Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Playing with Names..

Starting this fantasizing while walking down to the coffee shop at the bottom of the hill for lunch.

If I had a:

Music blog, it would be Rockin' Roby.

Personal Finance? [Deb]It. (That one is genius!)

Food Blog? Yummy in my Tummy.

Beauty/Fashion/Shopping blog? Who am I kidding? Can you do a fashion blog about shopping at thrift stores?

Book blog it would a podcast where I'd read part of a book and a review to whet your appetite. Call it?

Sports/Fitness? is Weight for Deb.

Life blog? was Deb's Daily Distractions.

Travel blog? Where in the World Have I Plugged In My Laptop?

Not that I can could deal with another blog. But just the idea of thinking of some names was fun. Rather like the evening (at BlogHer??) where every great thought or line or idea became a dot something.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Koigu wrist warmers, finished 12/25/08

I bought 2 skeins of Koigu hand painted yarn several years ago. Kept waiting to be inspired to use them. This year I decided I wanted some wrist warmers (gauntlets, fingerless gloves.. whatever). I cast these on to one set of circular needles about Thanksgiving. Then knit them using the magic loop method. Bound them off on Christmas morning.

Ain't they grand?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snippets: Small thoughts.

Snippet #1. With my dogs, I learn to distinguish between the sound of a dog padding around thinking which comfy place to sleep and the same dog padding around because it needs to go outside. Remarkably, the difference isn't the sound, it's where she's walking.

Snippet #2: Is there anything better to eat when it's cold outside than soup? Made myself some Thai Pumpkin soup last week to serve me for lunch the rest of the week. YUM. What does cold weather make you desire?

Snippet #3: I volunteer at the local Richmond Art Center for a couple hours a week (usually doing.. what else? computer work). Last week, I used a few spare to moment to shoot some impressions round the place. Enjoy. Those hand-thrown bowls are a center fund-raiser, sold at $8 each. Aren't they fabulous? Sometime try taking a close up look at your surroundings.

Snippet #4: Confession: When a really great song comes up on my Zen Stone (mp3 player), I dance or sing. I may "bench dance" at gym, "car dance" while I'm driving, dance dance around the house. Or - perhaps even worse for those around me - become another one of the band's back up singers. Do you have a silly confession to share?

Snippet #5: When I hear about all the snow being dumped around the country, I am so glad I live where I don't have to shovel it. Or drive in it. Yeah, we might have rain that makes me investigate the actual measure of a cubit.. but it usually goes down the storm drains (unless they're clogged).

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crafty Christmas Decorations

crossposted at BlogHer

Between cold stormy weekends and school ending soon for the holiday, this is a great time to have some crafty holiday projects that can engage the whole family in a few time-killing, charming decoration-making activities. What says "keeping the family busy" more than a some glue, scraps of paper, or other craft-store finds?

Knick Knacks and Ric Rac showed charming Gingerbread Heart Ornaments with a Pennsylvania Dutch feel. Brown felt, colorful ric rac flowers, craft store pom poms and chenille sticks (pipe cleaners) make these inexpensive and charming.

Christmas Decoration Tutorials were the topic of Lisa Tilse's The Red Thread December 1st post. She aimed these specifically as projects for kids, and I think her colorful baubles hit it out of the park! Styrofoam balls, brightly colored scraps of fabric or paper, LOTS of glue is a combination that guarantees some mistake-proof messy fun.

Lisa also pointed us to Zakka Life's Flower Garlands. Made from cutting up one of the many catalogs we receive in the mail every day, these garlands are a cheerful decoration you can keep up all year.

While Berroco suggests these miniature knitted sweaters could be quite cool holiday ornaments, I envision them as inspiration for gift tags. Giving a hand-knit sweater or scarf this year? Use some of the scrap yarn to make a tiny version. I'm not knitting this holiday season; I'm sewing aprons. But I now see teeny-tiny aprons fused to card stock as my gift tags!

