Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sequins, Sequins Everywhere...

...and I think I'm going blind.

Sewing on sequins is surprisingly fussy, any little wobble in the design stands out like a sore thumb. This is taking some good strong lighting and LOTS of patience. I also noticed a problem with the instructions and the 'finished' shot they used in the cover sheet for the kit--they forgot to do the head of the Goldfinch! In the instructions, they show his little head literally encrusted with beads & sequins.

I'm thinking he looks better with his head unsequined, except I may do the black patch on the top of his head. Entirely sequined I think he'd look like he had a growth on his head.

It's proving every BIT as tacky and cheesy as I had hoped, though.

Onward to glory, boys.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Home-Made Kitsch...

1970's style! In this case, two felt wall calenders, which were all the rage in the 60's and 70's. While they still make them today, the are a bit too tame...these little gems are just a perfect slice o' the hippy era.

The first one is from 1972. Mine in the actual kit sports groovy avocado green felt, the rest is as you see here. The idea is to cut out the felt fruit shapes, sew on sequins & beads, stuff them and attach them to the felt, giving a 3-D effect. Because otherwise, you know...it might not be noticed. And don't forget, you're gonna have to stare at this thing for an entire year. Good GOD.

I LOVE the designers name--Edna Looney is perfection itself.

A better look at the kit's cover page of the finished product. That toucan just looks SO happy to be there, and doesn't 1972 look like it's having fun?

Even after nearly 40 years, the felt looks brand new and the colors are vibrant. The toucan is made of black velvet with specialty sequins for his tail. It's amazing the thing survived this long!

The instructions. Now, kits these days take GREAT pains to explain every little thing, as if to an idiot child. NOT in 1972 bucko, this was IT. It's, 'whip stitch' this and 'blind stitch' that. And they only begrudgingly gave you this much help. I do love the elegant little note left by the inspector, though. Rarely do you see pre-printed 'thank you' notes with such panache.

On to the 1971 kit!

This one...this one...ahh, this one is a thing of wonder. At once the same and yet very different from the 1972 kit.


This one came from Sears, and Sears in the 70's pretty much had a lock on tacky. Here is the cover sheet showing the finished product. It crows about how the kit is made from something called 'Nylocraft', which I suspect is actually asbestos + felt in sheep's clothing. It has a rather creepy feel to the hand.

And yes, you have to SEW ON every single one of those damned beads & sequins, no lame glue shortcuts here.

The kit & instructions, such as they are. Again, they assume you already know basic sewing stitches and have more than two brains cells to work with.

A closer view of the felt, pre-beading. The colors are stamped on good & thick, by God, and the gold is blinding to the eye, even BEFORE the bead & sequin combo is overlaid. No shortcuts.

Detail shot. Words alone cannot describe how much I'm loving the font of the text and the sassy expression on the birds.

Can't wait to get these done. I'm gonna start with this one!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Ooh, ooh! I have a new favorite YouTube clip! 'BP Spills Coffee'.

Pretty much gets it right.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Yeah. I may be biting off a WHOLE lot more than I can chew, here.

In a moment of weakness, the other day I picked up this cross-stitch kit. My daughter is showing an interest in various types of fancy sewing, so I was showing her around that section in Michael's. It was just so gorgeous, I couldn't help myself.

The picture does it no justice whatsoever, it's really stunning. It's made by Dimensions and is called 'Oriental Butterfly'. Hopefully the cross-stitch gods will smile on me.

Or my cross-stitching sisters can put the good whammy on me, either one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Going Through Some Old Photo Albums...

...and found a bunch of things I need to get scanned and onto the computer. One of them was this gem (this is a photo of a photo, sorry):

Yup, Dopey's peeing.

Taken at Disneyland years ago, in Snow White's Grotto they have these little frogs that spout water. If you laid on the concrete walkway in just the right spot, and timed it juuust right...this is the picture you got.

Juvenile, but it still gives me a giggle...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another One Gone...

Tonight I took a beak count at dusk and discovered one of our little banty hens missing.

It was Honkey, the daughter of our oldest hen, a buff Cochin bantam named Sis, who just happened to lay a couple of eggs at the age of 8 years old in 2008. Since I didn't have any chicks from her and REALLY wanted some, I incubated the eggs and successfully hatched two baby chicks--both cute little hens, one named Potato and the other Honkey.

Honkey apparantly sat under the Forsythia bush tonight and peacefully passed away.

I can't find any obvious reason. She was in perfect health, had eaten, was nice and fat, and didn't struggle as she went. I'm inclined to think it was either just one of those things that happen, or the advanced age of her mother might have been a factor.

She was a very sweet little hen, friendly and eager to hang around her humans. We'll miss her a lot.

