To capture the bunny look that I want, requires much more than knitting an oval, bunny-shaped head. I start with that knit shape, but then I need to put a lot of filling into it so that it’s very firmly stuffed so that  I can squeeze the face to make indents where the eyes belong and make it pouffe-out in the cheeks and over the mouth. Once I squeeze an area to be the way I want it, I have  to stitch through the head from one side to the other;  back & forth, to hold the shape permanently.  Sculpting the face in this manner is a slow, difficult process, but one that I love doing, as this is where the bunny is formed as an individual. This is where its personality emerges.  Once the head and face are shaped the way I want them to be, I hand stitch with embroidery floss, the eyes, nose & mouth. Work on just the head/face alone, is very intense and takes several hours. This is the part that I find the most difficult in making the bunny~ but it is also the most fulfilling.

Assembling the rest of the bunny is easier than shaping the head & stitching the face, but it too is difficult. (The details are too long for this post, but perhaps in a follow-up post I’ll describe what that involves.)

Once I’ve created a bunny, it’s time to knit something for them to wear.  Usually I haven’t an idea what it will be until I’ve created them & seen what their personality is. For the first few bunnies, I knit sweaters,  but as I knit more bunnies I felt like it would be fun to knit whole outfits for some of them, so my more recent bunnies are dressed in coordinating outfits; sweaters & pants or sweaters & a skirt- or overalls. I like to hand embroider a little flower~ or vegetable, on their clothes, it’s sort of become my signature.  I will definitely continue with bunny-making in the future, as they’ve become one of my very favorite things to knit. I also knit lamb dolls and have a few patterns of some new animals I’d like to try; an elephant, a mouse, and a puppy, so keep checking back and you may see these in my shop soon.

In addition to my animal menagerie, I’ve knit a few baby poncho & pants outfits that I enjoyed knitting and I just started a new outfit, so it should be in my shop, in about a week. And THAT’S what I’ve been up to!!!

August has started off to be horribly hot. I’m really hoping that this isn’t an indication of the remainder of the month. I’m trying to keep in mind that Fall, my favorite season of the year, is just around the corner~  Trying to knit on a hot day can be a challenge. I find if I imagine Fall outside, with it’s wonderful crisp, refreshing air and brilliantly colored leaves that ride a breeze with the grace of a surfer riding a huge rolling wave, I can almost forget about the 100` plus temperatures outside. Almost!

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and are able to stay cool!

Hello Again!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra set of arms & hands? So many times I find myself wishing for that. I could accomplish twice as much as I do now. That would be wonderful!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written~ too long! I feel bad about it. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I’ve just been so busy with my work. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who are good multi-taskers. There are so many things I’d love to make, but they all require a lot of time. In the interest of trying to get more items made, I decided to concentrate my efforts for a while~  and that’s why I haven’t been here. There is still  so much that I want to make,  so I can’t commit to a regular writing schedule , as I hope to be able to do someday,  but I intend to pop in more frequently and let you see some of the things I’ve been working on.

I recently finished a custom order Christmas dress for a customer that was probably the most difficult order I’ve ever worked on. It was a real challenge,  but I was determined to do it. I worked on this dress for a month, twice even staying up all night working because I had to see what it looked like~ and if I’d captured the scene pictured in my head.  In spite of the difficulty I have to say that I really enjoyed the challenge this dress presented. Creating it helped me learn a lot about perspective & how to fit a lot into a small space~

