Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hanging around with Alisa!

When I first met Alisa, she was volunteering at the agency I work at. I knew from the first minute, we would be instant friends. We would craft between calls and chat about our love of movies. Alisa is such a rock star!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
By day I am an assistant in an elementary school classroom, by afternoon I work in an after school program teaching elementary school kids how to make, package, price, market bath and body products, and sell them in their etsy shop Sunny Bubbles.  By evening  You can find me either upstairs in my studio sewing, or making a big mess with paper and glue or on the couch with my embroidery or knitting. On the weekends I am hanging out with My husband and our dog  Luna and  kitten Seth.

What projects are you working on right now?
I have recently been reunited with embroidery. I love using old vintage pattern' from the 30's. 40's and 50's. I cannot draw, or paint to save my life, however having the ability to shade and define with thread is something that really amazes me. Next up on the hoop are some vintage pin up transfers I just found on line.

Who/what is an inspiration to you?
 There area few things that have inspired me to be brave and try everything that sparks my interest.The first is  a quote by Pablo Picasso
"I am always doing things i can't do...that's how i get to do them"  
This give me carte blanche to buy a lot of supplies and make big mess, all for the pursuit of trying a new technique or project that may or may not turn out all that well.
Another  huge inspiration is the creative people in my life that make time to  deal with the chaos that life can bring others, be it working with or advocating for adults, children or animals that are displaced, disabled, abused or forgotten , and then are able to come home to their own lives and produce amazing pieces of art  as a way of decompressing.
And also my husband Mark (the best guys are always named Mark) is a ceramics artist by night and has some of the best whimsical sculptures that make me smile.. He's also pretty damn funny!

You do so many different types of crafts-do you have a favorite?
I am quite the crafty magpie, aren't I? Of all the crafty things I do I think the one I do least is my very favorite. I love to collage old Mannequins.  I like the idea taking something that was produced to show women how to fit a certain mold  and turn them into something that  I feel is beauty.  I do admit my studio can be a bit surprising to folks who have never seen it before with all of the headless torsos stuffed in the corners.

Favorite sound
 I love to watch old  movies from the 40's and 50's and the sound men's shoes make when they running on concrete is one of the reasons why.  Think the Third  Man when they are chasing Orson Welles through the sewers.

See! Didn't I tell you she's the coolest ever! If you are lucky enough to meet her in person, than you have met a true friend. Her infectious smile and good humor  will always stay with you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tie One On Tuesday! Quit Yer Whining!

OMP is a little tied up at the moment trying to find all of our Halloween decorations. I think they may have come to life and attacked. I'll keep you posted. So, in his absence I'm taking over for the day. Today's lesson will be about a good bottle of wine under $15.00. Now I'm not talking about Boones Farm Strawberry Hill or Thunderbird. Give me some credit, I'm a little classier than that, not by much.

I am not much of a white wine person but I know some people are so let's start with Alice White Chardonnay 2006. The $7.00 price tag just can't be beat. It's best with shellfish and white pasta. It has a tropical fruit taste and an unusual dose of acidity.

Mark West Pinot Noir is a great bottle of wine for $11.00. It goes great with chicken and spaghetti dinners. It has a nice cherry, spicy strawberry taste to it.

Lan Rioja Crianza is another great bottle of red wine for $12.00. It goes great with lamb or sausage and has a wonderful earthy taste to it with a hint of cherry and vanilla.

If you are looking for something with a stronger more interesting taste, go for the Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 for $14.00. It has a sweet beginning but a bitter chocolate and licorice after tone to it. It would be wonderfully paired with steak or red meats.

If you are looking for something a little bubbly to celebrate that special day. Well, I have you covered there too! Freixent Cordon Negro Brut is a wonderful sparkling wine at $9.00. Domane St. Michelle Brut is $ 12.00. It is a little sweeter than the Negro Brut. Both go great with smoked salmon and chocolate cake.

If you have a Trader Joe's in your area, Charles Shaw or as all the hipsters call it, "Three buck Chuck" is a nice cheap wine that will do in a pinch. I recommend the Shiraz.

Now, back to the Boones Farm. It goes great with the back of a 1980 Camaro and a randy stud with a mullet. If that's your idea of class then you are in luck. It comes in multiple flavors such as Green Apple, Strawberry Hill and Sun Peak Peach. If you want a little sparkle, definitely try the Tickle Pink. All bubbles and twice as much troubles!

Watching your pennies doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste. Try a few less expensive brands and see which one is the best for you and your favorite dinner. Now, I think I better go check on OMP..he's been in the basement for a little too long.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sorry Guys!

