Monday, December 29, 2014

Wham! Superman! Bam! Krack!

It’s been nearly 6 months since my last post.  At the time, I was noticing that if I found the time to sew, I wouldn’t also have time to blog.  One would think that with a 6 month gap in blogging, I must have been doing a lot of sewing.  And I have.  But I have also been doing a lot of other things too. 

However, before I forget, I want to catch up a little on some of the sewing I accomplished since July. (Hopefully soon I will also be able to catch up a little on the Spinsta issues I have been wrangling along the way too.)

Back in June, I shared a pillow I had made using a pansy print and a scripted list of Shakespeare flowers to create a Union Jack motif.  I’d also done a tea cozy using a print with London sites.  I made a slight left turn with this one.  My friend Page and her husband love all that superhero stuff my Spinsta privilege allows me to ignore as I please.  For her May birthday, I made this pillow.  I had been looking for fabric that had all those Batman words Bang! Pow! Skeee! (or whatever they are) when I found this Superman stuff.
Wham! Superman Union Jack with Dots

I used the polka dots as a reference to the Ben Day dots used so effectively in Roy Lichtenstein’s work.

The back is simply closed with big neon green buttons because neon green is awesome. (As you can see, I was carefully supervised by Fergus, as is typically the case)
Fergus subjects the pillow to rigorous inspection criteria.

I am amused by the juxtaposition of the very American subject matter of Superman with the veddy, veddy British flag.  I have known Page a looooooonnnnnnggggg time.  Trust me.  This combination is just right for the girl who hung a Union Jack flag in her college dorm room accessorizing it with a silver tea service and an Indiana Jones hat (Raiders of the Lost Ark was just getting a sequel while we were in school.)

Her birthday is in May, but I finally managed to mail the pillow in time for Christmas.  My plans for coordinating items have stalled, but will restart soon. In the meantime, I sent the pillow to make room for the many other projects piling up in my kitchen sewing area now.  (It is pajama bottom season again)

Hopefully it won’t be another 6 months until I manage to report on some of my other work.  Both sewing and psychological. I am still obsessed with this Union Jack variation motif, but there are a few other things cooking as well…

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I went to the fabric store today and came across this:

Nothing good can come from this.

My eyes! My eyes! 
For the love of all that is sacred, WHY?  WHY? WHY?

Whose idea was it to slap metallic designs all over the most hideous fabric known to humankind: Burlap?

It didn’t stop there.  There were 3 shelves of the stuff—plain, dyed and most terrifyingly, printed.   Printed with “olde tyme” images, John Deere tractors, the Eiffel Tower and mustaches, mustaches, mustaches. 
Mustaches, Leaves, Olde Tyme Bicycles...

Paris, Chevrons, John Deere and...

More horrifying than those designs was this one. 
For the love of Uncle Walt, WHY?
For the love of Mike, why Pooh? (To experience the full effect, click on this Pooh link to see it on their website.)   

WTF and WHY?

I took these pictures because I knew I was going to want to describe the horror to some friends of mine who have seen what I have seen and know what I know. But once I got home, I heard my calling to blog this so that the whole world can know.

Would you look at that?   

London, Union Jacks and other sacred British symbols.

Is that Union Jacks being desecrated by 100% jute burlap?  I couldn’t find them on the website, but they did have Amurrican flag burlap on sale. 


I am a survivor of the Great Burlap Scare of the 1970s.  And I am here to testify that there is no reason to revive the ubiquitous use of burlap in crafting and decorating. 

Pinterest is infested with the stuff.  Apparently it’s “trendy” to use it in wedding reception design with Mason canning jars. 

It was used in the 70s for all manner of groovy banners in churches and pads the world over—usually decorated with inspirational quotes in obscenely colored felt. 

I understood it was used in those days because it was the cheapest fabric one could find and, I suppose, the hippies thought it would go nicely with the macramé plant holders—that they lovingly knotted with even more jute to hang their spider plants from.   

