Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It all started with a hole in the rug....

I've been absent of late...with summer ending, finishing up the garden, replanting for the Fall garden, going back to work, and Halloween there just has been no time for writing. Between all this business though, a body must take the time to go to the bathroom...yes, I said the bathroom! While using said facility a few weeks ago I looked down and realized there was a hole in my bathroom rug. It was one of those microfiber things I found on a sweet Black Friday sale last year. I had gotten one in brown to match my bathroom colors, but being brown it also managed to show every speck of dirt and/or stray frazzling and lint so I was really not happy with it....after noticing the hole I became even less happy. It struck me that I was going to need a new rug, it also struck me that the hubs had brought home a multitude of t-shirts from the oldest daughter's leftover estate sale and that I would just crochet myself a bath mat.

I did a little research on the net on crocheting rugs, got a decent explanation and began cutting all those t-shirts into strips. Once they were cut and rolled into colorful balls I got out my biggest crochet hook and began just a simple single crochet. I was going along rather well and could tell that it was going to progress rather quickly too, however, as the rug grew so did my lack of ability to handle it. Not only was it straining my wrists, but the palm of right hand began to hurt...daily....all day long. I found I was only able to crochet about 10 minutes and I had to stop because it hurt too much to continue....I was sadly disappointed as I knew I wasn't going to get this thing completed. Back to the net I went thinking there must be another way to make a rug out of t-shirts and that's when I found it!!

A loom...a nice, big square loom used for twining rags into rugs....ah-ha!! I had to try it, but first I had to convince the hubs to build me one. While I was convincing I continued to read up on twining and rag rugs and all things that pertained to you know how many types and kinds of looms there are out there? Ohhh my goodness!! From sticks strapped together by our Native American ancestors to the giant barn looms used across the waters at the start of the industrial revolution there is a loom for all things and all reasons....holy moly!! My creative muse was caught and there was no stopping my imagination! Now to get myself a loom!

One morning, in the wee hours, over coffee, the son was here and in passing conversation I might have mentioned this whole loom thing and how I'd like to have one and I could make rugs (yes, I sounded like a kid trying to convince a parent of a much needed toy!). Son shoots one eyeball towards me and....grunts. As I'm speaking though, he is apparently searching on his phone to something that resembled of what I was speaking of! He turned his phone toward me and says, "is this it?" to which I replied, "YES...THAT'S exactly what I TALKING about!!!" He grunts again. I didn't think he was taking me too seriously, but he did comment that it was a pretty simple thing to make to which I agreed and followed with, "but would you be willing to make it?" He grunts and returns to his coffee!! ;)

A short time later the son heads home, I proceed to get ready for work and the morning progresses as usual. About an hour later I hear the back door open and look up to see the son coming through the kitchen guessed it....a loom!! It was minus the dowel rods since he didn't have any at his house, but he gave his dad instructions as to what size to get, then informs me to try that and if I think I like it he'll make one that's a little more "precise". Like a kid in a candy store I can hardly wait for the day to be over so I can come home and try my hand at twining a rug.....and that's exactly what I did!

Needless to say my first "rug" was a trial experience and while I did, in fact, come out with something resembling that, it most certainly wasn't what I had envisioned. It was barely square, did not come together correctly in the center as had been explained on youtube, nor was it very colorful, but hey!! I learned a lot from that first attempt. In the meantime, unbeknownst to me, the son is back up in his shop working on a more "precise" version. This time it took him a little longer than an hour to complete, but man! when it was done....ohhhh myyyy goodness!!

About a week after my first twining I got a call telling me to come up to the shop to take a look at this new loom he was working on for me. I had mentioned prior to about putting steel bars down the sides of the one he had already built that would hold the twining a little more square and I might also have mentioned a way to slide them across in order to make varying sizes...son decided to incorporate all these things (and more!) into his latest build...and what a build it turned out to be! As I entered in the shop and caught sight of "THE LOOM" my mouth fell open and I seriously, for once, was speechless!! Now call it a mother's pride if you will, but to me the thing was gorgeous, resembling a fine piece of furniture, and ohhhh the thrill I had as I immediately began envisioning, not only rugs, but other weavings as well! Needless to say I was/am very proud of my "Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday" loom and so far, since it arrived in my home I have cranked out four rugs!! Very pretty rugs I might add and it currently has another rug about half finished in progress now. Of course all these rugs require a lot of material, so hubs and I started early on a run of thrift stores in order to supply me with said materials (it's amazing what you can do with bed sheets!). With Christmas looming on the horizon (pun intended!!), you can about imagine what I'm working on THIS year as gifts!! ;)

