Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Did-it-Himself Decor

I never got around to much Halloween decorating this year.  So D2 took matters into his own hands.

Using his favorite artistic medium, LEGO bricks, he spelled out "Haliween" (spelled it himself, too!), and built two skeletons, two pumpkins (on the right), and a yellow leaf (leaning against the W).  They've adorned his windowsill most of the month. 
He's so resourceful.

Speaking of resourceful, check out the costumes we wore to the Trunk or Treat.

Scoot needed some white fur and hairspray to be
an arctic werewolf,

but the other boys used things they found around the house.  D2 wore Scoot's old Buzz Lightyear costume, augmented with wings.  Rollo borrowed Dandelionslayer's robe, some of my jewelry, and Scoot's werewolf expression to be a sorcerer.

The Cat got gat.

As for the Prince and I, we were happy to relax, 
dressed in what we usually wear around the house.

Happy Haliween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


When the S family moved away last summer, they left us some things to remember them by,

including a pair of sturdy armchairs, and a matching footstool.  The Caterpillar immediately began using them this way:

Considering that his friends had probably done the same, and that the chairs had been loved by at least one other family before that, it was not surprising that the upholstery was a little the worse for the wear.  So I decided to replace it.

I took apart the original covers and used the pieces as patterns to cut this lovely Spruce Green Brushed Bull Denim from  I sewed it up more or less according to the original plan, and now the chairs are renewed.

I admit that I was tempted by many other materials.  The fabric store and websites are full of fashionable fabrics that are expensive, unwashable, and feature patterns that I like, but would make Dandelionslayer cringe.  So I decided to be safe, and go for something plain and comfortable,

then accesorize with pillows.  The chairs are a little deep for some of the less-tall members of the family (like me), so I made a couple of supporting pillows.  Then I used some printed cotton and yellow satin from my stash to make pillow covers.  Now I can change the decor easily, if I want to.  I'm already planning Christmas pillows...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Musical Monday

Dandelionslayer earned his master's degree in the middle of nowhere.  Socorro, NM, is the county seat of a mostly empty county.  It's perfect for studying astrophysics, but a little dry in other ways.  Fortunately, past presidents of NMT recognized the difficulty of luring quality faculty to such a place, and took steps.  Trees were planted, lawns watered.  A golf course was installed.  A performing arts center was built, and a pretty impressive series of artists were invited to perform.  And when we were there, at least, student tickets were cheap or free.  So we took in quite a few shows.

Preferring cheap and free ourselves, we usually took the tiny Caterpillar with us.  We became known to the lady in charge of the performances, and she regarded us more or less favorably.  As she introduced one concert, she mentioned that she was pleased to see some children in the audience.  "If," she warned, "your baby should happen to cry"--and the Caterpillar wailed, right on cue.  Everyone laughed, and I spent most of that show in the lobby.

I remember leaving him with a babysitter for a particular show.  Some Celtic-type band was supposed to come, but at the last minute they couldn't make it.  Instead, a young fiddler from Cape Breton Island arrived to entertain us.  Okay, she's our age, but we were young, too.  And Natalie MacMaster certainly did entertain us.  We were hooked.  We went to see her again when she made a quick stop in Albuquerque, a few days before Scoot was due.  We caught a free show she did in Savannah.  Dandelionslayer and I went to see her Christmas concert in Seattle.  So we were excited to see that she was coming to the area again last week.  This time, we took the Caterpillar along, because we knew he'd love the concert, too.  He didn't wail once.

 The music she plays tugs on my Scottish roots, but what I really love is the sheer joy and energy that she radiates while playing.  Here's the Volcanic Jig.  It's one of Natalie MacMaster's own compositions, but she plays the traditional tunes with the same fire.