Thursday, October 29, 2020

I like #187

 Well it's been a very strange week.  I have a huge work deadline looming, and then to top it all off we had the biggest ice storm since 2007 here this week.  Growing up in the dry moutains of Southern New Mexico we had snow and summer thunderstorms but I'd never even heard of an ice storm until moving to Oklahoma.  

It's been pouring rain since Monday morning, and for Monday and Tuesday, temperatures hovered right below freezing.  This is really bad timing because since all the trees still have leaves, the trees get covered with massive quantities of ice, and they all break.  It's just awful to see so many beautiful trees ruined.  More practically, the break onto power lines, so as of Tuesday morning there were ~230,000 people in the OKC metro without power.  And because it's not just a central place where power is down, it can take many many days to get it restored everywhere.  Most people around here have gas furnaces, but they all have electric blowers, so it means no heat either.  Yet in the midst of it; I am definitely grateful for many many things.

The first is that I didn't lose power; my neighborhood has buried power lines so I was blessedly able to stay warm and keep working from home.  I'm also grateful that my friends who have lost power have family to stay with or are healthy enough to hunker in place with blankets.  I'm grateful that it's warming up so hopefully the cold won't be as dire for folks who remain without power.

Sunday I cut all the last of the good dahlias (since we saw the weather forecast)

The cold and ice came on so fast the flowers didn't even have time to wilt.  It's strangely beautiful preserved (temporarily) in a casing of ice.


I had a good time making Halloween cookies over the weekend!  I haven't made sugar cookies in a couple of years, but I love this recipe.  When I started all I had in terms of food coloring was green, yellow, and blue so I didn't have anything to make orange.  I started with yellow thinking that might be ok, but it was really yellow.  And then I don't know why I thought adding green might make it browner but of course then I got lime.  I decided lime was ok for the ghosts (who-you-gonna-call!) but not the pumpkins.  When I ran out of powdered sugar and had to make a grocery store run anyway, I picked up some more food coloring.  Red added to lime gives that sort of brownish orange-  not quite as bright as I'd have liked but better than wasting icing.  And super tasty!

I got a kick out of the Halloween outhouse in my neighborhood!

And the Halloween decorations the med students put up.

Hope everyone is staying safe!!  Click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

I like 186

Another crazy week has come and gone, but there are always a few cool things to like.  

I really enjoyed reading about this collage artist Vik Muniz, who makes his collages out of postcards.

I also enjoyed reading about historic disc-on-bow brooches, apparently they were important status symbols for Scandinavian women in the 6th-8th century.  The craftsmanship is just beautiful.  Apparently they are made of gold with garnets and interlace work.

My baby cacti are all doing well; It's been about a year and 9 months since I planted their seeds and it's really fun to watch them grow (slowly)

I still have a few dahlias, but unfortunately I have a MAJOR CUCUMBER BEETLE infestation that came out of nowhere and chewed them all up.  I spent a while this weekend squashing them, but I am very annoyed.

I enjoyed these fun halloween scarecrows in our neighborhood.

I mad a batch of tasty pumpkin soup last weekend using some pumpkin in the freezer.  It's been delicious to have for lunch this week.

And pictures of my snugglers!!!  Apparently they've decided they can both curl up under my worktable; they just push off the boxes of scraps that actually live there.

I also blogged this week about a new purse I made to carry my laptop,  click here to see more about it!

I hope everyone is hanging in there!  Have a great week and go visit all our friends over at LeeAnna's!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

New Laptop Bag

 I haven't made a new purse or bag yet this year, and I've been thinking for awhile about making a purse with a built-in laptop sleeve.  We do lots of zooms at work but my work desktop doesn't have a webcam, so I wind up having to haul my laptop back and forth to work everyday.  I have a laptop bag, but between that and the purse and my lunchbag and my knitting, it seemed like too much.  I like making bags anyway, so maybe I just needed a good excuse.

