Monday, November 29, 2010

The Church on Rhythm Island

There's a church to build on Walk It Out!  Isn't it pretty!  The people appeared along with the church, and there's a wedding going on. 

The kids noticed that the pastor has blue hair.  Not grey!  Sure enough, there he is with his Bible and blue hair. 

If you happen to be near the church in the silence between song tracks, you can hear bells!

The church is right across the street from a burger joint.  I built that next.  How very convenient!  If you're snackish after the service or if you've forgetten to bring anything for the potluck…

When I changed the time to ten pm so I could go around collecting constellations, I noticed they'd even gotten that detail right-- the burger place was still brightly lit up and the church was dark!

More snow pics

Just in case you don't have enough snow at YOUR place??

Mike quilt blocks layout

My friend who came over and saw some of the blocks stitched together, said, "That's not as horrible as it looked in the picture"  :-D 

And here, arranged the way they're going to be, it's not horrible at all!

Using willpower to NOT exercise

Walk It Out! is so much fun!  It's easy to walk for an hour and a half because you lose track of time and get into it.  They were (fiendishly??) clever to not have a timer anywhere in the game!  The idea is to lose track of time and just jog along collecting points and building the island.  It's happened several times that I still think I'm having fun, and then suddenly realize I'm so tired I can barely take another step.  That's when it's time to stop.  I've been walking twice a day, but I'm going to have to reduce that to once; I had been getting away with "just a little while before I go to bed, it'll help me sleep better!" during this four-day Thanksgiving weekend but now that we're back to regular schedule I just can't spare that much time.  So I'll have to be content with just walking once a day...
Imagine what a reversal!  Now we're using willpower to NOT exercise! 
Rhythm Island is so gorgeous at night, too.  If you turn on the program at eight pm, it's dark, the streetlamps are lit and the stars are out!  But luckily, there's a "magic clock" that changes the time, so you can walk at night anytime. 
It's the perfect world.  I wonder if some of its seduction is that it's an idealized fantasy land, peaceful and free, where you can go anywhere you want, and be safe at any time of day or night. 
The Japanese who made it were kind enough to include a church in the plan!  I've found the church, but haven't bought it yet.  I've heard that there's a wedding going on  :-) 
The island has a sports stadium, apartments, housing area, shopping area, ranches with farmhouses, flower fields and a mountain path, lighthouse, beach with shops, and a church-- no city hall, no courthouse, no school, no police station, no bar!  I think that's just about everything we need.  Let's all move to that island!!! 
Well, at least we can visit. 
Addendum, I got the church, and took pictures.  I'll put those on the other blog  :-)

My free Barbie pattern: Mailbag bonanza!

I love it when people send me pictures of what they've made with my patterns! 

Kristi writes:

I’ve been sewing like crazy the last week to make a nice big supply of dresses for my daughter’s Christmas present. I wanted to share again. And I’ve made even MORE since I took this picture and added more ribbons and sparkles to some of the dresses here. I’ve also come up with a simple lazy way to make sleeves that are seen on some of these dresses. You can see it on the plaid Christmas dress. I basically sew a tube of fabric and pin it into the bodice before I sew it together. I’m going to try to add long sleeves next! Thanks again for the fun pattern. I think I am having more fun than my daughter!
And look at the wonderful pictures she sent me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Getting Gorgeouser By The Minute

The view out the window first thing this morning: 

There are all my most favorite colors, and they're gonna get better as the sun gets higher and the blue sky gets more vivid.  Yes, I am a "winter"!

In just a bit I'm going outside and roll in it. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Walk It Out for Wii - what a fun way to exercise!

People from dark rainy Washington, like me, you have GOT to check out this game! Imagine a sunny, gorgeous island to explore, as you walk along in time to cheerful music, collecting tokens to build up stuff all around and unlock more paths.
I tried Wii Sports Resort, it's cute and everything, but feels like a waste of time, and I didn't end up playing. I've investigated the dancing programs but I knew they wouldn't motivate me. I'm not into dancing. But I LOVE walking along exploring! I love maps!
I read the reviews on this, and it just sounded so totally me that I plopped the $30. The game came two days ago and I'm not disappointed, I already know I'm going to love this.
The kids have been playing nonstop, taking turns. Mike walked seven miles yesterday and five miles this morning. Thank goodness there's six profile slots or somebody in this family would be out of luck!
(Ed doesn't want a slot, he already walks 500 miles at work :-)
Me, I can barely go a mile before I'm pooped, but when I stop, it's from sheer tiredness and NOT from boredom. It takes willpower to go twenty minutes staring into space on a treadmill, but playing this game, I have to stop because I can't take another step! And then I hate stopping, because I was having a BLAST!
(Note, I think the game calculates mileage a little short-- if you go by the actual number of steps, you've gone further than that :-)
I didn't realize I was so out of shape! But I feel so cheered and inspired by the prospect of having this game to play every day, that I can't wait to play some more and GET in shape so I can jog around longer and see more of the island every day.
I just now stopped and took a moment to type this. I'll try again a bit later, as soon as I can, because it's just SO FUN!!!
I wondered if walking in place would get boring. It doesn't! Sometimes you can march in place, but for the faster songs you have to speed up. I found I can only go fast enough by jogging in place. As I get more used to it, I'll be able to keep up better! So it is great exercise!
Some people say they use a mini-trampoline, and I think that would work fine. Being overweight and out of shape (right now, soon to change!) I get knee pain easily. So I might try that, or get one of those padded mats they sell for standing in front of the kitchen sink.

