Saturday, December 31, 2011

WIP picture, pre-pocalypse

1. Blue Rose

2.  Blue Moon (not started, no picture)

3.  Lady of the Gingkoes

4.  Lily Pond  This is my travel project, so it will probably get done soon.  Ish.

5.  Stitcher's Favorite Fob (not started, no picture)

6.  Companions

7.  Gingerbread House (not started, no picture)

8.  Little Goose

9.  Hannah's Hummingbird Knot Garden

10.  Poor Jack

11.  Celandine (my colors)  See?  I told you ten projects were just the beginning!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I'm going to be participating in the WIPocalypse this year.  I'm super busy working on Blue Rose, so this list will be slim until I have more time to pull things from my shelves and make a real determination of what I want to do.

1.  Blue Rose, HAED SAL.
2.  Blue Moon, HAED SAL.
3.  Lady of the Ginkgoes, HAED
4.  Lily Pond, Elizabeth's Designs
5. Stitcher's Favorite Fob, Sweetheart Tree
6. Companions, Teresa Wentzler
7.  Gingerbread House, Victoria Sampler
8.  Random Small Goose Design, Kit Swiped From My Mother
9.  Hannah's Hummingbird Knot Garden, Liz Turner Diehl
10.  Poor Jack, Birds of a Feather.

Yes, ten projects is light for me.  Very, very light.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things which annoy me in books, Part 1

This one, to me, is very basic.  It's a classic trope, and it annoys me every single time I run across it.

I truly loathe it when a writer shows that her character is an independent female by having her loudly and obviously eschew any sort of handwork.  "Oh, I don't do samplers, I don't do needlepoint, I hate embroidery." 

I get why it's such a nice and easy shorthand.  Fine needlework has been a woman's craft for centuries (and let's not get into when it was a guilded craft and the providence of men).  Doing it well takes time, which made it the province of upper class women and those who aspired to be like them.  And yes, in the past few decades there has been a cultural backlash against things that "women do", and especially things that "women do" that take a great deal of time.  I have no issue with that.  Not everyone needs to like to sew, or bake, or clean, or embroider.  Everyone should be free to do what pleases them.

But here's the thing.  I am an independent female.  And I love doing handwork.  I don't think that it's overly girly and shows my enslavement to the patriarchy. 

When reading a book it's a fine character trait if your lady likes to bake.  Robin McKinley's Sunshine has her main character be a baker, and it's awesome.  It's a fine character trait if your lady knits.  If she sews her own clothes (or her own design, natch), or if she gardens.  Gardening is a perfectly acceptable independent lady-trait.  But pick up a needle for anything more than sewing on a button?  Heavens, no!  Not our independent heroine!

I was reading the Soul Mirror by Carol Berg.  Let me preface this by saying that I adored this book.  I truly, truly did.  But it was so jarring to have our heroine (who is, perforce, not full of completely feminine or anti-feminine traits, but a nice mixture of being human) talk to the man she'll end up with about hobbies and such, and see the off-hand comment that she hates embroidery (of course) and that this validates her to him as something better than a normal silly woman.

Really?  Seriously?  If I wasn't enjoying the book so much, that right there would have been enough to have me put the book down and walked away. 

I enjoy embroidery.

I am not silly.

The two are not equivalent or equal, and I am TIRED of always seeing it so. 

P.S.  And this doesn't even touch on the fact that there are men who enjoy embroidery.  What does it say to their masculinity when an entire craft is the purview of "silly women"-ness?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Totally was rear-ended on the freeway this morning.

The section of freeway in question has a reputation for going from 60MPH to a full stop in no time flat.  That happened, it went off ok, but I realized that the guy in front of me stopped... really quick.  So we get up to about 35MPH, and it's again with the nigh-instant stop.  I stop.  Lady behind me... well, to be fair, she did stop.  But hitting the back of the work truck certainly helped that for her.  I had enough time to make sure my foot was firmly on the brake and to fling my arm out so my bag wouldn't go flying before impact.  Thankfully the seat belt in the work truck is on a hair-trigger (ok, normally that's annoying, but it's like it is for situations like this morning) and I keep the headrest up, so whiplash should be minimal.

So we limp to the side of the freeway, I call work (get my sister, tell her to tell the boss [dad] that there's been an accident, where it was, and that I got hit fairly hard), call 911 to get the police out to the accident scene, pick up my water bottle from where it was flung into the footwell and spilled water all over, take a call from my dad wanting to know what has happened, call him back and ask for paper towels.

