Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Well, it's getting late on Halloween, and it's about time to turn the porch light off. I have tons of cookies and toys left over, but better to have too much than not enough. The last group that came by included a little guy in a devil suit. He hung to the back and wasn't pushing in to get a choice. I made sure he got something, and then he turned to walk away. His mom said, "did you say thank you?". He just matter-of-factly said, "no", and kept walking. The look of mortification on the mom's face was priceless. I had to laugh, so she laughed in return. Some of the costumes were quite inventive--McDonalds fries, a red crayon, some funky riding a horse type thing...but the itty bitty princesses are my favorite. One older girl (6th grade, I'll guess) was far too sexy and dramatic in her sequined cut-out devil suit. Hmmm...trouble brewing ahead for that one. Funny how easy it all is to see now.

Last night I made homemade carmel corn, so I'll be posting the recipe for that (and pics) in a few days when I'm back at my computer (I'm house-sitting right now). It was funny today, because I work in the cash vault with another girl who used to be my roommate before she got married. This recipe happens to be her mom's. When I gave her the carmel corn today, it was like Christmas! She was thrilled. I have never seen someone so thoroughly and quickly stuff their face. Literally. She was trying to answer the phone with mumbled mouthfuls. "Caaghhhhhtnn I haaaaeeelp you?" Pretty damned funny.

Overall it was a rather pleasant day. Nice, well-mannered kids. A far cry from the brats who destroyed my pumpkin once upon a time. It has been far too long since I've carved a pumpkin. Think I'll try some new pumpkin bread recipes soon. That sounds yummy.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Toy or Treat?

I live in a section of San Diego County that is a bit removed. I have one neighbor and a lot of property. Or I should say my mom does. I hang out there when I don't have a dog-sitting gig, because it's just too damn expensive to live in San Diego...and my paycheck isn't big enough for a car payment AND rent. So there you go. Anyway, concequently, I haven't dealt with kids at Halloween in years. That will change this Monday, because I am house-sitting in a very kid-friendly neighborhood, and I expect a lot of knocks on the door here. My clients didn't leave any candy, and I could have just turned off the light and ignored the event, but I'm sort-of up for the challenge. These clients left me extra cash anyway, so what the heck. I don't want the poor kids to get yet another few pieces of the common Costco blend, so I wanted to find something a bit unique. I headed to Walmart, where I figured I'd get the best value. The irony is that I work at Costco, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I'm pretty proud of what I came up with. No digital camera, so I have no photos (yet), but check it out! I figured I'd give the kids their choice between a toy or a treat.
I got a package of 12 plastic animals for 88 cents. Cool, huh?
Mini playdough at 10 for $4, so 40 cents a piece is acceptable.
Packages of two glow in the dark bracelets, 44 cents each.
And two packages of pencils (30 per) for $2 each. Not too shabby.
I bought pencils once upon a time when I lived with my boyfriend. He was mortified until we had kids lined up outside, screaming, "they've got pencils here!". Go figure. I heard a dentist in the neighborhood gave out mini tubes of toothpaste and a mini brush, with similar results. Like I said, it's all about something different. Why have 25 Milky Ways, when you can have packages of cheese popcorn? That's what I'm talkin' about!
Anyway, for treats I got packages of Oreos (6 cookies packs, and 12 per box) for $4.
Ditto with boxes of Cheez-its and Keebler cookies.
I figure if I have left over snacks, it's something I myself would want in my lunch. I thought about individually wrapped Ding-Dong cakes, but I thought they might mush.
Then I went to Costco, and they were out of cheese popcorn, so I got a 36 count box of chocolate chip cookies.Pretty darned decent though (I hope the kids agree).

other ideas: bubble liquid, cheap jewelry (bangles, rings, etc), stuff from the craft store like letter beads in little packages (my rule is under 50 cents). Stuff from the party supply store-like favors that are toys and weird goodies. I got candy necklaces. They had pixie-stix. Packages of rice crisy bars, snack-size chips, packages of stickers. Art supplies like small boxes of crayons or paints. Funky band-aids? I'm reaching now.

