Tuesday, December 20, 2016

That Was Quite a Month

So, wow, November was a mess, wasn't it? I won't start talking about that fiasco of an election. On the 16th, there was a gas explosion in the business center of my town. It was pretty big - we live fifteen blocks away and it shook our windows. Two buildings collapsed and three more have to be torn down from damage. Almost all of the businesses and shops have broken windows and other damage. It took just over two weeks of constant work for everything to get up and running again. My hotel had a couple of windows get knocked loose but nothing more since it's a new structure - one of the buildings that has to come down is the old opera house that held a lot of the town's history. Work got super busy because we had contractors, construction workers, and displaced apartment renters staying with us. I'm glad that we had space for those who needed it. I finished November by wasting six hours watching the revival of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I'd watched the series based on friends' recommendations. It's okay. The main characters annoy the heck out of me, though. The peripheral characters are fun and interesting. Unfortunately, they aren't in the revival episodes for more than a few minutes each. I know a lot of people love the show and love the new episodes. They obviously see more in the characters than I do. Now we're two-thirds of the way through December. I've only made a couple of pairs of boot cuffs and a hat. The cold has made my hands more achy than they used to be. I'm also dealing with an annoying cold that won't just go away. Most of the Christmas shopping is done. I suppose we should put the tree up soon. I'd forgotten that more planning is required for holiday stuff when you work since it's been so long. That's the update for now. When my brain isn't so foggy with medications I'll take some pictures to share. Until then, stay warm, my dears!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Here's Looking At You

In September, there was a sign-up sheet in the break room at work for a pumpkin decorating contest. I signed up even though I'd not done any kind of pumpkin carving or anything in years. I had no ideas at first and originally had decided to paint my pumpkin as Spock to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek - but my skills with a paint brush are rather basic. So I spent some time browsing Pinterest until our pumpkins ere delivered. Then it all came together! I saw one painted as a big eyeball and figured it wouldn't be too difficult. Then I really looked at Khloe's eyes when we were outside and wanted to try to replicate her color. After that, I dug out my paints and got to work.

I had to work slowly, over a couple of days, to make sure the layers got dry...although I'm sure their are some cat hairs from a certain nosy kitty stuck in spots. The front turned out almost exactly how I'd imagined. The back is a bit messed up, but time ran out and it had to be turned in. And guess what! I won! One of the judges owns the local candy shop so the prizes were little bags of candy. I didn't get a picture, though, before I started tasting it all. Right now the eye is on the porch, watching for trouble and creeping out little kids as they walk to school. Sadly, though, its life will be short. Pumpkins don't last too long, so its destined for the garbage can. Then I can start gathering ideas for next year!

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Addition to the Family

Wow, it's been a while! September was a busy month, ending with Khloe's sixteenth birthday. My baby girl is driving now! One of her friends gave her an early gift:
a little kitten. I was not happy - the friend hadn't asked if she could give Khloe a living animal as a gift. We kept Joshua and this new baby separated for a week or so and gradually introduced them to each other. She, the new baby kitty, loves having a family and big brother. But don't let this face -
fool you - she's a little stinker. She's, of course, full of the energy all kittens have. She eats like a little pig and goes for Joshua's bowl first. I have to move her, several times, to the bowl of kitten food, but she usually ends up eating both. She drives her big brother crazy
by chasing his tail around while he's resting or pouncing on his head and chewing on his ear when he tries to nap. Then, when he decides to play back, she squawks and whines like he's being mean to her, like we all don't know that she started it. He's getting plenty of exercise chasing her through the house, which he needed. After a few hours of running around the house and being crazy they both settle to nap in the afternoon. It's really cute. She's a bit of a thief, stealing my chair
(yes, I need a new computer chair) and anything I may have on my lap, like my bookmark
to play with. She's much more interested in my knitting than Joshua ever was and tries to play with whatever I'm working on. She's got a sweet side, though, and Eric seems to enjoy having a bouncy kitten to play with now that Joshua has grown more to being big and lazy. So, that's been my month. I have a new baby to chase around now that my baby is all big and driving. What's new with you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Glitter and Lace

