13 December 2006

Issue 1, Volume 9

Ah, the namesake of this website's Issue I, V9 is finally back from the printers. Those of you who signed up for my art trade will be getting one, as well as something that involves more glue. Those of you who are regular Languishing (the paper version) subscribers will get one, too...anyone else who wants one can ask, and as long as I have enough leftovers after the subscribers and contributors, I'll keep sending them until I run out. The photo doesn't caputer this, but the cover is a lovely cream color and the pages are coral. It's sort of a dreamsicle issue, and the theme (we rarely have themes, and when we do they are so loose) is Work. Back issues are also available, but I should look into that more and provide more specific detail before I get everyone in a lather over it. I know how you all like to get in lathers.

Perhaps my gentle readers are wondering why I would try to finish this new issue of Languishing during the last week of class. Mostly it's a procrastination tool for me: something distracting and satisfying that keeps me from the utter depression that is 50 research essays by college freshpeople. I actually graded 25 of those last night, and will do the other 25 tonight, so the zine was a welcome, cheering break.

AND! Our digital camera came back from the shop. I didn't mention the fact that it was ailing for fear of pissing off the camera gods even more, but it was covered under warranty and is all better now. Expect more mediocre pictures in blogland, thanks to United Camera Repair in Illinois.
15 months old, and she's just this tiny little person. She is so different from her father and me in so many ways. I love her.

11 December 2006

Exciting Opportunity! Kinda!

I saw this on MaryAnn's blog, and now I'm adding it to my blog. The first five people to respond to this post (via the comments section) will get some form of art made by me. I haven't posted much of my art on this blog, but trust me, you'll like it. Well, trust me, it'll be different than you expect. Okay, you might not exactly like it, but it will certainly be memorable. And what's not to love about interesting mail??

The only catch, of course: if you sign up, you have to put this in your own blog as well. If you don't have a blog, well, you should, but I'll still send you something just the same, if you write in your comment a good excuse as to why you are not blogging like the rest of the world.

Okay? Exciting, exciting. It might take me a couple of days to send things, because I'm in my last week of classes right now, but don't worry, I won't forget you. Make sure I can reach you through the info you leave on the comment (an e-mail or some such thing) so I know where to send my artwork.

Sweet blogging art world meme. I love it.

06 December 2006

Champagne Tastes and a Beer Pocketbook...

I guess I've decided to title my posts of late with songs my father loved. It sounds like a K-Tel compilation, doesn't it? "Songs my father loved...now for only $19.95!"

A tiny picture of the baby, who is 15 months old tomorrow:

My parents, my father, especially, loved to take pictures of us in mirrors. This way he could show my long, flowing, naturally curly hair and my cute pixie face at the same time. I wish we still had that mirror we used for those photos: it was old, a little discolored, and had a wide white frame. For now, we're punting with this unbreakable one, and V seems to dig it.

In other news, new issues of Languishing are finally ready to go to press. Thanks for all who have patiently waited on this...I promise it'll be worth the wait. Well, it'll be better than a poke in the ass with a cold carrot, as Tenessa's dad likes to say.

05 December 2006

I won't go huntin' with you Jake....

Quilt retreat, fall 2006. A commissioned baby quilt for Grandpa Glee, for a hunting friend's new son. I made a matching pillow, too, and sent it off before Thanksgiving. It's weird making a present on behalf of someone else...for someone I've never met. But it turned out pretty well, methinks. I used 2 layers of poly batting, backed it in navy blue poplin, and machine quilted in the ditch.

We've been going to quilt retreat up to twice a year for about eight or nine years, and it is a rejuvinating experience everytime. We started because my mom's best friend from college, Kathy, was going with her daughters, Jennifer and Emily, who are roughly our age and whom we've known all our lives. But it's at a Baptist Bible Camp, which does wear on a good atheist girl like me. Every time for the past few years, either my sister or I have struggled, and vowed not to return. But I think we would all miss the seclusion and shared eye-rolling that comes whenever people pray for non-believers or a fellow quilter tells me with a straight face that she "voted for Pat Buchannan for president, because he most closely stand for what I believe in." I don't really spend time with people like that in my real life.

Another photo of quilt retreat: the whole gang: all the people connected to Kathy. The clown noses are because it was a circus theme. That's me in the upper lefthand corner, and yes, I'm pissed off. But that's another post.

06 November 2006

Mmm. That's good foot.

Taking off her socks is one of V's favorite hobbies, and these socks are particularly hard to remove, so she's taken the brilliant step of trying to gnaw them off. These action shots were taken on the way to Park Rapids. I hope she can find use for them when she applies to join the circus, as either an acrobat or a freak. Either way, clearly this is evidence that my child is not merely gifted, but extraordinary and fully deserving of a place in history, or at least full time position with Barnum and Bailey.

Have I mentioned how surprised I was when she was born physically normal? I was certain we'd at least get a tail, or some scaly skins. But no, all my devotion to circus sideshows not withstanding, we were given this smiley, laid back, cheerful blue eyed girl. We should've named her Marilyn, like on the Munsters. She will probably bring dates home in fifteen years who expect normal, well-adjusted parents who will run screaming from our Lily and Herman-esqueness. With any luck, I'll have time to show the above photos, in our defense.