More Quilt Show Pics

I have so many photos to share, it will take a few posts to get these all in (it takes me forever to post). I updated the previous post to include maker's name, and some information.

Huge 105" x 105" antique yo-yo quilt! Can you imagine the work?! Made by Emma Moon, owned by Ray Resler. Posted by Picasa

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Something that we do, by Marie-Paule Gherardi, made to honor the acheivements in herding competition of her Briards. 52" x 36." Posted by Picasa

Tee shirt quilt. I definitely plan to make one of these. I have t-shirts saved from high school (my swim team, Fonzie, Morris the cat...). Great memory idea. I have a client whose son was tragically killed in an automobile accident, and she had a quilt made of his t-shirts, plus photos, and it's a nice comfort for her. (note the 'x' in front of the quilt is how they kept viewers from getting too close to entries). From reading the program, I'm guess this one is Shirt off his Back, by Phyllia Kaylor. 86" x 100." Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2005

Blog Comments

Comments on this blog are like gold for me. I try to email everyone privately who leaves a comment. If you do not have your email address listed, I will thank you in a comment on your own blog. To the handful of people who are "regulars" to this blog, I don't email you every time, but please know that I appreciate your every word. I know who you are, and I am grateful for your "checking in". I am in the midst of a shift, a change, a growing...and I cannot even fully express how much I appreciate your support. That people tell me I offer them inspiration boggles my mind, yet is exactly the confidence boost I have needed. I want to thank Catalyst for kind and supportive comments yesterday--your words come at a sensitive time, and are appreciated more than you know. I would have emailed you had I known your address, and your blog does not allow I will do it publicly. Ditto with the anonymous comments I have had recently--I would contact you if I were able. I never in a million years would have figured how rewarding this project would become--and I've only just begun! Thank you.

San Diego Quilt Show (updated)

Finally, I am posting about the September quilt show. The annual quilt show is held downtown at the Convention Center.

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The architecture of the structure fascinates me--it is intended to represent a ship, with portholes and "sails".

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Here are some of the entries that I found interesting or inspiring:

This phenomenal frog quilt that loses its brilliance in the photo. I voted it my pick for "people's choice" favorite of the show. Frogs at Play, by Patsy Blackburn. Appliqued and embroidered, including embroidery with beads. 46" x 46" wall hanging. Posted by Picasa

This simple pennant-like design that would be a great way to utilize scraps. This one is titles Dave's Favorite Things, by Laura Medbery. Pattern from a quilt magazine, and fabrics depict things her husband enjoys. 66" x 84". Posted by Picasa

Dia de Los Muertos design.
Day of the Dead Fiesta, by Alicia Williams. Hand-dyed border, appliqued flowers, traditional bright colors. 50" x 57". Posted by Picasa

Adorable pineapples quilt--strip pieced almost like a log cabin. I love this design. If I'm reading my notes correctly, this is Sunshine Pineapple Quilt, by Judy Crowley. Pattern by Vicki Stratton and Barbara Jones. 42" x 59". Posted by Picasa

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Tons more pics to share. I'll post more another day....

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thanks Lupe!

One morning over coffee, Lupe made me this adorable basket for my jewelry by sewing together pine needles. I definitely want to learn to do this, especially because we have the infamous Torrey Pine trees here. Lupe says that in her home town (Jalisco, Mexico), the needles are more fragrant, as well as thicker and larger--therefore fewer are needed. This is such a cool craft. She said she sold these in Mexico for 20 pesos (only $2), and made 30 of them for a family member's wedding reception, as favors that held chocolates.

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She made this one for the lady of the house.