But you can see from the signs, it isn’t cheap any more.  So what is with its renaissance?
Have we learned nothing in the 40 years since?  Why must we repeat the mistakes of the past?   

Burlap is itchy, rough and crispy.  No human skin wants to touch it in a pillow, upholstery or, heaven forbid, a napkin.  The burlap of today is treated with mystery chemicals that leave a funny smell on it.  Try and wash those out and the whole thing will fall apart. 

If you want an over-priced fabric with some texture, why not check out linen? It is sturdy, can be found in a variety of weaves and wears really well.  Even better, it can touch human skin with no ill effects. 

Please young people and/or hipsters and/or crafters, I beg of you! Learn from my generation's mistakes.  Walk away from the burlap.  Explore the wonders of other fibers and weaves.  Trust me.  There will be too many digital photographs of it that will leave you shamed in the years to come.  (At least we don’t have too many pictures of our felt and burlap follies—thank goodness photography was expensive in those days)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blog or Sew?

Trying very hard to find a way to like orange.

Know what I learned this week?  I can either blog, or I can sew.  But doing both in the same week seems to be beyond me right now.  

I made these pennants to show to a local shopkeeper
I was going for something sort of French toy store.

I sewed these pajamas for a friend. (And they fit!)
Since we met in the 70s, I thought she would like this throwback owl print.

And then I made these pajamas for another friend. 
All these details.  I hope they fit.

Fergus supervised.
This was not actually helpful.

I also cheated on Remington Steele with Sam Beckett on Quantum Leap.  But only during daylight.  Remington Steele is for sleeping.  (Both are available to stream on Hulu Plus and Amazon.)

My sometime daytime boyfriend.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Planning for a Pennant-pocalypse

Union Jack tins and pennants from Sweet Candy Occasions in the UK.

I fell in love with this picture on Pinterest.  I have a board of Union Jack stuff, but it wasn’t these adorable tins that stayed with my imagination.  It was these pennants in the background on the wall.  I thought they were just adorable the way they were buttoned together.  I've never seen any like them.  Usually the triangles are hung from some sort of ribbon or string.  The button design is such a fun way to be able to adjust the length of the decoration or change the order of the triangles. 

There are pennants all over Pinterest and decorating magazines.  Apparently it is impossible to have a party without them.  I saw this at The Clover Market.  Denise from ThePainted Home was doing crafts with kids out of this adorable old camper. 
Pennants make the camper.

See? Pennants everywhere!

As adorable as the English buttoned pennants are, I thought I might do them one better and make them reversible and interchangeable.   If you just flip a pennant, the button or buttonhole will be on the wrong side.   I made half of these pennants with 2 buttonholes and half with 2 buttons.  That way they can be flipped and still buttoned together. 
Buttoned but reversible
If you want to put two buttonholed pennants together, you can tie them together with a bit of ribbon.  Here you can see I used a bow-tied ribbon on a button end to hang the right side of this series from a pushpin. (The left one is just hung from the buttonhole.) Two button-topped pennants could be joined by a ribbon as well.  Although I hope to make enough variety that I won't need to "fudge" the connections.
Reversible Pennant Experiment

I experimented with a bunch of fabrics and trims from my stash in coordinating colors.  On the reverse of the aqua and pink pennants, I made red and green ones.  This is my idea of Christmas colors.  
My idea of Xmas colors.

This set can be used interchangeably.  These  bi-colored stripes, gingham and dots set off the apple, owl and floral prints.

Rearranged and flipped

I am going to keep experimenting with these in a variety of fabrics and trims.  I showed them to a friend who has a home décor shop and got a lot of great ideas about ways they might be marketed if I can make them for the right price.  So there will be some further experiments.  I have ideas about how I might be able to produce them efficiently.  I don’t know how anyone will be able to live without them once they see their versatility and charm.  (If I do say so myself.)   I bet nobody else even noticed those pennants behind the adorable Union Jack tins full of lovely sweets.

