beck's blog

Thursday, February 23, 2012

C'mon Get Happy Bag

Three years ago I posted an Earth Day tote made from an old Columbia Minerva kit.

Here's the link to that post.

So, last year I decided to take the pattern and make a needlepoint repeating the pattern 3 times across with left over thread.
(The other tote was done in plastic canvas with yarn all from the kit).

So, after I finished this new needlepoint, which took me forever, I made it into a sort of purse slash bag thingy.
Then I was so tired of looking at it I took some photos of it outside and threw it in my Closet Of No Return. (Similar to the Forest Of No Return from Babes In Toyland). I must have listened to this album a million jillion times. I don't even think I saw the movie! LOL! It did come with a storybook though, as I recall.
So, anyway, I never posted about the bag in here. Yet.
Well, here it is, folks.


I used three different colors for the sky as it was just a bunch of old thread. I ran out of the darker yellow there in the one panel and had to use a lighter color.


It's sort of a round barrel shape so I squished it flat and took these photos so you could see it easier.

The top is croched with green variegated Sinphonia yarn. I wanted it to look like the tree tops. I crocheted in a vintage plastic Ecology Flag that I found at a garage sale.

The bottom is made from a smiley flowered fabric. (I tried to keep it like a theme of flowers at the bottom, the start of the tree trunks in the middle with more flowers and butterflys, and the the tree tops for the top of the bag.)


At the very bottom of the bag I mad a peace sign on plastic canvas and sewed that to the end.


This photo is of the inside. I even lined the thing. Sheesh! I never do that. No wonder I was so tired of it afterwards.

Photobucket Photobucket

These photos show the bag with the strap and the drawstring closure.
The strap is made from a cool bandanna from Goodwill.
It had someone's name written on it in one corner in black Sharpie marker. I think it was a girlscout. I guess she wanted to forget her campout when she got this awesome bandanna. Anyway, now it's a strap on my bag.

Man, do you think I took enough pictures of it that day? LOL! I still have more too but I think you get the idea of how it looks.
You can always click on the photos to enlarge them.

I wasn't sure what to call this bag or this post.
It was going to be for another Earth Day but I always forget about it when the day comes.

Hmmm, I think I'll just call it the C'mon Get Happy bag.
The pattern is just so neat.
I'll bet I could crochet it into an afghan too. Hmmmmm........

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Will I Know?

What is a sure sign that you have reached that intangible stage called "Middle Age?"

This was a question posed to us in our Social Studies class at school a long while back.

Kid's hands shot up with their answers.

"You have children of your own."
"Your children get married."
"You become a Grandparent."

Well, I was sure I knew the answer to this question for I had witnessed it myself in my own home.
I raised my hand with what my teacher thought was a perfect answer.

"When people your own age start to die.", I said.
Yep. That was it.

For not too much earlier before that question was raised in my class, Elvis Presley had died.
I know I've already talked about that time with my blog readers when I posted my Elvis afghan a few years ago.

But I remember well how shocked my parents were. How many times my Dad had said, "I can't believe it. He was MY age!"
whenever they had the story on the news. And the news about Elvis' death seemed to last forever.

And so, with the passing of Whitney Houston last week, I had a bit of a déjà vu moment myself.
When I saw that she was born in 1963 I thought, "Wow! She was MY age!"

It really makes you think about our short time in this world.
Where am I going with my life?
Have I done all that I wanted to do?
What am I leaving behind?
Has my life been wasted?

I really hate thinking about all those things because I don't like my answers to them.
I always feel that nothing that I do will ever matter in a hundred years so why worry about it?

So, instead of pondering my own fate, I went and dug out my old 45's.
I must have hundreds of 45's.
I have them sorted alphabetically by the song titles and stored away in cases and a big long file so it wasn't too hard to find the two I was thinking about at this moment.


Here's a photo of my many record cases and my two Whitney Houston singles.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody and How Will I know?

(45's used to come in these neat record sleeves with great photos.) That's when buying a record actually meant something.
Anyway, these pictures of Whitney Houston are how I remember her.

I confess, I've never followed her career and I have no idea what she's been doing for the past twenty-plus years.
Once I started my own family I guess I just became wrapped up in my own world.

Movie stars. Pop singers.
How were they relevant to me as I took my kid to his soccer game?

