Friday, June 30, 2006

Two Challenges Completed!

1) Tie One On: the Musical
Tie One On:  the musical
Yay, finally an apron to submit to Tie One On again. The theme for June was My Favorite Musical. For me, that's A Chorus Line. Initially I had planned to take an old Chorus Line tee shirt (I have a bunch of tees saved to make a quilt with someday) and add strips of fabric around know, like you see on the back of jackets or vests where a mola or some stand-out fabric is the focal point. Well, I couldn't find my tee. So instead I took a 70's-era shirt with a stretchy polyester (not too easy to sew with), and I made a collage of some of the dance images onto a variegated (brown to red) piece of shiny polyester organza. I placed two layers of brown tulle beneath it (one slightly smaller than the other) for a sexy, tutu effect. I am really pleased with how this turned out. The colors and the shine work well together.
Pics of the 'before' version of the shirt:
Tie One on, before
Tie One On, the before version
Cut up and it became this:
Chorus Line Apron
Detail: (smushed on the scanner, but hopefully you'll get the idea)
more detail
(note the mess of threads is a sample I made in my quilting class of that dissolving fabric that melts in what is left is all the stitches and threads you put together. I thought it was a fun way to use it).

I should mention that I was obsessed with dance when I was in high school. I used to go to under-21 clubs and win lots of dance competitions with my friend David. I wonder how David is doing now? I was in modern dance in high school--the end-of-semester dance show was a huge big deal at my school. I was the first person to ever dance with a guy at the event. David and I got a standing ovation (especially meaningful to me in that it was one of the few events my mom ever attended).

I took dance classes downtown at a place called Stage 7--to me it was rubbing shoulders with 'the roar of greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.' A musical theatre of some sort was nearby, and I could hear someone practicing a horn. It was magic. As I drove home, there was a Sunbeam bread factory adjacent to the freeway onramp, and through a window of the factory I could see the bakers seated at a table, their big white billowy hats still on. I wish I had taken a photograph, as it is long gone. I still love the movie, All That Jazz. I considered pursuing a career in dance, and a major in college...but I did not. A dream lost.

Project 2) Flower-themed Pincushion.
My first entry to the pincushion challenge: a necktie flower. I used Laura's necktie daisy tutorial, except I used the large end of floral-print ties, cut at 6-inch lengths.
Pincushion Challenge: necktie flower
The center is also from a tie, but a cotton one so the pins won't damage the fabric (ties are more often made of silk or polyester).

Photobooth Friday

Dad, 1945
My dad, dressed in his spiffy Navy duds. He was 20 when this photo was taken. I'm not sure why he's holding his name here. I found this in an old photo album, held onto a background of paper with little adhesive black corners. Underneath is shrawled (in my dad's slanted writing...he was left handed but curved his hand around as if right-handed), "Old Sea Dog, 1945"

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cyber friends

Normally I do book reviews on my other blog, but because this is craft-related, I thought I would share it with you. I recommend "The Quilt that Walked to Golden: Women and quilts in the Mountain West from the Overland Trail to Contemporary Colorado." I have a fascination with American pioneer women who crossed westward to seek gold, new lives, adventure... This book contains wonderful photographs, both antique and contemporary, and is written casually enough to keep one's interest.

I found some similarities, figuratively, to those of us forging through the blogging world:

"...a friend wrote, 'I've wanted to tell you how much you and your quilts have inspired see what you have done in your lifetime has sparked a whole new awareness in me'."

What I mean is that blogging about individual interests creates a magnet that draws together people who can collectively sigh, smile, gasp, and become enthusiastic. We share ideas, projects, pieces of one big online quilting bee. For me anyway, the endeavor is heartfelt and meaningful. I don't believe, as I have read others say, that comments come with hidden agendas. I think, to the hugest extent, they are sincere expressions of positive reinforcement.

"We knew everybody's name. We had everyone from the socially prominent to young mothers, every economic situation. If you get them all in a class, they became great friends. Women who quilt are sharing. It's not only the making of the quilt that matters. It's the association with other women, just as it always was. They did it for warmth then. Now they do it for the warmth of the soul."

Ah, and so do we. So too do we.