The order was for a Christmas dress in green fabric, smocked & with an embroidered scene that included a Christmas tree with colored lights, a little girl, a basset hound & a chocolate lab. Once the sides are smocked there is only about a 3 1/2″ x 3″ space left in the center to compose a scene. That’s really not much room at all. Most of my scenes usually have 1 or 2 major figures in them. That is usually what fits the most comfortably. This request was for twice as many figures as I usually have, so the major problem it presented was how to fit everything in and still have it look nice- and the figures be identifiable. When I thought about the scene, what appeared was an outdoor picture. When it came to actually embroidering the scene I pictured, I realized quickly that I was also going to have difficulty with the snow- and how to show that some of the figures were in front while others were further back. These were the two major problems that kept me up all night~ and taught me a lot. I have never been so totally engrossed in a dress as I was with this one,  and I’m happy to say that I was pleased with the results~ (the scene pictured in the upper left corner.)  If you look closely you will see that the string of tree lights begins in the little girl’s hands & extends down to the basset hound at her side. The basset hound holds a section in his mouth while the chocolate lab, having wound the lights around the branches a few times,  is standing behind the tree with his end of the lights held in his mouth~ and so the title, “Three to Light the Tree.”

Just before beginning work on the order for the Christmas dress I made a dress for my shop that is my personal favorite. When shopping for fabrics,  I like to buy cuts of whatever I see that I think would make a nice dress- without having any particular dress in mind. I bring them home, wash them & put them away until I’m ready to begin a new dress. That way I build an adequate supply of fabrics so that when I’m ready to start a dress, I can look at them & choose whatever I’m in the mood to work on. The fabric for this dress is fabric that I’ve had longer than any of my other fabrics. Every time I went to choose fabric for a new dress I’d pass this one over~ it just never seemed to “grab” me~ until recently. I think I even surprised myself when I opened the cupboard where I keep my fabrics,  spotted this and said, “Yes!” I never would have guessed that it would turn out to be my very favorite dress,  but that’s exactly what happened. Once I saw the fabric I knew exactly how I wanted the dress to look. It’s always a bit scary to me to combine fabrics as I’ve done here, with the collar & sleeves in white and the body of the dress in a small print, giving the dress a “jumper & blouse” look. It’s difficult to visualize which fabrics will look good in that style & which won’t. It’s definitely not fit for every print. This is only the second time that I’ve tried embroidering on the “puff” part of each sleeve, but I really like the way it ties the print of the fabric  together with the white sleeves, although it’s not an easy thing to do. In fact it’s very difficult to embroider from inside the small area that is available in the sleeve of a baby dress,  but I think it’s worth the effort and contributes to creating a dress that’s both unique and very special.

These are just a few of the things that have kept me busy in recent months. I’ve also been knitting, as I’m trying to build a supply of knit items for my shops as well, but more on that in my next post. I’m working on a new dress right now and I’m close to being finished embroidering the scene. I’m looking forward to getting to the part where the dress gets sewn together. I’m sorry to say that my sewing machine which has served me so well over the past 25 yrs. has finally said,  “enough!”  It’s replacement is sitting, still in it’s box, waiting for me to reach the stage where it will be needed. I’m anxious to see how it will work. Hopefully I’ll love it as much as I’ve loved my old machine and,  (whisper-)  maybe even a bit more!  I’ll let you know how I like it, next time I write~ must return to work now!

I hope you enjoy the beautiful fall weather that’s either just arrived- or will be arriving soon!  Fall is my favorite season, so I’m looking forward to cool, beautiful days!

It’s Spring!

Pretty Tulips 2010

It’s Spring!!  Here, in Northern Ca. we ‘re experiencing the full tempestuous effects of Springtime.;  blue skies & billowy white clouds with temperatures approaching 70,   giving way to gray-sky windy days with temperatures in the 50′s, punctuated by rain storms-   and back and forth the weather shifts like the moods of a young child. Today with Daylight Savings Time,  I gain an hour of daylight to work in the garden, which is great because there is so much to be done to clean-up after winter & get ready for planting new flowers for summer.

*****Geese Today the sun is out and the temperature is perfect for working in the garden~ 63`. Pascal and I took a  long walk to Heather Farms this morning,  past fields filled with mustard flowers blowing in the light breeze. The air was filled with sounds of geese squawking and as we followed the path around the curve, we came to the spot of commotion. The pond was filled with geese & ducks, as was the small beach. They all seemed to be out this morning, like us, enjoying the beautiful weather.

