Habitual Habitat of the Amy

I kept reading advice columns for how to bring sales to your etsy shop, and one thing they all said is to get a blog.

I can't say this blog has boosted my etsy sales, but it has given me yet another outlet for talking about myself, and that can't be bad--can it?

The direct link to the Etsy shop is HERE

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Day

I can't remember last year's New Year's Resolution, which might be why I didn't accomplish it--although, since I don't remember, maybe I did accomplish it?

I do know that, previously to 2010 I'd used the same resolution for several years running; to write in my journal at least six days a week.  I'd found that seven days a week was a set-up for failure, but six is something that I can manage until around June when things start to slip--although I can generally get back up to par after a few weeks and keep going until winter sets in and I realize my life sucks...

Or maybe that was just this year, when I pretty much gave up journaling entirely sometime around Thanksgiving.  Which goes well with the pile of 14 new (13 now, actually) journals I have waiting for me...

But last year I figured I'd gotten the journaling bit down, and I didn't need to resolve to keep it up, since I'd be doing that anyway.  I already said I don't remember what I replaced it with--it might have been a goal to write a certain amount, but that was pretty much doomed to failure from the start, since I keep moving around in life.

I don't know what to resolve to do for this year. I'm doing okay with the journal-bit (that pile of blank ones is intimidating), and I don't want to start up with writing goals again, since that's just about doomed to failure.  I've been steadily losing weight since May--and I didn't gain any over Christmas--so I can't resolve to do that (unlike the rest of America).  I suppose I could resolve to get a job, but then I might feel the need to rebel against the goal, making it counter-productive.

'To get a date' would be nice, but I'd like to keep things realistic, and for me that's on the lines of 'go to the moon.' Same problem with 'make friends.'

Maybe I'll just resolve to actually try out my new (from a garage sale) skies at some point this winter--assuming the snow comes back. That sounds reasonable and accomplish-able.

Sure. New Year's Resolution: To Go Skiing

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Story Telling

As a kid I liked telling stories, but as an adult I'm often amazed that I can get anything out.  This is due mostly to my parents (as many people's faults are).  When I was a kid and I would babble about my day, my mom would only let me go one for a minute or so before she stopped, looked at me and said, "get to the point" or "what's the point of this story?" or something similar.

I firmly believe that this is a horrible thing to say to a child just learning to be social, and I still don't like to tell stories about my life that don't have a Point.  (I will, sometimes, if I'm comfortable with people, but not often).

My dad, on the other hand, has this obsessive need for stories to be True.  You can't tell a story where you mention that "there were a couple of us" and then later mention that there were, in fact, four of you--because 'a couple' can ONLY refer to two people, and so therefore you were lying.  This goes for emphasis as well.  "There were hundreds!" when really you mean "seventy-four exactly" is a lie--and you cannot lie.  Seriously. My parents have gotten in fights over minor details--and if they don't fight over it, then dad will sulk about it until he gets to correct the story to the listeners and absolve mom of her unintentional errors.

So if one of my stories starts out and begins to meander around, trying to reach the Truth as I remember it--with many corrections as I go along, trying not to lie in the story--well, you can thank my dad for that.  And if, as I near the end of a story, I just abruptly cut off and end, well, that's due to my mom.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I like trees, which might explain why I spent so much of my life out there working among them.  They are really incredible when you think about it; huge, ancient, but so very, very fragile.

I'd say more, but it would be either scientific or overly sentimental, so I'll just leave it at that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sun and the Moon

This is another one of those bracelets that turned out so badly I remade it, but I seem to have dumped the pictures of the first version of this bracelet--luckily for you.

I'm actually very pleased with this version and how it turned out; the beads are all the same size, and the circles are actually round. Plus the sky is a sky-color instead of a dark turquoise.  You can probably imagine what the old one looks like from that...

But I don't have pictures, so I need something else to talk about... uh... Oh! I know, I've been listening to a podcast--Astronomy Cast--about astronomy (??!!) for the past several years, which makes me a bit over confident with what I know about the solar system and the universe, ect.

But every so often I hear things about how people are planning to protect themselves from solar flares by getting the storage-part of a semi truck, burying it underground and setting it up to live in so they can go hide there while the solar flares scorch the ground and kill everything living on the planet.