I really tried to make a different colorway than my usual handmade purses, but I just failed.  I dug out all my home dec fabric and nothing was calling out to me, so I wound up back with purple/teal/black.  I used my very favorite print fabric ever.  It's from Jane Sassaman's Prairie Gothic Line and it's quite an old line but I bought up some in a medium home dec weight when she was destashing last year.

I didn't have a pattern or anything, I just drafter it based on my criteria (which were several).  I wanted a built-in central, zip-close laptop pocket that fully divided the bag so there were two large areas on either side (one for my purse stuff and one for my knitting).  I wanted no external pockets to obscure the fabric pattern but I wanted sufficient big enough inside pockets to hold the laptop accessories.  Finally, I wanted the base to be a sturdier fabric than the rest of it.

This is my chicken scratch design notes, it took a fair amount of thinking to work out the order for everything, and of course making the lining was the hardest part (since that was where all the complications are).

I didn't take very many in-progress pictures but here are a couple:

This is the finished lining, it's interfaced with a sort of lightweight fusible interfacing just because that's what I had.

Here are the external pieces as I was assembling the handles,  they have that foamy automotive headliner fabric (it's the beige in the pic below) as interfacing to help give structure.  In addition to that, I added a layer of peltex in the bottom.

And here I was assembling the last stage.

The bottom is a sturdy black corduroy I think must have come from Georgia.  between the bottom and the print is a thin piping-like layer made from some of Georgia's gorgeous handwoven scraps.  I think it makes a really lovely accent.  The handles are tubular (with plastic tubing inside) and are made of two layers of purple shiny polyester covered with a layer of black swiss dot organza.  On one side, the moth and the thistle are the focal point and on the other side the blue flowers are the focal point.  (Have I mentioned how much I love this print?) 

The whole bag closes with a recessed zipper top, and that fabric is purple with silver printed over it-with adds a bit of sparkle in person.

It's hard to see in the pictures but the handles have a subtle purple tint because the swiss dot is translucent.  I used leftover leather scraps to make the zipper pull and tab for the outside zipper.

Inside the central built-in divider is the laptop sleeve, it has a zipper pocket on the side of it, and then there are two additional pockets, one on each side of the divider.

The laptop sleeve is lined with crushed polyester velvet, nice and soft.  And I love the blue leather tassel zipper pull on the zipper there;  I got several of those pulls at IQF in Houston a few years ago and that's my last one.

And of course the pockets are all lined with other fun fabrics.

Anyway, it turned out how I envisioned, so that's always a win.  I'm really enjoying it so far!!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

I Like #185

 Well I'm keeping my head above water so that's a good thing!  I'm so behind, since blogging is just a personal thing it always gets pushed to the bottom of the list in the face of obligations to others, but I'm determined to at least get here for this weekly post.  Maybe this weekend I can catch up on some posts for other things if I'm lucky.

The first thing is a great piece of news;  my mom and I have put together a two-person show of our art quilts called Life in the Mountain West and we've been trying to find a gallery (s) to show it.  Of course we started right before COVID, so it's been pretty much a bust so far, but late last week the Macey Center for the Performing Arts at New Mexico Tech invited us to have a virtual show on their website (since the gallery is closed).  We had a virtual reception last night as part of New Mexico Tech's alumni week celebrations, and it was great to have some cheerful things.  You can see the virtual show here:  Many thanks to Gloria Gutierrez-Anaya for inviting us.  Hopefully we'll be able to show it in person at some point!

One of the things I did last weekend was hang some more items my Grandmother gave me.  My Great Great Grandmother was named Grandma Kennedy (she was actually named Martha, which is where my middle name comes from).  She was an wonderful painter.  I need to look up her birth/death dates, but I think she was largely active in the 1930s-40s and maybe into the early 50s.  Anyway, my family still has lots of her paintings and my grandmother gave me two.  Most of her work is realistic, lots of landscapes with the occasional still life or portrait.  This painting I have is of El Capitan on the Navajo reservation in Northern Arizona where she (and much of my family) lived back in the mid-twentieth century.  I love it, and I love how it looks over the fireplace with the light frame.  The other painting is one of her only ones done in a modern style and I may share  picture of it another day if I remember to take a picture of it.

