Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Creative" Goals*

Since all of the cool kids are doing it, I'm going to post my creative goals for this year:
  1. Sew two skirts from scratch
  2. Knit six pairs of sock
  3. Knit a complete sweater-vest
  4. Make a case for my phone
  5.  Get back into the studio
  6. Use my DLSR again
Now, I feel some exposition is needed. But that's another post.

Ha! Kidding. But only kinda, 'cause I really would rather be assembling radio show playlists. Ooh!

    7. Make radio playlists without repeating any songs for the entire year 

Back to the exposition.

1. Sew two skirts from scratch
    I have the pattern for a basic a-line skirt of varying lengths and I have fabric for the first one all ready to go. I'd like to  make that skirt, plus another skirt out of lighter fabric for the summer. If I hate it, then it won't be like I have to make a whole bunch of 'em, but it also is enough that I'm able to adapt my technique for the second skirt to see what I've learned. Plus, I'll get two skirts out of it. Any more than that, and I'll have to toss some clothes I already have. I am a pack-rat when it comes to clothing, so I really need to be stringent regarding the amount of clothes I accumulate, handmade or otherwise.

    2. Knit six pairs of sock
      That'll give me a chance to knit a buncha socks from the new sock book my ma got from her ma for Christmas. Do I know the title, author, or publisher of it? No. I do not. I am a lazy librarian and don't want to go into the other room to find the book. I shall tell you in a future post when I'm further on in my sock-knitting frenzy. Pinky swear. I also don't want to commit to knitting a pair of socks a month, since I might not have time, what with my final term of my honours degree and a full course load and my insanity disability becoming no easier to manage. But.. that, too, is another post. Ooh - I already have one sock neeearly completed. I just have to do the toe shaping. It's going to be a Christmas stocking for the pup, since I don't have enough wool to knit a matching pair. I adore my prototype sock, though. I am smitten with socks.

      3. Knit a complete sweater-vest
        Yes, I said sweater-vest because I panic when I think of kitting sleeves that fit nicely and attaching them to the body and that's so much wool and such a commitment and arrrrghFDSAFDA. So yeah. My brain breaks when I think of sleeves. But I do want to knit a full garment. Yep.

        4. Make a case for my phone

        This goal probably should be the first one I finish, as my touch-screened phone reeeally needs some comfy clothes to protect it from the elements (and the hazards contained in my purse).

        5. Get back into the studio

        Even if it's just a live rehearsal session or creative session in Studio B, that's cool. I just have to get back to it in some capacity while I have cheap access to a studio and some awesome friends to help me out with it. Oh. Back? you ask. Um.. well.. I dabbled in the indie roots scene in the Golden Horseshoe during my youth, and while I can say honestly that I do not miss the business side one iota, I do miss the creative side. I have to learn to be selfish about my music for awhile, if that's what it takes to enjoy it again. Then maybe you'll get to enjoy it too, if I'm up to sharing. Yes.

        6. Use my DLSR again

        Same sorta deal. Only, you know, I never won any awards for my photography like I did for songwriting. But whatever. There's a thriving photography and arts scene in my town city, and I should take advantage of that. By that, I mean make friends who will say I really like the lighting in this photo or The composition is perfect or even This is a trite angle, loser. Get lost. Whatever. I want to learn and use the immensely generous gift that my family gave me a few years back. They believe in me, so I should learn to believe in myself too. Yes.

        And I guess that's the point of all of these goals. Set achievable goals. Make time to work towards them. Brag when I can cross something off my list. Or whatever.

        Oh, and 7.  Make radio playlists without repeating any songs for the entire year.