Friday, July 4, 2014

TBT: My high school bedroom

This weekend, my high school class is having a reunion.  It will be the first one I have to miss.  It’s disappointing.  I have managed to get to them and they are always so interesting. 

Somehow, you are standing there talking to an adult.  An adult who probably has a job, a spouse and kids, a life of some kind and maybe a bit of gray hair.  But all you can see is their 17-year-old selves.  And you know that as they are talking to you, all they can see is your 17-year-old self. 

It is extraordinary the way that happens.  And the conversations are fascinating.  “You felt that way in high school?  I had no idea!”  A lot of misunderstandings can be rectified even though so much time has gone by because you are grownups now.  That stuff happened to other people—to the seeds of our current selves.  And with a little distance, and far less intense hormones, it is possible to see them and our younger selves, with compassion in ways that were not possible at the time.

Here is my bedroom from high school. 
This was a square Polaroid--tough to get the whole rainbow into frame.
I plotted out the curves of that rainbow and painted each stripe.  It was before rainbows had been co-opted by the Gay Pride movement. (At least in our neighborhood)  It was just a groovy rainbow left over from the 60s.  Against pink walls, of course.  It was the first time in my whole life that I had ever had my own room.  And I made it my own.  There are Shaun Cassidy posters on the walls not pictured.  Because David Cassidy posters were no longer available.  My mother made the gingham curtains.   

It disappoints me that more people don’t show up at our reunions.  My class, in particular, had a reputation among the teachers as being the worst class ever to come through.  We were not a cohesive group and there were some really divisive people in our class. 

But it is such a gift to be able to meet each other now and find that we have more in common after all this time than we did when we were squeezed like sardines into that little Catholic high school together.  It is also entertaining to see where people have wandered on the political and philosophical spectrum.  I was a very conservative goody-two-shoes religious high school kid.  Now I am a very progressive atheist.

Meanwhile kids that were “wild” in high school have turned into model citizens.  How does that happen?  Reunions are wonderful places to share our stories with people who knew us before we were us.  Thankfully they remember me much more fondly than I remember my teenage self.  And it turns out I do the same for them. 

We are so lucky to hold each other’s histories for each other. And I still love this rainbow room.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Christmas in July: Camo Tree Skirt

Most of the sisters. And the brother.  And Mom.

I have a lot of sisters and a brother.  When my niece was born 25 years ago, I could only imagine how many nieces and nephews I might have.  (Of course 25 years ago, I was in the thick of imagining that I would have children too.  And a husband.  Preferably before the kids.  I had a vivid imagination and a lot of hope 25 years ago.)

The math was easy enough. If all 8 of us had just 2 or 3 kids, the possibility of a couple of dozen in that generation loomed.  Imagine all the Christmas presents I’d be on the hook for!  I could also foresee all the Christmas presents that would be outgrown and forgotten.  So I hatched a plan that would make potentially overwhelming future Christmas-present-buying do-able.  As a side-effect of my plan, I could expect that some of the gifts I gave those kids-yet-to-be-born would be remembered for a long time.   

Every year, I give my nieces and nephews a Christmas ornament.  In their senior year of high school, I give them a tree topper.  And the following year, I make them a tree skirt.  (Except poor Zoe who is still waiting for her tree skirt 4 years later.  Though when it’s done, it will be magnificent)

This past Christmas was Christmas-tree-skirt-year for my oldest nephew.  The thing that turned out to be brilliant about giving ornaments every year is that they serve as a sort of log of the varying obsessions my nieces and nephews have had over the years.  (There have been a LOT of Hello Kitty ornaments.)   

From a very young age, my nephew has loved the outdoor life that leads to hunting in Western Pennsylvania where he is being raised.  (He probably thinks that’s past tense, but nobody is fully raised by 19 or 20.) 
His collection of tree ornaments is probably the least eclectic of any of the kids’.  There are all sorts of woodsy animals made of a variety of materials.   

And one Darth Vader ornament.  

