Thursday, March 31, 2011

quick update

The weekend is coming, and so are a couple of Carl's friends. I think they have a pretty busy couple of days planned. I hope they have a really good time.

I did finish Soulless, but haven't started the next in the series because I don't have it. Yet. But I will. Soon. There were predictable things in the book, and some that were not so predictable. What I liked best about it was that it was just eminently readable. I had a hard time putting it down, and I had a very easy time opening it up.

I kind of cut down my crafting time this evening by making a trip to Walmart. It isn't my favorite place, and I know I spend can too much money there, so I try not to do it very often. Still, it wasn't a bad time to be there, got a parking place that wasn't bad, it wasn't too crowded inside, and when we were ready to check out, we just walked up to the conveyor and started loading it up. Instant next in line. Not bad for Walmart.

As a result of shopping, though, I didn't get the amigurumi finished this evening, even though I could have otherwise, at least to the decorating. As it is, I got his little legs made, one paw, and when the legs are all on, he is built. He's going pretty quickly, so it makes me feel like I'll be able to pull out 6 or 9 of them by the end of school. Wonder if my husband, child, and brother will let them get out of the house...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

reading. loving it.

Well, I'm not going to write a long, juicy post tonight. I'm going to make it short and sweet, and then go read my book. You, know, Soulless. Yeah, really liking it STILL. Not gonna like it so much when it is done, but there is a sequel. Yay. If you like the Sukie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, you will like Soulless. Especially if you enjoy a little Steampunk, or think you might.

I also worked on my little amigarumi project a bit. Almost ready for a picture, at least a pre-decoration one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

new post

Ha ha, that amused me for a title.

I started one of the amigurami this evening. The first one is a robot dog. I got the head made and stuffed. So far so good. Not enough to take pictures of, yet, but I will. They are all little robot guys, and very cute. I love the decoration the author did, and I may run with it. I don't want them to be all the same or anything for my give-away in May.

I learned how to do the magic circle, making the head. I've always just done a chain two then single crochet in the second chain, but I've been reading about this magic circle, and I'm glad they included a diagram for it so I could try it. Easy peasy.

OK, I'm done being amused now. Maybe.

Monday, March 28, 2011

a new item for my list

Today was the first day of the last nine weeks. The first day back from spring break. Frankly, it seemed like a double Monday.

I had to go the the Dr, for a follow up visit from my most recent sinus infection, for which I'm still taking antibiotics, but feeling oh so much better. That meant I was late to work, but since I have prep for first period, that did not require a sub. Still, I walked into the building as the bell was ringing to end first period, and basically had to hit the ground running for the day. I think my students had a hard time readjusting to school as well.

Still, I had an idea, as I was walking around the classroom, letting them know what their grades would be on their report cards, and encouraging them for the new nine weeks. I should make a little something to give to my best students at the end of the year. I know genius, right? And I'm sure I'm the first person to have ever thought of it, too... not. Well, anyway, there have been - and will continue to be - challenges this semester, but there have also been some successes as well. Anyway, I may make up some reward categories, and crochet my little hook off making some amigurami to give away. I got a book of patterns last year, and have not taken the time to make any up. Well, that's a gonna change!

Also, I mentioned that I had started the book, Soulless. I'm really liking this book! I find it hard to put down, and easy to get lost in. My favorite kind.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

bye bye spring break

Well, I had a really nice Spring Break, even if I did start it off by getting sick. Antibiotics and a different allergy medicine seem to be helping. I went to bed late, and got up late... well, later than usual, anyway. I got to sew with my cousin, Roxanne, and enjoyed that. We were even productive, getting an outfit finished for her mom (check it out on my Createlivity blog), cutting out some more stuff for her that we will sew up next week, and 6 more quilt blocks.

I got to go on a nice day trip to City of Rocks - which I wrote about here. I did a little bit of spring cleaning. I watched movies, and episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I got to finish the book I was reading, and start a new one, Soulless, by Gail Carriger. It's a Steam Punk novel, and so far, I'm liking it pretty well.

I even graded papers and updated grades, although I didn't get the gradebook quite set up for the new 9 weeks. Sigh. A goal for tomorrow, I guess.

A good week, all in all, and I'm a little sorry to see it end. Still, I think I'm mostly ready to face the next 9 weeks of school, and make it through until SUMMER!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the shapes of trees

There is something quite compelling to me about the shapes of trees. I find myself looking at the way the limbs and branches and twigs reach around and give form to the tree. It is most obvious - and most interesting - in the winter when the branches are bare, or when the tree is dead. (is there something, I dunno, ironic in dead trees being so interesting?) The organic "randomness" which isn't always so random fascinates me.

