My latest amigurumi is driving me batty.  And I can't even complain about it properly here because it will ruin the surprise for the recipient.  Suffice to say I'm having troubles even though I've been following the directions.  Clothing is too big.  Other details are challenging to make.  I feel like crap and my brain is extra foggy, so that adds extra fun.  It's probably a good thing you can't really stab anything with a crochet hook or there would be even more trouble.

On the brighter side, I'm really enjoying Remember the Milk so far.  I'll try to remember to write up a more detailed review later on when I've used it a bit longer, but so far, so good.  I especially like the ease of setting up recurring tasks without having to assign a time.  This might not seems such a big deal, but for me, with a very fluid schedule based on health and sleep cycle, it is very, very handy.  And it really has helped me in remembering chores.



Banned Book Week

I thought I'd pick up a meme from blogger Samurai Knitter - pick from a list of banned books and discuss in honor of Banned Book Week.

I've always thought banning books had exactly the opposite effect the pearl-clutching ninnies had in mind - what is more likely to get a kid to read a novel than finding out that Mrs. Smith from down the street thinks it's smut?  Lord knows I read Lolita on my own in high school precisely because it was supposedly so "bad."
It seems a lot of the books on the list had complaints registered primarily because people were missing the point.  In particular, complaints about the use of racial epithets.  Because, as we all know, reading such a word will immediately and permanently damage the reader either by causing them lasting emotional damage or by turning them into a bigot.  And if we pretend that people never used such terms in the past and don't use them now it will totally make everything okay.
It seems like To Kill a Mockingbird gets the most flack.  I have to assume that most of the people complaining have not actually read the novel and thus have no idea what the context of usage is.  Otherwise, I think I need to pause and weep for humanity.

The complaint about 1984 has to be my personal favorite though:

Challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell's novel is "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter." Source: 2007 Banned Books Resource Guide by Robert P. Doyle.
Do you hear that whistling sound?  That would be the point flying just over the top of your very pointed head.

For more information about Banned Books Week (or more reading that will allow you to both mock people and feel deeply uncertain about your fellow man) see the ALA site here.

I want this on a t-shirt

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net


Mr Bunnyford

Mr Bunnyford
Originally uploaded by MrFoxyy

ZOMG he will eat your soul!!!!! Isn't he adorable? Check out more of MrFoxyy's work in the Flickr stream or check the Etsy shop where you may also obtain Mr. Bunnyford.


Attempts at time management

As I've mentioned before, I want and plan to eventually open an Etsy shop and see if I can get it going.  Unfortunately, time management is pretty craptastic when you're not only chronically ill, but also unpredictable from day to day.  As in, I have no idea how I will feel from day to day, whether I will get to sleep at a decent time and sleep well or whether I'll be awake until 4AM or will wake up with my brain refusing to function or in so much pain I don't want to do anything but cuddle with the heating pad and whichever of my boys (Tom or Oreo) is convenient at the time.

It's also really, really hard to get out of the mindset of "I'm sick, I should rest."  This might sound contradictory, as I frequently complain that I've overdone it, but the two do sort of go hand in hand.  It's challenging to find a happy medium when the goal posts move all the damn time.  It's also sort of hardwired into people and animals to behave in certain ways when they're sick - to slow down, sleep more, become more sedentary, etc.  Unfortunately, I can't really do that and function.   But it's hard not to.  And it's been very hard for me to set a schedule for myself because I don't know how I'll feel or what I'm really capable of and because it's hard to set a sort of floating schedule.  At some point, I'm going to have to just go ahead and start doing stuff at 1 AM if that seems like the best time for me on that day.

All that said - I've taken the plunge.  I'm experimenting with Remember the Milk as of last night.  I have it set up (I hope) to give me recurring reminders for basic household tasks (like dishes or dusting, etc.).  I also have set up dates by which I'd like to do certain things like actually open the Etsy shop and get things made in preparation for various upcoming holidays.  I'm hoping this is an achievable goal.  I'm also hoping I won't be really upset if I don't manage it.  :P  Anyway, the idea is that I'll look at my to do list with the dates and be able to say, "okay, I feel up to doing X today and it needs doing in the next 3 days, so I'll get started."  I'm also going to have to work on chopping up tasks into smaller bits.  I can't sit in a regular chair or stand up and bend over things for longer than about 15 minutes before I'm in agony. So, until I find a better chair or some other solution, I'm going to have to set a timer.

