attempting embroidery

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:18 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
coffeeandink: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeeandink
These are very gossipy shallow reactions, but maybe I will get back into the swing of posting, who knows.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S03E01 )

Jane the Virgin S04E01 )

#PullTheFootball

Oct. 13th, 2017 09:29 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Everything is terrible, but people living in the US, or US citizens abroad, take a minute for this?

Support the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (S. 200, H.R. 669) to require a, you know, declaration of war by Congress before the President can launch a first nuclear strike.

rydra_wong has links and context, and rachelmanija has phone numbers and a script. (Don't, however, spend your time contacting members of Congress outside your districts; save your energy.)
coffeeandink: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeeandink
The Good Place is such a delight I don't even know how to talk about it. All I want to do is burble.

If you're not watching it, it's a half-hour afterlife comedy about a slacker (Kristen Bell) who has been accidentally misassigned to the "Good Place" (Heaven) after her death, and has to keep the mistake secret from the powers that be (Ted Danson), while trying to figure out how to be a good person -- or at least a good enough person not to stick out. Fortunately for her, she's assigned a soulmate (William Harper Jackson) who was an ethics professor in life.

I don't know how to convince you to watch this. The show is so much stranger, more surreal, and sillier than the setup portends. It is hilarious and moving; it burns through plot like a brushfire (avoid spoilers, I mean it); and the cast is so good, I mean, they are so amazing, not just Bell and Danson, but newcomers like Jackson and D'Arcy Carden as an omniscient database and Jameela Jamil as a socialite philanthropist and Manny Jacinto as a surprising sweetheart. The first season is streaming on Netflix and the second season is airing now.

Spoiler note: the numbering for this season is confusing, since some sources consider the first hour, aired together in a single night, as a single episode. I don't. The latest episode I discuss below the spoiler cut aired 10/12/17.

Spoilers have a thirteen-point scale where eight is the highest score )

The air is bad. Just bad.

Oct. 12th, 2017 11:28 am
ladyjax: (Default)
[personal profile] ladyjax
Depending on where folks are in the Bay Area right now, the smoke from the fires is affecting everyone differently.

I work in North Berkeley and they've shut the air off from the outside and recycling what we have. I live in West Oakland and this morning was the strongest I could smell the smoke.

Lord only knows what it's like for anyone further north of us. We're under a red flag warning for the next two days.

From the Bay Area Air Quality Management District:  Health Advisory/ Spare the Air Alert.

Everyone stay safe as best you can.

DIY electronic bullet journal

Oct. 11th, 2017 10:53 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I realized I've been using with a DIY electronic bullet journal since January and actually keeping up with it . . . consistently, the whole time? . . . so it's probably time to write it up.

tl;dr: I use Dynalist, a free webpage/app that allows you to generate collapsible outlines, to keep a to-do checklist and journal bullet points for every day. I like this because things that don't get done can just be dragged into a new day, and because bullet points for journaling lowers the mental energy required to keep up with it. This system is highly flexible, goes with me everywhere, and lets me keep almost everything in one place. (I use Google Calendar for things that need to be scheduled more than two weeks out.)

Setting the scene: )

Then, in early January, I read Tobias Buckell's post on bullet journaling, which made it sound sensible and appealing. After a little more reading (I noted down this Buzzfeed post), I found a recommendation for Workflowy as an electronic bullet journal—necessary because I will not carry paper with me everywhere and I need to have access to my to-do list at all times—the examples were way more complicated than I needed, but did show that it could be very powerful and customizable.

I stopped using Workflowy at the end of July for two reasons: first, the mobile app was not good, it was way too easy to drag stuff around by accident, but hard to move it on purpose; second, it only lets you keep a single (infinitely long and collapsible) outline, which was cramping my reference-note-keeping-consolidation.

Hence: Dynalist. Which is free, and which has an Android app in beta which is much more functional, and which lets you have multiple documents. (It also has a Workflowy import.) The paid version is a smidge expensive ($8/month billed annually), but I haven't felt the need for it; I might, however, end up signing up anyway just to toss them some money. I use a pinned Chrome tab (like so) on desktop, because I didn't realize it had a Windows desktop app in beta until I just checked.

Here's how I've adapted the general bullet journal idea to a collapsible outline app: )

I've sometimes gotten a few days behind, but never more than a few, and I've always gone back and filled in at least a point or two about the day. And I started on January 9, so that's really pretty darn good. It hasn't been a magic (heh) bullet about getting things done, but it has reduced the amount of effort I put into keeping track of things, which leaves more energy for actually doing them. So on the whole, I'm pretty happy with it; and in case it sounds useful to you, here it is.

[Daily happiness]

Oct. 8th, 2017 01:40 am
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
[personal profile] oyceter
1. Got to walk around the Panhandle, which was fun, and found a game store and an indie comics store—will have to remember to go there again to get Christmas presents for CB's niece and nephews.

2. Rewatched the musical sequences of La La Land, which are really great (Except the singing! Why?!). The opening number in particular is really impressive and all in one take too! There's something about lots of people dancing in unison that is extremely satisfying on a very deep level for me.

3. Went to CB's friend's place and had tasty prime rib and creme brulee mocha cake from 85°C and was social, which was nice.

The Good Place S02E01-E04

Oct. 7th, 2017 09:28 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
(The first week was two episodes back-to-back, which is why we're up to episode four.)

I love this show very, very much. Also, Chad hasn't seen S1, but we watched the first four episodes of S2 together and he enjoyed it too, so while you definitely should watch S1—I think the characterizations work better that way—you can totally jump in at S2. (I did pause it once, to explain Mindy, but that was it.)

If you haven't seen it yet: go, see it! You'll almost certainly like it! And my goodness does it burn through plot at an extraordinarily high rate of speed, wow. This is really good, really funny, really thoughtful speculative fiction, and it makes me incredibly happy.

SPOILERS through currently-aired episodes )

Spoilers are ok in comments--please do, in fact!

Action lesbians

Oct. 5th, 2017 11:19 pm
ladyjax: (Default)
[personal profile] ladyjax
Of the many things that have been happening in life, I didn't talk about the most amazing one. Shirley and I helped deliver a baby a few weeks ago.

Yes, this actually happened )

the kids were playing chess tonight

Oct. 5th, 2017 10:51 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
and SteelyKid, playing black, has a very specific defensive philosophy she's imparting to the Pip:

dunno if this image will permanently embed )

(or view on google photos)

Edit: over breakfast, literally all they did was move pieces back and forth behind their defensive lines. I mentioned that at some point, someone would have to attempt to threaten the other's king, but they just shrugged at me. I find this hilarious.