Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bag it, lady

I like making purses and tote bags. I go through spells were I am inordinately drawn to new patterns and have to restrain myself lest I spend all my money on purse and tote bag supplies and leave none to put in the wallet inside the purse!

These are from my pet screen period. The mesh screen was originally made to be used in pet carriers. It contains no metal in the mesh, therefore is safe for a pet that may chew or claw the screen. Not having metal in the composition and being available in many colors made it perfect for stitchers. No special needle or technique is required. If you'd like information on the pattern, Google "Screen Play" or "pet screen tote pattern". The yellow one with ladybug print fabric is mine and is used all the time. The others were made as gifts.

I wore this purse out. Actually, I wore the Velcro out, not the purse itself. I hope you will trust me that it was prettier than this photograph suggests. It was one of the first projects I made using Batik prints. As you can see in the second photo, the top of the purse was held together with hook and loop tape. When unfastened, you had a zipper to open that fully exposed the inside of the purse. The purse could hold a lot. There were large pockets on either side in the lining and a large deep pocket on the outside.
This tote bag began with a photo transfer onto fabric that was going to be a doll's face. I scrapped the idea, but not the photo on fabric. I made a crazy patch quilt around my goddaughter's face and created a tote bag for her.
The strangest purse I own is this knitted one. A strand of black yarn with nylon in it was worked with the multi-colored hairy yarn. The purse is small, not holding much and I don't use it often, but it is an attention grabber.

This purse was made yesterday. I quilted denim to heavy interfacing before assembling the purse. There are five pockets in the lining and the outer pocket is fully lined with a cuff at the top to tie the print fabric of the lining and the ties on the side together.

If someone tells me to "Bag it, lady!" there is no possible way I can react right away. Which bag do they want me to use? There are more in my closet that haven't been photographed. I would have taken their picture tonight, but Bill is home. Seeing all of them out at once makes his eyes roll and I have to think of his safety. I'd hate to give him a headache or cause him to have permanently rotating eyeballs over my purses. Photobucket

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joe Cocker, translated

I admit to singing along to lyrics that I never understood. My voice isn't the type that others choose to listen to, so no one ever questioned my garbled words.

Some who were of age when Joe Cocker performed at Woodstock in 1969 may not have understood his words due to being under the influence. Even breathing the air could have put you under influence. Or maybe if you WERE under the influence, his words made perfect sense!

For those of us who don't indulge, and for those too young to know what a symbol of Woodstock Joe Cocker was, here is a clip of (click on the song title) With A Little Help From My Friends with a closed caption translation.

By the way, I can play air guitar as least as good as he did, but don't expect me to play Guitar Hero on any game system. If you thought my singing voice was bad, you don't want to see me play! Photobucket

Long live tie dye! Peace, dude!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Disappointing authors

Have you liked an author in the past who now consistently disappoints you?

I have respect for an author who develops a character and writes a series that keeps readers interested and wanting more. If an occasional book feels less engaging to me, I don't criticize. For one thing, maybe it was just me and most readers thoroughly enjoyed the novel.

Years ago, a friend told me to read Chiefs by Stuart Woods. I had seen his name all over the paperback best sellers bookshelves but never read any of his books. I checked Chiefs out of the library and really enjoyed it. I mentioned the book to another friend who had a box of his paperbacks, all of the Stone Barrington series. Woods now writes three or four different series with occasional cross-over characters. I sorted the books in chronological order and began reading. I liked the first books. Then sex became a major part of each book. Now his books are, in my opinion, a poor parody of anything he ever wrote that was well done.

It isn't that there is sex in the story line that has nothing to do with the plot. It is that every woman Stone Barrington encounters is thin, gorgeous, wealthy, talented and drops every article of her clothing within 24 hours of meeting him. Perhaps Woods thinks this a tribute to women, portraying them in such a "positive" light. I am fine with escapist fiction. For instance, I love the Stephanie Plum series.

Perhaps if Woods did not take a condescending tone with his readers in the author's note that appears at the end of each of his novels, I wouldn't be writing about him at all. Like much of our dealings in our everyday lives, it isn't the message you deliver, but how you say it.

On the positive side, there are authors whose books I know I will enjoy. They may not be block busters, but the characters are like old friends and I like to catch up with their lives. In no particular order, I enjoy

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels
Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street books
Monica Ferris' Betsy Devonshire/Crewel World mysteries
Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone alphabet mysteries
Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilters series
Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Schulz catering mysteries
Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson cookie mysteries
Ann B. Ross's Miss Julia series
Jan Karon's Mitford books
Earlene Fowler's Benni Harper books
Annie Griffin's Hannah and Kiki books
Anne George's Sister and Mouse books
and anything by Billie Letts and Fannie Flagg

Not to exclude male authors, I like the Alex Cross books by James Patterson, Lou Boldt books by Ridley Pearson, the Prey series (Lucas Davenport) by John Sandford and Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz.

The greater number of female authors wasn't a conscious choice, but their characters, being women, are more identifiable.

Which authors or types of books call to you, and what do you tend to avoid?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Blue Monday with white dishes

Happy Blue Monday everyone! Please visit our host, Smiling Sally, by clicking on the blue jay logo. After you've read her post, see who else is participating and visit their blogs too.

