Saturday, July 31, 2010


"It smells the same."
"Do you guys realize it's been almost ten years since we've been here?  Y'know...together."
 "Why would it smell different?  It's the same place."
"There's a lot more traffic than I remember."
"Are we going to 'Kelly's for breakfast? I'm hungry."
"It's kind of different.  The same, but different.  Maybe....busier."
"Yell if you see a parking spot."
"Can you get my back?"
"We should do girls' day every year."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blink and You'll Miss Him...Literally

Want to see a picture of Charlie chasing his ball?

Yeah, I missed it too.  Little guy is faaaaaast!  On a side note--check out that orb top centerish! I'm wondering what THAT's about.

OK, take number two:

Theeeeeere he is.  Believe it or not this is the best shot I could get.  He has to be the quickest dog I have ever seen. Usually he's going so fast he overruns the ball and skids to a stop on his belly.  He has this little routine all worked out where he tears around the yard in a figure eight, then runs to the front steps of the porch, runs across and leaps into the yard off of the back steps of the porch.  Then he runs to the front, runs across the porch, and leaps again.  He repeats this about five times.   It's almost like in his little dog brain he's practicing maneuvers, but for what I know not.  After he completes his little practice session, he stops and flops and looks like this:

But of course he has no interest in the ball at this point except for keeping away anyone who may try to take it.

The Chuckster here is a super-sweet dog.  He tolerates pretty much everything, he doesn't chew, doesn't snap or bite or growl (unless someone he doesn't know yet comes over), and he loves to snuggle.  Soooooo glad he's here.

And he fits right in...

...because we do love our potato chips in this establishment.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bag Style 001

Do you ever visit Bored and Crafty?  You should.  For several reasons--Meream is adorable, she has nifty craft tutorials, she just comes up with these passages that I think are from books but they're not, she likes the way books smell (a kindred spirit), and she started this nifty little thing that she calls Book Style, wherein she takes a beloved book and uses the colors to create a complete outfit (down to the accessories)!  I am not fashionable or stylish.  I live in jeans, tees, and Converse All-Stars with flowers on them (when I'm not in work clothes).  Such a thing would not suit my skills.  But I do sew bags, and most of the time I'm happy with my fabric choices.  So I took Meream's idea, and decided to try my hand at a bag reminiscent of a book.  Cheating a bit?  Perhaps. Simplifying a lot? Definitely. Fun? Yes!

So, first the book:

'The Concubine's Daughter' by Pai Kit Fai

First, I must say this is one of the best books I have ever read.  It's a bit long, and sometimes I felt it could have been a shorter book, but I loved every single page of it.  It's written so beautifully, and you're brought into the story in such a way that you really feel for the characters.  There was one chapter that seemed a logical place to stop for the night, but it was so intense I had to read one more, just to get the edge off.  It's not a funny book, and there are certainly parts that are tragic.  But there are beautiful examples of the human spirit throughout.  If you can get your mitts on a copy I recommend it whole-heartedly.

OK, plug over.  Onto the bag.  I used the tried and true Basket Bag tutorial (the updated version) from Lisa Lam at u-handbag--click here for the directions. Here is the bag that I felt inspired by this book to create:

I have no knowledge of the details of this fabric--it was part of a birthday gift from one of my sisters.

 Warm yellow lining with inside zip pocket and magnetic snap tabbed closure.

I don't know why, but this is the fabric that I thought of when I was reading this book and Meream's Book Style posts.  But the real business end of this bag is the handles:

Wooden beaded handles.  I've had them for a looooong time--it's as though they were all just waiting for each other to come along.

 Aren't they just gorgeous?  There's also a slight yellowish-gold that the camera didn't pick up.

I think I can consider this one a success.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for more books and fabrics that want to get married. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quick Crafted Baby Gift

A friend of mine at work and his wife recently welcomed their second little girl into this crazy world.  Due to the fact that the past several weeks have been one crazy whirl of activity for me, I haven't had the chance to do the whole handmade thing.  I adore handmade gifts for babies--they're always cute, they're usually quick because they're tiny, and you don't have to worry about it lasting forever because man, do they outgrow things quickly (like you didn't already know that).  Previously I've done knitted or crocheted blankets, but it is 100 degrees today, and that's without the whole humidity-heat index thingamajigee math part factored in.  Yarn is not something I want my mitts on at this particular moment.

