PerCaDraMo for 11 November 2012 – Franken-Kitty

Lately, I've started blurring the lines between crafting and cartooning. More and more I see crochet and embroidery as ways of taking my weird little sketches and bringing them to a new sort of life. For instance, this sketch…

…became this amigurumi…

Please note, I didn't accomplish either the sketch or the amigurumi all today. The sketch was done two weeks ago when my oldest told me she wanted a Frankenstein kitty. I drew a quick thumbnail and showed it to her, then began working on the actual character in yarn. I finished off the head and legs last night (after many days of experimentation and unraveling) and did the rest of this little guy today. In fact, I just finished sewing on his arms thirty minutes ago.

He still needs more work. I need to figure out what to do for the neck bolts and then make him a little vest and add some more stitches. I'm contemplating stitching on a small felt heart, too. Once all that is done, then Franken-Kitty will be finished and Princess will run off with him and I'll never see him again, I expect. Not much escapes that kid's room once it enters.

I can't honestly say if today's entry qualifies for PerCaDraMo or not. It wasn't started today, and it wasn't completed today, but I put in a lot of work on this little guy today, and it's my personal challenge (thus the per in PerCaDraMo) so I'm adding it to the list.

Besides, he's a cutie. He deserves his fifteen minutes of fame on the internet. And I'm going to bed now. Good night!

ACW Episode 183 – Let me take you higher…

The Adventures of Cynical Woman Web Comic!

Click on the thumbnail above to view the full-sized web-comicky goodness!

This is the perfect comic. I drew it exactly as I had imagined it. The colors came out brilliantly, IMHO. And the story is 100% completely true.

The second day of our last-minute vacation to the Shenadoah mountains, Hubster decided to take us all hiking. There was one trail, Bear Fence Ridge I think it was called, that included the words “rock scramble” in the description on the map. I was hoping for an alternate/indie music festival. Instead, what we got was miles of trail that meandered over stones taller than Hubster and I combined. I use the term “trail” loosely here. The actual footpath disappeared as soon as we hit the first giant pile of rocks. From then on, we had to scramble over the rocks (thus the term “rock scramble”) and follow hash marks of paint scattered here and there over the ridiculously increasingly dangerous landscape. And did I mention that somehow the kids ended up taking the lead? They ran right out in front of us the moment we hit the worst terrain and skipped their way up to heart-stopping heights to balance on the edges of cliffs that offered a breath-taking view of a sheer drop that went 50 or more feet straight DOWN.

Every time we reached the summit of one of these piles of mountainous stone, I kept thinking, “This is it! We can’t get any higher up! There’s no way the park rangers would make this path any worse! Not when they must know it could possibly get people killed!” But then we’d head for that next hash mark and sure enough, there was an even bigger pile of rock to climb.

When we reached the highest summit, Hubster and I stood there, staring down at the sheer drop only inches on either side of us. That was when he turned to me and confessed, “Ya know, I have a sleight fear of heights.” I swear I came so close to decking him. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that if I hit him, I’d probably knock him off the mountain, and then I’d have to go down the cliff face and retrieve his dead body myself. After more than an hour of rock scrambling, I was simply too tired to do that, so I waited until we got back to the car in a nice safe parking lot to hit him.

Today is the day Hurricane Sandy is supposed to do its worst damage to our area. Hopefully everyone out there stays nice and safe today. I plan to hunker down on the couch with my latest stash of yarn and work on more creepy craft projects. I think pretty soon I’m going to start posting pics of the weird dolls I’ve been making. I’ve been showing the works-in-progress on Twitter, and folks really seem to like them, so I may start blogging about crochet and spooky projects on a regular basis once I’ve got a few more pieces made up. So you have something to look forward to! Or run away from screaming! Depends on if you like crochet, I guess.

Sunday Contentments – Pink Zombies

So what do you think? On the left is Rainbow Baby, the first crocheted doll I made and the one Pixie absconded with. On the right is Zombo, the second crocheted doll I made that Princess has since laid claim too. Believe it or not, I made both dolls by following the same pattern. Yes, it’s amazing how much I learned from making Rainbow Baby. Some people say mistakes give hand-crafts a bit of character. If that’s true, Rainbow Baby has plenty of character to spare!

But I still adore Rainbow Baby, my mutant first attempt at crochet. Zombo came out very nicely and I am now hard at work on crocheting my first ninja. He should come out well, I think, since I keep learning as I do this.

It’s nice to have a hobby again, something small I can do in my spare time. Since Pixie started taking karate classes, I now spend an hour three times a week waiting for both girls to do their classes. That gives me the right amount of time to work on things like this. The little crocheted dolls really don’t take much time, and they have so much personality when they’re done. I can’t wait to make a whole collection for myself. And then there are other things I’d like to do, like make myself some sweaters for next winter, gifts for friends. It’s just really nice to have a hobby again, and a little bit of time to practice it in.

Of course, what’s really cool is that I can now make pink crocheted zombies and voodoo dolls. I tell ya, nothing beats being able to say “A zombie!” when people ask me, “What are you making now?”

