May the 4th

Happy Unofficial International Star Wars Day everyone. May the 4th be with you! The 4th was definitely with this crafty knitter!

Craftzine is all over the multiple ways a person could represent through crafty goodness the gravity of this date. Alternatively you can grab the kiddos to combine your love for screen time, crafts, and conflicts in space with Star Wars Stuff to Do.

I wasn’t sure if the boss lady would give me the day off to reflect on the global, nay, universal importance of the 4th, so I called in sick. My laundry definitely appreciates it.

****On Edit
* Today’s the day that begging Star Wars style just might work.

(via The Huffington Post)

* The 10 YO boy felt this post needed music. Well, here’s a wealth of SW sound from Blue Harvest, but here’s his favorite tune as of late:

Christmas Gifts

Gifts we gave. We made all our gifts this year, including zipper pulls for the cousins’ backpacks.

Gifts for the kids. The tree is propped up by presents especially selected by our loved ones for us. Some of us were excited and some of us played it cool.

The leather jacket emphasizes the cool, don’t you think?

Gifts for the dog. Toys marked “chew me” don’t last long around these parts.

Gifts for the future. I pray that I have enough of my children’s great grandmother’s genes to look this good in my mid 80s. She works out every day. Bleh.

Gifts to make me cry. Caddo Artist also gave handmade gifts. It’s too bad I couldn’t catch the detail on the beading along with the way it catches the light. Then again, all I’m trying to pass along is that people not on her Christmas list should be jealous. I’m jealous of myself!

My mom told me that I would have to wait until she died to get this scarf, just like she had to wait until my grandmother died. I didn’t have to wait and how nice is it that my mom is alive? She also recounted in a lovely illuminated letter the story of the scarf and a childhood trip with her mother to San Francisco.

Dreams of our new year. I can count my blessings at Thanksgiving, but I learn so much more about giving at Christmas. Between now and the new year, I’ll be considering the generosity of my family by birth and by choice. This season I’ve been put on notice that the world has the capacity to be beautiful, kind, and creative. I must respond likewise. I’ll have challenges, but I’ll have support. In this way, I (you are welcome on the journey) can continue to dream for a world in which every day we celebrate the best in each other (after you quit gagging, of course).

Christmas Giving

Now that we’ve gotten past the food and many of us have exorcised our inner shopping demons, I’d like to provide, as so many others have, alternative thoughts on gift giving at Christmas. My brother-in-law has requested a no spending policy between our families this season and I’m more than pleased to oblige. We did agree that no spending could mean finding our inner craftster, however, I’m unlikely to make this for his kiddos:

This Tampon Angel arrived in my Facebok in box from a most unlikely source. I’m not saying it’s my Senior Warden because if she had wanted folks to know about her inner subversive, surely she would have posted it on her own wall. Then again I told her I wanted to post it post-turkey and with her reply of, “I dare ya!” she cast herself as a provocateur. For this reason, I will allude to the identity of the sender rather than state outright it was the Senior Warden, who would also have you know about the Grace St. Paul Alternative Christmas Fair on December 13th. Last year they had Just Coffee, handmade items, and sales that benefited not-for-profit organizations.

Wise Bread also offers strategies to keep you in budget this year. If you are considering pulling out the plastic, consult this post from Pimp Your Finances. Man Vs. Debt challenges his giving policy — something most of us can afford to reexamine.

Christmas shouldn’t be a drag. I plan to get my kiddos that Shoot ‘Em Up Pet Shop Pokemon Heavy Metal Glitter Goo-gaw. I certainly learned from my own family that getting that one oh so materialistic as to be painfully obscene gift does bring joy to all involved. I also know that the Christmas we had relatively few presents, but ate a huge breakfast and watched black and white footage from my dad’s childhood was one of my favorite Christmases — though I liked the Barbie Dream House too.

The Finisher – Could that be me? Nah.

Recently I finished a dish rag I’d been knitting for two years solid. I gave it away straight away, so, no photos. I thought perhaps I could finish a few verbal projects here. I’m terrible at tying up loose ends. I’ll tell a tale like Nugget has joined the Peaceable Kingdom or Apples to Apples: An Ethnography of the Apple Store, and then leave it at that. It’s not that I don’t want to finish the story, it’s just that I’m a lazylou. I also have a 9 year quilt in the closet with my other skeletons. While unfinished is the way I roll, a little catch-up wouldn’t kill me.


The Apple store totally took care of me. New battery, new battery charger, new battery connection, new keyboard plate, and totally wiped down and cleaned up. The outcome feels as luxurious as getting my car detailed, which I’m totally going to do one day so that I know what it feels like to have my car detailed. The best part? The cost of parts and services was over $400, but they charged me nothing. I may not understand the store setup and perhaps I’m doing it all wrong, but I’m not sorry I drank the Apple juice.


