Friday, April 28, 2006

Photobooth Friday or How PickleBoy got his name.

Taken at The Balboa Arcade, Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, California, Spring 2001.

How is it already five years since this picture was taken? The cliche is so true - it seems like just yesterday that he was born. He came into this world a wise old sage and he did it with style. Born in a big oval bathtub at home, up through that clear water into this world filled with gravity.

He ate voraciously and slept little in the early days. He continues the former but has been a blessedly good and hard slumberer since his sixth month. When he was not quite a year old he would sit in that high chair and beam at me, laugh even, with a mouth full of whatever I put in front of him. But the pickles? Oh, the pickles...sitting in that seat with hair sticking straight up from the brown rice that doubled as spiky hair product, he would curl up those fat dimpled little fists and proceed to bang them on his tray in rythym to the chant, "bika! bika! bika!" - pickle in baby speak. The chant would continue loud and happy until I could get them cut into little bits and onto the tray. Little fingers shoveling all the pieces in and licking the juice away until it would start all over again, "bika! bika! bika!"

You know, I don't even remember how I would get away with ebbing the constant flow of pickles without tears. I only remember laughing right along with him and crying, too. Crying for my joy and luck and the distinct feeling that I must have done something right somewhere along the way to deserve such an exquisite creature as my very own son. My PickleBoy. always the original PBF queen is hulaseventy, and look, we got mentioned in 52 Project Jeffrey's blog too. Cool.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

some of my photo florabundity for you.

updated to add the types from top - left/right - to bottom they are:
peony (my favorite)
trumpet flower (?)
gerbera daisy
gerbera daisy (again)

check out more here and here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Knit a cuff to increase your super powers!

Designed for the super hero or disco diva in you.

Sequin Cuff Bracelet
Size US 9 (5.5 mm) needles. (I used straight/cheapie metal needles to minimize any chance of damaging my schmancy bamboo ones)
3 yards (approx) 'single strand' sequins, matte silver.
Gauge is unimportant - you just need to be able to get your needles and sequins around each other.
Three buttons (I used two vintage buddha buttons from ebay with a bubbly little clear one in the center)
Sewing thread to match the 'strand' (or thread) that the sequins are pre-strung on
Sewing needle
Coordinating craft felt or fabric (optional)
Cast on 8 stitches (or to width preference).
Work in garter stitch until the bracelet meets snugly around your wrist (remember that your bind off will add a bit more). Please keep in mind that it is a bit of a struggle to get these sequins around each other as you are knitting due to lack of elasticity in the strand. I was being very deliberate and fussy in the beginning but then got quite a bit rougher towards the end. I lost a few sequins here and there but you absolutely can't tell because of the density of the end product.
Bind off.
Weave your ends in a bit and then sew with needle and thread through these ends so it is secured but also so your sequins don't start falling off the ends of the strand.
Use same needle and thread to sew the three buttons on evenly spaced.
If the bracelet feels too scratchy on your wrist, cut the optional felt or fabric to size and sew to inside of bracelet with thread.

I did intend to sew some elastic loops on to use as button 'holes' but my buttons just fit through the knitting in my loose bind off row.

Now, off to thwart evil plans and such.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Make. Bizarre. Images.

Yeah, ok, so seeing as I was a bit whiny and pathetic yesterday I thought I'd regale you with tales and images of the Make Magazine faire/Bazaar Bizarre that I attended over the weekend.

Weeeeee! It was great. I took Jess's class and she is even more fabulous in person than you would expect. She was friendly, charming and very funny in a quirky and endearing way. Hey - come to think of it - quirky and endearing just like her toys. The attendees (and only us - wow!) got a free pattern for George. She gave us all sorts of helpful tips. The most important to me, as I have been knitting for a while now, was to watch her attach the extra appendage to his head! I guess you had to be there...

You can see here that she felt a bit sad for George and his 'problem'...

In addition to being so happy to have taken her instruction is that this was my first experience meeting someone in person who I have known only through their blog. What an odd feeling to 'know' someone without knowing them. It is just lovely and makes you feel connected. I highly recommend it.

I went on to wander the geeky loveliness of the different displays and here are my favorites:

This FANTASTIC old station wagon was tricked out better than any other car I have ever seen. Those little red lanterns inside? They work. The 'wood grain' all along the sides and back are painstakingly hand painted to appear realistic except for...

...a few spooky little details. Heh.

...the 'how to make neon glass tubes' booth...

...yeah, graffiti research lab and your minions...

...Mutant Lucyfer...

And here are the spoils of my shopping experience at the Bazaar Bizarre posing with my breakfast the next morning. Could this entire post be more orangey? Might my color du jour be shifting away from greeny?