Perhaps I might have heard her song on the radio as I drove there.
It may have taken me back to the time I first heard it.
A time when my whole life lay ahead of me.
Way before I reached this "Midlife Crises" I'm dealing with now.


Well, I could take these singles and go play them on my ancient turntable which sits idly in the living room.
This photo shows my tower of singles crammed into a converted file organizer. (It's on the left).
I told you I had hundreds of singles.
I ran out of cases and had to find somewhere to put them all!
They don't make 45 record cases anymore.

This is what being middle-aged looks like folks.
It's not pretty.
But it's not too bad either.

When do I decide to give up all these mementos of my past?
Have I reached that point in my life?
How Will I Know?

How Will I Know?

Rest in Peace, Whitney!

Does anyone know what I can make with this absolutely geeky shirt I found at Goodwill a while ago with cartoon likenesses of the Sweathogs from Welcome Back Kotter?


The child-size shirt was so retro I HAD to save it from there.
Rest in Peace, Robert Hegyes, (who played Juan Epstein!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Evil Nostrella - Mistress of the Underworld

Ladies and Gentlemen;
I present to you a portrait of pure evil.....


The one and only;
Evil Nostrella; Mistress of the Underworld ---- ( Well underneath the table at least).
Her nostrils flaring as she pokes her snout upwards and sniffs about the topside layer for food scraps.
She is an monster.

(Don't gaze upon her portrait for too long as your brain might turn to mush and you may be compelled to do some horrible task which you, in no other circumstance, would ever dream of doing!)

She goes by many other names as well; most of which are not decent for repeating in my blog.
But I can tell you that right now she prefers the name Yee.

She has captured and held my family prisoner for 8 to 10 years. (No one can really remember because it's all such a terrifying blur).

Through the years she has chewed her way through countless pairs of eyeglasses, (our optometrist LOVES her), video games, Cds, videos, remotes, furniture, socks, shoes, anything she finds interesting in the garbage, razors, toothbrushes, toilet paper, carelessly placed plates of food - (that has earned her one nickname The Shark), utensil handles, tea bags, and unfortunate Beanie Babies.

I know there's so much more but I'm not wasting any more of your time.
I believe her latest heist was a Cheese-It cracker box half-full and left in the living room.

She has shed so much fur I have finally broken down and bought a Dyson vaccuum for Christmas in hopes that this will save us from Her Hairyness.

Her greatest achievement was learning to open the fridge and scarfing down an entire Easter ham.
We've had to put a belt around the refrigerator door handle to latch it shut but my family has weak members, ( ahem, you know who you are!), who foolishly leave it unbelted, despite the warnings. So she still gets in there from time to time. Whenever she can use her mind-melding techniques to make us forget to latch it. (At least that's the excuse that certain members of the family will claim whenever a breech has been discovered).


Here she is on a couch I bought on e-bay a few years ago. I thought that couch was so cool because it was upholstered with Harry Potter fabric. The Yee totally chewed up that baby and it was thrown out long since.

She's growing older, as are we all. She has lumps and graying hair. (She has become The Gray Lady to some).
She won't be around forever.
But I do believe I will miss her when she leaves.

Perhaps Josh Gates will one day do an episode about her on Destination Truth.
Evil Nostrella - Mistress of the Underworld - Myth, Legend, Beloved Pet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Hippy Hobo Bag

Alright. Now this bag took a while to make because I made it in stages.
Click on the photos to enlarge them please.


Here's one side.


These two sides are made from a great 70's tote kit that I found on e-bay a while back. It was supposed to be a square shaped tote. But I took the yellow burlap fabric and attached it's sides to two round t-shirt centers which I'll show you next.


This end is made from a smiley t-shirt I found at Goodwill. I don't remember what the shirt said, (if anything), but it was too cute to pass up so I got it even though the shirt was never gonna fit me.


This is the other end of the tote. It's made from a Joe's Crab Shack t-shirt also found at goodwill. I'm sure you've seen them before. They are really cute but who wants a shirt that says "Peace, love, crabs" on it? Well, The huge peace sign and the tie-dye fabric is awesome for recycling.

What I did to make the ends is cut off the round smiley and the peace sign from the shirts, (leaving about an inch of extra fabric to work with). Then, you fold over that extra bit of fabric as you crochet around the whole circle so that all the rough ends are no longer exposed. It's not too hard to poke the crochet hook through the cotton t-shirt fabric. If I ever had a problem, I have a leather punch awl that will ream a hole right through but I didn't have to use it much.

