Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What is your destination?

It feels like summer...finally! 

I know it isn't officially summer but we've had such a yucky spring, I am enjoying the warm breeze coming in my open windows. Ahhhh.....
Do you specific plans this summer? Maybe not a destination vacation, maybe not a vacation at all, but plans to do certain things or NOT do certain things?

Don't look for me in Brazil on this water slide named Insano. I believe that name translates well.
"Ever wondered what it would be like to dive off a 14-story building? Ok, that sounds a little suicidal, but that’s the kind of sensation you get when you’re sliding down Insano, the highest water slide in the world.

Part of a water park near the Brazilian city of Fortaleza, Insano is known as one of the most thrilling water park attractions in the world. Constructed in 1989, it still holds the record for the highest water slide on Earth, at 41 meters high. That’s as tall as a 14-story building, in case you were wondering. What makes Insano “the most extreme equipment of this type on the planet” (according to the beach park’s official site) is the very steep slide that really lets gravity do its number on anyone crazy enough to try it. Apparently, the whole decent takes just 4 to 5 seconds but during that time you can reach speeds of up to 105 km/h. That’s as fast as a Ferrari."

I feel woozy just looking at that photo.

We were at the cottage over the holiday weekend where people are being encouraged to look for turtles on the road and stop if the turtles have been flipped onto their shells. We are to turn them over and face them in the direction they were headed. Hmm....what if they spun when they flipped and wanted to go East instead of West? I hope I have this guy's outlook all summer whether I see him at the cottage or not.

I talk and kid a lot about drinking, but I'm really not much of a drinker of alcohol. I like beer and one or two wines, but often get histamine headaches from fermented drinks. I like the idea of summer drinks with pretty straws and paper parasols. They say RELAX to me. I'm so relaxed just looking at this next picture that I don't even mind it is a tree rat squirrel sipping from the straw.

My husband and I have been discussing some projects, looking at things from completely different angles. I'm not going to lie and say there has never been any tension when he doesn't see things my way we don't agree on what should be done or if things should even be started, but we truly rarely argue. I see his points and he sees mine. Without boring you on details that would mean nothing here, I think I am going to adjust my outlook and agree with his assessment of things. This time. I'm not making a habit of this!  I'm also NOT going to ask him questions that might result in this answer:
 So what is my plans for the summer?  Self care, as spelled out here, emphasis on the last point:

Stella got her groove back and I'm getting my happy back.
Her story was a bit racier than mine will be, but I will be just as satisfied.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't you hate upgrades?

I'm wearing my crusty old curmudgeon hat again today.
Ever since the last upgrade to Internet Explorer 10, I've had problems. According to how I have things set, user names and passwords at a few sites I visit daily, including here, should be saved. Some days they are, some days they aren't.

Today's wrinkle in my already wadded panties is that nothing will print to the wireless printer. The printer has power. The computer recognizes the printer but says it is offline. Admittedly I am sleep deprived today, but where the heck is a setting to make it online??

I don't know whether to blame Blogger or Internet Explorer, but some days it takes me three times as long as it once did to type, preview, edit and publish a post. Sometimes using Firefox (which used to be my preferred browser) helps. Some days I should just shut up and go not try to blog.

One of my sons was having trouble and began using Chrome. He has frequent random problems unrelated to mine but that doesn't make Chrome sound promising to me. He ran into a mutual friend of Ron, the man who fixes our computers and was told that Ron hates Windows 8. I wasn't planning on making a switch anyway, but you know one day it will be inevitable. It may not be Windows 8, but 8.765 or Windows 11 when "they" announce that Windows 7 will no longer be supported or available. That is what happened with Firefox 3.6, my trusty old browser.
It isn't always electronic things that are changed and drive me and the hubby crazy. A few years ago it was a particular style of black Reeboks that were discontinued and drove him (and therefore me!) to despair. Sure, Reeboks still make black shoes that are similar...but they don't fit and feel the same.
Hanes, possibly Fruit of the Loom and definitely Penney's Stafford line of men's underwear used to make a sleeveless tee shirt. Not an athletic shirt that resembles a tank top and sometimes jokingly called a wife beater, this was made like a traditional tee shirt without sleeves. They were white cotton, 2 or 3 to a pack, not workout gear made from other fabric and sold individually at much higher prices. Hubby loved them. Now they are gone from the stores. I google every so often in hopes of surprising him, but not enough people bought them I suppose. Our decade or so of purchases must not have counted. Should I write and complain? I must remember not to clamp down too hard on that knife in my mouth lest I drip blood on my clothes. You know nothing gets as clean as used to.....

