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Archive for May, 2008

More East Lansing Art Fair Photos

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I put up a photoset on Flickr with East Lansing Art Festival photos on it. There are merely 22 photos on this one, as opposed to a few others I’ve put up recently (I am getting my money’s worth at Flickr these days, it’s something like $25 a year for all this storage, a deluxe package I upgraded to from the small free package, totally cool.)

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Saturday night we attended a music party around a bonfire. I think it’s official, we are not having any more snow till autumn. Or so I declare it after a bonfire gathering!

The coolest thing at that party was that the former members of the band “The Weepers” were there and they did a little mini-reunion. It was basically reminiscing for them and a concert for the rest of us. Wonderful, no matter what you call it. Once upon a time, Brian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) opened for The Weepers at the Creole Gallery. Only good memories there, I assure you.

On Sunday I just could not get out of bed in time to see Kitty Donahoe at 11:30. Mind you, I typically go to bed many hours after midnight. Although I may wake up an hour or two before noon, I don’t usually have to be fully awake and dressed and ready for the world that early. I love Kitty… for years I said she had the most beautiful voice in Lansing. She doesn’t live here anymore but her voice is still lovely.

mysticshakecrazyrichardbanana16.jpgBy the time I got to town I spent a little while with Brian looking at art booths and visiting Altu’s food booth. It seemed everywhere we went, we ran into people we knew. We saw Linda Abar, my voice coach when I had to learn how to talk again (after 31 days of total voice rest, not a single word of talking for a month). Linda just had her debut CD release concert at the UU church the same day we had our concert at the Rendezvous. She said she had a wonderful big turnout in spite of all the competition that night (Steppin’ in It was also playing that night to a huge audience in town).

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The highlight of the early day was the Mystic Shake concert. These guys are friends and colleagues, and I never tire of their optimistic energy on stage. They just make you smile!

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At the concert, there were kids dancing, and people shaking the cans this band is known for (soft drink cans full of beans and spray painted red). At one point, Ben went out in the crowd and handed out bananas to those who wanted one. It was really fun to watch him encourage a toddler to take one.

And it was fun… Crazy Richard, the juggler from Ann Arbor, happened along as Ben was peddling bananas. Richard obliged by juggling three bananas for a short while. Much fun.

But the best part? The guys noticed a little boy who had a toy electric guitar and who was wearing it with a little guitar strap around his shoulders. They invited him up for their last number.

He was SO excited! I just loved every moment of watching the interaction between the boy and Pat in

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particular, who was standing next to the boy. They jumped up and down like rock stars for a while, then when Pat stopped, the kid kept going jumping left and right. Much fun, absolutely harmless (you couldn’t hear the

kid’s instrument at all in the audience), and a very bright spot in one child’s life. Those guys ROCK.

The last concert I attended was Seth Bernard and Daisy May. I’ve spoken of them here before. What a moving experience it is to hear them play and sing. Their harmonies are wonderful, they are strong at playing their instruments, being an ensemble, singing solo or in harmony.

They had a friend join them on percussion (a box that you sit on, where it makes different sounds depending on where you hit it with your hand). I am missing his card right now but I want to say Mike from Kalamazoo. They also had Jen Sygit come up and sing harmony for their final number, Shine On. Love that song.

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It was a wonderful time at the fest this year. I have not enjoyed it so fully in years. Yes, it did help that this year we did not have rain. Cold can be cured by much wool, and because of that I had a great time.

East Lansing Art Fair

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

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I spent two days in downtown East Lansing, Michigan this weekend. It miraculously delivered almost-dry weather, though this festival is legendary for its ability to draw rainy days. I felt a little sprinkling for a few minutes on Saturday, although there were mean gusts of wind which occasionally broke artpieces which had been on display for sale (boo hoo).

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I do not tolerate cold well, so I bundled up properly and dove into the first summery event of the year. I was SO ready for this season, for snow-defying events, that I decided to load up the wool and pretend it was summer. I’m glad I did.

