Saturday, September 30, 2006

Scrappy Cakes

"Someone left the cake out in the rain
All the bright green icing flowing down...
I don't think that I can take it
Cos it took so long to bake it
And I"ll never have that recipe again..."

--McArthurs Park

I don't know what that song lyric has to do with anything except it's stuck in my head. Considering my recent post about SONG LYRICS STUCK IN HEADS I should probably take a deeper look within. But then, let's not get all psychological, shall we?

Instead, take a Gander at these Scrappy Cake Stand blocks I'm working on. As usual, I am working 'against season' because these candy box colors are more apropos of springtime than autumn leaves, frost on the pumpkin, and Goblins at the Harvest party...but I like them.

After all, October is not JUST about All Hallow's Eve, Columbus Day and Autumn Revels. It is also MY BIRTHDAY, all month long, and so I can make a Cake Stand Quilt if I want to!

Now, take a closer look at the two blocks on the upper right hand corner.

The Blue one is a different pattern entirely and it looked more like a fruit dish than a cake stand so I didn't make any more of those.


Some Toys...

...never grow old. Mackie has had this scratching post for the full ten years of his life, and he still uses it with glee every single day.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Butt Ugly to Me

Being a fan of all things tea, the way I am, I was completely smitten the first time I heard the words, "Jewel Tea". Someone was describing how their mother collected Jewel Tea dishes and I couldn't wait to get my eyes on some.

Imagine my disgust, revulsion and loathing when I saw my first piece of Hall's Autumn Leaf Jewel Tea china. It was the very same stuff that the Amish women went mad for at auctions and garage sales. And we all know that however 'quaint' and 'charming' we English view the Amish, they have the worlds' worst taste when it comes to home decor and the color wheel.

This morning I was looking for a pretty Autumn Leaf scene for my desktop background and of course my search turned up loads of Jewel Tea items instead. Here, for the sake of the dream of what could have been

(Imagine! Jewel Tea should look like Sheherizade herself would pour tea with it)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Willy the 'Pider

This morning found me having an imaginary fit in the shower, arguing with Rush Limbaugh about whether or not it would be a good idea to put mandatory birth control in the water supply. (I vote yes, I mean we do it with flouride to decrease the amount of your tax dollars that go to dental work for the great unwashed, why not sterility drugs for everyone? Just until they pass a certain age and a parenting exam, of course) (never mind that flouride is toxic when swallowed, it says so on your toothpaste tube, read it sometime; they do it anyway.)

When I get this, which is some kind of psychological condition called, "Externalization Blame Syndrome" ( I prefer to call it Concerned Citizen in fear of Overpopulation Issues), I know that I must leave the confines of my darling abode and head out for some serious soothing shopping. I have a store of choice: It is called William Glen. In it, I can lose myself for hours in the displays of Wedgewood, Waterford, teeny Limoge boxes, teapots galore and all the latest Vera Bradley Handbags starting at 50 dollars and up.

Alas today, the hallowed halls did not really work their calming magic on me. They had a giant center-aisle display with creepy-crawlies, llife-sized bride and groom skeletons, eerie shrieking sound boxes with creaking crypt lids and cats yowling and witches cackling. Cobwebs hung everywhere and all was chaos. Dark, Macabre Chaos.

This meant that I had to go to Trader Joes instead and buy several different kinds of cheeses and some chocolate covered banana chips.

In the store I did see some really, really cute table linens. They were burnt autumn orange dinner napkins with an appliqued spider on them. I instantly knew that I could make them myself and save the $5.50 each price tag. One thing about William Glenn. They don't know what a discount price is. They don't know what a SALE is. They do have a dark, dank little corridor on the way to the restrooms that has some CLEARANCE items on it but the prices are a joke! Ridiculous! Ludicrous! A plate, chipped, lost, forlorn without any mates of it's own kind, with the original price tag of $79.95 will have been peevishly reduced with red marker to the new sticker price of $75.30 AS IS. I'm not kidding! A cute little sugar bowl with a cracked lid was marked from $19.95 to $17.85 AS IS. Obviously the concept of the meaning of the word CLEARANCE, as in Clear it Out quickly by reducing the price to practically nothing, is lost and hidden from them.

