Monday, December 26, 2011


Denise's birthday present, made with wool yarn in a few hours the night before her party.  I was going to give her handmade coupons for free hugs, but then I realized she might actually cash them in.

Also, no matter what Amy says, Germans can pronounce "squirrel."  And then they will taunt you with their word for squirrel, the first syllable of which my brain refused to even process.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Lazy Yet Decadent Simonsen Cookie Recipe

For most of the Xmas baking season I've been looking at tubes of premade peanut butter cookie dough and wondering if it would be socially acceptable to mix it with chopped up peanut butter cups.  Today I decided that I was going to live out this insane, PMS-fueled nightmare because...well, my family would probably eat pretty much any horrific baked good.

On the back of my holiday Reese's cups is a recipe for peanut butter cookies that are basically peanut butter cups surrounded by a thin layer of dough.  It was like a bright orange Christmas angel telling me to follow my heart because I'm sure Hershey's Chocolate Flavored Candy Products has my and my family's best interests at heart.


  • Bag of miniature peanut butter cups
  • Tube of peanut butter cookie dough
Chop up enough peanut butter cups to fill a small plate.  Pour into a bowl and mix with cookie dough.  Using the same knife works pretty well.  Stir until candy and dough is well mixed or until you get bored.  Shape dough into balls, squish with a fork, and bake according to directions printed on tube.  

In researching why you need to put the fork marks on the dough (other than because that is how it has always been done), I learned that there is something called a "cookie shovel."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ampharos the Red Tailed Pokemon

I put up a Pokemon ornament listing at the beginning of November.  This was a slightly different custom than I was expecting: Ampharos based off another drawing rather than the overworld sprite like a lot of the other Pokemon stitches.

The first version of the design started off much closer to the game graphics--I think the tail was cribbed almost exactly from HGSS.  The head is pretty much the same, but with the eyes moved.  I ended up keeping the shape of the head the same, but the blocky feet and the stumpy tail just weren't working.  You can see version 2's sketchy butt in the picture of version 1.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I've been seeing brightly colored duct tape in craft stores for awhile, but since I wasn't an edgy kid making a prom dress or somebody's dad, I kept walking.

But I did need a present for my mother, and Ben Franklin had a sale on wooden frames and wooden die cuts.  The fact that there was a sheet of Duct Tape in the color "Ocean" sealed the deal.

My friends, if you are looking for a gift that's fast and inexpensive, put some duct tape on things.  One 4 x 6 wooden craft frame uses slightly less than a premade sheet of duct tape, so you can make one without having too much extra to worry about (although it probably works out to slightly more $$$ if you don't buy the roll).  Using the sheet is almost impossible to screw up unless you're the kind of idiot who just starts cutting without noticing the grid on the back.  But even if you are that kind of complete moron, I still managed to recover.  I mean, hypothetically you would.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm really grateful that complete strangers on the internet are willing to pay money for my work.  Seriously--it's a good feeling to know that someone's willing to trust you to design and make something for you (especially when you want the money upfront).

That said, this project turned out to take way longer than I thought it would.  Hopefully it's well received because you are looking at some sleep deprivation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Little Craft Swap

Recently finished up a craft swap, so here's some things I couldn't post about until after I sent my package.

Since I didn't think my big item was really big in terms of time (which I lucked out in because if I'd had to do it without the help of pre-made appliques, I don't know how it might have turned out), I made a stationery set and a magnet.

Also, I feel like I'm one of the only ones who didn't get the memo that the 4 point swap (a big thing and a little thing, 4 little things) was going to turn into MAKE LOTS OF NICE THINGS.  So, I got neat stuff, and felt like a lazy jackass.  Still, the gingham stripe for Applejack?  I am awesome.

Here you can see a My Little Pony perler bead magnet near my karate class information and my sister's terrifying stationery.  Never again shall you gaze upon such a combination.

