Drop One, Carry The Two

This past Friday I came home from Michaels with sixty dollars worth of yarn, plastic canvas, and a book telling me that I too could make Adorable Things. Mostly coasters.

Actually, ALL coasters.

It hadn’t been a good day for me.  I was in a bad place and felt like a total failure that should cease to exist as soon as possible, so after work I made a weird attempt to find something to do with myself that didn’t involve liquor or ceasing to exist.  Not drawing or painting, because that aisle in my mind is empty.  Not baking because …food.  Not embroidery, because I’ve been working on the same table cover piece for about a decade.  I hate it but can’t bring myself to throw it out, and it mocks me.  I’m keeping it for spite.

I’d just finished up work and it seemed completely necessary to get to Michaels as soon as possible.  The store wasn’t too busy and I ended up staring at a row of books that I had no business staring at.  Things with “Super-Cute” in the title.  Me, in the craft store for something that isn’t painting-related?  No, that’s not right.  People don’t consider me to be someone that makes crafts.  There is no sewing machine in my house.  There aren’t bins of items stacked to the ceiling, and most of the safety pins are missing when you actually need them.

This is not my house. I could never handle this. (Although kudos to the owner for being able to get it more organized; I’d just run screaming.)

Yet, there I was, with a pretty good idea that none of this stuff made sense in the least, but I was absolutely obligated to spend far too much money on it.  A fifty dollar Martha Stewart loom?  SURE! GREAT!  Of course! Why not?!

After staring at all this stuff, I realized that it was my goal in life to embroider some bookmarks, but there was no fabric to be found.  Needles, three dollar books, thread (excuse me: FLOSS), but no fabric.  My subconscious kicked me in the jaw and said, “Hello, stupid. You are not getting that stuff even if it *was* here, because you would fail at it. You suck at everything. Just get in your car and go home and cry.  Go now, before anyone sees you, because they’ll know you are a failure.”

Thanks, Subconscious.  You stay classy.  ANYWAY.

Plastic canvas seemed like something fun and easy to do.  That was what I wanted – something easy to focus on; you follow the directions and you make a thing.  Everyone’s made something from plastic canvas before, even your five year old nephew (who you’re pretty sure eats cat food).  You get the big plastic needle, you thread the yarn in and out for awhile, and you end up with a tissue box cover or something.  It’s not a bad way to spend an evening.

There were something like twenty 10″x15″ sheets of plastic canvas, so I got them all and marched over – Big Book of Coasters in hand – to the yarn section.

Uh, I wish someone had told me beforehand about yarn.  You can’t just go get a roll of yarn, by the way.

Here’s what I wanted:

Yes, I Will Take That One There, Thank You. (photo from sugarloaf.org)


Here’s what I got:

Meijer's Yarn Aisle - courtesy of dipity.com


It seemed really logical to just get yarn in all the basic colors, right?  Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Black White Brown Pink.  Oh, except this yarn was four dollars and THIS yarn was nine dollars.  Um, where is my fifty cent yarn?  Isn’t this stuff just free?  Wait, it’s more than a dollar?  Oh man.

Upon arriving at home, the following conversation ensued.

Me:   *dumps two giant Sacks O Crafting stuff on the floor, goes to make tea*
J:   What is that?
Me:   *continues to make tea*
J:   No seriously. What’s in the bags?
Me:   Stuff.
J:   *sigh* …what the hell have you bought now?
Me:   Yarn.
J:   What? Why?
Me:   Because it’s cheaper than black tar heroin. *sips tea*
J:   I hope you’ve made enough tea for two of us.
Me:   I don’t want to do heroin. I’d rather make things.
J:   I didn’t realize you were eighty.  *looks through bag*  Is that plastic canvas?
Me:   Maybe.
J:   You are eighty.  Go knit a sweater or something and just drink your tea, eighty-year-old.
Me:   I’m going to make coasters!

After about twenty minutes, I crawled out from under the pile of yarn, canvas, and failure on the couch, and proclaimed that whatever was supposed to be happening was definitively NOT, and I sucked at everything.

J:    It’s plastic canvas.  I did that stuff when I was like… ten.  It’s not that hard!
Me:    It *is* that hard.  Look at this tutorial.  I don’t understand how to count it; do you count from the hole or the line?
J:     You just count the number it tells you.  Like 25, you count 25.
Me:    No, I still don’t get it. Is it from the hole or the line?  Do I cut it first?
J:     You just count.  I can’t explain that.  Oh man… you’re totally going to make that cat coaster, aren’t you.
Me:     Absolutely.

After another half hour or so, I realize that plastic canvas really is not happening, so I get the BRILLIANT idea to crochet something.  Of course that means needing to teach myself how to do it again, because my past attempts didn’t get farther than a single chain that would go for about two feet before I gave up.  The technique to actually get more than one row to connect just wasn’t working for me.  At least four people have tried to show me how, and video tutorials didn’t work.  This time though, I sat down and realized that I had rather a lot of yarn, and it shouldn’t go to waste.  I really did spend way too much money on it.

