Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Return of Crash.... the compound was a happy occasion indeed. Having survived his bronchioscopy with nary a scratch (except the weeks' worth of IV holes, of course), he looks better than he has in weeks and fully enjoyed a home-cooked meal for the first time in 6 days. Armed with a smorgasbord of new meds, he now awaits the results of his test. I don't know why these things take so long. Two weeks? Really? But then, I have many customers who could say the same about ME, so I shouldn't bark too loudly. Just as tailoring customers must wait their turn, so must patients.

Today's review is All About Steve, starring Sandra Bullock. If you've not seen this movie, my recommendation is: don't bother. I like Sandra Bullock, I've probably seen all of her movies, and I think she's a great actor. But the nerdy Mary, with whom we're presumably supposed to empathize and root for, was just too annoying for words. I couldn't get past that. Mary is a crossword puzzle writer by trade (excuse me, cruciverbalist), and her parents set her up on a blind date with Steve, whom she then proceeds to stalk across the country. Sounds like it could be funny, and there are a few moments, but mostly it falls flat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Birds are at my feeder....

...finally. I was beginning to think they ALL went south this year, chickadees and cardinals included. But today there was a sparrow on the feeder and a nuthatch on the suet. Maybe they'll spread the word. I've heard that there is a dip in the bird population this year because of the crappy summer we had, weather-wise. I don't know where that info came from or how true it is, but I guess it makes about as much sense as anything else.

As some of you already know, my dad Crash is in the hospital. Tomorrow he's having a (and pardon my spelling) bronchioscopy to see why it is that he can't get enough air. Sparky is maintaining, going down to see him every day and taking care of business at home. I'm pretty sure she didn't need anymore holiday season stress, but it is what it is. So now we just have to wait and find out WHAT it is.

Today I'm reviewing Angels and Demons, which stars Tom Hanks reprising his role from The DaVinci Code. Having read all of Dan Brown's books (except his latest release), I have to say that while I really liked DaVinci, I thought Angels and Demons was a much better book. Ditto the movies. It may not actually be the case, but I got the impression as I watched this movie that if I hadn't read the book, I would be having a bit of difficulty following the intricacies of the plot. It stands on its own as an action movie, but as is usually true of movies based on books, there is only so much that translates to the screen. Tom Hanks and Ewan MacGregor both gave excellent performances, and the machinations of the villain reminded me of "Se7en" (a really well-done movie which I liked but still found too twisted to ever watch again) I think that if you've read the book, you will not be disappointed in the movie. If you liked the movie, you should read the book. And if you've done neither, read the book first.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How do people in Florida do it?

So the other day here in southern RI, it was 75 degrees and sunny. It's RI and it's DECEMBER, and it was 75 degrees and sunny. How in the world is anybody supposed to muster any Christmas spirit under these conditions?? But today it's supposed to snow, and I've heard that if you don't like the weather in New England you should wait a minute, but this is just stupid.

Today's review is Nights in Rodanthe, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks and starring two of the most attractive people on the planet, Richard Gere and Diane Lane. I read this book several years ago, and if you liked the book you should see the movie. As far as I can recall, it stayed pretty true to the book. For the people who haven't read the book, it goes like this; Diane is estranged from her cheating husband and comes to North Carolina to get away from it all for a weekend, managing her friend's inn. The one guest, Richard (who is struggling with his own crises) arrives soon after. If you're a fan of Nicholas Sparks' work, you know that things don't always work out the way you think they're going to. That's all I'm going to say about the plot. I liked this movie, which was indeed filmed in Rodanthe and other locations in coastal North Carolina. There are several aerial shots of the inn itself, which is built right on the beach and made me want to stay there...although it did make me wonder why people go through so much trouble to build such things in a place that gets whacked by hurricanes on a regular basis. But I digress. This is, of course, a chick flick. But a good one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What I do for fun when I'm not sewing...., Or in this case, No-sew. I finally got around to making these banners for our band so that people will know who they're watching. Instead of making a big banner for the wall and then having the problem of trying to find a way to hang it, I decided to make two smaller ones that will hang from our speakers with velcro. These were made with heat n bond ultra hold, and then the small details of the Bleeding Cowboys font I added with paint.