I also need to quit spending as much time as I do online.  That will be a hard one.  Since I don't go out much and don't really like phones the internet is where I manage most of my human (mostly, I think) interaction.

Anyway, that's the goal for the next few weeks  - to try this stuff out and see how it works.  Wish me luck!

Attention Oreo Fans!

Out of general boredom and the vague hope of scoring some cash, I entered Oreo in the Cutest Dog Competition.  Hopefully by the time this posts the photo I submitted will be approved.

I encourage all of his fans to vote for him - I promise to spend at least some of any prize money on him.  :)  I'm afraid the voting does require registration with an email address, but I gather you can vote once every day.  And besides, that's what extra email accounts are for - catching spam, right?

Here is a direct link to Oreo's voting page.  And as we are Chicago residents, it's extraordinarily appropriate for us to encourage you to vote early, vote often.  :P


My Latest Home Decor Creation

I got to spend some quality time in the craft store this weekend and I found a plain pine broom for $1.99 along with a garland of autumn leaves and berries for $3.99 and decided that together they would make a nice hanging for our front door.
So, I wrapped the garland around the broom, used the glue gun in some strategic areas, and presto. I think it took me about 10 minutes. I'm rather proud of it.
At the moment it's posed against a repurposed card catalogue that I use for storage of small bits and pieces and you can make out some of my various crafty supplies in their storage cubes on top.
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Long Weekend

So a good friend of ours from college, Joe, came to visit us this weekend - thus my failure to blog regularly.
It was very good to see him again and while I may be spending this week recovering from the visit because I still can't bring myself to slow down when I should, we had a blast.

He got in late Thursday, so we wound up having a late bite to eat at the White Palace which was not nearly as scary as I thought it had the potential to be.

The next day we walked around Hyde Park and showed him the museum and that night had a party for which I had made marinara sauce especially for Joe.  It was pretty fun!

Saturday, Joe decided he wanted to try Kuma's Corner.  Despite the 45 minute wait for a table (because the place was super popular), it was AWESOME.  They have ridiculously huge, delicious burgers and the best fried calamari I think I've ever had.  Fabulous.  We would never have discovered this place without Joe, so extra awesome.  Though I don't really drink anymore, they also have an enormous selection of beers and what appeared to be interesting possibilities for cocktails along with whisky on tap.  They also had tasty, tasty root beer.  The people watching is pretty entertaining too - hipsters, frat boys, bikers, average people, all mixed in.
After that we decided to check out the Cook County Fair at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  The "fair" was more of a way to let urban kids see farm animals and play (not that we expected much more) but the conservatory was spectacular and definitely on our list for return visits in the dead of winter.  Very fun.
After that we drove down the Mag Mile to let Joe see the touristy part of the Loop.  I haven't been down there in a few months and there are now pedi-cabs.  I didn't see anyone actually using one, but the idea is amusing.
Then we decided a trip to a used bookstore was in order and went to check out Myopic Books, which had been recommended by some other friends.  Very cool.  I scored some more sci-fi/fantasy to read.  I will be making a return trip to off-load a bunch of my no longer wanted paperbacks.

So, all in all, a very good visit.  We kicked Joe's ass out today at the airport and he's made it home.  I think Oreo misses him - they seemed to get along very well.  :)  Yay, visiting!


Holy Crap, He's a Jedi Too!?!?!

Photo by Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune (click photo for link to article)

Is he stabbing that dude?

So, to round-up the crazy conspiracy theories:
  • Sekrit Muslin
  • Kenyan
  • Socialist
  • Fascist
  • Jedi


Clara the Flapper - An Amigurumi

Have a gander at this absolutely adorable little amigurumi flapper. Very nice - I especially like the feather.

