Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's like time travel only, you know, slower...

For just one quick minute I'd like to take a step back in time...
Back... back... back to June and the Italian Street Festival
Where I'd like to formally ask the question:
WHAT was I thinking?
I wore WHITE?!! to ItalFest?!!!
It rained! and there was Marinara! In abundance!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mom! Watch! I'm gonna do my Monster Face!

My son LOVES making monster faces.
It is rare these days I get a good snapshot of him doing anything but snarling at the camera. This usually includes some sort of super hero pose (spiderman crouch, hulk smash, wolverine claws crossed, etc.)
I think I love this picture so much because I caught him off guard. Juuuust before the monster face had the chance to make an appearance...


You ever have one of those days where you wake up and you blink and it's noon. And then you blink again and it's 12:01. And then you blink again and it's 12:02. Dear god will five o'clock ever get here?
Then you ride up the little glass elevator to the parking garage, level 4, same as always; your forehead resting listlessly on the cool glass. Mindful of the fact that you're leaving a greasy little forehead smudge for someone else to deal with, you straighten at the ding of the door. And you wonder, idly, with no real purpose how in the hell you got in this rut, and if it wasn't just inevitable anyway? Or is that just me?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lace It Up - Tshirt Deconstruction Saga Continues...

Lace it Up.
This one is more skins than shirt, and requires a bit more work than the tube top. But trust me, it'll be worth it in the end.
Ready? Let's go.

Step 1. Your Basic T.
Cut the hemline off the bottom of the shirt. Set aside.
Cut a second tube, about 2" wide, from the new bottom of the shirt. Set aside
Cut the ends off of each sleeve - just above the hemlines. Set aside.

Step 2. Celebrate We Will.
Measure 8-10" down from the center of the Tshirt front.
Chalk it up and cut a slit.
Measure a straight line from the bottom of the slit to the end of the shirt. Chalk this one up also.

Step 3. "Breadthless Length"
(What is The Definition of a Straight Line for a thousand, Alex?)
Cut a length from the second tub (Step 1) that is equal to the length of the straight line you just measure & chalked (I know, my head stung a little there too - almost sounded math-like, didn't it?)
Center this new rectangle of fabric over the chalked line and pin in place. Now baste up through both layers of material.
Give the thread a tug, allowing the fabric to bunch/ruffle up. Backstitch in place.

Step 4. Tying off the sleeves.
Using the pieces you cut from the sleeves, fold in the edges of the slit collar in and tie off both sleeves, allowing them to bunch into a close approximation of a cap sleeve. Hang in there! You're almost done...

Step 5. Turning over a New Leaf.
Turn the shirt over. cut straight up through the back of the shirt.
Depending on what size Tshirt you started with, you may need to cut some sizable chunks of material from either side of your newly divided back. (I hacked off about 3.5 - 4" from either side) Measure and mark down either side in 4" increments. Notch a small hole at each mark.
Using the original hemline cut from Step 1., split it into a single length of material and use it to lace up the back like a pair of Chuck's.

Step 6. Viola!
Don the new duds and tie off the back.
*Authors Note - this one is NOT for the loyal bra-wearers of the world. You've gotta be willing to bare it, or you're just gonna look tacky. And, on the whole, I'd like to avoid looking tacky...

*Note to Self* Gonna have to find a less awkward model for future projects...

*Why can't I get Step 5. to post up? Argh!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Snapshot of My Life

Sunday was One of Those Days.
It was one of those days that you want to take a snapshot of your life and tuck it away someplace safe, to pull out when it hurts just to get out of bed.
For a few brief hours there, nothing else mattered but the game.
We had sun and comic book clouds and the smell of ball park dogs and fresh cut grass.
The kids were all smiling and laughing.
You could hear the thwack of a ball connecting with a bat or settling hard into a catchers mitt.
We even got bobble head dolls, and you all know how much I love free shit.

Yeah, Sunday was One of Those Days.

