Friday, June 30, 2006

Jill is my queen

Top: Jill Conner Browne. Bottom: The Queens all dressed up and ready to party.

If you haven't read the Sweet Potato Queens' books, please just go to a bookstore or library and treat yourself to their humor, wisdom, and incredible joie de vivre. Here's what Jill Conner Browne says about men not calling:

In the absence of a call, don't devote any precious girlfriend time to the divination of the possible reasons for this gross lapse in manners and this inexplicable failure of his to avail himself of the company and attentions of the world's most amazing woman (you). Why would we want to spend any time at all thinking about somebody who is clearly not thinking about is? Our time is better utilized in scoping out the ones who are, and rewarding that good behavior. But if you absolutely must have a satisfactory explanation for why he hasn't called, how about this: What if he was dead? He couldn't call then, now could he? We know he wanted to--more than anything--but dead guys don't ever call, and even if they did, they don't have any money and you can't fuck them, so what's the point? You cannot date the dead--no one can. It's not even an acquired taste, like stamp collectors or something--they are completely unsuitable, the ultimate sow's ear. . . .

That cute little Laurie Roberts says sometimes she leaves a loophole in this and only has them seriously ill, as in "Hear from so-and-so?" "No, he's coughing up blood." That way if he does call, he can recover, but it's easy enough to eliminate him if he doesn't. Perfect. You can kill him off however it suits you, and tsk-tsk over the tragic waste of life and sigh over the missed opportunity. But as they say, life is for the living, and you, Miss Livewire, must move on. (SPQ's Field Guide to Men, 2004, pp. 197-98)

Summer shower

Nothing reminds me that it's summertime quite like steam floating off the hot asphalt in the middle of a pounding summer shower, in the sunshine.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mandarin dress

This is my next sewing project. I'm making the dress in the top right corner. Tonight I cut out the pieces from the midnight blue taffeta I bought a few weeks ago.

Working with the taffeta may be interesting because it has embroidery on it (ribbons and bows--very cute but not childish) and so is more textured than other fabrics I've sewn.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


This afternoon I pondered what to do with my Saturday night. Honestly, I do not go out every weekend, but I wanted a distraction tonight. Then I remembered--Beethoven's Eroica is tonight at the Nashville Symphony! I've known about it for a long time, but I never seem to know anyone who wants to go with me. Last year I saw Beethoven's First and Ninth spur of the moment, by myself, and it was great! I was totally into the music, and being there by yourself is not lonely like going to a dark movie theatre, feeling detached from everyone. The audience was crowded, a little dressy, and excited to be there.

Maybe in the excitement of the new symphony hall this fall, more people will be interested? The Schermerhorn Symphony Center will be state of the art and gorgeous!

Friday, June 23, 2006


In Eureka, Abby decided she wanted to learn to knit and make her in-laws some kitty toys. The first day, I taught her to knit. The second day, I taught her to purl. The third day, she was following a pattern and increasing! I didn't tell her we were advancing at lightening speed. She made a garter stitch square and sewed it into a kitty wonton. Voila! Her first project completed. I'm so proud.

A few months ago, I made some kitty toys for my friend Leslie's cat, Riley. You can see one in these pictures of Riley (black and white tuxedo cat), and Carley, the foster cat (long-haired calico). Aren't they cute? And Carley is up for adoption!

The ball on a string is from Stitch n' Bitch Nation. Cat toys are great for using up scrap yarn! If you don't have polyester stuffing, you can used a Kleenex.

In May I also made Riley some wontons and an eggroll. I put them in a Chinese take-out container from Michael's and felt oh-so-Martha-Stewart. Leslie's spankin' new husband, Jason, got a huge kick out it, and I was glad I was there to see his reaction. Jason totally dotes on Riley, Leslie's cat from way before this relationship. Isn't that what every pet owner hopes for?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The cherry juice came out of my skirt! Thanks, Shout!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I'm usually a neat eater. I like to think. Today I wore the skirt I finished sewing last night, and about hour three of wearing it, I got some cherry juice on it. Dammit. Here's the pattern, and a similar seersucker fabric. I made skirt B, but without the ribbon and decoration.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Miniature quilts

While in Eureka, my mom and I saw the prettiest tiny quilts by Kate Adams. They weren't actually quilted, but they were pieced together teeny tiny. The quilts are framed for wall display. She uses historical patterns and fabric, and makes them on a 1:12 scale. That means every foot on a normal size quilt is one inch on her quilt!

