Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Five Years Ago

Today a big event in our family has been on my mind. 5 years ago, my husband was in a serious car accident. He's doing great, but that was a frightening time for us. Our son was in kindergarten and our little daughter was only 2 years old. I'd just decided not to take a new part time job and it was a good thing because all of our time became about helping his recovery.

This was him five years ago. It really was a bad accident and completely the fault of the other driver. Everyone survived and the other guy had no injuries. At the time, he felt he had to go right back to work. He really isn't a workaholic, but he is very responsible. Looking back, we should have taken a medical leave, but he still recovered. I did have to chauffeur him to-and-from work every day with the kids in the car. We listened to a lot of pop radio and Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg had big hits. It gets a little bit embarrassing when your 5-year old can quote Snoop Dogg....

This really was a tough time, and we got through it day by day. We feel extremely lucky and grateful since this event. Although it eventually led to my husband getting what we call an "amicable divorce" from his job. He was able to start his own business and we lived frugally on the settlement money while the business got underway. In many ways, our life is better since this accident. We had to confront some other issues and although I'd say we focused on the right things before, an event like this puts everything in sharp focus.

These days, he still had to drive and drive all over Chicagoland to see his customers. He once liked rollercoasters, but those are forever off limits as is downhill skiing, which we never did anyway. He always avoided heavy lifting or big jobs around the house and yard, but now he has an aching neck to blame.

Just today, I realized this car accident is part of the reason I'm still a stay-at-home mom, even though my children are both at school during the days. Having me at home gives us the calm, low-key life we all prefer. We all have our individual lives, but we are very much a team and support each other.

And completely changing the subject, I've been on a nostalgia trip on YouTube. I saw this several days ago and the tune is still going in my head. Anyone from the USA who was a kid in the 1970's will remember Schoolhouse Rock. These little shorts ran on Saturday mornings alongside the cartoons on network television. Some of us at a certain age can't read the words "We the People" without this tune embedding itself. It is election season here too, so I guess it is timely. My husband and I vote for completely different parties which only increases our resolve to vote in every single election in every race no matter how obscure in order to cancel out the other's vote.

Conjuction Junction is another good one as is A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing.

"I'm Just a Bill" is probably the most iconic of the Schoolhouse Rock shorts:

I also got nostalgic today about classic Sesame Street too. I'll save that for another day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Vintage McCalls Felt Craft Book

I've been totally addicted to Super Mario Galaxy on the Nintendo Wii. Hubby is too, so our game playing time is doubled while we both have to beat the game and save Princess Peach. I'm almost there!

Meanwhile, here is a book from my Flickr archive. This was one I inherited from my Grandma N's craft stash. It could be that this came from my Mom too, because I'm pretty sure she crafted from it:. It's called, "Have Fun With Felt". Yes, thank you! I think I will! The copyright dates are from 1966-1973. The assembly of the projects here is typically just glue.

McCalls felt book

Here are some funky, graphic felt bags:
McCalls Felt p.13

These are cute too:
McCalls Felt p.15

My brother and I had these Christmas stockings. They hung on our bedroom doors and we'd get an extra little gift on Christmas morning up in our rooms. I think my mom made these, but they eventually got damaged in our basement storage area.
McCalls Felt p.59

People are still crafting little birdies like these:
McCalls Felt p.47

Here's the pattern for you to try out:
McCalls Felt- Birdie

Likewise, monkeys have never lost their appeal:
McCalls Felt p.45

Faces on veggies:
McCalls Felt p.35

I usually don't include patterns, but here is a little photo of the veggies. You'll have to enlarge them:
McCalls Felt - Veggies

I'm thinking about Valentines Day crafts too. My daughter has a plan for the ones she wants to make for school.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Derby Win!

