Saturday, December 26, 2009

Worth my Sewing Labor: Three New Tops, & Stash sewing

I meant to put all my sewing creations out here and then I end up just posting them on Here are three recent top and blouse creations I'm really proud of. I'm particularly happy with them because:
a) None take lots of time to sew. Once they are cut out each takes between 2-3 hours of labor.
b) My sewing labor is well invested because they fit into my real life style well. I wear them a lot. They go with both the normal clothes I wear and also work for festive occasions.
c) They work well with my figure and clothing style so I want to wear them.

When I buy things I try to think about cost-per-use. $100 is worth it if I wear those comfortable, posture-enhancing shoes three times a week for 4 years. $20 is too much for a pair of shoes I bought to wear to a wedding and threw out because they hurt to walk in. (I didn't even donate them. Nobody should suffer in those shoes.)

I value my labor time even more than a dollar in my pocket. What does my value-per-sewing-hour come down to?

This is my festive occasion white silky blouse. I had this piece of material in one of my boxes I took down out of the rafters. Yes, the ones we put up there when we moved into this house 19 years ago. I remember I was originally going to make it into a pattern that Brooke Shields modeled. I'm so glad I didn't!

This is my favorite regular old peasant blouse pattern. I cut it straight down instead of following the pattern curves, so it's a little fuller and flows well with a belt over it. It's very quick to sew. The belt is a piece of very wide black elastic with one of those round black slider belt thingies sewed onto the end. I've worn the blouse three times over the holidays and it will work during the rest of the year too, even if I'm not dressing up. I can tone down the jewlery a little. My peasant blouse pattern works well with a vest on top too.

Here's the same top in a coppery challis print. Also from my rafter stash. Also my favorite peasant blouse pattern. I was really into challis skirts back then. I'm so glad I never cut this one out either. I've worn this top probably eight times since I made it about six weeks ago. I use that same black belt I'm wearing with the white silky blouse. Same cut-it-straight style.

I'm particularly proud of the last one. It's a velvety, rib knit. I'm not confident about knit sewing but since I became a big fan of Lori Van Monan's wonderful "Sew Forth Now" podcasts I decided to get brave and really think about how to make my knit patterns work out . I made sure to use knit type needles. I cut up a favorite old only-fit-for-exercising-in-the-backyard hole filed tee shirt and used it as a pattern. I made it up first in a stretchy green velour knit (no photo) and liked it pretty well but wasn't really enchanted with the neckline. So next I laid out my old tee on this pretty black knit fabric, chalked around it - adding seam allowance. Then I used a purchased tee-shirt pattern that had a good neckline, but had turned out lousy in terms of the rest of the fit and chalked in the neckline. Boy, I am happy with this tee. I've worn it three times since I made it about a week ago. Yes, I do cold-water wash these tops in between!

The beautiful young girl with me is my very sweet daughter. I used to sew darling dresses for her but now the only sewing projects we both like are double sided, tied fleece blankets with appliqued designs. I've made two for her and one for her best friend.


A certain flock of ladies have been really well behaved every night until tonight. When I arrived at bedtime to latch the coop door they ALL to a WOMAN hopped off their roosts and came outside to chat. I had to go take a walk, come back and sneak up on them to get the door shut. By the time they had jumped back off the roosts and started heading for the door (and they did!) I had it shut. They were not pleased. I'm glad I only eat the kind that don't get a chance to develop their personalities.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Part 2: Festive Season Outing in San Francisco (cont'd)

Besides the cute geologist I posted yesterday (yes- I DO happen to be married to him) my sweet daughter came along.

We had a loverly time looking at consumable items in Union Square. Oh my, so many fun little things a girl would enjoy having. So easy to put on the credit card.

The kittens and pups in the Macy's window were calling out adopt me. We have ancient kitties and pooches of our own at home. And the San Fran SPCA has a really high adoption rate. So we didn't have to feel sad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Part 1: San Francisco Festive Season Outing

When the American Geophysical Union is in town, it's a good excuse to go up to San Francisco for supper and look for cute geologists.

There's a cute one!