I can't afford the hundreds of dollars for a real quilt by Kate Adams, but I could buy a print and have it framed for mom for a lot less.

Also in sewing news: I'm so excited that some of my friends may begin to sew soon! Candyce got a machine, and Jennifer Coomer and her mom are going to do some sewing soon. Hoorah!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Craft fantasies

What's your ultimate creative fantasy? Writing a novel? Painting a mural? Becoming a tattoo artist? Smocking? Here are some of mine:

1. Knitting
My knitting fantasy is having tons of time and money to knit glorious sweaters of all styles and fibers, all the time.

2. Sewing
I have two sewing fantasies. One sewing fantasy is to have a serger and sew knit clothing, T-shirts and things. However, my ultimate sewing fantasy is to be hired as a seamstress for Katy K's, making fun Western wear. She's only a half mile from my apartment, but I don't really have much sewing experience; working on that.

I also dream of crafts I know little to nothing about:

3. Silk screening
I could make my own T-shirts! I could make my own fabric designs!

4. Quilting
I totally have an urge to quilt. I would lean toward more contemporary, modern, fun quilting than old lady calicos--not that there's anything wrong with that. I think I'd need more space and a quilting machine. And also perseverance.

5. Dying
Sometimes, I want to dye things. I hear the siren call of Rit.

6. Entrepreneur with an online store
Some people have it together and sell things they make online. That would be cool.

7. Studio space
The other day I was telling Katie I needed a second bedroom for my knitting and sewing, and then it came like a flash--a studio! Traditionally, studio space is something fine artists have: painters, sculptors, etc. Can't we craftsters have a studio too? Think of the stash you could have. [Insert art versus craft debate here.]

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Ninja Generator

Vacation aftermath

I still felt like I was on vacation today. I had some leftover vacation money burning a hole in my pocket, so I went shopping. In a stunning turn of events, I bought a very cute, black, strapless dress. I am small chested; I do not wear strapless anything. This spring my friend Kim chose strapless bridesmaid dresses and I just about had a breakdown from thinking about the wedding, which was a year away.

After I bought the dress I went downstairs in the mall and bought a real, sturdy, quality strapless bra. Ah ha! You must wear the right underthings to pull this off. I still probably have no business wearing a strapless dress, but I think I look pretty cute. So . . . I'm ready now, Kim.

I also bought a picnic blanket at Target to take to the dog park. Dodger is extremely tired from our trip (oh, did I tell you we took all six of our dogs?), so no dog park today. He's been sleeping a lot. I took a little nap this afternoon too.

While on vacation, I took mental note of some odd things I saw in Arkansas:

1. Skinhead
I was clued in by the skinhead's micrometer long red hair, fitted, tucked-in t-shirt, tight jeans with cuffs, and boots. But when he gave the old extended arm salute to someone, I knew I was looking at a neo-Nazi! Eek! Right there in the row of shops in Eureka!

2. Mennonite on cell phone
I know Mennonites drive cars and use electrical items, and from past vacations in Eureka Springs, I knew there was a good chance they'd be shopping at Wal-mart, but I was still puzzled to see a Mennonite woman in her prim dress and tiny bonnet talking on her flip phone while shopping. She has a cooler phone than me. It's just weird.

3. Public pot smoking
Abby and I walked our dogs down the street at dusk on Tuesday night, and there weren't a lot of people around. It was still quite light. We came around a corner and, down the hill, on the street, was a car and lots of young people standing around. I haven't been around pot a lot, but I know what it smells like and Abby and I both got a big whiff. The group of smokers seemed to collectively hold their breath when they saw us. We kept walking the dogs and didn't acknowledge what was so obviously going on. Eureka has a lot of current and former hippies--there's a "Haight-Ashbury of Arkansas" aspect to this Victorian town--so I knew pot was around. Still, right there in the middle of the street?

