Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Things I Do for You, Mrs. P.

Mrs. P of Quilting in my Pyjamas, talks about her style today, specifically, what does your wardrobe say about you.  Well, I don't even want to know what mine says about me because it's probably a dirty liar McLiar-pants.  

But then she asked what we're wearing as we read said post.  I took it as a dare.

This is also representative of what I wear to work every day—elastic-waist jammy pants, long-sleeved t-shirt, and a hoodie or pullover over that.  Can you tell I work two of three jobs from home?  This afternoon, however, I'll be dressed in office casual (dark slacks, sweater set, low-heeled dress shoes) as I chat with insurance reps from somewhere outside my dining room. 

How about you?  What are you wearing? 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 16

There Went Another Hour of My Life
Last evening, I started to wade through a huge Rubbermaid storage tote full of sewing paraphernalia that had belonged to my mother.  It's like a cross between a treasure chest and a time capsule.  Among other things, there was enough serger thread to chainstitch to the moon and back, and enough hot glue to totally stick it to the man.

And then I started to putter...because I thought I had an idea.

I was mistaken.

But I may have invented a new game:  Thread-Jenga!

Go, Greta!
When I sit down to do a Sunday Sundry post, I often comb through the photos I've taken during the week and build around them.  For a holiday week and what would seem like more photo opportunities than usual, I have surprisingly little to show for it.  I had my camera in my purse on Thursday but never took a single picture.  And I've already talked about my sewing projects this week in Friday's post.

So last night, I was perusing the photos on my computer and came upon Greta Von Riding Crop, all decked out for the season.

"I em mekking a list and checking it tvice, 
end if you are naughty, I vil not be nice!" 

Greta is also available for hire to crack the whip on your last-minute holiday projects.  Just don't ask to borrow her boots.

Slack Friday
I'm not one of those people who get up at 2 a.m. in order to be at a store in the dark, cold, middle of the night for Black Friday deals.  No, for me to get up in the wee hours, it has to be for something more enticing than a holiday marketing strategy.  Like maybe if the cashiers were going to be Johnny Depp and George Clooney.  And we had the store all to ourselves.  And Alan Rickman was reading me Shakespeare or the phone book over the intercom, and Mike Rowe was in the hardware section ready to do any dirty job I had in mind, and Tony Bourdain was wisecracking his way through dinner with me, while Matthew McFadyen and Jake Gyllenhaal were making up the bed in the mattress department.

Yeah, I'd be up for that.

Believe it or not, however, my husband likes to shop and suggested we venture out in the afternoon on Friday to see what we could see.  So I found a coupon online for 30% off at a specific store where we could potentially tick a few things off the Christmas list, and off we went.  About an hour and a half later (there was a commute involved), I presented to the cash register with a fistful of overpriced items in one hand and the coupon in the other, only to discover the coupon had expired at 1:00 p.m. and it was now 3.  Whereupon I had a dilemma...put the merchandise back and drive another 80 miles round trip tomorrow when a different coupon would be in effect...or suck it up, pay, and give the overworked cashier a break already?  Well, the latter, of course.

Nursing a fresh wound to my checkbook, we headed to Savers.  I spied some Pyrex, two Butterfly Gold Cinderella bowls, but they were woefully overpriced for a thrift store.  Sheesh.  So I sauntered over to the sewing section and found some uncut costume patterns for a song.  

Not sure if I'll be making or reselling these.  I suppose it depends on whether or not daughter M. would like a new Ren Faire outfit.

I do love this Simplicity 8640 Retro pattern and wouldn't mind making it for myself, if I had a costume party to attend...

...or, you know, an elegant event on board the Titanic.

Here's hoping the rest of your day goes down smoothly.  I'm off to get the sale price on an ugly-but-functional pair of winter boots that would make Greta's cheeks red!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - Funny Commercials Part 2

You asked for it, you got it.  Funny commercials part two! I am sliding in under the wire here for Favourite Things Friday.  Although this linky party is hosted by the beloved Mrs. P, who resides in a completely different time zone known as Australia, where it is now—oh, I don't know—Saturday going on Sunday, maybe?  

But a laugh is good anytime, right?  So here are some more commercials that tickle my funny bone.

