Thursday, August 30, 2007
Peeps? Please sign this petition. It's put out by Consumers Union, you know, the one working so hard to protect us from unsafe products? Even if you don't have kids, even if you don't live in the U.S. The United States is one of the largest -- if not the largest -- importers of children's toys produced in China. We all know what damage lead can do to a child, and it is completely unacceptable for any amount of lead to be present in children's toys. So I'm asking everyone who has taken enough time to read this far to go ahead and click below the pic, and sign this petition to get the lead out of children's toys.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Luke... Do you take cream and sugar...or do you like it BLACK?
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This"
I tried some new techniques with this one, because I figured if I hated it, I'd either 1) give it to my mom or 2) give it to my son. Neither one notices all the little irritating details that I do. But it turned out that I loved it! So much so that I talked my mom into bidding on it once it goes up for auction. And she'd better win. Or, alternatively, if one of y'all out there wants to bid on it, that would be okay too. As long as I know it's going to a good home.
Back to new techniques: I drew a simple sunset, made up of "layers" that went from bright orange to dark purple, based on a photo of my esposo's, which he took of Escazu some years ago.
The black triangles at the bottom are the hills, dotted with lights that you see once the sun goes down. I basically took a sheet of paper, sketched out the simple forms, and then paper pieced the background. Then I sliced it up, inserting "shards" of fabric that are supposed to represent memories (my mother's even though she doesn't have Alzheimer's [yet]) -- flower garden, cats, diving in the ocean. Then I sewed everything back together. To quilt it, I tried another new technique, because I'd been having terrible problems with metallic thread breaking when I use it in the needle. So instead, I loaded it in the bobbin and used clear thread on top, then quilted it from underneath. I also tried free-motion quilting in earnest for the first time -- I'd tried it before, and hated the way it looked. But this time I was determined. The last rays of the sun are quilted the normal way, from the top with poly threads in various colors. Once it was quilted and bound (I had planned on doing a back-to-front binding, but cut right through the fabric, so I ended up putting a separate binding on it), I did some fabric painting with glitter paints to represent stars, and metallic paints to represent the lights in the city below. I have been desperately trying to find glow-in-the-dark paint here in CR, but cannot find it anywhere. I would like to have some surprise glowing stars and city lights for the person who eventually owns the quilt. If anyone has a suggestion or would be willing to send me some, you'd be in my heart eternally.
Oh, and? If you are interested in painting on fabric, I've found that you don't really need to buy special fabric paint. I use poster paint (found a set of 8 metallics at the store -- score!), kid's sparkle-glitter glue, regular tubes of oils, etc. As long as you don't intend to wash it and the paint is not washable, I think it will probably work. I've even tried washing some samples with the metallic paints and they don't wash out. Not that I would suggest washing an art quilt, though.
I already have an idea for another Alzheimer's quilt. But you'll have to stay tuned for that one.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Check out the rain pouring off of our roof -- yikes!
That brown stuff is the muddy "river" that starts in our neighbor's yard...
...pours into our yard...
...makes a huge lake...
...and then empties into our neighbor's yard to the right.
Amazingly, it's now about 3 hours after all of this rain began, and the backyard, while quite soggy, is not the lake I expected it to be.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
That's right. Give him sugar. Do you think this ad would be approved/legal in the United States?
Maybe I should back up a little bit. We first acquired chickens way back in 2001, when esposo's mother wanted to find a home for her four (one rooster, Poppy, and three hens). Those four had a clutch of eggs, which would become our first babies. Penguin, Frank, and Peety were in this group. It was really interesting, as I had never kept chickens before, to see how different each one's personality was (yes, chickens do have personalities!). Penguin was very stand-offish, yet proud and caring of "his girls." Frankie, on the other hand, was a wonderful companion, more like a flying dog than a chicken, who would come when you called him and sit on my shoulder and sing. He, like Peet-Peet, would frequently sit in my lap in the sunshine and fall asleep. Frank was so mellow that you could tug at his wattles and kiss him on the beak, he would never so much as consider pecking you. He loved to have his back and neck scratched, just between the shoulder blades, and he would "bop-bop-bop-bop" when he was happy. I loved them all dearly.