It couldn't be, could it?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Music Monday (all cynical like)

I am sure that I DO have many nice things to say somewhere inside me today but, quite honestly, I am too cranky to heft up some big blog effort at the moment.

But music monday rolls around regardless of my mood so to my dear audience of two (or three?) faithful readers here is today's music pick...

Artist of the Week

Album of the Week
Reset (ep)

Song and Lyric of the Week
"Take control of the atmosphere
Take me far away from here
There is no better loss than to lose myself in you"

Music Rant of the Week
I don't have a memory of this band yet so I will rant a little to go with my mood.
These guys are from New Orleans and lost their homes in Katrina.
These guys aren't signed but they should be.
They did put out their own ep and you should go buy it.
Because they rock.
And they are cute.
They sound like some poppy 80's-esque thing mixed with Radiohead.

So there.
Now go away...

Friday, April 21, 2006

photo booth friday - fortuitous.

You know, I have enjoyed PBF for quite awhile. It is actually one of the final deciding factors in my choice to join the blog universe. I have many photo strips that I began collecting when PickleBoy was little. They all look essentially the same although he is just a little older each time.

I've been a bit envious of the others who have old photobooth pictures from members of their own family throughout history. I had just resigned myself to having recent memories to pull from and then...

...on Easter Sunday, my aunt (father's sister) pulled out a little satin pouch full of little mementos that her grandmother gave to her before her passing (when I was only 3 months old). Can you imagine my face when this tiny single photo fell out onto the table? I just looked at my Sister and mouthed the word "MINE". She smiled knowingly and nodded her head. See, except for Sis, PickleBoy and eldest nephew Big G, no one in the family has a clue that I have created this old blog-o-mine. They know nothing of photo booth Fridays. Fate I say.

So who are these people? This is a photobooth picture of my grandfather as a boy (the same age as PickleBoy is now) with his grandmother. Nothing is written on the back...we know not when or where this was sister and I have never even seen a picture of this great great grandmother Evans of ours. My estimate is that it was taken around 1925. This side of the family is where the Welsh and Swedish comes down the tree via Swedesburg, Iowa. She was probably visiting her daughter's family in Southern California at the time. We are the only branch of the tree to have landed in California (PickleBoy is 4th generation Californian although he is half Australian, too).

I love how beautiful and happy my grandfather seems here. You see, he was an only child who subsisted on pure adoration which later evolved into fame. So far, the only 'star' in the family but he came from an era that did not prepare him for the inevitable time when the fame fades into the ethers. He did not transition well. I only knew him in his later years but heard regularly just how golden he used to be.

Having this photo come to me feels fortuitous in more than one way. For the blog, yes, but it has also reminded me to continue finding a way to keep the sparkle and shine in my eyes and, more importantly, my life.

I wish you all a sparkly and shiny weekend and life, too.

(more PBF love here)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Beware the Love Attack.

Here we witness the deliberate approach of the FatBoy as it seeks out it's prey...

...the Fat first attempts a staring contest to overtake it's intended. when this approach fails...

 moves closer and prods the victim to determine how much effort will be needed to succeed in it's mission...

 decides that a direct approach will be more effective and ignores it's preys necessity to earn a living... sniffs for weakness...

...and marks it's prey with the scent of impending doom...

...closer, closer...

...and finally...domination is achieved (notice the oncoming smooch from the prey)...

...exhausted from it's conquest, the Fat rests momentarily before... moves on to contemplate the next round of world love domination
(or maybe just to take a nap).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Meet Fang.

I knitted my friend Fang from a pattern by the fabulous and talented Jess Hutchinson. She wrote and printed up a limited amount of copies of Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy last Fall which is unfortunately no longer available. I ordered and received my copy before it was gone forever. So lucky.

I am also very fortunate to be going this Saturday to the Maker Faire to participate in one of her workshops. And to partake in much wacky retail therapy at the Bazaar Bizarre which will be set up there. Check out some of those vendors! I am frothing with excitement to spend a crafty day of goodness amongst throngs of devoted and geeky people just like me.

Here are the minor differences between her pattern and my finished object:
She named hers Spherey.
I named mine Fang.
Spherey is light blue and red.
Fang is of the pink and green variety.
Spherey has longer legs and arms.
Fang's are somewhat truncated.
Spherey is toothless.
Fang is VERY proud of his favorite and somewhat large tooth.

The only potential problem is that he seems to have a slightly disturbing, potentially dangerous and definitely expensive drinking problem...

