Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No July 31?

It's Tuesday, the day I dig into the archives (and give myself a day off from coming up with something new). And it's my birthday. 

So, I found my birthday post from two years ago (that would be 2010). Enjoy.

I don't know why these things come up, but as this was rather timely, I thought I'd share.

On Monday, I went over to help my 9-year-old niece clean out her closet. As she did the work, I blathered on about random things.

I told her about the time when I was a child that I was paranoid about July having 31 days. My child brain reasoned that since February sometimes has a 29th, then perhaps other months could lose their last day. My niece thought that this logic was crazy, and she said so.

Of course, I was assured by my parents that July would always have 31 days. And now I see the craziness of the thought. (I was a small child. I had many crazy worries.) I hadn't thought of this for years.

Nothing quite like trying to entertain a child to bring out such strange memories.

Happy Birthday to me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Charger Fail

Last week I went to the Orange County Fair. I don't live in Orange County, but that fair is closer, and the LA County Fair isn't until September anyway. Although, the commercials for the LA County Fair are brilliant:

Anyway, I like to go and look at the knitting. And the photography. And the ridiculous stuff that they deep fry. (Deep fried hamburgers? Really?) It's a good excuse to walk around and look at things.

This time, I bought a small solar charger for my iPhone:

Isn't it cute?
As per the instructions, I charged the thing for two days in the sun (well, I did more than two days, just to be safe), and then I went to use it. I was out and about. I plugged it in to my cell phone...  

Well, I have a case on my cell phone:  

And I bet you know where this is going. The case is just a little too big. So, I could get the charger plugged in, but I had to hold it so that it would continue to charge.  

I found that if I prop up the phone and let gravity do the work, it'll connect enough so that it will charge, so it isn't a complete fail. And it's just a case issue. But I still feel kind of stupid.  

Ah well. I guess it's time for a new case anyway. My birthday is next week. Perhaps someone will buy me something cute.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Power Outage

Last Tuesday, the power went out. There was no good reason for this. (The company's message said "equipment failure".) It wasn't terribly hot out. There were no storms in the area. But at about 4:30 PM--POOF! Out.

It was an inconvenience. They had power restored in three hours. I missed a couple TV shows. No big deal.

But it's Thursday, so I'm going to turn this mundane happening and go crazy with it.

Imagine you're living on a colony on the moon or Mars or in a space ship someplace. What would happen if the power fails? 

I think about things like this. This is why I would not make a good candidate for one of these crews. That, and I'm a big wuss.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Query Contest

Do you have a completed manuscript? If so, make sure to head on over to Unicorn Bell for the School's In Query Contest.

Week 1: Study Hall
It's a week devoted to getting you up to speed on how to write a query. If you have no idea what to do when it comes to querying, this is the week to learn. If you do know, you may still learn something.

Week 2: Workshop
It's time to show off what you've learned. Submit your query for feedback. Get it ready to submit to agents.

Week 3: Editor Judging
Time for final queries. Judging by guest judges.

Make sure to head on over starting August 13th.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Cut it out, Gary Glitter."

I did it! I finally reposted all the old posts from the now defunct MySpace blog. Yeah! Now what am I supposed to do with Tuesdays?  

Well, this blog has been going for a while. And I have followers now. (When I started, not so much.) So, I'm going to find some posts that got missed and repost them. This was originally posted on October 9, 2007.

It was 6th period. The 7th grader in the seat to my right was humming "Rock and Roll, Part 2" through his rolled up assignment. I expected a quizzical look. I got nothing. (He hadn't heard me.)

You know the song. It's the one that they play at basketball games.

Since the boy hadn't heard me, I repeated myself. "You didn't get that reference, did you?" I asked. He hadn't. Why would he? He doesn't remember the '70's. He was born in 1995!

I found out that he's in the middle school band--a trumpet player. They learn a couple songs that they play all the time. One is "Louie, Louie" (yes, that "Louie, Louie"). The other is a song they call "The Hey Song". That one would be "Rock and Roll, Part 2".

I know this because I have subbed for the band. Luckily, there was a very nice man who rehearsed the group (so I didn't end up with chaos). And that's where I learned about the band's repertoire.

