Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Socks: Done

The man I made these socks for is doing a fire walk tonight.  Pretty awesome.

Finally Finished!

Only slightly less awesome?  I finished them ON TIME.  Now, to the airport.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Chernobyl Kinsmen

My October swap piece for Crafty & Devious, who is also a fan of lesser-known Shakespeare plays.

The Chernobyl Kinsmen 

The best part?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter, For Real

All crafting energies are going into finishing those darn socks, so nothing new to report except SNOW!  The roads are clear, so it's just scenic.

Scenic, but cold.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

No break between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year-- and two weekends in a row with exciting company and things to do.  In the meantime, I haven't had much time to work on crafts, but I have made these little fellows:

Pocket Protectors 

I found Knitting Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec at my great local library.  The best part about the book were the instructions at the end for making your own patterns!

Added some tassels to the ears and also a tail.  Still not sure if I like these exact colors together, so I might make a new pocket for the little one and a new buddy for the big one.  We'll see how much knitting time I have before Christmas...

Monday, November 29, 2010

What a Week!

Good news: I like Fix's family and I'm proud to be a part of it.
Craftsy good news: I finished my Phat Quarter swap piece, only a little late!  It'll go out today along with the Hanukkah Present for my Gramma.

Meanwhile, have you ever read Dinosaur Comics?  It is the only webcomic that I read every day because it is awesome.  Also awesome: Dinosaur Comics cross-stitch.  If I only had the patience...

And a little bit of calm for your week ahead:

via A Journey Round My Skull

Saturday, November 27, 2010



This is the only entry in my journal since the 23rd.  "I saw this rumpy-manx calico munchkin kitty in a parking lot last night and spent the next hour and a half with Fix, the man I am proud to call my husband-elect, and my very patient parents in the freezing cold trying to coax "Stumpy" into a hastily purchased crate with some cans of moist cat food.  But Stumpy was clean and healthy and, despite lacking a collar, probably had a happy home because she was with it enough to evade some very smart people.  Also, she was friggin' built to run under parked cars!  So in the end we left out two cans of wet food and I checked craigslist and a few other big sites for a lost cat notice and didn't find any that matched her (very distinctive) description.   And I may or may not have been in a parking lot last night, wandering between rows of cars, meowing plaintively and crying.  But I'm okay, and I'm sure Stumpy is too."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 17

Word Count: 53,967
 53,965 if you don't included "The End," but I think it's important.

 Good things in my life:

Where I work most of the time.
Fresh flowers, the sturdy laptop that got me through NaNo and my Senior Essay AND directing Macbeth, a glass of cold water, a good audio book, and knitting at hand.  Not pictured: the red couch.

By Christmas?

In the knitting bag.  I WILL finish them.  I just hope it'll be in time for Christmas.  Since starting, so many other projects have slipped ahead in the lineup!  I'm working on the Phat Quarter Swap cross-stitch, which is very time-consuming, so knitting has become my break from cross-stitch.

3.Cornelia Secunda sat up, incredulous, and looked at her aunt.  Livia Catellus smiled with half of her mouth, cleared her throat and said in an undertone, "but let's not be in need of another disaster to redeem ourselves, yes, Cornelia?"
Livia Catellus kissed her forehead in blessing and thanks, handed Cornelia Secunda a wet cloth from the bowl beside the bed to wash the dust off of her face, and closed the door silently behind her. 

The End

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 15

And if I decide that they did all die during the eruption, then all I need is an epilogue.  If they make it through the night, only one or two more chapters.

