Sunday, June 17, 2012

Honest Abe

He's not going to lie to you!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Chi Hua Hua

Coco & Lola

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversations as a dog does.
                                                                     --Christopher Morley

It's my privilege to introduce you, Gentle Reader, to Coco, the Chi Hua Hua. That's an easy way to remember how to spell Chihuahua, which would have been beyond my simple abilities to spell only weeks ago. Incidentally, this is Mr. Pocketts standing in for Mrs. M.T. Pocketts for a one time guest shot.

The story of Coco begins in Mexico where Mrs. Pocketts and I spent our usual relaxing two months of February and March at a very old Mexican hotel right on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. When the end of March began to roll around I told the Mrs. that indeed it might be time for us to acquire a new dog to replace our dear devoted friend, Punch, who died two years ago. Although Punch had been a 95 pounder of doubtful parentage, he'd been so central to our lives that his demise ate a hole in our hearts. It was time to mend that hole.

A week before our return home, Mrs. Pocketts got onto her fancy modern phone and texted our daughter in San Diego. Could she find us a dog like hers to take home with us? Five, that's 5, hours later our dutiful daughter texted back that she'd found a Chihuahua on Craig's List. A Navy family had to move and chose to thin out its animal population. A timid, 10 month old female named "Peaches" proved the expendable member and went on the auction block, rather unceremoniously. Our "Girl Child" drove with a friend to inspect the little creature and reported to us in Mexico with words of encouragement and pictures. We accepted.

Still via texted messages, we all decided on the new name of Coco. "Peaches" just wouldn't do.

So, with excited hearts we strolled out that evening to our favorite Mexican restaurant, where we celebrated quietly. That's when two men at the table near us began to talk loudly in a jovial manner. (They had large margaritas in front of them) (and so did we). Perhaps it was this similarly jovial nature of our two tables that prompted one of the two men to lean toward us and ask Mrs. Pocketts a question. "How you you spell Chihuahua?," he proffered. Rocked back on our metaphorical heels, we both gaped open-mouthed at him. "Isn't it Chi Hua Hua?" he shouted over the restaurant din! "Yes, yes it is Chi Hua Hua," responded Mrs. Pocketts. And a fine informal conversation commenced during which we explained the improbable nature of his question and our current state of Chihuahua excitement. Turned out these two fellows were from the sunny state of California; high school buddies on holiday together. In any case we all enjoyed our meals and the M.T. Pocketts pair returned to their hotel to ponder their Chihuahua future.

A week later saw us in San Diego and face to face with the little creatures you see pictured above. A week following that saw the three of us; Mr. and Mrs. and Coco Pocketts, headed for our lost village in the Midwest via air travel with Coco tucked away in a carrier in front of Mrs. Pocketts' seat. Since then Coco's recovery from the shock of being twice removed from familiar homes has abated and she now rules the roost at the M.T. Pocketts estate. I'll let our chief author re assume control of her Blog at this point with a hearty thanks to all her fans for reading our latest adventure from the pen of Mr. Pocketts, Guest Columnist.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Waking up....

April is the cruelest month,
breeding lilacs out of the dead land,
mixing memory and desire,
stirring dull roots with spring rain.

                    T.S. Eliot
                            The Wasteland

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bienvenidos mi amigos!

Greetings from Puerto Vallarta!

Yes, my temporary address is a bit farther south than usual.  It is warmer here.  I like that. Mr. P likes that.

Really, what's not to like?!

Hasta luego!

Monday, February 6, 2012

I love the smell of casino chips in the morning!

I have not been able to post anything for awhile....

2 reasons:

Very busy

These are not mutually exclusive situations!

I have had to put away my ongoing projects (really, will I actually live long enough to finish all of them?!) and, excitingly, pack up some new ones for the road! (More on that later when I have something to show for myself!)

I have been here:

Yep, Las Vegas! Love this town! This is the view from our room at Caesar's Palace, Forum Tower, 18th (???) floor.... (not sure about that, as we always punched in "68" on the elevator....whatever that means!).

And here's the view one morning before my slacker husband and daughter ever rolled out of their beds to save me from being all consumed by the double draperies that covered the entire outer wall of our room:

Did you know there's such a thing as remote controlled draperies?! You know, when you're too lazy to get up and walk 2 feet and pull a drapery cord?! Mr. P was quite emboldened by this state of affairs and found it necessary to bark orders nicely ask that I "close the drapes/open the drapes/close the drapes/open the drapes" (take your choice)....always while he was less that 2 feet away from said drapes.

And did you know there are miniature television sets in your bathroom mirror?! Mr. P rightly pointed out that they are exactly in the proper position for watching whilst your face is at exactly the proper angle for shaving? Goodness, those casino folks think of everything! Either that, or I just don't get out enough!

And did you know that I spent 3 days in Vegas and never so much as put a quarter into a slot machine?!  Geesh!  I'm losing my touch--usually I can be found grudgingly heading to a Blackjack table at some point.....(I love to play Blackjack, just I hate to lose money more.) Why was that, you may ask?....

