Monday, December 22, 2008

Phew!

Had to disappear for awhile. Had some Christmas decorations to make and put up and a baby shower to help plan.

I'm guessing since no one actually reads this blog yet that's all ok. I have been doing a lot of stuff and taking a lot of pictures, but I'm still planning some Christmas stuff and have a lot to still get done. So nothing interesting to post yet.

Soon, though.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meh...rry Christmas...

ojodedios3
I've been trying to get into the Christmas spirit, but try as I might all I can think of are the many things I need to get done by then. Mostly I have a baby shower to plan for December 20th. (What was I thinking?)

Maybe if I decorate my own house for Christmas it will get me in the mood. Here's the question, though. How do you decorate a house and a tree when you have a crawling 11 month old who likes to get into everything and very little money to spend on decor! No glass allowed. Glitter probably not a good idea either.

Hmmmm... Ojo de Dios anyone?

Also known as "God's eyes." Remember those? Surely everyone of us has made one at one point or another. At summer camp, or Girl Scouts or just in school as an easy, not too messy craft project?

Much to my surprise, I found that God's eyes were not invented by some crafty, clever Girl Scout den mother in the 70's, there is actually a history behind them. You can read all about it here if you want. But it's much more fun to just make one.

They're super easy to make. Here are instructions if you need them, but basically you're just wrapping yarn around some sticks.

ojodedios2
This one here is made with twigs and embellished with bells and beads, if you want to get fancy. Some people get really fancy and really big, too!
ojodedios
I love finding things like this and trying to make it modern again. I think a tree trimmed with lots of God's eyes is going to be very retro cool (and hopefully toddler friendly, too.)

Speaking of retro cool...
godseyes LOVE IT!

I'll be sure and post my own pictures when I've made some of my own.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Foamy Fun

So, one of my favorite things to do is to look up how to do things on the internet.
Today I looked up How to make Foam Soap.
It's incredibly easy.
Click the link for directions.

Plus, it stretches out your soap so you can use one bottle for a LONG time. AND you can buy some of the really good, like, Williams Sonoma type stuff and make it really worth it. They have some luscious scents for the Holidays.

That's it for today.
Have fun!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Glass Nail File

Last Christmas my mother-in-law gave me a glass nail file as a stocking stuffer. I had used one before at a friend's house and had just thought of it as something to use if you didn't have "real" nail file handy. I mean it seemed like something that was more decoration than functional. (I mean how precious can you get? A glass nail file. La di da.) But then I was reading an article about nail maintenance (and I'm sorry but I can't for the life of me remember what sight I was looking at) and the article basically said that to get the best and healthiest results while filing your nails, you should really invest in a glass nail file. Well, shut my mouth. So I did some research and whaddyaknow, glass nail files are amazing little things. They are significantly superior to regular nail files in several ways.

First of all, they are healthier for your nails in two ways. One, they are so gentle that they don't create the tiny little fractures at the tip of the nail that most files create causing your nails to chip or split. This means that over time you can have stronger, longer, healthier nails. Two, they are completely sanitizeable. You can boil them, run them through a dishwasher, disinfect them with alcohol or simply use hot water and soap and you will not destroy them. And if they get wet, they dry quickly and completely. So that means no more fungus or bacteria or any other thing that can easily grow in all the crevices of a regular nail file. So if someone asks to borrow your nail file, you don't have to give them a full medical exam or a lecture on hygiene. You can just wash it with soap and hot water after their finished or if you're really worried, boil it.

The second great thing about them is that they are pretty much indestructable. I mean, yeah, they can break, they are glass after all, but it's harder to break one than you might imagine, and they never wear down. Not ever. So if you buy one and you're careful, it could conceivably be the last nail file you ever buy. (Or you could get lucky and someone will give you one.) And if you buy one of the bigger pedicure files, you can also use it to slough the dead skin off of your feet and heels. And you can use them on both real and fake nails. Such a deal!

And there's one more thing that I didn't read anywhere, but I swear that it's true. It makes your manicure last longer. The tip of your nail is so smooth after using a glass file that the polish goes on to the tips more smoothly and evenly and therefore is less likely to chip!