Next I get out of the truck (on the passenger side, eep, freeway!), grab the insurance card, close the door, and walk towards the other lady's car.  I pick up two pieces of headlight casing and a clip, then go to put them back in the truck (no littering!), realize I don't have the keys, see that the driver's door is unlocked, go around to get the keys (eep, freeway SO CLOSE).  The other driver saw me get out of the truck and took the pieces from me as I pondered having to walk around the truck. 

I grab the keys from the ignition then go back around to talk to the lady who hit me.  She gets a hug.  She's been crying, she apologizes sincerely and profusely, and I try to make her feel better.  She gives me a business card, and we talk (mostly about how this was not something either of us wanted, but me not wanting to make her feel worse than she does).  The state patrol officer shows up at this point and asks for license, registration, proof of insurance.  I go back to get the registration (fumbling to find the right one; not the best plan to keep four year's worth of registrations) and there's more commiseration.  Her car... well, the antifreeze was leaking all over the freeway, so hers wasn't drivable.  The work truck has a well dropped bumper, some cosmetic damage to the back hatch... and some severe dents/paint cracking where the bed of the truck slammed into the cab.  But it drives just fine, so that's a bonus on my end. 

Dad and my brother showed up at about the same time as the second state patrol guy.  I collected hugs and we looked at the car and made sure that things should work ok.  Time passed as we waited for the report to be generated, her best friend was driving on the other side of the freeway and saw the accident, circled around, and hugged her friend before she continued to work (nice of her, I thought).  Eventually the report was done, we were firmly advised to go to the doctor and get checked out (>.>  Um.... ) for possible damage.

My neck was a bit sore after the accident, and after driving off the muscles on the right under my jaw seemed a bit swollen.  I held my tea mug by my neck, and by the time I got to the customer's I couldn't tell any difference between the two sides.  I did end up taking the afternoon off to go shower/bathe/nap/relax to try to get ahead of any swelling/unhappiness.  My right shoulder is a touch sore, but not to the point where I could tell if that's due to the accident, or due to stitching over-much.  I've not stitched since Monday which makes the second option unlikely, but it could be tight just because I carry stress in those muscles.  So I'll keep an eye on it, and if it gets any more unhappy I'll know.  Ideally I'll be fine and happy and all, but I'm still coming off the whole adrenaline thing and as that recedes I'll see what it was masking and might no longer be able to live in the happiest state of all (denial!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brief hiatus

Due to having contracted a cold from my nephew, there will be a brief hiatus before I can type up what happened on the last two days. 

My nephew is too adorable to not hug, even when he is sick and I am exhausted and an observer might note that things might not turn out well. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Interruptive note

If I can smell your perfume...

...on a check...

...that has been through the mail system...

... and is currently four feet away from my nose...

...and behind me...

... you may be wearing too much.

FDDD, Day one

Despite the fact that the day's festivities were not scheduled to begin until 2pm, we were to be at the convention center some time between nine and ten.  After picking up some Jamba and tea for breakfast I mosey over to the convention center, and arrive at about 9:45.  No one else is there that I recognize, and I worry that I'm either much too late or in the wrong place, but no.  9:55 arrives and people start filing in.  I greet the guy I had dinner with the night before, say hi to various others that I know, and we go on another tour of "how to move celebrities without taking them into the public."  This takes maybe ten minutes, then we are released into the wild and told to be at the hotel, ready to pick up our charges at two.  At some point I ask if anyone had seen the pigeon today, and was told that it had been killed during the night.  Apparently they had to wipe a bit of blood spatter off one of the celebrity signs.  Heh.  And by heh, I mean "Poor pigeon."

Jade and I end up hanging out together.  We collect her luggage from the registration area and take it to the hotel where she's rooming for the weekend with another volunteer.  Both of us are badged and staff-shirted, and I was surprised a bit when people stopped to ask us questions.  Jade was the one to field most of the information, but she did an awesome job of it and I took mental notes, just in case. 

After that, we wandered about a bit, tried to get some reliable information on food vouchers, who could have them, how many, etc.  As information was incredibly slow in coming and it was getting closer and closer to two, we left the High Command room and went to the Subway in the convention center.  While standing in line, Jade got a text from Todd, so we left and went to the media area.  I don't recall why we had to show up; it was nothing very essential.  We went to the Subway outside the convention center (much shorter line, hah!) then went up to the smoking area to eat and for Jade to have one last cigarette before everything began. 

