Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween and Merry Samhain too. Hope you are all enjoying the festivities today. I have to say this is my very favorite holiday! No presents to buy, only fun, and costumes, what's not to like?!

This is my themed post to participate in a virtual Bloglandia Halloween party: Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun! Go check it out and participate if you feel so inclined.

This is the story that I wrote to accompany the card image(click for larger version so you can see details) for the annual Halloween deck that RedDog puts together. This year it is a story deck ,so I can't wait to read what everyone else submits along with checking out the cool artwork.

Halloween Sojourn

by Julie Zaccone Stiller, October 2007
It was the afternoon of Halloween, but suddenly the day was gone and night came out from under each tree and spread its fingers across the red hills. I looked up into the low hanging, barren trees and caught a glimpse of the twinkling spider webs threatening to catch up my elaborate hairdo. I hurried down the twisting soapstone pathway, catching up the hem of my gown with my gloved hand. Where was this house anyways? Was I even in the right area, after all this hurrying, I worried I had completely lost my way. Grousing to myself about the earliness of this party, I twisted my ankle in a hole in the path. Falling in slow motion down to meet the ground, the last thing I was conscious of was the red earth rushing up to meet me.
I came back to myself and opened my eyes slowly, sitting up and clutching the very sore side of my head. That was quite a fall, I checked myself for bleeding head wounds, every thing seemed to be ok. Then I heard the rustle. It was quite close. Looking up, my eyes widened to behold a lacy, arched doorway, where a woman clothed in a deep twilight robe stood silently. She seemed to beckon me, so I gingerly righted myself and walked carefully toward her. Two marble steps up and I was at this gateway or door. She had no voice, no face, I’m not sure how I knew she was a She. Placing my gloved hand in her outstretched robe covered one, we crossed the threshold.
I heard a roaring, almost screaming, and rushing water too. There were faces, some contorted in pain, some in pleasure, streaming past me as we walked through this passageway. Strange creatures passed near me, fierce and fish-like with many circles on their flanks, disembodied eyes examining me and then finally, nothing at all. Quiet and peace descended, muffling all of the chaos.

She turned to me and pushed back her hood. As she looked down into my face I cried out! It was me. Or someone I closely resembled. I opened my mouth to speak, wanting to question her/me, but she reached out quickly and touched my lips with her finger quieting me immediately. She pointed to the ground and I searched to see what she indicated. Three human skeletons, in shallow graves, covered in jewels and surrounded by precious pottery and jewelry. This shook me to my core, the skeletons, the strange journey, I began to shiver uncontrollably. She took me into Her arms and comforted me with a strange embrace, Her smell was spicy and unreal. I looked back and the skeletons were gone now. I sensed rather than heard a bell ring and then saw Her mouth begin to hinge open and keep opening more and more, her eyes widening into the size of the moon, her mouth becoming the tunnel we’d past through before. I felt myself pulled through into this cavern, tumbling forward until I felt myself hit bottom.
Tasting dust, I again opened my eyes and found myself on the pathway being shaken gently by two children dressed in exotic Moroccan costumes. “Hey lady, are you okay?” They helped me up and I shook my head to clear the residue of the dream or hallucination or whatever that was. Thanking them profusely, they skittered off with their glowing Halloween pumpkin buckets. I guess I better make it to the party if it is still going on, the sky was full dark and full of stars and the bright moon. Looking off to the lit part of the pathway, I saw the house I was looking for, hopefully there would be no more strange dreams the rest of this Halloween night.

May all your Halloween wishes come true!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Leek Forest

Here I am peering through the forest of leeks at the last week of examining my relationship with food for self portrait challenge. Obviously from all of these pictures I've posted this month, I have a pretty lighthearted approach to food. Even silly perhaps. But not really, I'm just relaxed about it.

I think that our culture is food-phobic and food-obsessed at the same time. And separating myself from all the hoo-haw surrounding eating the "right food"all the time, or consuming the smallest amount of calories to stay alive, or worrying about grams of fat or fiber or whatever hot topic of the day, has kept me really a lot healthier in both body, mind and my overall relationship to food than a whole lot of people.