Words: 50,744
Reprehensibly Silly Latin Names: 6
Euclid Propositions: 1
Kisses: 10
"Ecce Romani" Jokes: 2

I did it, though.  And very much ahead of schedule.  Crafty updates will resume any day now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 8

Words: 30,326
Reprehensibly Silly Latin Names: 6
Euclid Propositions: 1
Kisses: 7
"Ecce Romani" Jokes: 1

But what else am I doing with my time? (Besides wondering if I Have What It Takes to write for a living...)
I'm making a piece for Crafty & Devious for Phat Quarter's Horror Mash-Up swap.  It's a secret, but I will share that I have been using glow in the dark embroidery floss.
  • Pros: It really glows in the dark!  It is so cool!
  • Cons: Splits easily; kinda hard to use.  And what kind of chemicals make things glow in the dark?  Should I be putting them in my mouth every time I'm about to thread my needle?
Glow in the Dark Embroidery Floss

Friday, November 5, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 5

This morning, the first thousand words I wrote were the crappiest crappy crap I've ever written but I slogged through and wrote a whole lot that got better eventually.  Plot still makes sense, and I didn't discover any long-lost half siblings today.  Unlike yesterday.

Words: a little over 20,000
Reprehensibly Silly Latin Names: 4
Euclid Propositions: 1
Kisses: 3
"Ecce Romani" Jokes: 0

Here is a picture of a foggy morning from the window where I look out when I write.

I'm intrigued by the playhouse because I've never seen children in it.  Previous owners?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 3

I am kind of liking this 'writing many, many hours a day' thing, but check back with me on that in a couple of weeks.

Words: 12,432
Reprehensibly Silly Latin Names: 2
Euclid Propositions: 1
Kisses: 1
"Ecce Romani" Jokes: 0

The coolest part of my Halloween costume

This was my favorite part of my "Swamp Thing/ Water Nymph" costume.  I made an origami flower out of fabric and glued it to a headband.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Update

How did my weekly goals go? 

1. Decide what I'm going to be for Halloween
Check.  Water Nymph...or Cute Swamp Thing.  I was a flake and didn't get any photos of it.  I like the in-progress photo, though.

2. Finish Fix's Halloween costume and start AND finish mine.
Also Check.  I couldn't find white fabric with pink polka dots, so I painted some myself.

BONUS: helped a friend do her zombie costume...which won the party's costume contest.  I was a little disappointed that the costume I worked for a couple days on was beaten out by one that took about an hour, but hey, a costume I did is a costume I did even if it wasn't the one I was wearing it.

Zombie and Fozzie at the party.
And she did look amazing.  I'm sorry this photo doesn't show the bite marks. 

3. Apply to three temp agencies (this was also last week's goal)
Ha ha oops.  But I am going to a volunteer orientation at a local animal shelter this week!  

4. Prepare for NaNoWriMo
She's a Vestal Virgin, he's an enslaved sculptor.  Mt. Vesuvius might erupt.  They'll probably be in a carriage that gets stuck in a ditch at some point.

5. Memorize first bit of the Iliad. 
I printed it out... that's a start.

Overall, not too bad.  More Halloween photos coming up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Journey Round My Skull

If you haven't seen this blog, check it out.  It's full of the coolest and most inspiring book illustrations from all over the world.

Illustration of Goethe's Faust by Harry Clarke
I'm attracted to a lot of the black and white line drawings and woodcuts.

And how cool would this artist's plant shapes look in long and short stitch?  Now there's a goal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Goals

Weekly Goals:
  1. Decide what I'm going to be for Halloween
  2. Finish Fix's Halloween costume and start AND finish mine.
  3. Apply to three temp agencies (this was also last week's goal)
  4. Prepare for NaNoWriMo
  5. Memorize first bit of the Iliad.  I regret that I didn't do it while studying Ancient Greek in college.

It's written on the back of an Ice Breakers gum box.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Manliest Apron I Could Cross Stitch

He does most of the cooking, so I figured I'd make him an apron he'd be proud to wear.

Cross stitch apron

Next time I cross stitch, I'll do it on a fabric where I can count squares.  The shiny thread wasn't a winner idea, either, but it reminds me of fresh blood, so it's worth it.

His Fozzie Bear costume for Halloween will be significantly less manly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Escalator Socks

A quick "in progress" picture of the first of (many) holiday gifts.

Escalator Socks

Ravelry link.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Leaf Headband

For the sister of a dear friend.

Second Headband

I tried wet-felting it after needle-felting (should these things be hyphenated?) I think it went well, and made a cool pattern on the towel.

