Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 12

Skelly the Skeleton (original, eh?) has a pop quiz for you.  Please complete the following:

Q.  Ding-Dong!

A.  a)  Trick or Treat!
     b)  The witch is dead!
     c)  ...Ditch!

The correct answer is—well, Skelly says anything goes today.  Happy Halloween!

I found these at a thrift store a few months ago.  Aren't the graphics fabulous?

I love vintage sewing notions, and I couldn't resist these at 79 cents.  What a "steel"!

Bound and Determined
I did get the quilt finished that I mentioned last week, but I'll do a separate post on that in a day or so.  

What I was really excited about working on this week was this scrappy spider web table topper (or wall hanging).  I've been wanting to try a spider web block, and having come across some old Halloween novelty prints in my stash recently gave me a good reason to go for it.

As a reference, I used this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, but changed the size and used a paper foundation instead.  I cut a piece of lightweight paper into an 8.5-inch square, then cut it once on the diagonal.  I pieced four such triangular units to make one block.  Four complete blocks is all you need for this wall hanging.  It measures 22 inches square.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a glitch in cutting the backing—I accidentally sliced into the backing fabric!

After the small cloud of blue language cleared, I did what any quilter would do and regarded the situation as a "design opportunity."  I patched it to kind of look like a doorway, and then free motion quilted a little surprise visitor dropping by.

Where was once a boo-boo, there's now just a "boo."

Last Sunday afternoon, my good friend Kathy and I attended a play starring our other good friend Marie.  She had the part of Doris in The Cemetery Club, a tale of three friends whose husbands have all passed away.  It was funny, heartwarming, and very well done.

But I was kind of miffed that she didn't warn us about the sad ending.  Marie did such a wonderful job and we were so into it, loving her performance, her character Doris, and just plain her.  Then do you know what that Doris did?  She went and died in the next-to-last scene!  The nerve!  Had I known that, I'd have brought way more Kleenex (and a bouquet of flowers, which I should have done anyway, for our actress friend).  Bravo!

Thanks for visiting!  Here is my treat for you today. I was going to post ELO's "Evil Woman," but I changed my mind in favor of one I like better. Jeff Lynne still looks and sounds as great today as he did in the 1970s, doesn't he? 

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - Tea

"Coffee or tea?" 

Tea, please.  Preferably decaf, either black or green.  But not Stash green tea because that stuff tastes like spinach.  

Earl Grey, if you have it.  

But if it's noon, then iced tea with lemon and a packet of Truvia.  Brewed 50/50 caf/decaf, if I'm at home, otherwise whatever you've got.

None of that instant crap, though.  No herbals either.  Except chamomile or ginger if I'm feeling queasy.  

Or raspberry, on occasion.  Blueberry, I suppose, would be okay, too.

No clover tea, though.  The one time I had it, I felt like I was having an allergic reaction.

Or peppermint, yuck.  Who wants to drink something that tastes like warm toothpaste?

If it's got a lot of cinnamon in it, I'll have it maybe once or twice a year.  It has a weird aftertaste.

Just decaf black or green is best for me, please.

And I don't like fishing the bag out by hand.  Give me a string and a tag.  Sorry, Celestial Seasonings.  I don't like your green tea either.  I'll drink Lipton or, if I can find it, The Republic of Tea green varieties. 

Well, if all you have is Celestial, it'll do.

Okay, so I'm a little high maintenance when it comes to tea, but it is one of my favorite things.

What's your favorite (tea or otherwise)?  Stop by Favourite Things Friday to link or look at more!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flitting through Red Wing

We stopped at the Red Wing pottery store and museum during our recent visit to Red Wing, Minnesota.  It was very interesting, indeed!

I am not a collector of Red Wing, and I didn't know that much about it.  I certainly didn't know they had made so many different things through the years.