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The first day, Jen Sygit opened the main stage. What a talent. Yes, she’s my friend but I admired her work long before I knew her personally. She has a rich and expressive voice, she writes wonderful lyrics, has serious talent on the guitar, attracts great backup musicians, and writes songs so rich (lyric and melody) that you find yourself singing them the rest of the day. She’s remarkably humble about all this, but I’m a serious fan and I rushed myself to the festival so that I could hear her set.

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Other friends who played on Saturday were Laura Bates and Brandon Foote (with friend Joe Bakaitis on bass). They closed down the festival at the west stage. These guys have been playing music with one another for many years, in a good number of bands including Hot Toe Mitty which got good press when they were together. Laura has a beautiful trained voice (without pretense) and I especially enjoy her vocals.

Here are photos from the two above shows! (Notice the dancing child in the first photo.)

Two Beautiful Boys

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Kristi‘s two beautiful boys stopped to say hi to me at the East Lansing Art Fair. Actually, Daddy was there (and Kristi), too… but I can’t help over-focusing on the babies.

This photo shows them in a nutshell. Babe on left, observing. Babe on right, trying to escape as he charms the world. I adore them both. And their parents, too.

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Kristi and I met on the Internet. Really. Despite media worries to the contrary, I’ve met some really important people in my life on the Internet.

I don’t frequent the “hey Baby” chatroom, maybe that is why??? Could be. Instead I hang out with other knitters and self-employed people online. And I’ve had a couple of friends since I think 1997 who I met this way. Who I still stay in contact with, some several times a week. Just sayin’.

If I’d been worried about such things, I’d have missed out on these spectacular people who are now important to me. I’m so glad I knew better.

Sweetie-licious Pie Pantry

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

I took my friend April and her daughter, Isabel, out a few days before Mother’s day. We went to Sweetie-licious pie pantry (also known as Sweetie Pie’s). They are a blue-ribbon pie-making kitchen which also has beautiful lunches. April had never been there. April loves food, loves cooking. It was a great treat to take her.

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My mom likes fruit pies a lot, and since I would not see Mom for Mother’s Day I got her a pie and left it at her house for her to discover when she did get home.

We had a wonderful time. The ladies at this spot are really proud of their food and the environment they have created for their customers. It is a joy to be in their presence.

The shop is in downtown DeWitt, one town north of Lansing. It’s worth the drive, my friends.

Spring: the Up and the Down

Friday, May 16th, 2008

The Down Side of Spring

Spring has sprung, as Daddy would say. It is lush and green and there are flowers everywhere.

Everything bloomed at once this year, and it is causing allergy trouble for people who usually do not have problems. I was doing fine with the flowers.

Then it rained. All the mildew that happens when it rains, attacks me personally. I can’t breathe as well, and I get bad headaches. I’m on day 3 with this one, and Excedrin doesn’t make a dent. Only sleep makes me feel better. At least it’s gorgeous outside, and there is no snow. Maybe no snow is worth a headache sometimes!

The Up Side of Spring

I planted rhubarb, little baby plantlets that were growing at the base of some big plants at my mom’s house. I did this last year and by mid-summer the new plant was doing better than the one that came with the house years ago. The plant I just put in is looking unhappy at this point. I remember that I have learned in the past to “water the stick.” Even when all the leaves fall off, or when I’m down to one single leaf, I water in the faith it’s not dead yet.

Let’s face it, those weeds we try to eliminate? If you strip them of leaves and take the stem to ground level, the root alone is enough for it to make a comeback.

One year we transplanted a peony. It got down to one very sad, drooping leaf and I watered it each day anyway. Now it’s almost hip-high 5 years later, with many blossoms just ready to pop. So I’m planning to treat that droopy rhubarb plant the same way and hope for the best.

The Best of the Up Side

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the first of two days of the East Lansing Art Festival. It’s the first summer-like event we have in these parts, each year. I will be sure to hear Jen Sygit perform, and Mystic Shake, Kitty Donohoe, Seth Bernard and Daisy May and other musical friends… as well as some acts I don’t know from out of town.