Then you just continue to go around the circle shirt logos until you feel you've made them big enough to cover the entire circumference of the front and back of the tote fabric, (remember the yellow burlap I used here?)


Can you see where I attached the circle smiley to the yellow burlap in this photo?
You can also see the strap I crocheted for the bag. It's long so the bag can be slung cross-bodied to lug lots of things inside the bag. I also crocheted al latch with a slot and sewed a button on the other side to close the bag.


Here's the other side where the peace sign attaches to the yellow burlap.
I had to use a really sharp heavy needle to attach these round sides to the yellow burlap.
For the purpose of photographing this I stuffed the bag with two blankets to puff it out so you could see everything.


These next two shots show the strap again, the bag stuffed and then empty, and the latch thingy.



The next two shots I smushed the bag flat after removing the inside blankets. You get the idea of how the sides attach to the front yellow panel in these photos.



OMG! Finally one more photo!


This shows the lining on the inside. I used Winnie the pooh fabric that is a mustard yellow with just some bees flying around.

I haven't even explained how I decorated the sides with the doves and flowers!
The original tote kit had one felt dove and some flower petals and leaves. So I just made lots more to do the other side too. (I made a cardboard template of the dove because it's so beautiful so I can reuse that for anything!)

Instead of just gluing the felt on, (which the kit planned for only the glue had long-since dried up in the tube anyway), I chose appropriate yarn colors to do whip-stitch needlework around each felt piece. It took a lot of time but I enjoyed it anyway.

Then, after all the outside design was done, I lined the insides. The t-shirt sides also have an extra padding and lining back. I wanted to make sure they were good and sturdy.

This would make a great craft tote for a big yarn project in which you needed to carry around lots of yarn and supplies.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cursive is an Art Form

Where is Becky?
What has she been up to?

You know, I don't even know myself.

This year started out bad for me with the flu. Now I have a horrible head cold and it's only mid-February.
I'm tired of being sick.

I've been depressed too, which only makes things worse.

But, enough of me.

I have not stopped working on projects.
And now I have several ones that need to be posted and this all takes so much effort for me because I'm so slow at typing, at figuring out html and resizing pics and blah, blah, blah.

So I'll just jump in, shall I?

I have completed two vintage needlepoints which I bought on etsy. One was barely started and the other not at all.
These are old Zodiac "Gemini" kits from 1977 with real Persian wool to work with. They were so stunning I fell in love with them, (and I don't even have a Libra or Gemini in my family to give them to!) LOL!!
Please click on the photos to enlarge them.


First is the Libra. This was started in the upper right corner but only just an inch or two and then they gave up.
I love the colors on these retro kits! And the stylized cursive is so beautiful!


Next I worked on the Aries. Look at that ram! It's so awesome!


As I was working on these needlepoints, I was hearing in the news all about how they are considering not teaching cursive writing any more in the classroom.
UNBELIEVABLE! I was shocked!
I began to wonder how long it would be before no one could even read this very needlepoint that I was working on!
It made me so sad.

I thought about the movie Time Machine. (The story was written by H.G. Wells.)
Anyway, the original movie was made in 1960. It's about a man from Victorian England, (played by Rod Taylor), who travels forwards in time. He discovers that after years of atomic wars there are two races of people left on earth.
The underground dwellers, (Morlocks) and the above ground dwellers, (the naive, Eloi).

I remembered a scene where the leading man asks the Eloi about their people. Their culture.
Who were they? Where did they come from?
What is their history? Where are their places of learning?
Where is their literature?

He is shown a crumbling old book which the Eloi can't even read.
No one can read or write.
They are like children.

With the advent of computers and e-books, I can see how this could really happen.
If children no longer learn the basics of handwriting or know the beautiful flow of putting thought to paper, what will become of them?

Suppose there were to be some catastrophic events like this in movie?
Suppose computers and "The Grid" were suddenly wiped away.

Will it be too late to relearn how to write?
Will we lose it all?

I thought about how we are now raising a bunch of Eloi children.
People who won't even be able to read the Constitution of the United States.

Perhaps they'll be lucky enough to have someone come along who will interpret it for them.
Someone from the past who will know the value of the written word.