See more in KawaiiGurumi's Etsy shop.
Check out this awesome Chinese vampire by fuzzykaren.  Very nicely done!

Mr Vampire by fuzzykaren

Spreading Love and Awareness

In honor of Invisible Illness Awareness Week The Sick Chick has started a roundup of all us chronically ill peeps who also craft.  Very nice.

I've talked here about how difficult it can be to cope with disability and not just the physical aspects but the social aspects as well.  So I encourage everyone who reads this to take a moment to think about what it's like to live with chronic illness and try to gain some empathy for others.


Not so little Red Riding Hood

Red Ochre
Originally uploaded by lazytcrochet
I love this hooded capelet by LazyTcrochet. Lovely open-work crochet stitches, nice chunky yarn in a beautiful color and it looks like it drapes beautifully.
Available in LazyTcrochet's Etsy shop.

Cock headed man - Completed

Cock headed man - Completed
Originally uploaded by Illyrianth
This lovely reproduction of an ancient mosaic appeals to the archaeologist in me. And to the snarky humor part of me. Very cool! Some day I should pull together a list of snarktastic art, writing, and graffiti from the ancient world.

Excellent job, Illyrianth!


Yesterday, in addition to our hike we went apple picking with some friends. There was a petting zoo at the orchard and I insisted I wanted to go.
Oooooh, the adorable.
Little pot-bellied piggies sharing a pumpkin.
There were two adorable goat kids being acrobatic and silly. I managed to catch this one on top of the wire spool that was in their pen.
There were also bunnehs. There was one baby gray bunny in particular who totally would have gone home in my pocket had I been able to get my hands on him or her. Bunnehs!
We have a bunch of apples too, but while tasty, they aren't nearly as cute as the aminals.
Pretty much, the day made me long for the days when Tom and I can
finally have a little farm of our own. :P

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Old Timey Awesomeness

A few weeks ago we went out to the Deep River County Park in Hobart, IN to watch a historic re-enactment baseball game and basically hang out. Turns out historic baseball enthralls me almost as much as modern baseball, so we went wandering. There is a nifty historic gristmill at the park so we went to check out the mill house.
It's three stories and the stairs are very narrow but I managed to get up and down anyway and it was totally worth it for the little reconstruction of an historic bedroom on the second floor.
The first photo on the right is a close-up of the wallpaper - very cute domestic items.

The second is a quilt made by the local hand-quilters group that meets at the mill. I really, really love the little bonneted girl motif.
We wound up going back to the park this weekend with some other friends to hike the trail. Very fun, though I'm very sore and tired today. It's a fairly eas trail and very scenic. There are some fairly nice horse trails as well and I was very pleased to see some horses.
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Edit:  A good friend informed me that the motif on the quilt blocks is Sunbonnet Sue and pointed me in the direction of a web site.  Awesomeness!


Renegade Craft Fair

So, as I had hoped and planned for months, we made it out to the Renegade Craft Fair today.  At the risk of pissing people off I will give it a resounding "meh."  To be fair I was really tired and I don't like crowds and I really don't like pretentious hipsters, so those parts may have played a role in my underwhelment.  There was some cool stuff, but nothing that really grabbed me and made me exclaim "oh, awesome!!!!" with the exception of some dinner ware printed with skulls and skeletons.

The fair itself is 5 blocks long with booths back to back, so roughly a mile long loop.  Traffic flow was a little awkward as people liked standing in large groups directly in the way.  I only had one or two irritating cane incidents with people staring or being exceptionally rude, so that was a plus.
It may be that everything started to flow together near the end, but it seemed like I saw the same or nearly the same thing ever 5 booths or so.  Screen prints on clothing, mostly t-shirts, were probably the most represented item, some clever, some pretty.  I'd say that jewelry of various types came in second.  Prints and/or letterpress on paper probably third.  There were a few booths with yarn, but nothing that I reached out and grabbed me.  A few places with hand knitted or crocheted goods that were cute but I'm still in the "I'll make it myself, dammit!" phase, so while I admired, I wasn't that interested.  Some cute plush toys, but, again, nothing that really grabbed me.  A couple places with fascinators or hair baubles or whatever you want to call them.

