Sunday, January 27, 2013

I get the big one because I'm big!

Current Location: Mom's house, Diamond Springs

Sometimes my mom talks in her sleep.  This morning, she said, "I get the big one because I'm big," with a very pleased-sounding chuckle.  I asked the obvious question.  "The big what?"  "The big picture," she replied.  "Laura made black-and-white copies of the color ones and hid them in the drawer at the hotel."  So of course I wanted to know what hotel? who's at the hotel? if you get the big one, who gets the small one?  Apparently in her dream we were staying at a hotel with my brothers, my aunt, my grandma (she's not sure whether grandpa was there or not), and some of my cousins.  Also at least one of the cousins had brought her children, because the baby was under the table and when we picked it up its diaper slipped off and it pooped on the chair.  This led to someone pointing out that one of my cousins wasn't wearing his diaper (he's 21), but it came out that he only needed it when he was in Mexico and didn't have access to a toilet, so it was okay.  She thought the hotel might be somewhere near Mexico because my aunt was apparently on her way there to join her children (different set of cousins) in swimming.  Also there was a lady who worked for the hotel who was taping some kind of advertising picture to the side of the car, and my grandma was trying to stop her because my mom was worried about it messing up the paint.  But back to the pictures.  Apparently we had brought along some color photos of me and my brothers to this hotel, and I had secretly made black and white copies, put them in L-shaped frames, and put them in the drawer, where someone found them too early and spoiled the surprise.

This kind of frames.
 I kind of want to make this dream come true.  Well, not all of it, obviously.  Deliberately making babies poop on chairs is a bit much.  But the picture bit I could definitely do something interesting with.  We will be going to Disney World in September (my first time!), and I bet they have some kind of photo booths.  Or there are plenty of photo ops just walking around the park, and I know some of the rides have got cameras.  What I'm thinking could be cool is to use some existing photos in combination with the new ones to make portraits of us with our younger selves.  We could even make life-size cardboard cutouts of ourselves as kids and carry them around the park, but it would be hard to keep that a secret and we probably couldn't take them on the rides.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Moar Adventures

Current Location: Mom's house, Diamond Springs

  So, it turns out Bookswim's shipping is incredibly slow (10 days to go one way!?), and in order to upgrade to something remotely reasonable you have to pay an extra $7 PER PACKAGE.  Here is the review I left when I canceled the service:

  "I can buy used books on Amazon for cheaper than renting them here, and they're in better shape and ship much faster.  Plus, I don't have to rush to read them and send them back in order to get the most out of my money, there's no limit to how many I can get at once, and if I decide not to keep them I can sell them to someone else for pretty nearly what I paid for them.  Whereas the one book I checked the 'keep' price for on Bookswim would have charged me full retail price on top of what I already paid to rent it and had enormous stickers concealing the entire cover."

  Yeah.  So I bought 10 books on Amazon, most of them with Super Saver Shipping, and the next time I'm craving something to read I'll do the same.  And if I don't like them enough to keep (because I'm treating my Amazon wishlist more like a library than, say, a Borders bookstore), then hey guess what Amazon totally has a resale section.

By the way, there is no post office at the end of the street.  I don't know what Google was thinking.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Current Location: Mom's house, Diamond Springs

I  recently did a search to see if there was a service like Netflix for books, because I thought if there wasn't there ought to be.  I found, and shortly thereafter signed up for, a book rental service called Bookswim.  My mom keeps telling me how expensive it seems, but she never takes me to the library anymore, and this is cheaper than getting all my reading material at the bookstore.  Besides, the one we go to most often is a Borders, which is going out of business.  And this way I can read the books and then decide if I want to keep them.

Anyway, today I have a package of two books to mail back, and I can't just put it in the mailbox because the whole street has a sort of communal mailbox thing, with an outgoing mail slit barely large enough for a standard-size envelope.  So I got to wondering if I could maybe walk to the post office, and I looked at Google Maps to see where the nearest one was.  And it told me. . . right at the end of the street.

The red circle is where the mailbox is.

That is practically visible from my house.  How could I never have noticed it?  Of course, we do always turn in the opposite direction right there. . . .  Still, it seems unlikely.  I had better go investigate.