I can see it in those eyes.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Music Monday and Eggs

My Sister and I stepped up to the plate and 'did' Easter this year. Our mother has always done the holidays up with style but we decided it was our turn. So with a little trepidation and our own menu, we started shopping for eggs and flowers and candies and booze etcetera in the days leading up to the festivities. I packed my share of everything up including PickleBoy on Saturday morning and drove the forty minutes to my Sister's house to get started...

The beginnings of the feast to be were assembled while our kids dyed the eggs...

There was plenty of hard work and mayhem that night that continued into the next day. Baskets discovered. Flowers happily assembled.

Yummy edibles prepared. Glasses of mimosas imbibed. The indoor egg hunt due to yet another rainy day.

Vehicles stuck in the mud yet ultimately extracted by gleaming mud splattered faces. The little unfortunate digs and judgments that have existed in our clan for years would raise their heads here and there and be mixed with some genuine joy and appreciation - strange bedfellows these. The end of the day finally drew near and I welcomed it...happy kids, exhausted and full and packed up to head back to their beds.

As I drove home with PickleBoy next to me, he read a beautiful passage aloud that he wanted me to hear. I was swept up in that delicious moment while this played:

Artist of the Week
My Morning Jacket (best album cover ever or what?)

Album of the Week

Song and Lyric of the Week
Off The Record
"Sorry 'bout the things that I had to say
And I'll make it up to you right now at the penny arcade.
In an open car or wherever you are
Push yourself too hard and it might get hot.
Well I really don't need the confusion
And you know I just ain't the type
To get all wrapped up in the illusion of doin' something
That I know ain't right - Right?

Music Memory of the Week
That drive into the dark impending clouds with the ethereal last light of the day sneaking around and through them. PickleBoy's voice layered with this music. I felt drained yet satisfied and so very lucky to be heading to the little home I have created for us. This song wrapped the moment up in a perfect little parcel to savor over and over again.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Photobooth Friday...

Taken at The Balboa Arcade, Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, California, Summer 2000.

I take PickleBoy back to the beach where I grew up every year. Sometimes when the stars align I get him there twice in a year. We stay for a week and have little routines and circles and rhythms to this vacation.

We stayed at the beach trailer that my parents bought when I was sixteen years old until very recently. It sat on Pacific Coast Highway at the ocean’s edge until the State decided that the land would be theirs again – torn down – this part of the story is painful and I will reserve it for another day.

We always designate one of our beach days for The Balboa Arcade and the Fun Zone. We drive our car onto the rattley harbor ferry and head into this touristy day with the knowledge that the old photobooth is waiting for us. The exact photobooth that has been there since before I can remember. The photobooth that has captured images of my childhood friends and I as we grew from laughing girls to giggly preteens to ‘cool' teenagers. Somewhere along the line the person in the booth with me became a cute boy that made my palms sweat. What I would do to find those old photo strips that are most likely gone forever.

The best I can do now is make sure that PickleBoy and I are there.
Every year.
Sometimes twice.
Documenting a bit of our journey together through this life.

Thank you, Andrea, for helping me remember why the photobooth is magic…

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Random Thoughts Thursday

Go Fish Go, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Life is damn fast. We are much like these fish most of the time. All racing together around and around and around until we make just a blur.
But then we find simple little joys along the way.
That make us stop.
And ponder.
And smile.
And happy that we can see, if only for a moment, that they become something else altogether.

Find one little unexpected moment that makes you smile today.

(sorta like the luminescent colors that these fish have 'become' did for me)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesdays are for Knittin'!

I owe this blog to many different things but first and foremost to knitting. You see, I had never read a blog and barely knew (or cared) what one was until my addiction to the knit took hold.

It all started innocently enough. I needed something to wile away the hours, I mean HOURS, spent at various swimming pools in the far flung corners of our county while PickleBoy perfected his backstroke. I took six knitting lessons in January 2004 and I have never looked back, or taken more lessons, or followed an exact pattern since. Oh the hours spent on all the lovely knit blogs out there in the time since!

This is a hat of my own 'design'. It is one loverly ball of self-striping handspun yarn from pluckyfluff named 'tiger moth' that I was lucky enough to get before her fame and book hit big. It was also before the prices reached such lofty heights.

Recipe for Woofy Hat:

Cast on appropriate amount of stitches on appropriate size needle
(this is 76 stitches on US11 circular needle) in soft complimentary color and join being careful not to twist stitches.
Do ribbing of your choice (I used k2, p2) for 1 1/2 inches
Switch to handspun yarn and knit until you run out OR you've got the height you want.
BO all stitches.
Seam across the top and put 'er on.
The ears are instant!