It's funny; when I was a kid, our newspaper "rack" was a giant old Red Wing crock.  It sat next to one of the recliners and could hold several weeks worth of daily Milwaukee Journal newspapers plus the local paper, both spring and fall JC Penney catalogs, and whatever else fell into its gaping maw—odd socks, junk mail, homework, Ding-Dong wrappers, etc.

Likewise, my in-laws, when they sold their home, had several old Red Wing crocks in the basement.  They had been used to make sauerkraut and store pickles back in the day.  None of us felt attached to any of those old crocks but knew others got pretty excited about them, so we sold them.

Interestingly though, it was a 1950s Red Wing vase that jump-started my fascination with mid-century art pottery.  I was working at a law firm which was moving across the street to a new building.  In cleaning out the old basement, a pile was created of things to be donated.  There on top of the pile one day was a dirty, funky looking chartreuse vase from a bygone era.  It was ugly enough to be interesting, and I flipped it over to see the Red Wing mark on the bottom.  I asked if I could have it; the answer was yes, and it became one of the first things I sold on eBay, for right around $20.

It turned out it was a piece designed by Belle Kogan for Red Wing as part of the Tropicana line of art pottery.  It looked like the one in the photo here, but instead of the bronze glaze, it was solid chartreuse.

I couldn't afford didn't buy anything in Red Wing, but I did pick up two small pieces at a shop in Winona on the way home.  

These are from the Town & Country dinnerware line designed by Eva Zeisel, produced from 1947 to 1956.  (I totally Googled that after I got home; I had no clue when I bought them.  But if you want to see some funky-cool vintage Red Wing dinnerware, click HERE.)

The peach colored piece is a relish dish from a Lazy Susan set.  The blue piece is a sauce dish.  I just liked the unique shapes and thought one of them might be interesting in the newly painted half bath as a soap dish.  Or we could use them for salsa.

In the Red Wing pottery store, there was an interesting display of the various dinnerware patterns and years of production.  

I know I've passed some of these by in thrift stores.

More art pottery from the museum:


Hope you enjoyed these glimpses of Red Wing!

Monday, October 25, 2010

FMQA - Spirals

I have been a bit behind on the free motion quilt along (FMQA), but I played catch up today.  

While I was on vacation, I did practice doodling spirals and other things in my notebook.

Turns out inspiration was right outside my hotel room door.  Check out the carpeting in the hallway!

Unfortunately, I didn't notice this until we were checking out of the room.  Or maybe I did, subliminally?  I had doodled this night before.

Kay Lynne of Kay'z Quiltz had posted a fun tutorial for making free-motion posies.  I finally had a chance to try it today.  I was doing five petals at first, but then I realized it worked better with six.  Fun!

I call this one, "What the H?"

My bobbin ran out halfway through making a flower.  After I wound and replaced it, I took a stitch or two and heard a bad metallic clunk, and then my machine wouldn't sew anymore.  The bobbin had fallen out of the case!  

"What the H?" is about what I said at that moment.  (There may also have been another letter in there as well, as in Frustrated.)  I had to reposition the bobbin three times and re-thread the top thread again too.  Then it was making a clacking noise, which is never good, so I dripped some oil in the holes and carried on.  It finally straightened itself out, for the most part.

You can see where things went downhill in my quilting during this time, starting from one of the daisies on the left and proceeding into a bunch of half-baked spirals to the right.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Finally, I made another row of spirals, just so I could finish on a good note.

Musically, I enjoyed Schubert and Mozart this afternoon. These young pianists do a fabulous rendition of Sonata in D for Two Pianos, which is one of my favorite Mozart pieces of all time.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Sundry Vol. 11

I've been trying to get used to a different schedule this week.  My husband went to second shift, so he is now home precisely when he used to be at work.  The house is no longer quiet when it used to be quiet.  I'm not the kind of person who likes having the TV on for background noise, but he does.  

