Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sisra's Hill Country Wedding

This April my sister had a BEAUTIFUL wedding to her sweet man in the Texas Hill Country.

She is by trade a professional photographer, photographing her fair share of weddings. She has been at ground zero when Bridezillas have been on the prowl. She didn't want to be like that so she set out to have as much of a stress free, fun, romantic destination wedding as possible. And she succeeded.

It was a lovely "off-the-grid" weekend for about 50 of their family and close friends.

They chose Trois Estates which is right outside of Fredericksburg. Gorgeous!

Today is the first time I've had time to do anything with the pics so I thought I'd share some with you.

Me lacing up her dress.

Just about ready!

Her bouquet with our Ge's (Grandmother) broach and earring attached.

The Newly-Weds

The Sisras

The wedding party - Husband (who got ordained so he could officiate) Me, Sis, New Brother, New Sis and New Niece.

Their Cake


Tomorrow I'll post some of the Rehearsal Dinner with Guy Forsyth.

Must go because Den has dragged not one, not two, but THREE boxes in from garage. He's worse than a kid on Christmas eve.

Monday, July 28, 2008

MITMM and Being a Good Human

This week is a busy one – final week of a summer class that has been kicking my butt. (Does anyone remember why I, the one with the Fine Arts degrees, decided to become an Information Scientist?). So my project has to do with making a dent in the mountains of crap amazing things in the garage. We put on our weekly list – “empty one box.” This becomes the house that Jack built because one must sort said crap amazing things into the proverbial KEEP, DONATE, and THROW AWAY piles. And I need a serious 12-step program for the whole KEEP part.

This is my mother’s fault.

Certainly Dr., I’d be happy to tell you more.

Mother dislikes old things. And her definition of old can be anywhere from 3 days to, at maximum, 3 years. Granted, she grew up “with out” and what she and my grandmother had, was many times, handed down. It makes her feel good to be able to have not only the things she needs, but wants. She’s not extravagant. She has very good taste. She replaces on a rotating basis.

I once saw a beautiful dress and commented on it. “Oh, I had one just like that,” said mother. Old movie magazines fascinate me. “Oh, I once subscribed to those,” said mother. Christmas ornaments from my childhood. “Oh, sold those in a garage sale,” said mother.

Do you understand my problem?

So I’m trying to deal my packratification and clean out the garage so that Dennis can work on the 120 year old tin covered trunk of his grandmother’s this fall. My goal is to give him a workshop space. He gave me a scrapbook loft (300 square feet – thankyouverymuch) – so I’d like to return the favor.

OK – where was I…

One of the boxes that was brought in from said garage yesterday was filled with sewing notions (and probably more – not unpacked yet). I thought this would be a good time to get my grandmothers sewing basket cleaned up, so as to have somewhere to put said notions.

Well, after steaming with my Shark,

vacuuming with my archaeologist tools,

cleaning, replacing and renailing, it at least seems viable. It’s not particularly aesthecially pleasing, being a circa 1975 JC Penney model, but it was something that I remember her getting as a present one christmas and I want to keep it. (There's that K word again.) And things don’t have to be perfect right? It IS utilitarian – if I can get the @#%& hinges to work.

The other box had a bunch of T-shirts in it. The ones that I swear I’m gonna make that stadium blanket out of. So they get washed and dried to get the garage smell gone. I made 3 templates – 12X12, 8X8 and 6X6. You professional quilters out there feel free to chime in. I’m flyin’ by the seat of my pants here. Not sure how all this will work together, especially working with the T-shirt material, but I’m one of those hard-headed learn by doing kinda people.

One step at a time –

1.Cut graphic or logo from T-shirt.

2. Cut big square from back of T-Shirt to hem and use as garage towels

3. Figure out what to do with bag o’ scraps of T-Shirts.

I’m trying so hard to keep things out of the landfill. Obviously, these scraps aren’t wearable. So off to Google. I found The Good Human which tells me that I can take the bag o' scraps to Goodwill or Salvation Army and they will give them to Ragsorters where the “unusable garments, especially cotton t-shirts, are turned into wiping and polishing clothes used by a variety of industries and sold to consumers. She adds that other textiles are shredded into fibers used to make new products, such as sound-deadening materials for the automotive industry, archival-quality paper, blankets and even plastic fencing.”