And you might think that I would be happy as a lark and fully satisfied with all I've been given (as well I should be I know!), BUT, you might want to think that one again! LOL! In the meantime, I've spoken to someone, read up on, and viewed various things that can be loomed, twined, and/or weaved and that's how I found out there are all these different types of looms out there that sort of kind of have various uses...and yes, I want more!! Having found that these things are not cheap by no means, I naturally fall back to what you can see is this family's standard it yourself! And since son is knee deep in creating and decorating for himself for Christmas, the hubs and I are attempting our own model and version of a table loom. We're not progressing as fast as the son did, but I have a reason for that. I know that once a new one is finished I'm going to want to play on it and right now I need myself to focus on other things, so our creation is in several stages of "being finished". I hope, though, to have it done and working for when Christmas is over and the snow is flying and I will set in my comfy living room and weave away....yes, there is a difference between twining and weaving. The ideas are already flying and the stock is being built up for just that occasion. In the meantime though, I will continue to use my beautiful, one of kind, handcrafted loom that currently holds a place in my living room because it is such a beautiful piece. I'm holding off on decorating for Christmas this year, just because I know I will have to move my loom upstairs and I'm not quite ready to move it out just yet! :)

Oh, and that bathroom rug with the hole in it? Yeah, it's been replaced!! It was the first one I decided to make on the new loom. I can't honestly say that when it hits the washing machine that it will stay together, because it was my first attempt at incorporating the steel bars, but it sure looks pretty on my bathroom floor right now! And as with anything, there's always something to be learned on each new thing you try...I'm REALLY enjoying my learning.

Creative muses seems to run fairly deep within this family and this time of year, as we move into the holiday seasons, and realize all the things we have to be thankful for, I have a few more things to add to my thankful list. I am proud of all my children and each one of them has their own unique talents so to thank God for them doesn't just come at holiday is an ongoing thankfulness throughout the year, but I can't help but be just a little more in awe and thankful during this time of year that I was lucky enough to blessed with the ones I have. They may not be perfect, but their ours and that's good enough for me. the season progresses, the winds begin to blow, and the snow starts to move closer, I'll be tucked up here with a pile of rags and plastic bags working away on my loom completely satisfied...well, at least until the next muse strikes....then I'll be off to try something else!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

For the love of pastries....

I love my current job...and what I really like about it are the summers off! :) However, this summer I've determined I may be in the wrong line of work because I've discovered the fun of making pastries! I don't know how many times over the past many years I've looked at apple turnovers and thought, "I can make those", but never attempted to find a recipe. Then a few years ago it hit me again and with the internet it was easy to do a search for a recipe. Problem was the recipes I ran across seemed like they were labor intense and a whole lot of time and effort for something that I couldn't imagine would turn out as good as I wanted them to. I'm not one to waste things and the thought of all that butter going down the tubes cautioned me to not even think about trying homemade pastry.

After spending the first part of my summer vacation making ice cream in all kinds of flavors I was ready to move on to something else before the canning season started. I went back to my google search and rediscovered the pastry dough. I decided I would try the puff pastry and just see how well this stuff would turn out. All that time and work I had previously read about didn't seem quite so daunting after reading over the recipe several times before I even started and to minimize my "waste not want not" personality I decided I would halve the recipe and see what happened. As I was reading up on all these different ways of doing puff pastry I ran across what is known as the "rough puff" version...a little less labor intense, so that was the route I chose to go....I was not disappointed!

I have to say at the beginning of all this my mind just could not wrap around the fact that flour and butter would somehow come together to make this incredible puffy, flaky dough...just could not fathom it at all, but I went ahead with my project, worked my dough, did all that "fold then turn" thing and let it set in the frig until the next morning. You can't really tell by the picture I took, but there are many, many "layers" in that wad of dough. That's the whole purpose of the fold and puts all these layers in there that when they bake they "puff" up from all that butter....glorious!!

