Friday, March 27, 2009

Vampires and ghosts and skellies...oh my!

Sure it's almost April - and your probably thinking about Spring and bunnies and all that. But really, you should be thinking about Halloween! Especially if you live anywhere near Philadelphia. That's where the National Halloween Convention is going to be held this year. I would love to go, and see what insanity the country is up to as it prepares for All Hallows Eve 2009, but alas, I cannot. What I am doing is sending some of my softies along with Dani of AmbitionsDesign, the fearless leader of SpookyTimeJingles. She is going to man (woman) the booth for STJ. If you look at the agenda, it looks like a hoot. I mean, where else can you go to have a Make-up War? Hmmmm?

Here are a few of the softies I'm sending along:

This is Ophelia, vampire bride.

This is Petey, a little dickens.

and this is Lawrence, a strange cat.

I do wish I could be there, to admire all the other STJ artists works up close and personal, and to wander amongst the other Halloween enthusiasts with my digital camera at the ready.

Because you know there will be plenty of photo ops. Give a group of adults an excuse to dress up and pretend, and fun always follows. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Robots, robots, robots...

I guess I've always loved robots. I still remember being jealous that my Dad made my little brother a robot Halloween costume, complete with blinking lights, while I was stuck with my cowgirl outfit (I did have real boots and a hat - this was Texas, after all). I loved Lost in Space on TV ("Warning, Will Robinson!") and Forbidden Planet (Robby the Robot). I guess I am a closet robot geek. So the other day, my DH forwarded this to me: a video of a Japanese model robot!!!!

Wow! Just what we needed! Models that are robots! Those of you that were hoping for robots that cleaned our houses, raise your hands. Nope, looks like we're getting the cutie-pie robot first. Because goodness knows, we don't have enough young women starving themselves and trotting up and down those runways! We had to break out the great science minds of the world to throw behind this crisis!

Ah well, when you watch the video, forget she is a model. Think about where the science will take us in a few short years. I am really, really hoping that robots go to the next level in my lifetime. That I will be able to walk into a 'showroom' and chat with a few. Figure out which one has been programmed to put up with my annoying personality, plunk down a few grand, and walk home with him/her. I can't think of anything more interesting than incorporating a robot into the family.

If you think about how far technology has come in the last 40 years - from games like Pong to virtual reality, you can get a glimmer of where Cutie-Pie-Model-Bot might be headed.

Once we've conquered the runways and fashion industry, maybe, just maybe, the robots can tackle some minor problems. Imagine someone with the knowledge of Google up on two feet, someone able to go on a run with you in your youth, to help you as you grow, and then to protect and care for you in your golden years. A devoted and tireless friend that requires nothing more from you than the occasional reboot.

Of course, it could all play out like the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica, or those bad guys in the Terminator movies, or the robots in I, Robot, or the Borg in Star Trek...

but that's what makes it interesting. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dogs and daffodils....

I suppose it was too much to ask for. You know what happened. Come on, look at the blog title.

She is a very sweet dog, and I love her dearly (this is like when you complain about your kids, but you preface it with "He's a good kid, really..."). But the daffodil bulbs must have been calling her name. Much in the same way the skunk called her name a few days before. Seriously. I smelled it upstairs, in my bedroom, with the door closed. Skunks stink. You may quote me.

But these were my own little bulbs...put into the ground years before. I drive by them every day - like when I take my teen to the bus that he always misses. And when the weather turns, I get to watch them begin to peek out of the ground. They are my first signs of Spring! I look forward to measuring their daily growth, and when they bloom, I am officially thrilled.

I know, I have no life.

This year my skunky dog has decided that my daffodil bulbs need to be relocated. Some of them have joined the pile of torn-up perennials she has deposited out back. Most just look like wounded soldiers - fallen in the line of battle with Skunk Dog.

And like most dogs, she is so proud of her accomplishment. "Look, Mom! I killed these things in the yard that were poking up! We are victorious in the battle against the Daffodil Demons! I have saved you!" Tail wagging, muddy paws.

She is cute. And like I said, a really sweet dog. I suppose I can look at those daffodils like a Tibetan sand-painting that never really saw the light of day. They're just daffodils, after all.

Besides - I think I can put a pot of tulips on the deck. If I work hard, I can fortify the perimeter with barbed wire and keep Skunk Dog at bay until they bloom.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Signs of Spring...and teen fatigue

photo by Danny Barron

I looked out my bathroom window yesterday, and there was the most adorable little bluebird perched in our Dr. Seuss tree. I don't have any idea what kind of tree it is, but the seeds blew in from the woods, and it took off like lightning. It's most likely the worst kind of non-native invasive tree on the planet, but I didn't have the heart to yank out something that was trying so hard to survive. When the tree was younger, it looked just like something Dr. Seuss would have drawn. The name stuck.

