Saturday, July 29, 2006

Auntie Roo's Red Kitchen

I'm off to a 9 1/2 hour work day today, will I survive? It's actually cool enough this morning for a proper pot of HOT tea, and with a cup of tea, in my opinion, all is right with the world. A much longed-for break in the heat has finally occurred and it was actually so cool last night I woke up and shut the windows! Halleluiah!!!

Here is my Auntie Roo's red kitchen. Couldn't you just crawl into these pictures and play house and be happy all the time? I could!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Eeeek! A Mess!

Sometimes I amaze myself with my audacity. It seems I don't know how to NOT do something. Like the time I told my aunt I could cut my cousin's hair into a shag! Ha! TOTAL disaster! Or convinced my other cousin I could pierce her ears with a potato slice and a sterilized needle. Or like this morning when I marched into my old work place and asked for my job back. Of course that didn't turn out so badly! Not only did they greet me with open arms they gave me a client starting tomorrow! That was sheer amazement, as I expected to be told they had no need for caregivers at this time.

OR, like my attempt to make Paste Paper, having only made it once before in the dim recesses of my pre-stroke memory. I wasn't sure of the proportions for the cellulose paste, and not only did I cook it and bile it down forever, I DOUBLED the amount of powder just to make sure. The results: a gelatinous muck with the near-solid texture of cheesecake, instead of the thick syrup gel medium right for mixing paints.
Which mean it just glomped onto the paper and smeared but would not spread, and also resisted any attempt to run a texture through it with my handy-dandy Afro-Pic Comb. On the table is a gorgeous box I made many years ago with the last batch of paste paper I made, so I KNOW I can do it! I shall let these dry, and layer them later with more colors once I've made the proper consistency of paste. Now that I'm back to work, will I have time for it? I hope so.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More Blurry Cards!

I assure you these cards are not the least little bit blurred in REAL LIFE. I seem to be on a card making kick lately as opposed to any other craft like sewing or quilting, because it's just too darn hot to even think of having one more electrical appliance going. With record heat, 105F. + every day and over 25 people real, live, DEAD from heat exhaustion, this is fine weather for learning all about freezer desserts.

Real live Dead. Ha ha! I like that! Anyway, I made the thong straps with grossgrain ribbon and used my newest daisy punch for the flower embellishments. Lots of fun!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Flower Power

I want to take a moment to THANK and WELCOME all the neat women visiting this site from New South Wales in Australia and I think New Zealand as well. It is just SO exciting! I actually read EACH OF YOUR BLOGS every day if you've left me a comment, even though I cannot always comment on yours! Not becuase I don't have time, because I DO have time, but because for some reason I cannot reach the comment box, the page never loads.

This morning I am in search of toothpaste and Dove soap, and that's my official story and I'm sticking to it. If the store where I will purchase these things happens to be miles away and RIGHT NEXT to the crafter/stamper/scrapper store...well, that's beyond my control, right?
I am looking for the punch that makes this flower shape and some rhinestones to match:

Some of you will be familiar with the story of how the Siamese Cat got the kink in it's tail. The *tail* is told that the Emperor of Siam was being poisoned and slowly was dying. No one knew how the poison was being administered until the Royal Siamese Cat came and slept by the bed of the Emperor with his tail curled around the Imperial Tea Cup. This loyal and intelligent kitty stayed in this position night after night, foiling the evil plans of the would-be murderer, and saving his Emperor's life. Since that time, Siamese have been considered Sacred Temple cats, and they all have that odd little kink in the bone of their tails!

Dear Mackie, bar sinister kitten of a registered Seal Point and a very flirtatious and charming Alley Tiger Cat, demonstrates his Royal Blood.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Around and About!

