Monday, November 09, 2015

Knitting Sweet Nothings

I'm having a lot of fun doing knitting for people both small and large.  I'm making these mitts from a Ravelry pattern for my friend Claudia in Germany.  I have a lovely Crystal Palace yarn in a blue gradient that I'm using for these.  It's a really fun pattern so far.

I got some good pics of the Strawberry Sundae Afghan for MSD-sized BJDs.  I just adore this yarn!  It has shades of Chocolate, Strawberries, Vanilla and Cream, and it's soft and easy to care for.  On top of that, this stitch is super smooshy and wonderful!  I'm seriously considering making a Big People-sized one for myself with bulky yarn.  Pippa really enjoyed modeling for this one:

I made a little tufted mattress for her (complete with buttons!)  as well as a top sheet, pillow and pillowcase so that I can use them for photoshoots for blankets and afghans.  Oh yeah, and so that she'll have a bed.  Of course.

I've been listening (quite a lot!) to Marianas Trench's new album, Astoria.  It's everything I've come to expect from them.  I think each time they release a new album, they outdo themselves a little more.   Forget Me Not is just heartbreaking, but oh so good, and there isn't a single song on the album that I want to skip or rush through.

I must dash - I have an Epistle to write, Etsy stuff to post, and, yeah, maybe I'll even finish my rewrite. :-P

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Remember, Remember

I'm not sure how it came to be the 5th of November already, but that's what the computer says.  I've been watching Black Butler lately and REALLY enjoying it.  I wish I'd watched before we went to Youmacon last weekend, since we met Vic Mignogna and Todd Haberkorn there.  They were super friendly and sweet. :)  The con was a blast!  I'm really looking forward to the next one. :)  We are looking at hitting Shuto Con in the Spring as well.

One of Mollusc's clay birds sold, and the buyer was delighted!  I was really relieved, because I gave it a last-minute glazing and was concerned about my Triple-Thick being too dry.

I have some new items to list in my shop.  I made a beret and an afghan from that lovely ice-cream parfait (as I think of it) yarn. 

There's also a LOVELY, chunky (Big People-Sized!) scarf  that I made, but I really need to get good pictures of everything.

Most of my Blogging has been over at Estrangement Epistles, lately.   I need to find bogging balance. ^_^  And the latest book that's been cooking in my head is coming along really well.  I have to get back to Random and send it off, but honestly, I'm so sick of it that it's hard to do.  First World Problems, LOL! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sweet Lolita and a Free Pattern

I am a closet admirer of Lolita fashions.  They aren't something I could ever get away with wearing, but I would love a world where you could see fabulous dresses like that as a matter of course.  Fortunately, my BJDs *can* get away with it, and I'm having fun making sweet little things for them.  I just put some new hair clips and a scarf in my shop.  Here's what the clips look like:

There are a few more shown in my shop, but you get the idea.

And here's the scarf: 

 I'd never tried the "cross stitch" before, but I adore how it looks, and I'm in love with this yarn, too.  Here's how you can make your own:

Needles: #2 (2.75mm)
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Little Bo Peep (or any #3 / DK yarn)

CO 7 stitches
Row 1: Slip the first stitch Kwise, *Knit into the BACK of the 2nd stitch on L needle.  Without dropping the stitch from the needle, Knit into the BACK of the 1st stitch on L needle and let both drop from L needle.*  Repeat steps between *s to end.
Row 2: Slip the 1st stitch Pwise.  *Wyif Purl into the 2nd stitch on L needle on the side NEAREST you.  Without transferring stitch, Purl into the 1st stitch on L needle on side NEAREST you, then let both drop from L needle.* Repeat steps between *s to end.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until your scarf reaches the desired length.  Add fringe to both ends! :)

In case my description is tricky to understand, here's a good video.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Shave Club Update, and KonMari

First of all, let me assure you that I was not contacted by Shave Club in any way, and that this is a completely independent review. :)

Mollusc (20) says "It was a spiritual experience.  Plus, they look freakin' sick!" :D, Slug (18) says "I'm going to have to adjust to the handle, but I didn't get any cuts or razor burn." (w00t!)   Fish (16) hasn't tried them yet, but after trying them, I'm getting him one as well, now.  And Prawn (13) says "They're amazing!  They're the nicest razors I've used."

