Monday, October 20, 2008

Just for Fun: Four Things Meme

We are driven by five genetic needs:
survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.
~ William Glasser

Quite some time ago, Wendy over at The Bend in the Road tagged me with a meme, which I completely forgot about. Oh, I created it right away - I just forgot to post it. Boy oh boy: my memory is like a sieve these days!

So after a little updating to make it current, I present...

Four Things About Me

Four things I did today:

1. Facilitated a Healthy Lifestyle meeting of six women, where we discussed the role of spirituality in leading a balanced life. What do you think: does it play a part?

2. Watched last night’s episode of Brothers & Sisters. Love that show!

3. Laundry (are you jealous??)

4. Tutored Mark at the jail on more GED preparation. Adverbs and adjectives and paraphrasing – oh my!

Four things on my to-do list:

1. Email my sister the directions on brining a turkey. We usually have Thanksgiving here, and I brine the bird every year. She’s hosting this year, and wants to learn how to make such a moist turkey.

2. Quilt. I haven’t had a chance to do so in over a week, and my fingers are itching to sit at the sewing machine!

3. Vacuum (again – are you jealous??)

4. Light a fire under our contractor to get the backyard finished.

Four of my guilty pleasures:

1. Crossword puzzles. Love ‘em! I’ve always got one going.

2. The computer. Emailing, blogging, surfing the net. I spend waaaay too much time on this thing!

3. Strolling through bookstores. I could spend hours picking out just one special book to read.

4. Taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon. Heaven!

Four random facts about me:

1. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. I used to perform, a long time ago. Now I just act like I know what I’m doing!

2. I’m addicted to reading magazines. I subscribe to all kinds: Time, Ladies Home Journal, Psychology Today, McCall’s Quilting, Country Home, Cooking Light, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, etc., etc., etc.

3. I am a history buff, and find the cultural and social history from 1890-1950 to be especially fascinating.

4. I love the Christmas season. Everything about it: the decorations, the smells, gift giving, the carols. I usually start listening to Christmas music in August. Yes, really.

* * * * *

Ok, that's it for me. Please feel free to play along and tell us four things about you.

Until next time...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween Costumes of Days Past

One should either be a work of art,
or wear a work of art. ~Oscar Wilde

I ran across some photos that I thought might be fun to share - photos of Halloween costumes past, many moons ago. Since it is getting to be the time for trick-or-treating and Halloween parties, maybe one of these will spark an idea. All the costumes you're about to see are hand-made, which is very obvious in the earlier shots! Please click on each photo for better details.

There were four of us who used to dress as a group, in some kind of theme. The bottom photo in this group of two was actually our first attempt: we went as The Four Seasons. My ex-husband (left) was Summer, I was Winter, Chris was Autumn, Scott was Spring. It's very hard to tell, but our hats lit up. We hid battery packs inside the hats to run the lights.

The top of the two photos was the next Halloween. Our theme was The Las Vegas Strip. We each went as a hotel: Brian was The Aladdin, I was The Stardust, Chris was Caesar's Palace, and Scott was The Flamingo. I think I'm probably dating us here because I'm not sure that all these hotels exist any more! Again, it's hard to tell but not only did our hats light up, but so did our costumes. In the photo, you can perhaps see the twinkle lights in my skirt, but when we'd walk down the street, we lit up the night!

Finally, the last year we did a group theme - well, it was the pièce de résistance! We recruited friends and family to take part, and we became The Seven Deadly Sins. Scott knew a professional photographer, who took a few shots of us in all our sinful finery!

From left to right: Greed (Brian's hat said, "Money is the root of all evil," and he had play money and coins popping out everywhere); Anger (my hat said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" and my sash was a red dragon); Envy (aka Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch. Kim went around the entire evening saying, "Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! It's always about Marsha!"); Vanity (Claudia wore a gorgeous peacock headdress with hand-mirrors for a necklace); Sloth (Lisa dressed in pj's with a pillow behind her head, covered in candy-bar wrappers); Gluttony (that's my sister Marilyn, with food and drink all over her hat and clothes); and finally, Lust (Scott's costume speaks for itself, and you don't want to know what's in his hat!)