Have kid, will Have Breakdown

I forget sometimes, in the whirl of the day-to-day, that sometimes I need to take five minutes and sit down on the floor and make a gigantic mess with my kids, pulling out every action figure and hot wheel car that we collectively own. And that, if I do this, their horns will retract, their claws will turn back into grimy, dirt encased fingernails, and their snarls will, inevitably subside.
I should get this tattooed somewhere.
Or write it on my bathroom mirror, so when I reach for the aspirin I'll remember.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some Universal Truths About High School

Because so many of my friends are, of late, having babies, buying houses, getting hitched and losing spouses, I got hit by a tidal wave of nostalgia last night, and decided to unearth all my old high school yearbooks. It was terrifying. And, I'll begrudgingly admit, enlightening. And so, here, for your entertainment:

Some universal truths about high school
1. No One looks good in braces. Your parents lied. Your orthodontist lied. Trust me on this one.
2. Bangs just weren't that attractive in the 90's. (There. I said it) Neither was flannal. I should know. I owned enough of it.
3. Despite the amount of time you spent obsessing over it, mortified to the core, no one actually remembers the time you dropped your lunch tray in the cafeteria, splattering mashed potatoes all over Aaron Logan's shoes. They do; however, remember with great clarity the time you tripped up the back stairwell, while late to class, the day you wore a skirt. (FML for choosing that day to sport the green & pink polka dotted cotton undies).
4. Ten, 15, maybe even 20 years after the fact, every single one of you will find one of those little black combs from picture day. It might be tucked away in a basket under the cabinet, it might be buried in a box in the closet, you might still carry it around in your purse. But when you pull it out, you will absolutely have the urge to bend it back and forth until the plastic heats up, just to see if you can break the Unbreakable Comb.
5. There will always be that one person in your class that just drops off the face of the earth. No one knows what happened to them. It's natural, just go with it. I like to think they're off in some remote third-world country doing a stint with Doctors without Borders (rather than working the drive-thru at the Sonic two towns over). There will also be that one classmate who shows up at the 10-year reunion looking like a super model, even though you swear they ate paste in the third grade. This person will never be you.
6. People Change. Or, perhaps more accurately, people grow up. the high school bully may very well still be a water cooler hog. And the quiet, mousy girl in the back row of your English Lit. class may well be the world's quietest court stenographer somewhere in Idaho. But, chances are that the intervening years have molded us into far better and more interesting people. At least I hope so. The years may have been hard on some of us and generous to others, but they go trudging on whether we're ready for them to or not. And, usually it's these difficult moments: The loss of a job, a friend, a loved one, a parent, that forces us to do that which we fear - grow up. These times shape our character. Our lives are lived in the interruptions, in our mistakes. So, even if all the girls do stop talking and giggling when you walk in the bathroom these days, take a deep breath and square your shoulders. Chances are, they aren't talking about you any more.
That being said, I'll go ahead and contradict myself by saying:
7. Some People NEVER Change. And there's a measure of comfort in that.
The band geeks are still the band geeks, they're probably just out tailgating at Verizon or White River, discussing the latest Big Takeover article instead of hiding out in the orchestra pit during lunch hour.The theater geeks are still the theatre geeks, they're probably just hosting a fundraiser for the Phoenix Theater or eking out a fabulous paycheck-to-paycheck living in the NYC, waiting for their big break. The art kids are still the art kids, holed up in exposed brick lofts along Mass Ave, participating in public Iron Pours and hosting gallery walk tours. The jocks are still the jocks, and can be found at various Indians games, Colts preseason parties, and hosting Junior's Saturday Soccer Tourney. The smart kids are still the smart kids, only now they're your manager, your CEO, pulling in six-figures and...wait... damn. Why wasn't I one of the smart kids again? Anyway...
There's nothing wrong with any of this. Never was. Those people you gravitated toward in your youth are the ones best equipped to provide you the support network necessary to help you survive until graduation.
High School, I suppose, is one of those necessary evils in life. It's a stepping stone, not the be-all, end-all that it seems like at the time. If you're lucky, you'll escape with a few good stories, a few good friends, an ensemble of embarrassing moments and a strong base on which to build your life.
And, at the very least, you can be glad you weren't the one sporting the green and pink polka-dotted cotton undies in front of 50 of your closest friends, who are never likely to let you forget it.
Until next time Class of '98-ers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Totally Tubular
The easiest hack job ever

Step 1. Find a shirt
This one was courtesy of an accommodating co-worker
who had no further need for it.