I concur.  The handle is weighty and feels solid, but retains maneuverability.  The little rubbery ridges on its sides and "tummy" ensure that it never feels slippery in your hand.  As Sluggie noted, every differently shaped handle requires some familiarisation, but I feel that I'm already used to this one after 3 uses.  There was a free sample of Shave Butter in the box, so I tried it on one leg and soap on the other.  The Shave Butter leg felt smoother, but I'm a little wary of using it more than a few times, because it contains Golden Barley, and I have a gluten sensitivity (enough so that using conditioner with Wheat Germ Oil gave me summer allergy symptoms.)  Today I just used shaving cream from the dollar store, and will probably stick with that since it's cheap and effective.  I will say, though, that the Shave Butter feels luxurious, and if you know someone who would enjoy receiving luxury toiletries, it would make an awesome gift. 

So over-all, Shave Club gets a Double Thumbs Up from our household.  Huzzah!  I'm actually going to set our delivery to monthly rather than bi-monthly now until we have everyone covered.

And now onto KonMari.  You may have heard of this book:

I read it and loved it!  It's really changed the way I declutter.  I feel like her method gives me permission (or, more accurately, the ability to GIVE MYSELF permission) to get rid of things that cause guilt or angst ("I spent $ on that - I should wear it/use it. . .") as well as things that just don't "spark joy."  I've already had the Easter Seals come truck out once since I started, and it's coming by for another pickup on Friday.  Additionally, I've taken a box of books to the library, and have a few more to donate.  One of the kids' friends is doing her student teaching semester and said she'd love to have some for her school library, too.  Sweet!

After my first couple of sessions, I rearranged the living room and it changed the whole feel of the room.  It's a lot more relaxing now, and I'm not even done yet!  Today I'm all fired up for another session! :D  Happy Sunday, everyone!  All the happier because no one has school or work tomorrow.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I Shaved Your Wife

The weekend was pretty stressful due to getting Mollusc off to college and all.  With the flurry of last minute buying, one of the things that struck me was how FREAKING expensive razor blade cartridges are! O_O  I always used to use Venus, but I just couldn't justify spending that much anymore, so I switched to Soleil.  To be honest, the shave isn't as nice can be brutal (Wolverine victim cosplay, anyone?), and the blades are hard to find.  Adding insult to (actual) injury, they're not even that much cheaper, but I'm too stubborn to cave and go back to Venus.  Plus, there's no breathable atmosphere.

Today I was browsing Pinterest and sipping my ginger tea (as one does) and I came across the ad for Shave Club.  I'd seen their page before, had been intrigued by their whole smart, straightforward outlook, and just generally liked the concept of going Rogue (see what I did thar?), so today I clicked on the pin to check it out in detail.  First of all, the ad cracked me up:

As someone with an advertising degree, I'm pretty jaded about most commercials.  I usually find something to critique, and consequently spend more time thinking about what's wrong with the ad than what the actual product was.  So when I see one that really makes me like a product, I do take notice.

Then, when I looked at what it would cost, I was sold!  The girls and I will split the first package (I did order an extra handle) to see how we like them.  And I think we'll end up changing frequency to less often than once per month because I'm cheap thrifty and try to squeeze every last dying breath out of my razors.  I also added a bottle of repair serum because Sluggie gets razor burn on her legs (possibly because of my thriftiness) and my old toner trick hasn't worked for her.  I'll let you know how it goes when our package arrives!

