Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking for the birds.... not something I plan to make a habit. Not really cost effective, when you can get those suet things for next to nothing at Job Lot. BUT, Sparky gave me this recipe last year that I just got around to making and it seems to be working pretty well. I would never have bothered if I didn't already have some cornmeal in my freezer that was past its prime, so I just picked up some cheap (cheep) peanut butter at the dollar store and tried it out. It's worth doing only if you have some expired peanut butter or some stale cornmeal, but the recipe only makes three cakes so really, you can buy suet things for like a dollar apiece.

Last year, because of the weather I guess, we had next to no birds at our feeders. Sparky was despondent, and I wasn't far behind. This year, however, they've returned with a vengeance and boy, are they hungry. And they brought friends; we've got birds I've never seen before at my feeder, pine warblers and actual woodpeckers (the big fat ones, not the little black and white ones). There's also something only Preston has seen, he described it to me and it didn't sound familiar so I'm on watch for that. I wish I had a bigger window in the side of my house!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas is coming....

...or IS IT???

Can't believe I haven't posted anything since July. But things have been busy here at the Compound, and more than a little stressful, as many of you are aware. Anyway, there are two things that work for me to relieve stress at least somewhat; baking, which I have been doing as evidenced by the fact that my jeans are getting a little snug, and creating stuff. Even though I have things I SHOULD be making/sewing, I find myself seized by the irresistable urge to do other things, like the papier mache' trees I started. I say "started" because they've hit a speed bump and now I must wait to finish them. I hate to wait.
What happened was that I saw something in Martha Stewart or Victoria or one of those pretty magazines, and it flipped a switch in my head. The ones I saw were not made out of papier mache, but something about their nontraditional color or the way they were decorated just grabbed me. I could go back and look again, but I won't because my trees will now go in some completely other direction and that's ok. Anyway, I had a bag of papier mache' mix so I made cones out of cardboard for a base, and plastered them with the goop. That's when I hit the speed bump. They are taking FOR-FREAKING-EVER to dry, and I swear it's been like a week. They were in my kitchen, but then I moved them over to the table near the woodstove but I can still push the sides in a little with my finger. I found this site (check it out, it's really amazing!) where I read that if your project isn't absolutely 100% dry before you paint it, it will ROT FROM THE INSIDE OUT!!!! wow, scary. So I wait. I am not really thrilled with this mix, either, so next time I think I'll just make my own since the recipes are on the website. The mix is quite lumpy, which as it turns out was just fine for what I was doing, but I may want to do other things that I want to be smooth. Plus, it was pretty expensive for what it is, and if I can do the same thing with some toilet paper, joint compound and glycerin, so much the better.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things To Do On Your Day Off....

...don't usually include moving small buildings. Crash (visible supervising from the Crashmobile from a safe distance) decided to buy this shed so he'd have a place to store his Crashmobiles where they'd be easily accessible. The only problem was how to get it to where it needed to be. It was brought to the house on a flatbed, and without a plan past how to get it home, it ended up being dumped on its side in the driveway. Our neighbors, a which include several large men used to lifting heavy objects, offered help but for some reason it was politely declined. I was at work at the time or I might have tended to disagree with that decision. Anyway, several days later we were faced with several engineering/physics problems. How to get the thing righted and moved out of the way? Preston came up with the method you see here, which was working for the moment, but after a couple hours of jacking and pulling with the truck we hadn't gained a whole lot, and with just the two of us we lacked the manpower necessary to make it work.

Our neighbors watched this from their back yard for as long as they could stand it, then came over and said "we're GOING to help you"...and proceeded to accomplish in 5 minutes what we would have taken the rest of the afternoon to do (if at all).

There's a moral to this story, and I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell you what it is.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Is It Just Me.....

...or are people really taking leave of their senses at an alarming rate? Recent events here in the valley seem to indicate a definite departure from--well, common sense--but since both of the following incidents were witnessed by yours truly, maybe it IS me. You be the judge.

