Friday, January 30, 2015

Sew Crafty

I haven't sewed a stitch on a machine in about 15 years. The random loose hem or lost button was the only thing that brought needle to thread in my house for many years, though I learned how to machine sew in high school. Wait, I learned before that because my Momma sewed like crazy and taught me a bit before that Home Economics class in school. But I digress . . . 

Although I never was one to sew my own clothes, I did know the basics, and when a project struck me, I would give it a go. I have a few random pillows in my past along with a rather involved historic military great coat I once made for my husband when he was a Civil War reenactor. The last 15 years, though, nothing really moved me to want to load a bobbin and press that pedal to drive the machine to stitch-stitch-stitch. 

When registration opened for Squam Art Retreats at the beginning of December, a contest was announced as well. The prize is a full-ride scholarship to the retreat. The rules required the purchase of one of the old Squam retreat tote bags to serve as the entry fee, and the goal was to make something out of the tote bag -  repurpose it, get creative, go wild, or be practical. The only requirement was that the logo from the tote bag appear somewhere in the finished product. There was no hesitation from me. Click, pay, I'm in!

The first idea I had was a notebook cover of some sort. Then I thought I should try something more daring and listed other things to make. A hat. Shorts. A pillow. A refashioned bag. A wallet. These ideas rattled around my head for a few weeks before I felt I had to make a decision. Go with what you know, Rita. Go with what calls you.

I chose to make a journal cover. The tri-fold journal cover fits a standard sized writing composition book, which seem to

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sun, Moon, Sky

The last few weeks, I have been fascinated with the colors in the sky at dawn and dusk. Capturing these images on camera was something that always seemed to allude me, since I never really understood photography more than my point-and-shoot camera. A few hours with an online photography class had me finally understand how all the parts work. Well, I should say, it began my understanding of the elements of photography. Before now, the mere mention of the terms 'apperture', 'ISO', or 'F-stop' would have me staring into the horizon, confused. Now, I have the basics, and though I cannot rattle off the definitions of each like a pro, if I take a few moments to really think about it, I remember what ISO means. Much practice is still needed.

The best part is that my level of skill is inching closer to the level of complexity offered by the new camera I purchased last

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Go Small and Go Home

Americans love abundance. Wait, let's rephrase that -- Americans love excess. There is a difference, you know, with abundance being a welcomed overflow of plentiful goodness while excess is a burdensome collecting of that which impedes function. Americans, being ingrained with mantras of "bigger is better" and "go big or go home" since birth, seem to move effortlessly and happily down the path of gathering until it becomes a mindless action, no longer a choice but a habit. The incessant gathering becomes problematic when the gathering itself no longer brings long term joy and steals

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How Birdman Ruined Movies for Me

If you have read more than three posts on She Wears Red Shoes or known me longer than a week, you know that I love movies. I don't just like them a lot, I loooooove them. For years, I have enjoyed watching movies and mentally cataloging my favorites, my not-so favorites, and my don't-make-me-watch-it-again list. With the opening of award season beginning this weekend (Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Awards), the preceding months of "award buzz" has fluttered around an unusual flick entitled Birdman, starring Michael Keaton.

You know, the Michael Keaton of Mr. Mom, Batman, and Beetlejuice fame. Yeah, that one.

Any casual watcher of Keaton would likely be perplexed at the potential for an Oscar nomination for the same man who played a dead guy in a bad suit in Beetlejuice. Then again, the casual watcher of Keaton would likely have missed his stellar performances in Clean and Sober, My Life, and (my favorite) The Merry Gentleman. If you ever saw one of those films, then you saw the incredibly nuanced acting chops of this guy. 

When news of this new movie Birdman swirled around last year, I was intrigued at the premise as well as drawn by the not-seen-enough and highly-underrated Keaton. It immediately went on my list of movies to see. Keaton also spends an inordinate amount of time in his underwear in this film, making me wonder if he will thank Fruit of the Loom in any anticipated acceptance speech.

The film follows Riggan Thompson (Keaton), an actor whose claim to fame was a superhero movie franchise some 20 years