Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Which Classic Dame?

One thing I forgot to mention when I was talking about my trip is that when I was at my friend Nancy's house, before we headed on down to Nashville, we pulled up the AFI 100 Movie Meme post so she could take a look. I was betting to myself that she'd see way more of that list than I had and was impressed to find out that she'd seen every single movie on the list. Yay Nancy! Then we pulled up the list of the 400 nominees from which the top 100 was chosen. She'd seen most of those, but not quite all of them. And I discovered that my percentages were very consistent. I'd definitely seen about 60% of the movies on that list, definitely not seen about 30%, and the other 10% I'm not sure about. When I got home and was checking out some of the blogs I like to read, I stumbled across a quiz called the "Classic Dames Test" on DianeW's blog and just had to take it. Here are my results:
Katharine Hepburn You scored 16% grit, 23% wit, 52% flair, and 21% class!
You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender: You scored higher than 0% on grit You scored higher than 0% on wit You scored higher than 99% on flair You scored higher than 99% onclass
The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoeson Ok Cupid
So, ok...high on flair, low on grit. But really, who cares? Because, hey...Katharine Hepburn!! Yeah, baby!! :-)

Monday, August 29, 2005

AQS Expo Photos and (snarky) Commentary

Where to start talking about the AQS Quilt Expo in Nashville? Well, ok, first of all I'll tell you that the one other time I went to this show was three years ago. I'd gotten a couple of things accepted into it and it was close enough that Nancy and I decided to pop down for a couple of days and see it. We were unimpressed. Oh, I loved the Opryland resort (which reminds me of a huge, land-locked cruise ship with bigger bedrooms), so I think it's a great venue for a quilt show, but I hated how the show was set up and decided I wasn't especially interested in either entering quilts or attending that particular show anymore. Fast forward to a few months ago, when some friends and I decided to give it another try. We entered the Ultimate Guild Challenge, but didn't get accepted. But then we decided to get together at the show anyway (well, some of us did). I thought with more years at the venue, the show might have improved. Um, no. As a matter of fact, I was even less impressed this year than I was in 2002. Oh, there were some interesting entries, when you could FIND them. But that wasn't easy. Guess I should've paid for the show program after all, huh? As far as I could see, it was pretty much a big vendor mall with a few quilt exhibits scattered around here and there. The space wasn't utilized efficiently, so there was quite a bit of wasted space around the edges of the rooms while the aisles were small enough to be uncomfortably crowded during the busiest part of the day. And the quilts were in odd, scattered locations. The Ultimate Guild Challenge quilts probably had the best location, a fairly nice-sized chunk of the room on the far left side. But the Quilter's Choice category...man, I have to wonder if those quilts are going to smell funny when their owners get them back. They were waaaaaay back in the rear of the room, right next to the food court. I almost missed them because I'd been avoiding that part of the room because it smelled so bad. Seriously. As it was, when I realized where they were I walked through them VERY quickly, not stopping to look at even the really good ones as long as I normally would have because I just couldn't stand to be there for long. (I wonder what the hell they were cooking back in the food court. Sweat sock soup maybe?? Whatever it was, I didn't eat it!!) A couple of the other exhibits were in a long, narrow space on the right side of the room. There was one exhibit (something about favorite traditional blocks) that I missed. I have absolutely no idea where it was, but I didn't see it. I so wish AQS would re-organize that show, both in set-up of the entry categories and in the way the exhibits and vendors are arranged. That venue has so much potential, but as it is I have my doubts about the long-term viability of the show if they don't make some changes. A lot of the vendors didn't seem happy. A lot of the show attendees didn't seem happy. It's a shame. But anyway, I promised some pictures, so here ya go --- a few things I found interesting and/or funny at the Expo. (There are others I liked that I didn't photograph because Nancy did, so maybe I'll post more later after we share.) If you want to see the winner's list along with "official" photos of some of the quilts, you can check out the AQS website. I mostly took photos in the Ultimate Guild Challenge area because I found it the most interesting. Here's a photo of Gerrie's quilt, showing it's prime location within the group, right next to the group sign. I actually have a pic of me next to the quilt, acting as Gerrie's Quilt Stunt Double, but I refuse to share it because I was moving and talking and I look like a demented cow. Some day I will learn to stand still, smile, and shut the hell up when someone points a camera at me. Maybe. "I've Got Your Number" by Gerrie Congdon And here was my favorite quilt from a group of New York Beauty quilts made by a group in Maine. (A group Deborah belongs to, but joined too late to do this challenge.) "Affinity" by Stacie Mann There was a group from Louisville, Kentucky, who did a bunch of funny (punny!) cat quilts and these were two I thought were especially clever: "Cathouse Cats" by Ellen Rabeneck (I hope that name is right. I'm getting these names from the signage in the photos and some of them aren't as clear as I'd like.) "Kitty Litter" by ??? (can't read this one at all, I'm afraid!) There was a guild who did quilts based on gift bags and this was the one I liked best from that lot. "Stripes, Dots, and Flowers" by Charlotte Noll To be honest, I forget what the theme of this next group was, but I really liked this particular quilt. "A Glimpse of the Promised Land" by Robin Haller And this one was made by a friend of my friend Morven. It's from a Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society group challenge about pardoxes. Not having bought a program, I can't figure out what's paradoxical about this quilt, but I like it. "Poison Ivy" by Cindy Vough And finally, these next three are from the guild challenge that was my personal favorite - the Diptych Challenge, by a group in New York. This one was fun: "Sun in the Morning, Moon at Night" by June Thompson But my two favorites were this very busy and funky one: "He's Changed Since We Got Married" by Barbara Held and this very spare and lovely one: "Fractured Sunset" by Linda Abrams With apologies to any guild members who might ever read this, I didn't care for the winning group at all. It was a group of 25th anniversary quilts made by some quilters in Tennessee. There were a couple of quilts within the group that were interesting to me, but I found the group as a whole MUCH less interesting and creative than some of the other entries. It's one of those times when I don't get what the judges were thinking at all. Sorry. So I didn't take any pics of those. As I was speeding through the stinky Quilter's Choice area, I managed to snap just a couple of photos. This is "Dispersion" by Carol Taylor. LoveLoveLove her quilts. And this last one, well, I just don't quite know what to say about it. And the photo really doesn't give the true effect, but I hope you get a vague idea of what it was really like and why I needed a picture. I think it should have been titled "HaHaHa, I Have A Bedazzler And You Don't". Ahem. "Eye of the Universe" by Candy Mahaffey

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Oh I've Come From Alabama....