Sunday Contements – Hobbies

It’s only 10AM on Sunday, and so far I’ve recorded and produced this week’s Heat Flash Erotica Podcast, gone back to bed, snuggled and cuddled with the Hubster (ah, quality time!), had breakfast, read part of the newspaper, and gotten the laundry going. You can so tell that we are past the holidays here. The day is just going beautifully.

I’m on the couch right now, sipping coffee while I blog. Princess and Hubster have headed out to church, poor Catholic darlings, while Pixie and I remain delightfully heathen and enjoy a quiet morning at home. In a few, I’ll change clothes, exercise, start dinner for the evening, and get to work on folding laundry. Heck, I may even clean a room or two.

But right now, I’m blogging, and today’s topic of contentment is hobbies. I was just reading in Parade Magazine about how people are reacting to the economy and the damage to their incomes. A lot of folks are giving up the big expenses and are focusing on smaller enjoyments. In the paper last week, an article on thrifty living mentioned picking up a hobby as a way to save money. Hobbies can be easy on the wallet, and they give a person something to do with their free time other than shopping. I know for a fact that when I’m busy with writing or art or podcasting, I certainly don’t have time to spend money, so I’m happy to hear someone else agrees this is a good way to save.

I took up a couple new hobbies recently: knitting, which I’ve mentioned here before; and over the holidays I taught myself to crochet. Only the basics, obviously, but I’m doing well enough right now that I can finally indulge in something I’ve wanted to do for a while – make amigurumi dolls.

Amigurumi dolls are tiny little hand-crafted dolls, either sewn, knitted or crocheted. They can be anything from the usual lineup of stuff animals – bears, tigers, etc. – to things more obscure like little stuffed felt tea cups or ice cream sandwiches with smiley faces embroidered on them. I’ve opted to try crocheting a few dolls, since I found a couple of books on making various horror, fantasy, and sci-fi characters. How cool would it be to make a crocheted ninja! Or a Gorgon! Or a zombie!

While I was visiting my in-laws after Christmas, I started my first attempt. I took a ball of cheap rainbow-colored yarn and picked out the simplest pattern of those in my books (a robot zombie, waaaaay cool!). One of my brothers-in-law joked that it looked like I was making hackey sacks. Those were actually the head and body. Then I spent New Year’s Eve chatting with my best friend Mary while I made the legs and arms and stitched the whole thing together. I made plenty of mistakes. It took me a while to figure out how to count the stitches and how to properly decrease each row to make things come out just right. But by the time I’d finished up the last little leg, I had the hang of things. Pixie immediately claimed the end result as her own, and wouldn’t even let me embroider a little face on it. So now she gambols about the house with what looks like a faceless little malformed psychedelic crocheted voodoo doll, and she loves it. We decided to call him Rainbow Baby (or sometimes Fleur, after the ring master in Cirque du Soliel’s Allegria, which is Pixie’s favorite movie right now).

Here’s a picture of Rainbow Baby.

I’ve already started work on the next one, and this time not making nearly as many mistakes. Princess has already laid claim to him. Since Princess and Pixie are now both taking karate classes, I can imagine I’ll be doing quite a bit of crocheting and knitting while I sit in the dojo and wait for them. I like that idea, that I’ll have a couple of hours every week to just sit and make something simple and fun. Especially if what I’m making ends up being a zombie or a ninja or a Gorgon…

Or a faceless little malformed psychedelic crocheted voodoo doll. I mean really, how cool is that?!

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone, and be sure to take time to relax.

Artsy Fartsy Knitting!

This is a semi-regular post that I do intend to do, as I have a huge love for all things crafty, and finally may have some time to do some crafty things. My most recent venture into the world of the Artsy Fartsy has been in the field of knitting. A friend of mine, Mich, got me started in late June. I had been bemoaning the fact that Princess’ teacher told me she didn’t concentrate as well as she should in school, and Mich offered to teach Princess to knit. She thought it might help Princess learn to focus on a complex task, and give her something fun to do with her hands.

Well, you know if Princess is going to learn how to knit, I was going to have to learn too. Otherwise, how else was I going to help her out when she got stuck? My mom sent Princess a knitting kit, complete with a set of needles, yarn, and basic instruction book. I went out to the local craft store and picked up some needles and yarn of my own. The end result of this is that I have since created a pot holder, a belt,, a dish cloth (with a skull knitted into it!), and now a pair of wrist warmers. I’m most proud of this last accomplishment. The wrist warmers are the first knitted thing I’ve made for myself, and they won’t be the last.

I love that I can make clothing items for myself. I’m very particular about how I dress, though you might not guess it from looking at me. But I flatter myself to think I cultivate a certain sort of goth/punk mommy aura with my tattered jeans and fitted t-shirts, and I like my accessories to reflect that. The wrist warmers will look perfect this winter, giving me a certain radical chic while all the other mama-jamas stand around the bus stop wearing boring old gloves.

Seriously, though, I liked how these turned out, and they got made very quickly, which is also a plus. I’m hoping to make a matching scarf and maybe even a hat for myself as well. I’ve never really had a winter hat that I liked, so this would be a first.

The pattern for the wrist warmers, if you’re interested, comes from Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting, available on You can also get it here from Barnes and Noble.