Sunday, April 29, 2007

Eichhörnchen Ecureuil Skiouros Risu Scoiattolo Taramchwi Roddan biljagh

“You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.”

I agree regarding the tree, bird and violet; but the squirrel? Not so much. Last summer we were the unwilling host to a squirrel that visited our kitchen five or six times by doing various things to the screen door to enable his entry. The majority of the time he only hung around on the door before I chased him out, but once he was already across the room and thus ensued a crazy ass squirrel jumping from surface to surface as I tried to get him to go out the back door. Our dog, Foxy Brown, is absolutely useless for squirrel hunting. She would actually get scared when she heard a squirrel rattling around in the kitchen, believe it or not. The cats were not much better. Once I caught him opening the container of dog biscuits and helping himself to one, if you can believe that. Here's a picture of the fellow being unusually coy:

So basically the squirrels in our vicinity have now gotten the idea that they can do whatever they want around us. And they do, pretty much. There are regularly at least two of them hanging out in our yard and when Foxy goes outside, the may meander to the fence or a tree, but usually they just keep doing what they're doing and Foxy doesn't really care. The other day Foxy was about two or three feet from one and the squirrel just kind of kept doing his thing then ambled over to the fence and climbed up.

This afternoon I let Foxy outside and I followed onto the deck. I looked out and saw a squirrel on the ground under the tree. Foxy did walk towards it, but not with any ill intent, which the squirrel obviously picked up on as it actually turned its back to Foxy and kept doing whatever it was it had been doing. This was just too much for me so I picked up a stone and threw it at the squirrel, coming within a foot or two. I didn't want to hurt it (well, maybe...), just scare it away like it should have been properly scared anyway. Here's where things got really weird. Instead of scurrying away like you would expect, this squirrel hopped up on the fence and came towards the deck. From the fence he jumped onto another closer tree, went down to the ground and got on a log that was sitting just below the deck, about five feet from where I was standing. The squirrel hunkered down on the log and just stared at me. I suppose I could have interpreted this as the squirrel challenging me for throwing the rock at it, but I swear I saw submission in that squirrel's eyes. He stared at me for a minute or two, then climbed back up into the tree, went to a fork and lay down on his belly.

As much as I'm annoyed with the squirrels because they are getting into the inner workings of our house, I can't say I'd be unhappy if I could hand-train a couple of them. I really thought for a second today that the little guy was going to come up and see me really close up.

The squirrels are so not afraid of us that last evening we got a taste of squirrel pornography. We had been sitting on the deck for some time, cooking, drinking and eating dinner when we noticed two of them chasing around the fence and tree, playing. This kept up until they sort of stopped, looked at each other and then began a little unspeakable squirrel act. I SWEAR that at one point they changed position and did it facing each other. I SWEAR! It was actually kind of romantic.

Romance is obviously in the air because in the last four days I've witnessed mourning dove copulating, the aforementioned squirrel dirty business, robin sex, and innumerable sparrows making time with each other। I really can't remember witnessing so much animal sex ever before। I feel like Dwight Schrute. Update: I just saw two bees doing it. Seriously.

In a totally non-sexual incident, a really, really gorgeous male ruby-throated hummingbird hovered over my shoulder today for a moment. He stayed long enough for me to register that he wasn't a huge scary bug and to see his blazing emerald green back and wings.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Estate Sale-in' with my Baby

I had no intention of hitting any estate sales this weekend until I realized that Steve wasn't working today and had no pressing business. It was his idea so I left the mapping to him. First on his list was a home in Ladue, just out of the UCity limits. The street was my mid-century modern dream -- long, low ranch houses all with interesting window configurations and sweeping front lawns. We were a little worried when we checked out the first items out on the patio. There were some flat rocks about 8 inches long priced at $6! Rocks! Just plain old rocks you could pull out of any stream around. Sheesh! Too bad we only have a budget for cheap, weird items and books because this place was loaded inside with some gorgeous mid-century Scandinavian wood furniture. Anyway, besides Steve's pile of books, here's what I got. First some books:

Digging around in the basement unearthed a baggie with these creatures inside. Amigurumi prototypes!