Well, home again, home again jiggedy jig! This little piggie has gotten up TWO DAYS in a row and taken a brisk walk around the neighborhood. And to what do I owe this sudden and uncharacteristic surge of energy? Well! My friend Beechley sent me her spare Pedometer! You know, one of those step-counter things that you clip to your waist and it measures how many strides you take in a day. In order to be healthy and not dead, a person should get in about 10,000 steps a day.
The first day I wore it, I got up to almost 200 steps! That's Right! A real mover and shaker, here! To be fair, I spent that day at the computer playing catch-up so it was lower than normal. But normal for me is going to be around 2000 steps a day. Who has time to walk 10,000 strides each day?
I've taken the stairs 3 time each way for the laundry. I've walked to the corner mailbox twice. I've traipsed through the apartment at full tilt closing windows, opening air conditioners, doing dishes and making the bed. AND!!! I walked the early morning neighborhood in a brisk manner, stopping only to pet my favorite Giant Poodle Dog that is also 'walked' about the same time of day. It is now 8:46 in the am and I have logged an impressive 2452 strides. Maybe I'll even break 5000 today. Nahh! Just kidding! I don't want to sabatoge myself by being too enthusiastic. Exercise and I, gentle readers, do NOT get along.

Here is a picture, slightly blurry but you should be used to that by now, of the cards I made with the Tehachapi Chicks.

And here is dear old Mackie, in motion. What a regal fellow!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Playing Cards with the Girls!

I got invited to attend a stampers monthly card club meeting while I was in Tehachapi, CA this week. It was so unexpected and so VERY much fun! These girls meet on a monthly basis and do a regular 'make and take' swap. That means you bring your card idea and the supplies for everyone to make one just like it. Depending on how many women are there, you can end up with half a dozen totally new and original card ideas to take home with you!

This month's theme was Birthday Cards and I really had fun making these. I certainly have use for birthday cards! Can't have enough of those on hand! They also have awesome and delicious SNACKS to sustain them during the long night of stamping, embossing and glittering.
I just loved the fact that I was in town for mere moments before I stumbled upon this neat stamper and scrapper store and the next thing I knew, I had an invitation and firm plans for the next evening's stamp club!
Tehachapi, by the way, is a very unique little town. It doesn't have that bedraggled feeling of most small towns, and all the stores seem to be run and managed by women. This means the stores are tidy, interesting, feminine, and chock full of the kinds of things you love to gaze at when shopping. Of course I didn't go to the auto parts store or the hardware store, maybe that is where the men hang out.
I did love this little town, but don't think I want to live there. I don't think I am ready for SO much 'small town' atmosphere. I still think I need big city anonymity and that sense of privacy you get when you live in a hustle bustle city.
As always, it's good to be home..although I arrived in the midst of a mystery. I found copious amounts of cat hair on my upper steps, and a cat collar with the address of a cat in my building on the tag. No Mackie in sight! AND, once inside, there was a notation in handwriting I don't recognize on my dry erase board, with the phone number of the landlord and a locksmith! How woo-woo weird is that? Does this mean the landlord was here for some reason? If that's the case, why would he need to write down his own number? And why a locksmith? If he got inside the apartment to write the note, he already HAD the key!?
Neither one of my cat care people wrote the note. I'll have to wait until Monday to call the office and ask about it, but in the meantime, Mackie is safe and sound and not a hair out of place. I can only imagine he beat the tar out of the neighbor cat for daring to come up the stairs.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Up, Up and Away

Finally! After waiting around all day, Blogger finally let me post an entry. Just in time to take off for cooler climes. I'll be back on Monday-ish and hopefully full of inspiration and with my vim renewed.
In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of an Amish Wedding Reception.
My family lives in the heart of the Amish community in Indiana. There are always a few things that the Amish need from the 'English' and one of those things is access to a camera for 'secret' photo shoots! The Plain People do not keep photos or photo albums, but I don't know an Amish wife that does not have a contraband of hidden pictures of her family tucked into the cookbook or other hiding place.

These pictures were taken by my aunt as a request from her neighbor. They are her daughter's highly decorated wedding reception hall. I thought they were so pretty I wanted to share them!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Poking in Corners

Don't you always want to poke about in corners and look into closets at other people's houses? I'm so nosy like that. I want to see how they DECORATE their house! I want to see how they live! I want to look at their Granny's china they've got shoved in that old cupboard because it's not their style and they prefer Mamma's Noritake. Even when I was a girl and we'd go visit people, I would want to go upstairs and see all the bedrooms! One time I ASKED and my Mom heard me and she just about burst a gasket. She said "We don't DO that! You don't ask to see the rest of someone's house!" Well, I obeyed but I didn't buy into that sentiment for a moment. I wanted to see if they'd made their bed with a quilt. I wanted to see if they had a window seat or a reading nook or something that would seem delightful and homey.