And a closeup of the top seam and yummy color:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday – April Fool

Lotta lips around here, huh? This is my first venture into Self Portrait Tuesday. I love the idea of this SPT art project (this month's theme is 'fool' thus the choice of picture!). Here is the gist:

Self portrait tuesday is about self expression and exploration. The idea is each tuesday you post a self portrait on your blog…

What is the ultimate aim?
• To create a community - an online community of people participating in a continuous artistic self-expressive art project
• To give a voice to those who want to speak
• To encourage self-analysis and self-expression and self-exploration in people who would normally not be able to or don't have a venue or audience for such.
• To encourage people to challenge their personal boundaries
• To free up inhibitions and allow that inner hidden something to be occasionally seen.


My friend B is the best neighbor-girl-friend that I never had in my childhood and our boys are very close. We go on a semi-annual-or-whenever-we-really-need-it trek slash adventure. We jump in her wonderful red convertible alfa with the top down in any season. Head to whole paycheck and end up with varying goodies like French cheeses and pates and local bread and olives and other decadent yummies (don’t forget the wine or champagne in pink cans with straws, the mint water...) then head out. We are lucky to live in one of the most diverse and stunning areas in the world and never take it for granted. Our journey takes us on a different route each time but almost always climbs through the mountains and down to the blustery and beautiful beach. I make a ‘soundtrack’ for the day – we take a camera. We also take our mutual love for trying to figure out life and enjoy enjoy enjoy. These photos were taken last time.

Thank you, neighbor girl, for our adventures and always being there for me. (You most definitely made it to my mountain).

Monday, April 10, 2006

Music Monday

So today is the inaugural Music Monday post. You cannot really call what I have for music ‘love’. That is an underestimate. No, it is more a vital substance that flows in my veins and through every aspect of my life. It is always playing, this soundtrack to my life, and my preferences range far and wide so let’s get started...

Artist of the Week
Patty Griffin

Album of the Week
Flaming Red

Song and Lyric of the Week
Peter Pan
“Hey, Peter Pan
I'm going home now
I've done all I can
Besides I'm grown now
I'll think of you all painted with the night
You sit and watch from somewhere
As one by one the lights go out

I wrote a note to tell you how you matter
When the rain came down
All the letters scattered
And washed away
Drifted off to Never
Where you'll be safe from me now forever”

Music Memory of the Week
I found Patty eight years ago in an unlikely way. Commercial radio, a pop hit called One Big Love. Something about her voice got under my skin and I decided to take a chance – I bought the Flaming Red record.

Now this album starts out raging with electric guitar and feedback on the title track but then it takes this completely unexpected trajectory through varying styles. It was confusing at first - which one of these songs was she? I reached the end of the album and the Peter Pan track started to play. Resonance, goosebumps, and then tears, real tears as I was driving through the countryside.

I will say that although this album is a bit all over the place, I really cherish it. I was to find out much later that she was battling with her record company while recording this. They wanted to make her mainstream and squeeze as much cash out of the deal as possible. She wanted to stay true. I love her for this and because this is the album that brought her to me I am forever grateful. There is poetic irony in this story because I worked for this very record company long before she was ever signed and, ultimately, left the business because of my own disillusionment. She is now with a much more supportive company.

This artist who has moved me to tears and cracked my world open a bit and let the light pour in. There will be many more mentions of Patty over time but this is where Music Monday begins...

Friday, April 07, 2006

photo booth friday - tweet.

My Sister and I started out as birds of two different types of feather. We did not recognize one another’s plumage. Her hue was too ‘sweet’ - mine too ‘loud’. The inability of the young to perceive the subtleties of color led to years of conflict that eventually became an acceptance that we would just “never get along”.

Many years passed. Birthdays, graduations, weddings but then - the babies. My first nephew was born and he was lovely, Early stages of molting must have started to show but we still could not see it. Her second baby – a girl. And then, I had PickleBoy all the way down in Melbourne, Australia. It was time to fly home. One day as I was struggling to pack up our little house and to mother a yawing little prune of a baby, the phone rang.

It was her. She said something like, “Bring that baby home to me. I am so excited, I miss you.” She doesn’t know that I sat down after that call and just wept. Something inside me had changed. There is no way to express how the flight back to one another has altered my path in this life.

There are so many stories about the good times we have shared since but do you see that photo above? The word missing is ‘bird’. When we took this picture we were being silly and quoting from one of our all time favorite movies – Dumb and Dumber. We laughed and laughed after this strip spit out of the machine. We must have looked like two crazy and beautiful birds of a feather to anyone who was looking on.

Now go give some love to hula seventy – she started this Photo Booth Friday thing in the first place and I suspect she has a few beautiful feathers of her own.