Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Castle

On our way home, we went up Hwy 1 to San Simeon and saw Hearst Castle.

Joseph was expecting it to be like a midevil castle with a moat and a drawbridge and suits of armor standing in the halls. He expected to be bored.

Of course it wasnt, but sort of was, but not really.

And Joseph was not bored when he found out that William Randolph Hearst collected guns.

Dave was in charge of the camera because he is more adept at technolgy stuff than I and the digital camera is part of his techno territory. Payback I guess for me being in control of the car. He is old fashioned and does these sideways shots. He doesn't like to waste film with bad pictures.

So he takes these pictures sideways. I don't know why. If you want to change how the image is framed, you can do it digitally. This way, it looks stupid until you go in a monkey with it. That's fine, but then you have the right side up one AND the sideways one on the slideshow. He can't delete the sideways one. He just can't. It's like throwing something away.

When he is driving, he asks me which way to go and he follows my directions only up to a point, then he loses faith and turns a different way, then we are lost and then he asks me where to turn. I may know how to get where we are going, but he won't stick with me long enough to get there. But then, it's my fault for getting us lost.

Then he takes pictures of retro bathrooms, and when he sees them later, he asks me why I took a picture of the bathroom. At least I get to drive.

Monday, July 30, 2007


After the ATV experience, we decided to take a look at the beach and pier at Pismo Beach. One member of our party, not to be named here, was afraid of getting lost in the town of Pismo Beach. That person was not the driver. The driver knew where they were going, having lived there before.

If you are familiar at all with Pismo Beach, you know there is not a lot of real estate between the Interstate and the water. The passage of time has seen the additon of one more stoplight, but the Freeway and the Pacific Ocean limit expansion. Getting really lost in Pismo Beach is really hard.

I like Pismo Beach. I've been flashed there twice, but I still like it. There are lots of little shops where tourists(like me, now) can buy things made out of shells from the Florida Keys that say "Hi from Pismo Beach" and pictures of Dolphins from San Diego with captions like "Having Fun in Pismo Beach" Stuffed ban bag lobsters made in China and tattooed with "Pismo Beach" and don't forget coconut wacky heads that don't say anything. Coconuts have never grown in Pismo Beach, even before the blight wiped them out in Florida.

You can probably get a fantastic bowl of clam chowder in Pismo Beach. I don't like clam chowder. My first bowl of clam chowder ever had more sand than clams in it and I've never been able to even want it since. It doesnt matter, the clams in the chowder do not come from Pismo Beach. The giant clams that Pismo Beach is famous for were so well known that they are now an endangered species. They used to turn over vast amounts of beach with a bulldozer for the tourists to clam without having to dig. I think many of the clams that didn't get picked up failed to survive.

I remember watching surfers from the pier. There are still surfers there. I don't remember as many novice surfers, but everybody's got to start somewhere. Starting with a wetsuit, the water is COLD!

Dave and Joseph brought bathing suits to go swimming in the ocean. I'm not sure why. There werent many people swimming, though there were a lot of people on the beach in sweatshirts. The guys went wading instead, and said they'd had enough.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oceano Dunes

We took off last Sunday, headed for the Oceano Dunes. You can rent ATVs there, to ride on the dunes.

It was Joseph's idea of a great vacation!

At 11 years old, he was not allowed to ride by himself, so Dad was nominated to ride with him. Joseph had visions of going very fast, wind whistling in his helmet, catching air over the dunes.....

Dad had visions of funerals, one of which was his own.

When dreams became reality, putzing around on the flat at 4 mph while Dad recieved instructions on his ATV was loads of fun.

On the first day, Dad had to pull Joseph's ATV out of the sand when it got stuck due to insufficient speed. This happened three times. I had told Dad not to be worried that Joseph would do anything crazy. He talks big, but he is cautious.

After the second day, when they caught more Dune Action, Joseph came back in and said "Dad was even more extreme then me!"

Dad admitted to having more fun than he expected. Joseph proclaimed that it was as much fun as he expected.

Oh. and these pictures don't look like a bright sunny California beach because it wasn't. It was cool and foggy sweatshirt weather.

click here

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I finished up an art card from one of the stamps I made when Stitchety Grub's blog made me go 'do something.'

I put it up for auction on ebay. BTAE Beneath the Attic Eaves is having a group theme auction with paticipants listing something in the theme of From Under the Sea. I had a floor cloth in the works for that, but it has been plagued with delays and is not ready in time. So I listed this card. Neptune is the Greek God of the sea, so it counts. It's two and a half by three and a half inches.

As it it turns out, many other From Under the Sea items have also had delays, so I may be able to list my floor cloth later this week.

To see From Under the Sea, click on this BTAE banner:

click here

(there will be other 'not' under the sea things, but there IS a great mermaid doll!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Go here to see something exciting!