AHHAHAHAHAHA. Please tell me you do not believe this. Solar flares are energy, yes, but really the worst that they'll do is knock out the power grid.  They *can* damage satellites (but not knock them out of orbit), but we have warning and can protect against that, and they are a bit much radiation for the astronauts, but we can protect against that, too.  So unless your city is set to self-combust next time the power grid goes down...the earth isn't going to be scorched by a solar maximum, sorry.

I know how much you were looking forward to that.

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Christmas Aftermath

Or a green beaded bracelet, depending if you prefer colors or quilt patterns.

I spent all my Christmas money today.  I got a DVD (How to Train Your Dragon which I spent 20 minutes looking for before I found it in the very first place I'd looked, grr), some LEDs for my bedroom (they are blue, and I'd have preferred white, but I was limited by what Target had left), and a $50 Amazon gift card (which, okay, isn't exactly spending my Christmas money so much as transferring it for later, but I felt that this is the best solution).  I also got two journals, which will go nicely with the eight other journals I got for Christmas. plus the four that I had previously but hadn't gotten to yet.  But I like the new journals, and I refuse to regret buying them.

That's enough journals to keep me for a few months at least.

There were a LOT of people out in the world today.  I started my shopping trip around noon, so the crowds weren't too bad, even though I ended up parked on the far side of the mall parking lot from where I wanted to be.  But by the time I finished around 3:30 it was hard to avoid bumping into people in the store; every time I stepped back to avoid someone, I'd bump into someone else.

I did fairly well with it; I usually hate shopping, and I hate shopping when there are other people around--I just avoid aisles unless they are empty--but I kept my cool today, managed not to talk to myself out loud, and even remembered to hold doors for people and/or smile when I accidentally met their eyes.

It's almost like I'm a normal human...but it probably won't last, so I won't get too excited.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

*Is Shocked*

Apparently the secret to having a happy Christmas in my family is spouses.  Seriously. We've not had a Christmas worth remembering in YEARS yet this year it was AWESOME.

I got--well, basically I got nothing. Which is sad, but since I really didn't give anyone anything, it only makes sense that I didn't get anything from them, either.  And I was hardly the only person getting nothing.  I guess that plan someone tried to enact a few years ago wherein we stop buying each other gifts has finally started working.

Either that or the recession.  Anyway, the short list: I got a journal (with a bejeweled pencil), a scented candle, some stinky lotion (not my favorite scent), a glass perfume bottle, a glass pendent, and $25.  I told you it was a short list.

Despite the paucity of gifts, it took FOREVER to hand them out because the only one doing it was my blind-ish, deaf-ish, and senile-ish grandfather who kept getting distracted by other things and couldn't find anyone--even when he was staring directly at them

I kept thinking that I should get up and help, but then someone else would jump up and I'd assume they were going to help, or I'd start to think all the gifts had been handed out because it'd been so long since I'd seen a new one handed out, or--well, or I'm just lazy.  So it ended up taking the better part of two hours to pass out a quarter of the usual amount of gifts, which we generally go through in half an hour.  Crazy math.

BUT! Instead of sitting there bored and feeling unloved since none of the gifts were for me, I ended up having some awesome conversations with my favorite cousin and my least-favorite cousin (who I really like better than that now, since he's grown up a bit).  We talked about Dr. Who and Torchwood and computer games, and sometimes my ...cousin-in-law? would also join in, or my oldest cousin or my uncle, and it was just generally social and a bit like Christmas ought to be.

Christmas dinner was cold, and the younger generation was shunned to the family room and the folding table (I always thought we'd outgrow the kid-table some day, but boy was I wrong. Instead the kid-table just got BIGGER), but even that was okay because it meant that we were all people from approximately the same generation and my cousin-in-law and my soon-to-be-cousin-in-law actually talk to people unlike their wives(-to-be).  So there was conversation that was neither stilted NOR awkward.  Amazing!

There were also four small children under age seven, courtesy of my oldest cousin. They were very quiet (overwhelmed?) children, but they still added a bit of extra fun confusion.  And ran over our toes with remote control cars.  And there were two dogs as well.

All in all this was probably the best Christmas I've had in ages, and now I feel bad for being so pessimistic about it yesterday.  Still, how could I have known? Christmas usually sucks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

 Although I didn't actually list anything new on Etsy. I just wanted to say Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays and whatever.