Wet Felting?

Apparently, I'm still learning to use a camera, too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Embroidery Projects

I found some of my first emboidery projects c. Fall 2009 and thought I'd share.

This pattern is from a "learn to embroider" book.  Until I got to the center of the flowers and got impatient (and didn't know how to do French Knots right yet) so I filled them with eyes instead. 

First Embroidery Project

And here's a cat in a fedora.  He's based on a doodle I really liked and wanted to replicate.  I'm a big doodler of cats with hats (and personalities).

Fedora Cat

I can't take credit for the delicate crochet border on the handkerchief, though. That was a late great aunt of a dear friend of mine.  Lady had some needlework skillz.

I like embroidered handkerchiefs because if you're crying already, it's a small comfort to be wiping your nose with something awesome.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Happy October!  Happy chilly Ohio weather!  Happy "Oops is it really less than three months before The Holiday Season!?"!  This means one thing:

Sweater in Progress 

It's knitting time!

I'm about 3/5 of the way through a sock yarn sweater and now I've got my eye on the riff socks from Knitty's Deep Fall issue (doesn't Deep Fall sound wonderful? mmmm...) and maybe some colorwork mittens like the ones I made a year ago.  I'd better make a list...

Hat detail

(To match the mittens, of course.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big News

I finally finished the embroidered cuff that'd been sitting on my desk for months.

Flowers and Knots

And here's the exciting photo:

Finished embroidered cuff

Between the lousy resolution, awkward angle, and questionable choice of brown elastic for the button loop, there's absolutely nothing exciting about this picture.  Except for that blue ring because I'm going to marry Fix.

Everybody's got an opinion, and I want to hear yours.  Wedding stuff on The Relaxolotl?  If you don't tell me what you want to see, I'll probably accidentally do the one thing you wish I wouldn't, so fair warning.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mystery Monday 8: Photos from the Past

 The last Monday of every month, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

It's possible that there's a photograph of a woman wearing the Victorian ensemble that's neatly folded in a box in my closet. (Based on the age, quality, and evidence of wear of the pieces, I figure it was worn by an upper-middle-class someone in the 1880s)
While spending a couple weeks with my parents, I saw a photo album for the first time with pictures of my great-great grandpanents, great-grandparents, and my grandpa's early years.  (They were accompanied by a skeleton key to the family mausoleum in Brooklyn that has my last name stamped on the side.  I should have taken pictures!)

Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh (above) kept a detailed journal of the history of her clothing- including fabric swatches!
As I was looking at these pictures, first noticed the clothes-- how they were worn and the construction.  There is a portrait of my great-grandmother in a jacket similar to the one above.  I had fun guessing the time period based on cut and detail.

But what struck me was the different relationship people had to photography than we do today.  Then, the only way to have a photograph (mostly) was through the services of a professional.

My big question after looking at the album really is: why don't professional photographers wander around residential areas with carts drawn by large dogs any more?  Because that would be sweet!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Projects

I sewed up a sunglasses case for my dear friend, who also likes dachshunds.  Drew the little fellow myself.

Sunglasses Case

In retrospect, I shouldn't have used so many strands for the dog outline, but I still like him.


This is also in progress.  Not sure what it'll turn into,  but it's good practice with fill stitches.

In Progress

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back From Vacation

...if staying with your parents for two weeks can be called a vacation.  Trying to get unpacked and settled and reoriented and started on a real job search.  But there will be posts.  Things have been made.  And one of the best parts of being there (besides seeing my friends and family and watching tv) was the kittens.


What a sweetheart with those just-clipped claws.  She likes to climb under blankets and into pillowcases.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

DIY Watering Can

DIY Watering Can

Growing cilantro, parsley, and mint.  Didn't want to spend money on a watering can, but couldn't just dump a glass of water onto little seedlings.  Solution: knives and recyclables!!

