Sunday, August 31, 2008

Harmony Kntting Needles

After all the years I've been knitting, I have needles in most sizes, and in both 10" and 14" lengths as well as many circular lengths. I have multiples in sizes that I use most often because sometimes I have more than one project going, and because I went from Susan Bates aluminum needles in the early years to Quick Silver needles to various brands of bamboo needles.

With all of these needles around me, why am lusting for new needles? Because Harmony needles feel so wonderful and look pretty too!

My first experience with this brand was a short circular needle. Hubby couldn't believe I didn't have a size that I absolutely needed, but with a garage full of tools, he understands the importance of the right tool in the right length even if eye appeal doesn't apply to wrenches and hammers.

I felt justified in the switch from metal to bamboo and other wooden needles because knitting didn't accidentally slip off wooden needles. So why, at a time in my life when I am trying to down size my craft addictions (ha!) am I wanting a pair of these in every size? Aren't they just wooden needles too? Well yes, they are, but they are so smooth (make that smoooooooth) that they combine the slickness of stitches moving along on aluminum needles, yet not so much that they slide off which drew me to the bamboo ones.


When I die, do you think my sons will look at all these needles and think "so that is where our inheritance went"?
Nah...they'll have to get through all the fabric, yarn, paint, card stock, rubber stamps, embroidery floss, and books first. By the time they reach the needles, they'll be numb.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not a happy weekend here

All it takes is one person not doing their job to make the dominoes fall.

Our son should have closed on his house yesterday. Actually, he should have closed on it last Friday, but the underwriter wanted a second appraisal. That went through just fine and we thought oh well, next weekend is a long weekend. We'll have plenty of time and assistance moving his things into his new house.

He was supposed to hear what the final amount he would need to take to the closing Thursday night. Nothing came. He'll hear by Friday at 9:00 am. That time came and went. So did noon. This wasn't without many calls on his part. The closing was scheduled for 3:00. That time came and went. Finally he heard at 3:45. He went to the bank to get a certified check. He called me en route to the closing. I packed my car. My husband came home and packed his truck. Our son came home as I came out with a camera to take a picture of the new home owner. He held up a hand and told us to stop packing.

After signing beaucoup papers at the closing, someone stepped in and said the wire transfer from Chase never came through. It was now past 5:00 on a Friday of a holiday weekend. That division of the bank was closed and merrily on their way to an enjoyable weekend. A phone call, or most likely a few key strokes, was all it would have taken for the closing to be completed and keys to be handed over.

We know this isn't the worst thing that can happen to someone, but it didn't help last night. Today we are just drained and living among boxes that are waiting to be packed into vehicles again. We'll be ok again soon, and good once this deal is done. Until then I am amusing myself with thoughts of what to do the person responsible for this. Imaginary gratuitous violence is a mother's prerogative.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ABCrafting Members

A while ago I lost email addresses that I had for members of a craft board called ABCrafting. I know how to reach a few women who were members via their blogs, but I have a question to ask about another member and don't feel right sticking my question on other blogs.

Does anyone hear from Tia? Mutual friends from another message board where she was once active have asked me if I know anything about her. Her blog no longer exists, a different name is listed at her physical address (home) and my last emails to her hotmail account went unanswered.

I'm sure this sounds terribly nosy, especially to those who never knew her, but this was the best way I could think of to try to find someone who may know how she is doing. If you'd prefer to answer by email, my account is

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The rest of the exhibit

Here are some of the other works that were exhibited by students. They are either watercolor, oil, acrylics or photography.

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There were two other shows on another level of the art center. Glass Art has these beautiful pieces

The last one is called Violet Soft Cylinder with White Drawings and Tangerine Lip Wraps. It is by Dale Chihuly so I know I can't afford it! The glass pieces are all on loan from Habatat Gallery.

The next assortment is called Chair Show, done by students at Cranbrook Art Academy.

Yes, the first one is automotive seats suspended in archways.

This one is a pink poodle (with a very large eye!) on a poodle cloth chaise. When plugged in, the tongue moves and the tail wags.