Usually it rains at some point during Art Fest weekend. This weekend it’s just a chance of rain but they are expecting chilly temperatures (in the mid-60’s F) and wind gusts up to 33 mph. One more time I’ll need to bundle up well. I do not tolerate cold well at all.

It is very good to have the Art Fair. It is very good to have the promise of summer. It’s not so good to have this headache… but this, too, shall pass.

Over-Busy, “Over-Yessed,” Happy (& Surprise Flowers)

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

pinktulipsurprise.jpgI am a woman with passion for many things. Because of this, I tend to say yes to things that sound like I would like to do them. Often I say yes based on my enthusiasm, and not on the amount of time available to do them.

Right now I’m in the process of crossing off as many of the items I’ve said yes to, which are starting to pile up in an embarrassing way. If you say yes, people think you mean you have time. I need to realize that many things take a LOT more time than I imagine they might.

From Friday night until Monday evening, I had a chock-full schedule. It was good stuff but I was not home much. Tuesday was wonderful but it involved seeing Sarah, Deb, Sara, Jo, Mom and Altu. Mostly one person at a time, except for Sara & Jo who I saw together.

And I did see Brian, of course. I left at 10am and got home after 9pm, did a little email and listened to Progressive Torch and Twang on WDBM and then it’s already past time to sleep. I’m nodding off as I type this, but that’s part of my life right now.

The wonderful part of all this is seeing the life I have. It is full of people I care about, people who make my life worthwhile. The hard part is trying to do things like get enough sleep and get things done that I promised. I’m working on a project for my Mom right now that I had hoped to do in December. Sigh.

I had a series of yesses to deal with, a list that got too long back in 2007. I got over-yessed back in the fall. And I’m working out of that situation slowly. After the job for Mom, I have a few knitting promises for the kids I teach at Foster Center. Then I’m working on not doing that again without really thinking about it. I do love helping where I can, especially when I truly have a skill my loved one does not have.

Also I keep losing things and that makes it hard to be efficient. I can not find the cord for my Kodak digital camera anywhere. I have not been able to download photos from my camera since the 5th of May, over a week ago. I will now need to give up and just go buy a replacement cord, but that takes time.

Meanwhile, the photo today is a tulip that showed up at our house in an odd spot. I may remember seeing tulip leaves there before but I had never seen a bloom. This one showed up a couple of weeks ago against the house. About a yard/meter and a half out from the house, was a single grape hyacinth as well. The second was surely buried there by a squirrel, as I planted those in the side yard, not the back yard, and this was just in a random place. The tulip, I’m not sure.

Photos of Dancers

Monday, May 12th, 2008

On April 27, five members of the Habibi Dancers (including me/Eudora, front right in first photo) performed as guests in a show at Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. We were invited by a troupe which rehearses at Foster Community Center, as we do. The Ballet Maria Luz, another troupe which rehearses at Foster, was also represented in the show.

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greatdancers.jpgI stood at the side of the stage as I often do, taking photos when I was not preparing to dance myself. I have uploaded a number of photos (34 total) to my flickr site as a photoset of just that show.

There are some fun shots, and some quite expressive ones with wonderful costumes… the photoset contains a lot more photos of the Mexican dance with double-circle skirts and the flamenco soloist, among others.

I have decided to give in to my enthusiasm for these photos and share a good number of them here. If you enjoy these, click the link above to see more.

flamenco1.jpgIf only you could see them actually dancing! There was so much good perfoming at that show, it seemed every single dancer was at their best. Wonderful.

I’m so glad we were invited. (I have lost my program so I don’t know the name of the troupe… if anyone out there knows, please feel free to let me know and I’ll update this post.)

Of course, this was three weeks ago. Life sure gets in the way… I finally processed the photos last Tuesday and now a week later I’m telling you about it. Whew!

Photos, though? They are timeless. The time passed since the performance does nothing to mar the excitement of these images.

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Kathleen’s Portrait

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

We spent the day with Brian’s family on Saturday. Many photographs were taken. Brian took this one of his sister Kathy, using my camera. Yes, this is the magnificent cook behind “Kathleen’s Vegetarian Kitchen.”