We went to the big city this weekend, my daughter and I. Fabulous people there in the big city; it makes me more lonesome, in the end, and I hate that. And there's never enough time to see everyone and do everything we want to, and I never get more than 5 hours sleep a night while we're there. But otherwise we had a spectacular time. City Friends: we're coming back, the weekend of Thanksgiving. I know many of you will be busy, but hopefully that will cull the herd, so we can concentrate on some of you folks we never get to concentrate on.

In the meantime, don't try that foot trick at home. You could poke an eye out.

01 November 2006

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home...

Because Ladybugs aren't scary, I kept insisting V was an asian beetle, but most everyone ignored me. One colleague thought she should be an asian ninja beetle, and offered to make her a tinfoil throwing star, but we were busy and couldn't wait around. All in all, it was an adorable Halloween, even if (or perhaps because) I worked until 7:15, ran home to take these pictures, and then went to my poetry workshop group at 8.

I do feel somewhat bad that I didn't make her costume, but then I remembered that I work full time, and I felt better. On the plus side, though, I bought this last year after Halloween, as is my way, and I think it's so cute, she may just wear it as a mid-weight jacket until she outgrows it. It makes me smile to see her little antennae and the wings on her back. Is that weird, to let your kid wear her halloween costume all year long?

Do you love the John Deere tractor and the Homer slipper in these photos? I am all about the staging and the ambiance. I bar no expense for you, gentle readers!

To celebrate that Blogger is letting me post pictures again, here's another, just to keep you alert. I know it's kinda dark and slightly blurry, but it's the cutest one of me in the bunch, and lord knows it's all about my own cuteness. Light and clarity be damned!

25 October 2006

Gratuitous Halloween Post

If I had but light enough and time, I would pull out every single stop for Halloween. Not like the giant inflatable yard items, but like the spiderweb curtains, the steaming dry-ice punch bowl, and homemade costumes for everyone in my family and raging decor for our house. Like this, or this, or this. But at the very least, I could make these. Right? But right now I'm feeling like, at 14 months, V just is not going to really remember anything we do yet, so why bother? Of course, there are great photo ops, and if I don't do anything this year, maybe I'll like it and be too lazy to do anything next year....and my poor child will grow up without any significant memories. So I'll scrape a costume together, and trick Shaun into taking her trick or treating, and find a pumpkin to carve. And maybe next year, we'll have monster lips and steaming punch and cold spaghetti intestines. And everyone will go home happy.

No photos. Blame Blogger.

Words to reclaim, for the good of the English Language

I was reading someone else's blog the other day (which I can't find again, because if I could I would link to it), and she was discussing words that have fallen out of favor but are particularly wonderful. Her list included the especially marvelous:

Fie as a curse word.
Poppycock, as an expression of disbelief.
“I’ve got a hitch in my git-along,” meaning “I feel stiff.”
Zozzled, meaning drunk.

I love these. I want to add some of my own particular favorites:

Smitten, which makes me think of mittens and kittens and smooch. Which is about right, isn't it?
Sweet on, as in "I'm kinda sweet on my biology teacher. He's dreamy."
Splendillyiscious, which I may have made up, but enjoy just the same.
bona fide, which is just fun to say.
brouhaha, as in "What's the brouhaha," meaning hubbub or uproar.
hubbub, meaning brouhaha.
_______mobile, like "bitchmobile," or "mamamobile," or "nerdmobile," in describing what exactly a mode of transportation is carrying. Lately, it's been "Freaky garbage mobile."

So those are my words. And ye? Yourn? Share, won't you?

In the meantime, the title of this photo is:

All I need is my bottom lip. My bottom lip, and this record player. And this scooter. Oh, and that TV. That's all I need. Oh, and this miniskirt. Right.

Insistently persnickity blithering delusions

So I am mildly obsessed with this site, the Juicy Readability Test. Basically, you give it your blog (or someone else's) and they calculate how difficult/complex/advanced it is. Languishing has not thus far fared as well as I'd hoped.

You need less than a fourth grade education to read and understand Languishing.

This disappoints me, but then I remembered that it doesn't say "Hey, it looks like a third grader wrote this." No, it just says third graders could understand this. Which is okay, I guess, if you're some kind of freakishly dorky third grader who wants to read about my life and crafts and look at lousy pictures I take. Go get 'em, pardner.

But in the interest of raising my pitifully pathetic scores, and because most of the scoring comes from (as near as I can reckon) the number of multiple-syllabic words, I am hereby declaring my intention to pack in as many three-syllabe words into each post as I can. At least for awhile.

I'm shooting for a 5th grade audience, ladies and gentlemen, and it doesn't seem to be working.

I realize I could play this game by just typing "harmonica" over and over and over again, but that's just stupid. Instead, I'm forcing myself to discuss things like the travesty of fornicating educators and the truancy of rhythmically challenged percussionists. And don't even get me started on trolloping magnificent meteorologists. Man, have I got some stories to tell...

So stay tuned. I gotta go find my thesaurus. I mean, I must venture onwardly to discover my encyclopedic-esque tome of longer freaking words to use.

23 October 2006

Knifty Knitter Looms: not for the faint of heart

I can't stop making hats. I make almost one a day. I've given almost everyone I know a hat, so now I will have to give hats to strangers, I guess. I'll walk down the street, just looking for the hatless, and Wala! Out of my pocket, a new hat! Would you find it odd if a complete stranger just gave you a homemade hat?

Yeah, me too.

