Sunday, September 30, 2007

Today's Question, Puzzling Personalities

I've joined an altered artwear group, mainly because I keep thinking I should be able to make something for myself with these shirts that Oldtimer no longer wants. Any ideas? I'm thinking that with at least one of them I'll try cutting it up the front, cutting off the placket and collar, and probably slitting it up the side as well - lay it out on a piece of fabric, cut the fabric to the same shape, sew around it, and have it a reversible jacket. Then I can embellish, embroider, patch, etc. BUT - what do I do with those sleeves? You can't make a jacket with those sleeves.

Here's a shot of the sleeves I can't abide, and can't figure how to adjust:
Today's work was on two of the Puzzling Personalities I'm making for the swap I'm hosting on the CPS list. This one is called Mysterium Steps Out in Her Posh Frock:
And this one is The Heart of Atlantis:
No soap made yet, but the day's not over!

PS - Diane on the CPS list posted this link for FABULOUS fabric collage work. Visit when you get a chance - don't forget to go through all the galleries - I love this gal's work!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hint of Fall

We went early this morning to a shoreside park on Lake Erie. We should have taken our morning coffee there. I was looking for the green lumpy things I found there last year, around Thanksgiving...the name escapes me. Wait! I remember - Osage Orange. It's too soon, I think. The picky balls from the sweet gum trees haven't dropped yet either. Here's the fruit on the tree (photo from last year):
I was able to get some nice shots of the foliage just beginning to change, and a few late wildflowers, as well as the moon still in the sky over the lake.

My Oldtimer has been working (between coughing spells!) on removing the small rocks from the so-called garden area near the front of the house. We plan to replace them with mock sandstone pavers and use pots for plants and color. It will be easier to clean up after the dogs if we don't have small rocks. He was working yesterday and noticed how nice the light was, filtering through the maple trees and onto the front of the house. Lovely, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just a Side Note

Regarding my unplugging...I wanted to mention that the Saturday detail was all hand-written into my journal, and transferred to the blog Sunday evening, after I turned the computer back on. This method has two advantages for me...I get to hold to my "unplugged" plan AND I have additional entries for the journal work I've been doing.

(Just didn't want you all to think I was cheating!)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday, Day 2, Unplugged

Today, the temptation became greater to turn on the computer, but I put if off till dinnertime. At that time, I justified it because I had to see if there were any additional orders to pack.

By 2 PM on Saturday, we had finished an amazing amount of yard work - we weeded all around the pond, Oldtimer mowed and trimmed, we cut back the shrubbery and Rose of Sharon trees in the front garden. We made three trips to the mulch pile, had a nice lunch, another nap in the sun, and a lovely dinner on the deck. I began the book The Borgia Bride, did two more loads of laundry, and did some general picking up around the house. I also had a long, luxurious conversation with my daughter and granddaughter.

Today was create day. Olivia's three pairs of "bloomers" are ready to ship out, I've costumed and re-costumed the green doll, dyed some cheesecloth and harem cloth, and worked on some new journal pages. Pizza for dinner, and THEN the computer came on so I could pack fragrance orders. I now have 118 emails to wade through, and a couple of blogs to check.
Here's some of what I worked on today - first, additional background pages for the journal pages we swapped on CPS, as I want mine a little fatter. This will all be trimmed down to 5 X 7.
These are the fabrics I dyed using Dye-Na-Flow:
Above, bleached harem cloth; below, cheesecloth.

And here's the green girl. Please note in the second picture the dyed velvet layer of her skirt, which she soundly rejected.

Unplugging (Saturday, Sept. 22)

Yesterday, while winding down my day at work, I made a decision to shut off my computer for the weekend. Oldtimer thought I'd get the shakes, but so far, so good. I told him that it's just too tempting, and weekends should be for loving my house and yard, creative time, and appreciating him. I was able to clean out my home e-mail via the web while at work, so I knew it wouldn't be loaded.

I think my always-on computer has caused me to develop some weird strain of ADD. I used to read 2 to 3 books a week and now I finish one a month. I used to lavish attention on my home and cooking, and now I barely manage to keep it clean.

When I got home from work, Gerry had take-out ready for dinner (I had requested a large quantity of hot and sour soup and white rice, our traditional cold and flu-fighting remedy). When finished, I cleared up the counter, picked up my book, and went to the recliner on the deck. I took a nap in the sun, finished my book, started the laundry, put the elastic in all 3 pairs of Olivia's bloomers, and watched a movie with Oldtimer, then had an evening relax in the hot tub - never once leaping up to check email.