Okay, So I was going to start my Halloween movie montage this week but I have just worked 8 hours then had a 2 hour meeting so now I'm gonna eat some crappy tacos, curl with with OMP and the pups and crash. I promise extra scary movies in the coming weeks. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to collapse. Good night guys!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Scrappy Dog Sunday!

Budgie, Budgie, Budgie! Is it possible for one little dog to have such a big personality? I say YES! I love how this little man can charm the pants off of you one minute and then be all grumpy old man the next (I'm sure when he barks, he is saying, "GET OFF MY LAWN!").

I thought Budgie was a bird, but you're a to explain?

It's not because I'm flighty, that's for sure! I'm named after a guy (Budgie the drummer from Siouxsie and the Banshees, my dad's favorite band) who was named after the birds. We look a lot alike, don't you think? It's the blond mane and big eyes.

You are the tiki scrappy dog ambassador, what's your favorite drink?
Whatever drink my mom or dad has is my favorite! But I like a Three Dots and a Dash , because I like honey a lot. I sneak a little drink from the glass whenever mom leaves her drink unattended. I don't like beer at all, I am strictly a cocktail dog.

Your favorite outfit?
I like my red sweater the best in the wintertime. Otherwise, a little sailor collar is a nice touch, subtle and classic just like me!


I have also been known to dress up when filled with the Christmas spirit:

Your favorite thing to do during the day is?
Sleep! I have my fancy bed and the blanket my mom knitted for me. I don’t mind that it is pink; I am manly enough to handle a pink blanket

When life hands you lemons you.....
Put them in a cocktail! If you’re speaking metaphorically, I believe in making the best of any situation. In fact, there is a short documentary about my life philosophy and how I was able to turn my life around from bad to good:

Oh my goodness! Is everyone else crying at that video? I am so glad that Budgie turned his life around and has a good family now. Not only is Budgie a fashion icon but he is also an inspiration to all of us. Thanks Budgie for making the world a better place.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feel Good Friday!

Okay, I'll admit that I totally got busted by my coworker this morning blasting music in our office. I think everyone needs a little early morning dance party. It should be a requirement that our office have a disco ball. I wonder if we can work that into the budget.

The weekend is here and I am feeling it! Yahoo! Hopefully these things will make you happy too!

This has to be the cutest stitching video ever! I love Mildred and Maggie. They make cute cakes and throw babies into cribs.

Maggie and Mildred from Holly Klein on Vimeo.

October is just around the corner and you know what that means! HALLOWEEN! Plumparty has great ideas and fun party favors for you scary Halloween nights. Plus, I can't resist they have a whole section of their website for cupcakes and confections.

Silver Screen Suppers is one amazing blog! I love the tagline : Fellow film archivists - one Stateside, one Thameside - attempt to recreate recipes allegedly cooked by the stars of the silver screen themselves. That pretty much sums it up! They share my love for older movies, beautiful film stars and supper. I would love to sit down with these ladies, have a cocktail or two or three and go over our favorite movies from 1920-1950's.

If you are in the Portland, Oregon metro area tonight and want something fun to do. Check out the creator of Cake Wrecks. She has just put out a book and is on a tour promoting it. She will be at Powells book store on Burnside at 7:30. 

So there you have, go out there and enjoy yourself this weekend or stay inside and watch cute puppy videos!
(shameless plug for my pup Lola)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Can Be Classy. Quit Giggling!

I can be classy so stop your giggling! If there is one collection that I love and wish I could afford more of , it's my Roseville and Weller pottery collection. I LOVE anything from these two pottery companies! Their designs are so elegant and flowing.

Roseville pottery was initially started as a utilitarian ware company, making umbrella stands, flower pots and stoneware. As the years progressed more artistic designers came on board and Roseville became a popular pottery company with limited runs on certain designs. The majority of their designs are flowers or other outdoor plant life, they do have several vases that depict people. The prices for Roseville can be extremely high for even smallest pieces. I would suggest to the beginning collector that if you are okay with some cracks and don't  mind a little wear on the pottery,  buy a cheaper piece and then go from there.  One way to check to make sure you have Roseville is for the signature at the bottom. There are several marks depending on the time is was made. A stamp, a signature and wafer mark are a few ways to see what you have.

Another high end pottery is Weller. I adore Weller pottery. It usually has a more glossy finish compared to Roseville. Weller is more expensive because of the beautiful hand work designs .They also started as a utilitarian wear company with flower pots and cookware. Later Weller pottery became very popular with their Dicken's ware which included images of Charles Dicken's characters traced onto the clay and fired. It is unfortunate that they could not keep up with changing trends and eventually closed in the 1940's.