This fabric was found in a back room of the basement. Check out the skunk for she is very glamorous! OK, I checked in closeup and the photograph of this fabric makes the skunk look sheepish. I swear she is much more outgoing in real life.

And then a little baggie of assorted sewing trims, a bundle of zippers, a bunch of drinking glass socks (or whatever those things are appropriately called) and a chick cookie cutter.

I'm going back tomorrow in hopes that the hassock fan is still there and is half price. It's beautiful and turquoise and you'd better not buy it before me.

Next we headed across many borders to the Southside. This house was certainly not as grand and certainly not containing anything that Steve cared a whit about. It was all cheap, but it was kind of a dirty place and my already pollen-challenged system didn't feel any better afterwards. This picture shows the "ugly" (Steve's word) 70s suitcase, a bright muumuu style dress (bought for the fabric), a couple of calendar towels, two embroidered pillowcases, a psychedelically printed scarf and a little book (close up below).

The book is called I Am An American: What Every Citizen Should Know. How could I resist?

In the basement I grabbed this tv tray table.

Finally, I got this leather case with two decks of cards and funny little mechanical pencil. Lately I've felt pretty good about selling my finds, but I think I have to keep this. I really, really love it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Flatware on the Cheap

I don't think I reported on anything I got at estate sales or the big book sale at West County Mall last week yet. It wasn't a very good haul as far as I was concerned. Steve got a lot of books and I did get some vaguely interesting kid books I might get some images out of. I guess the best thing I got was a 1960s set of stainless flatware for $2.50. There are seven complete place settings and a few more spoons or something. I love the slim handles and the great graphic design on them.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm Interviewed! I'll Interview!

Following a chain of blog interviews, Allison submitted her questions to me:

1. You do a great radio show on Thursday mornings. It makes the drive to work oh-so-much better. How does it feel to be talking on the radio and know that many folks you know are listening?

It's funny, but I never assume that anyone I know is listening, other than my husband. In fact, I think I kind of go into a pretty focused state (some might say trance-like) and I'm not thinking about anything other than what the next song is going to be. It's embarrassing when friends call me during the show and I can't grasp who they are at first.

But I'm glad you like it! Having just gotten past my second show of the current KDHX pledge drive (and doing quite well, thank you!), I guess there are some people listening!

2. When I first met you, you had longish hair and often wore it in cute, aging punk rocker braids. Now you sport an equally cute pixie cut. Do you plan on eventually growing it back out, and how will you avoid the possible mullet factor?

I'm generally pretty sanguine about my hair -- you know, it'll grow out -- but I kind of regret cutting it all off this time. My hair texture has changed since the last time I had short hair (ah, the ravages of age) and I really, really miss ponytails. So, yeah, I'm growing it out now. Avoiding the mullet factor is going to be difficult and one that I have not successfully defeated in the past. This time I think I'm going to keep trimming the bottom so that the shortest hairs eventually meet up with the longest ones, thus avoiding the bi-level look. This will be extra hard for me because I HATE going to salons, but I don't think I can do it myself.