Oooo, I'll take him with a side of fries!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Hooping Update

I did my 21'st hooping session yesterday. It's going really well. I have been hooping between 30-45 minutes six days a week, and I chart my progress each time on Excel. I use the time to walk over and write down my success count, to catch my breath before starting up again.

Yesterdays average spins/attempt was just over 80! My recovery skills are building and well and my next goal is to learn to go side to side.
Keep the chickens
wild and free!

One of my neighbors chickens has decided to leave the flock and spend her free time in my yard. This would not be unusual in places where other people live but in the surburban San Francisco Bay Area we rarely see chickens outside of the zoo or the egg carton.

My neighbor, though a determined vegetarian, was starting to consider the stew pot for this badly behaved foul. She offered her to me for my fricassee!

Friends don't eat friends!

We have struck a deal that Miss MegRose (yes her little boy had named her after me long before she developed her wandering proclivities) can continue her wanderings unless she becomes irritating. So far she has only dug up two cyclamen and they are easily replaced. Also chicken manure is a nice addition to my clay soil. We'll see how things go when we get to fly season in the summer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hooping: Whee! Up to 44 high successes

Big increase in ability to recover hoop and keep it going today. Up from 24 of those yesterday to 44 today. And yesterday was a big improvement over the past attempts. Also one of my high success rates was 215! Also two other successes of over 100. Yeah, yeah, yeah! OK I need to stop with the personal bragging and meditate on the sins of the world, or something more serious.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meg Rose HOOPS: I'm getting there!!!

I've been logging all hooping activity since I last posted the day before Thanksgiving. I'm not going to put up my whole log here (who would read that?) but have included just a sample for the last few days, because I'm so pleased at my improvement by my 11'th session.

And maybe it will give some hope to somebody starting out, because perhaps it's as gosh durned hard for them to learn as it has been for me.I'm definitely learning to recover the hoop when it starts to move down from my waist. Also learning to straighten my torso more when I get up to about 20 or 30 range. Which feels good and seems like it both helps the hooping and my posture work.

11'th hooping session TODAY 30 minutes (at least) 3 sets of double arm hooping 24 instances of HIGH SUCCESS hooping (more than 10) an average of 41.75 twirls/high success - helped along by once doing 130 and another time 170! (plus several other high counts)

10'th hooping session YESTERDAY - a very good day - 30 minutes (at least) 2 sets double arm hooping 17 HIGH SUCCESS an average of 25.24 twirls/high success

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'll be Hooping for Thanksgiving

I've been learning to hoop for the last week. Holy Moses is it hard! Today I celebrated my seventh session! At this point in my hooping career, the exercise consists mostly of an attempt, the movement of the hoop somewhere in the vicinity of my waist and then, after 5-8 twirls of the hoop the descent of that hoop onto the ground. I lean over, pick it up, catch my breath and repeat the process. (I got my purple and green waist and arm hoop set from Canyon Hoops

However I've had several high-count attempts now.I tracked my high successes today. A high success attempt is when I manage to keep the waist hoop going more than 10 times before it drops. Here are my high successes for tonight.

15 , 15, 30, 28, 21 (arm hoop recess) 12, 27, 22 39, 14

I bet there are people that would learn this skill a lot faster than I am. Over the past week, I had to really work on believing (remember that saintly little engine that could?) that I would manage to keep the hoop up. The first session or two I worked at it for about 10 minutes before stopping all sweaty and wiped out. My goal was to be able to work on hooping for 30 minutes by Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and today I did work at it for 30 minutes!!!

I can now, mostly, identify when I'm doing it right and getting the desired 'pump' feeling. Over the last two days I've decide that the next important challenge is to learn to recover the hoop. I know that a few times I have managed to recover it and continue. It seems that I have recovered by some variation on a squat (which I saw in the hooping book I checked out of the library) involving more of a forward thrust. It seems though, that sometimes the hoop isn't in the place I need it to be to do this. Sometimes it just seems like it's going to slowly to catch. Also sometimes I think I manage to recover by speeding up my pumping motion but sometimes it seems that I'm not managing to touch the hoop enough despite increasing my speed.

