Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Feather Duster Crown

The Featherdust Crown
Ok, so my fabulous hat might look like a chicken died from an explosion in a mylar streamer factory. I'm sure before I purchased it from Good Will, it was some woman's much cherished "Sunday-Go-To-Meeting" Hat. Is it proper that the spouser has apparently relagated it to the status of "feather duster crown"??


However, it is hysterical!!

Tomorrow we are re-instituting our New Year's Day Open House. So today, I finish cleaning and start cooking. Plans for the week:

Sunday: work out, dust, vacuum, bake.
Monday: organize, then play hostess. Later watch the bowl games.
Tuesday: work out with Guido, trip to Ikea.
Wednesday: work out, do a major organizing of work room.
Thursday: dr. appt., workout with Guido, dr. appt. Prep for BlogHer Learn to Knit party.
Friday: Continue reorganizing and prep for L2K.
Sunday: workout, down to Oakland for L2K.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, December 30, 2006

NOT Resolutions.

Deb and her fantastic hat
This photo was taken by Liz last February at Woolfcamp. Just found it again. Isn't that a fabulously funky hat?? Wait until I show you who was wearing it this week!


I am not making New Year's Resolutions, as those often seem to be unlikely goals at which we give ourselves permission to fail. Instead, this year I am making affirmations:


-get strong physically. It helps me feel healthy.

-control the "siren song" of the laptop and the tv. (I'll admit it, I'm
addicted, but more later)

-get out among people more (volunteer? work?) .

-continue working on my writing.

-learn photoshop.

-get back into the workroom.

In the couple months that I've been regularly going to the gym, I've noticed a lot fewer aches and pains, and generally a more positive mental outlook. OK.. there were a couple truly miserable weeks back there, but hopefully I'm over them.

But I just realized something else this week. When I walk in the door, the girl at the desk bounces up to take my card, smiles and greets me by name. She is genuinely happy to see me. My trainer smiles and greets me by name. He evens care the minor surgery I'll be having in a couple weeks.

I've missed this kind of interaction with other human beings. I am way too isolated in my life and need to find some way to increase this. I think the loneliness is a key in both my computer addiction and my depression. Ya'll are great.. the comments are nice. But, sorry, this just isn't enough. I can't look you all in the eyes.

And I just don't have a clue how to change things.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Great News To Start the New Year...

Great News to Start the New Year!!

Rayna's class at Art Quilt Claremont is a GO!! I will get to spend to 5 days playing with one of my favorite bloggers!! And Gerrie (another of my favorite bloggers) will be there, too.

I'm getting my bad toe fixed after the first of the year, working hard at getting fit, and this will be one of my first rewards!!

Happy dance, all around.

Oh yeah... while this photo is necessarily a sunset, it was the one that came the closest to looking like the start of fresh new day.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

And the Roller Coaster Ride Seems Explained

I do things seasonally (not necessarily that I really want to...) to such a point that I can normally schedule my life around expectations. This season I seem to be tracking about a month early.

My November cold-that-turns-into-2-months-of-bronchitis? I got it in October. Normally at the moment I'd be hackin up a soggy lung.. but not this year.

My January I-hate-the-world-seasonal-depression? I think that's what's been dragging my down this month. And I might have turned the corner.

Today the sun it out (though it is windy enough to blow me over). After sewing for an hour this morning, I spent a half-hour on the rowing machine at the gym. I came home as the beta-endorphins kicked in and was giddy to pop the top on the Spouser's convertible and take it for a ride. He didn't share my wacky enthusiasm. Probably for the best. It is really gusty out.

So my prescription to myself: get sunlight on my skin and in my eyes whenever it makes an appearance. And, though I hate it while I'm doing it, get exercise whenever I can. And remember to embrace the giddy.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Will You Dulaan??

The twin Mongolian boys in this photo are sharing one jacket and sporting brand new hats knit by someone in North America. These warm items were distributed by relief volunteers this past fall as part of The Dulaan Project, 2006. This project was formed as a way for Ryan over at Mossy Cottage Knits to knit more and do good. Ryan wrote:
Dulaan is a cooperative effort of the Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E., 501c3), Mossy Cottage Knits, and the Kunzang Palyul Chöling (KPC) Buddhist community of Poolesville, Maryland. Dulaan (which is Mongolian for “warm”) is dedicated to helping the struggling and impoverished children and adults of Mongolia. Due to economic and political upheaval, unusual and disastrous weather conditions which have devastated the nomads’ livestock herds, and “normal” weather conditions which frequently reach -40 degrees in the winter, there are many children who live in heating ducts below the capital city of Ulaan Bataar, and adults who scavenge through garbage heaps to survive.
This past year, they gathered more than 12,085 items and distributed and the pictures are in. Some will warm your heart while others will break it. Cuzzin Tom, the photographer, pointed out that these were taken when temperatures were already as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cuzzin's written reaction:
"In general, I was so moved by the knitted items I saw. So skillfully
made, some individually wrapped, some with home-made tags. It was a
sheer joy to give them away. I mean this. We gave tons of stuff to
maybe 40 families that day; Meredith will have the country-wide total,
but the Dulaanettes have touched so many lives. I tried to explain to
each one that these were gifts of friendship. Almost everyone got a
hat, scarf, kids all got sweaters, many got scarves and mittens, great
stuff for babies (some pregnant ladies were thrilled). Old folks and
little ones got felt blankets. You all made a difference. A big one."
The Dulaan Project, 2007, is open now. The goal this year is to provide 12,086 items; many participants this year are pledging to make at least 5 items. Visit the site for patterns and more information.

photo credit:Cuzzin Tom .
crossposted at BlogHer.
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

If you've seen my regular photos of the Marin hills from my back yard, this is an example of the same view when winter weather comes in. Yep, those are the peaks of the hills peaking out of the mist.

I'd take the weather in the photo right now. We're having wind gusts, oh I'd guess upwards of 40 MPH, and rain. While the news emphasized the rain (a likely 2") this wind is a surprise.

We spent a very quiet 25th. Steve cleaning the upstairs, me searching for recipes for appetizers. Finger foods, only.. no dips. We went cruising for an open restaurant and, while the story goes that you eat Chinese food on the 25th we had to settle for Chevy's fresh Mex.

One of my goals for this week: touch some fabric and sew for about atleast 8 hours.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where today I wrote my Tale of the Scale.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

God Bless Us Everyone...

We went out the other night to look at the holiday lights; my camera has a "fireworks" feature so I took it along to play. However, the shutter speed is slow enough that one really needs a tripod. Still...with a tripod I wouldn't have gotten this shot.

I am definitely in some kind of seasonal slump. During the day I may think about things bloggable, but I haven't come in to write anything. I'm not even reading many blogs (apologies for my lack of commenting.) If I were stitching a storm, that would make it quite OK, but I'm slumpy. Though I am getting some cleaning done.

