Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Instant gratification bracelets

Sometimes a project which should be so simple ends up being agonizing. Such is the case of my blue summer sweater, shown in its early stages here. I finished it Sunday. It was big and looked dumpy on me. Hmmm, maybe wetting it and blocking it will do the trick. No such luck. The dang thing grew!

The yarn is a blend of bamboo and wool and is machine washable. I washed it again this morning and have it laying flat, again, to dry. It looks just as big as ever and it has blue fuzzies of lint on it. Oh, and it stinks when wet. Literally. Compared to what I would normally spend on yarn for a casual summer top, I spent a lot on this yarn. That just makes it more painful.

I have no idea yet how I am going to salvage this project. Right now it is drying where I don't have to look at it. Banished to a corner, so to speak.

Thank goodness for simple bracelets! A bit of beading wire, some clasps, crimps, beads and a few tools and voila...instant gratification!

Does anyone else think of pimento stuffed green olives while looking at the small bead combos dangling off the last bracelet? Maybe I shouldn't bead when I am hungry!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reddy Kilowatt Blue Monday

I am always happy to be here for Blue Monday, but even more so today. We were without power for 48 hours after a storm came through and uprooted trees, caused flooding and took down power lines. Everyone in my neighborhood came through safely, and I haven't heard of casualties related to the storm, so we have been lucky.

We don't lose power often in my county and when it does go out, the repairs are usually handled quickly. Like so many things in life, electricity is easily taken for granted. We forget how dependent we are until we have to do without. Our main floor bathroom is an interior room without windows. Knowing the power is out doesn't stop us from automatically flipping the light switch.

My husband brought home a generator from work and our niece's husband who is an electrician who supervised hooking up the generator to the main box on the back of the house. We had dozens of people here Friday night watching fireworks from our front yard. Having lights for bathrooms and a chilled refrigerator were suddenly a wonderful convenience, not just something to be expected.

I couldn't photograph the fireworks, but there are fireworks exploding in this slide presentation of some of the patriotic decor in my home for this time of year.

I hope all the US readers have a safe and happy Independence Day this coming Saturday, and I wish everyone, as always, a Happy Blue Monday. For more information on Blue Monday, please visit Smiling Sally by clicking on this logo.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

T-shirt funnies

Today is June 25th. As a public service, I am reminding you that you only have 6 months until Christmas, and would like to suggest you simplify your shopping by buying T-shirts for everyone on your gift list this year. Here we have shirts for most occasions, provided you have a warped sense of humor.

First we have work related shirts:

Shirts for animal lovers:

True confessions:

And lastly, shirts for deep thinkers and those who can always use good advice:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Patriotic Blue Monday

This weekend I got out the patriotic decor and began decorating for Independence Day. My city's fireworks will be held this coming Friday. Most of the fireworks can be seen from my street. All of the neighbors turn out for this, and most of us invite friends and relatives to join in the fun.

For today's Blue Monday post, I thought I would share some patriotic stitching I've done. This rather primitive angel is embroidered with a fabric applique for the flag and hem of her robe.

This long banner is fused applique with machine applique stitch. Micron markers were used on her face and to write God Bless America on the swag she is carrying.

These firecrackers hang across from my entry.

And lastly, this table runner was fun to make. Wooden buttons hold the three flags together.

I have more patriotic decor to post, possibly next Monday.

Thanks again to Smiling Sally for hosting this weekly event. Click on the blue jay to join in.

Happy Blue Monday everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Michigan Stash Dash

Today my quilting buddy and I went on a quilt shop hop called the Michigan Stash Dash. It is the 10th year for this event and we're old pros at this now. We traveled a bit over 230 miles, visiting all the stores in less than 8 hours.

A quilt shop hop is an organized event where participants buy a passport (it may be called by another name in other shop hops) to visit participating shops within a 2-3 day time frame. In the case of the Michigan Stash Dash, when you visit each shop, your passport is stamped and you get directions to make the quilt block or blocks designed by that store. If you are interested in making the featured quilt, you'll buy a fabric kit at each shop along the way, accumulating material and block directions throughout the hop. Each of the participating stores created a quilt using the blocks designed at all six shops. It is always fun to see how differently each set of blocks is assembled into a finished quilt.