I couldn't think of a fitting way to end this rant, so I am including an unrelated photo of my car, a Chevy HHR named Hermione. My blogging buddy Skippy recently mentioned how noticeable her car is where she lives. My model isn't rare, but my graphics are one of a kind. There is a line of white stitching on both sides of the vehicle that end with a large silver needle.
I considered depicting all of my hobbies in vinyl graphics but it might have looked like a clown car. I use this on Facebook, but I don't think it would translate to graphics on a car very well.
Now that I've ranted and rambled and still don't have a working printer, I will make a call for help.
Do you think Ron heard me?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Panic and a purse, unrelated but so me

Memorial Day weekend is when???

Wait...who snuck the holiday weekend in at the end of this week?

I can't keep blaming 20 minutes of sedation for dental work last week for this week's confusion, can I?

I don't truly feel panic, but I do feel a nagging bit of guilt with so much to do while I sit here blogging. The husband cat is away and this mouse is playing.  At least for the next hour. 

So what did I do this past weekend when I should have been doing other stuff? I made a purse. My sweet daughter-in-law may have a shoe obsession, but mine is purses. Making them. I go for stretches where it is under control but sometimes the urge is overwhelming. Bam! That urge hit again.

This is the pattern I used, Simplicity 2676
If I had googled this pattern before cutting the fabric, I would have made a few changes before I began. There is nothing wrong with the design as it stands, but I made a few changes along the way and will make more the next time I sew this.

This pattern is for a purse with removable covers, "cover" being their term. You make a finished purse with buttons and the cover has elastic loops for attachment.

This purse is roughly 12" wide, 4" deep and 7" tall. My personal preference is a little less wide, so next time I will make it 9" wide. Here is my purse and cover. I could have taken the photos elsewhere without a cluttered background, but that wouldn't have happened know how that goes, even without a holiday weekend looming.
I used a magnetic closure on the purse tab rather than the hook and loop tape called for in the directions. I made a purse years ago with Velcro and besides clothing catching on it (miserable for knits!), the tape became ineffective, probably from so much thread and lint trapped within. The buttons were old ones that I had on hand, from a long discarded sweater.
The pattern called for a row of pockets on both sides of the lining. The pockets had the same polyester padding in them that the purse has and I thought this was unnecessary bulk. The divisions in the pockets, creating four pockets from one long one on each side, were to be done by stitching on the outside of the purse, through purse fabric, padding and lining. There is a better chance of keeping this all straight when sewing pieces flat, but after the purse is assembled, the chance for wonkiness (a highly technical term for seams going awry) is greatly increased.

I made one pocked, self lined without padding or interfacing. I carry a wallet, my keys and a zippered pouch that holds tissues, comb, pen, mints, etc. The only other loose item in my purse is my phone so one pocket for that is enough for me. The directions for the pockets with padding going all around the purse reminded me of a craft tote.
I should have reinforced the upper sides of the pocket simply by back-stitching instead of sewing box-shaped areas. The pocket is roomy enough for my phone but almost too snug getting in and out. Oops.

Here is the purse with the cover in place.
The next time I make the purse itself, I will use a zipper closure, probably a recessed zipper like the one shown in this tutorial by April Baylor

What will I do differently on the next cover I make? Instead of lining the cover with the same fabric, I will use two different fabrics, making it reversible. I may skip the scallops (the original pattern also offers a peak and valley cut) and try a straight edge with ribbon loops instead of elastic. Looking at my tab top curtains, a straight edge cover with tabs that have buttonholes might be a cute idea too.

Maybe that will happen when I should be prepping for July 4th or Labor Day. Hey...a red, white and blue cover would be great for the 4th, right? Bring your own hot dogs and drinks. I've got sewing to do!

Friday, May 17, 2013


Even retirees (and those stranded on an island) can feel the relief that Fridays can bring.
There has been a lot of anticipation this past week, both expected and some issues that arose out of the blue. Things seem to be resolving well with a few left hanging. Don't you hate NOT being in control of the time line for getting things done? I'm not always that way, but every once in a while, when something is big in your life or has been lingering for a long time, it is hard to wait patiently.
My personal big relief is that the bothersome tooth is gone. Sedation was wonderful. I didn't see, hear or feel anything ugly and painful, therefore I have no bad memories. I've had no pain afterward and as soon as the stitch dissolves in a few more days, my mouth will feel normal again.
In an attempt to not think about my dental woes earlier in the week and to also get me back in a happy, creative groove, I did some sewing. Neither project is complete yet, but I'm on my way.
This will become a 48" square quilt once I am done. The fabric was bought as a kit 5 or 6 years ago. I guess it needed to age like wine, right? The pattern is called Shade Cascade.
The color is a little off in the photo due to bright sunlight streaming in that window, but after so much gloomy weather early this spring, I don't mind if the photo is off. I really like this cascade effect. There are 36 blocks in this quilt. Fourteen of them are blue, 12 are green and 10 are brown. Each block is done railroad style with a light square in the lower right corner as the block is assembled. Looking at the large brown block in the upper left or the blue one in lower left or upper right, you may think that is one large block around a light square. Each of those are four blocks turned so that the light corners meet. They are sewn together into blocks though, the individual blocks are sewn in rows that will create these larger squares.
I have the backing fabric but not the batting. The binding will be the lightest shade of blue.
This is from another kit that had been aging in my closet. It was described as a wall hanging, but it is going to be a runner for my table. I bought backing fabric yesterday. It is a green on green leaf print with red ladybugs.
I think ladybugs are cute. Real ladybugs, not the larger orange beetles that resemble them, swarm and stink when they die. Even real ladybugs should stay outside though. My house is supposed to be bug free!
On my knitting needles is a red sock with a diagonal lace pattern. It is going well but will be put aside as soon as a yarn order comes in for a vest that I'll make for my daughter-in-law and a baby dress for a girl expected this September to our godson and his wife. I can't wait to show photos of those projects, not only because I think they are all pretty, but because it will mean I've accomplished more from my to-do list!