Nugget decided to join the rest of our flock and even spent two nights perched with them. Unfortunately, the morning after proved to be no honeymoon. Buttercup would have none of it and, fearing a reprisal of the earlier victimage at the beaks of the Borton birds, Nugget quit roosting with the rest, choosing instead the grapefruit tree. We tired of retrieving her and so have reverted to roosting her ourselves in her segregated cell. I’m at a loss with her. I hate to see outcasts so if you have a suggestion, please let me know.


You may have noticed from my Twitter feed that we were scrambling to find new digs. The landlady called to say she was ready to move in and was sending a contractor over here today. Being a glorious F-Friday, I overheard the contractor tell landlady that she should budget six months just to draw up plans for the renovations. She didn’t say we could stay for those six months, but I’m feeling more relaxed about the situation. Even better, I’ve spent the last seven days on overdrive trying to pare down our possessions in preparation to move. In other words, the house is uncluttered and light weight. In fact, we had a discussion over dinner that we should invite all three of our friends over for a party then tell them how embarrassed we are the house is such a pit. Get it? We’d come off as Model Home folks. Ah, we are so funny. Okay, not really. There’s still much to clean and even cleaner probably wouldn’t approach your level of cleanliness.


Fluffy and Puffy are, for the most part, gone. Must be time to weed again!


Oh, I am so exhausted! It takes the wind out of a person to attend to the details. There is no way I’m going to do the dishes now.

Rockin’ the Sweatshop

Look at this. Look at it because I can’t stop. Honestly! She’s sewing in rose colored glasses. We agreed to help some sister Daisy Girl Scouts by sewing patches on their tunics as a project to break in her new sewing machine from Grammanina. At the same time, she had homework to make a hat for National Hat Day. She’s wearing the mock-up of her hat in this photo. I was never, nevernevernever, as complex as this young lady.
We freed her machine from its Styrofoam prison and she loaded up orange thread to contrast the blue fleece of her hat.

Then she wound the bobbin and snipped the thread. My machine winds the bobbin in a totally different manner, so this was a learning experience for both of us. George then threaded the machine for sewing.
And after a few mangled stitches, she asked if we could go back to my machine. So we did because I’m not about frustrating the kiddos. Well, not at this particular time anyway. Sew, sew, sew.
Lift pressure foot and turn.
Sew, sew, sew.
Sew, sew, sew.
And so! Three Daisy tunics all patched up and after a quick thread change, one hat seamed up and accented in orange. She makes sewing cool. YAY Baby Girl! You rock my world.

This Girl Can GIVE!

HO-LY COW! I got an e-mail from my friend Tracy about her giving this year. I’ve wanted to hear expressions of appreciation for memorable, meaningful gifts. Partly because I don’t want to give away what I’m giving and partly because I’m so frequently the recipient of gifts made of pure awesome. Once I read her message for, oh, the bazillionth time thinking that this is a woman who KNOWS how to give, I asked her if I could digest her Christmas list on my blog.

You may recall from a previous post that Tracy is a Caddo artist specializing in fan making. Fans aren’t the only thing she can make. These are traditional Caddo necklaces. “Yes, they took a looong time to make. But, they are gonna look great on my girls!”

Not to be outdone, her son made a necklace for each of his sisters and his father. Like his mother he considers each bead and the eventual design it will make. That is quite some bit of work for a tyke. “It is funny to watch him picking out which bead is next. He really has a “thing” with colors.” He has plans to make two more. Go little P!

These are traditional Caddo Dushtoohs. “I made new ones because my girls keep growing! I wish they would quit that. So inconsiderate to grow out of the clothes and regalia I make.” Not being Caddo, I’ve never had a Dushtooh. Makes me feel a little sorry for myself. I did have a traditional pair of Nikes once. They were purple and I pronounced them with a long I and a silent E. I think Dushtoohs are prettier, but I’m still not sure how to pronounce them.

She also donated over 250K feet of reel-to-reel audio recordings her grandparents made of Caddo dancing, singing, and talking along with 45 pounds of written language, notes, and journals migrated to CDs. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, one of my favorite places on earth, recognized this act as more than a simple archival donation. Many tribal languages like Caddo die out with the elders. The museum already found a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics to start working on it. Do you think refrigerator drawings of guys picking their noses and eating their buggers would be as happily received? Hell no! Tracy comes from a family with weight and the entire world will benefit from her gift.

I’m not giving away any more of her presents with a presence. For one, I don’t want her fam to know what they are getting and for another I’m going to steal her ideas. Just trust me, it pays to be a member of her family. And yes, Tracy, you pass. I’m thinking of something more special for you than molted chicken feathers.