When we moved from San Antonio to Ciudad Colon, the first thing we did was have a chicken coop built for the chickens. Then we moved again, and again had another coop built and took the chickens with us. Along the way here, we acquired other chickens, including Arnaux and Nikita, and gave some away to friends. But the original group always remained with us. I would not give Frankie and his siblings away. And Princesa Morgana was so sweet, I was determined to keep her as well. So they moved with us yet again to yet another house, but by this time we had also acquired the Numi Monster. After she killed both of our rabbits, I didn't want to take the chance that something might happen to our beloved chickens, especially Frankie. So I sadly sent them to live at my mother-in-law's house, where I knew, at least, they would be safe and taken care of. I missed them, but I knew they were in good hands.
Then my MIL made the incredible decision to get rid of all of the chickens without consulting esposo or myself. When we found out she had taken them to esposo's cousin, we were not happy about it, but she assured us they wouldn't eat them, they had a coop, etc. Then a few weeks ago, esposo's cousin's husband made that stupid remark above, and we insisted that MIL go get them and bring them back to her house. Then MIL got sick, with a sickness we all had that leaves one lying in bed for days on end. Finally, she went this past weekend to pick up the chickens, and was told something got into the coop and killed them all. Personally, I find it very hard to believe; I think they probably met a more untoward final exit, and you can guess what that might be without me having to type it out. But at this point, it doesn't matter that much, since they are gone and nothing will bring them back. Last night I went through all of the emotions one associates with loss -- anguish, anger, sadness, guilt (at myself for having let them go, mostly), but most of all, deep, profound sadness. I can't even give them a proper burial.
What bothers me most is that a couple of weeks ago, we were going to go up and visit them, because I really felt like I needed to see Frankie to see how he was doing. The stupid Haunted Hyundai wasn't running well, and you know what happened the last time we drove it to Poas. So we decided against taking the risk, and now I never had the chance to say goodbye. The last time I saw him was at esposo's mother's house a few months back. He was happy, scratching around in the yard, lying in the sun in the dirt. I gave him a kiss goodbye then, but I never could have dreamed it would be the last time I'd see him.
The one consolation I have is that, unlike the Catholics, I do believe all animals have souls and we all end up at the same place. So I'll be seeing them again someday. And at least they're all together, where nothing else can hurt them. I'm still so sad, though, so sad.
Me and Peet-Peet
My main man Frankie
Baby Kelly and mom Princesa Morgana
Penguin the Proud
The chickens during happier days in San Antonio
Monday, August 20, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Anyway, THANK YOU to everyone who took a minute to vote on the borders for my country quilt! My favorite border, the Jane Sassaman Magic Garden print, won out by a small margin, and that's what I went with. I really like the results:
I'm a little bit country...
I ended up using corner squares in a green that matched the one in the border fabric, mainly because trying to line up two pieces of fabric just to make one border strip, and have the prints on the two pieces match up with each other was a pain in the @$$! I couldn't begin to imagine how to then try to match up the prints at the corners. But I think the corner squares look nice.
The cool thing about Electric Quilt is how much the final result ended up looking like design on my computer. Wish I'd have had this software years ago! Then I might not have added that border to my son's baby quilt, which I just spent the morning ripping out.
The EQ Version
In other news, here's what I found in my laundry last night when I took it down off the line:
I don't know if you can really tell from the photo, but he had this beautiful, shiny green metallic color, and his antennae sort of resembled tiny brown leaves. He was about an inch or so long. I think he was on his way over the Rainbow Bridge, though, because he didn't have much "oomph" left in him. Happy trails, little fella...
Friday, August 17, 2007
It reminded me, on a much, much smaller scale, of a woman I know (not like, just know) who is pregnant with her third child. Her husband works for the U.S. Gov here in C.R. and she was telling a group of women that I happened to be in how she just shipped all this crap down here from Wal-Mart (at the
...Lindsay has also supposedly spent some of her time in treatment developing a wholesome new skill. A source tells the Chicago Sun-Times that she's taken up needlepoint and is making a quilt to "remind her to stay sober" (because homemade bedding is sure to get through to her when the police, two rehab facilities and nearly everyone she's ever worked with could not). LiLo has reportedly stitched patches with AA buzzwords and a liquor bottle with a red line across it.