Now, I normally don't use canned pie filling, but I happened to have a can of apple and since apple turnovers were what I was aiming for I used it...doctored up of course, because canned pie filling has about as much flavor as I don't know what...but it certainly doesn't have flavor!! I rolled out my dough the next morning, cut my little squares, added a spoonful of filling, folded them over and crimped them with a fork, then gave them an egg wash. Into that hot oven they went and I waited with much trepidation and anticipation. In about 20 mins. I pulled out the most incredible turnovers I think I've ever seen! They seriously do just what the recipe said they would do, nice and golden and PUFFED!! I let them cool about 10 mins. and them drizzled them with vanilla icing....oooohhh my heavenly goodness...yes, they were!

I had some leftover dough scraps and decided I'd just twist those up and douse them with cinnamon sugar and they were pretty tasty as well! The youngest daughter came to taste test and declared "ooohh, these are good...these are REALLY GOOD!" She followed that with, I needed to make more in cherry! ;) The oldest granddaughter declared them really good to, and requested blueberry. The hubs said he'd eat whatever flavor I wanted to make, all the while shoving pastry in his mouth and mumbling, "umm....ummm"!! LOL!

Sooooo, having tried and conquered the puff pastry I decided I might as well go all out and attempt the danish kind too. Once again, I went on a search for a dough recipe, and halved it for my purposes. This time, instead of the rough puff, I decided I was going to do the classic "laminating" with a block of was interesting to say the least, but certainly very doable and worked just as well as the first one! Since we'd already tried the apple I wanted to give a caramel pecan one a try and I wanted to get "fancy" and try a braid. Yep, just as good! I actually had enough dough that I divided it in half and made some crescent rolls I took to the oldest daughter's house for supper and still had enough to make the pecan braid the next morning. I had some leftover pecan braid this morning with my was still just as tender and just as tasty as it was two days ago when I first baked it....amazing!!

The real kicker for me in all of this is of course, is the butter. It has to be real butter and being frugal, paying the price for real stick butter was not something I would want to do very often, however, I do make my own homemade butter with goat cream, so it was the next on the try out list! I wasn't sure how well it would work because goat butter becomes very soft and creamy at room temp. With all that fold and turning I knew this round would take longer in the making because I would have to chill between all those turns, but I went ahead with the trial. It did require a little more "work", but I can attest that the end result was even better I think. My plan was to make Danish...hadn't really decided what KIND of danish, but I was going to do danish, then this morning I got up and decided I would half that dough and try some croissants....yes, well....if the danish turn out as well as these croissants we'll be making ourselves sick eating them! :) They are buttery, they are flaky, and they are amazing to watch as they bake in that oven! You must make sure you have your little ends tucked under though, otherwise they will pop out from under and make a not as pleasing looking little croissant! ;)
Once again the hubs is cramming and "umming" and enjoying all these experiments I've been trying...I honestly think he wakes up every morning in anticipation of just what new thing I'm going to come up with next!!

And that next attempt is to make the best of both worlds by using the rough puff technique with the danish recipe and save myself a little time.I'm pretty sure these little gems I've been cranking out the past week are going to be keepers, so I have to figure out a little less time consuming way of making them. After all, it won't be long now and I'll be heading back to work and all my creating and baking time will come to an end...well, at least an end to the daily basis creating! Unless of course I decide to go into a whole new line of work and open up my own bakery shop!! ;) Nah, then it really WOULD become work and no longer fun and I prefer the fun part!

If you've ever considered trying pastry, but was afraid of it like I was...don't be!! It really is as simple as it sounds and the work involved is not near what it sounds like when you first read a recipe. Whatever work is involved is absolutely worth it in the end. I'm going to include a link here to Joe Pastry, as he has all KINDS of things he makes and shows you in pictures and well written explanations...check it out for yourself and then go roll you out some dough!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Never too old to learn...