Collecting Roseville or Weller is not cheap. I was lucky enough to get the majority of these pieces from the same person .I would suggest that you do a little research and decide what design you like best and start with smaller more affordable pieces.  Definitely don't just go for the name, you want something that you love and can possibly hand down to future generations. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anything But Average. A few minutes with Rachel Barry Hobson.

Okay, can I just tell you how much I love Rachel! I know I say this about every person I interview and I know I say how sweet people are, yadda, yadda, yadda-but let me tell you-Rachel rocks so hard! I have always been a fan of her work and thought she was the cat's meow but when she came up to me at Maker Faire and gave me a hug, well, it was like seeing an old friend again. She is warm, funny, silly and smart. Yep, she's uber cool.

Just who is the real Rachel Barry Hobson?

A very dorky, goofy, crafty gal. No really. Very. Dorky.

I'm someone who has a deep appreciation for execution of creative ideas and sharing those projects with other people. I'm a huge community person - connection with other folks keeps me going.

I'm also a huge Space geek - like spectacularly so. Space exploration makes me giddy. Not little green men and ray guns, but spacesuits and control panels. Absolutely giddy.

In high school, I was kind of a mix between Andrea Zuckerman (I was editor of my high school newspaper) and Angela Chase . I was a little offbeat, but I was also one of those kids who didn't really do crazy teen stuff, and actually really liked my teachers at school.

In college, I studied anthropology, Russian and journalism. I geeked out on environmental causes and was, again, the editor of the newspaper. I also wore overalls and a brown velour shirt a little too often.

After college, I traveled in Europe, got married and taught high school journalism and web design for three years before having kids.

Then I had kids and kinda lost my mind for a while.

Then I fell into crafting, and things are all better now. :)

Through all my random life phases, I've always been someone who loves people, loves science, loves random stuff, and truly cherishes my friends and family.

You are an AMAZING embroiderer. When and where did you learn? How long have you been stitching?

Hehehehe! Thanks! And right backactcha! I took my first hand embroidery class a few years ago from my good friend and mentor, Leslie Bonnell. A few months after that class, I took a class from Jenny Hart. It's been pretty much non-stop stitching ever since. I like to think I have some embroidery genes from my mom. Even though she didn't teach me, she was really in to embroidery when I was a kid .

Okay, so I think you have the best job in the world-can you tell our wonderful readers a little bit about it.

Thanks! I think I do, too! I literally thank my lucky stars every day for this most awesome job, and wonder how in the heck I landed it!

I have been writing for for a little more than a year now. Craft has always been my favorite craft magazine and web site. I have a degree in journalism, and have always loved writing about cool people and what they are doing. I love hearing people's stories and sharing them with others. So as I followed Craft, I just fell in love and kind of fantasized about writing for them. Honestly, I wasn't doing anything with the express goal of working for them. It was a very random series of events and very natural connections that landed me in the place I am now.

I have never loved a job so much, or loved the people with whom I work so much. It's the most natural fit I've ever experienced and the most fun I've ever had. Seriously - still pinching myself.

I read literally hundreds of craft blogs every day (Oh dear Google Reader, I love you so.) and find some of my favorite, most inspirational projects, tutorials and people to feature on Craftzine. I love it because I love to see all the fun things people are doing, and I really love helping show off their skills and work. I also get to write how-to projects and profiles of crafters, which is insanely fun. I could honestly sit and talk to people and listen to their stories and get to know them all day long. That I get to do that "for work" and then share their stories with the fabulous crafting community .... did I mention I pinch myself daily?

Who and what inspires you?

Everything and everyone! I know that sounds like a copout, but it's true! I can't turn my brain off, so everything I see is being filed away for some kind of inspiration. It's one of the benefits and hardships of having that creative switch flipped to full throttle in your brain. It's a really fun way to view the world, but it's also really mentally exhausting. Sometimes I want to point my finger and my own brain and say, "DUDE! Shut the hell up for a minute!"

I have some really amazing friends who constantly inspire me. Some of my best teachers and mentors are Leslie Bonnell , Kat McTee and Jenny Hart . I'd be lost in the craft world with out one of my best friends, Diane Gilleland . I also draw a lot of inspiration from Space and Space travel. I love all the control panels and gadgetry of Space travel, and I find the chatter of Mission Control to be very soothing. Half the time, I have NASA tv running in the background on my computer just to listen. (and, yes, I understand this outs me as an even bigger Space geek than people thought possible) I also draw a lot of inspiration from random vintage things. Millie Motts and Dinosaurs & Robots feed my soul.

