Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sew Little, Sew Much

There is much sewing I'd like to do, yet so little spare time. I work nine and a half to ten hour days, and bring home grading. Work mode resumed a few weeks ago, and it's grip on my time is tight.
Near my sewing area in the basement, a swing hangs from the joists. We also have a Lego table, slide, and a tricycle near our workout zone. This means my son can play while I sew or exercise.

Since I tend to perch on the front edge of my chair, my son will often sit in the space between my back and the chair's back and read a book.
In this cozy manner, I managed to finish a few new appliques in the minutes between dinner and bedtime this week.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Geek Love

While trying to decide on phone to replace my three-year-old Razr, I heard one influential phase over and over: "You'll never regret getting an iPhone!"

I had my doubts once I saw the increased monthly rate for data service, but then I played with a co-worker's iPhone. Later, I read in Nathan Bransford's blog that he reads e-books on his iPhone more often than on his Kindle or Sony e-Book and my lust for the little machine tripled.

Last Friday night, I dreamed I had one. The dream was so much fun that I was morose upon awakening to the realization I couldn't watch YouTube on my phone.

Wednesday, my phone and green case arrived via two-day FedEx. I'm head over heels for this little device! I've added the Kindle app, a Scrabble, NPR updates, and some podcast subscriptions. Learning all it's uses takes some time, (I still haven't figured out how to use my existing iTunes music for ringtones, for example) but it's fun.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crafting Update (with many parenthetical statements)

My sewing time is nearly non-existent again. This week I finished diaper bags for two friends, both new mothers, but won’t be posting photos until after their baby showers.

Next, I’ll be designing and sewing more appliques on jackets and t-shirts. I’d like to make a dozen more bags as well, but that’s not looking likely. It’s frustrating when ideas are so plentiful and time is so limited.
With one month until the Strangefolk Festival, and many evening and weekend obligations I’ll be struggling to reach the inventory quantities I’ve planned. (35 more appliques? Ha ha ha ha ha!)

Three weeks from now, I’ll mock-up my tent/booth and take some photos to share. (I’m pretty excited about all the spiffy displays I’ve acquired this year.) After that, my free time will be spent pressing and price-tagging everything for the best festival around. (Do check out the website, which is a marvel unto itself!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

You Can't Hurry Love

When I first heard that The Time Traveler’s Wife was undergoing movie production, I cringed. I told my husband there was no way this sublime story, whose richness rests in quality prose could successfully translate to the screen. Additionally, I feared comparisons to Somewhere in Time (though I have a soft spot for that film), and the criticism of those who would misunderstand the relationship and cry wolf. I declared a refusal to see the movie, as I was unwilling to let a celluloid version sully the pure reading experience.

Two years later, I bought my ticket and saw the movie on opening weekend.

I’ve selected quotations from a few reviews that echo my reaction.

“The truth is, The Time Traveler's Wife, in its clumsy way, does something significant. It takes, as its subjects, the sadness and grandeur of life and the mystery of time, and it offers a full experience to those who find its wavelength. The Time Traveler's Wife makes us aware of the ephemerality and preciousness of all things.” -- MICK LaSALLE, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Some fans of the book might enjoy seeing these two soul mates brought to life on the big screen, but for everyone else the interpretation seems forced and at times inconsistent. --Ben Lyons, At the Movies

Some books translate well to the screen. Others don't. --Susan Granger
SSG Syndicate

At times I was entertained, and even moved by it. It's just damn frustrating, as this could have been a MUCH better film --Chris Bumbray
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Now for some original thoughts…

Having read the book for a third time (and I never re-read books!) just prior to going to the theater, I feel I was able to ingest and protect the book somehow, so that the printed version will leave the lasting impression.
All in all, there’s no harm in seeing the movie, but don’t expect the experience to match what the book has to offer. By necessity, several characters have been left out: Ingrid, Ben, Kimy, and Henry's colleagues, for instance. The screenplay also streamlines and alters many events. The manner in which Henry persuades Dr. Kendrick to treat him is completely changed, but advances the plot more quickly. Sacrifices like this that remove the passion and lifeblood from the story. Part of the book’s pleasure depends on the langorous unfolding. Sadly, cinematic versions must rush.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Before & After

Last week we had our attic and basement re-insulated. Above, you can see our 34-year old insulation. Below are the new R-30 rated piles.
After the insulation crew left, I turned off the air conditioner for five hours in order to operate the airless paint sprayer.