So...meh.  Some of the proprietors/crafters/whathaveyou were very professional without being stuffy, available for questions but not pushy.   Others were camped in the back of their alloted tent with their buddies cackling, or with eyes firmly on the ground, and probably not helping their bottom line much.  :/  The usual for craft fairs, I guess.

I just expected a bit more.  I thought there would be more yarn.  I expected more hand-thrown pottery.  I didn't expect nearly so many screen-print shops.  I thought there would be more variety in terms of media and designs and motifs.  Like I said, a lot of the screen-print stuff flowed together for me and screen-printing is something I'm really interested in, so it's not like I just wasn't interested.  There seemed to be a lot of pastel on pastel stylized floral or vegetal motifs; a whole lot of basic line-art or nearly clip-art type designs like bicycles or cameras.  Most cool and well done technically but not a lot of reach out and grab you oh that's cool I must have it type stuff.  At least to me.

Anyway, it's possible it was just me.  Or maybe it was an off year given the economy and other issues.  Or maybe my expectations were all wrong.  Who knows.  It did give me ideas, though, mostly about setting up booths and what I though worked and didn't work so far as organization of space and stock goes.  And I certainly wish all the crafters who were there with their stuff well and hope they do well this weekend.

Extinct Eagle May Have Hunted Humans : Discovery News

So, after I just bitched about people not knowing the difference between paleontology and archaeology, a story pops up that encompasses both:  Extinct Eagle May Have Hunted Humans.

How cool is that?  It's like the roc, which I mostly know about from my vain attempts at playing Zork as a child.  Well, from being carried off and eaten by one while attempting to play Zork or Enchanter or one of those frustrating (at least for an 8 year old) games.

Oldest Twine Dates Back to Stone Age : Discovery News

I'm intrigued by this story from the Discovery Channel website for two reasons:

  1. It's the first time in a while they've managed to send me an archaeology story via RSS feed versus a paleontology story.  Confusion of the two very different disciplines by people who really ought to know better (like a television network that at least claims to be "scientific" in between showings of the latest UFO theories and exploitative documentaries about obese people) is one of my pet peeves.  Seriously.  Digging for dinosaurs is not the same as digging for people.  Unless you attended Bob Jones University.
  2. It's about fiber and archaeology.
Anyway, this is an interesting story if only because Bruce Bower (who has the by-line) actually did what a journalist should do and interviewed multiple experts.  He talked to the excavators and the authors of the report and also talked to other experts in the field.  You would be amazed how rarely this actually happens.  And Irene Good (one of the other experts consulted) pointed out that we should probably be a little cautious about conclusions without doing a bit more research and seeking more evidence.  In particular, more and more intact flax fibers and more evidence of dyeing.  Oddly, Good also suggests that impressions on ceramics would also be good evidence and while she's technically correct, as far as I know fired-clay is not particularly common from European Upper Paleolithic contexts nor is there a great deal of evidence for deliberately fired pottery being produced during the Upper Paleolithic.  There is the occasional accidentally fired piece or pieces in caves, though.
In fact, in the Near East at least, one of the major characteristics dividing the Paleolithic and the Neolithic is production of pottery.  Weird.


Diddly Squat*

Yesterday's running around did me in today.  Despite having gone to bed early last night I simply could not get out of bed today before 5 PM.  And I'm still tired and achy.  Eh.  It happens.  I apparently used up all my spoons yesterday.

I am, however, very much looking forward to the Renegade Craft Fair tomorrow in Wicker Park.  I'm not sure if I'll manage photos or even if I'll wind up purchasing anything, but I do want to check it out.  Hopefully I will be able to deal with the crowds without turning into the amazing super-spastic freak-out girl.

I'm still working on my shawl.  I'm contemplating starting a beret with a lovely skein of Lion Brand Wool-ease Thick and Quick in Fig, but I can't decide whether to knit or crochet it.  The issue with knitting being that near the end I'll have to find some double pointed needles (or so I gather, having never knit in the round before).  The issue with crocheting being that it can sometimes be harder on my hands than just knitting.  And also that I just sort of dumped all my hooks into a drawer when we moved...  And then there's the overarching issue of not feeling like doing diddly squat.

