Another week of my life has blurred on by and I hardly remember much, except that it has been unseasonably hot and humid. It feels like July and August, not May into June. Last night we had some ferocious rain storms complete with wind, lighting, and thunder. Luckily no flooding around here, unless you count the potholes!
I ordered a sewing/craft table last Sunday--it was my birthday gift from Chris. It is on order and may not be here for up to 6 weeks. I will finally have a place to store my sewing machine and other fabric related items and a good place to sew. I am looking forward to learning to quilt, but will wait to start until the table is in place. Chris has to also build this gift, since it is from Sauder. He has become good at building these things and may even soon lift the ban on Ikea furniture. (He hates that they have no written directions.)
The garden enjoyed the rain last night, especially since it has been so hot and I forget to water daily! I noticed some new growth today. My neighbors must seriously wonder why I am constantly taking close up photos of the flowers and plants. I bought this clematis last year from a nursery mail order catalog. I planted it next to a nice white trellis Chris bought for me and waited. It grew about 6 inches, bloomed once, and died. I figured it was gone for good, but it surprised me this spring when it reappeared out of the ground. This year it grew into two long branches, about two feet long each, and I was able to weave it into the trellis to give it some support. I noticed a bud on the one branch last week. Today I discovered that it bloomed! I really hope it continues to grow throughout the summer and blooms some more.
My herb garden continues to grow strong. The lemon balm that returns every year is huge and I have to continually cut it back so it stops shadowing the other smaller plants. The bee balm, which is the one plant that the previous home owner left in the back garden, is growing strong. I divided it up a year or two ago because it had taken over half the garden and looks dead by the end of July. It is a more manageable size now. My basil plants look good, but are still on the small end. I have a feeling the trees are blocking the sun they need. I planted some extra herbs in pots on the other side of the patio and they are doing great! The lavender is starting to bloom with deep purple flowers. The chamomile looks good too!
On the knitting front, I finished the baby sweater I have been working on for a few weeks. It really turned out nice and looks like a doll sweater to me. I just have a hat and some booties to do to complete the set. This is for a baby set that a co-worker commissioned me to knit for her new grandbaby-to-be. She doesn't know the sex of the baby, so I used some little orange rimmed white buttons I had with matching orange thread.
At work the group of kids in the program I run are working on a mural. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program provides an art education program for our after school program. A professional muralist is teaching the kids about how to design and paint a mural. This will be Ana Uribe's 20th mural for the Mural Arts program. This mural is being installed in Philadelphia's Chinatown section and will be visible from the expressway. It is an Asian theme, although I forget what the main part of the mural will be. Our group is in charge of creating the border for the mural. Our kids were asked to create "stamps" that cold be used to create images around the border of the main painting. They used pieces of styrofoam--the kind like the trays of meat from the supermarket--and carved images into them. Then using a roller and special paint, they inked the stamps and printed them on the borders. They don't actually have to paint on the wall at the mural site. Instead they use something artists call parachute cloth (which I learned is actually interfacing) and the cloth is adhered to the wall with a special fixative that melts the cloth away and adheres the paint to the surface.
I was asked to make one of the stamps too, which is the one pictured here. I used a picture of the tree of life as a guide and created this bird in a tree. I had a hard time working with the styrofoam, as I could not be as detailed as I wanted. I encrypted the monogram of my soon to-be-adopted from China niece into the background of the stamp. The artist wanted stamps with texture in the background--this was my interpretation of it. Maybe someday when my niece is here and old enough I'll take her to Chinatown to see her monogram. I think it is turning out to be a great project for the kids. When they are adults, they will be able to go to Chinatown on their own and see the work they did when they were younger.
Have a great weekend!