Jul 31, 2005

Postcard I finished up today. Part of an ongoing attempt to work more spontaniously and intuitively...taming the inner control freak who has to have a plan. Posted by Picasa

Jul 30, 2005

Evening under the stars, lunch in Better Homes and Gardens

Life is crazyfunbusy around here at the moment in the very best summery way.

We've got teenagers coming out our ears as AshLee's friends take turns coming to visit for a few days apiece. We had 1 this week, there are 4 booked for next week and she's working on a 5th. We have a secret ingredient that makes teens want to come to Cheney in the summer: the Seattle Seahawks, of the National Football League have their training camp at EWU, about a mile from our house. AshLee has a talent for getting the players to take pictures with her and her friends. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the cuteness. It's great having a house full of giggling girliness.

Wednesday we went to a minor league baseball game. We used to go to baseball a lot when we lived in Seattle and we realized on Wednesday how much we missed it. It was dreamy.

Thursday was my annual visit with my cousin Marcus. Marcus is finishing up Ph.D. work in biophysics at Cornell University. He comes to Cheney every summer to teach at Satori and we always have dinner and stay up talking half the night. Marcus has a twin brother, Nathan, who is doing graduate work in political science at Stanford (coupla genius boys, those two), unfortunately Nathan couldn't make it to Satori this year. We were blessed with a perfect warm July evening and after a wonderful dinner at Artist Cafe, we stayed up late talking under the stars outside the dorm where the Satori campers stay. I love talking with Marcus about the process and progress of his scientific work and I'm always energized by the parallels between science and art.

Friday I was invited to lunch at the home of one of my new coworkers. She lives in a great little house in Peaceful Valley, a funky old neighborhood that lies along the Spokane River. Bridget has just finished remodeling and redecorating her home and it is fabulous. Very Italian, with lots of terra cotta, antique fixtures and warm tones throughout. Her garden is equally fabulous, with terraced plantings and steps winding up a steep slope. It's a tiny house on a tiny lot, but it's a little piece of heaven. We ate a delicious mango chicken salad in the garden. I told Dave it was like having lunch in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Today we're headed to the beach. I picked up How to Be Good by Nick Hornby and Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde at Barnes and Noble last night and it will be hard to decide which to pick for my beach reading. I'll probably end up saving them and finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince instead. I've been reading it just a bit at a time, trying to stretch it out and savor it, but Dave is getting restless waiting for his turn.

Last night Dave was talking about how excellent summer is and how he wished we lived in a place where the weather is nice year-round. I wonder if it would be the same if we could be leisurely about the weather and spread our enjoyment of it out over the course of the whole year? There's a certain sweetness to the crazyfunbusy, soaking up the warmth and color, pigging out on ice cream and fresh fruit, knowing that it won't last but we'll remember it during the long cold grey winter. It will be football season soon and time for crisp weather and a whole new brand of crazyfunbusy.

Jul 29, 2005

Happy Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary Too!

Happiest of birthday wishes to my mom and my friend Julie today. Mom spent the day at the lake with a couple of good friends and Julie left bright and early this morning for a weekend-long quilting retreat, so I guess they're doing ok for themselves in the happy birthday department.

Also, happy 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday to my parents. My dad called me at work this afternoon to ask a favor. He had 48 roses ("They came in dozens") and the folks he bought them from had told him to cut the stems and put them in water. He didn't really know how he was supposed to cut the stems. I explained how to cut the stems. I assured him that roses are tougher than they look and he wasn't going to wreck them. I told him he is a good husband. Yay Dad and Happy Anniversary to both of you! You guys rock!

Jul 26, 2005

More about those beads

Deb Lacativa asked about the fabric beads I made this weekend. There's an article on making fabric beads in the Spring 2003 issue of Quilting Arts and there's also some information in Raising the Surface by Maggie Grey (I would like to be Maggie Grey when I grow up). I'm getting increasingly bad at just following the directions, so here's how I made mine:

I grabbed a pile of scraps. Those long narrow strips you cut off to get a straight edge on your fabric work really well. Odd shaped scraps work well too, especially if they are wider at one end. I took varying widths of fabrics and cut them into approx. 2 inch lengths. I wrapped the lengths around a size G crochet hook. For the odd shaped scraps, I started at the wide end so you can see the layers, sort of like a crescent roll. I used a glue stick on the last 1/4 inch or so of each piece to stick the fabric together so it wouldn't unroll. Then just slide the bead off and throw it in a bowl with the rest of them. Then I drizzled paint on them, as shown in the picture below. I will probably go back and wrap some embroidery thread around them to add some texture. But I think they look cool like they are, so if the whole embroidery thread wrapping business makes me cuss, I'll stop and leave them alone.

I'd like to take this time to complain...

I had a very productive day of complaints today. Dave thinks I complain about bad service too much, but this is coming from a guy who recently waited 50 minutes to get his food at Carl's Jr. before he went back to the counter to complain. Yes, that's 5-0. I only complain when there's really a problem and I'm always polite. But I've been pretty cranky lately, so it was inevitable that my patience was at a low ebb today.