I've kind of embarked on a new adventure here lately...well, it's really not an adventure so much as it is a trial of sorts. It really all started with a pair of wrens back in the early Spring...yes, in birds! We've had this pair since we moved here, they visit our front deck regularly, sit on the backs of our chairs and peer in through the slider door at us. This year these two decided they would also nest on our front deck in our barbecue grill...NOT a wise decision! We tried to relocate them, but they were having nothing to do with that and went right back and started rebuilding in that grill. Hubs came up with the idea to put an old mailbox on the railing in the hopes it would entice them to take up did! They built a fine nest, raised their babies (we got to watch them take their first flights), and we assumed moved on to whatever things wrens do once their families are raised. In the meantime, I'm looking at this battered up old mailbox and thinking, "that looks trashy!".

 As I was contemplating on how to make an eyesore a more decorative piece I remembered that once upon a time I had tried my hand at oil painting. This was in the days of Bob Ross and his "happy little clouds" and I watched him regularly and tried to recreate those clouds. It was also in the days when one of my s-n-l's had taken up oil painting and was creating some beautiful works of art on canvas, on hand saws, mailboxes, and just about anything else she could find to paint on. Between her encouragement and Bob making it look so easy I decided to give it whirl and I did manage to paint two or three "passable" pictures that now hang in my upstairs craft room.

I even managed to paint a rock that I was rather proud of and a few sycamore leaves that I framed and gave to each of my children...and passing fancy....passed! ;) I did, however, hang on to all my paints, brushes, cans, and tools just in case I ever decided I would give it another go. Twenty years later a couple of wrens jarred my memory and I pulled out those paints and brushes and decided to see what I could remember. In the process of my figuring out the artwork, I encouraged the hubs to fix me a post on which to mount the mailbox. I wanted it close to our deck, since the wrens seem to enjoy the close proximity, and I thought it might look nice incorporated into the flower bed I have along the front. Hubs did his part and now it was up to me to do mine!

Picasso or Rembrandt I am not, and I know this, but it was rather fun to try my hand at painting again and for a couple of birds who will use it for their home it works. I started with what I knew....mountains and Bob's clouds and tried to work from there. I probably should have also stopped right there, but I remembered how Bob would throw in a tree, some water, or an old dirt path and figured "what the heck"...lets do it! The outcome

wasn't too awfully bad, I could live with it, but then I got the wild idea to try something different on the other side, after all, it was for the wrens, so let's put a wren on there! Having never painted a bird, or anything remotely close to a bird, I did what all good (wanna be!) artists do....I googled it!!! ;) And there on youtube I found a video that showed me how to use acrylic paint first to add the bird and then go on top of that with oils...and of course, this guy made it look sooooo easy!! :)

But, I tried it, got something passable enough for me, let it dry, and then we mounted it to the post. The birds have not been back to even check it out!! I've since thought that perhaps that huge, glaring, representation of themselves may have scared them off...they might possibly think a much larger species has laid claimed to the mailbox and will never return worries me! Hubs did say he saw one of them the other day on the front deck, however they were checking out the new patio set's umbrella NOT the mailbox, so I may very well be covering up that mailbox before it's over with! It's a good thing we keep several cans of spray paint available around here because it may be required of me to spray paint over the top of my efforts to appease my birds!

But in the middle of this revisiting of my artistic skills I've been talking to that s-n-l who got me started in all of this in the first place and what does she tell me? " need to try watercolor"!! And of course her excitement built into my excitement and the next thing I know I'm checking clearance prices for things to get me started...I did not, however, go immediately with watercolor, I went instead with acrylics because, short of a bad background, I was kind of intrigued with my bird I had managed to paint out and I'm starting to see cream cans, milk buckets, metal signs, and all these other things I could paint....should of listened to the s-n-l!! ;)

I finally did go get some watercolor paint, but frugal, cheapo that I am I did not invest in the "real" thing. I went instead with a basic set of kids paints (on the advice of that self-same s-n-l!!) and have been trying my hand at watercolor. I did some youtube searches and found some absolutely crazy videos that once again, make this look sooooo easy to do...yes, well...perhaps if you have an inborn talent for that kind of thing it might I have a tendency to produce pictures of muddy water!! In actuality, my best one so far was done with muddy paint....seriously! I was working on something else entirely and had too much leftover acrylic paint and I couldn't stand the thought of just tossing it out, so I watered it down and throwed it around on a piece of paper...took me all of five minutes and I got a reasonable picture doing just that!! The fact that it is monochromatic doesn't bother me in the least! :) It's the ones I try to put real effort into that just become a mess!

