Friday, October 30, 2009

She's Crafty, Like Ice is Cold

I landed a job at a local arts and crafts store in the yarn and fabric department!

Thank. Goodness.

It starts Monday, and I am so freakin excited I can hardly contain myself.
It means brushing up on crocheting, learning to knit, and regularly sewing up a storm.....but that is so good and refreshing and inspiring and ooh la la that I am so so so so happy.

The women who interviewed me were very silly and kind.
I felt at home immediately.
It will be nice to spend a good chunk of time with crafty women.

They said it can get a little nutty around the holidays,
but i just can't imagine it being like a crazy shift at the restaurant---waiting on 30 people at once, running around like a loon at 11 o'clock at night, knowing you'll be there for another 3 hours.

The entire store is smaller than the restaurant where I worked...and my department is nestled in the corner.
However, it is a flourescently lit hell.

I have anti-glare coating on my glasses, so hopefully that will keep otherworldly headaches to a minimum.
After my interview I mentioned to one of the employees, "Boy...a person could spend a chunk of their paycheck here, huh?"
and she replied, "Pfft. What paycheck?" :)

So today will be spent celebrating, by whipping up our Halloween Costumes (I found a great Bride of Frankenstein tutorial) and then crocheting a scarf with basic stitches.

Then it's time for Smallville and a big pan of Mac and Cheese.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Well, has been an interesting month and a half...I have not sewn a darned thing...well, the same unfinished flannel shirt has been hanging off my dress dummy for about a month, but I have not touched it.

I've read seven books.....three of which were read on a spontaneous vacation to Hawaii. My bestest buddy had booked a trip awhile back, and I was able to go at the last minute. This did wonders for my mood and Vitamin D levels, as both were critically low. :)

We hiked in a magical forest and spent much time at the beach.....a rogue wave took my back out for a day or two.....

But it was worth it.
I ate a truckload of fish tacos and took in some lovely tropical sunsets.

Finally got around to reading Orlando (awesome), Lucky Jim (hysterical), and The Great Gatsby (classic). On the way home I started Anne Perry's
Now on book 4.....they are highly entertaining.

It has been a beautimous pacific northwest autumn. The weather is amazing.....crisp, cool air...changing leaves and bright blue skies. The welcome rains started this week.

This is our magic tree.
The winds came last night and blew the leaves away.

I've also been busy writing fairy tales. More on that later.
There is a local yoga studio that is kicking my butt. In fact, I am going to head off to a class now. lest i procrastinate further and miss it........

Just got back! See? Didn't even know I was gone. Ever since my first class back in 1989, I have wanted to be a yoga instructor. Life has always thrown my off my game, but every time I come back to the practice I am reminded of how awesome it is.
So we shall see.
Right now, it is about getting me physically and spiritually on track....the instructing may or may not follow.

Russ and I are going as "Frankenstein/Bride Of" this year for Halloween...I know, I know. I wanted to do turn of the century swimming costumes....but my husband held his ground. Sigh.
We'll let him have this one.

Our dinner club this month was "Oktoberfest" themed, so we had spiced cider, pretzels with beer cheese sauce, meatballs, schnitzel, rot kohl, salad and german chocolate brownies. It was heavenly. The pretzels turned out wonderful---they even *looked* like proper pretzels. :)

I followed Alton Brown's recipe from the Food Network. Well worth the time. I subbed half the flour with whole time I will go full whole wheat, but i did not want to produce franken-pretzels on the first try. :)
(I have a long history of ruining yeast breads.....but these turned out, and I think I discovered my I am hoping I can produce some kick ass rolls for Thanksgiving this year! Recipes always appreciated.....)

This is the german beer cheese sauce:

3 c. shredded sharp white English Cheddar
2 c., Gruyere or mild cheddar, shredded
1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup ale (I like Bass)
1 tsp. dry mustard
hot sauce to taste
A few drops Worcestershire sauce

Combine cheeses in a bowl with flour. Add beer to a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add cheese in handfuls. Stir constantly, melting the cheese in batches. Stir in a figure-eight pattern with wooden spoon (important, so you don't get a gloppy mess). When the cheese has melted, stir in the dry mustard, hot sauce and Worcestershire. pictures, sadly. We ate them before I remembered to get out the camera.
Highly recommended, if you like strong tasting cheesey goodness like Welsh Rarebit.
For the cider I heated a few Bengal Spice Celestial Seasonings tea bags in a big pot filled with unsweetened Apple Cider. Orange slices floating on top....