(...and it's a bitch driving 8 hours with a banjo on your knee.) It was a fun trip, but I'm also really glad to be home and to get to sleep in my very own bed tonight. Tomorrow I'll post some photos from the quilt show, but I haven't gotten them all edited down to a manageable size quite yet. I didn't take tons, but I got a few. For tonight, I'll show you some non-show photos from my trip, since there are less of them and I'm not going to be staying awake all that much longer. ;-) I traveled down to Nashville with my friend Nancy, who also lives in Kentucky but in a different part, about 2 1/2 hours away. Once we got there, we met up with Bev and Kathy, who both traveled down from Cincinnati. And shortly after that, we met up with CrazyBren, who traveled up from Alabama. About the time we all managed to find Brenda near the entrance, I heard a voice say "Debbie, is that you?" (Yes, some people call me Debbie instead of Deb, especially if they've known me a long time.) I looked around and it was Mary and Wilma, who were my quilting mentors oh-so-many years ago when I was a newlywed and decided I was going to make A Quilt. As in most definitely the singular. Well, I meant it at the time. We worked together at the time and I knew they both made quilts, so after checking out an old book from the library, skimming it, tossing it in the corner and doing my own thing, I counted on them to answer clueless newbie questions so the whole thing turn into too much of a hopeless mess. I don't think I ever did tell them I drew all the pieces directly on the fabric using a blue Bic pen and a ruler. That might have made them despair of me. Anyway, I left that job (a display designer for a department store) many, many years ago and pretty much lost touch with them, but now and then I run into one or both of them, and it's always very cool. I wish I'd thought to have someone take a photo of the three of us, but I never thought of it until they'd moved on, dammit. After having the little reunion chat with Mary and Wilma, the gang and I took a lunch break. After all, we'd been at the show a good hour and we had to keep our strength up. Ahem. We decided to take a little walk over to a nearby mall and eat at a restaurant called The Aquarium. It's built around a huge (200,000 gallon? Bev, is that right?) tank with all sorts of fishies and things swimming around inside and there's one smaller tank near the front. And the decor is very underwater-y. Here's a photo we had Skippy take of us in our booth: (It's good of everyone except me. I don't know what the hell that expression on my face was about. Maybe someone else's photo will be better and I can "borrow" it!) Skippy was our waiter. I think he said his real name was Adam. Or maybe Alan. Something that started with an A. But one of the endearingly obnoxious traits of this group is that young male service people are always "Skippy", no matter what their real name is. We warned him he would always be Skippy to us and we tipped well, so hopefully he didn't mind too much and didn't spit in our food or anything. Skippy was was nice and helpful even when it meant taking photos with five different cameras during lunch rush. So dear Skippy, should you ever stumble across this blog and recognize the above photo as your handiwork, I just want to say thank you, and ya done good. And I hope you didn't spit in my water-with-lime. Heh. Here's a photo might give you an idea of the hugeness of the tank in the center of this room. You can see the big toothy fish (shark? maybe??) and a bunch of little fish and see yet another Skippy in the background at one of the tables. While we were eating, a young woman dived into the tank to feed the fishies. I hopped up and stalked her all around the tank, and tried and tried to get a photo of that, but do you know how hard it is to take a photo of a gigantic aquarium in a murkily-lit restaurant without it either being too dark to see what you're shooting or getting a huge flash glare from the tank? Do you?? Well, I'll tell you, it's pretty durn hard! This was about the best I managed. You can't really see her, but you can see her air tank. Sort of. Oh yes, you can too. It's that blue thing, SEE? Exciting, yes? After we finished our lunch and paid Skippy, we headed back to the show for a few more hours. I'm afraid I have to say I was, well...underwhelmed at the whole thing, but more on that tomorrow when I post some photos of some stuff I liked. There were a few interesting things to see and I found a couple of things at the vendors' booths that had to come home with me, including a free-motion quilting foot that looks to be an exact match to the one I broke a few months ago. I haven't been super happy with the generic one I bought to replace it, so hopefully I'll like this one better. Along about mid to late afternoon, Brenda, Nancy, and I decided we'd had enough and we headed on down to Alabama, while Bev and Kathy stayed one more night in Nashville and joined us the next day. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, while we were winding our way back from the convention center area, through the Opryland resort (a feat in itself!), to get back to an entrance that was within a somewhat reasonable proximity to our car, look what we saw in one of the little shop areas: All made from sand. I liked it, even if the shark looks kind of mean. Anyway, we made it to Alabama by early evening and that was my first time in that state. That means I need to revise my "100 Things About Me" list. (mentally filed under Note To Self!) The three of us went to dinner at Macaroni Grill: They put paper and crayons on the table and I amused myself by drawing shoes and then told the waitress (female, so not a Skippy) I hoped it was ok if we put our feet on the table. She didn't get it. I thought it was funny. But then again I was partway through a rather large alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach at that point, so maybe it wasn't. ALTHOUGH....another woman who worked there walked past and stopped to talk about the shoe drawings because she loved them. So HA! Maybe it WAS funny and Skippette just didn't have a good sense of humor! The veal marsala was good. And we found out the next day that Bev and Kathy had gone to Macaroni Grill in Nashville that same night, so how Twilight Zone is that? They joined us the next day, but not until the rest of us had already been to a book store (good), a quilt shop (small, but good....batiks on sale that day!), Goodwill (not good that day, but we had a fun time making fun of the rack of bridesmaid's dresses), Big Lots (found a couple of things in the food section), and maybe some other places too. I kind of lost track. I also forgot to take any more photos after supper the night before. Oops. I wish I'd remembered to get out the camera last night because Bren had a houseful of people and we had a great time, including getting a 'round-the-world phone call from our friend Morven from New Zealand. Then today, after Brenda fed everyone else yummy-smelling muffins that I couldn't eat because they were banana and I'm allergic (sob) we hit the road and headed for home. If you're still awake after reading all that, yay you! 'Cause I'm not. Well, ok, I am, but just barely. So I'll sign off and go to sleep now. Quilt show pics tomorrow, honest.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

On The Road Again and brief INXS commentary

(I can too be brief! Shut up!!) The usual INXS spoiler warnings apply. If you didn't watch last night and don't want to know what happened, go away and come back later. I'm getting ready to turn off the 'puter and take off on a little road trip to Alabama, by way of Waynesburg, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee. I should be back either late Sunday or possibly Monday - not sure yet. The friends I'm staying with have 'puters, so I may log on and check in from the road. Or then again I may pretend I never heard of 'puters for the next few days. Hard to say! So...talk soon, but I'm not sure how soon. ;-) On to Rock Star: INXS Last night made me a little sad. I think the decision to send Deanna home was the right one for the band, but the timing was particularly sucky considering that I thought she gave what was probably her best performance of the series on Tuesday night. You could tell she took it really hard and I don't blame her. The group has been thinned down to the point where there really aren't any bad ones left. (Well, not musically anyway. Heh.) They're all super-talented and it's just a matter of INXS finding the best fit for the band. But that makes elimination night that much harder. I felt bad for all of them last night. I was excited to hear that there's going to be a compilation CD of songs from the contestants' performances. I want it!! Ok...later 'gators!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The AFI 100 Movie Meme

