Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm Just So Crafty

Honestly, people might start calling me Martha Stewart.  That's how crafty I am.

I blame this new surge of craftiness on our new patio out back.  The backyard project was started about three weeks ago and the last of the landscaping was completed last Friday.  We had our new patio furniture delivered Thursday, all but the portable propane fireplace which will come tomorrow.  And, we are having friends over tomorrow to "break in" the new space.  Although other parts of the country seem to be in the path of some nasty stuff with hurricane Isaac, the weatherpeople are still saying tomorrow will be a very pleasant day here.

So I got thinking about what I will have for dinner (chili and salad),  what dessert will be (a variety of ice cream treats and creme puffs), and how I will decorate the table.  It wouldn't be right to simply bring out the inside dinnerware.  No.  Martha Stewart wouldn't do that either.

I purchased some picnic plates and flatware, and then I had the brainiac idea to MAKE my own napkins!  How crafty is that!  Maybe it happened because I've been reading blogs of these other crafty ladies lately.  One girl even gave her scotch tape dispensers a makeover!  See here If your tape dispensers need an uplift.  Or maybe I got inspired because I made my way up the rickety attic steps for the first time in about 13 years and saw my box of fabric scraps sitting there looking at me.  (I used to sew.  A lot.)

So I thought why don't I just cut up some of those fabric remnants and make them into disposable tres chic napkins?  And that's when I morphed into a version of Martha Stewart for an hour or so.

Let me show you what I made.  I used four different fabric pieces, with colors mostly in the greens and browns.  (Our patio furniture has brown framework and green seats.  Martha would say "well done" but I don't really care what she thinks.)

First I cut the fabrics into rough rectangles, using a zigzag scissors.  I did not measure.  I did not draw straight lines.  That's the beauty of this.

Using a zigzag scissors spiffs up the edges so you don't have to do any sewing, and it prevents the edges from fraying.  I didn't want to work too hard, because we are gonna just throw these away after one use.

Next I loosely rolled up each napkin, right side out, starting at the short end of the rectangle.

Cut a piece of twine for each napkin, about 15 inches long.

Tie a small bow around each rolled napkin, and then trim the ends to about two inches.

Here they are, all ready for the last embellishments.

I went to the craft store and found some small fall-colored plastic leaves.

With a glue gun, glue a leaf (or a button or what have you, be creative) onto each end of the bows.


So easy, so satisfying, and I suppose so "green."

Just don't ya be callin' me Martha, OK?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Riddle For You

Humor columnist Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post recently commented on a study done by the American Psychological Association that greatly disturbed me.  The study concluded that "the less logical and more intuitive a person is, the more likely he is to believe in a deity."  Mr. Weingarten claims that reading down carefully into the study the words "more intuitive" actually meant "dumber."

Translated, the scientists claim that dumber people are more likely to believe in a god.  That's a pretty heavy duty claim to make.

For example, test subjects were given this  riddle to solve:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10, and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball.  How much does the ball cost?

The study results showed that religious people were more likely to leap intuitively to the wrong, if seemingly obvious, answer of 10 cents.  Nonbelievers tended to reason harder and get it right.

I decided to put the study results to the test, because I do believe in a deity, yet I do not consider myself dumb.  Perhaps you would like to try coming up with your own solution before you look at mine.

Here is my solution:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10  I translated this into equation #1:

       B + b = 1.10

The bat costs a dollar more than the ball.  I translated this into equation #2:

       B = 1 + b

Substituting the value of B in equation #2 back into equation #1, I rewrite equation #1 as:

       1 + b + b = 1.10

Now solve this last equation for b:

      1 + 2b = 1.10

             2b = .10

               b = .05       or    the ball costs 5 cents  

I would like to think that my results blew the study to smithereens, for clearly although I am "a religious person,"  I am also not a dumb person.  I guess right now I just don't like the American Psychological Association.  What do you think?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Balls

The husband/lover/best friend and son and I took a drive yesterday back to son Caleb's alma mater, Penn State, for two reasons.  One, Caleb wanted to shop around in Appalachian Outdoors, which he claims is the best store in the entire world, way too full of all sorts of outdoor gear of every sort, and two, we had some gift cards for the Outback Steakhouse, and Penn State has one of those.

We did accomplish both missions quite satisfactorily, and I must say that Penn State in general seems to still be solidly behind its football team.  Just about every shop window displayed a  Penn State football pride type of sign.

But that really is not the point of my post today.  In the heart of the town as we were heading to our first stop, this funny site passed by us on the main street of the town, advertising itself as the largest ball of hay.  Weird.  Good thing I wasn't driving because I would have rear-ended the car in front of me while I was rubber necking.  Not every day do you see a ball of hay on top of a car.

Anyway, seeing that large ball got me to thinking and vaguely recalling something about some other Largest Balls of _______ elsewhere in the U.S.  So I did some research and did quite a bit of amusing myself in the process.  (It doesn't take much, sometimes.)

