Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Dance: Hearts n Flowers

After too long an absence, I am back to stitching some squares for charity quilts. I've signed up through CrossStitching for Charity for three so far, all due next spring.

I got an early start on the "Hearts and Flowers" theme. I finished this square today.

This was an older freebie chart no longer available at web address written on my pattern. If any of my readers recognize the pattern and can point me to a new web address, I'll gladly update this blog post, giving credit where credit is due.

The squares we stitch in our online Yahoo! group are stitched by 235 women (and a few good men) from all over the USA ... and internationally. We've been working as a team for over five years now. We stitch squares by theme, then send them to one central location. The squares are constructed into quilts. Most go to children with life-threatening illnesses, but we also have given quilts to teens and adults with long-term degenerative illnesses and to seniors in need.

An Invitation:
If you love to stitch and have run out of people to receive your gifts of love, please do consider joining us! The deadlines are reasonable. A single square can stitch up quickly -- I did this heart in about two weeks, working sporadically.

You can stitch as many or as few squares as you like, depending on your own schedule. And it feels so good to see photos of the finished quilts as they are presented to people who are hurting.

We are bearers of a spark of light and joy.


For my next crafty endeavor, I'm crocheting a scarf that Jodie will give as a holiday gift. Then I plan to make some beaded ornaments for my family for Christmas.

After those projects are completed, I'll be back to cross-stitch. The next charity square in line is a bunny from the Stoney Creek Farm Babies collection.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Unconventional Holiday Greeting

This is for all my wonderful friends who don't happen to be Christians but still like the Christmas holiday season. This includes some folks that are nearest and dearest to me ... atheists and agnostics and Hindus all!

White Wine In The Sun by Tim Minchin

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Secrets: November 28, 2010

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. These three secrets caught my attention today:

I like this idea, but I don't do it.
Am I too lazy?
As long as it's kind, I just tell folks what I think!
I like to make their day.

Love this sentiment! It says:
I remember.
I care.
You're important to me.

There's more than one way to be raped.
I'm learning to take back the power.
I'm learning to stop trying to make things
have happy endings.

My favorite definition of forgiveness is from Oprah:
"Forgiveness is letting go of the hope
that the past can be changed."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Movie Review: Pirate Radio

OK ... so I don't watch movies in a timely manner. I don't mind being late to this 2009 party.

I watched this movie last weekend with my husband and daughter when I wasn't feeling well and they were being supportive. Plus, we had a bag of caramel corn that was asking to be devoured.

"An amusing musical romp through the 60s."
~ Dale Davaz"

"Made me want to listen to Classic Rock on Pandora a whole lot more!"
~ Jodie Davaz

Great cast. Excellent music. Fun story. Enjoyable diversion.

Kenneth Branagh was amusingly surly ... I didn't even recognize him until half way through the movie.

From Netflix:
Pirate Radio
In 1966, hard-partying British DJs -- a crew that includes Quentin (Bill Nighy), the Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Gavin (Rhys Ifans) and Dave (Nick Frost) -- have the time of their lives running a radio station on a ship in the North Sea, broadcasting generation-defining (but banned) music to millions. But they face getting shut down by Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh). Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral) directs.

4 Stars

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Review: I Feel Bad About My Neck

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

I'm glad this was a short book, because it was a waste.

That makes me a little sad.
  • Because I wanted to laugh
  • Because I rarely sit down to just read for pleasure, and this wasn't a pleasure.
  • Because I really like Nora Ephron. I like her movies. I like watching people interview her. I like her humor in those settings. I like to laugh.
  • I didn't laugh.
I'm pretty sure I didn't like the book because, unlike Nora, I'm not over 60. But neither is my best friend. She gave me the book because she loves to laugh. She read it and laughed.

I'm pretty sure I didn't like the book because I don't like big cities. Nora likes Los Angeles. Las Vegas. She loves New York. When I was in New York, it creeped me out.

I'm pretty sure I didn't like the book because, believe it or not, I'm enjoying growing older. I don't mind that I have laugh lines and that my hair is thin with gray bits. I don't mind that when I look in the mirror, I see images of my grandmother. I loved my grandmother. If I'm becoming more like her, I think that's a good thing to be. I'm looking forward to being a grandmother. (When you're ready, Daughters. Not now.)

Maybe I'll feel differently when I'm over 60. I doubt it. She has complaints in there about being over 50. Even over 40. Nora finds the funny in life one way. I find it another way. There's room for both of us on this planet.

So just because I thought this was a waste, you might not. You and I might not laugh at the same jokes. The rose-colored lenses in our glasses might be two different shades.

2 Stars

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Run, birdie! Run!
You don't want to get caught today!

Wattle in the Woods

This guy used to live down the block.
I haven't seen him in four years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Dance: Treat Bags

I started stitching these cute Trick or Treat bags before Halloween.

I enjoyed the surface embroidery process so much, that I kept on stitching even though the holiday had passed. In fact, I may even stitch each design once more ... so I have more to give away.

I'll do the finishing work (actually turning the stitching into little treat bags) some day in the future. I'm back to stitching quilt squares for charity now.

#312 Trick or Treat Bags
by Crab-apple Hill

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: Gunn's Golden Rules

Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work by Tim Gunn

What a great book! Read it!

5 stars


Oh, that's not enough of a recommendation? OK. Here's why.

It's sensible.
It's down to earth.
It's about treating yourself and others with respect.
It's funny.
It's serious.
It's light.
It's deep.
It's readable.
It's honest.
It's wise.
It's quotable.