I will admit, a glass file can be a bit expensive. I saw them at anywhere from $6 to $15, but I think it's totally worth it. AND I found a place on line that is discontinuing all their glass files, so they are super reduced. I'm not sure how long the sale will last, but I picked up a bunch to give as stocking stuffers for Christmas for about $15 for all six of them. What a great stocking stuffer, huh?

Merry Filing!

glassfile
(and they're pretty, too. these are handpainted, but you can find them plain, colored, and etched as well.)

Lovin the Half Moon

So I did my non-traditional french manicure but before I could find the time to take a picture it was chipped and a mess (and really it didn't look all that great to begin with.) Must remember always ALWAYS use a base coat. I usually do, but I was out of town and had forgotten to pack it so I did it without and the results were less than fab.

Well, it all turned out OK in the end because I actually found a manicure that I liked even better. I'd seen it years ago in some advertisement or the other. They were trying to make the model for the ad look 1930ish and she had this cool manicure and I remember thinking, at the time, "I've GOT to try that someday." It's called a Half-moon manicure and it was popular in the 1930's.
1930fing Basically, back then, it was fashionable to just leave this little half-moon thingy (the lunula) at the base of your nail unpainted or painted white. In the 1920's it was actually fashionable to leave both the lunula and the tip either unpainted or white as shown below.

vintagemanicure
But really, who has time for THAT?! And I think it looks kinda dumb anyway. But I really dig the 1930's version and after some web-searching I found I was not the only one.
Dita's Nails
Apparently, Dita Von Teese is also a big fan and is helping to bring the style back. I found a few other pictures of a less traditional version.
Half Moon

I also saw a picture of just the lunula painted either white or black with the rest done in a clear gloss, but I can't find that picture again. I didn't much like it since the black lunula sort of looked like someone had bruised themselves somehow and the white just looked kind of blah, hardly noticeable for all the trouble it would take to do it.

So I tried my own version tonight with the half moon just left unpained then the rest of the nail in a deep purple. So far I'm really liking it. If it lasts any time at all, I'll take a picture. I'm just too lazy to do it right now.

(By the way, those french manicure tabs work just as well for the half moon manicure, too.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To tip or not to tip...

frechtips
So I'm thinking of painting my nails. "Big deal," you say, while rolling your eyes with boredom. But it kind of is for me. There was a time in my life where my nails were never seen in public unpainted. That was mostly in high school, then college life took over and I learned that you should let your nails breathe for at least 24 hours between polishing so they don't turn yellow and brittle. And 24 hours would turn into 48 then 72... and I was no longer a nail diva. Then I had a baby and it was all over for my nails. I mean between breastfeeding and sleeping and diaper changing and eating and etc, well I was lucky to get a shower in there somewhere, much less a manicure. And really if I did get some time for myself was I really going to waste it doing a manicure. I think not.
Well recently I am coming out of the mommy coma. My son is 10 months old and I can actually do a manicure after he goes to bed and be relatively sure that I can have overnight for them to dry completely.
So now comes the dilemma. I'm kind of into this non-traditional french tip idea. Not sure why, but it seems appealing to me lately. Usually I'm a sort of no non-sense, traditional nail polish kind of girl. Red, pink, tinted clear, the wackiest I usually would get would be silver, or maybe a glitter. But something about the idea of the french manicure with the non-traditional colors is calling to me.
It looks ok in the picture above, but I'm worried that if I try it, it will look too bizarre on me. I mean I'll admit that when I see weird nail styles on other people I usually think they must still be in high school, or they wish they were still in high school.

Well, I'll let you know what I decided. And I'll take pictures if I decide to go for it.