Today I am showing a new table runner that was too pretty and too inexpensive to pass up at The Christmas Tree Shop. For casual dining, and the fact that our table is used for more than dining, I like a shorter table runner. Blue, yellow and white colors grabbed my attention right away. Even though this was mass produced somewhere, I just know they had me in mind!

The white lace edge dishes and rectangular plate are from Pier One. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll see that each edging is slightly different. I don't know what the intended purpose of the blue and white plate was when it was made, but I will use it to serve bread or rolls when it is just the two of us for dinner. If I had a different metabolism and could eat all I wanted without a worry, that would make a heck of a serving plate for an eclair, wouldn't it?

Please excuse the water spots on the runner. I washed the plates just before taking this photo and didn't notice them until I saw the picture. Photobucket

The only way these plates could make me happier is to have something scrumptious on them. That I didn't have to cook. Or wash up afterward.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm becoming a prude

I'm not really becoming a prude, but there is a time and place for double meanings, slang, jokes, etc and I don't think commercial TV and radio are the place.

Unfortunately these businesses won't be hurt by my personal boycott as I don't buy their products anyway.

First we have Joe's Crab Shack's "take your top off" campaign. If it were said at a table of adults who were all friends, I would probably laugh. On TV, I object. Don't we all want our little boys repeating this to little girls? Rolling Eyes

Next we have Burger King and Sponge Bob's booty commercial. I object to a commercial aimed at kids (BK's kids meal) using the term 'booty', showing the king measuring a woman's backside and placing a right angle on it to show it is square. Burger King is creepy (his face) to begin with.Yuck

And last, on XM radio...supposedly commercial free because you PAY to listen to it...a commercial for a male enhancement product with a woman telling men that women want width more than length and this product is so sure you will become wider, they will send you a measuring device. Want to explain that to the kids on the way to school?

I won't even discuss Britney Spears song "If you seek Amy" which is heard as Ef You See Kay Me (read that out loud). I don't pass out at hearing someone use that word, but I don't want to hear the guy in front of me at the check out line use it 4 times in a 10 word sentence, and I don't want to hear it blasting from someone's car into mine in traffic.

Anyone want to take over the soap box now?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taking Chance

I don't usually say that a movie is a "must see" for everyone because individual tastes vary and subject matter is rarely appropriate for all. This movie is an exception. It is the true story of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Mike Strobl as he escorts the body of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps home. The movie was shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival and has been on HBO. A friend taped it so that I could watch it. I watched it twice yesterday.

It isn't a war movie. It isn't an anti-war movie. There are no gory scenes. If I recall correctly, there is no swearing other than when someone uses the word "shit" and apologizes for it. There are no sex scenes or suggestive dialogue.

If I had to give you one word to describe this movie, the word would be respect but honor or gratitude might be your first choices. The movie is scheduled for release on DVD on May 12. Most of you will need Kleenex, but don't let that warning stop you. It is not a depressing movie. It runs for approximately 80 minutes. It might be the best 80 minutes you've spent watching TV/DVD in ages.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blue Monday: Battery operated candles

Time for Blue Monday again. Please click on the Blue Jay to visit our host, Smiling Sally and see who else is participating in this weekly event.

It is a dark and wet Monday here in SE Michigan. The darkness made me think of showing you one of my battery operated candles, the one with blue flowers and birds on it.

I have used battery operated tea-lights during the holiday season so that I could have a candle effect in difficult to reach spots or in areas where an open flame was dangerous. I was never impressed with their appearance or candlelight effect. A friend encouraged me to try pillar candles by Candle Impressions, sold on QVC as well as various brick and mortar stores. I bought a set of three plain white pillars that have a timer option. They come on the same time every day and turn off 5 hours later. I like them so much, I bought two with this pattern recently. One is in my upstairs bathroom, and this one is on the corner table in my stair landing.

My husband is extremely wary of unattended candles so these fit his comfort zone. I like their appearance and glow. They are made of wax with an LED embedded. They look like candles that have burned down in the center with a darkened wick, not a plastic flame shaped appendage on top.

True candle lovers may not care for anything less than the real thing, but I think these could find a useful (practical and safe) place in most homes.

I took this mini-video last night so that I could capture the flickering effect of the candle, not realizing the audio from the western my husband was watching was going to be heard so clearly. Oops!

Happy Blue Monday everyone!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recent finds

When I go shopping for a specific something to fill in a spot, I often have trouble finding it, but if I just head out with an open mind and eye, I am only limited by my wallet.

These daisies were purchased at Michaels a few weeks ago thanks to a tip from Susan at Between Naps On The Porch

With Easter decorations put away, my bay windows looked so bare. I didn't originally plan to put the daisies in my vase from a local art show, but I decided I like them there for now. The other window was still bare, but another trip to Michaels took care of that. After using my coupon, I spent all of $3.59 on these large marigolds. The vase has been a favorite of mine for decades. It is Fenton's hobnail milk glass.

