ladysprite: (steampunk)
Since everyone (and by 'everyone' I mean 'a handful of folks') asked, I dug up a couple of pictures of the crafts I entered into the fair....

Hidden, for those who don't want to ogle yarn.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Those of you who've known me for any length of time have known that I've had the same haircut for, well.... for a long time.

I was a victim of the 80's.  I had a bad shag perm in 8th grade (my mother was convinced that it would make me more popular.  It didn't.), and I hated it with a fiery passion.  I vowed at that point, in 1988, that I would never cut my hair again, and never suffer through an atrocious short cut like that again.  And I've kept that vow.

I spent most of high school growing my hair out, and most of college growing out my bangs.  My hair is naturally ramrod-straight, so I've had long, straight hair for my entire adult life.  Somewhere around my second year of vet school a friend persuaded me to dye my hair red, and since then I haven't really made any serious changes.

That means my hairstyle is nearly old enough to vote.

I've set foot in a salon precisely twice since then.  Once in vet school, at a place that specialized in long hair, to get a miniscule trim, and once about two years ago, when my hair was falling apart, to get it shaped and tinted with a temporary color that didn't really take.  Other than that, I've looked about the same.  And over the past few months or so, I've been fighting a back-of-my-brain urge to Change Something.

Since I use henna, I can't really color my hair with anything else.  But temporary dye could work.... though that didn't seem quite right.  And just change for the sake of change didn't seem right either.  Still, I wanted *something* different.  So when GISHWHES came up, I promised myself that if there was an item on the scavenger hunt list that involved doing something weird to your hair, I'd consider it an omen and throw myself on that grenade.

And there it was.  Item #166 - cut at least 10" of your hair off and donate it to a wig charity.

So.

Want to see what happened? )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Things are a little bit better now.

My bike (and me, and my husband) has had an 11th-hour rescue - yesterday <lj user="umbran"> got a job offer; this makes *everything* easier.  Trying to get by on about 2/3 of one income was making me panic and fall apart at the seams; now we'll have a little bit of breathing room.

We managed to get in touch with someone reasonable at the gas company, who figured out that the fact that we had called, and that we had never missed a payment in over a decade, suggested that the error was on their part and got our gas turned back on within about 24 hours of it being turned off.  It doesn't erase the humiliation of having the police come to our door, but it was a lot better than it could have been.

And today.... today I finally got to meet one of my heroes, and thank him.

I've mentioned here before just how important 'The Last Unicorn' was to me when I was growing up, both the book and the movie.  It's one of my few happy memories from childhood, and it was a safe imaginary space that I could escape to.  I watched that movie more times than I could count, and when I found the novel I fell in love with that too.

Today I went to the Last Unicorn Screening Tour.  I saw the movie on the big screen for the first time in my life, and then I waited for about an hour outside until I made it through the autograph line to meet Peter Beagle, and I told him just how much his story meant to me, growing up in an abusive household, and thanked him for giving me a world that I could escape into when I needed to.

....and he thanked me.  I don't know quite what I was expecting, but it wasn't that.  And I promised myself I wouldn't cry, but I did anyway, and I am so grateful I got the chance to meet him, and say that.  And now my battered and broken-spined copy of the book is a battered, broken-spined, signed copy.  And I have a whole new set of positive memories to go along with it.

Picture, hidden for those who don't care.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
For anyone who's seen my posts about aerials, and wondered what the stuff I'm talking about looks like, I had a friend with me at Open Practice today, and convinced him to take a couple of pictures.....

They're not fancy - just me with a sweaty ponytail, no costumes, practicing pretty low to the ground, but it at least gives some context.

Images hidden for those who aren't interested )

Final Exam

Mar. 24th, 2014 10:08 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So today was the last day of my cake-decorating class, at least for round one. And while I'm not actually good yet, I'll admit that I'm at least measurably better than I was.