While googling for TGIF images, I found this one and had to include it. It isn't meant as a boast about looks or abilities. It is about how Colton makes me feel. The love I have for my husband and my sons is full and strong but in a different category from what I have with my grandson. I dare say that Papa (my husband) feels the same about this.

Watching him discover things, seeing him grow, hearing him laugh and the joy he expresses when he sees us makes my 60 year old heart feel as it did at 19 when I met his Papa, and at 25 when I first held his daddy, and again at 27 when it was his uncle's turn to be in my arms. My life is good and full, therefore I really do feel fabulous!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Choosing a bathing suit

TGFFE (Thank God for funny emails!)  Other that the two women in the world who are over 25 and not at all self conscious about their bodies in bathing suits, I think everyone else will find the humor and truth in this.
When I was a child in the 1950's, the bathing suit for the mature figure was-boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift, and they did a good job.
Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice: she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands.
What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gives the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you would be protected from shark attacks. Any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place I gasped in horror, my boobs had disappeared!

Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.
The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is now meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of Playdoh wearing undersized cling wrap.
As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there you are," she said, admiring the bathing suit.

I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a napkin ring.

I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.
I tried on a black number with a midriff fringe and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.

I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.
Finally, I found a suit that fit, it was a two-piece affair with a shorts-style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.

When I got it home, I found a label that read, "Material might become transparent in water."

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too, I'll be the one in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A little chat and a few groan worthy puns

Ever think you are over-thinking things, making them more difficult than necessary? Maybe thinking about this question is a trap!

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.

I found myself stuck in a knitting pattern, one for socks that I've used many times. What the heck was wrong with me? I had been mulling over problems, some of which aren't even mine to solve, and was at a point in the sock that I needed to pay a bit of attention and count my stitches. I didn't pay close attention on the first attempt, miscounted on the second and then I nearly convinced myself I was losing my mind. Common sense told me to set it down for a while but stubbornness said conquer this now! Stubbornness lost after costing me a big block of time, but all is well again after stepping away and getting some perspective.

She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but broke it off.

It wasn't just the knitting directions that needed a break and some perspective. I began to post a few days ago about my happiness having a limp but what I had written was poorly stated and made me feel worse. My diagnosis was accurate, the cause was some negative people and the remedy has been limiting time with them when possible and taking less of what they say to heart when I must interact with them. Their glasses are not only half empty, they are dirty, leaking and apparently made of a toxic substance poisoning their well beings.  Funny how those truly facing a crisis are more pleasant to be around, even when they need to rage a bit or cry on a welcome shoulder.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

Getting back to pattern directions, for those of you who are experienced sewers, do you ever wonder about the directions and illustrations in patterns by some of the major manufacturers? A 5/8-inch seam allowance, particularly in knit fabric, is silly in most cases. I recently made two pair of pajamas for my grandson and after assembling them, cut the seams down to eliminate bulk. There aren't the variety of patterns for little boys that I had when my 33 and 35 year old sons were little, but then again, I don't know that many women who still sew garments and kids sleep in different apparel now, often random tees and boxers. Oh well. I had fun making the pajamas and that is exactly what I needed.
The blue shorts have Thomas the Tank Engine all over them. Colton was very happy to have "Thomas pants!"

A termite walks into a barroom and asks,
"Is the bar tender here?"

I'm also giving up some TV shows that while technically well done, have become too violent and show more corruption than I can view and dismiss. Perhaps if the newscasts weren't so similar to this "entertainment" I'd be ok. I need Carol Burnett walking down a staircase wearing green velvet drapes....still attached to a curtain make me feel good about prime time TV again.

What do you give an elephant with diarrhea?
Lots of room.

If that last lame joke didn't send you running for cover, I will now wish you a joyous weekend and a happy Mother's Day to those here in USA who are celebrating.

Why are proctologists so gloomy?
They always have the end in sight.