This morning, I woke at 6:19, cleared away some pop cans in the loft and took my traditional Saturday morning latte' to the deck instead of my computer desk. My husband sat with me for a short time and told me what he had heard on the radio. If I hadn't moved to the deck at the precise moment I did, I would have missed the perfect aqua blue morning sky with the pink and peach illuminated clouds. I would have missed the Morning Star, peeking through a perfect peach cloud, I would have missed the sweet, gentle breeze, carrying the sound of the fountain in our pond and the scent of the Dr. Seuss brugmansia; I would have missed not just the gentle birdsong that greets the day, but the raucous call of crows. As I sat here and absorbed this, fully appreciating the lushness of all the deck potted plants and flowers, I found myself wondering how many different leaf shapes there are on various ornamental sweet potato vines. I was tempted to leap up and check the internet. The internet knows all things, answers all things! And I have tried to cram it all into my head - much to my distraction.

Already, the morning light has changed and I'm sitting under an autumn blue sky with a thin veil of white clouds. The morning sounds have changed, people are waking and moving, as are a flock of geese. Traffic - both automobile & bicycle - has increased on our road, and off in the distance, I hear a train whistle.

Today there is a fragrance order to pack, soap & lotion to make, weeds to pull, front door paint to choose, a decorative flag to change, and art to create. It's amazing how much can be accomplished when the computer is off; when you take the time to savor what you already know, when you listen not just to your spouse, but also your soul.

And now, we interrupt this moment of tranquility for Oldtimer's announcement from the doorway that Cosmo came in, dropped a live chipmunk on his feet, which then ran down the stairs and proceeded to climb the screen of the sliding door. When Oldtimer opened the door, the chipmunk climbed down, ran into the room and around one end of the couch, where he was met by the waiting Cosmo. The chipmunk scampered under the couch, Oldtimer took Cosmo upstairs and shut him in the bathroom, and ran back down to lift the couch - which was empty underneath. The sliding door was still open, so we hope he made a clean get-away. We'll know in a day or two.

And now, I'm off to pick up dog poop, so Oldtimer can mow. Hey, it's not all birdsong & latte'! If I didn't pick up some poop once in a while, I wouldn't appreciate the brugmansia blossoms!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Her Name is Sadie,and My Ribbon Wall

It's taken this long, but Oldtimer finally has a name for his truck - Sadie. For some reason, the name just struck him as the right one (despite it being his grandmother's name). Personally, with all her shiny add-ons, and ruby luscious-ness, I thought she should be Jezebel, but then, she's not my vehicle to name. I do have to say that I LIKE this truck, as much as I disliked the last one. This truck rides a little more like a car, the "back seat" is very convenient (after nine years of riding home from the grocery store with the bags of groceries stacked around my feet), and we still have the convenience of the bed in back for hauling branches and trimming to the city mulch pile (and all the other weirdness we seem to haul around).

My Oldtimer has no qualms about USING his vehicles, and really doesn't worry about scratches and normal wear and tear. He'd had Sadie just over a week when he was asked to help a friend haul about 1500 pounds of landscape stones, which he did quite happily - in two trips. Still, he's added a few things to keep Sadie safe and tidy - bed liner, visors over the windows, and shiny tie down rails. Oh! And that bug-guard thingy on the front.

Now, in other news, I have been asked to post a photo of my ribbon wall. These wooden hooks are some that we got from an antique auction, very primitive, and I had big plans for them in my country/primitive kitchen in this house. Unfortunately, the house had other ideas, and the kitchen didn't end up so primitive after all, so the hooks were put to good use in my treehouse, storing ribbons. Problem is, I don't use the ribbons much from these hooks - they've become a decor element!
Remember my post on July 4 about proclaiming my independence, and using my supply of STUFF liberally and freely? I've found the other limitation to my doing so. I'm getting very hemmed in by all my STUFF. I divested myself of a great deal of it before we moved, but I've accumulated new since arriving in Ohio, and I am such a magpie... I loved working in my treehouse above the store when we were in NC. I had about three times the fabric I have now, all on metal shelves, and defining my workspace in a larger area. I had all my STUFF, but I had room to spread out and work. I'm finding myself working smaller and smaller, feeling the pressure on my elbow room, and feeling stingy as I go. All my work surfaces have things encroaching from the edges, I've run out of shelf space, and there isn't even room on the floor to spread out a cutting board (the room is only 6 feet wide before you add in the shelves and base drawers). I have to find a solution, but the only one I can think of is to get rid of a few things, and I'm not ready to do that yet. I'm already regretting some of the fabric I gave away, LOL!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Altered Clothing Thought

Or is that an altered clothing question? My husband (Oldtimer, remember?) has an extraordinary shirt collection. They seem to multiply on their own when the closet lights are off. Almost all of them are what he refers to as "soft shirts," or golf shirts. You know the type - soft knits with a hem or band to finish the short sleeve, a placket front with three or four fake pearl buttons, and a ribbed collar that is bent up at the teps when you take it out of the dryer.