Photos I Shouldn't Keep But Don't Want to Get Rid Of

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

Well, I never finished this post and I never will, as all those photos are gone now anyway.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crafting with Keywords

Current Location: Mom's house, Diamond Springs

My family recently decided to hold a craft swap with each other.  In order for us to have some influence over what we end up getting, but still be surprised, we each wrote down at least 25 keywords for someone else to draw from.  At the time of the drawing, I had well 35, and I keep coming up with more.  I figure if I add them to the pile now, they'll be there for the next time we do something like this, right?  My current count is up to 83.

In order to test the combinations that were likely to get, I tried drawing several (okay, a lot) sets of 3 myself.
  The very first one I got was the amusingly nonsensical ethereal Red Delicious SNERG!
Here are some others that seem inspiring:
Hellboy retelling Ursula Vernon
archaeology mysterious steamer trunk (sounds like something for my "Archaeological Proof of Time Travel" series)
art nouveau robot mixed media
elfin viking oriental rug
dream reading ceiling tiles
costume Harajuku land of Faerie
waste-reducing wind-up castle
Star Trek intellectual humor here be dragons

plus a couple where the third word didn't so much work
white elephant strap hinges
iron rose antlers
Father Christmas Wicked

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chug-a chug-a chug-a

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  The past few days I have not been blogging, but this time it is not a symptom of the usual laziness, but a part of the cure.  Having made no progress on my Nova Albion/Wild Wild East products, I decided that the only way to force myself to work would be to stay away from the computer, most especially the internet, where I will always find something else I "need" to do.  Therefore I made a new rule: I am not allowed to turn on my computer until I have worked for three hours on making things.  For a few days, the mental block preventing me from beginning work persisted, but eventually I ran out of "better" things to do.  Yesterday and today each I was able to get three hours in, this time early enough to also check my messages and do some blogging before bed.  I have the four back panels for my first Chinese dress all cut out and sewn together.  Photo will come whenever I have sufficient space on my computer to risk uploading from my camera again.  Hopefully from this beginning I will be able to start building steam, because if I can't make this "making things" thing work, I'm going to have to get a real job (the horrors!).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blogging Now

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

   Well, it's been ages since I've sat down at 9:30 to blog.  I know I haven't even been thinking about Steampunk Thing of the Week since at least October, so if I've made Things it's been largely by coincidence.  Right now I'm focused on getting things ready for the Sacramento Steampunk Society's Birthday Party on Thursday.  I'm also two weeks into my hundred days for Nova Albion and I have finished nothing.  I had an excuse that first Sunday because it was my mom's birthday, and of course that was Thanksgiving week so I was spending a lot of time hanging out with family and almost-family Wednesday through Sunday, but if I had really been trying I'm sure I could have completed one or two things while they were here.  In fact, I wanted to get Jimmy and Jessica to write some steampunk-related words in Chinese/Japanese on some of my products for me . . . instead I brought out the one thing I'd actually worked on, a pair of clay bracelets (no photo, sorry), and Jessica expressed an interest in playing with clay so we did that the whole time.  Or she did.  I mostly was feeling to tired to do anything.  She had a really good idea that I'll probably use somehow in my jewelry for Nova Albion, which was to do steampunk zodiac animals.

  Tomorrow we're having a Maker/Swap meet and a friend of mine who I haven't seen since I think elementary school is coming.

  That's all I can think to say right now.  On to the next thing!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Can Haz Work Ethic?

Current Location: Mom's house, Diamond Springs

  Having been somewhat concerned about how I will make enough things to sell to fill up my vendor space at Nova Albion, I decided to commit myself to a goal.  There are a hundred days from now until March, so if I made something every day (except the holidays when I will have no time) I'd have about a hundred things, which should be more than enough.  I suspect many of the projects I have in mind will take more than one day, though, so I'm not holding myself to the same kind of rule I use for my Steampunk Thing of the Week - it doesn't have to be started and finished within the day.  So, here are my new rules for vending production:
1. Try to finish something every day.
2. Don't start something new unless you can't finish the old. (This should help keep me from ending up with 100 half-finished things that I can't sell.)
3. When you've done 5 things, you get 2 days to make for self or Etsy.
4. Work even if you can't finish today to make it more likely to finish tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  I just received a response to Saturday's e-mail:

Thank you for the photos & the detail! I think in pullet points, so here we go:

YES to:
  • Goggles: The opera goggles sound good, especially if they're sized smaller like traditional opera glasses - I don't think we have anything like that yet. The other pair of goggles will be OK as well
  • JEWELRY: I really like the idea of specifically "Eastern-themed steampunk jewelry" and I like the (brooch? Pin?) of the Asian lady with the gears... very interesting and different! That is really the only jewelry we can add to the vendor room at this point.
  • GLOVES: The gloves are OK (not a lot of them) - hand-painted like the socks would be great!
  • CLOTHING: I love the socks! The other clothing item that would work are the Chinese dresses you mentioned - again, if you did the hand-painted gears or some such, to steam them up a bit. Breeches might be interesting as well.
  • SKETCHES: The accessories you described & sketched all sound great

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Now that the Wi-Fi here is again stable, I no longer have any excuses not to blog (not that that was a good one, you understand, given I've been at my mom's house the past two weeks).  I expect to be playing catch-up for some time.

  Today I woke up around noon, having stayed up far too late watching the first season of Castle plus commentaries.  I sent an e-mail describing the kinds of things I am likely to bring to the vendor room at Nova Albion, which took hours.  I think I shall reproduce it here.  The guidelines, by the way, read "We do seek to create a balance and will need to limit certain items: at present we are no longer able to accept goggles, hatsrayguns or clockwork jewelry and would love to have more exotic and Eastern-inspired wares."

What I actually bring to sell will be dependent on what I manage to make in time for the convention, but here is a list of the kinds of projects I have in mind and you can let me know based on what other vendors are bringing where to concentrate my efforts.

I know you said no hats, but it has been suggested to me that my hats might be sufficiently different that I should mention them anyway.  I intend to have no more than three or four hats similar to the one pictured in the first attachment, but in different colors.  And I have several other purchased hats (mostly straw ones) lying around waiting to be steampunked in a similar fashion to that one or the one pictured in the second attachment.  I also want to make other large Edwardian hats from scratch, such as ones with scalloped brims, and one based on the design of a pith helmet.  I have plans for top hats pieced from various fabrics, such as faux leather, corduroy, brocade, and Victorian wallpaper prints, as well as similar tiny top hats (two inches high) as shown in the third attached photo.  I would like to make hats of the design shown in the fourth and fifth photos in various sizes and fabrics.  I am also interested in making caps with applique and scalloped brims, and steampunk bonnets.

I also have plans for exactly two pairs of goggles, one of which will be "opera goggles" (with a stick instead of a strap).  And I have one pair of "Gogglies" already made, which are meant to be pinned or clipped to hats, hair, or wherever, as shown in photos six through eight.

May I assume that "clockwork jewelry" refers to pieces that use entire watch movements as cabochons?  Would jewelry such as the set pictured in attachment nine be acceptable?  Apart from that, I have purchased several items to serve as focal pieces in Eastern-themed steampunk jewelry (probably mostly necklaces).  I will probably have other assorted jewelry, as shown in pictures ten through sixteen.

I should have several pairs of opera-length gloves similar to those in photo seventeen.  I also intend to buy some short fingerless gloves and hand-paint them in a manner similar to the sock in photo eighteen.  I have some cuffs similar to the one in photo nineteen, which are not really steampunk but may pass for goth, lolita, or rockabilly.  I would like to make adjustable hat-bands and arm-garters that would look something like the sketches in the twentieth attachment.  I may do spats/gaiters similar to those in photo twenty-one.  I can easily make "disguises" as shown in photo twenty-two, although these would be less one-of-a-kind than most of the rest of my items, as they are vacuum-formed on a mold.  I may also vacuum-form other items, such as gears and antique keys.

I should have a few lightly-boned corsets.  I may also make other garments, although I'm not sure what.  Most likely tailcoats and frock coats.  Maybe vests in Eastern-looking fabrics.  Maybe Chinese dresses embellished with gears and so forth.  Possibly shirts or breeches.  Possibly bustled overskirts.

  Things I forgot to include: belt buckles, picture frames, wigs, parasols, lockets, reticules, purses, jabots, steampunked shoes, leather stuffed animals.

  To bed!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Scurry Scurry

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Got sick of hand-sewing my stupid foot wrapping.  If I buy some gray thread, then I can do it by machine instead which will be much faster - very important with less than a week left to work.  Instead I got started on the rest of the costume.  Here is my shirt, before and after.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  We had some trouble with our internet provider, and were on pay-by-the-hour dialup for at least a week and a half.  So I was using the internet as little as possible and now I have some catching up to do.  I intend to backdate those entries as I post them, so that everything will be in chronological order by when it happened, not when I typed it up.  Sorry if this confuses anyone.

