March Madness

Pot of Gold

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Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 

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(Have you ever noticed how really creepy leprechaun images are????)  (Really. Creepy.)

Here at the Mulhern house, we take our St. Patrick's Day somewhat seriously.  We don't go overboard or anything -- but we generally wear green, eat corned beef and cabbage, and wash it down with Guinness.  Tom, who spent quite a lot of time in Ireland early in his pharmaceutical career, has an exceptionally good repertoire of Irish songs and ballads, and, as St. Patrick's Day nears, he is often called upon to "perform" (he is a Big Hit at parties and drinking sessions . . . just sayin').  As a special St. Patrick's Day treat, here is Tom . . . performing "Sick Note" . . . just for y'all!

  

And, with that, here's what I would do . . . should I ever find that elusive pot of gold:

  1. Buy a round of Guinness for everyone!
  2. Save a bit.
  3. Give some away.
  4. Travel.
  5. Travel some more.
  6. Upgrade my kitchen.
  7. Build a little greenhouse.
  8. And a clever potting shed.
  9. Put a screened-in porch on the cottage.
  10. Travel some more.

How about YOU?  What would you do . . . if you found the pot of gold?

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Springing Forward

Yeah.  I know that our clocks went springing forward last weekend.  But this weekend?  Everything else is springing forward!

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After a few sustained days of temperatures over the freezing mark, much of the snow is melted (there are still plenty of big piles left . . . but I choose to focus my gaze on the exposed ground).

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It's such a treat to drive with the sunroof open again!  Some People are able to get back outside for a run or a long walk with their dogs.  (Although Some People are not.*)

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Garden Buddha is smiling and snow-free -- a sure sign that things are springing forward!

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*  Some people are sidelined with peroneal tendinosis.  Physical therapy begins tomorrow. 

Detour

 

 


Change in the Air

Sure.  There's still a long, long way to go. . . 

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But . . . there is CHANGE in the air!

The dogs sense it.

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Garden Buddha can feel it.

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I can see some grass again.  (Okay.  I know it's because the plow scraped low.  But still.)

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And the parade of March garden conferences has begun.

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Best of all . . . THIS!

 

(Tom spent a lot of time on Saturday clearing the nearest storm drain and creating a "path" for water flow.)  (My Hero!!!)

Definitely a change in the air.  (And it sure feels good!)


Throwback Thursday: Mucking About

This last weekend, as I was deadheading and weeding in my garden, I started thinking back to my First Attempts at gardening. 

Those First Attempts . . . were mostly Not Successful.  (I've learned a lot over the years.  Mostly through trial and error.  Heavy on the error.)

But one thing I was really good at - right off the bat - was growing vegetables.  (Turned out . . . it wasn't me, though.  I just lucked on to some incredible soil in my first vegetable garden!)

I had always dreamed of having a garden.  As a little girl, I used to love to pull weeds with my Mom in her flower beds.  I liked seeing the bees hovering over our bridal wreath spirea in the front yard.  I liked watching the Illinois corn grow higher and higher through the summer.  I knew that someday I would have a garden and grow my own stuff.

And, after years and years of "apartment gardening" (houseplants, pots of herbs, terrariums), Tom and I bought our first house in 1987 -- in Hudsonville, Michigan.  What I didn't realize right away. . . is that our property was right in the middle of the most incredible soil ever:  Muck!  (In Hudsonville, famous for onions and celery, the muck is from the old Grand River bed.  But, trust me, pretty much EVERYthing grows in that muck!)

Here I am in 1988* . . . in my First Ever Vegetable Garden.

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It was fabulous!  Everything grew.  Everything thrived.  Everything was incredible!  (I thought it was me.  It wasn't.  It was the muck!)

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(The hair.  Oh good lord . . . the hair.)

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I'm not so much into the vegetable-growing these days.  But it sure was fun (and easy!) back in the muck fields!

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* Life was so very different Back Then.  In 1988 I was working as a CPA for Ernst & Whinney in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We had two cats (Jelly and Jambo), but no kids.  I drove a Mazda.  I played in a golf league.  I read all the time, but hadn't picked up knitting needles in a decade.  And I remember being very excited about my NEW CD player.


Waiting for this Moment to Arise

A little background music. . .

 

In the end. . .Black Cardi

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stands victorious over Tote Bag.

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It was a squeaker!  The final score was 27-25.  Although Black Cardi was on the board first and held the early lead, Tote Bag just kept charging!  Black Cardi, however, scored at the final buzzer to take it all in this season's March Madness!

If you'd like more details on the Black Cardi (named for my favorite Beatles song), you can click here for all the yarny-knitty details on Ravelry.

As for the Tote Bag, it is the Frenchy Bag pattern from Amy Butler.  As usual, the Amy Butler pattern is fabulously detailed and well-written.  This bag is pretty straightforward and, with the exception of one or two tricky-bits, would be very do-able for an advanced-beginner sewer.  I made the bag as a birthday gift for my friend, Sandie, and I'm pleased to say she loves it!  (There is a little glitch in one of the lining seams -- a tiny little pucker I chose to ignore.  It haunts me still.  I can see Miss Helzer, eye-brow raised in That Way, wordlessly handing me a seam ripper.)

CONGRATULATIONS to Sheri, who was the big winner in my random drawing of all March Madness voters.  I'll be sending Sheri an exciting March Madness prize package.  (Just for the record, Sheri popped over to vote after reading Mary's blog.  Thanks, Mary!  And . . . she voted for the Tote Bag!)

CONGRATULATIONS, also, to three March Madness "runners-up" (because you can't have a March Madness contest without having a "Final Four" line-up!):  Carole, Elaine, and Sara.  A little prize will also be on the way to each of you.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU for playing along with my March Madness fun!