I couldn't tell you what anyone wore, ever in their lives (unless it was an apron, I can remember those) but I have recollection of the inside of every house I ever visited. Details. Drapery fabrics and colors. The layout of their floorplans.

Here, in case you feel like I do, is the inside of my secret treasure closet: Where The Stamps Are!!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stay Out of The Carpal Tunnel

I'd love to crow about my darling idea to take those pillowcases and use them as protective slipcovers for my Parson's Dining Chairs, but I fear that all that busy hand-crocheting industriousness has left me stranded on Carpal Tunnel Road. It's got CLEAR WARNING SIGNS but I always ignore them. I've been down Carpal Tunnel Road before. It's bendy bendy and then suddenly, there you are, deep inside the Carpal Tunnel with no daylight in sight and lots of pain.
Of course Cupital Tunnel is a heck of a lot more awful, dead bodies strewn everywhere including my own but as long as you don't navigate with your elbows leaning on anything, you can steer clear of Cupital Tunnel pretty well.

I love my Parson's chairs so much and I have a bad habit of running my hand across the fabric on my way past the chairs from the kitchen to the living room and vice versa; a habit I"m trying to break because I don't want grubby upholstery! So these should amuse me for a while! Especially since I won't be doing any other handwork anytime soon!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Granny's Apron

Great Granny Brown wore an awesome apron. Huge, deep pockets, a full bib, and a full wrap-around. Nothing foo-foo or fancy about her aprons. These were built for sturdy use and I never saw her without her apron while at home. I wish I had a better picture of her, but here she is when they were building the big brick garage to house the well rigs.
A few years ago, my Aunt Ignacia sent me the original pattern from Granny's trailer. It was cut out of a newspaper dated 1932. I carefully traced it onto sturdier paper (thick pink paper, if you must know!) and made an apron for my cousin for Christmas. In the pocket of her apron was tucked a copy of Granny's Apron pattern.
I made it with Mary Engelbreit teacup fabric.
An early version of it was painstakingly piped all the way around the scalloped edge, until I decided to Halifax with that much work, it would be neater and more fun to make the apron reversable and therefore I wouldn't have to bind any seams at all!
AND , I'd have two aprons for the price of one, so to speak.
Here is the one I made for Sharon my silly friend, armed for bear with the largest spatula I've ever seen!
And here is my everyday apron, pink or blue same fabric just in two different color runs. It is very fun to make and wear!
Apron construction tip: Sew the pockets on FIRST before you get bored or worn out. Pockets are a necessity on an apron...good for resting hands, holding clean hankies, or in the case of Granny's Apron, stuffed with fresh baked Sugar Cookies which she pulled out of those capacious pockets like magic.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Facing Life as a Spinster

"Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor.

Which is one very strong argument in favor of matrimony." ~~ Jane Austen

All Things French

Have you ever thought about how if you stick the word FRENCH in front of something, it makes it somehow magic and marvelous and BETTER? I was thinking this when I was working on the pillow cases, and reflecting that I like to use a French seam because it is so much crisper and more tidy than a flat felled. Besides, how awful to think of something being Felled and Flat. But to be French!! Oooh-La-La! Of course we here in America do not currently favor the French, and they surely despise us, or at least our political Dictatorship...but I must always adore the things that have FRENCH in their name. French Doors. French Fries. French Onion Soup. French Seams. French Manicure! French Bread. French Cuff. French Dressing. French Braid. French Maid. French Knot. French Mustard. French Roll. French Pleat. French Toast. French Twist. French Roof. French Hen. If I see something that says French Hen, I just fall towards it like it has it's own gravitational field. This purse, for instance, found during a chicken-search on Google. Alas, I have no idea who makes it and sells it, but isn't it lovely?