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She is an artist, in the painting/drawing studio as well as in the kitchen. We get along really well, and I often wish I lived next door to Kath and Pedro (in Jacksonville, Florida… that will not happen this year, anyway). However, it is always wonderful to see them and we do usually connect at least once or twice a year.

I think this photo shows the fun, beautiful person I call my friend… in a most excellent way. Maybe you would like to go and visit her cooking blog. Even if you eat meat, you will find wonderful recipes and links to recipes she found and liked on other websites.

I’m excited about a link she includes to Strawberry Ice Cream (without egg, which works for my allergies). I also just found a link to homemade ricotta cheese which would make a really wonderful lasagna, after years without cheese in lasagna. (I can not have yeast/mold foods such as cheese and yogurt, but after 5 years of not eating dairy I can have milk and non-aged dairy products, it’s a wonderful gift to have it back.)

For the record, the 50th Anniversary event was delightful. We played a lot of music both at the official luncheon and at a gathering at another sister’s home after the luncheon. This family is very big on jam sessions, and there were two jams happening at the same time at Karen’s house.

I again have over 300 photos on my camera which I have not unloaded to my laptop. And since my friend Rae is out of state visiting her Mom for Mother’s Day, I’m going to do my best to help out at her store a few hours on a few different days… we will see how much blogging I get done with this more-busy-than-usual week. I may be posting without photos if need be.

Happy 50th Anniversary

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Brian’s parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday. It will be a very big deal, with their 8 kids and a zillion spouses and grandkids, plus other relatives and friends all gathered. I’m particularly excited to see Brian’s sisters (and a brother-in-law) who live in far away states.

This clan gets along very well. In fact, at Thanksgiving a few years back I sat with the young adults (our nieces and nephews) and one exclaimed out loud how much they loved their family. This was followed by other young adult family members agreeing wholeheartedly.

Personally, I am the proud spouse of their 3rd child. I adore Brian deep down into my cells. He is one of the finest human beings I have ever met, and he loves me and treats me well every day. I don’t know his parents as well as I might, but I am deeply grateful for their son who is now my husband, and all the bits that they contributed to how he became the person I appreciate today.

I am not used to big crowds; the gatherings this family can put together sometimes overwhelm me. (My family, on both sides, has six people in this state even if you count our partners.) I love people, and I like every single one in this crowd. It embarrasses me sometimes that the more activity in the room, the more I sort of get fired up, over-active and anywhere from a little too loud to distracting. When I can stay at the physical edge of the crowd, where it’s a little less crowded, I do better.

I want everything to go well for Larry and Marilyn in their event tomorrow so I am going to focus on calmness and moderation for the day. I’m taking some knitting to keep my hands busy during the parts of the event where that would be appropriate. They know I knit pretty much all the time I sit still, it is not a problem for them, though I won’t knit at their special church service.

Of course, since we had a concert event in Pontiac (north of Detroit) Friday night and got home past midnight… well, we won’t be getting much sleep. It should be a wonderful day, in any case. The weather service says sun tomorrow, though it will be chilly. We’ll take sun!

Spring Flowers

Friday, May 9th, 2008

These photos have been taken over the last week and a half. I do not remember a spring so full of flowers. Often the flowers start too soon and we have a frost which kills a lot of buds. This year, the cold held on so long that nothing bloomed until we were pretty much past freeze warnings. We have not had many really warm days, maybe two, so spring still feels tentative, but it’s clear we will not see any more snow, at least.

Here are the daffodils my father planted in the early 1970s, still coming up at Mom’s house:

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I took that photo in the twilight so I ended up with flash, and the yellow is sort of over-exposed. Still, I delight in the big standard yellow daffodils and the big standard red tulips that return each year, more than 30 years after my father died. What a gift these are!

Here is a view in the neighborhood behind our house:

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What a view! Look at all the colors on the trees and bushes, all at one time. Wonderful.