We go down to the hotel and meet up with a couple other minders in one of the sitting rooms off the lobby.  I have to say, awesomely comfortable chairs there.  We sit down for maybe five minutes, then get up and follow another influx of minders to the front desk.  There we mill about and wait for people to come down.  I think Konathan Grakes and Crent Tpiner were the first ones to the lobby, and while I waited I wandered over to look at one painting on the wall that was interesting.  I look back over my shoulder and my co-minder, Claire, is gone.  Um.  I go back to the group and find that my ladies have come down.

First impression.  Fey is tiny.  It's not that she's short, precisely, but that the word petite would hang on her a little largely.  Normally I feel perfectly fine; I'm 5'9" and have a normal BMI, if near the high side of the range.  I spent the entire weekend feeling like a fat giant.  It did not help my size crisis that Claire is about as tiny as Fey and Amy are. 

We walk over to the convention center, and there wasn't really any conversation that I can recall.  I'm sure there was talking; Fey is a wonderful conversationalist who seems to feel that silence is a blank canvas, but it was probably stuff like "Are you ok carrying my stuff?" "Wow it's cold here!" "Where do we enter, again?"

We get into the building, and pause for a few minutes.  They were supposed to have a sign saying how much it cost to get an autograph/headshot, a DVD, or an autographed DVD (all of The Huild DVDs were for sale at the table) but we had nothing of that sort.  I asked at the photo table if they could make one up for us and print up three copies, and after a small miscommunication that was done and off we go. We took them through the Super Sekret path (which has a pair of heavy double doors that open with a button, like the disabled ones you'd press to open glass doors).  The silence and weight of their opening is impressive, the quasi-zombie apocalypse feeling of the service corridor... slightly less so.

We arrive at the signing table, and Fey and Amy were taken aback at the length of the line.  People had rushed from the door opening just to get in her line, which I don't think she was expecting.  I grab one of the price signs and some tape, then duck out to go attach it to the sign at the head of her line.  I come back and start helping open the boxes of DVDs she's had shipped up.  She was distracted by putting out headshots and posters, and when I sit down by her she turns and asks if I can go put one of the signs out at the front of the line.  I got a big happy smile and a "You rock!" when I told her it was already done.

We get situated and the line opens.  I think this was Amy's first con, and she was a bit quiet the first day.  This was NOT Fey's first con, and she worked the line really, really well.  Which is due in part to her wanting to provide value for her autograph, and due in part to her being very open and awesome.  If you want to watch her be super amazing, you go through the line with your child.  Especially younger ones, she tries to get their attention and make them smile.  She has information she wants to get out, what's up with the next season of The Huild, the Era... wait, that one is confusing... Cragon Bge webseries that is coming out in a few months, things that she's done, that there are no plans yet for a sequel to Dr. Iorrible's Ting Blong Clog given that SOMEONE is working on the Bavenger's movie and a little busy right now.  But when there's a kid she is completely and totally open and sweet and awesome. 

I had a great time just sitting there and listening to her.  She was so cool, allowing candid photography and would lean over the table to pose with people.  You could tell that some people were very nervous to be meeting her, and she did her best to put them at ease and make them know that they and their support were important to her, and that she was glad to see them and to have been something that they came to see.  More than once she asked the question, "So what's here that you're excited to see?  And this isn't me asking to be vain, what else is here that you're excited about?"  For something that is nominally about meeting a stranger she did a great job making people believe that she was interested in them and why they had shown up, and that they were the focus of the weekend, not her.

We broke for a bit to do Photo Ops, which was a group thing with Xil Xheaton, her, and Amy, or Xil and her, or just her (given that they are all in the Huild they did some group stuff).  Xil seems to be a nice guy, but one who doesn't trust that the people around him at a convention are safe.  He mostly paid attention to the other stars at the show, and was particularly fraternal with Amy, making sure that she was disinfected and safe after every encounter with the public.  He got really sick at a show; I don't blame him for being cautious at all.

While back in the photo area, I saw Crent Tpiner going over some prints.  They were some Gamily Huy Ttar Urek thing, and I watched as they weighed which one was best to print up and sell.  "No, not the plain paper ones.  I think these, the 30% gloss ones.  Yes, these are good.  Oh, we don't want to lose track of which is the right one, no, they all have different things written on the back, it will be okay."  Which, ok, one, Crent Tpiner.  He's aged gorgeously and I had such a crush on him back in my wee younger days.  Magnificent voice, very energetic.  He looked up at me and said he'd sign one of the reject prints for me, teasing me a bit.  I teased back, and that was ridiculously fun.  Both "Hey, teasing with a cute guy!" and the very well buried "I'm teasing with SOMEONE I THOUGHT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME AND HE IS AND THIS IS SOOOOOO COOOOOL."  The print is nothing fancy, but I AM TOTALLY keeping it and loving it forever for encapsulating that memory.