But I will not give up quite yet...I keep thinking if someone else can throw this stuff around on paper and make it look like a picture surely I can too. I'm also waiting on that s-n-l to pick up her own brush, because she's told me she intends to do some watercolor painting, so if I can just hang on until she does I might be able get some tips and tricks from her that will make all this make sense to me. In the meantime, I'll just paint mud and be happy! I just hope this new, passing fancy of mine doesn't pass before that s-n-l decides to get on the boot, otherwise, this round may have me passing along my latest tools to her! :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Precious they linger

Hubs and I have been on a Spring Cleaning tangent pretty much since my first day of summer break! I'll admit I don't do a lot during the year when I'm working. Oh, the basics get done, dust, sweep, wipe the slider door down now and then, but the REAL cleaning doesn't get done until after the school year has ended. The good thing about this year is we've had rain...nothing BUT rain it seems like and since I can't get outside to do much we've put our energy in to the insides!

Our house is...well...LIVED IN! While I love beautiful homes and all things in their place, color coordinated pieces and well organized it just don't happen in my house. At any point and time there are grandkids running through the door wanting this or that (mainly food!) and grandkids just aren't always the cleanest of the human least mine aren't! ;) And husbands aren't always the cleanest of beings either. Ohhhh, they like a clean house, but they have a tendency to lay things down in places where they shouldn't be, or stack stuff up that they'll "get to later" and later never comes...yep, that would be my husband! But the hubs and I are a lot alike..we can  only go so long and then it's time for a renovation, or in our case these days, a clean up, so that's what we've been doing.

Today the maker room made it on the list of clean up/clean out and at the end of the day I have to say it's quite an improvement. It's the only room in the house we never got finished (and probably never will!) so it leaves much to be desired in "looks" and after a winter times worth of my "making" it was a complete mess. The hubs griped and complained, but I told him to go look at his shop and then come back and talk to me about mine!! ;) Anyway, in the process of the reorganizing I went through another tote of Mom's things I'd set aside after she passed. I've put off going through most of it...while it's been three years, I'd still just rather not walk down that road yet, but today I did with some of it. Mom was a cook...a GOOD one and she clipped and saved a lot of recipes, some I remembered her making and some I don't. In there was the original Buckeroon cookie recipe I had gotten from my 4th grade teacher in my childish handwriting...I still make these cookies to this day and love them! A recipe for liniment she had labeled from my Aunt Opal that was my Grandma Fanny's, my Aunt Flossie's noodles and her German Chocolate Cake, along with many others she'd gotten from her church friends of things they'd brought for dinners. Many of the clipped recipes she considered good she had also hand written in order to keep them in her kitchen. It was a sad and strange sensation to see my mother's hand writing once again. Not many people realize that Mom was a writer and loved to do so. She wrote poetry in her younger years and had some published in the Capper's Weekly. Later in life she kept journals...daily writings of her life that consisted not only of her own trials and tribulations, but her worries over her children, grandchildren, and even her great grandchildren. Many of those pages were written prayers, not only for her own family, but her church friends and their families as well. I've yet to go through those because I have a pretty good idea of the sorrow and broken heartedness I'm going to find in those pages and I'm not ready to face those either.

But within this tote today I also ran across two Valentine poems my brother Steve and I had written for her while in school. I ran across a thank you letter from one of her granddaughter's and one from her grandson. Newspaper clippings of my brother Dale being shipped to California on his way to Vietnam, my brother Don's log home when it burned, and various items my own kids had drawn or written to her. There was a Thanksgiving "letter" I had written to her in grade school complete with a drawn and colored turkey, a post card from my sister when she went on a cruise, one from my s-n-l when they'd taken my brother Steve and drove out through Oklahoma and the west. I found a letter my grandmother had written to her dated 1969, filled with news from her week and asking about ours. I also found a letter from my brother Steve while he was in the Army, probably stationed in Greece at that was a rambling, jumbled mess because he was in the middle of a discharge and wanted to be home.