My plan was to come home after our walk, write a blog post and  get to work embroidering my new dress so that hopefully Pascal & I could go out at the end of the day & work in the garden. A good plan, it sounds easy enough~  And it would be if my eyes weren’t constantly returning to the window, to the sunlight outside, to the flowers blowing in the breeze and the birds collecting twigs to build nests. Suddenly it becomes so difficult to be inside working!!

Reluctantly I avert my eyes from the window reminding myself that with Spring comes Easter, now just a few weeks away, soon to be followed by summer. Then I feel excitement about implementing my new smocking and embroidery ideas for the coming season. Right now my shop is filled with hand smocked dresses that are  hand embroidered  with bunnies, chicks, ducks, lambs and of course lots of flowers,  making them perfect for Spring and Easter . Here are my two most recent additions:Rosebud

I Am A  Lamb

In addition to the smocked & embroidered dresses, I thought it would be a great idea to embroider infant, onepiece bodysuits. I now have two of them in my Etsy shop, website, and 1,000Markets shop. Like the dresses, these are ooak. They are not only perfect for spring, but perfect for Easter as well, with 2 bunnies on one,  and a little yellow chick on the other~

IMG_2307 copy 1 **Flowers For Her Hair

I am excited for you to see all of the cute  handsmocked & embroidered clothes for little girls that I have in my 3 shops; Etsy, Rabbit Whiskers, & 1,000 Markets.

Spring dominates my notecard sets, as well. There are an abundance of cards with beautiful photos of spring flowers of all kinds as well as scenes of spring, such as the mustard flower field that I passed on my walk this morning. For anyone who loves spring & spring-related items, my shops are a must see! I hope you will enjoy browsing !

And now I’ve gotten excited to get to work on my latest dress. I’m going to put a spring scene on it~ perhaps the garden that I can’t yet plant outside! This dress is going to be a size 2 and it’s on purple & white gingham! Come peek in my shop in about a week- a week 1/2, and you should  see a brand new addition displayed!

Happy Spring to you!!!

Mustard Meadow

About “Winter”

WINTER

I’ve just finished this dress that I call “Winter”; my third in a series of four long- sleeved dresses that I wanted to add to my store.  My goal is to have at least one long-sleeved dress in each size available. I just finished cutting out my fourth one,  a size 4, so hopefully before much longer, there will be one, OOAK,  long-sleeved dress in each size in my shop!

I thought I’d speak a bit about “Winter, ” and it’s creation,  because its appearance was a surprise even to me. I know that seems strange. It’s not the first time that I’ve been surprised by one of my dresses. The whole process of creating something  has always been a bit of a mystery to me, and making this dress,  is a perfect example ~

Not always, but often, before I begin working on a dress,  I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with the dress. I usually have a picture in mind. It’s not always a completed picture, but it’s at least a basic idea. What puzzles me,  like what occurred while making this dress, is what happens between the time I begin working on a dress with a particular image in mind, and the time I finish the dress—–and have created something entirely different from the idea envisioned when I began -

Finishing the dress before “Winter,” I began thinking about what I wanted to do with the size 1 that I planned to create next out of a piece of printed white cotton fabric.  I suddenly got an image of a white dress with green, or possibly white, smocking. The dress I envisioned had a very simple, pretty design  of smocked zig zags, interspersed with embroidered red, green, and white candy canes~  Yes!! That was it! I ran & got a piece of paper & a pencil so I could sketch a simple picture of what was in my head. I don’t usually write my ideas down, but this looked so cute the way I pictured it, that I wanted  to be sure it wouldn’t be forgotten.

I began the dress with my original idea, working  white smocking into a zig zag pattern on the white fabric,—– and somehow worked my way into the scene you see pictured in the photo above. It seems to have just “happened.” I don’t remember consciously making a decision to abandon my original idea, nor do I remember ever having visualized the scene that emerged on the dress. It’s as if my fingers just took over; as if they had planned the scene from the very beginning-  and I was there simply because I was attached!