First, I went to Quiznos for lunch and they gave my sandwich to someone else and then tried to tell me they didn't. I got my lunch for free.

Next, I called the bank because the paycheck Dave deposited yesterday still wasn't showing up in my account. They explained that there's a 2-day hold for deposits from the ATM. I explained that the only reason he used the ATM was that they only had one teller working both the counter and the drivethru on payday for the biggest employer in town and there was a huge line. They credited my account.

On a roll, I called Dish network about the fact that our channel guide still hadn't come back 24 hours after we installed the new smartcard thingie. Presto, quick fix.

Inspired by my example, AshLee sent an email to the Nalgene water bottle folks complaining that her supposedly unbreakable water bottle broke. They immediately replied, asking for her mailing address so they could send her a new one. I'm so proud of her!

I've got a lot more things I'd like to complain about at the moment (did I mention I've been cranky lately?), but they are of a more personal nature and I don't think I'll get very far. Guess it's time to pet the cat and bake some cookies...

Jul 24, 2005

This is my favorite of the pieces I painted last night and stamped this morning. I have some new cheap acrylic paint and the kiwi and laguna bottles looked like they wanted to play.  Posted by Picasa

There's nothing like playing with fabric for relaxing and recharging. I painted a bit of fabric last night, then pulled out some scraps and wrapped up some fabric beads. This morning I messed around with stamping on the painted fabric, then dumped out my bowl of beads on one of the pieces and drizzled them with gold paint. I think I need to figure out a better drizzling method, but these are turning out ok. Next time I think I'll try spattering paint on them with an old toothbrush. I did another piece of stamped fabric that I really like, but my camera batteries died so I'll have to wait for them to recharge before posting a picture of that one. Maybe I should give the camera batteries some fabric to play with? Posted by Picasa

Jul 21, 2005

I need a day off

and no, the weekend doesn't count because I have 537 weekend-y things to do on the weekend.

OK, I started to write a post about what a busy week this has been and I sounded like one of those annoying people who think they're too busy (too important?) to blog. How boring. I will settle for saying that I've been feeling really scatterbrained all week. And I don't like it. And neither does my cat. He's making horrible pitiful noises like he's a terribly neglected little creature who has to live in a box in the alley and scrounge for garbage. It's very sad. So I'm going to go pet my cat and then I'm going to sleep and hopefully in a few days things will settle down and I will be able to string together a complete thought and I'll have something to blog about. Maybe I'll be coherent enough to avoid run-on sentences like that last one.

Hey Elle, you were right, the senior pictures turned out AWESOME.

Jul 18, 2005

Dave has really long arms - excellent for taking arms-outstretched photos like this one of us on our camping trip this weekend (check out the cool arm reflection in Dave's sunglasses). If the camera had been pointed the other way, you'd see that we're enjoying a lovely view of Lake Coeur d' Alene. Picasa is being weird and hiding most of my pictures, but I found a couple to post. We had a great trip...wonderful weather, beautiful setting, a nice hike out into the marsh, a bit of wildlife viewing and really good friends to visit with. Posted by Picasa

Here's the Saturday night sunset looking across the little bay we camped on. Posted by Picasa

We camped with a bunch of Dave's guitar friends, so the music around the campfire was REALLY good. That's Dave in the orange tshirt. Posted by Picasa

Jul 16, 2005

Yesterday was the first day of the Nordstrom's anniversary sale, so I headed over there on my lunch break. I never made it past the shoe department. I'm surprised they didn't send someone around after me to wipe up the drool. Mom bought these same Clarks in olive green and we weren't even shopping together. Posted by Picasa

I LOVE these shoes. They weren't even on sale, but who cares? Posted by Picasa

Jul 14, 2005

My little quiltlet from the Fiber Collage class at www.joggles.com, taught by Susan Sorrells. I've completed the first 2 lessons and it's all ready for me to embroider at the beach this weekend. Not looking too exciting yet, but wait 'til I start embellishing this puppy! Posted by Picasa

Jul 13, 2005

To Bare or Not To Bare

I had to go shorts shopping last night. Ugh.

Having reached the age of 35 without giving birth, I'm blessed with a lovely slim figure and a terrible shorts dilemma. Do I shop in the grown-ups section, where the shorts are too big for me and look...umm...dowdy, or do I face the indignities of shopping in the juniors section when I'm obviously NOT a junior and the only choice is short shorts that bare a bit more jiggly thigh than I'd really like to expose to the world?

I've been avoiding this dilemma for a couple of years by wearing the same old ratty shorts everywhere and hoping no one would notice. But we're going to the beach this weekend and it's going to be hot and we'll be there for 2 days and I HAVE to have a change of clothes or someone will definitely notice that I always wear the same old ratty shorts everywhere.

I started in the grown-ups section, where, of course, the shorts were too big and made me look dowdy. They were simply unbearable. I went to the juniors department, where I found a couple of pairs that actually covered my butt plus another inch or two. They were really pretty cute as long as I stood still so the thighs didn't jiggle. I told myself I'm gonna bare the thighs to go swimming anyway. I went out to show Dave and he thought they were cute and he didn't mention the thighs. So ok, I went ahead and bought the Daisy Dukes. What can I say, I still favor fashion over modesty...

