Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday

Vogue 8379 -- wrap dress -- is finished, but everyone's gone and I'm not sure how to work the timer on the camera, nor am I inclined to find the instructions for the camera. So, a hanger shot:

Very simple to make, although I need to alter the bodice a bit next time -- it's sort of baggy-saggy, but the busy print camouflages that.

And, in crocheting news, a couple of Soot Sprites:

And working on another keychain-size Totoro. I'm using a 3.5mm crochet hook on this one (it's supposed to be a 3mm) and it has little holes in between the stitches. This has potential to look dorky with white stuffing in it. We'll see.

In the meantime, Thaia and Annabeth are at a musical theater camp this week, working on Razzle Dazzle (from Chicago) and Rock Island (from The Music Man). Thalia is also working on Good Morning Baltimore (Hairspray) and Shall We Dance (The King and I) plus a monologue from The Princess Bride in which Buttercup declares her love for Wesley. Annabeth is learning Maybe (Annie), doing a monologue from Anne of Green Gables (one of the teachers pointed out that she sort of has the Orphans Named Ann theme going on), and doing a bit from PIrates of Penzance in A Paradox. I think they present some sort of recital on Friday, but I'm really vague on this at the moment. I do know that they're having a great time and learning some stuff about the world of theater.

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Samhra Feis 2010

Our 4th time to participate in the An Samhra Feis, and it was a fine day.

This feis is held in a hotel. Honestly, I'm not wild about hotel feiseanna because they're so chopped up and hard to keep track of -- it's so much easier when everyone's in one room. But they put these big computer screens around so you can see what's happening in which room and on which stage:

which helps quite a bit. So you can be wandering around upstairs and figure out what's going on downstairs.

This year's excitement included flights gone awry for 2 of the 4 musicians (and also for a judge? I don't recall, but maybe so). The musicians did eventually show up, and in the meantime the Powers That Be made clever use of the 2 available musicians and recorded music on iPod. We had been to a feis last fall that had NO musicians show up, and the recorded music didn't work nearly as well there. Rick theorized that the person in charge of the iPod at this feis did a better job of focussing -- a couple of times kids were left dancing sans music, but not very often. I thought perhaps they also chose music that worked better -- more measures of repeats, for example.

Also, a fire alarm went off, and everyone started filing out of the building:

In spite of all of this, the competitions whipped along. Thalia pointed out that the people in charge of the stages tended to be real no-nonsense types. Later this week the stage managers will be cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf, then straightening out the economy.

In the meantime, I stayed away from anything to do with running a stage (after last year's freezing-temperatures-while-I-had-a-fever fun) and helped with results. The results had been moved to a bigger area, which, ironically, was the coolest room in the place. Oh well. At least I didn't have a fever. And results were fun, especially when I got to be the one to write Thalia's number up as FINALLY GETTING A FIRST IN TRADITIONAL SET! (This means she finally has all of her dances in Open, which is exciting if you're in Irish Dance, and fairly meaningless if you're not.)

Also, by working in the results room I got to see how many people come in and take photos of all the results boards. I am not alone in that quirk, it seems. However, I took none this time since I was busy writing the numbers on the boards and handing out medals and trophies.

In the meantime, small knots of dancers

were exploding:

Every year Clarkson comes up with a clever theme for the feis, and this one was my absolute favorite. I love this graphic -- I think it's a fantastic adaptation, incorporating the St. Louis arch and the swoop of a dancer's cape:

Overall, a great feis. Okay, I'm biased because it's our school's feis ... but several other people NOT from out school complimented the feis as well. Congratulations to those who coordinated this event -- great job!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday

Annabeth is mostly working behind closed doors today, which may have something to do with my birthday being this week. And Thalia is supposedly working on cleaning her room.

Last week Annabeth ate an entire package of Starburst, then used the wrappers to fashion doll clothes:

And I've been working on Vogue 8379, the incredibly popular wrap dress:

It's taken forever to get this far because the cat keeps wanting to play with it. I don't know if the fabric (a jersey from is especially appealing, or if she's just in an ornery mood. In any case, I think she's asleep somewhere, so I need to get back to work on it.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Swimming at Aunt Vi's house. Annabeth is working on doing a flip off of the diving board.

Thalia got back from her mission trip Saturday night at about 7pm.

And left for a Girl Scout camp out Sunday at 5pm. It included their Silver Award ceremony:

With all the rain Sunday morning and the chance of another storm Sunday night they moved the camp out indoors to become a slumber party.

And in the meantime Rick and Annabeth went back to Aunt Vi's to swim some more.

So the basic themes for the weekend -- one kid toting around a sleeping bag to various locations, the other kid in a swimming pool. Summer!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer 2010

Rick left for Mexico early Monday morning, and Thalia left for Oklahoma City (middle school youth group mission trip) Tuesday, which left Annabeth and I, along with the cats and the rats.

We went to the pool a lot. Annabeth claims we've been to the pool more this week than we were all of Summer 2009. I think she's close to being right.

We ate a lot of Doritos and sorbet. And those frozen miniature eclairs from Trader Joe's that you eat straight out of the box because they're better frozen.

But we made occasional forays into nourishing food. We tried to make hard boiled eggs into chibi Totoros, using black sesame seeds for the eyes. I think some sort of round white thing under the seed would help, but I'm not sure what to use insofar as something I'd want to eat with a hard boiled egg.