Hi, guys! I didn't mean to not post in so long, but the new job is more than I expected. I'm now doing housekeeping in a small hotel, mostly second shift. It's very physical - I can feel lots of new muscle tone in my back and legs. It's kind of fun, though, too, in a way. I spend most of my shift doing laundry and listening to my ipod and dancing around because no one can see me. Well, no people, anyway. There's a shadow that everyone has seen and most of my coworkers think it's the man who built the hotel but died before it opened. It freaked me out the first time I saw it. He's probably laughing at me dancing around the laundry room. While I haven't finished any big projects, I have done some small things. I glittered some sneakers

because I needed more purple sparkle in my life. I've also been embellishing my book bag, inspired by so many ideas I've seen on pinterest and around on blogs:

My button skull is still a bit wonky, but I really like how it's all looking so far. I have a few more ideas, too. It's amazing how many things are in my big stash of stuff that lead to inspiring my imagination. I wish I had a Spirograph, though. A few years ago I saw where someone had used one to make an embroidery design. Wouldn't that be great on a bag? Maybe with some zentangles! That's all for today. Try to stay cool outside.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

For The Well-Read Sex Symbol

As I mentioned last time, I planned to make something to celebrate Marilyn's birthday. I've read lots of biographies and they all say the same thing - Marilyn loved to read. She didn't finish high school and read to make up for the lack of education. The Marilyn Encyclopedia called her the "best-read dumb blonde" in Hollywood. I decided to make a bag inspired by another famous book lover-the Grainger Bag inspired by Hermione in the Harry Potter series. As for fabrics, I wanted to use stash. I decided to use some jeans that Eric had worn out and was going to toss. (In fact, the only thing I had to buy was a pack of denim needles for my machine. I had everything else.) You may know that Marilyn really rocked jeans. She was an early wearer in Hollywood and wore them in her movies, as well:

The bag turned out great -

It's big - almost 20" long and, well, let me show you a scale picture:

Inside the bag is the Encyclopedia, and the squares are an inch long. This bag will hold plenty! It has four pockets inside:

The lining fabric is quilting cotton that I bought a few years ago. I had made a dress that didn't turn out, so it's been added to the recycle box. I like how the pattern looks like the marbled pages inside older books. (I've seen tutorials for making marbled paper. It's been hard to resist trying it!) Because I used what I had, I had to make some modifications to the pattern. The strap is fixed in length, not adjustable. It hits me at my hip, which is just right. I didn't have a magnetic closure, so the top is open. Maybe, eventually, I'll make a buttonhole or add some other closure. Since the denim is old and worn I don't have to worry about it getting dirty - it can handle a trip through the washer. I can decorate the outside with some patches or get crazy with paint like Melanie did with her jeans, although she's much more artistic than I. Tomorrow I start a new job. I've been nervous and antsy for the past couple of days. Thank goodness my little shadow has been around -

He's always making sure I know that, well, he needs me and appreciates me - even if it is as the one who feeds him and plays with him. He was sleeping on the couch when I went outside to take pictures. I turned around and there he was, watching through the door. If anyone is looking for me, they can just follow the cat. It's crazy. Last week I planted four pepper plants. The bunnies have eaten three of them. But, look! A little pepper!

I love seeing little tiny vegetables. They're so cute. I saw a tiny baby bat when I was out, too, but didn't think to take a picture. I hope he made it back to his nest. I think bats are cool. We have a group of them that live in the roof of our porch. I like that they eat the bugs that bother me. That's all for today. I need to go be busy to burn off some of this pre-job stress or I'll explode. Then who would feed Joshua? Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Following The Muse

It's been a little while since I've shared any finished makes. I've been busy making more things! In April, I finished knitting a retro-inspired top called St. Moritz from a book called Knitting It Old School that I've had for a couple of years. I love how the top turned out, except the yarn is too rough to wear next to my skin. It felt fine while I worked with it and the swatch didn't feel bad - and I've used this yarn before in another color and it's great. I guess this bright magenta just wanted to be rough!