I don't think it was the hubs intention, but as I was pulling things out of this tote and going through them he slipped in one of my CD's I had upstairs. It was bluegrass gospel, mostly instrumentals, but what should the second song happen to be? Precious Memories...of all things!!! I pulled out a sheet she had written on, not really sure what it's purpose had been, but it was started in 1956 and ran through 1958. It was a list, I'm assuming, of items her and my dad had purchased. She had written down things like "a new steam iron", "General Electric Washing Machine", "waffle iron" and a "49 Studebacker Truck"! There were also two packages of old negatives from photos she'd taken in the early years. Mom was quite a shutterbug too, when she could afford the film, and I guess that's where my daughter and I get our love of picture taking from. There were index cards of all us kids, when and where we were born, our weight, date, and doctor that delivered us.

All of this pieces and parts of a life lived, loved, and sorrowed through. Most of it just bits of paper, worth absolutely nothing to anyone anymore and yet I can't throw it away! My mother never had an easy life...she didn't have a fine home or fancy car...she didn't have a lot of money to fall back on in her golden years, but it never bothered her, or if it did we never knew it. These few bits and pieces of papers and notes were important to her, important enough to keep all these years tucked away in her bible and foolish as it may sound, tossing it out almost seems as if I'm tossing her out as well.

I did throw away some of the recipe clippings, but the post cards, letters, and drawings went right back in that tote. Maybe one of these days I'll go back through it all and decide that it's really not worth hanging on to after all, or then might still be here when I'm gone and then it will be up to my children to decide what to toss and what to keep! Either way, they're here for now and that is where they'll stay...memories, precious not only to my mother, but to me as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

We're off to see the Wizard....

A couple months ago our oldest granddaughter decided she was going to join her Middle School Drama Team and be a part of their production of "The Wizard of Oz". Matti does nothing unless it's full on...the child has no fear, so being on stage since 4th grade is old hat to her. We're not sure where she gets all that from, but her outgoing personality and non-stop talking ability makes her a perfect candidate! ;)

I should have known though, that Ga would not be allowed to just attend the performance and brag...oh no!! Ga was expected to be a willing participant as the area of costume design! When Matti came over to tell us what part she got in the play, she also informed me the costumes that were available were old...and stinky! LOL! And of course that was followed with, "I told them I'd just have my Ga make my costume"...uh....thanks child! Apparently she figured since I was able to whip out an Elsa costume for one night of Halloween I could surely whip out a Tin Man costume for the school play...well...all righty then...let's get started!

Having seen a totally cute and well designed Tin Man on one of my regularly followed blogs I thought it would be somewhat of a piece of cake...okay, a wedding cake perhaps, but at least I had a starting point!! I had actually thought of making one of the grandsons the very same costume for next Halloween, however I was informed by the granddaughter she wasn't actually going to BE the Tin Man...she was the Tin Woods GIRL...aka...feminine design!! Uh oh...I was possibly in trouble! But, up to the Maker Room I climbed, put my thinking cap on (where was that Scarecrow and his brain when I needed him!), and got to work. I had perused some images on the internet, but was still not quite sure how I wanted to design this thing...after all, most of the "costumes" on the internet were a little too "adult" looking for my tastes. Hip high skirts and plunging necklines was not exactly what I had in mind, but still, they gave me a few ideas. And as is usual in most of my makings, hubs and I headed off to the thrift stores to begin the search. My first thought was to start with a prom dress and work my way up (or possibly out!) if I could find one shiny enough and cheap enough...nothing! I was to be sadly disappointed in my search, but I did manage to come up with a .10 pattern and a pair of was a start!

