Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Was for Dinner

I suppose I need to keep my camera in the kitchen as I have forgotten lately to photograph our dinners. I'm thinking about eating said dinners by the time they are cooked, not photographing them. I even thought last night, as I took the focaccia out of the oven, that I should take a picture of it because it was so pretty. But I was intoxicated by the aromas and completely forgot. So, today's picture doesn't show it in its full, uncut glory, but you get the idea. I had defrosted some white beans with smoked ham that I had cooked a couple weeks ago and focaccia seemed like an ideal accompaniment. When I thought of making the bread, I envisioned it with carmelized onions, something I've never been able to successfully do. I was resolved this time, though, and I used an iron skillet which might have been key. Or not. It's still somewhat of a mystery to me. Anyway, I couldn't resist taking a taste or two of the onions and they were indeed sweet and savory, but I thought they were missing something so I ran outside and snipped some rosemary. I love rosemary in small doses and the match up of it and the sweet onions was just perfect. A drizzle of olive oil, some parmesan and a little mozzarella and we were good to go.

Today I filled out all my new employee paperwork. My first day is on Monday, though that will be 'back of the store' training, as will the next couple of days. I will start my actual store training later in the week at the downtown location of the store, a location I have spent many a morning in line. Funny that I will most likely be waiting on former co-workers. Weird. Once my training is done, I'll be in the Central West End and I'm very excited about that. Rather than reveal my actual employer, let's just say that in my work day I will be able to say, a la Lauren Graham, "I'm making coffee!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Highs and (kind of) Lows

My sales were pretty awful yesterday at the Gypsy Caravan in regards to my actual creations. The saving grace was that I decided to take a little of the vintage clothing and accessories I've accumulated through the years with me to sell. I happily sold my completely fabulous Elsa Schiaparelli feathered hat and shocking Schiaparelli pink hatbox to a lovely and tiny lady who I know will actually wear it with verve and aplomb. I wish I would have had my camera because she looked absolutely fantastic in it. I also somewhat reluctantly sold a gorgeous sleeveless, full skirted striped vintage 50s/60s dress to a beautiful young girl who will properly enjoy it. This dress is historic for me as I wore it to a momentous Big Black/Scratch Acid show in Chicago. That weekend my first husband, Tony, and I, stayed with Steve Albini himself and had a fantastic time. Coincidentally enough, I think it was Memorial Day weekend. Check out CW11's coverage, particularly the lovely Squaresville's Allison being interviewed and the quick shot of Ahimsa's sock monkeys!

Anyway, it was fun to hang with the St. Louis Craft Mafia and the weather turned out nice, albeit hot and rather steamy. Considering that we were setting up on Sunday in pouring rain, we were happier to be hot than wet.

In the good news department, I got that retail/restaurant job I applied for, though not at the location I thought I would be. I'm really excited and I go in on Thursday to fill out my new hire papers! Once I determine I'm not doing anything against company policy, I'll tell you who I'm working for. I really can't wait, though I'm nervous to have a schedule again. I've been footloose and fancy free for over a year now so it's going to be an adjustment. But we totally need the money and the benefits so I'm game for a new adventure. Me, behind a counter! Finally!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day

My life for the last couple of weeks has centered around getting prepared for ye olde crafte boothe at Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. You know you wanna go. After 9am you can get in for $5 ($20 from 7-9a for the hardcore junkers -- yes, I'm talking to you, Dana!) and you are bound to find something you want/need/crave. Most likely, lots and lots of somethings. When you get there, please make sure you stop by my booth with the STL Craft Mafia and say hey (booth #B285). Look for my sign:

Celebrity Lookalikes

I suppose that one could argue that I am indeed a crazy cat lady, but I'll just defer to the fact that I really love my cats and I have a lot of time to look at them. I also have a habit of assigning (human or otherwise) to my pets (and anyone's pet for that matter). The other day I was staring at Mr. Baby and I thought that if he were a man, he'd have a sweet face and big moustache. This morning I realized that it was Will Forte of Saturday Night Live I was thinking of.

Then there's Spidermonkey. Rather than a person, I think she looks very much like Snowball II of The Simpsons fame.

I have always thought that if Olive was a person, she'd have lots of freckles. Lately, it's Julianne Nicholson from Law & Order, Criminal Intent that I see when I look at Olive.

Then there's Lydia. She has this giant, adorable chin and a habit of play biting that involves her just sitting around with her mouth open, teeth bared. She has a square-ish head and she has always looked like a furry tyrannosaurus rex to me.