So I had a bit of an idea and went skipping off to Joann's Fabrics to hand over some money.  What I did is by no means original, but it sure is cute.  Here's the recipe:

A package of onesies and assorted appliques....

 ...some mighty fierce wrinkles pressed out and appliques placed...

...and you get a cute and quick present for a little him or her!

Wrap it up (this adorable box was from my birthday and suited this gift perfectly) and you're good to go!

Take a gander at the cuteness of these appliques up close:
I can't decide which is my favorite.

This whole thing took minimal time and only required a hot iron.  I didn't follow the directions--they said use a pressing cloth and no steam.  I tried it that way and the adhesive would just. Not. Melt.  So I used steam, and it still wasn't working properly.  I took away the pressing cloth and it worked the way I imagine it's supposed to, which is, essentially, sticking.  Contrary to the directions they provide that result in not sticking.

They had rows of these in every size and shape you can think of.  There were even adorable ones for boys that rival the cuteness of those for girls.  The cost of the onesies wasn't too bad, but the patches can get a little pricey.  I used coupons, though, so the total wasn't too bad.  I was thinking I might get some onesies and some patches to have on hand in case I need a quick baby gift.  Ain't nothin' cuter than a baby tushy and chubby baby thighs in a soft and comfy onesie when the temperature soars.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crafty Cuteness

Last Thursday, when I arrived home from work, my mumsy told me that my favorite boy had made me something at his summer day camp and when he came back from getting milkshakes with Pop-Pop he would give it to me.  One of the nifty things about my nephew is that he's a thoughtful little gift giver; it may not be a gift that would knock your socks off initially, but then he tells you why he chose it and your heart melts and you want to keep it forever.

A little while later he bursts in the door ready to play.  My mother had to call to him and remind him "Wasn't there something you wanted to do?" to which he responds "Oh, yeah" (can't you just feel the love already?).  He comes into the room and says "Here.  This is for you.  I made it."  I did the high-pitched excited voice thing and was all "Thank you!  I love it!"

I was informed that this is a coaster.  Of course I'm not going to use it as that and get it all dirty--I have to find a spot to display it.

But that's not the best part.  He then says to me, in this snarky little voice that most kids don't master until they're almost teenagers, "You're not the only one around here who can make things out of yarn."  My hyena laugh erupted because that one really tickled my funny bone.  But it got better when my mom told me that when he showed her what he made he said that he had the perfect thing to say when he gave it to me.  Eight years old, and the kid is already working on his one-liners.  

Have a happy Friday, folks!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Town That Billy Sunday Could Not Shut Down

"I had the surprise, the surprise, of my life...."
 I flew by myself and didn't have a meltdown of any sort.

"I had to stop and staaaaaaaare..." this gentleman's madras-style pants and navy blazer (taken on my phone, hence the bad shot).

"I saw a man dancing with his own wife...."
 ...which is traditional at weddings...

"And you will never guess wheeeeeeeeeeere..."   "Where? Where?"
"Chicago! Chicago!* The toddlin' town, the toddlin' town..."

*OK, if you want to get all technical about it I was officially in Downers Grove, IL, and was in Chicago only when coming from or going to the airport.  So please don't get technical because I want my Judy Garland/Rufus Wainwright song reference to work.

Yes, folks, I've been and am now back.  My flight out was early Friday morning--I thought I was going to be sick I was so nervous (never flew by myself before, and only one other time that I can remember).  But once I was at my gate I was totally relaxed.  The rest of the weekend flew by in a whirlwind of activity:  decorating, rehearsal and dinner, hair appointments, photos, the big event, etc.  Sunday morning I ordered room service (it was a weekend for firsts) and caught my ride to the airport.  The plane boarded on time.  We eventually took off well after we were supposed to have landed, sitting on the runway the whole time.  Not fun.  But the flight itself was uneventful. I am, however, exhausted.  That may have been the busiest weekend ever, and then it was hello Monday and back to work. 