Did I get the boy to stop humming? Well, no.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Boring T-Shirts

Last week, I helped my sister-in-law did some sorting/downsizing in her home (read: I held the trash bag). While she was going through various stuff, she found some plain white t-shirts (kids' sizes) and a tie-dye kit. A project that never got off the ground.

One of the things I like to repin on Pinterest is t-shirt tutorials. There are all sorts of clever people who have come up with ways to take a boring old t-shirt and turn it into something interesting.

My sewing skills are rudimentary. I've made a couple superhero capes. I've lined purses that I knit. But I have a sewing machine, and I'm willing to learn.

So, I volunteered my services. I said that if she and my niece would tie-dye the shirts, I'd turn them into something fun.

I went to the board...and discovered that I only have 6 choices. That may seem like a lot, but I thought I had a dozen or more. Oops.

So, anyway... Anyone seen any interesting t-shirt upcycle projects online? I'm open to suggestions. And which of the ones I have pinned do you think I should try?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Message from the Future

Time travel has long been a staple of science fiction. Can it really happen? Who knows?

What if it was possible to send information back in time? They are doing experiments to see if that's possible (at least according to the episode I saw of Through the Wormhole). But in my mind, I took it one step further.

What do you think you'd do if you got a message from your future self? Would you believe it? Would you act on it?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Barefoot Sandals

Pinterest is dangerous. I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it again.

It's my own fault, really. I browse. People pin interesting things. I repin.

I created a board called "Knit/Crochet Ooohs". (I have no idea if that link will work or not.) The name is self-explanatory. If something makes me go "oooh", I probably am going to want to try it.

One day, I found an example of barefoot sandals. I didn't know this was a thing. Later, I searched it out. Google. Ravelry. It's a thing.

That's when my designer mind engaged. All the examples I saw were crocheted. But couldn't one knit a pair? So, after much plotting and planning (there's a reason I'm a plotter when it comes to writing), I made up something I kind of like.

I tried them on. They are so much more fun than I thought they'd be.  

(Apologies for the photo quality. And my feet. I took the picture in front of a mirror that needs to be cleaned. It's hard to get a picture of your own feet. Really hard.)  

I'm debating whether or not to include these in my shop. Well, not this pair, but make up some in other colors. 

What do you think?  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Instant Karma

It's Tuesday, so it's time to find something from the MySpace archives to resurrect. This one is from June 19, 2007. This is a true story. I know I shouldn't enjoy someone else's misfortune, but I just can't help myself.

I was on my way to school this morning. I go to make a left turn onto a larger street (I was heading east, and the left turn would have me heading north). The light was green for a change (when I get there it's usually red or it's just turning red), but the cars in front had stopped. That's when I saw the car going through the intersection. Some idiot was totally running a red light!

Then I saw the cop car.

So, the idiot was going north, the cop heading south. The cop instantly turned on his lights, made a U-turn (the cars in front of me waited to make their left turns) and just a few yards from the intersection the idiot got pulled over. I passed the cop just as he was getting out of his car.

This made my day! Sometimes a cop is around when you need one.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Reluctant Designer

When my nephew HapkidoKid (formerly Detritus--I'll go with the alias his mother gave him) turned 3, I made him a sweater.

T's sweater front

T's sweater back

The boy grew. I knew this sweater wouldn't last long, so when he turned 5, I made him another. I found the pattern on Knitty, and it's much nicer than this first one...

steggie back

HapkidoKid will turn 7 this year (in December...no, this is not too early to start), and I've been thinking that it's time to make him a new dinosaur sweater.

Here's my problem. I don't like the one I made him when he was 3. I'd much rather redo the one I made him two years ago. But, he still wears the one I made him when he was 3. It's skin tight. It's frayed. But he prefers it to the cute one with all the little spiky things down the arms and along the hood.

Okay, fine. If I must. But,I need to find better dinosaur silhouettes to convert into knitting grids (there's a program that does this). I now know a much better way of installing the zipper. And his color preferences have changed. So, I'm not going to just make a bigger size of the first one.

Maybe I should just buy him something...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Exploring Earth?

Have you heard the theory that certain building blocks of life made it to Earth via comets and the like?

For today's off-the-wall question, this is the starting off point. Assume that what grew into life was seeded by various comets, asteroids, meteorites, and other space debris. Okay, then...

