Friday, November 27, 2009

French By Heart

I finished reading a charming book last night, French By Heart, written by Rebecca S. Ramsey. I have to confess, right off the top, anything with French, Paris or Musée in the title is a shoe in for my stack of books on the nightstand. But truly, I'm so happy to have read this book. It may be the only way my dream of living in France will actually come to fruition.

Ramsey is a southern woman who arrives in a small neighborhood in France and is the only American the neighborhood has ever seen. She shares some of her best and worst moments while in France, raising a family of 3 children while her husbands spends much of his time working (and traveling) for Michlin. It's delightful to follow her through the ups and downs of life as an expat.

I think my favorite part of the entire book is her neighbor, Madame Mallet. I swear, if my grandmother were a french woman, this would be her! Despite the cultural gap -- the woman is a handful.

If you are a francophile or just love the idea of living abroad, I think you'd enjoy this little romp through southern France.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Finally Happening

I'm a sucker for the holidays. All of them. I love family and I love tradition and when the two collide, I just can't help myself. I get gushy. And it's finally starting to feel like the holidays around here. Family has started to arrive, lights are going up around the neighborhood, projects are getting finished, meals are being planned, photos are being taken, and the best smells are starting to fill the house.

We'll be in a mad rush soon, but for now, I am enjoying the peacefulness of it all, and the joy of anticipation. I couldn't ask for more.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Damned United

I don't get out much. At least not in the let's-have-a-date-without-the-kids sort of way. Honestly, I'd rather rent a movie and sit on my own (very comfortable) sofa with my beloved husband and share a bottle of (good) wine.

But on occasion, I do manage to get out and see a flick. And it was a fluke that I saw this one at all. My girlfriends and I had intended to see The Men Who Stare At Goats. And I will see that one, eventually, because I have never laughed so hard at a trailer before - ever. But (as I am usually disorganized) we had the time wrong and the movie was already 15 minutes in by the time we arrived at the box office. We were heartily disappointed, but we elected to see The Damned United instead. It's not like we were going to waste an evening out. No siree. And you know, we were very pleasantly surprised.

I'm not a soccer fan. Not really. I couldn't even tell you what the positions are or the where they are supposed to play. But I do live with a football fan (the proper terminology in the rest of the world) and that experience alone was enough for me to grasp the hype played out in this movie. It was great. I actually started rooting for the arrogant son-of-a-bitch Brian Clough. Not in that Karate-Kid-stand-up-and-yell-at-the-end-of-the-movie way, but because he was the very picture of human nature. Perfectly played.

I would recommend seeing this one for sure. If for no other reason than to see Michael Sheen as a footballer. He is so versatile. I saw him as the Prime Minister in The Queen several years ago and loved him in that role as well. Start popping the popcorn.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Addition To The Etsy Shop: FLAIR!

Perhaps you are already familiar with the movie Office Space, in which Jennifer Aniston plays a working girl who must wear 15 pieces of flair at her waitressing job. If not, I highly recommend the movie for all sorts of reasons, but the flair scenes are particularly funny.

In honor of Office Space and because this collage artist just can't get enough -- I have started offering one-of-a-kind pieces of flair in my Etsy store. Keep in mind that each one is unique and when it's gone, it's gone. Personally, I think they would make the best stocking stuffers! Here is a taste of what you may find:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tears of joy

I'm will confess, I am woefully ignorant of much that is on YouTube. But when I saw this on another blogger's post I just adored it. It actually made me a bit weepy. Perhaps because it reminded me of a trip to the Lourvre my husband and I took (years ago), in which we just happened upon a modern dance troupe performing in the Rubens room. I wish this sort of thing would happen more often.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lovely Little Surprise

I may have mentioned before that although I consider myself a gardener, and love to put up food for the winter, I am not exactly a "neat" gardener. I rarely trim back the tomatoes or weed the beds after the plants are safely underway. I harvest when I can and try to keep it producing. I know, it's not like The Victory Garden in our backyard. Make no mistake, this is not an apology. It's simply the state of things. I'm quite happy with it.

So you can imagine my surprise, as I went to clean up some of the veggie beds (yes, I know it's mid November) and came across these lovely herbs, just plugging their way along through the autumn winds and rain.

And the timing is actually quite nice. I'm not in the thick of summer activities and canning tomatoes and freezing beans until my mind is numb. So I was able to take the time to dry some of this lovely oregano this afternoon.

And I fully intend to get to that sage and thyme and parsley too. Who knows, it might end up in one or two of our holiday baskets.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Little Me Time

Many of you know that my mom has just had her hip replaced. Things seem to be clicking along for her, but the back and forth to the hospital has been a wee bit tiring for me. (I didn't exactly have my hip replaced, but still, I'm a smidge tired.) Today I took a little time to just hang out with myself and my scrapbooking. It was lovely. And it was a lot of fun seeing the evidence of spring in the midst of fall turning to winter. A good reminder to just breathe deeply.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And Still I Rise

I've done it! After my debacle with the cable-knit sweater that never was, and my fears of getting them done, the gloves are finished!