 (His other spinster aunts introduced him to Harrison Ford at an early age with both Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies.  It was self defense against a certain purple dinosaur that was obscenely popular in his developmental years.)

I spent a good hour at the fabric store trying to decide which fleece would make a nice tree skirt.  I went back and forth and finally chose a red one with paw prints all over it.  It was between that and the camo.  He has always loved camo.  Since he was old enough to have an opinion about clothes.   The red paw print fabric seemed so Christmasy. 
I brought it home and looked at it for a while.  And then took it back and exchanged it for the camo.   
So what if it isn't exactly Christmasy?

So what if it wasn’t as Christmasy?  It was definitely something I knew he would love.  (And the longer I looked at those paw prints, they more they appeared to be domesticated canine prints.  Not something woodsy like deer or bear.) 

Still, it is a Christmas tree skirt.  So it needed some kind of bling.  I turned to the classic rick-rack as I so often do.  My grandmother who was my sewing mentor had a deep and abiding dedication to the stuff.   

So here is a close-up of the camouflage tree skirt with jumbo gold rick-rack trim. 

Jumbo rick-rack bling on camo

I like the way it turned out.  I could imagine my nephew using it for a tree in a bachelor pad where the decorations are beer cans.  Or maybe some day if he gets married and has a family, it could be on a tree in his man cave.

But the thing I love most about this tree skirt is how much HE loved it when he opened it.  So what if he was 19? He loved it so much he wrapped himself up in it and wore it as a cape for the rest of Christmas Eve.  (He also loved a gift from one of my sisters that involved a spinny cushioned seat to top a 5-gallon bucket for fishing.  So he spent the night spinning in his cape/skirt)
Tree skirt, stingray or cape?
In the end, only 5 of my siblings had kids, so I lucked out with more like a dozen nieces and nephews instead of the 24 I had anticipated.  Still, I am so glad I made that plan 25 years ago.  I have had so much fun choosing ornaments each year that suited their interests.  I love looking at their trees and seeing woodsy animals and Darth Vader or Nutcrackers and Hello Kitties and grand pianos and…

I really should get started on the ornaments for this Christmas.  There are a lot of  Doctor Who-obsessed nieces and nephews these days.  And for the older ones? Game of Thrones, of course!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Shakespeare and Pansies in a Union Jack Toss Pillow

Pansies, Shakespeare, lace and tiny rick-rack

I am still obsessed with the Union flag of Great Britain.  That tea cozy didn’t satisfy my inner Betsy Ross (or whoever designed and made the first Union Jacks).  In addition to the tea cozy, I also made a throw pillow for my friend the Birthday Girl.

She loves pansies, England and Brit Lit, so this is what I made for her from fabrics I had on hand.

Pastel Pansy take on a venerable flag.

I think this is a particularly pretty pansy print, but I adore the one with writing on it.  It is a list of flowers that are mentioned in each Shakespeare comedy.  (Oh look! It used to be available on Amazon! )

I like to make these pillow covers removable so they can be washed.  (This fits a standard 16” pillow form.) 

Spill a drop of tea? Just toss it in the wash.

The back opening is made with a buttoned envelope style.  I have a genius designer friend who uses re-cycled men’s shirts for the back of her pillows.  She just cuts the button-front shirt to size for the pillow back.  I, on the other hand, make work for myself.  (Though I guess I might have used a men’s shirt if I had found one with pansies on it.)

Buttoned up back of pillow

I have a zillion visions in my head for other takes on this design.  It's so versatile and can be personalized in so many ways.  I have one more pillow cover to show you.  But I have to send it to that Birthday Girl first (because I know she will recognize that it’s for her if she sees it here.) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Remington Steele and I

In true 40s gumshoe style, Laura often donned a fedora.

Try this for a deep dark secret… The great detective Remington Steele? I’ve been sleeping with him.   