 


Nature-at-Home

While I'm recovering from all the March Madness* over here, I thought I'd give you a couple of quick Nature-at-Home Updates.

First, this:

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(Click to embiggen.  I'm pretty sure that's a word.)

Yes.  It's Finch-Cam!  If I stand on a step stool . . . and then get on my tip toes. . . and then angle the camera just so. . . without bumping the door . . . I can take really mediocre photos of the finch nest behind my dead wreath!  (How cute is that finch?)

Now, this:

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Remember Spot?  Well. . . she had babies before she put out her amazing beanstalk bloom!  Looks like five new agaves in all, and three are leafing out!  If you look really closely, you can see that there are actually spots on the leaf on the very far left in this photo. 

The leaves sprout from these little bud-things that emerge from the soil.

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The plant-nerd in me is just so excited to see all this happening!

Then, there's this. . .

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You might remember my blogging about killing a plant that looked very much like this.  Same charming moss-covered pot.   Same tiny topiary form.  Yes, I decided to try my luck again.  So I bought another "fairy vine" (or whatever it's called) and planted it in the charming pot and started it growing up the adorable little topiary form.  But THIS time, I set it in a bed of stones (to up the moisture and humidity), and I'm watering the heck out of it.  So far, so good!

This topiary, though. . . not so much.

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This is an ivy topiary I planted back in February.  The ivy was thriving, and wrapping nicely around the heart-shaped topiary form.  Then, suddently, death.  I planted one for my Mom, too.  Same thing is happening to hers.  I'm thinking . . . it must be the form?   Not really sure what happened, but both my Mom and I are sad about the demise of our ivy plants. 

Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.  That's how it is with Nature-at-Home!

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* Votes have been tablulated.  Winners have been notified.  Exciting conclusion to March Madness tomorrow.


The Big Dance

So.  Tonight it is.  Kentucky vs. Kansas?  Nah. . .

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The REAL Big Dance is right here!  The showdown between. . .

Black Cardigan, the early March Madness favorite, expected to go all the way.

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and. . .

Tote Bag, this year's Cinderella story and rising upstart!

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Who will walk away as this year's champion?  Well, that's for YOU to decide!

Cast your vote in the comments before Wednesday, April 4 at 9:00 pm EST.  My March Madness Champion Project will be announced in this Friday's blog post.  When you vote, your name will be entered into a random drawing for an exciting prize package!  (And, if someone sends you here to vote, be sure you mention their name, as they'll also be entered into the drawing!)

So.  Who's it going to be?  Black Cardigan . . . or Tote Bag?

The excitement builds!

 

 


Kym's Final Four

March Madness continues here at The Edge.  But I'm not talking basketball. . .

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It's been a wild month. . . and as we near the end, I've got my Final Four! 

"Finish Black Cardigan" beat out "Garden Plans" in a blowout.

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(More details about this baby in a later post.  For now, let's just try not to notice that my house was pelted by an egg.  I have no idea why.  I don't even have kids at home anymore.  I thought those days were gone with the finish of high school.  Who knew?)

"Finish Black Cardigan" was heavily favored at the opening of this year's tourney, being well under way already at the beginning of the month.  The unexpectedly warm weather totally freaked out "Garden Plans," making them skittish under pressure.

In the next bracket, "Photo Class" barely squeaked out a win over "Messenger Bag for Erin." 

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Admittedly, this is the weakest of the brackets.   "Messenger Bag" didn't get much thought or consideration at all.  As for "Photo Class" -- at least the sign-up is complete.  (The homework?  Not so much.)

Next up. . . it appears that "Tote Bag for Sandie" might actually be the Cinderalla story this season!

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Yes,"Tote Bag" completely overwhelmed "Begin Shawl" in a stunning overtime showdown.  This was a surprise, as "Begin Shawl" seemed to be a big favorite in this year's tournament -- and really, who had ever heard of "Tote Bag" before this win?

Finally, "Colorwork Bag" beat out "Mosaic Flower Pots" at the buzzer.

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It's really not clear, though, whether "Colorwork Bag" will be able to maintain the momentum needed to take it all the way!  It looks like strong early efforts . . . might result in running-out-of-yarn to complete the project on time.

Stay tuned!


It's in the Bag!!!

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This week, Carole has us emptying the contents of our purses for Ten on Tuesday . . . with Ten Things in Your Purse.

Here's my (current) handbag.

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Rather biggish.  Slouchy.  Easy to carry.  Goes with everything.  

Here's the inside view.

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I don't tend to over-fill my bag with junk.  I tend to carry just what I need.  Here are the things I consider essential; the things  you'll always find in my bag:

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  1. Wallet (with it's own subset of handy things inside!)
  2. Phone (My Precious. . .)
  3. Keys (with flashdrive and Eiffel Tower charm.)
  4. Glasses (This nifty glasses case carries both cheaters AND sunglasses in one!)
  5. Small notebook (for my grocery lists, errands, and miscellaneous notes-on-the-fly.)
  6. Lip balm (Burt's Bees with Mango!)
  7. Hand lotion (Neutrogena.  The best.)
  8. Mints (Altoids. Because I adore the tins.)
  9. Ear phones (Because you never know when you'll need to plug in.)
  10. Re-usable bag (I actually carry 3 and use them all the time.)
  11. Starbucks coffee cozy (I carry one and re-use.)
  12. Umbrella (A tiny little mini-umbrella.)

Oops.  That's twelve things.  But those are the items I always have with me. 

Sometimes, depending on my day, I'll add a book.  Or my iPad.  Maybe a bottle of water or some knitting.  Occasionally a make-up bag or some hairspray.  If Jenny is with me, some dog treats and a poop-bag.  But, generally, this is it!

How about you?  What's in YOUR bag?

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