Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Birthday...

Today is my husband's birthday.  Happy Birthday honey!  The big 40, which is not old and if anyone who is reading this and thinks that.  Well then, you must be 7 years old.  
My great grandmother lived to be 103 and that is an accomplishment.  She kicked butt in playing hot hands.  She mainly spoke Italian and well  you just can't argue with someone who's way older than you and smacking your hands bright red.  She was an amazing woman.  
My in laws are taking us out for dinner.  So I'm off the hook for making an amazing meal and a cake.  So it's a treat for me too!
It should be a nice relaxing evening watching one of his birthday gifts.  I bought Art School Confidential.  Which I already watched because I bought it used and wanted to make sure it worked.  He often buys movies and doesn't watch them.  Nothing more frustrating to stop and clean the DVD or realize there's a scratch on it.  
I know he will read this and I wanted to include a picture of him but I didn't have any.  I did find out that I have tons of pictures on my hard drive that I didn't know existed.  This picture is pretty right?  I didn't take it.  Nor did he because we don't live by water and I'm pretty sure Lake Erie has never had a sunset as cool as this.  There's also pictures of people I don't know.  I don't know if they are part of some program exercise to learn how to use the program features or what.  They are just portraits that look like they were taken from the 80's.  Big hair, big glasses not worth keeping.  
He should have been a leap year baby but he's mother just couldn't hold out those few extra hours.  At 10 lbs and 24 inches long, I'm surprised she didn't ask to have him removed earlier.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Hotel And The Ride Back

I know nothing about hotels and how they should be or look. We couldn't afford to go anywhere when I was growing up. The only time I did stay in hotel was when I was 12. So I really didn't care what was going on in the room we stayed in.
I care now about what is in the room and how things work. Why do the windows not open? It bothers me so much. If it's stuffy, all you can do is turn on the fan and move the stuffiness around. I felt like a flower craving for sunlight this trip.
Our room was comfortable except at 3am every night it was like a freaking oven! Outside it was in the 30's and I just couldn't rationalize with myself to turn on the damn AC. If I could just open the window, I would have been a happy camper. Why was it so hot? We were on the 3rd floor, no where near the laundry room. I usually left the bed and went to sleep in the other one to see if the cold sheets would help. My husband's a furnace but I don't think he give off enough heat to warm that room like that.
So next year I think we need to see if the rooms on the 1st floor have windows that open. It was the worst sleep I have ever gotten. Usually a drink before bed is enough to keep me in sleepy dreamy land until morning. Not even 3 drinks a night were enough to me from waking up in a hot yucky sweat. To then toss and turn until 6:30am because I couldn't touch the dial on the AC. I really need to stop caring about how much having the freaking AC would have effected the environment. So I'm still trying to catch up on lost sleep.
Our trip back was much more relaxing and enjoyable. Of course we passed through the cool Blue Ridge Mountains and I couldn't reach the camera. We finally stopped somewhere in Virgina or Pennsylvania and I grabbed it.
The roads were clear and the ground covered in snow. I love the striations of the mountains and how the snow covers it. It was quite foggy at times but I loved being in the clouds.
I had to take a picture of this because when you drive you always see wide load cars and trailers traveling. I have never seen anything this big though. It took up 2 lanes and when they were passing over a bridge the back truck wouldn't let a car pass. I think it was probably a good choice since the bridge really didn't have a shoulder.
I tried getting a side shot but we went past too quickly. I have no clue what this thing was but it was like a large steel box with a cone on the front with spikes sticking out of the cone. They weren't like dangerous spike but rectangular blocks sticking out of this cone.
Here's a front shot taken in our side view mirror. The truck that was in the lead had a pole sticking off the front of it, the height of this monster box. It was ahead enough that if the pole didn't clear a bridge, they could get off on an exit and go over the bridge.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Trip