        Other programmers, and even my own operator, at Trent Radio have wondered why I am stubborn about certain selections or why I don't include super-obvious choices for themed shows. Usually, it's because I've already used that song for another show and I don't want to repeat it, or because I'm saving it for an upcoming show. I have some goals for myself for my show, some of which are based on my original proposal, and others that are just personal goals. This is one of the personal ones. I think there's enough kickass indie Canadian music out there that I shouldn't have to repeat any songs. It shouldn't be a show about whatever is on my mp3 player that week, so I carefully plan theme shows. Perhaps too carefully. That is up for debate (every. single. week. ARGH.) but this is a personal programming goal that I'd like to meet. Yes. I'll remind you to listen to the shows when the new season starts up again, and you may be able to hear if I stick to this goal or not.

        Aaaand now it's time to let the pooch out and then time to try to sleep. It's been tiresome, this sleeping thing, and that is an unacceptable irony.

        *These goals may or may not be creative in terms of rarity or uniqueness, but are definitely goals concerning creative energies.
          Saturday, December 18, 2010

          A splash of new ink.

          Thanks to everyone who voted and showed their preference for a new design.

          And.. uh.. as you might have already noticed (unless you're using some fancy RSS-reader) I do have a new design up here, but.. it's not any of the ones you voted on. Heh. Er.. um.. I told you I was fickle.

          But, do not despair -- you will still be entered to win a handmade item or a pint or something else lovely! I shall stick all of the names to Elliepup and the one that she holds onto the longest will be the winner. Or.. something. Yep. Just you wait and see.

          And yes, this post is late. I promised it would be up last weekend, but, well, I wasn't quite ready to decide or to justify my decision, so, it's tardy. I may still be tweaking it over the winter break. I haven't done any web design since 1991 or so, so I'm a bit rusty and, well, a good ten years behind in the times. If I'm unsupervised, it'll likely end up with animated .gifs and the hamsterdance song in the background. Uncool.

          I've also been having a bit of trouble with my sewing machine lately. It's breaking needles like that's what it was designed to do, so I think something's outta alignment. It worked superbly until I moved the ol' dear to my mom's house for the holidays. Sigh. These holiday gifts that I've been working on have slowed to a crawl, and I'm a wee bit concerned that I won't finish them in time. Or, worse, that I'll have to hand-sew them all. See, I feel I can fake a meager talent in assembling textiles if I can operate a sewing machine, but by hand? Eep. That's definitely a skill I haven't acquired yet.

          So, back to knitting. And purling. And trying to convince the pup to do her doggy business outside, despite the snowdrifts being taller than she is.
          Friday, December 10, 2010

          It's the most wonderful time of the year..

          I'm apprehensive about the holidays.

          As of December 13th, or Monday, I'm officially on holidays for a month. While I should be excited about it, I'm feeling guilty that I'm not, and I'm concerned that without a routine I'll feel worse than I do right now.

          I'm not good with the holidays, usually, for all of the good tidings and cheer makes me seem even more Grinch-like. I do like the holidays:

          I like sweaters, and hot chocolate, and twinkling lights, and baked goods, and spending time with family, and I even like Christmas carols and church services.

          I just.. am very conscious that I'm supposed to be having a good time. Or at least smiling in the photos. The holidays make my smile seem more strained than usual, I suppose.

          But, I have a plan -- keep busy. I will craft like I've never crafted before. This not only will keep my hands and my brain too busy to worry too much, but it'll produce tangible results which I can perhaps even give as gifts. I'll work towards small goals and be rewarded for my efforts with practical textiles. I do love me some practical textiles.

          And I can start reading novels for next term, with a couple pulpy British and Canadian lit that I've been saving for a time that I can read for pleasure.

          Also - plenty of dog walks. The dog can romp around in the snow at my mom's place, and I think I'll even take the pup to the park this weekend. It'll be a good study break. There's nothing like watching a tiny dog romp around in the snow, filled with glee and wagging her tail so forcefully that she falls over. Woof.

          Back to knitting. I have some gifts to work on, which I'm almost eager to finish. Almost.
          Monday, December 6, 2010

          A crazy little thing called love.

          These neuroses of mine, readers, are troublesome these days. Alright, most days.. for the past decade. Sigh.