Step 2. Gather your tools.
Really this is it... plus my trusty Singer.
I told you this was an easy one.

Step 3. The First Cut is the Deepest.
Turn the shirt inside out.
Hack off each sleeve just inside the seam
and the top just below the collar

Step 4. Just a Little Bit More.
Even up the sides so you have two rectangles of fabric.

Step 5. On Pins & Needles
Pinning the pieces together is a pain in the ass.
There. I said it.
But it's necessary for an even edge.
There's no way around it.

Step 6. Now Whip it. Whip it Good.
If you're doing this by hand,
a quick whip stitch will close up the edges.
Or, if you're lazy like me?
Out comes the Singer.

Step 7. Icing on the Cake.
Fold down the top inch of your new tube of material
Stitch by hand with a running stitch.
(leaving plenty of room to thread a tie @ top)

Step 8. Isn't that Purty?
Just make two small snips about an inch apart
at the front & center of the tube.
Thread a tie/a shoelace/another strip of
Tshirt material through the new loop

Step 9. Ta Da!

So proud of this one I'm wearing it today
with a pair of cords & a very tasteful cardigan...

Cassette Tape Wallet: Day of Reckoning

Cassette Tape Wallet: Day 2
What happened after I mangled a couple of them...

So after several attempts to attach a coin purse hasp to the top of my cassette tape wallet
(several failed attempts. do i really need to say it?)
I wised up.
A zipper! A zipper was definitely the way to go.
So here we go:

You can purchase zipper pieces by length for about $1.00 at your local crafting store.
They come in all kinds of crazy colors,
which makes me immensely happy

Step 1. Attach the zipper
You'll want to unzip it and do it half at a time.
I used the mac daddy of all glue: E-6000.
This stuff will fume up a room in under 15 seconds,
so open your windows.
Apply a thin layer of the glue all around the edges of your tape interior. Let the glue dry for 1-2 minutes then press the edges of the zipper into the glue. I used the dull edge of an orange stick to press the material more firmly into the glue.
It's a pain in the butt, but take your time with this step. Hold the zipper down & make sure you get a tight fit, allowing plenty of room for the zipper to wrap around the corners.

Step 2. Attach the interior lining
Once the zipper is firmly attached to either edge of the tape,
cover the interior with a thin layer of glue and lay the lining in.

Viola! A masterpiece!
You'll still want the whole thing to dry overnight.
I've found its best uses are one or two cards/ID and some change.
It's not heavy duty... but it is awesome...
Switch it up, try different tape/lining covers, go hog wild!
And don't be surprised if more of you start receiving these as gifts in the near future...
I'm just sayin...

The End.

Monday, July 20, 2009


was just handed a whole passel of new/old Tshirts.
I'm feeling sassy... and a bit crafty.
Expect an update complete with photos tomorrow

ponder this.

Sometimes the rasp of skin on skin is sandpaper and sometimes it's silk

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cassette Tape Wallet: Day 2

In reality it took me many more days to finish said Cassette Tape Wallet.
I kept cracking the cases and mangling the metal hasps... eventually I finished one.
I'll post the photos/how to on that Friday.

But today, my friend... Today you get Hotel Soap. Because it's effing funny...

What to Do With Hotel Soap

The following letters are taken from an actual incident between a London hotel and one of its guests. The Hotel ended up submitting the letters to the London Sunday Times!

Dear Maid,

Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial. Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and another three in the shower soap dish. They are in my way.

Thank you,
S. Berman

Dear Room 635,

I am not your regular maid. She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off. I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested. The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind. This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management is to leave 3 soaps daily. I hope this is satisfactory.

Relief Maid

Dear Maid - I hope you are my regular maid.

Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap. When I got back to my room this evening I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bath-size Dial so I won't need those 6 little Camays which are on the shelf. They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc. Please remove them.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

My day off was last Wed. so the relief maid left 3 hotel soaps which we are instructed by the management. I took the 6 soaps which were in your way on the shelf and put them in the soap dish where your Dial was. I put the Dial in the medicine cabinet for your convenience. I didn't remove the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed inside the medicine cabinet for all new check-ins and which you did not object to when you checked in last Monday. Please let me know if I can of further assistance.