Of course, being a Tin Man/Girl you're made from....well, TIN! Tin is shiny and when put together it is riveted. In the movie you can see the Tin Man's rivets, they are what rusts when he gets caught out in the forest during a rain storm. The granddaughter's opening scene is in the forest...rusted...hmmm, must have rivets!!! ;) The daughter and I headed off to Walmart looking for material. Luckily we found some super shiny stuff in stock. Not knowing exactly where the design was going to go as of yet, she bought the last couple of yards they had on the bolt. I picked up some tulle and some other kind of material that I have no clue what it was called, but it was darker, metallic, and meshy...I'd figure it out later! ;)

While I was busy working on the costume, I put her uncle to work on making her an axe and her Pa to work on a funnel and oil can and to coming up with ideas as to what to use for those rivets. Pa went digging in his workshop and came up with the funnel and oil can...a couple coats of paint and he had them ready to go. Her Uncle Patrick took about 25 minutes to whip out a wooden axe and then brought me a box of hex nuts to use for the rivets. He had intended to make her a wooden heart as well, complete with clock face and chain until we found out in this play the Tin Man receives a heart of gold. In one of the ending scenes the gold heart is attached, but of course it also had to be "un-attached" quickly and easily throughout all the performances. I racked my brain trying to figure out how to make that heart de-tachable. Patrick brought me a small washer and a small strip of strong magnet and told me to just sew the one inside the lining of the top and attach the other to the gold felt heart...worked perfect!! Once I had the costume done I pulled out those hex nuts and some jewelry glue and "riveted" it all together...pretty darn cute!! Her mother was in charge of make-up, so online to Amazon she went and placed her order. The countdown was coming and dress rehearsals were about to start, but we were finally ready!!

The kids had four performances, three to be done for the school and the finale for the community. Friday night was the final performance and the first time I got to see everyone in costume and in action....they did GREAT!! As a grandparent it doesn't matter whether your grandkids can really perform...they're yours, so naturally they're just going to be good to you whether anyone else thinks so or not, but I'm telling you...ALL of these kids did a super job!
I was so impressed, not only at their acting abilities, but their stage props, lighting, costumes...all of it! I'm sure their teacher had a lot to do with how well this performance went off...she's a super cool lady (my granddaughter's words!) whom the kids all love and she loves could tell it in this play. Were they ready for Broadway...maybe not, but they were pretty darn close in my books! :)

Hopefully though, with the school year winding down, Ga will be off the hook for awhile in designing anything. There's still a few months until Halloween and I've already called a break in any other forthcoming endeavors...after all, it's almost gardening time and no amount of costuming is going to interrupt me in THAT! It was some fun in the making, perhaps a few hair pulling moments, and only a couple of pins that forgot to be removed, but it still ended up being a grand performance for all of us!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fifty Shades of Wrong...

Last year, sometime, posts began to crop up on my FB page about this new book that had hit the stands...Fifty Shades of Grey...and at first, being an avid reader I thought, "Ohhhh wow! I'll have to check this out once the price goes down", until....the posts began to be a little more explanatory! At first I was getting, "OMG!! What a great read", or, "You have GOT to read this book...AMAZING!", or, "I just couldn't put it DOWN!". Then the giggles began and the comments that started coming forth were leading more toward it was this steamy romance novel...not my cup of tea! Pretty soon it was being described as pornographic, or at the edge of, yet it was still being followed with words that lent a person to believe this was still somehow a great read...I began to wonder about that! Then, over the course of the last few weeks, my page has been swamped again with postings about "the movie" and the excitement of going to the theaters (and paying good money!) to see this...the comments were not encouraging. Apparently it hit the theaters this weekend and, to be honest, I'm a little surprised at the number of my female friends who left their kids, left their husbands, left their homes to rush out and see this production. Now, I will say, that most of those females are young...30 and under, so perhaps age plays a part here in what you'll subject yourself too, but it's apparent that the world we are now living in is also playing a major part in what we'll subject ourselves to. The reason I say this, is because many of these self-same females are posting regularly about church, Jesus, prayer, and blessings...many of those postings are then followed later on with a "girls night out", or some new cocktail recipe they want to try, or a new bar they've found that makes great food....seriously?? Seriously!! What is wrong with this picture?

