Two very close views of one of my favorite spring wildflowers.
And the normal view. These are each about half an inch across.
Two very close views of one of my favorite spring wildflowers.
And the normal view. These are each about half an inch across.
It always amuses me when I get insulting spam comments. Like this one from something Coupons:
The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.
Clever. On about 75%* of the blogs out there that comment would make it appear that they had actually visited and read the blog. I also got one in this latest batch of spam that praised me for my kindness, helpfulness, and insight, which is more flattering but equally a non sequitur.
(* 68.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.)
Today is Earth Day. The first Earth Day, according to Wikipedia, was in 1970. I think it was several years later that I first became aware of its existence. Some Earth Days I plant something to “celebrate” but I’m not planning to do that today. Maybe I’ll pull some Bermuda grass out of the flower beds instead. Or maybe I’ll just go for a walk. It looks like it’s going to be a nice day.
I love/hate spring. I mean, it’s so pretty with all the flowers and the new green leaves on the trees but spring weather is greatly frustrating. It’s warm, then it’s cold, then warm again, then cold, then colder, then warm, then cold. Sometimes all in the same day. Even on a warm spring day it’s cold in the morning. And the house is always slow to warm up. I’ll be puttering around the house shivering in a flannel shirt and then I’ll go outside for some reason and discover that it’s actually ten degrees warmer outside. And this spring has been weird – colder than usual. I normally expect all the cold to be over by the first of May but I’m not so confident about that this year.
I am impatient to start dressing for warm weather. Usually by mid April I have started wearing dresses occasionally but I have not worn one yet this year. Well, I did wear winter dresses with tights a couple of times this past winter, but I mean spring and summer dresses. I should be sewing for spring and summer but this weather has me weirdly motivated to keep on sewing long sleeved shirts.
If April had Ides, they’d be today, and the 15th of April has not been the happiest of days in world history, quite apart from the fact that if you’re in the States, your income-tax return is probably due today. — here
It is a good time to pull out our fabric, needle and thread, and make something with our hands. When the world has gone crazy, we find our peace in our handwork. — there
I really don’t know what I was thinking, taking this job. I was the original person who tried to plug my hair dryer into a tree when my family went camping. — here
It’s like our reality has somehow become a bad action movie, and the superhero hasn’t shown up yet. — there
Fastener Chart – (PDF) For some of you guys this might be a “so what?” but for people like me, who only know Phillips and “regular”, this is not only useful but fascinating. I think the guys on HGTV and DIY network could use this since they don’t appear to know the difference between lag bolts and carriage bolts.
40 Inspiring Workplaces of the Famously Creative – Very interesting. I’m not at all surprised that clutter seems to be the rule. If you’re busy being creative you don’t have time to straighten up the place. There are a few neat and even minimalist spaces though. Just based on the decor, Rudyard Kipling’s study is my favorite. I would like to spend a week alone in Nigella Lawson’s study/library.
Ads We’ll Never See Again – Hah! How times have changed.
Arctic Instruments – Equipment used for research in polar climates.
Playgrounds – A small collection of photos. I like this observation: “It wasn’t that the kids of my block were poor or deprived. We had nice swings and sliding boards at the local school playground. It’s just that we preferred to invent our playgrounds out of the things we could find and invent.
Adimab Ads – A biotech company has some mysteriously clever ads.
Transhuman Theft – Someone I would definitely follow on Twitter if I was still using Twitter.
The Oddment Emporium – A very interesting Tumblr blog.
About three years ago, I think it was, we were in Branson and I stopped in at a little quilt shop “just to look around” and left with three pieces of fabric. Two of them were nice little floral and paisley prints in reasonable, adult colors. And then there was the clown fabric. At least that’s how I felt about it after I had it for a while and started thinking about making something out of it.
That always happens. I’m attracted to the bright colored, juvenile fabric, I buy it, and then for a while I worry that I will look ridiculous in it and finally I make it and it either turns out okay or I like it so much that I don’t care if I look ridiculous.
So here’s how it turned out. Not bad. In fact I really like it a lot.
I used McCall’s 6076, one of my new favorite patterns. It fits well without a lot of alteration – just my usual PGA. (Pizza Gut Adjustment) The sleeves are supposed to be three-quarter length. They’re a little long for three-quarter length but I like them just fine. They appear more the length they’re supposed to be when my arms are bent.
Here’s a close-up of the fabric and one of the buttons. It’s a little bit out of focus and you can’t see the real color of the button because of the flash – it’s actually a perfect match for the purple dots – but you get the general idea.
As you can see, there are several different options for slacks color. I thought purple would be the “safest” (That’s why I chose purple buttons.) but I do have a pair of bright pink slacks and a lime green pair and I might not always play it safe. The purple pants are new also. They are not quite the right shade of purple but they’re not as far off as they appear in the photo.
One of the things I love most about the Internet is searching for one thing and finding something else that I had never heard of before, though I have definitely heard today’s find.
Seriously? We’re still talking about this? Sweetie, I think you better check your calendar. The 70′s were over a while ago. In case you missed it, most of us decided that we still want to wear bras, mainly because they make clothes look better, but we also decided that everyone has the right to not wear one if they don’t want to. Be warned though, we still might laugh and talk about you behind your back if you choose not to wear one. Oh, and employers still have the right to have dress codes, and thank goodness for that!
Honestly, it’s none of my business but I don’t like to see women going braless in public. It looks sloppy. It’s not so bad if you were cheated by Mother Nature and don’t have much that needs support but I suppose that’s not fair. Size shouldn’t matter, right? Anyway that’s just my personal opinion. Yours may differ.
I don’t really get bralessness as a feminist statement either. So you don’t want to wear a bra because men don’t wear them? Is that it? I suppose that means next time you participate in some sport you will wear a jock strap. I really don’t think that’s it though. I think feminists don’t like to wear bras because they’re uncomfortable and feminism is just an excuse.
It’ funny… when I was a kid, getting your first bra was a really big deal. You looked forward to it. It meant that you were growing up and soon you would look like your Barbie dolls. They had what they called “training bras” with flat stretchy “cups” that weren’t actually cups at all because you didn’t need them yet but that was your first bra and it was so exciting. Is it still the same now or has that changed? I have no idea what the growing up experience is like for girls these days.
Peter of Male Pattern Boldness talks about something dear to my heart, treadle sewing machines, and the tragic things that happen to them when their owners don’t appreciate them for what they are. People, PLEASE, don’t destroy your treadle sewing machines to make desks and plant stands and other purely decorative things! Even if you don’t want to use them as they were intended please keep them in working order. You can still set plants on top of them if you must.
They don’t make treadle sewing machines anymore, you know. I know they are not rare; everyone’s grandmother or great grandmother had one, but if you keep destroying them someday they will become rare and too expensive for those who want to use them for sewing. Yes, there are more of us than you might think.
Peter posted a video and tells us why, in some ways, treadle machines are better than modern ones. And I learned something. Since I’ve used nothing else for more than 30 years I did not realize that treadle machines make straighter stitches. I just assumed all machines make nice, straight stitches. One advantage that he doesn’t mention is the ability to sew very heavyweight fabrics, like heavy denim and upholstery fabrics, without stalling. And of course it sews very lightweight fabrics just as well. And I can sew as fast or as slow as I want. It takes very little effort to keep the treadle going once you get it started.
If I had an extra room I think I would collect treadle sewing machines just to save as many as I could.
I had already been thinking about something I might want to say about Tumblr for a while before I saw this. I have never thought of it as anything but just another blog platform but I have been thinking that some blog platforms, like Tumblr and the old LiveJournal seem to form almost cult-like communities.
I read and link Tumblr blogs, WordPress blogs, Blogspot blogs, and any others that I happen to come across but people who have Tumblr sites seem to only link to other Tumblr sites and ignore all the rest. This is a generalization of course and there are always exceptions but whenever I visit a Tumblr site I always feel a bit like an outsider crashing a private party.
I think this is just fine if the other side of this – namely my “genuine and sincerely held” conviction that prats like that need to be punched in the throat – will be respected. — here
They are like living works of art, these ladies! — there
Which equinox was that? — here
It occurs to me that I like dudes the way I like dogs: they’re cute and make me laugh, but at the end of the day they smell kind of gross and just need too damn much attention. — there
* I should note that I don’t always agree with what I quote. Well… at least, not 100% anyway.
Bungee cords as high fashion – No, really. Look closely. I know there’s so much distraction – I didn’t notice them at first myself – but the belts are actually bungee cords.
Women in Congress, 1938 I confess, sometimes I wish I could be elected to Congress just so I could be all over the news for wearing shockingly unfashionable and inappropriately bright colored clothes.
Tasty Crackers – an inappropriate abbreviation
Spectral Motion – Interview with a movie special effects creator
Damaged Goods – a collection of unrestored old photos
The Poems of Suzanne Somers – Hmmmm… Anyone can write “poetry” but you have to be an ex sitcom actress (or someone like that) to get published.
Happy Toe – Odd
The Art of Zen Blogging – Animated GIFS. Some are more “zen” than others but those are sort of neat.
What do whales see? – Interesting
The Painting President – Amateurish but better than I can do so I won’t make fun.
Tail Feathers – a nice art blog
This Ivy House – and another nice art site
Abandoned Fun House – photos, vintage ads, art, etc
The Gifts of Life – Great photos. Nature, still life, architecture, portraits, etc.
TV’s First Interracial Kiss – You probably already know what it is. This is a little background and an attempt to “bust the myth” but a friendly kiss on the cheek is not the same as a lip-lock so, as far as I’m concerned, history as we know it has not been revised.
Disney Princess Rings – Ooooo sparkly! Yes, I want them. I want them all. But, sadly, not at those prices.
Performance Architecture: 10 Dramatic Opera Sets and Stages – Wow! No really… Wow!
Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson is good old-fashioned science fiction. It has many of the familiar sci-fi tropes: FTL, an evil empire, a spoiled and out of touch nobility, wild frontier planets with disgruntled colonists, weird, serene aliens with impressive mental powers, and a secret plan to win independence. If you are into cutting edge “SF” you might consider this book “predictable” but it’s the writing and the details that make it worth reading.
A defeated General Adolphus is exiled to a “Deep Zone” planet with environmental conditions so bad it has been nicknamed “Hellhole”. The interstellar government, called The Constellation, controls the “stringline” system, an even faster FTL, which depends on a natural substance called iperion, of which there is only one known source. But another source is discovered on one of the Deep Zone worlds and about a dozen Deep Zone leaders, led by General Adolphus secretly plan to build their own stringline system and declare independence from the Constellation. Meanwhile, a few survivors of Hellhole’s original civilization are discovered and re-awakened. Complicating matters even more, there are political plots, murders, betrayals, and an illicit romance.
I wish I was better at writing reviews because Hellhole is much better than I’m making it sound. It’s a fast moving story that’s more about people, politics and adventure than it is about science. If that’s your sort of thing, as it is mine, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Hellhole is the first in a trilogy and the story does not conclude in this book so you might as well go ahead and buy all three. I highly recommend it.
Kelly asks “Do you like thunderstorms?”. Thunderstorms scare me a little bit but not as much as they used to, I guess. We’re having a big one right now that promises to last all day. The worst thing about thunderstorms, for this Internet dependent gal, is that our satellite Internet connection comes and goes on rainy days. And sometimes it goes away for several hours.
George Carlin said, “We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket.” Personally, I would say something similar about rain and Internet connections, although, I assume that if you live near enough to civilization to have a cable or DSL connection you don’t have that problem. Still, I expect my toys to work all the time and it upsets me a little bit when they don’t.
But of course this is just a petty inconvenience (and, surprisingly, I am still connected at the moment) and I should have more concern for others and be more attentive to their much more important needs, in particular, the needs of my little buddy, my cat, Three. He wants outside, again and he wants me to make it warm and dry out there just like it was yesterday. I am a very poor and inadequate servant.
When I saw this list, 27 Of The Most Mind-Bogglingly Stupid Song Lyrics Of All Time, I was prepared to make fun of it and people who don’t get stuff like metaphors and analogy because that’s what “stupid song lyrics” lists usually turn out to be. But most of these really do sound mind-bogglingly stupid.
The only one that I have actually heard is MacArthur Park. I guess that makes me… I don’t know… old or something? To be fair to the rest of them (and I really do hate to be fair to any of those) the MacArthur Park lyrics don’t sound nearly as stupid when they’re sung as they do when you read them. At least not to me but I don’t pay all that much attention to lyrics anyway.
It’s strange… I hear the words but the literal meaning doesn’t always get through. The words are just part of the music, like notes. One particularly funny example is Lola. I had been hearing this song for several years and certain words popped out – like “Lola” and “cherry cola” – but most of it just went right past me. Then one day some years back I was driving through Tulsa and this song came on the radio (This was during the years when Tulsa did not have a classical station) and I have no idea why but I actually heard all the lyrics. For the first time I understood what the song is about.
So lyrics don’t really mean all that much to me anyway. I prefer music without any words at all. Or with words in a language I don’t understand. Especially Latin. It’s all about the music.
I only needed one button. For the green slacks I made last week. I saw the perfect button at Walmart. Unfortunately it was in a bag full of buttons. So I thought about it for a while. I could burn more than a gallon of gasoline to get to the nearest Hobby Lobby where they might have a button the right size and color. Or I could burn even more gasoline to get to the nearest fabric store where they would probably have a button the right size and color. Or I could order the right button and pay for shipping, which would cost less than the gasoline but still more than the price of the button, which seems silly. (I do order buttons online but I like to order a whole bunch at the same time.)
The obviously most cost effective choice was to buy the bag of buttons from Walmart even though it just feels wrong to buy a bunch of buttons that I don’t need just to get the one that I do need. There it is – the green button to the right of the big brown button at the bottom center of the picture.
I might be able to use some of these, although, there are only two or three of each kind, which is not enough for most things. Or maybe I need to make something with artfully mismatched buttons. A denim shirt maybe. I’ve never made anything just so I could use buttons but I hate for all of these to just sit around in a drawer forever, without a purpose.
This is my son’s and daughter-in-law’s dog. She’s just a big friendly “puppy”.
…probably the stuff that pushes most people’s buttons are things that are not actually true but that our Inner Critic TELLS us is true in our darker moments. — here
“If the manager is setting workproduct goals that correctly meet his expectations, and the employee is meeting these goals, why on earth does management give a damn what the employee is doing?” — there
I want our yard to be the kind of place where my kids can catch grasshoppers by day and fireflies at night, where they can dig up potatoes and pick strawberries. — here
…doing real science takes more effort than does philosophizing off the top of one’s head. — there
Sewing people, (assuming there are any out there reading this) do you ever get a new pattern and immediately, before you’ve even made it once, start thinking of ways you want to change it? last week I was talking about the Vogue patterns sale. I did buy two: 8789 and 8811.
I didn’t have any particular fabric in mind for either one at the time I ordered them but then I thought of one piece of fabric I have that would be very nice for V8789 view A. The problem is that this pattern requires almost 5 yards of fabric and the piece of fabric is only 3 3/4 yards. But then, looking at the pattern, I realized that the skirt is ridiculously full (not that there’s anything wrong with that) so I’m thinking maybe try using the skirt from a different dress pattern. The bodice is what I liked about this pattern anyway. I’m not sure though. I already had an idea for this fabric and I might stick with that original idea. I just thought it would be nice if I could use fabric I already have.
A while back the wonderful Anne of Pretty Grievances did a stash swap. I was lucky enough to be able to participate and I definitely got the better part of the deal. All I had to give up was a couple of pieces of fabric that had been given to me and that I might never have used and I got this:
The pink eyelet trim was what I traded for. The floral fabric was a complete surprise. It is absolutely gorgeous and I’m a little bit afraid of it. It is very lightweight, silky and drapey and almost acts like it’s alive. I’m afraid it’s not going to be well-behaved on the sewing machine at all. I’m actually thinking (Is this crazy?) that I might sew it entirely by hand.
I’m not going to rush into anything but I’m going to find a nice, simple but elegant blouse pattern that requires no more than 1 3/4 yards of fabric, (there are 2 yards of the silky stuff.) lay the pattern pieces out on the fabric just to be sure, and then cut off a little strip of the fabric for testing – washing and sewing. I’m thinking, “Please let it be polyester,” but I’m afraid it might actually be real silk or possibly rayon.
Another issue is that I never have anywhere to wear anything that fancy but, of course, there’s no reason why I can’t wear a pretty, silky, drapey top to breakfast at IHOP, right? Of course I’d be terrified of dribbling something on it so maybe I’ll just wear it shopping. But not anytime soon because, like I said, I’m not going to rush into it.
The pink eyelet trim – I saw the picture of it and my inner 6-year-old said, “Ooooo! Pink! Pretty! Want!” After I said I wanted it I had a moment of, “What the hell am I going to do with that stuff?” but only a moment. My first idea is to put it on the bottom of a meant-to-be-seen petticoat. I’ve been wanting to make a dress with a scalloped hem for a long time so maybe a large pink floral print for the dress. (Darn, I’m going to have to buy more fabric.)
I thought I’d better see how much there is of it before I start making too definite plans. I used my cutting table, which is a little over two yards long for an approximate measurement. In the process of unrolling it I somehow managed to get the stuff terribly twisted and tangled so it took longer than I expected but I got it all straightened out and determined that there are about 30 yards. 30 yards! OMG! I have never owned 30 yards of anything. So, there’s enough to do all sorts of things. I am definitely making the petticoat and probably a camisole. The rest, I’ll just put away for whatever future ideas I might get.
My latest project is another pair of slacks. I was going to do something else but as I was looking through my fabric to decide what I wanted to make, I fell in love with this beautiful piece of green stretch twill all over again. So I’m still managing to avoid working on what I really need to be working on: quilts. Why? I love making quilts but I just can’t get in the mood for them lately.
Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Covers – Making fun of romance novels. Awesome.
The smell of rain – Interesting. Also learned a cool new word: argillaceous.
Ring that may have inspired Tolkien
Object Focus: The Bowl – About bowls, of course. Very nice!
Sounds of the Harbour – Excellent!
The Curious Brain – a blog of interesting images
Vadering – Ha!
Here’s Ginger – Clever.
The Fresh Ten Commandments – May not be appreciated by rigid religious types but these are good. I especially like #4 and #10.
Curious – an odd little picture story
Do Birds Fart? – You know… that’s a question it has never occurred to me to ask.
Saving a feline hero – Wonderful!
The Hungry Eye – an art and ephemera blog; some images NSFW
Chandan Chaurasia – another interesting blog; interesting pictures from around the world
Blazing Saddles – Very interesting look behind the scenes on the comedy classic
Under The Mask – psychoanalyzing fictional characters
Alex Noriega – beautiful scenic photography
I love my life. I really do. A few minutes ago I looked out my back door and saw a tufted titmouse on the back porch. It hopped a little closer and pecked at dried leaves and debris. It flew to the stack of firewood and hopped around on that for a minute, coming even closer to the door.
Then it flew down to the doormat and I stood there watching it for over five minutes as it pulled fibers out of the doormat not three feet away from me on the other side of the glass door. What’s better than that?! Getting a great photo of it maybe? Nah… not even that.
I don’t know why I even look at these things. Curiosity I guess. 100 Spring Handbags Under $100. It’s a slideshow. I got through a little more than half of it before I got bored with it and in that half, the cheapest one was $19.95 (I think. It was definitely $19 and change.) and most were over $40. Some were so close to $100 that it almost seems like cheating to say they are “under $100.
I feel like such a cheapskate. I have never spent more than $12 on a purse. Really. Never. Well… I can’t remember how much I spent on fabric and zippers and such for the big one I made myself but if it was over $12 it wasn’t by much. But seriously, does $100 seem like a reasonable cut off point for “affordable”? To be honest, yes I could afford a $100 purse maybe once or twice a year but why would I want to? The cheap ones I buy at Walmart do the job, look nice enough, and last for several years.
I guess I just don’t understand fashion but nothing I looked at in the slideshow made me think, “Oooo! Yeah, that’s worth $90+!”
UPDATE: If I could find a tiny purse that was bigger on the inside (like the Tardis) that would be worth $90+.
Bach’s music is, to me, architectural. It is mathematical. Now, to some that might make it sound like the music is clinical and sterile in emotion, but nothing could be further from the truth. Bach’s music often suggests, more than any other composer’s, something cosmic, and his work springs from the deep connections between music and mathematics. It’s the primal sense of wonder that may well be the very first emotion we all experience, that sense of grandeur before a Universe that is vaster than we can conceptualize and yet we have innate abilities to conceptualize a great deal of it. That’s what Bach means to me.
It might be that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” but that’s some good writing about music. When you try to write about music it is easy to sound pompous. The best way to is not to write about the music itself but to write about how you feel about the music. And that can be hard too.
I really wish Hollywood would get over the whole Psychotic Criminal Weirdos Listening to Classical Music thing. I’m looking at you this time, Fox.
We have a 100% chance of rain today which means a 99% chance that I will lose my Internet connection so before that happens I’m going to try to quickly find a few links to keep you entertained just in case.
Spool chair – Nifty idea!
The impending death of “whom” – I am devastated. I like “whom.” (Not saying I know how to use it correctly.) And what’s wrong with being a pompous twerp?
Instructables – How to make stuff.
7 Amazing Google Offices – I’m not sure which one I like best. They all look like day care for grown-ups.
Helena’s hats – I’m never sure if I like wearing hats or not but I definitely like them on other people.