I made this one on the 2nd smallest knifty knitter loom. It takes me about an hour, hour and a half, to make one V's size. She has four or five.

So...Anybody want a hat? I can make big girl sizes too. Or boy sizes. First person who asks, I'll make you a hat and send it to wherever you are. Bring it on.

20 October 2006

I tagged myself. Sad but true.

9 Lasts --
9.] last place you were: Besides here? Cashwise. And before that, Willie's in Dilworth.
8.] last banana split: Just a couple of nights ago. I ate the last banana in the house.
7.] last beverage: Coca-cola classic
6.] last movie watched: The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Funny, but not ha-ha.
5.] last phone call: My momma, who has a bad cold.
4.] last song played: Er, NPR? Actually, "Today 4 You" from Rent.
3.] last BUBBLE bath: A month or more ago. I should get on that.
2.] last time you cried: Yesterday. Reading SouleMama.
1.] last tv show watched: South Park

8 have you evers --
8.] have you ever dated someone twice: like, broke up and got back together? Yes.
7.] have you ever been cheated on: Not that I know of. Exactly. Well kinda.
6.] have you ever kissed someone: Dumb question.
5.] have you ever kissed someone you regret: Repeatedly.
4.] have you ever fallen in love: yes.
3.] have you ever lost someone: Yes. But then I looked under the bed, and there he was.
2.] have you ever been depressed: ever not? er, yes.
1.] have you ever been drunk and thrown up: Seriously. Dumb questions.

7 famous people you'd like to hang out with --
7.] Steve Swiggum (how do you spell that, anyway?)
6.] Barry Pepper
5.] Tina Fey
4.] Loretta Lynn
3.] Janeane Garafalo
2.] Jon Stewart
1.] Michael J. Fox

6 things you've done today --
6.] watched South Park. The kindergarten teacher was having sex with Kyle's brother.
5.] went shopping with my sister and our babies
4.] laundry
3.] Ate an ultimate turtle fudge brownie
2.] Graded 20 papers
1.] Watched this week's LOST.

5 people you can tell pretty much anything to --
5.] V
4.] Tami
3.] Jeni
2.] Tenessa
1.] Shauners

4 favorite colors --
4.] purple
3.] orange
2.] red
1.] yellow

3 things you want to do before you die --
3.] Go back to the Wisconsin Dells and play with the family.
2.] See Ireland
1.] Watch my daughter grow up, preferably healthily & happily.

2 favorite ice cream flavors --
2.] peppermint bonbon
1.] Pralines & cream

1 job you wanted as a kid --
1.] Poet (I know. Dorky.)

So there you go. I tag Carla and Tenessa. Tag! You're it.

09 October 2006

Please, Chino, let it not be true...

So this, ladies and

gentlemen, is my daughter. Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. Fruit of my womb. Seriously. My friends assure me this is just a phase, but her father is encouraging this face whenever possible, so I assume her prom pictures will look much like these, but without the bib (or the top-of-the-head ponytail. Maybe).

Here's a shot sans flash, so you can see she makes this face even with her eyes open. (yes, we know she needs a haircut. Back off). Often, she lowers her bottom lip so we can see her 1.5 teeth. And she makes disturbing sounds like "mmmna, mmmna, mmmna." Which is perhaps an improvement over the song she sings to herself most other times, which goes, in part, "dickadickadicka."

I fully accept that by posting these photos, I am ruining her chances to ever run for political office. That's okay, anyway, since her father hates little more than he hates politicians. I just want her to stop making that face. As a side note, I also have no illusions about this blog's readership. Aunt Shirley, if you're there, send a comment. The other three of you? Yeah, you. C'mon. Write and tell me if you think this is just a phase or if her face really will stick that way.

Here's a parting shot to show her gleeful reaction when Mama recoils in horror at the Mmmna mmmna face.

Now that's my girl, laughing her freaking head off.

25 September 2006

Hey, nice airplane

V had her one-year shots today. Shaun kept saying "It's for the greater good!" in a rather dark, forbidding tone...though I know it is. At least I hope it is. This was much worse than her first sets of shots, because she looked at us with betrayal in her eyes this time: before it was always "Hey...ooh, shiny." Now it was much more "Oh, sweet holy moses, how could you two people who claim to love me allow me to be hurt in such a way???" Or at least that's how it felt.
I considered not immunizing (and I say "I" because I'm pretty sure Shaun never considered it...) but it didn't feel right to me. If she gets autism because of these, well, maybe I'll feel differently. Really, though, this was our best choice for our family, and I hope fate doesn't screw me over and prove me wrong. Mostly I just want my kid to grow up, be healthy, and not die of an archaic disease. Is that so wrong?
The airplane swing is Linus'. We just borrowed it a bit.

11 September 2006

Wedded Bliss...

So I was in a wedding on Friday! My dear dear friend Tami and her sweet man Josh tied the knot in a gorgeous ceremony, and I got to be a part of it, and whoo-doggies, I'm still tired. Anyway, on the way down, Shaun gave V her first lesson on how to ride in the front seat (which will happen in about 12 years). Don't worry, the car wasn't moving, and they were just waiting for me to come out of my 13th bathroom stop. I couldn't stop laughing at the two of them, chillin' in the front seat, listening to AM radio, talking about how awesome milk is (I assume that's what they were talking about...).