Here's another shot:

Once again, the hats and the costumes lit up, thanks to those hidden battery packs. With seven of us all lit up, you could see our glow coming from a mile away! We won first place at the parties we attended, although we had to duck through every door frame. Those hats made us mighty tall!

* * * * *

As I said, this was a long time ago, in a different life. My Halloween costume these days resembles a tired housewife at the end of a long day. I'm no longer covered in lights and sequins, but rather in pet fur and quilting threads! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But it is fun to look back, and remember! Thanks for joining me on a trip down memory lane.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cheers for Number Fifteen!

Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook
is eaten so quickly. When you sew, you have
something that will last to show for your efforts.
~ Elizabeth Travis Johnson

Wow! When I decided to take part in the Fall into Fall Quilters Blog Giveaway, I had no idea of the number of entries I'd receive! There were over 135 submissions, although only 129 actually answered the required, "what I love about quilts" question.

I just transferred all qualifying entries into Excel, so I could number each one. Then I did a random number generator, and got the following...

So who, you may ask, is lucky number 15?

The winner is Sunny from Seam 2 B Sewing!

Here's what Sunny said she loves about quilts:

I love this book. Please enter my name in your giveaway! I love the wrinkly drapey feel of a quilt and all the beautiful designs. I have a blanket addiction anyway and quilts fit the bill nicely!

I can't argue with that! Sunny, if you'll email me your mailing address, I'll put your prize in the mail right away. Here's the Thimbleberries book she won:

I loved reading everyone's comments on what they love about quilts. For many, it brought back fond memories of mothers and grandmothers who have passed on. So let's remember that when we create and give a quilt -- or any hand-made gift, for that matter -- we're actually giving a piece of ourselves by which we'll one day be remembered.

I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that thought.

Thank you to all who entered!

Until next time...

Friday, October 10, 2008

CAN'T is a Four Letter Word!

If you think you can do a thing,
or think you can’t do a thing
– you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

I received an email this morning from a friend, saying she’d thought about me when she read the article she’d attached. It had to do with changing negative attitudes by changing our language. I was thrilled and honored that the item made her think of me (thanks for the compliment, Margie!)

The article, written by a fitness and nutrition coach, deals with the words, “I can’t.” The author feels particularly challenged working with a new client, who has 75 pounds to lose. It’s not the amount of weight that is the hurdle: it’s the woman’s mental attitude. The client sees the world in terms of things she can’t do: she can’t exercise because she has a bad knee; she can’t find a large variety of fruits and vegetables at her small, local market.

Can you see the barriers this person is creating for herself with the words she uses?It amazes me how we do this to ourselves in so many areas of our life, be it weight loss, continuing our education, or changing our spending habits. We set our own limitations and create our own failures with our attitude, and the words we choose to express how we feel.

For many, many years, I told myself that I just wasn’t a very crafty person. Oh, I could write well, play the guitar, sing a lovely song with the best of them, etc. But I had no talent to do handcrafts or artistic things. My creative spirit was stifled by my self-imposed limitations.

When I decided to learn quilting, I struggled against that inner critic that kept saying, “You don’t have talent for artistic projects.” I can’t tell you how many times I cried and thought, “Oh, what’s the use? I’ll never be any good at this!” Then one day, it dawned on me that it doesn’t matter whether I’m good at something or not. What matters is that I enjoy the process - and I sure do.

A creative, artsy person was born! Now I look through craft magazines and know I can create any project I see, given enough time and patience. I likely won't win any prizes, and I just don't care. I'm doing something I told myself I could never do, and that's what matters to me.

Throughout this past decade, I’ve learned that how we think about our life determines how happy we’re going to be living it. If you’re struggling to make changes in your life, take an honest look at your attitude toward the change your seek. Become aware of those subtle ways you tell yourself, “I can’t” -- and change them into the much more powerful phrase, “I CAN!”

Until next time…

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Halloween Table Topper

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween. ~ Author Unknown

I've been secretly working on a little quilted table-topper for my youngest daughter over the past two weeks. I didn't want to post it because she often reads my blog.

But now that I've given it to her, I thought I'd share it.