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yeah, Autumn!!!

Well, I don't know what you folks are like, but I prefer planning for Halloween ahead of the game.

This year I have decided that my husband and I are going to wear turn of the century swimming costumes. He is not completely sold on the idea, but I know he will come around as the holiday approacheth. He is so busy by the end of October, he usually winds up wearing what I want him to wear with very little complaints.

Whoa. This blog is being interrupted by the last serving of Baskin Robbin's Quarterback Crunch ice cream that I just remembered is in the freezer.......It's the only good thing about football season.

The pacific northwest is fairly chilly by Halloween, so a black flannel dress with matching cap and striped wool stockings sounds quite pleasant.

Folkwear has a decent pattern.

It seems to make up quite nicely.

I am not sure what colors I will choose...the traditional ones were black or navy. Black would certainly be in keeping with All Hallow's Eve.

The cap needs some stuffing to make it poofier, and I would add some purple and black striped socks.

And vampire teeth.

(I am going to see The Damned, afterall!)

Maybe I'll be non-tradish like these ladies and boast a cacophony of hues. Who knows. There's plenty of time.

I'll stick Russ in a woolen striped union suit and a boater. We'll wax his mustache and part his hair in the middle. He doesn't believe me, but it will look awesome.

I just finished Rosalind Russell's autobiography, "Life is a Banquet" and it was fantastic. Really, really good. Filled with day to day happenings and very little "look at me" hoopla. The introduction was written by her husband shortly after her death, and it made me cry.

After finishing the book I read it again, and it damn near broke me.

I have always liked her----ever since my mom brought home "The Trouble With Angels" and "Auntie Mame" when I was sick in bed with the flu at a tender young age. She said, "Watch these! They will make you feel better!" And they did. :)

I still find her very inspiring---such great comic timing and sass. I am reading Alison Weirs, "Eleanor of Aquitaine" which is kind of a snoozer compared to the life of Roz...but I am still reading the begats, so it will surely improve.

I've been lazily working on the same flannel shirt for about a week. It's olive green, which is good. I would like to pull my thumb out today and finish the darned thing. In the wintertime I prefer to wear nothing but flannel shirts and's a good thing I live in Seattle. This pattern looks like it might be a tried and true. If it is, I'm gonna bust out about six of them. I may have to put some darts up the front, but I don't know yet.

It's Simplicity 3260.

Every single pattern piece, the envelope and the instruction sheet (both sides) have "Deanne Frederick" scribbled in pencil, along with address stickers. (?) Perhaps she lent it out alot? Whatever the reason, it made me giggle.....and I decided Deanne Frederick was OCD.

So yes...back to the sewing room for me.

I am so glad it's September 1st.

Our maple leaf is turning magenta again.

And soon it will be misty and crisp.

And the porch will be covered in spiderwebs, glistening with morning dew.

I am so excited.

P.S. My hair is fixed....but it is short. Shorter then it has been in ages. But it feathers well...which was crucial last Saturday.
My buddy had her 37th birthday party at the roller rink--and it was disco night.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Apron Strings and Other Things

I finished Butterick 6567 yesterday.
The fabric has little doggies all over it.

I originally purchased the fabric to make a shirt--but was afraid it might look a little homely--so an apron seemed the obvious compromise.
Cuz it's okay, and even encouraged, to look homely in an apron.
(Or a "Pinny" as my english hubby calls it....he says lots of cute things, like "Ice Lollies" and "Toothie Pegs")

The waistband on this pattern was a bitch.
I don't know who approved the illustration, but it was confusing as all get out.
I checked out the pattern review website and was relieved to see others had struggled with it as well, and it was not just my own limited mental capacity.

I think it is really cute, but I was pretty aggravated for a good hour or so while trying to figure it out.
There are a few little aprons in this pattern so I think I'll make a couple of the smaller ones for Xmas gifts and the like.
And a few for myself too!