I was looking through my pictures and realize I didn't take shots of a lot of cool things. There's always next year, right? But what I do have, I just don't know what to post first. I guess I'll start with what I photographed first. This picture is taken at the entrance to the Spa at the Inn. I love the way it looks and the sound for the water rushing over is musical.
It is 10 stories, to walk to the Inn. We walked down in about 3 minutes rushing to lunch. You can't see the wings of the Inn in this picture but they jut out on both sides.
Here's the hallway to get to the elevators you walk down when you leave the cafe. It was taken at 10:30am, so the lights were very dim. These huge rocks have flecks of quartz on them. Also hidden are geodes of amethyst. Don't have any pictures of the geodes.
Here's what's painted on the elevators. A very simple ginko leaf design.
If you have never been to the Grove Park Inn, the lighting is just amazing. Here's 2 shots of the ceiling lamps that are in the lobby.This lamp is huge and notice the stenciling on the ceiling, just like the elevators but this time it's roses.
The glass panels aren't what was originally in the lamp. These are for up lighting and I don't know the reason why they added the panels later. Possibly so they cast light down too? They are made out of copper if you can't tell and are about 6 feet by 6 feet.
Another cool lamp that is huge, is this stained glass ceiling lamp in the Blue Ridge Restaurant. They serve excellent food but take reservations up to 3 months in advance so it's hard to get a table, unless you like to eat at 8pm. I highly recommend their sea food buffet. It's 2 rooms full of food and it's delicious.
Here's a picture from one of the wings and you are looking at Asheville. The GPI is built on sunset mountain so every evening you have the best views of the sky. Unfortunately there is construction going on , so ignore the floating ladder image. You can also see part of the golf course and the spa. This image is of the spa and is not well liked among a lot of purists of the Arts and Crafts movement. Many parts are underground and the light can only be brought in via skylights or inside lighting. I think they don't like the harshness of the pyramids and the sparse vegetation. When we were there, signs were posted that NC was going through a drought. So I can understand why they didn't go crazy with the landscaping.These paths go from the Inn to the Spa. The tents you see were for an Oscar party event for the locals. We were packing up on Sunday night and the people going to this event were all decked out like they were going to the Oscars. Men in tuxs and the women all decked out in fancy dresses. Seemed to be a very big event!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back In NY

Whew what a long day!  We drove back today and it was a nice uneventful trip back.  Unlike our trip down, where we saw 9 accidents.  That's too many accidents but they weren't fatal and it was usually just one car that lost control at a time.
I took pictures and hope they came out.  I didn't have time to check.  The inn, is so big, it was like point, shoot, go!  We went to a few lectures and then had to run to eat and then be in our booth to start selling.  My feet hurt in places that I didn't know that could hurt.  
We picked up some Ephraim Pottery a piece for us and a thank you for my MIL.  Who is soooo awesome!  I came home to a clean house, (she scrubbed my sinks!  All 4 of them), flowers and clean children.  What more could an exhausted parent ask for?
I love our pot.  I have a soft spot for fish and this will look great next to our other pot.  I'll take pictures.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just Beautiful

So it's 11pm at night and I've been having the best days. Our trip is going well at the Grove Park Inn. I took pictures but probably not enough. The place is just gorgeous. The weather is in the 50's and the mountains are beautiful in the morning.
This place is just beautiful and if you get a chance you should definitely visit the Inn. It's just superb. We've been eating lunch in the Spa cafe and it's partially underground. They created this peaceful cavern feeling with huge rocks that appear to have quartz in it. I'll have to take a picture. So you walk through this long hallway past rooms and it has the smell of chlorine, which doesn't bother me. You pass an indoor waterfalls. It's just amazing what humans have created.
We went to a lecture tonight and the opening remarks were made by Bruce Johnson who talked about the antiques that are sold at the show and the contemporary craftsmen who sell. How the contemporary craftmen are creating the antiques of the future. I felt very proud that my husband is part of this Arts and Crafts movement. It is more of a philosophy than an artistic movement. I would love to go on but I'm beat. Plus it is a 6am wake up to make it to the morning seminars. Let's hope this environmental high keeps me going. A few more early mornings and late nights before we head back home.
I'll post pictures when I get home.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Funniest Valentine's Card