Now that the dress is finished, I look at it and feel very fortunate. Though it was not at all what I had in mind when I began, I’m pleased with the way it turned out-  Fingers did a good job! Once again I’m left baffled by the creative process, but that’s o.k.  Sometimes it’s nice to just be surprised!!

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Long Sleeves!

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I have just listed the first of my long-sleeved dresses in my etsy shop and on my website. Two posts ago I wrote that I had decided to add some long-sleeve dresses to my shop and I had just finished cutting this one out, so I’m very happy to say that it is now finished and in my shops ready to go to a party, school~  or wherever your little girl would wear a dress.                                                          IMG_0493

I’m pleased with the way that this dress turned out. It reminds me of something out of Hansel and Gretel; in fact, I can picture Gretel wearing this dress! The embroidered scene in the center could be straight from the forest where Hansel & Gretel dropped their trail of bread crumbs. I can picture them coming upon this forest stream where a mother goose is teaching her two goslings to swim, and stopping to watch for a minutes before continuing on their way to the gingerbread house~ The eyelet trim on the sleeve ruffles dress the dress up a bit as well as tie in with the fabric’s design and the white, heart-shaped buttons mimic the hearts in the fabric’s design.

The addition of long sleeves  I think, besides being more practical for colder days, changes the “look” of the dress a bit. To me, the shorter puffed sleeves give the dress a cute, poised kind of look while the longer sleeves seem more relaxed and “artsy.” I like both styles equally well, but I find it interesting that something so simple as a sleeve length can change the overall look of the dress. It will be fun to have two sleeve lengths to choose from in my shops. I’m just beginning to cut out my next long-sleeved dress. It will be a size 3 and will probably be available in about two weeks- the time it usually takes to make one dress-  I plan on doing several more dresses with long sleeves so that you will have a nice selection to choose from, so be sure to check back occasionally to see what’s new in the shop!

Nov. Flame Fall is my very favorite season, so I’m excited that it’s just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the end of the hot temperatures and dry hillsides and the arrival of cool, breezy but sunny days, and brilliant colors as far as the eye can see!

How Hot Are Your Squirrels?

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So how hot do you think it was today?

When I went down the hill to get the mail at 5:00 P.M. it was 103`!

Walking back up to the house I heard a little rustle in the tree and out of the corner of my eye thought I saw something move. I stopped for a second to look and this is what I saw. This little guy had slung himself over the tree limb and just lay there in the hot shade. He didn’t quickly run away like he usually does,  instead,  he lay there watching me & Pascal- who was either  too hot to bark, normally he totally “loses it,”  or he was pretending not to see the squirrel so  he wouldn’t have to bark~  It’s a rare occasion that Pascal forgoes an opportunity to bark-  That’s how hot it was!

I quickly put Pascal inside and grabbed my camera, feeling pretty certain the squirrel would be exactly where he was when I left him~ and he was!  Normally he and I are enemies, as he gets even more delight in digging up my garden and unplanting my flower pots, than he does lying on a shaded tree limb on a hot day, but today, with the heat on high, we seem to have called a truce. I actually felt sorry for the little guy. I could say he posed for me, but I can’t give him that much credit.  He did lay there and silently stare-  or was it glare-   at me while  the camera clicked back at him. Mission accomplished!

Too hot for me, I left him, hangin’ out on the tree, (probably mapping a new game plan for my garden,  once it cools off-)  and went back in to join Pascal in front of the fan. Having finally finished my baby dress, I needed to figure out what I want to make next!

Simply Irresistible

This is the dress  I just finished~  the one that I started too long ago-  I wanted to make a plain white baby dress for summer. Some people gasp at the thought of a white dress for a baby, but if you stop to think about it, what difference does it make if it’s white or any other color; if it’s going to get dirty, it’s going to get dirty. Whatever shows up on white will also show up on light pink, blue, green or yellow; all of the classic baby colors.   Actually white has an advantage over the other colors when it gets dirty because with white, you can usually bleach out a stain, whereas with a color, you don’t have that option.