Jeez, that is a quilt I don't want to see!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The baby quilt! My son helped me pick out the prints for the blocks, and esposo helped me pick out the red border fabric, and I'm very, very pleased with the way it turned out.
I was talking with J today about unfinished quilting projects; she has one that she started back in the 1980s! I had to mentally think about how many UFOs I have hiding in my sewing room: 1) the Lone Star wallhanging, 2) the snowmen quilt, 3) the Christmas table runner, 4) the color block quilt (for lack of a better name), 5) my son's baby quilt, and 6) the country quilt. I think that's it. I did start on a New York Beauty block of the month, but I don't think I'm going to finish it. Too time consuming. I have cut out some blocks for another quilt (The Migraine Inducer), and of course there is the scrap bag challenge quilt. But then I saw this quilt and I loved it so much I think I will start on the blocks this weekend! I know, someone stop me! Ah, we all have our vices. Mine could certainly be worse than starting new quilting projects.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Anyway, fireworks. Because, what better way to tell Mom you love her than with fireworks, I ask you? I know I sure felt warm and fuzzy inside!
Later in the day there was a parade with payasos, because, as we all know, clowns and music that sounds straight out of a funeral parade in the Big Easy are Mom's favorite way to have fun. This time, esposo took a few pics, and they are far, far superior to my photos of the karaoke guy.
"Clowns" dancing down the road in front of our house.
Happy Mother's Day!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I'm going to watch this movie tonight that is Bollywood meets Jane Austin. Two of my favorite things. Plus Naveen Andrews is in it, so it will be eye candy for me if nothing else. Let's hope it's good. I'll let you know.
Now playing: Bride And Prejudice - My Lips Are Waiting (Performed By ASHANTI) (A.K.A. Goa Groove)
It's too bad this camera doesn't have sound on the video, because I could have shot a really nice one and uploaded it to YouTube for y'all. Anyway, the guy is doing karaoke to some rancheras and songs of that ilk. Frighteningly enough, esposo knows the words to most of these songs. Yep, that's what we do for fun around here.
The next day, there was a big tope, which is a horse parade where basically everyone gets drunk and rides their horses through the (main) street. This is enjoyable if you are a) under five or b) drunk on the back of a horse. Or c) just plain drunk. Amy attempted to drive to Santa Ana, which is normally a five-minute drive, and got stuck behind the tope for two and a half hours. While she was sitting behind grandmas getting drunk in the back of pickup trucks, we were at the house being buzzed by a low-flying helicopter -- so low, in fact, that my windows shook when it went by (which it did at least five or six times). Amy later told me it was a Red Cross helicopter. WTF? Seemed more like the L.A. police chasing someone down.
You know you want to live here. So badly.
P.S. If you don't know what BFE means, you probably did not grow up in the sticks like I did. The link will explain it all. Esposo and I adore his hometown of Poas so much that we lovingly refer to it as BFP. There are many fun things to do there, too.
P.P.S. Here is a ranchera for your listening/viewing pleasure. I found the most palatable song I could. I could possibly do karaoke to this one after many, many beers:
Saturday, August 11, 2007
This is my son's preference; he says blue is the way to go. I think it weighs down the quilt a bit, though.
This is the one I'm leaning toward. I *love love love* this Jane Sassaman fabric, and I've already used it on one of the flowerpots. But I'm concerned that it's not very country at all. But I love it. Still.
This is my final choice. I made the border sort of like an attic windows, using two different shades of purple to give it some depth. I thought the purple wasn't as "heavy" as the blue. But I hate compromises.
So, HELP! Which one would you choose? Or should I try something else altogether?
Friday, August 10, 2007
I was too lame to get the names of all of the quilts and quilters, but this one was made by Mary Cesar (as were quite a few of the quilts in the show).
Another amazing quilt from Mary Cesar.
This one was my favorite of the show.