The pony's made using the perler bead horse (or possibly even pony) pegboard.  I thought about trying to adapt it to the large square for a better attempt at the butt symbol, but I thought it would look too blocky.  The mane took a few tries to get right.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday

My sister and I did Black Friday for a few years, but eventually we came to the conclusion that we were broke and hated 6 AM, and the deals were never really good enough to justify getting up before dawn.  My attitude towards Black Friday became one of curious apathy--I wasn't really interested, but I could probably be convinced to go if I saw something I wanted or if I just wanted to get out of the house.

This year I'm just pissed off by the news that Black Friday is starting at some point on Thursday, especially since it's coming with the news that some employees are being pressured to work 8+ shifts.  I'm aware that most retailers will pay time and a half on holidays, but there's a difference between volunteering to take the better rate and feeling like your job's at stake if you don't.  I'm also aware that many stores will fall over backwards to make sure those 8-10 hour shifts don't earn overtime or make their employees eligible for full time benefits.  If you've had the pleasure of working almost any hourly job that promises great benefits for full time employees, you'll know how carefully the schedule is tailored to make sure nobody goes over 39 hours.

I'm aware that my  boycott loses something when I don't really have a lot of money to spend anyway.  While I want you to admire my noble sacrifice, I know the Big Box retailers who're pulling this shit aren't even going to notice that Kate, Destitute Grad Student and Educator, is not buying any large TVs or [fad toy].  So, here are some alternatives for those of you who are also pissed off with Black Friday and huge sales on crap nobody needs.

If you're crafty or want to be, the Craftster boards contain tutorials, advice, and inspiration for pretty much everything.  It's also community policy that you can't use the boards to try to sell yourself or promote your blog, so shameless self-promotion is limited to links in users' signatures.

Pretty much every major yarn brand offers free knit, crochet, and craft patterns on their websites if you're willing to give them your email and create a password.  Some of them are also on Facebook and will occasionally post about sales and show examples of knit and crochet patterns.

If you'd like to give handmade gifts without having to make them yourself, try Etsy.  I've complained about Etsy before, and there's some crap out there, but there's crap in every store.  It helps if you have a certain item in mind when you search, and read the seller's feedback and profile.  Etsy will also keep you from having to say things like, "Are you allergic to cats?  I'm just curious.  I'm not asking because my cat took a nap on your present or anything."  Although to definitely avoid having to say that, read the seller's profile.  Most crafters will say if they have a pets or other allergens to avoid problems after the sale.  If anyone tries to tell you their cat never gets anywhere near their crafting supplies, they're either lying or delusional.

If everybody you know already has too much stuff, go for food and drink gifts.  People like eating and drinking, and food and booze eventually gets consumed.

You don't need to buy some overpriced gift basket--just find a good cookie recipe and abuse the hell out of it.  Hell, people even like lazy cookies.  When I bring in desserts, people get the most excited about place and bake cookies and candy covered Oreos.

Most winos have limited brand loyalty--if you buy them wine, they will drink it.  If possible, support your local wineries.  Yes, you're going to pay a bit more for wine from smaller, local wineries, but the Coppolas and the Mondavis and the Barefoots have enough damn money.  If you're the type who buys yourself something while Christmas shopping, visit a winery, taste a bunch of wines, then buy some bottles as gifts.  Sure, you were probably slightly drunk, but saying, "I tried this at a tasting and thought of you" sounds much more sophisticated than, "I got hammered at the mall."

Despite all this hippy bullcrap about rethinking gift buying and giving, I will say that handmade coupons are a pile of crap and you know it.  If you're over the age of ten, don't give coupons.  Coupons are always for things you're supposed to do anyway, and most of the time no one is able to actually redeem them.  Actual coupons for the grocery store would be a slightly better gift that "This entitles the bearer to one (1) free hug."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making Christmas

I started thinking the Grinch had a point the first time I saw a Charlie Brown Christmas tree for sale.  You know, the crappy little tree that's probably supposed to remind us that there's more to Christmas than buying a bunch of crap?  (I was going to link you to some of these examples, but I figured that might undercut my point.)

So, here's a decoration you can make that will cost about ten bucks and will not send the message, "I fail to grasp the frequently repeated message of a cartoon that has been an important part of my culture for almost half a century."  