I've found that some exercise and fresh air helps... and getting a full night's sleep, too. If I'm not fine in a few days, I'll talk to the doctor about other options: light therapy?

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm writing about one of my most memorable Christmases.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is this thing working??

Paw As Still Life
Paw As Still Life

Ok, I've tried to comment on several people's blog just now, with absolutely no luck. (Deb L. although I can't see your photos.. get the extra paint!!). So my question is:

Is this thing working?

I posted a photo "Paw As Still Life" at the beginning of this post. Can you see it?
And below is a photo I've uploaded using Blogger (though I don't think I will again.. and I'm not sure I like this accepting another TOS to Picasa Web Album or whatever it is.. but this is a test). It's Katy hanging out on the deck Can you see this one??

Can you comment on this blog?? (Ok, maybe not applicable because it's HaloScan). Can you comment on Deb's Daily Distractions ??

The Kim Family Benefit Auction


The online auction to benefit the Kim Family is up and running. Over forty artists have donated items which you will be able to bid on from 1/3/2007 until 1/7/2007. All of the proceeds will benefit the Kim Family Fund.

Auction items are beginning to be highlighted on the blog.  So you can have your own personal preview party whenever you wish.  Of the items shown already, I'll be keeping an eye on:

I'm sure there will even more items to add to my list before the auction opens on January 3rd.

image credit: the Kim Family Auction. Crossposted at BlogHer.
Debra Roby blogs her art at A Stitch in Time and her life at Deb's Daily Distractions .

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ok, I'll Play...

DebR. (NO, not me.. the other DebR...) posted a couple quizzes about what Chinese zodiac animal she both IS and SHOULD BE.

You Were Born Under:

You have both a fiery energy and a warm heart.
Your charisma and charm makes it easy for you to influence others.
Lucky in life, you also have a reputation of being lucky in love.
Power hungry, you are determined to get what you want - no matter what it takes.

You are most compatible with a Monkey or Rat.

Ok, I've know I was a Dragon and that Dragons were lucky... but Power hungry? Determined?? Fierce Energy? Why doesn't this sound like me?

You Should Have Been Born Under:

You've got a ton of energy - and need plenty of room to roam.
You tend to follow your whims, and it's hard for you to stick to one thing.
Specific jobs, loves, and friends are always changing and never a part of your life for long.
Very intuitive, you tend to know what people are thinking before they say a word.

You are most compatible with a Dog or Tiger.

Yeah.. this really does sound more like me. So what year should I have been born in??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Cheers

It's cool, dampish, overcast and threatening to rain here. So this morning we ran a couple errands before choosing to hunker down for a couple days and let the weather blow by.

First stop was the Farmer's Market. I picked up some winter veggies (fresh picked Brussel sprouts! Yum), while the spouser got some nuts and oranges. Seemed like a bit of drive for as little time as we spent there. Don't know why, the spouser doesn't seem willing to look at a lot of the stuff and discuss what might be used in meals during the week. Oh well, if I get up to the Davis Farmer's Marker, I'll leave the spouser behind.

Second stop was the library. I've begun reading Building Harlequin's Moon, a novel about a spaceship way-laid on it's journey to build a new life on a new planet. In order to achieve their intended goal, they must terraform an unplanned planet: Harlequin's Moon.

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for these terraforming novels. I am just getting into BHM, but I realized what I wanted before continuing was to resample Red Mars. If you haven't read it, it's a tasty, detailed novel about forming a new world; not simply the science and engineering involved in the physical building but also about the political and social decisions that effect the society's success. I don't need to read the whole thing again, though I may. But I have a hankering for the story of settling, the beginning of terraforming.

I didn't think I'd gotten rid of my set of the trilogy, but I can't find them around the house. Fortunately, the library has all three.. including a larger print version of Red Mars. Good. Less eye strain in these darker days.

If you like well written scifi about society building.. I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy. Especially Red Mars (the first book). I'll let you know if the BHM stands up too.

This afternoon I stitched some more on the ArtShare stuff (photos... eventually).

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Fussing...

Today has been a little bit of everything, but not much remarkable.

This morning was my annual physical; I passed with flying colors though I'm personally not thrilled with the direction my cholesterol is headed. Re-test in 3 months; and if it's not improved increase the meds. For me, Lipitor is a good thing!!

While I was getting poked and prodded, the spouser picked up his new Eos. So appropriately we took a drive up to one of our favorite restaurants: Athenian Grill up in Suisin. We kept the top down until we had to get on the freeway; at 50F it was just a bit nippy for driving top down at 65F. We started playing with the bells and whistles. I discovered a warmed seat can be quite a good thing! His salesman suggested that putting the seat on high might cook supper on the drive home!

Our lunch was a meze plate each, and I allowed myself a small piece of baklava for dessert. We watched reservists practice their touch-n-gos with those honking huge cargo planes while we ate (Suisin is near Travis AFB). Fine lunch.

An afternoon of puttering around the house and cooking a pot of weekend chili and I'm ready to sit down with a needle and some embroidery floss and play with my ArtShare stuff.

Tomorrow? Sewing...

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday's Thoughts

Well, it's been a day. Can't say it's been really productive; but it's been. My plan when my feet hit the floor this morning, was to spend the morning clearing off the tables in my work room so that I might set up my borrowed sewing machine and (gasp) get some work done.

Please note: Sharon wrote about this last month, and I'm trying to take her advice to heart. That why I'm trying to use the specific term work room. Sharon wrote (incase you missed it):
I have a space in which I work. If you want to shift what you do from a recreational activity to a creative practice claim time and space in your life to do it. I have a room in which I step into and close the door. I call it a workroom as that is what goes on in there. Creative activity is playful but it is also work. Play in our culture is not taken seriously it is something that can be interrupted, something that can be set to one side and something that is never prioritised. Work is prioritised. Constantly referring to creative activity as play undermines what actually goes on and what is achieved. If you want other people to take your creative achievements seriously you must take the process seriously, and allocate an area in which to work.
I got my coffee, fed the dogs and the next thing I knew it was noon. So much for the resolution.. but it's a habit that I'm just trying to form. What happened to the morning? I do not know. Wish I CCTV in my house so I could find out.

Anyway, noon came and brought with it the sun. Briefly. So of course I took advantage to get the dogs out for a walk. And today IS a gym visit. So with the dogs exercised, I headed out to get myself seriously sweaty.

Gabrielle blogged a lot last year (when she simply blogged a lot) about great rowing machine. Now the one at the gym isn't her super-duper model... but that doesn't stop me from using it three times a week. I swear it really is a super machine. If you're stuck and not as firm as you'd wish, or not plateaued at losing weight and you haven't sat down on one of these wonders, DO.

