Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bye bye Pippin

Yesterday Steve came home from work to find that our 9+ year old parakeet, Pippin, had died sometime during the evening. Pippin was a sweet, shy little bird who loved to sing along with the birds outside. A few weeks ago we realized he wasn't singing anymore. A few days ago he let loose with a very short outburst of song and then nothing. I guess we should have figured that something was up, though I'm not sure what we could have done. Her certainly lived a fairly long parakeet life and survived a homicidal mate who tried her best to simultaneously mate and murder. Parakeet sex is not a tender thing, take it from me.

We will miss you and your songs very much Pippin. Who will bite Steve's nose now?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nothing clings like ivy

Except for perhaps morning glory vines. Morning glory has taken over our front yard, as you can see from these photos. I'm happy to report that I figured out how to download my camera directly to my iBook and even managed to manipulate the photos via iPhoto. I'm still not quite down with how Macs save files, etc. I don't know how to put them in particular places but I think that's part of how Macs work. A primer from Roy is in order. Anyway, this first picture is of our front steps. The morning glory vines have enveloped the rose bush, the garlic chives, the sage, the hearty hibiscus and the railings. Believe it or not, I've torn down the vines a few times this year. They just come back stronger. Unfortunately, the lovely purple blossoms don't show up very well, but it's what keeps them around.

The vines have even entwined themselves around and up a 12 foot red bud tree, not to mention a large rose of sharon bush and my hydrangea. I'm still not sure whether it was the late freeze this spring or the morning glory that prevented even one hydrangea flower from blooming.

This morning Steve and I went to a flea market at St. Mark's in St. Louis Hills. Strangely enough there wasn't a lick of clothing, although there were shoes. Best buy of the day was this four-panel set of barkcloth curtain for $4. The color scheme is perfect for the living room, besides being just beautiful - turquoise, brown, black and (subtle) metallic gold.

In the close up you can sort of see that the repeated pattern is a scenic view out the terrace of an English or Italian villa. I mean, you've seen this terrace in any number of Jane Austen and E. M. Forster movie adaptations.

For $1 I bought a zipper bag full of 'broken' jewelry. Included were these three vintage bracelets, all wearable, if missing a stone here and there.

These earrings were also in the bag -- daisy cages!

And to add to my ever-growing collection, a gorgeous hand embroidered pillow case with fillet crochet trim. For 50 cents!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You said something

Where has this week gone? It's already Thursday, fer crissakes. I've attempted to make an entry every other day this week, to no avail. Nothing to say, not enough time, yadda yadda yadda.

Yesterday was rather more action-packed than my days off from work have been of late. I ran to the craft store to buy lots of sale yarn first, then to buy gas at the northside gas station that has consistently cheap prices (though I was kind of thwarted on that front yesterday), then downtown to have lunch with my former co-worker Erica. I stopped in at the old homestead and said hi to a couple of other folks and am glad to say I didn't get one iota of longing to be back in an office (no matter how crazy my current work life has been). It was great to see Erica, however briefly. Note to self: make more time to see friends! After lunch I headed to the Smiley Urgent Care Center to FINALLY get my legally-required hepatitus A vaccine. And damn if that vaccine didn't use the fattest needle I've ever seen. Ouch. The nurse shamed me by chiding, "I haven't even done anything yet!" because of my tensed arm. I think she was trying to psych me out though, because I'm certain the needle was already in. Anyway, she had to hold her finger over the injection site for a minute to staunch the blood and to "get the vaccine to stay in". What????? I don't think she was lying -- I could actually feel the shit traveling down my arm. And that wasn't a good thing. It felt like a slow ache flowing down to my fingers. My left arm has had just about enough of injections, what with the tetanus shot a couple weeks ago. Sheesh. After the shot I wanted to take a look at my [anxiously awaited] new store location in the Central West End. The door was open and the guys were working away with Soundgarden blaring. The basic construction was done; they were painting and doing other finishing work though there's still a lot of clean up and things to complete. The front counter and back cabinetry was complete and the tiles were down, mostly. Funny how it looks smaller with actual stuff in the space. : )

To celebrate my great sales of the weekend, Steve and I went to Tucker's Place on Tuesday night. When we were more flush with discretionary income, we dined at Tucker's almost once a week. I had been missing it terribly lately, so it was the perfect place to go. So maybe I don't have a lot (or hell, any) experience at the expensive steakhouses in town, but I know a delicious steak and I can't imagine any better tasting sirloin than what you consistently get at Tucker's. And even though they claim to not do anything special to their baked potatoes, they are the sweetest, creamiest backed spuds I've ever tasted. Of course we go to the original Soulard location. Tuesday nights dinner was no exception. Everything was perfectly delicious even though I wavered and chose a pinot grigio instead of my usual merlot and Steve ordered a Smithwick's because Tucker's had replaced his beloved Bass on tap (he was not disappointed, by the way).

Counting today, I have eight more work days left at my temporary location. Or maybe less. I could take a little smaller paycheck for a day off during the week next week. Otherwise I'll be working seven days straight and that isn't my top choice. But whatever. I'm sure I'll miss aspects of the store and some of the people so I may as well get my fill, right?

Now I need to do something useful and work on some new scarves for my next crafty outing, which is putting a bunch of stuff on consigment at the Sheldon Galleries boutique. I feel a bit of pressure about this one...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

Notwithstanding the sunburn on my back and my current utter exhaustion, what a happily successful day it was in O'Fallon, IL at the Strange Folk Festival. I sold a ton of stuff, a ton! At times it seemed liked people were throwing money at me. Woo hoo!