I go back to the photo op front area, and Fey is taking some solo shots with people and Xil is hugging Amy.  I ask Claire what was up with that; apparently someone asked Xil for a hug and he replied "I only hug Mrs. Xheaton".  And then after she had left Amy pouted and got a hug.  It was adorable.  Also, I am taller than Xil and that didn't help my feeling like a giant-ness at all.

Then it was back to signing until the con ended, and then Claire and I took the ladies back to their hotel.  Claire had grabbed two umbrellas due to the rain, so I left mine behind.  Well, as she attempted to open one, it broke and shot off the top six feet across the sidewalk.  Very funny, if not particularly useful in a umbrella fashion. We made it to the hotel regardless (Fey concerned that I had no umbrella, me unconcerned as I had a hat) and left them inside the door to the lobby. 

I returned to the media area, but didn't really see anyone there to have dinner with, so I left and went home for the evening.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

FDDD, The night before

Due to having helped people who are mildly famous, I have Secretly Coded their names to make it less likely someone will stumble on my blog while doing a web search for them.

As with all days where it is very important for me to get out of work early or on-time-no-minutes-late, the day was extraordinarily busy.  Like, start a few minutes early run through the day as fast as possible work through lunch still get out two hours after you planned to leave busy.

So I make my way to the convention center, get oriented as to where I should check in, and get my shirts for the weekend.  I grabbed the requisite three medium shirts and found my way to the media area of the floor, which was actually nicely tucked away off the dealer floor and in its own quasi-protected area.  People were setting up signs, and I wandered around with Stephanie to see where we would walk the guests, how to get to the fourth floor for panels, and where their break room was.  As we walked back to the signing area of the floor, Stephanie saw a pigeon fly and roost above the windows. 

Not much was going on in the media area, so I wandered back to the registration area to talk with Friday a bit and ask her about knitting night.  Not sure if it's going to happen, but if it does it will likely be on a Tuesday.  Quiana entered at this point and was annoyed that shirts in her size had all been snatched up.  I'd have been happy enough to give her one of my three, had she even really acknowledged that I was present or seemed pleased to see me.  She didn't, I kept my shirts, and given the amount of ignoring I got over the rest of the weekend I feel I made the right decision. 

I went back to the media area, met up with Todd, got the official tour, and then was released to the wild and told to be back Friday morning between eight and nine.  Well, it was 6PM in downtown Seattle, and I was more than willing to wait about a bit and entertain myself at the convention center while I traffic died down.  I followed Todd to the Sheraton, so I'd know how to get from the hotel where the guests were staying to the show floor, then returned and was ready to wait. 

Another staff member was also around and suggested dinner.  I figured food would be good; he kinda thought it was a date.  AWKWARD.  Nice enough time, seemed a decent enough guy, but no real common ground and no spark.  When dinner was done it was late enough for traffic to have emptied out.  I went home.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A month?!?

This is what happens when I want to do picture posts. First, I want to get "Just a little bit farther." Then I want to "wait for natural light to take a picture." Then it's "Oh, where is that cord for my camera?" and then "What? Uploading pictures takes how long?!"

So... yeah.

I'm going to try to post pictures each week of what I've worked on. There likely won't be much progress from week to week, and certain projects might only show up once or twice before falling back into obscurity, but that's the way I craft.

Without further ado:

 Lady of the Ginkos,

 At a guess, she's about 1/16th of the way done.  So, not all that far yet.  I'm stitching in successive row/columns from the top right corner, so current progress is on row/column 7.  When I get through 7 and 8 I'll have a full page (page six) done, and will be able to post it to the HAED board. 

You Were Hatched

 This one is pretty close to done.  Just have to finish doing the backstitch and I'll be able to call her done.  (She's a girl; really!)

Camilla Mittens
These are based off a free pattern by SpillyJane. (pattern here)  She offered to give anyone who finished a pair and sent her a picture by the end of February a free pattern.  I'm not sure what one I want, so I've not sent in my picture yet.  The cupcake mittens are so fun, but I also love the owls and the Phedre-inspired one, as well as a couple others.  I really enjoyed knitting these, and they've already come in very handy when I had to de-snow the work truck this week.