I love this girl's humor and this e-card made my day. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How To Get Rid Of Stains

Well not really but a great way to give life to a shirt that was going to become playwear only. I love this polar fleece shirt from Hanna Andersson and I couldn't let my daughter wear it in public. It had some serious stains on it. Especially on the back of it. I think on painting day she backed into someone's painting. It had yellow stains. I soaked it, scrubbed it and was on the verge of a voodoo spell to get rid of the stains!
After making the Valentine Banner, I had a ton of sweater hearts left. Ahhh yes, I went a little crazy with cutting out hearts. I couldn't help myself, they were too cute! I saw the two things and decided they could work together to become a new shirt.
Notice the lack of hearts on the front. I swear she wears her clothes backwards sometimes.
I still think I could have added more hearts on the back but she really wanted to wear it for Valentine's Day. All of these are hand embroidered on using the blanket stitch.
On a totally different note, I have to say that I am really proud of her. She's had problems in the past with being bullied. Very frustrating for a parent to hear you child cry about it, without wanting to retaliate to protect your baby. Today she brought in her Valentine's Day box that she spent a good amount of time decorating. Yes it was done in neon but it looked really good and she was proud of it. Some children started to say how ugly it was. Instead of running to hide or stand there and take it. She turned to them and told them that they didn't like it because it was "Too stylish". They couldn't argue with that and stopped picking on it! I think we may have read a little bit too much of the Series of Unforunate Events. Happy Valentine's Day to all. I hope you get lots and lots of yummy chocolate from the one's you love.
I made cards to go in the Hanging Banner and of course had to include dark chocolate!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So Cute... I Had To Take A Picture!

So in 3 days it's my nieces birthday and I never know what to get her. Well I found out she loves Eric Carle books. I also learned that she didn't own The Very Lonely Firefly. I just had to get it for her but I felt it wasn't enough. So I decided she needed a bookmark and here's what I came up with.
I have bookmark envy, this is one sweet bookmark. The pink heart on top is from an angora sweater. Then the purple body came from another sweater that was either cashmere or mohair. Add fabric scraps from my awesome neighbor and it's a bookmark for those who love touch and feel books. I'm making another one that won't be so fun to touch but it will be bigger. This one is 3/4 of and inch by 3 inches. Pretty small and will probably get lost.
I lose bookmarks all the time and will be making some for myself. Currently I'm reading 3 books and don't have bookmarks for any of them. So the need is high to make bookmarks for those books.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Family Loves Me... Even The Cats

I don't get out often but when I do it is a momentis occasion, the clouds part and angels sing. Invevitabley the next day is all helter skelter and like a page out of Alice in Wonderland. Last time I went out, this happened. This time I wondered why I even bothered coming home.
The cats were crazy once I got out of bed. Running around, following me and in general being stalkers. My youngest had an accident and didn't tell anyone. So I went to get her clothes for the day and I walk into a disaster of huge laundry proportions. Of course it's never a peeing accident, it has to be the poop. She took off all her clothes and changed her outfit but in doing so it's on her chair, her bed and a book. EWW! This happened probably an hour after she went to bed. I went in to check on her and thought it smelled funny but hey we've all had gas problems at night.
While I'm cleaning it up, Luna the Lunatic is running around like I've been gone for years. Up and down the stairs. Into the basement, watching, waiting and chasing. I finally think I'm done and I see Luna dragging my poor orchid across the floor to me!!! This poor orchid has survived cat smack down after cat smack down. This orchid is a fighter but after the last massacre I don't know it will make it. I have 2 other orchid's that are never even given a second thought. But this orchid, that once it blossoms will smell like chocolate is never left alone. I put a net around it and the cats go crazy like a day such as this. While I'm flattered she wanted to share my prized possession with me! Just please leave it alone! So I've taken a 1 gallon glass jar and put it over the orchid. Now hopefully the cats will not be tempted by the delicious smell of this battered and shredded orchid. Hopefully in 12 months it will recover and finally have a flower!
If your wondering which cat reeks havoc and destruction. I think will be save while she spends some quiet time alone.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Weekend