Sure I eat junk food, just like anyone else. But I also really really enjoy it when I do. I don't feel guilty about it, but I thoroughly sink into the experience of the salty flavor of a bag of chips, or the smooth heavy coolness of a great dark chocolate bar. That is the difference I think. Not that you are giving yourself "permission" (?!) to eat what you want. More that you not only take responsibility for what you eat AND even more importantly you Pay Attention to what you eat.

Here are some of my techniques for paying attention to what I'm eating:
I know myself, I can't pay attention to what I'm eating when I eat and read or watch tv. I'm a good multi-tasker, but I'm not that good. So I know to only eat boring stuff then (like cereal in the am). But even then I still try to bring my attention around to it once I've woken up a little.

I talk to myself. "Wow that was a really tart pomegranate. I really love that flavor. And the color is just so beautiful." The inner dialogue helps me wake up to the experience of what I'm consuming.

I Try to use all my senses. "That bunch of bananas sure smell good, I'm glad that we can eat bananas all year around, I wonder what it would be like to climb a banana tree and eat them right there?"
"These leeks are so yummy smelling, not too oniony and kind of grassy, and I can still smell the soil on the bottom. I love how they look sliced up with their translucence and circular pattern. They make such a crinkly and squeaky sound when I hold the bunch tightly"

I think about how the plant grows, I've seen by my personal gardening experience, how different plants grow when they are pampered versus ignored versus rushed or planted at the wrong time. This is why I find the organic produce we get from our CSA at Camp Joy so superior to giant grocery chain produce. The people who grow it have a personal relationship with the plants, the soil they grow in, and a real stake in the process.

I also consider how the animal lives. I've noticed how different our eggs from our own chickens look and taste from the factory farmed ones. It is important to me to eat humanely produced food. Also, the chicken and beef that is farmed in this manner just taste better. I suppose the stress and fear hormones have something to do with this. Makes sense huh?

I wonder how the food gets to me. Who farmed or raised it. Who picked it? What were their lives like? It isn't just majicked onto my kitchen counter. The whole process is indeed crucial to how we are going to make these changes in how the world lives or dies.

Do I do all of this everytime? Of course not! But I find when I do even one of these practices, the experience of the food for me is more well-rounded, I feel fuller because I eat slower and I am happier in general because I've used my brain. To sum up, since we've got to eat something to stay alive, we might as well enjoy it!

Monday, October 29, 2007

1964, What a year!

Nostalgia for the year I was born, 1964. Here I am doing this meme that DebR found, where one looks up the year you were born on googleimages.Looking for patterns in what I choose, places to go: It's a small world advert from Disneyland. And a picture from the world's fair in new york

Trying to find some sort of pattern here, in the images I am drawn to from my birth year. A lot of them are iconic pieces of art, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Some are of useful things, no longer useful, such as the slide rule. Others show disasters that occured that year, such as the Alaska earthquake. Geez I am such a disastermonger!

Then there are the vehicles! A car crazy era it was. And I grew up with a fine appreciation of those vehicles. One of which I owned (actually it was a '61), two of which I sure wouldn't mind owning right now, thankyouverymuch.

Finally A Menu, with the hyper bright stylized food imagery we all remember from that era.

I was thinking there would be more stuff about space, rockets, etc., but nope. Mostly it was just Beatles-mania Well, that was fun to travel back to a year where I wasn't really visually conscious yet ,and have only been able to visit through images, whether on the tv, old magazines, or now the power of google.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Almost Full

Can you tell what this is?
Here is your first hint.
This photo was taken at 6:30 pm on Tuesday.
Did that help?
Ok, how about a different picture?
Does that make it any easier to guess?
Yes it is a 3 days from full moon "caught" on the telephone wires. Taken through my dirty windshield. I honestly didn't notice the wires til I saw the picture. I was taking a picture of the moon. Did you notice that it was egg shaped? I've never seen an egg shaped moon that I can remember. What causes that? Anyone know?
And then here is a brighter picture. The Boulder Creek Volunteer Fire Department, in all its fall glory, taken at 3pm on Friday. Doesn't that tree look super with the blue sky backing it up? I thought the colors would make a cool kaleidoscope, and I was right, especially with the red curb in there for contrast.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pumpkin Seeds and Wild Self

Here is a pumpkin seed celtic cross made from Kaleidoscope Kreator and my pumpkin seed in an orange bowl picture from last year. I thought that there were some really interesting shapes created that looked kinda skull like. Oooh spooky, huh? Are you getting tired of these kaleidoscopes yet? Sorry, I'm not.