You will need to have bought some stuff at some point, but mixed messages are an important part of the holiday season.  You can make it eco-friendly by using old magazines, comic books, and/or leftover wrapping paper instead of tissue paper.  

What You Need:

  • Paper mache reindeer
  • tissue paper
  • stamp and ink pad
  • Mod Podge
  • Optional: Paint, ribbon, bell
I haven't seen any reindeer at Ben Franklin this year, so mine's from Michaels.  Either wait for a sale or use a coupon because there's no way a fake reindeer is worth $9-$20 (I'm not even sure a real one is worth that much).  You'll get a better price with a coupon, but they'll probably be on sale for 30% off for awhile.

Other important information: the reindeer at Michaels are covered in gold foil.  It sheds all over everything and conflicts with my vision, so I also bought a thing of metallic finish white paint to try to get a better base shade.  

DecoArt's Metallic Finish White Pearl is bad, and it should feel bad.  Fortunately, some random white paint I found in my house has my back.  Now my reindeer has a nice base coat, and I've gotten to inhale twice the paint fumes.

For the decoupage, snowflake stamp on purple tissue paper.  I was originally thinking pale blue, but I couldn't find my last set of tissue paper, and I decided to do purple with a blue ribbon (and maybe a bell).

If I've learned anything from stamping tissue paper and gluing it onto a fake reindeer, it's that subtlety gets you nowhere.  What seems like an elegant and discreet pattern on a whole piece of tissue paper loses something once you start tearing it into pieces and gluing it on fake livestock.  If you're using stamps, aim for something between "well thought out pattern" and "smears of ink."

So, same stamp, same paper, black ink.

I've posed the semi-finished reindeer for display mostly because I thought you'd enjoy looking at something other than the newspapers strewn across my table.  For the face and ears, be prepared to do a lot of tearing and on the spot folding.  Once you're past the broad, mostly flat parts, you're going to get glue on your hands.

Sunday I picked up another reindeer and stamp since Michaels was having a sale, and I had a grant from the My Mom Foundation.  This one I decided to keep gold, which is changing the texture a bit.  I'm also trying to apply the glue and press the paper to it.  According to a Michaels project sheet, this is apparently called "the right way."  Unlike "painting" the paper on with glue, the right way involves getting your hands covered in glue, scraps of tissue paper, and ink.  But at least I didn't buy an overpriced ironic Christmas tree!

Other tips: don't have a cat.  Cats are instinctively drawn to sit on any piece of paper you're interested in, so they are not conducive to decoupage.  On a more positive note, Stampabilities Cheapest Piece of Crap Ink Pad ink dries quickly so it won't smear when your cat goes to sleep on recently stamped tissue paper!

Work is delayed until the glue dries and the cat sits somewhere else.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In the name of the moon, Merry Christmas

Holiday commission season has officially started!  And since a lot of what I'm working on is probably going to be for other people, consider Jupiter Star Power! on weekly posting.

Someone who favorited my Outer Senshi notecards asked about a Sailor Moon Christmas card.  Since nobody would want these if I was drawing them myself, that limited my options.  Solution: similar picture on either pastel Christmas colors or light blue with snowflakes.

 Fortunately I started trying to figure out a Glaceon card before I forgot how to enjoy things (don't ask--grad school and mental illness don't mix), so I already had two possible mock-ups.

The stamp was bought...a shameful amount of time ago for a project I totally forgot about until I decided to explain why I had a snowflake stamp.  Apparently you can do things with glitter and fancy inks, but I feel like that's not a good life choice since I'm already going to end up on Hoarders: Michaels Edition.

If some of the snowflakes appear lighter than the others, that's not photographic trickery.  It's also totally a deliberate effect and not because I forgot that stamps could be so damn complicated.

Here's what the final turned out to be.  I did think about using pink to match the outline around Sailor Moon, but it didn't say Christmas so much as "pre-infallible gender screening baby shower."  And now it's sort of wintery/Christmasy while still keeping Sailor Moon's colors.  That was also totally deliberate.

Since I knew the stripe would be slightly smaller than the snowflakes, I decided to turn the stamp rather than trying to line them up.