Today's movie review is The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. I really liked this movie, and it's also something Sparky can watch (no violence, obnoxious language or overt sex). It's a romantic comedy, most of which is set in Alaska. It was, actually, filmed mostly in Massachusetts, and the scenery is truly stunning. The story was not as predictable as most romantic comedies, and the fact that Betty White is in it...well, it's my firm belief that ANY movie can be vastly improved by the addition of Betty White. Not that this movie needed improvement. I highly recommend it. It's very funny and a very sweet story. And getting back to Betty White, if you're browsing around YouTube you should check out the clips of her on the Craig Ferguson show. She's just got to be the funniest woman on the planet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Not much changes around here... that must be why I never remember to post. Can not believe it has been since August! As I said, not much has happened. HopArts came and went with not much excitement. The weather was lousy, and once again they had my location marked on the wrong street. But I got to hang out with Carol all weekend, which is always a good time! Thanksgiving with my parents Sparky and Crash was nice, low-key and nobody left the yard. Most of the conversation centered around PJ and Kaela moving to CA next year, so that was interesting.

Since there does not seem to be much about which to write of late, I have decided to appoint myself a movie critic. My son was a film major for a time, so I figure that qualifies me by osmosis. Plus, Ill pretty much watch anything. Except the Saw movies, no way Im going there. Ever. But we watch a lot of movies, so I have plenty of material to work with. Most of these will not be first run movies, but we have every movie channel known to man so theres probably something youve heard of but havent seen yet (forgive me, my apostrophe key is not working).

Crank and Crank 2 Im going to do these in one shot because if you like one, you will like both...and vice versa. I had heard of Crank but never saw it until just recently. The premise is that this guy, who I guess is some sort of hitman, has run afoul of the Chinese mob. They have injected him with a poison that will kill him unless he keeps his heart rate going rapidly. So in the search for his nemeses, he spends the movie ingesting caffiene, cocaine, whatever else he can find, having sex in public, and engaging in one car chase after another. While I know this SOUNDS like cinematic gold, I didnt love it. I have no problem with gratuitous sex and violence to a point, but thats all there is to this movie. Plus it looks like it was filmed by somebody following our hero around with a handheld cam, which I know was done on purpose but I found it really hard to follow. If you like Crank, then youll love the sequel. I watched it because...well, I dont really know why. Preston put it on and I was there so thats what we watched. I thought maybe the second time around it would get better. It got worse. Our hero has now, against his will, had a heart transplant and must track down his own heart while trying to keep his new artificial heart going with whatever electrical charges he can find. There actually were a few funny moments in this film, but not enough to make it a comedy. The rest of it was pretty much more of the same stuff we got in the first movie. Including the car chases and the sex in public.

If nonstop action is your thing, you might like these. They waste no time getting right to the chase, and it doesnt stop until the very last frame.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let The Barn Raisin' Begin....

...and so it has. Preston has set the concrete blocks that will make up the basis for my storage shed. Picture, if you can, him holding a piece of pipe whilst I, in the fading daylight, use a small sledgehammer to pound it down through two concrete blocks to stabilize them. I can barely hit a nail on the head twice in a row on a GOOD day when I can actually see it. There were a couple of close calls, and Preston was fearing, if not for his life, at least for his fingers. But the day ended well, nobody lost any limbs or needed any stitches. So far, so good.
Also this week, it's the last week before the powwow and I am just swamped with work. I'm not complaining, mind you, I am thankful to have a job. I just wish there were some way I could prepare for this in January and February when I'm twiddling my thumbs.
Carol and I have entered HopArts, which happens in October. That's something to look forward to, also something for which we'll need to prepare and we should start now. For details, visit

Chapter 81, In Which We Get Rid Of Stuff....

