Why is it that women drool over vintage aprons? The thought of actually being a 1950’s housewife toiling away in the kitchen appalls us. But the fun, frilly aprons are just too cute.
A good friend’s son is getting married and his beautiful bride-to-be is a great cook. So I whipped up a retro-style apron to give at her bridal shower. I can just see her making her yummy crepes in this little number.
I love the fact that it is reversible. I knew it turned out OK when my husband said it looked like it came out of one of those shops all the women love that he refuses to enter. Also when my teenage daughter squealed upon seeing it.
The design is based on a free retro apron pattern I found online. The directions are pretty clear. Kudos to the designer for sharing. I did change a couple things. The original has the bias tape going all the way around the sides. If you only want it on the top, bottom and pockets like I have, then just put rights sides together on both the apron and flounce, sew seams, right side it out and proceed. I have two sewing machines, both vintage without an automatic buttonholer. So I did not want to make button holes. I switched up the top ties a bit and did not use buttonholes. When you sew the buttons on, be careful to only go through one layer so you do not see stitching on reverse. I also added a pocket on reverse side. I made a square for a different look, and also because those angled pockets were hard to sew!
I have seen other pictures on the web of crafty women who have made really cute aprons using this pattern.
I also bought a retro apron pattern from McCalls, so I may try that next. Hope Jemma likes it.
Honey Badgers T-shirts are outselling all other designs on some of the print-on-demand stores like Zazzle and Cafepress. Made me curious what the fuss was all about. The answer: a simple You-Tube video with 25 million hits and counting featuring a short nature film about the creature narrated by an incongruous voice with cello music in the background.
I decided to whip up a couple designs of my own featuring the honey badger. I made a posterized honey badger, cut him out, and put him in front of some text with a yellow-orange-red gradient. Underneath it reads: “Do I Look Like I Care?” I made two versions, one for light shirts and one for dark.
When I showed my daughter, 13, she immediately wanted one. So did her friend. We printed the design out on iron-on transfer paper and made some up right away. I also put my honey badger design up for sale on Zazzle.
I asked for design advice from my son and was surprised that he voted not to have little bits of the letter dropping down. He said it looked too much like blood and was a bit gory. And here I thought the blood and guts reference might appeal to a 11-year-old boy.
Here’s the two versions. Should I have left in the red crumbs? They are supposed to be crumbs from the big bite out of the text. But I am not sure that even comes across. Hmmmm. Let me know you opinion in the comments section (you gotta scroll down a bit to see it).
When the Spa for Women in Upland, CA, shut its doors unexpectedly last week, many of us members were shocked and devastated. Where do we go now? Although the gym on Foothill near Mountain was not the classiest place, it offered the basics at a reasonable price and fellow members and staff felt like family. Many women have been going to the gym for decades.
Talking to fellow members I hear words of grief. “Devastated.” So Upset.” “Don’t know what I am going to do.” So bummed” “Mad.” “Lost” “That place was perfect for me . . . now what am I gonna do?”
The best thing about the Spa was the people. The instructors: all competent, friendly, and caring. The members: all down-to-earth women. You could go to the gym in your sweats without putting your make-up on and it was all good. I was there 13 years.
So now I am looking for a gym with yoga, step, Zumba, weights, and a pool that is close, affordable and has a clientele that makes me comfortable. I need a gym in Claremont or Upland or someplace close . . . too far and I will end up not going.
Looking on Yelp at reviews and it is not encouraging.
Many of us are wondering why the owner did not at the least try to arrange a discount at another gym for us. After all, most of us paid for multiple-year gym memberships, and now it looks like we are just out the money. I had 6 years left on mine.
With no FB page or email list, we are all just left to find a new gym home on our own. If you were a Spa member, please let me know what your plans are. Leave a comment below. I also started a Facebook group Bummed About the Spa for Women in Upland Closing in the hopes of reaching out to others in my situation. Maybe if we trade notes we can help each other find new gyms that work for each of us. Join it by going to Bummed about Spa for Women in Upland Closing Group.
It didn’t take long for the masses to try to make money off the movement.
Print-on-demand (POD) sites like Cafepress and Zazzle now have a bazillion versions of “I am the 99%” t-shirts and other power-to-the-people products. What to make of all these people trying to cash in? Are they crass capitalists undercutting the whole ethos of the Occupy idea? Regular folks (out of work? underpaid?) trying to pay the rent anyway they know how? Or creative artists supporting the message while supporting themselves?