Yesterday, when we were at City of Rocks, there were a few trees and some bushes that really caught my eye. What I love about my digital camera is there is NO wasted film, and I took pictures.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

city of rocks

It turned out to be the perfect day for a day-trip out to city of Rocks, today. Good thing, too, because that is where we went. Thanks to the walking and swimming that I've been doing lately, I climbed and hiked around the big rocks without too much trouble. There just isn't much to do for my lack of depth perception and grace, so I took it slow and easy, but I went!

The kids (Raine and her buddy, Ezekiel) had a great time climbing around and exploring. We peered around corners, and into crevices. We found some interesting shapes in the rocks, and got to look at some of the places that had been used as matates - known as Indian bowls. We even saw a couple of lizards enjoying the sun.

Its hard work holding those rocks up... All that and a picnic, too! Definitely a good day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tuesday sewing

Since I didn't get to go sew with Roxanne on Sunday, we took advantage of spring break and got together today. We worked on a couple of projects, including measuring her mom for some skirts and tops we want to make for her. Look for some of these garments over at Createlivity, soon.

One of our goals for this year is to get quilts made for both Roxanne and I. We looked through several of the quilt books that my mom left me, and found a pattern that we both liked, and didn't look too hard or complicated. Then we started cutting out squares, larger and smaller and sewing them into blocks. Each quilt will be 10 blocks by 12 blocks, with framing around each block (to help even things out). I've included a picture of some representative blocks that we've finished.

We also finished the jacket for a dress and jacket set for Roxanne. The dress is sleeveless and the jacket makes it look a little dressier, and adds sleeves. It is almost a bolero-esque jacket, being cut short, but we used a princess seamed body on it so it would have shape. I think it turned out really well. Roxanne looked very nice.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

why is it

Yesterday - Friday - was not only the end of the work week, but the beginning of spring break here. Today, my sinus allergies have turned on me. I've been staving off infection for about a month, and living with the allergies. At least until today. What is it about letting yourself relax that equals letting yourself get sick?

So, Monday, off to the doctor, which I was planning to do anyway, since I had my blood drawn recently. I think my numbers were better. I certainly have been working on them, through sinus infection and cold and allergies...

Anyway, I'm still planning to work on some projects this week. I cut out some pieces for quilt squares today. I don't know if I'll get to go sew with Roxanne tomorrow though, I don't want to spread this around. I'll wait until I've had some antibiotics if needed, then we'll get together. That is the nice thing about spring break.

I'm planning to take a day-trip with Raine, and picnic at City of Rocks. She's a rock hound from a line of rock hounds, so she'll have a great time, I'm sure. We'll probably get her friend and his family to join us for a nice car trip.

To heck with being sick!

Friday, March 18, 2011

a shared moment

Standing in the bathroom, I leaned a little and looked into Raine's room. I looked into the face of "Mama Tiger" (or sometimes it is called "Daddy Tiger," depending) who seemed to be leaning a little to look out in the hall at me. The tiger is a big, white, stuffed tiger that Raine has had on her bed since she moved out of the crib into a real bed. Then, we set it between Raine and the wall, so that she wouldn't fall off the bed on that side. Now, it shares the foot of her bed with rotating kid flotsam. The moment we shared was one of those, "I've got her back" moments that caretakers tend to share now and again when their charges are not in sight. It was a comforting moment to share. With a big, stuffed tiger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

school, school, school

I'd like to have something witty to post, but it is almost time to turn in grades for mid-term. I have a stack of papers to grade that is T..H..I..S.. high. I'm really starting to resent it. Who assigned all that work anyway? Oh, yeah. That would be me.

Spring Break is next week. I can make it. I can make it. I can make it...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

wild wild west con part three

The garments.

Yes, steampunk clothes are cool. Really cool. (and I don't mean anything to do with the temperature). The people who did it well, did it very well. There were Victorian dresses, very prim and proper. There were top hats, and dressy vests and spats. One of the men who we met when he and his wife and daughter sat at our table for dinner the first night looked like a very respectable banker. There were jackets and ties and a definite air of a more formally dressed era. And there were corsets. Anything from a corset belt to... well, yeah. It would seem that for those less practiced, a corset over just about anything made it steampunk. I could understand over some of the skirts, but, there was also one young lady who wore one over what looked like a prom dress. As a former SCA-er, I was amused to watch some of them wearing a corset for their first time. Others were very comfortable in theirs, and I only saw a couple of women who boobs-as-unattractive-shelf above their corsets. Does seeing all the boob but the nipple really count as "cleavage?"

