Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winter Is Coming

Or so the voice of Sean Bean as Ned Stark that currently seems to be living inside my head tells me. And surely someday, hopefully?

As imaginary Ned intoning dramatically has got me to finally pick up the needles again I won't look to hard at what having an imaginary Ned might say about my mental health. Yes, take encouragement where I can find it, that's me.

Have finally finished the purple sweater vest. Well, sort of. I'm not too happy with the applied i-cord edging, the bottom still rolls up a little. So, at some point I'll rip that out and go for some ribbing magic. I just couldn't face it straight away, it had already killed any yay finished buzz I might have had and I didn't want to look at it any more.

I would let you look at it, but it looks stupid when it's not on me and on me it shows off my panza. And I'll do many things, but putting my belly on display for all of the internet is just not one of them.

Instead of actually finishing said vest I cast on for my second ever sweat. It'll have sleeves and everything! Very exciting.

Also, it's a pretty warm gray which means that when winter does get here (imaginary Ned would never lie to me, right?) I'll be wearing the hell out of it.

The pattern is Gavotte, the yarn Caron Spa, their bamboo blend. Definitely can't beat it for the price and I wish my lamp light didn't photograph so yellow so you could see this color properly. So in love with it. As for the pattern, I'm pretty in love with that too. To the point where I'm giving serious thought to making it again straight away out of wool for the three days of actual cold weather, not just what central Texas calls cold weather.

I'm also trying to keep a pair of socks on the needle, but it seems the world has other ideas. First, I was all set to cast on right before my trip to Vegas* when it dawned on me that as a person of brownness, taking the sometimes ok sometimes not knitting needles through security would lead to me in Guantanamo. Mostly because I'd be a giant jerk about it.

I packed them with me, but I really don't know when I thought I was going to knit while in Vegas. I'm not entirely sure I actually slept and as someone who would medal if sleeping were an Olympic event that's seriously saying something.

Got home, started making pretty good progress on the first when one of the needles mysteriously snapped. I really don't know what happened. My best theory is that somehow it's structural integrity was weakened after being x-rayed, pawed by the TSA and then subject to rapid air pressure changes. Or it got knocked around a little too much while in the checked luggage. Something.

I do have a spare set but they're just a touch too short for me to use comfortably. The very pokey tips, which I would usually adore, dig quite irritatingly into my palm. Of course, this means a trip to the yarn store tomorrow and that's something I'll never ever complain about.

The current set of fosters (the furry piranhas of the last post, now returned from the babysitter) think they've discovered heaven with all this yarn out and about. But I've discovered that if I put them in the hood of my sweatshirt they'll happily play with my hair/bandana instead.

It gets a little tricky if I try to wedge all three in there.

* Oh yeah, I went to Vegas. It was Vegas-y and I really don't know what else to say about it. Other than my feet are all busted because of an unfortunate shoe choice (ballet flats! I thought I was being sensible!) and while I very much appreciate the bosses putting us up in the Venetian (oh so swank!) if I ever hear another song from Phantom of the Opera, which they had on loop, my head will actually explode. And it's a damn good thing there's not a Sugar Factory here because I could seriously spend all of my money there and never eat another vegetable in my life.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tiny, Furry Piranhas

Happy news! Fluff (Sally) has at last found herself a real home. She was dropped off with her new owner yesterday and is hopefully well on her way to settling in.

There's a certain point where a kitten absolutely refuses to put on a good face at adoption events - they're no longer a fun place full of excitement. They have a home and they'd like to just stay there rather than be poked and prodded, thank you very much.

Here's Fluff attempting to hide in her crate:

But now she really does have a home and won't be bothered any more. Yay!

We're not kittenless, though. We have three other fosters, probably about five weeks old. And they're certainly making they're presence known, they're definitely a fussy bunch. They've been on a general antibiotic, a parasiticide and currently are on stronger round of antibiotics. I'm not sure why their immune systems refuse to do their, you know, job, but here we are. Sickly kittens.