Call me crazy; it's all right. At least I amuse myself.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How Does My Coleus Grow

While some might consider coleus a pedestrian garden plant, I love it. It's easy to grow, tolerant to heat and [a little] neglect and shade (which I have in abundance) actually makes the pinks, greens, yellows and reds of the foliage even brighter and bolder. To save some bucks this year, I bought very few annuals for my pots and then sowed a couple packs of coleus seeds in the pots to supplement. It's taken several weeks, but the wee plants are finally emerging and I think they are the cutest goddamn sprouts I've ever seen. They emerged with little splotches of maroon on their bright green teeny leaves and they stole my heart. See for yourself.

To show just how tiny they are, here's a picture of some in a pot along with a medium sized nicotiana plant.

I know I should thin them out to encourage growth, but I just can't bear to do it. Maybe I'll wait a bit until they're big enough to replant somewhere else.

While I had the camera outside, I thought I'd take pictures of my future pesto meals, chicken seasoning and the stuff that makes foccacia good.

Oh, and I think my second interview went well. I hope so anyway. Just hoping for a call now...

Monday, May 21, 2007


Today I had a job interview for a type of work I've never done before - retail/restaurant. It's been over a year since I've even thought about a job interview and I wasn't necessarily prepared for the formality of this one. I had to answer a whole bunch of those scary behavioral questions - lord knows if I answered in such a way as to make someone want to employ me. I felt like I was babbling and struggling for the "right" answers sometimes. At any rate, I'm going for a second interview on Wednesday, so I must not have been that bad, right?

At an early age, I got sort of caught up in my office work and never explored the retail world though I always wanted to. Back in the day, I used to beg my friend Steve (my future husband) to let me wait on customers at the old, smaller Vintage Vinyl on weekend nights. I LOVED it. Why I didn't stop the office work then and there and pursue other avenues, I don't know. I certainly wasn't making that much money yet. Several years later I would beg my ex-husband Tony to let me wait on customers at West End Wax and again, I loved doing it. Loved making the small talk about their purchases and just being friendly. Which is weird because at, say, a party, I am completely incompetent at small talk and being friendly to strangers. Somehow being behind that counter empowers me to be much less shy. I guess it happens now at ye olde crafte boothe too. At least I like to think I'm friendly and approachable. Though I know I could be more chatty, sometimes I think people would prefer a helpful silence. At least I tell myself that.

Anyway, wish me luck for Wednesday!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Get Me to the Church on Time

But only if there's a rummage sale. While I do love mid-century church architecture, I have no interest in being in one unless a) there's a rummage sale or b) someone I like is getting married. Today's sale was actually in the school portion of the complex, but the glorious quarter-circle entrance to the church was appropriately fawned over.

At first glance I didn't think this sale would amount to much, but we found some good stuff. Some interesting clothing (for the fabric), and vintage linens were cheap. And can you figure out what in the world that towel in the lower left is getting at?

I found several pieces of jewelry: nice 60s black and white flower pin, small rose pin, odd gold and pearl (real?) clip on earrings, and a gold key necklace that is engraved "Mayor Bill Morris" on the reverse. I also nabbed a nice black and white silk chiffon scarf.

I was very intrigued by this metal, flowered bowl from England. It's rather heavy and quite pretty and for a quarter, why not?

And then the books and CD. I've already pulled out a bunch of the story book's pages to make little origami envelopes to wrap up jewelry purchases from ye olde crafte boothe -- lots of cute illustrations in that one.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Young Man and a Horn

This is perhaps the most charming collection of vintage male nudes ever. Some of them truly convey the "Oh! Am I naked?" innocence so often attempted but so rarely captured.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quilt Cards? Card Quilts?

Inspired by a project on Creative Juice, I decided to sew tiny "quilts" out of vintage silk neckties and make greeting cards with them. This project tried my patience as I do not at all enjoy the precision required of any sort of quilting (it's the fitting together of all the tiny pieces that I dislike the most, which is, I realize, the point of quilting). My results are, shall we say, more casual, but I think the cards came out kind of charming. What was really difficult was getting up the gumption to cut up the pretty silk ties. I had no other use for them, but it was still hard. And who knew that the silk fabric in ties gets its body from some weird lining fabric? I couldn't believe how thin and slippery most of the material ended up being (adding another joy to dealing with tiny pieces!). Take a look.

Next on the To Do list -- purse design and execution. I must enjoy sewing more than I think I do, otherwise why would I keep making purses???