This one is called Bounty Stool
And last, but not least, is this entry called Drop It Like Its Hot. Please don't ask me to explain it as I don't get it.

Now don't you feel much more cultured after being exposed to all this art?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Do we all live with contradictions?

I have beautiful teacups

But I mainly drink coffee

I have a room dedicated to crafts with counters and cabinets, yet where am I working right now?

Look....I can't get in my sewing room to take a picture! Hopefully our son will close on his house early next week and we can start moving things to his basement. We don't have a basement. That isn't a problem for me...Usually.

I have never canned vegetables or fruit, but this is my favorite quilt at the moment

If I never encountered snow again (December 24th and 25th would be ok, but keep it off the pavement), I would be happy but look what I collect. These are only some of the snowmen. Others are packed away in the attic until winter or are further in the sewing room than my camera can reach.

After years of having short hair, I grew mine out and today it is pulled back with a long clip. That isn't worth a photo, trust me.

And lastly, I should be working on that baby quilt that is bunched up on my couch, but I am playing here instead. I wonder if my picture appears in the dictionary next to the word "contradiction" ?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pictures at an Exhibition

What an exciting day for me! The exhibit was so crowded, it was hard to take pictures. I plan to go back this week and take more photos and really examine the other works. These pictures are going to go in a scrapbook just so I can prove to one and all that I really had work hanging in a gallery!

I missed the table with name tags when we first entered, but one of my nieces took care of things by grabbing mine and sticking it on my shirt. Shortly after that, the director of the show came up and said "Oh! You're our Charlene!" Our??? She had read the text of the newspaper interview but hadn't seen the photograph. When the art was being hung the other day, someone recognized one of my paintings from the newspaper article. The staff was so happy about the newspaper article, I became "our Charlene" to them!

Here is Allison next to her portrait. She recognized the painting of my house (above) before she saw her painting.

Here I am with my groupies The blonds on the left and to the middle are my sister-in-law, three nieces and a great niece. The two women on the right are my son's friends who've been almost daughters to me for ages. One of my closest friends and neighbors took this photo.

And here are my very tired, biggest supporters. Bill worked 18 hours each Friday and yesterday, and 6 today before the exhibit. Billy got home from camping just in time to shower, change and head to the show. I am sure they are both reliving the exhibit behind closed eyelids right now. Surely they can't simply be asleep while I am still so excited!

I feel like Goldilocks when she had found the right bed and the right bowl of porridge. Everything was just right today. I certainly don't feel smug about my work, but neither am I embarrassed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Art for All Ages

I was interviewed by phone for an article on the student art exhibit which opens this weekend. A staff photographer for the community newspaper took this shot of me with the three works that I have entered in the show. The publisher of the paper distributes free papers to each community weekly. Some articles overlap, others are specific to one town. This appeared last week in the town where the art exhibit is being held, but hasn't been in my local paper yet.

The title of the article is Art for All Ages, referring to the fact that the show preceding the one opening this weekend is the youth exhibit, for entrants are younger than 16. I found it amusing that after that title they gave my full name and age. Yes, dear children, dinosaurs (of All Ages) still exist, and some of them are art students!

I am having such fun with this, and hope that everyone around me understands it isn't ego running amok. It isn't about whether or not I think my work is good, it is about being relaxed enough, finally, to say "sure, go ahead and show my work and yes, I'll do the interview". I'm done delaying. I might produce a better painting in a year or two. I might be 25 pounds thinner then. I might be more articulate if a reporter asks the same questions another time. But what if there isn't another student exhibit next year, or a newspaper article in a year, or even me as I am today? There was an old commercial whose tag line was about going for the gusto. This gusto is mine.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What a party!

Some times, everything comes together so perfectly, you feel enchanted. Friday night was one of those nights for me.