Chibi Totoro salad!

I did some more crocheting. This is a pattern for a keychain, but I think it would be a great Christmas tree ornament.

It also works for American Girl dolls.

We threw parties for the rats, decorating the playhouse with old newspapers, crepe paper streamers, and strings of popcorn.

They had a lovely snack bar of Cheerios (which they hid in the newspapers) and bread crusts (most of which they hid under the couch).

They also played Bobbing for Peas.

We also managed to get a little school work done, mostly Writing With Ease. Every summer we have visions of getting all sorts of school work done, but it tends to get set aside for more urgent matters like stringing popcorn for rats.

Now Rick is home from Mexico, and Thalia should be home from Oklahoma City later today.

Next week: more of the same.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Another Totoro done over the weekend, this time the chibi-Totoro.

It's interesting to see people's reactions when you take these places -- there are people who have no clue what you're carrying around, and there are people who recognize a white chibi-Totoro from a distance and come running over to see what you're doing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


From Lucy Ravenscar's pattern.

After I finished all of the collars (and, by the way, did they ever DO anything with those?) I was looking for something to do in the car on the way to Tricia's wedding. So I decided to crochet some amigurumi. And someone had mentioned that Totoro was in Toy Story 3 ... I'm not a big fan of the Toy Story serieis, but I love Totoro and had been wandering around humming the song for days ... so I decided to stop by JoAnn and get some blue and white yarn to make the chu-Totoro. Except the Caron Simply Soft was on sale, and I really really liked the grey. So I switched to o-Totoro.

But when I got in the car I realized that you can't really finish up the body in the car, since you have to sew on the eyes and stuff it before you finish it. So I made the appendages, then lost interest -- something about the plastic hook I was using along with the plastic yarn which kept squeaking and splitting. Ick -- it was like nails running down a chalkboard. But this week during our 2nd annual Gas Leak Extravaganza I decided to finish it up.

Annabeth decided it should have whiskers and a small mouth. We considered the possibility of a big, cheesy grin, but decided against it "this time". The kids seem to be under the impression that we're going to be making a bunch of these.

That's a fake leaf on its head, recalling when he was in the rain at the bus stop. Perhaps a crocheted leaf "next time'?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday

The gas company is here right now digging holes in our yard. We noticed a faint smell of gas next to the meter, which is next to our hose spigot. A guy from the gas company came out to check it and fix it, but the entire meter fell off, so now it's turned into a Big Deal. But, hey, it's all outside the house, so it's not our responsibility financially; plus it's too hot to want to heat anything up anyway, so it's okay that the gas is turned off for a while.

In the meantime, Thalia has most of the squares crocheted for her baby blanket to donate to Cardinal Glennon via Newborns in Need. Now she needs to sew them all together.

And I'm working on altering a bodice for Thalia using the tips in this cool book I found in the library.

And Annabeth has been busy with flower fairies:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our 4th of July Weekend

Family visiting.

A trip to Ted Drewes.

Watching old family movies.



Watermelon on the back patio.

Converting several hours of analog tape to digital format.


at a park

with AnnaBeth as the event photographer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Books

It's Summer Read time at the library, and I'm once again participating in the Adult Reading Club. The goal is to read 10 books or 50 hours. Since I hate keeping track of minutes, mostly because it involves finding a clock, I'm keeping track of books.

Here's what I have for June:

1. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. Along the same lines as Matthew Syed'sBounce, which I mentioned last month. As a matter of fact, Bounce repeats much of the info found in The Talent Code (because of which I now know more about Brazilian soccer training than I ever thought I would). Talent Code extensively discusses myelin's role in developing abilities; we tend to talk a lot about myelin around here, so I thought that was pretty cool. Overall, I ended up liking this book better than Bounce -- it was stronger in the areas I was interested in.

2.The Good That Men Do (Star Trek: Enterprise) by Andy Mangels. You know how crappy that final episode of Enterprise was? This book re-writes it so it isn't quite so bad. It takes the exact same scenes (I think -- really, I didn't memorize the episode and have no desire to re-watch it) and puts a different spin on them. Totally nerdy.

By the way, while reading this I revealed to my kids that I had figured out that Captain Archer played water polo! Their reaction? "Um, Mom, they mentioned that about every 4th episode of the series." Oh. I guess I was thinking of something else when it came up so I wasn't paying attention, or maybe I'd left the room, or maybe ... I dunno, maybe I'm not the Trekkie I thought I was. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Overall, this was my least favorite book of June; its appeal seems to rest solely on the Star Trek connection.

3. Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland. There was this scene in Saturday night's performance of Twelfth Night where Cesario and Orsino looked like they were swaying like zombies while the clowns circled around them chanting (I'm pretty sure that's not the effect they were after). So when I saw a book about ZOMBIES and SHAKESPEARE on the new book shelf at the library, it seemed like fate had dropped it into my hands.

What a fun read! Shakespeare quotes mashed up with the undead -- can't go wrong with that. Great poolside reading.

4. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Pope. Melissa Wiley mentioned this in her blog, so, of course, I had to read it since I'm a Melissa Wiley groupie AND we had enjoyed The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Pope. Perilous Gard is as good as Melissa Wiley said. Also set in Elizabethan England -- we seem to be having a rash of connections to that era. And another great poolside read, if that's what you're looking for.