Very busy!!

More to come.....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

O Winter! = Snowy Evening

We had our first big snow of the winter yesterday!  It was light and powdery--Mr. P., still transfixed by the beauty of it all, (as is always the case this early in the season), said it was easy to scoop.
Sitting upstairs in our TV room, which looks out over our backyard, I noticed the snow looked so magical in the light coming from our neighbor's yard.  I just had to grab my camera....

I should have known they were there, but I didn't realize all the deer were enjoying the backyard, too, at the same time.  When cranking open the window to get a better view, I unwittingly interrupted their evening snack==our bird feeders!  Although my camera wasn't steadied yet, I snapped a couple photos.  I actually like the blurred effect; it shows their motion and indecision...  Is this a threat?  I can't leave now, I haven't cleaned out the entire feeder yet!

Once the deer left and I got my camera's what I was talking about:

This is a volunteer Redbud tree on our patio; an offspring of a much larger Redbud further up in the yard.  To differentiate between Redbuds (and if you're not careful, you could have dozens of them--those little trees pop up like mushrooms!), this one is known as Redbuddy. (Corny, I know.) A couple years ago I hung Christmas lights on it--they've been up ever since, no matter the season. We like the ambiance!  The lights also help detract from how funny this tree looks in winter, as every year it has a "haircut" to remove the branches that are blocking our view from the upstairs windows.

And finally, here's the view out my bedroom window:

Many a time I have been asked who lives there... it's our neighbor's garage! Lovely in summer and winter:  grape vines grow on the arbor in front of the screened in porch, cardinals nest there every year, clematis vines grow along the sides. And in winter....a lovely, peaceful little cottage tucked behind the snowy rock wall. O Winter!

O Winter! ruler of the inverted year, . . . I crown thee king of intimate delights, Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness, And all the comforts that the lowly roof Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours Of long uninterrupted evening, know.--William Cowper, Task (bk. IV, l. 120) English poet & translator (1731 - 1800)

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Bicycle Pillow

You know when you have a whole bunch of projects to do, and it looks like you'll never, ever get it all done?... well....this may seem counterintuitive, but I've found I actually get more done if, instead of attempting to tackle the biggest project on the list, I start doing the easiest stuff first and work my way up from there.  Try it--you'll feel good about your accomplishments which in turn (ideally) will give you the motivation to work on the harder stuff!

And speaking of projects, here's one of the "easy" ones....

Bicycle Lumbar Pillow
After doing that stunt, he's probably going to need a lumbar pillow! The picture is from The Graphics Fairy, part of a series of circus acrobats and performers.

Here's a closer look:

I used an iron-on transfer for the design--you'll notice that the original has him facing the other way around.  Oops!  Forgot to flip-flop the image before transferring it.  Oh well, does it really matter which way he's facing?! The red material is faky faux suede material.  It was the strangest stuff to cut out; it kept wanting to "stick" onto my cutting board.  The braiding was purchased awhile back at Michael's clearance aisle--one of those happy coincidences, as it happened to match just right!

I originally had the corners squared, but the pillow insert didn't seem firm enough to fill it out. So... I decided to gather the corners.

If you've never done this before, it's actually very easy:

Working on the inside, just gather the corner together between your fingers and tie dental floss around it!

Your corners will then look like this. And if I change my mind, or get a better pillow insert, I can always have it back to square corners.

The back is simply a slip cover style; the idea of trying to sew in a zipper with this fabric did not fall into the category of "easy"!

Cross that one off the list.... on to the next (easiest) thing!

Thanks for looking!


You can see my project & lots of other cool stuff here:

The Shabby Nest                   The Thrifty Groove   


Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Gift of Stitches

Several years ago I read an online list of contributed bits of wisdom and quotes from fellow needleworkers and cross-stitchers. The one that stayed with me was, "Never give a stitched gift to a non-stitcher!"  This person went on to describe her heartache after she stitched a beautiful and complicated Christmas stocking for a friend as a gift and discovered it at the friend's garage sale the following summer.  (Dealbreaker, if you ask me!) It drove the point home--unless you are a stitcher, most people simply cannot appreciate the amount of time and effort (and love) that goes into a completed project!

However, there are exceptions to the rule....

I purchased this pattern, "Animal Samplings," from Hillside Samplings a few years ago:

Photo as seen on the pattern cover.
She has a website,, but I am not sure if it is active.  This pattern is still for sale at Stitchery shops, if you're interested. (I checked!)

I've mentioned before that my daughter, Sorena, loves squirrels.  (This squirrel pillow was another  Christmas present this year.)  Therefore, a slight change was necessary....

Here is my customized version: can you tell the difference? Hint: ghijklmn. As much as I liked the deer, he was replaced with a squirrel eating, what else?, acorns. And, most importantly of all, I think she really liked it! I know it won't be seen on any garage sales either!

Disclaimer: It's my understanding that some designers are touchy about their designs being altered, while others are more than happy to be the inspiration for further creativity.  Let's hope it is the latter in this case, if not, I'll let you know!

Happy New Year!

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