It's weird in a good way watching someone you've known since you were 4 walk down the aisle and say "I do."  I have a choppy time every now and then (ok, often) dealing with these fleeting years, who we used to be, and who we are now.  I remember our first tap recital (well, her first. My only).  The first day of high school.  Senior prom.  College.  Masters' degrees.  A big goodbye when she headed Midwest. And now this.  But it was one heck of a send-off into the world of being a Mrs. instead of a Miss or even a Ms.  Simply fabulous.

I decided when we were on the limo bus that maybe I should take pictures, hence the lack of any beforehand.  Then I went a little crazy.  When I posted them on Facebook there were 161, and that was after I deleted the blurry shots or the ones that didn't come out right.  Here are a few for you.

Every time I describe what I want to a stylist I get something different even though I always say the same thing.  Those clips are from my Jim Thorpe trip a few weeks ago. They matched perfectly.

 Each of us had a different colored dress--mine is called 'Canary' but it was much softer and more buttery looking than the actual bird would be. The other colors were 'Lilac' and 'Clover.'  Very wildflowery and summery.

Pictures were taken at the Morton Arboretum.  The weather was beautiful.

This was part of the archway over the entrance--I had a much better shot but we started moving again just as I snapped :(

 This is her nephew-in-law.  I had to take his photo because he bears such a wicked resemblance to my nephew in so many regards I felt like he was actually there.  OK, I admit it--I took a weird amount of photos of this kid, just because the similarities fascinated me.

The hunter closes in on his prey.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say he found what he was looking for.

I can't even put into words how much fun we had kicking up our heels and cutting a rug.

 "Secretary! File these folks away under 'Times, Good.'"

So yes, everyone--you were right and my nerves were for naught.  There was so much happening and so many good times that I sometimes forgot I was somewhere else.  The hotel was sa-weet!  The airports were interesting and amusing.  The flights were smooth. The hugs were plentiful, as was the food.  And smiles were plastered everywhere.  Mr. and Mrs. K.--I hope this weekend was just a taste of how wonderful your lives will be together.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's a Boy!

I proudly introduce to you Sir Charles Owen Buckett (the Rapp is Silent)*:

Part Cocker Spaniel-part Poodle, he asserts his individuality by insisting upon being called a Cocker Doodle instead of the expected Cockapoo.

This little guy is about two years old, and we decided his birthday was yesterday.  My mother's cousin works for an animal rescue, and she forwarded us the information on him.  He was rescued from a high-kill shelter (which seems an oxymoron, as the word shelter evokes images in my mind of protection and comfort), but this particular establishment is known for saying buh-bye to animals for no good reason.  We don't know how or why he ended up there, but we do know he experienced some neglect--take a look at these before shots sent to us by his initial rescuers/foster parents:

If you look closely at the first picture, you can see a mass of hair at the bottom of his right ear.  They told us that when they had him cleaned up and trimmed, a matted wad of dog fur the size of a softball was clipped from that area.  And in the second photo--doesn't he look like he has 4 casts on?  All in all, this dog lost 3 pounds of hair!!! 

How can anyone resist this? After at least 6 hours of grooming he looks so much better.  Six MINUTES of getting my hair done is too much for me, but 6 hours for a dog!  I can't believe the inhumanity that got him to the point where he needed such attention.  I also like the fabric of that cushion he's sitting on.  Just putting that out there....

He's settling in fine and getting used to us.  Last night he just laid in his cage and stared at the front door, waiting for his foster daddy to come back.  Tonight he's in his cage whining and crying to get out....I'm pretty sure this will be the last night in the cage.  We were just keeping him in there until we got a better sense of his...I'll call them bathroom habits.  He follows my mother around like a dog (haha), and tolerates the rest of us and our craziness quite well.  I told him that he can go anywhere except my sewing corner, and the only shoes I'll be upset about if he chews are my green shoes.  He's a little jumpy and is curious about every little sound.  Methinks he never had the chance to be a true puppy--he never learned how to play.  He doesn't fetch and seems to think you're punishing him when you take a toy and throw it across the room--he doesn't get it yet that he's supposed to go and bring it back.  