So, I pull up to the pump at Cumby's to get some gas. It's not really busy, only two of the pumps are occupied, including mine. I go inside to pay and get the milk and daily whatevers, and when I come out only one pump (out of a possible 6) is occupied, and that would be by me. BUT, while I was inside, a car pulled up behind me to wait. With 5 other possible choices. Okay, maybe he/she is too lazy to pull around and face the other way, but even assuming that to be the case, there are still 2 other pumps open. So I figure, maybe they think I'm all done and going to leave. Still doesn't make much sense to me, but maybe this is the guy's lucky pump or something. I put my whatevers in the car and disengage the nozzle from the pump. I proceed to pump a significant amount of gas which of course takes a significant amount of time, and the person waits until I'm done and during this time NOBODY else comes in to get gas so all the other pumps remain open. Make any sense to you? Maybe he/she wasn't in a hurry, and it's really nobody's business if they didn't mind waiting, but why in the world would you pull up behind the ONLY car at a 6-pump station? Why?

Example #2, even (to me) more baffling. Today I go to my local Chinese restaurant for take-out. It's raining, has been raining heavily for the last hour. The parking lot is packed. Two spaces are available, way on the farthest end of the lot. I'm not fazed, it's only rain and at this point it's not too heavy. What does frost my shorts is the fact that somewhat closer to the building a car has pulled in purposely sideways and is taking up two spaces. Nice car, looks new, out-of-state plates. Two people are in the front seat, apparently sitting there talking. The part that annoys me is that there's an elderly woman walking slowly with a cane, through the rain, from the far end of the parking lot when these two people are sitting there having a discussion that I'm pretty sure could have been accommodated by ONE parking spot. The bitchy part of my brain visualizes me knocking on their window and politely asking them if they're aware that there are, in fact, other people. But the sensible part of my brain counters with the argument that this is how road rage happens and people get shot. Anyway, I go in and get my food. Come out, and the car is still in the two spaces. I get in my car and proceed to back out of my spot into the crowded parking lot, making the 15-point turn now necessary because the aforementioned car has now pulled out and parked IN the lot, so instead of occupying two spaces, they are now blocking them completely, along with a good portion of the space in the middle of the lot. I resist the urge to sit there like a jackass blowing my horn, also the more appealing urge to ram the car out of the way with my bigger one (no road rage here). As I pull by the car to leave, I see that they probably would not have noticed either, because they're now engaged in...well, something other than conversation.

Now I'm FAR from perfect. I do brainless things all the time. But I try not to let anybody else find out about it (some of you, and I can hear you, are laughing hysterically. Shame on you). Not always possible to keep it a secret. Not even usually possible. But I guess I secretly always assume everybody else has their shit together for the most part, and it always messes me up when I witness something that tells me that the rest of the world is probably just as addled as I am. While this seems like it should be comforting, it's actually a little disturbing. Because I can only too easily imagine the people running my town/police force/country doing things like...oh, losing something you had 30 seconds ago when you have not moved from that spot, and walking out the door without the very thing which precipitated that trip into town in the first place, or forgetting the name of the person to whom you were just introduced almost before the handshake is over, or not being able to decipher ones' own notes a mere two hours after one has written them.

I guess I was hoping it WAS just me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'd Like to State for the Record....

...that I'm not a huge Daryl Hall or even Hall & Oates fan. But if you have a little time to listen, click on this pic and visit "Live from Daryl's House". It is an amazing, amazing project and I only wish I had more time to sit and appreciate. But I watch it when I can squeeze a few minutes in at a time (not really good at sitting still for that long, even for something as fascinating as this). What it is, basically, is Daryl collaborating with a variety of musicians and performing new and wonderful versions of their songs and his. So far my favorites are Plain White Tees performing "Hey There Delilah" and also the whole Finger 11 episode. Check it out.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Need A 12-Step Program....

