August 29, 2009

Sexy Asian Farmhouse Antiques

No, this blog has not been hacked. There is a legitimate reason for today's title...

Antiques, my very smart husband points out, are TOTALLY related to crafting. You know, because they're so old they were made when things were done by hand. Crafted, if you will.

So while doing a little freelance data entry (woo hoo) for the store my mom manages over in St. Louis Park, I discovered the FUNNIEST SIGN EVER outside of an antique shop just down the street.

Well, I didn't discover the sign, I just happened to take a picture of it. Saying I "discovered" the sign would be like making the claim that, inexplicably, history teachers of the last two centuries have been making - that Columbus "discovered" America.

Anyways, I needed to see for myself what this sign could possibly mean. So when I was done working - despite having digits and map codes still blurring my vision - I toddled over to see the goods. A lot of stuff was new, which is weird for an antique store. Or as one furniture shop by my house likes to call them, "newtiques." It's written on their awning. And I guess they aren't the only ones, because if you Google it you get a bunch of results. So I guess that's what you call new things in an antique store.

Anyways, cheesy, kitchy, and really awesome old tables aside, another woman came in while I was there and started regaling the employee about how she works in the area and knows tons of people on this very busy thoroughfare and they are laughing at the sign. They don't know what it means, and they're laughing at it. The employee knew just what to do. Call the manager/owner. So the woman is regaling the manager/owner now over the phone about how people are laughing at the sign, and she thinks it should be changed.

OK, enough. Here it is:

August 26, 2009

Sculpter I am not

When playing with playdoh, we like to make:
1) oddly colored spaghetti (in hot pink or nuclear green)
2) long, thin rolls which can become snakes, worms, tails, tongues, boogers, eyebrows, earrings, mustaches, fu manchus, or soul patches. Really any kind of facial hair.
3) sculptures:

Um, it's a labrador and a jack russell. Duh. See the long tail/ears and the short tail/ears? Anatomically correct, my sculptures are. Good, my sculptures are not.

August 25, 2009

WIPs: I've got rainbows coming out my...

Following the same theme as the first bear (Grateful Dead Teddy), Laura's replacement bear is going to be a crazed, drugged-up rainbow fiend.

Here, you see the arms and the legs that lead up to the base of the body (otherwise known as the crotch), as well as the rainbow ganglii that flow from their psychedelic rainbow origins. The body and head will be pink, but the hair will make a reappearance and, if the child insists upon it, the belly rainbow might be back, too.

This the same shrug I made for myself in blue. I measured it for my sister and am doing a seed stitch instead of the stockinette and I'm in love with the color. Cream. Boring. I love it.

And THIS is proof that I will not be bested by a knitting pattern's directions to knit 11 together. The Miragamo bag WILL happen. *she says, although she has only gotten through the top band*

August 21, 2009

Why do I agree to these things?

I recently had a very generous offer from one of my grandmother-in-laws to have an old sewing machine. I figured it had to be better than the one already in my possession. What I didn't know was that it is attached to a sewing table. I already had a sewing machine AND a sewing table. But I come from a long line of keepers (hoarders, in other words). Goodness knows my mom probably three Tupperware containers made solely for mixing salad dressing because she inherited one from my grandma and one from my great-grandma and no, she can't just throw them out or give them away and besides, me or sis might want them someday.

So now I have two old sewing machines (the original in sitting on top of new one, which is folded inside the table), and two sewing tables (the old is folded up and propped against some shelves because I have nowhere else to put it). The new table, thankfully, is much more attractive and even has storage in the doors. I have not tested the "new" machine, but the "old" one badly needs a tuneup so it probably works at least as well. The kicker is that I'm not a frickin sewer. So despite the midwestern depression-style reasons floating around in my head of why it would be sensible to keep all of this, I will resist and rid myself of the ugly old table and machine.

In other news...because I have to share this...

I went to see Jason Mraz in concert last night AND IT WAS AWESOME! Opening were K'Naan (a fun Somali singer/rapper) and G Love and Special Sauce (doing some sweet things on the harmonica).

Photo by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

August 19, 2009

Celebrating GREEN and other summer colors

As often as I remember, I like to take a moment to fully appreciate how lovely summer is in Minnesota, because I know that soon - always too soon - it will snow. Fall is nice and snow is fine for a while...but does it have to go on and on and on through January and February and March and even April? Sheesh. Why do we live here again?

Ah, summer. Gardening has helped me reflect on this since I have to go out and pick a couple dozen beans every day. So I thought I would share more of our garden.

It doesn't look so giant here, but the ripening tomato is giant. We've picked a few tomatoes, and in about two days I'll have handfuls more. Luckily, we also have ripe jalapenos and a green pepper and maybe a couple of small onions (the onions are wearing the garden dunce cap this year). Mmmmm, fresh salsa.

My mom puts fresh cilantro in her fresh salsa, but ours has flowered and I refuse to buy a bundle at the store because you get so much that you throw away 80% of it. But fresh Italian parsley I have in abundance. We've already dried enough to refill our shaker, but it. just. keeps. growing. It's practically eclipsing the thyme and oregano.