Suggestions by readers are appreciated, even if you just tell me to do diddly squat.  Or if you can advise me as to good passive diddly squat activities.  Or good shows to add to my instant play queue on Netflix.  I need to mix it up a little before I OD on The A-Team.  

Also, I managed the other day to set up "reactions" for my blog posts.  They don't show up in RSS feeds, but if you're so inclined to come click random check boxes on the actual post here on the blog, feel free.

*In case you hadn't noticed, today's phrase of the day is  "diddly squat".  Say it out loud a few times and you might understand why.


Probably good I didn't see this until just now...

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Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net"

Debut Performance of the Cripple Ballet

I think I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I had a chest x-ray today. Not too much of a big deal. Well, the waiting room was awful because someone (Tom) beat me to the chair on the end of the row so I had to sit next to Mr. BO and Bad Breath. Ew. He was also huge, so I couldn't exactly call him on it.
Then the gown they gave me was size Godzilla and I couldn't figure out if the ties went on the front or the back. Yay. I only had to take off stuff from the waist up, though, so that was something.
So, they get me in for the x-ray. I of course have to give up my cane. Then the tech wraps a lead skirt around me to "protective your reproductive organs." I resisted the urge to tell him not to bother and that I'd like to have flippered children or possibly one of the X-Men. So, the x-ray. The first image was okay, I pretty much had to press my boobs up against a plate on the wall and take a deep breath.
Then he made me turn sideways. And keep my feet together. And raise my arms over my head. Let me remind you all that 1) Putting my feet together usually means I wobble. A lot. A whole lot. 2) I had the stupid gown on with the ties in the front and it kept gaping open. 3) I was wearing a freakin' lead skirt.
I wound up sort of braced against the wall plate, hands sort of above my head but with my elbows bent and totally not centered like some sort of drunken Hindu statuette while I prayed for the lead skirt not to fall off and the stupid gown not to gape open any further. All while my left thigh decided to start vibrating in protest.

Remarkably, the tech only needed to take one shot like that. It is possible, however, that he just wanted my wobbly, boob-flashing freak self out of there.

Cripple ballet, I tell you.

Progress of some variety

Today was medical appointment day again. I managed to catch the bus to get to the appointment (yay, me!).
I love my rheumatologist - she's nice, she's smart, she answers questions and is thorough. Her new attending guy is awesome too. So, today's appointment was long, but good. They are trying everything they can to follow up on and test because neurology has so patently dropped the ball. And it's also very clear that I have some autoimmune ick going on - that's what's wrong with my thyroid. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Unfortunately, it does not come with cool ninja powers or a samurai sword or anything awesome like that. It just means my immune system has decided attacking my thyroid hormones is a good idea.
Also, apparently it's not normal for most people's skin to get a weird sort of mottled purple-red appearance when sort of cool. Didn't know that. :P And apparently it's weird that my finger tips flex inward slightly instead of being straight.
It also seems like the bright spots on my brain in the MRIs are probably related to whatever the autoimmune disorder is. At the moment, we aren't really certain and it may be some time before we're sure. They are fairly certain that there is an autoimmune problem beyond/in addition to the Hashimoto's.
Anyway, more blood tests, a chest x-ray, and I have a pulmonary exam in December. Whee.
No treatment at the moment because a) we're still not sure what's going on; b) the rheumatologists don't like random treatment just to see; c) the treatment of choice would be steroids which they'd rather not do unless it's really necessary. I agree completely with this.

On the neurology front: their strep theory seems highly unlikely given the test results (which they haven't bothered to tell me, but rheumatology did). They still haven't arranged my cognitive testing, despite regular prodding from me. I see them again in October. I'm asking to be referred to someone else. I'm just tired of dealing with them. They don't answer questions, are rather frightening clueless at times, utterly fail at communication, have made no progress, and seem to have no idea how to proceed. Hopefully that will go smoothly and not turn into a butt-hurt drama fest.