My bathroom hen, given to me by a quilt circle friend, is not French, but your common White Leghorn layer. Even so, I have never been tempted to move her from her place of honor and turn her into a mere doorstop!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pillow Tubing

This is the pillow tubing which is todays UFO. (unfinished object in quilter's lingo). I really am not an embroidery person. Ask anyone! I am biologically missing the DNA strand that allows me to do the buttonhole stitch or the daisy chain. I UNBUTTON. It has something to do with being left handed because I UNKNIT, too. However, I usually get family to finish things for me, like in the case of the dear wee kitchen linen that I had my Auntie Roo embroider for me and then I surrounded it with quilt blocks. I love the marriage between quilting and old embroidered linens. Alas, no picture exists of that item and it seems to have dissapeared into the ozone with my crotchet hooks and embroidery floss. Whither, whither shall I find it?

Vintage Roylies

Ah! Nothing like a crisp Old Package of Vintage Roylies to make a person wish for a renewal of all things Tea and Tea Related in a society gone down the tubes with Rudeness and Reality TV!

I found these at the very same garage sale where I found the unfinished pillowcases which I am getting ready to finish. I don't like to leave "UFO"'s around for very long. I make it a point to finish all unfinished objects so that I may enjoy them! I'm not much on embroidery, and I cannot seem to find the little wooden cigar box where I keep my floss and hooks, but I won't let that stop me! I'm off to Wal-Mart for some fresh floss and a new hook! Pictures later!
Oh, and the quilt in this picture is one I found at a thrift store for around 30 bucks which I just HAD to have. Who would get rid of such a thing? It's pristine, well-made, and pink enough to fit into ANY decor. The vintage fabrics in this are worth salivating over, I asure you.

A Blue Umbrella Sky

Like painted kites

Those days and nights went flying by
The World was new
beneath a Blue Umbrella Sky
~Johnny Mercer
Blogger would not let me load a full sized photo this morning, so you must click on the offending thumbnail to see this picture. It is my spare bedroom and the blue vintage stuff I have in the corner. Above the bed is an inverted paper umbrella. 20 years ago I found those in a cheezy Las Vegas souvenir shop, of all places, for $1.99 each. I bought one in every color they had, but over the years they have been reduced to just two left. The pink one in my bedroom and this blue one. They are hand-painted and hand-waxed paper, beautifully constructed from little bamboo sticks. The handles have little people on the ends instead of a normal handle. I imagine them being made in some Thailand village by real craftsman. People who've had the art of paper umbrella making passed down for generations. (I know, I know, they probably get one third of one cent for each umbrella by the exploiter varmints who export their goods.) I get pleasure just from walking in there and seeing it slowly turning in the breeze. Hanging off one of the ends of the sticks is this Johnny Mercer lyric. It's a touch of whimsy that nobody ever bothers to notice but me.
I wanted to post a picture of Mackie who has been suspiciously absent from the blog lately, but in the wee hours of the night, I woke up to feel something CHOMPING and I do mean CHOMP-CHOMP-CHOMPING on my foot. In the dim recesses of my sleep-befogged mind, I became aware that it was Mackie just having a little midnight snack, claw-sharpening, and play-session all wrapped into one object of delight: ME! Once I became fully alert he gamboled over to the front door and asked to be let out and that was the last I saw of him today. I certainly hope he doesn't use that ploy as his new 'wake-up' strategy.
He's so weird. I love that cat. The other night, he went down to Eliza's house (the girl who cat-sat him while I went home to Indiana recently) and yowled at her front door until she came to see what he wanted. He then led her upstairs to MY front door where she rang my doorbell. We were both so puzzled, we couldn't figure it out at all. I invited her in of course, and as we sat chatting for a moment, Mackie perched on the floor between us and got that contented cat countenance and a squinty eyed smile on his whiskered face. I guess he just thought it was time for us girls to have a VISIT.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Divine Revelation!

Ah! After many tribulations I changed my blog template to something a little more pink. Not really more pink, just a lot less 'parchmenty' looking. Blogspot really doesn't offer a lot of templates for the feminine. Most of them seem designed for people who worship at the alter of Ikea.

