Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yipes, Stripes

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to play with stripes.  I've made striped dresses and tops for myself, and a striped shirt for Mario where I cut the fabric and stitched it back together to make chevrons.  Because why not?  (It took wine, that stripe matching, but is that a bad thing?)

Recently I found a sweater at the thrift store in an alarming combination of red-orange, purple, dark brown and tan stripes.  Wide stripes.  Narrow stripes.  Loud, strident stripes.

It was a man's sweater.  Extra large.

Even after felting, it was still pretty big.

It's now four felted knit critters, mixed in with some solid red-orange wool left over from another project.  (Can't believe the color match).

And yes, I matched the stripes.  I particularly like the stripe match when you look at him from the rear, although the front view of his face does enhance his cross-eyed appeal.

This little guy is available here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Downton Abbey: All Hail the Dowager Countess

Really, who doesn't love Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham?

Almost as much as her barbed comments do I love her faded Edwardian grandeur.  Not for her Shirley MacLaine's 1920s furs and plumes and mutton-dressed-as-lamb.

Oh, no.  Violet had her day, and she's still wearing its clothes.  And its hats.  My god, that woman's hats.

Let's just have a little Dowager Countess, shall we, as we wait for season 5 to start.  In freaking January.

All I can say, Julian Fellowes, is no one had better die this season.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Those who run in

Everyone sees through the lens of their own experience.  For me, after the intiial shock and horror of what happened, I thought about the extra deaths.  I won't say unnecessary deaths, because every death that day should not have happened, but my dad was a fireman, after all.  I think about the (mostly) men who responded as they always do when that bell goes off, and who ran into those buildings, while everyone else was doing their best to run out.  And some of whom, because this is what they do, probably had idiot grins on their faces because they took a certain joy in their job. 

My dad was one of those crazy, heroic men, and I know if he'd been alive in 2001, he would have been hitching up to NYC with a busload of other firemen and first responders, spending days on that pile with a shovel, leaning against that iconic tangle of metal, waitling to see if there were any more survivors down there.  Not resting until all of their own were brought out. 

It somehow made it worse that it was such a beautiful fucking day.  

Remembering everyone who lost their lives, or lost someone, on that day 13 years ago.  But especially remembering those who run in while others are running out. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Go West

In less than two weeks, it'll be the fall edition of Go West! Craft Fest, which is  hands down the best of my fall events.  I love Woodlands Cemetery anyway, I go walking there all the time.  So does the rest of the neighborhood, so it has a great built-in customer base, it's near all forms of public transportation and it's just a great place to spend some time.  If you're in the area, please stop by!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Creativity, time and the lack thereof

Author Elizabeth Gilbert recently tweeted this: "Traditionally, women have always made their art out of stolen materials and stolen time. They made art 1) to beautify, 2) to not go mad."

She expanded on this on her website, and on Facebook, referring to a blog entry she read, which ralked about the tweet quoted above.

"She [the blog author] was writing in response to something I said in an interview, about how women have always made their art using stolen time and stolen materials. (An example I always give is the traditional art of quilting — an art form which women have always made in borrowed moments, using literal rags...and what do they make out of that compressed time, and those lousy materials?  Masterpieces of singular beauty.) The time that women have traditionally been given for themselves and for their creativity has never been perfect. It is still not perfect. Yet somehow, generation after generation, women have found ways to be creative, anyhow. (They have to, or they will lose their minds.) They gather the rags and the dregs, and they stitch it together into something amazing. Is it the ideal environment in which to creative? No. But they make it work. "

 Go here for the whole entry, which is well worth the read.

What do you think?  Do you have enough time to create?  Do you make time, or filch it from other things you're supposed to be doing?  What's your biggest obstacle?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Downton Abbey: Beads

One of my favorite dresses, and a good
sense of how the exhibit was arranged.
I know, it's been a while, but I was reorganizing some photos tonight and realized I had a few left from the Downton exhibit that I hadn't shared.

One of the things that really got me, made me stare and lean in, was the beading on some of the dresses.  If Winterthur had the usual museum sensors, I would have had them howling for sure.  Years ago, Mario and I went to the Paul Poiret exhibit at the Met, and after I set the alarms off for the third time, one of the guards told me that it was my last chance -- once more, and I was out.

I liked Winterthur; they knew we were there to get up close, but they also trusted us to be respectful enough not to drool on the dresses.

Nothing else to say here -- just enjoy the gorgeousness.  Turns out I do have a few more bits left after this -- a Dowager Countess and some lovely velvets.

More soon.

Amazing - the weight of the beads as opposed
to the lightness of the dress fabrics.  

Confession: I nearly drooled on this one.  

I don't even remember this dress, but
I wish I did.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Then there were 8

We lost Archie this evening.

I knew it was coming, but it's still hard.

He'd lost a bit of weight recently, but nothing alarming -- he was always overweight.  His eyes had been a bit runny lately, but he was always the poster child for upper respiratory infections.  He was lethargic lately, but he'd always been a bit of a slug.

But . . . put them all together, and it didn't seem right.

I put him on his standard respiratory infection antibiotics, and for two days, he seemed a bit better.  His eyes stopped running, at least, but he was still sluggish and not particularly interested in food.  For a cat who was 25 pounds at his peak, that was worrying.

I'm off work tomorrow, so I decided today that I would see how he looked in the morning, and if it seemed that things were truly worse, I would take him down to the University of Penn's veterinary emergency room and let him go peacefully.

Then I came home from work, and the decision was much easier.  He'd moved since I left in the morning, but he'd pulled down a plastic bag to lie on, and instead of getting up to go to the litterbox, he'd messed on the bag, and was lying in it.  That's not the behavior of a cat who's going to recover anytime soon.

I wrapped him in a towel, popped him in a carrier, and headed out.  The hospital is only 6 blocks away, and it was easier to walk -- Penn's move-in has started and there are street closures between here and there.  That ruled out taking a cab, and Mario wasn't home yet, so the car wasn't available.  I ran into Mario, however, halfway to the hospital, so we ended up saying goodbye to Arch together.

The vet who looked him over agreed that there was something seriously amiss, and also agreed (as my regular vet might not have) that my choice was a totally reasonable one considering the alternative was putting a sick, 14 year old cat through tests that might well tax what little strength he had left.

Archie didn't look like much on the table, wrapped in a different towel to cover the stickiness, with an IV in his arm for the needles.

I prefer to remember him as the tiny kitten I brought home one day in November, 2001, cold and wet and having been rescued from a bunch of rock-throwing kids, zipped safely into my leather jacket next to my heart.