What if that space debris was seeded by another civilization as a way to explore other worlds that those beings couldn't get to?

(I'm turning off Through the Wormhole now...)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A New Water Bottle Carrier?

So, as you know, I've been experimenting with the crocodile stitch. 

And I've been making water bottle carriers.  

While I was working on one or the other, I noticed that the base of the crocodile stitch was a lot like the mesh of the water bottle carrier. And it gave me an idea. What if I made a water bottle carrier out of crocodile stitch?  

First I had to finish stuff that I was working on that had priority, and then I had time to try it out. I kind of like what I got.  

What do you think? I like it, but does anyone else? If I were to make some of these up for my shop, do you think anyone would want one?  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Out of Class

This is not so much a repost as a missed post. As I pared down some of my stacked paperwork, I found notes for a blog post I meant to write. I figured now was as good a time as any.  

Some teachers like detailed notes from their subs. I came up with a grid system. One of my grids is for listing which students were out of class. Usually, this becomes a list of who used the restroom (there've been times when I needed it). This day, the list was slightly more interesting.

The first girl to request a pass asked to go to the library. She had all her books with her (this is an unusual occurrence). Obviously, she needed to return her textbooks. I wondered why, so I asked. She explained that this day was her last. She was being sent to the continuation high school.

I made sure to get her name. I told her to say hi to her first teacher. I'd be seeing her around.

Then I got a phone call. I was to send another girl to her IEP meeting. (IEP stands for individual education plan. It's a special ed thing.)

Later in the day, security came by. All the security person had to do was open the door and the student grabbed her stuff and bounded out of the room. I got the feeling that the student expected to be removed from class. She did not return.

Then finally I got another call. It was the attendance office. The lady asked me if a student had showed me her off-campus pass. She had not.

There are fences around the entire campus. A student can't leave without permission. And the student has to pass through the attendance office. They have a pass for this. All a student has to do is to show me this pass, and I will allow that student out of class. Usually, the student is a bit anxious to leave and will try to leave just a little bit early.

So, I was surprised by the call. The attendance lady told me to tell the student to run. Apparently, she was now late for some appointment. Oops.

Any day I might have one of these types of students out of class. But four in one day? That was different.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Progress, Sort Of

A while back, I talked about my experimentation with the crochet crocodile stitch. (It was back in May.) I've made some progress since then.

I decided I wanted to make a hood. I saw this pattern, and while I liked the general idea, I didn't like the overall look. So, I've been winging it.  

I decided that five rows was all the border that the piece needed. (It had to be an odd number of rows, and three were too few and seven too many.) And now I've moved the whole thing to knitting needles, because I'm going to knit the rest of it.  

I need a knitting project. Everything else I'm doing at the moment is crochet.  

The next bit is a different sort of experiment. If it comes out nice, I'll post pictures. If it ends up being a mess, you'll never see this thing again. Wish me luck!  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bun Maker Instructions

Last week I talked a little about the thing that I use to put my hair up, especially in the summer. My bun maker.

I promised a pattern. I finally got the pictures I need taken, so here it goes.  

The initial knitting makes a thing that looks like this:  

I don't recall what stitch pattern I used, but it really doesn't matter. Keeping in mind that both sides of this will be visible, you can use just about any stitch pattern you wish. I'm fond of moss stitch, but I got bored with it when I made this (two or three years ago).  

Use worsted weight yarn. Size 7 needles. The gauge is 16 sts and 29 rows over 4 inches, but the gauge isn't too critical. As long as you're in the ballpark, a stitch or two over or under this won't make that big a difference.  

Cast on 54 sts.
Row 1: work evenly in your stitch pattern
Row 2: increase 1 stitch each at beginning and end of row. (56 sts)
Rows 3-7: work evenly
Row 8: work 18 sts, work one-row buttonhole over middle 20 sts, work to end (18 sts)
Rows 9-13: work evenly
Row 14: decrease 1 stitch each at beginning and end of row. (54 sts)
Row 15: bind off

Now comes the fun part. (And by fun, I mean that this sat for two or three years before I got around to it.) You'll need wire. I recommend 18 gauge wire for this. I've used 20 gauge and 16 gauge, but 18 gauge seems to be the sweet spot. Craft wire is fine. You'll need a piece about 40 inches long, although don't measure. You'll want to eyeball it.  