Anyway, when you start messing around with templates, you wipe out all your links and customizations so there is no going back! And then it really isn't FULLY customizable by a long shot. For instance I can't change my background color, or the box in which my title is set, or even mess much with the profile image. Still...I like white! It makes a heavenly eye popper against which to set nice pictures like this:

I know, I know, you cannot actually SEE how cool this quilt is, but I snapped pictures with and without the flash, and they were exactly the same in tone and depth. It's the morning light, pouring in my windows. You need overcast gloom to bring out the richness in photographs and film, I think. But I never tire of looking at this quilt. It was made on a whim one weekend, using up a bit of old paisley chintz I had which reminded me of Parisian Cafe curtains, wafting in the breeze of Montmartre.

Last night I had a most revelatory dream! In my dream, an Angel of the Lord came to me and said that since the word Varmint! had just as many letters as the world Asshole! I could start using the word Varmint! instead, as it would be an equal exchange. And much less offensive to tender ears.

Well, REALLY! This is the Divine Intervention I've been hoping for all these years? An equal Word Exchange? Where are those Winning Lottery Numbers, I'd like to know. Why clean up my vocabulary when, with the right amount of cash, I could clean up the WORLD! I could purchase every old teapot and give it a good home! No more orphan cream pitchers! Junk Houses on their last legs could be remodeled and refurbished and featured in Home-Makeover Pictorials!

But who am I to question Providence? Varmint, it is.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Pirate's Life for me! Yo Ho!

Well, I did go see Dead Man's Chest yesterday and I liked it EVEN BETTER than the first Pirates of the Caribbean and that's saying a LOT because I ADORED the first one, and walked around for weeks saying, "Parlay!" and "Savvy?" This sequel has lots of special effects that were so scary I had to hide my eyes, and lots of character tension which kept me riveted, as well as surprise visits from people you didn't expect to see again in this movie! And AMAZING new characters that you HOPE to see in the next one. The Pirate Theme Music was NOT overused in the movie and it WAS used in ALL the right places.

And costume? Don't get me started. They are as near to perfection as costumes can get in an almost-female-less movie, full of grunge and grime and amazing little piratey details worth salivating over.

I took along my trusty Railroad Issue Ear Plugs because movies are ALWAYS too darn loud for my ears and earplugs will deaden things down to a decent decibel level for me. I reccomend that you catch this flick in an actual THEATER rather than waiting for it to come on DVD. It's WORTH the buukuu bucks to see it on the Big Screen in all it's glory.
If you can't be a Pirate you should be a Filthy Reb. I made the quilt, by the way, that this young Confederate is wearing as his bedroll.

Other than that, here are some chicken pics from my bathroom. I keep the chicken's confined to the bathroom otherwise there would be chickens everywhere, vying for space amongst Tea things, rabbits, and Wade Red Rose Tea Figurines.
A while back I lost one of my favorite jade earrings at Trader Joes. The man at the Lost and Found said they pressure wash their parking lot daily, so I think my earring must now sleep with the fishes. The pirate fishes.
So, I hung the remaining one on this bit of white Royal Doulton so that I can look at it once in a while and dream of better earring days of Yore!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ugh, the Heat!

My Dad used to say, "T'aint the Heat, T'is the Humility!" I don't know what that means but it became clearer to me last night when I woke up at 3:30 with my sinuses cleaved to the roof of my mouth from the fan blowing on me all night long. I got out of bed and dragged myself over to a glass of cold water. Then I turned the Fan off. Then I woke at 4:30 sticky with sweat and with the beginnings of a migraine.

Since I have plans to go see Pirates this morning, I was feeling my humility, I assure you. I popped some migraine meds, sponged off, turned on the Air (I hate sleeping with air conditioning on but it was sooo hot there seemed no alternative) and tried vainly to get comfortable enough to get unconscious for a while.

Last night, I made more cards, determined to use up most of my small neat scraps. Does anybody want one of these? Send me an email with your snail mail address, I'm not kidding!

And they aren't even blurry in real life, Honest!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Number 1 Reason:

The Number One Reason I will never be Healthy, Skinny, or Rich:
One Alaskan King Crab Leg: $10.99
Drawn Butter with Garlic and Lemon: $1.00
Feeling of stuffed well-being: Priceless
Artery Clog Count: *moans*

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where the China's Are Part Deux

(Song to the tune of "Where The Boys Are!")