First Debra did it. Then Gabrielle did it. Then Teri did it. Did what? Went through the list of AFI's Greatest American Movies and told what they had and hadn't seen, with a little commentary. So here's my list. If it's in bold I've seen it. If it's in plain text I haven't. If it's in italics, I'm not sure. There are a few on the list where I know I've seen at least parts of the movie, but I'm a little fuzzy on if I've ever actually sat down and watched the entire thing all the way through. Like Debra, many of the ones I haven't seen are by choice. They just don't interest me. But there are a few on my unwatched or "maybe" list that I'd like to see sometime. 1. CITIZEN KANE (1941) - we ALL know what Rosebud means by now, right? 2. CASABLANCA (1942) 3. THE GODFATHER (1972) 4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) 5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) - won an Oscar for best picture the year I was born, but I've never seen it. 6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) - unlike Debra, I love this movie! 7. THE GRADUATE (1967) - this one, OTOH, I didn't love so much. 8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) 9. SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993) - Glad I saw it. Never want to see it again. 10. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) - LOVE IT!!!! (I adore musicals in general and am a huge fan of Gene Kelly.) 11. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) - huge fan of Jimmy Stewart too, and I love this movie even if some of it is almost too sappy to bear 12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) - the one the movie quiz said I was most like, but I'm not sure I've ever seen the entire thing. As a rule, I'm not a film noir fan. 13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) 14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) 15. STAR WARS (1977) - where I first developed a crush on Harrison Ford 16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) 17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) 18. PSYCHO (1960) 19. CHINATOWN (1974) 20. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975) 21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) 22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) - I didn't get it. I still don't get it. 23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) 24. RAGING BULL (1980) 25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) - who remembers how young and cute Drew Barrymore was back then?? 26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) 27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) 28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) - bleah. Hated the book. Hated the movie even more. The horror, the horror.... 29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) 30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948) 31. ANNIE HALL (1977) - I'm with Teri on this one....I detest Woody Allen 32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) 33. HIGH NOON (1952) - "Do not forsake me oh my darling...." 34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) - I liked the movie. Then I read the book and LOVED it. Now I don't like the movie as much. They left out too much of the story. 35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) - "Young people in love are seldom hungry...." 36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) 37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) 38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) 39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) 40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) - If I'd been born 40 years earlier I probably would have been a Cary Grant stalker. Yeah, I know about the bisexual rumors and that people say the real Cary wasn't very nice. But in the movies? He totally does it for me. Sigh. And I love Alfred Hitchcock's stories, so this one and "To Catch a Thief" are both big favorites of mine. 41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)- even with some great tunes the whole Romeo/Juliet storyline is a downer 42. REAR WINDOW (1954) 43. KING KONG (1933) 44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) 45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) - bleah 46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) 47. TAXI DRIVER (1976) 48. JAWS (1975) 49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) 50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) - "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head...." 51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) - Cary Grant. Jimmy Stewart. Katharine Hepburn. Yum. It just doesn't get any better. Off to have a little fantasy now.... 52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) 53. AMADEUS (1984) 54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930) 55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) - unlike the rest of y'all, I liked it! Ok, yeah, it's sappy and unrealistic. But the scenery is gorgeous, I still find myself singing some of the songs. 56. M*A*S*H (1970) - I liked the TV show better 57. THE THIRD MAN (1949) 58. FANTASIA (1940) 59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) 60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) - Aaahhhhh....Harrison was even more yummy in this than in the Star Wars movies. Loved the third one too, with Sean Connery. Didn't care too much for the second movie. 61. VERTIGO (1958) 62. TOOTSIE (1982) - "You slut!" 63. STAGECOACH (1939) 64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) 65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) - Liked the movie. Loved the book, in an "omigawd this is so creepy I may never sleep again" sort of way. 66. NETWORK (1976) 67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) 68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951) 69. SHANE (1953) 70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) - I feel almost certain I watched this with my mom years ago, but I remember nothing about it at all so I won't bold-type it. This is one of those I'd like to see and see if it comes back to me. 71. FORREST GUMP (1994) - yawn 72. BEN-HUR (1959) 73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939) 74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925) 75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) 76. CITY LIGHTS (1931) 77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) 78. ROCKY (1976) 79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978) 80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969) 81. MODERN TIMES (1936) 82. GIANT (1956) - another I feel almost certain I watched with Mom, but really don't remember anything about it. 83. PLATOON (1986) - yuck 84. FARGO (1996) 85. DUCK SOUP (1933) 86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935) 87. FRANKENSTEIN (1931) 88. EASY RIDER (1969) 89. PATTON (1970) 90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) 91. MY FAIR LADY (1964) - bleah to the storyline, but I love the music and costumes. 92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) 93. THE APARTMENT (1960) 94. GOODFELLAS (1990) 95. PULP FICTION (1994)- Quentin Tarantino...ya either love his movies or ya hate 'em. I happen to love 'em, even with all the violence and crudeness. Although I like "Kill Bill, Volumes 1 & 2" even more than this one. 96. THE SEARCHERS (1956) 97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938) 98. UNFORGIVEN (1992) 99. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER (1967) 100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942)

The Museum of Bad Art

I have MavJeni to thank for this link: The Museum of Bad Art It had me literally laughing out loud. Be sure to take time to look at all three collections: portraiture, landscapes and "unseen forces". I think that last category was my personal favorite but they're all worth a look. And be REALLY sure to read the commentary accompanying the artwork. That's what makes it. I mean how can you resist looking at a painting where the description says:
"Bloody cloud bursts in an otherwise clear sky, frothing nostrils as the bovine beast dives, lemming like, and misses the phosphorescent, oily, swimming hole."
They just don't make 'em like that every day, y'know!! (For which we can all be thankful. Ahem.) It makes me want to donate some work to them. All they have is paintings and a couple of sculptures. I think they need some bad fiber art too. I'm sure I have something sufficiently heinous around here if I dig a little. I wonder if they'd take it. Hhhhmmm.....

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Things You Notice When You Open Your Eyes

This is another one of those times when I am sewing, but I don't want to share photos. I'm making a couple of postcards as "prizes" for a trivia question I threw out on an email list I manage, plus I'm making another one to send to someone as a sort of thank you. And I know that at least two out of the three people these are going to read this blog, so...no photos! Instead, here's a couple of photos from my walk last night. You know how sometimes you can go past something a thousand times and never pay much attention to it and then one day some detail about it just kind of jumps out at you? Sure you do! I can't be the only one. Well, last night I was on the return leg of my walk, heading for my house when I reached my "whew pole". Yeah, yeah, I know...."huh?". Here's the scoop. My driveway (which is where I walk most of the time) would be more properly called a farm lane. It's a half-mile long (making it easy to keep track of walking distances) and most of it --- the 2/3 or so closest to the road --- is a VERY steep hill. I don't know enough about geometry to tell you the grade of the hill, but it's steep enough that people who come here and aren't driving either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicles have trouble making it up the hill. If you're in a rear-wheel drive car, you pretty much have to sort of aim at the driveway from the road and gun the engine, giving yourself a big burst of speed to carry you past the worst, steepest part of the hill. Usually. Hopefully. Ahem. But the last 1/3 or so of the driveway, the portion closest to the house is much more level. It eases off to a mere gentle rise and then eventually you dip down and are heading ever-so-slightly back downhill toward the house. As I'm walking uphill, there's a particular utility pole that marks the part of the driveway where the hill starts to go from "omigawd I can't breathe" to "ok I think I'll live". On days when I'm particularly hating the exercise thing, I'll sight in on that pole and tell myself "ok, Deb, if you can just make it to THERE, after that it gets easier". And sure enough, when I get there, I can feel the strain let up a bit and I mentally (or sometimes literally!) go "whew!". Thus, it's the "whew pole". So anyway (yes, yes, there is a point and I'm finally getting to it, honest!) last night, I'm walking past the whew pole and suddenly did a double-take and thought "Hunh! Never noticed that before!" I have no idea what caused this, but take a look at the pattern on the lower end of the pole: Doesn't it look like someone painted or stamped a plant shape on there? Pretty cool, huh? I may have to play with this in Photoshop later. I still can't believe I never noticed that before. Anyone else want to take a look around and see if they can spot something "new" about something they've seen a thousand times? I bet you can find something if you look. As a bonus, here's the sunset I saw as I was just getting back to the house. I thought it was rather lovely, especially as we usually have much more spectacular and beautiful sunsets in the winter than we do in the summer here. Ok, back to work for me...