In particular, I learned this week that buttercream ribbon roses are a lot easier to make than I had anticipated. Our final assignment was to design and decorate a cake using the techniques we learned through the class, and while I'm no master.... I'm at least willing to share what I made.

hidden, for those who don't care about amateur cake.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So while I'm on the subject of arts, crafts, and Intercon, I'm going to be self-indulgent and share the photographic evidence of what I've been doing with my downtime (admittedly, in one case with a great deal of help)....

Pictures, hidden for those who aren't interested )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So, as I sit here and slowly regenerate vertebrae, I've at least had the time to work on some of my crafts. Right now I'm enthusiastically applying myself to a cross-stitch project that has been sitting neglected for the past several months, but before I started working on that I finished up a project that was a first for me - I crocheted something out of yarn I spun myself.

It wasn't a huge project, mostly because I only had a limited amount of fiber, but it's still a first. A year ago, when I started spinning, I found it hard to believe I'd ever get good enough at it to make yarn that I could actually work with. Last time I wrote here about my spinning I had made progress, but I was still far from actually skilled. And now... I'm still not perfect, but I made workable yarn. And then I made something with it.

The fiber itself was gorgeous - it was a gift from friends, and I had been putting off spinning it until I had at least enough skill to do it justice. It was a variegated wool/silk/sparkle blend, and I wanted to know that I could keep the colors as bright and clear as they were in the unspun fiber. And... I think I managed it.

Pictures, hidden for those who are less than interested in fiber arts... )

Next step is to make something out of the yarn I spun and dyed myself (okay, with [livejournal.com profile] bess's help)....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So remember a while ago I asked folks for advice about fun and exciting new hair colors?

So it turns out that apparently you can't bleach henna out of hair. It just doesn't work - it has something to do with the chemical makeup of the stuff. So no green hair for me. Also no violet, or lavender, or really anything particularly unnatural.

However, I did manage to find a hairstylist who was willing to work with me, and my wishes, and my (fragile from most of a year of stress, poor health, and intermittent malnutrition) hair. And while lavender was off-limits, it turns out burgundy wasn't. And that burgundy with copper streaks actually looks pretty interesting.

She also managed to trim my hair in such a way that it looks like the shorter, broken-off bits around my face actually look intentional, instead of "I'm so sick that my hair is just falling apart." Which is a goodness.

It's not exactly what I wanted, and it's going to take some getting used to, but it's different and that is a goodness. And the longer I have it, the more I like it....

Pictures, hidden for those who aren't interested.... )

Progress

Oct. 13th, 2013 08:59 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So one of the relative upsides of having a sudden surplus of downtime is that I've had plenty of opportunities to catch up on reading and, most of all, crafting. I treated myself to some new yarn, and I've got a cross-stitch project on the frame, but I've also taken a decent chunk of time to play with my spinning wheel.

Spinning is the newest hobby I've picked up, and the first thing I've done in a long time that has a measurable learning curve. Cross-stitch is dirt simple; it's making a ton of tiny x's on a piece of cloth. Once you can do it at all, you've mastered it. And crochet isn't much harder; other than learning to pay attention to gauge, I don't think I've actually noted any change over time in how I do it. Maybe in what sort of patterns I'm willing to tackle, but not anything else.

Spinning, though, takes time and practice and patience to learn. Which means that it annoys the ever-loving hell out of me. The only reason I keep up with it is that it is more fun than it is annoying, at least most of the time. Well, that and I'm incredibly stubborn.

Even with that, though, I get frustrated sometimes. It's hard when I try to work with a new fiber and I can't make it hold together, or I try to practice chain plying and wind up with a twisted lump, or when the yarn I've spent days working on turns out lumpy and weird and not really anything you can actually make something out of.

So, given that, it's a good thing it's also a hobby where I can see measurable progress over time. I have a hank of fiber that I use for practicing, when I'm trying to work on learning before I go back to playing with stuff I'd actually like to crochet with someday, and it's exciting and reassuring to see how much better I've gotten over time...