I hope everyone gets things that they don't want for Christmas, but not so many of them that it ruins the suspension in their car.  I hope your Christmas tree is not eaten by the gifts around and under it, and I hope that your stockings hold things more exciting than an orange (Mom used to give us 'breakfast' in our stockings).

I also hope that your family didn't wake you up really (comparatively) early because "we have lots of things to do today" and then vanish for several hours, leaving you with very little to do other than wonder why you got up before ten (hell, before NOON) and post on your blog.

And I especially hope that any older relatives you see today or tomorrow are in possession of more of their wits than my one grandmother whom I will be dragged to see later (although, reflecting back over the past years I think she's better now than she was when she still had enough of a mind to be aware but not enough to be nice).

Merry Christmas, people.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

Yes, you saw this one before, too. I wish I had a better picture of it. I mean, I like this picture, but you can't really read--but my other photographing methods would reduce it to a couple of letters, and any other way of showing the whole bracelet would make it just a tiny strip even harder to read than this one.  Ah well, we all make sacrifices.

I finished my Christmas shopping today.  I got my mom a book that I want to read (see how that works? ...I hope she doesn't read this post) It's also one I know she'll like, so it's not entirely self-serving.  Not entirely.

It was my little sister and I who went out. The initial plan had been to go to two stores, but we eliminated one because of snow and laziness, and instead spent two hours at Borders.  Mostly we were reading through books in the humor section and giggling, but eventually it became time to leave, and we went to get in line.

And oh boy was it a line.  It went half the length of the store (it's not the biggest Borders, but it's nothing to sneeze at, either).  We'd also been asked to get an avocado at the grocery store across the parking lot, so I left my sister in line and wandered over, carefully picked out two avocados, waited in line, checked out and meandered back. I made it back to the bookstore just as my sister made it out the door, which is perfect timing, but a bit alarming.

I'm just glad I didn't have to wait in that line.

And I'm glad my Christmas shopping is done.  I just need to make cookies for all the other relatives. Or give them nothing, which is my unfortunate every-other-year trend. And it is an other year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Draem Catcher Beaded Tapestry

Back in college I had an assignment for one of my art classes (I actually have a degree in art, have I mentioned that?) an assignment wherein....actually, I can't recall the details of it. It might have been the 'embellish something' assignment, but I don't remember.

The point of this is that I made a sort of dream-catcher cage for it.  I made the hoop set-up that generally used for 3-d dream catchers, but then instead of linking all the sides so there was this visually complex and confusing one-sided-four-sided thing, I wove each side into a dream catcher with black, so I had a bird-cagey thing instead.

I then filled the inside with colorful paper cranes, tied a few black paper cranes to the outside and added some twisted-wire bead-like things.

It was a 'reverse dream catcher'.  It had some visual interest, so when I got home from college I hung it up in my room, and when I moved away (tried to, at least) after college I went to take it down and my little sister said no, I should leave it up, so I did.

A few months later I returned home for a visit and found the 'catcher hanging in a different room.  When I asked about this, my little sister said that she'd moved it after realizing most people didn't have regular nightmares about their high school burning down.

This made me reflect back over the times I'd slept in the room with the 'catcher during and after college.  There had been a rather surprising number of dreams featuring fighting or other military activity during those times.  I'd always thought it was tension from growing up and being beack home, fighting with mom, ect.

...but I haven't had a single one since that dream catcher started hanging out in the other room, and really my outlook and location in life hasn't changed much from those days.

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Deja Vu

I've actually had one strong experience of Deja Vu. I've had others every so often, but this practically amounts to a prophetic dream.

Christmas is always a stressful time of year for everyone, and especially for me.  Several years I've found myself crying on or before Christmas for no apparent reason--or for really stupid reasons that were really just the last straw. I do this around my birthday, too, so I think it has some connection to me expecting too much and then not getting it, even if that doesn't quite explain why I cry before the holiday... 

Anyway, the point is that when I'm stressed I tend to dream about the thing I'm stressed about. Not always, and occasionally well after the fact, but one year I dreamed a few days before Christmas that my aunt would stand in the middle of the room and ask 'who's going to clean up this wrapping paper' or something to that extent, and then, on Christmas, she did.
Clearly I should be declared the next oracle of Delphi--although I'll pass on the volcano fumes, which are just unnecessary.