A final note: I formally withdrew from my PhD candidacy today. This marks the first time in 24 years I have not been enrolled in some fashion, somewhere as a student. After everything else that's happened in the past 18 months or so, it was rather anticlimactic. Or possibly it hasn't really hit me yet. Mostly I'm pissed about not getting the cool floppy velvet hat and not getting to smuggle Oreo into the ceremony (he started grad school with me). And thinking that, in retrospect, maybe I should have bothered walking for my MA instead of just having a week of celebratory sleep.


It's Curtains for You

Well, actually it's curtains for me, but the cliche movie quote was sort of irresistable.
Monday I managed to feel mostly up to going out shopping and Tom kindly took me out to the fabric stores.
I've decided to make some curtains for a plastic shelving unit we've put up in the kitchen to use as extra storage and counter space. We're using the lower shelves to store pots and pans and are planning on finding a board or piece of laminate or other object to put across the top to serve as counter space. I think the shelving unit is hideous, so I decided hiding it with curtains would be nice and that it might help keep dust and grease and things off the pots and pans when they aren't in use.
The plan is to cut and hem the blue and green striped fabric and attach a strip of hook and loop fastening to the top, the opposite strip to be glued to the upper edge of the shelving unit. Hopefully this will be as simple as I hope. It should also make it easy to pull down the curtain to wash when necessary, especially since the fabric is just basic quilting cotton.

The second photo is the fabric for the windows all through the apartment and the trim for at least some of them. We found some really nice unbleached muslin to use and a nice multi-colored braided trim. I'm planning to cut and hem and then probably use the glue gun to attach the trim. The basic unbleached muslin curtains will be in every room but I'm planning on changing up the trim. I just haven't found all the kinds I want yet. What's shown here is probably going to be going in the dining room/craft room/office.

I just have to get around to washing the fabric and setting up my sewing area and I can get down to work.
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Beatles' Fan

Beatles' Fan
Originally uploaded by intiveda
I like amigurumi, I like the Beatles. Therefore, I like this little amigurumi wearing a dress of Beatle-themed fabric.

Knitting Away

My latest knitting project is this wrap that I've been working on while I watch TV (mostly The A-Team lately - I love our Roku). It's supposed to have a slight bit of ribbing to it but I keep loosing count of knit and purl stitches and so it's a bit wonky. The yarn, Lion Brand Homespun, is sufficiently knobbly and fluffy that it really isn't all that apparent that I fail at counting and paying attention. I have to say, I really like the softness and texture of the yarn. Now that I've gotten more experienced with knitting and crocheting I can actually make out my stitches in this too, which makes it far less frustrating to work with (beginners take heed). And the colorway - Corinthian - is really more lovely than I've managed to capture with the photo. Lots of rich jewel tones. So, hopefully this will be a nice wrap for me either around the house if it turns out a bit wonky or for going out if it winds up being nicer.

I've been eyeing more luxurious yarns lately too, primarily with the intention of buying a skein or two to make fingerless gloves or mittens for the coming winter. I still haven't decided on anything, though I'm leaning toward a silk-blend something, maybe with mohair. I'm not sure about weight. And I'm also trying to be a little cautious with the budget, so I may be waiting a while.
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Lambswool Robot Scarf

Lambswool Robot Scarf
Originally uploaded by SaraCarr66
For the very latest in robot couture, check out SaraCarr66's Etsy shop. I'm a big fan of her robot-themed scarves - sooo cute and soft looking. And definitely a way to have fun with a necessary (for some places) accessory for winter.
And I think the pattern is subtle enough to work even with fancy-pants business attire. Very fun.

Doctor Zoidberg

Doctor Zoidberg
Originally uploaded by intiveda
My Futurama fan self is very tickled by this little Doctor Zoidberg made by intiveda. Very cute.


Presenting Faience Kitty Version 1.0

A friend of mine who is of the Egyptological persuasion (I promise, I do have a few friends who are not of the Egyptological persuasion) is going away for work and I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to make an amigurumi gift and try something a little bit new.

