Sunday, November 11, 2012

That was sudden

I forgot to say what I was thankful for yesterday. It was the uncharacteristic weather. It was in the 70s during the day. Even after dark, I was outside in short sleeves and sandals.

Pity that I didn't mention it then. Today was very, very different - rainy, windy, and cold. "Where the heck are my gloves?" cold. Fifty-some degrees colder than yesterday. "I can't believe it's not snowing" cold.

That made it a perfect day, though, to go hang out in a coffee shop with some girlfriends I haven't seen for awhile. It was great visiting and catching up, and I'm thankful we had that time together. I took some knitting, and that always seems to go faster when we are all chatting.

Is there any better song when you are feeling warm and fuzzy about your friends than this one? I think not.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making book(s)

Without further ado, here are the results of my initial foray into bookbinding. Yeah, you heard me. Bookbinding.

Little books

These little books are as simple as can be. The covers are advertisements that I gessoed and painted with super-cheap acrylics. The book on the left has a few pages of watercolor paper, and the one on the right has plain old copier paper. The binding string is waxed dental floss.

I found the instructions (The Three-Minute Pamphlet) in The Complete Decorated Journal by Gwen Diehn. She enticed me by calling the chapter "The Reluctant Bookbinder". Bookbinding strikes me as one of those hobbies that is fraught with the need to accumulate a whole new set of tools and ephemera and dedicated space, but I was able to make these books with things I had on hand. In addition to the elements in the finished books, I needed paperclips, a phone book, and a pushpin to use as an awl. I imagine the paint would be optional if your covers were something prettier than an Office Depot ad.

Now someone tell me to use them, okay?

Here's a song you probably haven't heard unless you are a real Broadway aficionado. It's from 1974's "Mack and Mabel", about silent screen personalities Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. It was a flop for many reasons, but not for the quality of the songs (by Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman) nor the inate talent of the leads (Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters). Fortunately, we got a cast album before the show closed.

(Want to see more? See highlights from the first West End Production here and here, and Miss Peters showstopper o' heartbreak song here.)

Thursday, November 08, 2012


We're having a slight warm up this week. 50s today, 60s Friday, 70s Saturday. If that materializes, it will be a good reason to be thankful. Then there is a chance of snow next week. That's November for you.

T assembled a desk chair for my writing desk. I'm thankful for that, too. Style-wise, it's completely wrong for the pretty little desk, but the dining chair I was using had been glued back together several times, and was not going to last forever.

One of my friends commented on Facebook about the last post. She said she had never heard the un-bowdlerized version of BB&B, and this from someone whose arcane song knowledge equals or exceeds my own. When I can enlighten others in such important ways, it makes me feel that all my hard work ain't been in vain for nothing.

Here's another gem you may not know. Before Kander and Ebb wrote Cabaret, their first collaboration was Flora the Red Menace. The star of the show was a still-teenaged Liza Minnelli. The cast album recording is very belty, because, duh, Liza. I like this tender version, though, and of course, her co-star is ne plus ultra.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Not totally refreshed

Thanks to the early call of the election, I got a decent night's sleep. I woke up at 2:00 AM, though, a little thirsty and a little congested. After getting a drink and blowing my nose, I took a quick peek at the intrawebz via the cell phone, just to make sure that no one had said, "Psych! Take back!" They hadn't, so I went back to sleep.

Then this morning, I made a pot of coffee, and filled my travel mug with the elixir of life... and forgot to take it to work. D'oh! I drank a little of the office swill coffee, which made me quite thankful that I have the means to enjoy something a little better most of the time. I hope T enjoyed his coffee, at least.

I did a little knitting AND a little spinning, to make up for Artless Tuesday.

Today's nightcap is a regular in the Great American Songbook. There are two sets of lyrics, though. You can spot the AM radio version in the line, "Couldn't sleep, and wouldn't sleep, 'til love came and told me I shouldn't sleep." Umm, what? This version has the PG lyrics, which do a much better job of expressing bewitchment and bother. You may want to have a cigarette ready for after.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

No all-nighter

One of the advantages of getting older is finding that it is not necessary to stay up late watching election returns. I did my thing, and if I have to wait until tomorrow, or the next day, to find out what everyone else did, so be it.

Aside from being thankful that the campaign ads have ended, I am thankful that I got my butt in gear and cooked a tasty dinner tonight, rather than ordering pizza, which was my first instinct. That was mighty big of me.

Did I do anything arty today? Not much to speak of. I'll make it up, I promise.

Here's another political song about days gone by, from Fiorello!, a musical about Fiorello La Guardia, that had the misfortune of opening in the same season as The Sound of Music.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The end is near!

The end of the politcal campaign season, that is. As a second-tier battleground state, we get an abundance of television ads, robocalls, and mailers. As an early caucus state, we've been receiving them for more than a year. In mere hours, they will all go away, and for what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. (I can't imagine that we wouldn't be.) Then we get a reprieve of a few weeks before the 2016 hopefuls start dropping by to test the frigid Iowa waters, and it starts all over again.

Today, I continued knitting on the timely project, and got my art on with the whiteboard at the office, drawing a stars-and-stripey reminder to VOTE!

 Today's musical selection is educational AND entertaining, not to mention being from T's favorite musical ever. The opening statement about useless men is one of his go-to quotations.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Today's thankfulness report is easy. I am thankful for the safe arrival of Morgan and Olivia, my two new grandnieces. I've seen a couple of pictures, and I approve of them.

I knit on a project that really needs to get done, and some tidying up in the Girl Cave. My desk attracts arts and crafts doodads of all sorts, and some of them need to be moved to a holding facility. No photos for either one. You will just have to trust me.

I heard today that Han Suyin died. She wrote the book that became the movie, "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing". Remember that one? And if you are about my age, you may have had to sing the title song in your school choir. I know I did, and I can still belt out the second soprano part to it if called upon.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Double up

I was tired last night, and not especially in the mood to report on my November challenges. Let's double up today, shall we?

Friday: I am thankful for modern medicine, without which I would now be blind several times over, and dead.

I did as little art as I could get away with, and still have it count as art. I put some gesso on an Office Depot mailer, with the goal of eventually using it as a cover for a handmade sketchbook.

Saturday: I haven't done any spinning for weeks. This morning, I started the coffee, and then dug out my little spindle of silk. Here it is from this summer. It's the one in the front, and it does not look appreciably different now.

/Tour de Fleece /

I thought I would spin for a few minutes, and it ended up being about 45 minutes. It was fun. I don't know why I get out of the habit.

I'm thankful that my life is settled enough that I can spend 45 minutes twisting silk into thread just because it is enjoyable, and beautiful.

When we listen to classical music in the car, we occasionally hear  Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor, and I always pound away on the air piano. Why? Because of this. Rach starts at about 2:30.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Also Thankful

Another November challenge I've heard about is telling one thing you are thankful for every day. That should be easy, right?

Today, on Dia de los Muertos, I especially remember my parents. I am thankful to have been brought up by people whose love I never questioned, who offered a helping hand if I needed it, and who stayed on the sidelines when I had to find my own way.

As for Art Every Day - today turned out to be a little busier than I expected. I did go to tai chi class, though. We are learning Single Fan, and I'm going to say that counts toward art.

Here's a video of the Single Fan style we do. It's only the first half of the set, but that's all I know so far, and I use the word "know" loosely. What do you think? Art? or at least Art Training?


If you are writing a book in November, or knitting a sweater, or blogging every day, or engaging in any other creative endeavor (Hello, Art Every Day Month!), do it with conviction, with gusto, and with a sense of fun.