And two views of a bush I have never noticed before. Actually, it seems I’ve seen these as small decorative bushes, but this one is as tall as me and in front of a victorian brick house in Old Town. Does anyone out there know what this bush is? It is absolutely beautiful and I think I’m in love… (unfortunately, our yard is very small and I don’t think there is room for a bush as tall as me, but I can dream)

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Here is a detail. The flowers turn lacy and white at the edges when they start to fade and wither. This actually makes them more beautiful, if you ask me:

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I think all that knitting and other creative work we have done on behalf of the spring’s arrival, may just be starting to work!

Student Projects

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Paulette came to me not two months ago. She had a dream, to knit socks. First she had purchased a hat pattern, and I showed you that project two weeks ago. She finished that first hat, did a second, and started in with toe-up socks.

I present to you the foot portion of Paulette’s debut sock:

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At this point she needs to knit ribbing for the leg as long as she wants to do so, and bind off loosely, and she will have a wearable sock.

I have never seen an adult starter knitter progress so quickly. I don’t expect this but she’s a determined person who is plowing through the learning curve with lightning speed. Go, Paulette!

In other news, I taught my Polymer Clay Translucents & Foils class at Yarn Garden in Charlotte last weekend. Lindsay, who has owned that shop for one year now, filled that room with 8 happy participants. One was her grandma. Grandma had this gorgeous wound “cake” of Noro wool/angora yarn and wanted buttons to go with it. Even though I confess I’m not a neutral person, have never been known for subtlety (I go for contrast every time), I helped her figure out how to make what *she* wanted for *her own project.* Just look at how nice those buttons are for the yarn!

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Of course, the web is just not good at displaying subtleties in color but trust me when I say that she was pleased, I was pleased, and the whole group agreed that she got the buttons she had been working for.

Knitting Spring into Existence, Once More

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Bonnie in Illinois (blcknits on Ravelry) has posted a few projects which were her spring-inducing projects this year. She has given gracious consent to sharing the photos here with you. Thanks, Bonnie!

First she posts a Breabag by Norah Gaughan (I believe it’s a Berrocco pattern). This was a gift for her 18 yr old. She lined it and made a wonderful handle complete with beads:

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She also made two-color footies (socks without legs) in colors I love for spring. These were for her 17 yr old. I tell you what, if she has teenaged girls liking her knitting, she is doing something right!!! (I sure wish I’d made those footies for me…):

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Fun with PhotoShop

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Our friend Ben Hassenger is playing a musical gig with hubby Brian this Friday. I’ve been to a few concerts in the last few weeks where Ben played (one where Brian played, too). Ben wrote to ask me if I had a photo of the two of them next to one another, for promo purposes.

I had a few photos of the concert they both played, but they were not near one another. In fact, I was photographing from one side so Ben looked bigger in his photos than Brian in his. Here is what I found.

Photo of Brian:

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Photo of Ben:

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I made Ben’s photo smaller and cropped Brian. Then I changed the color balance on both of them so that the colors looked right together.

I overlapped the two photographs and then I had a problem with the microphone sort of being cut off in thin air. And Brian’s shoulder being totally cut off vertically behind the microphone. The background was easy to airbrush/rubberstamp so that it was seamless, the other bits were harder. I literally had to airbrush the background away from behind a microphone and superimpose it on top of the seam between the photographs. I also had to use a rubberstamp tool to paint in what looks something like Brian’s shoulder behind it.

In the end, here’s what I came up with:

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Whew! It worked. you look at the faces, and it’s easy to ignore the imperfections of the seam in the middle.

Cyndi’s SportZigBag

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I ran into Cyndi on Saturday at Threadbear as I was finishing up a class. She had to show me her finished SportZig. I was thrilled, of course.

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Then she continued to flatter me (I eat it up). She had taken this project on a ski weekend (early March) and knit it in one day. In the end, she was able to get two bagz out of the yarn she purchased for one.

Way cool!

Here is a photo of my SportZig and hers. Guess which is whose? (Hint… purple is my neutral, or as Brian says, it’s my beige. Never mind I like turquoise, wild hot colors and rainbows… Cyndi looks wonderful in red. Hers looks more like cinnabar in person than in this photo, I just could not get the colors true. You can see the bags turned out well.