          After a particularly rough day in which I had nothing scary to face other than, you know, the regular waking, eating, breathing thing, I find myself ready to go to sleep. That is odd, since I don't sleep well at night. I get caught in a loop and rehash all of the day's problems, which I believe are the results of my very existence. Quickly, the loop of worry and guilt gets more fodder added to it, as I remember yesterday, and last week, and last month, et cetera, et cetera. Consequently, I don't sleep, as I am too busy worrying and remembering and narrating a biased tragic tale to ..what? Oh, yes. Relax. I don't really relax. I nap during the day out of sheer exhaustion, and I knit to keep my hands busy and to rewire my automatic thoughts from everything is your fault, you terrible human to knit two, purl two.

          But, tonight, as I said, I am ready to sleep. I was invited to submit to a zine which chronicles experiences with mental health issues and fights ableism, and, ultimately, is an exercise in self-love. It was encouraging to see how many people joined the group, either to submit or to purchase an issue when it comes out. I didn't feel quite so alone in acknowledging these madnesses of mine, and that is one of the most important parts in fighting these diseases.

          Also, and probably even more cathartic, was an exchange between a few me and a few Twitterers. It was initiated by a formspring post by Thursday, in which she discussed the internal running commentary that accompanies some of her interactions. A half dozen of us connected with that experience, and sharing those fears and acknowledging that we have unique requirements for health was reassuring. Again, it was wonderful to see a small community arise out of an experience that can be so bloody isolating. It was definitely, as Caren said, tweet therapy.

          And here's some puppyfuzz, readers, to remind you that puppy love is not pejorative. It's downright glorious.

          Sunday, December 5, 2010

          sad songs and lullabies
          are singing the world goodnight
          sleep tight, little world

          Well, readers, thanks so much for voting on a new design! I'll work on the design this week, and on Sunday, I'll post the new design, including the results of the lucky duck who gets either a homemade reward or a delicious pint. Or a latte, or whatever they like. Yep.

          I spent Friday in a hell of a state due to my very first colloquium presentation. A colloquium is basically an academic conference; people speak on a topic that they've researched and will turn into a scholarly article for (hopefully!) publication in a journal or a book. I participated in the colloquium as part of a grad course I've been taking. I was one of the few undergrad students in the class, and I also presented my paper first. Eek. I am not one for public speaking, and I much prefer to do my conversing all Wizard-of-Oz style from behind a screen. Prescription pharmaceuticals were employed. I did not cry, or faint, or throw up, or ingest intoxicants, so I consider it a roaring success.

          I'm still recovering from that ordeal, which seems to have taken more out of me than I expected it to. I find exhibiting emotions or any expression, save for slight annoyance, to be quite tiring, for reasons that we shall discuss once we know each other a bit better. Therefore, the colloquium stress, performance, and the celebrations afterward thoroughly exhausted me, and I think I'll have to wait until Monday to tell you all about my sewing adventures since tote bag version 1.0. Adventures were had, I assure you.

          Oh - and my radio show  is on tomorrow night, Sunday, from 6pm-7pm. It's called It's Not the End of the World (Yet) and features entirely Canadian independent (usually) original music. Tomorrow's theme is winter holiday stuffs, so there might be a few covers of holiday songs. I usually steer away from covers unless the song is really fantastic, and Sunday's show will be no exception. It'll also be my last show before the winter break, so please tune in. Trent Radio 92.7 CFFF FM in Peterborough. The transmitter is broadcasting with only 15 watts right now, though, so please listen online if you can - it'll likely be a better broadcast.

          Sleep well, readers, and I hope you're staying warm on this chilly night.

          Thursday, December 2, 2010

          Your Vote Counts!*

          I'm working on a (re)design for launching this blog. You, lucky duck, get to vote on a background image! If your selection is.. uh.. selected, then you could win a free homemade totebag, baked goods, knitwear, or a commercially-brewed mug o' beer, or whatever else I'm able to send you in appreciation. Lucky duck, indeed.