We haven't even bought our pumpkins this year yet@!#! What is our problem?? Plus, I hear there is a pumpkin shortage too. Hope they aren't too spendy. I sure wish I'd remembered to plant the pumpkin seeds I bought back in August. Sigh. Maybe next year!

Hey DebR, I built my Wild Self. I gave myself Thompson's Gazelle Horns, California Condor wings, and a tiger tail. I too had trouble giving myself animal legs and arms, too creepy looking. Also, none of the ears looked right, so I left them off. Don't worry, I don't really wear tennis shoes and skirts, I'm not quite that funky of a dresser. Oh, and I don't have any glasses on because I'm giving my contacts another whirl today. If you could have a tail or wings, which would you choose? After watching a documentary on cloud leopards, I decided that would be the tail I'd choose. But wings really would come in handy (fly over traffic,etc).

Try, try again. Punchneedle turns out to be harder than the directions claim. hmph. I think my problem is that my embroidery hoop doesn't adjust, I'll have to locate one with a screw instead of trying to use the one I use for sewing machine work. The needle I got is easy to thread though, a very cool gizmo.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Outside vs. Inside Color

I've been noticing the colors outside lately (not unusual I know). I think it is the season for that, because the sunlight isn't quite as strong as we head towards winter. That strong sunlight washes out colors, leaches them of them vibrancy and power. Fall is when the subtle sunlight highlights the brilliant leaf colors that surround us.

I was scrambling (or gamboling) around on our hillside the other morning and gasped out loud when I came upon this small stand of poison oak. Not just because I am seriously allergic to it, but because of the colors. Oh to be able to dye some fabric to look like this. Wouldn't that be seriously fabulous? It looks likes a cross between jewelry and dessert.
Then I was coming back down the hill and looked up into the morning sky to find a bird that was singing to me and I saw this. No color except the small glimpse of sky. The leaves, even though they were close enough to touch,smell, or eat were just in silhouette. Wouldn't this be a great screen printed image?

Next, I noticed this green moss person hanging from the same bay tree. The first picture is with the flash, the second without. See how the intense light from the flash changed things? I find the second picture much more beautiful. I plan to check back in with the moss person later to see if they're still hanging around (haha).

Back inside our house, there is color appearing on the walls downstairs. Slowly, slowly we are preparing to repaint our big room downstairs (living room, dining room, two story high sloped ceiling). When I was gone for the day at PIQF I came home to find out the boys had done some painting. Voting for their fave color for the biggest wall in the house by placing their initial above it.

I vetoed their choices though. The green looks hospital-ish in the light downstairs (upstairs it is gorgeous), the grey is just too dark and energy sucking (upstairs with the orange on opposite walls it is balancing, the blue is too grey and I just don't like blue all that much. And so we're going with the warm very very pale brown of baked scone on that wall.
On the short wall opposite that has the two windows and french door, we'll be painting in this great green we found called Tate Olive. (the one with writing on it). Geez that is a bad picture of it, a very blue caste, must have been the lighting when I took the photo. It is a much warmer green than that.

I'll share pictures once the painting is done! Which will probably be next year this time. Hopefully, I am kidding with that one!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Books Read Lately

Geez, I knew I was forgetting something around here! I haven't been talking about the books that I've been reading. Not since January to be specific. I'm up to 88 read this year. So here is a giant (and I do mean giant) catch-up of all the pages that have been flipped and consumed since then up til now...
When you look at this list you'll note two things, I'm reading a lot of non-fiction and classic books and graphic novels and that I've read all of Neil Gaiman's writings this year. I stuck in Amazon links for the books I really recommend.

The True Game - Sherri Tepper This is a single volume collection of her first 3 published books, which is great because I had only ever been able to find one of the three and it didn't make much sense on its own! I have to say they aren't as well written as her most recent work, but still enjoyable and highly creative with glimmers of subjects she'll come around to again and again in her later works.