Neither my friend nor I bought fabric to make the quilt this year. While all interpretations were lovely, black and white doesn't work in either of our homes and we both have a shameful amount of unfinished (unstarted even!) projects in our stashes. That doesn't mean we didn't buy something, we just showed restraint. Remarkable restraint for the two of us!

Even if talk of blocks and fabric kits sounds like a foreign language to you, I thought you might like to see this year's featured quilts. Click on the shop names to link their website.

Sew Elegant
3909 Pine Grove Rd
Fort Gratiot, MI 48059

Sew Together
69295 Main Street
Richmond, MI 48062

Quilt-n Friends
4090 17 Mile Rd
Sterling Heights, MI 48310

Lake Street Mercantile
115 E. Lake Street
South Lyon, MI 48178

The Quilting Season
7025 E. Michigan Ave
Saline, MI 48176

Bits 'n Pieces
34629 W. Michigan Ave
Wayne, MI 48184

If you read Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler, this store is featured in the Spring/Summer issue as one of their 10 top stores in the Ultimate Shop Hop article.

I came home inspired, but tired. Showing restraint took a lot out of me. Photobucket

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some people make Politician a dirty word

This isn't about any one political party.

This is about anyone who supposedly represents the public yet behaves in a way that is an embarrassment to humanity.

Detroit politics have been ugly and riddled with corruption for decades. I am not saying everyone has been dirty, but there has been enough dirt to taint everyone's image. You may recall hearing that Detroit's previous mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, resigned and accepted a plea bargain, serving a short time in jail for two counts of obstruction of justice.

The woman in this video is Monica Conyers, a member of Detroit city council. The first part of the video has her verbally attacking Ken Cockerel, president of the council. Note her maturity as she yells at Cockerel. Photobucket It doesn't get any better when she "debates" an 8th grader. That part runs at 2:40 in the video. I don't think the woman hears anyone but herself.

The man moderating the debate, Sam Riddle, is a political consultant who was Monica Conyer's aide (do all council members have aides?) Both Riddle and Conyers will likely be brought up on charges of accepting a bribe in the Synagro Sludge Scandal which gave Synagro a $47 million per year contract to recycle sludge. This wouldn't be newsworthy for me. Conyer's reaction is. Unfortunately there isn't a video clip available yet of Conyers comments on her public access TV show. While not addressing the FBI investigation directly, she began by reminding everyone that she is a child of God. The following is a direct quote: “All these things that are going on right now … I believe in my heart that God will deliver me from them. And so I say to all of the people out there: If you’re not praying for me, then you’re just adding to the problem.”

I am adding to her problem. I am not praying for what she would like me to pray for.

Aren't we all tired of politicians who think they are greater than those they represent? And aren't we all tired of those who invoke God's name as a free pass to excuse everything from illegal activities to inexcusable behavior?

I wish I had a light or funny way to end this, but I think levity will have to wait until the next post. Every once in a while I need to be serious.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blue Monday: Books!

I was undecided what to write or show for this week's Blue Monday post (click on the blue jay logo for a link to Smling Sally's site for more info) until I looked to my left and saw this sign. The blue script on the plaque meets the requirement for Blue Monday, and many of the dust jackets in these photos are blue also.

I love books. I have a wall full of book shelves in my craft room, but more than books find a home there. I would like to say that the shelves are usually neater than this, but honestly, when I am changing out decor in another part of the house or working on projects, the temporary resting spots for the misplaced pieces last longer than I'd like to admit.

This shelf holds Janet Evanovich, Earlene Fowler, Joanne Fluke, Debbie Macomber (Blossom Street books) and J.R. Rowling books.

The shelves below that one hold Jennifer Chiaverini, Monica Ferris, Annie Griffin, Anne George and Ann B. Ross novels along with patriotic bears and my yarn winder. Further down are beading books and supplies, then knitting books and magazines, and lastly, machine embroidery designs and a basket of scrapbooking embellishments.