I also finally got around to adding an Inner Senshi stationery set to the gift shop.  I really like the way these turned out, although some of the cutting was a complete pain in the ass.  Especially since I lost my embroidery scissors (again, possibly for real).

These are made by using a little craft punch on a strip of paper.  Sailor Moon's is made with two strips--the solid red one, then the blue cut-outs.

As I was cutting out hearts in the crude semblance of a line, I contemplated my homemade confetti.  Perhaps there was some clever way to re-use it, like by adding a small detail to the inside of the cards.

Oh, except I used the card color on the inside of all the other cards.  Which means wasting more paper--but look!  Extra details!

If you'd like to enter the fabulous world of cutting up paper, but don't want to spend ridiculous amounts of money to cut little shapes and stamp things, look for the craft store impulse buy bins.  You can find lots of little craft punches.  Are they as good as the ones those decoupage fat cats charge big money for?  Who cares?  It's a dollar, and it makes shapes in paper.

Next lesson: buying the cheapest Aida fabric with a coupon.    

Monday, October 24, 2011

Use the Force

This year's Halloween theme: sexy versions of male characters with facial deformities.  For example, if you already own a lot of black clothing, you already have most of a Sexy Darth Vader costume!  And you can bully your friends into a Star Wars group costume knowing that you will probably be able to finish yours for $5-10.

Since I had some stuff I didn't feel like doing, I decided that I needed to make Darth Vader's chest console and attach it to myself somehow.  

What you need:
  • Black, grey, red, and green felt
  • 1 silver or grey pipe cleaner, one red pipe cleaner
  • a pencil
  • scissors
  • red marker
  • Hot glue gun
You could probably use some other kind of glue, but why would you?  The greedy executives of Big Glue have tried to convince you that you need all kinds of glue to glue with because they don't want you to know the truth: if you can't use a glue stick, use a hot glue gun.  If you're not sure how to tell which one to use, look closely at the items you're using.  Are they paper?  If they're anything other than paper, use a hot glue gun.

If you've got a craft store sized sheet of black felt, cut it in half.  You may need to trim it a bit more--hold it up to yourself to figure out the size.  You'll need three thick rectangles of grey and one thick rectangle of red, three thin rectangles of grey, and a short, fat rectangle of green and red felt.

I used a picture I found online to figure out the placement and sizing.  

The horizontal grey buttons have red stripes in their centers.  Hold your red pipe cleaner against one of the thin grey rectangles.  Realize that a pipe cleaner is too thick.  Use the pencil to make the red pipe cleaner into a cat toy, then draw lines on with a red marker.

For the side...thingies, cut the silver/grey in half.  I folded down the top and the bottom to add the shaping.

Mission accomplished!  Taunt your friends for lacking your awesomeness, felt resources, and empty hours to fill!

Monday, October 17, 2011

More Christmas in Dixie stuff

I'm still working on some ornaments for Christmas in Dixie.  This process would be going a lot faster if I didn't hate backstitching so much.

I have no idea why I hate backstitching.  Objectively it should be just as boring as cross stitching, but it just feels so much worse.

The back of these bells is a sparkly disaster area.  But since I changed the ribbon colors (hence the post-it note), I figured I should use a same-family metallic floss instead of whatever was actually written in the pattern.  Which I probably didn't have (again, hence the post-it).

Yeah, the colored patterns never really match up with the actual colors.  I've always found this kind of pointless and/or stupid.  I assume it's meant to be easier on the eyes than staring at a bunch of symbols.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bon Voyage, Jerkstore!

I had some pink floss to use up and a pattern I "was inspired by" off the internet, so this is part of my sister's bon voyage present.

Not pictured: pink coffin ooze with a spider inside.

Monday, October 3, 2011

State Unfair

Visited my cross stitch at the Virginia State Fair with Jamel and two of her law school chums.

As you can see, not even a pity ribbon.  The lesson here is don't try to frame things at the last minute, and go bigger.  All of the ribbon winners in my categories were big (except for Xmas ornaments, which may have required more skill or exuded more Christmas cheer).

For those of you who don't want to play Where's Waldo with my unbe-ribboned cross stitch, it's the blue treble clef.  And surely you remember the enamored Pikachu.