Last week, Oldtimer sorted through his closet, and found a bunch of stuff to be cleaned and pressed before winter storage, and a small load of items he no longer wants to take up room in his closet. We regularly donate clothing to the collection boxes we've found nearby, but this small load of unwanteds - mostly good shirts that I've shrunk in the dryer or are colors that are uncomfortable for him - seemed to call my name.

This style shirt is not "me." I know that a lot of women will wear this style, but it's just a little too tailored for my taste. I put one on and I look like a fat boy. Not that I'm a wild or frou-frou dresser, mind you, but these shirts just make me feel like a pretender. I can't explain it.
BUT...I was thinking...I ought to be able to alter these somehow. Slit them up the front and applique images? Paint or stencil? Mix up the parts between them? Can I turn them into a jacket or sweater? Don't know...I just know I don't want that neckline nor do I want that efficient, just-a-little-too-high short sleeve with the tailored ending.

Any of you ever alter a golf shirt? Any brilliant ideas? Or should I just cut off the buttons and add them to my collection?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Knit Rats, Hair Color, and Turtles

My aunt Rosie is a wonderful knitter. She does some amazing stuff, absolutely beautiful work. I would post photos here, but I'm not sure how she would feel about me putting her pic up, so just trust me when I tell you that she does beautiful, intricate work. She also does some filler stuff, like fun scarves and shrugs, knit dish cloths, AND...rats. She makes fuzzy knit tubes with eyes and tails and fills them with what she calls cat pot -- homegrown catnip.

She has sent two here for Cosmo. He loves them; he hugs them, and kicks his feet at them, rubs on them, and drools. Unfortunately, the dogs love them too, which is why I asked for a second rat for Cosmo. The dogs have completely emptied the first one, but I still find it in unexpected places around the house.

Here's a pic of the newest one, hardly touched by the dogs, and artfully arranged in the sunshine on the rug:
And here's a photo of the empty one, left on the bathroom rug, artfully arranged to scare the wits out of me in the middle of the night:
Hair...I've been coloring mine for 20 years. I truly started back then to add body to my hair, which is baby fine, and rather like having a head full of feathers. Because it is so fine, getting a perm caused more harm than good, so I began coloring. I got to really like coloring my hair because I could make changes to my look, and it was fun. No matter what color I do, however, as it fades out, it turns some shade of red or has red highlights. Considering the number of redheads on my mom's side of the family, that's not a surprise.

Now I color for fun and texture and because I'm about 30% gray. I like to color my hair, and have been playing with highlights, doing blond wisps around my face, and keeping the rest of it a light warm brown. I've had years before the highlights, however, of embracing the inner red, and had toyed with going back to it. Then I got a copy of More magazine, with an article about the new rules for hair color, and it stated that women over 40 shouldn't do red. SO...I went back to light auburn. That's why I'm reposting a close-up of the back of my head from yesterday.
Take that, More Magazine!

Here are two more pix of the turtle for all you identifiers. I don't know much about turtles, and I'm wondering if this is normal, this lifting of the plates on the back?

And then I did get a picture of the underside...kind of a deep orange with a pattern that looks like an oak leaf.
That's it for my random day!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ohio September Skies

We've had more beautiful sunsets and great blue-and-cloud skies the last few days. Today was chilly and breezy, but still a lot of fun at the Farmpark Harvest Festival.

And then there's this poor crazy woman, standing all by herself in the middle of an open field, eating:

PS - Happy Birthday, Sweet Jenny-woo. My baby isn't a baby any more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It tickles me when...

It tickles me when my husband likes one of my photos enough to set it as his desktop. This is his current favorite: It tickles me when I realize I can stand at the end of our deck, know that we did the work, and this is what we see:
It tickles me when Cosmo-the-touch-me-not insists on being as near as possible, and thinks we don't notice, like this:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Sad Commentary

Or, this may be three sad commentaries, maybe more. You know how my brain works - rather like an egg-beater.