....yay!!! Here at "The Compound", as someone dubbed it the other day, we have two families' worth of stuff. My parents (and by that I mean my Dad, because my Mom doesn't have much stuff at all) have been accumulating stuff for going on 50 years. Preston and I have only been at it for 25, but that means there's cumulatively 75 years worth of stuff here. Sooner or later, no matter how much space you might have, you need to get rid of some stuff. This week my Dad got rid of a junk car, and I got rid of my camper, the only thing I have to store my fabric in. I know it SOUNDS like a bad idea, and it's making things really difficult to find because now all my stuff is crammed into Preston's old van, but it'll all be for the best. The camper leaked, smelled musty, and was infested with ants and mice and God only knows what else. So I'm getting my own shed. There are no words to describe how happy that makes me. My mom is also happy, yesterday she called me at work to give me the good news before the old car was even out of the yard. "There it goes!!!" she said. It was a good day for everyone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Knew It Was Coming....

...when the screen on Preston's phone ceased to display anything other than the black screen of death; a trip to the Verizon store. He tried to spare me by looking for online tech support, bless his heart, but to no avail. Much like death and taxes, it was unavoidable.

I hate going to the Verizon store. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I would seriously rather go to the dentist. I consider myself an intelligent person, but at the Verizon store I feel...outmaneuvered. I don't understand the pricing plans, no matter HOW many times the salespeople explain them to me, I don't understand when or why I might or might not qualify for a new phone-or an "upgrade", I believe the term is, because you can't just get the same phone you got last time now that you've grown used to it-and I don't understand the phones themselves. The last time we got new phones, Preston laughed at me for getting the "welfare phone". It was absolutely the cheapest phone I could find. But I didn't really get it just because it was cheap (and I might add that my welfare phone was still working just fine when his phone gave up the ghost), I got it because it had the fewest number of extraneous functions. Look, I don't text. I don't have the time or inclination (or the eyesight) to play games on my phone, or surf the internet, or download music, or any of that. I just wanted a phone that makes and receives calls. That was cause for some amusement at the Verizon store. I didn't even want one that took pictures, but such a thing was not available. So imagine my angst at now having a phone that not only does things that I don't need it to do, but it opens up and inside are even more things I'll most likely never's got a full keyboard, because apparently it's meant for texting. And it takes pictures, plays music, etc. etc. etc. And this, believe it or not, was the current "welfare phone". It was the cheapest thing there was. The salesman was trying to impress me with the texting thing, and I told him, I don't do that, don't know how, not interested. He laughed and looked at me like he felt sorry for me, which I actually found pretty offensive but not wanting to cause a scene, I didn't say so.

So here's the thing I've come to realize about me...I am quite technologically impaired. And as I've said, I'm an intelligent person, so I blame it on simple hardheaded stubbornness. I probably have ADD, for real, because the thought of sitting still and focusing on this stuff long enough to learn it just makes my eyes cross and my brain wants to go to its happy place. I can't work the VCR and all that other stuff that's all hooked up to each other via the spaghetti pile in back of the TV (and I'm only 45 so it's not old age). And the remotes to all that stuff? Forget it. My guitar amp has way too many knobs and switches, and my guitar is not far behind. I don't see the whole point of texting when you have a phone and can just speak to each other. I refuse to Twitter. My microwave has functions that I've never used, ditto my phone, my car, my MP3 player, my clothes dryer, my camera, and of course, my computer. My husband, of course, is the complete opposite of that. He's a total technophile. If it's new and improved, he wants to know about it. And he sucks up all that information like a sponge, and retains it all for future use. I think if I didn't have him to program stuff for me (and put music on my MP3 player, cause I don't know how) I'd probably descend into the dark ages.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Buried Treasure in the back yard...

...of course, the fact that I was the one who buried it didn't lessen my excitement at the new idea it inspired. The above pieces are from an old English china pitcher that I picked up God knows where, with the intention of selling it in E-bay. Well once cleaned up, I realized that it had too much crazing to be worth anything, but rather than throw it away, I left it sitting in the yard where I had washed it, pending some thought as to what to do with it. It WAS very pretty, all delicate roses and little white something-or-others ( I told you, gardening's not really my forte).