Simple joys

Dog Beach
Amigo and Elliot at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach. These are two dogs I sit for on a regular basis. Both are rescues. Elliot (the black one) is an angel in dog form. One of my favorites. Getting old and gray and a bit slow now, but happy nevertheless. I had a writing opportunity fall into my lap recently--I will be doing a pet-sitting related article for San Diego Pets Magazine. Hopefully it will lead to more writing. Pretty exciting though.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

San Diego Landmark: Spanish Village Arts Center

Spanish Village
The Spanish Village is an area where artisans sell their wares. It is located between the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. I love the colors!
Spanish Village

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Looks might be deceiving

Moolah Cookbook
Dated 1979, but I doubt they changed anything from the first printing of 1968. I almost passed this by because it didn't have a cute retro cover, but within are some magical recipes. I have read this book like a novel, and several of the pages are flagged with post-its of recipes to try. This is a Shriners book, the proceeds of which were donated for the care of crippled or burned children. The introduction includes a lovely letter from the director:

" the recipes cam in, I read each one of them and those that appeared unusual or struck my fancy, I would distribute to my family and office and a few close friends; we had many adventurous meals and experiments. I would recommend that you use this book in pretty much the same fashion. You can, of course, start looking through it with an idea that you want to serve a specific kind of beef or pork and find a way to prepare it, but I think you will have much more fun if, before you make up your mind what to serve, you just open the book and peruse it at random. You will find that it will not take very long at all for you to hit one that strikes your fancy and a whole new world of taste treats will open to you.

If you have, in using this book, a small fraction of the enjoyment I had in assemblying it, it will be a smashing success."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fun Photo

Birthday Party, Second Grade
I can't wait until photo Friday! Here, my birthday party. I believe I was in the second grade. I'm the one with the slinky. If I remember correctly, my mom sewed the shift dress I'm wearing. Blue dress with black tights--aren't I spiffy?! My mom used to sew a lot of my clothes. At one point we had matching culottes. What I wouldn't give to have those back now. Sigh...

I remember the twins behind me were named Kelly and Kerry. They didn't have much money, and always wore the same red scuffed shoes. The girl to my left was Janine, and I think the girl to my right was named Susan. I think she was the one whose mom asked me if I wanted a peanut butter sandwich once, and I was all giddy until I received one with jam on it. Quick way to ruin a perfectly good sandwich in my opinion. So odd the details we remember. Note the lovely rock yard in the front of my house.

Sorry about the crappy crop on this one. I'm dealing with Kinkos and the library and it's all self-serve...but I finally dialed in today, so my future photos should look mahvelous!

Bias tape patterns

Bias Pattern
Vintage pattern using bias tape to outline images of a train, a little girl and her lambs, a butterfly, and a bird's nest. No date indicated.
Bias Tape Patterns
Can you stand the cuteness of the little lambies? These are perfect for aprons or pillows or even quilt blocks. I wonder why they fell out of vogue? Today we have "stained glass" quilt patterns that use black bias tape to outline a shape, making it resemble the soldering in stained glass.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Challenges and Swaps

First off, African Kelli is hosting a wristlet swap! Sign up, and do it quickly.

You still have a few days to submit a flower-themed pincushion for the monthly Pincushion Challenge.

So I've been thinking what to make my swap partner for the apron/recipe card swap. Have I started yet? Uh...that would be a no.

But where would the world be without us procrastinators? Yeah, well, don't answer that. I do, however, have a pile of notes and ideas that keep forever changing, and I keep getting outbid on ebay for the apron pattern I want to use. Grrr...

Plan two: a different apron. Now to not be outbid...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Photo Friday

Not a booth photo, but still fun nevertheless. Me: ASB (Associated Student Body) Commissioner of Girl's Activities, Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, California.

I thrived in that role. I loved organizing events, getting things done.

For some reason, I love my wedge shoes here (totally in style again now). If I remember correctly, the pants were rust-colored polyester. Only the telephone cord betrays the age of this photo. I love how photos capture a moment in time and freeze it forever.
(sorry to post on Thursday night, but a girl has gotta do what a girl has gotta do).

Note: Photobooth Friday is a weekly group photo posting, developed by the lovely Andrea.