Here's the video review that convinced me to get it! Among other things they let you know that you can turn off songs if you don't like them. You will NOT get stuck with some horrible rap song! Most of the songs are okay though, just very upbeat.

Another great review,

And more videos:

I want to do my little bit to publicize the game, because it's not very well known right now, but it should be! More people should know about this, especially older people! Forget shooting, solving puzzles, competing at games. Here you just walk, and the people wave at you as you go by! So it's calming and soothing, at the same time lifts your spirits and you get a great workout!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Place I Come From

North California.  I was only here during my teen years, but it's where I identify more than anywhere else.  I found myself here!

I spent a lot of time up on these hills, often just far enough above the house to be "elsewhere", but sometimes I'd take my doggie and a roll of Ritz crackers, and wander all day, back up the ridge a couple miles. 

Here's a panorama I put together the old-fashioned way!  Took the pictures aeons ago and had them printed, and only recently scanned them in so I could have the computer stitch them together.  
My doggie is visible at the far right, a little black blob against the white snow. 
And "home" is down on the other side of that bare patch in the middle left. 

Another picture of the pup. 

Unfinished painting on a wall

Unfinished, unfortunately, and what's worse, since it was drawn directly on sheetrock, it'll have to stay that way! But still worth a look. Look at the tiny details, the bench, the lantern, and there would have been a duck, lizard, floating water lilies...

Monday, November 15, 2010

And Did the Tower Come Tumbling Down?

News of this morning, a tower in Shanghai burnt, killing many people.  THIS is an inferno.  Yet, did it melt its steel beams and drop past the non-burning levels at freefall speed to land in its own footprint?

I don’t think they really care if we believe their stupid story any more.  They’ve gotten what they wanted and from now on it's just something to let us entertain ourselves talking about.

Link to Shanghai fire,

I Always Thought I was FROM Mars

Invoking the spirit of “Star Trek” in a scholarly article entitled “To Boldly Go,” two scientists contend human travel to Mars could happen much more quickly and cheaply if the missions are made one-way. They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return...

Mars is a six-month flight away, possesses surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water, carbon dioxide and essential minerals. They propose the missions start by sending two two-person teams, in separate ships, to Mars. More colonists and regular supply ships would follow...

They think the private sector might be a better place to try their plan.  “What we would need is an eccentric billionaire,” Schulze-Makuch said. “There are people who have the money to put this into reality.”

Psychological profiling and training of the astronauts, plus constant communication with Earth, will reduce debilitating mental strains, the two scientists said.

“They would in fact feel more connected to home than the early Antarctic explorers,” according to the article.

But the mental health of humans who spent time in space has been extensively studied. Depression can set in, people become irritated with each other, and sleep can be disrupted, the studies have found. The knowledge that there is no quick return to Earth would likely make that worse.

Schulze-Makuch and Davies contend that Mars has abundant resources to help the colonists become self-sufficient over time. The colony should be next to a large ice cave, to provide shelter from radiation, plus water and oxygen, they wrote.

They believe the one-way trips could start in two decades.

“You would send a little bit older folks, around 60 or something like that,” Schulze-Makuch said...

Me!  I would go!  No money, hmmm… well, then I need a sponsor  :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mike quilt update - okay and horrible

The design got simpler!  And I'm having a pretty good time getting these pieces together.  I think this'll work out.
I can't do any math for this because it's all going by how much fabric I have.  There'll be as many nine patch squares as it turns out I have green fabric for  :-)
I have a large amount of the red calico which WAS going to be for the backing, but I put it as sashing to increase contrast.  I've finally gotten Mike to admit that we need more contrast! 

Here's the results so far.
HORRIBLE!  N'est ce pas?  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taco Salad with Kettle Tias

Idea of what to do with them:

whole bag of Kettle Tias Nacho chips crunched down to fine bits
shredded lettuce
taco meat
grated colby cheese
for the dressing, a carton of sour cream thinned down just a little with milk

All just mixed together in a bowl!  The kids LOVED it!  We all loved it so much I waited one night, just for decency's sake, then made it again  :-) 

Found Spirals

I've had a saved search on Ebay for "spiral skirt" for a long time. Besides the Birch Street, there isn't much out there. I guess I'm the only one with a fascination for clothing that makes one look like a barber pole. 

