Monday, November 19, 2012

Wonderful Life and Organic String Beans

Picture: Earthbound Farm

Lately Richard Branson, a.k.a. Dr. Yes, was being interviewed  and was asked if he had any regrets..
Paraphrasing, taking "creative license", he said basically that he would be a sorry person to not see that he has had anything but a nearly perfect, wonderful life. His advice concerning success said basically, 'Set your dreams further out than you believe you can accomplish and then set about to follow those dreams'.
Sometimes when a challenge is ahead, ducking and running for cover is not a good choice.
Aside from grieving over the elections, debating with loved ones and breaking your heart hearing how they think and knowing, only a little more knowingly beleiving that the older person might simply have the advantage of having lived that much longer and even though this next generation might be very smart; wisdom is not a thing that can be acquired quickly. Wisdom trumps knowledge. Under the best of circumstances, wisdom is always the result of having applied knowledge to real life events and to have failed, succeeded, learned or regrettably not learned something by the value of having actually "lived" the experience. Thinking about it is not living it. Living involves all of the senses.
And even though it might not be possible to manage to communicate those experiences in a way that another can get the same perspective or at least the essence of the minutia of detail that that particular living had produced...

Speaking of producing, how does Capital produce except that real people actually produce a real thing.
Can it be said that capital actually can produce if just left to itself.
Maybe like the money "reproducing" overnight in the bank vault in the old movie "It's a Wonderful Life", in the scene where George and his bank family danced to the vault, the one dollar they had left after satisfying the requirements to keep his bank open even in the face of the run.

What the story goes on to try to show us is that it the sharing of life, the sharing of profit, the sharing of hardship, the sharing and caring of each others' dreams and hopes is what is at the heart of humanity, civilization and of bothering to be alive.

The meaning of life and money.

Is Capitalism using each others money and investing? It is ever okay for Capitalism to abuse?

If a CEO takes a bazillion dollar bonus, is it because he is so smart, educated, hardworking, industrious, or clever enough to find a way to take more than his fair share, and what is his fair share, and what is the fair share of the workers who are so lazy to not be smarter?

Wonderful Life.
Dragonflies chasing her when she was a little girl on a bicycle. Climbing trees and running the neighborhood, fearless. Growing up living life. Hardships, anxieties, fears of not being good enough, smart enough, industrious enough to, to, to....


It is just a Wonderful Life even if one can only Survive!
And hopefully with some fresh, organic string beans, not canned.

Monday, November 5, 2012

They Were "Little Women"

Until the little boy was born, they had thought of themselves as Little Women.
For many years, it had just been the girls, doing their best to thrive.

The first baby of the baby was a girl, but she was more like a sister to the sisters that were the Little Women. Her mother was nineteen when she was born and it was another twelve years later that the little boy was born.
The boy helped rescue his Grand Momma from a five year, disturbingly long clinical depression.
Finally a boy, the Grand Momma's dream had come true.
Not that she didn't like her girls, but "It's a man's world", she'd say. "It's a lot easier for a boy."
Ms. SpoolTeacher didn't ever wish she had been a boy. She thought it was actually much harder to be a boy.
Oh, sure. Doors open easier in corporations for boys, but only if they are six feet tall and two hundred pounds and white...and in the end, she realized that she would never be able to fulfill her dreams in the middle of a corporation or clamoring/clawing her way up the ladder just to bump her head on the glass ceiling anyway.
Boys can't cry, and Little Ms. SpoolTeacher needed to cry a lot when life got hard, which it did quite a bit back then. But she mostly cried to herself, in her room, under her breath...
Can you imagine a boy crying because he didn't get the job at the corporation because he was only five foot eleven and three quarters!
Boys can't cry!
Oh yes they can, and real boys cry. And if their mother's stop them or their father's call them girls because they cry, then these parents aren't real parents! What's wrong with being a girl?

Girls just want to have fun!
Maybe boys do too.

It's a good thing there are both or there wouldn't be either, ha!
Not without a whole lot of "spare" ribs!
Thank GOD for the boys!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Congress Declares Sewing Machines People

Button, button...

A sewing machine is a person. It has a personality. It works for a living. It has heirs. It's family mourns it's illnesses, and grieves it's loss. It very often has a second and third life, if it has had a first life of love and proper nourishment... and doesn't get stolen...

