Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sew, What's New?

 I've been trying to do a bit of sewing in the mornings, lately. I had this lovely blue fabric for a couple of years and finally decided that it was going to turn into an apron. Yes, another apron! I can't help myself! I wear them for work every day and they cheer up the drab, bleach-stained clothes I have to wear for the grunge duty.

It does seem like a lovely Robin's Egg Blue for the first day of spring, after all!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sandalwood Don't Leave Me

Okay well. I had to change my logo to the April (Easter) themed logo a little early. I've been having trouble with blogger (AGAIN!). It was not letting me access anything. I wanted to edit those old blogs I no longer follow and add new ones, etc; and it would not load that page. So I had to go to the NEW editor. Which then told me I had to switch to Google Chrome. GAH!

Once I managed to download and install and  picky pick pick each little thing I had to check off in the boxes, I then FINALLY found where I could use the Old Editor to access my blog. So here I am. Yes, it's the size of a postage stamp on the screen for me, but I'm sure it will be NORMAL SIZE for you gentle readers.

 Over the weekend I went to the local co-op which I adore, and tried to buy something that was sandalwood scented. I didn't care much what. I just wanted to smell some sandalwood in my world.

Why? Because it reminds me of the possibility of dreams.  I equate the smell of sandalwood with those youthful days when incense and incense burners
themselves were made of sandalwood and I just KNEW that visiting India and finding my GURU was just a moment away.

Anything and everything INDIA has always given me that happy feeling of 'far away' and 'exotic'. And growing up a round peg in a square hole in Indiana, 'far away' and 'exotic' were where I longed to be.

If you just say the words 'Spice Road' near me I flash on elephants and camels and the feel of sandalwood beads, carved and uncarved, slipping through my fingers smelling richly of sandalwood oil.

Actually I think the Spice Road went to China, right? But that's just a FACT. I'm not interested in the FACTS, ma'am.

Lately, what with the India Henna smelling up the apartment with its scent of fresh compost and horse piss, I've started to long for that heavenly scent of sandalwood oil.

I remember my friend Kedar wore sandalwood hair dressing and Mackie would climb all over him and bury his nose in his hair and sniff and sniff and then purr like crazy.

Oh wait maybe that was me. Well anyway I had asked for sandalwood paste, hair oil, soap, ANYTHING sandalwood each time I'd been to one of the cool Indian markets in the area and no one ever had any. Curious.

It wasn't until I went to the Co-Op that I found out why there is no sandalwood! It's on the endangered species list! I couldn't believe it! I was awash in sandalwood sadness!

I think it's a sad loss if we see the last spotted owl or all the wolves disappear (although why don't ALLIGATORS and CROCODILES ever become endangered? Do they breed like Duggars or something?) but I will be overwhelmed with unimaginable sorrow if Sandalwood goes so far away.

So I just wanted to post about it. Apparently someone in Australia is raising sandalwood and harvesting and marketing it responsibly, so it won't disappear from the planet entirely. Just from India.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Water Bucket Purse for a Rainy Day

I’ve always been smitten with the shape and size of canvas water buckets. I always intended to get one and carry it as a purse.

A few years ago I made one out of striped pillow ticking and really enjoyed the way it turned out. I carried it until it got some kind of indelible stain on it and I’ve always wanted to make another one.

It’s been raining for two days solid and it just seemed like the perfect time to start a purse project.
Mackie obviously thought so, too.

Of course I want pockets and more pockets in anything I sew and intend for practical use. This is a key pocket. Strictly for keys. No digging around in the bottom of the feed bag for my keys!

I used some old floral upholstery fabric and then this found-object tablecloth from the thrift store to give it a little pop!

Here is the finished project right next to the old one. (stain not shown.) Of course like all things imagined, the reality is absolutely NOTHING like the original canvas water bucket! Amazing how that turns out!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feelin' Blue

Yes I'm feeling blue. Aqua/Cadet blue as a matter of fact. I've been long ago wishing I could decorate my new bathroom in something besides taupe. I love taupe. But I wanted some color. This blue plate and the one on the toilet were 75 cents at Target!

Target had a six pack of washcloths for 3.00 so I had to get them for my rolled vase display. That's a wee bag of lavender sachet tucked in there.

I love that certain blue. I don't have a name for it. It's not quite aqua as it is more grey and deeply hued than turquoise/aqua.