Photographic evidence, hidden for the sake of the uninterested... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Pictures, hidden for those who don't want to see them.... )
Of course, after she was delivered, I managed to putter up and down our dead-end street about three or four times before the battery died, alas. Admittedly, I'm a timid and inexperienced rider, still familiarizing myself with the controls, and stalling the poor thing near constantly... but even that shouldn't be enough to completely drain the battery.

And the dealership is closed for the night. So in the morning I get to call the service department and, with luck, they'll get a new battery our here in time for me to practice again tomorrow night. And who knows; someday I might get enough courage to actually head off my dead-end onto a real street....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
...wow, you guys are good.

Two months of searching, and no luck. 48 hours after lamenting and whining on social media, and your hopes and wishes and support apparently changed the tides of fate. Friday afternoon a shelter we hadn't previously encountered responded to our (unhopeful) phone call with the answer that yes, they had an entire litter of kittens looking for homes, and would we like to set up a meeting at 11am on Saturday?

So, in between morning errands and afternoon tickets for 'Book of Mormon' (which is the best show I've seen in years, but that's another story), we hurried down to the adoption center, and came home with two new family members.

Kitten pics hidden back here, for those who don't want to share in the adorableness.... )

They're brother and sister, about 10 weeks old. They haven't quite been named yet, though front-runners for names are either John Carter and Dejathoris or Harrison and Harlequin (and bonus geek points to anyone who can name all the sources). We're open to suggestions, though, if you have any ideas for awesomely cool geeky name pairs (while I love Kay and Gerda, I have decided that's just TOO obscure).

Elder Statescat is in a huff and a tizzy and a sulk all at once; he hissed and moaned at the babies for about five minutes before snorting a bunch of catnip and running upstairs to pout. So the babies are living in Moxie's old room for now, with supervised runaround time downstairs - I figure it'll take a few weeks for things to smooth over.

It feels so good to have more than one cat in the house again...

....okay, one more picture. )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
....finishing a project that has been in progress for over two years, now.

Pictures, hidden for those who don't care.... )

Arisia Was

Jan. 20th, 2013 06:31 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
(Yes, I know it technically still is going on. But I have to work tomorrow, so no Sunday night/Monday for me. Also, I'm pretty sure that 3 days of con is about all the con I can tolerate, so right now I'm glad to be in my nice, warm, quiet home.)

First of all, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who replied to my last post, and to everyone who took the time to say hello, keep me company, and give me hugs at the con. I had been a bit worried and uncertain going in, and I wound up having a very good time. There was one minor brush with panic on Saturday night, but I had an excellent friend to carry me through it, and other than that all was good and more than good.

This was an odd year for me; it was the first time in years that I haven't been part of either programming or staff. I decided to take this as a low-key year, and it was both liberating and unusual to be able to wander around the con and do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The up side of this was the freedom; the downside was the fact that Arisia is cold enough and short enough on hangout space that there really wasn't anywhere good to just sit and socialize.

That said, I did manage to find good time with friends, and I got to spend a decent amount of time dancing, both of which were just what I needed. But the true highlight of the con for me was getting to wear the costume I've been working on for most of the past month.

I'm not a very good seamstress, and even though I can sew a bit I honestly just don't like to. But I love the challenge of finding costume concepts that require minimal sewing. And I've had a lot of downtime this past month. And [livejournal.com profile] metaphysick has been introducing me more and more to Star Wars. And so I thought to myself, 'Huh. I bet I could make a Twi'lek costume....'

And so I did. And I managed not to chicken out of wearing it on Saturday. And it looked kind of like this....

Pictures, hidden because my vanity should not overwhelm your friends-page... )

I've never done a serious hall costume before, so it was a fascinating experience. Apparently being painted blue turns you into a rock star (and makes you Even More Fascinating Than Usual to toddlers), and it made just walking around public spaces a major event. On the other hand, I've found that wearing an elaborate enough costume does wonders to help me overcome my phobia of having my picture taken, so the attention and camera flashes were an overall-positive thing. I'm fairly certain I'll wear the costume again next year (and, with luck, airbrushing will be much easier and faster in the future)...