What does the future hold for you?

More writing! More stitching! More fun! And hopefully a lot of travel. (especially to Portland)

Make sure you check out Rachel's blog Average Jane Crafter  . It's filled with great stories and wonderful crafty tidbits. You can also find her hitting the craft fair circuit spreading the joys of embroidery. If you do get a chance to meet her, I swear you will have a friend for life!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tie One On Tuesday!

Alrighty then ladies and gentlemen, it is time for another episode in the long running series of blog postings on the wonderful world of mixed drink known as Tie One On Tuesday! Following on the heels of last weeks how to stock your bar for cheap, this week I am going to focus on some essentials tools for your home bar. I said SOME not all, okay? And I am not going to get into the different types of glassware, or we would be here all day!!!!!

First off you are going to need a good old fashion Ice bucket. There are several types available, so pick one out that meets your needs – meaning if you have a lot of people drinking in the house, get a larger bucket. I have always been partial to the one shaped like a Knight Helmet but that’s just me. If it is just you and the Mr. or Mrs., a nice smaller one will suffice. Also – recommended – a  5 gal. Utility bucket (unless you are one of the few that have the privilege of having a “wet” bar – that means a sink there smapte). You will need to dump out the remnants of something or another during your party, binge, whatever, whether it is a bad drink or some melted ice. It makes it easier then running to the kitchen every time. Just don’t forget to dump it – especially if you have wood floors!

Next up - a nice cocktail shaker. There are two different types and you have seen me handle the one here (it is called a Boston shaker – not really sure why?? LOL). It essentially is a larger stainless steel cup and a pint glass. The other shaker is the more conventional type that you have probably seen with the cap and strainer built in. These are much easier to handle and are more catered for home use. Plus if you get one of these you won’t need to get a separate hand held strainer for the Boston (if you like martini’s that is).

Another “need” for the bar is a decent juicer. Having hand squeezed juice at your bar is essential for a really good drink. I use the old fashioned type where you mash it down on the spindle but there are several hand juicers out there (I have just been to busy and poor to go out and get any). There is a nice series of enameled hand juicers that are colored specifically for your citrus of choice – Yellow, Orange and Green. If you need me to tell you what color goes with what then please stop reading this, and go back to living in your parents basement where your mom takes care of everything for you.

Other tools making a successful bar are: small cutting board and a serrated knife (makes cutting the citrus that much easier), various shot glasses (I have two nice vintage ones I use all the time that measures different ounces and give TBS. and tps. conversions on the sides), A cocktail spoon (extra long handle with a small scoop for hand blending certain drinks that do not require a shaker), Bottle/Wine Bottle opener,

That should be everything you need to get up and running making drinks for friends and family. Or for yourself sitting in your darkened basement with the windows blanked out with tin foil, waiting for the aliens or Government to come get you! At least you will be in the right state of mind when they abduct you – you really won’t care!!!!!

Next week – we will be back with more yummy cocktails!!!
Until we meet again - Happy drinking!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Had The Time Of My Life.

I didn't think the death of Patrick Swayze would get to me as much as it did. I forgot all the great movies he starred in that I absolutely love. He was an incredible dancer, but still a tough guy and through his entire career seemed just like a really down to earth kind of guy.

Okay, so I am going to show my age here but when I was a kid back in the 80's I remember reading The Outsiders and falling in love with the book. When I read in my issue of Tiger Beat that they were making a movie of that book, well, I just about fell over myself trying to find out everything about the cast. At the time, all I cared about were the cute boys that the movie had-Patrick being one of them. When it finally came out I tried to act as intellectual as a 13 year old  with a rainbow shirt could act and praised the director for staying so close to the book. The movie tells the story of The Greasers and The Socs and the conflicts they have between them on a social level. Once Johnny and Ponyboy kill a Soc they go on the run and actually learn a little about life. The end fight scene is an over the top war against the two groups. Sure there are lots of corny lines in the movie (Matt Dillion, I'm looking in your direction -"Let's do it for Johnny!) but this movie is a classic and the story holds up against time.

One year older, still in the Red Scare  (did anyone else on the east coast have to do atomic bomb drills?) and  the movie Red Dawn was thrust upon us. The Russians were our enemy and they decide to take over the US-only a group of teenagers could save the day and fight them off. Really? Seriously-did the writer actually know any teenagers? You can barely get a teenager to mow the lawn, let alone save the world. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, a group of teenagers save the US. This movie is so gung ho Americana that it's a little embarrassing if it weren't so cheesy.