Should I leave Pikachu in his frame and bump up his Etsy selling price?  I never know if people would prefer to pay more not to have to deal with a frame or if they'd rather pick their own.

Friday, September 30, 2011

You're welcome, USPS

Along with gift/swap stuff I can't post yet, this week I've been working on stationery sets.  They're fairly quick to do (at least compared to cross stitch and crochet), and I like figuring out the color combinations.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I get bored with the contrast color stripe thing, but I think it really does add something to the cards.

Sometimes the color choices are obvious.  These two guys are in a Pikachu set.  Even though the internet has learned me that they have nothing to do with the Pichu/Pikachu/Raichu family.  Also, I'm going with "family" because I still haven't reached a level of Poke-craftsmanship where I can say "evolutionary line" without feeling like a moron.

I was going to use the same picture source for Raichu as the other four Pokemon, but I didn't think I could successfully cut around the tail.  Even with this one you can see it's a little bit raggedy.  Which hopefully is part of its handmade charm.  Look, just focus on its adorable face.

 Some of the color choices are more difficult.  Doing eeveelutions was one of the reasons I stocked up on more of these pastel cards (also, JoAnn tricked me, and I wasn't able to get another box of the blank cards I use).  I was going to use brighter colors, but it just made both the card and the Pokemon look washed out.

The Outer Senshi are some of the leftover cards from JoAnn.  Now it's becoming a matter of "what can I actually make with these colors," but I really like the way these turned out.  As you can probably tell, I usually go with skirt color/bow color for the card and accent, but I don't think Uranus would look as good if I'd done it that way.  hurr hurr Uranus

I have since noticed that Saturn doesn't have a little heart.  I'll probably fix that as soon as my friend Jamel, Saturn Super Fan, notices and gives me crap for it.

The Outer Senshi are already up in the gift shop.  Unless anybody's absolutely overwhelmed by the need to have some of these, I'm going to be adding stuff over the weekend.  Since that's basically how Etsy wants me to do things.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Love and Beauty Shock

You want to know if you're a winner in life?  Are you looking at freeze frames of Sailor Venus to try to figure out what the back of her shoes look like?  Which is basically staring at a fictional 15 year old's ass?  My friends, I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I can tell you that the ankle straps on Sailor Venus's shoes are not actually attached to anything.

It was super-important for me to gain this information so I could make an awesome birthday present for my awesome friend Kendra's birthday.  Which was last month.  But it's not my fault that things like "deadlines" and "planning" and "doing things on time" stifles my creativity.  You think you're better than me?  Where's your bootleg anime doll you cobbled together out of free patterns?

Another sign that you're a winner is keeping a bunch of severed limbs in your free nerd conference bag.  When you want stitches to stand out (like the orange on the gloves), stitch a round in the back loops (here the last row of white), then stitch the other color in the loops you left empty.

The skirt pattern is taken from a mermaid tail pattern.  I wish it flared a bit more, but I like that it looks pleated.

The original plan was to crochet the collar, but that took too much planning and possibly math.  The solution: felt.  You might think that cutting out felt would require careful planning and meticulous cutting, but the bow covers the...meticulously and skillfully crafted collar.

You should probably zoom in and admire that heart brooch, because that is probably the finest thing I will ever cut freehand.  I should probably have had it framed so that the people of tomorrow can gaze upon  my works and despair.  I'm probably not even going to bother to get dressed today since nothing I will ever do will be as good as that freehand felt heart.

As for assembly, some people would hand sew everything.  Those people are chumps.  The superior person knows that there are very few problems that can't be solved by a hot glue gun.  In fact, the only problem I can think of that can't be solved by a hot glue gun is burning your fingers from using hot glue to secure thin pieces of felt.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here's the first two cross stitched ornaments for Christmas in Dixie.  Both of these are from 101 Christmas Minis, Book 2 (Leisure Arts #5523).  Most of them probably will be since they're designed for those little round ornament frames (so I don't need to trace cardboard or add piping or anything).