Unfortunately, while trying to hang the painting in the brick I fell off the ladder and broke the pottery cat lantern my mom made me.  So sad!

However, after failing to hang things in the brick with a regular drill, I borrowed a hammer drill from a friend which was magic.  And while I had it, I decided to hang this hose reel my uncle made.

I'm glad the store recycles containers, but these are the smallest brownest seedless watermelons I've ever seen!

I read a cool article this week about more ancient Roman mosaics,  this time found under a condo complex.  You can read about it here: I was fascinated to hear about all the different levels of building- like strata of human history, and excited that the building owner is incorporating public access to see these beautiful artworks.  Must give a sort of panache to say you live in a building with ancient Roman Mosaics!

My dahlias are still going strong, we've been having cool evenings and warm days (sometimes up to 90), so they've been going along happily.  I cut new ones to put inside every week.

I hope you are all finding things to like amid the ongoing chaos that is 2020.  I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.  Being in this space every week and getting to see what you're all up to is such a fantastic part of my week.  Click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

I Like #184

 Welcome to another week of things to like!  Thankfully for all of you, I went out of town this weekend to visit my parents and grandma (after having a negative covid test) which meant lots of fun pictures of things other than my dahlias.  Don't worry, the dahlias are fine, I'm sure there will be more pictures of them next week.

My sister and I both went to my folks' place in New Mexico this weekend in large part because my grandmother just moved into assisted living and we needed to help move things out of her house.  In addition to moving stuff, we got to see and talk to my grandma (through the window of her new apartment) which was fantastic.  We also had a picnic dinner trip to White Sands now-a-National-Park, which is one of my favorite places and did a couple of nice hikes so it was altogether a VERY busy two days.

Early Saturday morning we got up and went for a short hike on the "regular" trail in the national forest across the street from my folks house.  I love it up there, so very home-like.

Instead of my dahlias, you get pictures of my parents' gorgeous flowers.  I think these are four o'clocks, they have several beds of these.  

And their cosmos are gorgeous and huge.  Glorious!

This is the original Grandma plant.  Everyone in our family has been growing cuttings from this plant for many years, but this one is the original.  My grandma has been growing it for at least fifty years, and she asked me to give it a good home when she moved.  I gave it a giant haircut, but it made the trip well and hopefully will flourish at my house too!  It's a fairly hardy (and even aggressive) plant, the cutting I have tried to break through to the outside by growing into and enlarging cracks between my walls and windows.

Bentley and Blue didn't make this trip, Mike stayed at home to watch them.  I'll take them at Thanksgiving, but I knew I'd have a full car coming back so I left them in OKC.  But I got in lots of snuggles with my parents' pups, including Shooter, who is a very good snuggler and used to be mine before my dad kidnapped her.  It's ok, she loves life at their place.

After visiting my grandma, it was off to White Sands for a picnic and sledding and beautiful sunset.  

It was hazy down there (winds blowing smoke from AZ and CA), but the sunset was lovely.

We've been going to White Sands for as long as I can remember.  When I got home I was looking through some of my grandma's photo albums I'd gotten and found this evidence:  my sister and I at white sands c. 1984 (my sister is the buried one) playing in the sand.

On Sunday we started the day with a hike and some stand-up paddleboarding at a lake in our mountains.  We all got a kick out of this sign (especially my mom who goes by Muddy to the grandkids) showing a "Muddy Meter" at the trailhead.  I think it's to help you decide whether it's safe to ride your mountain bikes,

I got back late Monday night, and even though the weekend was exhausting, it was spiritually so rejuvenating to spend time with my parents and sister and so wonderful to see my grandma, that it was worth the effort.  

I hope you are all staying healthy and having clean air, and finding good things this week!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more stuff to like!