Sickly kittens that refuse to eat solid foods as they should. They've been a pain to get off the bottle here's the brown tabby today, clearly making great use of his full set of teeth:

Why is he in an overturned laundry basket? Because they are all incredibly food aggressive to the point that we have to keep them separated during feeding time. While not actually eating much in the way of solids, god forbid something approaches their food. I nearly lost a finger today trying to add more canned food to their plate.

As they come around to this whole eating thing it should get better. Once they're truly satisfied they won't be nearly as desperate about what's theirs.

That day really can't come soon enough.

Lucky thing they're incredibly cute.

You wouldn't think that something so tiny and adorable would in fact be a health threat, but sweet baby jeebus.. My legs have become a road map of scratches from where they literally climb up me to get at food, my hands aren't much better. And I have a pretty fetching set of scabs under my chin where the little black one fooled me into thinking he was being sweet, curling up on my chest only to latch onto my face with gusto.

Prying him off was a real treat, let me tell you.

Happily, they seem to be coming around. This last feeding they ate hard and are now sleeping hard. Which bodes well for keeping my skin whole.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A while ago I told you about a series of drawings I did inspired by Dia de Los Muertos ofrendas, including a skeletal St. Catherine of Bologna. I always meant to come back and do more skeleton saints and apparently to make that happen I needed someone to say, 'I want that and two more like it and in exchange I'll give you dollars.'
Of course, said benefactor is a family member and while I know in my head he's just being a nice guy, I'm not going to look at it too hard. Also, if he'd asked for anything else, anything but colored pencil, I'd have given him the usual family discount of, 'take it, it's just cluttering up my house and one of the cats might wee on it.'
But as these things take forever and absolutely wreck me physically (went for a massage after finishing one and was promptly scolded for all the weird noises my bones and tendons were making really take a break and stretch out ever, god, what is that you're arm is doing, that doesn't even make sense) so I'm not really feeling the guilt of charging a relative. Also, we come back to he's being a nice guy and I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
As I'm playacting at being professional, I decided that I will mat and frame them. Which seems an excellent yet relatively simple idea, but I didn't really leave enough room for matting on St. Catherine and so I've had to redo her. Along with coming up with two more pieces. Way to go, self.
At ny rate, here's is St. Catherine v. 2:

Unfortunately, I'd don't like it as much as the first. I had some human faces, how do they work problems. The Boyfriend pointed out that they usually have skin, which was about as helpful as it sounds.
Up next was St. Luke:

Or, 'cross-dressing Ghandi in a Hello Kitty not wearing a windsor.' Which translates from the original Boyfriend to 'looks a bit like Ghandi, but he has a red smudge on his forehead, in a reliquary and he's not wearing a wimple because he wasn't a nun.'
I've currently sketched out the frame for the third but am stumped on which saint to do. I initially wanted to do St. Anthony but Pater pointed out a painting of St. Agnes in his Lives of the Saints book. She's typically depicted carrying a lamb, and a skeleton lamb tickles me greatly.
All of these were / are being done with Prismacolor colored pencils, which are notorious for their easily breakable leads. And it's not just the bit that pokes out of the wood, oh no, the leads will and do break inside the pencil leading to many frustrated attempts at sharpening which end with a lovely point that promptly falls out of the barrel.

Cue fit throwing.
I'm doing two things to help minimize the frustration. One, I'm making perhaps the longest pencil roll ever to keep them from rattling around and suffering indignities as the pretty tin they come in isn't so great at actually, you know, holding them. This won't magically piece back together what's already been broken, but I can at least now pack them up in a bag without having seventeen heart attacks every time they're jostled.
Two, I've ordered a new set. I've heard of people having better luck ordering sets from the internet than picking them up at a brick and mortar as far as internal breakage is concerned so I'm testing this theory out. That their largest set now comes in 132 colors is what finally tipped me over into switching my current collection to traveling mode. 132 colors! I can hardly imagine. Also purchased, two fancy pants pencil cases that I've heard wonderful things about as far as providing the coddling these pencils require.
Sensible!resa knows that she just ought to use her perfectly serviceable 72 colored pencils to finish this project up but waiting until I have 132 colors at my disposal is so tempting. I'm going to be coloring all the things when it gets here. It's a coloring party at my house.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Road Trip

This weekend was my grandfather's 95th birthday, an occasion decidedly worth driving out to El Paso for. That and the food. I'm pretty sure the only time I'm not eating whenever I'm out there is when I'm sleeping. Not positive though.