Yesterday, I had my GYN appointment, which made me 1.25 hours late to the office. And despite being salaried, I still have to submit a TIME SHEET every two weeks. At my age. So I planned to skip lunch and eat at my desk and run no errands, except my boss, the owner of all these companies I work for, gave me errands to run - things to buy and send to him in Florida. Since Boston Market is just about three blocks from the office supply store I frequent, and since I've developed a fondness for their chopped salad with chicken, I felt a brief stop at their drive up window was in order.

However, I couldn't get out of the driveway of the office supply store because all kinds of emergency vehicles kept screaming past, and weaving through the five lanes of lunchtime traffic. One was a cop car with a bicycle on a rack on the back. That was a new one. After I got out into traffic, I had to pull over again, this time for an ambulance. Fire trucks, police cars, ambulance...must have been ugly.

The Boston Market is across a very large parking lot, but otherwise next to Wal-Mart (or Walmarket, as my friend Dell says). I thought it strange that four Walmarket employees, all female, were standing in the driveway. Weren't they afraid of getting hit by someone eager to get in and spend their hard-earned cash? I toodled my chubby self down the half block to the entry leading to the restaurant...when I finally noticed that all those emergency vehicles were in the Walmarket lot, even the cop with the bicycle. And there weren't very many cars parked next to the building. And those four female employees were stretched across the driveway, blocking the entrance.

The voice on the drive-up service for the restaurant took my order, and couldn't believe I didn't want more than just a salad. The voice (it was a very perky, cute, but vapid voice...)couldn't believe I didn't want more than a salad with some chicken, but I'm only eating for one, and how did she know I was chubby over the loudspeaker? But I digress...

I pulled up to the pick-up window, passed over my $1 off coupon and my money (boy was she disappointed that I had a coupon...and yes, I'm chubby and I use coupons, and this is what my life has become, along with filling in time sheets) I asked what was going on. She said in her cute little perky voice, "Oh, another bomb threat," and handed me my bag-o-lunch. "ANOTHER?!" I said. And her reply? (This is where I get sad...) "Yeah, they had one a couple weeks ago. (BIG shrug) It's 9/11. Have a nice day."

I puzzled over this all afternoon. I THINK what her shrug and casual attitude said was *what do you expect on 9/11?* but then I wonder if it was even more blase' than that, and it said *bomb threats are no big deal.* I still don't know. Either way, it makes me very sad that some portion of the population feels we should expect some creep to make bomb threats at Wal-Mart on 9/11. Part of me is upset that we have creeps that make bomb threats on any day. And though the larger part of this tax-payer is pleased that we have people who respond to bomb threats, I'm really frustrated that they have to respond to every single one of these, with this kind of person-power, every time some creep decides to do this.

I'm also sad because it was the anniversary of 9/11 - that we have that kind of anniversary to memorialize. Last night, I didn't watch much news, because I didn't want to see the re-hash of it all, but my dear uncle (aka Knuckle George) sent me a power-point show of some very moving pix from the event. I don't want to forget, I really don't. Part of me even wants these annual reminders, so that I can keep some anger alive (I tend to forgive and forget far too quickly and people take advantage of that). But dear husband (aka Oldtimer) told me about a discussion panel he heard on NPR last night which stated that every one of these documentaries, and memorial services, and all the other stuff we do every anniversary of the attack is "like a postcard to bin Laden." There's merit in that thought, too. We've given him a lot of power over us.

Now that I've reached my mid 50s, sometimes I look in the mirror with surprise and wonder what happened to me. More and more often now, I watch the news, I interact with people in the stores, and I think "what's happened to us?" It makes me sad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Won

Not only did I win, I didn't even have a battle!
(See this entry:

Do you think he reads my blog?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pond Life

It was a good weekend for wildlife at the ol' homestead. This heron made three trips to graze at the side of the pond. I think he has developed a liking for those brightly colored goldfish - easy to find, even in the blue-dyed water.
He's kind of cranky-looking, isn't he?And every time we stepped off the deck and tried to get nearer for a photo-op, he flew away. This was one of his more notable take-offs:
We've also had a turtle take up permanent residence at the pond. I've asked my friend Dawn to identify it, but we don't have a firm answer yet. Any turtle folks out there?

And this plant...I just love the way it looks, growing at the side of the pond.
Though we have yet to see deer at the pond, we know they've been there by the hoofprints at the edge. It's a busy place!

By the way, another name for a heron is "shidepoke," which was another nickname belonging to Lolo. She hated that name, referring to her long, thin legs.