P.S. Saw Depeche Mode again last week, and they were splendiferous.
The Damned are playing in Seattle for go onsale tomorrow.
Life is good.
Except for my hair.
Which still sucks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Middy Midderton

Welly welly well.

I got my hair cut into a traditonal "Middy" a few days ago, and I am not quite sure how I feel about it.
This is by the book, by the diagram, no holds barred.
If I try to curl it in rag-rollers, as I did when my hair was in a layered bob, I wind up looking like Little Molly Mushroom.

Or a 1970's June Allyson. Sadly, I can find no examples of this on google.

However, I found a younger June Allyson.

I might be able to pull that off, actually.

And then grow it into this:

The 1940's husband-stealing June Allyson.

Anywhoo....I was a bit concerned when I realized just how short my hair was going to be.

I want to grow my bangs out a bit anyway...and the only way for me to comfortable do that is whack off the rest of my hair.

This is definitely a cut that needs to be styled properly to look good....which means it needs more maintenance than I am accustomed to providing. :)

This is what it is *supposed* to look like styled, but i think the drawing makes the haircut look alot longer than it actually is.....and my stylist followed the diagram, even using a tape measure.

If you pull that hair down from the ear, it would extend past the chin....and mine is nowhere near that length. Lies, lies, lies, Ivan of Hollywood. hair is stick straight...and although it is fine, there is ALOT of it. I used to think this was bogus, as everybody says that about their hair, but my stylist confirmed it the other day. Even curling it with an iron takes forever. And it is quite heavy to boot. So the layers are a good thing, I suppose, as it will make curling easier.

BUT, I have yet to master the pin curl....and could never really see myself sleeping in them, so instead I found these neato thingies on ebay today, and I have very high hopes.

They are called Curl Bobs. I think. Or Gayla Hold-Bobs? I am not sure if the bobby-pins are the bobs, or if the curler is the bob, but either way they look pretty kick ass. :) I got three of them in different sizes for FIVE BUCKS.

You place a small section of your hair inside it, slide it down to the ends, curl it, slip the pin inside, pull the curler out and VOILA! You have a pinned curl. I would imagine they would get squished if you tried to sleep in them, so I think this will be a morning time endeavor. We shall see.

I was watching Joan Crawford in "Sadie McKee" yesterday, and noticed her hair is layered kinda like mine (just a tad longer) and all of it is curled *upwards* at the bottom, which is darling.

I achieved the look with a curling iron (sorry, no pics of me, but here is a lovely one of Ms. Jane)

and it turned out SUPER CUTE, but the curls only lasted an hour or so, and then they stuck straight out as if I had stuck my finger in a socket. So a wet-set is definitely in order.

I am going to try these rollers when they arrive next week......and if they do not work, I am cutting off the back so I have a nice stacked bob.

I have also thought about perming it, but I swore, sometime around 1990, to never perm my hair again.
I don't know...we shall see. I prefer 30's hair over 40's anyway....and the bob would be more 30's.....sigh. I will make a decision after next week.

It is irksome. :)

P.S. The temp has dropped FORTY DEGREES since the heat wave last week. So all I can think about is nice, warm, soothing bowls of Phở.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Too Darn Hot!

That Cole Porter tune has been running thru my head the last few days.
The temps have soared in the PNW, and I am a sweating, lethargic pile of uselessness. :)

My sewing room is the hottest room in the house, and since the weather won't be letting up for another week, I am moving operations downstairs to the dining room table.

What's really sad, however, is the week before my vacation my machine was being serviced. Then I was gone for 8 days. Then I came back to this awful heat.

Excuses, excuses, i know....but I ain't sewn a gosh-durn thing in over a MONTH. And that is ridickerous.

I've got a few thangs lined up though.....and it looks like an excellent week to trace patterns. :)


I have been devouring Gloria Swanson's autobiography
"Swanson on Swanson"

and it is delicious.

Out of print now, but I got a copy from amazon for a penny plus shipping.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I love my Grandmother!

I just returned from a wonderful week in Idaho with my family.
"Families," rather.

One blood related, the other "I think we met in the cosmos and sought each other out when we landed here" soul brothers and sisters.

