Monday, September 29, 2008


Every Monday, the EtsyBloggers blog features one of their team members. I like to get in on the fun, too, so I trotted over today to see who they were spotlighting.

Spotlighting...Spotted lighting...Spotted Cow Soaps!

Doesn't she make wonderful things?

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

In other news, my Mom and brother came into town today. Mom's car bit the dust, and brother Wayne is our family car expert. We checked pages of ads on Craig's List, and went through even more ads on Yahoo! and made a list of possibilities, then headed out.

Hit three car lots, but the first two were "on the way". The first planned stop, we found the first listed car, and drove it. It was the only one we drove, but it's a sweet ride, within Mama's budget, and the second time we drove it was to bring it home.

Still took us all day, but we had a good time, and I feel good about the car, a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue with only 64,000 miles on it, spotlessly clean, and running perfectly. Ah, the satisfaction.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


True confession: I'm a coffee snob. Just a teensy bit of one, but one nevertheless.

True, I don't go on and on about different blends, the quality or timing of roasts, or have my coffee flown in from "a little shop in California that has it figured out", but I don't buy my beans already ground, or in a can. That pre-ground stuff tends to be really nasty. Eeeuw.

Having said that, there are those times when canned coffee is all there is, like when visiting Mama.

For that, I have tricks: Adding a tiny bit of cinnamon or nutmeg helps. And just a pinch of salt. Surprising, but true.

Now, the other day we were at Mama's, sitting and having dinner, when she realized she'd forgotten to put the salt and pepper on the table. She got up and got them, but tripped on the edge of the rug on her way back. The coffee in her cup went everywhere, presumably because she'd bumped the table hard. It was even in my dinner plate.

What had actually happened, though, was a true fluke. Mama salted her coffee Big Time:

How did she DO that?!

We were, needless to say, amazed and full of giggles.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Wow. The day is already gone, and I'm watching the pundits dissect the presidential debate. The candidates were definitely fencing with each other. Now it's my time to fence, with three photos. I couldn't decide on one!

These three fences are on neighboring properties along Hwy 101, near Otis, Oregon.

Stack 'em, stand 'em

Still standing wobbler

White Pickets & Pastel Boards


The Portland Pirate Festival was this past weekend. As usual, it was great fun. Don't want to write a lot, because it's already after midnight, so I'll just post pictures.

Since I was there as the face painter, let's start with those:

I think it's safe to say we all had fun!


Friday Fence Post #3
More Pirate Pictures

Monday, September 22, 2008


The two problems with corset, as I see it, are the usually high price, and the difficulty of getting into and out of them. Laces! They look great, and they give you a certain degree of size flexibility, but they're a pain when it comes to getting dressed and undressed.

I was a little tired of my old corsets anyway, and wanted a new one for the Pirate Festival this past weekend.

What you'll need:

  • A dress with simple lines, sleeveless
  • Loopy braid trim to coordinate with the dress
  • Lacing cord or ribbon

Here's what I did:

Start with a dress that fits reasonably well, and has simple lines. A Princess-line is ideal. You might have one in your closet already, or you might need to buy one. It's tempting to get one that's a little small, or a little big. Resist the temptation. If it isn't at least close to your size, you'll have to make adjustments in the back and/or shoulders.

This one was half off at Goodwill, making it just $4.50:

Fold the dress exactly in half, lay it flat, and split it up the middle.

Make sure it's exactly halved, or the front edges will be skewed.

Turn under and stitch a narrow hem on the newly cut edges. If there's a facing at the top, open it out, and keep hemming.

Now you'll want to try the dress on, to see how much you'll need to turn under on the front edges to get the gap you want. I opted for about 2-2/15" (5.1-6.4cm) Press that much to the inside, and stitch close to the edge. You've just created a self-faced front opening.

Turn the corner sharply when you reach the bottom hem, and continue, to complete top-stitching detail.

Sew your loopy trim on, turning the top end to the inside, and adding a rosette to cover the bottom end.

You'll want the trim to extend over the garment edge, for ease in lacing:

Hope you can see what I mean!