3. Discuss your job history, from your earliest to your current.

Yikes. It's not terribly interesting. My first job was as a page at the Weber Road branch of the St. Louis County Library when I was a junior in high school. I loved being around all those books, plus two of my good friends worked there. After that I got a job as a medical records clerk in a nursing home adjacent to Deaconess Hospital. What a weird place that was. Most of the administrative staff loved to conspire against the new boss who had just been appointed. The home was affiliated with a big ass church and this guy was the screw-up son of a bigwig in the church organization. I kind of liked him (and now I'm remembering him as looking a lot like Steve Carrell...) but he was a mess. One day we all watched him make out with a patient's daughter in the park across the street. There were rumors that he had sex in his office. The ladies in the office were kind of awful though. They opened his mail. I told him that in my exit interview -- I wasn't leaving any friends behind and I really was appalled they would do such a thing. After that I became a Kelly Girl and worked temp jobs for quite a while. One of those evolved into a real job, after being there for over a year, and I became the assistant of a woman who will forever remain The Best Boss Ever. I worked for her for over 12 years until she left the company. Believe it or not, I still tear up when I think about her abandoning me! I stayed at that place (an EAP/managed mental health care company) for another few years, but I couldn't take reporting to people who lived in Salt Lake City -- I felt really isolated and lonesome. So a former co-worker told me about an opening at the May Company, working as an assistant again (I had evolved into a database administrator in my previous place) in the executive recruiting department. After four years, May Co. was bought be another department store giant and my job was eliminated. I made some good friends there and I miss them, but other than that I don't miss the place. That brings me to now, almost a year after being downsized.

4. What sort of balls does it take to quit a consistently-paying job and try to live by your craft? I am impressed by this.

So see, no balls were required! It wasn't my choice, though I'm not sad that it happened as I was about to go mad in the very, very Corporate world of the May Company. I can't believe that almost a year has passed with me just loafing about making stuff -- it's like a happy dream, but alas, the savings are dwindling and I have to get some kind of job soon. I don't think I can ever go back to being a slave to the Man in an office, so subsistence is my new friend! Actually, today I think I'm finally going to put my application in to go back where I started -- the public library!

Crafts aren't exactly paying the bills, particularly through those winter months, but I have high hopes for this selling season!

5. What nationality of food have you never tried, but have access to?

I have not ventured into any of St. Louis' fine Bosnian establishments. Which is weird because I hear that one is served platters of nothing but meat and that is a bonafide Good Thing.

6. What are your memories of Sassy magazine?

Sigh. I still miss Sassy. I was probably already a little older than their target demographic when it came out, but I loved that magazine like none before or after. Never in my experience has a magazine been so completely and delightfully personality-driven like Sassy (though Entertainment Weekly comes close sometimes). I mean, I remember the name of my favorite writer, Christina Kelly (didn't she go on to edit some other, lesser teen mag?). And does the phrase "Kim France Pants" mean anything to you? I got to know a teenage girl through my boyfriend who was much younger than me (he was not, however, a teenager, although not legal when we got together), and she was the Sassiest girl I knew. She was so cute and you could be sure that a week after the current issue was out, she'd be in some officially sanctioned Sassy accessory or outfit. And Sassy was so cool that it was cool that she did it and we would talk about it. She was a senior in high school and she was found dead in her car on her route to work one day and I never did find out why she died. But at her funeral, her mom dressed her in a gorgeous vintage, Chanel-styled suit made out of tweedy fabric run through with silver threads. Her eyes were made up with these little silvery stars around one of them -- even in death she was still the Sassiest. So I guess my Sassy memories are rather bittersweet. Jane wishes it had the magic of Sassy, but it never will.

If you want me to interview you, put it in the comments and I will post the questions!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm Making Coffee...Seriously, Right Now!

I am a slave to [some of] my desires, so I am, in fact, making cafecito right this instant. After a fruitless effort at El Torito on Cherokee, I headed for La Tropicana. I knew I should have gone there first, this being a Cuban thing, alas. At any rate, my cafe is currently brewing and it smells delicious. Here's my pot on the gas and a pic of the ground espresso and the maker box.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm Making Coffee...

Before anyone really knew who Jenna Elfman was, she was in a commercial for something that involved her working as a barista and repeating "I'm making coffee!" rapidly and often. I loved that commercial although I have no memory of what it was advertising. Around the same time, Lauren Graham had a small recurring role as Shelly on Caroline in the City and I loved her. To me, they seemed of a type, albeit one dark, one light. I had a big crush on both of them. It was soon afterwards that they both co-starred on the late, lamented and short-lived Townies with Molly Ringwald. Molly Ringwald! Lauren Graham! Jenna Elfman! All on one show! It was too much for the world and was cancelled verily.