Maybe a little of each. But I’ve decided the marketing of Occupy is OK as long as the t-shirts and bumper stickers and cups are coming from individuals, not corporations with highly compensated executives. In fact, I’ve whipped up a few Occupy designs myself.
One thing I like about buying off the POD sites is that at least you don’t end up with a huge corporate logo all over your chest. What’s with that anyway? T-shirts should belong to the proletariat, shouldn’t they? T-shirts started out utilitarian in the early 1900s when the Navy issued them to sailors. By the time the Depression rolled around (the early one, not this one) the comfy, cheap shirts were de rigueur for farmers and others who worked outside.
The plain white t-shirt look became popular with guys after World War II (Think Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire). In the 60s hippies discovered the tee made a perfect canvas for tie-dye, and in the 70s it became popular for slogans.
But by the 1980s companies were plastering their own logo on the outside of clothing. This unfortunate trend started with stitched crocodiles and polo ponies on the chests of preppy men. When Calvin Klein’s name famously appeared on the jeans pocket of young Brooke Shield’s butt, retailers learned consumers would pay double for the “status” of conspicuous designer labels. No matter that flaunting your wealth is gauche, logos quickly found their way onto purses, sunglasses, flip flops and especially, t-shirts.
Nowadays it’s impossible to buy a t-shirt without a logo on it. And that’s a drag. As my son put it: “Why would I want to be a walking billboard? They should pay me to wear the shirt if they put their logo on it!” A brilliant marketing idea, really, for them to con us into being an unpaid part of their advertising campaign. But it’s time for the free ride to stop.
The more radical Sans Culottes in the French Revolution were working class who wore long pants.
So, if you like one of these “real people” designs, go ahead and make a statement by buying one. In the French Revolution, the radical militants of the working class were known as the “sans-culottes” because they wore long pants, not the fancy shmancy silk knee-breeches of the more moderate bourgeois. Maybe today’s Occupy crowd can be known as “sans-logo” for eschewing brand-name t-shirts. Instead of being a walking billboard, they can be a walking protest sign . . . and at the same time support a real live artist. The hyper-PC can even pick t-shirts made-in-America of all-organic cotton from POD sites . . . all designed by some regular guy. Wearing one of these masterpieces, you can put down your cardboard sign and still broadcast your message.
Of course, you could just go out an buy plain white beefy T’s and a Sharpie and write your message on your chest.
Fall leaf cuff bracelet made of Sculpey polymer clay.
Autumn makes you want to wear the colors of leaves. The first cuff bracelet I made out of polymer clay is the leaf bracelet I made out of shades of brown, gold, orange and green. I started by making a Skinner blend of gold and green. I covered one side of an aluminum cuff bracelet blank. Then I whipped up some leaf canes and slice a few pieces off. Using a contrasting color, I made an organic square shape to back each leaf. Next I gently pressed them into the bracelet. Bake, Cool. Polish a bit. Great fall bracelet.
Sculpey is kinda like a stress ball that lets you make beautiful things. Stress balls are those little bags full of a sand-like substance that you can’t put down without squeezing it a few times. They are often given out as promotional gifts and have smiley faces or silly designs on them. Massaging them supposedly reduces your stress and can even be used in physical therapy to strengthen muscles.
Sculpey is a brand of polymer clay, which isn’t really “clay” at all, but rather a concoction of polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and liquid plasticizer. It’s only called clay because you can mold it like clay and then “fire” it in your oven.
Sculpey and other polymer clay brands have long enticed me because they come in these appealing little 2 oz packages in beautiful colors. Over the years I would buy a couple packages and try it, but the clay always seemed so hard to manipulate. I’d get frustrated and give up.
In the last couple months though, I’ve become a big fan of polymer clay. I’ve made my first bracelet and pair of earrings with it, and I am thrilled. Now I can’t stop thinking of things I want to make out of Sculepy. The trick, I learned, is that before you try to mold anything, you have to condition the clay. This is why Sculpey is like a stress ball. To condition it, you have to knead it.
The warmth of your hands combined with the process of stretching and compressing the clay changes its texture, making it pliable. You must be in the right frame of mind to condition polymer clay because it requires patience. If you are in a rush, you are just going to get more stressed! But if you put yourself into a zen-like state of acceptance, you can work out the pressures of your mind as you work the clay.
Plus, after the clay is conditioned, you can make something cool! Manipulating the clay into art requires creativity and concentration, which can also be stress-reducing.