Never mind. I just want to have a simple autumn decor, with some kind of happy memory attached. Nothing expensive, requiring batteries, or elaborate systems of sound speakers and flashing lights. I want something like Willy the 'Pider, who graced our autumn home with real style and mustached flare for all the years of our lives. He probably cost 79 cents brand new, back in the day. Mom still hangs him up every year!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Soundtrack of my Life

I dated this guy once who was always singing or humming a tune under his breath. I quickly realized that whatever he was singing was in direct relation to what he was thinking but would never dare say. For Instance, while escorting me to a baby shower for friends, he was singing, "We gotta get out of this place...if it's the last thing we ever do..." by the Animals. I found out that he had decided to play the field and date mutiple women by the tune I heard from his lips one morning after he had mentioned a woman's name in passing: "I'm the kind of guy who likes to run around. I'm never in one place, I roam from town to town...'cos I'm a wanderer, Yeah, I'm a wanderer..."

I notice over the years that I will do the same thing. I catch my unconscious mind giving voice to it's secrets all the time through the convenient sound conduit of the Modern Pop Song.

Why, just this week while standing with my face in the refrigerator I caught myself singing at the top of my lungs, the new James Blunt song: "I'm so HOLLOW Baby, I'm SO HOLLOW..." Obviously a cry to be fed!

So of course it is no suprise that as the Salvation Army Men hauled off my Sofa of Death this morning and I waved it a relieved and guilty goodbye, I heard these lyrics leave my lips:

"Goodbye myLover!
Goodbye my friend!
You have been the one!
You have been the one for me!"

The Death Sofa and better days!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fall Cleaning

I was in the mood to rearrange the furniture and vacuum the corners again. I couldn't take the dust any longer. yes, once every six months IS long enough to go without dusting. So the little bedroom now looks like this:

What I'd like to know is why all of a sudden I have inherited my Mom's Red Neck Syndrome!? Isn't it enough to be cursed with a fat neck, now I have to have a Beacon Red Color added to it?

Enjoy that sofa napping business while you can, Mackie Manns, because that sofa is going to the Salvation Army as of tomorrow!

Saturday, September 23, 2006, I mean Broccoli Quiche

A spinach quiche by any other name still tastes as sweet, and doesn't kill you with e.coli either!

An artfully decorated workspace is the first step... (Note the Chinese Rice Serving Spoons, my favorite kitchen stirring/serving/scraping implement!)

Why not use brocolli, I thought? So much safer than spinach at the moment. And...what's that? I do believe it is Queen Q's Pie Crust! (Er, sort of. I suffer from bad Pie Gene.)

Eat your heart out, Rachel Ray. I didn't have to scream at anybody, drink a fifth of whiskey nor wave my hands in the air like a Voodoo Ape in order to make this.

A quiche of beauty is a joy forever.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

49 and 11/12ths

I’ve been complaining lately about my upcoming birthday and apparently that led some of my friends to think I was balky about turning fifty. Not at all! I’ve wanted to be 50 since I turned 21! I have always thought it was a marvelous age to be! Halfway to a hundred! And ready for a Renaissance!

Unfortunately, I knew I’d have to get through my 40’s first, and that has been a really daunting task.

The reason I’m so bummed is that I am one month away from the Big Day and I’m so far away from being ‘Fab and Fifty’ that I have a real sense of failure about my lack of achievements. I really had planned on being skinny, good looking and rich by now so I could turn 50 with a sense of having ‘arrived.’

I don’t mean like I’m suddenly living in a penthouse in New York, not that kind of ‘arrived’. I mean, arriving on the doorstep of my 50’s with my appropriate luggage packed and eager to step across the threshold.

Instead, it’s going to be me, ruffed up and bloody, being kicked to the curb out of a long dark car in the murky twilight hours, and rolling up to the doorstep in a heap after having run afoul of the Life Lesson Gang for the last 49 and 11/12ths years.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Hate Rachel Ray

Not too long ago I told my cousin Deets that I had caught the new Martha Stewart show on tv and really liked it. It's a totally different, more 'audience friendly' version of her old show. But I adored her old show! It had travel segments, segments on how blueberries are raked and cranberries are bogged, and trips to the inside depths of old dusty warehouses full of ancient hand-printed wallpapers. On any given day you could see a collection of vintage table-cloths, visit a crystal door-knob repair shop, learn to groom your dog effectively and in 30 seconds flat, AND whip up a cheese blintz breakfast with a side of Raspberry Rum Toddies. It was well-produced, top-of-the-line educational television to my way of thinking!

But Deet says, "Oh, we are all about Rachel Ray now! Everyone is just wild about her!"

So I made a point of watching the New Rachel Ray show. I was expecting a good show. I mean, they've hyped her for months now and she seems to have this rabid base of screaming fans ready to tear each other limb from limb to get tickets to her I was really astonished to find myself not only underwhelmed but absolutely irritated!

First of all, what is she SHRIEKING about? Doesn't she have a microphone? Is there some reason for the frenzy she has her audience whipped into over a bite of Bologna sandwich?