Although a more scientific mind would tell you that this has more to do with traditions and the fact that Christmas always happens the same way.  We go to my grandparents, socialize awkwardly until all the attending relatives are present, read the Bible Story, con the youngest child into handing out the gifts, throw all the wrapping paper on the floor and leave the mature among us to clean it up--mature people like my aunt, who puts it in garbage bags, or like my grandparents who throw it all in the fire.

We then socialize awkwardly with whichever relatives we deem worthy of talking to (for example I've an uncle who never talks to anyone female, and I prefer to avoid several of my cousins) until it's time for dessert. I can also assure you that at some point someone will turn on the TV because you can't sit in a room with a TV off, and that I'll probably pick up a book at least once.

If we're lucky we'll get enough people together to play a game, but if we're unlucky it'll be Spoons.

And since this is the way that every Christmas has ever gone, with a few alterations based on ages, is it any wonder that I dreamed what would come to pass?

It's like an endless loop of tradition and habit that goes round and round and--hey! just like a mobius strip!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


A while back I was playing with ideas for sun and moon bracelets with varying success.  One of the planned bracelets depicted all the phases of the moon, but since that left a lot of extra space I stuck in some stars, included a different-colored border and chose the wrong beads.  No, really. It looked like this:

 The background is a really pretty blueberry color-lined Japanese cut bead, while the dark side of the moon is a size 10 dark silver lined Czech, the light side of the moon might be either a size 10 silver-lined Czech or a light-brown (it looked gray when I bought it) lined size 11 Czech.  The stars and border are Czech 11s, as well.

If you're not familiar with beads, let me explain; Japanese beads are supposedly more uniform in size (it's true if you get quality ones, but these don't seem to have been), they are much more square in shape, and they are generally a bit larger than the Czech beads of the "same size".

Czech beads are more distinctly rounded and oblong, and while the two sizes aren't hugely different to the untrained eye, mixing them can create certain problems if you're not careful.  Problems like wobbling edges (see picture on right).

Of course, the blame for that is also due to the Japanese beads being a different shape than the Czech ones--and actually, I'm fairly certain those Japanese beads were different sizes from themselves.

But for some reason I listed it one Etsy anyway, and added 'remake the moon bracelet' to my list of things to do.

Well, I finally got around to doing that!  I removed the stars, ditched the border, left out the dark side of the moon entirely and used beads that were the same size.  After all that I created a bracelet that looks like this:

See how smooth the edges are? See how bright the moon shines...wait. You can hardly see the moon!  Well, I know that now, but I didn't until I was too far into making the bracelet to stop.  It's also too long and empty, since I'm still a bit fuzzy on how long bracelets with box-clasps need to be (it's about half an inch shorter than the ones with snaps, but I can never figure out how many beads that is).  But at least it's better than the last one, and I'm not embarrassed to have it up on Etsy.

Maybe some day I'll make a third moon-phases bracelet and get it right.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Went Christmas Shopping Today

Today's Etsy relisting: Plaid Christmas Bracelet

New England Ice Storm 2008

No really, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go Christmas shopping the weekend before Christmas.

I thought I'd just nip over to the local Target--the one that's easier to get to, specifically--buy the two gifts I needed and then get home.  How long can it take, I thought.

First off I'd forgotten that my car was still covered with snow.  Snow over a veneer of ice.  But once I got that cleaned off and drove out of the driveway, I found that the roads were surprisingly empty.  They filled up the closer I got to commercial areas, but it still wasn't bad for the Saturday before Christmas, and I thought maybe I'd get out of this alive.

Target didn't have what I was looking for.  They had something close but twice the price.  Great, I thought, I'll just stop at the next most-likely-to-have-what-I'm-looking-for store on the way home.

They didn't have it either, which left me needing to go to that most hellish of places--THE MALL.

As I neared the roads were still remarkably free, at least until I pulled into the parking...region that surrounded the mall itself.  There traffic was nearly at a standstill and it took me a good 20 minutes to make it to the far side of the mall where the stores I wanted were--a drive that usually takes two minutes tops.

When I finally got there they were PACKED.  And they didn't have what I was looking for.