Ms. SpoolTeacher's mother made all of their clothes while she and her two sisters were growing up. They didn't know store bought until they worked jobs of their own; and even then, Ms. SpoolTeacher spent her dollars on yardage to make whatever she wanted. Those were the days when fabric and sewing actually could save a buck or two over factory made, maybe a little before Made in China?


When they were growing up and their mother was making their clothes, Ms. SpoolTeacher and her younger sister could often be found laying on the bed behind their mother who was almost always sitting at the sewing machine working madly on a project.

They lived in a tiny house, about 30 X 30. "A cracker box", her mother called it. Her mother's room was wall to wall, floor to ceiling furniture and just inside the door was the sewing machine that sat in a nice cabinet with a folding panel that opened to become a side extension, but covered the machine (which dropped down into a cavity) when not in use. Pretty much, the panel was open.

Ms. SpoolTeacher learned to sew on that machine and would go on to use it until the Christmas her mother bought two new machines for her older sister and herself.
The older sister seldom if ever used hers. The mother thought it was an appropriate gift as she was about to go out on her own. Only after Ms. SpoolTeacher begged and begged and was willing to cry, did their mother take out extra credit and get them each one.

It was several years after Ms. SpoolTeacher had left home, her machine in tow, that her mother would have a break in and their good old Kenmore was lifted, all of it's memories gone. It would eventually be replaced with a new, used one, but a life of memories and the comfort of knowing how something worked were evaporated.

The mourning began.

Now all of these years later, Ms. SpoolTeacher has been given a gift of a sewing machine in a cabinet such as the one she grew up knowing.

Another mother who sewed all of her children's clothes as they grew up, was wanting to find a loving home for her beloved machine. Ms. SpoolTeacher is lucky to be friends with the child of the mother who wanted to find a new home for this machine and even if it is possibly a temporary home, it will be loved. (She has told the mother who gave it away that she can have it back any time she wants it...just in case she has remorse.) 

Ms. SpoolTeacher has been reinventing her living spaces over and over to accommodate stages in her business development and has been working on getting the "extra" room evolved to be Sew Central.

The new, old machine put match to flame and she got busy doing the work of a carpenter.... in the mean time, she told her friends to plop the machine right where they came in with it and she would get it to Sew Central as soon as it was ready, just the hall's length away.

"Everything is up off the floor", Jackie (of all trades) SpoolTeacher said to her sister.

Sister said, "Now that you have loaded the shelves, will you ever get those planks sanded and painted?"

"Of course I will, of course I will",  she said with hope in her voice.

In the mean time, New Old Sewing Machine got a room of her own at the other side of the house. It was the perfect place after all.

Now Ms. SpoolTeacher's whole house is Sew Central!
Her latest project: Pinafore/apron for friend's granddaughter....(who is a grown girl just finishing beauty school and they are all wearing "aprons" like these to work instead of smocks).

Now all that is left is a yellow polka dot bow for the back...

Thank you Old Old Sewing Machine, with so many memories attached. She will use you New Old Sewing Machine, as soon as she has the time to get to know you.
Someday soon, maybe she really can start sewing classes? Hope, hope, and more hope...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Due to the Lack of Due Diligence

Sew,  2nd Time Around always has a large collection of patterns for             50 cents each that she feels compelled to finger through each time she goes there!

This one, printed in the 70's got her attention. It looked like something that was basic and could be converted into a "Haute Handbag"...

When Ms. SpoolTeacher opened her "Accessory to Design" business way back before she had done her due diligence and market research, she ordered several 1 1/2 yard pieces of her favorite custom drapery fabrics thinking that people like to see big swaths they can finger and drape....
and that that might get them excited about ordering a custom window covering...
She also knew that she could convert these nice fabrics into sofa drapes and sell them that way...

Sew, she got nice pieces of fabrics that were light weight and could work as linings as well....

One particular fabric has been peeking at her at every turn, begging her (as fabrics can do) to do something, anything with it...

Ah, ha! The 1970's Haute Handbag idea! 
It has a modern, wavy pattern that is tactile, the raised pattern feels like velvet.
The fabric itself is lightweight and somewhat transparent. 
She had also purchased a bolt of drapery weight flannel interlining. 
Interlining is used when a fabric is especially light weight and needs some body. 