There's really not too much to say about a nine hour drive through pretty much nothing, but boy, I'mma give it a try anyway.

Here we are, on the road to El Paso. We're still pretty close to Austin, hence the trees still being, you know, existent.

First pit stop was in Fredericksburg. Food was, of course, consumed. I'm not the sort of person who can say no to potato pancakes with applesauce, much to my waistlines chagrin.

We might have also bought some truffles, and I might have eaten all of my share before we even made it to grandpa's house. I'm neither confirming or denying.

I promised Pater I would tell no one of his car related shame, but trust me when I say that this photo will always be hilarious. Also, that's a pretty decent attempt at trees for west Texas. Good effort!

Despite this state maintaining a rather disagreeable love affair with oil, windmills have been popping up. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a good photo of the field of pump jacks with windmills in the background.

I was encouraged to see that apparently the windmills aren't just a passing energy fad, as we passed a truck loaded with parts.

(Pater called this photo the random phalluses. As we're both perpetually twelve this provided more entertainment than is probably healthy.)

At one of the gas stations coming back home we were confronted by a trio of feral dogs, that weren't so feral that they wouldnt follow me around begging.

Poor pups.

Coming home the central Texas fires were already well underway. We were lucky enough that we didn't get stranded or rerouted through road closures, but approaching the ring of fire around Austin was pretty horrifying.

For most of the drive, the sky was absolutely cloudless. But as we approached Johnson we could see a rather disconcerting purple smudge low on the horizon.

While we were passing beneath the plume the light turned an eery red. Apparently Dante was wrong, the first circle of hell is central Texas.

Seriously, these fires are absolutely terrifying. Wild fire is something that you just sort of get used to with the prolonged droughts we have but this is one of the worst seasons I can think of. And it's not looking like it's going to be getting better any time soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


That's how many days we've had 100+ temps here. Today's going to be the 69th, tying us with the previous record of oh god I don't care about historical tidbits. I don't care how many records we're breaking and while I do care about climate change intellectually, right now all I can think about is the minor miracle that is lying on the tile floor in my drawers.

Seriously, this floor was the best decision we ever could have made.

I've actually hit the point where I'm happy about hurricane season. Which makes me feel like a terrible person because hurricanes aren't exactly a good time, but if a hurricane is what breaks this heat wave I'm seriously considering getting its name tattooed on my butt.

As a result of living on the surface of Mercury, I've given up on dressing myself. Being a hermit has the advantage of allowing me to lie on the floor in my underpants most of the time but I do still occasionally have to leave the house. While I'm sure most of us would prefer to go out as close to nekkid as possible (shoes would be the obvious requirement) it's still one of those frowned upon behaviors.

I hit upon a solution pretty early on in this summer of death - cotton dresses. The breezier the better. I had to expend just enough effort to pull something overly head, it was as cool as I could get and I would look like I still kind of tried.

Unfortunately, pretty much every single store I tried had other ideas. Oh, there were so called summer sun dresses a plenty, but every damn one of them had some sort of polyester lining. And it seemed the cuter the dress the cheaper and nastier feeling the lining.

I gave in and bought one that had said polyester lining and felt like I was walking around wrapped in a garbage bag. At least I was going to a movie where the air conditioner was guaranteed to be set to morgue.

I briefly gave up my quest for perfect cotton sacks and set to suffer through doing laundry every day so that I could recycle my limited ohgodhot wardrobe as much as possible.

Then it dawned on me. I ostensibly knew how to use a sewing machine and I still had a drawer full of patterns bought throughout the years every time I decided no really, this time I'm making myself some cute clothes.

So I shamelessly stole Maters machine after she kindly gave me a box full of fabric from a friend cleaning out her stash and attempted this sewing business.

Figuring I needed to get my sewing legs back under me, since I hadn't touched the machine since making last year's Halloween costume I went with the tried and true project of sew some rectangles together, pop in an elastic and voila skirt!