Here's a picture of the bride, for your viewing pleasure. This is right before the ceremony, when we were just trying to pass the time. Isn't she dreamy? I met Tami in college in 1991, and her wedding was a big reunion-esque affair, with many of our dear friends all together again. It made me lonesome for a time when we all lived together or nearly so, and had lasagna pot-lucks about every two weeks, where those of us on food stamps bought the food, and those who were not bought the beer. It was all very bohemian and idyllic and I imagine that's still how it is in the Cities, while I sit (mostly) lonesome in the north, thinking of the Glory Days (cue music). Every time we go down there, but especially this time, I vow to return more often, to stay more connected, and to tell these wonderful people how very much I love love love them.

And these are two of the beautiful bridesmaids (for some reason, I have no photo of me in the dress, so imagine this dress only bigger. But isn't it cute)? This is Jeni and one of the Heathers. Note their fabulous flower necklaces, our gift from the bride and groom (and our bouquets matched. Crazy).

Because we have a tendency to sequester ourselves (and I'm always looking for ways to save money), we stayed with our sweet friends Ed and Linda on Thursday and Saturday nights, and in the hotel only on Friday. Ed and Linda are two of the kindest people on earth, I swear, and whenever we're with them it's comfortable and fun, and we laugh a lot. V adores them both and really likes Bart, their amazingly well-trained dog. Linda made a cake for Miss V's birthday, and though she doesn't look it, V was very pleased indeed.

On Sunday, V and I got to play with Mary Ellen and Collin (as well as Steve, Joy, Susanne, Tenessa, and Linus) while Daddy and Uncle Dan and Uncle Andy went to the Twins' game. Here, Collin is holding Linus' Shaun doll, from a Jen & Shaun set we gave the Glees when they moved away. Apparently, the Glee household rejoices mightily and makes fun of us non-stop, using our respective dolls.

Whew. See why I'm still tired? I also managed to pack in a trip to IKEA and to S.R. Harris, the most amazing fabric store in the world. Of course, one might ask why I'd want to go to IKEA and a 30,000 foot fabric warehouse the same weekend of wearing 3 inch heels for a wedding, but if you DO ask, I'll just kick you with my bloody foot.

Crafty goodness, upcoming: some shoes for V, some more skirts (of course!) and a new dang stuffed creature, one way or another.

06 September 2006

Birthday Girl

We had a little party this weekend, as we are going out of town tomorrow (V's actually birth birthday). It was so awesome to see her open her gifts and get excited! And I can't believe I've been a mother for nearly a year, and how much she's changed and grown and...oh, mercy. This parenting experience is as profound as anything I've ever experienced. No wonder people are always writing bad poetry about it.

In lieu of bad poetry, here's a shot of V on her new scooter, with cousin Will pushing her at approximately the speed of light. I adore this shot, with the blurred backgroud, and Will's little head determined to push on, and V looking up a bit surprised at going warp speed for the first time ever.

Tonight, I want to make her a new pair of shoes, as we are going to the kind of wedding where a one-year old should probably wear shoes, and my one-year old should certainly wear shoes I've made. But I also have to alter my dress and learn to walk in 3 inch heels tonight, so no promises, baby girl.

Here we are in the firelight on Saturday, surrounded by people we love, close enough to the lake to hear the loons call (if it weren't for that cover band across the road...). My mom took this picture, and I love how V is peering up at her Grandmother.

In years to come, I hope I remember this birthday party, with all the joy she had in every gift, the amazement and patience she had with her cake, and the sweet way she curls when she falls asleep after being really tired. When she's 12 and I can't recall ever WANTING children in the first place, I really, really hope I remember this year.

30 August 2006

Good-bye, sweet boy...

So thirteen days ago, out of the clear blue, Egon bit someone. No one we know: a man bicycling by on the street. E got away from me, ran over, bit the guy, and ran back to the house.

After talking it over, and thinking of the sight of the giant bruise on that man's thigh, and thinking about how if he ever bit V, he'd break her bones, and talking for a long time with my dear cousin-in-law Colleen, who trains and loves dogs, Shaun and I decided we had to put our big white giant down. He has been more aggresive in the last year, just little things, but added together with the Big Bite, we felt it was too dangerous not to. It was gut-wrenching and awful and the only way to go.

It took many, many phone calls, and it's all such a horrible, sordid, nasty tale that I don't want to tell it again right now, but let's just say I think someone in the tri-county area needs to FIGURE OUT WHAT THE LAW IS so no one ever has to go through what we went through. But finally, this morning, we found an understanding vet hospital that helped us put our beloved pet to sleep without SCREWING IT UP. They were compassionate, respectful, and awesome, and if you're ever in Fargo and need a veterinarian, talk to me first because I know the one you should go to.

I'm sorry for all the yelling but truly, the 3 other vets we worked with are all staffed entirely by idiots. And it takes a lot for me to call someone an idiot.

Despite all this, we are feeling relieved now, and safe, and very sad and lonesome. I'm not sure I believe in heaven for humans, but by god, if there's a heaven for dogs, I hope our Egon is there, enjoying peanut butter sandwiches and lots of loving games of catch.

All I've been thinking about this week is that line in Dead Man Walking, when Sister Helen says "I want the last face you see to be the face of love." We were the last thing he saw, and every cell of me loved him. I hope he knew that.

23 August 2006

Seriously obsessed...

The pink camo is a bit wonky and has buttons instead of snaps. It took 8 tries to get the buttonholes right, but now I want to sew buttonholes on everything that stands still.