Another twenty minutes found me on the next corner of the mall parking lot ducking into the next big-box store which almost had what I was looking for, except that by then I was too burnt out and traumatized to settle for a gift that I wasn't 100% sure was going to be perfect.

So I came home.  Two hours of my life WASTED and I still don't have gifts for two people.  This is why I like to shop online.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I have an odd collection of tiny green aliens.  They come from vending machines and I have nine of them--plus another six or so that glow in the dark.

I'm not sure how I feel about them showing off bracelets like this, but at least its something different from the rocks, right?

They are also kung-fu aliens. I can't recall which one this is, but I think he's wearing boxing gloves.  Because aliens clearly learned martial arts as part of their Grand Plan to take over earth.  Hand-to-hand (literally) combat is a much better, easier and safer way to take over a planet than something like, say, dropping bombs.  Certainly it's more eco-friendly.  And these aliens are nothing if not green.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ahoy Maties!

Today's Etsy listing: Christmas Candle Bracelet

Today we've got another set of triplets to look at, this one the pirate ship, which is in fact for sale on etsy: Pirate Ship Beaded Tapestry--OR, if you prefer, you can make your own after purchasing the Pattern-Pirate Ship Beaded Tapestry.

As you can see, I've attempted this pattern three times.  The first time is the white-sailed ship.  It's...not bad. I began it far back either in college or near the end of college, but I ran out of the beads I'd used for the sky.  I couldn't find more no matter how hard I looked.  It didn't help that the beads were originally from a craft store tube rather than a bead store so... I basically gave up on the entire pattern.

After I made the second tapestry I came back to this one and decided I'd finish it.  I took a few of the sky-beads to my local Bead and Button show and found something that matched. I'm not sure I made the best choice, and it's rather obvious so it's not like I'll ever be able to sell it; but at least the whole ship is finished now.

When I returned to beading after the long dry spell I thought I'd give the pirate ship another chance, and I made the black-sailed ship.  I actually fixed the pattern between; you can tell that it's a slightly different shape (especially in the sails).  The new pattern was adjusted for the shape of the beads, so it's not as stretched, but it's all smaller.  The beads I used for the sky are slightly wider than those I used for the ocean, so the tapestry is a trapezoid, but I love the color, so I don't mind.

After that I wanted to sell one--and maybe I wanted to use up some poorly-cut Japanese size 10^ beads I had.  Don't get me wrong; I love Japanese-cut beads as much as the next person (except Delicas which I have no use for), but I got these at a bead show from a place that was going out of business.  They were cheap, and ended up being a different shape and size than...anything I can work with.  Several of the colors are worse than others, but for the most part I can only use them together...but luckily I had enough different colors to create this lovely tapestry.

The sails are actually a deep red, but I can't get it to work properly in the photographs--I've got to be content with it turning out red instead of orange.  And actually, before I messed with the settings on the camera the red sails were turning the whole IMAGE an orangish color. Camera is not as smart as it thinks it is.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tom Tom Tomato

This was a pattern I developed to be a strawberry. Looking at it that's really hard to tell, but I assure you it looked like a tiny roundish strawberry on my computer screen. I just forgot to factor in the oblong shape of the beads, so....it's a tomato.

It's a pretty nice tomato; you have to agree.

I've been debating ever since I made this if I should go ahead and make a tomato bracelet. Clearly I haven't done so yet, but maybe I will for spring--I just can't imagine who'd want a tomato bracelet. People who really like salads? People who like to garden? People who like to debate the differences between vegetables and fruits?

People who like tomatoes?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dream Away

Today's Etsy re-listing: Floating Boxes Christmas Bracelet

Let's Talk about Dream Catchers today, shall we? 

I actually collect dream catchers. I don't quite remember why, but I got one from my godmother for a birthday gift one year, and then sometime around then I learned to make them, and over a decade later I've got over 50 (at last count).  It's been awhile since I had them all out and about, I've moved around a lot, so I usually keep them in the attic and just bring a token one or two (or three) along.  Right now they are pretty much my 'tourist souvenir' collection; I have one from Wall Drug, one from Cape Cod, two from Salem, MA, one from a rest area on I-90, one from the "Big E," one from Oregon, and so forth. 