I just want to take her and Grow Her Up. You know, make her stop talking like a 12 year old, and acting like a Pekinese on Crank.

HOW, how, how did she get her own television show? Endorsed by Oprah? What am I missing? What is the appeal? Is it because she is "just like us" as opposed to the high-flung, aloof and snobbish Martha Stewart? Say what you will about Martha, she taught us to love the lifestyle she herself attempted to live; of creativity and design and the love of well-made things and the respect for antiques and collectibles...and this Rachel Ray actually had never even COOKED before she rose to skyrocketed fame.

I will always love Martha. She gave me dreams that I could aspire towards. It didn't matter that I would attempt a tower of crystallized donut holes that should look like an edible and festive version of the Pyramid of Giza, but ended up toppled over, crushed and sticky! At least I was inspired to TRY.

With Rachel Ray, what is there to TRY? A seven-minute meal? I've known how to fry up strips of yak meat in whale blubber with a side of seaweed salad and some pasturized Seal Milk in three minutes, so what is so exciting about grilled chicken breasts and arugula with olive oil on it? She received a STANDING OVATION for that!!!???? WHY????

I dared to brave the family Email Trail and announce that they could Shoot ME, but I HATED RACHEL RAY. Good Old Aunt Iney sent this email in response:

I came home from working yesterday afternoon and Chuck was sitting here in the living room watching some screechy girl fix spinach salad with grated cheese on it after all the e-coli outbreak on T.V. and in the news. He said that is that Rachel Ray everybody is watching.
That shows how smart they are. Inez

Monday, September 18, 2006

Coreless in Sacramento

Yesterday was the 17th, and that marked the One Month Point until my 50th birthday. I seemed to do fine with it except for the niggling little feelings of guilt, disappointment and suppressed horror concerning my lack of commitment to my goals, my fitness level, my weight, my lifestyle, and my spiritual growth.

I happened to catch a rerun of that Oprah episode in which she has Dr. Mehmet Oz come and tell everyone just what they need to do to feel years younger, achieve perfect health and fitness and die happy, just by eating 5 perfect foods. Oh, and doing 25 bent-knee push-ups each day and 25 Core sit-ups. As I was watching it, I wanted to shout at the tv: What the hell is a CORE? Do I have one? Where is it?

I mean, I know that I have a stomach that gets hungry, and I know I have a spine, but if I try to locate my core, I don't actually have a sensation of it. Do you have one? Do you know where it is? Can you help me find mine?

I’ve heard about my CORE before. They are forever telling you to do core-strengthening exercises and to tighten your core before you do leg lifts or confront your boss. I always thought I knew where mine was but frankly, now I realize I haven’t got a clue!

Out of guilt, and just to give it the old ‘heave-ho/one more try’ attitude, I rolled out of bed and made it to 10 bent-knee push-ups before I gave out and caused a rug burn on my chin when I skidded to a halt face down on the carpet. But I felt good about that.

Then, I flipped myself over like a sludgy, syrup-soaked pancake; careful not to ooze out over the sides or anything, and attempted to strengthen my core by doing the bent-knee sit-ups that he described.

Prior to hearing about doing it from my core, I had always put my hands behind my neck and just jerked. That causes a rocketing forward of the upper body, thus propelling me into a sitting-up position. Falling backwards in exhaustion completes part two of the two-part sit-up. Now, after 49 11/12ths years of this, I’m being told this yanks my neck all out of whack and doesn’t utilize my core!

Okay, so I put my hands over my eyes and left my arms limp, and proceeded to sit up, using only my CORE. And now I know what a paraplegic who’s been tipped out of his/her wheelchair feels like. Because NOTHING HAPPENED. I couldn’t budge. My core did not rise to the ceremony and lift me into a strengthening and soul-feeding sit-up. I flailed! I floundered! I gasped like a beach-tossed porpoise but to no avail! NO CORE came to my rescue to set me free on the tide of Total Fitness. I’m doomed. And I feel like a total failure.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

When in doubt....BRAG!

Since my brain just goes blank the moment I get ready to post, which I found seems to be a function of blogging but still annoys me, nonetheless, I decided to do a 'filler' of some of my quilts. See! I love to make the old original 'granny' styles even though those are not as 'popular' as the new modern graphic type quilts. And yes, Someday I am going to make a Sun Bonnet Sue! ** **Everyone HATES Sunbonnet Sue!

Here is a Civil War 4-patch quilt I made for my oldest brother (Using all Civil War Reproduction fabrics) , modeled by Attila.

Baby quilt for cousin Jodie, who wanted reds and flannels.