Sew the folded-back top edge invisibly to secure it, and to hide the end of the braid:

Ready to lace up!

Add the laces, try on the corset, adjust, and tie with a bow. Unzip the back to remove!


As you can see, I left the dress its full length, which gave me long panels over the red taffeta skirt. That's one option, but you might want to cut it off waist-length, or leave a bit of a peplum. It's all good.

I didn't get a good photo of me in the bodice. That would have happened the first day, when I didn't get a photo of me at all. Lame, I know. The second day, it turned cold and rained like a pig, and all I have is this one, with layers upon layers of clothing, the "wrong" blouse, and not standing up. Ah, well. Such is life, yes?

Layered and bedraggled, with fearsomely fun pirate comrade

The trim I needed for this project happened to be on sale when I went to Joann Fabrics. The entire thing cost me less than $10!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Hard to admit, but this was taken in my own back yard. It does look kind of rustic, but...well...I need to weed that bed!

Here's our second Friday Fence:

Wicker, Wood, and Nightshade

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This weekend is the Portland Pirate Festival, a huge-ish gathering of people who love pirates, saying "Aaaargh!", and dressing in pirate-era costume.

It's great fun, with enormous inflated play structures for the kids, booth after booth of costumes, swords, daggers, and other paraphernalia, wandering troupes of dancers and singers, stage shows, a schooner to sail on, sword fights, puppetry, and acrobats.

Oh, and me! Sitting in wench-wear at my table, happily painting lots o' little kids, and the occasional adult.

A handsome matey

This is my third year doing the Festival, and I enjoy it, and am learning over time. (Dress warmly, but in layers. Charge enough to, and I hate to admit this, deter at least a few potential customers, or I will work myself into a stupor, etc.) The only "complaint" I've had is that my table set-up was not visible enough, not brightly colored enough, and that they'd nearly missed me altogether.

So I went out and bought two tablecloths to change that. Yesterday I got out the table and umbrella, and put the tablecloths on, to make sure everything was copacetic. They were too small!

And I didn't want to spend more money. What to do? I put the floral cloth on the umbrella. This is what I had, and it wasn't doing it for me:

Well, close. But no cigar.

There was a certain similarity of theme, though, even if the colors were wrong. So I got out the acrylics. They aren't fabric paints, but this isn't ever going to be washed, and they're flexible enough not to interfere with opening and closing the umbrella.

Gotta say, I'm happier with this:

Don't you just love paint?

The other cloth is bright red, and will be layered over a jungle print of greens and browns. I do believe I'm set.

Now, for that new corset....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Every month, the Etsy Bloggers Team chooses a team member to do a write-up on, and we all feature him/her on our blogs. I decided to wait with my post so that the fun could be stretched out, and the attention given over a longer period of time.

Huh. Writing that sparked a memory: when I was fourteen, in eighth grade, I came down with hepatitus. I don't think it was actually on my birthday when they diagnosed me, but it was close. I had a mild case, and was sick for only three weeks, but for that entire time there were visitors (who couldn't come into my room, but stood outside the door to say hello) and little gifts. I considered that my birthday lasted nearly a month.

Enough of that, though. This month's featured blog and its writer is "Joey and Aleethea".

Now, it's enough work to write a blog, and post regularly, I think, especially when you're running a busy Etsy shop (with darling, adorable items for babies!), and taking care of two darling, adorable little ones, but this energetic blogster also keeps our EtsyBlogger shop on Etsy up-to-date, and keeps all us EtsyBlogger folks organized and motivated! Frankly, I'm boggled, she does such a superb job.

Her blog,, is attractive and interesting, and full of good things to read, look at, and click on, and her store, Joey and Aleetha on Etsy, is jam-packed with little things that will make you wish for a baby to give them to. Check out some of these:

(That's not a "real" Etsy mini, so the images aren't clickable. I'll figure that out eventually!)

Many thanks and kudos to our fearless leader!

Monday, September 15, 2008


So yesterday, it seemed like a good idea to get some bark mulch and maybe a few ground cover-type plants. I headed off to RiteAid, saw without even turning in that they didn't have any plants outside, and made a beeline for Garden Fever. (Alarms should have been going off, lights blinking, signs flashing, "DANGER! DANGER!")