And while it did take me 45 minutes just to thread the damn machine I did end up with a skirt. So, yay.

Cotton sacks here I come!

Found a simple shift dress pattern went to town and produced a dress from start to finish that, while not exactly the best example of a dress, is comfortable and breathable and I made it my damn self.

I figure that as long as I'm ok with the wonky seams here and one strap being wider than the other, I might as well make a more complicated imperfect dress.

So I can learn things. Or something.

Hopefully I can continue to increase my collection of cotton sacks and continue to avoid being arrested for public nekkidness until fall gets here. Which it had damn well better soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hatch Chile Season -

- An Almost Wordless Parable

Moral: Chiles Are Wily, Knives Are Sharp, Capsaicin Is A Wee Bastard.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I think my house is still peeved about me not taking better care of it and doing things like painting it terrible colors. And now that I'm trying to catch up on housework its striking back.

Why is it that the things that best kill mildew are also the best at killing brain cells? I mean, it says right on the bottle that it's for cleaning showers yet goes on to say 'use in a well ventilated area'. And maybe I'm missing out on a whole realm of experience but I don't think I've met a shower yet that could fairly be called 'well ventilated'.

I like to think that I lost my grasp of arithmetic for a worthwhile cause though. It seems as though the tide of war is finally turning in my favor. I can safely shower without just averting my eyes and pretending that the grout wasn't actually developing rudimentary eyestalks and ogling my sudsy butt.

I know I can't be alone in this, but I seem to be a real winner when it comes to realizing that something is a terrible idea and is bound to end badly but then going on to do it anyway.

The step stool ended up mysteriously broken when we were painting and still hasn't been replaced. So when it came time to clean off the light fixture above the dining room table I figured I could probably get the job done by standing on a chair on tip toe and just leaning brazenly across the table.

Clearly there was nothing that could possibly go wrong here.

I have to admit, damaging my vestigial muscles was probably the least hurtful way this could have ended. While I would like nothing more than to give the finger to the dishes and curl up with a steady stream of gin and tonics for the rest of the summer, at least I didn't completely bust my face open pirouetting dramatically off the chair and onto the table.

Not that I almost did that. No, no, it was fiiiine.

A laundry basket will do just a good a job holding my clothes as the dressers, right? I don't even want to contemplate how folding laundry is going to injure me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I'm a firm believer in tasty outweighing pretty. I mean, I love looking at pretty food as much as the next person, but when it comes to things I make myself I've pretty much given up on any attempt to make it photogenic.

Especially if it means cutting off the top of cakes.

Yes, layered round cakes can be absolutely gorgeous, but if I'm making a cake just because then what do I care if it's lumpy? I know there's no reason why I couldn't just eat the cut off tops but really. Why go through the extra step just for looks if it's just going be me, a plate and Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix instant? Possibly skipping the plate and just using a fork. Not that I would ever. By which I mean almost always.

Besides, if you put the two tops together in the layer sandwich you can fill the gap with more frosting and hello. That's practically an instant party.

Here it is crumb coated and fridged. Hideous, I know.

I will say, unless you're a frosting addict like the Boyfriend and me, it's worth taking your time to make your crumb coat as presentable as possible because the majority of you frosting will be going in the gap to maintain structural integrity.

Yes, I really did just say that. My frosting game is SERIOUS.

Zip top bag filled with the rest of your frosting. The gateway to deliciousness and non falling apart cake.

Piped into the hollow between layers.

Like a giant whoopee pie of awesome. The giant hump in the middle is where I spackled together a crack that happened taking the cake out of the pan. If only all spackling was so tasty.

So, yes. Totally fug. But it tastes like the greatest possible outcome of combining cake and snickerdoodle cookies, because I'm a great believer in adding cinnamon to everything.