Here are some of the other Largest Balls I came across:

First is the World's Largest Ball of Twine, and my husband assures me that if we are ever in its vicinity, he will stop so I can be amazed.

This ridiculous ball was constructed by Francis Johnson over the period of 1950 to 1979.  Its weight is 17,400 pounds and it has a circumference of approximately 40 feet.

Here you can see the foul and disgusting awe-inspiring World's Largest Ball of Chewed Gum.

Yup, that's a lot of chewed gum - 95,200 pieces to be exact.

Next we have the World's Largest Ball of Rubber Bands.  

Office Max sponsored the project of the creation of this monstrosity.  This ball, created by Steve Milton and his six year old son, contains 175,000 rubber bands and weighs in excess of 4000 pounds.  Once it won the title of World's Largest, it happily appeared in Chicago's Thanksgiving Parade.  Awwww.

Get ready to be amazed, for here is the World's Largest Ball of Stamps.

Built in the 1950's in Boys Town, Nebraska, this solid ball of stamps weighs over 600 pounds.  It measures 32 inches in diameter and consists of 4,655,000 postage stamps.  (That's a lot of licking.)  A sign posted on its display stand says "Please do not stick stamps on the ball."

And last we have the World's Largest Ball of Tape.  Weighing 2000 pounds and measuring 12 feet 9 inches in circumference, this orb was made by the Portland Promise Center and completed in Kentucky.

The collection of tapes used in its construction included duct tape, electrical tape, making tape, gaffers tape, packing tape, foil tape, and athletic tape.

Well there you have it folks, I guess some people just have too much time on their hands, and can stand doing the same useless and monotonous thing over and over and over.  Maybe the lure of winning an award is enough to inspire some people to devote so much of their time and energy to these "works of art."

Not me, though.  I guess I just don't have the artistic vision.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign.....

Today I'm just gonna toss out some of the miscellaneous signs I've seen along my travels over the last 3 or 4 months.  If you are a blogger, you will probably agree that blogging encourages you to be more observant of the details around you.  Most of these signs I noticed just made me laugh:

Seen at T & D's Cats Wildlife Refuge, Penns Creek, Pennsylvania

No thank you

Liverpool, Pennsylvania
And, the town of Blue Ball is nearby.
I'm sure there's a Bible verse somewhere explaining this.


That's all I have for now, folks.  Keep your eyes peeled as you travel about, and you may find yourself an extra smile.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Just a Walk in the Park

This is my granddaughter Ellie.

She is cute.

No, she is ADORABLE.

Look again, in case you weren't convinced.

She likes popsicles too.  A lot.

Ellie and I spent the day together recently, and we decided to do what women do best - go shopping.

So, we cruised the town, mostly window shopping.

We found some neat stuff to look at.  These gourds took her eye.  Ellie wanted to touch them.  All of them.  We had to move on.

Down the road a bit, Ellie told me she liked these guys.  

I needed to have a talk with her so we stopped for a bit.

I told her that guys are dumb, especially until they are about 35.  She agreed, so we moved on.

She liked these puppies, but they weren't very friendly.

We stopped at the local pretzel store, and bought some pretzels to take along for the walk.  WE LOVE PRETZELS and think everyone should eat lots of pretzels.

In fact, we headed to the park and shared our pretzels with the duck population there, and they LOVED them too.

Sometimes Ellie didn't want to share, but I told her sharing is a good thing.  And then she smiled.

Just a lovely walk in the park.  And I sure do love that girl!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Unbelievable Fashion!

I am a huge fan of donating.  Over the years I have donated literally truckloads of children's and adults' clothing, toys, books, and miscellaneous household items.  There is no way to put a price on what has been given away, but I'm sure that to the folks on the receiving end, what they acquired was invaluable.  And to me, that is worth far more than keeping the stuff I didn't need anyway.

I've recently been having some health and resultant weight gain issues, and so looking in my closet one day, I realized that a good amount of what was hanging in there no longer fits.

I suppose I could have the mentality that I will lose the weight and then the outfits will again fit, but for some reason I felt more depressed just looking at that clothing than I knew I would feel by cleaning out.

So I did some radical closet surgery.  If we want to talk in surgery terms, I amputated all but the head.  Basically I eliminated 4/5 of what I had, folded it all neatly, loaded it in my car, and took it to our local thrift store.  (Shoes are in another closet and that is for another day.)  I now have only a few pairs of pants, and maybe 10 shirts.  And my judo gi of course.  Somehow it felt very freeing to do this.

As an aside, when my four children were very young, we would all work together to pull off a once a year massive yard sale.  I would weed out their outgrown clothing, and they would sort through all their toys and other belongings.  It would take us several weeks to do the sorting, pricing each item with a sticker, advertising and then the two sale days.  Two of my three daughters would help hold bags for customers, while the third daughter would watch baby Caleb, who was in his playpen near our "paying table," playing and watching the people come and go.

