darkemeralds: Old black and white portrait of DarkEm at the age of three (Little Me)
There are whole communities for this stuff. "Theming." It's a thing. You buy an Android phone and you make it TOTALLY UNIQUE AND PERSONAL through the medium of extremely finicky, detailed customizing apps. We're talking nudging things around pixel by pixel and copy-pasting eight-character color hex codes into font settings. And stuff like that.

What I really want is JARVIS, you know? Never touch the damn thing, just speak my wishes and desires and hear the answer. Failing that, I like a homescreen with almost nothing apparent on it.

Theming. Because I have the time. And the inclination. )
darkemeralds: DarkEm self portrait in magenta cowl, left profile, against a black wall (Silver Magenta)
The ice must breaking up or something, because I made a thing today, after months of making no things.

I got out my heavy old sewing machine, a magnet bristling with pins, my shears, my cookie tin of threads, and an extra task light, and put two pieces of fabric together.

Just a big rectangle, but still. Making a thing. )
darkemeralds: Shirtless construction worker. Caption "Home Improvement" (Home Improvement)
In the One Thing Leads To Another category (a category which pretty much characterizes my life), I'm making a work table.

Two things led to this project: First, I have a leftover door from the bedroom remodel; and second, several items1 on the remodel punchlist2 require sewing, which called for a bigger work surface than I have room for in my tiny house.

So hey, I have an idea!3 Why don't I make a wall-mounted, lift-up/drop-down table from that door? How hard could it be?4

Harder than I thought. Story of my life. )

1slipcover, decorative pillows, a faux-fur throw. Ironically, no window treatments.

2I just learned that what's called a "punchlist" in my neck of the woods is called a "snag list" in the UK. Either way, it's the list of final corrections needed on a project.

3Another category that characterizes my life.

4And yet another.


Mar. 20th, 2014 12:22 am
darkemeralds: Purple patent leather Doc Martens against a multi-colored carpet with the title True Colors (True Colors)
Just a fly-by at the end of a long day of obsessive project-detail-absorption, to share my new wall painting idea.

A few weeks ago I was testing a pastel color-meshing technique. It wasn't quite right, and two things caused me to change direction. First, a couple of people commented that the finish would look better with some metallic silver in it. And second, I'm getting new walls! Color-meshing is great for disguising damaged old walls, and I don't really need to do that now.

Silver metallic paint tends to read as gray, so I started playing with pearl powder. Then I thought, ooh, how about stencils?

I discovered Cutting Edge Stencils and fell in love with one called Birch Forest.

Here's my initial--and, I think, final--experiment.

Winterwood )

Roman ribs

Jan. 20th, 2014 06:30 pm
darkemeralds: detail of beaded purse, caption One Bead At a Time (beadwork)
It was just going to be a simple pair of curtains: you know, two panels of fabric, suspended from a horizontal pole and hanging in front of a window.

But no. )
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
It was nearly midnight when I closed the last stitch and wove in the single remaining yarn-end on my blue-violet cardigan last night.

I put it in the hand-wash cycle with a little Woolite Dark, and by 1:00 a.m. it was pinned out on the blocking board, where it's continuing to dry in shape today.

completed blue-violet hand knit cardigan pinned to a blocking board

All that's left is to sew on the buttons:

Nine bright silver disk buttons on a background of blue-violet handknit fabric

The fit is reasonably good--not as great as I'd hoped, but certainly wearable. I learned so much from this pattern, though, that the next sweater should come closer to a custom fit.

Now, on to the Neon Yellow Hoodie of High Visibility.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It's probably a coincidence, but following Friday's migraine-aura-neurotransmitter-cascade-hangover-hormonally-induced-brainstorm*, my brain shifted gears.

Detail of bright yellow knitting

This is only sort of a knitting post. I think it's about creativity. )
darkemeralds: detail of beaded purse, caption One Bead At a Time (beadwork)
This post was going to be about thinking styles. [personal profile] azurelunatic and I were discussing the different brain processes in knitting and crocheting, and [personal profile] yourlibrarian and I were talking about pattern thinking and the autistic brain, and I was having Very Thinky Thoughts.

I riffed for a while on my brain, my making-of-things, my peculiar set of limitations and strengths. I took some photos. I coded some links, I wrote and deleted some sentences.

But it's a sunny Sunday in June. I had a bacon cheeseburger for lunch, I've spent my morning beta-ing the work of two writers, both brilliant, and you know what? My brain isn't up to the task of making coherent noises about itself.

So instead, here are some pretty pictures of beadwork, as metaphors for two modes my brain likes to use.

Photos illustrating what I'm not capable of articulating in words. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (clothes)
I spent the day sewing. It's just like riding a bike. The motions of threading the machine, pinning and cutting, the order in which the seams go together--this is stuff I learned so young that I don't remember not knowing how to do it, and I haven't forgotten.

Behold the leopard-print piping! I raided it from the old robe.

Shawl-collared bathrobe in gray-violet fleece with leopard-print piping

Still a few seams to go, but it's coming together.