Here she is as a chick, taking a flying ninja leap at her hatchmate brother as they played in the living room back in July 2008.

We lost her sister, Potato, in January due to an accident. This last year has been a really, really bad one for losing chickens.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seven Days And Counting...

...till the kid finishes fifth grade and leaves elementary school.

It's going to be a whirlwind of picnics, waterballoon fights, choir concerts, fireworks sales, yearbooks, awards ceremonies, softball games and sock hops.

My grade school days were never like this.

I'm really glad that school these days are really making the effort to provide more than just dry, rote education. The teachers at her school work so hard, and put in gobs of extra hours and effort that I'm sure they never see pay for, just to show the kids a good time and make sure they have not just good memories of grade school, but awesome ones. I couldn't tell you anything about my own grade school end-of-year days, other than we were all sweltering in classrooms without air conditioning, bored, restless and counting down the days left till summer started.

I'm going to make a point of remembering the crossing guard and get her something, plus a card. She's johhny-on-the-spot with not only seeing the kids across a VERY dangerous main street, but intelligent in timing the traffic flow so that no one has to get held up and wait too long--she's pushed that button for my car so I could get out hundreds of times. She's awesome.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Score One Point For Me...

...no DVT! Interesting that my G.P. had the test done at the hospital...now I know why, though. The tech told me that if they found anything, I would not have been allowed to leave and would have been admitted right away. REALLY glad the test was negative.

Got to talking with the girl who did the patient paperwork, though...turns out she used to be a dental assistant, just like me. So we swapped a few dental stories. As usual, she worked for a DDS who had all the warmth and personality of sandpaper (most do). I've been SO lucky with my past bosses...well, some of them, anyway.

So, now I just have to go BACK to my pain management Dr. and see what the HELL is going on with this stupid knee, already. Next up is yet another MRI to see inside the damned thing.

Also took Phoenix the roo to the vet, he's got an infection of the footpad known as Bumblefoot going on--very hard to clear up. Doc cleaned it out some, we get to do most of the work on that, twice a day plus antibiotic injections twice daily. Phoenix is gonna be one pissed-off housechicken until his foot heals, which can take up to a month--Bumblefoot is notoriously hard to clear up. Phoenix is BIG and loves to jump UP on things, then jumps DOWN and that's when the footpad gets traumatized. He's just too heavy to be pulling that nonsense.

Luckily he's a complete gentleman, and has our two little one legged chicks for company, so he won't be too lonely. But reintroducing him to the flock and managing Scott, our bantam roo's behavior is gonna be a bitch...cross that bridge when we come to it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh...Well, That Might Explain It, Then...

Just got back from my pain management doctor, told her about my last month of huge right knee pain. She took a look and seems to think I may have DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) going on in there. She compared the left & right leg and sees more swelling and redness in my right knee and calf than the left.

So, off to my regular MD I go this afternoon, for a Doppler Ultrasound of the knee to see if, indeed, I gotta a blood clot in there. Although it WOULD explain the shitty monster pain I've been having in that knee, I'd just as soon NOT have a new and possibly-fatal-at-any-moment issue going on. I have no desire to take blood thinners and/or go to the hospital, this kind of drama I do not need. Myself, I suspect there is not a blood clot and it's just my crappy knee flaring, but like I always used to tell dental patients with a confusing array of symptoms: there is no reason why you can't have more than one thing going on at a time. And DVT is nothing to ignore.

Please be wrong, doc.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Notice It Says, 'EXPECTS'...

...you don't have a choice--Uncle Sam is bluntly, flat-out telling you During World War I, This Is How Things ARE These Days, Bucko. Ah, for the days of telling it like it is!

Uncle Sam is right, though, and this ad would look just as natural in any magazine today. Everyone would be MUCH healthier and happier these days if they had a small Victory Garden-type vegetable garden and ran a few hens in their backyard.

Your kids would learn responsibility and respect for living things in animal husbandry, and Hell, add a rooster and you've got a little 'Circle of Life' thing going with baby chicks. The kids would also take an interest and pride in growing their own food, which would increase self-confidence. The chickens eat the garden waste/table scraps, provide bug control and fertilizer for the garden. The garden in turn feeds you and the chickens, and you get exercise, stress relief and family bonding in tilling, planting, weeding and harvesting the garden, not to mention the health benefits of growing your own fruit, vegetables, eggs and maybe even meat, if you go that route. NOTHING is healthier than home grown. Chickens also have individual personalities, provide entertainment and make great pets--something lots of people don't realize.

I'm starting to see more of a grassroots return to backyard gardens/flocks, here's hoping the local cities get a clue and lift stupid ordinances against keeping chickens. Our economy could only benefit from people working to provide a bit of their own table fare.