Friday, February 29, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm happy to report that my cold is finally abating, unfortunately a new illness is upon me. This new sickness is an addiction - an addiction so great that it could easily threaten my health, my family and my ability to hold a job.
I know you're asking yourselves, "Is Petula smoking the crack? Chasing the dragon? Paying a visit to Mr. Brownstone?" (because that's how you guys talk). No, it's something far more insidious: the video game American McGee's Alice.
I read about it when it first came out about eight years ago and really wanted to try it, but it was for pcs and in those days we just had a Mac. Since then they've released a Mac version and I've switched to a pc, but I'd already forgotten about it.
Just a little while ago I ran across a reference to the soundtrack of the game which jogged my memory and caused me to hunt it down. How was I to know the mayhem that would ensue?
After a rough beginning (I'm a complete novice at video games and definitely not a natural) I got completely sucked in. Morning turned into afternoon which turned into night. At midnight I tore myself away and went to bed, only to toss and turn sleeplessly as I imagined myself battling the Queen's guard cards and evil mushrooms. I then caught myself thinking, "Hmmmm....maybe I should go downstairs and play a level or two just to help me relax." Just a little fix, that's all I need....
Today has been more productive, but only because I'm using the game as a carrot on a stick. In fact, the only way I was able to write this post was to tell myself that as soon as I finished I could play another level.

edited to add: I've put in at least 12 more hours of playing time and I'm still not at the end. I think my addiction might be on the verge of curing itself as I've started to develop a hostility towards the game.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Snails in Love

I have a bit of a head cold, so I thought it would be best to wait until my brain is capable of complete sentences before I do a real post. Until then, I'll give you this picture of my kitchen that shows true love between a salt and a pepper shaker. Insulin anyone?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


There have been many great scherenschnitte/paper-cutting posts on the crafty blogs lately (see: here,here,here and here for starters). I've been tempted to try my hand at it, but reluctant to start something new when I currently have so many half-finished projects strewn around my studio.
When I saw this post at Little Acorn all my good intentions went out the window. I could resist the call of the X-acto no more.
I used her pattern, and here are the three I made before I ran out of paper choices. As you can see, it's highly addictive.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cassoulet Soiree

I didn't think it was possible, but Mary Jane's 4th annual Cassoulet Cook-off was even better than last year's.
There were 12 (12!) huge cassoulets, 7 gazillion jovial guests, 2 wonderful hosts (the petticoat-bedecked Mary Jane and her prizewinning cook of a husband Erik), countless bottles of wine, and one giant bonfire all at their French-farmhouse-like home.
First prize was taken once again by the Kilted Cook (I wanted to alliterate, but "Kilted Kook" had an entirely different meaning than what I was going for), who narrowly squeezed by silver medalist Erik.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview the world champion cassoulet chef and was able to glean a few of his secrets:
Not only does he make his own sausage from pork that he butchered himself, but he also happens to have a coveted duck fat collection that he saves for just this sort of occasion. But the real trick? He says that the dish needs to be prepared with free range ducks that have been lovingly tended and raised almost as family members. The Kilted Cook even goes so far as to incubate the eggs of the ducks himself before they're hatched. When unable to sit on the nest, he has been known to tuck an egg under each arm so he can do things like attend the Christmas pageants of his human children.*
(Erik: you might want to take note of this to get the winning edge for next year)

Here are Mary Jane and I, both photographed with our eyes open and only one chin each!
I had been hoping to post some delectable pictures of cassoulet, but we were so busy eating it that it wasn't so delectable looking by the time Davis got the camera out.
And, yes, I'm drinking Labatt's. I'd like to say that it's a reflection on my own lowbrow tastes and not those of my hosts. I thought it would be a nice yin to the cassoulet's yang.

*believe it or not, I only made up that last part.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Odds & Sods

I've come up with some more potential names for our ramshackle mansion since Quincy Jones wasn't getting any love. They are:
Tumbledown Manor
Trickly Fifth
That last one is a reference to the house's leaky inclinations (slate roofs are lovely, but not so easy to repair) combined with either the 1/5th acre it sits on, or the very old and empty liquor flask that was found in the eaves of the barn, possibly explaining the logic behind some oddities regarding the house's construction.

I'm sorry to report that I'm still not spatterdashed. I have been working on my steam-pest look though, and have acquired the following items to give me some Gashlycrumb flair:

The pendants are from etsy seller adorapop, and I think they're so cute I've been wearing them almost constantly. The boots were an ebay find, and I think they're exceedingly spiffy. So spiffy, in fact, that the first time I wore them I expected strangers to stop me on the street and marvel at them. Shockingly, no one did.... perhaps they were too shy?
Undaunted, I wore them three times the following week, ran into plenty of friends, and still no one said anything.... hmmmm..... obviously it might be one of those if-you-can't-say-anything-nice-don't-say-anything-at-all situations, but it really seemed more like nobody noticed the new look. And then it occurred to me: my look isn't steam-pest, it's invisigoth!

Monday, February 04, 2008


I recently rewatched The City of Lost Children, and it has resulted in a new fashion obsession. The story is rather bizarre and convoluted, but the sets and costumes are so gloriously steampunk that it's a must-see.
So what, praytell, is my new fashion obsession? Spatterdashes!, or spats, as they're more commonly called.
They have practical benefits: they're warm (like legwarmers, but with far more elegance), and they protect the tops of your shoes from dirt. Ok, fine, that second one isn't especially helpful these days, but if you think of them as aprons for the shoes they seem almost au courant. Of course the real reason I want a pair is that they're really really pretty. I neeeeeed some! How have I lived all these years without owning a pair? The mind, it is boggled.
Obviously I'll need to downdate my wardrobe with some Steam garb so I'll have something to wear the spats with. I don't want to draw too much attention to myself (no bustles or undersea globe helmets), so I'm thinking my new look will be more Steampest than Steampunk.

The top pair of spats are new ones, done in the classic style.
The second pair is vintage. They were found on ebay, but, sadly, I was too late for the auction.
The next two pairs are made by etsy seller Straight Razor Slasher and they're shockingly reasonably priced at a mere $35. $35! With all those buttons! They're selling faster than she can make them, and they're often sold out. (update: she just increased the price to a still-very-reasonable $45)
The penultimate spat is from Maide
The knitted spats on the bottom were found at Booze & Yarn. There isn't any information about them there, just a picture. Too bad. It would be nice if they had a pattern so I didn't have to trouble my poor little head with all those bothersome calculations to make a pair.
Hopefully the next time you see me I'll be spatterdashed!
(hey- that one's actually a real word)

p.s. - Thanks for all the great comments on the previous post!
eta - Whoops! I didn't mean to have comments turned off for this post - all better now!

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