Jul 11, 2005

Sick and Tired

Not a lot getting done around here lately. I left work early Friday to go to the doctor with what I thought was an ear infection. Long boring story short, it's a gum infection instead and I'm on minor antibiotics and major painkillers.

I spent all day Saturday up at the stadium running like crazy selling concessions at the regional qualifier meet for the National Jr. Olympics. TONS of people from all over Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. Ash has been pretty fat and lazy lately and didn't run her best. Dave timed all day Saturday and part of Sunday. We're all happy to be finished with track for a while.

Sunday I mostly stayed in bed feeling crummy. I'm doing better today, still on painkillers waiting for the antibiotics to do their thing.

I did play a bit with embossing on felt, my results weren't completely successful. And I can't get a good picture right now. I'll try again later. I also signed up very late for Susan Sorrell's Fiber Collage class at www.joggles.com. I decided I needed another birthday present, not to mention some cheering up.

Jul 6, 2005

Adventures with Senior Pictures

Ash had her senior pictures taken last night and an interesting time was had by all. Her appointment was at 6 pm. Dave had given her strict instructions to start getting ready at 9 am. She started at 1 pm. She called me in a panic at 4 pm: I left my makeup at my moms! My face is peeling! My scalp is peeling! My toe looks horrible! I don't know what to wear!

I slipped into my calmest mom voice and told her I'd run her to the Ben Franklin for makeup when I got home, to go wash her face and hair again, no one is going to take pictures of her toes, set out several outfits, include sweaters, jeans and skirts and we'll sort it out from there.

When I got home at 5:30, Dave was sitting on our bed, shaking his head and muttering: She doesn't have seven outfits picked out! I told her to start getting ready at 9!

I bundled Ash into the car and raced down to Ben Franklin. She continued to freak out in the car: I don't know what to wear! I forgot to put my track medals on my letterman's jacket! What's that red line on my chin!

Home again, I assured her that her giant bag full of clothes would be ok, grabbed a bag full of medals and a box of safety pins and told her to put concealer on the red line. All three of us jumped in the car at 5:55 and raced out to Mystique.

Mystique Photography is superfantastic! Lori is fun and friendly in addition to being a wonderfully talented photographer who is very creative with shots and settings (really, click on the link and go look at her work!). She had my nervous wreck of a daughter relaxed and laughing within minutes. The two of them were having so much fun that Dave and I decided we wanted Lori to shoot our senior pictures. Once I was finished pinning the 21 "best" medals on the letterman's jacket, I went outside and wandered the studio gardens with Sadie, the terrifically friendly 10 month old black lab studio puppy. It's an amazing place, overgrown gardens, pine trees, benches, old bits of fence, old trucks and farm implements, arbors, an old barn, wheat fields, even a small waterfall and pond. There's no need to travel for outdoor shots, Lori has an amazing array of settings just outside the studio door.

When we were at Ben Franklin, the cashier told AshLee that everything had already gone wrong that was going to and now her pictures would be perfect. I think she was right. I can't wait to see the proofs!

Jul 5, 2005

Ocean theme Paper collage for True Colors-type exchange. NOT something I worked on this weekend, just something that's ready to go in the mail. I DID work on several things, including embellishing a Bag o' Stuff quilt I'm making for my friend Melissa. I can't show pics of that yet 'cause Mel reads this. I just have to attach a few more things and bind it. I also finished the silver outlining on my Straight and Narrow piece, drew the vines and started embroidering them. I bought some acetone nail polish remover to try toner transfers, but all I used it for was cleaning up my toenails so I could polish them again. So my toenails are a lovely bronze color and maybe I will try a toner transfer this week sometime.  Posted by Picasa

Jul 3, 2005

Learned a new trick!

OK, this is really simple, but I'm totally impressed with myself and my cool results. I've been printing images for this experimental little quilt I want to make. A lot of the images are newspaper clippings (yeah, I know, I promise to call the photographers for permission if it ever leaves my house) that look kinda old and faded. I want to collage them with photos we took with the digital camera. It's been bugging me that the digital photos are so bright and colorful. I want the quilt to look old and faded like the newspaper clippings. I've been reading Lesley Riley's book Quilted Memories and remembered that she suggested that you can get cool results by messing with the hue and saturation in Photoshop. So, I turned the hue way up and the saturation way down and got a photo that blends in perfectly with my newspaper images. Results posted below!

Example of newspaper clippings. I want my photos to blend in and look like this. Posted by Picasa

My original full color photo Posted by Picasa

Excellent colorized fake newspaper clipping version of photo Posted by Picasa

Jul 2, 2005

Yay, I finished Sissy's dress! And it turned out totally cute! Kasey's coming to pick it up tomorrow and will add lots of sequins. Sis will wear a tank top under the vest and will have a sash, leggings and shawl to complete her regalia. She's doing fancy dancing so the regalia is a bit less "traditional" looking. I looked at some fancy dancing shawls online and some of them are spectacular. Given a little bit more lead time, I'd love to design and make a shawl the next time. Posted by Picasa