Living Creatively rates their Clay Ornaments as a beginner project that can be completed in 15 minutes plus drying time.
This is such a quick and easy way to make Christmas Ornaments and the results are just beautiful! You can hang the ornaments on the tree, tie them onto gifts or even use them as place settings. Working with clay is great fun and this is the perfect project to get kids involved in.
Felted Wool Sweaters were turned into adorable christmas tree ornaments by Dollar Store Crafts. I fluffy heart felted sweaters, this year I'll branch out to some decorations.

In the true spirit of extending an object's life, Susan Beal, contributor for CraftStylish, took old glass ornaments that had lost much of their luster and glitzed them up by gluing sparkly craft-store gems onto them.

We can't decorate for the holidays without some hand made garlands. If you're not in the daisy-chain garland stage of your life, check out another CraftyStylish project: An Easy Crocheted Holiday Garland by Linda Permann.

That's all I have for now, though I'm positive that more crafty goodness will be popping up in the next couple weeks. Will I save those links for next year, or share a few last minute quickies with you?

And what are your favorite crafty holiday decorations? Hit me up in comments with those you'd like to share

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's the time of year for introspection and stuff which led me to:

If I Rules The World (Earworm of song for an additional cost):

1. Nobody would be hungry. Food production and distribution would allow everyone to have sufficient healthy food every day.

2. Fast Food Junk Nation would not exist. (I know at the moment it's a choice people make; a choice that is killing them. A choice they don't believe they can't not make. I believe otherwise). I'm not saying there would be no junk food, I thoroughly indulge in Fried Chicken or a donut once in while. I even eat a whole a bag of potato chips. Just don't do it often or believe that when I'm doing it it's a meal. Or good for me.

3. Nobody would be thirsty. There would be clean water for everyone.

4. Each person would recognize their worth to society as a whole and would contribute however best they could.

5. Each person would have a safe, dry, comfortable place to live. It might be that not everyone would live in McMansions, but everyone would have at least a room of their own.

6. Creative endeavors would be encouraged from an early age. We are all creative. We may not all be artists, sculptors, or writers but we are all creative. These practices should be fostered to continue throughout one's lifetime.

7. Laughing should come easy.

8. People should be able to choose working at what they love and great passion for and working longer hours. Or working a mind-numbing job they can leave without another thought, but working much fewer hours. This would enabling the worker to go on and participate in their passionate activities in the increased free time.

9. Music, art, science, math, sports would all be valued in our education process and in our daily lives. The well-rounded soul would be encouraged.

10. Celebrities would those individuals who exhibited the greatness of the human race. Today's "pop celebs" would be more the

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Miracle on Pier 48

I did not need to go the gym on Friday as planned; nor will I need to go on Saturday. That's because I spent 5 hours on Thursday volunteering for The Miracle of Pier 48. As a group, we provided food, personal care items, and toys to 5000 families in San Francisco.

Four of these hour I was among the army of volunteers directly working with the families. An individual, or perhaps a parent and child (or a couple adults) would be paired with 2 volunteers. We would walk them down the donation "gauntlet" picking up and carrying their goodies for them. This included:
  • 2 bags of frozen chicken parts
  • a box filled with non-perishable food such as beans and peanut butter
  • a box filled with toiletries (toilet paper, etc.)
  • one toy (most were video games that hooked up to the tv)
  • a bag of goodies from Avon
  • a case a water.
By the time we got to the end of this gauntlet both volunteers would be carrying ~30 or so pounds of goodies. And this gauntlet was about 200 yards long. That's a lot of hauling!

What struck me about many of the people we talked with was these were the described "working poor." These people worked hard and still needed help. Yes, there were the ones who were looking for as much as they could get and more. Allowed 1 toy, they groused because they 4. Many, however, were truly thankful for everything they got - including the human power to carry it all.

After the first 2 hours, everything stopped for an hour (a major tactical error). Pallets of supplies were moved and re-organized while most of the volunteers were given a break; some standing around time where nothing seemed to be happening (and I sought out a cushier position handing out goodies rather than picking them up. Did. Not. Succeed.)

Finally were told they were holding a press conference and we were all invited into the back of the pier to witness it. Former SF mayor Willie Brown was the MC. He explained how the entire function came into being (wish I had taken notes). He introduced the founder of Feed of Children who supplied the food.