Celtic Way of Seeing - Frank MacEowen - Not my favorite book on celtic shamanism, pretty superficial and too general to be of much use. Glad I got it from the library.
Y- The Last Man - Brian K. Vaughn I can't recommend this series of graphic novels highly enough. The style might be too jarring and explicit for some, but the story is just terrific, what happens to the very last man (and his monkey) left on Earth after an instantaneous plague kills off all the men. Explores topics of the morality of unrestrained unregulated genetic research, sexuality and gender roles (when there is only one gender left!), new and changing definitions of family, inherent immorality of governments, militaries, and organized religions etc...Just a really great yarn, with tons of interesting characters and settings.
Until I Find You - John Irving I wasn't sure if I'd like this book or not, being so enamoured with A Prayer for Owen Meany, but this was really really good, heart-breaking, up-lifting and hilarious, just as a great Irving novel should be. Almost up to the level ofThe World According to Garp.

1602 - Neil Gaiman A graphic novel re-imagining the expansion of European power to American shores, assisted by superheroes of the era. Cool idea, wished it had been longer and better fleshed out.

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman I wished I had read the book first before seeing the BBC tv miniseries, I couldn't just enjoy the book and had to mentally compare all the changes, very distracting, but that is my problem, not a problem of the book. It stands up all by itself, doesn't need the tv, and actually helped me figure out some of the plotlines that were murky in the tv version. What if there was another world, unseen by us, underneath all of our major cities, this book set in the London underworld. Terrific characters, some quite scary, and the storyline is very engaging.

Seize the Night - Dean Koontz - The second story following the characters from Fear Nothing. I don't know why I keep reading these, as they're always the same. Guess it is like eating popcorn, enjoyable at the time, but doesn't stay with you.
Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison I'd always been meaning to read more of Morrison's work as I'd enjoyed Beloved so much. This is very different, but still very affecting, I was thinking about the characters for weeks afterwards which to me means the author has really succeeded.

The Tale of Cuckoo-Brow-Wood (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Mysteries) - Susan Wittig Albert - A very cute and easy to read mystery tale set in the life story of author Beatrix Potter, casting her as an amateur sleuth. Part of a series, and good light summer reading. Albert is the author of the China Bayles mysteries, which are all herbal related, haven't read those as I'm not much of a mystery reader.

Fear Nothing - Dean Koontz Pretty good tale, yet another heroic dog and government project/town gone wrong. A standard enjoyable Koontz book.

Coraline - Neil Gaiman I loved this one, such an intriguing story idea that carries the work of Roald Dahl into a far darker range. This is marketed as a young adult/kid book, which I would have really enjoyed at that age. It will make a really good movie.

The Gunslinger Born - Stephen King I bought these comics, issue by issue, but I read recently they will be gathered into one volume, and the series will continue. I liked the pre-story filling in of details we didn't know from the very long Gunslinger series of books from King. Not satisfying as it didn't advance the story much beyond the books though. Not so enamoured of the artwork style either.
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood This is a short yet sweet and brutal retelling of the ancient myth of Penelope and Odysseus from the perspective of the twelve hanged maids. Don't remember that one? Don't worry, just read Atwood's brilliant re-interpretation.

Dark Moon - David Gemmell Hmmm, I didn't remember this one, and had to look it up. Oh yes, I picked this up at the library because the cover was cool. Not worth the time to read in my opinion.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling I liked this HP book quite a bit, and thought it tied up the story pretty completely. But I wasn't as sad as I thought I'd be as I got to the very end. The HP phenomenon has been fun to participate in with my kids, they've grown up with this whole series after all, but it didn't have enough meat on the bones to really make a difference in their lives.

Stardust- Neil Gaiman This link is for the mass market paperback, but I recommend looking for the illustrated version which is way more fun to read. And no, I am lame and still haven't seen the movie! I loved this story, any new fairy tales are always ok by me.

Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger Our library recently set out some "classics", so this was one of the ones I read. A very different story to read as a grown-up as opposed to as a high school student. Much much sadder to me.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee I couldn't remember the last time I read this, all I could remember was the terrific movie. The book is great, it absolutely shimmers with the truth of childhood experience. I can see why it is on all those school reading lists. I'm glad my son will be reading it this year, I bet we'll have some great discussions.

The Fountain - Darren Aronofsky This is the graphic novel interpretation of the profoundly visionary movie of the same name. What utter and complete trash. And since it was sealed at Borders, I couldn't tell that when I purchased it. So I took it back! Really disappointing.

V for Vendetta - Alan Moore This is the graphic novel that the recent movie was based on. I thought the movie was a lot better than the book and got the major points of the story and philosphy behind it across. One of my all-time favorite movies though.