Your regular maid,

Dear Mr. Berman,

The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this morning that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid service. I have assigned a new girl to your room. I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience. If you have any future complaints please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you.

Elaine Carmen

Dear Miss Carmen,

It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 7:45 AM and don't get back before 5:30 or 6PM. That's the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars of soap. The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bath-room shelf. In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap. Why are you doing this to me?

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM.Thank you,

Elaine Carmen,

Dear Mr. Kensedder,

My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.

Martin L. Kensedder
Assistant Manager

Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Who the hell left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don't want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one damn bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap in here. All I want is my bath size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily. I don't know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.

Elaine Carmen

Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess:

  • On the shelf under medicine cabinet - 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • On the Kleenex dispenser - 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 3.
  • On the bedroom dresser - 1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet, - 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4.
  • Inside the medicine cabinet - 14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • In the shower soap dish - 6 Camay, very moist.
  • On the northeast corner of tub - 1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used.
  • On the northwest corner of tub - 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3.

Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip. May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.

S. Berman

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cassette Tape Wallet: Day 1

Because I decided I needed something new to keep my loose change in, and because really, I don't listen to my Talking Heads tape so often anyway, I decided to finally create my cassette tape wallet. C'mon in, I'll show you how I did it...

Step 1. Find a Tape

Step 2.
Take a photo for posterity

Step 3.
Gather your tools! I used a plain old flathead screwdriver to separate the tape casing and a good sturdy pair of snips to trip off the excess plastic bits on the interior

Step 4.
Remove the tape.
This bit was good to blow off a little steam. Pretend it's the mix tape your ex-middle-school boyfriend made you before he kissed Rachel under the bleachers. er. um. or something like that...
This is the fun part... you'll be amazed at how much tape is actually in there. Then you'll start wondering, now how do they get the music ON there? And you'll be tempted to Google "cassette tapes" or maybe Wikipedia it... but Stay Focused! We're mid-project here, kids!

Step 5.
Pry open the cassette. Careful! You don't want to split it. Use your flathead screwdriver to wedge the ends open and then slowly, slowly pop that sucker open. When you're done, it should look like this:
Step 6.
Pick up the snips and go to town - you'll need to trim off and file down all the excess pieces sticking up on either side of the cassette. Careful! I had pieces flying everywhere (perhaps I was a little overzealous about the whole procedure? Hmmm)

Step 7.
Choose your internal lining color.
I opted, after polling a small sample group via text, for a shockingly bright purple velour material. It's fairly awesome.

See? Isn't that purple going to look great peeking through?
You'll need to trim two pieces of fabric to line each half of the cassette. You'll then have a sturdy base to attach both the interior pocket and the zipper or metal hasp.

Step 7.
Making the internal pocket.
I love my sewing machine. Isn't it pretty? Don't you love it too?
It's just sew terribly useful.
(I also love bad puns. please forgive me)
The Internal pocket is what will actual hold your change/credit cards/miscellany.
I used my lining pieces as a template and created two more rectangles PLUS two small wedge shapes.
I'll show you how to stitch all this together tomorrow... It's a two-day project, get ready!

... to be continued ...

Monday, July 6, 2009

what is it about the unattainable that makes it so attractive?

what is it about the unattainable that makes it so attractive?

let's take this on a basic level:
i want a candy bar.

i can almost taste the peanut buttery chocolate-ness of a Reese's.
But I'm 10 cents short of exact change to get one in the vending machine at work. So, no-go on the candy bar.

It's been 5 minutes. I want one so badly my fingers itch.

It's been 10 minutes. I have been considering trading sexual favors for said candy bar.

It's been 15 minutes. I may actually die of lack of candy bar.
I wonder if adding this to the autopsy report would authenticate it as a cause of death.

I want the candy bar not because i'm hungry, but because I can't have it.

I want the attention because I can't have it.

I want the 6 hours of solid sleep because I can't have it.

I want the 2.5 and the picket fence American Dream because I can't have it.

I want to play in the rain... oh... wait... we did that one this weekend
(see below)

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