Saturday, February 07, 2009

Out And About

I’ve been somewhat more quiet the last few days, I know. Blame it on T-Man. He took yesterday off work (using a banked holiday) and since it wasn’t raining we went walkies. First to the credit union where we do our banking to sort out some stuff and then over to the magazine shop as we usually do once a week or so. These destinations were in opposite directions so we got quite a workout. Lunch was a wicked chocolate-coated cream puff eaten while walking. Yeah, I know – totally naughty but so good!

On the way home we stopped at our favourite tea house, Steeps, for a large press of Market Spice tea and a bit of a rest. I do loves me my teas! I’m talking “real” tea, not herbal tisanes or rooibos. Those are good too but not my beverage of choice. My fave teas are those that blend green and black teas together but I don’t drink them as strong as many do nor with anything added such as milk, sugar, honey or lemon. Straight up and weak– but high quality. Steeps has a very fun display with tins of each of their teas in “testers” that you can open and sniff. I indulged in a tiny tin to take home of their Royal Earl Grey tea which is flavoured with the usual bergamot but also jasmine. It’s quite yummy.

Today was sunny so we went out to the garden and started on the job of pruning and removing dead stuff and generally cleaning up after the rather severe winter we had. Gotta get out there while we can! It felt good to get into the dirt but it’s sad to see so much damage. I may have lost my entire chest-high rosemary and the overwintering purple sprouting broccoli are pretty much toast. Some things are starting to recuperate a little though so all is not gloomy. I even found new leaves on my little chrysanthemum that I thought had frozen solid in the pot on the front door. I had taken it out and replanted in the greenhouse for now so I watered it and we’ll see what happens next.

My woad is already putting out many new leaves. That stuff is tough! Too bad I have to pull most of it this year. I only want one or two to flower for new seeds. The rest will go to an experimental dyebath to see if there’s any colour in second year leaves. I have enough seeds left from last year to replant for new first-year plants. I also cleaned up the madder which is just barely starting to break dormancy in it’s big galvanized cans. Maybe this fall I can harvest some roots again. It’ll be two years since last time. I’m already planning what seeds to start inside the house soon.

I’ve finished the Sea Monkey Socks and they’re currently drying on the bathroom counter. I like the final fabric in the Tofutsies yarn but did find it a bit splitty and sticky on the bamboo needles. I was also annoyed by the number of knots in this ball, though I hadn’t heard that it was particularly prone to knots. Must be my recent run of bad luck in that department. The finished socks definitely look like sand, pebbles and waves. I also enjoyed Cookie A.’s Monkey Socks pattern and will be using it again soon. Full FO report soon.

Your new word for today is “cintamani” (pronounced chin'-tuh-mah-nee). Thanks to Elaine Lipson at the Red Thread Studio blog post. It means talismanic pearl, a symbol of bestowing fortune and capable of fulfilling every wish. The design usually consists of 3 balls or pearls with wavy lines (waves or tiger stripes) and was heavily used in Ottoman carpets and fabrics as well as on tiles and other ceramics. See some of these here and here I particularly like the cintamani on this little princess daruma doll from Japan:

From this you can see the Buddhist origins of the design. I hadn’t been aware of it before but now I’ll be looking for examples.

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