Just to put in perspective how large these quilts are -- that's my 3-year-old in the corner! And don't forget, the entire quilt is made by hand! Wow.
If you want to see more photos from the exhibit, head over to my Flickr set here. Enjoy!
p.s. My son was standing in front of one of the quilts, and looked at me with that evil grin -- you know the one three-year-olds can have? -- and said, "I fart on a quilt! hee hee hee..." So bad...!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
So inspired by the LOLCats wuz I that I made my own photo from this shot of Kitters aka Olivia Siobahn Finnoula P.G. in LOLCats style:
Do you have LOLCats at ur house? I bet u do. Uh o I haz lost teh ablity 2 rite propr.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The same study shows: By age two, say the Stanford researchers, children can already form beliefs about brands, and advertising during children's television programming, or through other media accessed by youngsters, further solidifies their ability to distinguish brand names, logos and packaging.
I am happy to say that our 3-year-old has never eaten fast food. Unless you count a couple of subs from Quizno's. That's as fast food as we get. And we recently turned off the television during the day time, and small child only gets to watch movies at night. He's really digging Fantasia. The original, not so much the 2000 version. Loves the classical music. No commercials. Commercialism is really rampant down here. You might think it would be more -- I don't know -- rustic? Not. When you're an adult, you can just go, Eh, that's all crap and I know better. But:
"Children under the age of seven or eight really do not have the ability to understand the persuasive intent of advertising and marketing," says Dr. Thomas Robinson, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University and lead author of the study, "so the justification for marketing, which is to inform a consumer, doesn't really hold for them, because they can't understand that advertising is biased."
Oh, I know, I'm preaching to the choir here.
A few months ago, there was a scrap bag challenge issued, and I had seen the other scrap bag quilts at the show that was here, and they were cool, and I thought it would be fun to make one. Basically, you get an empty bag that only has a number. You take it home, fill it with fabric, embellishments, and other stuff (batting, thread, whatever) and then take it in. You then get a bag back from someone else. You don't know whose bag you get or who gets your bag. You make a quilt (I believe they are 24" square, but need to check that) using the materials in the bag, which then goes back to the person whose bag it was at some set point in the near future (no, I can't remember when that date is, either). So basically, you fill you bag with fabrics and things you'd like to see on your quilt when you get it back. Here is the stuff that was in the bag I received last night:
My Challenging Scrap Bag
As you can see, lots of "country" themed stuff in here. Not really my thing. But, okay, it seems she is going for a garden theme. The garden fabric, plus the greens and browns. I see it. You can also see that she included lace (clouds?), a doll (scarecrow?), some batting (how thoughtful! I didn't do that :-( ), thread (my favorite brand, too), some cute buttons, a hat (hanging on a fencepost?), some sticks (tiny signs? scarecrow pole?) and -- did you catch it? -- a tiny rosary and some screws.
Some of the embellishments in my scrap bag
Now if anyone -- please, anyone! -- has any ideas how to work screws and a tiny rosary into a garden quilt, I'm open to suggestions. I asked esposo if I could take the rosary apart and just use the cross (put it on a fencepost or something), he said no way. While he is no longer Catholic, he grew up in the church and if anyone would know what to do with a rosary, he would. Any other ideas? No, he had none. Great. Obviously, she wants the rosary in there somewhere, but I'm sorta stuck on what to do with it. Not being Catholic and all... Can the scarecrow wear it? Doubtful.
On another note, I won one of the raffle prizes last night. The last one of the night, actually! It's a BEAUTIFUL quilted hand towel. (I'll take a picture later -- esposo and son have just absconded with my camera). Wow, I can't believe I won something! This makes twice now. How lucky am I? Well, this means I need to bring something to the next meeting. And I really need to do a charity quilt this year.
p.s. Here's the hand towel -- nice, huh?
p.p.s. Check out that link to the other grab bag quilts -- you won't be disappointed!
Monday, August 06, 2007
At US Base, Iraqis Must Use Separate Latrine
Am I wrong, or weren't the Jim Crow laws overturned as unconstitutional? Oh, wait, I guess that's only inside the good ol' U.S. of A....