Megan loves all those bright, fun Halloween fabrics, and had teased me about doing something when they first started appearing. I thought it would be fun to create something for her, since she's the true Halloween nut in the family (I wear that title at Christmas time!)

Here's the whole project, photographed from above. The center is an Ohio Star, one of my favorite blocks. I must confess, however, to never having made one with skull fabrics!

And here's a close up of all that fun material. The green spider and the green polka-dots came from two separate stores, and I was pleased how they well the worked and complimented each other -- if you can call glow-in-the-dark complimentary!

This was a relatively quick project to do, and I have to admit that the fabrics always made me smile. I think I may do a few more for the coming holiday season, although I'd better start now: I am sooooo slow at quilting!

* * * * *

On a non-quilting note...

I had my first-ever bone density scan today. My doctor just wanted a baseline since I am of a "certain age." The test, of course, is no big deal: it's like having an x-ray taken. But my jaw dropped when they took my height. She had me stand very tall and erect -- and I've shrunk! I used to be 5'7'. Now I'm 5'6 1/4. I've lost almost an entire inch in height. When did that happen??

As I left the office, I couldn't help smiling at that old joke: "I'm not fat - I'm just too short for my weight!"

Until next time...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Celebrity Sighting

Fame is fickle and I know it. It has its compensations,
but it also has its drawbacks
and I've experienced them both.
~ Marilyn Monroe

On Friday, hubby and I were at the Do-It Center, a home-improvement chain here in southern California. We were getting ready to leave when he came up and whispered in my ear, "You know that actor with the handle bar mustache - the one in all those westerns?" I thought for a minute and said, "You mean, Wilford Brimley?" and hubby says, "Yeah! I think I just saw him!"

So I wandered past the isle of the "sighting" and there stood a very tall, skinny man. Ok, that let out Wilford Brimley (celebrity names are not hubby's forte!) But the fellow I was seeing bore a striking resemblance to another actor we both enjoy. Except this man had on glasses and was very disheveled, with gray hair standing up all over his head. He was wearing a baggy t-shirt, shorts and sandals. I thought that if I could just hear him speak, I'd know for sure if he was who I thought he was.

As the man was leaving, another gentleman came up and spoke with him, and then I knew for sure...

It was Sam Elliot. There is no mistaking that "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" voice of his (cue the Aaron Copland soundtrack!) He was buying home improvement stuff at our local store. Shh... don't tell hubby, but I've always had a secret crush on Mr. Elliot!

I must admit to still being slightly star-struck. We didn't see too many celebrities in Utah, where I grew up -- although I did see and speak to Robert Redford at Sundance, back in the late 1970's. Rather, he spoke to my friend Jeanne and I: we were awestruck and just stood there with our mouths hanging open! He was shorter than we'd realized, and so incredibly handsome.

But here in southern California, celebrity sightings happen much more frequently. My girls have told stories of seeing Will Smith playing basketball with his buddies at a neighborhood park. Gosh, I guess they're real people, just like us!

I literally ran into Heather Locklear a few years ago. We were both getting our hair done at the same salon, and I bumped into to her. We both said, "Excuse me," and she went on to sit in her stylists' chair. My first impression of her is that she's very tiny, and extremely pretty - even without makeup. I couldn't help stealing glances at her as I got my hair done. That must be so disconcerting if one is a celebrity, don't you think? I can't imagine living life in a fishbowl like that.

Another friend and I were leaving a restaurant one night in Hollywood, headed to a production at the Pantages Theatre. As we were coming out, Quentin Tarantino was coming in.

I excitedly commented on this to my friend and she said, "Who's Quentin Tarantino??" I guess 'celebrity' is a relative term, eh? This same friend and I saw Kristin Chenoweth in concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall a few years ago (she is an incredible performer, by the way.) There were all kinds of celebrities in the audience that night, coming to see her show. It was fun sitting in the cheap seats, pointing down on the floor and going, "Oh looks, there' so-and-so. And there's whatshername."