During that time, the temperature in the house only increased by ONE degree! This improvement will evidently pay for itself in less than 18 months.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I made more than thirty fabric pockets with button closures this weekend. Pictured above is one stack. These can be used in multiple ways: mini wallet, business card holder, coupon caddy, iPod envelope, or gift card pouch, to name a few.

Though I usually dread it, sewing all those buttons was painless with the full, season five, DVD set of Project Runway to watch while I worked.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Light in the Cave

I spend a lot of time in my unfinished basement. Over the years we've done some things to make the area more cozy and welcoming, without spending much money on the flood-prone cave. First, we hosted a painting party and created murals. Next, I pieced together carpet remnants to soften and brighten the floor.
Last week, I rented an airless paint sprayer, tarped everything in the basement, and sprayed 18 gallons of taupe paint onto the joists and ductwork. The result is an exponentially brighter atmosphere without the starkness of a plain white. Instead of being lost in shadow, light now washes over the area.

It was definitely worth an achy neck and sore arms.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reading & Ruminations

I just finished relishing Lost and Found, by Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel, which is also a great book.
If you enjoy reality shows on television, this book will be right up your alley.

Beside constant activity, this book offers complex characters, though just like on TV, they may seem like mere "types" at first. The conflicts are constantly percolating, and the author does a phenomenal job of leaking information slowly, thereby creating junkies of her readers in much the same way that producers of reality shows hook viewers.

I especially enjoyed the final sentences of each chapter. Zingers.

Regarding last night's post...I was tired. And unable to sleep. Again. It always happens this time of year, as I re-orient myself toward work. I'll spend three nights sleepless, and the fourth comatose. The cycle repeats until the school year feels routine once again and I've surrendered myself to the sacrifices of teaching.
While visited by the cursed insomnia, I decided to begin a second blog, though I will likely do so anonymously and not link it here. I suspect the endeavor will tame my restless mind when it's hardest to do so. Hopefully, the anonymity will reap honest feedback for my writing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why I Love Paying Taxes

by (the currently unable to sleep) Debi George who blogs. reads. and sews (usually rather innocuously) as GrayEyedScorpio

During trying economic times altruism is in short supply. Fortunately, tax laws mandate that we, the willing and unwilling alike, help one another in myriad ways.

I am thrilled to have health inspectors, coroners, and water treatment facilities. I adore libraries and public schools. I listen to NPR, and spend huge amounts of time in public parks. I appreciate national weather service bulletins and the efforts of the Clean Air Act. I like to drive on roads in good repair, with the knowledge that most drivers are licensed and held accountable for breaking traffic laws.

I'm happy to serve as a juror in our judicial system, or to make reparations for ills we Americans have caused. I appreciate building codes, FDA testing, CDC watchfulness, and FEMA presence. I certainly don't mind that firefighters and paramedics earn pay for being ready when they're needed. I see that as something to rejoice in. The same goes for our armed forces, the Red Cross, and our foreign ambassadors. Too often, these individuals are needed. Too often, they pay a price far beyond any tax bill.

And I'm glad to help provision those in need. Medicare, Medicaid, housing assistance, special education, food stamps, welfare, child and family services, mental health agencies, PELL grants, and other programs benefit our society.

In lean times, capitalism manufactures desperation. Matters of health are desperate enough. Business, as we know it, has no place in medicine. The people of our nation can protect and provide for one another. Why would anyone be proud of a reluctance to do so?

There are many reasons to be proud of what our collective tax dollars accomplish. There could be many more. True patriots honor rights and privileges of citizenship by caring for our land, water, air, laws, and people.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bag Harvest

I've been having fun with decorative stitches this weekend.

As well as alternative materials,
earth tones and patterns,
old-fashioned ticking,
botanical inspiration,
and a little bit of country.