And I'm sure I'm going to be condemned as being OLD!! Like somehow, once you pass the age of 30, you have no life if booze or sex is not a part of it and therefore you become a prude, a fuddy-duddy, or just plain "don't get it"! You're right....I don't get it!! I'm sure I would also be labeled as "Far Right", a "Conservative", or better yet, one of those "Bible Thumpers"!! Well, yes I am!! BUT...I've also read my share of romance novels in the past and some of them could have been described as "steamy"...I was young...I hadn't lived long enough yet to realize what was really important in life, or I should say, what SHOULD have been important in my life, nor had I come to realize yet that what you expose yourself to has a tendency to skew your beliefs and views on things as well! But at the same time, who doesn't love a fantasy now and then? Whether it's just to escape the humdrum of everyday living to take a walk in the Shire, or to be at a murder scene and solve the crime, or yes, even to sigh over that knight in shining armor who swooped in to save the love of his life! But whatever happened to "leaving something to the imagination"?? Do we not have one anymore that we need things spelt out in graphic details of word pictures? And what is wrong with us that we are okay with that? More over, what is wrong with us that the graphic details cross the lines of a normal, healthy relationship into a dark, sick, and dominating one and we find that stimulating?? I wonder if these same young women had daughters who found themselves involved in a relationship that is being portrayed in the Shades books if we would still think this was such a great read...would we still giggle and call it okay? If so, then we are in BIG trouble!!

I have not read any of the three books involved in the trilogy and won't...I haven't seen the movie, nor do I intend to. Why? Because I have already heard enough about it to sicken me and turn me away. I'm not even the least bit curious as to whether there is a hidden story line there that comes clean in the end...I don't care if it does...what I've been told so far should not be promoted as a "good read" or recommended to friends, whether this couple triumphs or not. I don't care if the books were intended to warn women away from relationships just like the one portrayed in that book...if that was the case then it should of began and ended in ONE BOOK! And I'm pretty sure if that was the case I would be hearing something more on the lines of "OMG!! Every young woman out there needs to read this to be aware of the psychos and sickos who will and can prey on them"...I'm not hearing any of that! I'm hearing way too much praise for a story line that involves domination, bondage, and cruelty based on nothing but continual sex. Of  the ability of one man to take and destroy the confidence and self-assurance of a young and vulnerable woman...of her lack of understanding of just how wrong a relationship like that is and her inability to get out of it...of her seemingly misunderstanding that she should "help him to face his demons" and it's her job to do, No, and NO!!!

And they're finding the character of Mr. Grey appealing??! Really?? That his feelings are somehow being seen as caring and concerned? That because he's extremely wealthy, good looking, buys her things, and basically orders her every waking movement computes into a loving and worthwhile relationship? Good LORD people...WAKE UP!!! Whether we have daughters or this how you  want your sons to grow this the example we want them to, No, and NO!!!

I've heard more than enough about this book to know it is not something I will ever read! Even putting all the sociopath-ness aside, I have to wonder at a world of readers who actually enjoy reading about the type of sex that is being portrayed in this book...and apparently page upon page of it! What I'm really concerned about is the circle of friends I have who are enjoying this read. I've always thought of "the world" as just's out there, but I'm not a part of it...I had thought the majority of my friends, family, and even close acquaintances were not a part of it...and I'm finding out, a little too frankly...that I was wrong. It concerns me, in a big way, and perhaps I've always been a tad naive, but what the world does and what we do ought to be and should be two very different things! It also concerns me that we're okay in promoting Biblical quotes and teachings one day while posting this book and our enjoyment of it the next!

I am at a loss anymore to understand how our "freedom of speech" has so blatantly meta-morphed into this kind of thing. I'm at loss as to how at one time there was a moral majority which has now turned into the "immoral" we've slowly managed to turned wrong into right and fool ourselves into believing it's okay or that this doesn't harm anyone. Whether or not you have a religious background or believe in any higher power other than yourself, there is a consequence to uncontrolled thinking and/or behavior. You cannot be astounded at the increasing rate of crime, rape, child molesting, or murder and think that freedom to do as we please is going to end in a better society. What it will end in is called chaos! You don't need a Bible to show you this...pick up a history book and you'll find that more than one nation has been toppled because of uncontrolled debauchery and lewdness...when the powers that be who deemed themselves as un-reproachable, allowed their behavior to flow into a society that soon became reprehensible and out of control. If you think that sort of thing won't happen again because we are somehow more intelligent and enlightened than our predecessors...I suggest you think again! There is a reason they say "history has a way of repeating itself"...and if what we're doing today is not "repeating" then I don't know what is! If this is your idea of enjoyment? Better enjoy it while you can because it's not going to last long....