Anyway, fast forward a couple of years, during which time it got moved over to a remote corner of the yard along with some old paint cans and the radiator that came out of PJ's car (why such things are still in the yard at all remains a mystery I cannot solve) and was put into some sort of plastic bin which eventually filled up with rainwater. Funny thing about this china, if you soak it long enough it breaks and separates into layers. I don't know how long that process actually takes, as I said it was there for a couple of years. And today I was halfheartedly attempting some yard work, and there it was. Broken. And of course I thought, wow! Jewelry! Cause that's how my mind works. Heaven forbid I should just throw anything away (THANKS DAD!!!!) So I brought the pieces in the house and nibbled away at them with pliers until they were of a manageable size. I have a picture in my mind of how they're going to magically morph into pendants and earrings, but that's a project for tomorrow because I think maybe they need to dry out some first.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's That Time Again.....

...that's right, time to start planning the garden. I realize that some people (you know who you are, Buffy) never STOP planning their gardens, but some of us can only take just so much disappointment in one year and then, like childbirth, it's a pain we forget and so that leads us, once again, to this point.

It arrived just after Christmas, just like it does every year; the Burpee's catalog. The Burpee's catalog, for you sane people who don't feel moved to go play in the dirt, is just porn for gardeners. That's all it is. Page after page of full-color, airbrushed photos in which everything looks unbelieveably big and firm and juicy...all designed to make you think you can actually make this happen at home. But really, you just have to look at them and think, much like you might with some other magazines, that those just can't possibly be real.

Nevertheless, hope does tend to spring eternal, and I placed my order (we're talking plants now, just in case I lost you in the last paragraph) and I'm going to pretend that last year's garden was just a bad dream. My neighbor has already generously dumped a load of something magical in our garden, courtesy of the 3 bulls that will no doubt stand and snicker among themselves as we attempt to get our little patch of land to produce something edible besides cucumbers. I'm not even planting them this year, but I have the uneasy feeling that they'll be back anyway.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christmas is Finally Over....

...just in time for spring. Finished Sparky's Christmas present the other day, just in time for her birthday. Sad, really, that it took me 3 months to get them all done, but I seem to lack the mental resources to plan ahead. That's because I'm always scrambling at the last minute to finish the stuff that should have been done already. It's what Sparky calls a vicious cycle. But it's not even noon yet, and I'm still on my first cup of tea so I'm not going to delve too deeply into my brain right now.

Since I last posted, I seem to have created a monster where my husband used to be. Because all the women in my family and some of the men were doing it (and yes, I probably would jump off the bridge), I signed on to Facebook. I found it to be a pretty cool thing, and so I suggested to Preston that he sign up. And since he did, he's spent way, WAY more time on there than I have. All his relatives from Virginia and also the ones up here are contacting him, as well as old friends and the children of friends he hasn't seen in 30 years. They're all posting old pictures and home movies to share, and I'm getting to see people I have only heard about. It's nice to finally be able to connect faces to the names! Maybe that's why they call it Facebook.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reinventing the wheel......

...well, they LOOK like wheels anyway. Spokes and all. I realize that this has most likely all been done before, but I didn't look them up on Etsy or anywhere else, I instead looked at the orange I had for lunch. I figure if I didn't see somebody else do it (or explain to me how they did), it is, for the most part, original.
Inspired in part by the aforementioned JooJoos, and in part by the misery of the accursed winter wonderland in my back yard, the voices in my head (oh yeah, I said that. Don't act like you don't have them too.) have been whispering of fresh strawberries and summery citrus fruits. So in spite of the fact that I really DO have more important things to do (and if they just happen to be YOUR things, I'm really sorry but after all, it WAS my day off!), I dragged the old pasta machine out of its dusty hiding place in the camper-where-few-dare-to-tread and steel-wooled it in anticipation of spending the evening playing with my polymer clay. Earrings? Maybe buttons? Probably both. I definitely need to make some buttons to go with the dress that I have planned!

