Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fabulous New Refashion/Recycle Book: “The Sweater Chop Shop”


Just released two days ago:  this colorful book on turning recycled wool sweaters into new, beautiful garments and useful objects for the house.   

The Sweater Chop Shop is my new favorite book on clothing recycling and wardrobe refashioning.   It’s well written with clear instructions and illustrations.  It has a wonderful balance of introductory information and let’s-get-started enthusiasm.

Ms ffrench’s basic method is to create felted fabric from good quality wool sweaters in your washing machine and dryer, and then using the resulting fabric to create garments and household items. 

You can make the Renaissance Top with Bell Sleeves pictured on the book cover.  Or a Basic Pullover, or an Empire Vest with Gathers.  For the home, how about this:   

The processes involved are so simple that one doesn’t even need a sewing machine.  All the projects are designed to be sewn by hand; in fact, the hand sewing is a design element. 

Also—and this is important—the designs in this book are just cool, fresh, and funky.  Having now looked at several wardrobe refashioning books, I’m not interested in another way to cut up a t-shirt or make a halter top out of a scarf.  Those might be fine for twenty-something women, but I need something more substantial and higher-quality.  I found some truly new, innovative ideas here.   


Crispina ffrench photo from her blog,

Best of all, the designs are adaptable to pretty much any body, personality, age, or gender.  The author gives detailed instructions on how to make basic garments, then follows with a chapter on individual elements to personalize them, such as hoods, various pockets, etc.  If you don’t care for the rough-hewn, handmade look that’s pictured in the book, it would be easy to refine the designs by using a sewing machine and hiding the stitching. 

I’m sold.  I have to run to the basement now, to get my four old sweaters out of the washing machine and into the dryer for the next step in the Sweater Chop.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

It’s All in How You Look At It

Curiousity.jpg Curiosity image by Migue1969

“Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle.” 

Eric Butterworth

“In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.”

Simone de Beauvoir

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Songs for Facing the Music

Black-In-White-Big-11.jpg true face of the bunny image by running_pinstripes

No more hiding for me. 

We knew it was coming but we didn’t know when.

My husband has gotten a job out of state, in Las Vegas.  With the Air Force. 

The job situation in the glorious place where we live is so dire this offer is too good to pass up.  It will be a three-year commitment, at the end of which we’ll have health insurance for life and a secure way to send our daughter to college.   

music.jpg music image by stayR3AL

Why am I sad?  I usually am when things change, even for the better.  I’m also, of course, relieved and a little bit hopeful.  Yet sadness is a default emotion.  Maybe that’s why I wrote a series of posts about depression a few months ago.  Maybe I’m just a sad-sack, a fruit-loop, or a box of instant jello.  I don’t know.   

We will not, at least at first, be living all together in Las Vegas.  More specifically, at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.  SeeSpotRun and I will be staying in Missoula for at least the first of the three years. 

This is probably my biggest worry.  SSR!  What do you need, dear daughter?  How will you tell me what your twelve-year-old self needs?  How will I know?  Is it better to stay, or to go?  

manraycountenance.jpg manray face image by bryanmatluk

Change always brings growth, but it also throws me back into my bad coping habits.  I fear more, argue more.  If I’m not careful, pretty soon I’m reliving every change that’s ever happened to me, my loved ones, endangered species, the oppressed, and the entire effing planet.  This is not good for anyone. 

On a solo drive in the moonlight and mountains tonight, I metaphorically placed SSR and Hubby in the hands of a benevolent Higher Power.  Next I turned on some old and new favorite music on my iPod.  Nothing too serious or dour (Clapton/River of Tears-- definite no).  I needed beats and melodies and words and voices.  Here’s my short list.   

Mix Up, Mix Up…Bob Marley

Near Wild Heaven…REM

Hallelujah…Leonard Cohen

Stay a Little Bit Longer…UB40

Oh to Be in Love…Kate Bush

Seminole Wind…John Anderson

Yo Vengo Aqui…Compay Segundo

Two Princes…Spin Doctors

Paper Gangsta…Lady Gaga

Pocketful of Sunshine…Natasha Bedingfield

Not the Way…Gregory Isaacs

Hardstone—Uhiki (Pinye’s Remix)

Hello Stranger…Emmylou Harris

What about you?  What music comforts and grounds you in times of fear or flux?  

music_thumb.jpg music image by brandiemarion

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Measure Your Blog Visitors

blogging.jpg Blog image by BodyBalanceforPerformance

“How to Measure” is kind of misleading, because all I’m doing here is giving you two links.   

The first link is to Sitemeter, where you can get a free account that will show how many visitors you have and where they’re from. 

Sitemeter will also tell you how long people spend at your blog.  Don’t be dismayed, as I was, if you see that many visitors stay for 0 seconds.  I was told by a service fellow to ignore this.  The program can only measure duration when someone clicks over to a second page, thereby giving it a bookended period of time.  