Well, not in the way you think.  I’ve just been playing the DVDs of the 1980s detective romantic comedy in order to try to fall asleep.  It has been working really well for me with none of the weird side effects of Ambien.  There is something incredibly soothing about knowing that Remington and Laura are on the case. No matter what, they will eventually figure out a mystery, toss in a lot of clever quips and then more likely than not, end up in a clinch.

For Throwback Thursday, I thought I would re-visit one of my favorite shows from a long, long time ago.  This is kind of the “at large” stuff I had in mind when I named this blog.  

He is so soothing. 

Remington Steele premiered so long ago I was still in college.  It starred a then-unknown baby-faced Pierce Brosnan as the title character and the smart, independent, beautiful and incredibly agile Stephanie Zimbalist as Laura Holt, the woman who invented the man.  The show was an instant hit among my crowd.  At the time, I thought we were watching it for the cute boys, but as I watch the show now, 30 years later, I realize the great appeal of the show was the way it matched the zeitgeist of the moment.

Laura Holt invents Remington Steele because no one will hire a female private investigator.  As feminists-in-training at a Catholic women’s college in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, we were convinced we could do any job a man could and at least as well.  We took for granted the idea of women in leadership roles since we were taught by nuns and ex-nuns (and men willing to work for nuns and ex-nuns.)  
The college’s publicity materials referred to us as “Woman-centered Centered-women.”  We lived up to the woman-centered part, though centered-womanhood was still a few years off for most of us.
Grant and Hepburn for the 80s.

The show cleverly paid homage to 30s and 40s screwball comedies and mysteries like The Thin Man or pretty much anything with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.  It was stylish and clever, an hour-long mix of light-hearted mystery, comedy and romance where the mystery-solving and romance were almost entirely on the woman’s terms.   To this day, I don’t think there has been a TV romance where the woman unapologetically runs the business and the relationship.  Can you think of one?

We loved Laura because she was one of the few characters on television who was her own boss.  Her “decidedly masculine superior” was just a bunch of empty suits and never-worn shoes in a hotel room.  She operated in a traditionally man’s world by her own rules and that’s what we were being prepared to
do.  She opened a detective agency with her pal Murphy Michaels (James Read) and had a secretary named Bernice Foxe (Janet DeMay) who was a bit of a retired party girl.

Handsome stranger slips into Remington's shoes and Laura is not pleased
In the first episode a mysterious man shows up and literally slips into the shoes of Remington Steele.  He spends the rest of 4 seasons applying his "eclectic" skills to detective work, trying to earn Laura’s trust and falling in love with an impossible woman he can’t resist.  Meanwhile Laura spends 4 years yelling at him, demanding to know his real name and insisting that while they can snog all they like, they will draw the line at the bedroom.  Sounds like Kate and Cary, doesn’t it? (Laura even uses the name Tracy Lord when she goes under cover, a nod to Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story)

I started watching the Remington Steele DVDs again thinking that it would be a soothing nostalgic show to watch while trying to fall asleep. Today’s procedurals make me anxious and grossed out, which is not helpful when one is trying to relax.  There is too much gore and explicit violence against women by both the criminals and the macho males going around shooting everything in NCIS or CSI or SVU or even shows with actual characters in the name like Castle. In an interview, Stephanie Zimbalist says their motto was “The blood isn’t real on Remington Steele.”  And thank goodness.

Armed with trophies, vases and 2x4s
Back in the days of Steele, there was a running joke about never knowing where the agency’s lone gun was because they rarely used it. Finding bullets for it was the second problem. Remington regularly makes a point that he hates the things.   There is plenty of running after crooks in the show, but rarely with firearms.  Almost always, Remington, Laura and Murphy have a vase, a trophy or a 2x4 conveniently at hand to absurdly conk their foes in the back of the neck with.  Nobody really gets hurt, just knocked out temporarily.  I find that soothing when I am trying to fall asleep. And it’s much less noisy than all of today’s gunfire.

Unlike a lot of shows from the 80s, Remington Steele holds up fairly well visually.  There was careful attention to details as the designers tried to evoke the 30s and 40s. Pierce’s British/Irish accent has a certain Cary Grant cadence while Stephanie does a great job imitating that studio-trained Englishy accent that actors used in old movies.