That is a very long exposition to explain the title of this entry.

Anyhoo, for the last several weeks, I've been looking for a stovetop espresso maker. Something like this one:

Or exactly like this one. Whatever. Now, I'm pretty sure I could just go to either an Italian store on the Hill and find one of these, or, even easier, to Cherokee Street to find a Latin version. However, when I say I've been looking for one, I mean hunting at a thrift store or a rummage sale or in some coffee lover's estate. Alas, no luck. And now, after reading Robin's blog, I find the urge to get one of these pots to make Cuban coffee (cafecito) nearly unbearable. I don't have a lot of discretionary income for such things, which is why I was hoping to find a $1 version, but I might just have to break down and and go shopping for one of these tomorrow. Sometimes I just become obsessed.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

You're It

I really don't know what the end use of these tags should be (I guess there's no reason that they can't be gift tags as the other side is blank), but I was compelled to make them anyway. I, ahem, acquired a whole bunch of the blank tags a while ago and they've been sitting around for nearly a year. So I decided to dye them first, then splatter then with paint. Then I finally got some embossing powder and embossing ink and I did a bunch like that. Today I did some collaging and embossing. I thought some interesting fibers might be a nice touch so I added them to each tag.

Rummaging Around the Church Basement

If it's Saturday, it must be a rummage sale, right? Today I learned that if a yard sale is not in walking distance from my house, or directly on my route to or from a rummage or estate sale, they are just not worth the effort. Church rummage sales, however? Gold, Jerry, gold!

How 'bout this adorable little suitcase/train case number in a delightful avocado green with lurid green satin lining? In perfect, never-used shape.

A bag of wool-blend, wool, and rainbow colored yarn. Believe it or not, I am very excited about making something out of that chunky rainbow stuff. For a rainbow colored thing, it's very pretty. The colors are all very clear and pure.

And I have found a petite replacment for the monolithic monstrosity that was my side lamp. With owls!

Some miscellaneous items -- a bag of brown felt yardage, a bag of little wooden pieces that I will use for jewelry making and a margarine container of curtain hooks that will probably be utilized in ye olde crafte boothe in a new display idea I'm working on.

Next, a lovely goldtone flower pin with some sort of stone forming the pink flowers.

I sort of collect those little paperback cookbooks from the 40s, 50s, 60s that have names like "Meat Cookery" and "Hot Weather Food" and stuff like that. You know, the ones where the meat always looks a little radioactive. The Gallery of Regrettable Food celebrates these cookbooks (though I take them more seriously than they do...); make sure you read some of their captions. They make me cry laughing. Anyhoo, at the rummage sale I was perusing the books table and saw two 3-ring binder type books with "Fabulous Foods" on the front of both (one was red, one was white). I knew I already wanted them before even opening them up just because they looked really cool. THEN I realized that each of them were packed full of those little cookbooks I so love, each in perfect mint condition. Holy shit, the motherlode. And as much as I love them, I just might have to make some money off of these beauties.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Report on the Inventory

While I don't suppose for even a second that I have any kind of an audience to this blog, it is a very handy way to keep track of what I'm making, what I've bought, etc. Of course, if someone (hello! someone!) stumbles across it and wants to buy something or even has an interesting comment, so much the better. Anyway, here's some stuff I've made lately. I'm enjoying sculpting with polymer clay very, very much these days. Unfortunately, my slapdash photography doesn't necessarily show these earrings and pendants off to their best advantage but I think they're pretty. In person they kind of look like candy. I love river stones so much -- the colors, their weight, the cold smoothness -- that it seemed like there should be way to wear them. So I wrapped them up with wire.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Get Right Down to the Knitty Gritty

The other day, Allison was kind enough to give me a few McCall's Needlework & Craft magazines dating from 1969-1972. I finally paged through them (my, the owl motif was certainly popular back them!) and found, to my delight, a gaggle of models-turned actresses. Some were in ads, although most were in editorial. Here we have Cybill Shepherd:

Then I found Susan Blakeley in an advertisement. I didn't know she was a model first.