Nature is crawling its way back from the frozen sleep it takes each year. Unfortunately, my fifteen year-old-son is still hibernating. Switching to Daylight Savings Time hasn't help one little bit. Teenagers are like vampires - they only really come alive at night. Mine walks around in a stupor each morning (on those rare occasions when he gets up on time). I offer coffee and food, but he always looks at me like I am speaking Russian. I am convinced he is not awake until after dinner. Then he perks right up.

Why in the world we have a school system that asks teenagers to be at a bus stop by 6:30 am is beyond me. Countless studies have proven that teens really are on a different clock. And they need more sleep, not less. There's all that growing they're doing, for one thing. They are each their own little Dr. Seuss tree, changing like mad almost daily, and in all different directions.

Sure, I want to yank my son out by his roots most mornings, but then I try to remember that 'this too shall pass', and one day, not too far in the future, my gangly son will somehow manage to get out of bed and off to a job each day.

If not, I'm sticking him on the branch next to the bluebird. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Friday the 13th is coming!

Another Friday the Thirteenth is coming, and we just had one in February! I'm not sure what it all means, but if one is bad luck, maybe two in a row means extremely good luck. I'm going with that. Might be time to buy a lottery ticket or two.

And since it is the 13th of the month, there will be new spooky and jingly goodies to admire on SpookyTimeJingles. Here's a peek at one of my pieces:

Cora is a skelly cloth doll, complete with her very own black cat. She has been so much fun to make, I think I'll try another doll next month.

It reminded me that when I was a teen, I went through a phase where I sewed these old people from scraps of cloth and....(drumroll please)...PANTYHOSE! Yes, I guess I felt like I had to think of something to do with all those pantyhose I put runs in. I decided to make dolls. And these weren't cute dolls. Kind of cranky old people dolls.

I will try and find a pic of one, to impress you with how weird I was as a teenager. Why old people? Who knows. Back when I was young, I guess I thought wrinkles were fun.

I no longer feel that way. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A WIP...I'm just not sure what!

I've been busy stitching, stitching, stitching. You get in a sort of fog after awhile, where your mind wanders off to other things (in my case, the novel I'm working on), and your hands just keep sewing. Here's the problem with that: when your mind decides to go on an adventure and leaves your hands in charge, you do dumb things like sew right past the opening you were supposed to leave for an arm. Or you could sew through, grab some other part of the critter, and stitch it to his backside. I have done both.

Here's my latest WIP. I'm not sure what he is yet, but that's the part I like most.

I started with a shape I like - a huggable looking critter with wing-like ears:

I wanted to do a face I hadn't done before. So I trotted over to the recycling bin and grabbed some paper. After cutting and taping, I came up with this:

Maybe it's a cute little sheep, I'm thinking. So I start sewing the face:

He's not looking like a cute little sheep any more. I'm thinking those are tusks, or teeth or something. Today I will sew on his eyeballs, and we'll see what happens.

It's a little bit like writing - sometimes you think you know where you're going, but your characters have other ideas.

Happy creating!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Old spoons and tea towels

Last Sunday I drove to Baltimore to take my college freshman daughter out to lunch. She'd had a hard week, what with her college classes, a new job she'd just started, and helping with the newest theater production. I guess she just needed some mom 'face time'.

We drove to the neighboring town, and ate lunch at Friendly's. Not because we are huge Friendly fans, but because it was the known quantity, and we were both hungry. While she told me about her week, I thought about me when I was her age. Was it really that long ago when I went to college? It doesn't feel like it. It feels like it was maybe ten, or fifteen years ago. (Unless of course, I look in the mirror. That's the ultimate reality check. :)

After we ate, we walked down the street to an antique/consignment shop. It's one of those places where they've taken an old row house, and each room is chock-full of anything and everything. We spent at least two hours there, maybe more, digging through the treasure. She loved looking at the pillbox hats and old dresses. I sifted through linen tea towels, and an odd assortment of spoons. Every now and then, she'd show me something she'd found, and vice versa.

In the end, she found an old ring with a moonstone in it that she loved. I bought it for her, even though I had sworn NOT to spend any money. But it was the right thing to do - to buy that ring. Because she is almost out the door, within a year or two of truly leaving my nest and starting her own. And because it's times like our afternoon together that I want her to remember.

Me? I found a $3 linen tea towel with a leprechaun on it, and 2 mismatched silver-plated spoons for $4. And I know that every time I use that towel or one of those spoons, I'll remember how much fun we had together. Money well spent, I think.