I made it out only $44 poorer, after browsing dreamily through cool outdoor aisles, reading tags, lifting pots, lusting (No, that is not too strong a word!) over choices that were too many and too wonderful.

Best new non-plant item: Coco shell mulch! Oh. My. Goodness. It looks like hazel nut shells (filberts), but is more delicate. It cost more than the bark mulch, but the helpful worker I talked to said you use roughly half as much for weed suppression, with the same results, and that it doesn't fade to gray, but keeps its color. Plus, (Are you ready for this?) when it warms in the sun, it smells like chocolate! I'm going back for another bag today. I love this stuff!

I brought everything home, and went to work, actually digging up one of the dahlias I planted Saturday, and replacing it with a new euphorbia, Canyon Gold. (It's the wrong time of year for it to have any real distinguishing characteristics, so no photo. It looks like any other euphorbia right now.)

Then I planted the other newbies, and spread that lovely mulch. Here's the result:

I'm looking forward to next year, when the new plants will have spread out, especially the lemon thyme and other ground covers, and the caryopteris incana, which will stay about as tall as it is now, but get about two feet wide:

Close-up, it looks like this:

Isn't it beautiful?

And those dahlias:

Melody Lisa

Get closer...

Melody Swing

Step into the whorl...

That takes care of one corner of the front yard. There's a huge Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) needing to be cut back:

Eight feet tall, & it looks like it's covered with fried eggs!

and the rest of the yard is just completely out of control. sigh.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Today was the Foster Street Art Walk. It was also the Iron Man show at SCRAP, and there was a festival of some sort going on in Beaverton.

I had kicked around the idea of these shows for weeks, and had settled on the Art Walk. It had the appeal of something I've never done, just going out and setting up on a sidewalk along a designated route, and of course the prospect of some sales. On the other hand, doing something I've never done before isn't always that attractive to me. It's a weakness, but I don't know what to do about it. Positive self talk, maybe?

Well, then things began to get a little busy around here, culminating in a trip to Mama's so DH and son could re-roof Mama's garage. I spent the first day banging at Mom's computer, trying to rid it of a boatload of trojans, malware, spyware, and one exceptionally nasty virus. I destroyed them all, which was nice, except that I ended up with the dreaded blue screen of death, a "fatal error" that will require a reinstall of Windows to fix. If I'd been thinking better, I'd have known that would happen when I found out the virus was lodged in the Winlogon directory. Ah, well.

The second day, Mama and I went into town to "play", our term for hitting the Goodwill, and doing a bit of other shopping. We also picked up supplies for the guys, who'd run out of tar paper, needed a patio door lock, etc. We were so non-stop busy that by the end of the day the idea of doing a show I didn't have enough inventory for was paling, and by the time we got home, at 10:30 that night, I had a pretty good idea I wasn't going to have the energy for it.

So instead, I played Garden Hooky! Today was the perfect weather for it, and Bi-Mart had dahlias and mums on sale, and there were three pots of different ground covers on the deck waiting to be planted.

Also, the front bed was looking perfectly, absolutely awful. In a few hours today, I took this:

And turned it into this:

Seems to me, it was time well spent.

I was going to run up to RiteAid and get bark chips to dress the bed, but ended up going out to Sellwood to pick up two microphone stands instead. Don't you just love Craig's List? Two brand-new boom stands, still in their boxes, for $30. Whoo-hoo to a lovely day!

Friday, September 12, 2008


DH and I went to Mama's on Tuesday, and as we drove through Portland, for some reason or other, my eyes were drawn to the fences we were passing. Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, to take a picture, or several, every week of an interesting fence and post it to my blog? I could call it "Fence Fridays" or "Friday Fences". It could be my version of "Thursday Self Portraits", maybe. (I'm not much into having my picture taken. Pictures of me make me feel ugly, about 90% of the time.)

Anyway, here's my first Friday Fence Post!

This fence runs along Mama's driveway.

Click here to see full-size.

Click here to see full-size.

Click here to see full-size

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