I did 15 minutes of work, then was getting bored. Not wanting to quit completely and too early ("the mind quits before the body does"... I channelled Guido's warning).. I stopped and did my stability exercises then got back on the rower for another 15 minutes. I was sweaty and exercised and feeling great.

Home to do some errands and start on the work room. It was barely a beginning. Tomorrow, before and following a doctor's appointment, I will do much more.

Inspired by Mrs. Mel, I tried to roast a lemony chicken. My lemons are quite large, so I wedged one and stuck several pieces in the cavity of the bird. Other thinner slices were slid under the skin to baste the meat while it cooked. Still, barely a hint of lemon. Yeah, I know that American's Test Kitchen has a great way to make lemon chicken. I must look that up.

Yeah, after I finish cleaning up that work room.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday Catch-Up

The recipe yesterday sounded so good, and it was damp and cool.. so I made it for supper last night. Kind of. I had several cans of beans, so I substituted the canned for the dried. Cut down the cooking time to a total of about 1.5 hours. This is the pot just before it went into the oven. Note that I don't have really great casserole pot (my clay pot broke a while ago). It was yummy even so, but different than I remember this dish being. Why? I don't know.

On the creative front, my friend Karen lent me a back-up sewing machine.. another Pfaff 7550 just like the one I have in the shop. So this afternoon I will be able to continue working on my napkin bags!

And on the fitness front: I've lost a pound this week.. and a full 7.75" since I began working out! I personally attribute a lot of this to my current fondness for the rowing machine.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Recipe Exchange...

Have many of you gotten an email about participating in a recipe exchange? It only has two names on the list, so it's not overwhelming to deal with.

I got my email from Gerrie and have been trying to remember to send my recipe on to Mrs. Mel. I finally decided last night to send her my Five Kind Casserole.. a slow cooking wintery delight. But I didn't want to limit that recipe sharing to only one person... I have to write it out afterall! So, I decided to post it here.

This is a fabulous dish for a cold dreary winter night, served with a grainy mustard and a nice glass of beer. If you have a clay pot, that is the best thing to cook this in, but any very heavy oven-proof casserole will work.

Five Kinds Casserole

1/2# dried kidney or navy beans
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1.5" pieces
2 onions, sliced
4C water
2 green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 Polish style smoked sausage

(do you see? It's meat and 5 different things...)

Rinse the beans and in a pot with the carrots, onions and water. Cover and put in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 450 and bake for 1.5 hours. Add apples, potatoes and sausage, stirring into the beans mix. Then cook for another hour or so until the beans are done but not falling apart.

The sausage flavors the dish, and the apples give it a nice hint of sweetness. I occasionally get creative and add other root vegetables to this, usually replacing some of the potatoes. No. I don't then change the name to Six Kinds or whatever...

If you haven't yet received an email from someone and would love to participate in this email exchange, just leave me a message and I'll add you to my list. (please!!!)

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Good Tidings Challenge...

NO. I would not suggest a fiber challenge to run this time of year. This is something totally different.

It's 2 weeks until Christmas, and this is one of the most challenging times of the year for many. People are stressed, tired, and over-scheduled.

Now I've blogged before the niceties of simple interactions and from this comes my challenge:

I'd like to ask you all to give this a try.

Whenever you are out and about (shopping, running errands, going to the gym, work.. EVERYWHERE):

FIRST: concentrate on having a calm, unstressed appearance. Unfurl that brow, relax those lips, and soften your eyes.

Second: whenever you have the opportunity (and LOOK for them) look another individual in the eye and smile. Just a quick simple smile. If you have to time, say "good morning..." or the appropriate greeting. Leave it holiday neutral... just hello, good morning, whatever. More time? say something nice: I love that your umbrella matches your sweatshirt. (yeah, I said that one today, so it's fresh).

Then, blog back about how people react. In the past, I've noticed people standing up straighter, smiling and relaxing and become for just a moment more human. Less so this past week. Don't know if it's me or what.

So let's all truly spread some good tidings.

Whatcha think?

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Weekend Wrap Up

I haven't blogged since Thursday morning? Shame on me! However, Thursday brought me some good mail, and I've been a bit distracted.

In one fell swoop, the mailman delivered the new Quilting Arts and my new camera. Here's I'm checking out how the camera works. This was taken at dusk without a flash.

Along with the QA are the projects I'm working on for the ArtShare thing. More about those later.

Saturday my friend Clara accompanied me on my errand to drop my Pfaff off for a service. We hit two quilt shops (buying a little something-something in each) and ate bbq for lunch. Fun few hours were had by all. When I got home, I watched all three of the NetFlix movies I had one right after another. It was a biography kind of day: The Sketches of Frank Gehry; The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio; and Mrs. Henderson Presents. All were good inspiration and background stuff.

Today I'm cleaning and getting the house put back together before the spouser arrives home from Europe. Oh, and getting my NFL fill!! I switched over to the blogger.beta.. since they were hinting that we would all soon be switched over and they finally came to my spot in the list. Over the next week I'll be playing with making the blog a bit more "custom".. but I'm sad to see that they still haven't come up with a widget to put a photo in the header.

I know.. Brenda offered to fix one up for me (I do not have PhotoShop or know of a way to size a photo and add the title.), but other blog hosts have started the ability for it all be done in their widgets... which would let me change the header a lot more often. Like monthly or quarterly.
Maybe that's still coming in Blogger.. we shall see.

And why, tell me please, do websites no longer remember my login stuff so I need to log in every time I go there? It happened when I upgraded my Firefox.. so I'm thinking this is a problem from them.

And poo... this switch to blogger beta has eliminated the automatic addition of technorati tags to my posts. I'll be curious to see if the "labels" they use will translate into technorati tags, but I doubt it.
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sewing/ArtShare Set Back

Holiday Colors, Naturally Made. Part of the Sidewalk Series.

There is a major set back in the sewing I need to do to complete my Artshare pieces. The timing/adjustments on my sewing machine are off. It needs a trip into the shop for it's cleaning and adjustment. Usually that takes about a week or two to come home.


But I cannot get a balanced stitch and loopy stitching ain't pretty or artistic (unless it's intended to be.) So patience shall be virtue for the month. I've gotten a few of these stitched to the point that I do some embroidery and beading on them... but not the detailed background stitching I had hoped to add.

I repeat. Darn.

This morning, it's off the gym, run to the bank, stop at Staples and then run out to the Sewing Machine shop. Home to walk the dogs and organize the non-machine dependant parts of the project to work on.

And with any luck, my new camera is delivered today!!