One day this week I managed to keep the hoop rotating for a count of 84. I never came close to that since then! I start out by hooping with a small arm hoop on each arm (one at a time for now) for a few minutes (2 different orientations on each arm). Then I switch to the waist and hoop until I need a break. I then do my arms again with the other 2 arm orientations. After that I go back to hooping at the waist.

My next goal is to get better at recovering.

I'm happy I found a low-impact aerobic exercise I enjoy. I particularly like the feeling after you're done and cooling off, without the knee stress I used to get running. I really felt the results of this activity in the muscles of my back for the first several days but they have pretty much stopped complaining. I now just feel rather aware of them during the day.

I'm not going to stop being a walker, by the way. I still enjoy walking my errands and currently walk 4-5 miles a day.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Goin' down the road feelin' bad

What is the name of that Grateful Dead song?

CA grape vines in their fall wardrobe

I love the sights on the drive down CA 101 between the San Francisco Bay Area and San Luis Obispo, but I sure do dislike sitting in the car and worse yet being the driver, as I was this weekend. We've got those little communications devices like they had on Star Trek, how come we can't beam ourselves places yet? It would sure save on gas prices too.

I headed down to see my sweet daughter at Cal Poly but on the way back I drove along Las Pilitas Road to buy CA native plants from Penny at the Las Pilitas Nursery . I'd been meaning to get there on a Saturday for awhile. It's the only day of the week they are open to the public. Which makes it that much more intriguing!

If we could beam ourselves wherever we wanted, I'm afraid that Las Pilitas would be ruined. You know why it's so good. It takes a while to get there and it's off the beaten path.

Along the road I stopped to see the old Railroad bridge.

This California Buckwheat was also growing along the roadway. My last native plant class was in 1976 but Penny confirmed for me that yes, this is Flat-Top Buckwheat

Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum

A flock of wild turkeys raced across the road. I think they are the wild variety. We have them up here too. I recognize them because they look exactly like the ones on the whiskey bottle. Unfortunately by the time I got the camera out they had zippity-do-dahed out into the meadow. They are no fools, these birds, despite what you hear.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Out Our Way

We spread sand on the mossy walkway so the cute little trick-or-treaters wouldn't break their dear little legs

We both carved pumpkins. Mine was the cute one

Amanda came. When you give her a piece of candy, she puts one of HERS back into your bowl. It's a fair trade, don't you think? Her father was trying to teach her just to take the candy. I like her way best

Dashiel arrived and blew smoke for me like a real dragon.

. . .
This beautiful lady ALSO came over and watched all the trick or treaters from the front porch. I'm sorry to say she's moved on this morning.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pianoforte versus the BIG sound

Friday night I hopped on my bike and pedaled over to hear Ted Good play his "little red fellow" a reproduction Cristofori Fortepiano in a small concert hall at Stanford University. It was a personal experience. The soft sound of Little Red gave me the sense that Ted was making the music personally. The reverberating echo of our modern pianos was still to come, every note has a hand made feeling to it. Trills didn't echo but were delightfully different. Other than the up-close-and-personal sound, the bass notes sounded the most different. There was a kind of sharp 'boing' sound. I wonder if this is because all the strings (of which there are two for every hammer) are the same width. My 1903 Chickering piano, like my 2007 steel-string guitar have bass strings that are much thicker than the treble.

Saturday night I again biked over to Stanford (the ride over is fine if I leave around sunset, but coming back in the dark with no moon, there were a few very, very dark spots). This time to hear a chorus of nearly 150 people singing Felix Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah" in the Stanford Memorial Church. The performance was the culmination of a one-day workshop of people from many choruses and choirs. (I had a conflict during the day but- yes- I would love to have been singing.) This was BIG sound. I don't know what the official word is on the acoustics there but I got a great deal of pleasure when the director, Craig Jessop, long-time director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, raised his baton at the end of an air and I could feel the sound float up and resonate in the top of the dome. He also did an excellent job of organizing the group. There was a kind of angel choir effect in the middle that was particularly good. Though I figured out where my own voice part (the sopranos) were standing, versus the altos, I never quite figured out what voice part those young women were singing.