Anyway, I really enjoyed people and clothes watching, as you can tell. Now, my own efforts were out of the norm, as I really wasn't sure about the range of clothing. I didn't have a corset, though. I made overalls in green denim and a peasant shirt in an off white, subtly patterned calico. I also crocheted a tam o'shanter for my hat. Now, no one thought mine were the coolest steampunk clothes ever (nor were they) but I did get several people ask me things about Old Tucson while we were there. (yeah, it was my first time there, I had no clue) So, I feel like I got the time period represented. What I really lacked were the accessories. I was kind of lost trying to think about those, and what would be appropriate before we went. NOW, I have some great ideas, and I'm excited to try them out. After I make them, of course.

It was pretty easy to dress Raine for the event. Jeans and a western shirt seemed appropriate, and a vest that Ron had made (it was getting pretty short on her) and she even had a lab coat in her costume box, the perfect thing for a mad scientist wanna-be. She has a bowler as well, but on the day of, it decided to hide under the bed, and so we went without.

Ron - of course - looked spiffy with his Asian influenced Victorian clothing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

wild wild west con part two

The authors.

Several authors who write in the Steampunk genre attended the convention. One of the events that Ron and I enjoyed the most was "Tea with the Duchess," which was in the saloon at Old Tucson. Each of the authors read some from one of their books while we ate cookies and drank tea. We also scored a copy of one of the books, signed even.

As you can tell, each of the authors had their own version of Steampunk garb. Fun, huh.

The pictures are almost in the order of the readings. Although not the first reader, I think the first picture is of David Lee Summers. The first reader (second photo) was O.M. Grey, who gave everyone a signed copy of her book, Avalon Revisited. The other authors were Cherie Priest, who wrote Boneshaker (which I enjoyed reading), Nick Valentine, Gayle Martin and Elizabeth Darvill.

Monday, March 7, 2011

wild wild west con part one

We have returned from out Steampunk adventures, with photos and stories and loot and imagination (picture Spongebob making a rainbow over his head with that last one there).

We had a good time, met a few people, enjoyed some cool music, got to people watch like crazy, and even survived our few frustrations and disappointments. There is a lot to talk about, so I think I will kind of divide things up a bit and talk about it all this week.

First, I will start with one of the awesome things. The music at the convention was AWESOME! There were several bands participating in the convention, and others that were cool who perform at Old Tucson on a regular basis.

One of the bands that participated with the con is called Steam Powered Giraffe. Three of the band members put on makeup, and are "steam powered automatons" that sing and talk, etc while the fourth is rather the "straight man. I've included a picture of one of their performances. I've also included a link to their website, that you can check out for yourself if you're interested.

Another band was John the Magnificent. They also played several times through the weekend, and I enjoyed their performances as well. I'll have to do a little more research to get you to their website, however.

At any rate, music was one of the high points of the convention.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Steampunk Ron

So in last night's post, I mentioned that Ron had been working on his Steampunk for a while now. In fact, as I thought about it more, we have some pictures of him in some of it, which - since he is off working nights, and not around to tell me not to - I think I'll share. Yes, you might notice that I have lots of pictures of other people, and not so many of me. Guess who spends most of her time BEHIND the camera?


He's pretty spiffy, though, isn't he!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

i got steam

Ron and I are going to a Steampunk convention this coming weekend. I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will be somewhere between a gaming convention and an SCA event (everyone will be in garb) with concerts thrown in.

Ron has been collecting and making gear for himself for over a year now, but I have not. So, of course I've decided to make some. Well, it isn't as easy as it sounds. For one thing, I have had to think about what exactly to make, and I finally decided on two outfits, one of which is now made, the other of which is not even cut out. Sigh. Anyway, I think I have the "steam" part. I'm pretty happy with the overalls I created, and the drop-yoke type peasant shirt I made to go with them. I've got some cool buttons almost finished to go on the overalls, and even a crocheted tam o'shanter almost completed to put the ensemble together.

Now, all I need is the punk. I'm not "dark" enough or "dramatic" enough. I doubt I'm "cool" enough to be good at punk. I don't care if my version isn't the same as everyone else's, and maybe that is part of my problem. I think I need more leather. And more metal. And more black fabric, maybe. Nah, not the fabric... that is in my second outfit. I feel like a trip to the flea market should be in order, here, but I just haven't gotten there.

Hopefully there will be ideas a plenty at the convention, and I can maybe even accessorize a little there. I'll be really happy if I can find some bits and pieces to put together for something. Pictures, I know, pictures...