...for new-project-addicts. Or maybe it's ADD, I don't know, because I can't seem to finish them. Whatever it is, I saw this little bureau in a yard sale and I couldn't pass it up. I didn't have any painting projects going, which is really no excuse because I have like 1,000 sewing projects started. It was quite old, handmade I suspect, and was in pretty good condition except for the muddy brown paint. And the ginormous dig in the top, which sanded out. Anyway, I started working on it right away but that was a couple of weeks ago and I haven't had time to continue. Which was ok, in the meantime I was turning it over in my mind...what to paint? I've settled on a design which involves either a wet-on-wet shading from pale blue to aqua, or more likely I will paint it blue and airbrush the aqua. Haven't used my airbrush in several years, and never really played with it enough to get proficient, but it seems like what's in my head will translate to reality better with the airbrush.Nothing much else going on here, I survived prom season once again without too much trauma, band is still playing on a more or less regular basis, Sparky and I are doing the Saturday morning yard sale thing again which makes us both happy. She offered to take her car and use her gas, but what if i find some piece of furniture I can't pass up? Better to have the minivan jsut in case. Last week I found an old metal thing that looks like it might have been a floor lamp stand at some point but we determined that it was more likely a birdcage stand. It was painted an ugly gold, but it was cast metal and ornate and screamed 1930's to me so now it's flat black and is going in the shop to display...something. Don't know what yet.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It all started with this thing...

...which I found in a consignment shop, brand new with the tag still on the bottom. It came from Ikea. I'm pretty sure it's a watering can, but who's to say it can't be a pitcher? Anyway, I thought it was different, and really, REALLY red, so I bought it. Several years ago. And Ever since I've wondered what to do with it. It seemed to me that it needed to be used as a gift-basket thing, but what to put in it? Gardening stuff? Too obvious, and it's really not very big.
At some point, I came across a remnant of apple fabric, which i thought was really cheerful, so as I have a thing for remnants, I picked it up. When I brought it home I set it down next to the watering can. Hmmmm....And then today, while I was looking for a new doormat, this plain set of apple-green potholders and dishtowels SCREAMED at me from the shelf, and that's when it all jelled. A little applique', a little strip here and there, and another project is completed! Well, almost.

Friday, January 22, 2010


....comes at me from all angles, and there are not enough hours in a day for me to perform all the tasks that my muses throw at me. Check out this fabric that Buffy gave me for Christmas:The background is much pinker in person. There's just enough of it for a little sundress and bonnet...BUT I have 5 other projects started already and can't let myself start this one yet!! Oh who am I kidding, I've already got the pattern out and am making plans for the trim to go with it. I'm tellin' ya, it's nervewracking how many cool things I don't have time to make. And being a big fan of Mary Engelbreit, I find cherries very appealing and bright and cheerful so it makes me happy to sew cherry fabric. Thanks again, Buffy! And on the subject of cherries, I already have a cherry dress started. Black background, white collar with handpainted cherries on it, HUGE red rickrack trim that I picked up somewhere so long ago that I don't remember where. BY the way I went to JoAnn fabric yesterday and was amazed to see the price of huge rickrack trim. Makes me very glad I am a packrat, as I have a big tote of various trims and whatnot that I picked up here and there and now I'm finding uses for them.

And on THAT note, it's time to go to work!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coming to you LIVE from a state of extreme displeasure....

...and feeling like my head is going to pop from the sheer stupidity of recent events.

This is not a politically-oriented blog. I am not a politically-oriented person, don't have a whole lot to say about politics. HOWEVER, something has happened that I find astounding and deeply disturbing. In their infinite wisdom, and we'd all like to believe that THAT isn't just a myth, our government, who is in charge of keeping us all safe and happy and well-cared-for (yeah I know, but just stay with me here) has changed it's schedule to accommodate fans of a TV show. If you haven't heard, the fans of "Lost" contacted the White House by the thousands, begging the press secretary to PLEASE move the scheduled broadcast of the State of the Union address because it was going to pre-empt the season premiere of their favorite show.