I still want to hear your stories of receiving. I went shopping today with an evil woman who allowed $200ish to slide right out of my wallet. I feel the spirit of giving creeping right into my bones.

She’s Got Eyes for This Shirt

I’ve been wondering what sort of t-shirt I could paint for my niece. I thought I might use freezer paper to paint “Steve” across the side of a shirt for her after hearing Obama say he was going to change his name to Steve. I thought that would be hilarious. Then I thought maybe I’d do these reverse applique eyeballs I saw on Creative Kismet. That would give my niece, who is frequently the target of some critical eyes, the opportunity to say all sorts of cornball things like, “Why do I always feel like someone is watching me?” or “I have my eyes on YOU!” But, unlike her aunt, she’s probably way too cool to reveal the inside joke.

I can’t give my niece some crappy gift though, so I had to do a test run first. What’s great about this project is that the 6YO girl and I got to do it together. We pretty much followed the tutorial with a few exceptions. I used acrylics instead of fabric paints because that’s what I have. Also, I painted then cut where CK cut then painted. So, you know, we made it totally our own.

* First we got an arm pit-y white shirt from my drawers (the girl strictly forbade the raiding of her father’s drawers) and a stained hand-me-down from her brother.
* Then we both painted the eyes on the pit-y shirt.
* Next the girl cut out the eyeballs and told me where to pin them to the inside-out, hand-me-down shirt.
* We changed the needle and thread and bobbin on the machine to match the colored shirt.
* When it was time to begin sewing, the girl raised and lowered the presser foot and cut the strings (any ideas on how to set things up so that she can reach the foot pedal?).
* Finally, we turned the shirt right side out and used a seam ripper to start cutting out the eyeball shapes from the hand-me-down shirt to reveal our eyeballs.

What I learned:
* The girl is ready for bigger and better crafts.
* We should have been more careful about how we placed the eye and/or where we painted the eye sparkle, because on the front of the shirt where we have multiple eyes, the glint inexplicably comes from multiple light sources.
* I need more practice sewing jersey.

Cool Buddies Doing Cool Things

Populist Pugilist just started a poetry blog. He promises an entry a week with his first being a partial glimpse at a collection titled Grace Poems. Here’s what he has to say about it:

Grace Poems is a cycle of individual pieces unified by the character of Grace. Hopefully each poem can stand on its own, but they also hopefully all compliment one another and form a whole greater than the sum.

Grace herself is partly inspired by certain real people and is my tribute to them and to what (in my mind) they stand for. I also model Grace on poetic figures that may be a bit obvious (Dante’s Beatrice and Yeats’s Cathleen, Crazy Jane, etc.). My intent was to create in Grace a symbol of ideas, values, beliefs, emotions and myths. But I also wanted to give Grace a certain reality and personality.

I’m not saying that these poems have anything to do with me, but let’s face it, I’m nothing if not graceful. Irregardlessivity, this is my blog where everything is about me and therefore I’m telling you I am “certain real people” and also the woman Dante had in mind for Beatrice. What? We were close. Ask Shirley McClain.

Populist knows I am not smart enough for poetry. I hate that because I don’t wish to lend my idiocy to the built-in snobbery of the literary world where novels are marginalized for spelling things out for the women who read them. I do offer my mother and mother-in-law (Yeats is one of her faves) as women who can appreciate and interpret poetry. For my part, I will continue to presume I’m Grace. In fact, I will presume all Populist’s good poetry is about me and all the bad poetry is about my antagonists because they are the way most evil.

Guess what else is also about me? Tracy’s cool new stuff. She’s shared with me her current inspiration. Anyone would be privileged to own one of her fans. Perhaps she won’t hate me forever if I let you in on her current work. I’m very excited about it.

Don’t you just ADORE that pop of teal (blue, turquoise – as with poetry, so am I with color). These here feathers are causing Tracy quite some tortured artist feelings in terms of involuntary bodily tingles, urges, and so forth. I think she enjoys the physical symptoms of longing and waiting while mulling over the possibilities. On the other hand, so much of her is in her craft that she says, “I feel like I am putting children on the orphan train headed west every time I mail a fan off.”

Tracy is just good with words like that. Here’s what Tracy says about this photo, “These are the sticks I use to violate the quills for my fans.” Hee hee. Sometimes I’m overly in touch with my inner 8 YO boy. That may be another reason for my stunted poetic understandings and also why Tracy is the artist and I am the friend.

My cool buddies are doing cool things that the world views as “art” while I muddle away with shrinkey dinks and kids’ paint and this blog. I’ll update you when Tracy’s next fan comes up for sale (if she manages to convince herself to orphan another), but you should really sign up to follow Populist.