Today Looks Like This.

The Mariah sweater in progress. What I’ve cleverly disguised is that I have less than one half of one sleeve done. Instead, gaze upon my (limited) productivity!
It’s going to be a cold Autumn wearing what amounts to a washcloth.

Then I came downstairs and stumbled on this scene. At first I was touched to see the cats actually enjoying a nap together. But look closer — Zoey’s tail has formed a careful buffer zone around Jadie. I got a sour look for catching them almost touching. They mutually disgust one another.

I haven’t opened any windows or blinds yet today, and the house is chilly from last night. I’m going to hang out under a blanket, knitting and watching online documentaries for the rest of the day.

What’s your day like today?

Dark Craft: Walking Dead Embroidery

The talented Rebecca Simpson over at Rebecca Simpson Design has blown my mind.

Simpson decided to embroider some of the comic art for The Walking Dead as a gift for her fiance, and the results are incredible. Check it out:

(images copyright Rebecca Simpson Design)

Simpson says she “[u]sed different amounts of black strands to achieve shading.” The precision is what makes this piece so fantastic. Well done!

Knitting Takes Brains

I did a bad thing.

Even though I had a campfire sweater already on the needles, I went on Ravelry and searched for sweater patterns. I don’t know why I do this to myself. I found a pattern called Mariah, I fell in love, I ripped out the mostly-done sleeve I had on the needles. (Which belonged to a pattern that may or may not have been based on the sweater Bella wears in some Twilight movie or other, the fact of which makes me feel dirty.) Let us never speak of it again.

Sleeve, schmeeve, the new pattern has cables! And I love cables, I love them so, because they are so simple but they look so complicated and it makes me feel smart.

No longer will I be stuck wearing a sweater associated with a certain fluffy teen series! Instead I will lounge around a fire, in the dark, pleased as a cat with cream that I’m wearing a fancy sweater I made myself with fancy cables no one else will even see.

Now comes the part with the actual, you know, knitting of the thing. I have an inch of sleeve done. I want it finished in time for Fall, because I already picked out a hat to make for Winter…

Make Something.

Yesterday I was showing my husband the bracelet I made (and by “made”, I mean I savaged* a store-bought bracelet and added an evil eye bead). Part of the modifications involved bending a head pin. I did a…passable…job, for a first-timer.

He asked why I don’t just ask our chain-mail-making friend to do it for me.

Because it’s better to make your own stuff, is why.

There’s nothing nicer than making something. I don’t know if it’s ancestral memory of when we had to make everything ourselves, or maybe it’s the novelty of handmade in a world of mass-produced. But something about holding something that wouldn’t exist if not for you is wholly satisfying.

Granted, the bracelet I “made” was put together using stock parts, but still, my hand was involved in the final product. I make other things, too: I knit, I bake, I cross-stitch, I paint a teeny tiny bit. Oh, and I write, in case you missed that somehow (!).

Friends and family have seen (and read!) the stuff I’ve made, and the comment is nearly always the same:

“I could never do that.”

Of course you can! I taught myself to knit with YouTube. I learned how to bake bread by making some really shitty bread. I’m learning how to draw right now, and believe me when I say that my drawings suck mightily. But that only means I’m learning.

Do you ever wonder what happens to all the writing I talk about? The daily quota has to go somewhere, right? Some stories don’t come together and get put on hold. Some, frankly, suck ass and get tossed. But I’ve gotten better only by coming back again and again and making something. Every night when I go to bed I want there to be something I made that wasn’t there before. It’s a powerful feeling to leave your mark, however small, on the world every day.

Have you made something recently? Go on, do it: make, bake, saw, sew, glue, paint, grow, make a tremendous mess. Life is too short to be passive. Go create something that’s all yours.

*Yes, I mean “savaged”, not salvaged. I ripped that sucker apart.

Dark Craft: Lovecraft Edition

“In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

And of course, a special mention: Disappointing Monsters, a webcomic with a recurring Cthulhu who’s “a bit of a dick”.

(crafts via Geek Crafts, Grim Reviews, and Geek Art Gallery)

Dark Craft: Cross-Stitch Edition

I found out that Heaven and Earth Designs is having a Father’s Day pattern sale. (For Father’s Day? Really? Whatever, I like bargains.) These folks publish some of the most intricate cross-stitch patterns I’ve ever seen, and once Marilyn Monroe is finished I’m itching to try one of these.

They’re beautiful patterns but for the most part they tend to be a little…pastel.

Lucky for those of us with darker tastes, I had some free time (and some obsessive tendencies). I waded in to the depths and found these:




I am completely in love with “Grove”, but C informs me that while I am free to stitch anything I want, I am not allowed to hang it anywhere that she can look at him.

(As always, click the pics if you want to purchase one. And check out HAED’s gallery of finished pieces to see why I’m so excited to try one of these.)

Missing Half Her Face

Sundays are for crafting. In between rounds of laundry and cleaning and naps (another reason I don’t have children: these are MY naps), I like to make things. Something about the connection to all those women before me who sewed and knit and baked makes me feel peaceful.

Then this happened:

That’s my unfinished cross-stitch of Marilyn Monroe, in the drawer where I hide it from the cats. Somehow when I was working on it last, I failed to notice how disturbing she looks. At some point she’ll have eyes and lips, but in the meantime she looks like Leatherface got ahold of her.

Office Peepshow

This is my first spring with my new office. I’m still tweaking things (a trip to IKEA should help with the organization), but I’m getting to the point where things have their places. My favourite part of the day is when the sun comes in like this.

Featured above: the dresser that my older cousin had in her bedroom, then her dining room, then it was in my teenage bedroom, and now here. I don’t remember at what point it turned blue. Also, my knitting basket, sewing box, files, and a few books. The dinette chair was red vinyl, at some point, and is now half pink, half leopard-print Duct tape. I like things that have been loved and well used.

Tag, you’re it! Share a picture of your office or creative space. What do you make there? What does the space say about you?

As If I Wasn’t Busy Enough…

I’m chugging along on a multi-part writing project. I’ve been much more organized with my time lately, so I find myself reaching my word goals and actually having time left over.

There’s only one solution to extra time, when you’re a Type A like me.

You take on another massive project.

Enter a giant, beautiful knitted blanket.

(From; click the pic for info on her project and pattern.)

It just so happens I have all this yarn around…and lots of spare moments that find me away from my writing and laptop…Oh yes. It WILL be mine.