The next section has some of the story books that were favorites of my two sons 20+ years ago and bins of ribbons.

The remaining shelves are embarrassingly messy and won't be shown. Let's just say that scrapbooking books and supplies take up one shelf, quilt books are housed on another, and there is one for sewing other than quilts next to Christmas craft books. There really is order to my mess. Or behind my mess.

Back in the office, or as we usually call it, the computer room, I have Jan Karon books, books by humorists, spiritual books and then manuals and scrapbooks below those shelves.

Squeezed in here are gardening and art books. Some of the gardening books are used more for their photos than for advice. Remember, my thumb is green only if I paint!

To the right of me as I sit at the computer are cookbooks. Lots of them. My favorite thing to make is reservations, but I do cook most days of the week.

The authors I've mentioned are ones whose books I will continue to buy, but for the most part I've switched to using the library or I pass along other books after I've read them. There are books in our bedroom and on a living room table waiting to be read.

Is it any surprise that my first paying job was in a library?

Happy Blue Monday, and happy reading, both of blogs and books!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It seems like only yesterday....39 years later!

This past Thursday was the 39th anniversary of my high school graduation, also on a Thursday. There were around 600 of us graduating outside on the athletic field, hoping to get the ceremony done before a thunderstorm began. We made it.

Lucky for my dad who was in charge of family photographs, I was seated on the aisle in the first row, easy to spot. Sadly, of the faces in this photo, I only remember the name of the girl who was seated next to me. With that many kids in a graduating class, I am pretty sure I never crossed paths with some of them.

The Sunday before graduation was Baccalaureate Sunday. Services were held at the high school and I think there were pastors from two denominations blessing the class. Attendance may not have been mandatory, but given the principal back then, I doubt many would have skipped, especially not goody two shoes types like me. Separation of church and state was much different by the time my sons graduated 20+ years later. Baccalaureate services were strictly church functions. My personal view on this is that is a shame. While I don't want someone dictating how to believe or worship, a moment of silent prayer can be spent as one wishes, and a blessing is always welcome and I don't care who delivers it.

For those of you old enough, remember how incredibly hot 100% polyester clothing was?!! Baccalaureate was held in the gym on a warm evening. Even though my dress was short and sleeveless, I was sweltering. Maybe that is why I don't remember anything that was said. Or maybe it was just a case of 'about-to-be-graduated senioritis'. I don't think a cure for that will ever be found.

If you were a graduate in or near 1970, you might enjoy remembering these facts:
  • "American Top 40", hosted by Casey Kasem, debuted in 1970
  • The Grammy award for record of the year went to "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by the Fifth Dimension, album went to "Blood, Sweat and Tears" by the group Blood, Sweat and Tears, and song of the year went to "Games People Play" written by Joe South.
  • The Oscar for best movie went to "Midnight Cowboy"
  • "Love Story" and "M*A*S*H" were big hit movies
  • Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix both died of drug-related deaths, both at the age of 27
  • The Beatles broke up
There are many notable events of that year, including Kent State, but I'd rather remember the good. Not that the deaths of Hendrix and Joplin were good, but even then I wasn't surprised. I'm not mentioning the war, again too painful, or the discoveries in the world of science. Looking back at 17, did I have a clue what a floppy disk or LCD was (both were introduced in 1970)? No, but I could distinguish a Chevy from a Ford or Dodge going by with my eyes closed. I lived on a corner and the engines made a distinctive sound. Volkswagens were a class by themselves. My dad thought they sounded like high powered sewing machines!

Changing anything in my past would surely have altered who and where I am today, so I don't look back on anything with regret. Well, maybe one regret. This hair cut in my senior picture, taken just before the school year began leaves a lot to be desired!

Happy reminiscing to alumnae everywhere, and non-denominational blessings to all graduating in 2009. Blink two or three times and you'll be where I am, surprised at how quickly the years have passed. May you be as happy then as I am now.