Inspiration

As promised, here are some pictures of granny afghans that have inspired me:

bluegrannies yellowgrannyscrappy grannygrannysquare3I'm leaning towards the first two examples for what I have in mind for my friend. I really like the classic look of the same color in the last row. It looks very vintage and classy if white or off-white is used, as you can see in the last picture, but I want something a little more fun for this particular friend which is why I like the idea of the last color being a true color instead of a neutral. I think the trick of this is to choose a good base color. One that isn't a neutral but can act as one depending on the value. I also really love the picture of just the crazy grannies with no apparent rhyme or reason, but I suspect that this crocheter spent a significant amount of time picking which colors would look best where. Though it's a beautiful blanket, it looks a little too modern for what I want to do. As does this one:
ruggedgranny

But I LOVE, love, love this one! One day I would like to make one like this for myself. All rugged, natural, earthy, colors. And I like the look of the one color in the middle with the two rows of another color. It makes this pretty sort of flower-like motif. Hmmmm...someday.

I'll leave you with this last picture of a granny square headboard. What a GREAT idea for a little girls room. Actually I would put this in a guestroom, too. It's very warm and homey looking.
Headboard
This headboard was made by Little Purl of the Orient.
The rest of the pictures I found on Flickr and/or Ravelry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grannies Galore

vintagecrochet 011
Well, I was going to start this post with a history of the Granny Square, but lo and behold, I couldn't really find one anywhere on the internet. I'm thinking granny squares are one of those things that just ARE. Crochet is notorious for this sort of thing. No one can even really pinpoint when and where crochet first came into being. It just showed up one day.

I can only assume the granny square must have first been done by someone's granny. And really that granny was an ingenious little lady. There are so many variations that are possible that it blows the mind. What I find fascinating is how different they can look depending on size, color choice, yarn choice.

I'll admit, the picture above is somewhat campy. This magazine is from the early 80's when the granny square was just about to go into hibernation after it's heyday in the 60's and 70's. Now it's back again and I've caught the fever. I've been browsing around ravelry and flickr for days now, just ooohing and ahhhing over all the different variations I've seen.

I'm finding myself drawn to the blankets that look sort of vintagey and modern at the same time. I have a friend who is very in to everything 70's and I'd love to make her a granny square throw.
lovejoyblanket Here are some grannies I found on the side of the road at a place called Lovejoy. I actually asked my husband to climb out of the car and take a picture with his iphone. (What a guy!) The one I really like is the middle one with the white border. I find that you can do almost any kind of crazy color combos with a granny afghan and as long as you do the last row of every granny in the same color it ends up looking very together and posh. I have some plans for what I'm going to do for my friends throw.



But I don't have time now to explain all that so I'll have to wait until the next post. For now I'll just leave you with this..
grannyroom

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just a hint.


vintagecrochet 003, originally uploaded by reneewestberry.

Don't have time right now to do a proper posting, but I wanted to post a little teaser of what's coming up.

I see Granny Squares in your future...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight Day!


Twilight Movie
Originally uploaded by Summer 1091

Yes, I'm excited even though I can't see the movie today, or even this week.

I'm waiting until Thanksgiving so that all the craziness will have (hopefully) died down.

So far everything I've seen shows that this movie will be spectacular. I'm especially looking forward to seeing the special effects. Also, I'm really pleased that the actors that were chosen to play these characters seem accurate and seem to coincide with the books descriptions.

I HATE it when they make a movie from a book and the characters are nothing like what the author described. I also hate it when they go for box office appeal instead of staying true to the integrity of the character. A perfect example of this is Tom Cruise as Lestat in Interview with a Vampire. What a freakin' disaster that was. That movie could have been SO much better had they chosen an actor that didn't make half the people that loved those books gag. They also could have made a lot more movies.

Well, thank God someone got smart and chose believable actors for Edward and Bella. I would not have liked to see someone like Hayden Panettiere with died brown hair playing Bella. Though I will admit that while I was reading Twilight, I kept picturing Alexis Bledel as Bella. Kristen Stewart was a better choice, though. I've only ever seen her in Panic Room, but I thought she did a really great job, especially considering having to play opposite Jodi Foster.

Well, I'll be sure and post my review after I've seen the movie.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holding out for a Hero.

So last night Footloose came on cable TV. Naturally, being a former psychotic fan of the movie back when it came out (and yes, I am old enough to have seen it in the theater, thank you) I settled down for some good ole 80's dance craze fashion fun. I cannot describe in mere words the level of worship that my friends and I harbored for this movie back when it came out. I had the record. I'm sure I drove my parents CRAZY playing it all day every day, trying to copy the dance moves, daydreaming about Wren McCormick, wishing I could be Ariel.