Big 80s hair, shoulder pads and Jane Fonda workout garments are kept to a minimum.  Steele’s apartment is decorated as homage to art deco style with a few framed movie posters to reinforce the call-backs to the period.  In the second season, the agency acquires an old Austin to chase suspects with when the limo seems too flashy.

Annoying Carole Little for St Tropez West dress
Mercifully, Laura’s hair is worn long and carefully pulled away from her face in 40s styles.  Even when she wears a pony tail, there is no scrunchy in sight. Many of her suits have the broad shoulder jacket with straight skirt to match the hairstyle.  (Though there are a few “sporty separates” supplied by Carole Little for St Tropez West that annoy me) Remington just wanders around with thick dark hair that's perfectly coiffed or tousled artistically on his forehead while modeling impeccably tailored suits, tuxes and the occasional riding breeches.  Beyond the plots and the non-graphic violence, even the clothes are soothing.

The plots are usually stolen from Agatha Christie stories or Hitchcock films whether the reference is Psycho, Rear Window or The Trouble with Harry all mixed up with a dollop of Preston Sturges.  Suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride because this is meant to be fun.  “Reality” is so overrated.

Long before the IMDB, Remington was a vintage movie buff who was always comparing their case to some scene in those old caper movies.  I had no idea what he was talking about then, but 30 years later, I have caught up with Remington’s references and they are much more fun now that I’ve actually seen the old movie.
Under cover tour guides
It’s amusing to catch James Bond references in the stunts or the score knowing in hindsight that Pierce Brosnan would eventually play the role.  The number of museum break-ins Laura and Remington pull off surely inspired him to star in a remake of The Thomas Crown Affair

I thought that first season was perfect.  But the powers-that-be decided that there was “character clutter” and they couldn’t find enough for Miss Foxe and Murphy to do. Kindly, they freed the actors to go do other shows while consolidating both characters into one for the rest of the series. 
At least Murphy and "Miss Wolf" got sandwiches.

I can understand why they did that, but I have never been able to forgive them for replacing the gorgeous James Read and the world-wise Janet DeMay with Doris Roberts as Mildred Krebs.  Mildred arrives at the Steele agency as a member of the IRS Fraud Squad investigating why Remington Steele didn’t file income tax returns.  She spends the rest of the series as a comic relief sidekick.

Even Doctor Who tries to silence Mildred Krebs.
I am sure Doris Roberts is a perfectly lovely person, but when the series first aired, I had no need of that clueless old fuddy-duddy wasting my time in this show when it could have been the smart, young and attractive Bernice and Murph.  To my disbelief, I looked Doris up on the IMDB and learned that she was just a year older than I am now when she took that role.  OMG! Is that how people see me?  Or is 52 the new 42?  (Oh please let it be the latter)

At 52, I do have a very different perspective on the Laura/Steele relationship than I had in my 20s.  In those days, Laura made perfect sense to me.  She was independent and didn’t need a man around and was frustrated with her own weakness falling in love with a man she knew couldn’t possibly be good for her. She constantly tested him and accused him of not being trustworthy.  She always assumed the worst of Remington despite the fact that he stayed around no matter how badly she treated him. 

Laura, put the phone down and listen to him!
I didn’t see any of that in my 20s.  Because that was pretty much how I was operating.  (Gee, how did I end up a spinsta?) Now I want to shake both Laura and my 20-something self and explain a few things.  I would suggest that there are men who are human and have feelings. Not every single one of them wants to oppress women in every possible way.  I want them to know that they are sabotaging themselves by making assumptions rather than asking questions and listening carefully. 

I have so much sympathy for the lost character of Remington who never had a real home and family, who did what he had to in order to survive and who loves this impatient, proud, pain-in-the-ass of a woman that somehow feels like the first safe home he has known. 