Sam Pinewood Derby Win
My son's Pinewood Derby car was fast this year! He got a second place trophy for his den (okay... so there were only six boys in his den, and 2 of those were going for style and artistry with their cars...) His car won three of his 6 runs. It was pretty exciting! Hooray! I'd say that the trick to having a fast car is getting as close to the right weight as possible and using graphite on the wheels. Our Cub Scout Pack runs a nice event without all the crazy parents you hear about at these competitions. It's all fun. That's why they allow our pre-carved car. Next month he earns his Arrow of Light and moves onto Boy Scouts. Where do the years go?

I have fair skin and a rosacea problem. Does anyone have any advice on good non-irritating foundations? I detest buying makeup more than I hate buying shoes. It always seems so expensive and fussy. At times, my rosacia gets so bad that it irritates my eyes. I rarely wear sunscreen on my face, but I do avoid the sun. I do actually wear makeup, but I hate buying it. Internet searching has not led to any definitive advice. Consulting a dermatologist is cost-prohibitive for us. My mom did for her rosacea and she has an expensive topical antibiotic she has to use forever. I'm keeping mine under control by avoiding triggers like wine and certain lotions, but I can't control the cold wintry winds!

Still no crafting around here, but on MLK day, Monday, I was inspired to read my languishing copy of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. It is as powerful today as it was back in 1845. I highly recommend this very readable, gripping story. I can't understand why I wasn't made to read it back in school at some point.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Supply Binge

During our recent family trip, I took a few hours to browse the brick-and-mortar warehouse of Hancock's of Pacucah. I'd heard tales of their remnant bin and let me tell you. It does exist! The fabrics are actually stacked on a table in what are pretty much one yard cuts for about $4.50 a yard, which is about half off the regular price for designer fabric.

I could have bought everything I saw, but I decided to narrow my purchases to Kaffe Fassett fabrics or ones that were very close to his style and color combinations. There weren't too many Amy Butler prints. Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop hasn't made it to remnant status yet. Denyse Schmidt and Heather Bailey were other designers I wanted, but I decided to stick with one look.
More Fabrics
Kaffe Fassett was featured at the Quilt Museum we'd just toured and my 7-year old daughter brought along her little sketch pad to record her inspirations. Too cute...

I also got these fabrics:

Today, It hit me like a bolt of lightning. I forgot about all the roving I purchased right before Christmas. I tucked it away in a drawer and it totally slipped my mind. This is why we have piles of our stuff projects left out in the house: out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
I got this gorgeous stuff from a seller on Etsy. It really soft and luxurious, but I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it.
Wool Roving
If I knew how to spin, It would make some pretty terrific yarn. Our community college has a fiber spinning class that I'd like to take sometime...Hmmm....

Finally, here are the satin ribbons I bought in one of those surplus bags you see at the craft stores. This was from Hobby Lobby and was about $2 for the lot.
Satin ribbons

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Polished Silver

Polished Silver
Isn't polished silver pretty? The candlesticks are wedding gifts from my husband's sister and brother. I usually use them for Christmas, but they needed a polish and I only just got to it today. Back when we got married, I was sure I'd need a silver chafing dish. Boy, was I wrong! It does look pretty in the china cabinet!

Tomorrow night is our meeting of the Chicagoland Craft Collective! Donna is finally going to get to her ribbon flower craft and as usual, I'm bringing a pile of my Japanese books to share with the uninitiated. We always pass our crafts around and share tips about techniques. Most of us use the internet, so we always talk about the tech side of crafting too. Join us if you are close to the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

I still haven't been crafting. My son has his last Cub Scout Pinewood Derby this weekend. My husband is really a math and history guy, so I supervise the construction of the car. Ours is always disappointingly slow. Thank goodness, several years ago we discovered that the hardware store sells cars already carved so we just focus on painting it and getting the weight right. I'm told the key to speed is using graphite on the wheels, so this time we'll try that to see if we can get this thing slightly fast. There is also some trick to the weight distribution that we have not mastered. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Tea Pot

No one really gets my style quite like my mom. Mom picks out the perfect vintage things for my collection. I suppose this is from years and years of cruising the antique malls together. I rarely buy things because of my thrifty tendencies, but she finds lovely treasures.