Now, Ariel, as far as my friends and I were concerned was the epitome of beauty and perfection. If I could have chosen one person to be, it would have been Ariel from Footloose. Not only was she beautiful, but she was sassy and sexy. She had those kick ass red boots. She was just IT.

Fast forward a few years and I'm sitting on my couch crocheting a baby blanket for a friend, watching Footloose and I can barely concentrate on the nostalgic coolness of Kevin Bacon smirking out, "Jump back!" when he hears that there's no dancing in Beaumont because every time Lori Singer comes on the screen all I can do is just GAWK at how freakin' SKINNY she is. I mean this girl is just straight up and down. There's not a curve to be seen, maybe a bump here and there, but she even makes Sarah Jessica Parker look like the average one, weight wise.

And I'm thinking, THIS was my epitome of everything perfect? This was my idea of sexy? Now don't get me wrong, despite the skinniness, the girl does have a certain something about her that is sexy. But I'd have to say that is despite her body rather than because of it. (Sorry, Lori.) But the thing that freaks me out is that I never thought of her as extremely, frighteningly, shockingly thin back when I was 11. I really thought she was PERFECT. I wanted to BE her. Seriously.

Now I'm wondering, HOW, in the name of anything holy, did Kevin Bacon not just giggle at her during the little dance scene at the honky tonk bar when they're dancing to Hurts So Good and she's just shakin' it for all it's worth and there is just nothing to shake. I mean her legs just go right up into her back. There's no ass at all! It just goes to show what a good actor Kevin Bacon is.

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And what was almost even more shocking to me is that Lori Singer can't dance. I mean she sort of makes up for it with just pure enthusiasm, but really she cannot dance. It should have been Wren teaching Willard AND Ariel during Let's Hear it for the Boy.

So out of this revelation I have come to realize that what people say about influences in childhood is true. I'm pretty sure now that I can link at least half of my body image issues back to the first time I saw Footloose. And now I'm wondering how many other women could say the same thing. Because odd as it is, even now that I can see Lori Singer with adult eyes, there is still a small stubborn part of me that still sees her as "perfect." Even though I no longer wish for her body the way I used to, I can't really say in all honesty that I'm completely satisfied with mine.
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Well, and look how much fun she's having. (Who needs boobs to have fun?)

By the way. Here's a link to a websight by another person who apparently believes that Lori Singer is IT. Apparently she's still fairly gorgeous. And still pretty freakin' skinny, too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh Ripple how I love thee...


rippleblanket 007
Originally uploaded by reneewestberry

I just love this picture! I'm showing it off because sometimes I can't believe I actually made something so beautiful. And then I even managed to take a beautiful picture of it.

This blanket is magical that way.

I'm sure you'll see it again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let's try this again...

This is my second blog. The first one was a knitting blog and it was pretty boring. I thought I would never run out of things to say about knitting and yarn, then I got pregnant and the 9 months of morning sickness made me lose the will to live much less blog or knit, so I deleted the whole darn thing. So this time instead of making this about knitting or crocheting or any one thing, this is just going to be my blog where I talk about whatever I freakin' feel like talking about. No doubt, there will be lots of talk about knitting and yarn and crocheting, but there will probably also be rants about traffic jams and childrearing and how much I hate living in Houston and how much I miss Gilmore Girls and how excited I am about the Twilight movie coming out. (Yes, I am secretely a 15 year old girl still.) Because the thing is, I have LOTS to say about EVERYTHING. Ask anyone who knows me. I never shut up.

So I named my blog East of Eden because it's my favorite book. Really, I have a crapload of favorite books, but this title just speaks to me somehow and I love it. Also I live in Houston which is East of Austin which is my hometown and my general idea of Eden and so it's very fitting, don't you think?

Ok, well, I'm tired and I need to go to bed and drift off thinking of clever things to say in my new blog.

Here's a pretty picture to look at. (I like colorful things.)

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