Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Does Halloween scare you? After the storm, surely some trick or treaters are not frightening, right?


What about the upcoming election? I'm not asking your political preference but are you feeling some degree of angst over the anger some are displaying while supporting their candidates and causes? The anger I feel is toward the never-ending phone calls lately. So much for the Do Not Call list. Yesterday I had 5 in a row, all with a different area code. Michigan doesn't have the early voting option. If you live in a state that does, are the frantic campaign and opinion polling calls still reaching you?
So what does scare me? Hmmm, I don't like spiders and snakes (don't worry, I'm not going to segue into that song, but feel free to listen to it here ) but they don't truly scare me. They might startle me and I do prefer someone else remove them. My list of things that scare me include heights, falling from heights (anything over the third rung of a ladder applies), freezing to death (sad, but true) and some drivers who shouldn't be allowed in public on a tricycle, much less behind the wheel of an automobile.
Less frightening but a wee bit scary is how quickly the days zip by lately. How did it get to be Halloween already? Thanksgiving is three weeks from tomorrow! Dinner is here with between 20-25 people. Yikes! That is scary!

Other than grocery stores featuring sales on turkeys and pumpkin pies, Thanksgiving will barely get a nod in the marketplace. Christmas is a much bigger money maker so it needs to be pushed. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but not the marketing of it. That isn't scary though, just annoying.

I'm hoping tonight's weather doesn't prevent the little trick or treaters from enjoying the night. Hubby and I will see Colton before he sets off in his neighborhood.  That, as Martha would say, is a good thing.
To view my greeting to everyone, courtesy of Jaquie Lawson,  Click here!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vanishing days

Gosh, we don't undergo the time change back to standard time until next Sunday but I've been running out of daylight for weeks. I'll be ready for bed at 7:30 when the time changes!

Still no clear pictures of my son's friend in her full costume. I took this one from Facebook and cropped the other people out of it.
In other non-essential news (it has been that type of week, busy but not newsworthy), we had Colton here last night while his parents were at a wedding rehearsal and the dinner that followed, and today we have him overnight while the wedding and reception take place.

Earlier today he and I were watching Boomerang, a station that shows old cartoons. Periodically between commercials they have a sing a-long, follow the bouncing ball style, of old cartoon theme songs. I sang along to The Flintstones (a favorite of mine) but when it came to The Banana Splits, he turned to me with his hand up and said "No! No! No!".  His expression resembled the driver in this photo. Thank goodness he didn't have an accomplice like the one in the back seat!
This sweet child dearly loves carbs. Last night's dinner was a chicken casserole with hidden mushrooms (I don't think he recognizes them), carrots and celery, baked with biscuits on top. He wanted the biscuits, not so much the other stuff. He is good about many meats, but apparently not a casserole fan. Grandpa and I carefully arranged spoonfuls (easier than forks) of biscuit with chicken and veggies hidden underneath. I don't remember my kids being picky at this age but hey, I've slept since then and had a few birthdays. My memory could be playing tricks on me. I still think I'm 30-something and am surprised at the person who greets me in the mirror in the every morning.

Hopefully I'll be back in a day or two with something creative to share. Until then, stay warm if you're in the midwest; dry if you're on the eastern seaboard; root for the Detroit Tigers and eat your veggies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spray painted lace


Yes, you read that correctly. Spray. Painted. Lace.

A friend of my younger son's is a musician in a few bands. One of the bands performed this past weekend at a party in Detroit known as Theatre Bizarre. It is an annual party that I have never attended but I would say it has a New Orleans--Circus--Day of the Dead--other worldly feel to it. I would go, if for nothing other than to people watch, but staying out late is no longer my thing. My "thing" is admiring those who are creative, kind and having fun. Billy's friend has always met that criteria.

Everyone, both party goers and musicians, had to be in costume at this event. The band decided to dress as baroque animals. Baroque animals? Well, of course!

Are you having trouble identifying baroque attire? Here is one example:
Billy's friend wanted to adapt this look to her personal style and incorporate the band's colors which are black and gold.

She began with her high school prom dress. The dress was lavender which would not do at all. She attempted to dye it black but the fabric was acetate and would not dye. What to do? Why, grab a can of matte black spray paint, of course! Not only did it cover well, it didn't rub off.

A trip to a used clothing store netted her a polyester evening gown that was white with silver trim and a few rhinestone buttons. It zipped up the back with a V neck in front and a high walking slit in that center seam. Wanting to make a coat out of it (much like the green part of the dress above), she cut open the center seam. Now all she needed was something to frill it up.

Enter yours truly, frill mistress to baroque piggies.