I also found these pillows made from vintage clothing tags. Hmmmm…something to file for later.

So - One -finish writing the technical manual for the database I designed (that'll be easy -sshhhhhyeah!) and Two - finish defenestrating the T-shirts and maybe Three - tackle another box.

It's kinda like Christmas in July - but a lot more work!

Love ya, mean it!


PS - adding lots of cool blogs to visit. I'm just in awe of the fascinating people who are letting me glimpse into their lives. Check them out at left.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ergo chair completion!

We are finished with this week’s project. Hurray!

Started with dense foam (which we attached with heavy duty spray adhesive, sprayed on each piece, let dry until tacky and attach – it’s what they always do on HGTV J) then added a thick layer of batting on top of that. So glad I remember seeing someone cut dense foam with a serrated knife - it was so easy - like butta! The batting, well, that wasn't quite so easy, but we got it done.

Then got out the electric staple gun (which in my book is sent straight from heaven – I sometimes secretly desire a pneumatic one – do they even make those? I could be quite dangerous to myself and others with that!). Gotta get those corners right. We had little tufts of fake fur floating all around us.

Dennis was in charge of all sanding, tightening, staining, tung oiling , etc., which he did in the evenings when the temperature went down to the upper 90’s. Welcome to the dog days of Texas summer heat. He used a dark walnut stain to work with the "chocolate" part of the color scheme. He wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out on composite material. He’s pretty much a wood snob – loves working on an old piece of furniture to give it a new life. He was however, pretty happy with the way it finished out.

And then finally the completed product. Functional with just the right touch of funky. See my previous post for the before pic.

Speaking of Dennis, we got him set up in the blogsphere this morning. Check out Curmudeongly Rants when you get a chance. Who knows what will set him off!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Project Time

I’m now totally addicted to the blogsphere and mostly to those blogs that are written by incredible creative people – you’ll see some of my favorites linked at the right. Interestingly enough, I have lately been inspired to get some creative projects done around our house and these have been just the thing to get me going.

This made me giggle Monkey in the Middle Mondays . I like the thought of getting “monkeys off your back.”

So, the first “MITMM” I’ll share with you– (and yes, I know it's Tuesday)...

A dear friend and former student of ours is off to grad school in a couple of weeks and is excitedly getting things together to create her room in the house she is sharing. Last night she brought over one of those old 1980’ ergo kneeling chairs. I think she paid about 3$ for it.

Of course, I didn’t take a pic before we started, but I found this on ebay. This is exactly what we had when we started:

This is what we have now:

Her colors of choice are a robin’s egg blue, chocolate brown and white. Very “in”, right? I’d been thinking about what I might have around the house to contribute and it dawned on me that somewhere I had a box with some white faux fur that I’d bought long ago to make a Wilma Flintstone costume. Well, she liked the idea – so we sat in front of the TV, watched the original “Producers” and pulled staples out of those horrible cushions. The foam actually had places where it had just turned to dust.

We took a break for dinner and a little retail therapy, complete with Dennis in tow. Quick stop at JoAnn’s for spray adhesive and fabric for a project of mine (more on that later in the week), Staples (one can never have enough office supplies, especially when they have the 5 cent sale going), dinner at Kincaid’s (the BEST hamburgers in town) and finally to the cigar shop. Clarissa is studying to be a dramaturg and her first assignment at OU is working with a play in which cigars play a very important role, (Anna in the Tropics). She and Den had a great time chatting with the owner in the humidor. How’s that for something different to do on a summer evening? One last stop at Borders – bookstores are a weakness for each of us and then home. We plan to finish the chair Wednesday. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Whiff rhymes with....

Honest to God – one of the answers in the NYT’s crossword puzzle today was “spliff.” But that is not the most amazing part. The most AMAZING part was that my better half was not familiar with that word. Wha..wha…what!? Dr. Vocabulary, Dennisimo, the man who went to university in the late 60’s, early 70’s, didn’t know what that word meant.