When I heard this little tidbit, which was reported on the national news with the same gravity given to the previous story regarding the CIA agents who were killed in Pakistan, my left eye began to twitch and I wished I could rewind the radio because I was sure, sure, that I could not have heard correctly. And I thought, wow, that's really beyond stupid. What these people are saying is that not only don't they care what the President has to say, but that the fate of fictional characters on a show that could undoubtedly be seen on the internet after its initial airing is more important to our country than the Presidental address. AND, they are demanding that the President interrupt someone else's TV show, anyone else's, except theirs. Wow, how incredibly selfish.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to watch the address. As I said: not politically oriented. Also I've never watched "Lost". I get annoyed when whatever I'm watching gets pre-empted by press conferences and speeches or whatever. But I've always respected and been somewhat comforted by the fact that my government doesn't have any regard for what else is on TV, because THEY SHOULDN'T!!!! This is real life here!! You don't want to watch it, don't watch it. Turn the TV off, watch PBS, go play on Facebook. But to ask that the government rearrange it's schedule to accommodate you so you don't have to miss your TV show... and the fact that it DID? What are these people thinking?? There are just not enough adjectives to describe how messed up this is.

Monday, January 4, 2010

If I can stop sneezing long enough....

...I'll see if I can post something. Preston gave me a cold for Christmas, thoughtful man that he is, and it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. But he's suffering right alongside me, so that's just one more thing we do together.

As it does every year, the spring cleaning bug hit me the day after Christmas. I think it stems from the fact that I have a very, very small house and Christmas, however wonderful, makes a big fat mess. I'm not a neat freak, far from it. Very, very far. But even I have my limits. Plus, ever looking forward, I am seized with the compulsion to begin the spring's projects. This probably all adds up to why I never get that post-holiday letdown I've heard about. So many things to do! I've got my spring "line" of clothes started, 5 outfits in the works and many more planned, I've orders still to finish for several people; ribbon shirts, regalia, a vest, Victorian dress shirts, and Kristel's Franken-dress. Also working on the granny-square afghan I started so long ago (we're talking years here) that the person who ordered it no longer wants it. It's a dark-red-and-cream checkerboard design, so I'd like to finish it in time to put out for my shop's Valentine's Day decor. But I have to work on it in between more pressing projects, so we'll see how that goes.

Today I'll review "Knowing", starring Nicholas Cage. If you haven't seen it, and you're one of those people for whom hearing the ending ruins the whole experience of the movie (I am not one of those people), let's just say I recommend it and you should read no further because I'm going to ruin it for you.

"Knowing" is one of those end-of-the-world disaster movies, much like 2012, although with not quite as many special effects. However, I liked this movie so much that I can't wait to watch it again. I am a person who tends to fall asleep as soon as I sit still for more than 10 minutes. I usually have to watch a movie in segments, because I have to keep rewinding to the last part I remember seeing. I had no problem staying awake for this one.
Buffy tells me that lots of people did NOT like the movie, because it doesn't have a happy ending. Yes, the world comes to an end...for the most part. As it turns out, knowing it's coming doesn't mean you can prevent it. It does, however, mean that you get to tie up some loose ends, which actually does lead to as happy an ending as one can expect when the world ends. And the story has a lot to say about faith. I found "2012" unsettling (which is not to say I didn't like it, more on that later), and as few movies do, it gave me a few nightmares. No nightmares from "Knowing", even though it did have a few disturbing scenes; the one that sticks in my mind the most is the scene when the little boy is shown a vision of the woods on fire. The other thing I heard about this movie was that Nicholas Cage's acting was less than impressive. To which I would reply, how would YOU act if you knew the world was going to end (and when)? I thought he did a fine job.
All in all, as I said, I liked this movie a lot, and plan to see it again as soon as I can sit still for two hours.