It is often paired with dark brown and I just do not hanker after dark brown as a color choice for my home. It reminds me of the 70's when everyone had dark, dark brown carpet. I always picture it full of sand and white paper scraps, deeply in need of a good vacuuming. But this rug is more medium brown and it, too, was on sale for mere pennies. Who needs food and gas in the tank when there are such rugs to be bought?

Fortunately with my eye for color and my thrill of the hunt, I was able--at relatively little expense--to refurbish my bathroom in the most beautiful of blues.

The one splurge was this shower curtain, on sale at Target. I had looked and looked for months but never found the one that I really wanted. I must have a cotton shower curtain. A plastic liner is fine but I do not want a silky or plastic shower curtain. I must have fabric all around me, now. It absorbs both moisture and sound.

In case I want to air dry in my bathroom while singing at the top of my lungs of course.

It was just a matter of grabbing all the blue bottles I could find and putting them on a plate to give that impression that I've lived with this blue color for all eternity and it's just ME. Absolutely ME.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Mehendi Mess

A million picnics, and many of them in the fall.

So much for my well laid plans of writing a blog post daily Monday through Friday. This week it will just be a mid-week update. For one thing, nothing ever HAPPENS to me during the work week. At least nothing that I want to talk about.

For instance, I came home from work on Monday and shed my clothing and got into lounge wear and then noticed I could not find my cell phone. What followed was a keystone cops event with me rampaging around the Gulag retracing my steps and accosting my crazy neighbors asking them to call my cell phone number so I could see if I could hear it ringing in the vicinity. I tore my car apart and dug through the shrubberies. I even ran my hand around in the vending machines thinking I may have dropped it in there when retrieving my candy bar.

One helpful neighbor handed me her old dead cell phone and told me I could have it: Just call and activate it, she said. Umm. HOW? With my CELL PHONE? The one I can't find?

I had almost resolved myself to having to buy a new one and was preparing to mourn the loss of every phone number of everyone I've ever known or hoped to know as well as all that auto-text I'd added to the dictionary when I was smitten with an idea...

What if, when I had removed my work slacks and thrown them over the ironing board because I need to take in the waistband and thought that would be a good place to put them for the time being, what if the cell phone just slid out of my pocket and down into the conveniently waiting laundry basket beneath the ironing board? It is a slippery little bugger.

And LO! There it was! I'm sure I lost about 3 dozen more brain cells from the 'stress event' of it all.

And these are hardly the kinds of things I want to talk about in my blog! You know, I want to come across smart, savvy, functional and like someone who has her cell phone permanently attached to her being.

Well since I'm outing myself as a giant doofus, I may as well confess to my Mehendi Misfortunes.

I would love to say this is my foot, but it's not. This is the DREAM of my foot.

You see I had the idea that henna painting is nothing more than doodling and squiggling with the equivalent of a frosting cone on my feet and hands. How hard could it be? I happen to be a very good doodler and line-squiggler.

So I bought a bag of henna at this neat little Pakistani grocery store near my work. The smells and unusual graphics on the labeled merchandise just send me far far away! The man at the cash register tried so hard to get me to buy the little pre-mixed cones of henna but I was having none of it! The raw poundage for me! 3 times as much for the same price! He assured me a single cone could do many hands and feet but he just didn't understand! He was looking at a woman about to embark on a sideline career of henna tattooing!

Well, lets just cut this short, shall we? I returned to the wonderful Pakistani market the next day and bought a couple of the pre-made cones of henna. Would anyone like to buy a semi-used bag of dried henna?

First of all, there appears to be some ART involved. And SKILL. Who knew? Just mixing the stuff up requires sifting, adding lemon juice and sugar in precise measured amounts to get the proper consistency and sugar reaction so it makes strings. THEN my brilliant idea of just cutting the tip off the corner of a Ziploc baggie like I would if I was decorating a Christmas Cookie does not seem to be a viable option for the henna which, for some reason, comes out in chunks and lumps. Apparently I was supposed to SIFT the stuff first. So much for those beautiful foreign looking labels on the packaging. English instructions would have been so nice!

AND! WHAT WAS I THINKING? I can't even REACH my feet. Was I planning on just prying my foot up a few inches from my nose and leaving it hanging in the air so I could apply the henna for 30 minutes? Imagine me roaming around the apartment, looking for a table or a stool or a counter that was the right height for me to hoist my leg onto. Hoist after Hoist, there was nothing that would work. Imagine me trying to fashion some kind of rudimentary sling out of belts and scarves that I could suspend my calves from. Imagine me trying to simply touch my toes from a full and upright position.

I had to abandon the idea. But not before I managed to smear myself liberally with henna in all the cracks and crevices of my fingers. I do have the prettiest henna stain on my nails today though.