I love just about every e*Trade commercial featuring the babies, but here are two of my current faves.


I have to admit the first time I saw this next one, I felt a little anxious for that baby...until I got to the end and heaved a sigh of relief.


Here's one Sarah shared after she saw last week's post.  I hadn't seen it before because we don't have Jack in the Box where I live, but it's a good one!


This led me to another Jack in the Box commercial on YouTube, which really cracked me up! 


And who says fiber isn't funny?

You care about my fiber? Not really!

And finally, here is Mike Rowe (a definitely favorite), in the process of trying to make a commercial for Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel.

Hope you're either giggling or grinning after watching these. Then click on over to Favourite Things Friday to see what's making other people smile!

Thankful...and it's Friday!

We enjoyed Thanksgiving yesterday at our daughter's boyfriend's parents' home.  It was a nice afternoon spent with friendly folks, enjoying great food—turkey, of course, but also prime rib and roast leg of lamb.  I had some of each, and seconds on the lamb, which was particularly scrumptious.  I've not eaten much lamb before, other than in gyros.  So I pumped T.'s grandma on how to make it and she shared her recipe, which involves whole garlic cloves tucked into the meat, lemons, a roasting bag, and a 325-degree oven.  Yum!

My contribution to dinner was a broccoli and grape salad, sweet potato casserole, and gluten-free pecan pie (that's a link to my favorite GF crust recipe).  And now what remains of said pie keeps calling me, but I'm just going to keep my hands busy here on the keyboard and ignore its sticky-sweet beckoning for now.  La-la-la-la-la, I can't hear you...

The official tally of gathered clutches completed is 17, and I am officially done with making them for now.  Here are the final ones made this week.  

I have a new favorite.  Can you guess which one?  If you said the red and black, you're right! 

Now it's on to other things on the holiday sewing to-do list.  

SPOILER ALERT:  If you are a family member and participate in our Dirty Santa gift exchange, you should stop reading/scrolling now, close your browser or click on to the next site, go finish lunch or laundry or whatever you're procrastinating on, read the newspaper, Google a medical malady, play a game on your iPhone, etc.  Nothing more here for you to see.  Nope, nada.  'K, I love you, bye-bye!

Sew...I made a set of pillowcases with this fun Alexander Henry "Phil's Drive-In" print.  I am hoping they end up with a certain person who's into hot rods and retro babes, etc., but we play the Dirty Santa game, so one never knows who will get what until the final gift is stolen or unwrapped.  We also allow voluntary swapping at the end of play.  

Anyway, I auditioned two fabrics for the pillowcase borders yesterday morning, a blue and a red. After garnering a couple of opinions, I went with the Kona "Ocean."  

Instead of taking a nap after we got home yesterday, I cut out the pillowcases and put them together.  So cute!  I had enough fabric for three, which was a good thing, because I put an incorrect-sized border on the first pillowcase, which I did not notice until I had made the second one correctly.  That is what happens when you sew in a post-Thanksgiving, semi-food-coma state.  Or maybe it was the two glasses of wine, I can't say for sure.

What I can say for sure is that I truly am thankful for so many blessings—family, friends, abundance, love, the gift of time—to sew, cook, laugh—and for a day spent acknowledging and enjoying those blessings.  Hope you had a good day too!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 15

Progress has been made on Christmas sewing this week.  Eleven gathered clutches down, ?? to go.  

I like them all, but I must admit I have a favorite...or three.

The insides are cute too, but kind of hard to photograph.  You'll have to take my word for it.

I've got fabric pulled for five or six more, but I'm getting antsy to sew something else.  Something that hopefully won't bite.

Deja Vu, All Over Again
I sewed through the end of my middle finger Friday night (see previous post).  On Saturday morning, I did the same dumb thing!  I wish I were making this up.  My fingers wouldn't be hurting as I type. 

The weird thing is (as if that weren't enough), I happened to look up at the clock after I did it the second time, and the time read the same as it had when I sewed over the other finger the night before, 10:40.  I initially thought the clock had stopped, but when I looked over at the other clock, it was the same.