Here’s some images of my first attempts at making art with polymer clay. Credit is due to all the polymer clay artists who share their tips and tutorials on Youtube and websites.
Turning 50 wasn’t so bad after all. It’s hard to be bummed about anything when you are on a beautiful Caribbean island with warm sun, soft sand and crystal-clean turquoise water. Especially after five months of freezing your butt off in freezing New Jersey while on sabbatical in Princeton.
We decided to go to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, for my birthday when I looked at the calendar and saw that it was the same week that Shea wanted to go back to California for Brooke’s Bat Mitzvah. I came up with the brilliant idea of putting Colman on the plane to CA as well, and John and I could go celebrate on our own.
(Poor Ginger had to go to a kennel. But we put her in the exclusive All Good Dogs kennel: costs twice as much, but no cages, no loud barking, no stink, and the dogs are actually happy there.)
Snow was falling as drove to the airport. We loved our week in the sun. This So Cal girl needed relief from the constant cold. Our cottage did not get cell phone reception and did not have wi-fi, so we got a break from the buzz of technology as well. It was also our first real vacation without the kids, and we felt so blessed to know they were in good hands with trusted friends.
We loved the vibe on St John and the beautiful turquoise water. The snorkeling was not on par with Hawaii, but still fun. My underwater camera bag did not leak, and I got pics of a stingray and a shark. We lucked out and stayed in a charming cottage owned by an artist.
I was proud of our tree last year because almost every decoration on it was handmade. We were on sabbatical in Princeton, New Jersey, for the year from So Cal. We did not haul our holiday decorations across country. We got a great tree from a Vermont tree farmer, but we had nothing to put on it! So we decided to make our own ornaments. We started with flour and salt dough ornaments and went from there, adding wire, Sculpey and pipe cleaners to the mix. Here’s the results. I am hoping to find time to make some more this year. Let me know which on is your favorite.
Wreath made by Shea.
Jester ornament made of Sculpey, pipecleaners, copper wire by Kim.
Present and name we all worked on.
Snowman I made.
Peace sign ornament Shea made.
Candy Cane ornament, Shea.
Christmas tree, Shea.
Reindeer, flour and salt, Kim.
Flour and salt dough snowman, Kim.
Sculpey reindeer, flour/salt snowman, Kim.
figure skater made of pipe cleaners. Kim.
Angel made of pipe cleaners. Kim.
Christmas tree made of pipe cleaners. Cole.
Poinsettia made of Sculpey. Kim.
Pipe cleaner Christmas ornament, Colman.
Which one is your favorite?
Happy Holidays to all!!!
If you want to make pipe cleaner ornaments, believe it or not, Amazon has the best deals and best selection on pipe cleaners.
Bead, pearl, crystal necklace and earring set I made my friend for her birthday.
Dori and I became best friends in 7th grade. Unfortunately, we don’t see each other often anymore, but I wanted to make her jewelry for a milestone birthday. Here’s some pics of the design made of beads, pearls and crystals with copper and rose gold findings. The necklace is long, and you can wear it two ways. As seen in the photo above, you can wear it with the charm dangling. You can also remove the charms and one section of the necklace to make a simpler strand.
Here’s some more pics to show the design.
Did you know Amazon has tons of jewelry making supplies? Sometimes they have better prices that Michaels or Joanns. They definitely have a wider selection.
Creative scarecrows can spice up fall decorations. Many neighborhoods hold scarecrow decorating contests. My sister and I have worked together to enter a few of these and have been lucky enough to win grand prize a couple of times. Our best tip? Use old clothes to come up with a scarecrow theme, then pay attention to detail to make a whole scene.
I used my daughter’s old flower girl dress, for example, to come up with a scene depicting “The Ring Bearer and Flower Girl at Frankenstein’s Wedding. I used her old figure skates to come up with “Skate Crow.” I used my son’s old Kobe Bryant jersey and old basketball shoes to come up with a scarecrow shooting hoops . . . (Kobe Die-ant of the LA UnderTakers.) An old saddle gave me the inspiration to come up with “Ghost Rustler,” a cowboy lassoing a ghost.
Next up: I want to do a hula girl in a bikini to make a beach scene. Got you thinking? What clothes do you have that be used for a creative scarecrow scene this Halloween?
Make your scarecrows pop at night with a blacklight.
I hope my pics inspire you. Let me know if you have other creative scarecrow decoration ideas for Halloween.