Then the president of the NBA Players Assoc. spoke. The players assoc. provided much of the money to cover the cost of the items that were given. Every professional basketball player is taxed a portion of his/her salary to support NBA Cares. Each player is also encouraged to personally participate in several community events each year. There were 6 of the Golden State Warriors then introduced at our event.

When the press coverage finally ended, 100 or so of the families were brought into the area where the press conference took place. The players each had a station where they handed out the goodies and lots of press photos were taken. The family we helped was so overwhelmed by the idea of what they were being given (and likely tired from standing waiting for close to 2 hours) that I'm not sure they even knew they were standing near the players.

But let me say from personal experience that 7 food tall (when you're 5'3") is REALLY TALL and we had 2 centers working the event! Also, the players -many of them a much more "normal" height - were all genuinely friendly and seemed to be honored to be there.

Unfortunately, this work stoppage meant that the line of waiting recipients grew extremely long. We worked as fast as we could to get families through the gauntlet and out onto the street. Still, many people showed up after picking up their children at school. The line extended back the entire length of the pier and out the door. A program that was meant to end close to 5 pm, was going to be going strong until much later. I lasted as long as I could but about 5:30 I pooped out. I still had close to a mile walk back to the closest BART station and my arms and legs were killing me.

It was close to 7 pm by the time I got home. Bone tired, hungry, a blister on my right foot and sore to my core. It was a great day and I'll definitely be back next year if it happens. But I think I'll bring my own hand truck.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Giving a Gift of Recycled Jewelry

The holiday season is a time for glitter and glitz, and often gifts themselves glisten. Jewelry and jeweled items are popular holiday gifts. But with economic factors meaning that many people are cutting back, does this mean an absence of jewelry this year? Not necessarily. Especially if you consider recycling jewelry.

Gifting What You Have:

Are there pieces of jewelry you own that you don't wear anymore? Consider passing them on a family member or friend. BlogHer fellow CE Elena Cantor twittered:
I love pins so if I were to regift pins to friends they would know I'm giving them something I really love. Share the backstory.
I love this idea! If you select an item to gift, include the story of the piece. How you came to own it, special places you might have worn it. Pass on object and keep it's history alive.

Recycling Jewelry:

It's more likely that many of us would look through our jewelry boxes and find a number of items that are somewhat the worse for wear: necklaces in need of restringing, pins with broken clasps, bracelets that are out of style, earrings your tired of. How about taking these items and turn them into something completely new.

Here are a few suggestions:

Gather photos of you and a friend and print them out to make a 2009 calendar. Choose some of your earrings to dress up the photos.

Completely take apart jewelry pieces that aren't working, then:
  • If you have saved some chain (say from a broken necklace) turn it into a charm bracelet. Use a clasp you've salvaged and some of the dangles and beads from pieces. Attach them with jump rings.
  • Choose several necklace motifs and perhaps a few beads, wire wrap them onto plain napkin rings to make a set that looks like you spent a fortune.
  • String some beads and baubles together, then tie on the center of a piece of 10" ribbon. Tie the ribbon around a book to use as a bookmark.
  • Glue interesting piecing onto a picture frame to give it a customized look.

Buying Handmade Recycled Jewelry Or Inspiration:

WhipUp points to several Etsy ecocrafters.

Greater Yesterday has the idea. The Etsy shop specializes in remaking jewelry from vintage parts.

Kathy Cano-Murillo demonstrates making charm earrings in this video at MyLifetime. Recycle some of the baubles or charms from other pieces, or like her use scrapbbooking or other supplies to create your earrings.

Crafting a Green World's Juliet Ames gave instructions for a Junk Mail Jewelry. Turning junk mail into paper beads is a whole different way of thinking about recycled jewelry.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, December 01, 2008

By Jove, I think I've got it!

By Jove, I think I've got it.

I've been taking the new med for almost 2 weeks now, and I think it's working. After a week of feeling and quiet and self-contained, then a few days of very low-level anxiety, I've found myself able to concentrate enough to read something more than a light fluffy novel. I've been able to plan several chores to do during the day and actually accomplish them.

It's a step in the right direction, and I'm glad to think I might be returning to my old self again soon.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.