Basic box cake mix (the bakery witch Betty Crocker has been doing this a lot longer than I have), except I subbed a stick of melted butter for the vegetable oil and a cup of milk for the water. Because dairy fat is always superior. Also added about a teaspoon of vanilla and two teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

For the frosting cream a stick of room temperature butter with a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of cinnamon and three tablespoons of cream on low speed. Sift in 3 cups of confectioners sugar slowly, still on low, and allow to mix once all has been added about a minute before cranking it up to medium. Once it's light and airy your good. Keep the cream on hand to add extra if it's looking dry.

Stupid simple but man. I know what I'm having for dinner.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Achievement Unlocked

I've never been a big video game person, I can't really sit for hours at a time playing, not even when I was a kid and anyone who was anyone had Nintendo related repetitive stress injuries. Mostly because I'm not very good at them and am easily frustrated.

Though when I broke my arm in third grade I did spend enough time with Super Mario World that I got a really heinous blister from my cast rubbing the join between my thumb and hand. Totally worth it though.

The big exception was The Legend of Zelda and related games. And it wasn't just me, my dad and sister would stay up to the crack of dawn chasing down Triforce pieces and trying to defeat Ganon. I distinctly remember because not hanging out with people in college because I needed to go home and play Wind Waker. Priorities. Clearly I was super cool.

I bring this up because I seem to have imprinted on the sound effects of the game.

Mater bought some dish towel embroidery kits and, despite a long history of not really jumping on board the embroidery band wagon I decided to give one a go. See, I like the look of embroidery, and I know I've made half hearted attempts to learn before but never really made it very far for no real reason. Besides laziness, obviously.

Since the pattern was mostly satin stitch - the one thing I sorta know how to do- I went ahead a stitched away, thinking I'd ignore the rest of the directions and just satin it up. Except then I didn't. Looking at the not terribly detailed stitch guide that came with the kit I had a sort of a-ha moment and the next thing I knew I'd done a lazy daisy.

And I swear to jeebus, I heard this in my head:

I managed the stem stitch next and while neither are very impressive for their breed, it's more than just constant satin stitch.

And now I have an embroidered dish towel.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Heaps of Kittens

Adoptions have been slow all summer, what with there being more available kittens than available homes. It happens and is something I ought to be used to by now, but damn does it make my life hard sometimes.

Like Sally. She's a very sweet, but very plain jane black cat. Her siblings were adopted soon after they were old enough, benefiting from irresistible kitten cuteness, but poor Sally didn't have the same luck. And now she's getting older and has to compete with other kittens still at the height of adorableness.

Though she has her moments.

But it isn't all bad news on the kitten front. As a group we've had four adoptions since Saturday, getting us closer to a manageable number of cats. Here's hoping we can get a few more so that we might be able to start taking in new ones.

Two of those four adoptions are our fosters Anna and Thomas. I can't say I'm terribly surprised - it's a little disturbing how cute they are.

I know (since I'm the one that took the photo) that she's yawning, but I always think I caught her mid cackle whenever I see it.

Sometimes we get kittens that just pose. Maybe he's part super model. The Monkey was kind enough to lend her bright pink knee as a prop.

Speaking of The Monkey, I let her name these two. Thomas as in Thomas the tank engine, and Anna (maybe it's Annie) is another one of the characters. Unfortunately, maybe because I let her name them, she's become more attached to these two than any of the previous fosters.

I told her today that Anna would be going to her new home on Tuesday and she sighed an announced that she would miss her. I just found out that Thomas is being delivered Wednesday, so there's another little surprise for tomorrow.

Hopefully, learning just what exactly auntie resa's job entails won't traumatize her too much. Though I did find this little scene when I came back from refilling my coffee:

At least it looks like Sally will be hanging around so she won't be immediately kittenless.

Friday, July 29, 2011


I saw this photo of some adorable little coasters that looked like slices of citrus fruits and I had to have some. And all I needed to make them was some felt, glue and a compass. Yay!

I drew out three circles, one four inches across, then 3 1/2, then 3 on a spare manila folder to serve as a pattern.

The largest and smallest circles I cut out of the citrus colored felt, the medium circle out of white felt.

The smallest felt circle will be the sections of fruit, so I cut that into eight wedges.

This bit is totally optional, but to keep the soon to be coasters from sliding around in the table I cut out another four inch circle from some craft foam.

