Dead Celebrity Cosplay

Here’s why you’ve got to love Fort Collins- last year there was a Dead Celebrity 5K, the week before Halloween, an easy out and back flat run from Old Town, to the Cemetery, and ending at the Rio Grande Restaurant, famous for their margaritas and their…well, just their margs, really.  I ran it (slowly) dressed as Isadora Duncan (too soon?) and had fun, but resolved to recruit other people to run with me this year.

Then we heard the news about Leonard Nimoy, and my husband said he would run it dressed as Spock, if I ran as Arlene Martell.  She played Spock’s fiancee in the Star Trek original series episode where Spock finds out his arranged marriage just isn’t going to work out. So I have been thinking about this costume for 6 months now, and then about a month ago, I realized I hadn’t gotten an email or anything from the race organizers, about registration. I looked it up, and there isn’t a dead celebrity race this year. I am beyond disappointed.  Talk about all dressed up and no place to go.


Of course I finished the costume anyway. Or almost finished it- it isn’t Halloween yet… I still need to attach a Nehru style collar, and adjust the sleeves. Wait, what’s today? Maybe its fine as it is- also, what am I doing with my hair?

I wanted to be able to run in it, so it is a silver knit tee, with a pleated skirt, which I can wear around my ribs, as in the show, or more comfortably around my waist. I used foldover elastic to make the waist, and since I used a metallic chiffon, which frays like crazy, I made French seams, which encloses the fraying edges inside a row of stitching. In hindsight, I wish I had bought more fabric- I cheaped out by only getting a yard, so the skirt isn’t as full as it could be.IMG_0728

I used the tee pattern from the Alabama Stitch Book, but machine sewed it, rather than the hand sewing method from the book (have you become obsessed with Alabama Chanin yet? It is a wacky subculture of handmade clothing- love the aesthetic). I will figure out a place to wear this- Halloween is on a Saturday this year, so we’ll do something. Maybe it will involve a 5K run.  Maybe it will involve a margarita. Maybe both?


Baby Lavender

I set out to write a diatribe on how evil weed barrier is, but Love is stronger than Hate, right, so let me write a little ode to lavender. Lavender is a fragrant sub shrub- I think it is actually what people think of when they say they want a shrub next to the patio- they want something a couple of feet high, with flowers, but mostly just green leaves. When plant people say shrub, they mean something that grows between 6 and 12 feet high- what the knights who say ni mean. knights who say ni

Anywho- I have a nice little lavender plant in a xeric bed in the back yard, but one of the other things about lavender is that is doesn’t have a very long life- my plant in the back yard is about 5 years old, and it won’t live much longer, no matter how well I treat it (sometimes it is not about killing exotic plants, different things just have different life spans) This little lavender bush will never grow taller than the house, like the oak, or form a sneak-out proof thicket in front of the window, like a rose bush (take that, sneaky teens!) It will just stay knee high, with fragrant leaves and purple flowers, much loved by bees.
Now, the reason I bring up weed barrier is that I was cleaning weeds out of the flower bed by the driveway. Previous owners had planted peonies and roses, in plastic weed barrier with lava rock on top. The bed is gorgeous in June- I probably wouldn’t have chosen those plants and that location and that quantity of lava rock, and certainly that black plastic weed barrier. I do love the garden, though.
The problem with the lava rock on top of plastic is that it doesn’t actually get rid of weeds, it just changes the way they present themselves.Over time, the lava breaks down into smaller chunks, and organic matter like leaves blows in. Weed seeds drift in and sprout. Bind weed finds a way to snake its roots up through any gap in the plastic, making it that much harder to pull out. In addition, the plastic cuts off oxygen to the soil beneath, preventing worms and other soil creatures from living there. It is awful. But, as terrible as weed barrier is, I love the little garden strip, and can’t face digging out the whole area to get rid of the plastic.
This all went through my head as I was cursing the weeds, so I figured out that I could dig it out the way the guy in the Johnny Cash song stole his Cadillac from the factory- one piece at a time.
I was working on an area with a small stump poking through the plastic- something had been planted there, and hadn’t survived. It created a 3 foot long space between peony plants, where opportunistic weeds jump in. So, I pulled the weeds, scooped the lava rocks to one side and cut and ripped out as much plastic as I could get to- there were fat worms living in the mix of crumbled lava and organic matter on top of the plastic, none at all in the dead clay beneath. That’s a problem. I added a scoop of composty soil from the back yard, dumped the lava rock back on and some wood chip mulch.
A few days later,after a trip to the nursery, I popped in a Provence lavender plant. I figure the lava will help aerate the soil, and help the clay soil drain better, which is important for Mediterranean plants like lavender. Three months later, with plenty of rain and sunshine, the baby lavender looks good, and more importantly, the few  weeds encroaching on it are easy to pull from the loose soil. Next year, I’ll clean up another chunk, pull out some more plastic, and plant something else- something herby? Any ideas?

Don’t call it a cello bib- bibs are for babies

Will is signed up for orchestra this  year, and since his piano teacher also teaches cello, we decided to get him time and a half lessons over the summer, because, what else was he going to do with his time? Go outside? Ha! So part of the lesson is piano, and part is cello, as he builds his callouses.
Why did he choose cello? several reasons, including having seen these videos
His teacher showed me a quilted bib, or cape, that goes over the back of the cello, to pad the part that leans into the chest, which probably has a name, but I don’t know what it is. She told me, “eventually he’ll get a callous there on his sternum, but as a beginner, it’s nice to have a pad.” (Ack- my baby with a calloused sternum!)
When I googled it, I learned that it protects the sternum, but it also protects the finish of the cello from shirt buttons. Not that Will wears shirts with buttons very much, but he will for concerts once middle school starts. (Ack, my baby in middle school!)
Google didn’t help very much in terms of directions for how to make one. (what are we calling it? a cape? a bib? a protecto-quilt?) Maybe because it is pretty simple. I had material in my stash for it, but if you are starting from scratch, you would have 2 layers of fabric, with a layer of batting between, about 8-10 inches square.
The layers of fabric with batting in the middle are what is known as a quilt sandwich- you could make 2 of these with a quarter yard of fabric, or look in the remnant bin for some purple velvet- that would look classy. We didn’t go classy, we went cute, with a bright blue and green print on one side and a paler blue solid on the back.
I hand quilted, because I enjoy the process, but it can be done on the machine as well. I just made straight lines across diagonally, then bound it (link to directionsIMG_0720) The original plan was to have enough extra binding to stretch over and make a velcroed loop to attach it to the cello when needed, but you know how they say “measure twice, cut once”? Yeah. Anyway. I had to sew on extra for the loop.
Now that I think about it, I don’t know why you couldn’t just get a hot pad from the dollar store, add a loop to go around the cello and use that as the cape. Bib. Protecto-quilt. Just until your baby develops the sternum callous.