I spent the next six hours learning how to crochet.  I crocheted during breaks at work Saturday, and the whole evening on Sunday.  In between actual crocheting, I learned how to read patterns and the Morse Code that passes for someone telling you how to make something out of nothing.  I bookmarked a big chunk of the internet and watched a lot of videos.

After a coaster, a failed hat that started as a cup cozy, and a mini-pylon, I am now halfway through making my first beanie to wear to the hockey games.  🙂

It’s a thing!

Not bad for not knowing how to do it a couple days ago.  I’m now on Ravelry and stalking crochetcrochet on LJ.

More importantly, it is filling the void.  I am not good at this, but am looking forward to being able to make amigurumi and inundate my house/car/friends with Small Cute Things.  One site that got added to my feed/bookmarks/radar last night was Create!, by Alicia Kachmar.  The stuff she makes… SO CUTE.  And also she’s a Pittsburgh girl in some sense.  Thumbs up.  🙂

So that’s where I am at.  I’m working at ignoring my phone, Facebook, and email because those things are all huge timesinks that have been really depressing me as of late.  I am having some sort of crisis and don’t feel like interacting with people for awhile.  (Excluding next weekend when I go to visit peeps in Phoenix, because that’s always a good getaway.  I really like that city in the winter.)  Crocheting is turning out to be theraputic – not that it makes me  *happy*, in the sense of singing in the hills about it, but it feels kind of like a mental balm.  The repetition is really soothing, it’s far more portable than my painting stuff, and watching something be made out of a piece of yarn is nice as well.  It’s comforting to be able to have a tangible result that comes from just reading directions: do this, here’s your result.

Will I ever become one of those people that has a booth at some local craft show?  Doubtful.  You’ll never see me on Hoarders, with bins of stuff that could someday be stuff (really!), and of course I know right where everything is.  I will never replace my whole wardrobe with my handmade stuff. But for the moment, my shelf of yarn makes me feel a little content, and that’s all I’m asking for.


It’s Not That Day

As a special holiday treat, I’ve linked one of my new favorite memes to the part in Louis CK’s skit where he actually says it.  But do yourself a favor and watch the whole ten minutes… and then go watch as many of his acts as you can find.  I especially love the bit about technology and flying in planes.
So. Right. Yesterday!  J and I went to another couple’s home. They’d cooked up three turkeys and a metric ton of other deliciousness.  Twelve+ hours later and I know I should eat *something*, but kind of am feeling better about just sitting here.  Blogging during a little break from the spreadsheets.  Raise your hand if you’re in an office today as well – and not a fun home office, but one of those ones with timeclocks.

I’d complain, but I really have no reason to.  Someone is paying me to be in a nice quiet office on the bay, to answer the phone if (not when) it rings (and today, thankfully and unsurprisingly, it isn’t), and to man the helm.  The counter.  The office.  Whatev.  It’s really not a bad thing.  I can catch up on paperwork and sit here in comfortable clothes, earning money.  Life isn’t terrible; there are much worse things in life than living in this moment.

That said, Black Friday can go right to hell.

I am NOT a fan.  Not a fan of Black Friday, or of most Holiday Season holidays, excluding the parts where you bake cookies and drink cocoa.  Let’s just leave it at that, lest this whole entry goes right to hell along with it.

Updates on me:  Outside of working my 40 hours, I haven’t had motivation or inspiration to do much besides sit at home and read until it’s time for bed.  I’m starting to feel a couple stirrings from my muse, who is presently in hibernation.  Maybe I’ll try to drown her in caffeine.  That sometimes seems to work and the weird health-related side effects are *almost* worth it  . It would be nice to have an upswing, as my mental state is currently on the 😦 side of things.

As Allie Brosh put it so succinctly: “It’s disappointing to feel sad for no reason.”

Sunshine? PAH! That’s for other people!

I haven’t gotten to the part where I rent movies or eat Skittles, but it feels okay to imagine that I’ll get there.

Geez, Debbie Downer.  Let’s talk about something else, okay?

I’ve been trying to think of fun things to do.  Not so much hobbies, as that would require more continuous energy than I have at the moment, but just little projects.  I started NaNoWriMo and stopped about 1800 words in.  There just was no more story in me, at least not on that train of thought.  I crafted a little top hat out of plastic canvas, and that was fun.  I doodled a little bit on some Post-Its and got a few ideas but haven’t followed through with them.