He did have one super-crazy moment tonight.  We went out to the yard and were just trying to get him to play just a little bit, when he took off doing laps around the yard.  He galloped like a racehorse, did figure-eights, jumped from the top porch steps out into the yard, and so on, like a madman, for a good five minutes straight.  Then he just stopped and laid down.  And that was it.  But he was so precise in his turns and what he was doing that it was like watching a well-trained dog herd sheep.  It makes me very curious about who he used to be.

Here's a few more pieces of cute:

He looks like a stuffed animal here, nice and soft and cuddly. And he loves to cuddle--an excellent feature in a dog.

 I kept trying to get him to look at me for a close-up and he rolled his eyes.  How adorable.  He's tired of me already. :)

  I started making weird noises to try and get him to do that head-tilt thing dogs do, but he just got up and walked away.

He made himself comfortable right away.  I wish I could be out that quickly.

So that's what I did today.  I finished up any sewing work I had yesterday because I'm away for the weekend in Chicago for a wedding.  Hopefully I'll have pics to share upon my return.  Have a fabulous weekend!

* Choosing a name was the hardest part. My sister Alicia wanted to name him after several Lost characters.  I wanted to name him Uncle Jessie from Full House. My brother thinks he should be called Scott Baio.  I then changed my mind to Owen.  Charlie seemed to be the only name we could all agree on, so we fancied it up a bit.  When my sister Rachel stopped by tonight and started calling him Charlie  Buckett, we knew we had his full name.  My dad said "What about Rapp? Why isn't his last name Rapp?" to which Rachel replied "The Rapp is silent."  I don't know about everyone else but I'm going to make that last part an official part of his name. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Mess With Mickey Mouse

I've been rasslin' with a bag all evening, and it's defying its own existence at every turn.  Since work kicked my butt today (I haaate playing catch-up) and this bag kicked my butt tonight, you get to be the lucky recipient of my brain-clearing ramblings.  As always, you're welcome.

A few years ago, my sisters and I found a book at my grandma's house.  It was part of a larger set that she probably bought on sale somewhere to add to her collection of toys for when the littlest grandkids would visit.  It was this little three inch square board book that was about four pages.  Perhaps if the story was longer it would have made sense... I'm probably breaking a law here (I won't tell if you won't) but I had to take pictures of it to have a record of the oddness of this particular children's story.  And so, I present to you:

 Innocent enough--so far....

OK--first, isn't an eviction story a little bit mature for the intended audience of this story?  Also, Big Bad Pete looks like a mobster in the middle of a shake-down. 

The only thing I have to say here is that I would behave exactly as Donald did--I would be the worst helper on moving day, and I'd be as effective as a duck stuck in a fish bowl.  Not my kind of work...

First, how did they get the piano up there?  Second, this is a really bad lesson for kids--"if you can't figure it out, destroy it."  I feel it necessary to note that this would be the kind of solution my brother would come up with...  Also--why did they put the guy named Goofy in charge of such a task?  Did they really expect him to accomplish such heavy lifting on his own?  There needs to be more teamwork in this book...just sayin'.

So far, the story can be summarized as:  Beloved Disney characters are getting evicted.  Donald is useless.  Goofy is destructive.  Here comes the part that's a bit weird...

WHAT?  First, let's address this gas pipe.  I would imagine for a cigar to ignite it that it needs to be a leaking gas pipe.  Did the gang break the pipe to get back at Mafia Pete?  Because that's just wrong. But if they didn't and this gas pipe was just leaking--how are they not sick or unconscious or dead?  Perhaps the open window from tossing the piano aired things out a bit, but I don't think a leaky gas pipe should be taken so lightly.  Second, I have a problem with a few lovable characters laughing at the explosive misfortune of anyone--that doesn't seem like something we should be condoning.  Third, I have a problem with the logistics of this--if we're assuming that everyone is in the house when the explosion occurs, why aren't they dead?  If we take it as only Big Pete being in the house when it blew--then why isn't he dead?

Would that be just too much drama for a children's book?


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