Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Graduations, zoo visit, and a free pattern

I'm bustin' my buttons with pride this week. Our family celebrated two graduations this past week. My daughter is a certified Zumba instructor now and this is a week and a half after running and finishing a 5K race around the Philadelphia Art Museum. I don't know where she finds the time and energy when she's also raising my beautiful grandsons.
And we're so very proud of my son-in-law who graduated and is now an LPN. He is a very hard working man and a good example to his boys. Can you tell Moose is excited for his Daddy?!
Last Friday we took Moose and Leo to the Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest zoo in the U.S.
Our first stop was to see the monkeys. The kids were more interesting to watch than the lazy monkeys.
I can't believe Moose willingly posed for a photo. He hasn't been too cooperative in that department lately.
The boys were headed for fun.
Leo took some time to play the "conga drums" just like his Daddy while Moose...
pretended to be a worker ant bringing food into the ant colony.
He investigated a HUGE cockroach to count its legs.
After lunch Moose asked if I would help him drive the swan boat. Unfortunately, his legs weren't long enough to reach the pedals and he didn't get the hang of steering so it wasn't a very long trip. But we had fun anyway.
Leo loves trains.
And loved riding it too.
When it was time to feed the lorikeets he wasn't as enthusiastic.
But neither was Moose at that age. Now he knows how to hold the cup of nectar so the birds can have a snack.
Time for a quick pony ride.
I know there are polar bears somewhere in here.
Ahah! There he is.
Is Mom really going to let me play in this fountain?
YES! She let me get wet!
Another great day at the zoo with my favorite boys must come to an end. We had a very good time and I can't wait to go with them again soon.
Now for some Chicks news. Liz is back from Florida and catching up on all the things we knitted while she was away.
She arrived today with a collection of cowls and scarves and finished up two animals to add to the inventory.
Kathleen finished a hat that can be for either boy or girl.
And added a handsome man's vest for our future donation inventory.
Barbara is working on mittens that will match a hat she finished already.
Liz is working on a blanket too.
Kathleen is working on a reversible striped scarf.
Carole's hedgehog has his face and ears now. He will fit nicely into chubby little hands.
Maureen's scarf is longer.
And Carole's headband is growing too.
I needed a chair to take with me when I knit away from home so I picked up a plain old vanilla folding chair at Lowe's on Saturday. Well, I'm not one to leave vanilla plain so I just had to do a little yarn bombing! Someday I might even cover the legs. But this was enough for now.
One of my knitting newsletters had a free pattern for this ripple stitch so I decided to dig through the stash and make a scarf. I didn't have any labels so I don't know what yarn this is but I like the way it's coming along.
Here is the pattern:

Simple Chevron Ripple

Cast on a multiple of 9 stitches using a needle size appropriate for the weight yarn you are using.

Row 1:  (RS) *K2tog, K1, [K1fb] 2 times, K2, SSK; repeat from * to end

Row 2:  Purl

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern to desired length.

I added four stitches to either end to make sure the fabric lays flat. This scarf will need a thorough blocking to prevent curling. I'll show you again when it's finished.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grab a cup of coffee and relax

I'll warn you now, if you don't like photos of kids or flowers, you're not going to like today's post. On the other hand, if you do, take your time and enjoy.
Last week my DH and I took an overnight trip to see the grands. Moose invited us to see him sing and play tambourine with his parents and their contemporary worship band but when we got there he was standing in the audience and dancing. When I questioned him he said he just said that so I would come to visit! What a sneak!
We had video of one of the songs the band sang and as soon as Leo heard it he dropped everything and ran over to listen. He seems to be thinking, "How did Mommy and Daddy get into the phone?"
On Saturday we took the Collins family out to lunch and the best part was watching Moose enjoy his gelato. I love the fashion statement of cowboy hat and Green Lantern ring!
Just before heading home we took some time to enjoy the local playground. Leo loved the swings.
On Monday Karin and I went to the last day of the Orchid Exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens in The Bronx. Ooops! I guess you'll have to look sideways! LOL!
There were these beautiful sculptures on the grounds by Spanish artist Manolo Valdes. They were huge! The ferns and other "accessories" were so delicate that they reminded me of knitted lace.
This head was surrounded by blossoms.
I'm not sure what these were but they were so large that it looked like a maze.
This was my favorite one.
This sculpture sat in the center of a reflecting pool surrounded by blossoming trees. So beautiful!
The Enid Haupt Conservatory is the hotspot for all things orchid.
The first thing you see upon entering is the reflecting pool surrounded by orchids. Breathtaking!
Then you begin the walk through the exhibits.
I'll let you browse at your leisure. I'll catch up with you later on.