At least, that’s what I think he said.  Bottom  line:  Not to worry.   No one stays for 0 seconds.

z103808365.png Read ma blog image by icons_rox_my_sox

You can also track visitation for the week, month, and year on your free account at Sitemeter.  And if you want, you can pay for additional services.  Thanks to Hazel at The Clever Pup for telling me about Sitemeter.     

Ireadyourblog.jpg I read your blog image by miss_niner

You might also be interested in a site called Page Rank Checker.  This site checks page rank. 

What is page rank?  It’s a numeric value that’s supposed to measure “how important” a site is on the Web, as calculated by Google.  This is measured by how many sites link to yours.

Blogging.jpg blogging image by obscurepoet

Page rank appears as a number from 1-10 and shows up like this:  1/10 through 10/10.  I don’t know any sites that have 10/10.  Maybe Google does.  Mine has a rank of 4, which I believe is average to good for a blog as old as mine.   


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I’m So Curious

  cat2.jpg Curiosity image by megholt1308

In addition to my dear followers, I get visitors from around the world whose faces and names I never learn.   

On the day I posted after my three week hiatus, I had over 120 visitors in a few hours.   Most of you were strangers to me. 

Was I happy with all these visits?  Yes, I was.

Gracias.jpg Gracias image by chicatarantino

I had expected during that hiatus that readership would fall seriously off.  That I’d be forgotten; dropped out of cyberspace; cast off into the black hole of lame-o bloggers who don’t do what they say they’ll do and are self-focused enough to think the whole blogging community cares.  Poor me.

But wait!  Poor me nothing.  There you all were. 


I’m somebody!  

So please, if you’d be so kind, won’t you say ola or bonjour or g’day or dzien dobry if you never have before?  I’m dying to know who you are.  Here are some of the mysterious places you are from:   

Pretoria, Parow, and Johannesburg, South Africa

Warsaw, Poland

Somewhere in Kuwait

Honolulu, Hawaii (I think you, sly friend, come a lot!)

Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany

Phoenix, US (I lived in that valley for 18 years)

Salisbury, UK

Moulineaux, France

Castlebar, Ireland

Roswell, US

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jyderup, Denmark

Surat, Gujarat

Lausanne, Switzerland

Tarjn, Hungary

Trzebnica, Poland

Athens, Greece (are you safe from the fires??)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Whitley Bay, UK

Edmonton, Canada

Parkes, Australia

merci.jpg merci image by mannheim68

A heartfelt thanks to all who visit here…

Sallymandy ♥

Monday, August 24, 2009

To Earthward

2fc5cf66e685d4d4.jpg Solitude image by JohnnyCrush

A favorite poem by Robert Frost: 

To Earthward

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of -- was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Down hill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they're gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inhabit this moment. You are living a fantasy you dreamed of, or one you will remember.

dome5.jpg photography image by lalababyy813

Inhabit this moment.   

This is the moment we dreamed of when we were ten.  When we said to our best friend:  “Won’t it be great when we grow up?  To get to wear those white go-go boots?  It’s going to be like this, and this, and this.”   

This is the moment we dreamed of, the day we looked ahead to.  

P1016471.jpg beach image by redsmiles19

Inhabit this moment. 

This is the day we will look back on in ten, twenty, or thirty years.  We will see a photograph of ourselves in this moment and think, “Damn, my body looked good then.  What was I complaining about?”

Or, “I wish I had that person in my life again.” 

We will remember this moment and yearn for what was and will never be again. 

Daisy.jpg focus image by Blondebergie911

Time bends and does not stand still. 

Inhabit this moment, for all the selves we have been and will be. 


Friday, August 21, 2009

E-Laryngitis Means…







I temporarily lost my e-voice, emphasis on TEMPORARY! 

Have been gone a long time—more than I thought—and looking forward to grabbing that silly ol’ Muse once again when she happens to stumble on my doorstep.

Help me out and discuss:  what do you do when the creative river goes underground for a spell? 

love, sallymandy

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reader Appreciation and See You in a Week

thanks-thanks.jpg Anne Taintor Thank You Retro Vintage image by erinalexa00

Dear Readers,

I will be on vacation from posting for a week.  In the meantime I’m going to come around and catch up on my reading.

Thanks for all of your visits to my blog this summer!   

Wherever this week finds you, I hope you’ll spend some time enjoying August and doing some of your favorite things….

retrobacon46.jpg retro vintage bbq man woman domestic art bacon image by Nocturntable

retropac48read.jpg retro vintage comic book girl newspaper reading woman bed image by Nocturntable

extend.jpg retro beach image by ilovetakingphotos

…or maybe, you’ll try something new.       

vintagewoman.jpg Vintage woman image by powderblue1984

retrobeer51men.jpg retro vintage dinner men women ad cooking beer image by Nocturntable

Swords_Knives_Vintage_Photograph.jpg sword swallower image by corbyrules

woman_on_goat_vintage.jpg Ratsastus image by uivelo


Enjoy, Sallymandy

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thought for the Day

DSC03055.jpg Generations of Women image by jessben7

“The years that a woman subtracts

from her age are not lost. They are

added to other women’s.” 


Diane de Poitiers