It also makes the color richer and intercepts the lining fabric from "bleeding" through. White lining is the best to accomplish these goals as ivory will actually result in "yellowing" the face fabric and can even turn blue to green, etc... (which isn't always a bad is design, you decide)

Ms. SpoolTeacher is never happy not to gingerbread things up so she started  adding embellishments...
On the first one, she added a string of satin roses by hand-spooling cross stitches in the same color as the trim. The second one she used the rose thread over purple ribbon.
Originally, she was planning to use the two pieces as front and back but has since decided to make separate Haute Handbags out of each of them.

She ran across some little pearl strands and anchored a line to each by hand-spooling between each bead... It's a labor of love.

Much to think about for linings and construction. She's trying to figure a way to make them functional as well as Haute by adding pockets inside etc....but she hasn't finished visual-spooling yet so will have to do a follow-up.

In the meantime, while she was hand-spooling a Haute Handbag, the sunflowers were starting to go to seed....

These two were planted later and were being considered for bird food....

Little Red-Haired Girl is adamant that she not mow down the weed grass because it is so cool to lay on and grasshoppers are jumping and she can catch them in a snap and likes to do it.

Snap, snap

Ms. SpoolTeacher loves to see her new collection of remnants drying in the breeze on her makeshift clothesline...
There is just something about making use of things that might have been thrown away.
All by herself, with a little help from the birds, the bees, the bugs and rain and sun!
A little too much rain, the tomatoes say...
No less tasty though! 

Black Krim Tomatoes are apparently prone to cracking, "heirloom types", he says in the video below, "aren't bred to be perfect".

Monday, August 20, 2012

If We Fall In Love, We'll Get Married, he said

While she was considering a subject to expound about...another sunflower was doing what sunflowers do...reaching for the Sun
About 18 years or so ago, she had been working as a Design Homer for a big box store for about six months when a hotdog vendor set up camp just inside the main entry door that customers were funneled through (as well as workers required to enter through since there was a camera documenting their every comings and goings).

She must have passed him numerous times without giving it any thought and scarcely noticing him. He was charming though, and it wasn't long before he snared her into his web...

"Hey Jackie, come over here."

"What for?"

"Just come 'ere a minute. I want to show you something."

At that time, pogs were a phenom. He wanted to show her his son's huge pog collection.

Well, it only interested Ms. SpoolTeacher because her nephew was also collecting them and was just about the same age as his little son.

The truth was, Mr. HotDog was cute and charming and big and manly.

Okay, it wasn't long before they were dating...

It started with a halloween party he invited her to. When she arrived at his door, (Yes, it would have been backtracking for him to come and get her and she was very independent anyhoo. That's her story and she's sticking with it.) he was dressed as a baseball player (because he was one every weekend and it was his favorite thing next to music) and he was dancing around playing a harmonica.

Ms. SpoolTeacher dressed up as a witch and carried a broomstick.

Mr. HotDog was very impressed that she pulled off such a good costume on such short notice.

They went to the party and Ms. SpoolTeacher tended to lurk in the periphery, taking note of Mr. HotDog/Baseball Player's behavior.

She sort of fell in love....

Everyone followed him around and hung on his every word. He however, remained subtle, calm, matter of fact and well....darn charming. His voice was sweet and melodic. He was gentle to his admirerers and he came sauntering over with a plate of crackers, cheese, and nibblie things and sat down next to Ms. SpoolTeacher and offered it to her. 

Love at first bite...

Mr. HotDog got bored easily, tending the hot dog stand, and would sit on his folding beach chair and pretend he was at a lake...he would also write. Write whatever was in his head as a story.

"Come 'ere a minute, Jackie", he said in his sweet melodic voice. "I wrote a story and I want you to read it and tell me what you think."

Of course, Ms. SpoolTeacher had gotten to know him quite well by that time and could read very easily between the lines. It was a story about him. He called it "The Little Christmas Tree", but it was all about him.

Ms. SpoolTeacher didn't like the way he abruptly ended it with the poor Little Christmas Tree laying dead in the street so early on after Christmas. He asked her to fix his spelling and grammar but he didn't tell her to edit it and add a different ending and then let her mother read it and change it some more....

It kind of made him mad, but he respected Ms. SpoolTeacher and thought she might have a point about the ending.

Well, as all good love stories go, they broke up and have been talking on the phone ever since. Ms. SpoolTeacher finally had to leave the big box store to put enough distance between them. She sent the original copy of the story back to him in a fit and only had a poor copy remaining of which she has also given him copies of several times throughout their ups and downs and phone calls and decisions to finally do something about getting the Little Christmas Tree published and making them rich...

It's the tie that binds.