I always wanted a poison green and cheddar quilt. The center was from a class on the Rose of Sharon applique and the blocks were worked on over the summers at Civil War reenactment events.

This was so big I had to take it to a friends house to lay it out and pin baste it! It was peach and mint 'barn door' blocks made for my aunt after her house burned down.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another Day another Pedicure

Note: To all the nice ladies who were envious of my easy, easy chair. DON'T BE! Remember, I am the owner of the very frightening DEATH SOFA and therefore I really only have ONE place to sit!
Here am I, frittering away my last dime on frivolous pursuits...
When Meanwhile, Mackie seems to be forever pondering the ages old question, "Should I stay or should I go?"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Let Them Eat Quiche!

When you absolutely, positively, cannot face another bowl of oatmeal:


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

An Easy, Easy Chair

Thank Goodness the Cooler weather has begun! I can now indulge in a morning pot of tea without overheating to the point of extinction! AND it's lovely enough to sit in the mornings by the window in my easy, easy chair!

Here is an earlier version of my 'Comfort Zone'.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nine Eleven Remembered

I was awake at 4:00 am today sitting quietly and thinking. At 5:45 am I watched the Memorial service for the 9-11 Ceremony. It still makes my breath snaggy and my anxiety level go quite high when I think too much about that horrible day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Apple Festival Quilts

Hmmm...I don't get Blogger sometimes! It lets me upload photos willy-nilly for weeks at a time and then all of a sudden, it balks like a recalcitrant Jenny Ass. (Jenny Ass's are FAR more balky than Jacks! It's because they actually have a BRAIN, unlike some horses) (Don't get me wrong, I love horses! But Mules are SPECIAL.)

Okay, I got sidetracked there. Yesterday I wanted to post some pics of the quilts from the Non-Winning Entry from last years Apple Festival. Let's try posting them today...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Apple Festival

My home town, in Northern Indiana, has an annual harvest celebration called "The Apple Festival" It is a wonderful autumnal romp through pumpkin patches, straw-bale mazes, corn-shock and scarecrow decorated lawns. Nobody celebrates harvest time like Hoosiers, I always say!

Each year, the storefronts hold a competition for best decorated window display. My mom Aces it every year! Are you kidding me? With 8 siblings all avid collectors of antiques and vintage items, it's like she's got a Privately Funded Personal Museum from whence to draw her inventory.

Last year, she did a very 'pretty' window. As opposed to 'antiquey' and she didn't win. She was actually RELIEVED that she didn't win, because that is the kind of Ace Grand Sport she is. That's how we were all taught to be! Glad when you lose! Whew! Someone else got a chance to shine! I see that as a wonderful gift to have been given, and am always sad when I never see it manifested in sports stars who make millions per year. Sore losers and Nasty Competitors, the lot of them.

Anyway, once again it is time for the Apple Festival Window Planning committee to come up with ideas, and the emails are flying back and forth, "I"ve got an old pump and a giant crockery bowl..we could fill it with apples..."

I suggested a clothesline strung guessed it.... APRONS! Wouldn't that be neat?

Here are some pictures from last years "Happy to Take Second Place" Entry:

Aunt Frosty's Amethyst Glass.

Mom owns the Worlds Largest Collection of Green Depression ware. Isn't it pretty with pink?

And each table was accompanied by an incredible hand-made quilt. Mom did the apple blossom quilt in green and pink; Aunt Frosty did the purple-lilac one.

(Arrgh! Blogger is Balking again and won't let me load the quilt photos! Stay tuned for later!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Try to Remember the Kind of September

When I turned my calendar over from August to September, and saw that it was a 'fresh eggs' chicken page, I knew what my September kitchen table theme would be!

August had been uninspired, to say the least!

So I got out the autumn colors, the golden tea things and of course, a couple of chickens!

Now all I need is a bowl of candy corn! Yum!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pretty Purses!

Yesterday was the Greek Festival opening day! I was there sharp and shiny at eleven when it opened. I managed to get a couple of pictures and drink a Greek Coffee before I noticed that my breakfast was about to interfere with my lunch. I had to race to find a bathroom, only to find it was locked up tight with one of those metal garage doors! So I had to come HOME! And there was a TRAIN on the Tracks! Believe me, I was quite distraught and unhappy.

I may try to go again tomorrow, but in the meantime, these wonderfully displayed purses are all I have to show for my Greek Festival Adventure. And they aren't even GREEK! However, they were displayed so beautifully and in a color coordinated manner designed to uplift my heart and make the casual browser salivate to buy!

And then of course we have Mackie dangerously close to my iced tea and hogging the footstool /coffee table/trunk.

He's so cute!