          Here are a few options, all awesome original art courtesy of Sarah at totallysevere.com









           I: (similar to how it is now)

           You may also be creative and suggest a background or theme not listed here. I am very open to suggestions and shall be very receptive to help with this blog (read: send you a tote bag or feed you cookies or some other sort of token of my appreciation).

          So, leave a comment and vote your heart out while you still can, before I get impatient and choose one for myself, give your totebag to the dog, eat all of the cookies, knit all of the wool, and get drunk on beer, thus using up any possible prize. Remember the Little Red Hen? Yeah, I'm not that nice, so vote, vote, vote and I'll give you something awesome.

          However, as I suffer from extreme self-doubt, any decision made by me alone will likely be changed frequently. That is annoying for blogs, so seriously, rock the vote.

          *I reserve the right to be fickle.
          Tuesday, November 30, 2010

          Inaugural Sewing Project

          Firstly, my gratitude to Jess Gilroy, for posting this fabulous tutorial. It was easy to follow, and the pictures were extremely helpful. I admit, I was a bit confused by the squaring off of the corners, which I found easier to flatten and then measure.

          Calvin helps me figure out how to set up my new Kenmore sewing machine. Ain't it a beaut?

          I'm having a bit of difficulty getting it to fold up into the table. Well.. it folds into the table really well, but then it falls out of the bottom. Ruh roh. Gotta get that fixed at some point. There's not really any hurry, as the machine has a case to keep the dust out and it has its own little alcove to rest in. Also, for $40 for the machine, table, manual, and accessories, it was a great deal.

          Ellie helps me measure out fabric for what she believes will be a lovely dog blanket.

          That green cotton will be quite a bargain once I return to Fabricland and am charged properly on my purchases today. Be nice to your cashiers, folks, even when they royally mess up. That cashier might just be my roommate and be trying to pay the bills when she's not driving to Cobourg to supply teach. Yep.

          This stretchy fabric was tricky to cut with my $0.49 scissors (or whatever they cost as part of $4.00 starter's sewing kit). It was also tricky to cut with a mini doxie sitting on top of it, but she kept the cats away.

          Here's the finished product!

          I got so focused putting this together that I didn't take any photos during the actual sewing portion of this experiment, but I promise that I'll take some when I sew some up with the chicken fabric. Yep, chicken fabric! You'll just have to wait and see.

          And here's the other side! The stretchy fabric was a bit trickier to sew, but I'm rather pleased with the results. I think that I may call my first official solo sewing project a success, and I can't wait to get back at it.
          Saturday, November 27, 2010

          The dogs in the neighbourhood are going crazy..

          It was difficult to get out of bed today, which, I must admit, is not unusual.

          I set various alarms, and as each one rang, I felt increasingly less comfortable with the idea of getting up. I covered my head with my duvet and willed the nagging pain in my bladder to cease.

          The dog's bladder, however, I'm unable to ignore as I do my own, so I rolled out of bed slowly, promising myself and the pup that we would both climb into bed again shortly. I bundled us both up and outside we went into the cold late-November morning, which greeted us with the first significant snowfall of the year.

          And the pup promptly turned around and tried to sneak back into the house.

          Um, thanks, pup.

          I walked into the middle of the lawn and called her name. The dog sat down in front of the door.

          I patted my knees to signal her to "come". Ellie laid down.

          I whistled. Pathetic hound eyes answered me.

          FINE. Back inside the house we went, and back to bed. We spent an hour together, burrowed under chenille and cotton, avoiding the day together.

          I hope the pup enjoyed it at least half as much as I did.
          Saturday, March 20, 2010

          it was awkard to meet you, too.

          So, interwebs, I guess it's just you and me. Ready to rouse some rabble?!

          Yeah.. me neither.

          I'll check back with you later. Maybe we can grab a coffee or something. Well.. not actual coffee, as I don't drink coffee, but.. uh.. some sort of caffeinated beverage? Consider it.

          My people will call your people. We'll do a working lunch.

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