ETA: Thank goodness for that piping. Without it, I just realized, I will vanish into the background of my living room.
darkemeralds: A young woman circa 1945 is intent on her knitting. Caption "Knitting For Victory" (Knitting)
One article of clothing that you don't think much about the fit of is a bathrobe, but I had to concede today that mine is now way too big to wear anymore. I was gonna go out and hunt for a new one, when my eye fell upon a solution.

It's a bathrobe! From several years ago! It has only one drawback: it is still a bathrobe-to-be.

I had shoved it into an upper closet shelf, pattern tissue still pinned on to the cut pieces, during Project Empty, and there it has sat, mocking me in its cloud-violet fleeciness, for a couple of years. Not exactly haute couture, a fleece dressing gown, but it will offer an advantage a store-bought one can't: that of actually extending to my ankles, which are farther below my shoulders than are the average bathrobe buyer's, apparently.

So I dragged my old sewing machine out and dug through my threads, and I'm gonna sew me a bathrobe--if I can remember how.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
  • Wonderful: Scale shows a reduction for the third day in a row
  • Fabulous: For kicks I tried on a pair of Land's End straight leg jeans in size 18 tall, to measure how many more inches I would need to melt off to button them. None, apparently. I'm wearing them now.
  • Not bad: this damn cold has sloped off ten times faster than it sloped on and I'm feeling mostly human today
  • Very good: I came home last night to find that Leroy, the neighborhood handyman, had been by to complete a yard task that he began about a month ago, and while he was here he fixed the flat on Clyde's back tire! (Poor Clyde has been flat for a couple of months because I hate changing the rear tire). It was such an unexpected gift!

So next we're making a family excursion--sis and BF, mom--to Ikea for some kind of little shelf on which to display my Fibonacci plates. And it's not even 11:00 a.m. yet.

Excellent Saturdays FTW!
darkemeralds: detail of beaded purse, caption One Bead At a Time (beadwork)
Happy New Year everybody. Quite by happenstance, I spent the first day of 2011 being excited and making things, and I hope that's how 2011 is going to be.

[livejournal.com profile] roseambr is an accomplished glass artist, and she's been wanting to lure me into her hobby for a long time. So today I went up to her studio in the woods of southwestern Washington and we started making dinner plates.

My Fibonacci Squares plates. Also, Jesus. )

Plate number 2 (same pattern, different arrangement of colors) goes into the Skutt tomorrow. Whee! I'm making plates!
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
Multiple forms of satisfaction have rendered my weekend fabulous.

I just finished listening to What Technology Wants, and I might be prepared to put it into the category of "best non-fiction I've ever read". I'm going to re-listen to it, and will undoubtedly begin to see flaws in Kevin Kelly's sweeping notions (so sweeping that he even mentions fanfic, which I cannot but adore him for), but even if they're there, the book consolidates and articulates Great Big Ideas that I've been intuiting and struggling with for most of my life, and I love it to pieces.

On a somewhat lower order of intellectual satisfaction, I used the "My Tracks" app on my new phone today. GPS is cool enough, but the part that is making me giggle like a maniac is this:

Maps! Geekery! )

On an aesthetic and creative level of satisfaction, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the glass studio of [livejournal.com profile] roseambr yesterday, experimenting with colors and layouts for the set of glass dinner plates she's going to help me make.

Glass )

In gustatory satisfaction, I had a delicious breakfast with my mom today at a local gay-owned restaurant where the whole staff was Halloweened up, several large men in tributes to Carol Burnett's famous "Scarlet O'Hara" sketch where she makes new clothes from the curtains, including the curtain rods. And our waitperson was Underdog. Underdog! \o/

It's amazing, really, how a full and busy weekend seems longer and more restful than a quiet boring one, huh?
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I mean, it's snowing, right? And I'm home. So I put my recent chocolate-making class to practical (yeah, practical, right) use and made candy.
  1. Roast and skin hazelnuts
  2. Dip roasted, skinned hazelnuts in simple syrup
  3. Sprinkle sugar-coated hazelnuts with fine sea-salt and re-roast them till they're crisp and candied
  4. Lay them out on a pan and coat them with tempered semi-semi-sweet chocolate (half Belgian milk chocolate from Trader Joe's, half semi-sweet chocolate chips from a bag in the drawer)
  5. Allow to firm up a bit (hah! this barely-heated house is good for something!)
  6. Eat

My assessment: sweet and salty crisply-roasted hazelnuts in medium-dark chocolate? Are you kidding me? Delicious.

I might have messed up a bit in the tempering, because my chocolate isn't turning as glossy as one would hope. But still: sweet and salty crisply-roasted hazelnuts in medium-dark chocolate. Are you kidding me? I mean. How bad could it be?

(Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] str8ontilmornin!)
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Since my visit to Rowena on Tuesday, I've been unrolling the great big thought-ball that was downloaded into my head.

Ferment. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
While I sit in my hotel room trying not to die from anxiety about my replacement passport that has to arrive by noon tomorrow or I may not be able to make my trip, I've been finishing the Serenity coat.

As you can see, it morphed a bit from the original concept... )

But I'm pretty happy with the way it's turned out.

All together now: everyone vividly imagine Nathan trying it on!

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