Saturday, October 28, 2006

Isn't It Iron-ic?

Scored an iron at Target - I couldn't help myself, and went for a Rowenta again, although not the same model. I loved that Rowenta, it got SO hot, SO fast, and steamed like a dream. This one does vertical steaming, too, which is nice for...you know...ironing CLOTHES.

I was explaining The Importance of An Iron in Sewing to the men in my family, and in the process realized that I could live for a little while without a sewing machine and still sew, but I cannot do it without an iron. So it was worth the, ulp, $70.

And in other news, with one child at an Ultimate Frisbee tourney in Oregon and the other at an all day birthday party at our neighbor's, Spouse and self had the time and freedom to go see a movie and eat sushi and even have half-caf nonfat iced lattes at Starbucks. Gosh. What a day!

We saw The Queen, with Helen Mirren. Very low-key, very interesting and enjoyable. Two thumbs up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cool Public Domain Art

Two crafting posts in one day!

I'm *always* looking for good-quality public domain artwork, and I just found the mother lode. It's not all copyright-free, but the restrictions are clearly spelled out for each piece, and each image comes in various sizes/resolutions, with clever commentary, even.

I've found something here on which to base my holiday ornaments for the swap and for family and friends. I'm all excited about getting started!

www.fromoldbooks.org

Here's one of the images, from Dante's Inferno, 1915 edition.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Camera

The J Man (boy child has chosen a Blog Name) and I started in on a Halloween costume. He's a creative and flexible guy. He wants to be a Grim Reaper. Beverley's is totally out of Halloween costume patterns, but I think I can fake a cape and hood. Then we shopped fabric - he found a black print with faint ghost figures that he loved, but it was almost $10 per yard. So I suggested we try some discharge work on plain black, and he agreed.

We bought CHEAP black all-cotton fabric. And following Lois Ericson's great instructions, we tied it with rubber bands and went for it with bleach (Cal the Dog was very helpful). I used a mixture of 5 parts water to 1 part bleach, 2 gallons worth total. After 2 and a half minutes, the fabric started to go purple - Lois assures readers that if you get it into Bleach Stop right away, the color will freeze, but in fact ours went red once it went into the Bleach Stop. If I'd been sensible, I would have done a test swatch, but what the hey.

After 10 minutes in the bleach stop and then a heavy rinse, I pulled off the rubber bands and we LOVE it. Not black, not by a long shot. In fact, instead of staying black, the area under the rubber bands got lighter, and in some areas is almost white. But it's "blood red" (darker than in the photo) as far as we're concerned, and J Man will be a Grim Reaper of the 1960's.

I really enjoyed this technique, and want to try some other resists besides rubber bands!

My beloved and not at all old Rowenta iron gave up the ghost this week, so I need to buy a new iron before I can proceed...further updates as events warrant.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Distractions, Distractions

I finished NOTHING this weekend, and didn't even start much. I came down with my son's cold, which got in the way, and had to deal with a sprinkler-system emergency. But the house did get cleaned, I did work on the final set of fabulous photos from our summer vacation (see below), and I'm in process on a fabulous almost-gourmet meal of Italian sausage with ratatouille, polenta, zucchini with garlic, salad and homemade pizza for the picky among the children. My family and friends will tell you that I’m in no way A Cook, so this is big stuff for me. We’re entertaining far-flung visitors with teenagers.

Now. This post is to call your attention to a fabulous blog and my very very first ever entry in a swap!

http://cakeandpie.typepad.com/cake_pie/2006/10/swap.html

I sewed ornaments last year for family and friends, and it was easy and fun. I combined stamping, a smidge of quilting and some bobbin thread embellishment, used up a load of fancy scraps and impressed a crowd. So I'm in, and I can't wait to see what I'll find in my mailbox!

Some photos, and then back to the sauté pan...

For those who missed the first round, we rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in late June, with family and strangers who quickly became friends. It was awesome, in a very literal sense. A day did not pass that did not fill me with awe.

My dad took these photos.

This is a mini canyon view. The views that just took our breath away were actually too big to photograph. You cannot fit a mile of rock in your view finder.


The Little Colorado. It really is that color...even greener, really. The tradition is to put your life vest on your butt and surf the river (it keeps your tail bone from being smashed up). Our group had our first big bonding experience here, as we formed a train to go down the river. It was even more fun than you might think.

A bevy of beauties. Me, the Teen Princess and Runs Like a Girl. Next photo, we swim like heck to get behind a wicked waterfall. Way cool.