I also finally made a kimono-style jacket. The fabric has been in my stash for decades...and I kind of hate being old enough to say that! But the kimono turned out great. I used a "pattern" from pinterest and every bit of my piece of fabric. I made a sash, too, but forgot to take it out for a picture.

I also recently finished crocheting a drapey vest, also with deep stash. The yarn is from Goodwill, bought when the boy child was a new baby. A local yarn distributor had donated their whole supply. The labels are all in Greek, but I think this yarn is cotton with some nylon for the silvery strands.

I've been distracted, though, by my bead stash. Every time I start to work on something the beads grab my attention. I've found that they're a great way for me to refocus my thoughts when I get really upset (often, as it turns out, in my life). I just turn on some music and start stringing. Time flies by and I'm much calmer. I've finished these necklaces so far in the past four weeks or so:

The one on the left is an experiment - I strung about six feet of seed beads on some silk yarn (thread weight) and held it with a second strand of the silk to crochet a chain. Then I chained that chain with a bigger hook and tied it into a circle. It's really light for how chunky it is. I started it as a ind of prototype for an idea that's been haunting me. Since it turned out so cool my bigger project has been green-lighted. Last week was the anniversary of Marilyn's birthday - she would have been 90 years old. I'm working on a project to celebrate her life - and not just the glamorous movie star part. It's also from stash materials. Since she grew up in the Depression I'm sure she would appreciate and understand why. I've also had Theda Bara on my mind. I recently saw A Fool There Was, I think the only movie she made that still fully exists. It has stuck in my mind for both the beautiful clothes and the content. We still have movies about "bad" women who ruin the men who fall for them. Some things just don't change, do they? Eric borrowed the first season of Game of Thrones from a friend and we've watched about half of it. It's not doing much for me. I know it's hugely popular. I'm not seeing why. I don't like shows that take several episodes to a full season to get "interesting" - I want to like at least one character right away. I also don't care for "bad people are bad, good people are stupid" kinds of stories. I do quite like a new show called Houdini and Doyle that's on Fox. It's a police procedural, like so many shows, but it's main characters are Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle. I couldn't resist! The main police officer is a beautiful woman who reminds me of Hermione in her logical approach to things. The costumes are gorgeous. It's nice to enjoy a show after so many have crapped out on me. Of course, we're now into the summer television season, so I should maybe look for new stuff. I'm enjoying old movies so much, though, that I forget! I did recently watch The Great Gatsby. Kerry had told me that it's his favorite, so I had to check it out. I love the book and have read it several times (but couldn't find it for him to read, darn it!). It's a beautiful movie. I think it really captured the feeling of the book with the opulence next to the desolation in such a small area. I'd love to find an autographed copy of the DVD for Kerry for Christmas. Maybe I'll be able to save up enough in six months! Okay, I'd better get going. I have work to finish before the lure of the bead stash grabs me again. What will I do when the well runs dry? Oh, I'll think about that another time. See y'all later!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Too Sparkly? Nah!

Last week I couldn't sleep, so I just snuggled under my covers and thought about things. I wondered how I didn't have any pins to glue on the back of the shrink plastic dragon I'd made when my stash of supplies is so big and varied. Then I thought about other things that could be made with the shrink plastic and how they could be made and decided to experiment with earrings. The next day I found some round things to trace and a purple marker. I made a bunch of different sized circles and colored them on both sides before baking them. The color wasn't quite as strong as I'd hoped, so I got out the glitter nail polish. I used three different polishes to get a look that was perfect. I super-glued some posts on the back, linked the circles together, and voila!