The mezzo soloist was the best. Her enunciation, emotion and the way her voice reached out to the audience was wonderful. During her character's angry speeches she flipped the pages of her music with impatience and in the soft gentle parts they were handled with a soft, delicate touch. I felt like the soprano soloist could have sent her voice out more, though she had a lovely bell-like ring. I sat up front in the middle and so was very close to the 18 piece students in the Stanford Symphonic Orchestra. There were some special instrumental bits that echoed beautifully, and were extremely well exectued, for first violin and cello when they go off with the melody. A nice air for a pair of flutists towards the end as well.

Soloists for Elijah
Michael Morris – Bass (Elijah)
Wendy Hillhouse – Mezzo
Sharon Davis – Soprano
Pedro Betancourt – Tenor

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's all in the Story

My now-a-college-sophomore daughter and I both took community college summer school. I think I enjoyed it more because I didn't have to take it. I took 3 classes and, as much as I liked it, it is nice to be able to take some time out to hang out in the patio now as my daughter and her little bug-eyed dog are doing here!

I took six week of Italian, 2 hours a day four days a week from the best language teacher I’ve ever had, and maybe the best teacher I’ve ever had. Apparently he’s not going to teach there anymore, but I’m glad I got to have him while I did. His approach was to base everything around the story. So we worked and re-worked the dialogs in the book, and also ones he had written, in all kinds of ways. You told and retold the story orally and in writing. You answered his questions, your own questions and your neighbors questions. I really focused on telling the stories in my own voice, using the words I would try to use if I were in Italy telling somebody about something. I really enjoyed sitting down and working on my homework! It was a very exciting approach and I’m working on incorporating it into my writing and other things I do. I’m interested in seeing what came out of it for me the next time I’m teaching math or language arts or whatever comes up. So often I get a chance to think on my feet when I’m subbing. Even the best-laid sub plans don’t always pan out or else there are kids who run out of things to do, or else just in explaining the idea or directing the kids you need different approaches. Often in math classes kids will finish early and I say “Ok write and illustrate a word problem that is just a little bit challenging.” And then I edit it. I find that kind of editing a lot more straightforward and immediate, than the kind for essays and social studies reports.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stash Sewing: Frog on a Buttercup

[img][/img]Decreasing what I own makes life seem less overwhelming. Another good reason to shop my stash

Inspired by the purses, bags and wallets forum at, I made a variation on a Buttercup Purse/Bag.

You can find the pattern for these bags at

I also made a matching top.


The fabric is a light weight denim I held on to for too long. Feels great to use it up!

Stash Sewdown is furthered by repeating the use of the same, well-fitting, happy-making patterns. I've made several of these tops lately and two of these purses, in different sizes and fabrics.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hooray! I posted to one of my favorite forums at Checkout my nifty vintage inspired cold water wash bag I learned about this great site from a Lori podcast at Sew Forth Now.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Notes from Dogpatch

Here we are outside of the D.C. award ceremony.  I'm wearing the cute dressy outfit that I sewed as part of my sewn-with-a-plan mini wardrobe. Part of my plan was that it will also work for other festive spring and summer occasions. I’ve already worn it once back here at home. That also means I’ve successfully hand-washed both pieces.I was a little nervous about that.  Part of my wardrobe plan was to wear all three different tops with my tried-and-true black palazzo pants. This pattern is an out-of-print Butterick that was originally for capri pants. I’ve altered the pattern over the last few years. First it became the base for a wide legged divided skirt (I shot out at a diagonal from just below the pocket and also straightened the inside leg). I liked that so much that eventually I got brave and did a lengthened version for very wide-legged, elastic waist pants. Boy these pants are great. I make them all the time, particularly when Joanne’s has their 100% linen on sale. They really suit my life style and my figure. I go in very little at the waist and I don’t go out much at the hips.

 Luckily I checked my most recent pair of  good black linen pants I had made a few months ago in time, I had spent my time sewing   the cute top and jacket as well as two other tops and a pair of nearly knee-length black linen shorts/skorts (same pattern shorter!). Of course I knew those pants would be fine, so I simply put them in with the dark cold water wash on delicate and then hung them on the line to dry without paying them much attention.