I like that I can get them everywhere and anywhere, and I like that they are unconnected to the places except by my memories, I guess you could say.  There's no 'this is from the Rocky Mountains National Park' tag on the one from the Rocky Mountain National Park, but I still know that's where it's from, so it collects memories without bragging.

Well, and they are pretty and fluffy.

I also make dream catchers.  It's silly but I think it's a rather unique art-form that's not really explored enough. Craft-form? I know most of my ideas for dream catchers still verge on the edge of 'kitsch,' but the idea of a dream catcher where instead of feathers dangling off the bottom it's plastic icicles--catching dreams of winter, perhaps--that really appeals to me.  (I'd do pictures of that one, but my dream catchers are in the attic with the other 90% of my stuff).

 In college I was trying to stretch the boundaries of both what I could do with dream catchers and what I could do with beading, and I thought I might try to combine them.

My first attempt to do so was the dream catcher with the mushy pink/purple background.  It's... not entirely what I expected it to be.

These pictures actually make it look pretty good, but I was trying to use up certain colors of beads, which I was somewhat successful at, but they were all different sizes, so the sides wobble; I used small beads for the hoop, which makes it somewhat hard to distinguish; I used the metallic gold for the feathers, which never ends well; and I didn't really understand how delicate the tension was with the webbing, so it pulls inwards a bit too much.

So when I picked my needle back up I thought I'd remake it--but with a few changes.

 First I changed the background into something that was...something instead of pink and purple mush. I used an awkward patterning software to do so, though, and it could use a bit more editing, but it's not bad.

I used the copper-lined beads for the feathers because it was before I'd realized they would rust. Oops.

I also altered the hoop so it came out mostly round in the finished piece (instead of oval), and so that it was wider and more noticeable. 

I used a clear nylon thread to sew the whole thing, which is an experience to work with (I'll probably talk about it some day...) --except for the webbing, where I switched to a blue thread so you could see it better. I used blue beads in the web as well, so they could be seen against a white wall.

But I'd cut the blue thread way too long, so I was able to add this awesome dimensional feather to the 'catcher, which is probably the best part, even if it has a slight blueish cast from the thread.

Of course, I loved this second 'catcher far too much to sell, so I made a third one:

 This one is identical except for a few color choices, and the fact that I used white thread instead of clear.  It doesn't have the extra feather, either.  And it looks like I went back to white for the webbing.

But since it is nearly identical to the second dream catcher, I've been able to convince myself to try and sell it: Dream Catcher Beaded Tapestry.

I have mixed feelings about the pictures on Etsy--especially the very first one--but hopefully some day someone will see how bloody awesome this dream catcher is, and will wish to buy it.
Until then, I'll just keep dreaming...

Monday, December 13, 2010


We had pets rabbits while I was growing up.  Our first one was named Shadow.  He was black (shocking, I know) and we had him for close to a decade. 

Our second rabbit was names Simon.  He was a black and white Dutch rabbit and very pretty--but he didn't make a great pet.  He always had poo stuck to his butt, and he failed to ever be litter trained (he almost was at one point but then mom changed the litter on him and that was that).  We still have stains all over the living room floor from him (he mostly lived inside).  He also wouldn't cuddle or hold still while I pet him (he'd bite--but it might have been rabbit adolescence, I don't know anymore).  But he got flystrike (maggots living in the poo on his bum, eeeeewwww) one day, and even though mom took him to the vet, his heart was weak and when they sedated him it was too much.

Now I like to say he was an evil rabbit; he had a bad heart.

Then we went for a few years without a rabbit before mom decided that the compost pile wasn't the same and we needed a new one.  So we got our lovely, calm brown-with-white-paws rabbit (he's a "broken dutch" according to people who'd know).  We spent a year debating the poor rabbit's name but couldn't really agree on anything. He was almost officially 'Captain Rabbit' but then I told a guest that we hadn't decided on a name and...he remained nameless.

Until I started calling him Bunny-kun because I'd been watching too much anime (it happens...). But then I shortened it to 'Nii-kun' and mom figured it was a name.  It's technically more of an endearment, but that's fine--or it would be if mom could spell it.  At best she thinks it's 'Neekun' at worst...well, on her last blog-post she wrote 'keekun'.  I'm not sure if this is better or worse than 'Kneecoon' which she originally thought it was.  We've had several conversations about this (like the one after she asked my sister's Japanese-speaking friend what 'neekun' meant) but mom just keeps forgetting.

