Archive for July, 2008

We missed it!

July 30, 2008

Just barely missed the earthquake today.  We left home at 11:40am, and we were on the 405 at 11:42 when the radio interviewer stopped in mid-sentence to say “We’re having an earthquake, Stewart” and spoke to the engineer about what they should do until it stopped (took about 15 seconds).   So we didn’t see or feel a thing, being on a major freeway–but we heard its effect in the KPCC studio.  Then we waited to hear where it was centered–because if it was a big one in, say, Santa Barbara, we wouldn’t want to be driving towards Santa Barbara, eh?  Pretty quickly they established that it was SE of Los Angeles, and that there was no damage in the city, and we never had to turn back.

We were both actually kinda disappointed–we like these big-jolt-no-damage quakes–they’re exactly what we need, to relieve pressure on the faults so the “big one” doesn’t have to be quite so big.  And it’s fun in a fire-drill way, to feel it at work or in a shop, around other people, all remembering again, oh yeah, humans live on moving plates…

This, on the other hand, IS me…

July 27, 2008

Deborah, who blogs at Pipecleaner Dreams, just posted an interview with me about being Jake’s mom, at 5 Minutes for Special Needs. Deborah’s been a longtime supporter of the Disability Blog Carnival I organize (twice a month since fall 2006), and her own blog is always quality stuff, so I gladly agreed to be featured. (But I still think I sound daffy.)


July 25, 2008

Welcome visitors from the inaugural Carnival of Green Crafts!  Pennamite was linked for the “Street Flotsam Collage Pages” posted last month.    There are some amazing links in the carnival, especially the loveseat slipcover and pillows made from twelve pairs of past-their-day jeans… The post at Crafting a Green World about natural dyes reminded me of the time I colored a bunch of crumbled cardstock with turmeric–all you need is a ziplock bag, a couple spoonfuls of turmeric and enough water to make it soupy… here are the results:

buff cardstock, before and after

buff cardstock, before and after


July 24, 2008

Sheert, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

A sheert? Yeah, a shirt made from a sheet, or in this case, remnants of two vintage sheets. This is made with the Simplicity New Look pattern 6809, which I’ll definitely use again–it was simple, it fits, it was forgiving of my carelessness, and it’s a good shape for lightweight sheet fabric. And now I’ve made something with sleeves!

These sheet pieces were acquired in Lisa C.’s summer skirt sheet swap–thanks for the fun sheets! (yes, those are flamingos and palm trees)

Summer vacation in Greece (1966 musical version)

July 20, 2008

So a Mediterranean vacation isn’t in the cards this summer? This clip from a 1966 Greek musical film, featuring Aliki Vougiouklaki, is a cheap alternative. Pick up some Greek take-out, put on your brightest capri pants (or bikini), and watch out for the chorus of speedo-clad dancers at 5:32…

And yes, I want a pink-and-green floral sun hat just like Aliki’s.  She can keep the matching pantsuit, though.

Doppelganger alert, #5

July 19, 2008

I am also not the New Zealand artist named Penny Richards. She used to work as a zoological illustrator–that sounds pretty cool. Her diary at the site linked includes such sage wisdom as “big paintings are cool–but don’t make them so big that they don’t fit in the car.” From the samples of her work, it looks like New Zealand is an excellent place to find landscapes and seascapes worth painting.

Me, doing chalk art

July 19, 2008

In April, I enjoyed participating in “Chalk It Up,” a day of chalk art to benefit the South Bay Hands on Art programs in the Redondo Beach Schools. A Scottish man was taking video, and I knew it would eventually turn up online–and it has! Here’s me, towards the end of my work on a 5×5 recreation of a Frida Kahlo self-portrait. I’m the first interview on the video–Nell’s the pink t-shirt in the background.

Frankenblouse #1

July 12, 2008

Frankenblouse #1, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

One of my reasons for learning to sew is that I have a closet full of thrifted clothes that don’t fit me, but that I like for some reason, and want to wear somehow. So I’m putting together the best parts of two blouses to make one–thus, “Franken-blouse.” This is the result of my first attempt–and I’m pretty happy with it!

The solid peachy-pink blouse I used in its entirety–just slit it down the front. Then I attached much of the front of a second blouse, and reused the sleeve trim from the second blouse too. No extra trim or fabric required–and now two garments that were only taking up closet space are replaced with one garment that will actually see some wear. Yeah!

(Project also posted to Wardrobe Refashion.)

Doppelganger alert, #4

July 7, 2008

I am also not the Penny Richards who serves as “National Blackberry Coordinator” for the Department of Primary Industries in Australia. “Her role is to coordinate implementation of the National Blackberry Strategy (2001) and to oversee cooperative approaches to blackberry management across Australia. She provides support to the National Blackberry Taskforce (NBT) as Executive Officer.”

Why does Australia have a National Blackberry Strategy to implement? Well, as the links above explain, some varieties of blackberries aren’t native to Australia, and are in fact classed as a weed (a delicious weed, but nonetheless). Cultivated, gardened exotic blackberries are nice, but when they grow wild, they’re a serious problem. “Blackberry thickets provide good homes to destructive feral pests such as wild pigs and foxes.”

But it’s a lovely job title, right?

Busy weekend

July 7, 2008

Outdoor floor, Getty Villa, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

It’s fun having relatives visit–because we hit the Los Angeles attractions we never quite get around to seeing on our own. This weekend, we went up to the newly restored Griffith Observatory on the 4th of July, and yesterday to the (also newly restored) Getty Villa in Malibu. The floor above is in one of the smaller outdoor courtyards at the Villa. We went to Pompeii last year, so I think Nell understood the idea, that this was a lavish recreation (with many original items) of a Roman villa like those buried under the ash of Vesuvius.

Because it was Sunday, there were children’s activities in the covered walkway of the Outer Peristyle, so Nell and I made elaborate paper helmets with various Roman motifs. Mine is very, uh, collagy; Nell did more marker drawings on hers. We both chose Owl medallions for the forehead piece. And we wore them around the museum for the rest of the day.

We also enjoyed the Villa’s herb garden. We went on a brief children’s tour, and they let the kids pick herbs for a bouquet garni (gave out strings for tying). We got some marjoram and basil, some tarragon and bay leaves, some chamomile and mint, and some costmary. What’s costmary? I wondered too. It’s got a lovely scent!

The Observatory and the Getty Villa both have free admission.  If you come to Los Angeles with kids, instead of blowing their college fund on Disney and the other theme parks, try these (and the California Science Center, for a third free place that’s great for the whole family).