You'll want it to look kind of like that. It should go around your piece, but with a lot of extra space. Then you need to twist the wire ends around each other to make a loop.  

It should surround the knitted piece with about that much room. The knitting will stretch to fit. 

The twist doesn't need to be that tight.

This will stay together because the wire is next fully encased in duct tape. (This is where I could use a better idea, so if you know of a better way to do this, please let me know). 

I find it best to cut a length, then divide that down the middle and wrap it around. (Using the whole width of duct tape is a little too much.) I start with where the ends overlap, and then I encase the rest of the wire. (I have yet to do this and have the duct tape wrap the wire evenly.)

Then, grab a crochet hook that easily fits into the edge stitches (F or G), and using reverse single crochet (or crab stitch), crochet around the whole of the piece, making sure to crochet over the wire. (A regular single crochet would work as well. You could also just whip stitch the wire to the knit piece. I like the look of reverse single crochet, so I use it a lot.)  

This bit is a bit fiddly. I suggest starting near the middle of one of the long sides. The last little bit is still hard, but it isn't as hard as if you started on one of the short ends.  

You could use the same yarn that you made the piece out of, but I used white because I can't find the yarn I used so that you could see the edging stitches. Someone also suggested that you could use a novelty yarn (like an eyelash yarn) for the edges giving the whole thing a bit more flair. 

I have several of these (and now I have one more!), and I use them all the time. The wire does wear out after a while (a couple years of regular use), but it's easy enough to cut the old wire off and attach new when that happens. 

The main trick is learning to get your hair put up in it. I had to practice for a while before I got the hang of it, and still I have to use a mirror. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Once upon a time, I had a blog over on MySpace. Remember MySpace? Anyway, I had several technical difficulties (such as going to hit publish for a post and having the whole thing disappear), so I switched over to Blogger, where I've never had a whole post disappear on me never to be seen again.  

Eventually I deleted the MySpace account. Then, one day I went to link to a previous blog post only to discover that the post I remembered had been on the MySpace blog. Oops. While many of the posts were best forgotten, there were a few that I liked. And that's how my repost Tuesdays were born.  

At this point, I've reposted most of the posts that I remembered fondly. Now I'm on a mission to repost everything. (Okay, not really everything. There are several really stupid posts that I'm not going to bother with.) I'm nearly there.  
This post is originally from June 12, 2007. 

The lesson plan said to take the class to the library and the librarian would instruct the class. 12th graders. AP English. It's the end of the year, so they're done. It didn't even occur to me until they said it, "He's going to put us to work". Yep.

The librarian wanted them to pack up the books. The library is going to get redone over the summer (paint, new carpet, the works), but first the library has to get cleared.

The first group jumped right in (well, after some encouragement). They didn't really want to work, but they made good headway. Then the next class came in. And they whined.

"But we're AP. We shouldn't have to do manual labor."

Boo-hoo. Poor babies. Cry me a river.

I was an AP student. And after high school I had a job in retail. I've moved, so I've had to pack. And most of them will encounter such tasks later in their lives. So, I had no sympathy. Besides, getting up and doing some physical work is a nice break from the usual subbing day.

But then they got a really good system going. They got a lot done. And so now I'm beat, but it's a good sort of beat. I got a good workout today.

The library turned out really nice. It was more of a face lift than an overhaul, but it was sorely needed.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Selective Memory

Last week, I covered a summer school English class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (On Monday I wondered how many students would still be enrolled by Friday. The final tally was 21.)

On Wednesday the class was terrible. The less said about that, the better. On Thursday, the teacher assigned them all seats in an attempt to curb the talking. She left me the seating chart, but on Friday as they all came in, they sat back where they sat on Wednesday.

I told the class that there was now a seating chart, so they should sit in their assigned seats. They gave me questioning looks. They did not recall where their teacher had made them sit. So, one by one, I told them who sat where. And they did.

Friday was a whole different story. While the class wasn't as good as this teacher's classes usually are, the group was a whole lot better than they had been on Wednesday.

A few students were late. They came in after I reminded the class who sat where. The funny thing was, every student who walked in late sat in his/her proper assigned seat. Every one.

The rest of the class "forgot" where their seats were? Um, I don't think so.