Also why posting to this blog hasn't happened:  trying to get pictures on the blog *rotated the proper way* took almost two hours of fiddling, and I ended up having to save my pictures as .gif files.  Bleh!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stress test

My dad went in to the doctor's today to take a stress test after his heart attack. It's been eight weeks now, long enough to see if the dietary changes and drugs have started to take affect, and to see how much damage was actually done to his heart.

He came over to my desk this afternoon, very quiet and a little still, and he asks "You know I had my stress test today, right?" I affirmed, and asked how it went. "Well, I got on the treadmill, got my heart rate up to 150, and they put the ultrasound over my heart, and the doctor, you know the doctor who was educated at Oxford, the one who is either Indian or Pakistani, but I think he's Indian..."


"Oh, the doctor looked at my heart and said it was amazing! That there was hardly any damage at all, not even around the stent!"

And that was when I smacked him.

(Not really, but sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh. Way to bury the lede there dad!)

Also, happy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jasmine is finished!

As promised, some pictures!

I got a new camera earlier this month, and I had a bit of fun taking a few pictures.

Maybe more than a bit of fun.

But I'm proud of my little finish!

I finished her up ve-e-e-ery early Saturday morning, but was busy all day yesterday. I'd hoped to get some pictures with sunlight today so the color of the fabric would be true, but the weather didn't cooperate.

The color in the detail pictures is closest to true.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wherein I make little progress, and I *like* it that way

The current cross stitch project is Nora Corbett's Jasmine. I'm getting close to the end, and it's looking nice. Last weekend I realized "If I just make a little push, I could totally get this finished!"

And then I didn't stitch on it at all. Poor Jasmine gets picked up and worked on after I finish something huge, and I no longer have the energy to put forth much effort. So instead of her getting finished last weekend and I move on to something new, I picked up TW's Diamonds in Squares and got it slightly farther instead.

And then I played video games.

Odds are I'll finish Jasmine up this weekend. I probably have 5-6 more hours of work before I'm done, and if I just work on it a bit every night I'll have it down to a nicely manageable portion for the weekend.

And then this blog will have pictures! Crazy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

They are moving the snow shovel!!!

(It was a difficult thing, to limit myself to three exclamation points in the title.)

To say that I am ecstatic is to understate things. As soon as that... thing... is gone and there is daylight, I'm putting everything back to rights.

I don't have kids, and I don't have pets. My only outlet for the nurturing instinct is my plants. So yes, I am a bit over-protective of them. Also, I have hope for irises, and sweet peas, and jasmine in the little space. Somehow, a shovel just clashes *terribly*.

I might even be able to sleep tonight. And eat dinner. How pleasant!

Monday, January 10, 2011


When I moved into my condo, I was told that the patch of earth at the base of the stairs and the patch of earth under the stairs was mine.

Last year, I worked to make the bits of earth I had into some approximation of a garden. I took out the ugly, sprawling evergreen bush under the stairs, cleaned up the moss, added a trellis, put an ornamental edge between the dirt and the concrete, added compost and fertilizer to the dirt to make it fertile again, and finally, in October, I planted some irises to bloom in the spring.

On Saturday I came home from a shopping excursion to see that the HOA had moved the trellis, and killed one of my irises as they hung up a snow shovel from the stair support. In high dudgeon I started to remove the apparatus they used to secure the shovel to the post, but a careful reading of the HOA documents doesn't specifically say that I have any right to that bit of land. I own the stairs, but there is no mention of the space beneath them, and it does specifically state that the parts of the deck that I own do not include the supporting beams.

So I took out the trellis, replanted the irises in the bit of dirt at the bottom of the stairs, and took out the ornamental edging. For things that took me many, many hours to put in, they took perhaps fifteen minutes to tear out. Destruction is so much easier than creation.

The irises will die. The earth at the foot of the stairs is on the north side of the building, and is practically on the water table besides. Assuming the bulbs had the energy to try to re-root themselves in the new dirt, they are going to rot. And now, every time I drive home, every time I walk into my house, instead of seeing something that I made beautiful, that I took pride in, that I had plans for, and hopes for... instead of a garden, I'm going to get to see a bright yellow plastic snow shovel.

In SEATTLE. Where it might, MIGHT need to be used four days a year. So for the other 361 days I'll see something blight-ugly, on the off chance that someone might want to use the snow shovel when we do get two inches of snow. And that's also assuming that this mythical person was not capable of purchasing their own shovel.

I hate my HOA. I hate them so much. Every "idea" they have to make this place better just makes things more frustrating and ugly. Had this happened last year, before I spent any time trying to make a garden, I'd have loathed it because it looks horrible. The fact that it stole something from me that I treasured AND it looks horrible has me heartbroken.