Wrap Skirt Pattern, 1969

Wrap Skirt pattern, 1969
I found this at a thrift shop recently, for 25 cents. I love wrap styles, and this one is simple and timeless. Though it's a skirt pattern, I think it would make a fantastic apron. Aprons don't have to be backless, they just have to cover. The apron I use for messy projects (glue or paint) I got at a tool shop. It's a full cover style, back and front, and it has a velcro tie closure.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ted's Favorite Potato Gratin

Ted Allen, famous for his integral part of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", has a new cookbook out called, "The Food you Want to Eat". My local newspaper did a story about the book and author in last week's Food section. I tried this recipe last night, and it's fantastic. If this is any indication of the rest of the book's offerings, I may have to purchase a copy.

Potato Gratin

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
2 lbs baking potatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I used sea salt, but either would be fine)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 pinches freshly ground nutmeg
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme (the recipe lists this as optional, but I think it's a nice addition)
2 firmly packed cups grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8 inch baking dish. Peel potatoes and put them in a bowl of cold water to keep them from browning. Slice half the potatoes as thin as you can and layer them into the pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, the garlic and the bay leaves. Strip thyme leaves off sprigs and sprinkle over the potatoes. Sprinkle with half the cheese and pour over half the cream.

Slice and layer the remaining potatoes on top and sprinkle again with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Pour the rest of the cream over, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and dot with 1 tablespoon butter.

Put the gratin in the oven and bake until the top is golden and crusty and the interior is still moist with cream when you stick a knife into it, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Do any of you live near Puerto Vallarta?

I know I said I can find anything on the computer. It's more tough when my time is limited at the library. Maybe someone can help.
I bought a leather backpack in a store on the main drag by the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta. The store sold leather goods like sandals, bags, and coats. The backpack is handmade, with brass buckles that say D'Luciano. The bag is stamped D'Luciano Moda Mexico. I want to purchase some more buckles, because I lost the main clasp in an accident, and one of the front pocket buckles broke. I can't find a reference to this store anywhere. I'd like to write them and see if I can send for some.
Any ideas?
Thank you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Photobooth Friday

No, I didn't get my computer back up, I went to Kinkos and paid 40 cents per minute to scan this. Unfortunately, I had some trouble, only got two photos scanned, and you don't even want to know how much it set me back. Holy cow. Then I went to the Farmer's Market and spent $18 on five pounds of peaches. They had better be worth it. Money just flies through my hand like sand.
Anyway...back to Photobooth Friday.
Woolworth's photobooth. I had just turned 18.
My face is full of hope and dreams and an underlying insecurity. I was testing the waters, trying to believe in myself but not quite succeeding. It would be decades before I ever felt at ease in my own skin. I didn't know then that ease comes with the wisdom of experience, challenges, and finally not caring what others think.

I was working my first job at McDonalds. I was obsessed with dance, winning contests with my friend David and taking classes downtown. I had not yet had a serious boyfriend.
As much as I'm thankful for having grown up in Southern California, I've always thought that growing up elsewhere might have offered a panacea...a magic 'it' factor garnered through making the cheer squad and being asked to the prom. All that mattered so much.

In the photo, my neck is laced with two strands of shells. I wish I could go back in time and tell her to do things differently, to feel differently, to act stronger, to react differently.
But all any of us have is now.
I plan to use that now wisely from now on.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Independence Day is approaching--are you cooking or crafting anything?

Remember the ice cream truck? They're still around here and there, but I think maybe they're creepier now than they used to be. I used to adore that bell sound when I was a kid. I'd dash in the house to grab change and I'd go flag him down so I could have a 7up big stick. Oh yum. Remember those red, white, and blue popsicles? Ooh, here's a fun recipe for some!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Can you help me decipher a mystery?

Today I spent all afternoon reading (belatedly, I know) the DaVinci Code. I started it yesterday.
I finished it today.
I was mesmerized. And not because I'm hip to conspiracy theories or any of that. But because I love a good mystery, and I adore symbolism.
I think it's inspiring that some people make their living decoding symbols and the like. I mean, there is a niche for everyone.

So where is mine?

Last night on the Tony awards, a winning actress threw out her arms and exclaimed, "I love my job!"
I long to do the same. I don't think I'm being idealistic or naive or overly romantic to think I might actually find a job I don't loathe getting up for in the morning. I know it's out there. Somewhere, my calling is there. But I'm failing to find the clues to this particular mystery.
Do you remember, in the movie High Fidelity, when John Cusack looks in the newspaper want ads and there is nothing under "puppeteer"? That's how I feel. Except I don't even know which category to look under in the first place.
Am I just waiting to be rescued--hoping something will magically drop out of the sky? Perhaps. All I know, and I've said this before, is the job I have now is one long painful dose of arsenic. A slow suicide. I've known for years, but how do I escape? Yeah, I could go to the Port District or someplace and probably find a decent wage, but I fear I'd only be trading one foxhole for it's mate.