AAACK!! I awoke this morning with the national news using the words "Lake Effect Snow" for Cleveland. I moved here from that snowbelt... and these three words are ones I never want to hear agin.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies.
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Crafting A Loss

Kati Kim, recently rescued from the Oregon wilderness, is the owner of Doe, a lower Haight "little department store"; in that role, she is one of the strongest supporters of the art+craft movement that has developed in the last several years. So she knows many of the great art+craft bloggers and they know her family.

During the drama of the last two weeks, crafters have been blogging about the family, noting their missing status, rejoicing with the Kati and her daughters being found, and mourning James's loss.

While the family was missing, Lisa Congdon summed up the helplessness:
we both know kati. we have pinched sabine's fat cheeks. we both expected to chat with kati this week. we are having a hard time focusing.

all i can do is hope and pray and go about my life as usual.

laundry. sweeping. washing the dishes.

:: :: ::

be well, friends. be safe.
After Kati and her daughters were found, Alicia from Posie Gets Cosy wrote:
The world seems small when people from all around it are connected by their collective hope, but so enormously big when one is still lost. We continue to hope and pray for James's safe return.
Today everyone is in shock. Adorneya's post is typical of the day:
My heart breaks for the whole family, but mostly for Kati. She and James worked so hard and did everything right to protect their children. They deserved a happy ending.
Steph of Little Birds Handmade (and sister to Lisa) eloquently wrote:


I am incredibly sad that James did not survive. May his family and friends find some peace. May all of us find some peace.

{I know that many of you would like to do something to help the Kim family. My sister, mom and I are trying to organize some sort of art/craft fundraiser. We will keep you updated.}

Gerrie has promised to let me know as soon they have firmed up the plans for this fundraiser. In the mean time, hold your family close and travel safely this holiday season.

Crossposted at BlogHer.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies.

What... no Artshare Still??

Another snippet from my "Sidewalk Series" of photos.
Yeah, I know. I promised you pictures of my ArtShare project stuff on Monday... and still there are none.

Well, I've been cutting and stitching and turning and designing. I'm soon to grab the buttons and beads and fancy threads. OH.. and I got carried away with my options, so I'm making something like a baker's dozen of similar pieces. Sorry.

So the pictures will come. In fact, I'm trying to remember to take photos throughout the process... as another tutorial.

How I wish my new camera would be delivered... I could learn all about it while shooting this series. It's due to be delivered this week, and afterward I'm taking this same photo at night.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I'm participating in Holidailies.

Monday, December 04, 2006

For The Crafty Reader...

While this post is about books, it's not about books. Well, not about what's inside them. Penguin book has announced a new series of books, which they will be calling "My Penguin." And I CAN'T WAIT.

Although many people ignore the old chestnut and choose a book by it's cover, Penguin will be publishing these books with a blank front cover.
Printed on art-quality paper, these are books ready to take whatever you can throw at them (and we know, because we've tried), whether it be doodling, painting, penciling, penning or adorning them with whatever takes your fancy.
Helen Conford just announced this last week on the Penguin Book Blog and her excitement is palpable. Imagine.. the company has even opened an online gallery of covers from those who have gotten their hands on early copies and hope that the consumer sends in their completed covers.

The series includes:
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Magic Tales by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Waves by Virginia Woolf
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and
  • Emma by Jane Austen
How would you be decorating your cover? Which masterpiece do you hope they add to the series next because you want to design the cover??

Crime and Punishment cover by Sally McIaren
Crossposted at BlogHer
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for today's Tale of the Scale.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

ArtShare MeMe Follow-up

This afternoon, after grocery shopping and walking the dogs, I'm working on my pieces for the ArtShare Meme. Five little pieces that will be finished and ready to mail on Monday. (yeah, there will be pictures on Monday).

So please:

Becky of Unraveling

Arlee who wanted more fun!!

Melanie of Caffinara

Email me with your addresses. Denise, I do have yours.

And since I'm making FIVE.. but only four people commented and followed through... if you comment today under the original rules, I'll add you to list.

Oh look!! Two of my four packages are heading for Canada!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Like synchonized swimming, only better.

This from Dr. Trillwig. Makes me wish I were in London this holiday. The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride.

Yes, if you watch these police officers are not only doing precision riding, they are taking off parts of their uniform and their riding gear while they'll riding...

And it's STILL Coffee Break Safe!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Some quick little gifties

There is almost a month still until the obligatory winter gift-exchange holidays. Maybe you want some quick and simple fiber gifts to whip up for friends and family. Being a bit dry for inspiration, I decided to check out my tags to see what I've already saved:

Molly Chicken wrote great directions to make fabric and button bracelet. Imagine a young girl and all her best friends with matching bracelets! And if she were over 6, she'd be able to help.

Curiously Crafty detailed creating a hand-made journal. Perfect for the journaler.

Drew, the crochet guy, posted Glass Flip Flops. More suited for summer drinks, I'm including this one for my readers in the Southern hemisphere.

Tiny Happy wrote basic directions for a nice shoulder bag.

A fast gift that can occupy the kids for a while are beaded bookmarks.

And, lest I forget my own contribution, you can make a napkin purse like the one pictured above.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I've run dry.

I've run dry.

I know it's a temporary condition. Dulled by less than 7 hours of sleep, and uninspired by a day of organization in the studio (OK, I'm going to take
Sharon Boggon's take on this: the workroom), given little to mull over, it has just been a day of clearing things away.

This may be the beginning of an end-of-the-year cleaning out of the life. Can the winter solstice and New Year's Day be far away?

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cool Tool Tuesday: Steaming Things Up

My pickle-pal Roberta showed me this really cool iron last night. Then asked a question: What would you pay for this?

First, I will admit that I am very bad about putting an iron upright; that flipping movement can get painful with my RSI; I often do not do the movement completely and have the iron fall over, or off, or back down; or the iron stops steaming/turns off/gets cool too quickly. So when I'm ironing I do set the iron aside but normally keep it facing down-ward.

Also, I do prefer a heavy iron.

Go look at the new Oliso Steam Iron. Having lifted this iron.. it is one of the heaviest modern irons I've found. It steams strongly and freely (my current nearly new iron? Not very steamy). It will steam in an upright position (for steaming drapes and hanging clothes).

And it lifts itself up off the surface when placed aside. Yet the pressure needed for it to "engage" and slide down into working position is exactly the pressure I use to use an iron. No extra hard work.

All in all, this is a really cool iron. (no history yet on it's eventually leaking). It comes with a one year warrenty.

How much would you pay for this? Would you pay the asking price of $120?? Even though this sounds like an iron made just for me... I'm still hesitant about price. But I can't put an exact finger on where I would definately pull out my credit card.

What do you think??

Monday, November 27, 2006

The argument

Me: Yes I did.
Self: No you didn't.

Me: Yes I did.
Self: No you didn't.