And although the trip was filled with debauchery, giggling and mischief-making, I must say the highlight was the full day I spent with my Grammy---who just turned 91 on Friday.

I cherish every moment spent with her.

We had lunch in the cafeteria at the assisted living center (she moved there with my step-grandad about a year ago), and I got to sit at a table with 6 other 90+ folks.

It was neat to say "How do you do?" and hear it in return.
(I rarely get to practice my etiquette.)

She is still sharp as a tack, and has an infectious loud laugh, which her three daughters and myself inherited.
When we all get together it is a riot.

One time, the squawking and howling got so loud her husband ran around with a basket and checked under our chairs to see if we'd laid eggs.

After lunch, we looked thru photos in her apartment. I later snagged a bunch from my mother, who had some copies.

There she is.
What a looker.

That was taken when she was about 13 in the early 1930's.

These are a couple from the late 30s:

As a tall, raven-haired beauty, she was very popular with the boys in college....they were always asking for dates.

She plays this down alot when people talk about it, but evidently she was quite the catch.

She met my Grandad when she was in nursing school.

He's the dashing one on the left.

This is from 1944 in great uncle Tom, my Grammy, and my Grampa.

In the mid 40's my Grammy and Grampa lived in the backwoods of Alaska.

He was an air traffic controller.

Looking thru these photos, it astounds me that her hair was always coiffed.

How on earth did she manage that? While raising three kids in places like Nome without indoor plumbing?

This is later (maybe in Anchorage by this time) in the mid 50's with her daughters.

My mom is on the far right.

When I told her there is a whole society of women out there who love this kind of vintage fashion, she looked at me like I was nuts.

"Why??" she asked. "Are you all putting on a play or something?"

She used to frost angel food cakes with buttercream frosting mixed with orange and lemon zest. I had totally forgotten about this until she brought it up in conversation yesterday.
So that is what we are having for dessert this evening.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Simplicity 2782

Welly well well.

It still needs hemming, pressing and a belt or sash, but I was anxious to post.

Hasty Pudding!

This is the dress I ended up making for the wedding reception---but did not finish in time.
(I wore my green birthday dress)

Who makes a dress the day you need it?

I seem to do that alot--- which, frankly, sucks the joy right out of the process.

Sewing without a deadline is far more enjoyable.
You can take your time and zen out.
I like to burn red incense and take little dancing breaks when special 80's tunes come on the radio.

And of course, since I wanted to whip this out on the fly, I had some issues.

This 30's pattern JUST arrived in the mail from a sewing buddy yesterday---the original 30's dress I was gonna make had around ten pieces, and this one only had 6, so I thought I'd have quick and flashy success---but I really mucked it up.

First, none of the seams matched up--which means I did a crappy job cutting out the fabric.

But it was okay because I had to take most of the seams in anyway.
And then I misread a few steps in the directions.....
Then the bias facing on the neckline really threw me.

You know.......honestly?
I'm still not quite sure what the hell happened.

The pattern was great.......but I sorta sucked.

You never can tell.....even after lots of practice, things can go terribly wrong.

I do like the dress though....and it will be very wearable after completion.

And I am going to figure out that facing if it kills me.
And I'll probably cut the skirt on the bias next time.
This was a good lesson in patience and procrastination.

And now I have another green dress!

A girl can never have too many green dresses.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dog and Butterfly

Easy peasie puddin' pie.

Simplicity 7876 Wrap-Skirt

It took less than an hour to make.
And it matches the flutterby pockets on my old sweater.
At first I thought I'd accidentally cut the fabric out upside down....and I was very sad.....because all the butterflies were flying down toward the ground.
it is basically a circle skirt....
so in the front,
they are flying
Which means I cut it out correctly afterall.

More photos of my special boy!!
We just got back from a walkabout in the rose-colored-low-angle-sunlit evening.
I love the northwest!!
Everything is so green and mossy.
I love summer, but fall is bestest.
The previous owners of our house converted the woodburning fireplace to gas, and we are in the process of converting it BACK.

I look forward to the ritual lighting of a warm fire in the chilly autumn mornings.

Good things happen at the hearth.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The owls are not what they seam........