There are some gossipy stories about well-known people that illustrate the points he's making. Those stories are getting the press in book reviews. But that didn't hold the charm for me. Tim's way with words and dignity in the telling are what drew me in.

Here are some quotable gems:
  • Speaking of a hideous white elephant gift: "It's ambitiously bad."
  • "Why would you want to derail people who have a good impulse?"
  • "There should be a lot more thank-yous."
  • "There are a lot of people with whom I interact because I have to; that doesn't man I want to eat cake with them."
  • "If someone doesn't ask, you don't have a moral obligation to say every thought that pops into your head."
  • "Niceness can at times feel a little bit thankless."
  • "There is absolutely never any reason to be a fire-breathing dragon."
  • "Shorter is better. Always."
On that note, I end this review.


p.s. This is the first book I read on my Kindle. I'm falling in love with my electronic book! As a bibliophile, I wasn't sure I'd like it. Where are the covers, the pages, the texture, the color images, the smell that are a big part of the book-reading experience? True. Those are missing. But there is an ease in reading that makes this a pure pleasure. I found myself picking up my Kindle far more often than my paper volumes. I don't keep dropping my bookmarks! My favorite feature is being able to make notes and marks "in the margins" and then being able to easily pull up your favorite bits. And the entire book is search-able ... without relying on an index! I'm making a vow that of every two books I read, one will be a paper version from my vast library of unread tomes. The other will be on my Kindle!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Waiting in the Wings

It won't be long before we deck the halls.


* * * * *

Macro Monday is easy to play,

snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.

Sunday Secrets: November 21, 2010

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. These three secrets tapped into memories today:

I stopped going when I got tired
of dealing with people
that would rather complain
than try to improve their situations.

I know a photographer who feels the same way.
(I didn't get an A+)

I had such a moment
over a meal at Souplantation.
(I told a secret!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Secrets: November 14, 2010

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. I liked these two secrets today:

You go, girl! I like spunk.

Well said by the voice of experience.
Do pick a course of study that is right for you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Own Kind of Wonderland

I opened the blinds this morning to check on the weather.
More rain.

All this dampness has made the local fungus ecstatic!
These four mushrooms bloomed
on the hill on the north side of our home.

These are monster 'shrooms ...
easily as big as a dessert plate!

I found a Kiss in my pocket.
I set in on top of the mushroom
to give some perspective.

I wonder how big these will be tomorrow.
I'll go ask Alice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Movie Review: Babies

An ideal movie to watch on a droopy kind of day. These four little ones from around the world can't help but make you smile.

From Netflix:
Documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmes charts the simultaneous early development of four babies from different parts of the world, illustrating what makes human life unique, similar and precious wherever it occurs. Training his camera on newborns Hattie from San Francisco, Ponijao from Namibia, Bayarjargal from Mongolia and Mari from Tokyo, Balmes captures everything from first screaming breaths to first steps.

I'm a sucker for both documentaries and for little tikes, so Babies is a big hit with me. I think my favorite scene is at the very beginning of the movie when Ponijao and her brother are beating rocks. I guess siblings taking things from one another, and emphasizing their desires with a smack or a bite, is a universal phenomenon.

5 Stars

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Secrets: November 07, 2010

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment. This postcard touched a nerve.

I used to be envious of both intellectual women
and supermodels.
I'm still a bit self-conscious of my looks.
But I finally realized all those scholastic awards I won
were not flukes.
I AM smart ...
And some women envy me!

(I don't enjoy that feeling)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Men of Honor

From Netflix:

Against formidable odds -- and an old-school diving instructor (Robert De Niro) embittered by the U.S. Navy's new, less prejudicial policies -- Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.) sets his sights on becoming the Navy's first African-American master diver in this uplifting true story. Their relationship starts out on the rocks, but fate ultimately conspires to bring the men together into a setting of mutual respect, triumph and honor.


I enjoyed Men of Honor quite a bit. Hard to beat these actors! I was quite drawn into the story in a way I didn't expect, seeing as anything military-related usually isn't my cup of tea.

It was the way these two main characters related to each other, appraised each other, tested each other, then eventually came to respect one another that fueled the story for me.

4 stars

Friday, November 5, 2010

On This Fall Day

Outside my window...
it's threatening to rain.
The yellow maple leaves are sparse in the trees, but carpet the lawn.

I am thinking...
that I love Starburst Days.
Mental health hours that recharge my batteries.

I am watching...
an old movie from 1945:
Brief Encounter with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson

I am thankful for...
The ultimate comfort food.

From the kitchen...
banana bread.
Made Wednesday, with walnuts.

I am wearing...
my "I don't want to leave the house" clothes.
The pants have holes along the seams; the t-shirt is stained; the hoody is maroon. Comfy.

I am creating...
Some Halloween treat bags with embroidered trees and pumpkins.
Maybe I'll finish them before next October.

I am going...
to give at least one massage this weekend.
Warm oil, quiet time, attentive to detail, calming.

I am reading...
Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life by Quinn Cummings
Funny essays!

I am hoping...
to face a dragon this weekend.
He's probably just a little lizard.

I am hearing...
the cars buzzing on the freeway.
It's 5 blocks away.

I smell...
wood fires burning.
Low clouds trap chimney smoke.

Around the house...
I've decorated for Thanksgiving.
My favorite holiday ... the day of my birth.

One of my favorite things...
three really, my daughters.
They're beautiful, smart, funny, quick-witted and kind.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Having some coins appraised. Pressing some scarves.
Raking and bagging millions of pine needles in the yard.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010