We went to Joann's to look at trims. One that we both liked would have cost $60 to go up one side, around the neck, down the other and around the two narrow sleeves. That wasn't a practical expense for a one-night costume. Hmmm, if spray painting the dress worked, why not spray paint lace as well? We went with black since she wanted some of the black to show through.

She took it home that evening, laid it out on tarp and spray painted the lace with gold paint. The next day I got the bolt of lace and the dress.

We also bought an inexpensive white lace that was edged in gold. I sandwiched that between rows of the spray painted lace, spacing them a bit to hopefully get more bang for her buck.

The white with gold lace catches light and draws the eye in to the dark lace, don't you think?

Here is the, I mean Baroque Beauty as she appeared in full costume.

Miss Piggy would be jealous!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good morning/afternoon/evening Blog-land...

A busy week ended with seeds planted for future blog posts, but nothing note-worthy quite yet. That doesn't mean I don't have a lame joke to share though, so here goes...

Halloween is coming!

A man is walking home alone late one foggy night...
when behind him he hears:

Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.



Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him
He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.

However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping



on his heels, the terrified man runs.
Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.
With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.
Bumping and clapping toward him.

The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!
Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...

(hopefully you're ready for this!!!)

The coffin stops


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I was a painfully shy child who seldom saw my grandparents. Dad's folks lived in Ohio and I don't recall them ever coming to Michigan when I was a child. Dad was the baby of his family and I came along when my parents were 37. That was old for parenting in 1952, especially when there weren't 6 children between the first and last born. That perspective was my mom's, one that I think was common at the time.
We didn't go "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house" as in the song I used to sing in grade school as Thanksgiving approached. My dad worked out of town for most of my grade school years and was only home on weekends. I don't know how much of that contributed to our infrequent visits to Ohio, or maybe the emphasis on holidays was just different then. I think it was. Think of old movies and 50's TV shows. Lucy and Ethel might have made Thanksgiving dinner together (in that teeny, tiny kitchen!) but even Lucy's mother wasn't at the table.  A big difference from Home Alone (1990) where all the relatives were not only together but going on a destination holiday!

My mom's dad died when she was 14. Grandma Mary remarried quickly because in 1929, a woman alone did not run a business. Grandma Mary was born in (then) Yugoslavia. There are so many questions I would ask both my parents if they were here today, details I didn't realize would be interesting or important when they died in 1978 (my dad) and 1983 (mom). Mom's parents were born in Serbia and Croatia but met and married in Detroit. Her only sibling, a sister, died in infancy when my mom was six (I think).  With dad being the baby of his family, there is no one left to ask some of the questions I think only their generation would know.

Mom's stepdad was a horrible man. He beat my grandmother and she feared he would beat or sexually assault my mom. Grandma would wake my mom up in the middle of the night and press money into her hand to take the streetcar to her aunt's house. Two years after marrying him, my grandmother was granted a divorce. This was not common in 1932.

I don't know how long after that grandma and her sister closed the dry cleaners/tailor shop, but it was there that my parents met. They married in 1935 but I don't know how long they dated. So many questions....

The beatings at the hands of her second husband took a toll on Grandma Mary. Whether it was all psychological or if her brain was actually bruised and altered, her opinion of men after her second marriage was lower than low. She trusted none of them, not even my father who held my mother in highest regard and supported his mother-in-law as best he could. While staying with my parents, she became delusional one night and attempted to get to my dad in his bedroom, armed with a butcher knife, intent on killing him. I was 22 and engaged before I heard that story. The marks were still visible on the bedroom door despite being filled in, sanded and painted over the years.
Grandma Mary became a vagabond. She worked as a domestic, but never (to my knowledge) near us in Michigan. She worked in the south, in the west, even as far away as Alaska. Mom would get a call from Traveler's Aid that her mother needed money wired to purchase a ticket to her next destination. How that must have broken both of their hearts. Other than occasional letters, my mom never knew where her mother was or how she was doing until the call for money. Sometimes the person making that call would be harsh. How could she treat her mother this way? How do you explain to a stranger what has taken place and that grandma wouldn't stay in any one place for long no matter what you did? She would occasionally show up, unannounced, in her wanderings. I remember those visits as tense and sad. She always left before my dad came home, and that was her doing.

From my paternal grandparents I got my love of roots. My home is HOME in all caps. From Grandma Mary I got my love of travel, but I always, always, always need to come home. Home to this house, to be near my sons, Bill's brother's family (two generations) that are all nearby, and to my friends and neighbors.

I don't remember ever hugging my grandparents. I'm sure we kissed goodbye, but I don't remember any tickles, any fun secrets, anything that made me miss them after we parted. They were strangers to a shy child they didn't really know.