Look at this spectacular tea set she gave me for Christmas:
Tea Pot The printing on the bottom just says "Japan".

It so happens that I've adored this style of pottery for many many years. My entire childhood and most of my adult life, our routine after Thanksgiving was to browse the antique stores in my parents hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. When I was a kid, I had a bit of birthday money saved and saw this round tea pot:
Original Tea Pot
I absolutely fell in love and had to have it. I was just a young kid and my mom was totally skeptical and discouraged me from buying it. I showed her! My first vintage purchase has always been one of my very favorite things. It goes with my Fiestaware dishes too. Later, she found a tea cup and a platter in the same style.

American Girl even has a matching children's tea set which of course we got at the first opportunity for my daughter. She's served many tea parties with these adorable things.
Platter and Tea Set

That big platter was another gift from Mom. It has "Kitchen Kraft" printed on the bottom, but the round teapot is "Drip-o-Lator". I think this deco styled floral was used by many manufacturers. I don't see it that often.

As an aside, I absolutely recommend Fiestaware dishes, if they are your style. The are extremely chip resistant and durable. I am addicted to them and have 2 sets of almost every color they've made (except he dark ones). I am so in love with dishes that I change my Fiestaware for the seasons. We've had reds, greens and golds for the holidays and I'm about tho switch to pinks, oranges, and reds for Valentine's Day. In March, it's blues, yellows and green and in the summer I use all the brights. My husband thinks this is a little bit nuts, but it is a simple pleasure for me to have our meals on pretty colored dishes, and I like the way everything in the dish cupboard matches. (It distracts from the piles in the sink.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Japanese Craft Books

It's a gray rainy day here. The kids are back in school. That means that I get the Nintendo Wii all to myself. I'm totally addicted to Super Mario Galaxy. I was dead set against video games in our house, but I had no idea they were so much fun. I'm not a total deadbeat slacker mom. I did put away the last of Christmas and vacuumed the house yesterday. I made snickerdoodles and chicken pot pie for the family too, which everyone loves.

Meanwhile, here is ISBN 4529043363. This is a Japanese book I got in my YesAsia order back in November. I haven't crafted from it yet, although it has some excellent projects.


Look at this adorable folksy girl:
ISBN4529043363 detail1

Here's some little pouches:
ISBN4529043363 detail2

The next one is ISBN 4824764427. Little houses seem to be all the rage lately. This book has little handmade patchwoork patterns for houses. My grandma liked to hand piece her quilts, I have 2 quilts that I've hand pieced, but when I worked out quilting on my machine, I never looked back.


ISBN4824764427 detail1
These containers are fantastic! I think that you can use the sewing machine to assemble these. I can tell you that set in triangles are tricky with the machine, but not impossible:

ISBN4824764427 detail2

YesAsia link to the House Patchwork book HERE.

YesAsia link to the Kids Bags book HERE.

I'm cleaning the upstairs of the house today. No crafting for a few more days. Mario must rescue poor Princess Peach!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Elf Mascot

We are back from our post Christmas Road Trip. This year we went to Nashville and it was fun, but the Country Music Hall of Fame was a big disappointment. Can you imagine a music history museum with scarcely any music clips? We bought the audio tour and everything, but the audio tour has long (loong) speeches, and no music. What were they thinking?

We passed through Paducah, Kentucky on the way and went to the American Quilt Museum. It was lovely and is really a showcase of modern quiltmaking rather than a history of any kind, but it was nice and it had a whole exhibit on Kaffe Fassett. I found a lot of his fabrics int he remnant bin at Hancocks of Paducah.

This video cuts out too soon at the very end, but legendary Hank Williams died suddenly on New Years Day at the age of 29 in 1955. I guess he used to make the women swoon with his lanky good looks.

Of course, we hardly heard any of him at the Hall of Fame.. we had to go home and research him on YouTube....