Monday, August 22, 2005

AQS Expo and Political Satire

AQS Nashville So....anybody going to the AQS Expo in Nashville this weekend? Anybody who isn't going but has a quilt there? I know Gerrie will have a quilt there in the Ultimate Guild Challenge section....anyone else? A friend and I are going to visit another friend in Alabama this weekend (and will meet up with 2 more friends there as well!). And since we're all quilters and we literally have to drive right past Nashville to get to AlabamaFriend's house, we plan a speedy visit to the show on Friday. So if anyone who reads RSR is going to have a quilt showing there or, even better, is going to be there themselves, drop me a line so I know to look for your wonderful work and/or your smiling face! The Satire Post I was visiting Diane Wilke's Tarot blog and she had a link to this blog entry: "George and Lance: A Conversation" It's satire. I know it is. So why can I picture it happening just like that?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Szechuan Chicken In Garlic Sauce with a Side Order of Shoes, To Go

J and I decided we wanted Chinese food for lunch today, so off I went to Flemingsburg, the closest town with an actual restaurant. I placed our order and had a few minutes to kill while they got it together. I never call it in because we live just enough too far away that if I call it in it's cold by the time I get there. So what did I do to pass the necessary ten minutes? I bought a newspaper. I glanced at a book of real estate listings. I bought shoes. What, you mean everyone doesn't buy shoes while they're waiting on lunch? Come one! I once saw my sister buy 3 pairs when we had a few minutes to kill before a family dinner. Anyway, I couldn't resist. Really. They were on a clearance rack and the price had been so drastically reduced they might as well have been sitting on the curb with a "free to a good home" sign on them. Take a look. Cute, yes? And notice the coordinating nail polish. I know they'll probably be out of fashion by next summer, but I don't much care. I'll most likely wear them anyway. I've had a thing for beady embellishments since long before they were "in" again. Or in other words, to paraphrase a Lorrie Morgan song, "I was Boho when Boho wasn't coo-oool...." Lunch was good too, except I was less than happy with the fortune cookies. This particular restaurant gets their fortune cookies from someplace that is Really Bad about stuffing them with Fortunes That Aren't Actually Fortunes. I hate that!! It's a pet peeve of mine. A fortune cookie should contain a FORTUNE, dammit, not quote, not an uplifting saying, a FORTUNE. It should say things like "You'll meet a handsome stranger" or "You'll soon travel to an exotic land" or "You will accept the next proposition you hear". They don't have to be true, or wise, or even good, they just need to be FORTUNES. If they aren't going to put fortunes in there, they shouldn't call them fortune cookies. They should call them Pithy Saying Cookies or Wise Observation Cookies or something. Here's what we got in today's batch: The one about wise men making opportunities is mine and the good beginnings thing is Johnny's. Both no doubt wise observations, but not fortunes. I did find it somewhat interesting that our "learn Chinese" words of the day were Question and Result. Seemed very "matchy" somehow. True story --- when J and I were dating, one night we went out to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant near his at-that-time apartment. After dinner we broke into the fortune cookies and mine said "You or a close friend will be married within the year." When I read it aloud, J got the oddest look on his face and I thought "Oh great, now he probably thinks I'm hinting or something and is going to do that whole commitment-phobia thing" but he just read his and didn't say anything more about it and I put it out of my pretty little head. I found out later that he had JUST (like two days before) chosen and bought an engagement ring and was making plans to surprise me with it on the two-year anniversary of the day we met. Now THAT'S a fortune cookie!

How To Crochet A Scarf-Like Object While Amazing and Mystifying Your Friends: The DebR Method

In a recent batch of comments, my friend Bev wrote:
"Having been a "witness" to Deb's FIRST scarf that she "sorta crocheted", I am anxiously awaiting the description of her "method" and results. Had I not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed that it was possible to do what she did and have it remotely resemble a scarf.....but hey, this the Deb of all Debs and she can do most anything she puts her mind to."
Aaaaww...thanks Bev!! :::beam::: How can I resist an invitation like that. So here, without further ado, is my lesson in how to crochet a scarf-like object the DebR way. Step 1: Choose a yarn where it'll be really difficult to tell where your loops start and stop once you begin making stitches. I used "Boa" nylon yarn, by Bernats. (I think...or maybe Patons...too lazy to look it up!) Step 2: Buy a random crochet hook from a discount store display because you and your family sold all your mother's crochet hooks, knitting needles and yarn at a yard sale after her death, certain none of you would ever, EVER want to use them. Ahem. It is nice if the crochet hook you choose is a pretty color. I think mine is blue. Or maybe green. To be honest I'm not sure. I haven't seen it in a while. I remember it was largish because I figured I'd get done faster that way. Step 3: Attempt to make a slip knot in one end of the yarn. Discover that either a) you don't really remember how to make a slip knot or b) maybe you do, but the eyelashy sticky outy parts of the yarn are interfering with the slippage. Step 4: Decide it doesn't really matter if the knot won't adjust. You'll just have kind of a largish starting loop. Who'll know with all that fuzz? Step 5: Make some chain stitches until you think the chain looks about as long as a scarf should be wide. You might think you need to count these so you can double check them later, but trust me, the number won't matter. At ALL. Step 6: Try to remember the last time you crocheted something (which for me was about 1978 or so) in order to remember how to make a stitch other than a chain. Think about it a while. Some coffee and/or chocolate consumption may be helpful at this point. Step 6b: When you've finished the coffee and/or chocolate and have decided you're tired of thinking about it (time may vary) just go ahead and start wrapping the yarn around the hook and pulling it through each of the loops of the chain. It has to be SOME kind of stitch if it stays together, right? (Turns out I found out later I was doing a single crochet stitch, so HA!) Step 7: Keep repeating Step 6b, stitch after stitch, row after row, with the goal being to make a long, thin, rectangular scarf-like object. If you counted the stitches on your original chain, feel free to try to keep count of how many stitches you're making on each new row, trying to keep the number consistent. Maybe you'll have better luck with that part than I did. But if not, move on to Step 8. Step 8: Every now and then, pause at the end of a row and see if your scarf-like object is still rectangular or if it's more trapezoidal or rhomboid-like. If it's still a rectangle, yay you! Return to Step 7 and keep on keepin' on. If, however, you've been distracted by cats, reality tv shows, and/or general crocheting incompetence and your object's shape is something other than a rectangle, move on to Step 9. Step 9: When you reach the end of your last row (the end that is nearest the most crooked side of the scarf-like object), turn it and start making stitches down the side, perpendicular to the "real" rows, until you get to the spot where it stopped being a rectangle and started changing into some other shape. Then start adding stitches as needed to fill in the gaps and change it back into a rectangle. Yeah, really. I'm serious. Trust me, this works! You'll find plenty of spare loops of stuff to hook onto. Just keep adding stuff kind of randomly until it looks right! Step 10: When the scarf-like object looks more-or-less rectangular again, work your way back to the "real" rows and start adding more of them. Repeat steps 6 - 10, as needed until your scarf-like object has reached the desired length. Then cut the yarn from the skein and pull it through that final loop, making a knot, and hide the "tails" of yarn in the scarf. Look admiringly at how many imperfections all those Boa stitcky-outy feathers hide: EvilDemonKitty Sky modeling DebR's Crocheted Scarf-Like Object See! Wasn't that easy? :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

I first saw it on Julie's blog and then on several more. And since all the cool kids are doing it, of course I have to do it too! Like Julie, I took the 45-question version and here's the result. Well. All righty then. ;-) "I am big. It's the pictures that got small." (N. Desmond)

Follow-up To "Knitting With Satan's Evil Wormy Yarn"

Thank you for the information and advice youse guys! I feel a little better knowing that it really is a problem of the type of yarn and not just that I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Even though I don't. That was brought home to me by Research Assistant Gerrie's comment, wherein she said that stuff about the importance of gauge and needle types and stuff when using chenille yarn. Um, yeah. You know, I've seen that little gauge thingy on the yarn packages and wondered if that was important but I never actually took the time to figure out what it means. And I only have one size and type of knitting needles and they are pink and plastic and came from Wal-Mart. I think they have size listed on them but I don't remember what it is. Is that important? (Deb waits for the knitters in the group to stop laughing and/or weeping and/or to regain consciousness before continuing.) And my take on the whole nap issue is right there with Deborah's. Great idea! If the knitting thing isn't working out, take a nap!! (That IS what that helpful web page, meant, right? Yeah, I thought so too.) I liked Julie's idea bout the beads, but don't think I want to waste any of my loverly beads on Evil Yarn. I'd rather add beads to something I actually like. But I have filed away the idea for future reference. After reading Michelle's and Logan's take on it, here's what I've decided. I'm going to forge ahead with the horrid stuff until I have something shortish scarf length, then I'm going to give it to EvilDemonKitty Sky to use as a cat toy. Then if, by some chance a Jehovah's Witness shows up at my doorstep in the next few months, I can still offer it in trade for the copy of the Watchtower. Somehow that idea is even BETTER if my cat has been fondling, drooling, and shedding on it for a few months first, right? Especially if they SEE him doing it right before I give it to them. I love it when a plan comes together! Remind me to tell you guys some time about the first scarf I ever made with eyelash yarn...the one I crocheted. Sort of. Heh.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Knitting Question!