It's the child they never had. 

So lately, Mr. HotDog asked her again, "What are you doing about the story?"

"Oh, I just want to illustrate it and I just don't feel like I have the skill I need to make the images that I want."

"I know you can do it", he said in his sweet, melodic voice while driving his truck talking on his cell phone with the wind blowing to the point of her barely able to hear what he said...

"It's just so hard to figure out how to depict a Christmas tree that knows how to play a harmonica and dance", she thought but didn't say....

"I'm workin on it."
At least it's not laying in a ditch dead with people passing by saying how sad it looks....

And if she has her way, when it does finally die, it will go to the shredder just like Kringo, Chipo, Kringo The Little Christmas Tree did and have a whole new life after that...

Who ever loved that loved not at first bite sight?
(As You Like It, 3.5.84)

Shakespeare Quotations on Love

Love is Eternal, Paul Simon

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Flutterbies, Missing Fairies and Pink Polka Dot Grosgrain

Flutterbies. Bees. Lizards. Hummers. Ladybug beetles.
Things you want to see in the garden.
Little Red-Haired Girl is always welcome; although she does have a propensity to walk all over things, looking, presumably, for lizards or other edibles or things to chase...
Fairies might be found in here, none have been spotted yet; but it looks like a wonderland of sitting on leaves spots, with lots of filtered sun...

The prolific cantaloupe have actually started rounding out, it'll be Farmer's Market time for sure, no way to eat them all (though there has been a recipe spotted on Steven Coyne's fabulous Facebook page for dehydrating them, and there is always juice...)
They are all over the yard, if bugs don't get them, there will be tons...
(it's rather infuriating that blogger won't keep pics horizontal when you want them to??)

Peppers seem to like pots. They didn't do well in the ground but perked right up once they were confined??? (no good pics)

It's been monsooning, the plants are loving what little water they get from the sky. They like it from the barrels of saved rain too..
But, with water come mosquitoes and welts appear before you know they've punched you with their punchers..
And since this is an old town, it is very hard to find a sky view without a wire running through it, darn.
Ms. SpoolTeacher hasn't had much time to sit in the Purple Plastic Adirondack Chair, but it is enough to wander about watering for a nature fix and catch a glimpse of a flutterby or look for missing fairies.
She's been working 'bout five days a week as The Cleaning Lady and a little sewing here and there too. She even managed to squeeze in a re-hem for herself. Her mother's old bathroom curtains were a little too long; so she turned up the hem and added two rows of pink and black polka dot twill tape grosgrain ribbon to spruce it up. Now they don't catch as much shower water...

It's nice getting things the way you want them...
Even if it takes longer than you meant...
(Paint Brush Monster is at it again with the bathroom floor. Wasn't happy with the first fix, trying another one...stay tuned..)
Does anyone have a fix for this horizontal issue?

Check this out, Paint Brush Monster has an alter-ego somewhere in England.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strawberries, Cherries and An Angel's Kiss In Spring

Food security.

If you grow your own, you gain a little independence from the big M. If we all do it, we can really leave an impression.

A hummingbird was visiting these pretty pink flowers yesterday.

Lizards are everywhere. Pretty turquoise ones too. Big fat guys that have probably been around a couple of seasons fattening up on bugs.
There was a lone lady bug beetle on the prowl, her relatives need to be invited to come for dinner too, is she just being greedy?
Squash seem to grow like weeds. Cantaloupe too.
This was the beginning of the raised bed. Leaf mold had been turned into the existing "soil". 

Then the tomatoes that had been started inside were hardened off. The first one went into a pot to test. It grew very well until the heat intensified.
Another had been transplanted into the raised bed shortly after the potted one.
It grew luscious, large leaves while the potted one's leaves remained small.
It became clear that it would be seriously stunted to be left in the pot so it was transplanted to the bed next to the luscious leaves. They are both growing along steadily; however the lush leaved one has the first tomato growing.
The rest were set out all over the yard in raised hoops, and in strategic locations where ever soil had been amended and there would be good sun exposure.

Cantaloupe was seeded into the bed after the zinnia sprouted. Without a diary of things done, it's hard to keep track of whether they sprouted or the transplants are now the ones growing there or both.

Either way there is a riot of growth going on. And everything loved the first downpour of monsoon rain, that rained on the forth of July Parade.
Stawberries, cherries and an angel's kiss in spring

Let's hope the going growing keeps going growing good.