Friday, August 03, 2007
This won't be as easy as it sounds. Go to your local Toys R Us or Wal-Mart and actually look at where the toys are made. I did this last night at Pricesmart (just because I happened to be there; they usually do have some nice toys, albeit not that many). But there were a couple of things I was thinking about picking up for my son and a friend's new baby. Guess what? Every single toy on the shelves except one was made in China. And that other one? Made in Thailand. I thought at least the Chicco toys might be safe, since they are an Italian company, maybe they'd have more sense. But no, made in China, too. Grrr...
The only way these companies are going to wise up is if we as consumers let them know that what they're doing is not okay. Send e-mails, call those 800 numbers, and most importantly, vote with your dollars/colones. First they poisoned our pets, then our kids, and next it will be us. Oh wait, that's already happening, too...
Also? I would encourage everyone who doesn't already receive it to sign up for the CPSC's e-mail alerts.
And as a P.S.: There are a few stores here in Costa Rica that sell toys that aren't 99% "Made in China." The ones I know of are in Escazu: Toy Box and
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Once upon a time, back around college graduation (that's about 7 years ago for those who don't know me personally), I was hanging out at Sylissima's house with some other chicas and we got to talking about living abroad. One girl was going to spend the summer in Central America, and she was wondering what she should take with her. "Vagisil," I said. Every other girl in the room quickly agreed. The chica who was doing the asking looked surprised. "They don't have Vagisil in Central America?" she asked.
"Oh no, they do, it's just that you can't really get much OTC medications there. You have to actually ask a pharmacist." Which is kinda embarrassing in itself. Asking someone for Vagisil screams "I HAVE A FEMININE ITCH!" Put together hot, humid climate, thongs, and tight pants, and I'll be damned if you don't have a recipe for feminine itch. It's almost inevitable. And guess what? Chica packed her tubes of Vagisil.
Fast forward a few years, and yes, yours truly has come down with a yeast infection. They seem to be (for me) brought on my too much sugar (plus hot, humid climate, thongs, and tight pants). Anyway, the upshot is that the Vagisil is not working and now I need to go to the pharmacy to ask for some yeast infection cream. Oh boy, this should be fun!
[Side note: In Costa Rica, probably like most Latin American countries, though I can't be sure of that, the pharmacists are also doctors to some degree, and can prescribe pretty much anything except controlled substances. Sometimes this is great, as you don't always have to run to the doctor for every little thing. But sometimes it bites balls, as when you have to go to the pharmacy and
I am begging, nay, pleading, with my husband to please please please go in there and ask for the stuff. Say it's for your wife, I tell him. Say she's a big chicken and won't come in, I say. Say her Spanish sucks. No go. Esposo has this brilliant idea that I should be able to communicate my needs to others in Spanish, and thus should go get the stuff myself (what nerve).
I steel myself, pray for guidance, ask esposo several times over how to
"No problem," I think to myself. "These
"Una infeccion? Feminina? Necisito crema, por favor." He now has a look of comprehension, pulls out a tube of stuff for me to look over, which I briefly do and realize I have no idea what it says, agree to buy it, make the purchase, run, panting, back to the car. I am nearly in tears.
Esposo asks to see what I got. I show him the tube. "Nope," he says, "They gave you the wrong thing. This is for a topical fungus infection. You can't put that up there. You have to take it back." Shit. Shit shit shit! This bites balls. Ok, so now I'm really close to tears. Please, I beg him, please come back in with me! Esposo looks at me with those big brown eyes, puts his hand comfortingly on my leg, and gently says, "You can do it." Bastard.
I go back in the pharmacy. This would all be so much easier if I could just scream, "I HAVE A YEAST INFECTION! DOWN THERE!" Instead, I manage to ask for "crema ginologica" (gynological cream) and that seems to produce the desired tube. I apologize, and swear I hear giggling as I exit the building. I also swear never to return to said pharmacy again.
Esposo inspects this second tube and, much to my great relief, gives it the stamp of approval. For my part, I make a solemn vow never to overdo it on the sugar. And to stop wearing thongs. Who wants to go through that again?