This weekend is what I consider An Allotted Wash.  You gorge yourself on way way way WAY too much food, and then you get a three day weekend to digest. Monday is one of my scheduled day off, so that’s when I’ll get off my butt and go for a walk. Maybe reorganize my office at home (or perhaps I’ll start that on Sunday).  But this weekend?  Yeah.  Nothin’.  It’s nice to be able to write some words again, even though this post is kind of off center.

Oh, I won at the last game of WordFeud.  That was good. 🙂

Hmm, how about perusing Craftster.org?





How to turn a Hideous Freak Baby into a cute FrankenKitty!  That is the most awesome thing I’ve seen all week.

You win.










Thanks A Lot, WordPress

I was just going to make a post and had written somewhere in the neighborhood of ….oh, two pages…. and then it got eaten.  It’s not in drafts. That’s fine. Great.  So note to yourselves, if you’re on your actual blog (such as pantherqueen.wordpress.com) and then hit ‘new post’ up at the top right, and then you decide you want the window to pop out, it doesn’t save a draft.  You’ll click the little ‘pop out’ link there, and it pops open a new blank post window.  Even if you’ve written a bunch of words already.  Hey, that’s just GREAT.

Maybe I wasn’t talking about much. The weather (it’s my favorite kind), the people going by (hipsters and actors, seriously, there is an Actors Insight meeting across the way), the bougainvillea (it’s shedding)… you know, general stuff.  I just found out that a guy I’ve known since 2003ish just died.  It’s tripping me out kind of a lot.  I talked about how time is playing weird tricks with my mind.

But still, I wrote, and it came out nicely (all eight, nine hundred words or so), and now it’s gone and that is IRRITATING.  Hell hath no fury like a writer whose words get eaten.



This is a fantastic painting. It’s often near exactly how I picture myself.

Cristian Mihai

This is my favorite painting. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich. How can this inspire you with your writing? Well… when writing, and especially when writing in such special conditions, such as the ones demanded by NaNoWriMo, it must feel at times that you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re lost… you don’t know if there’s a destination to be reached anymore.

View original post 69 more words

And then I took that month off…

…maybe it was just a week.  I haven’t updated since Oct 14, and that update really wasn’t much of anything, but I do know that I feel much, much better.

Cabo was amazing. We were in el Zona Hotelera of San Jose del Cabo, not Cabo San Lucas, but it’s all basically the same thing; there are shuttles everywhere and the whole place is VERY tourist-friendly. You’ll get a long update on all of that later.  It was amazing, did I mention that?  I haven’t felt this relaxed in a long time, and it’s making it easier to fight the depression (which is really what’s causing the lack of updates, this feeling of being stuck in some pool of too-dense water).  Pre-Cabo it was like I had to fight the lion bare-handed, now it’s like I’ve been handed a whip and chair.  That’s right, I’d rather refer to old-timey circus shenanigans than Gladiator Stuff, so go on and get the proper visual.

I’ve been reading a lot as well. Right now I’m getting through the Anita Blake series, and I’m on book 8 of 20.  Or something.  I spend most nights after work now just reading until it’s time for bed.  It’s very, VERY nice to lose myself in that sort of thing.

Anyway, this was the resort we stayed at:

This is during the first full day on the beach (that’s the Sea of Cortez in the background)

There was a LOT of hanging out at the pool. It was perfect. I don’t even normally hang out at pools. Yes, that is the sea in the background.

This was the view from our sitting area.

Mostly we just soaked up all the very, very chill vibe.  It was an extremely good week of feeling very content/full/buzzed/happy.

Beyond that, I’ve been trying to enjoy the afterglow of relaxation to the fullest, and not stress about anything.  I signed up for NaNoWriMo because A) why not and B) it seems like a good way to get my creative juices flowing again.  (You can find me as suzycupcakes if you’ve signed up as well.)  We got back last Thursday and I basically ignored the Internet for awhile, and that’s actually kind of a nice feeling.

I’m working very hard at ignoring all the political craziness around me, and would be much happier retreating right back to my poolside comforts.  That was another reason for signing up for NaNoWriMo – just to get myself away from all of it.  I am OVER politics.  Over the election.  Over people.  I’m definitely on hiatus from FB/Twitter for the next few days, which is kind of a double-edged sword: I use those things for artistic inspiration, but need to stay away because of all the noise going on.  Therefore…I’ll be writing.  Or trying to write.  And yes, if you got here via a link from my FB/Twitter, that’s because I have this blog set up to auto-post to those things, and I don’t feel like turning it off right now.  Who knows; maybe that means I’ll get back to blogging more.  Blogging is always fun.
Oh, I have also kind of been ignoring emails and notifications, because I felt like I was drowning in them. So if I owe you a response… sorry. It may be awhile.  It’s for the best though.  I’m sort of doing some self…assessments or something.  Just taking time for me, and trying not to feel guilty that I’m enjoying not spreading myself too thin for once (which I really did a lot of over the past 18 months or so).

So that’s me.  What’s up with you?