Lastly, I have to admit to having been inside Larry Hagman's home. No, really. He and his wife Maj love the arts and support local arts organizations. I was working for a museum in Ventura at the time, and somebody who knew somebody who knew Maj Hagman arranged for our museum to hold a fundraiser at the Hagman's hilltop home in Ojai. Hubby came with me and we both had the opportunity to meet old JR Ewing, who spent a good deal of time in his den, watching whatever sporting event was on TV at the time. In-between, he'd come out and pour drinks for the attendees and talk about the art that was for sale... he seemed like a very nice man.

Seeing a celebrity in a normal, everyday setting is rather a surreal experience - like fantasy come to life. How about you? Have you ever run into someone famous? What was the experience like?

C'mon - dish!

Until next time...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time Flies

You must have been warned against letting the
golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden
only because we let them slip by. ~ J.M. Barrie

First, I have to thank everyone who entered the drawing for the Thimbleberries quilting book. I'm a bit overwhelmed with the response, but promise that all of those who left a comment on why they love quilts will be entered in the drawing. Thank you for stopping by!

Second, click on the photo above and look closely. It's a fabric clock, and the face is made of sewing implements! Isn't that clever? I found it on a fun website I want to explore in more detail called Fiber Artists at Loose Ends. Boy, there are such creative people in this world of ours!

* * * * *

But now I have a question...

Who stole September? Where did it go?

For that matter, where has this year gone? Isn't it still March, with the whole year ahead of us? How can it be October already??

I had my annual physical this week and my doctor and I were talking about this idea that time flies by faster, the older we get. He said he has a clear memory of sitting in elementary school one day, where classes let out at 3:00. It was 2:45 and he was watching the clock slowly move. Dr. W. said he distinctly remembers the minutes just crawling by, as if those hands would never reach 3:00. It took an eternity for 15 minutes to pass.

Now, he says he blinks and another month has gone by.

I agree completely.

What is it about this feeling of time speeding up the older we get? Is it because our days are just more full now, with several to-do's and have-to's on our list? Or does time become more precious as we age because we realize that we have more time behind us than in front of us?

I don't know that I can explain the phenomenon, but it sure is real.

I'm working very hard to stay conscious of the days so they don't slip by in a blur. I didn't do so well in September, probably because we were gone for half the month in Alaska, then my dear cousin came for a visit. I relished every minute of both events, but before I knew it, it was time to change the calendars and pull out the Halloween decorations. Of course, my sense of time distortion is not helped at all by the fact that the stores already have Christmas decorations out. (I'm the queen of Christmas and revel in the season, but this is ridiculous!)

There's an old expression about living in the moment: not wasting time fretting over the past or worrying about the future. I want to work on this area -- to really savor each hour of my life because they're disappearing so quickly.

Many of us have blogged recently about all the things we love about autumn. So let's take time to really enjoy every minute of October this year. Smile when you see the leaves falling, and laugh at the kids jumping into a freshly-raked pile. Heck, go jump in one yourself! Enjoy a warm cup of tea or hot cocoa when the afternoon turns chilly. Treat yourself to a cozy knitted scarf or mittens, in your favorite fall colors.

Let's savor these days of autumn before they disappear!

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Give-Away!

Everyone must take time to sit
and watch the leaves turn.
~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Happy October, everyone! What a great time of year! To celebrate the month, I'm hosting a contest as part of the Fall Into Fall Quilters Blog Giveaway. Don't worry: you don't need to be a quilter to enter. Even non-quilters will enjoy this prize...

I'm giving away a wonderful book by Lynette Jensen called Thimbleberries New Collection of Classic Quilts. It is a thing of beauty: hardbound with over 200 pages of quilts, patterns, instructions, and decorating ideas for the home (don't let my poor photography deter you: the book is gorgeous!).

There are projects for all levels of quilting, created in those scrumptious Thimbleberries country fabrics. Heck, even if you don't quilt, it's a beautiful book to look through, and dream!

Here's what you need to do to enter: leave a comment telling me what it is you love about quilts. Pretty simple, eh? If you don't have a blog, leave me an email address so I'll know how to reach you. I'll use a random number generator to draw a winner on October 15th, and the book will be on its way from my home, to yours!

Be sure to go here for a complete list of the blogs taking part. Go to those sites and enter their giveaways, too.

Happy October!

Until next time...