Wandering - Herman Hesse Checked this out on inter-library loan (first time using the service!), due to reading a very cool quote about trees on Keri Smith's blog, Wish Jar. There wasn't much more to the book than that quote unfortunately, except some strange little anecdotes and pen drawings.

Lucifer - Devil in the Gateway - Mike Carey Trying to carry on the character of Lucifer created in the Sandman universe by Gaiman. Eh.

The Sandman Companion - Hy Bender A great resource for studying and being an immersed fan of Sandman

WebMage - Kelly McCullough Pretty good, I liked the idea of The Fates struggling into the digital age.

Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury I re-read this so that I could talk about it with my son as he read it for literature class. Still as good as I remembered it.
The Giver - Lois Leary Younger son was reading this one and wanted to discuss, so I read it. Wow! Powerful book. Very provocative reading for sixth grade.

Labyrinths for the Spirit - Jim Buchanan I've been on a real labyrinth kick for a while now and snapped this book the second I spotted it. So much good information on making different types of labyrinths on your own. Which I intend to do! As soon as we get rid of the gigantic trampoline (guessing in the next couple of years.) I'm making one for myself.

The Golden Mean -Nick Bantock You can't just read one of these and leave it at that. The story is too engaging and you want to know what happens!
The Morning Star-Nick Bantock Plus the inventiveness of the letters and envelopes and bits and bobs is so much fun just to handle.
The Gryphon - Nick Bantock Inspiring collage art, great story and super book design.
The Road - Cormac McCarthy Only read this if you have enough time to finish it all at once. If you have a new box of kleenexes. And if you are ready to have your worst post-apocalyptic case scenarios played out right before your reading eyes. I loved it. Very moving.

Living Out Loud- Keri Smith A very fun book, that I think is beter suited for people who are somewhat hesistant to be creative. Ie, it didn't do much for me personally, but I could see giving this to someone who needs to break out and be creative or die....
Everyday Matters - Danny Gregory You've probably read his great blog, but this is the story of how he started doing the art he does. Very touching and inspiring and it will get you drawing.

Sew What Skirts - Francesca DenHartog A basic, and hip approach to making skirts without a store-bought pattern. Fun photography and pretty clear instructions. A good beginner book.
Quilts - Denyse Schmidt More than just quilts in this beautiful book, that I have now checked out of the library several times. No I haven't made anything, but I like looking at the pictures and reading her very fun irreverent approach to quilt making.

Something Rotten - Jasper Fforde My least favorite so far of the series. But I still like the writing style and characters and will read the next one.

American Gods- Neil Gaiman A longer read than I expected, and a very big concept in this book. What happens to old gods? Are new ones ever created? Would they get along??? Anansi Boys is more fun to read, but this one has the real moral oomph behind it.
Sandman Vol.X - The Wake - Neil Gaiman I read this one as slowly as I could, dreading the end because I knew that there were no more Sandman books to read after this. Sniff. Sniff.

Sandman and Joseph Campbell, in search of the modern myth - Stephen Rausch
As a Joseph Campbell fan from way back, I was intrigued to see these two combined in a title. The book is not an easy read (I believe it was a phd thesis or something), but it worthwhile. A good examination of the power of myth in our modern age, especially as practiced by the master, Neil Gaiman.

The Dream Hunters-Sandman - Neil Gaiman This was a really interesting collaboration with the Japanese illustrator, Yoshitaka Amano, instead of the usual comic book illustrators, and is a retelling of an old Japanese folk tale, with the character of Dream or Sandman in the story. Beautiful and very different than the other volumes.

Death: The High Cost of Living - Neil Gaiman These two books center on the character of Death, the hip goth-chick that comes to see you when your time is up. Guess she is a pretty popular character and these two volumes show that off.
Death: The Time of Your Life -Neil Gaiman

Sandman-Vol IX - The Friendly Ones - Neil Gaiman The Friendly Ones are the Three Fates who have shown up over and over again through the story.
Sandman - Vol VIII - World's End - Neil Gaiman
Sandman - Vol VII - Brief Lives - Neil Gaiman
Sandman - Vol VI - Fables and Reflections - Neil Gaiman
Sandman - Vol III- Dream Journey - Neil Gaiman
Sandman - Vol II - The Doll's House - Neil Gaiman I am well and truly lost in the mythos and aura of these books. Amazing work. And I wonder why I missed them. (Oh yeah, they came out when I was raising little babies!) So I'm late to the party but still enjoying them tremendously.