The brown with tan illustrates the shape/structure of the whole thing. It's just one piece, cut on the fold. I cut, hem, bind, and sew closures. I thought about lining this one, since the white back isn't too pretty, but it's pretty rare that it shows, anyway, and this is another upholstery fabric that is heavy enough by itself.

In my frugal living corner, each of these skirts take 3 yards, and both of these fabrics are from the 99 cent bin. Plus 50 cents in snaps (or 2 buttons from my old, underused button box), and I've made a skirt for less than 4 dollars. It fits me perfectly, I adore it, and I can adapt it in so many ways to have a whole skirt wardrobe.

Seriously, I think I may have to start a Church of Skirts. Who's with me?


I finally found a wrap skirt pattern in my size (nearly) that I really like. Butterick 3526. So I've made 3 so far, and cut one for my mom and my sister, and have fabric for me for 3 more. Can I wear one every single day, do you think?

Anyway, here's the brown with blue...the fabric was $1.75 a yard at Mill End Textiles: it's a denim-weight upolstry fabric. The waist is bound with seam tape, and I've used 2 snaps to hold it together. It's very comfortable and though I'm not as photogenic as I'd hoped, it looks quite cute and swingy.

Behind me is a quilt I've been needing to bind for the last 4 years. I figure if I show it here, I'll shame myself into finishing it. It was a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law and her husband many Christmases ago...I must remember to not give unfinished presents, because look what happens.

I have photos of the other 2 skirts, but they will wait for another day. School is starting very soon, and I have pencils to sharpen and syllabi to staple. And many, many more skirts to make before I sleep.

16 August 2006

Works in progress...

Why do I only think to take pictures after the sun is either going down or covered by storm clouds? I have been busy sewing while the sun shines, and will try to be more on top of photos tomorrow during daylight. I'm obsessed with a new skirt pattern, and have finished 2, cut 2, and have 5 more waiting to be cut. (yes, I think 9 skirts=obsession).

Also, for the last 2 days V and I have been in Hendrum, painting my sister's house. V loves it, because she gets to play with her cousin (or, more importantly, his toys).

Please tune in tomorrow for fantastic photos of the best skirts ever...

08 August 2006

Thrift store magic

A little thrift store shopping + $9.35 brought this pile o' stuff home with me. Here's the before sorting picture.

The fabric on the left is 2 1/2 yards of vintage something or other...I know it's vintage because it's 36" wide and gorgeous. The photo doesn't clearly show the shiny goldness of this fabric. I think it will make a lovely lining for a bag, and/or a little dress for V. The fabric on the right is part of a twin-sized duvet cover (and it came with a matching pillow sham), new from Target, which gives their overstock to one group of thrift stores in town. It's heavy cotton, almost denim-like, and the back is solid black. It's awesome.

In the middle is, as far as I can tell, a Gomez Addams doll. I love him, and I think every red-blooded American girl should have a Gomez Addams doll to play with. You'll notice Gomez is admiring a pile of notions. Here's the pile, sorted neatly.

It was a grab-bag, and here is the list of what was inside.
  • 1 package quilt binding
  • 3 pkgs single-fold bias tape
  • 6 pkgs double-fold bias tape
  • 6 pkgs flexi-lace hem tape *
  • 8 pkgs seam binding *
  • 1 pkg seam tape *
  • 2 pkgs hem tapes *
  • 6 pkgs hem facings *
  • 2 pkgs blanket binding
  • 9 pkgs rick-rack
  • 3 pkgs middy braid *
  • 6 pkgs biased & corded piping
  • 1 waistband skirt elastic
  • 3 zippers
  • 2 religious magnets *
Now, about 3 of these are faded or discolored, to the point where I might need to dye them in order to use them. And the ones with asterisks? I don't know what those can do...except the middy braid, which actually explains itself on the package. But still, I got 45 items! for $2.50! Which equals...less than 6 cents each. And I've been using gobs of bias tape binding lately, so this was a wise investment. Plus, now I can learn how to cord things in 5 different colors.

To sum up:
Notions grab bag: $2.50
Vintage fabric: $2
Duvet cover: $4
Gomez doll: $ .50
Tax: $ .35

Total: $9.35

Oh, goddess of thrift store shopping, thank you for your kindness.

Expect pictures of fancy things made with these notions in the near future.

06 August 2006

Between Scylla and Charybdis

I'm trying to decide if I want to open an Etsy shop, and if I do, what I might want to name it. "Languishing" is the title of a zine I started publishing in 1995 (and still do, occasionally), and it fits me well. It combines the idea of inaction with anguish: the urge to stagnate vs. the need to move forward...

Enough of my life philosophy. I don't know that "Languishing" is a particularly fun or ambitious name for a shop. I mean, if there was a store in the mall named Languishing, would you go in it? I would, of course, because I've been publishing a zine by that name for eleven years, but why would anyone else?

I would like to make and sell mostly gifts for children, both fun and utilitarian, and all lovely. So I want something playful, not too obscure (see the subject of this post for an example of one suggestion), that won't annoy me in two years.

Yet I hate it when people have different names for their blogs and their shops. Don't they know anything about branding? And even if I don't open an Etsy shop, I'd like to make some labels (or have them made) because I love the look of labels, and there are a couple of shops in town in which I'd like to place my wares, and I think labels would make things at least appear more polished.