At Home Goods I had hoped to find a red and white coffee mug to match one I'd bought there months ago. No luck on the mug, but this pitcher insisted on coming home with me. For $3.99, I agreed.

This dish is also from Home Goods. It may hold mints or it might hold jewelry overnight if I take it upstairs to our bedroom. It is 5" square and was $2.99.

Joann's is close to Michaels and I had coupons for that store too, so I stopped in there to look around. I saw this set of three lambs but couldn't tell if they were on clearance or not. They are made like the rabbit that was my centerpiece before Easter. That alone endeared them to me, but with all the knitting I've been doing lately, the idea of sheep sitting on my table appealed to me. They were originally $12.99 but I couldn't use my 40% coupon on them because they WERE on clearance! I spent $4.12 including tax!

These little finds have made me happy and haven't broken the bank. That reminds me....I do have bottles to return for their deposits....I may have to find another store while I am on a roll!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

From lemons to lemonade

A few months ago I cleared out some of my fabric stash. A good friend of mine teaches sewing, serger and quilting classes. I gave her fabric hoping it could be used as project samples, test pieces, or anything that would put the fabric to use since I was sure I would never get to all of it.

While I would never call white linen fabric a "lemon", it was in the sense that it sat in my sewing room for years, untouched, unloved and going nowhere. My friend took that folded piece of "lemon" and created lemonade for me. The apron has Happy Spring embroidered on the bib.

Everything but the yo-yo bunny butts was done by machine. Look at the finished edging on the linen sides and top.

Isn't this embroidery design sweet?

I am washing teacups that sit on an open shelf today. Would anyone care to come over this afternoon for tea? I'll be the one in the darling apron.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The adventures of Chick & Dee

I hope you will enjoy the adventures of Chick and Dee as they travel around Knittyville. One of their first stops was at the Clown College in Sarasota, FL. In this case the FL stands for Family Living room. They enjoyed the clowns even though the clowns didn't seem too happy to be entertaining them. Maybe it was because Chick is so cheep and Dee is so flighty.
They left FL and met up with their Eastern European cousins Nadia, Nastia and Mary Lou. They are all gymnasts. Here they were demonstrating their floor routine.
Like most men, Chick admires finely feathered females, but he also has the need for speed. He was thrilled to meet Ramon, Lightning McQueen and the Sheriff, stars of the movie CARS before they went off on a birthday junket to the home of a well deserving four year old.
They got to New Orleans a little late for Mardi Gras, but decided to try on a mask anyway. The fact that the mask was made of feathers was both frightening and comforting to them. Seeing their faces in the eye holes is just plain spooky to me.
A few of the Snow Wonder family invited them over for golf and a barbecue. They were going to serve chicken, but fortunately remembered who their guests were and quickly substituted hot dogs for lunch.
Sadly, just after leaving the barbecue, Chick and Dee spied a chicken who was destined to become someone's lunch or dinner. Chick bowed his head as the angel KFC arrived. Dee lifted her head to sing Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything there is a Season). Why that song? Because it was originally performed by The Byrds.
Still in a subdued mood, they decided to visit a library for a quiet, reflective moment. They selected Birds of a Feather to read.Most of the library was a warm, cozy place, but the look on this bluebird's face concerned them. Notice that Dee was not afraid to look the bluebird in the eye while Chick averts his glance. Men are such chickens! Or finches. Or chickadees.
Taking a stroll outside the library, Chick was pleased to find a Petosky stone. Petosky stones are Michigan's official state stone. It is a variety of Calcite formed by the fossilization of ancient coral called Hexagonaria. Chick could tell you more about this, but he tends to twitter on and thankfully Dee noticed something to distract him.
The distraction was a parade. Who doesn't love a parade?! Another of the Snow Wonder relatives was there between a handsome Marine and flag waving Eleanor Bearsevelt.
Moving along the parade route, they found a delightful spot to enjoy a cup of tea and enjoy pretty blue flowers.
Across from the tea shop, Dee spotted a craft store. She must be related to me! As a matter of fact, the proprietor of the shop looks a bit like me, especially the messy craft desk. Did you know Knitty is just my nickname? My full first name is KnitWit.
Once Chick learned that men, especially fishermen, used to knit, he agreed to get a skein of yarn and knitting needles for both of them.
Dee was quite happy and thought their day was ending. She was looking forward to watching a little TV and knitting, but Chick spotted a car. know men and cars. He was drooling over this classic Corvette while Dee turned her back on him. How could he think about buying a sports car when he is constantly telling her they can't marry until he can afford a nest?
But Chick surprised Dee! He rented the Corvette and whisked her off to the Love Bird wedding chapel where they exchanged vows in the garden. Look at that three tiered wedding cake!
As they left the chapel and headed for their nest, they asked me to please respect their privacy and put the camera away. I couldn't say no to the lovebirds. I tried hard not to eavesdrop, but I will tell you that I had to turn the volume up on what I was watching the night of their honeymoon. I won't tell you what I think they were doing, but they sure as heck weren't knitting!

To read more tales of the Target Birds on Holiday, click on this ---->

Susan was a good egg to think of doing this. A good egg, but perhaps slightly cracked. Photobucket