Sometimes I think I should make him a name-tag or something, but usually I try not to worry about it.  At least he has a name, right?

And then about two years ago I decided to get my own pet rabbit, whom I love far more than I probably should, even though she limits certain parts of my life. She's a silver-Siamese Netherland Dwarf and her name is Mithril (because it's dwarven silver and she's a silver dwarf). I got her from the House Rabbit Society and I could probably write a whole blog just about her (but I'll spare you).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seeing Doubles

Today's Etsy relisting: Sparkly Christmas Bracelet

Since we're all done looking at the fringed tapestries I've made, I thought maybe we'd hop over to look at tapestries I've made multiples of, mostly because I've already photographed some of them. 

This is the second dragon pattern I came up with, and I'm pretty sure it was also from a bit of clip art; good inspiration, those.  I made the blue one first--way first, actually.  I'd say it was the second tapestry I've ever made, but I don't know if that's counting the long boat or not.

I liked the pattern because it is compact with little empty space, it's got plenty of colors and textures for me to play with, and it's, well, frankly its awesome.

The green one I made at my after-college job, making this the very first pattern  I ever duplicated.  I don't really like the colors I used for the green dragon quite as much, but I was limited by what I had (and the fact that the local bead store resents greens), so it has some odd details. Like the fact that I used gray for the darkest parts; what was I thinking?

I figured it all out with the red dragon, though. I thought I was making that one to sell on Etsy, but I could never bring myself to part with it.  I keep thinking maybe I'll make a second identical red one, but I don't have any more of the beads I used in the background, which makes it rather difficult.  I can get more, of course, but it's a silly thing to do when I've already got a million (five) different off-white colors--but none of them are the same size, so I'm worried using one of them will make the edges less-than-straight.

  Here are their detailed shots:

I think I like the red one best. I don't know how I imagined I'd be able to part with it if it sold.  But then, at the rate things sell from my shop, I probably wouldn't have to worry about it, anyway.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Welcome to the Aviary

Of course, we've all seen the penguin pin before, but the owl and the robin ones are new, and since they're all similar I thought I'd post about all of them together.

The fourth...bird is supposed to be a snowy owl, but I realize it looks like absolutely nothing (let alone a snowy owl) which is why it hasn't got a pin on it. I just wanted to show that I was making more than just three bird-types.  Or, y'know, trying to make more than three bird types. I have a possible pattern for a bluebird, too, but I'm worried it'll look even worse than the snowy owl so I haven't made it yet.

The robin is the one on the left, by the way. My mom couldn't figure out what it was and she was looking at one with a brighter red breast, so maybe it's secretly just a red owl.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another One of Those Days

I had my day all listed out (I like lists, haven't you figured that out yet?) but the first thing on my list was 'wash the bathroom counter,' followed by 'sweep down the stairs' after which I was going to 'see Voyage of the Dawn Treader'--except I'd somehow missed that when mom asked me to wash the counter and sweep the stairs today she actually meant "wash the bathroom counter, sweep the stairs, vacuum the rugs, vacuum the bathroom floor, clean tea stains off the spoons, help me rearrange the whole living-room (twice), carry the Christmas boxes back upstairs and wash the dishes."

I know I shouldn't complain because my parents let me live here for free, but it did rather skew the rest of my daily List.  And delay my blogging for...five hours? yeah.

Well, maybe part of that was the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (pretty good movie, btw), but still.

Anyway, today on Etsy I re-posted another Christmas bracelet, this one the Triangles and Diamonds Christmas Bracelet which I'll happily admit is not the most clever name I could come up with.  But it's difficult to name bracelets, especially when they aren't OF something. Like penguins. I know where I stand with penguins. Less so with geometric designs made of triangles and diamonds.

Um. Picture:

It's of a big toad I found once when in the field with kids.  Nicely camouflaged.  Actually, I think one of the kids found it, but whatever.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Who Cooks for You?!

When I worked at my one Outdoor Education job, we'd do a little sing-along each night before sending the kids off to bed.  I think it was traditionally supposed to calm the kids down so they'd be ready to sleep, but, well... "Don't Stop Believing" isn't a greatly calming song.  Neither is "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road," for that matter.