Ach, this is almost as difficult as naming a child. I welcome suggestions/ rebuttals/constructive insults.

Here's a picture to cheer us both up. My mom took it last week on her way to our house. I love how gray the sky is, and how brilliant and yellow the sunflower's petals are. I think she considers this one an accident, but I really like it.

03 August 2006

33 Things

1. My middle name is Loy, after my mother's middle name.
2. I was a vegetarian for a year but came back for the bacon.
3. I am the messiest person I know, next to my husband.
4. I love the color red, closely followed by orange, yellow, and purple (in that order).
5. I have been making and selling earrings since 1994. Proceeds from them bought me my first computer.
6. I am addicted to Taco John's. So much so that they know me there.
7. I get in food ruts and eat the same things for months at a time (see #6).
8. I've been on zoloft since 1992.
9. My daughter's name is V
10. I have a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry.
11. I love to teach more than almost anything else on earth.
12. My sister and I first sang in public when I was 4 and she was 3.
13. The only pizza I really like is pepperoni and mushroom.
14. I drink coca-cola classic like it's water. I didn't when I was pregnant, and that sucked.
15. I love E.E. Cummings
16. On more than one occassion I've referred to Robert Downey, Jr. as "the best actor of our generation."
17. I made my first quilt 15 years ago. It has long since disintegrated.
18. I am learning to love baseball
19. I snuck into a bookbinding class in college and the professor let me stay.
20. In undergraduate school, I was obsessed with both the historical Richard the Third and the Shakespearean play by the same name.
21. I've donated at least 12 inches of my hair to Locks of Love on 5 different occassions.
22. I have never seen the ocean, except if you count the New York Harbor, which I don't.
23. I am very very very allergic to cats.
24. I collect vintage party books. My favorite is from 1924.
25. I majored in English in college but almost majored in cultural anthropology.
26. I have studied circus freaks extensively since I was nine years old.
27. I know more about Elvis Presley than anyone I've ever met.
28. Dansko makes my favorite shoes, followed closely by Ecco.
29. My father died in 2002.
30. I have 2 tattoos and would like at least 2 more.
31. We have a white standard poodle named Egon, after the character in "Ghostbusters."
32. I love to swim and don't do it often enough.
33. I make a mean porkchop and wildrice hotdish.

02 August 2006

Proof I am a total nerd

I was driving through town yesterday and noticed yet another personalized license plate. Now, normally these are not rocket science: it's pretty easy to figure out what they mean (for me anyway). LUV2SKI, for example. Anyway, this one said

Puck lover? Okay. So here's what happened in my brain.
Puck lover? Huh, someone really likes A Midsummer Night's Dream.
No, wait. That's probably not what it is...oh, sure, it's from the third season of the Real World. That obnoxious guy Puck. Huh, how obscure, to put that on your license plate.

I would like to tell you it was immediate, but no, it was several blocks, perhaps a mile, before I thought this:

Hm. Or maybe it's about hockey.

Ya think?

Criminy. This s l o w process makes me concerned for several reasons. 1. I am a college instructor. I'm on summer vacation, sure, but still, I can't be taking blocks and blocks to perceive the obvious, and 2. I live in freaking Minnesota. Kids play hockey before they can walk. 3. Not only did it take forever for the obvious to hit me in the ear, but I show my true colors by thinking Shakespeare first and MTV second. And 4. I felt strongly enough about this to blog on it.

Here's my moral: personalized plates are dangerous. You never know when a distractable college English teacher is going to have angst over your "obvious" hobby statement. Just stick with the JYF 884 variety. It's so much easier that way.

And Midsummer Night's Dream and past seasons of Real World deserve more recognition, dammit.

Portrait of a crafter as depraved

Because I am now obsessed with octopi, I am desperate to find the pattern for this octopus. Because I am a fool and don't know how the world works, I optimistically wandered to our local Salvation Army to find it. Of course it was not there, but I found this lovely book, copy right 1966. Mmm. Lookit how happy these ladies are to do stitchery and crafts! Now, I realize this has nothing to do with the aforementioned octopus pattern, but it soothed my savage crafting beast for only 75 cents. Ah.

But wait, I have inside photos, too! This kitty makes me want to learn how to embroider (click the photo for a bigger view, though it will still be blurry, I'm afraid):

And this page makes me excited and frightened at the same time. You MUST click for a larger view. And here is part of the description under the title "Just for Children": "Stuffed toys, in clever animal shapes, please the very young and find favor among teen-age collectors too." I wish that were true today. I wish I could give my 14 year old cousin that owl bag in the upper left hand corner and have her "find favor" and not stare at me with blank disdain. Ah. Maybe I just need to find cooler 14 year olds. The description of the owl bag, by the way, is "Golden owl, feathered with felt, is a wise choice for a carryall bag." Wise indeed.

At any rate, though I still seek the octopus pattern, I think I've already gotten 75 cents worth of pleasure from this crafty goodness book. Et tu?

28 July 2006

More octopi for your viewing pleasure

But first, a shameless baby picture: I never expected to be the kind of momma who liked to do her daughter's hair, but how cute are these pigtails? In this photo, V's eating a Club cracker at the Fryn Pan. I think she's concentrating so hard because it was her first Club cracker, and she wanted to do it right.