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What I'm Working On, Or Not

A couple of weeks ago I made a batch of relatively simple earrings that I could sell inexpensively. I thought they would be good to reel people in at the first TGFM and, especially, for Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day. I don't suppose I can complain that I sold most of them at TGFM and needed to make a new batch. I guess the combination of the cheap price and the organic display (I stood the earring cards up in a mix of raw rice, lentils and wild rice in a pretty basket) helped them sell. Now if only the clay earrings, which are much, much more labor intensive (and thus cost more) will sell! At any rate, I needed to make another bunch of earrings, using up the antique brass findings I got on Etsy. I ended up making even more than that, and here's what I got:

I got some funny little glass beads today that sort of look like raku pottery. Such pretty colors. Here's a close up of one pair out of the beads. For some reason these remind me of a couple of ripe peaches.

Today I also figured out a way to patina my bright gold findings to match the other antiqued ones. My first experiment -- a combo of vinegar, the crushed business ends of some matches and some bleach -- had fairly toxic fumes and worked really well at first. However, after I took the findings out of the concoction, and rinsed and dried them, I noticed that about 20 minutes later they had taken on a green-blue patina. It was pretty and cool, but just not the darkening I had desired. I rinsed them in straight vinegar and they went to a duller gold, which I was happy with. I'll have to keep experimenting to get the darker effect I want.

And just for kicks, how about a photo of Olive trying to squoosh herself into a small space in order to lie on my purse.

Oh, and please come to Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day and buy lots of stuff!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tower Grove Farmer's Market

This entry would be a lot more interesting if I had taken photos of some of the wonderously beautiful dogs who visited my booth at the TGFM on Saturday. So many gorgeous dogs you wouldn't believe. Not to mention the myriads of cute babies (a big say hey to the teensy Beck Xavier!). It was a lovely day in Tower Grove Park; the weather was perfect and the grass was shining with dew (much to my booth neighbor Allison's dismay!) and the sun was bright all day long (as my sunburned back can attest). The market wasn't as busy as we would have liked for an opening day, but there was a nice crowd and I got to visit with a lot of friends and nice customers and potential customers. And the dogs. So many dogs! Oh, and a very large Rhode Island Red hen on a string who perched unsteadily on my forearm for a few minutes.

I sold enough stuff that I have to actually work the next two weeks, restocking for Gypsy Caravan. Dang. I wonder if I can figure out a way to use my sewing machine outside?

And now I'm really feeling like I need to have some actual paying employment, though I'm really dreading the search process. I'm waiting for a call about a job I think would be perfect, albeit very low paying, but time keeps on passing. I just applied for a position in a large retail joint which I'm already feeling queasy about. I've gotten used to my time being my own in the last year and it's going to be quite an adjustment to go back to work. Sigh.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bowling for Thrift

We dashed into the Family Thrift store after dropping off my car at the dealer for an oil change and before hitting the grocery store. I scored some cheap old man pants to convert into bermudas, some shorts for Steve, a book on feminist movie criticism and this oh so lovely Aztec brand Melmac salad bowl. I'm in love with this bowl.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Don't Run Away, My Little Sparrow

The last thing I needed to do this week was spend time making some new project. I was, alas, compelled otherwise. I was inspired by something I saw on That's Clever, but I changed direction a bit. At any rate, it was fun. I really like the end result of painting the fabric with gel medium -- the texture is really cool afterwards. Plus, it creates a smooth, non-porous surface for the decorative painting later. I don't think these are weatherproof, but they could definitely hang inside a patio umbrella or on a porch or covered patio.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Take Me Back, Carry Me Back

Did I report on the second alley attack on Foxy Brown a few weeks ago? This time we were in an alley we go down nearly every day, mostly to visit her dog friend General, a lovely golden retriever with a lightbulb head. We had stopped to say hi to General and were on our way down the block when we noticed that the gate was open to a yard that usually housed a couple of big dogs. In a split second, really before we could even think let alone do anything, two dogs roared out of the gate and immediately jumped on Foxy; one biting her neck and one biting her in the rear. One of them was, I think, a Portuguese water dog and the other one was a medium sized long haired black dog. Anyway, they were snarling and biting and Foxy was screaming and twisting around to get away from them. I was afraid to reach into the fray for fear of getting a bite myself. I was SCREAMING at the top of my lungs, "get away, get off, stop stop STOP" for the sole purpose of alerting the owners to what was going on. A man darted out of the yard and managed to pull his dogs off and apologized profusely. He said his wife had gone out in the alley and had left the gate open. Now why you'd be a moron and leave your gate wide open when you not only have two dogs, but have two dogs who will rapidly ATTACK other dogs is beyond me. The funny thing is, this guy had an English accent and I'm pretty sure he has called both Steve and myself during our radio shows and talked about living in our neighborhood. I was about two seconds away from yelling at him, "Do you know who we ARE?" Luckily, I didn't do that.