I was blog surfing just recently, like half and hour ago, and found this blog: Stitchety Grub

Her June 29th entry showed some projects that inspired me to do something. Something. Of course, I have to do something different. So I played with some stamps I have just made, on muslin. I haven't used these before, so I needed to test them out. They are planetary symbols. Click the picture to see it bigger on your monitor.

I had to dig out my paints, well, sort of dig, like they were all in the same spot. I thought they were, and they were....in the same box together, but together with a lot of other stuff, just tossed in, right side up, upside down, sideways, buried in the pile as well as near the top. Well, now they are all together. just not put away all together. Out on the table all together. It's a start.

I want to try stitching these planet symbols, but the paint is wet. So much for being inspired. Inspired to wait. Inspired to try and figure out what I am stuck with in Myst III Exile, which is hard. Really hard.

Not inspired to find a nice place to put my paints away all toghether but neatly.


Nearly Done

Here is the floor cloth ironed out. With this one, it is hard to see the difference in the picture betweeen wax and no wax. In person, it is easy.

The next thing to do with here is to finish it up, and then it will look pretty much like this.

I was playing around and made this. I don't especially like it, but Dave saw it and asked it I could make one for him, so I gave him this one. He said he wanted to put it in his office and brag. OK.

Denise has a friend visiting for the week. He is 10 years old. He and Joseph and Aaron have played together as much as possible. Between the adults, we ferry them around together when we can, in pairs or as a group. There is a lot of running.

They have also been riding. Derek rides Dodger on the lead, and Aaron rides Joker. Joseph has been riding Bear. He cantered for the first time and thought it was great. I saw him, he was catching six inches of air with every stride. Bear didn't like that so she put her head down and shook it. It wasn't a big move, but it convinced Joseph that trotting was really great.

I wish Janow was OK for kids, but he's not. Even at 18, he has too much go and not enough whoa. He also thinks it's funny to find out what his rider is scared of and then do it a lot. He is a nimrod through and through.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Here is the last dye application. Before I put it on, I ran cold water over it to make the wax harder, then I bent and crinkled it so the wax would get cracks. Putting this dye on, I rubbed it in with a latex gloved hand to work the dye into the cracks. It's the part of batik that I really like, but I didn't crack it as much as I would like--not everyone likes it as much.

Dave has his first carrot harvest. They are pretty good. The tomatoes are unbelievable!

click here

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wax On

I added another wax.

You can see how the wax makes the dye look darker. You get a better idea of the contrast in light/dark with the previous dye only after you put the wax on, when it is too late.

Once you put wax on, you can't dye that part of the fabirc. The dye just beads up on top of the wax, of course.

With all the wax on top, you can't see real detail or clear color through the waxy film. That is why it is always a surpirse at the end.

I have to find out more about my Juki LZ. I'm sure there is an adjustment or repair that needs to be made.

Fun fun.

I'm not going to the repair guy who told me I needed a new $1400 Consew when all I wanted was a bobbin case. He will tell me my 40 year old machine is worn out!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Further Adventures of Floor Cloth!

I added more dye, so it would look more orangy and rusty. It's hard to guess how the color will look when it's finished, not the same as just the dye on fabric.

It's also hard to tell the contrast with the previous color because it looks darker with wax on it. So you have to guess, but you won't know the contrast because you lay it down next to already waxed areas. Then, the wax obscures it. So you don't really have and idea until you iron it. By then, you're locked in.

I worked a little on the Juki LZ today. It's out in the garage with the home gym. Unfortunely, there was a large dumbell sort of in the way, and I had to sit crooked, so I didn't work long. Why didn't I move it out of the way? It's a DUMBELL!

How much does it weigh? I asked.
"Anywhere from 155 to 195 pounds, and it's called a BARBELL!" So I had to wait 'til BARRY came home so he could move it.

So anyway, I worked on the Juki LZ and haven't been able to overcome the problem of the feed dogs pulling the bottom fabric through much faster than the top. I prepared the next piece with some Show Sheen: silicon spray like you can buy at quilting shops, but you can get a gallon for the same price as a few ounces if you're willing to live with the picture of the horse on the package. I don't use it on Janow. Working with someone who weighs 900 lbs is one hting, but working with someone who weighs 900 lbs and is slippery......

If that doesn't help, I have to do something with the feed dogs themselves.
Here is the floor cloth with another application of dye. I don't like it, too pink, too pale. I'll add more before I wax it again.

If Janow took a picture of himself, this would be it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another floor cloth in progress

I was able to add a title on this today, July 11.
I Don't know why I can't put a title on this entry. I can't click the cursor to the title box.

Here is the beginning of another floor cloth. It's about 30 inches long. This is after the first wax application.

And then I added some dye.

When that was dry, I added another application of wax.