The Well of Lost Plots - Jasper Fforde A continuation of the Thursday Next story. Not as fun to read as the first, but I'm hooked on the character.

Essential Psychic Healing -Diane Stein A very feminist take on the subject, interesting and a good compendium of old and new ideas.
Collaborative Quilting - Freddy Moran and Gwen Marsten What a great book! Not a how-to with patterns (pshew, there are certainly enough of those!), just lots of ideas inspirations and gorgeous photos.

Black Orchid - Neil Gaiman Beautiful dreamy, illustrations by Dave McKean of the main character who is yes, an orchid who takes female form. Interesting story and characters. Apparently a redo of a former title previously published. With the Gaiman/McKean spin though.

Sandman - Vol V - A Game of You - Neil Gaiman
Sandman - Vol IV - Season of Mists - Neil Gaiman
Sandman - Vol I - Preludes & Nocturnes - Neil Gaiman Ohhh, so that's what all the fuss is about! I'm totally hooked by the end of the first volume.

Splintered Icon - Bill Napier Good story, characters not so well developed and the dialgue is stilted.

New Rules - Bill Maher Eh, not so "new" as he'd like to consider himself.
Plush-O-Rama - Linda KoppWhat a fun book this is. Read it several times with younger son Alex and we've made several already.
Naked - David SedarisI could read or listen to him everyday, hilarious, wrenching and so engaging.
Lost in a Good Book- Jasper Fforde The second book in the Thursday Next series, a great read, I can't wait to find the third.

Conservatives Without Conscience - John Dean Wow, what an interesting read, now I undersand conservative a bit more. John Dean, a conservative tries to separate himself and his cohorts from the conservatives of today who are running our country into the ground.

Gardening Among Friends - Master Gardeners of Marin,CA Great little essays with practical advice for California gardeners.

Gifts - Ursula LeGuin Hmmm, this was ok, and is the first in a new YA series she is writing. Mostly about using t he gifts we are given responsibly. A good message for a YA reader.
The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde Oh man, what a great character and alternative world. Thursday Next, I want to be her.

Garden Seating - A mostly silly prententious look at cutesy seating, not many practical ideas.

The Paint Book - Good ideas for different rooms in your house, techniques and info on colors. Very helpful when we were figuring out which colors to pick for the new rooms in the house.

Pebble Mosaics - Projects and a little history of mosaics, I'll be checking this out of the library again.
The Ambler Warning - Robert Ludlum Good spy story but I figured out the plot twist ending near the beginning. It would make a really good movie.
Mistral's Kiss - Laurell K. Hamilton Pshew, another hot one from Hamilton. I have to make sure I read these books when the husband isn't out of town.

Forever Odd - Dean Koontz Oh bleah. He's phoning it in now. I am so done with this character! I hereby swear I am not reading the next one in the series.

Changing Planes - Ursula Le Guin A series of short stories /vignettes that have the interesting premise of traveling to diffrent worlds.

Happy Web-i-versary to Me!

Today is the third anniversary of this blog. Hard to believe, but there it is. A lot has happened in these past three years, and I've shared quite a lot of that with the readers of this blog.
Thanks for sticking with me and commenting and sharing and just just being out there!
So have a virtual slice of cake, and a virtual sip of fine champagne to toast the day with me. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oppressive Apple Influx of '07

On to the topic of the month, relationship with food for Self Portrait Challenge. I have a love/hate thing going with apples at the moment. We are absolutely overflowing and overrun with them, and I feel oppressed. Imagine that, oppressed by apples.
Our mini apple orchard (5 trees) decided to overproduce this year, and so did our weekly CSA basket from Camp Joy. Guess it was good apple production weather. The blossoms bloomed, and then we didn't have the usual storms blowing off half of them before they could be pollinated. And maybe the bees all came over here to escape the sudden bee hive death syndrome happening everywhere else. Who knows. All I know, is that I have a hellauva lot o' apples. They are taking over my kitchen, in piles, boxes and bags.

Just make some pie you say? I don't particularly care for pie (call me weird, I know). And I'm not up to making applesauce.