A judicious amount of glue later and I had these.

Since the lime one isn't actually done yet but the light's going so i needed to take a photo now, an actual lime took it's place. I just wanted to let you know that I don't regularly use coasters for fruits,

Monday, July 25, 2011


I try not to keep too many projects on the needles at once mostly because, like a Skinner pigeon, the positive reinforcement of a completed object keeps me pressing the lever. I mean knitting. Or something. Well, that simile got away from me.

Usually socks are my go to quick project to keep me chugging along on the longer stuff. But the pair that I'm currently working on, while not particularly difficult, are taking forever. I'm looking forward to having the finished pair, but for whatever reason I'm just not feeling working on them. I've been carrying around the yarn and needles to start the second of the pair but it hasn't happened yet.

Soooo taaaallll.

Here's the first of the two. I think next time I make socks they'll be super plain stockinette anklets, because blarrrrgh.

Another thing I'm still working on is that purple sweater vest I started ages ago. It got put away during the renovations and I've recently pulled it out again. The stitch pattern is simple enough that it should be a relatively mindless tv-watching-project, but since I'm not following a pattern, or drafting one so much as making it up as I go along it's making me think morer than I'm comfortable with.

What can I say, thinking is hard. In happier news, I finally managed to take a photo that's relatively true to the pretty pretty color:

Definitely not a neutral.

I picked up a couple of skeins of a super bulky novelty yarn on a whim yesterday and, despite really wanting to finish up what I've been working on, cast on for a scarf immediately.

The original plan was to make a little triangular kerchief but it just didn't hang right with the weight of the yarn, so a regular old rectangle it was. I'd like to try again for the kerchief in a more appropriate yarn with the same stitch pattern.

Since the 'novelty' part of the yarn didn't show up in that photo have another.

Tiny sequins yay!

The elongated stitches helped move it along pretty quickly and two Harry Potter movies later I was all set for a winter that, in the midst of months of 100+ temperatures, I'm pretty sure will never show up.

Living in an almost literal lake of fire isn't exactly conducive to a knitting habit, but damn I try anyway.

Being able to knock out a scarf in one evening, almost twice if you count the original triangle satisfied my need for finished project warm fuzzies and I've gone back to plugging away at that vest. Once I get that done, I've got a sweater's worth of yarn in a pretty warm gray (back to neutrals, no one is shocked) that's calling my name.

Maybe I'll get a pair of socks at some point in there too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Latent Hipsterism

My iPhone is pretty much my primary camera since it's just about always nearby and for a phone the camera is actually pretty good. The problem is that there are a million apps that encourage my awkward love of filters. I resisted for so long because slapping a 'vintage' filter onto a mediocre photo doesn't do as much to improve it as I think it does.  But I love it so much.

I finally gave up the fight against hipster aesthetics (am I subverting the hipster paradigm if I love filters unironically?) and downloaded a million of them and have been entertaining myself by taking a million pictures non stop for the last few days.

Unsurprisingly, the first handy victims were the kittens:

Sally looking less than amused at my prodding

Sleepy babies.

We went out to The Boyfriend's parents' place this weekend and I took full advantage of the pretty scenery and his mom's flowers:

Drought's hitting the lake pretty hard this year.

The Monkey lined up her collection of Angry Birds plushies next to her and wanted to take a group photo. So, of course, I was only encouraged.

Apparently the holding out her feet/hands is a think now.

Making a picture I took this morning look faded, beat up and a million years old makes no sense, but I can't stop.

Oh, who's that at the door? Flowers? FILTER!

Thanks, Boyfriend!

I wonder if it's genetic, as Pater loves to antique things when dyeing leather, as is evidenced by this super awesome journal cover he made me for Christmas.

I didn't edit this at all and it was hard, let me tell you

Between this and my determination to sign up for every social networking site and then never use them, I think I may need to check myself into rehab for abusing technological time wasters. In semi-related news, google+? Eight and a half million times better than facebook. As soon as I have more than two friends on it I'm totally quitting facebook with their creepy privacy policies and sketchy views on intellectual property rights forever. I for one welcome our google overlords.