If you decide to try it, you can click the link below to shower me with money!  Actually, it will give me and the girls a $5 credit, so think of it as shaving a needy college student if you like.  Wow.  That's a bit disturbing.  Forget I said that.  Yeah, I've been reduced to whoring out my blog for free razors.  What was in that tea?

Shave me from myshelf!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ticcing Away

My baby has Tourette Syndrome.  OK, so she's not a baby, she's 13, but she's my youngest.

It took me a long time to post about this.  Why?  Maybe because writing it down makes it concrete.  Makes it real.  Makes we want to cry, not for me, but for her.  I know she has a lot ahead of her.  And I don't want any of my kids to walk in on me crying at the computer, (so of course one just did) but damn if it doesn't just suck.

I think any time parents are faced with something like this, we all ask ourselves, "What did I do wrong?  What could I have changed?  How could I have prevented this?"  God knows I've asked myself those questions about Mollusc's Sensory Processing Disorder, about Sluggie's digestive issues, about Fishy's speech issues (though he's grown out of all but a slight lisp), and about this.  And I guess the answer is "nothing."  But a niggling voice inside of me says that it's like the Romans dying of lead poisoning due to lead plumbing pipes - it was from something they did.  They just didn't know any better at the time.

For my kiddo, her tics manifest (currently - they change a bit over time) as facial grimacing and vocal squealing or grunting.  Mostly she disguises this as enthusiasm over something, and I must say her BFF is really awesome about it, because, man, I hate to admit it, but the noises can really drive you bat-guano crazy sometimes.  So I have that to feel guilty about as well.

Why?  That's what I'd like to know.  Just. . . why? 

Once Sluggie's done with her acupuncture, I plan to have the doc check out Prawn.  I've heard that quite a few people get good results with acupuncture for TS.  It's just too pricey to add her until then.  There's also habit-reversal therapy.  That might be covered by insurance.  I'm still looking into it.   In the meantime, what a blessing that we homeschool! 

Here are a few famous people with Tourette Syndrome: Tim Howard (US Men's National Soccer Team Goalie and Goalie for England's Everton club), Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brother and Ghostbuster extraordinaire), Dash Mihok (Actor type guy - apparently quite famous - I'm just not in the TV series loop at all), possibly Mozart (Musician Most Marvelous), and possibly Dr. Samuel Johnson (Mr. Dictionary), Michael Wolff (Jazz pianist), Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf (Basketball player), Jim Eisenreich (Baseball player), and Steve Wallace (NASCAR driver).

Almost all of those guys have really demanding jobs where they're under close scrutiny, or where they have to have extraordinary physical control, or both.  And look what they've done!  So that's cool.

For now, I need to talk to her about what she'd like to say when people mistake her grimace for something else.  Because people aren't always bashful about making comments when they don't know better.  "Wow!  That face!" is the most common one.  I suppose they think she's being a "typical teenager" and sneering at something.  Maybe she can tell them, "It's just a tic."  Or maybe she doesn't need to tell them anything at all. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's in the Bag!

Now that it's back to school time, I thought some kawaii bags were in order, so I made a bunch of cute star bags for 1/4 and 1/6 size BJDs.  I got some adorable plastic chain to use for the straps, though some of them will also have really cool anodized aluminum chain.  I used sterling silver jump rings to attach the straps to the bags.  These were super fun to make! 

Wow, I really need to decide on a name for my sweet girl.  

I spent most of yesterday tearing apart the BILLY bookcases in the living room and rearranging everything.  Dags helped me disassemble and reassemble one that MuNKi and I had put together partly upside-down years ago. :-/  Although you could only tell by looking at it from the stairs or loft, it's good to finally have it fixed, LOL!

And now that it's Fall-ish, I've restarted the Harry Potter series AGAIN.  Love, love, LOVE that world!  

I'm still fixing up a shelf for the doll's home.  It's really coming along nicely!  And my use of The Secret for bringing in cash has bagged me another birthday party gig at the dojang.  Huzzah!  Now to sell some star bags! ^_^