There were bromeliads everywhere too.
This was gorgeous!
Karin and I took over 500 pictures combined!
Everyone has to stop here for the required portrait. LOL!

I don't know if you can read all of the above sign but this is the slipper orchid. Notice the pouch on the bottom of the blossom. This is actually a modified petal.
Beautiful little waterfall.
Gorgeous cymbidium orchids.

These pretty pink and white blossoms reminded me of The Flying Nun.
Can't you see Sally Field flying around?
I love how the sunshine sneaks in wherever it can.
Looks like someone spilled the paint can.

Heliconia are a tropical plant with a sturdy stem. 
And the bamboo to the right is actually a quick growing grass. Who knew?!
The photograph didn't really do justice to the color of this orchid. It was so dark a purple it was almost black. Just breathtaking!

More lacy ferns reminding me of knitting lace.
Just to show you the power of Mother Nature, check out between those twisted branches. That white substance is heavy metal chain that has been broken by the growing plant.

There were even citrus trees growing fruit.

We had to show you the span of this blossom. It was almost as big as my iPhone!
As we entered this wing there was a permeating scent from the trees that flanked the entrance.
They were gardenias. Their perfume was amazing and strong. I could have stayed here for hours.
Hanging above our heads were huge baskets of staghorn fern.
This is the amaryllis that you saw between Karin and me at the beginning of these photos. 
The blossoms are beautiful and long lasting.
Our next stop was the desert world. Who would have thought there would be so much beauty in such a dead looking landscape?
Don't back up!
A funny looking succulent. Looks like a string of coins.
Have you ever seen a blue succulent?

Am I the only one who thinks this looks like a knitted hat in the round?
Perfect little puffy cushions of thorns.

Those brownish red things are the fruit of the blossom there. It's a prickly pear cactus.
This sign says it takes a Saguaro 40 years to bloom, 50 years to grow branches, and 150 years to reach a height of 40 feet!
This one must be a baby, no branches yet.
But it looks like there might be flower buds up at the top.
Hibiscus blossoms bloom for just one day.
This is a bleeding heart vine. The red color was breathtaking.

It was so peaceful to walk under the canopy of blossoms.

It just goes to show you, you don't have to be a flower to be pretty!
Waxy looking anthuriums.
This bromeliad was growing out of the crook of a tree.

Back outside we sauntered along the grounds to make our way to other exhibits. The weather was perfect. Look at that gorgeous blue sky! And the tree!!!
pansies and...
rhododendrons of beautiful colors everywhere. Everyone that passed by this rhodie gasped at the beauty of the deep red blossoms.
The cherry trees were in full bloom.
The perfume was hypnotizing.
As we approached Daffodil Valley our excitement grew.
A perfect bloom!

We were happy we didn't opt for the tram ride. We would have missed seeing this bird's nest.
Approaching the magnolia grove brought back memories of the beautiful magnolia tree I used to pass when I walked to elementary school.

I felt like I was in the center of a bridal bouquet. Petals everywhere!

Tender shoots were beginning to pop up their little heads in patches throughout the garden.
More pansies
and deep purple grape hyacinths.
The long and winding road lead through a grove of cherry trees.
More mesmerizing scents everywhere.

When we came to the fork in the road, we took it! LOL!

We followed the sounds of the waterfall.
And down the Bridge Trail.
Last year's Hurricane Sandy caused damage...
But even a dead tree can come back to life. Those little green things on the left are growing out of the bottom of the up turned tree.
Just keep walking, walking, walking...
I think we're getting closer to where we want to be. 
Yes! We're back at the Reflecting Pool and another sculpture. We stayed at the gardens from about 11AM and left at closing around 6PM and still we could have stayed longer. We had a wonderful time and have many photos to remind us.
Now for this week's knitting. Dorah thinks she might need an intervention. This is her third Wingspan shawl/scarf. Personally, I don't think you can have too many.
Carole's hedgehog needs ears, eyes and a nose and he'll be done.
Beth's elephant is looking more like one with each additional limb.
Maureen's scarf is looking toasty warm. Great stitch definition!
It took me about a week to make "Rockin' Robin". His red breast is duplicate stitch since I don't think you can knit Intarsia in the round.
Last week I crocheted these booties. They were a little bit of a challenge since I haven't crocheted in ages. I love the Mini Mochi yarn.
Ho!Ho!Ho! Green Giant!