So this weekend I'm supposed to go to the monthly handworks get together.  As mother nature likes it, she's threatening us with 1-2 feet of snow.  No big deal we have a truck.  Not that I drive it often but this would a great chance to get to know "the truck".  
We will be driving the truck to NC in 12 days, so this would be  a great opportunity for us to bond.  My husband is worried though because I don't back up that well.  
Of course the only time I ever hit anything, was when I was backing up and that was 12 years ago.  It was our professor's garage and I only dinged it a little bit.  The garage, was an old wood barn, so it just added more character to it.  We never told him, it wasn't a big deal. Unfortunately it has left a scar on my ability to back up.  Maybe I shouldn't let him drive because he's been in 2 accidents for my one backing up accident.   
I will admit backing up is not one of things I love to do.  It's not as relaxing as knitting, or as enjoyable as making my daughter's squeal as I chase them around the house by tickling them.  I can do it, even if he thinks I can't.
His solution is to drive me there and leave me there all night.  It is a handwork sleep over but I snore.  Once the ladies heard me (only between 3-6am) they would throw me out into the snow faster than a rat passing through a 5 star restaurant kitchen.  So I would prefer to come home and snore wake my husband in my own bed.
I hope to have a pictures of a project I'm working on. It's my solution to stained shirts and it doesn't involve throwing them in the trash or donating them. If I finish it tonight and corner my oldest ask my wonderful daughter to model the work for me. I'll have pictures up in the next day or two. Then I will be working on appliques for my next project.  Hope you have an enjoyable weekend too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Valentine's Day Wall Banner Tutorial

So here's the Valentine's Tutorial I promised. It's easy, I think it's cute and you can get fancy or stay as simple as you want.
The big red heart is actually two hearts stitched together to create a pocket for a gift. The middle sized heart is also a pocket also for a little love note. That would be the bigger green heart in this picture.Then of course the littlest heart has an xox because it's not Valentine's Day without hugs and kisses. I decided to do 4 of these since there are 4 in my family. You can add on or take off as many hearts as you like. It's all hand stiched but you can easily do this on a sewing machine if you are pressed for time.
So the materials you need are felt or felted sweaters, embroidery floss, organdy ribbon, pinking shears and then something to hang your hearts off of and the pattern. I used antique albalone buckle that my grandmother gave me to use as a hanger. It's easier to work backwards, so cut the smaller heart out and add the xox, it you like. Then cut the middle heart, sew on smallest heart. Then cut 2 large hearts using pinking shears. I just follow the edge of the pattern with the pinking shears. Add the middle heart on to one of the largest hearts. Make sure to leave enough room when stitching so you can add a note into this pocket. I left enough room so a playing card could fit in. Then add the back to the biggest heart. If you don't want this to hang open, stitch up to the curve of the heart. Keep doing this to as many hearts as you want pockets for. Then sew it on a buckle or whatever you want to hang it off of. Or you can just make a loop. Sew the hearts onto the organdy ribbon, it doesn't have to be pretty it just has to hold. Then add the bottom heart to finish and you're done!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Socks Done!

I've finished the socks. I'm pretty happy with them, since the yarn is from leftover sweaters. They are a little long but that's fine. I like the stripes.
Here is what I was working on before the socks but didn't take pictures since the camera wasn't working.
I decided I like the larger bird pattern better. The smaller one's I just couldn't get the heads to look right. It was either to big or to small. Of course once I know something will work out I have to make a lot of them to make.
So I will be busy. The small one's are for an ornament that I've worked on before and I know works. I wanted to make a whole bunch of them, so I can pick and choose the colors. Maybe I'll think of something new while I'm working on all of this.