Doing the left glove was not as bad as I first feared. I thought the reversing of all the fingers was going to do me in, but it wasn't too bad. Although, I did put sticky notes all over the pattern pages to remind myself of all the proper stitch placements, sizes, stitches, cast-ons, etc. Now to make a scarf and I'll be ready to send this project to it's happy owner!

Oh, and I used Caron Spa, Rose Bisque, which is a sport weight (#3) yarn, and #5 (american) needles, if anyone is curious. The pattern is basic, created from Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting Design.

By the way, if you aren't already familiar with the poem, And Still I Rise, you really should read it. It's one of the many, many reasons I fall head over heels for Maya Angelou.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Wallpaper

I get tired of looking at the same old thing all the time, so I decided to change up my desktop wallpaper (because I have tons of extra time on my hands!). I liked it so much I thought I'd share it with you. I only created the one size -- 1440 pixels x 900 pixels, but you can play around with it if you like. You can download it here.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Christmas List

I just realized that it is 2 1/2 weeks till Thanksgiving, and that means 6 1/2 weeks till Christmas (!) and I have decided to knit about 100 items for Christmas gifts. [Ok, it's more like a dozen (unless you count items that come in pairs as individual items, but that might make me have a panic attack, so we'll call it a dozen), but it's starting to overwhelm me just a bit.] I have to stop saying yes to projects for other folks! (someone help me learn to say no.)

I spent the whole day yesterday working on a gift - it's a biggie. I think if I can mentally get over the hurdle of finishing that gift, the rest will seem more doable, more likely to get finished and wrapped and sent before Christmas. And I do have that gift larder that isn't nearly as full as I'd like, but still -- there are a few items in there too. Then again, I may have to reconsider and hit Etsy for some alternatives. One day a time.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Perfect Moment

Some days are perfect for a mug of tea. (Especially in a Mickey mug -- one of many in my collection.) Today is just one of those days. Despite my hectic schedule, I am taking a moment to enjoy a spot of tea. I hope you are able to steal a moment today too.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Oh My Gloves!

I know a young lady, who, when she was a tot, was heard to say Oh My God! Her mother let her know that "God" is a very special name and we don't want to just toss it around like it's any old name. (This precious conversation was going on in a big box store to which I seem addicted.) At that precise moment, mother and daughter were passing a large display of gloves. The young girl looked at the gloves, and then her mother, and querried, "Can I say Oh My Gloves!?"

I love that story (& that beautiful girl!) and to this day I use the phrase "Oh My Gloves" because it makes me smile every time. And more to the point, I am knitting a pretty fabulous pair of gloves right now. (And if I may, I have to say the bamboo/acrylic blend yarn from Caron is so beautiful once it's all knit up.)

I was certainly daunted by the prospect of knitting all those individual fingers, but at the same time fascinated by how they all come to be. After all, if I can turn the heel of a sock, surely I can make those fingers! And, I can . . . even if I do have to read the instructions aloud to myself. So far, so good, but in truth, I can't imagine doing this same thing for the left hand! Won't all the instructions be in reverse? It'll be interesting...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bonus Flannel

While at the fabric store gathering up all the supplies to create a ghostbuster, I strayed across this delightful flannel for only $2 a yard! Love those sale racks. Of course I had to pick some up just for me. And what do you think I made? PJs!

I love them! They are ultra soft and so comfy. After all, it's time to start wearing all those winter pjs. The temps have started to fall lately in these parts. I think I'm addicted. I still have the Xmas jams to finish too...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Note To Self

Dear Self,

You may think it's a good idea to sew while upset. May I remind you, that when you are angry, you stew, and your mind is everywhere but on your sewing. Furthermore, you want to make the machine go faster. The noise seems to beat in time with some primal anger rhythm inside you. While it is somewhat satisfying, this will result in many hours of seam-ripping. It is a bad idea. And may even enflame you further. Instead, may I suggest you go pour yourself a drink and try to relax. You will be happier in the end.

Yours very truly,

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We did it! We got our ghostbuster together and out the door for tricks and treats last night! And it was certainly a family affair. Here's the final project:

I sewed this jumpsuit together using a Buttericks pattern intended for an animal costume. I used muslin and I like the way it turned out. It's thin, but for a costume for one night, it's perfect.

Daddy put the proton pack together. He found these awesome warning labels specific to the ghostbusters that we ran through the printer on sticker paper. We certainly "upcycled" a bunch of things with this part of the costume. It incorporates an old box we spray painted, a frisbee, an old vacuum hose, a marshmallow gun, and some random plastic pieces that were bound for the landfill. It was all attached to a backpack we velcroed into the box. Not the easiest contraption we've ever built, but a really great effect in the end.

And of course, Hayes insisted that we have the googles that Dan Aykroyd wore in the film. I converted a pair of party-favor sunglasses and some old spools into a semblance of the googles. It met the expectation and that's all I can ever hope for. Not too bad, eh?

And you can see the iron-on patch that we created, again, with the printer and iron-on paper. You can't see it here, but he also has a name patch like these guys. Without the patches, it just wouldn't have conveyed the same image.

Over all, it was a very successful halloween. Hoping yours was as fun as ours!