So I'm putting this out there again, not only to vent, but to hope someone reading this might have an idea that will spark a chain of positive events.
My talents? I can have a conversation with anyone. My love is in the details of ideas. I love tedious research. I can find anything. I would have made a great investigative reporter. I'm creative. I love textiles, recycled and reused design, and architectural salvage.
I like to be surrounded by noise and activity (a tiny company wouldn't be exciting for me).
I need an assignment and a deadline or I bore easily and lose interest quickly.
I have an AA in general ed, but no bachelor's. Not yet anyway.

What do all these clues mean?
Any ideas to where they might lead? Or where I should look?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

It's Fair time!

Hi all. Still no computer, and no hope of having cash right now, with car payment and storage to insurance and registration is due among other things. Aaaccck! Anyway, I figured I at least had to check in and let you know I'm around. And hope you keep checking my blog. Already my site meter indicates my traffic flow is less. Nooooo.
I went to the San Diego County Fair yesterday for opening day. It used to be that I would go three times every year: once with my mom to see the Garden Show, hobbies, wood, etc. Once with a boyfriend to see more exhibits like photography, gems and minerals, etc, and once with friends to do rides and eat our way through the place. Now, with no boyfriend and a falling out with the friends, I may just go the one time. Or I may go again.
Every year I try a new food item. This year it was the artichoke sandwich, and oh my gosh, it's amazing! This yummy bun filled with mozzarella, olives, avocado, sprouts, tomato, artichokes, mushrooms...and a side salad with a yummy peppery dressing. Yum! Pics of fair goodies later when I do (I will I will I will) have a fixed computer. Don't forget me :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Make things out of towels

Ah, my continuing love affair with towels. Here's a really cool ebay find.
Make It With Towels Booklet
SS Washcloth, Elephant patterns using towels
Towel critters
More patterns using towels
Eek, this may be the last flick archive I can post. I need a computer!!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Memorable Quotation

"One day while walking them {her puppies} through the woods, I stood and watched them frolic--and I do mean frolic: rolling, tumbling, chasing, laughing (yes, dogs laugh), and leaping like bunnies. They were having so much fun, and seeing them that way made my whole body sigh, relax, and smile. New life discovering a field of grass for the first time: What a wonder! We all get the opportunity to feel wonder every day, but we've been lulled into numbness. Have you ever driven home from work, opened your front door, and asked yourself how you got there?

I know for sure that I don't want to live a shut-down life--desensitized to feeling, seeing and the possibility of experienceing joy on every level...."

Oprah Winfrey, January 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wrap Dress Pattern, 1952

Vintage Wrap-Dress Pattern, 1952
I love wrap dresses. There is a simplicity here that never goes out of style. Unfortunately, my figure doesn't look good in a full skirt, but I love the style anyway.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Goodies you might like

Did you know they make a Shrinky Dink specifically for the computer now! What's really cool is to take photos of your artwork, then make a shrinky dink of it to use in another project!

And to organize your embroidery floss, or thread, or beads, or whatever you want...this floss away organizer of ziploc-type bags on a metal ring is just the coolest thing ever!

Kissing Fish Swimsuit, 1983

Goldfish Swimsuit, 1983
Another fun out-of-print pattern. I may have to make this for a little girl I know before she's too big to fit into it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Beach Coat Pattern

Still no computer, but I remembered I had some pics on flickr that I haven't posted yet. At least I don't think I posted this. Sorry if it's a repeat.
Beach Coat, 1960
Description reads: Cuffed, camisole-top bathing suit with "little boy" shorts, and open front beach jacket with large flat collar. Bathing suit has back zipper closing, is completely lined, has elastic in legs of lining. Cuff may match or contrast. Jacket has unmounted sleeves; collar, in one with fronts, is faced. Large pockets included in side seams and front facing seams.

This pattern doesn't call to be made with purchased towels, but I think using a beach towel would work out great for the jacket. I love the big pockets. I have a thrifted Duke (the Hawaiian surfer guy) towel that would be perfect for this. So many projects...

I love patterns that use towels. You can check out my flickr set here.