First of all, I have to say a big thank you to everyone who left comments about the sun quilt I made for Tristan. :::beam::: I won't send out individual replies this time around, since "thank you for the kind words" pretty much covers it, but truly, they were much appreciated. Now, for today I have a knitting question. I know this isn't a knitting blog. This is sometimes a quilt blog and quite often a "read Deb's self-absorbed thoughts on whateverthehell is flittering through her mind at the moment" blog. Which, I guess, could be where this knitting thing comes in. As I've mentioned before, I'm not actually a knitter, at least not in any meaningful sense. I'm violently allergic to wool and hives are not a good look on me, so I can't use most of the gorgeous yarns that "real" knitters love best. And I only know one stitch. That's it. I can cast on, make one stitch, over and over and over, stitch after stitch, row after row, and I can cast off. What happens when you do that is that you end up with a big rectangle, a.k.a. a scarf. So I make a lot of scarves. I literally don't know how many scarves I have hanging in the closet and I refuse to go count, but a general estimate would be "lots". I've also given away many scarves to family and friends, whether they want them or not. Deb (holding up a raggedy, not-especially straight, fuzzy rectangle in some violent color): Here! Have a scarf! Visiting Friend: Oh, thanks, but um, really, I don't need a scarf. Deb (easing her body between the V.F. and the front door): No. Really. I insist. Take a scarf. I WANT you to have it. I have plenty! Visiting Friend (edging away uneasily): Um, but I really don't wear scarves. Deb (baring her teeth in what we'll call a smile): Oh, hahaha, come on, take it. Seriously. I won't let you leave without it. Hahaha. Visiting Friend (looking distinctly trapped): Oh. Ok, well, thanks for the scarf. It's, um....very nice of you. Deb (beaming): You're welcome! So, anyway, back to my question. I've been knitting now and then on my latest faaaaabulous scarf creation and I'm using a yarn I've never used before. I don't remember what it's called and I already threw away the paper, but it's a double strand thing, and both strands are no doubt something entirely unnatural....nylon maybe. I dunno. One strand is a sort of chenille stuff and the other is an eyelash yarn and they're sold all twisted around each other. What the hell do I know? I just liked the colors and it looked soft and fuzzy. (Soft and fuzzy are big selling points with me and yarn.) Here's a photo of the yarn, with the strands separated so you can see each one. Now here's a photo of the scarf I've been knitting with it, so I can show you what's been happening. See the oversized loopy thing I'm holding up with my finger?? That keeps happening over and over and OVER. It's like no matter what I do I can't keep the tension the same on the eyelash strand (which is very well-behaved) and the chenille strand (which is evil yarn, obviously manufactured in Satan's workshop). So, since I know some of you out there who read RSR actually knit for real, can you tell me what's up with this?? Am I doing something wrong or is this an inevitable result of cheap, crappy yarn?? Is there a "cure" now that I have a hunk done or have I been wasting my time? Here's the possible next steps as I see them: 1. I can just cast off on what I've already finished and give it to EvilDemonKitty Sky to play with. He LOVES yarn. You show him anything knitted or crocheted and he immediately wants to "make biscuits*" and purrs and drools and generally goes creepily orgasmic about the whole thing. So he'd probably actually LIKE the extra loopy things. (*making biscuits = that kneading thing cats sometimes do with their paws, especially cats who were weaned a bit too soon. Also, for any non-US readers, I mean biscuits as in US biscuits, aka scones, not biscuits as in UK biscuits, aka cookies.) 2. I can finish it to scarf length, complete with horrid loopy things and give it to someone I dislike, acting very sincere. This one actually appeals greatly to my evil side, but I wonder about the wisdom of it from a karma point of view. If I thought any more Jehovah's Witnesses would be coming here, I'd be tempted to save it for that occasion and tell them very sweetly that I'll only take a copy of the Watchtower if they'll take this scarf in exchange and swear to God that they'll wear it to their next worship service. But it's been a long time since any JW folks showed up here. It may have something to do with the fact that the last batch hardly got a word in edgewise as I trapped them on the porch and gave them a long lecture on the rudeness of showing up at someone's home, uninvited, and telling them their spiritual beliefs are wrong. So, Option Two is somewhat appealing but may have drawbacks. 3. I figure this third scenario is unlikely, but it is, nevertheless, the whole reason behind this post. Option Three would be that someone out there can tell me how to salvage this mess so that I could finish it to be something that I wouldn't be embarrassed to either wear in public myself or give to a for-real friend. Assuming, that is, that any of my for-real friends are brave enough to visit after reading this post. Ahem.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Eyes of the Sun 2" Is Finished!

I'm finally ready to post quilt pics. Yay! Here's the story. Those of you who are on the Quilt Art email list may remember the bag of scraps exchange/challenge that was organized a while back. Well, I didn't participate in that one, but a smaller group I belong to liked the idea and sto....er...borrowed it. We called our version the Bag O' sCraps challenge. Or just the Baggo for short. The idea was that you fill a largish ziploc bag with Stuff from your studio and send it to the coordinator, who then swaps them around and sends them back out. You get a bag of stuff in the mail and you make a quilt primarily out of whatever you find in the bag. You're allowed to add stuff from your own stash if you like, but are to keep the additions to a minimum and work from the bag as much as possible. The idea, of course, is to work outside your comfort zone, with fabrics, colors, and embellishments that you might never choose for yourself. And as a bonus, it works as an art swap, because the quilt you make goes back to the person whose stuff you made it from and you get back a quilt made from the stuff you sent. Fun! When we did the challenge last year, I ended up making a quilt for Julie Zaccone Stiller, while Laume Zekas made one for me. The anonymity thing didn't work so well, though, because I guessed right away that I had Julie's bag and I found out later that Laume guessed she had mine too. But we're still trying for anonymity this year. So far, I don't know who got my Stuff, because we're still well ahead of the deadline, but the bag I got was put together by the superfantastic Tristan Robin Blakeman. I guessed who it was from as soon as I saw the contents and after I finished the quilt, the coordinator confirmed that I was right. Take a look at what I had to work with: Honestly, I have to say it was more of a fun interlude than a challenge this year because the stuff Tristan sent was really rather fabulous and was a color range I LOVE. As soon as I saw all those orange fabrics and that so many of them had spots and swirls, an idea for another sun quilt popped into my head. I did a few sketches and this one is the one that worked for me: (posted just for Deborah, because I know she loves to see design sketches!) After that, it went together rather quickly. Nearly everything I used came from Tristan's bag. The only exceptions were that I added small amounts of four black prints from my stash to add some variety to the background. And I used some pale yellow tulle from my stash to make a translucent "window" in one area. Here's a close-up of the peek-a-boo circle, where I captured some of the fibers Tristan sent between the layers of tulle: (clickable if you want to see it even more close-up) I don't know if you can tell it from the photo (since it's photographed against my design wall) but batting and backing fabric are cut away from that circle and it's totally see-through except for the fibers trapped inside. And here, finally, is a photo of the finished quilt: "Eyes Of The Sun 2: Solar Flares" 18" x 24" soon to be in the collection of Tristan Robin Blakeman