Woo hoo! Broccoli. We thought the broccoli was going to be the garden dunce because of a lot of sneaky green worms that had been eating the leaves. But they stopped. And the broccoli grew ridiculously huge (I guess; I've never grown it before) so as to shade and, thus, totally stunt my second planting of lettuce rows. And now we have this one clump and there's a faint broccoli smell in the area.

We also didn't know if we would have success with the sunflowers we started too late. But it looks like, once again *swiping brow*, luck is with us.

August 11, 2009

LYS: Needlework Unlimited

I decided to make it a tradition to knit myself a sweater every year, this year being the first (so we'll see how the "tradition" thing goes). Here's the sweater, pattern by Loumms, that I'll be making:

I decided to go to Needlework Unlimited to find yarn. I'd only been there once before and I had forgotten how totally awesome it is. Huge selection of yarn, plus purse handles, needles, and - what all the best shops have - leather pads for mittens and slippers.

This small pic isn't the half of it. I spent, oh, 30 or 40 minutes just wandering around touching everything and reading labels and then circling the store in such a manner three or four more times. Finally, I asked an employee her opinion on subbing yarn and settled on Cascade 220 - very reasonably priced and tons of colors. Of course, I choose a boring cream color.

Whatever. The point is that NU is awesome and today I found out they have an outlet. Both locations are across town, but I'll probably save up my projects and make the trek anyways. And during the summer it's a really nice drive through the city via our fabulous creek/parkway/lakes system.

I hope it's fortuitous that the designer's body looks to be the twin of mine and my first foray into sweater-making is successful.

August 10, 2009

Mischief Managed: Penny the destroyer

You may recall that Penny once STOLE (yes, stole) a ball from her bestie Gretzky by sneaking it into her kennel while we were at his house, thereby ensuring its transport back home. Us unsuspecting humans were shocked and thought it hilarious. Then we thought it was super cute that it became her favorite toy ever. We bought the same ball in pink for her, which she plays with, but it's just not the green ball.

For some weeks, the green ball disappeared - but when Laura found it under the computer stand, Penny was uber excited and promptly gathered it into her clutches for a soothing session of chewing. Hubs and I went out for the evening, leaving our charge in the care of my sister, and we returned to find this on the kitchen counter:

Sis has never seen this side of Penny and was also looking after two kids. Once again, humans underestimate hund. Thank God she spit out all (or most of) the pieces. But now the green ball has been filed away and Penny's comeupance is a trip to the vet today. Not really, she just needs an annual checkup.

August 8, 2009


Here is the bear going to Kim (hubby's ex-classmate) for her baby boy. The lovely blue yarn is the very same Caron Simply Soft that I used for my shrug, and the linens they've registered for are blue, navy, yellow, and white/cream. I don't know why it took me a gajillion bears before realizing that I could coordinate with the baby's room by snooping at registries. Me thinks this guy might need a little white vest to make sure he's extra cozy. It's August, and I'm already projecting my own fears of the winter cold!

Next up are the bears for 1) Laura, to replace the bear she lost in the fire, and 2) Erin, who just moved to GA and is expecting her first!

August 7, 2009

Ahem, ahem, ahem....

When I extracted the individual carrots from the mutant carrot-tangle, I only found two that resembled (in my mind) anything interesting.

I had no appropriate props for this one. If I'd have had a mini disco ball, it would be more apparent that this carrot is partying the night away, as you can see by the closed eyes and open-mouthed singing. My sister thinks it looks like an opera singer. And I suppose it could be viewed as a ghostly figure, too.

But THIS one. This one obviously only has one interpretation: shrimp. I didn't even need to give it a face or fins or scales or whatever the hell shrimp have. It just looks like a shrimp. And this is what comes of 20 minutes of diorama-making.

August 3, 2009

Is that gillyweed??

No, silly! Neville gives you an "T" (Troll) in herbology!*

This is my mutant carrot. I didn't know that when I planted carrot seeds inside early last spring that: 1) you needn't plant carrot seeds inside, and 2) you best plant your carrot seeds spaced the way you want them to actually grow because it is not possible to split them. So when we transplanted in May, the clump of carrot tendrils went into the ground as-is, and then I planted more seeds spaced appropriately. The result is a nice row of long, bushy carrot stems alluding to the delicious veggies brewing beneath the surface. The longest, bushiest part of the row was the clump of transplants, the fruits of which were twisting arms and legs around each other so prolifically that they apparently couldn't grow under ground anymore and, thus, started oozing towards the light - albeit stunted and, well, ugly.

So I pulled the mutant carrot up to see what it looked like. If I get ambitious (boy, if I had a nickel...) I might pull them apart and try to make diorama figures out of them, kind of like you see in Joost Elffers's book, Play With Your Food.

IN CRAFTING NEWS... I have none. More WIPs coming soon, though - a bear, brasilian jasper, and a Lake Superior homage!

* Harry Potter reference. Gillyweed, a squishy and tenticley substance, allows you to breathe under water for one hour. Taken orally.