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

I dabbed the blood and kept on sewing, this time wearing protection (leather thimble).  Thankfully, there were no further incidents.  I am not in the habit of getting nabbed by my sewing machine.  It's my own fault for keeping the zipper foot on to do a straight seam and trying to finesse it over the tricky spots.

I've been buying eggs from a woman I work with who started raising chickens this year.  I opened a new carton this week and spied this monster:

That's a store-bought large egg on the left for comparison, and a normal sized farm egg on the right.  Just looking at Egg-zilla gives me a sympathetic twinge for the hen who laid it.  You know that had to cluckin' hurt!

Other than a double yolk, there was nothing wrong with it.  It made a tasty omelet!

Shaving All My Love 4U
Some men look better clean shaven.  Brett Favre, for one.  Other guys look better with some facial hair, and Norm is in this latter group.  Today he decided to shave his goatee—as in right down the middle.  I am always startled when he does something like that (who are you and what have you done with my husband?), and it takes me a while to adjust.  Frankly, though, I don't know that this look is something I'm keen on getting used to.

Paul Teutul, Sr. of Orange County Choppers

Gorman Thomas-1970s Milwaukee Brewers Baseball
James Morrison is a guy who sounds smooth, any way you shave him.  I love the throwback groove of this song.   

Thanks for visiting, and if I don't post again before Thursday, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

When to Quit

How do you know when it's time to quit sewing for the evening?

a) When it's 10:40 p.m., and you told yourself you would knock off at 10:30?


b)  When your bobbin runs out right about that time?

Nope, minor inconvenience. 

c)  When you sew through your finger?

Works for me.

Favorite Things Friday - Funny Commercials

Five minutes.  That's all I have before I have to punch in and work--which isn't really punching in, but rather logging in.  Well, maybe I can stretch it to ten.

I actually gave this post some forethought this week and saved links to a few of my favorite TV commercials of the past couple months.  Do Australians call them commercials, Mrs. P.?  Clue me in in the comments.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorites:

Love that word: Jackwagon!

"...and praying mantises..."

J.K. Simmons (the Professor) is one of my favorite character actors. And he has pretty eyes!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 14

I wish you could smell these scented pine cones.  Heavenly.  These were some of what we unpacked from Dad's moving boxes recently.  My mom had hand-dipped each one (some 15 or more times) in scented wax.  She mixed the scents herself, so what you might imagine might smell like straight up cinnamon actually smells like soft sandalwood with a cinnamon undertone, or evergreen with a hint of berry and cedar.  It's hard to describe in words just how amazing they smell.

These went into fabric baskets that she made and sold at craft fairs.  I spent time this week deconstructing those baskets that were abandoned in various stages of production when she had her stroke.  It was a bittersweet task, but I felt she would have wanted me to do that, salvage the fabric to use or donate, and move on.

The Lighter Side
I clicked on an ad in my Gmail account today, something I rarely do, but this T-shirt had caught my eye.

"Will sleep with every quilt I meet," just cracked me up.  The site is Block Party Studios, and it looks like they've got a number of cute and fun gift items for the quilter, as well as for the quilter's significant other.  If any of my family is reading this (psst, M.?), this shirt is near the top of my Christmas list.  Hey, I'm easy—to buy for, that is!

I have no idea what that means, but we did buzz through three thrift stores on Friday afternoon and snagged a few treasures, viz:

I love that bright undersea print!  The middle fabric is a vintage print that has a feedsack type texture to it.

Also found some red rick-rack.  Say that three times fast, and you will sound like the child of Barbara Walters and Elmer Fudd too, I bet!

My husband gets credit for spying two very cool finds of the day—a double-scoop sundae dish and a Royal Haeger (#128) ashtray in the gold tweed glaze.

Neither of us eats ice cream anymore (sadly) or smokes (thankfully), but his idea is to put a couple of vintage Christmas ornaments in the sundae dish.   Fabulous, right?  

I know there has to be a novel way to display something in the ashtray too.  Jane, help!  I'm thinking it'd be interesting to maybe have it hold vintage cards or photos where the cigs used to sit, maybe on some kind of tubular placecard holder type thing, but I don't know how to make that happen.  Any other ideas?