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Creative Life and 10 Things x 4

I feel like I've been kind of neglecting RSR the past couple of days, but it's been for a good reason. I've been sewing my little heart out and when I'm in the zone I don't think about much else. I'm currently quilting, so hopefully I'll have photos to share in the next couple of days. In the meantime, while it's too soon to share photos and while I'm living in the studio and have no other life, it means I don't have much to talk about, so I'll fall back on one of my old favorites --- yet another meme! Hey...come back! Normally I link to the site where I find these things, but in this case I can't remember where I came across this idea. It's been sitting on my desk for a while and I'm just now getting around to posting it. As always, I never "tag" people on these things, but if you like this one and want to make your own list and post it on your blog, I'd love to read it. The 10 Things Meme 10 Things I liked as a teenager, but don't like now: 1. flavored lip gloss 2. wine coolers (unless the person reading this is my dad, in which case, hahaha, just kidding because Of COURSE alcoholic beverages never passed my lips until I was old enough to drink legally. ahem.) 3. amusement parks 4. bubblegum pop music 5. bubblegum! 6. perfume 7. soap operas 8. diet soda 9. talking on the phone 10. suntans 10 Things I didn't like as a teenager, but do like now: 1. wine 2. aged cheese 3. flip-flops (I've only learned to tolerate having something between my toes in the past year or so!) 4. computers 5. coffee 6. sewing 7. condiments (pretty much all of them...wouldn't touch them when I was younger....not so sure it's a good thing that I learned to like them!) 8. the color orange 9. spending time alone 10. dogs (not that I truly disliked them, but as a teenager I would have totally called myself a cat person...now I LOVE dogs) 10 Things I've never liked and probably never will: 1. Rap music 2. lots of different foods (cabbage and liver spring immediately to mind, but there are many more) 3. beer 4. boxing 5. math 6. spiders 7. dentists 8. housework 9. ruffles and frills 10. small, closed-in places 10 Things I've always liked and probably always will: 1. being the last person in the house to go to bed at night 2. reading a good book 3. watching a good movie 4. puzzles 5. sweets!! (sigh) 6. new shoes!! 7. cats 8. doing something creative 9. traveling to someplace I've never been before 10. spending time with the people I love

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sisters Traveling West

Just minutes ago I got an email from Diane Howell telling me that "Sisters - Shared Soles" will be visiting Arizona this fall for "Art Quilts X: Xhilirating: Joy In The Making" at the Chandler Center for the Arts. Happy Happy Joy Joy! I think the Chandler Center is such a cool venue. Yay! So if you're going to be in Chandler, Arizona, this November 4 - January 8, stop by and see the sisters! I did some work on a new small quilt today too, but I can't show any in-progress pics this time because it's for a seeeeeecret quilt and there's a chance the person I'm making it for could stop by ye old blogge, so I'll have to keep it under wraps a while. I think this one is going to be fast to finish though. (Famous last words!) So hopefully I can share pics soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Earworm Meme

Yesterday Debra posted this question: "What are your top ten all time favourite songs and by whom?" and then listed her answers. I liked the idea of doing this and I gave it some thought, but there is just absolutely No WAY. I'd be doing well to manage to list my top 50 songs, never mind my top ten. But then item number one on Debra's list made me think of another possible list. She said: "Sultans of Swing. It's my strongest earworm. Even thinking of the song sets it playing in my head for weeks. (oh, damn!! there it goes again)." Aaahhh....earworms. Now there's a subject near and dear to my heart. (Although I always tend to want to say earwigs, which would be a different problem entirely!) On the off-chance that anyone out there doesn't know what an earworm is, it's a song that gets stuck in your head, for hours, days, or weeks, and you find yourself thinking about it, humming it, whistling it, or singing it without consciously meaning to, even if you're so tired of the sound of it that you could just SCREAM!!! I'm never without an earworm. NEVER. I live my life with a never-ending sound track in my head. I don't know how old I was when I realized that not everyone hears music in their head all the time. That must be so nice and quiet! I sing a lot, often without even realizing I'm doing it. I whistle a lot too. A former co-worker once told me that working with me was a little like living in a musical because there was never any telling what would remind me of a song and off I'd go, singing about it, and sometimes even dancing. (I asked if that was a Good Thing or a Bad Thing and she said "it depends". Heh.) But even when I'm not singing or whistling the song of the moment aloud, I'm THINKING it. So, thought I, maybe I could come up with a list of my top 10 earworms! Not necessarily my favorite songs, but the ones that are most likely to get stuck in my head and come out of my mouth, whether I want them to or not. I believe you will quickly notice a theme (groan). So here, in no particular order, is my Top Ten Earworms: 1. "Popular" from the cast recording of "Wicked". I love all the songs on that CD, but that's the one I find myself singing most often. I think the well-meaning but utterly self-centered cluelessness of the lyrics is hilarious. ("...I'll show you what shoes to wear, how to fix your hair, everything that really counts to be popular. I'll help you be pop-U-lar. You'll hang with the right cohorts, you'll be good at sports, know the slang you ought to know. But let's start, 'cause you've got an awfully long way to go....") 2. "Going Through The Motions" from the Buffy episode "Once More With Feeling". I quite often find myself singing the entire episode from beginning to end, but this song is the one that seems to come out of my mouth the most. ("...she's just going through the motions, faking it somehow. She's not even half the girl she - Ow!!....") 3. "Gunslinger" by the Limeliters. ("...gunslinger, gunslinger, where did you go wrong? When you were a child did the Cheyenne and Sioux refuse to play nicely with you? Did you always feel you didn't belong?....") I blame this one on my father's influence. 4. "Sweet Violets" by Mitch Miller and the Boys ("....the girl told the farmer that he'd better stop, then she called her father and he called a taxi and got there before very long, 'cause someone was doing his little girl right for a change....") I blame this one on my mother's influence. 5. "Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead" from "The Wizard of Oz". I also sing "Over the Rainbow" and "If I Only Had A Brain" pretty often, but I really, REALLY get stuck on "Ding Dong...." a lot because it's such fun to do all the different voices, from Glinda's wavery soprano, to the guttural Lollipop Guild guys, to the stuffy little Munchkin mayor. ("...we will glorify your name! You will be a bust, be a bust, be a bust in the hall of fame!"...) 6. "The Step-Sisters Lament" from "Cinderella" (Rodgers and Hammerstein version). Again (are we seeing a theme here?) I love ALL the songs from that show, but I especially get a kick out of this most-smartass-y one. ("Why would a fellow want a girl like her, a frail and fluffy beauty? Why can't a fellow ever once prefer a solid girl like me?....") 7. "I Feel Lucky" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. ("....eleven million later I was sitting at the bar. I bought the house a double and the waitress a new car....") 8. "Ain't Gonna Rain No More". It's a kids song, the kind of thing you learn in camp. ("...ain't gonna rain no more, no more, ain't gonna rain no more. So how in the heck can I wash my neck? 'Cause it ain't gonna rain no more.....") See what happens when you let little girls join Girl Scouts?? 9. "Amazing Grace". I know, I know, total shock, right? I probably should have warned you. It's not silly or smartass, AND it's a hymn while I am rather vocally anti-organized-religion. But while I may have given up on attending services, I was raised in church and I still love hymns and that one is a particular favorite. I always "hear" it in my head as being sung a cappella, on a mountain top at sunset. 10. Christmas songs, especially "Oh Holy Night". See explanation above. I must confess, in case you think I've developed a serious streak, that I also really like some parodies of Christmas songs, like "The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen" or one I wrote called "Drag Queen Christmas" (sung to the tune of "Deck the Halls"). But really, I ADORE almost all the traditional Christmas carols. I especially like to sing them in July. There you have it....my Top Ten Earworms. You all now know to Run Like HELL if you see me coming and it looks like I'm singing to myself!!!! Don't say I didn't warn you. Oh, and in case you're wondering, my Earworm Du Jour: "The Dog and the Butterfly" by Heart.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Simple Not-Still-Life

