Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kitty and Bear

A couple of weeks ago -- no, make that a week ago -- I saw this insanely adorable stuffed doll over at Whispering Pine and decided I absolutely had to make one, so I bought the pattern and apparently couldn't stop at just one.

Kitty and Bear

These are for Len's niece and nephew, Max and Maddie. I did not do the crazy cute shoes or collars because. Well, because I am out of time. There it is. I changed their faces because I wasn't able to pull off "cute half smile" and they looked like they were smirking. At one and a half, I don't think their sense of irony are very well developed.

Kitty and Bear

I think they are kind of cute anyway.



A bunny will be making an appearance soon. I can't recommend Wee Wonderful's store enough for the cuteness factor -- she has a stuffed robot pattern*, for heaven's sake! -- and her freebie section is pretty freakin' adorable too. I know what everyone is getting for their birthdays this year.

*Which I am buying right now, as I type.

An unrelated cat story: Len took Gwen to the vet this morning. She has lost a couple pounds (which she didn't really have available to lose) and her fur has been kind of greasy. We still don't know what is wrong -- thyroid, worms, something else -- but it turns out that she is blind. I really find that much more amusing than I should (considering she is sick), but I think she has had vision problems for the last 4 years or more, so she's had plenty of time to get used to it. We have integrated Judy back into the population (which is going better than I expected), but have left her room with a baby gate over the door so the dog can't get in. Gwen will not jump the gate to get into the room, she yells at me until I open it for her. Which wouldn't be all that surprising, considering the blindness factor, EXCEPT she will jump the gate to get out. That cat is a mental case.

Anyway, I will be in the land of dial-up for the next week and a half and will probably not post during that time. So have joyful holiday-of-your-choosing and a peaceful New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pretty Pine and Snow


Pine boughs and snow are a natural pairing.

Lizzy Loves Snow



Wild Thing

(Doesn't she look like a mean ol' junk yard dog. Ha! As if.)

Lizzy Frolics

Getting Air

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Late Train - Part 3

11. Coma Girl -- Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros (Streetcore)
I like this album better than Global A Go-Go, it is a little more punk (not much, though) and less World Music. This song is particularly sweet, very catchy with a bit of an edge.

12. Shave Yo' Legs -- Keb' Mo' (Keep It Simple)
His voice is as smooth as silk. The title is a little unfortunate, the sentiment of the song is along the lines of "you don't have to make yourself beautiful, you are beautiful just the way you are, shaved legs, or not". Something everyone wants to hear occasionally.

13. Downtown Train -- Tom Waits (Raindogs)
Rod Stewart covered this in 1989. I remember it fondly, but it is a great song and, whatever I might think of his terrible music choices, he has an amazing set of pipes. Tom Waits, however, is something else altogether. Once I got used to his voice, a mixture of cigarettes and cheap whiskey, I can't help but find it beautiful (the way a Diane Arbus photo is disturbing but beautiful).

14. Evangeline -- Matthew Sweet (Girlfriend)
Before Georgie James was power pop, Matthew Sweet was. This album was stuck in my player for weeks in the early '90s (and I even got it autographed, back when there was a place for musicians to do that). This is a great song for driving around singing at the top of your lungs. I can't link to a video as I am writing this from home, in my pajamas, and we are still in the land of dial-up. I can't help but suspect You Tube would completely gum up my computer.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Actual Crafting Content

I know, crazy. I finally managed to take some pictures this weekend, despite the lack of sun and can show off a few things I've been working on:

February Lady Sweater

February Lady sweater. I used Manos del Uruguay, rescued from a long unfinished sweater. In keeping with the rescue theme:


I rescued these wolf buttons from a jacket I bought many years ago, but never liked. They work nicely with this, I think.

The Christmas tradition in my step-mother's family is called "Door Prizes": instead of a big, chaotic gift exchange, everyone brings stuff -- stuff they've been shopping for all year, stuff they think will appeal to one person or another, or to everyone, found stuff, made stuff -- it all goes on a table (or three), we draw numbers and pick (no one gets to steal stuff from anyone else). It is big and chaotic.


I made these for Door Prizes. I'm pretty sure I saw a tutorial somewhere, then realized this would be a great use for fat quarters. Here's how you do it: take two fat quarters of coordinating colors (or not), slap 'em right sides together, trim to the same size, sew together, leaving an opening to turn, turn them right side out, press, top stitch about 1/4 inch from edge. Easy and pretty.


I made these, too. Here is the other (not terribly coordinated side):


Also, despite swearing up one side of my sewing machine and down the other that I would not do this, I seem to have started a quilt. My only excuse is scraps and lots of them:

Scrap Quilt beginning

This comes via a Melly and Me tutorial. I intend to make this large enough to fit our queen size bed, obviously, I have a ways to go. I can totally see the appeal of quilting, but if I ever buy fabric specifically for that purpose, you may feel free to slap me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Late Train - Part 2

6. Kiko and the Lavender Moon -- Los Lobos (Kiko)
Los Lobos is an unclassifiable band -- rock, folk, Tex-Mex -- Wikipedia describes Kiko as "creative and wildly experimental". I myself think the album is a classic, the songs work individually and as a complete whole. This song is hot, slinky and very sexy. Click through to the video and you will see what was meant by creative and wildly experimental:

7. You Really Got a Hold on Me -- She & Him (Volume One)
This is a lovely cover of the Smokey Robinson classic.

8. More Adventurous -- Rilo Kiley (More Adventurous)
This is one of those songs that I don't know what to say about. It is big, full of fear and hope: "I've been trying to nod my head, but it's like I've got a broken neck
Wanting to say I will as my last testament
For me to be saved and you to be brave
We don't have to walk down that aisle
'Cause if marriage ain't enough
Well at least we'll be loved"

9. Cake Parade -- Georgie James (Places)

10. Hooky Junk -- The Gourds (Heavy Ornamentals)
Another NPR find, and it was the story behind this song that did it for me: the writer's very young kid kept wanting to hear some of that "Hooky junk", which he finally figured out was Tom Waits (that kid has some very mature taste in music). No video, but you can hear the song here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Late Train - CDs for Sarah

A couple of months ago, I made a 2 volume set of CD mixes for my sister, Sarah ("CD mix" just does not have the same ring as "Mixtape"), and because I was fairly busy at work (where I do anything having to do with the computer) I did not manage to come up with an annotated song list. Also, I will admit that I was rather lazy about getting them to the post office, so she didn't actually get the mixes until Thanksgiving, with a song list, but no annotation. That just won't do. So, I have decided to present the list here, over the course of several days. It is 40 songs, after all.

Late Train, vol. 1


1. "Shake Ya Boogie" -- Mocean Worker (Cinco de Mowo!)
On the one hand, I don't tend to find music NPR presents all that interesting; on the other hand, three of the albums represented on this set came to me via NPR. Go figure. This one is even odder in that it is "Electronica", a genre which has never appealed to me. Mocean Worker takes classic jazz lines (played by the likes of Herbie Hancock), cuts them apart and remixes them into a Latin beat. The result is an interesting, infectious collage. I don't necessarily want to listen to the whole album in one sitting, but the individual cuts work well in a mix.

2. "Look Me Up" -- Georgie James (Places)
NPR find number 2. They are pretty rockin' power pop, but also like Mocean Worker, the songs work better in mixes than all together. As Heidi Klum might say, the album very matchy-matchy. Very fun, but a bit much all at once.

3. "Sentimental Heart" -- She & Him (Volume One)
I love this song. I love this album. And I have a massive girl crush on Zooey Deschanel. There is a vintage early-60's feel to this. Her singing chops may not blow you out of the water, but her voice is sweet and heartfelt, as are her songs.

4. "Johnny Appleseed" -- Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros (Global A Go Go)
A couple of years ago, HBO chose to cancel "Deadwood", some of the best television ever to air (once you got past the cussing, which was...plentiful and operatic) in favor of a show called "John from Cinncinati". One of the only good things about that show was it's theme song, "Johnny Appleseed". He has a voice that just makes me melt.

5. "Hesitating Beauty" -- Billy Bragg & Wilco (Mermaid Avenue)
If you have any love for folk music, the two "Mermaid Avenue" albums need to be in your collection. This is such a sweet, romantic song and is one of my favorites from the project: "We can ramble hand in hand/across the grasses of our land/I'll kiss you for each leaf on every tree".

That is all for now..

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Meme!

Sharon tagged me for a photo meme, and thank goodness, 'cos I've got nothing in the way of a full blog post otherwise. So, I shall post the meme and whatever bits and pieces I find floating around my brain.

The rules are to post the sixth photo from your sixth folder of pictures. I will have to post from the 7th, since there is only one photo in the 6th folder:

Luckily, I remember this: it is the Swallowtail shawl, knitted with copper penny dyed yarn. The blog post tells me these were the first pictures I took with my then camera (Canon Powershot A530 or something). I never wear the shawl because it is the size of a kerchief.

I'm supposed to tag 5 people. I'm not going to, instead, if you need a blog post excuse (Stef? Crabby Scientist*?), use this one. It's fun! Instead, here is the sixth photo from the sixth folder from the bottom of the list:

Lizzy, running too fast to be in focus.

Speaking of Lizzy, she had her female parts removed this weekend. It has been kind nice having a calmer dog, we don't expect it to last. We love Lizzy, but we are not really dog people.

I have finished a number of projects -- knitting and sewing -- which I have completely failed to take pictures of, mainly because I am rarely home when it is light. Of course, one could reasonably point out that I just had a four day weekend, 3 days of which were sunny. In which case, chalk it up to laziness. For the record: 3 skirts, a set of four napkins, two sweaters and some wee mittens. Maybe that is why I don't take pictures of anything, I'm too busy. As if.

This past weekend was the 40th anniversary of The White Album. While it is not technically their best album (Revolver? Sgt. Pepper? Abbey Road? Take your pick), it is my favorite of the Beatles, and one of my all time favorites. They were coming apart at the seams, and it showed -- how else do you explain "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da", "Dear Prudence", "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution 9" showing up on the same album? George Harrison brought in Eric Clapton (God!) for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (and how gorgeous is that song?!) All of the tension and bitterness produced a masterpiece of a mess.

Today is the 75th anniversary of my grandparents wedding.

*Crabby Scientist is my brother. He is a space scientist, which I think means he is smart. Crabbiness runs in the family. He and his lovely wife hosted Thanksgiving for something like 26 people (siblings, cousins, spouses and children). As far as I know, everyone survived intact, which is impressive. Had it been our house, someone would have been carted off to the loony bin and someone else would have had knitting needles sticking out of his ears. The food was very good and it was lovely to see everyone in a non-funeral setting..

Oh! One other completely random thing. This morning I was struck with a sudden, overwhelming desire for a pair of Fluevog shoes. These or these. I am ill. But they are more practical than the yellow ones, right?