Since I finished the strawberry dress, the next thing in my mind was one with orange, lemon, and/or lime slices. I swear I saw some really cute, bright fabric with little slices on it at some point, but when I went back to the fabric store, nothing of the kind was there. Maybe I dreamed it. Which is ok, because the more I think about it, the more I think it needs to be a white dress with applique' fruits on it. And matching buttons. I am trying to make my stuff as different as possible from anybody else's.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth..... not Disney. Sorry. It's I could go there every day, if I had the time, and spend hours just in awe of all the creativity of the people who have Etsy stores. The first place you have to go, and here's the link, is to Joo Joo Land.These tiny little creations are just amazing, especially if you've worked with polymer clay and you know how hard it is (ok, maybe it's just me) to work with itty bitty little pieces. Another of my favorites is Creation Cottage. Ok, I know I'm supposed to promote my OWN work, and I do have an Etsy store too. But really, sometimes you get tired of looking at your own stuff and everyone else's just seems so much better!

Well in case you didn't notice, it's still winter. Sunny here in RI, but cold and windy and I'm trying very hard to appreciate the seasons, all of them, but does this one have to be so LONG?? One of my customers in the shop the other day was regaling me with tales of Arizona, just to torture me. Trying to convince his wife to move there, and she does love it there but she says she'd miss the seasons. On days like today, I feel pretty strongly that the seasons are overrated. At least THIS one is. Here's how I think it should be; After spring and summer, which are ok, we should have fall for 4-1/2 months. Then 6 weeks of winter, when we get all the snow and ice and freezing rain that we're going to get for the year. At the end of that we have Christmas, then we move right into spring. None of this messing around with ice and mud and will-it-snow-one-more-time baloney. It's 20, then it's 60, then it snows, then it's 60 day I've got my doors and windows open, the next day I'm huddled next to the wood stove.

Maybe I should move to Joo Joo Land.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Are your eyes bleeding yet, from the pinkness?....

....Perhaps not. If not, then you need to adjust the settings on your monitor, because this is probably the pinkest fabric there is. Impossibly, ridiculously pink. Painful pink. And I have decided to make capris and a top out of it. No, not for me, for some unsuspecting little girl. It'll work, trust me. Have I ever lied to you?

Tonight I will reveal an embarrasing truth about myself: I am way too invested in American Idol. We have been watching since, I think, season 3. This season, however, there are more truly talented people on there than ever. It's going to be hard to see some of them not make it through to the next round. But during Hollywood Week I picked out Danny Gokey as this year's winner. Probably not a good thing to do, because there are so many people whom I haven't even seen yet. Usually Preston picks the winner when they get to the top 12, and he's almost always right. There's something really likeable about Danny though, as a talented singer among talented singers, he seems really geniune. Kind of like David Archuleta last season, only not as dorky. Don't get me wrong, I liked David. He was my pick early on in the season. But the "golly gosh" stuff wore a little thin by the time we were done. Anyway, I like Danny this year, but there's also the dude who plays dueling piano...can't remember his name. He's really good too. See? I told you I was too invested.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Power of Subliminal Messaging.... undeniable, although sometimes I don't think it has the intended effect. Case in point:This little purse I just finished today. It's just a simple little bag, crocheted, with a red flannel heart hand-applique'd on the front. It's lined with the same red flannel. I had this idea weeks ago, it was something that just kind of popped into my head one day. So simple. So I've been working on it in between other stuff, and the thought was that maybe I'd have it done before Valentines' Day so I could display it in the store with whatever other Valentine-related stuff I had. Anyway, of COURSE it wasn't done, but that's beside the point. The point, and I do have one, is that the other day I was watching TV and suddenly found out where the idea came from. I didn't even remember seeing it. But there was this commercial, and this lady is in a little store shopping for hugs and laughs and good wishes, or whatever...maybe you've seen it. I don't remember what they were selling, but some part of my brain saw the little rectangular white things with red hearts on them sitting on the shelf and said "hey, we could make that at home". I think I was supposed to take away from that commercial some sort of meaning, but I don't think I got the one the advertisers wanted me to get. So much for my originality.