Spring apparel fabric at Joann's is 60% off over the next couple weeks, so I headed to the Bellevue branch yesterday to see what I could see.

Sadly, there wasn't much in regular apparel that I liked...however, the quilting section had oodles to choose from---but not onsale.....and I only had one coupon.
All of the red tag apparel fabric in the bargain bin was 50% off sale price, so I purchased 6 yards of this mustard and ivory cotton for a whopping 12 dollars, which will make a nice summer frock and matching bolero.

And I used my 40% off coupon for three yards of wonderous rainbow butterfly batik.

There is a hippie-dippie pixie in my heart. She is with me always and occasionally needs to be fed. Yesterday she was hungry for a batik butterfly wrap-skirt from this 70's pattern.

And I'll wear it whilst crafting from my latest ebay gem:

I swear my mother had this exact magazine.
Crafting must be genetic.

In the 70's, our living room walls were covered with knotted owls, gripping tiny pieces of driftwood harvested from the beaches of Kenai lake. And every Christmas we'd riddle the coffee tables with macrame candles, angels and whozits that she endlessly whipped up at the dining room table.

A red and green jingly-jangly knotted bell thingie hung from the ceiling (it's in the first picture, in the top middle photo on the left), and on Christmas Eve after we'd gone to bed, my dad would shake the bells---and my brothers and I knew Santa was making his way down the chimney. You'd think we would've sneaked up the stairs to peak, but we never did.

We just snuggled down deeper and wished for sleep....which, for me, never came.

Man, I LOVE the seventies. I know some people think it was a tacky time, but it reminds me of my childhood.....the grown-ups howling with laughter at my parent's down-home dinner parties, baked artichokes, kitchens decorated with in wide legged pants with appliqued turtles, strawberries and ladybugs....and the huge purple felted murals at the Episcopal church.

My mom sold her pottery and macrame at art shows...she had a kiln in the basement and would fire everything from plant pots to sculpted owls---and her own beads. I would watch her sitting there, hands wet with clay, poised at her wheel. It made a soothing humming sound.....the clay smelled earthy and moldy.....I can still hear that sticky whisper as she sliced the large blocks with wire.....Shhhhhh....Shhhhhh....Shhhhhh.

It's like I can taste it.

And I probably did, since I was about two or three at the time. :)

Most of these memories were made in the dark, as Alaskan winters are long and the days short. It was *always* dark or getting dark outside. And freezing. We were often greeted by the scent of bread baking as we waddled in from the cold, wearing layers of snowpants, moonboots and wet mittens. I am so glad my mom was at home during those years.

Okay....back from the time capsule. I could get lost in that headspace for days.

SPEAKING of owls....

This is my new most favoritest fabric ever.

I got 2 and a half yards to make a long sleeve shirt for wintertime, to be worn under a burgundy corduroy jumper. Just *look* at their little hats and scarves. Oh my gosh gosh gosh! It makes me so happy I want to clap!

And lastly, some teal/seafoam green cotton with cream-colored leaves for a 1930's dress. There's a wedding reception this weekend and I want to be ready.

I had a serious craving last night for rice krispie treats....which is a loverly vintage snack, BTW. Invented in 1939 by a gal named Mildred Day, god bless her.

These are my modifications, as the butter/marshmallow/rice cereal ratio is important and the recipe on the box is not to my liking.

(I have a sneaking suspicion it is not the original recipe anymore, and they want you to add extra cereal so you use more of it...but that makes a very dry treat).

Krispie Treats

5 TBSP butter (always margarine.....and if using unsalted butter, add a tsp. salt)
one 10. oz bag KRAFT marshmallows
melt in saucepan over low heat
turn off heat and slowly stir in about 4 1/2 to 5 cups rice cereal
Pour into buttered 13X9x2 pan.
Don't stop until the roof of your mouth hurts.
Keep them covered in foil overnight, if they last that long.

I did the math, and a whole pan has about 1900 calories and 55 grams of fat...which in all honesty, split between two people in 24 hours is not the end of the world.

Especially if you make them only once or twice a year.

It's a hoot!

But, that said, I now have a really bad headache

coupled with a general feeling of "otherworldliness" that I could do without.

Alas......'twas worth it.