Then I came across the unmistakable mug of Veronica Hamel. No one could replicate that hairline and those cheekbones.

Then there's this lady, who appears in all the Knitking ads. I'm thinking she had to be an owner of the company or something. My photos of the photos do not show just how bright and heavy her eye makeup is (although if you click on them you can see a bigger image and the makeup pops more). I'd think she was a drag queen, but she's not pretty enough.

There are lots of ads for different knitting machines in these magazines. So many that I was wondering why it was I had never come across one at a thrift store or an estate or rummage sale. I'm sure I had seen several of the completed projects at sales before; in fact, I found the directions for a cute knitted owl potholder that looked familiar. Then I realized that I had found a completed one at an estate sale and had given it to Dana. I must say that whomever made it did a fine job as it looked exactly like the photo (complete with googly eyes!). So, we're at a half-price garage sale today and what do we stumble upon? Yes, you guessed it, a knitting machine. For $6.25. Is there any question that it became mine?

I must be living right as my thrifting karma is treating me so well.

UPDATE: I think I hate the knitting machine. I managed to get a piece of fabric about 20 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick knitted before the carriage jammed. I'm not sure I have the patience it might require.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Three Schools and a Church

Even though the dreadful cold and rainy weather was not very inviting, it was full speed ahead to three schools and one church for their rummage sales. All my money today would be going to support religious endeavors. Hmmm...Unfortunately the one secular sale (at Pattonville High School) was cancelled which we did not know until we got there. Long distance for nothing. Bleh! And some mom at Nerinx Hall forgot to put an awesome little vintage cat pin in my bag. Waaah! However, at that same NH sale I purchased this original oil painting for $1. Please please please let it be worth something!

This next photo shows the Velveeta keeper ( complete with little cheese guillotine! Love it!), metal hang-y thing for ye olde crafte boothe jewelry, two delightful cookbooks (oh how I love luridly colored photographs of meat!), a tiny lidded pan, and a beautiful little bone-handled fork.

Here's a sweet book I found at the church sale (yes, boobies! at the church!). Inside page shown purely for juvenile reasons.

Here's the jewelry I did get at Nerinx. I figure if a Catholic can give medals to a rummage sale, then I can use said medals in my jewelry without worrying about it. And I figure I can take apart the necklace and use the chain bits for other stuff. But, oh, how I pine for that little cat pin...

OK, I was advised to NOT buy this purse. My inner gaudy old lady would not let me pass it by, particularly for $1. It *is* leather and, yeah, it is kind of gaudy, but it's really soft and I like the shape. Get rid of the admittedly icky fake gemstones and it would be way better.

Check this out. The cutest/scariest lion bank. I love this thing. Love it.

At Principia, I relieved them of about 30 pounds of children's books. Hopefully I can get some good images out of them. You can't really tell from the picture, but the book at the upper left is all about primates! Monkeys monkeys monkeys!

And finally, the rest of the haul, all of this from my Principia everything-that-fits-in-a-bag-is-$1 sale. As you can see, Lydia was enjoying marching on the mohair plaid scarf from Scotland. She is now curled up, sound asleep on said scarf. Along with the scarf, a thick cotton cardigan, a homemade sundress (which I bought for the teensy flowered cotton fabric), a mysterious hanging thing which is backed with the fabulous animal print fabric, a vintage wool embroidered Russ sweater, a burgundy leather clutch, a funny little brown leather zippered case and one of those expandable peg hanger things. A good day!