 Was it the washing machine or is it just that I need to start interlining?

 As I went to pack I found two GREAT BIG HOLES right in the REAR END of my wonderful pants I can always count on! Of course first I tried to mend them by fusing scraps of black linen underneath the holes. How noticeable could it be? Well I looked exactly like somebody from Lil' Abner.  I could just imagine walking around W.D.C. having people think I came from Dog Patch. Luckily I had time to go to Joannes, buy more black linen and quickly sew a new pair. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sewing for D.C.

I'm focusing on sewing black and lime green for the summer. I've got a bit of copper in my hair so it's a good color combo for me. Inspired by many of the SewForthNow podcasts, I sewed a mini wardrobe with a plan for a recent trip! I've been enjoying wearing my new clothes since I came home too. I've since added a pretty black and white toile purse with a flower and some other embellishment bits in lime green. I got a lot of compliments walking through the community college where I study piano when I was wearing my new black and white toile shell top that matched the purse. I never seem to get to old to enjoy compliments!

I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Washington  I have never had the opportunity to go to D.C. before and we managed, despite  work commitments (!), to slip in just over two days of tourist experience before the event that sparked the trip.  Visiting the Supreme Court and seeing the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II and Washington monuments lit up at night, was like seeing the social studies textbooks come to life. We were also able to fit in  time at the American History Museum, National Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as a very thorough visit to the Natural History Museum. We spent a fair amount of time admiring the rocks and minerals collection. I also searched out all the fossils I could locate. They are a lot easier to find behind glass than they are when you work as a volunteer field assistant. The trilobites there are gorgeous.

One of the many monuments we went to was the Vietnam wall. Though we are the right age, we fortunately  didn’t know anyone who died in Vietnam. Thinking geneology, we looked for family names to see if there might have been any very, very distant cousins. Again, happily very few possibilities, though I forgot to look for 'Jost' which might have turned up a candidate given my mother’s six boy cousins who could have had a child of the right age. Nor do I know the name of the family who Mama's grandfather married before the second concurrent wife. Yes, he was a bigamist. 

I did find an "Issac Taggart' born in Chicago Ilinois April 1 1947. Did grandmother Mary Taggart have any male relations who came over to this side of the pond and might have had children at that time? Was he a cousin many, many times removed?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Just finished practicing piano alternating between McDowell's "To A Wild Rose" and a boogie-woogie version of "Frankie and Johnny" both are big favorites of mine. What a great contrast shifting from the syncopated, B-flat, F&J to the slow, romantic A-centric Rose. And getting that syncopation down by next Wednesday is a nice challenge. I'm due to play F&J then. Wild Rose is my final class piece towards the end of May. There the big challenge is all the notes in the left hand, lots of movement and getting the lovely roll in my left hand at the point when my left hand just won't stretch across nine notes. Often I get the roll but then my right hand gets lost, so I have to really focus on engaging that muscle memory with lots and lots of single hand repetition.

Hold on and Bloom

Erignyum or fleabane daises growing in concrete on El Camino Real. Where's the dirt? What's making them not only grow but bloom luxuriantly?

They remind me that some people manage to come out great with no nourishment at all.

They makes me humble.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Alcatraz Part 2 of 2

New to me, it wasn’t only stereotypical bad guys like Capone and Machine Gun Kelly who were incarcerated in Alcatraz. Political prisoners and people of consciousness went as well. On a brief ranger-intern led walk we learned that Hopi parents who refused to send there children to culture-negating boarding schools were also taken there. Though I knew that those schools attempted to change native children into different people, I never heard before that there was a fifty percent mortality rate. That’s something to read up on.


In January I virtuously purged the house of maybe a fifth of our books and managed to eliminate and repurpose several book shelves. We have a small house and the sheer mass of stuff is overwhelming. I forced myself to donate even books I might, just maybe read again reminding myself continuously that if I really wanted to read it again, I would very likely be able to find another copy to check out from our marvelous vast county library system. I purged the house and piled box after box into the back of the car. I know I made at least five trips over to the donation zone during the week. Since then I’ve been awfully good about not buying every exciting book that I hear about on a talk show or in a podcast. And I have found all but one in the library system.