Me: Yes I did.
Self: No you didn't.

Me: Yes I did!! I wrote, that was yesterday...

Self: Let's check the site.

Me: Oh, I didn't blog yet today...

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Strolling the blogs...

Walked the dogs just before the rain started, then returned home and continued my stroll by catching up on blogs.

If you haven't already caught Sharon B.'s post for Sunday, do yourself a favor, grab a cuppa (her suggestion) and read it. I want to develop that discipline. (Ok, what I really want is for a fairy to drop down touch my head and that discipline will suddenly be part of my being. Way too easy! The real thing requires work). What are your keys to your creative action?

Adding to the creative process discussion is Deborah's post on active chaos. I'm coming to realize that chaos in the home (my normal situation) actually drives me away from an area. Mess in the sewing room? I won't even walk in. Clutter in the kitchen? I'll grab a piece of fruit and leave.

Do you function best with some chaos or not?

OK enough serious discussion! With everyone still overcome by tryptophan overload, let's go for visually inspiration:

Hilary of Wee Wonderfuls previewed her Holiday freebie pattern. Such a cute elf!!

Posie Gets Cozy's Tree Trimming Day is a photographic delight.

Lisa and Lisa went to a top secret button store. (yep, I believe I know where it is!)

YarnStorm posted some of her favorite things.

Grumpy post photos of her sheer landscape class. Total inspiration!!

And finally... Keri Smith wrote the most exquisite post about baths and life...
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for Monday's Tale of the Scale.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I've Got Your Goats!!

Our town has apparently hired a large herd of goats to come visit for autumn. I first spotted them one valley over from us last October. They are fenced and happily chomping on the dead vegetation in the open spaces around town. This past week, they've been moving up and down our valley.

They've been on the hill behind our house, but so far haven't to the valley right behind our fence. (probably good. My dogs will be insane with this pack just behind the fence. Jake will be scraping and digging and obsessed. Though they may make it over in a day or two).

This is a huge herd! They eat everything within their reach, though not so severely that it won't grow back. And their droppings are acting as natural fertilizer.

The part I like the best?

They climb the low hanging branches of the native oaks and eat the leaves. Or just stand up on tippy-toe to reach the leaves.

The sound, standing there watching them is amazing. So quiet.

All you hear is a soft whispery sound that is the goats chewing. And the occasional bleat.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday....

While the rest of the US was either totally avoiding all things retail, or waking before sunset to hit the store sales, look what we shopped for instead!

Except, very hopefully, picture it in Paprika Red.

Yep, the spouser found a convertible that he fits in with good gas mileage and great handling. And he finally convinced himself that it's OK to own one.

So we get our VW Eos in somewhere between a couple weeks and a couple months. Because these are limited production cars, we had to pick 2 colors. Definately the RED (can you believe there are no photos online of this in red??). Then the spouser chose his second color.. a lightish blue possibly similar to this car. If they can't find what we want in the US, it will be ordered from Germany and shipped. Then we definately get the red one!! Heck, I'd have said.. it red or the deal's dead, but it's not my car. (sigh)...

Winter is only beginning, and I'm already looking forward to spring!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

HOME for the Holiday: a memory

I was going to write about what I'm thankful for; you'll read dozens of those posts today. I don't need to add to that.

I was going to write about what we're doing today as a family of two. (we're going to the movies). How boring.

But I recalled the other day some of the non-traditional holidays I've spent, and thought instead I'd share those memories.

First, the backstory: the couple years before I married, I was working full-time, going to grad school in the evenings/ or going to grad school full-time. All the while I volunteered for Red Cross Disaster Services, covering shifts one weekend a month and all holidays. (yeah, where did I get the energy? And why don't I have it now?). I lived alone, my sibs were married (a couple with kids) and often spending the time with their other family. So we didn't have a big family activity planned. There were still people who would need our services, so I volunteered.

A day or two before Thanksgiving one year, we met a young woman with an infant who had lost the home they were crashing in to a fire. She also lost everything for the baby. For a reason that totally escapes me, we ended up placing her in a battered woman's shelter for a couple days. (yeah, did you know the Red Cross did all this?)

We had gathered some baby things from other volunteers and family members, and arranged to give it to her while we were working Thanksgiving day. Talking with the shelter manager, who knew our crew would not be spending the holiday with our families, she invited us come by at dinner-time and join their household in the celebration.

I won't go into the maneuvering, code-words and secret handshakes necessary for strangers to find a battered woman's shelter... I was impressed with their dedication to secrecy. I doubt the CIA could have found me that hour or so we spent there.

We visited with the women and children living there for a few moments, then enjoyed a very traditional meal: turkey and stuffing, canned cranberry sauce, green beans and pumpkin pie. Even coffee. The women had been cooking all day...trying to instill their lives and their childrens with some semblance of a normal holiday. They were warm and welcoming though a bit quiet and subdued. The kids, too. But they let me help with the dishes until we had to leave. Doing the dishes has been my adult holiday "responsibility".

Oh, and one simple thing I'm thankful for today? I've finally started rocking on my JayWalker socks (pictured)...

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractionslater today. I'll react to the new James Bond movie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another Example Where My Hubris Bites Me in Butt

Ok, if I EVER tell the world to actually time and LOOK at the world around you, someone please smack me upside the head! I went grocery shopping today (hence the photo of the full fridge foto), but I let my mind wander while I putting stuff away.

What one item did I put in the fridge that definately doesn't belong there? Can you find it? No, the transfat-free margarine doesn't count!

EDIT: Deb L., the poms were in for the color; Arlee, neither of us suffer from celiacs.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
later today, where I mourn my temporary separation from trainer Guido. But not for a while.. I've gotta go exercise.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I've got two minutes

Realized I didn't blog today, and we're approaching 1 minutes left. So. World. Tree. Tree. World.

Topic for discussion: Global Warming.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday is a Mosaic

First, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I had a lesson taught me this weekend.

Remember last week I "lectured" folks to look at their surroundings, and in that looking find inspiration for the whole NaBloPoMo thing? Well Sunday I was winterizing our windows (a whole nother blog...). The spouser walked into the bedroom where I was working, did a double take and looked long and hard out the windows. (yes, the same windows I have been working on). Then, as he turns away, he proclaims:

We have sheep.

Damned if the hill across our little valley wasn't fully populated a flock of sheep or goats (I think these are goats, but in the fog who can be certain?), cleaning up the hillside. Had I bothered to look through the windows instead of concentrating on them, I would have noticed this first. I was blindly focused on the task at hand.

That'll learn me.
Secondly, let it be known that any blog, website, or TV station who puts up a photo or writes words concerning a certain "celebrity" wedding this past weekend, will see me clicking away. Same for the newest story about the murdering fruit drink and how he did it, if he did it.