This morning, I was cutting some pieces of batting and Whiskers came. The sound of scissors cutting through 4 layers was just amazing. Before Dave could get the camera, she was displaced by Mary Shelley whose cat ESP spoke to her of the proximity of something she had not yet shed black hair on.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Whiskers and Bentley in Milpitas

A box came in the mail, from my sister far away. I wasn't expecting a box. This was in it. It a salt and papper shaker set. The salt cat sits in a depression in the pepper dog and is helped to stay on by magnets. I love it!

The cat has this crazy wire whisker that is out of control. The actual resident cat Whiskers is often out of control too. she loves to play with those little plastic circles that come off the screw cap to gallon milk bottles.

I fell a little out of control today too. I spent an uncounted amount of time ironing thia morning. Must have ironed 20 yards of fabric.

I wanted to update my website and managed to move that off the to do list to the pending list. The programming is done, but there seems to be a problem with the server. It's happened before, never lasts long, and doesn't seem to impede access to my site from the web. Another one of life's things.

I have too many projects going on at once. To work on one, I have to move several others out of the way.I counted my Works in Progress this morning. There are 12. No wonder I feel like the salt cat.

The salt and pepper set crossed Darkfall in the mail. That's the role playing adventure game for PC that I sent to my sister and her husband. I had a copy for me too. I spent a lot of time on it. Time not spent finishing projects. I finally got through and saved the world for future generations. It took them a long time too, but they finished first.

And this was funny. I thought. Joseph didn't see why. We were getting in the car at the grocery store. He pointed to a car and asked what kind of car I thought it was. It was a nice car. It as a Chrysler, and I said so. Joseph didn't think so. We had to go for a closer look. It was, indeed, a Chrysler. Joseph had thought it was a Bentley. I told him my first big clue was that we were in Milpitas, home to many more Chryslers than Bentleys.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Here Kitty Kitty

Isn't she cute? I was lucky enough to win her on ebay. So you can't have her. But you can have something else made by Michie. Two links below lead to her things.

She is 34 inches tall and will look perfect on my entertainment whatsit. I have this knarley high vaulted ceiling in my living room. It's a huge gaping negative space. I don't want to fill it with pictures like a wannabe museum, but I don't want it to stop suddenly at the top of the furniture. Halloween Kitty is perfect, she can fill some of the space and break the horizontal line.

Mykai Creations

Mykai Creations on ebay

Halloween Kitty is one of those things that I can't make. I can plan it, but the plans will snag and evolve into Something Entirely Different. Somebody else had to make her. I thought I found something last fall, but I didn't bid high enough. Rats.

On the other hand, while trying to figure out what I should try for July, according to the New Year's resolution, I came accross a group of fiber artists. It was not an active group. "Somehow" I ended up as moderator of the spectral group. Am I gonna get some action on it? Who knows! I should go surfing ebay and invite some people. Yeah, that's the ticket!

BTAE is having the From Under The Sea group launch on the 20th. Sounds far away, but fast approaching. It should be fun. Keep an eye out!

There is a game, Nightfall, that you can play on the computer. You walk around a haunted hotel and try to solve the mystery. I was doing much better on Nightfall than I did on Riven, but now I am completly bamboozled. I finally got into the locked suitcase in the attic and there was just a copy of the book War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells. I don't know what that means. I got Tim to come to the footbridge and I was hoping for a hint about the suitcase, but he just told me to jimmy it with the screwdriver which I had already figured out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Who killed Kenny?

I'm almost ready to put the finishing touch on my first floor cloths, then post a pic for everyone to see. The "almost done" phase of any project is always to longest.

I'm helping my friend Denise make her first quilt. This is challenging because she had already begun, without a clear idea of where she was going. Lucky me, I love this kind of challenge. It makes me miss piecing. I have spent a lot of my time this year playing with the new thing of the month.

Now, in July, I don't even know what I want to try. July snuck up. It is here. I'm thinking.....paint sticks....or water soluble stablizer? Maybe both and count them for August too?

Joseph and I have been watching South Park on DVD. Not what I would recomend for 11 year olds. I had no idea............. should have preveiwed. Of course, he loves it. So he was playing with his S.W.A.T. team action figures and 'they' were discussing tactics. I noticed that one of 'them' sounded a lot like Cartman, so I said "Hay, you sound like Cartman!" He realized that he did and he busted up. Then we had two full days of Cartman imitations.

I bought this floor chair at Target, thinking it would be portable and comfy in case I had to go to the skate park and sit. Joseph was in it with 60 seconds. Whiskers waited patiently until he got up, then tried it herself. Now it usually has someone in it and it's never me.

I've been a member of the ebay Group Beneath The Attic Eaves for a while now. This is a group of primitive folk artists, primarily doll artists. Since this is not primarily what I do, I kind of wonder, from time to time, if there is another fun group that is closer to what I do. So I found another group, Fiber Artists. Then the music stopped and before I could sit down, I found that I had become the moderator. This may be interesting.