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Those of you who regularly read my blog may remember that I recently house-sat/pet-sat for a wealthy family for three weeks while they traveled to Europe. I do this all the time, and am used to my time alone. This house, however, had gardeners, a pool guy, and a maid that worked eight hours per day, three days per week. One can't really hang out by the pool or just be lazy in pajamas while watching Court TV...when too many eyes are around. At first I was a bit put out, but I came to enjoy the maid's (Lupe's) company. We would spend mornings together and tell each other about our lives (not the easiest task when I speak English, and she speaks Spanish). I know a bit of Spanish (God knows it should be more after four semesters in college and summer school in Spain--Salamanca--but that was a couple decades ago, so I should give myself a break). It was great conversing with Lupe, because it was open and without criticism, so I felt free to speak--which is not normally the case. The man who lives here is retired, but he has a business that takes tours to Africa, so the home is furnished with a rustic, African this adorable coffee table, that looks like a hippo surfacing water:

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I took care of this cutie:

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as well as three sweetheart labs. There is nothing like the pure and utter joy they exude during a trip to the beach.

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Avocados for Halloween!

I get a newsletter from the California Avocado Commission that always has cool recipes and tips. Like these for Halloween:

Use blunt scissors to cut fingernails shapes from avocado skins. Glue the shapes to carrots with a dab of cream cheese to create monster fingers for a scary centerpiece. (Be sure to tell your guests that the peels aren't edible.)

Put mashed avocado with a little lemon juice in a pastry tube and pipe ghoulish green garnish onto crackers.

Add a few avocado pits to a bowl of cold spaghetti and mix with a couple dollops of vegetable oil so it's nice and slimy. In a darkened room, invite your guests to feel the monster's "brains and eyeballs" by reaching their hands into the bowl. Very scary!

I always wanted to be the Kool-aid Mom....sigh.....

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pieces of the past

Dang (cue Joe Dirt), I'm on a roll with posting lately. Well, I went through the storage shed in my mom's backyard again today, still searching for that tie-dyed fabric. I didn't find it, so it looks like I won't be submitting an apron to Tie One On this month. I did, however, find this cool Folkwear pattern (dated 1982), purchased long before I got into making and collecting aprons.

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And these items chosen to make it with...

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Then I found this amazing vintage fabric scrap. It's heavy, like a cotton duck. I think I may have actually had pants made of this at one time (gasp). The peace signs are large: 7.5" x 7.0" across!

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And a bunch of quilt squares that I started when I was new to sewing (maybe I was 18 or 19). This is fabric that had been my grandmother's in the early 70's. I excitedly showed this to my then-boyfriend's mom, who complained my points weren't matched perfectly. I was so devastated by her criticism, that I put these away in a box, never to work on them again (I don't even want to say how many gazillion years ago this was). I still love the fabric. Maybe I'll finally finish it(those are wrinkles from storage, by the way, not puckers).

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There's hope for me yet

How inspiring--blogger Chocolate and Zucchini just scored a book deal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Art in San Diego (and a cute doggie)

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I watched an old video tonight of James Hubbell's art and architecture--one of my favorite inspirations, and I am fortunate enough to have him in my own home town. Here a photo of Duke in front of one of Hubbell's mosaics that is located at Shelter Island. I was searching the internet to remember the name of the piece, and came up with this information from The Log (a boating newspaper).

Pearl Of The Pacific:

A Lasting Symbol Of International Goodwill

Walk under the decorative archway at the tip of Shelter Island and into a space so soothing you’ll want to stay awhile. It is here where noted artist-designer James Hubbell and architectural students from around the world created the third pearl in a “necklace” of Pacific Rim parks. The effort commemorates the friendship and cultural links shared among our Pacific neighbors - Vladivostok, Russia; Tijuana, Mexico, and, Yantai, China.

The dramatic Pearl Fountain - a large sphere set into the ground - is the centerpiece of the small park. Circle the sphere and your feet will take you over the mosaic design of a compass rose, where each Pacific Rim neighbor is represented: To the north, Russia’s Siberian tiger; to the south, the Quetzacoatl (feathered serpent, god of the Aztecs). There are North American shorebirds to the east and a Chinese dragon to the west.

“It had to be on the waterfront,” says Patty Howell, president of the Pacific Rim Park organization. “It took a couple of years, but we eventually got the support of the Public Art Commission. Then we captured the fancy of the people of San Diego.” Financial contributions and aid in various forms added to the success of the Pearl “necklace.”