Ornament #1 with all the cross stitching done.  I changed some of the colors.  This is one of those pattern books where the patterns are printed in color, but the colors the book uses don't necessarily match up with the actual thread colors.  I find this annoying, especially when the moon pattern is pale yellow and the actual thread is off white.  As you can see, I made some changes.

As written, all the backstitching (outlining) was that dark brown.  I decided that was unnecessary since I have a metallic pale yellow.

I really like the way this one turned out, so I may have to make another one for tornado survivors...since this one's going to be entered in the VA State Fair.

For the other ornament I stitched all the letters as instructed.  I considered unleashing my vibrant creativity (and continuing to avoid buying more embroidery floss), but I figured I could spare a quarter for the one color I didn't have.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yes We Cane!

The latest Craft Hope project is making stockings for Christmas in Dixie.  Since I can't sew, I emailed someone at Christmas in Dixie and have volunteered to cross stitch some ornaments.

But cross stitching takes time and can't be easily outsourced.  So, I've acquired an ornament kit, a bag of tri beads, and some wire.

For those of you playing along at home, you need: scissors, wire, a ruler, maybe ribbon or yarn, and 40 tri beads for every ornament you want to make.  If you have lots of beads (and why wouldn't you), it's easier if you count your beads (20 of each color) before you start.

Measure and cut a 6.5" piece of wire.  Make the smallest loop you can at the end of the wire, then alternate bead colors until you run out.  Make another loop at the other end (you may need to fold it over) and shape the ornament.  You've just made a delicious, inedible candy cane!

After making one crude wire hanger, I remembered something--no wire hangers!  And most people just use the curve of the candy cane to hold it on the tree, right?  That's what my special helper told me anyway.  It also meant more wire for the clear beads.

27 pieces of Christmas cheer!  Now I just need to figure out what to do with the leftover green and red beads.  Also, if you buy the Christmas multipack for this project, you will run out of clear beads well before you run out of green and/or red.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

DIY Cat Toy

Since most of what I'm working on right now is super sekrit, here's an easy project.

Step 1. Use toilet paper until all that remains is a cardboard tube.
Step 2. Set tube upright near kitten

Kittens hate nothing more than the sight of an upright toilet paper tube.  They will go to any lengths to immediately knock it over and smack it around for daring to stand on one end like a small cardboard Rory Calhoun.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The online cross stitch community uses "SABLE" as an acronym for Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy.  I think I'm still at a point where I could do all of my current cross stitch patterns if I actually sat down and did them (and maybe stopped trying to leave the house or work).  There might be some colors of floss I might not use again, but there are certain colors that I go through pretty frequently.  And while my floss collection can be a pain in the butt to deal with sometimes, it still could all fit in a reusable grocery bag.

Yarn takes up a lot of space.  And sometimes you end up with a little extra that's too much to throw away, but god only knows what you could actually do with it.  And if you get into crochet for the amigurumi, well, you totally *need* certain colors, and it's cheaper to buy the whole thing of Red Heart that you'll only use a tiny fraction of, and seriously, some day I am going to make that wool blazer I bought all the damn yarn for.  So, I am no longer buying yarn (except for the times I do) and only looking for projects that will let me use up all the damn yarn I already have.

My grandparents are moving into a retirement home (This may seem completely unrelated, but just go with it).  They've been slowly giving their possessions away for years, but my grandfather's 95th birthday was a hobbit celebration: guests were offered whatever they wanted to haul away.  Such as liquor purchased in New York state.  Which seems perfectly fine unless you know that my grandparents haven't lived in NY since the mid-80's.  Some of the things poured down the sink were probably older than my sister.

My grandmother knits and crochets.  She is no longer able to go up and down stairs, so it's difficult to date her yarn stash in the basement.  As a devoted descendant (inspired by my mother's nagging), I have hauled away at least two bags of yarn.  This picture is just what made it into the house, and what I haven't already started using.

Having recently tried to figure out how vintage/potentially poisonous old booze is, I have decided that "not having a website on the packaging" is a bad sign.  For the yarn that's still labeled, the term "Machine Launderable" suggests some distant era as does the price tag--68¢.  