So~ I wanted it to be white and I wanted it to be intricate and soft, but appear simple and elegant. Most of all I wanted it to say, “baby!”   I’m happy with the results and I hope you like it too. The smocking on the side panels is a double wave design that’s easy for the eye to follow, yet at the same time,  notice the gathers the smocking has created. They add the degree of intricacy that I wanted the dress to have. The central panal,  smocked in a white diamond design, gives a nice background for the brown hand embroidered bunny to stand-out against,  and the blue bow tied around her neck,  ties-in the blue smocking from the side panels. The white, diamond design of the smoking holds the background flat.  To add dimension, I hand embroidered several  flower stalks in both baby-blue and white that give the scene a 3-dimensional effect.

To me this` dress says,  “Baby”~  it is baby-fresh;  soft & delicate, feminine & sweet, and most of all, like every baby~  totally unique!!

Beware! Garden Giants

Dahlia~ giant

Life is full of surprises~ and of course,  being their nature, you never know when or where they are going to pop up!!  With my latest surprise I literally mean, “pop-up!”   Like this,  above-   the first, and most visible thing to see in my garden.

A few weeks ago I received a call from my mom saying  she had bought a large bag of Dahlia tubers, but hadn’t enough room in her garden to plant them all, would I like what she had left? (I have become known as the one to ask if someone has a plant to get rid of , because I can’t refuse them.) I have had a few dahlias in pots for several years and they do very well, so the thought of adding a few more , pleased me. Sure! I’d take them! Did I say a few more? That was my first surprise-

The bag of tubers I was given was about 95% full! I think my mom planted all of 2 tubers! Oh my gosh, I thought, when I looked into this very large, very full bag. Where am I going to plant all of these, and,worse yet, when am I going to find the time to plant them?

Somehow I managed to find a way to get  80% of them planted, (so far.) Most of them came up immediately, but many had already started sprouting in the bag; impatient, I guess. My first flower to open is the one  pictured. I watched the plant’s leaves grow from large to larger. The flower stems seemed to shoot up  4 ” per day!  I never saw small flower buds. I looked one day when I didn’t think the stalk could get much taller, and there was a fist-sized flower bud!

These were definitely not the same variety of dahlia that I have been growing. It was only a few days after I noticed the flower bud, that it began opening. It took a full week to be fully opened as you see it today, but I measured it a few days ago when the outer petals were fully opened and the flower looked huge already-  It measured 6 1/4″ in diameter. I’ve watched it opening the rest of the week, and almost can’t believe what I’ve seen.  These flowers are probably comparable in size to some large sunflowers. I measured the flower again today, now that it is fully opened. It’s 9 1/2″ in diameter!!  I wouldn’t call it beautiful, but it is definitely spectacular-  Most amazingly, today the second bud on this plant is almost to the 6 1/4″ diameter that the first one was a few days ago, and two more buds are at slightly lesser degrees of development, but within a few days, depending on how long this first flower remains,  there will be 4 gigantic monster flowers in my garden- and that’s just on this first plant! My second dahlia to bloom is pink with a light yellow center and is halfway opened right now and showing signs of being equally as huge as my first . And I’ve just spoken of the two dahlias that are the furthest along. There are many more, some in the process of emerging and some beginning their flower stalks.

It shouldn’t be long now before I will be typing from somewhere deep in a freakin-tall, monster-dahlia-forest!

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I said in my previous post that I was going to talk about my second set of note cards, but I’m going to save that for next time. Before I go, I want to give you a sneak preview of the baby dress, (size 1,) that I’m working on and hope to have finished and listed,  soon~  (provided I have no more “free-plant” offers to distract me!)                               IMG_9858 copy Coming Soon!

***One last note~ Please excuse the little “spill” into the margin at the beginning of my blog.  My blog was updated to the latest version and we encountered a problem that we hope to be able to correct soon!