Nine adults and three young children had dinner before the surprise party. I made breaded pork tenderloin and broccoli, but took the easy way out on the cole slaw, rolls and potatoes, buying them from Chicken Shack, a restaurant on the corner of my street. Their broasted potatoes surely cannot be good for you...they are way too tasty to be healthy! None of our guests had ever had breaded pork tenderloin and they all loved it. My great niece had a second helping and one of the little boys thanked me for the chicken nuggets. We didn't bother to correct him.

Our son never suspected that the party wasn't for his uncle, so the surprise worked out perfectly. He received wonderful gifts and none were duplicates that had to be returned (like receiving two toasters at a bridal shower). He does have enough cleaning supplies to last a year and the amount of toilet paper he received was hilarious. Besides cleaning and laundry supplies, and paper products, he got medicine cabinet supplies (bandaids, antiseptic cream, rubbing alcohol, toothpaste, pain relievers); kitchen utensils including the most important ones: an ice cream scoop and a pizza cutter; bath and kitchen towels; home office supplies (scissors, stapler, tape, clips, wipe off message board); basic tools (hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, WD-40, duct tape); gardening supplies (hose, nozzle, hose reel, gardening gloves, outdoor thermometer); cereal and Kraft macaroni cheese (with delivery pizza and ice cream, his weekly menu is set!); extension cords, light bulbs, a hamper, welcome mat and a card table and chairs. Most of these gifts came in storage bins or buckets. He was truly surprised and overwhelmed.

He spent the next day organizing things for the move. Hopefully the closing will be this week. We are all on pins and needles. The morning after the party, the house looked like Christmas without ornaments. The good news now is that he has everything somewhat confined. The bad news is that the garage is full and my sewing/craft room is unavailable until he closes.

As soon as I mop the kitchen floor and put a few more serving bowls away, the house will look fairly normal again. As long as you don't look in the garage or my craft room.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The day of the party!

I've done about 34 things so far and seem to have 73 to go in order to be ready for tonight.

It has been a long time since I frequently decorated cakes for family occasions. This past year, I've done three cakes for young children's birthday parties. Visits to the cake decorating store rekindled interests that perhaps should have remained dormant. Decades ago (although it seems like last week), I decorated rice paper with edible gel to make characters and designs that were traced, often from coloring books, onto the rice paper. My sons found it wasn't the tastiest thing to eat, and it wasn't easy to cut through when serving, but the paper was easy enough to work with and the cakes were cute.

Now designs are made on edible paper. The supply store near me will scan an image for you and print it on edible paper with edible ink. Hmmmm, this sounded like a great idea a few days ago. I had the store scan the Money Pit house image and attempted to decorate a sheet cake this morning. Peeling the very fragile image from the backing paper caused me to utter some words that used to make me blush. My, how times have changed. The design ripped in the white background and in the green of the lawn. I trimmed the background, cut off the words to add to the cake separately, and will call the rips in the green area dead patches of lawn should anyone ask. The green sprinkles are to divert attention from the edges of the paper design. The plastic tools are from the cake supply store too. Just because they were cute.

The Happy Birthday design was commercially made and released from its backing much more easily. Size could have a lot to do with it too. If I had trimmed the round cake flat, I could have avoided the wrinkles but I hate to cut the crowned part of a layer cake. It seems wasteful. If I do cut it, I feel obliged to eat it and than it becomes waist-full. The wrinkles won't matter to my brother-in-law. He likes me and his wife doesn't bake. I can tell him they are supposed to be there.

Here are the personalized candies, five varieties, all together in one container, 150 of them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Peek a boo!

I am a sucker for cute, and when it comes to colorful baby quilts, I don't think it gets much cuter than this. I saw this quilt made up at Bits 'N Pieces in Wayne, Michigan and knew the kit had to come home with me. The babies were printed on a panel to be cut into the center squares. The store selected the coordinating fabrics and bundled it all together, just waiting to jump into shopping baskets.

Given that I should be cleaning, baking and shopping for a party here in two days, I think I will have to put this aside and wait until next week to unearth batting and begin pinning the top, batting and backing together. I think I am going to hand quilt this but that isn't written in stone. I could write it in dust, but that is a different story.