I'd make some "Depression Era at Work" comment about all the tiny little yarn scraps, but this is the Hoarders gene.  This is why I was already Code SABLE before taking in somebody else's stash.

Having grabbed some slightly larger stray balls (hurr hurr), some of them don't appear to be the same type or weight as the others.  Which I suspect will make even scrap afghans or shelter Snuggles difficult.

Solution: cat toys.  Lion Brand has a free pattern for a fortune cookie, but that's just stupid.  And I would've had to walk all the way upstairs to get some fortune cookie colored yarn.  Which is part of my Too Much Fucking Yarn Collection, not What the Hell Am I Going to Do With Grandma's Yarn? Collection.  

Making Pac-Man combined using up some of my yarn inheritance and my love of blatant copyright violations.  Crochet a circle, fold it in half, and crochet the edges together.

Once you've gone a little over halfway, add some stuffing and catnip.  You'll need to add a little more stuffing as you finish it.  I'd also say more catnip, but that's because I like my cat to get completely stoned.

A smart person would've remembered that Zoot is 6 (old, fat, and lazy in puss years) and that the little foster kitten upstairs would probably enjoy beating up Pac-Man more.  Zoot deigned to swat at Pac-Man and chew on him for a bit, but this completely exhausted her.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What the Hell is Needle Tatting?

Got The Forgotten Crafts out of the library.  It's interesting, but it's much more "here's some shit you would've been expected to know how to do" than "here's how you do it."  I still don't really know what tatting is, but now I know that you need a shuttle and some thread, and it's "much as a spider spins a web behind her as she goes."

My interest in tatting is based on the fact that Ben Franklin (and I think Hobby Lobby too) have a kit on needle tatting which is the only place I ever see the damn thing referenced.  Knitters and crocheters are easy to find.  Outside of family members I don't think I've encountered another cross stitcher in real life, but I can find them on the internet.  I've at least seen crewel and candlewicking and other obscure needlecraft that nobody other than my mother wants to do.  But needle tatting?  Other than two paragraphs in The Forgotten Arts and Crafts and that kit at Ben Franklin, needle tatting does not exist.  Sometimes I think I want to learn it just so I can make my own needle tatting book and/or kit.  Working title: What the Hell is Needle Tatting?

Despite being written in the 1980's, The Forgotten Arts and Crafts still manages to long for a time when people knew their place and you could refer to people as "peasants".  Such as the peasants who enjoyed the useless, decorative results of tatting.  Ahh, for those halcyon days when the lower classes could be contented with a tatted collar and embroidery had yet to be ruined by the Victorians:

"As the nineteeth century wore on so taste declined (according to my taste at least) and embroidery reached perhaps its pit in Berlin wool-work....

On second thoughts, perhaps this was not the bottom of the pit.  Perhaps that has been reached today, when ready-to-embroider canvases are sold in shopping malls.  Clumsy representations of the paintings of old masters are already painted on them and the colored wool to create the picture is supplied with it.  This is not what the high art of embroidery is all about."

I'm trying to decide what exactly sullies the good name of high embroidery.  The ugly pattern?  The fact that it comes with the materials?  The male author manages to separate knitting, crochet, lace making, and tatting, but there is only a section on "embroidery."  Based on the description I assume he's complaining about needlepoint kits.  Needlepoint (like cross stitch) is technically a type of embroidery, but no gentlewoman would ever refer to it as such.  To appear suitably educated, a lady must remember that embroidery primarily refers to a trasnfered or drawn design covered over or filled in with a variety of stitches.  Such as this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby's got a brand new bag

Earlier this month in what was probably a temporary lapse in self-loathing, I decided that I was going to make some things to list in my Etsy store and get enough merchandise together to sell at a winery event/craft fair.  But probably a winery event so even if I ended up as  a creature driven and derided by my own vanity, it would be pretty easy to drink away my anger and anguish.

Hence the soap.  Also: wine bags.

This bizarre fit of self-confidence has been quickly followed by wondering how exactly I'm going to make enough stuff to sell and does it even matter since my brand is basically "stuff I thought was a good idea at the time (and also Pokemon)."