Other than that... there were friends, and there was dancing, and now there is thawing and enjoying the quiet. All in all, a good weekend.
ladysprite: (Default)
I am still utterly in love with my spinning wheel.

I always worry when I pick up a new hobby - I'm never certain that I'm going to be any good at it, or that I'll give up before I put in enough effort, or that I'll get tired of it too quickly or won't be able to find time for it in between my other hobbies, or, or, or... until about half the time I wind up talking myself out of truly committing to trying whatever new thing has caught my eye.

Luckily, spinning has managed to avoid that pitfall. Since I got my wheel early this fall, I've been playing with it and practicing with it, and realizing that it's a lot easier and more fun to use than I had been afraid it would be. I don't know how much of this is due to the fact that I had plenty of practice with drop-spindle and how much is due just to the fact that I tend to like rhythmic, low-brain handcrafts, but either way, it's turning into one of my new favorite handcrafts.

It took a few practice skeins before I started getting something that resembled useable yarn, but another selling point of spinning is that I get visibly better with every hour of practice. And, while there's definitely a learning curve, it's not nearly as steep as I feared it would be. This afternoon I sat down to figure out Navajo plying (because a friend gave me a gorgeous hank of hand-painted variegated fiber for my birthday), guessing that I'd want to spin a few spindles of practice fiber and spend a week or two cursing and grousing before I figured it out.... only to have something consistent and, if not beautiful at least functional, by the end of the first spindleful.

I can do this. And it's fun, and it makes useful stuff. I think I've found something good....

Vanity pictures of my first yarn hidden back here.... )
ladysprite: (Default)
Okay, I didn't exactly create it. But it's still mine, and I am utterly in love with it.

I had the last session of inking for my dragon tattoo yesterday. 7 hours under the needle total, though I'm supposed to go back in January for one last follow-up to make sure there's no touching up needed. And the finished project is just as glorious and bright and beautiful as I imagined it would be....

Images hidden behind here. I've been posting lots of pictures lately, it seems..... )
ladysprite: (Default)
And so we continued on our quest. Fewer pictures today, since the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum were less photo-friendly, but still cut-tagging our adventures around the Vatican Museum and after....

Even though it's more like a Vati-CAN'T.... )
ladysprite: (Default)
So a week ago Friday, [livejournal.com profile] umbran and I set out for an 8-day vacation in Italy. I had been longing for this trip for years, and at the start of the year I finally stopped daydreaming and decided that, come hell or high water, we'd make it happen this year. And, much to my surprise and delight, we did.

Hidden, for length and pictures.... )
ladysprite: (momongo)
I'm a crafter. I like making things. And I like making things for people - which is a goodness, because otherwise my house would be even more overflowing with crocheted bits and bobs, scraps of needlework, altered books, scrapwork, and goodness knows what else than it already is. Also, making things for other people gives me the opportunity to try out new patterns and ideas that I wouldn't bother putting the effort into for myself, or that I'm just not personally interested in (I have no need for baby dresses, however adorable and fun to make they may be).

So when one of my oldest and dearest friends from college announced that he was getting married, I knew it was an opportunity to make something glorious. He's one of the most colorful, creative, and genuinely weird-in-the-best-possible-way people I know, and I wanted to find something that reflected just how unique he is, while still being... well, generally nice, and pretty, and something that would suit his bride-to-be as well. And I went on a hunt, and I found the perfect pattern.

It was for an afghan - a granny square afghan. Simple, right? Except this one was made up of about 1100 tiny squares, in over a dozen different colors. It should have been egregious, but the pictures of the end result were glorious. So I asked myself how hard it could be, and started in. That was in November. The wedding was in December.

I just finished the project about a week ago. And... well, I have to share.

Hidden, because my vanity should not shatter your friends-page.... )

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