But did I follow through on the Alcatraz trip? Oh no… I brought home two new books from the Alcatraz gift store. However when we’re done with them, I’ll give them a year and then send them off to the book sale unless they’ve been reread or dipped into. OK maybe two years.


For the trip I wore the new Passover fleece vest I created. I used my tried and true jacket pattern, the bodice of which I always double. Here I cut it longer but left vents at the sides and I like the way that fits. The swallow design I put over my front pockets, and on the back, was the same one I had created on a fleece blanket I recently made for someone I love. (See April 1 in this blog). The swallows flying free and safe up above feels right for the celebration of the festival. I didn’t make a pocket bag on the inside under the two front swallows, just an opening into the lining. That way I can drop in camera, sunglasses, and my cell phone. I sometimes have to dig around a little to find what I need but it works pretty gosh darned well. I also made a little chapstick and cell phone pocket  high up on the inside which seems to work for the way I live. My main challenge was the closure on the pockets. At this point, I just put on Velcro. After wearing it for a week of unusually cold weather I sewed in some hardware store magnets. They are better than the velcro. I think if I do the same kind of appliqué/flap another time I will line the inside of the appliqué and weight the hanging-down part so that I can just flip it up, grab my camera, and then let it drop. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Finding the right note

I can go there and higher, when I'm working on technique but rarely have I hit that note when I'm singing with other people. On a recent Sunday, Easter the Christians call it, I went along to help fill out the sopranos in a small congregation, sixteen voice choir. I practiced on my own, and went to three rehearsals with the group. I was very sure, however, that I would not achieve that beautiful high note in a hymn called Majesty. Only one of the four sopranos could. Nancy told me she was sure I would pull it off too. I tried to believe her but I practiced the lower E!

During all the different melodies, which included other hymns and choruses from Messiah, I focused on all that good technique; my breathing, resonance and manipulating my cheek bones while NOT raising my tongue or tightening my throat. Also I thought about singing out to the people who were listening, about the message they were listening for. During their prayers and sermon, I thought about the uplifting story of Passover and focused on my own Jewish blessing, Baruch Ata Adonai Elohainu

The swell of shared singing experience took control and Nancy and I hit that A flat.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Heading Out to Alcatraz

During Passover, Alan and I took the ferry to Alcatraz. I love the hiking on Angel Island so much, that I never thought about going to the miniscule Rock, though I've lived in the Bay Area for over thirty years. I took 139 pictures in two and a half hours and would have taken three times that many if we hadn't parked in a four hour zone back in San Francisco. Though we snuck in a small bit of gardens and birds, we mostly focused on the audio tour of the prision itself. It's really well done, self-paced and interactive. It's also a photography paradise. I don't know how many light and line photos I took of ceiling grids, cell blocks and gun galleries. Bars everywhere, silhouetted against huge openness. We're planning to go back maybe in June to see all the things we missed. More gardens, more focus on the native occupation, more bird observation, and even more history.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Our community chorus is not affiliated with an organized religious group. As is common for musicians who need to earn a living, our director also runs a church choir in a Baptist church. I'm going to be an extra soprano for her in their Easter service. They are doing a chorus from Messiah I had never heard before. It is, 'But Thanks Be to God'. I finally realized why the title sounds odd. I was looking at the music during my piano class and one of my classmates said, "Well you always look for the conjunction and contrast it with the rest of the sentence." Then I realized what was bothering me. Where is is the rest of Handel's sentence? What was he contrasting the tune to? Maybe it's something along the lines of, no-matter-how-stinky-life-is-you've-still-got-this-resurrection-thing-to-count-on?