I found these under "square dance", not even tagged with the keyword "spiral"! 

After much hunting, I found the pattern they used! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Out Back This Morning

Click for wallpaper size. 

Karen's New Drawing of Some Fishies

Click to see close-up. 

My Cake Wreck

They asked me to frost the birthday cake, then they were going to decorate it, but they were so clueless and something about that blue surface was just so inspirational, I begged and pleaded to do it myself.

I’m not proud of this.  I basically grabbed that cake and started splattering frosting in a big hurry to show the kids I really could do something cool.  It’s poorly thought out, the design is all over the place, and there SHOULD have been twelve curlicues.

But the kids liked it  :-) 

Argh! And this is the best I can do at DISHING a slice of cake??

Hehe, no really most of the pieces came out perfect looking and I took this one. It tasted just as good as the others!

My second Singer got fixed!

The motor went out, and it's been sitting downstairs for more than a year, waiting for me to find time to look at it.  But I really don't know what I'm doing with motors anyway!
However I found a nice lady who works on sewing machines, knows what she's doing, and fixed the whole thing right as rain for $43.
I'm so tickled to have this one back and working again!
Our friends gave this to me, complete with all the dozens of attachments that came with it (including a ruffler, which came standard!) and all the pattern cams.  It's got all metal gears inside and is "ENTIRELY MADE IN AMERICA" as the manual boasts!

Singer 403

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kettle Tias Nachos Chips: Share the Love

Kettle Tias, rather new to the shelf, and Ed brought me home a bag to try (knowing my devotion to nachos)

I wrote the company a fangirl email thus:

LOVE the Kettle Tias nacho flavor.
I was SO mad when they quit making Natural Doritos after only a short while. For a while there it was like Doritos had come back, then they stopped. That was a bummer.

Your Kettle Tias are about 80% as good as Natural Doritos which is far better than most brands.
PLEASE don't stop making them! Finally we have something good to use for our homemade nachos!

And they just sent me an adorable thank you note, with coupons.
I think I should up the love level to 95%  :-)

Check out the products here,

After all, what did Doritos ever do for me?  They never sent me a thank-you note, only stopped making their stupid product just when I'd decided I loved it.
That phone call to Lay's a few years ago was quite interesting.  She told me they'd stopped making Natural Doritos simply because of lack of interest.  Not enough people bought them.  I whined, "But what about me?  Why can't you keep on making them for me?"
Seriously, if they had warned me they were going to stop, I would have bought... like... at least as many cases as I could fit into my van.  
Anyway, she told me they had had a line of potato chips with less salt, which had been sold in the regular potato chip aisle (I wouldn't have seen it, I only shop in the natural aisle) but they'd stopped making that, too, because nobody bought it.  She had a line or two to share about the perversity of the American public, who SAY they want to eat healthier, but in actuality don't care enough even to buy Lay's potato chips with less salt, even though they tasted every bit as good and were marketed right next to the regular kind.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Earth Open and Swallow Me

So I'm standing in the local library, right?  Right in the middle!  About ten feet away from the librarian, and looking around in puzzlement because they just rearranged everything.  Again. 
Because our library isn't that strict about noise level, I just sang out my question instead of walking over and whispering--

"Hey!  Where's the shelf for the adult videos?"

No!  No!  No!  Not that, I meant, you know, the not-juvenile ones!  The regular section!  The DVDs!

FEATURE FILMS, was the term I was looking for.

The American History of Feedsacks

I’ve been reading some articles on the history of using cotton feed sacks for everyday cloth.  Pretty interesting aspect of our domestic history.

Initially these bags were plain unbleached cotton with product brands printed on them. In order for women to use these bags they first had to remove the label….
In spite of their efforts the entire brand label didn’t always get removed and sometimes it didn’t seem worth the bother especially for making undergarments.  As a result there are some amusing stories regarding feedsack underwear.  “One young girl was out walking with her beau when she tripped and fell. Oh, how embarrassed she was when her betrothed noticed her underdrawers imprinted with ‘southern best’! Another story was about a woman who made her husband’s drawers from a flour sack and left the words ‘self rising’ on the cloth.”
Here’s one with better pictures of the fabric designs!  Some are really beautiful!
More samples of the lovely patterns.
This page has more about the history, and shows a pattern book full of ideas for sewing things using the cotton bags! 

Image of a feed sack dress from the Smithsonian: 

It's All So Much Cuter in Stereo!!

French Braid quilt pattern

I was walking by as a lady was making this design, and she explained it to me.
Basically, a center square, then a strip the same width sewn to one side of it, then another strip with a little square, and repeat as long as you want.  It's okay that the sections have jagged edges, they'll be trimmed.
Isn't this a fun idea? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Few Capitol Lake Pics Nov 2010

Click for wallpaper size  :-)