Lid, Inside 

If only "knives and recyclables" was the solution to everything.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vintage Fabric, Modern Dress

A month ago, I was given several yards of a vibrant floral print in some kind of textured polyester with the instructions: "I'm not sure what I'll ever do with this, but you're so creative that you'll make something cool.  What about a dress?"

Floral Dress

My kind of challenge.  I used McCall's pattern M5927 and recommend it highly.  The bodice of the dress comes in different cup sizes, which meant it fit perfectly the first time I tried it on!  Had to make the top and bottom two different sizes, but managed to work that out with extra darts in the skirt.

Floral Dress (back)
It's comfortable enough for office work (and it has pockets!!!) and fun enough for a luau.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Pincushion

A cactus felt pincushion.

Cactus Pincushion

I made the mistake of not putting anything heavy inside, so it's desk-bound.  I have the pattern, if anyone's interested.

Cactus Pincushion

All hand-sewn, but you could use a machine for a couple parts.  Has anyone else made a cactus-shaped thing before?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ohio Renaissance Festival


Went to the Renaissance Festival with Fix and a couple friends today.  I had a great time, partially because I decided not to be a snob about historical accuracy.  Instead, I appreciated the clothing and accessories for what they are: awesome (and not remotely period for anything or anywhere).


And everyone there is having so much fun!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thrift Store Finds


This Monday, I had good luck at a local thrift store.  I found 5x7 frames for pictures I cut out of "Photographic Surrealism."  Some of the older frames needed a little help to hang, but for 49cents on 25% off Monday?  I can handle that.

This is my favorite guy.  The photographer's named Meatyard, so I'll assume he's French instead of pronounced 'meat yard'.

Untitled, by Meatyard
Another find was in their small crafts section: a pre-cut mat in the shape of a duck.

Pre-cut embroidery mat 

But it gets better?  The cross-stitch pattern it came with:

Cross-stitch pattern

"Do Thine Own Thing"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mystery Monday 7: The Skirt

 Every Monday, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Here's a drawing of the skirt and a few corresponding notes after the jump...

The Skirt

I'm still not sure that the skirt and jacket are from the same outfit for three main reasons:
1: The jacket clearly was made to fit over a bustle, while the skirt is very straight around the hips.
2: While the jacket was finished by hand in places, the skirt seems to be entirely machine-stitched.
3: The waist of the skirt is several inches smaller than the waist of the jacket.

Neither of these things are "deal-breakers" for me yet... I could be looking at a petticoat (and the wear around the waistband is actually friction from some bustle contraption?) and the discrepancy between waist sizes is from the bulk of layers that would have been worn between the two pieces.  So... more research is necessary.  Any other theories or ideas that I might be overlooking?

And before I get to the good stuff (notes under the jump!!) an announcement: Mystery Monday is now a monthly feature on the last Monday of the month.  I'd like to focus on researching more thoroughly and presenting more information, and it gets hectic on a weekly schedule.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Phat Quarter Swap!

Here is the piece I made for Joe Degand III for the Phat Quarter movies swap.  I worked from a black and white still from A New Hope.  It's also my first foray into applique.

Swap Piece

It was a blast to make and I learned a lot about embroidery, applique, and why I shouldn't ever finish pieces off that way again.

Now, I'm thinking about how I'd change my process for a second movie still-inspired piece.

Han Solo encased in carbonite, anyone?.

"You only exist if you tell people you're there."

I ran across an interview with author A. S. Byatt this morning that I wanted to share:


In it, she said a lot about modern technology and communication that I want to consider, and a couple quotes I'd like to share even if you don't watch the video.

"The word 'facebook' is very very interesting... because it means it's a mirror.  you're actually looking for a mirror, and you need a mirror because you haven't got a picture.  You need a mirror to tell you who you are."

"You only exist if you tell people you're there."

An epigraph (one of many) from her novel, Possession, has stuck with me since last summer:

Is love then more than the kick galvanic
And the thund'ring roar of Ash volcanic,
Belched from some crater of Earth-fire within?
Are we automata or angel-kin?

BONUS: A preview of what I sent in the Phat Quarter movies swap...

Sketched out.

Stay tuned for a full report soon!