I signed up to participate in Deb Roby's Simple Still Life creativity exercises and I fully intended to do a fiber piece for this first month, but like so many other participants I was feeling a time crunch and decided to play in Photoshop instead. We were supposed to do something "inspired by" the still life Debra set up and I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to do a still-life-inspired fantasy landscape. So I did some cutting and pasting of elements from the still life, and some digital "painting" and made this: "Moonwalk I" (be kind....I'm still a rank beginner in Photoshop!!) Then I played with the contrast and some filters to come up with this: "Moonwalk II" And then took it a couple of steps further yet to make this: "Moonwalk III" I'll be the first to admit that none of these efforts are great art, but it was an interesting exercise in doing something "inspired by" something else without trying to literally recreate it. And other than the background, I used only elements found in the still life to create the landscape. I'm looking forward to seeing what others come up with for this challenge and what Debra comes up with to challenge us with next month. That's one more thing crossed off my art-to-make list. Yay! On to Item Three...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mission Accomplished!

I hope no one faints or anything, but I actually sewed today!!! Seriously. Not only did I sew, I FINISHED something. YES!! I get to cross something off my to-do list. I love when that happens!! The small tree quilt, she is finished. Take a look: "Grove II: Spring Cedar" (The photo is "clickable" if you want to see it larger and in more detail. The larger photo is around 95 kb and will open in a new window.) I guess since the new owner has give her approval to the finished quilt and our swap is "official", I can now tell you that this quilt will be going to live with Virginia Spiegel, while her Blue Goddess #6 comes to live at my house. Yay! I love doing art swaps. Now to decide which project on the to-do list comes next. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Real Life and Rock Stars

(The usual spoiler warnings for RS: INXS apply. If you haven't seen this week's episodes, go away until you have or don't blame me if I ruin it for you.) The dog and cat stuff is taken care of. Yay! I have enough groceries to provide my hubby with Real Food through the weekend. Yay! I finished the boring sweeping/dusting crapola for this week. Yay! TOMORROW I WILL SEW, DAMMIT. On a different subject...I'm not liking this niacin thing so far. Last night was REALLY bad on the hot-and-itchy front. But today I bought a different formula that's supposed to be time-release. Maybe that'll be better. Rock Star: INXS Now, on to the weekly Rock Star INXS dish session. About Tuesday's performances, I was rather unimpressed. They seem to alternate between not-so-great weeks and weeks where they really try to redeem themselves! I thought nearly all of them were all over the place on their pitching this week --- notes going flat and sharp and shaky and screechy. Ack! Even the usually-impeccable Jordis was having a bad week. Speaking of Jordis, was anyone but me surprised to find out she's the youngest performer in the group? I think she has a much more mature presence about her style and performance than I'd expect from someone that young. But anyway, back to Tuesday night. One of the very few performances that I thought was right on vocally was Suzie. I was surprised....no, shocked!...to see her in the bottom three on Wednesday night. She personalizes her arrangement (admittedly with JD's help) and hits every note on key and ends up in the bottom three? What's up with that?? Sounded like Dave Navarro and INXS were quite surprised by it too. I was glad to see they let her off the hook quickly. After not liking Suzie much in the first couple of weeks, she's really grown on me and I actually think she's one of the more versatile performers left in the group. I was happy to see Brandon go home. That's been coming for a while now, if you ask me. I also think Jessica and Deanna had both better figure their days are numbered. But you never know! We'll see what happens next week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Real Life is Getting On My Nerves

I'm having one of those weeks. You know the ones...where you have a ton of stuff you want to get accomplished and can't quite manage it because the ever-annoying Real Life Details keep getting in the way. Yesterday afternoon I spent a big hunk of time having a talk with my doctor about the whole "high triglycerides even though the rest of my numbers are fine" situation, and then had errands to run, not to mention post-trip laundry, so yesterday just felt like a big fat waste. Today I went to Lexington for my yearly Guinea Pig Day. Because my mom died from ovarian cancer, I'm a participant in a long-term study on the effectiveness of transvaginal ultrasound as an early ovarian cancer detection tool. So once a year I go to Lexington and get my insides prodded for a while, complete with strange-looking grainy black and white photos. (I should ask for a copy of those sometime. I bet they'd be fun to play with in Photoshop.) Then I take myself out for a nice lunch and make a run by the book store and maybe a shoe store. Believe it or not, I did NOT buy either books or shoes today! Lunch was good though. Half a chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat, a cup of tomato soup, and a little penne-tomato-olive-artichoke salad, all with spearmint lemonade. Yum! But again...a whole day gone with no studio time. Tomorrow I have to wrangle 3 large-but-nice dogs and 1 large-and-somewhat-evil cat to the vet for their annual exams and vaccines, and then I need to buy food because J keeps expecting to actually EAT even though I have things I'd rather be doing. Sheesh! All of which means that the small tree quilt I showed in-progress last week is still sitting there on the work table at EXACTLY the same state of done-ness it was before I left for North Carolina. We are not amused. We ARE going to be getting some work done on that sucker this weekend if it kills us. Me. Whatever. I have an ever-increasing list of things I've committed to finish and I don't like that "I'm getting behind" feeling. It must cease. On the exhibit front --- Debra, I had already planned to submit the sun quilt to PIQF if it didn't get in at Houston, so maybe you'll get to see it in person if a) I get my act together and follow through, and b) they decide to show it. I actually have the paperwork and slides on my desk, but was stalling a bit because I think the notifications for the Chandler show are supposed to go out early next week and if my sisters quilt doesn't get in there, I may try it at PIQF too. And Jen, I just downloaded rules and entry forms for Road, so maybe I'll try it there too! If it gets in either or both places, you guys need to have someone take your photo next to the quilt as my Quilt Stunt Double! Gerrie, sorry you can't see the pics on the blog. A friend of mine in Alaska (hi Martha!) often has trouble with my pics not loading on her home 'puter and we've never yet figured out why, so I have no idea what, if anything, to do about it. Hopefully you'll be home soon and can see them then.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What Was Waiting At Home

In posting my ever-so-exciting trip photos yesterday, I never got around to mentioning the Good Mail and Bad Mail I had waiting for me when I got home. I got two fiber postcards while I was gone. Yay! One was the second postcard I'd purchased in Virginia's ACS auction, "Healing" by Lauren Fureymoore. As is often the case, it's much more rich-looking and gorgeous in person than it is in the photo. I also got this postcard from my friend, Frank. It's called "Won't Get Fooled Again" and features shiny, sparkly fabrics and fibers captured under tulle as well as a beady medallion I love. Thanks Frank!! I also got an acceptance letter from PNQE for one of my mermaid quilts. "Queen of Cups II" Ok, so, she's a bit BarbieDoll-ish, but I still kind of like her. She's based on a photo of my friend Morven, when I stuck a cup in her hand one day and told her "pretend to be a mermaid queen" and took a bunch of pictures. And I love how the water turned out in this quilt. Juries never like her though. She's racked up all sorts of rejection letters over the past couple of years, so I was pleased to see her get into SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE before she "retires", poor thing. On the other hand was the Bad Mail --- two skinny envelopes from IQA's World Of Beauty show in Houston, both of them for quilts that are much stronger (IMO) than the one PNQE accepted. They didn't like "Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese" (which is a prize winner elsewhere --- see the ribbon!)... ...or "Eyes of the Sun". Ppppfffttt! Screw 'em. I'll try somewhere else. I find myself feeling annoyed with that show. At the risk of sounding really arrogant, I have a pretty damn good acceptance record for my quilts at a lot of other shows, but a really, truly TERRIBLE track record with IQA, and I'm thoroughly tired of sending them money year after year so they can keep my slides and send back a bunch of rejection letters. I might as well just read the old letters for free and save the entry fees to buy new shoes. I think it's time to stop playing with them and find dates for my quilts elsewhere. HA!