I don't care if you are decry these items insinuating their way into pop culture significance. I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. And it's so hard to stick my fingers in my ears and yell "La, La, La" at the same time that I'm changing websites or tv channels.

Finally. I am knitting my gifted yard into Jaywalker socks. I had one sock about 5" long when I tested it for it. Uhm. It didn't. Unless slouch socks come back into fashion these were not work. So I ripped it out and started again. Got my too many stitches in doing the whole knit/purl thing, ripped back and started again. About 4 more times.

I think I've finally gotten it beyond the serious trouble stage. And I vow that as soon as I finish these socks, I'm learning how to knit these suckers from the toe up. Nothing can be harder than me trying to do ribbing without major errors for 8-12 rounds.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Stuff..NaBloPoMo day 19.

NaBloPoMo Day 19.

Katy will do almost anything for a piece of apple. Even pose for a photo. She's almost 11 years old (sometime in January); and though shy around strangers, quite attached to me. The feeling is mutual.

And if you need some inspiration to do a little work (don't we all? Always??) go check out Grumpy's blog. The photos from her sheer landscape workshop are fabulous!!

As for me... let just say that stitiching varying thickness, wonky set-in pieces are easy to stitch when you want straight even lines. But doing it intentionally? Hard. Just hard.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sit, Dance, Play Dead and Save Dog Lives

Karen at TrollBaby posted the link to this fabulously cute flash application:

I Do Dog Tricks.

Ah.. if only Katy and Jake were so well trained.

Ask the little Yorkie to do some dog tricks and he will try to obey. If he doesn't know a command, he does know clever ways of telling you so. Go have fun. And if you choose, you can stop right there. However, if you own a dog you don't want to.

After you've played with this virtual pup, click on the link at the bottom. Trust me, this is important. Reading this page, you'll notice that you can download a PFD form with coupons redeemable at your vets on Frontline and HeartGard. Nice. Saving money is good.

More importantly, however is the notice you can read at the Paws To Save Pets page. Because here... several clicks away from the adorable pet that drew you here is the kicker!! Here you find out:

Last year, with the help of over 3,300 veterinary clinics across the country, Merial Limited, the maker of FRONTLINE® and HEARTGARD® (ivermectin) Brand Products, contributed over $1 million in the Race to Save Pets program, which provided aid to pets that were injured or displaced during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

This year, with your help, through the 2006 Paws to Save Pets campaign, Merial will donate $0.50 for each qualifying coupon redeemed at participating clinics from August 1, 2006, through December 31, 2006, up to a total of $1 million divided equally between the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) and Foundation. Together, we can help defenseless pets that have been injured or displaced by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Choose a 6-month supply of FRONTLINE and/or a 12-dose supply of HEARTGARD for purchase from your veterinarian to help keep your pet healthy and happy.

Ask your veterinarian about money saving offers available or download your money saving FRONTLINE coupon and/or HEARTGARD rebate here.

Redeem your FRONTLINE Buy 6 Get 1 Free Dose coupon and/or HEARTGARD $5 rebate at your pet's veterinary clinic.

Together, we can help pets when they need it most.

So, you get to save some money on a product that you buy anyway (you DO give your beloved dogs HeartGard, don't you? Yes, you know you should!!), but you get to help pets hurt, homeless or injured in natural disasters.

And it all started by a cute pup doing simple tricks...

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I've listed some great albums from the '70s. Which ones have we still missed??

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh, Damn! Have I Been Doing this Wrong?? Or.. November, Day the Seventeenth

Buddha in the Bushes.

We are half-way through NaBloPoMo. I've spent some time moving through the randomizer checking out participants. And I've noticed something:

These dudes are counting down the month. They are titling posts with things like:

Day Two and I Still Have Material To Work With!!...

Day Fifteen and I Haven't Poked My Eye Out! It Will Be Bloggable!!

(Ok, I'm making those up.. but you get the idea.)

And here I do what I have always done... try to be a little clever, or atleast do a day-of-the-week alliteration. I want to return to blogging almost daily as a habit and I'm not sure that counting the days encourages that!! Maybe it will. Maybe some day you'll click over and see: Must-Do Monday... Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven.

Somehow I doubt it.
One suggestion for other challenge-takers who are running dry. Do This:

Grab your camera and take a short walk. LOOK at what's around you. Then post the photo and tell us a little about it.

Buddha in the Bushes was like this. I frequently walk my dogs around the neighborhood. It's quiet, a bit hilly, and offers plenty of opportunities for photos if I look closely. With two dogs, I need to wear a belly-bag for the poop-bags, water and MP3 player, so I usually throw my camera in too.

And although I've walked these street for several years, I have never noticed this Buddha in the Bushes before. And I haven't yet decided what he's thinking. What do you think??

If you're thinking: but I work all day! When I get home, it's dark. Then take your camera to work. Show me your cubby.. or what's outside the window. Head outdoors for lunch.

Our neighbors (whether living or working near us) design their public spaces to be seen. Take a minute to see them. I can see the titles now: Day 21.. My Eyes! I Did Not See!!

(bonus points for anyone who knows where this line was adapted from)

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Consider Me Kind

If you look at my sidebar, you'll notice that I've added a new button: Kind Blog.

This is a step above my "coffee break safe" seal (work safe, readable in a few minutes, and hopefully leave you with a smile or something to think about). Created by Karen Walrond (a fellow BlogHer CE) and Jen Lemen (go quick and check out her blogpost from 11/15. I will say no more, except that I bet it visually takes your breathe away for a second.)

By posting this badge, I'm declaring that in addition to humour, intelligence, wit, sadness, snarkiness, passion, exuberance, peace, stillness, excitability, anger or any other emotion you may witness on my site:

1) I will never intentionally hurt any other people, whether I know them or not, whether they blog or not, whether they're celebrities or not, either through my words or my images. It's just not my style; and

2) I hope that by the time you've clicked away from my site, I've helped in some way to make your day just a little bit better.


Debra Roby

After Monday's fun day with Del, and Tuesday's catching on Real Life Maintainence, today I'll walk the dogs and do some laundry, but spend atleast 3 hours working in my studio. I'm still playing that cheap silkscreen idea.. but today I will be sewing more on my block study, and working on a cartoon for my shape study.

Edit: High Noon: Laundry, DONE. Dog Walk, DONE. A couple dozen sidewalk photos taken for future blog entries? DONE. Lunch? Almost Done. Then it's into the studio for the afternoon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Movie I Must See!

Stranger Than Fiction.