It’s kind of amazing to me the way visiting characters I adored 30 years ago have given me a window to see who I was at the time.

So I am recommending this show that is apparently much more than a show to me.  It is a time-capsule of my own early adulthood as well as an entertaining series that holds up well because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, though it wears its heart on its perfectly tailored sleeve.   Or the occasional Laura Ashley dress.
A London adventure.


 There are some really gorgeous episodes because they somehow had the budget to film in Mexico, England, Ireland, and around the Mediterranean.  (It was extremely difficult to film Los Angeles locations during the 84 Olympics, so they just went to Europe)

Cassandra Harris guests as her husband's old girlfriends.
Pierce Brosnan’s first wife Cassandra Harris wanders in as a couple of different old girlfriends of Remington’s.  Don’t watch too closely or you will start to obsess (as I do) about whether her characters Anna and Felicia were twins or just doppelgangers.  Knowing Cassandra died a few years later of ovarian cancer makes her scenes with Pierce bittersweet.

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Remington's mentor, Daniel Chalmers
More satisfying are the appearances of Stephanie Zimbalist’s dad Efrem as an old con-man pal of Remington’s.  His rapport with Brosnan and the obvious fun he has playing opposite his daughter are delightful.

There are 22 episodes in each of the first 4 seasons.  To this day, my favorite episode is Vintage Steele in the first season where Laura and Remington investigate the disappearance and reappearance of an unidentified body. There are monks who have taken a vow of silence involved in this show, not to mention a very memorable game of Charades. And the kissing scene was good enough to appear in the opening credits for the next few seasons.

I can recommend the other 87 episodes in those first 4 seasons as well.  But then things went to hell.  NBC canceled the show.  Then it was announced that Pierce would be the next James Bond, so NBC un-canceled it and demanded 6 more hours.  Stephanie had already accepted another role too, so there was a lot of bumming going on as they shot that last season.  Most of the writing staff had left for new jobs as well, leaving those last few scripts in the hands of newbie writers and rather absent editors.

Upper Right: Jack Scalia as character clutter.
For some reason, the powers-that-be forgot about how they had gotten rid of  the first season’s “character clutter” and decided to add another character—another rival for Laura’s affections in the person of Jack Scalia as Tony Roselli.  None of us who loved the show can ever forgive them for that.  Those last 6 hours are excruciating to get through no matter how much we adore Laura and Remington.  No matter that Efrem Zimbalist shows up.  No matter that they shot in Mexico, London and a castle in Ireland.  Nothing could make up for Tony Roselli. 

So if you haven’t seen those last 6 hours, go ahead and watch to see how it ends, but really, the first 4 seasons are plenty.  And the last episode of the 4th season is a good enough way to end the series. 
Season 4 Finale. It's all you need.

You can stream the first 3 seasons on HuluPlus and Amazon if you are looking for light entertainment or a bedtime sedative. If you catch up with my old pals Laura and Remington, let me know what you think.  Am I giving it too much credit because I am still in love?  Or is there something timeless there that you won’t find in other shows from the early 80s?  (I’m looking at you, Moonlighting)

Oh and be sure to watch all the way to the end for the MTM kitten’s take on the show.

What took People so long to figure this out?

The opening credits for Season One are probably burned into your brain, but just in case you missed them:

"Try this for a deep dark secret: The great detective Remington Steele... He doesn't exist. I invented him. Follow: I'd always loved excitement, so I studied and apprenticed, and put my name on an office. But absolutely no one knocked on my door. A female private investigator seemed so... feminine. So I invented a superior. A decidedly masculine superior. Suddenly there were cases around the block. It was working like a charm. Until the day he walked in, with his blue eyes and mysterious past. And before I knew it, he assumed Remington Steele's identity. Now I do the work, and he takes the bows. It's a dangerous way to live, but as long as people buy it, I can get the job done. We never mix business with pleasure. Well...almost never. I don't even know his real name!"

I do not own the copyrights for these photos which appear to be publicity materials from NBC or MTM.