Perhaps I'll get a better sense of it when the cellist comes for the dress rehearsal. It's easier being Jewish. We're still waiting.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On Cinquains

I was motivated to write the cinquain below because of two days spent substituting in a third grade classroom. They had to write one. I carefully went through the form with them: simple subject here, adjectives there. We all made up a class example together. The subject line was 'dogs'. Then about two thirds of the class wrote theirs about a pet. I heard one kid say to another, "Penguins aren't pets. You can't write that!". I then tried to explain that a cinquain is just a poem and the the subject can be about anything, even an idea.

Most of them totally zoned out because

a) It was almost spring break
b) I wasn't the regular teacher
c) They already did the assignment anyway.

Also a bunch of them copped lines from the class poem. Apparently several liked the final line where we equated 'dog' to 'small brown wolf', so they included that. I would guess this is because they are used to taking other people's graphics off the web and using them in their reports. The photo below is my own. After I wrote the poem I went outside and looked around for a good shot. That wisteria smells delicious right now.

I never did figure out what I smelled as I walked down to school!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Cinquain

Elusive scent
Piquant, Joyful
Dream, Reminisce, Awake
I follow you on my rosy-sky walk to work
Spicy bite of paradise

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mardi Gras Blanket

My daughter was only home for a few days of her spring break, but we managed a little heart-to-heart about some of the challenges of freshman life. Our solution to whatever tough challenges may face her in spring quarter was a nice, new snugly, study blanket. Hey, it's a lot better than sending her homemade cookies every week! She asked for something yellow or maybe orange.

I made the blanket out of fleece, 2.5 yards of yellow and 2.5 yards of orange. I also used several quarter yard pieces of different colors of fleece for the appliques. I made my swallow shape out of sandpaper, which griped the fleece nicely and kept my birds from shifting around while I was cutting them out. I winged the wing, trying out different places and shapes of feathers. Sometimes I created long ones and sometimes just little pin feathers at the tips, sometimes two colors, other times just red or purple. I liked the mosaic-swallows that emerged, though I think the yellow and orange also gives it a mardi gras look. I ended up making twelve of them, starting with a batch of four, glue-sticking them down, then appliqueing with a zig zag stitch in bright orange. I did a lot of batck and forth, laying it out on my daughter's bed and considering whether or not I had enough birds. At ten I was sure I did, because I was just tired of making the little guys. But it really needed two more. 

More on later....

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Juice of Atascadero

Isn't this a darling turkey? His name is Juice. When I went down to pickup my daughter from her finals, we stopped on the way back at her Math teacher's family farm in Atascadero. They also have a small pack of friendly dogs, including a number of buff cocker spaniels, two alpacas, a batch of chickens, white ducks and purple peacocks. There is one duck that rules the roost. It keeps the turkey and the alpacas in line. Juice-The-Turkey lost his mate to one of the dogs recently, and is looking all over for a new girlfriend. Three gal turkeys are on order and coming soon. In the meantime he follows people everywhere, puffing up his little chest, to impress whatever females might be in the vicinity, like a basso profundo getting ready to sing the Benedictus all the way through without stopping for breath. His owner picks him up, manipulates the air out of him by pressing down and it makes as funny nose a he expels it. He seems to enjoy this, though it's even more likely he just likes to be cuddles.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Baby Sally, Puff and Tim

I was waiting for my daughter to finish up her finals at Cal Poly and taking a lot of walks into downtown San Luis Obispo. Lo' and behold I found a Beverly's Fabric Store. Hot dog! 

I was pretty excited when I found this fabric because I learned to read with Dick and Jane and I remember the story depicted on this bag where "Mother" sews a new blue dress for Baby Sally and then Jane copies this activity. I'm a substitute teacher, so I created a lunch bag with this memorable fabric. Inside I interfaced and used some scrap pieces from a  dish towel as lining. Also a piece of oilcloth scrap lines the base for a nice stiff sit-down. I've made similar bags that I lined completely with oilcloth scrap. The handles are small pieces of drapery cord, which I keep around to use when I make drawstring backpacks. I sew a piece of grosgrain ribbon across their rough ends on the inside, and put my name and phone number on them in case I forget them in somebody's classroom.

I like giving this kind of bag as a present, maybe with some muffins inside. People can then use it as a regiftable gift bag or keep it for something. My sister uses her prototype of this bag to carry around cds.