Monday, August 08, 2005

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I'm back! Didja miss me? Didja, didja, huh, huh?? We got home a couple of hours ago and I decided sharing some photos with the other members of blogland sounded like more fun than figuring out what to eat for supper. We had a great time in the Smokies. We stayed in Banner Elk, on the North Carolina side --- first time we'd ever been to that particular community. We stayed at a resort called Blue Ridge Village. These are my friends Marge and Diane, as we walked around checking the place out that first afternoon. I told Diane I was going to tell the world she was drinking from a glass in each hand, but I will confess that one of those wine glasses was mine and she just held it while I took the photo. These are the guys, fishing at the lake you can see in the previous photo. It was supposedly a stocked fish pond, but I've circled J's big catch of the weekend. Ahem. We mostly just hung out and visited and talked, but we also did a little shopping and sightseeing. My favorite place we went was the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain. Only four of us went --- Gerald, Marge, Amy, and me. Johnny and Jimmy went in a futile search for flea markets, while Diane and Emma (her granddaughter) went swimming. Here are some photos from Grandfather Mountain: This is me standing at the edge of the swinging bridge. The sign says the elevation is 5,305 feet. Gerald, Amy, and I went across, while Marge waited on this end. She didn't like the idea of the bridge moving around. This photo shows the rocks people were climbing around on after they got off the far end of the bridge. There were no railings or anything, just a bunch of naked rocks, so I figure they were either really brave or really crazy, or both. When we got to the other end of the bridge, we climbed around the rocks a little too, but didn't go out all the way to the end. We kinda thought we would (yeah, I guess that makes me either brave or crazy too), but about the time I took this pic... ...of Gerald and Amy, we saw a little girl who couldn't have been more than about 5 years old take a tumble and come within about two feet of tumbling right on off the top of the mountain. Seriously. It was at that point that we thought maybe Marge was the smartest person in the group and we maybe should head on back. After I took the above photo, I turned around and took this photo so you can see how far from the bridge we'd gone before we turned around. And this horrid-looking shot of me is to show you a) how windy it was in the center of the bridge and b) that I love playing with my camera so much that I turned loose of the railing in the center of a mile-high swinging bridge in order to take an "arms stuck out" bad self-portrait shot. Yeah, baby! This is a photo of Marge and Amy and some people I don't know in front of Split Rock. Would you believe some people were squeezing into that little crack and walking through the rock? ACK! Not me. No way. I'd LIVE on the swinging bridge before I'd squeeze into that rock. (shudder) Because no DebR Trip Photo Shoot would be complete without the Shoe Shot, here's the photo I took of Emma, Amy, and me. Aren't Emma's pink beady slides just Too Cute? (They both thought I was crazy to want to take a picture of their feet, but they were nice enough to go along with it.) And finally, here we all are in the condo we rented. The Banner Elk Gang: (front) Gerald, Marge, DebR; (back) Johnny, Emma, Amy, Jimmy, Diane

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Weekend Plans and Rock Star Stuff

(contains Rock Star INXS spoilers toward the bottom, so if you TIVO'd the show instead of watching it last night or live somewhere you don't see it until later, go away and come back to read this post after you've seen it!) No more quilt-in-progress pics today, at least not yet. If (and it's a big if) I get more finished today, I'll post pics tonight. I had to run errands yesterday in preparation for what I hope will be a fun long weekend with friends. Thank God I finished up with the sick thing before the weekend!! (Speaking of....I was all sane and adult about the food thing yesterday --- no cheeseburgers. I went for half a tuna sandwich on toast and some fruit and it was good and my tummy didn't reject it with the projectile vomiting thing and so --- YAY!) Anyway, back to the weekend plans. Many, many years ago, when J first started doing his consulting gig, which involves a lot of travel, we met some people on a fairly long-term job he had in Wisconsin and we clicked and have stayed in touch ever since. We don't actually get to see them often, but we talk, and we try to get together in person once a year, at least for a long weekend. And this is the weekend! Gerald and Marge and their daughter, Amy, live in Missouri. Jimmy and Diana (aka Blondie) live in North Carolina. With J and me in Kentucky, we often choose the Smoky Mts. for our rendezvous because it's kinda-sorta more-or-less central for the group. So barring complications, that's where we're headed in the morning. I refuse to take the laptop on vacation, so don't expect to hear from me for a few days unless I wander into an internet cafe or something and am weak. :-) I bought some wine yesterday, partly because some areas of the Smokies are dry (dry as in no liquor sales, not as in no rainfall, although that's kinda true this summer too!) and I bought one bottle of a brand I've never heard of, never mind tried, just because I love the label! How "too visual for words" is that? Heh. Take a look: Isn't that a cool graphic? I hope the wine is decent! I also bought the ingredients to make my Debified Best Ever Snack Mix. It's sure not health food, but then again I only make it once a year and it is soooooo good! In case you want to try it, here's the recipe. Debified Best Ever Snack Mix Preheat the oven to 275 F. In a large open pan (I use my turkey roasting pan), mix together a total of 20 cups of any or all of these things (I put a * by the ones I usually use): oyster crackers*, wheat thins, small melba rounds, pretzels, Cheez-it crackers* (or goldfish), sesame sticks*, Crispix cereal*, Fritos*, mixed nuts*, pumpkin seeds*, sunflower seeds. You could use anything else you wanted really, that is savory and fairly plain. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the following: 1 cup oil (I use canola) 1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper a scant Tbs. chili powder 1 tsp. dill weed 1/2 tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper Pour over the stuff in the pan and stir, then bake a total of 45 minutes, stirring thoroughly every 15 minutes. Let it cool, then eat it up! It'll keep several days in ziploc baggies. As you can guess from the ingredients, we like it with a little bite to it (that's the main "Debified" part of the recipe). If you're a wuss about spicy stuff, you can cut back on the chili powder and cut back, or leave out entirely, the cayenne. If you, like my hubby, think that habanero peppers are better than chocolate and almost as good as sex, feel free to pump up the heat even more. :-) Time for the Weekly INXS Dish-session So, what did y'all think this week? Unlike last week, I wasn't at all surprised, either by who ended up in the bottom three or by who got eliminated. I adore Ty's voice, but thought his performance on Tuesday was weaker than usual. But last night he rocked. Brandon and Tara have never been my favorites of the group and I agreed that last night Tara gave the weaker of the two performances. She almost seemed timid about singing that number. Overall this week though, I thought the group really pulled it out! After having what I felt was a weak group of performances last week, I thought this week was one of the best ones yet. Yay Rockers! Can't wait for next week!