Once the sale was all done, we would count our earnings, and leave town on a mini family vacation.  One year we earned enough to do an overnight trip to Sea World in Ohio, all expenses paid - gas, hotel, food, and admissions.  The kids liked helping to earn our vacations, and in reality, at the time my husband and I didn't have two nickels to rub together, so this was how it had to be done.

Back to my current closet clean-out.  Mind you, all of those clothing items I eliminated were currently in style, which got me to thinking about style.  Right now most folks would not look at me and say, "Wow that is one stylish woman."  On most days I wear a simple comfortable pair of pants and a brightly colored plain t-shirt.  That's just me.  I don't really even care for t-shirts that have writing and slogans on them.  I'm more of a plain jane.  Is is style over comfort, or comfort over style?  I guess that's debatable, depending on the occasion for which a person is dressing.

Here's where I am going with this conversation.  I do love looking at the variety of styles that are out there at any given time.  Saying that does not mean I like all of them, I just like looking at the variety.  And now here's the latest in clothing style that I came across and I think you will get a kick out of watching this short video, as I did:

I don't expect that I will be wearing clothing that seems to move and change on its own any time soon, but I enjoyed being surprised at what a designer can imagine and create.

Alas, there are other closets waiting for me.  And there are always those folks that need my stuff way more than I do.  Seeing what I have seen in various other countries, I have way too much anyway.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fighting on Vacation?

Who does that?  I mean really, aren't vacations supposed to be pleasant, happy times, spent sharing adventures with your most favorite significant other?

Apparently lots of couples DO fight while on vacation.  I recently heard on the radio the results of a British study that has revealed the top reasons couples squabble before leaving or while on vacation.  Here they are in no particular order, although I've saved the TOP reason for fighting at the end:

MONEY (#1) - How much to take and where to get it from.

PACKING - SHE takes too much space up in their suitcase(s), leaving not enough for HIM.  "Honey, must you really bring 12 pairs of shoes?"

EATING - Disagreeing on where to go and eat.

MONEY (#2) - One feels the other has spent too much along the way.


SHE accuses HIM of constantly checking out the other women.  (Shame on you guys!)

Before I began writing this post, I asked the husband/lover/best friend what HE thought might be reasons couples fight while traveling, and he said, "Missing a turn."  Ok, we've had a few wrong turns along the way, but I can honestly say we don't fight when that happens.  We just blame each other a little bit.

So I say, enjoy your time together, whenever and wherever you are headed.  Be grateful for the ability to travel and see and experience new things.  You never know - maybe this will be your last trip!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Signs of Impending Doom

Around here I am seeing the signs.  Most young girls and giggly teens are merrily making their way, with or without mom, to the shops in search of some brand spankin' new clothing for back to school.  The boys, on the other hand, are keenly feeling impending doom school looming right around the corner, and are seen downcast and stumbling and mumbling, dragging their bottom lips behind them on the sidewalk.

Time rolls on and those lazy, fun, longggggggg days of summer are suddenly wizzing by  (how does that happen?) towards that inevitable doom  return to books and papers and projects and studying and learning.

I live in a small town, and these cyclical changes and signs are sometimes the biggest news there is.  And I suppose that can be a good thing.  Here's how I know it's almost TIME:

1.  The borough workers are spiffing up the town, just in time for schools to start - both the local school district and the Bucknell University.  That way, when those Bucknell parents arrive to drop off their freshmen children, they will want to donate MORE money to the college, because it looks so nice around here.  Landscaping is being spiffed up, and road lines and curbs are being repainted.

2.  The local Campus Theater says "Welcome Freshman!"  on its marquee.

3.  Balloons are flying all around town in the Bucknell University school colors.

4.  Hundreds of green and white ribbons (Lewisburg High School's school colors) are tied all along the fence next to the high school football practice field.  

5.  There is a steady stream of college students meandering into the Bucknell University bookstore, no matter what time of day it is.  

6.  Once again the "Slow - School is in Session" signs are hanging at critical crossings in the busiest areas of town.

7.  Our local Wal-Mart has about one half of an acre of school supplies, smack dab in the middle of its empire store.

8.  Flyers are arriving daily in my mailbox, advertising "Lowest prices ever" on back to school clothing and backpacks.  Where and how did that tradition of wearing something brand new on the first day of school get started anyway?

9.  I've noticed the local playgrounds are fairly deserted all of a sudden.

10.  The high school marching band and the high school football team have been sharing the practice field behind the high school.  

11.  Alas, the community swimming pool is closed now for now until its last event in another week or two - the town doggie swim.  

So the seasons come and go and lately I'm getting a few inklings of Fall.  I'm glad I live in a place where the seasons change.  I'd miss those changes if I never had them.  

Now, if I could just get the passing of the years to slowwwww dowwwwwwnnnn.......