First, I was excited. Here was something generic that I knew and he didn’t. Then I was a little shocked at my urban knowledge. THEN, I was a little off balance. I mean, that’s not how things work around our house. There is a certain order to things. Himself is in charge of 90% of most things, like cooking, Theatre, words, baseball, Catholicism, Vonnegut, general knowledge, trivial knowledge, etc., etc., and all things St. Louis. Herself only chimes in on finances, forensics, animals, health, information science and all things Disney (although he is beginning to give me a run for my money on Walt.)

There was a disturbance in the force.

Change (no matter how small it is) can be disconcerting. But the one thing I’ve learned is that change is the one thing that is constant. We’ve been married 17 years and we’ve both changed. Luckily, we’ve embraced it and each other and rolled with it. Still, it makes you wonder what’s around the bend. And though I have an attention span that, thanks primarily to theatre schedules, really only lasts, at the most, 6 weeks before I want to be doing something different, I am at heart, more like an old tree - (who likes run on sentences). I like to be still and surrounded by familiar territory. I guess what comforts me most in this chaotic world is that I know who will always be standing beside me.

Himself now stands in the kitchen and says, “So I guess the declension would be – I spliff, you spliff, he-she-it spliffs. And the plu perfect would be ‘I shall have spluffed.’ The imperative would be ‘spluff me now, please’, right?”

All of a sudden I hear Han Solo in my head… “Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A whiff of past embraces...

Yesterday, I literally sat in front of my computer screen for 10+ hours. Big deliverable in the summer school class due last night. My brain still hurts.

So, today, I wanted to NOT sit in front of the computer screen (yet here I am, interesting…).

The plan was to sift through all the detritus (read that word in Terry’s blog today – good word) in the bat cave (my Harry Potter under the stairs office) and the library and at least get everything off the floor so the carpet can be cleaned.

Well, there is still lots on the floor, but at least everything is in one stack or another and I can put the stacks NEAR where they are supposed to be filed, stored, etc.

Problem was, I got distracted.

In the middle of the room sits a large cedar chest my grandmother gave me. It’s not delicate and pretty like a hope chest. It’s hand made and sturdy. It’s a great place to sit down and look through a book you’ve just pulled off the shelf. Inside is a bunch of stuff, mostly from high school. I thought, well, as long as I’m cleaning, I’ll just throw some of this stuff out.

I just need to embrace that I am a “keeper.” I attach lots of emotion to things. There are tons of letters from dear friends, especially Lisa during her European travels. An original Kermit-the-frog. Some totally useless things - Old mums and corsages, pom-poms. Of course, nothing was getting thrown out.

But what got me was a cotton house coat of my grandmothers. Her death was very difficult for me. She had lived with my family until I was twelve and was my biggest fan. She never did get to see me onstage in person, but I always knew she was rootin’ for me. Anyway, I had forgotten, that among some small things that I had brought home after she died, was this housecoat. Its this awful little yellow and orange floral print with the big metal snap buttons and two big pockets on the front. Its been worn and washed a thousand times and is even frayed a little around the neck.

I took it because it smelled like her.

It still does.

"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"

I sat in the floor and breathed her in and missed her so much my heart ached. She’s been gone for nearly twenty years, but it didn’t matter. For just that moment, she was right there beside me.

I carry her with me every day. She helped me learn to read. She helped me learn to write. I make my cursive capital letter G just like she did. She taught me how to sit quietly on a bank and wait for the bobber to go under. She showed me how to grow tomatoes the size of a softball, and Dahlias the size of my head, although her green thumb never quite transplanted to me. I say words in class like, cattywhumpus, and shimmy-shewobble. Which makes my students laugh at me – but I don’t say them for effect. If a desk isn’t straight in the row, its cattywhumpus, that’s just the best way to describe it. These words, from a woman who was born in 1906 in a hollar (yes, you read that right) in Snowball, Arkansas, are just a part of the wonderful gifts she left with me.

I was so lucky to have my Ge. She gave me so much, the most valuable of which was just a part of her – her time, her attention, her values, her love.

We, all of us, are the sum of the people who care about and invest in us.

Never take those people for granted and continue their legacy.

Who did you invest in today?