Here are a few more octopi...the light blue one with the closed eyes is out of alova suede and a summery cotton print underneath. The one on the far right is an orange, yellow, brown and white batik with brown velveteen on the bottom, and the octopus on the left is out of soft silver velvet with purple cotton that's printed with silver stars on the bottom. Depending on the fabric used, each octopus has different results: the alova suede makes the legs curl up adorably; the velvet makes the legs have sort of a candy-cane sworl pattern (as you can kind of see here). Velveteen is a bear to sew with but doesn't make the legs curl or twist, at least as far as I can tell.

I'll try to get a couple of close ups of the remaining octopi, if I can bear the heat outside....Stay tuned.

Update: Okay, it's too hot to go outside. Seriously, people. But you can click on the pictures to see larger images. The pattern is from this book, Adventures in Toy Making by Gillian Bradshaw Smith , which I bought at the Dakota Boy's Ranch (a local thrift store) 3 years ago or so. I paid no more than 50 cents, I'm sure. I enlarged the octopus to about 200%...she calls for about 400%, but who needs an octopus bigger than a 2 year old? Maybe when V actually IS 2 years old.

Octopus Parade

A week ago today, Shaun and I and V hauled 10 octopi (octopusses?) to Hendrum for Hendrum's SummerFest. Tables for selling stuff were free (!) so we had just the time investment. I sold 4 large octopi, 2 little ones, and 2 starfish. Also five pairs of earrings, for a total gross income of about $103. This was fun, low-pressure, and rewarding.

Pictured above are 2 of the octopi, both of which are now sold, and a couple of starfish. I should probably mention that most of our sales were to family members, but to be honest, much of Hendrum is related to me, and hey, their money is as good as anyone's.

I'll post more pictures if I can get Blogger to cooperate. Thank you for your support.

20 July 2006

Who put the alphabet in alphabetical order?

That's a song from They Might Be Giants, and if you've heard it, you've got it stuck in your head right now. Bwah ha ha ha.

Cricket over at repurpose has done her "Letter B" likes and dislikes, and since I don't wanna be behind in the alphabet, here's mine:

1. Blue
2. Bacon (ooh. I love bacon. I was a vegetarian for a year and had to come back to the carnivore side just for the bacon)
3. Beer. Man, I miss beer.
4. Burping (geez, i sound like a hick. I love bacon, beer, & burping? classy.)
5. Black beans and rice
6. Blah blah babycakes

1. Our old Buick, which needs a new muffler
2. George Bush
3. burnt chocolate cake
4. the bubonic plague
5. beastiality

Never judge the beauty of a day...

Today's weather is gorgeous: summer, but not so hot it hurts to go outside. I once read a sign on a hotel marquee...someone there had decided to put up little "truisms" everyday, and it made my commute more interesting...and one day it said "Never judge the beauty of a day by the weather." Which, in 6 years of driving past that sign, is the only one I can recall now, but I really like it a lot and think of it often. Especially in the winter, or when it's so hot it hurts to go outside. "Never judge the beauty of a day by the weather." Hm.

In crafty news, I'll be selling some of my wares at a craft sale in Hendrum, my hometown, tomorrow. Well, it's a craft sale mostly because I'll be there...I think my sister said to expect 2 other people to be selling. But that's okay. Whatever doesn't sell will be Christmas gifts, made well ahead. I'll post a picture tomorrow or the next day of the table: everything's in boxes right now, priced and ready to go. Mostly I'm selling jewelry, earrings I've been making for almost 15 years now. But I also found an octopus pattern in this book, which I adapted a bit, and made 10 octopi. Each is about 18" across and 6-8"tall. We'll see if they'll sell....it's so hard to price things, and looking on line doesn't offer much help, because Hendrum prices and internet prices are widely varied. And these suckers take FOREVER: forever to sew, forever to turn (like over an hour each), and forever and a day to stuff. Seriously, at minimum wage with minimal material cost, these should run around $60. But all of Hendrum would laugh and laugh and laugh, so I'm asking $15. Which means I'll make about $1 an hour for my trouble, plus materials. But since I did most of the work while watching TV with Shaun, I guess it's acceptable. Plus if people love them (and I do love them, which helps keep me optimistic) maybe I can make more, put a few in local shops, open an online store, quit my job and retire in 2 years. Don't you think?

I feel bad now that I have no photo to show you the results of said hard work. Perhaps you'll tune in tomorrow, though, and see what the heck I'm rambling on about.

19 July 2006

Worth the wait

Hallo, hallo. This is going to take 3 hours to load, but I wanted you to see that my daughter has GOT to be a comedian when she grows up. Look how hilariously she eats a graham cracker: And a shot of our fireworks from a couple weeks ago at Lake Belle Taine: Shaun's been talking about doing fireworks for years, but ... they scare me. So this year he just came home with a pile of explosives, which we carefully packed into the car around the car seat for the 90 mile trip to the lake. In the end, they were beautiful. And no one got hurt. What's not to love?

06 July 2006

Baby's first fourth of July

Shaun was very excited for V to see fireworks. V was .... less excited. Maybe sparklers are just prettier in the dark. We're going to try for a more enthusiastic reaction this weekend at the lake. I just think these two pictures are hilarious, as a pair.

Thank you Hilary...

