Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rambling: Hobby Overload!

I used to sew. Long ago. Well, not that long ago, but it's been a couple of years since I fired up the sewing machine.

All that time, I've had two skirts hanging in my closet, one in linen and one in silk noil, both made from the HotPatterns Miss Moneypenny Trumpet Skirt pattern. These were, uncharacteristically, finished projects - I altered the pattern, made the muslin, and cut out, stitched, topstitched, and even (gasp) hemmed the skirts. I even hemmed them with a little extra in the back, to account for, er, extra on my person, so that they'd hang even. Then I hung them in the closet and never looked at them again.

Until today. When I wore the linen one because the only other option was black polyester, on a summer day. And I liked it. It was nice and long and swishy, and the little flare at the hem worked just the way it was supposed to, and it looked good with my new girly sandals. And after that couple of years of aging, I was no longer aware of any flaws in the construction - at least, on the outside.

So, of course, now I want to start sewing again. Even though I just took up knitting. And there are still the 100+ books and chicken frying and gardening and blogging and the tricycle and my likely participation in NaNoWriMo and and and. And. (And now I've gone and written a post about my hobby cycles. Here.)

But I'm doomed. I already went to look at PatternReview. And HotPatterns. And no doubt I'll be looking through pattern books before the month is out. And digging through old boxes to find, I fervantly hope, that already-altered skirt pattern. And inventorying my remaining fabric and pattern stash.

Will I actually start something, and finish it, and use it? That is the issue. If I start small, I might. Like with pajamas.  Or, for months I've been imagining a Chicken Frying Coat to keep me from smelling like the chicken after I fry it - something silly, with three-quarter-length sleeves that won't catch fire, and something to tie a kitchen towel to for constant hand-wiping. I could make it in, say, blue chambray, with white pique cuffs, and applique a chicken on it...

Maybe I should lie down with a cold compress for a while.

Image: By PKM. Wikimedia Commons.

Rambling: Rambling

I've been Away. From the blog, that is. From this blog, that is. On the other blog, I've been babbling away happily about perfume.

I suspect that the time that would normally belong to poor Rambling Chicken has been devoted to making progress my 100+ books. I'm up to forty-eight out of the hundred, thirteen of them in July. If I can keep that up I may break one hundred.

There's been very little gardening or cooking, the things that I most often Chicken Ramble about.  And I haven't had any strong opinions about blogging, or plastic, or clutter, or books.  I did have a recent internal Onion Tantrum. (Why do they insist on peeling all the papery skin off of the onions at the grocery, so that they mold faster? Why why why why why?) But it didn't seem worthy of a full post.

So did I just post to tell you about what I'm doing and not doing? It appears that I did just that. Now that I've broken the ice, maybe I'll return sooner.

Meanwhile, I present Still Life With Shoes. Because I'm strange that way.

Image: Mine.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Plastic Reduction: Emz Blendz Shampoo Moons

I've posted about our increased efforts to reduce plastic use, inspired by our viewing of the movie Bag It!. One of the changes under consideration was switching from shampoo in plastic bottles to shampoo in the form of shampoo bars. But I never quite got around to sending off for any shampoo bars.

Himself pointed out that we have a fine independent soap purveyor, Emz Blendz, a fifteen-minute walk away. We went in, and indeed there were shampoo bars - referred to as "shampoo moons", because they're formed in a nice faintly irregular ball shape. And they're wrapped in paper. I bought one Mandarin Mint and one Tree Hugger shampoo moon, and started using the Mandarin Mint.

I can't tell you how Tree Hugger is, because what seems like dozens of shampoos later, Mandarin Mint is not appreciably smaller than it was when I bought it. And, yes, it's working - five or six swipes on my long hair are enough for a head full of soapy bubbles. The writeup in the store states that conditioner is "optional" and, yep, I don't have that "oh, no, I forgot to use conditioner" experience when I brush my hair out afterward.

The scent of Mandarin Mint is a nice, clean, quiet almost-edible mint, like the best versions of those little soft mints that they used to offer at restaurants. Comparing it against actual mint plants, it makes me think more of Corsican mint than peppermint or spearmint, though it doesn't seem like a dead ringer for any of them. (Maybe that's the mandarin, shifting the mint spectrum a little?)

So the shampoo bar experiment is a success, and I'd definitely recommend the Emz Blendz version.

Image: By Immanuel Giel. Wikimedia Commons.

Link: More things to do! (In this case, felted knitting.)

Just a quick pointer to my post about taking up felted knitting, in The Perfume Blog, because it suddenly seems relevant to this blog.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rambling: The Tricycle Has Arrived!

Woohoo! The tricycle is here! Actually, it's been here for nine days, I'm just a little late in the arrival announcement. It looks exactly like its picture. I accessorize it with this lovely helmet - I fell in love with the 1960's linoleum pattern.

It turns out that while, yes, you never forget how to ride a bicycle, that knowledge doesn't altogether translate to a tricycle. So I'm still learning. That third wheel, and the plane made by those three wheels, changes things.

For example, you don't steer by leaning, you steer entirely with the handlebars, which was unexpectedly difficult to accept. I almost drove smack into three parked cars the first day, and had to ride in sine waves up and down the bike path for a while before my muscles, rather than just my logic circuits, started to master the obvious fact that you go in the direction that you turn the handlebars. And corners are risky - a modest speed is required, because you really don't want to lean and lift one of those wheels. And when the road tilts sideways, you tilt sideways. And you have to remember that a space wide enough for the front wheel isn't necessarily wide enough to ride through.

The good part is that I can sit still, with both feet on the pedals. For some reason, I really enjoy pulling up to a stop sign and stopping, without having to put a foot on the ground and do that little balance dance. And I can ride just as slooooowly as I please, without tipping over.

And, of course, there's all that cargo capacity. Enough for blankets and books and bottles of Coke and water bottles, for a luxurious day in the park. Or a bunch of groceries. Or, theoretically, plants.

I'd forgotten how much fun a cycle was - I haven't really ridden one in years. When I was a teenager I used to ride around mindlessly for hours, and I'm looking forward to doing that again. (And also hauling fried chicken to the park. I do have my priorities.)

Image: Wikimedia Commons.