After a rather unsuccessful May in which my two Olde Crafte Boothe forays resulted in very little proceeds, I was kind of nervous about putting my stuff out there again. I don't suppose I'm unique in thinking of everything I make (well, maybe not everything) as my little children. I know I've witnessed other crafters saying goodbye to their products as they walk away in the arms of someone else. Anyway, I was worried, but damn, I didn't need to be. It was a relief and kind of gratifying to know I'm still making stuff people want.

It was a great event, overall. The hard working Autumn organized everything perfectly -- set up was completely painless and except for the absolutely horrid jam-type band that played waaaaaay too long, it was smooth running and effortless on the part of the vendors.

Eventually I will have pictures to post that Dana took, but for now, this is it!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Life of Riley

What does that even mean?I dunno where it originates, but it's what I'm living right now. What am I talking about? Well, I'm writing from the couch while watching TV. On the intarnet and watching television all at the same time. Even better, I'm using my neighbor's unsecured wi-fi service to do it. Now, I understand that I'm way behind the times here, but it's new to me. And while I'm not using my own laptop right now, I will be using my own beautiful, vintage Mac blueberry tomorrow morning thanks to my talented friend Roy. So does everyone drag their laptops around everywhere with them when they first get them? I can see myself doing it. Ten minute break at work? Get out the laptop. Doctor's office (as if I ever go to the doctor!)? Pull out the laptop!

How will I pull myself away from my new 'puter to work on all the zillion things I have to do to get ready for Strange Folk? It won't be easy, but I have to get myself prepared and ready to go by 6:30am on Saturday morning. Last year, the morning of SF dawned with cold weather and rain rain rain. It stopped raining early in the day, but even the rain didn't stop customers from coming. This Saturday's predicted sun and 85 degrees should guarantee a great crowd. It's been weeks and weeks since I've sold anything so it will be interesting to be out there again. Plus, my job has given me a lot of experience dealing with customers so maybe I won't be such a spazz anymore.

OK, this is a complicated Burn Notice I'm watching, so I gotta go.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Turn off your mind, relax...

Oh, if only that were possible.

I tried to make an entry last week, but the computer and I were waylaid by an errant iPod and a ridiculously misbehaving iTunes. By the time I got done [unsuccessfully] wrasslin' with the Apple products I had no energy for anything else. Grrr.

At this point I only have two and a half weeks left at my temporary work location. Can I get an "amen" out there? Soon soon soon I will be in the wonderful Central West End. I have been through some kind of crazy days at work lately. Some good crazy, some really really bad crazy. I'm looking forward to some more, shall we say, level, days.

This week (and last) I've been concentrating on getting prepared for Strange Folk on Saturday. I haven't sold my stuff since May, so I'm nervous and anxious and excited to be back in the tent again. The weather report is promising and if all goes well I may even be able to take credit card payments!!! Get your plastic ready, ladies and gentlemen!

So, on to some pictures. First, a spread of the needle-felted pins I've feverishly worked on the last few days.

More leaf plates from last week. How in the world am I going to transport these somewhat fragile items?

I guess that's all I got today! I think I need a nap before work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ain't it funny how time slips away?

How is it possible it's been nine days since I last posted? Wow, time is flying which is indeed a good thing. I'm counting down to leaving my interim work location and opening up a new store in a neighborhood miles and miles closer to home and to my temperament. And yes, it will be a whole crew of people I [mostly] don't know, but I'm already pretty certain I'm on track with my future manager. (I will add that I love love love her and can't wait to work with her for reals.)

Today is a much needed day off and I feel energized to get some more work done for Strange Folk. Immediately after getting good news about work I always feel a lot of the usual stress sliding away and I can concentrate my energies on creative work rather than just trying to stabilize after a chaotic, anarchic day.

I'm sure I'll report back with photos!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Blue Plate Special

I got a little burned out on making jewelry after my mad frenzy to make a zillion clay pieces in time for Gypsy Caravan and the opening day Tower Grove Farmer's Market. Sadly and frustratingly, I sold next to none of them. (Their biggest fan was my most supportive and encouraging friend, Dana. I hope she knows just how much I appreciate her ongoing cheerleading.) I still love all the pieces and hope they get their breakthrough at Strange Folk in September and then [hopefully] at December's Rock 'n' Roll Craft Show. Anyhoo, I haven't had a desire to make jewelry in several months, except for a couple of fitful starts and failed attempts. Actually, all I've wanted to do is crochet. So when I saw a book about crocheting jewelry, it seemed like a natural progression. Most of the projects in the book are too frou-frou for me, but the simplest project is a winner (boy, my famous last words!), tweaked slightly from the book's instructions. Basically the necklaces are made of multiple crocheted chains of wire with gemstone chips and/or beads worked in. I think they're lovely.

You can't get a great look at them here (click on the picture to get a really nice close-up view), but they are delicate and bold at the same time, I think. I'm going to do more more more with bigger beads and chips and maybe try some with a more center-pendant structure.

They are sitting on my latest cast cement plate, made from an elephant ear leaf. I think it's perfect and my favorite so far. Now I have to find a way to poach a bunch of these leaves from somewhere. Anyone have the scoop on some wayward elephant ear plants that won't miss five or six leaves? I got this one from a parkway nearby, but I'm afraid nosy neighbors might stop me the next time. There are a few plants in Tower Grove Park but I'm not sure if it's illegal or not to take a leaf or two. Is it?

I'm not sure why the plate, our front steps and the general atmosphere looks so blue in the photo, but I like it. It's lovely and cool outside, particularly on the front porch and if I had to pick a color for what it feels like, it would be just that shade.

The big question for the day is: After a day at work, will I feel like socializing at a BBQ with a bunch of people I haven't seen in a long while? I love the host and miss him very much, but I will be solo and it's not always easy for me to approach an ongoing party alone. We'll see what happens!