Pam commented
that they saw a preview screening and loved it with all her heart. And Dustin Rowles of Pajiba once again gave a movie a positive review. In fact he said:

Stranger than Fiction is about love. It’s about free will. About fate. And literary theory. It’s about comedy, and it’s about tragedy. And it’s about Bavarian Crème Cookies. It’s smart, without being intellectual. It’s funny, though not hilarious. Droll, but not too self-aware. And it’s a fucking beautiful film. It’s bittersweet and achy and exhilarating and romantic and absorbing and hopeful and optimistic and, truly, it makes me happy to be a critic with so little to criticize.

Above all, (and unlike 99 percent of the movies that will be made or released this year,) Stranger than Fiction is kind.
Though he also says:
Honestly, Stranger than Fiction is neither the best, the funniest, nor the most important movie of the year, but it may be the most heartfelt and entertaining. And it’s certainly one of my favorites.

Sounds like my kind of film.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cool Tool Tuesday:Specialty Rulers

Today's Cool Tool involved specialty rulers that have either been recommended to me, or that I regularly use.

The Brilliant Roberta is thoroughly enjoying using Marti Mitchell's Log Cabin Ruler. It sounds so simple to make a log cabin block by simply cutting, sewing and trimming. If you've tried, you know that it doesn't always come out evenly. (well, it doesn't for me!!) But you've look at specialty rulers and thought: what? It's just cutting and sewing straight lines.

R. was surprised how fast, simple and accurate her blocks became when using this ruler. If you have a hankering for nice even square log cabin blocks ... either as the final design or as a background element for additional design work, consider picking up this ruler.

Along the same lines, while I'm not in love with log cabin blocks, I am totally enthralled with pineapple blocks. And the most efficient way to make these (besides...shudder.. paper piecing) is with the Pineapple Ruler. Imagine not having to think (too hard), draw, or do some complicated math to figure out how to place those nice triangles on the edges of pineapple blocks!!

So, do you have a specialty ruler that you use all the time?

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pretty Good Weekend

Nothing much I want to blog about today, but it's been a pretty good weekend. Both the Buckeyes and Michigan are still undefeated, making next Saturday's game still an exciting event.

Both the Browns and the Bears won today... and we actually got to see the Bears game!! And to truly enjoy the evening game, I stopped at Papa Murphy's and brought home pizza!! Yummitty!!

Pickle Del, the birthday gal, is in town to celebrate; she and I are heading down to Berzerkley today. We'll assuredly stop at StoneMountain and Daughter, probably check out Laci's and likely stop at New Pieces. Ofcourse Sharona is probably up at AQT, but someone is probably working!

Fun, fun, fun!!

Then tonight is the Pickle birthday party!!

It's all good!!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
for this week's Tale of the Scale!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Trap, It Was Easily Sprung...

Thank you all for falling willingly and easily into the "trap" I set in my last post. Ofcourse I knew that "tear" could be read as either "tare" or "teer" and intentionally left the post quite vague. Cathy, Deborah and Mary Beth all willingly walked in. It was too easy!

Anyway, the story:

Tulle, I have decided is too open and fragile a material to really use in this application. (and if you were thinking of recycling your pantyhose for this, I wouldn't use those either). The tulle's open structure means it can move slightly; when I test printed yesterday the print was fuzzy and blotchy.

Looking at the material, the tulle was less-than-perfectly-taut. So I thought I'd give a shot at re-stretching it. BIG mistake. I ripped a hole right in the middle of my cuppa!!

So there was rending tear. But no weeping of tears. This was a play experiment. I learned something. Save the tulle for other things. Like Arlee's Paper Fabric Tutorial.

Friday I started over. I have this huge collection of polyester sheer material (organza??). I thought it would be interesting in quilts, layering the colors on top and having things blend. Turns out the surface is so light reflective that the blending of colors doesn't really work. I find that out after acquiring yards of this stuff!! (yeah, I'll probably still use it, just not the way I'd envisioned). So I grabbed a pale piece of this, tested it by brushing some paint through a corner, and decided it would be perfect. It's probably a lot like what Kristy meant when she said: cheap sheer curtain fabric.

Anyway, it's in my stash, I used it.

I LOVE using this stuff for this technique. It's easier to draw on than the tulle was, easier to paint, and I don't need to put Saran Wrap under it to catch drips. I stretched it Friday and marked out the designed, thinking I'd paint it up while watching tv Friday evening. I got side-tracked searching out cute crafty projects for a post on blogher.

So this morning while watching early Big 10 football, I modge-podged it. We have a rainy day predicted, so it will probably be tomorrow before I can safely test-print this. In the meantime, I think I'll fold some fabric up and put it away, and work on a "study" of a block I have sitting on my sewing desk.

What are you doing this fine weekend?

Photo: storm clouds on the horizon by me!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Two Words

Tulle Tears.

Back to work....

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Actually working

I've mentioned the fabulous Pickle-parties for 50th birthdays before. I don't think I quite mentioned one little technicality:
The guest-of-honor for one party becomes the planner/hostess of the next. And we are having our next party Monday night.

Del, the lucky guest of honor, lives out of town; so she's hoping to collect much of the gifty stuff for her "hostess" duty on Monday. Susan, her party-recipient, as requested that we each give her something of a personal symbol (sorry Arlee...). The actually phrase was: a ‘silhoutte’ of an image that is either meaningful to you or something that you like.

I had decided to do something with a coffee cup.

This idea has been stewing for a while, and then last week I wrote about all those fun silk screen ideas. Last night I searched for a simple black and white image of a coffee cup (like those are hard to find), sized it up and printed it out. Then I added some extra design lines with a Sharpie.

I had an hour or so this morning free, so I decided to actually try the silk screening techniques I wrote about Sunday. Specifically, I'm working on the cheap screen printing technique.

I wrapped some fine-textured tulle around an small wooden frame, laid it on top of the printed image and traced it out. I painted the "negative" parts with ModgePodge. Hint: when you want it to dry, set it on some plastic wrap. It keeps the stuff from completely leaking through to the surface underneath. I set it out in the sun to dry.

It's gonna be tomorrow before the ModgePodge completely dries and I test print this screen.

But it was a really simple process, and I'll probably try it again.

It's not going to work with really fine detail work.. the next thing I want to make into a screen has fine lines close together so I need to think about a different technique.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I explain how fat has stolen my afternoon.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Colors Calling Me...

I've been sketching shapes for several weeks now. Found something I like, but I'm not sure how I'll use it a piece. At the moment, it looks like the way to get what I want would be to draw a large cartoon, and assemble it piece by piece. Fusing each piece to the next.

Hmm.. wonder if I can find a biggish piece of AppliKay Wonder?

Oddly, at the same time a very soft, pastelly color theme is talking to me. (think desert colors...).. soft dove grays, pale pink, sagey greens. I will need to plan a day of dyeing some new fabrics... hmm... I'm not sure I know how to dye these colors But we shall see.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cool Tool Tuesday

Cool Tool Tuesday: Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder. An admission: I have not tried this myself yet. Like I wrote a couple weeks ago, I have asked my friend Roberta to suggest some of the really cool tools she's found in her job as a sales rep. in fabric/threads/notions. First item up?