They're very long but super light and make a gentle jingle when I move. I love them. I need to put some top coat on them to keep the sparkles where they are, though, so I don't wind up with chips around the edges. They touch my shoulders and I have to wear my hair up so I don't get tangled up, but look at how they are when worn (but ignore how icky I look):

Of course, I have tons more ideas for big, sparkly earrings now. I have a place to work, too, so I don't have to clean up my mess to fix dinner or anything. The ideas will have to be written down and sketched for now, though, because I seem to be developing the hereditary arthritis in my hands. It's not a good time. Last night I could barely turn a door knob. I won't stop doing what I do, though, because I would probably explode in frustration. There are too many things to make for me to just give it all up. When I'm hurting a lot I enjoy an old movie or two and admire the brilliant actresses of the 30s and 40s - and not knitting while watching means that silent movies are easier to keep up with because I read all of the cards. Well, I'd better get going. Joshua seems to be up to no good. He's got spring fever and can't keep from climbing the screens to try to chase the birds and squirrels. I'd better go get him before he gets stuck somewhere.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Experimenting With Shrinking

It's been awhile! Sorry about that. I've been slowly working in my new craft room, fixing it up and arranging everything. It's a work in progress and probably won't be perfect for a long time. I don't even have all of my stuff in there! I've discovered that I have more supplies than I thought. One of my favorite parts so far is my display of pretty little purses:

They're all thrifted by my mom from when she volunteered at the charity shop. A couple of them still had their retail price tags - a hundred bucks. I should just start using the bigger ones daily because they're fun. Right now I'm enjoying how they decorate the corner. I've seen a ton of tutorials for using plastic containers as shrink plastic but, since I don't buy things from the bakery or deli department, never had a chance to try it. Last week, though, I got some monkey bread for Khloe and her friend and noticed that it was the right kind...so I had to try it! I cut the pieces apart and traced a couple of images from coloring books. I watched them as they shrank in the oven - easily amused, I am. Check out the results:

Look at how little they got! The original dragon picture is about 3" by 5" and the original butterfly is about 2 1/2" long. I think I'll glue some pin backs on them and wear them as brooches - maybe add a bit of glitter or something, too. I have tons of ideas now and want to scour the internet for clip art to trace. This is one of those times when I wish I could draw, let me tell ya! I need to find the rest of our markers, too. I know there's about a zillion around here somewhere. I have a big stole that I finished, too -

It's cotton yarn, very light, and the finished stole is about seven feet long (about 2 1/2 meters). It will be nice to have this summer for dramatic tossing over my shoulders and such. It was really hard to get a picture of. Since it's pink and purple it matches nearly everything I wear. In Joshua news, whatever was making him sickly is gone. He's super cat-like now, bouncing around and playing constantly and eating like a little horse. He's trying to make up for being sick for a year and a half by being extra crazy whenever possible. I'm so happy that he's better. We thought, more than once, that he wouldn't make it. Now the girl child is trying to talk me into getting a little dog because obviously Joshua needs a playmate. That's all for today. I'll be back with more goodies and experiments soon.

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Month, Finally

Wow, January kind of of sucked. It's enough to get the girl child back into school mode after being out on break for two weeks, but then David Bowie died. That was a shock. I held myself together long enough to get the girls to school (we heard the news on the radio) but cried the whole way home. Many blogs wrote about their feelings, but this one really touched me. I can't imagine too many other performers who meant so much to so many people. Then that week ended with Alan Rickman dying. You all know how much I love Harry Potter. He's also in a movie called CBGB that I really enjoy, so I watched it on netflix and read a couple of threads on Ravelry that shared feelings and celebrated his work. The very next day I got some unpleasant news about my son that hurt me a lot. Then we finish the month with a medical diagnosis for my dad that's only going to get worse. So my year is starting off quite crappily. I've been restless and antsy because I can't process so much at once. Last week I decided to check the charity shop. It was a good idea - lots of new goodies! They had cones of yarn - I'll be doing a burn test to determine the fiber. Three cones is more than enough for a couple of huge projects or dozens of small ones. I found lots of fabric, too. And these great patterns:

Aren't they cool? Three of them, the 70s ones, are too small for me so lots of tracing and adjusting will be required. I suppose I should finish getting my sewing area cleaned out and set up. The Butterick dress reminds me of something Sarah Jane would have worn during her adventures with the Fourth Doctor. I tried to look for some of her outfits but got teary-eyed knowing that the current Doctor won't get to have an adventure with her. Wouldn't they be great together? That's all for today. I'll be back soon, maybe even with something good to share. Have a lovely week!