Anyway, still working on overdue Christmas stuff but I managed to finish my brother's shirt and the two shirts for Eleanor. Now all I have to do is Sparky's chickadee shirt and I'll be done with Christmas--just in time to start planning for the next one. No, I'm just kidding. I don't start planning for Christmas until, like, December 15. Could you tell? In the meantime I have Carol's shirt that needs a makeover. She's only been waiting since....ah....last April. I don't think these things should be rushed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Christmas ain't over....

....until the fat lady has finished making all the presents.One down, two to go! This one I made for Preston using my favorite technique, a combination of applique and fabric paint. It's on the back of a denim jacket. Now I just have to finish the shirt I'm doing for my brother, and the one I'm making for Sparky. Christmas just snuck up on me and I ran out of time. Oh yes, also I have to finish two shirts for Eleanor, who ordered a whole bunch of stuff from me for her family and had to settle for just MOST of the order. I did manage to get these done on time:So all was not lost. And Eleanor is very patient and understanding, thank goodness! OK, back to work.

Monday, January 5, 2009

So I'm Reading this Book...

...called "Buyology". It's actually nonfiction, which is quite a departure for me. Can't remember the last time I read something based in reality; usually I get enough reality in my real life and try to avoid it in my off hours. But I heard about this and it intrigued me; it's all about how the advertising industry is, using MRI-related technology, studying the very basic psychological reasons why we buy what we buy, in the hope that they can tailor their already obvious advertising strategies toward getting us to purchase more stuff we don't need. They're looking at which areas of our brain light up when we see certain images as opposed to other images that don't light us up as much. It's fascinating.

I wonder which areas of my brain light up when I go into the fabric store? I'm guessing all of them, because I can't seem to come out of there without lots of stuff I don't need. Like this piece that called to me from the pile of hundreds of flatfolds:The bees are very tiny. Bees light my brain up anyway, I think they're pretty much the coolest things going, and so when I saw these little cartoon-y bees I just had to have them. So this is the beginning of my spring line of baby/kids' clothes; I cut it out last night, a little onepiece suit with a sunhat. I'll have to figure out how to make a little stuffed bee or something to go with it. Next I have a piece of fabric that is this outrageous shade of pink with an allover dragonfly pattern in a lighter shade of pink, and I already have that earmarked for something.
In other news, my band has spent the last few weeks recording a CD so we can actually go out and book some shows. I'm pretty stoked about it, not just the playing of the shows but the whole recording process. I've done this in the shed in the back yard and I've done it in a studio, and I've got to say I prefer the shed in the back yard. The CD we made at home ended up sounding way better than the one we did in the studio that cost mucho money (how much money I don't know because I didn't pay for it, but it was a lot at $40 an hour). Joe's got all the recording equipment, and he seems to enjoy playing producer. I only wish PJ's band Decorus Mens was still together, I would have loved to get them in there and record their stuff, some of which was really, really good and now people will never get to hear it--a fact that seems to frustrate me WAY more than it does PJ for some reason.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Knew It Was Going To Be A Good Day....

...when I woke up and JUUUUdy Tenuta was on my TV. If you start out the day laughing like a fool, it just has to put you in a good frame of mind to deal with whatever CRAP comes your way today! If you have not experienced Judy Tenuta, look her up on YouTube. I haven't seen her recently, but her stuff from the 80's just never gets old.
Also knew it was going to be a good day because I am migraine-free after three days *sigh of relief*. It's like having three days of dark, miserable, soul-sucking rain and then on day four the sun comes out. I don't get them like some people--no nausea, flashing lights, and I don't have to confine myself to a dark soundless room--but they're bad enough. I do get some symptoms I've never heard anyone else describe though; at the end of a migraine I am simultaneously beset by the desire to sleep for several days straight, and the compulsion to consume everything in my path. All that hit me last night, so I knew the end was in sight.