Fortunately my parents taught me that grandparenting didn't have to be that way. Dad died six short months after my older son was born, but he had such fun plans for what they would do together. Mom died 5 years later. Arthritis limited what she could do physically but it didn't stop the sharing of love and cuddles. Her best friend, my godmother, was Grandma Laura to my sons from the time they were born until her passing in 1999.
My husband didn't know his grandparents at all. His parents were 43 (mom) and 55 (dad) when he was born. His father died a few months short of Bill's third birthday. He witnessed his mom as grandma to his nephew and nieces, and we both learned from my mom and Grandma Laura.
I hope that 30+ years from now, Colton and any other grandchildren that might be yet to come will know this story of our pasts and be happy with the choices Bill and I have made in being grandparents. I'm not worried about that, I'm just happy to say this grandpa and grandma are enjoying every minute of this part of our lives.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Funny

Do you read in bed?

Apparently this old gray mare does!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another shawl ~ shawlette

I've made another small shawl (shawlette?), the pattern is called Cameo. Here are the photos from the pattern:
Mine isn't as long in the back, or maybe the model is just much shorter. I didn't want a stark contrast in yarns and wasn't finding shades that I liked within the same yarn line. I chose a solid yarn, Plymouth's Happy Feet, color #1071 and Claudia's Hand Painted Yarn, the color name is Midnight. Here is my shawl:
The hand dyed yarn should get softer after it has been washed. It will be fine for this use even if it doesn't. If I were to make this again, I would probably use one color throughout and would use Happy Feet. I like the feel of that yarn in this project.
I ran out of the solid yarn and had to order more. The lace edge at the bottom of the photo should have been twice as deep, but I ran out of that yarn too. There was no gauge to this pattern but I started out with the yarn weight and yardage the author mentioned. We must knit very differently.  A few yards short would be one thing, but I was short by a lot.  Good thing it wasn't a sweater or socks where fit was important!

Socks are on my knitting needles now and I have a mohair-silk blend that wants to become a short scarf. If you are wondering how I know what it wants to become, it is simple. It told me. Put that giant butterfly net down and stop chasing me! I'm not the only one who hears and speaks yarn. If you still don't believe me, would someone make these tee-shirts if it were not so?

Monday, October 8, 2012

I like Halloween

I've photographed these items in previous years and posted them here, but I'm doing it again because I like Halloween. I like the cute stuff but appreciate well done scary stuff too, as long as it isn't done to scare small children. When the boys were teenagers, we had plenty of zombies, monsters and gore, but there was always a friendly entrance for the little trick or treaters.

Our outdoor decorations are currently limited to a wreath on the door, a smiling pumpkin yard sign, a funny metal skeleton near the porch and a pumpkin and mum on the porch itself. The inside of the house is in full Halloween mode. Gore is out, cut is in.

 Most of these are from a yearly craft show that no longer features such fun pieces.

Bears on the stairs! In Halloween sweaters, of course.
 The curio cabinet lit up at night.
Love this little trio. The glitter pumpkins didn't photograph well.

These two pieces are Jim Shore resin figures.
This witch is suspended from a vent near the ceiling (cold air return). Pull the pumpkin and her wings flap. This was sold by Avon a long time ago, one of my two ventures as an Avon lady.

This trio is made from wood and beautifully painted by a crafter that I've lost track of.
Machine appliqued and quilted wall hanging that I made a few years ago. Now that I'm 60, a few probably means ten, but it doesn't seem that long ago.
While visiting a friend in Ohio, we went to a wonderful cross stitch store where I bought this design to stitch and the matching frame. Sadly, that store is gone now too. Gosh, am I a jinx???

The five views above are my tall curio cabinet, photos taken at night with the lights on. I don't know how to get away from the reflection and glare, but it is better this way than photographed in daylight.
The corner table on the landing by day and by night.
Kitchen window test tube rack (made by hubby) with "The Last Person Who Doubted Me", "Dreadful Edibles", "Deathly Morsels", "Unholy Spirits", "Corns from Witches Feet", "Spider Parts". "Cyanide Sprinkles", and "Petrified Skulls".  Hmmm, anyone want to come for dinner after seeing this?

Suncatchers in kitchen window.
White ceramic pumpkins on hutch by night and by day.

Cauldron with fabric flames.
Odd little string of ghost lights that were hard to place but too cute to not use.
Also on the hutch, a little weighty humor!

A ghost, pumpkins and a skeleton in the family room.

The last four photos are also from the family room.
Happy Autumn and Halloween everyone!