Anyway, a few weeks later and I have post-traumatic stress disorder about walking down alleys. Steve took Foxy down that alley a couple days later and she totally shied away from that yard and didn't act normally until they were almost to the end of the block. Today we walked down our own alley and I was jumpy and nervous the whole time. Sadly, I think I'm done with alleys. I wonder if those dogs would attack a person alone? Do I want to find out on dogless walks? I don't know. I'm just sad that something that we took such pleasure in has been spoiled by a couple of assholes who can't contain or control their dogs.

Oh, speaking of that! Yesterday I was sitting on the couch when I heard a loud exclamation very nearby. It scared the cat away so I got up to look outside and see what was going on. Our across the street neighbor was walking down our front stairs holding his little (somewhere between 12-15 pounds, I'd say) dog by the collar. The dog was growling and twisting and snapping viciously at the guy! I assume the dog had run out of his yard and come over to our porch for some reason. Anyway, the neighbor stopped in the street to make the dog sit while he bent over and started to lecture the dog (ha!); the little thing LEAPT up into the guy's face, snarling and snapping at him! This dog is obviously totally out of control! The guy got the dog settled down then walked over into his own yard and sat down with the dog and lectured him further. I swear, there was finger pointing and what appeared to be an attempt at reason. Dude, you're talking to a hyperactive, toy breed dog! Good luck with that.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

My thrifting goal this weekend was to find as many gold necklace chains (and silver, but those are easier) as possible for my clay pendants. My selling season starts next week and I need lots of chains as I've been concentrating on pendants lately. With that in mind, I headed over to Millstadt, IL Saturday morning to the "village-wide" yard sales. As I'm not in the market for children's clothing, these sales didn't help me much, though I did find a couple things (see the revolving cannister set in the photo below) and I got to wander around a very, very pretty town. There are many fine gardeners in Millstadt and I probably spent more time admiring the zillion varieties of iris than going through anyone's for sale items. Note to self: go back to Millstadt in a couple weeks when lots more of the warmer weather flowers are blooming. I can only imagine how pretty it will be. One high point was the two gigantic azalea bushes spilling over a tall wooden fence from a compact back yard -- one was vibrant yellow and the other bright orange. Such a nice change from all the pinks one usually sees around here. Alas, I did not find a single chain.

Late last evening I got wind of the Lindbergh High School annual flea market happening today. I wasn't sure if this was the big one (and admittedly, I didn't know just how big the big one is), but it turned out that it was. We got to LHS around 9:15 a.m. and the parking lot was full. We were lucky to stumble upon a recently empty spot. Early on I spotted the coffee pot below. The pleasant lady came over as I sat it back down saying "Hey, don't put that down.! One dollar!" As it was in pristine (and seemingly unused) condition, this was an offer I could never refuse (and I've been in the market for a vintage percolator -- if it works so well for the tiny cafecito maker, how could I go wrong for regular coffee?). Once I got it home I saw that the innards were still wrapped in plastic and the original insert was still inside. The handle is bakelite! One dollar! Gold and turquoise pine cone design! One dollar!

Further examination of her table revealed the adorable measuring cup/chopper combination. The turquoise and black metal lid was too much to resist. And again, one dollar!

A pretty good start, indeed. After fortification from a coconut donut and a trip to the ladies room, I acquired the crocheted frog puppet/potholder (it was a dime, so...). Even though we weren't even a quarter through, I was feeling a little discouraged about finding any quantity of chains. I'm not looking for junk -- just usuable vintage chains with often junky stuff hanging from them. Soon enough, though, I was pawing through a shoebox of miscellaneous jewelry and realized there were many little packets of new 14K gold plated chains. I asked how much and the lady quoted an unbelievable price. Needless to say, a dozen of them were soon in my possession. Almost immediately after walking away, though, I regretted not getting more and swore to return to her booth before we left. I did and got eight more! Then she told me that she had gotten them from a company she worked for and that she had many more and would probably just give them to me! I gave her my card so I will keep my fingers crossed! Huzzah! No more stressing over chains! The rest of the market was somewhat uneventful. Steve got a baseball book, an old comic (not d but it's a Murder, Inc. from about 1950), an Argosy men's magazine and a McCall's from the 40s with an adorable kitten on the cover. Oh and a Coronet magazine from the 50s.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


It may only be May 1 on the calendar, but it is officially summer in St. Louis as far as I'm concerned. It was 93 degrees yesterday and I have at least two mosquito bites. Today, not so hot but the humidity is through the roof.

I finished the Jonathan Lethem book, but I'm still thinking about it and will write on it later. Suffice it to say I loved it.

In other news this week, come to the Royale on Friday evening! Keep your fingers crossed that it will not be raining so we can DJ outside!