Monday, August 20, 2007

It's a bird! It's a bee!! It's a... moth???

I saw this little guy hovering around my phlox last week. My first thought was "oh, a hummingbird!" It was just about the right size and shape, and it was certainly flying like one. I ran and grabbed a camera.

Then, I noticed the antennae. After that, I did a leg count. Six of them. Okay, so that isn't a hummingbird. It was brown and yellow, but WAY to big to be any sort of bee. Some internet searching revealed that what I had was a Hawk Moth, a pair of them, actually, even though I managed to photograph only one of them.

My garden project while we were in the country last week was to plant some coneflowers and coreopsis. BF managed to snap this "work in progress" photo. I've never been a huge fan of how coneflowers look, but this year I kept noticing them in other people's gardens and I realized that they're really quite pretty when paned with other flowers. Please excuse the posts on the porch-- they don't look too hot now, but they will be painted when the weather cools.

The added bonus with the coneflowers is that they will provide seeds for this little guy and his feathered friends during the colder months.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Out of hiding?

I haven't really been "hiding" exactly, but I have been remiss in posting any online updates. I'm working from home most of the time now. You'd think that would mean more time for regular updates, but it has had quite the opposite effect. I tend to go on and off line during the course of the day, depending on the workload at any given time. This means that I'm usually online only when there's lots of work to do, and there isn't as much down time to do other things online. If that doesn't make a good case for employers allowing staff to telecommute, I don't know what does.

I'm still working on my soap formulations. I've got a few recipes that I absolutely love and am *THIS CLOSE* to being able to sell. The trouble with making soap from scratch is that it isn't ready to use when it comes out of the mold. It has to cure for 4 - 6 weeks first. So, whatever I make has to sit around, then I can have friends test it out for me. Then, if it's a successful batch/scent, I can make more and wait another 4 - 6 weeks before it is ready to sell. I think it will go pretty smoothly once I get the recipes and scents worked out, though.

I did quite a bit of stitching last month, mostly on TW's Tradewinds. A friend gave this to me last year when she was clearing out her stash. She had the kit for a while and decided she'd probably never stitch it. I'm absolutely loving this project-- it's a real pleasure to stitch. It's funny that I enjoy TW's so much, because ordinarily I don't like projects with lots of backstitching. I'm not crazy about stitching with blended threads either, for that matter. And yet there is nothing I enjoy stitching more than a TW design. Go figure.

Here's the project as of July 7:

And my progress as of July 29:

Later today, or maybe the first of next week, I am going to make a point to catch up on some of my blog reading. I miss seeing what you've all been up to! Of course, you all are a bad influence-- every time I go off and check the blogs, I end up finding 10 more projects that I simply MUST stitch.