Floriani's Appli-Kay Wonder. A fusible.

Ok, I use Wonder-Under for most of my fusible projects. It sticks on hand-dyed/hand painted fabrics without stitching down the edges, it's easy to find and it usually worked. There has been a major problem with it this year, so maybe finding something else is a good idea. When I don't use Wonder-Under, it's because I need to reposition items (or over/under-lap them); then I use Steam-A-Seam II.

I don't have a roll of it on hand to compare the chemical makeup and see if it's more like Wonder Under or more like StitchWitchery. In the manner in which Appli-Kay Wonder works, it's closest to Steam-A-Seam II. Where SASII is sticky on both sides, Floriani's Appli-Kay Wonder is only sticky on one side. Fuse it the fabric, cut out your shapes, and stick them in place.

Why, then, with all these fusible products already available, is Roberta recommending the Floriani product?

She appliqued a Day of the Day quilt.. one where the pattern is both a skeleton-man and skeleton woman. (I can't find it online, though I'm sure it's there somewhere). She cut both figures out and fused them down, then buttonhole stitched around all the edges with variagated rayon thread and her normal micro-sharp #12 needles. No mess on the needles. No broken threads. No larger needles.

Nothing different.

A fusible that's so clean that it doesn't effect the needles or threads? THAT is definately a COOL TOOL.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday May (or as it happens, may not...)

Katy and the Spouser at Washoe Lake, Nevada.

We are out of town for a couple days, and darned if the cheap motel we're staying in doesn't have free wifi! Such luck. I was about to write my NaBloPoMo post in Performancing and save it until I got home. Now, I won't need to.

We decided to take a short trip to a town that was on our "possibly retire here" list. Our plan was to drive in one day, spend two days getting a lot of information and then drive home. Take a short break from real life and get away with the dogs.

We are trying to be quite realistic in what we're looking for: a smallish city/very large town with a cost of living about national average, some 2000 sq. foot single level homes available, some trees, and a walking center of town.

My perfect place to live there will be something to do 2-3 times a week. Regular reasons to get out of the house and interact with other people. Unfortunately, most regular happenings occur in the evenings. And I have trouble driving in the dark. So the prospect of moving somewhere we don't know anyone and being trapped in the house every night by my nightblindness is unappealling. A home near the center of a town, where I could walk places? would be divine.

We've started doing some homework by checking out some of the books from the library on perfect places to retire. Even when we think of cities not on the lists, we keep the important features in mind:

a college town (low cost entertainment and usually lots of stuff happening);
a good regional medical center;
an active arts community (again, usually lots to do);
parks and recreation facilities nearby.

I'm sure there are more things, but those are high on our checklist. With a recommendation in mind, we headed for Carson City, Nevada.

We can cross this area off our list.

Major complaint: there is no active "center of town" except where they have the state legislature building and a couple casinos. No walking area, no charming bookstores and places to eat. No sense of community.

The city does have 42 parks listed in their brochure. Of that, 2 allow dogs and only on leash. There is no dog park. These folks are like the dog Nazis we've found in a couple other spots.

Tomorrow we'll drive up to Reno, which is growing by leaps and bounds and check it out a little before heading home early.

On the fiber-front: I've started knitting a sock. I've gotten nearly to the end of ribbing and must now decide if I want to try the jaywalker pattern or not. Atleast with wifi now, I can go to YouTube and check out CrazyAuntPurl's video for knitting in the front and back of a stitch.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Silk Screen Tutorials

I've been fascinated for a while about trying to figure out how to make silk screens without using a thermofax machine. Mainly because:

I don't own one;
I don't want to spend the money to buy one;
I don't have anywhere to store one.

I know there are directions in Jane Dunnewold's book; I need to look at those, too. But typical of me, I've been searching the web for tutorials:

Jim Monroe published some great instructions on his No Media Kings blog, which include his photo-safe light suggestion:
I use the extremely ghetto mechanism of a Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) night light with a red christmas tree bulb inside

Jim's is proper and complete and probably echoes JDs instruction (perhaps minus the BVM red light). Then there is craftgrrl's Cheap Screen Printing Tutorial.

Kristy uses ModPodge as the resist, stockings or curtain sheers as the screen and an embroidery hoop as the frame. Her results look like they would work fine for one-offs... or just a couple images. Usually what I'd be doing anyway.

Barry's Farm has a three part tutorial on Screen Printing. Pretty explicit.

EHow also has a set of instructions.

Guess I have no excuses; need to stop just reading about it and DO it.

BTW, I started this by searching my own tags which include Gerrie excellent how-to on making a thermofax screen, then searched the entire site for everyone's bookmarks on silk screening.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Socks

Saturdays have always been a day of running errands and doing chores. It still is. Rarely does a Saturday arise when I plan on doing something creative or fun. Just not in the cellular programming.

Today is no different. I have two big plan for this afternoon:

Watch the OSU Buckeyes beat Illinois.
Find my sock-knitting bag.

I have this nice drawstring bag I made from a large cloth napkin. In it I keep my "Basic Sock" directions, my size 1 long circular needles for Magic Looping socks, and whatever sock I'm knitting on. Yeah, so far I've only done one sock pattern. I am lame. But making these socks is almost to the point of muscle memory. I don't have to think about it much.

Haven't worked on a sock for months, and I'm not sure what happened to the bag. I want that set of needles and I want my basic directions. Why?? Why now? My good friend Jennifer gifted me with 2 skeins of Katia Mississippi 3 sock yarn (color 205 I think) and I want to knit myself some socks.

I had picked up some of this after Kathy (aka Grumperina) wrote about all the non-wool socks yarns available. Important information because me and wool?? Does not work. I knitted myself several pairs of wool socks which felt fine while working on them. My fingers did not itch. Didn't see too warm. Wear them, however?

Feet. Too. Hot. And. Itchy.

After several months of hoping that I'd outgrow my dislike of wool (after 54 years??) and my feet would recover their menopausally charged heat wave, I finally washed these pairs and gave them away. So getting the non-wool yarn was some kind of kharmic payback, wasn't it?

I know I can find a sock-knitting pattern online. I could even print out Grumperina's Jaywalker Socks Pattern and do them. I have shorter circulars so I could simply to the 2 sets of circular needles thing.

Ok. I hereby give myself one hour to find my sock-knitting kit. After that time, I will print out Grumperina's pattern, find my other needles and move on.

Edit: I found my bag. But I'm going to swatch the Jaywalker pattern and will probably do those anyway.

Tomorrow I report.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions