Just a Few Links

Eye Placement in Portraits – Interesting. Could apply in photography also.

Chateau de Gudanes – Restoring an abandoned French Chateau

Shoppe – “inspired goods by independent makers” I haven’t looked around much yet but my first impression is “awesome!”

The Doorstep Railway – Wow. Talk about living next to the tracks.

12 Essential Peppers – A few of these are new to me.

Wanderlost – An excellent sewing blog

People Who Suck

First of all, I want to say (even though you all know this already) spammers suck. This morning I had 46 spam comments, which I suppose isn’t too bad; at least it wasn’t in the hundreds; but it’s a lot more than I usually get. Besides the obvious, another thing that really sucks about that, for me, is that when I have a lot of comments waiting for moderation I always think that maybe one is a genuine on topic comment from a real person – someone who just found this blog or a lurker coming out of hiding – but that hardly ever happens and I think, “Why do I keep hoping?” I’m like a silly child waiting for an impossible wish to come true.

Anyway, that’s not what I really wanted to talk about. The particular Person Who Sucks that I want to talk about is the person in the little maroon car who pulled out in front of us yesterday. We were driving slowly through The Nearby Small Town, which is generally the only way one can drive through The Nearby Small Town because the traffic lights suck but that’s another story.

Anyway (Did I just start two paragraphs in a row with the word “anyway”? Sorry) we were on our way home from Lowe’s where we had just purchased a bunch of “six packs” of pansies and two quart size pots of violas. We were in the Subaru, the back seat was down and the plants were sitting, unsecured, in the back. I think you see where this is going. The little maroon car was sitting in the left turn lane and suddenly decided they didn’t want to be there anymore and moved over in front of us. We managed to avoid hitting them but the plants and especially the dirt in the pots went flying all over the car. I swear this incident violated the laws of physics (or something) because we ended up with way more dirt in the car than was actually in the pots to begin with.

We got the plants home and planted safely in the ground and the car vacuumed out and life goes on, but Person in the Maroon Car, you still suck. You have no idea what you caused. You don’t care. You only care that you didn’t have to wait in the turn lane another second. There’s a little part of me that still wants to hunt you down but I’ll just have to leave that to karma.

Quotes From Here and There

I kind of love it. A lot. Maybe because the wings are FULL OF POCKET, but probably mostly because I’ve always wanted a carapace.here

I personally have always considered committees as proof that human beings evolved from animals that had tails and liked to chase them.there (via)

” My theory with dresses and fashion is all about everyday is a celebration, everyday is worth dressing up for, everyday is awesome.”here

While melody is certainly important in classical music , nice hummable melodies alone do not great music make . What matters is what the composer DOES with those melodies or themes. This is what creates masterpieces.there

If you’re wondering what that repeated thumping sound is, it’s echoes of me hitting my head against my desk.here

Now I can’t even afford my third yacht!”there

Sewing Things

A long, lovely yellow skirt – I love it but that much yellow on me is probably not a good idea. I might have to get that pattern though. It looks interesting.

Lampshade – Love it!

Flowers and Frocks – A San Francisco Opera costume sale. Lovely! I would love to be an opera singer just to get to wear these things in public.

Windows 2 Wearables – an excellent sewing blog I recently discovered

Fat Quarter Challenge – Make an adult garment using 9 fat quarters. Wow. I kinda want to be in on the fun but I already have more than half a dozen projects screaming, “Make me next! Make me next!” and the whole idea is sort of making my head spin.

Chewbacca’s Girlfriend

In a note to an advice column that I had not heard of before this morning, a man laments his girlfriend’s decision to let her legs and pits go wild and free. Her excuse is the usual – shaving is a male chauvinist plot.

You know… I don’t really keep up with these things but isn’t letting your fur grow as a protest against the patriarchy a little outdated? A lot of men are going smooth now days, a trend that does not exactly have my enthusiastic approval. I mean, it’s okay on TV I guess but I’m not sure I would like living in a world where all men look like Ken dolls. But anyway, it’s not like only women are removing body hair these days.

One interesting thing about the Advice Goddess’s answer is that women and men have been shaving, or using other means to remove hair for a long, long time.

…way back before there was Cosmo, there was Ovid, the Roman poet, advising women looking for love: “Let no rude goat find his way beneath your arms” (don’t let your underarms get stanky like a goat), “and let not your legs be rough with bristling hair.” Archeological evidence (including hair-scraping stones and an impressive set of Bronze Age tweezers) suggests that women — and often men — have been shaving, depilating, and yanking out body hair since at least 7,000 B.C.

So you can stop blaming American women for this custom any time now.

No one enjoys the hair removal process and I have to confess that I have my moments when I wish we didn’t have to do it but, honestly, hairy legs and especially hairy armpits on a woman look disgusting. Why? Is it merely cultural? I think it’s more than that. After all, there was some reason why someone thousands of years ago decided to start removing hair in the first place. I don’t think it was a male vs. female thing. That came later. Perhaps our ancestors (and we still today) wanted to distinguish themselves from the animals. Perhaps at first only those people who were more hirsute than normal shaved and other people liked the smooth look and started shaving also. Maybe it started with athletes, wrestlers. Or maybe there was a male dominance element. Maybe, in an age of child brides and polygamy women wanted to continue to look like children to compete with younger wives. Maybe it was all of these things. Whatever. Ladies, get rid of the leg and underarm hair. It looks gross.


A Hill With a Name

Whenever a section of roadway has a name – an unofficial name given by the locals – you know it has to be interesting to drive on. I posted this on Facebook this morning and then decided to post it here also. As I said on FB, this video doesn’t do it justice. The camera is too close to the ground. It needs to be near driver and passenger eye level so you can see what we see when we drive up or down the curséd thing. But it’s the only one I found so here it is.

Random Linkage

Heads Will Roll – Headlines that didn’t make it into print, mostly for obvious reasons. I think they should have used the one about the bells. If you dumb things down for your audience, your audience will just keep on getting dumber.

Mystery Machine – Awesome! I would totally press the mystery button. At least once a week. Which is why it’s probably a good thing there isn’t one of these in my area.

Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf will be published for the first time this coming May.

The World of Tomorrow, 1939

ZZ Top Plays High School Prom, 1970 – Can you imagine being a member of that class? You could tell the story but no one would believe you.

Unusual Flowers – A few of them are not unusual at all but there are some that I haven’t seen before. I love the blue ones with the white edges and the next to the last picture.

The Awesomer – A site full of awesome stuff. Well, at least interesting stuff.

Not surprisingly, Oklahoma’s “coolest invention” is not really cool but what would we do without them?

In Other Words

I have noticed something a bit curious and this is one of those times when I really wish I had more readers from the sewing blogger community because I would like to do a little poll to see if others have noticed the same thing. It’s that women say “fabric” and men say “cloth”. Or maybe it’s, people who sew say “fabric” and people who don’t say “cloth”. I suppose you can file this under Easily Amused but it does amuse me. One is just as correct as the other. My mother used to use the word “material” for fabric but later she started using the word “fabric” more. That may be a regional thing.

Still, I’m curious. Why do we use the words we use when others around us use different words for the same thing? Somehow it gets established in our minds that this is the right word to use and it just feels right, while other equally right words feel wrong. Like, soda, pop, and Coke. If you have it fixed in your mind that sweet, bubbly drinks are called “soda” and then you move into an area where they are called “pop” you will probably still say “soda” and have a hard time changing even if you decide you want to in order to fit in.

What Time Is Three O’ Clock?

This is why I can’t work in retail. I just don’t have the strength of character to not tell an incredibly stupid person that they are being incredibly stupid. Well, actually, I do but having to do it on a regular basis, day after day, is way too stressful and turns me into an unhappy, not very nice person.

In all fairness though – 1. Not everyone who does or says something dumb in public is really that dumb. They might just be having a relatively rare “senior” or “dumb blond” moment which they will be intensely embarrassed about later. 2. #20 might actually be possible in the near future and even if it never is, how is the average, non-geeky person supposed to know in a world where everything has a computer and we’re constantly being warned about viruses?

I really feel, difficult as it is, that we should be patient with stupid people because if they really are that stupid they can’t help it, right? You can’t expect a stupid person to be smart any more than you can expect a person with a limp to walk faster. But the angry and mean people – the #3′s and the #13′s – deserve no mercy. Not everyone can be smart but everyone can be nice, even if it is really really hard sometimes.

In Hope of a Just Afterlife

Here’s an old favorite of mine, posted in memory of the “Reverend” Fred Phelps, may he soon be forgotten.

A Pagan died and, much to her surprise, found herself at the Pearly
Gates facing St. Peter. He walked up to her and said, “Hello, and
She stared at St. Peter in complete confusion. “Wait a minute,” she
said. “I was supposed to end up in the Summerlands.” He smiled. “Ah, you
must be one of our Pagan sisters. Follow me, please.”

Peter gestured for her to follow him down a small path which went
through the gates and down a bit to the left. They walked for a short
while, then he stepped back and gestured her forward. Looking past his hand,
she saw the verdant fields and forests of her desired Summerlands. She saw
people feasting, dancing, and making merry, exactly as she expected.
While standing there in wonder, the Pagan happened to glance over to one
side and saw a small group of people near the edge of the Summerlands. The
people in the group were watching the revelers, but not joining them.
Instead, they were screaming and weeping piteously.

The Pagan looked at St. Peter. “Who are those people?”

St. Peter replied, “Them? They’re fundamentalists. They’re a bit
surprised to see you all there, so they stand there and carry on like
that all day.”

“Why? Don’t they have better things to do?” asked the Pagan.

Peter leaned conspiratorially toward her. “They don’t really have a
choice. They’re actually in Hell. God doesn’t like being told what He

Quotes From Here and There

Trains Are Wonderful And People Are Garbagehere (First seen here)

…it’s easier to outsmart people than it is to outdumb them.there

For all that I bitch about going to work in the dark, I do love being able to skip normal people driving time.here

And once again, man is done in by his obsession with quarterly revenue reports.there

All is well, but nothing is complete. It goes on forever and I can only stand, watch and wonder.here

Pattern Impulses

At the beginning of every year I see a lot of talk about “stash busting” on the sewing blogs, and I’ve seen some really incredible stashes out there. I’m not even in the running for the “She Who Dies With the Most Fabric” prize. But what about patterns? I haven’t seen as much about this. Sewing people, do you have a stash of unused patterns?

I have a bad habit of using a few TNT (tried ‘n’ true) patterns over and over again and making little changes or combining parts of different patterns to make frankenpatterns, while I have unused patterns that I could not resist but haven’t got around to using yet. Below are a few from my collection followed by explanations and excuses.

From the top, left to right

Simplicity 1882 – This is a very recent purchase and I have fabric for it. I just need to find some fabric for the contrasting trim. I am confident that I will get around to this one this year.

Simplicity 2957 – I’ve had this one several years and have had fabric for it for over a year. I also need to get some contrasting trim fabric for this one.

Vogue 8577 – I also have fabric for this one but when I started cutting out the pattern pieces I got a little discouraged with it because the pockets are not real so I need to figure out some way to add real pockets, which I know I can do but when I discovered that I just decided to put it off until “later”.

Simplicity 2363 – It was love at first site. Then, sometime after I had purchased it, love turned into “What was I thinking?” But now I do have a piece of fabric for it and I’m inspired again. There will be some modifications though.

New Look 6963 – A couple of years ago I thought it was past time to get a new big shirt pattern but then I started wearing more fitted tops and I’m not so fond of big shirts anymore. I think I will use this pattern eventually. One cannot totally give up big shirts.

Vogue 8811 – I love this pattern but haven’t bought any fabric for it yet. I want to make a plaid one. This week I saw some pale blue dotted Swiss at Denver Fabrics and my little girl heart started thinking fluffy thoughts but I’m trying to resist because I’m not sure I would regularly wear anything so delicate.

McCall’s 6279 – I saw this on one of the sewing blogs and loved it but now I’m not sure what I want to do with it – what kind of fabric, what color, etc. It’s a little short for me. I would have to lengthen it quite a bit. How would it look then? I do still like it and want to make it eventually but it probably won’t happen this year.

New Look 6950 – I bought this one because of the curved pocket opening. The pants look really baggy though. Okay for lounge pants maybe. I might make the skirt someday. My daughter-in-law liked the top (A & B) so I might make one of those for her. I like it too but the neck opening looks way too wide. How are you supposed to find a bra to go with something like that? Anyway, I don’t have any immediate plans for this one but it still seems like a useful pattern to have.

Simplicity 9403 – This is a very old pattern. It includes only sizes 6 and 8. I never got around to making it because I couldn’t decide what colors I wanted for it. Now… well, size 8 was about 3 sizes ago and I have no idea how to upsize this pattern with those weird curvy pieces. I should just give it up but darn it I really liked it and wanted to make it and I keep thinking, “There’s gotta be some way.”

I’m reluctant to make any kind of pattern stash busting commitment but I’m tempted to say I will make at least three of these year. So stick around and see how I do. What about the rest of you sewing people? Anyone want to talk about pattern stashes?

A Few More Links

I had a post in mind for today but my stupid brain failed to transfer it from short term memory to long term memory so here are a few more links.

Lost Sleep Leads to Lost Neurons – Hmmmm… sounds pertinent but I really don’t think that’s my problem. I don’t have many wild, sleepless nights in my past.

Ultimate Guide to Quilting

70 Abandoned Buildings – Sad. They don’t build them like that anymore.

Flip Flop Recycling

Frocks and Frou Frou – a very nice sewing blog

10 Unsolved Mysteries

The Coolest Things You Can Buy – Weeeeelllll…. Some are cool, some are WTF and some are a little bit NSFW.

The Zeigarnik Effect – You know that thing your brain does all the time? There’s actually a name for it. (and now we’re back to where we started… talking about brains)

Playing Games For Mental Health

Researchers have developed a smartphone app that can reduce anxiety.

The game is based on an emerging cognitive treatment for anxiety called attention-bias modification training (ABMT). Essentially, this treatment involves training patients to ignore a threatening stimulus (such as an angry face) and to focus instead on a non-threatening stimulus (such as a neutral or happy face). This type of training has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress among people suffering from high anxiety.

In the study, about 75 participants — who all scored relatively high on an anxiety survey — were required to follow two characters around on the screen, tracing their paths as quickly and accurately as possible.

After playing the game for either 25 or 45 minutes, the participants were asked to give a short speech to the researchers while being recorded on video — an especially stressful situation for these participants.

The videos revealed that participants who played the ABMT-based version of the game showed less nervous behavior and speech during their talk and reported less negative feelings afterward than those in the placebo group.

That makes sense but I wonder if it has to be their specially developed game or if pretty much any low stress game could have the same effect.

That Was Weird

When I was little my grandmother had a green parakeet (budgie) named Mike. In fact, he was a few months older than I was. He could say a few words but mostly stopped talking in his later years. He died when we were eight years old, which is more or less a normal lifespan for a parakeet.

Now here’s the weird thing. Last night I dreamed that Mike was still alive, right now in 2014 at more than 50 years of age, and he had grown very large, about the size of a chicken. There was some kind of gathering and I took Mike out of his cage to show him off. I carried him on my shoulder but held on to him so he wouldn’t fly away. I kept trying to get someone to take a picture of us but everyone was either too busy or they said they would do it but wanted me to do something for them first. I was going to have to leave soon and was running out of time to have the picture taken. And then I woke up and it was my pillow that I was holding.

At first I a little disappointed but then I thought, “Thank goodness! An over-sized parakeet is the last thing I need!”

Random Linkage

Zoological Atlas – Wonderful 19th century illustrations

Japanese Deco Railway Posters – Lovely

High and Low Tide Photos

ADCD – Ha! There’s a name for it now so it’s legit.

Roentgen Objects – Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! Want! Want! Want!

Unicorns and Rhinos – New discoveries and fantasy vs. real animals

Wild Concrete – photos of nature taking over

The Essense of a Teapot – Beautiful, interesting, and weird

Japanese Movie Title Translations

In the Moment

See, there’s a problem with living in the moment. One moment you’re enjoying a cookie and then sometime later you have another moment in which you discover that you can no longer fasten your favorite jeans.

Spring Indecision

It seems like this time of year is the not really a good time for anything. Unlike fall, there are no holidays to get ready for, except Easter and there’s not a lot of preparation necessary for that, not like the winter holidays. I’m not interested in any of the sports that are played this time of year. It’s too early for most seeds and plants. I am planning to plant some pansies this week. It is getting warm enough to be outside most days. Yesterday was not one of those days. Today is almost warm enough.

And sewing? Do I sew late winter clothes or spring and summer clothes? I have a couple of winter fabrics that I want to sew now because I feel like they are in the way. Every time I go in the closet to get something there they are, right on top of everything. But if I made them up now I would only get to wear them a few times, maybe only once or twice. I’m in the mood to sew some pretty spring and summer fabrics but it would be a month, maybe even two, before I would get to wear them. So, not knowing what to start next, I procrastinate. It would be a good time to finally do some of the re-making and re-styling that I’ve been thinking about but that would mean taking stuff apart and I’m never in the mood for that.

I do have a few fabrics that are destined to be long sleeved spring blouses and I should make those but I think of them like winter stuff – something I will only be able to wear a few times before I have to put them away for next winter.

So, what are you doing during this transitional season?

Still (mostly) Gray on St. Patrick’s Day

I was tempted to tell (again) about the time when I was six years old and my mother forgot it was St. Patrick’s Day and sent me to school wearing a red and white plaid dress and that I sometimes suspect that might be why it’s always important to me to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. But I actually do like St. Patrick’s Day specifically for the “wearin’ o’ the green” and it makes me a little sad that most people don’t participate or participate in a half-hearted way, wearing only a tiny bit of green or a dull gray-green or brownish green that just barely qualifies as green. It’s a few days before the official first day of spring, and we can still have winter weather for at least another month, but it seems to me a perfect day to be saying goodby to winter and looking forward to spring and summer, which I know is not the real point of St. Patrick’s Day but that’s what it means to me.

It was very winter-like yesterday. This morning the sun is shining and it’s supposed to warm up some. There are a few traces of green here and there in nature but the world outside is still mostly gray and brown. Why wouldn’t you want to wear green at this time of year? Personally, I’ve been craving bright, pretty spring colors since the beginning of February.

Quotes From Here and There

It’s a shame that term fell into disuse, inasmuch as we now find ourselves with a surfeit of such individuals.here

Maybe we can think of this clothing item as the equivalent of a slice of pie—it can be a simple diner treat or dressed up for an elaborate dinner party.there

You have to want it. And you have to be willing to sacrifice for it, if only for a time.here


Open or Not?

How do you feel about “open kitchens”? Apparently they are not as much of a thing in Britain as they are on this side of the pond. And even here, I doubt that they are as universally loved as you might be led to believe by watching HGTV and reading kitchen decor magazines.

I am not sure if I would like an open kitchen or not. It seems like it might be nice to be able to talk with people in the living room and see the TV while I’m in the kitchen but I just feel like the kitchen needs to be a separate room. I would rather have a big, eat-in country kitchen with space for people to hang out out of the way of the actual cooking zone.

What about you? What would your dream kitchen look like?

Colorful Paisley With Rick-Rack

The delightful Anne of Pretty Grievances came up with my new favorite neologism (I first saw it in the comments on a recent post. I’m not going to look it up.) – gaudiflage – bold, colorful clothes and accessories used to conceal or divert attention away from one’s physical imperfections. Skeptical? Seriously, here’s how it works. You dress so that instead of having people say about you, “Does she really think wearing black will make that huge butt look any smaller?” they will say, “OMG! Quick, where are my sunglasses?” (Or perhaps, “Who sent in the clown?”) Well, anyway, I was using gaudiflage before it was even a word.

Here is my recently finished creation.

This is Simplicity 5346 with a little sleeve modification and lots of pink rick-rack. I am mostly pleased with the result. Comfortable and colorful. What more could one want? The sleeves aren’t quite the length I was going for but they’ll do.

I just happened to have the perfect button in my leftover buttons drawer. I only had the one so I’m probably going to be slightly paranoid about losing it even though I rarely lose buttons off clothes I make.

My history of making button loops is not exactly filled with honor and glory. (i.e. They usually turn out ugly and the wrong size.) So, I thought, what I really need for the loop is some small, round black elastic. Of course the local Wal-mart didn’t have any but while I was looking for it I noticed a card full of colorful ponytail bands. (Yes, in sewing notions; no wonder some people get confused about where to find things) The bands gave me an idea but they were too thick so I rushed back to the hair products and found these little black ones.

And it works perfectly. I left it whole so there will be no problem with it fraying. The hidden part of it is about the same length as the half you can see. I still have 35 small black ponytail bands, which should be enough to last me a lifetime if Number Two Son doesn’t find them.

* * *

More rick-rack, in case you missed it.