Dedication of the Pearl of the Pacific at Pacific Rim Park on Shelter Island took place on July 16, 1998. The pride of the project is its U.S. connection to Russia, Mexico, and China, without political overtones.

Macrame Bags Booklet, 1971

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My apologies to Underpaid Kept Woman who insisted I not post macrame again. Come on Susie, these are cute! Especially the simple one in the center, and that drawstring number.

Full Flower Apron

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Flickr started working again (I swear, my computer is so temperamental), so I uploaded a few more apron patterns to my set and to the vintage pattern group. This one is another of those funky flower designs. Kind-of cool, yet naughty and creepy at the same time.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Confessions of a Packrat

I have some fabric somewhere that I tie-dyed once upon a time in a textiles class. It was dyed using red onion skins and boiling water atop my stove, and I think I heat set it with a salt solution and my iron...if I remember correctly. The fabric would work perfectly for this month's Tie One On theme, but I can't find it anywhere. I have some stuff stashed in a metal shed in my mom's back yard, so I ventured out there to see if it might be in there. I haven't gone through everything yet, but I did find two musty old boxes of sewing patterns that I forgot I had. As if I need any more patterns, yet still I look at which ones might be on sale at Jo-Anns each week. Pathetic. I have several hundred patterns--too many to ever make in more than one lifetime. But they are still fun and inspiring, like this number from 1969 that might be a perfect I Dream of Jeannie costume for Halloween (yeah right, like I could ever fit into a 34 bust, lol. Maybe in 6th grade!).

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I struggle with pack rat burdens...hoarding more and more material shit to replace some empty part of my soul. I can barely put gas in my car some days, but heaven forbid I not purchase that apron on ebay to go along with the hundreds of other patterns that will never be made. Why? I can barely open my storage shed (and that one I pay for--it's in addition to the backyard shed and half of my mom's garage)...ever buying and saving stuff for the day I'll finally have the perfect home or whatever. Always for some nonexistant time in the future versus right now. So there's your daily dose of psycho-babble. Too, it's amazing how a competitive streak emerges when I'm on ebay. I scream at the computer screen if I'm outbid, "I don't 2#&*%a! think so!" I say. I have spent ridiculous quantites of cash that could have gone toward a new cell phone or computer or to pay my car insurance...because I have got to win this race. It's odd being so introspective right now, because I pull myself up and away and look upon my life as if it were a film reel, or as if I were already dead. It's easier to analyze this way, but it's odd.

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Also in the shed... this jacket pattern, from 1992, that is every bit in style again today (I think I may actually make it finally).

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And this adorable set of Puppy Days of the Week embroidery transfers, that may have been my grandmother's. Inside there are no directions, but there are transfers for an additional set of Days of the Week, with puppies and kitties. I love the nostalgic innocence of these.

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Ah, and speaking of is a recent purchase. Look at that lambie bag! This pattern is dated 1942! I am all of a sudden fascinated with pajama bags. This one is for a bottle, but it could be a pajama bag. I can see it done in baby blue or yellow minkee fabric. Or maybe a chenille.Would that I had kids of my own to sew for, but that is not the case, so my friends get stuff (if I can ever finish anything). This is an idea for Christmas, along with about a million other ideas and partially finished projects I already have going.

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And I just got this to-die-for apron pattern. My friend Brandie has requested that I make her an apron, so I have decided to use either this pattern or another one very similar. I'm also using at least three different fabrics in it--one for the body, one for the sash and straps, and another for the pockets and a trim. I may add pink bias tape. She's a tiny little thing, so it is going to look adorable on her. This appears to be a mail order pattern, but I don't see a date anywhere. The fabrics I got on ebay too. My problem with gift-giving is that I get my mind set on the "perfect" thing, and then I seek out stuff that tends to be way over my budget. A lot of thought goes into what I give though. I'll post a pic of the finished apron after I give it to Brandie. Just in case she reads my blog, I don't want to give away anymore secrets!