Blogger took umbrage at my placing Quite so many pictures all in one post, so I've had to split my china-arrangement configuration into two posts.

Where was I? Oh, Right.

The Cream pitchers that have no Sugars to go with them are interspersed throughout the bookcase. If you look carefully you can see them Here:

And Here:

Which left PLENTY of room for these two new beauties that I found at the Thrift Store yesterday when I went there for quite another reason entirely.

The cream colored cup and saucer is a Homer Laughlin and was a mere $2.99! But the Real Find of the Day was this Black Chintz Japan cup and Saucer for $1.99. I was blissfully gleeful when I spotted it and glommed onto it before any HOARDERS saw it.

Where the China Resides

Ah! I've been asked that Musical Question: Where did you put the teacups? I understand you perfectly! Who amongst us who loves our China Teapot Things would willingly give up housing for our BOOKS if it meant the china was going to be exiled to a dark closet somewhere?

But I had a plan! All the teapots with matching cream and sugars went into my butter yellow cabinet Here:

And the Good China which I was heartily sick of displaying went Here: Yes, it looks a little crowded but it's perfectly comfortable I assure you!

The teacups and saucers are still in their original space, and still need organizing, but I'll get to that; they are Here:

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Cat and some Cards

Here is how I spent my 4th of July, having nothing else to do, no movies to watch, nothing on tv and nowhere to go!

I got all the books into the pie safe!

I made these cards!

And here is Mackie surveying the scene, master of his domain, King of All he Sees.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Avocados and Fireworks

Happy 4th of July! It was so noisy around here last night with loud fireworks that I thought I was in a war zone and the cannons were blasting.

In spite of the fact that all the really cool fireworks from when I was a kid are now illegal, like sparklers and snaps and snakes, someone still manages to get their hands on those outlawed M16's and Cherry Bombs! Before they blow their hands off, I mean.

Sparklers have somehow mutated into glowing punk sticks that you couldn't even use to light an incense stick, and I think snakes were outlawed because they could be stepped on.

Snakes were my favorite. I loved to light those and watch them slither out in a black charred curly line on the sidewalk. Probably toxic as heck, but then these were the days of following really closely behind the DDT truck as it sprayed for mosquitoes because it was fun to hide in the fog.

And we wonder why my generation is slow if not downright brain dead.

I got up at the crack of dawn as I always do, and had the fun satisfaction of getting to the store and buying up all the avocados before the hoarders got them. Not that avocados are a traditional 4th of July food. I don't think guacamole was invented until about 1979. I remember my cousin BillyJayne bringing the fixin's for guacamole to my apartment and whipping up a batch for me to try. The avocados, this being about February in Indiana, were hard as rocks and to this day I cannot abide an unripe avocado salad! I want mine green, ripe and creamy-smooshy.

At the store, there were fat men in yesterday's t-shirts lined up at the check-out with industrial sized tubs of deli potato and macaroni salads. Those things are highly unedible and yet what choice do these men have? They are obviously on their way to a barbeque circuit and have been told to bring a dish. Most men just opt for bringing the chips, although I do remember how proud cousin Rollie was one year when it dawned on him he could bring the lime jello with cottage cheese. It was like a light had burst in his head, or maybe it was just the final embolism that sent him over the edge into a permanent dysfunctional pot-smokers haze, when he grokked the fact that the grocery story sold TUBS of lime jello, already pre-made with the cottage cheese in it.

Nobody actually EATS that stuff, but it is obligatory to have on the table at picnics.

My best friend George Forman and I will be grilling chicken breasts today, with a side of grilled onions and some very ripe, fresh guacamole! It is LOVELY to be independant on Independance Day!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Unexpected results

I don't know what to think about how this turned out. I like it so far, and will probably leave it this way for a while, until I sort out just how I'd like to leave it for the rest of the summer. Odd, I used to rearrange my furniture monthly when I cleaned. No energy for that, anymore!
Off to the farmer's market this morning hope there are some fun foods there!