I have been a bit obsessed with sewing lately. Here are my 4 Wee Wonderful creations, from the Put-Together Book from Hilary Lang. From left to right: Bella, Persimmon, RuRu, and Peek. I know the photo's lousy, and Peek's missing a shoe, but as I mentioned, I'm obsessed with sewing lately, not photography or details. These girls all have embroidered faces, to make them super baby-friendly. Plus, they like babies. Well, all but Peek. Peek suspects a baby stole her shoe.

30 June 2006

That's Egon, not Igor, thankyouverymuch.

This is what happens when the camera has red eye reduction in Egon's direction. Or sometimes when he's really tired. For those unfamiliar, Egon's a standard poodle, but we shave him down rather than do a "stupid poodle haircut," as Shaun calls it. His latest haircut was a week ago today. Some people (who shall remain nameless) have suggested Egon looks a bit like a particular person in Shaun's family...but I find this comparison rather offensive to Egon.

29 June 2006

Brought to you by the letter A

Via my dear friend Cricket at repurpose, a list of things about the letter A:

Things I like:
1. alphabet soup
2. aardvaarks (sorry, C, I'm not copying you on purpose)
3. apple pie
4. anticoagulants (well, I like the word, anyway. I don't know any anticoagulants personally)
5. Angry Chicken (the blog, not the mad fowl)
6. Albuterol (the medication, which I do know personally)

Things I don't like
1. asthma
2. asparagus
3. alateral sclerosis
4. ants

I adore alphabetica...as did Edward Gorey. Here is one example of his use of the alphabet as a framework. Delightful, Ms. Cricket!

26 June 2006

Well I woke up Monday mornin' with no way to hold my head...

...that didn't hurt. Listen, for the three or four of you reading this, I'm sorry about the lack of posting. We had a bad bridge, apparently, that would shut us out of the world wide web every four or five minutes. Then I'd have to unplug the thing, count to 6, plug it back in, and enjoy my four or five minutes of webtime before getting booted again. I know, I know....it's the saddest story you ever heard, isn't it? Anyway, it's fixed now. So brace yourself.

Speaking of sad stories, here's one of the few photos of all three of us together. It was taken on the Saturday before Memorial Day, at my 15th high school reunion. Of my 23 fellow Panthers, 4 of us made it. Ack...what a bunch of losers. But Barb, Lauri, Melanie, and I had a lovely time. Also, I had my first taco in a bag. That was probably the most memorable part for me. Meat...cheese...corn chips...all in one handy, portable sack. Mmm. I love bags o' tacos.

Craftily, I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of this, put-together book #1, from Wee Wonderfuls. And did you notice I figured out how to do in-text links? Soon I will become queen of the blogosphere and take over the world. I have been gathering up from my fabric stash the fanciest little bits and pieces to be ready when that booklet is delivered, so the sewing can immediately commence. I'll try to take pictures of the process, and maybe throw in one of the baby for good measure.

03 June 2006

Busy busy day

We had 2, count 'em, 2 parties today. First we had a pool party at cousin Will's house, with lots of pool toys and fun...It brought back memories of our blue plastic pool when we were kids. Everyone in the neighborhood would come over, and after a day the water was murky with grass and dirt from everyone getting in and out. Ah, summer.

Our second party of the day was for Miss Lily Moon's third birthday. More nostaglia here, because I've been to each of her birthday parties. The first one, I could drink the alcohol-laden slushie; last year I was 5 months pregnant but drank so much blue (kid-friendly) slushie it looked like I'd been chewing on a smurf. This year, I'm still nursing, so I still had to drink the blue slushie again. Hopefully next year I can drink from the grown up side.

Anyway, Lily's party was lovely: a medical-themed party, complete with guests in scrubs and hospital gowns, bean dip in an emisis basin, and a hospital shaped cake. When Tenessa and I write our party book, we'll have to have a chapter on the many uses of bedpans.

No pictures today, since I'm posting from home, but we have some great shots of the cousins in the pool. Plus, I think I figured out how to allow the comments through now, so COMMENT. Please. If'n you wanna.

02 June 2006

Ah, the joys of summer...

And my inability to post from home....This contributes to the lack of blog updates. But also, I'm lazy. At any rate, to quench your thirst (if anyone still checks this) here are a couple of new photos.

This one is Baby V meeting Lake Belle Taine, Memorial Day 2006. I think I'd taken her down to meet the lake last fall, but she was just a blob of goo still who couldn't really open her eyes. Look how interested she is now!

This is V's first boat ride, with the waters of Lake Belle Taine in the background. She didn't look around much because the wind freaked her out a little. And her lifejacket was a bit cumbersome. And she probably just wanted to eat a graham cracker and watch the Price is Right.

In other news, I'm wearing a delicious necklace my friend Jeni made. She is thinking of selling them: wouldn't you like to own one, too?

The final picture I'll leave for you is of the happy cousins, playing on our living room floor. I love this picture because V is throwing a mini-fit (actually I think she's maybe just passing gas) and Will is looking at the camera coyly. Isn't he coy looking? How adorable. Anyway, in 18 years when they graduate from high school, these are the pictures we'll have to drag out.

05 May 2006

My eye! Aaaagh!

This is what happens when you feed the baby peas and oatmeal, and she lunges at the spoon from an unfortunate angle.

I am troubled that my first reaction was not to clean her up and comfort her but to get the camera. But immediately after this picture, she was cleaned up, comforted, and merrily eating more peas and oatmeal.

Aunt Beth pointed out that at first glance it looks like V has a horrible eye disease. While unappetizing, it's quite amusing, I think.