So it appears that my bucket list still contains the wish of someday having my hands and feet done in beautiful henna tattooes. And of someday appearing to be utterly together and without mishap or madness. Sigh.

Saturday, March 03, 2012


A Million Picnics...One of the things we did as the main entertainment in our family was go on weekend day trips using the Hondas. We scoured and traipsed through every corner of Indiana. We visited springs, dams, State parks and of course, roadside picnic areas. We often had 2 or 3 other families with us, riding their Honda Trail 90's as well. And always a picnic lunch as part of the deal!

Ordinarily I would not be posting on a Saturday, as I hope to do Monday through Friday posts and give myself a rest on the weekends, but yesterday was so full of activities I never had a moment to post anything!

For Starters, I got up at the crack of dawn and headed out on my gas-saving route to get every single thing done I wanted to do. But of course was foiled by the fact that the stores I wanted to visit did not open until 10 am! In my world, the day is half over and it's time for a NAP by 10 am!

I was able eventually, though, to hit all the thrift stores I wanted and the bank and to get to Walmart and buy castor oil for my face (going to try the oil cleansing method for a while to see if it works on this post menopausal dry skin I've got) and while I was there I was able to find the CHOCOLATE COLORED NAIL POLISH I've been wanting since I had a pedicure months ago and that was the color they picked for me.

I always let the manicurists pick the colors for me. I figure it perks up their world.

I had a blast at the thrift stores. I found some very cute tops at St. Vincent De Paul although they are very scant on linens and things they have beautiful furniture and their clothing is organized very well.

Deseret Industries is always so crowded it's a challenge to shop there. They, too, are organized to the hilt and it's like shopping at a REAL store the way they have the clothing marked and on racks by size and color, but their furniture department is NASTY. I guess those Mormons just don't get rid of furniture until it is covered in 3 layers of grime and old grape jelly. There is a chair there I particularly want but every time I go back to look at it the task of cleaning it seems too daunting so I leave without the chair.

The neighbor here at Gulag Acres flaked on me. He was giving me a loveseat from a set he had in storage. Turns out he didn't really OWN the set someone else did and they sold it this week. At least that is the story. So no loveseat for me, at least not this week.

I shopped and ran errands for HOURS and HOURS and was rather surprised that the phone never rang the entire time. I was waiting with half an ear peeled for work to call me with a fill-in assignment. When I got home later I realized WHY the phone had not been ringing: It had gotten shut off in the bottom of my purse.


Although I missed a couple of work calls I did manage to get it turned on in time to get text messages from all and sundry including a last minute invitation to go to a First Friday Library Event with Sacramento Geeks Meet Up Group. It was a Bollywood movie showing, with snacks and a free dance lesson and HENNA TATTOOS!

I dragged out all my Indian salwar suits only to discover they shrank by 2 or 3 sizes at least since the last time I wore them, so had to make do with stretch jeans and a gauze Indian shirt with scratchy gold thread. I spent the whole night itching! But it was sooo worth it!

I love libraries! I love librarians! These ladies have come up with the most amazing programs. Next month it will be an adult spelling bee! Of course when the librarian asked me if I would be attending I faced her squarely and spelled out H-E-L-L-N-O! and she laughed and laughed.

This Bollywood event was so fun. About 30 or 40 people showed up, and almost all the ladies were decked to the nines in Indian clothing. We got there late so we missed the Indian Dancing tutorial, and also that put my name at almost the bottom of the list for the free Henna painting. I was a nervous wreck because the woman told me she was only staying until 8:30 as that was all they had paid her for.

The movie was just a riot because it was very madcap and silly. It had the obligatory opening song in less than 3 minutes into the movie, and all the loving chase scenes were in slow-mo, just as they should be. Of course it ended badly for the main character, and that's always a plus.

There were 4 or more little Indian pastry/fudge type snacks that tasted heavily of ghee and cardamom so I was in hog heaven. They even had 4 different kinds of Chai! I thought that was so cute! Big pitchers of chai marked: 1% milk, 2% milk, Soy Milk and Almond Milk. Needless to say the Almond Milk Chai flew off the proverbial shelves but the 1% stuff was still untouched by the end of the event.

At 8:25 there were still 4 people ahead of me in the henna tattoo line and they were taking their sweet time about picking their designs. I must have looked like the most crestfallen puppy when she started to pack up her things because she called me over and told me to slap my hand down on the table and she did THIS:

It goes VERY well with my new chocolate nail polish.