  Here's what I did today: more shopping.  Apparently it was a holiday of some sort, so the Goodwills were having 50% off sales on all donated items.  At the first one we went to, I tried on practically every pair of linen pants in the store, having decided it was stupid to try to make every piece of my Halloween costume from scratch in two weeks.  Here's what I ended up with:
The Chinese shirt and giant top hat were impulse buys.  The one will be painted or distressed or something and hopefully sold for Nova Albion, the other is for the party and may look well atop the sarcophagus or a lamp.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yesterday's Today

Or "Today's Yesterday".  What would have been "Today" if I had posted it yesterday.  Except today has become tomorrow, so what I'm calling today is actually yesterday and yesterday's yesterday is the yesterday that should have been the today.

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  I made the mistake of turning on the computer first thing, and found myself browsing Etsy and TV Tropes, two sites which do not let go.  However, I managed to make a little bit of progress on the sock, so here's what it looks like now.


Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Today I began working on the pile of (mostly crafting) stuff in front of the dresser.  I emptied two boxes that were full of bedding (because I figure they'd be emptied soon anyway, once I get this stuff out of the way of the bed).  One now holds craft supplies (wooden beads, fake flowers, interfacing, electrical wires, a box of rocks. . .), while the other is for "projects" (jeans that need mending, thrifted clothes with no buttons, old Steampunk Things of the Week I never finished, white socks in need of some color, materials for a Halloween costume that never got made. . .).  Tools (button maker, pens, measuring tapes, screwdrivers. . .) went into drawers which already held art and office supplies (tape, rulers, highlighters, staplers, crayons. . .).  So everything is still a bit jumbled and could use more organization, but it's at least off the floor and somewhat contained.  I also found my big bag of nail polishes, which means now I can paint some things that had to be put on hold for a while.

  While I was doing that, my dad went over to Judy's house to pick up some stuff for the Halloween party.  He came back with a sarcophagus and a life-sized butler in the truck bed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


. . . all my troubles seemed so far away, 'cause I started putting things away; oh, I believe in yesterday. . .

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Having cleared that stash of patterns off the top of the dresser, I collected all the hats that were lying around the room and piled them up there until I can finish my hat stand.
 Then I got to work rolling up fabric so it can be stored neatly in its box instead of tossed in that general vicinity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Other Stuff I Left Out of Previous Posts

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Remember all that stuff I got at the swap meet?  Well, I also got some fabric.
You can see that it's the leftover pieces of something.

  Also, I wanted to show off the outfit I wore to help Steven move into the Village at Santa Cruz.

Stuff I Meant to Blog the Other Day But I Was Too Exhausted

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  When I was posting patterns on Etsy I also changed the banner on my shop from this:
  to this:
  I think it's an improvement, but I'm still not sure it's quite what I want.

Organizing Patterns and Gamer Geeks

Despite what that title seems to indicate, we left the gamers to do most of their organizing themselves.

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Today we took Steven back to Santa Cruz.

The money in his mouth is what his roommate owed him from the sale of textbooks they had bought together.
What looks like it's going to be never-ending games of Magic: The Gathering.
  The three people in the house not in his group of friends are all girls.  Hopefully they can deal with high levels of male nerdiness.  We met one, who said she was a feminist studies major, but the others hadn't moved in yet.

  When we went to pick him up from mom's house, I took along a stack of patterns (the ones that were in the middle of the floor because they didn't fit in the drawer) to put in the organizer thingy there and snagged two more to bring here, where the bulk of my patterns are.
Ta-da!  Perfect!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Moar Patterns

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  I finished going through the patterns I already had.  The "keep" pile is still much larger than the "sell" pile, but these are all officially for sale:

Friday, September 17, 2010

So many. . .

Most of them were free or cheap.

Current Location: Dad's house, Rio Linda

  Okay so I just counted and I have 27 new patterns acquired in the last 2 weeks.  Not to mention the 45-50 I had already.  I had really better get working on that corset.  (I swear I have important things that I've been doing instead, like clearing space in my bedroom for a bed.)