Recent Thrift Store Find - 1970 Beistle Skeletons!
I work from home some of the time, and my concentration has been all out of whack, plus I get interrupted with Really Important Questions.  Like, "Where is the can opener, I can't find it," as the drawer of jangly kitchen implements is being pawed through with all the finesse of a black bear at the dump.  Then there's the daily question of lunch.  I am not about to cook a big meal at noon, and by big meal I mean ANY meal.  Which sounds pretty definitive when I type it, but it doesn't quite accurately convey my sense of waffling and guilt when I said it out loud.

Oh, I'm sure we'll adjust in time, but right now, the change is messing with me.  I know some of you have small children, boisterous teenagers, multiple large, domesticated animals, and possibly peskier spouses underfoot all day every day, and all I can say is my hat is off to you.  I honestly don't know how you do it, handle the chaos, without prescription meds or a cocktail hour commencing at 11:00 a.m.

Let's Go Shopping
Check out these handmade cards I picked up at the quilt store in Minnesota.  They are made by a local woman there, Corrine McGinty.  Just look at all those tiny paper folds!  Each card is unique, and now I wish I had bought a few more.

A couple months back, I found this platter at a flea market for a dollar.  There was no marking on the back, and I knew nothing about it, other than I liked the vintage cattail motif.

Imagine my delight when I came upon a whole bunch of this stuff at the antique mall last week.  Behind locked glass, no less.  

The pattern is apparently by Universal and it's called "Cattail."  Go figure.

Check out the price-y tags:  $25 for ONE glass, $30 for ONE creamer (not the set), etc.  No, I did not ask Mr. Shop Owner for the key to the case, just whether I could take some photos.  He was a nice guy and told me to have at it.

It's Ba-ack!
I got a quilt back from Sandy, my longarm quilter, this week.  Yay!  Now I'm itching to get the binding on it and get it done.  

I'll share more photos once it's finished—and believe me, living in the state of in-between that has been my house the past couple weeks, I am so looking forward to finishing SOMETHING!

Loose Ends Tied
You may remember this dirty piece of Pyrex from a few Sunday Sundries ago.  

I did get it clean and posted about it and some other things at The Pyrex Collective.  It was nice to also find out a bit more about it from the knowledgeable and friendly folks who commented.  

Norm mentioned he was hungry for enchiladas the other day, so this piece will be called to active duty soon.

With any luck, by this time next week, I may have things back in order in the half bath.  It won't be fully decorated but we may have a cupboard back on the wall and a new towel bar, TP holder, and light fixture mounted.  I am hopeful!

Dad Rocks
My father gave a talk at the local archeology association meeting this past week.  I happened to be in the neighborhood and dropped by to listen in.  

He spoke about the history of the Horicon Marsh from the mid-1800s until about the mid-1900s.  How it was dammed and made a lake, then drained, the heyday of the hunting clubs, fur farms, dredging operations, ice harvesting, etc.  

Fascinating stuff!

Thanks for visiting today.  Have fun creating your own history this week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - Matthew Macfadyen

I'm short on time to put together a Favourite Things Friday post, since I have to be back to work in a couple minutes, but I do want to play along this week.  I was thinking about the subject last night before bed (*snort*) and whaddaya know, my favorite Mr. Darcy, Matthew Macfadyen popped into my head.  Yes, he'll do quite nicely, thank you!

I loved him in Pride & Prejudice.  

I have since rented movies I otherwise might not have simply because he's been in them.  (Don't you do that?)  One that was a total departure from his buttoned up, corset movie character was Daniel in "Death at a Funeral."  This is the 2007 version, not the new one (which I haven't seen) starring Chris Rock.  Laughed my butt off!  Rent it sometime.

He also played a great character in the BBC mini-series, "Little Dorrit," which I caught on PBS earlier this year.  Another wonderful role.

I so wanted to post the YouTube of my favorite scene in Pride & Prejudice, the one that melts me to goo every time I see it, but it's one of those that is not able to be embedded.  But here is the link.  (Click the word "link.")  Treat yourself!