Friday, June 16, 2006


During my family vacation, my sister Abby and I shared a queen sized bed. The worst part was her thrusting her knee into the small of my back one night--it wasn't her fault; she had an upset, crampy stomach. Abby is an actress and makeup artist, among other things. One morning while sleeping in we had the following conversation:

Abby: Last night I was looking at your mouth, and you know what I noticed?

Me: (groggily) What?

Abby: Your lips have a really nice shape. We should play with makeup sometime, you know?

Me: Oh. I thought you were going to say 'Last night I was looking at your mouth, and you know what I noticed? You sleep with your mouth open all night. And you drool.'

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Out west

Bye for now, I'm headed out to Eureka Springs, AR! Hopefully I'll have lots of pictures of my trip.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bag o' monkeys

I bought the monkey fabric from Textile Fabrics! I bought the red fabric I blogged about earlier and this bananas-on-green-background fabric for a contrast strip. I will use a tote bag pattern to make a bag, and it will have black straps.

Report over. Sorry; I'm sleepy!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Not brass monkey

You know, you take a break from buying a certain item, and then you find a unique, excellent item you can't resist. I was not going to buy any fabric, but then I saw my dream cotton print--in person! Moda's sock monkey fabric. It is adorable. BTW, I was in the fabric store for thread, I wasn't just browsing.

Behold! "5 Funky Monkeys Tumbling Sock Monkey--Red"!

I just bought a cute tote bag purse pattern that closes with a zipper. It would be a fun purse or knitting bag!

I have to break the rule for the sock monkeys.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ditty Bops

Hey, fans! The Ditty Bops are reviewed in the current issue of JANE!

These quirky girly girls take you on an hour-long time-traveling adventure through the early 20th century. Some songs seem ripped from a vaudeville act, some warrant a flapper dress, and others seem perfectly suited for Marlene Dietrich to croon in a World War II revue. This album [Moon Over the Freeway] is pretty, femme and a lot of fun. I'm pumped to see the Ditty Bops live--they come up with cute themes for their shows (like "All Things Hawaiian," or "Alice in Wonderland") and have been known to eat fire and juggle. --Kate (p. 40, June/July 2006)

Favorite footrest

When we visit my parents' house, Dodger loves to lay on the footrest of my dad's recliner, right up against dad's leg, and with one of his own legs dangling precariously between the footrest and chair seat. From the footrest he can comfortably sleep, or launch at a doggie friend like it's his own personal springboard. Here's a picture of him resting his chin on my leg while I knit. Ralph is also pictured with his nose hanging off the seat. It's quiet when the dogs collectively decide to nap!

M-D dishcloth update: I've made three! I made two with Sugar 'n Cream yarn I really liked the colors of. One is called Swimming Pool and the other Key Lime Pie. I bought this yarn this weekend--I couldn't dip into the vacation stash! Vacay next week, woohoo!

This weekend I bought some gorgeous taffeta cloth for a dress, and to figure out washing care, mom suggested I burn a tiny piece to determine if it melted like a synthetic fabric, or became white flakes like silk. Well, it melted! Polyester (or acetate or whatever) sure isn't what it used to be. It feels and looks great!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My first bobble

Has anyone made a Mason-Dixon Washcloth yet? Open your textbooks to page 55. This morning I knit a washcloth, and I've got some pointers for y'all. I think it took me about four hours to make, and now I'm blocking it. You cast on 150 stitches by using a long tail. Your tail needs to be about 5 yards long (the distance between your nose and extended arm = roughly a yard). The pattern doesn't specify the length of the circular needles; I used 22-inch needles.

When you make the bobbles, please note that the pattern does NOT say knit into the front and back, is says knit into the BACK, FRONT, and BACK. I made two bobbles before I realized my mistake, and you'll probably agree that UNknitting is not as much fun as knitting.

The yarn I used for my washcloth was Lion Brand Cotton that I unraveled last night from my first and very terrible attempt at the crocheted cowgirl hat from Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. I was flat-out crocheting wrong, and the hat ended up big, floppy, and clownlike. I could pull it down over my eyes! Sadly I did not realize the proportion was all wrong until I was done and ran to the bathroom mirror to see what it looked like on. Eek! C'est la crochet.