What to do...I am going to dehydrate some in my dehydrator. I can sit down while I do that. And my friend Bitter Betty, recommends preparing enough for a pie filling, and then freezing them in bags, which I can also manage. That will get rid of most of them I think. And then the family won't get sick of having apple pie every freaking week. "Oh man, more pie!?" sheesh, spare me people!

So, there it is, I am feeling rather Evil Queen-ish (note the mug) about apples which represent beauty truth and sweet life. Poison apple anyone?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kaleidoscopes and PIQF

PIQF was super fun this year, the quilts were fantastic, so much variety. I went for the day on Sunday with my friend, Debbie. We met up with some other CQFA members and had lunch and dished show,teacher and product gossip. Very fun, and the food was actually good too (not bad for a convention center).
I didn't go too crazy buying stuff, but thought I'd show you what I did pick up. All the fabric was bought from Natural Expressions, a new quilting and beading store in Los Gatos. This is glow in the dark fabric, not the whole thing though as it turns out, it is like brush strokes of the gitd paint. I'll try to take a pic in the dark for you.

I'm not sure what these are supposed to be, Mexican pinatas maybe? Or balloons? Or papier mache'? Who knows, it cracked me up, so I snapped up a yard of this. I think it would be fun to fuse some of these on a t-shirt.
I have quite the collection of Dia de los Muertos fabrics going, and here is a re-do of one of my faves. In the older version, the skulls were much smaller, and check it out, this has sparkly gold accents, wheeee, sparkles! Also struck me as something that would look cool fused on a t-shirt, hmmm, I have a boring black blank one, maybe that's what I'll do today...

And for the final fabric purchase, five fat quarters, 3 that are peacock related, and two spiraly ones. You can never have too many spiral fabrics in my opinion.
I really have no explanation for why I purchased this punch needle kit. But I am just drawn to this stuff, the texture is really cool and looks so pettable. I started out with trying the black witch hat, but so far, no joy. I think I need a better embroidery hoop.

Ok, here is my very favorite purchase from PIQF. The Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 program! How fun this is!! I had a demo of it, so I knew that it was a good program. So easy to use too. This is my first kaleidoscope that I made along with the original picture of Zelda the Wonder Dog. (Who got to go back to swimming in the river this weekend, she's healed up enough now, hooray!).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Getting Ready for the Holiday

I'm finally getting around to preparing for my favorite holiday, Halloween or Samhain. This is the latest we've ever put up our decorations, but it just hasn't been possible for me lately. But today is the day! We may even attempt a Halloween party next weekend, we'll see. It has been a while since we've done that!

Usually there is a lot of stuff on the windowsills, and hanging up on the walls, from the ceilings and I'll set up the Halloween Houses that we have. I'm not sure what we will do this year, we like to mix it up. My oldest son has really been bugging me this last week to get this going, so it is gonna happen. Not too many Halloween's at home left to celebrate with him after all....

Before today the only seasonal thing I'd done so far was making a new bandana for Zelda the Wonder Dog. Which she has now lost :( somewhere out in the underbrush. Most of our underbrush is poison oak, so I'm thinking I'll just make another one, instead of going out and searching for it. I don't want to have my costume this year be a horrible P.O. rash.

This is a picture of it though, that I snapped with my phone. I thought the scarf turned out pretty cute! I used two Halloween fabrics, and the alphabet stitches to spell out: Boo! I am Zelda, Happy Halloween!
Alex was home sick at the time, so he helped me pick out the fabrics. Note the hot chocolate corners on his mouth. That is how we minister to sickies around here. Buckets and buckets of hot chocolate. Our current fave is from Trader Joe's, Conacado Organic Fair Trade Cocoa (it is from the Dominican Republic).
Off to clear off the windowsills and get the decoration boxes out. A good thing to do while waiting for the cable installer. We're getting digital cable today (hooray!). I decided it was about time, and we need to watch the Cal vs. Stanford game on December 1st, which is only on digital cable channel where we are. Hey, it is on my birthday, so I figured it was a good present and a heck of a lot cheaper than paying big bucks to go to the game. Plus, it is the same as what we are paying for normal cable, plus Netflix, and since it has movies on demand, we can get rid of Netflix, net/net the same cost, and more viewing options. I'm excited we will finally have IFC/Sundance channel!