This was the start of one of the killer hikes. Those rocks were sharp, slippery and brutally hot, and once we got to the top we had to go down the other side over more of the same. But we learned quickly to never say "no" to a hike, because they were always more than worth the heat, effort and peril. This one, if memory serves, took us to a fabulous waterfall that doubled as a diving spot.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why I Spend All That Time at the Gym

Amy posted this, and it's so good, I'm posting it, too.

Check it out.

What I Did and Didn't Do With the Last 29 Days

YESSSSS! The month-o'-mania is over, I'm home and things are settling back down. And to add to the settling: unfortunately, my kiddies are out of commission for soccer for the next few days (one sick, one injured)...tut tut tut. Just awful, no practices, no games.

Heh heh heh.

Ahem. OK, I did not finish Sausalito, as noted in the last post, but the back and half of half of the front are done. My children did decorate for Halloween, the place looks great! And we have friends with teens and one little one coming over this weekend and will make carmel apples (my VERY FAVORITES) to add to the fall festivities.

The one thing I have been doing consistently during this crazy month is to exercise at the local gym. And thereby hangs a tale.


My gym has a thing - Activtrax - a computerized program that tells me how much of what kind of weight to lift each day. This is part of today's workout. I've been a gym member for about 18 months and a weighty type for just over a year. When I started lifting I had two little fantasies: one was that some day I will do a chin up, and the other was that some day I would need the BIG kid plates on my weight machines.

Well, today the computer bumped me up to 90# on the leg press, and that meant I got to put two 45# plates on my barbell and BOY HOWDY I haven't been that excited in a long time. 45# are the biggest ones we've got. When I first used the leg press machine I was at 40# total, so I've come a long way. I've got a nice butt to show for it, I get to grunt and sweat with the big boys at the gym, and I take the 5 flights of stairs at work with ease now. Not bad for a middle-aged lady.

I know I'm not ready for the chin up yet, but I'm hopeful that it's not too far off. In the meantime, I have awesome shoulder muscles to console me.

Today is for laundry and a little baking and some cool compresses on the boy child's fevered brow, and tonight and tomorrow I hope to finish the fairy quilt (it's so so so almost done), get some throw pillows made for our living room, and then quilt that cute pink baby quilt up!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Froggy Went a-Rippin' (or: Suzee Unknits)

I was halfway through the first sleeve of Sausalito, and running low on yarn. So I thought I'd hold it up and see if I needed to make the sleeves as long as called for - even an inch shorter and I'd probably make it.

Deep, deep sigh.

The sleeve was huge. Gi-normous. Meant for someone twice my size. And so I measured it and all the other parts finished, and found that each is at least two inches too wide. I *did* gauge swatch, I swear to you by all that is holy, but the swatch must not have been big enough to get a true count. Or my math skills are slipping, one or t'other.

And so, I frogged. Ripped and ripped and ripped. It took almost an hour...

(cue segue music)

An hour spent watching news of Foleygate. There are 34 days left to the election. Federal candidates, in particular the Senate, need your help. And yeah, I'll keep being political until November 8, so ya might as well join me!

http://www.actblue.com/page/overtime_for_ohio

Monday, October 02, 2006

Overtime for Ohio

Like many of you, I've watched in shock and horror the changes in our country over the last 6 years, but have felt helpless - without a lot of time, money or influence, what could one person do?

Today an idea came to me.

I can work, literally, for 2006 federal Democratic candidates in swing states. With a few hours of time, I can help return the checks and balances to our federal system of government. Contributing to candidates in other states is not a new idea - below is a link to ActBlue.com, which will happily send your funds to the Democratic candidate of your choice in a swing state. And in fact the Republicans have been using this strategy for years. But I'm posting this entry to urge my readers, friends and loved ones and their friends and loved ones to act with me.

This week I worked enough overtime to net about $100. This non-budgeted money could go to lowering our family's debt, or savings, or a night out. But instead, it will go to the campaign of Sherrod Brown, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, as will all my overtime from now until the election. Other close Senate races include Montana and Tennessee. And there are many close House of Representative races - every democratic seat in the house matters to our future.

You may not make overtime, but I'll bet you and your family can cut out a movie this week, or eat pasta instead of chicken, or find some other way to pull a few dollars out of your budget. I hope you will join me and use that money to help the blue candidate of your choice. Even five dollars can make a difference.

http://www.actblue.com/page/overtime_for_ohio

or, to donate to any blue candidate: http://www.actblue.com

If you're looking for a non-monetary way to help, use your extra cell phone minutes and a little time to make a few calls for http://www.moveon.org/.

Please pass this on. I know there are others out there like us, and we can make a difference. There are 36 days until Election 2006.