I didn't arrive at that job able to play guitar, but after watching the people who could play I decided I wanted to learn, so I went to Target and bought myself a Lyon by Washburn ('cuz Target is Known for their quality instruments) which I then haphazardly learned how to play.

A few years later I'm still around the 'intermediate beginner' stage, but that's oky because I could play enough to be up in front of all the kids--which meant I didn't have to sit with them and try and keep them quiet and/or singing.

The last site I worked at even had a proper stage that we played on, and because I was the person who always started talking first I got to introduce the "band."  In order to keep the kid's interest up while singing old songs/songs they'd never heard of, we liked to name our band, sometimes introduce the various players...y'know, make it 'fun.'

The first site I played at we ended up naming the band the 'Tally-me Banana Slugs' which went over really well, even if the kids never quite got the joke (it's not like we played the 'hey Mr tally-man, tally-me banana) song, but the kids were frequently obsessed with the band.

My final season I kept trying to name the band things, but I couldn't quite get anything to stick.  We were the nematodes for a few weeks, but it just wasn't something the kids could get their minds around (although there are nematodes in all of us).

But then--THEN I renamed the band the 'Bard Owls' (And you thought this would have nothing to do with owls.) .  Now, there's a real owl called the 'barred' owl (not to be confused with the 'barn' owl), and it makes a call that sounds like 'who cooks for you' (if you're drunk and on the far side of a lake, I think, 'cuz I never quite heard it), but that gave us an AWESOME call and response to shut the kids up, a fuzzy mascot AND a whole slew of fascinating facts that I could babble about while everyone else tuned their guitars and picked out the songs we'd be singing.

Did you know barred owls sometimes crossbreed with spotted owls to create 'sparred' or 'botted' owls?

I still think it was the best band name ever.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Lion and the Unicorn

Today's Etsy Christmas-related relisting: Presentable Christmas Bracelet

This is the last of the fringed beaded tapestries, and it's probably the fringe I'm happiest with. It's also one of my most favorite tapestries, although the attic was not kind to it.

I got the unicorn pattern pretty much straight from an old cross-stitch book my mom lent/gave me (she never got it back if it was a loan), although I think I lengthened it's snout slightly.  I'd also like to take credit for the lack of a beard (why do they put those on unicorns??!!) but it actually has one, it's just hard to tell for reasons I'll discuss (read 'rant about') below.

I can't quite recall why I wanted to pair a lion with the unicorn, but I think maybe one of my college friends suggested it.  I wasn't sure why one ought to put a lion with a unicorn and had to look it up online. And this was in the days before Wikipedia, so it probably took an excruciating three minutes instead of roughly thirty seconds.

But I didn't have a convenient cross-stitch pattern of a lion, and the ones I could find online were way too bit, so I made that pattern myself.

Then, holding them next to each other, I realized they needed something else, so I made the middle panel.  It's a crown and smudgy-thing near the bottom that's supposed to be a fleur-de-lis.  I thought it was a fitting addition, but it left the square lion and unicorn looking a bit odd, which is why I added the fringe.

I love how this one turned out, and I'd never be able to sell it, although it's also on the 'remake' list (what isn't?). I don't think I'd be able to recreate the fringe, though, if only because I no loner own bugle beads.  Ah, how times have changed....

So. Let's talk about the attic and why I hate metallic beads.  The shaded areas of the unicorn began life as a pale silver color. It was a color that I liked quite a bit and used in several times as a detail color.  Then I put everything in the attic for a year or two and look what happened. Instead of a pale unicorn resting after a frolic through the woods, we're left with one that's been playing in the mud.  There are a few bits of even-darker shading that used to be a darker silver, too.  Those didn't tarnish; the paint chipped off.  Quality beads, there.

And then there's the lion.  He survived a bit better than the unicorn because his dark-gold beads managed to hang onto their color and their shine...but that odd mucky-brown color between the yellow and the dark gold? That was a bright gold. Swear. Same deal with the crown; used to be gold, not some wimpy yellowy-brown-tan.  And where it didn't tarnish it chipped off. Grrr.

That's why I now avoid metallic beads as much as I can.  There are other types of shiny and other styles of gold or silver, and I'm content enough with them because they don't chip or tarnish.