So, years go by, I'm getting out of my teen years and a movie like no other burst into my life. That movie is Roadhouse. Oh laugh if you must, scoff if you will, but this movie is so awesomely bad that it's good! Besides a total kick ass Patrick Swayze, you have Sam Elliott-that's right. Sam Elliott. My husband swears at any given minute if Sam Elliott came through the door and asked me to run away with him, I would. I plead the 5th on any reply. Patrick plays Dalton, a bouncer that comes to a small town to clean up the local bar. In the process of lifting the bar to true 1980's standards, Dalton makes the local bad guy mad and fights ensue. Lots of fights. Patrick kills a guy with his bare hands-HIS BARE HANDS!  Apparently someone on the Spike Channel loves the movie as much as I do because it is on every weekend.

Now I know I didn't include Dirty Dancing or Ghost and that might make a few of you mad. I swore to myself that after hearing my mom sing "Time of my Life" for a whole summer that I would distance myself as far I could from Dirty Dancing. As for Ghost, I just can't do it-sorry. I love bad movies but I just can't do it.

Patrick did so many other great movies and shows up to his untimely death. He will be missed greatly. Sure he had his demons and had his share of real world problems but brought lots of joy to lots of people around the world and for that, I say thank you Patrick.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scrappy Dog Sunday!

Last week you have the honor to meet the sweet Margarita. This week you get to meet her sparky sister Elsa. Oh Elsa, she's a crazy little mutton chop. OMP loves her to death...let's see why!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Elsa and I am a Schipperke! I am 4 years old and am foster failure from my mom's work. I have seizures and need to be on medication so I couldn't just live with anybody! I like long walks, barking and eating things I am not supposed too.

Are you really misunderstood?
I am very talkative and that is often mistaken for meanness. People often called a bear/fox but I am a dog!

What's your favorite toy?
   My favorite toy is my sister Margarita. I love to mash toys on her head. Beside Margarita I love my purple porcupine and anything that squeaks.

 What do you like to do on your days off?

    I am part of the Dog World Police so I really never have a day off. I must bark at the evil doers of the world such as the mailman, people who dare to walk by and the planes in the sky. I do however take breaks every once in a while to walk and get waffles for breakfast or go to the river. I love to go to the river but only if I don't have to swim.

Bonus question
OMP is your favorite person, besides your mom isn't he?

    OMP is my hero! He made my mom start to see how awesome I am and loves me for me!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feel Good Friday!

Thank you Sunshine Kid

It's Friday,doing a happy dance. Yahoo! Friday! Today started like just about any other day until my co-worker brought in her puppy to work. That TOTALLY made my day! Baby animals are the best cure for what ails you.

If you have never seen Amanda Panda Pant's embroidery work, you are missing out. This lady can STITCH! She does some amazing work, not to mention she is adorable and super sweet! I always love her take on traditional patterns. Yeah, she rocks!

Speaking of awesomeness, Have you checked out the vintage goodies at Lily Loves Bernie? They have a blue coat that is do die for. I SO wish I could fit into it! She also does some super cute embroidery on some very sexy slips. H-O-T!

I LOVE finding new blogs and websites.Meeting new people and reading about everyday life connects us. I love when you are reading a blog and have the epiphany, "That is me! I do that too!" The instant connection you have with someone warms the soul. You may never actually get to "meet" them but it is always nice to know that you have a friend who cares about your out there. When I first read Alicia Paulson's blog, I got that instant warm cozy feeling and not just because we are in the same town but because her warm personal writing invites you in and ask you to sit down for some tea as she tells you about her many adventures.

Who is ready for the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? I LOVED this book as a child and remembered that I wanted to live in the book so I could ski on mash potatoes. Well, they made the book into a movie and I'm actually really excited to see it. I know this is a change from my normal horror movie but I can't help it! It just looks too cute to pass up. 

Before I head out for the weekend. I wanted to remind myself (and you!) of 10 things that make me happy. In no certain order they are...
1. OMP and the Pups (ALWAYS)
2. Puppy kisses
3. Swapping on Craftster
4. Sleeping in on days off
5. A good cup of tea
6. A good piece of cake
7. Inside jokes with friends
8. Loving myself
9. My 75 year old dad on Facebook and him calling it Facemail
10. YOU!

Now go out there, enjoy the fall weather and be happy!