People familiar with ancient Egypt will know that Egyptian faience (to distinguish it from later Italian faience) was an extremely popular substance for making beads, amulets, small figurines, scarabs, dishes, tiles, and a wide variety of other things. It is essentially crushed/powdered quartz or sand and a small amount of silica lime held together with various binding agents, worked, molded, or otherwise formed and then glazed, either through application or occasionally a self-glaze produced during firing. As the object was heated, the surface vitrified, producing a shiny, glassy finish. Colors were achieved typically through the inclusion of mineral salts - copper being the most popular and well known and producing the vibrant blue-green or turquoise most commonly associated with Egyptian faience, but other colors also appear.

Anyway, when I started making amigurumi I thought that making "faience" amigurumi would be really fun, especially as a lot of the smaller Egyptian faience pieces are often of animals and are frequently absolutely adorable. "William" the faience hippo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a classic example.
Often, as is the case with William, faience objects were painted in black often with floral/vegetation motifs.

This little cat here represents one of my first real attempts at a "faience" amigurumi. She does not have the lovely black motifs as I'm still working on methods of achieving this that don't necessarily involve embroidery (my hands and extensive embroidery do not mix well - cramping and lasting pain are usually the result). I've fiddled with paints, but I'm still working on an application method that will work. Faience Kitty's eyelashes are actually painted, though, and I like how they turned out, so I may try to apply those lessons to later attempts. However, I'm fairly proud of this little kitty. My friend had to foster her own kitty while she's away, so she now has Faience Kitty for company.

I wrote the pattern myself and I think it needs some tweaking, but I'm pleased overall with the result. I'm especially fond of the earring - there are some artistic examples of ancient Egyptian cats with pierced ears. I was trying to go for a seated pose like most of the statues and figurines of cats I'm familiar with - I'm not sure how well I did there. And she's posing, appropriately, with our papyrus plants in the background in these photos my husband was kind enough to take.
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Mister Drake

Mister Drake
Originally uploaded by GoodCharlotte81
Ahh, amigurumi how I love thee. Yet another simple shapes, well executed = awesome!
I love this duckie with the big, intense eyes and the itty-bitty tail.

vintage maps for new decoration

This is a brilliant way to combine relatively inexpensive materials for a really nice effect. AtelierPompadour took vintage maps, stretched them into some embroidery hoops and there you go - instant art! Very nice. Also potentially a good way to deal with the wrinkles and folds that are often a part of maps and old posters.


Where my knittas at?

'Cause I totally just finished my first knitting project, yo! No, really, I did. It's this nifty little washcloth with a nifty pattern available at Knitterly things and other stuff: "Learn to purl" washcloth/dishcloth.
See, I spent hours looking at patterns on Ravelry trying to find one that was just right - not too hard, not too easy, not too ugly, etc., etc.
This one turned out being just right. And yes, it took me two weeks, but we were moving and I was picking up and knitting maybe two or three rows at a time and then having to do other things.
Anyway, here it is:
I would like to point out here, as I do in the notes on the Flickr photo, that I hate that towel. Really. However it's a perfectly serviceable towel and the cherub things get rubbed on my butt, so I guess that makes it okay. If you hadn't already guessed, cherubs are really not my thing. Little devils, on the other hand, I'd be totally down with.

And here's a second photo because I am a huge nerd. Also, I really need to clean the mirror in the new bathroom. In our defense, it was like that when we moved in. I also need a haircut. The flip all the same way is a little weird.
me with washcloth

The washcloth is made in Lily Sugar n'Cream (I do not understand this name at all and find it deeply annoying) that I scored when Michael's was having a big sale a while back. The pattern took up about half the skein (and the ombre skeins are smaller than the solid color skeins) and that was with me knitting fairly loosely on size 8s and having lots of inches of tail for cast-on and after cast-off.

Retro Owl Amigurumi

Retro Owl Amigurumi
Originally uploaded by Else10
Another adorable amigurumi, this time from Else10. This little guy really shows how important small details like placement of eyes can be in conveying personality. I love the sort of suspicious side-ways look here. And I love the blue variegated yarn. Very cute!