My heart went pitter-patter when I saw this little tin recipe box.  I'm not sure how old it is exactly, but I'm guessing the Flower Power era.  Back before they abbreviated states with two letters, anyway, as it says it was made in "Penna." on the bottom.

Getting in the Groove
I might have palpitations of another sort if I think about all the things I want to sew or quilt before Christmas.  It's going to take the old nose to the grindstone and some solid concentration over the next few weeks.  Please pass the Focus Factor.  I will have to resist being derailed by all the other brilliant projects happening in blogland, but it's going to be hard.

Speaking of brilliant (and distracting, but in a wonderful way), have you seen the free Quilting Tutorials page over at Cluck Cluck Sew?

You can peruse the various tutorials linked from there and post your own.  Did I mention brilliant?

Parting Gift
Ray LaMontagne is getting regular rotation on my favorite radio station lately, and I do not mind at all.  My husband tends to want to change the station when this song comes on, but I shoo him away if he tries.  We both agree there is a Joni Mitchell quality to it, with maybe a nod to early Neil Young as well.  I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stacked Coins Baby Quilt

A friend's son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first baby the end of this month—a boy—and I figured I better get my rear in gear and quilt the top I finished in early September.  Actually, it wasn't just pure procrastination; it was procrastination for a reason.  I wanted to get some free motion quilting practice under my belt before I attempted stippling this quilt.

Enter the Free Motion Quilt Along by Christina at A Few Scraps.  Perfect timing!  I hopped on board that train and road along the learning curve all the way up to our current stop, Stippling 101, where we are experiencing a momentary layover.

But that's okay, because stippling is exactly where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do on this baby quilt.  I practiced on my Spiderweb Halloween table topper, then practiced a bit more on my practice quilt for the quilt-along.  Finally, on Monday, I basted this baby (quilt) together, and away I went!

Oh, there are some stitch length issues and a few mountain peaks where there should be meandering curves, but overall I'm happy with how it turned out.

I did a pieced backing, since I had enough strips cut anyway.  I like a little something extra on the back of a quilt, don't you?

It's mostly from stash, except the Kona cream (I don't know the official color name).  I was trying to come somewhat close to what may or may not be the mom-to-be's nursery theme.  I think there are giraffes and leaves involved anyway.  I was fresh out of giraffes but had a bunch of leafy prints.  The gray/white/black print is a vintage piece I've used in probably way too many things already, but I love it.

Now all this quilt needs is a little baby boy nestled in the middle.  As Tom Petty said, "The way-aiting is the hardest part!"

I'll be linking to AmyLouWho's Sew & Tell Friday.  Click on over to see the other great finishes this week!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vintage Knitting Booklets

It's Vintage Thingie Thursday, and today I'm pulling out a couple of vintage knitting booklets that I found on my thrift store adventures this past summer.  

I love these primarily on the basis of retro style, and secondly because while I don't knit or crochet myself, I appreciate the work that goes into making such beautiful clothes.

The first booklet (the one pictured on the left above) is dated 1939.  These are such great, classic looks.

Love the collar on this sweater below (the booklet calls it a blouse, but to me, if it's knitted, it's a sweater).

The second booklet is dated 1941.  The U.S. officially entered WWII in late 1941, after Pearl Harbor was bombed and as the Nazis continued to wreak havoc across Europe.  

I imagine these sweaters being knitted in front of the radio as news was relayed of the war overseas, or as the Andrews Sisters sang "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

The final booklet is of men's fashions from 1945.  The props used in these photos give me a chuckle, with golf clubs or other sporting equipment and pipes being predominant. 

Great classic style once again.  The sweater below is called The Vacationer.  Gee, I don't see many people looking so dressed up on vacation anymore, do you?

This guy in the following picture looks like my first Ken doll.  Also a little like Elvis, although Elvis was so young when this booklet was published, his voice hadn't even changed yet.

 My favorite men's sweater is this one:

Look, he's got both a ski pole and a pipe!  Wonder if he can do both at the same time?  Now that's talent.  And who doesn't like a little fuming pipe tobacco to go with all that crisp, alpine air?

Hope you had fun peeking in on these vintage knitting patterns today.  Be sure to see the myriad of other Vintage Thingie Thursday treasures at ColoradoLady!