"Whatever shall we do in that remote spot? Well, we'll write our memoirs. Work is the scythe of time." --Napoleon Bonaparte, on his way into exile.

Monday, August 29, 2005

And now for something completely different.

Because I'm trying not to think of my favorite city underwater. At least the French Quarter seems to have been spared the worst.

I think my love of nachos did me in.

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Artist Trading Cards for Harry Potter, Book 4

HP4 Cover ATC
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Otherwise known as "ATCs," I had a burst of creativity the night of my birthday (okay, a large mocha at 4p helped...a lot...) and stayed up until 2a creating these. The first one is my "cover card," explaining the set. The rest are themed out by the schools participating in the Triwizard Tournament and the tests that make up the Tournament. I made three identical sets of cards, for trading, so if you're reading this and you've done any HP ATCs and want to trade, let me know!

I had spent the day at the rubber stamp store in Northville. They are consolidating their scrapbook store next door, and had a ton of sale stamps. I spend a couple of HOURS wading through bins of wood-mounted stamps, and ended up with many that reflected the world of Harry Potter. No big surprise, since I'm on to Book 5 now. I've even been having Harry Potter-themed dreams, which is almost enough to make me stop reading. Really. I need to stop.

I used the fonts "Lumos" and "Michaelmas" -- both free downloads somewhere out there -- and the Adobe Pagemaker software that I love for graphic design (I had to - quickly - teach myself the software years ago when I suddenly found myself editor of a newsletter for a real estate association with 3,000+ members...GULP).

I cut the cream-colored cardstock down to 2"x3" cards, which I mounted on 2 1/4" x 3 1/4" mats, then on the final 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" ATC (which happens to be baseball-card size, as are all ATCs).

These were a lot of fun to create. Enjoy.

ATCs for HP4 - The Schools

HP4 School ATCs
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

The first set features the schools competing in the Triwizard Tournament. Hogwarts is a little dull. I had the most fun with Beauxbatons, because I have a lot of French-themed stamps. The only hints of Durmstrang's location is that they are in the "cold north" and that Viktor Krum is from Bulgaria. The onion domes fit the architecture of the "cold north," plus they're a friendly nod to E, who is re-reading all the HP books along with me.

ATCs for HP4 - The Tests

HP4 Test ATCs
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Each of these feature glittery embossing powders, which are difficult to scan. The black dragon is covered in a black, sparkly, irridescent powder (very cool IRL), the mermaid is done in a silver sparkle powder, then colored with irridescent Twinkling H2O paints (very VERY cool, a little *too* pretty for the merpeople in the book, though), and the cup is embossed with a gold sparkle powder. The background is a maze I found at this very cool time-sucking site.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm officially an HP Geek...

I'm joining the Prisoner of Azkaban scarf knitalong. Late, but in earnest. I hope to have it done by the 4th movie's release in November (true geekdom: wearing Harry Potter gear to a showing of a movie...and no, I refuse to wear a robe or pointy hat). This pattern is much more subtle than the scarlet and gold "blocks" version from the first two films, which I never liked. The second I saw the "trapped bars" version, I wanted to make it. Except perhaps not as long. I don't care for scarves that long (85"...yikes!)

Since I got a 20% discount for mentioning my birthday at Old Village Yarn Shoppe (I asked in complete innocence when I saw their desk calendar and thought, "why not?"), I'm using 4 skeins of Plymouth Encore color #999 (more of a burgundy than a scarlet, but hey -- it's my scarf, and it matches the colors in the film) and 3 of Dalegarn Heilo color #1405 (a better gold than they had in Encore). The gal who rung me up thought I was making a Central Michigan scarf. Heh.

Yes, I know, Plymouth Encore is 25% wool/75% acrylic and the Dalegarn is 100% wool, but the gauges match and it's a scarf, so I don't plan on washing it as regularly as a sweater. We'll see how it goes as I knit it.

Full court

Full court
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

We were in Cincinnati this weekend for the Master's Tournament (part of the U.S. Open series...the blue courts are a tip-off, FYI). This was just after the Federer-Ginepri semi-final on Saturday. They finished up *moments* before the rain started.

This shot (Shocker! A decent one of me!) shows how far we were from the court. Not bad seats, actually. The tennis ball around my neck is actually a pair of binoculars. Cracked us both up, we had to have them, even though they were useless.

Of course, I'd rather have spent my weekend at the fleece fair in Allegan, but I blew my budget at the rubber stamp show earlier this month, and since Tess was at my mom and dad's, it was a good weekend to get away with my sweetie.

heavenly cloud

heavenly cloud
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

At least we got some relief on Saturday. No such luck on Sunday. My camera actually overheated, and I could not get any shots of the trophy ceremony.


Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

His game is too perfect to root for him.

Mad Max Mirnyi & Bjorkman

Mad Max Mirnyi & Bjorkman
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

From the doubles semi-final, which followed the singles semi after the rain stopped and they cleaned up the courts.

"Mad" Max covered his mouth every time he had a conversation with Bjorkman. Like his opponents could read lips across the court.


Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

His serve is just a blur. This is the best shot I could get, during his semi-final with Hewitt. We watched from a perch just outside the main court entrance, as we didn't have tickets for the evening match. We caught Roddick in action again the next day, in his final with Federer.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

HP WT...?!

Sorry, just came across these reviews and did a "WTH?!" on this line:

"Ralph Fiennes is very good as You-Know-Who."

Yeah, I haven't really been following the filming news from HPIV...but I have seen the trailer everyone is talking about. Very atmospheric.

Just found out I share a birthday with one of the Weasleys...and not my favorite. Not many people's favorite, actually...grr...

Scrapbooking Layouts

Since I can't figure out how to force Blogger's photo upload to put my photos in the order I want, I'll just post them individually through Flickr and explain them up in this post.

I cropped last Friday; two friends bailed on me and I didn't get to the shop until 8:30p, so I didn't think I'd get as much done as I did. I also cropped on Sunday out at the Zone and again surprised myself, considering I was waiting on my SU demo to deliver some paper and ballet-themed stamps I wanted to use for my niece's layout.

I did Top of the Park on Friday, after finishing my Fourth of July layout (which I haven't shared here - haven't scanned it yet). I wanted circles to compliment the striped paper I used for the title; found a styrofoam bowl that did the trick for the larger circle.

I finished my nephew's layout months ago; just put it here because I was putting up my niece's. Gotta be fair with those two; they're only a year apart.

With my niece's layout, I discovered I could finish up bits & pieces of a layout at home, in the mornings while Tess plays. Add some ribbon here, paint some title letters there, let it dry, work some more again the next morning. I'm pleased with how this one turned out.

Top of the Park Layout

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Fun with circles

Baptism/Confirmation Layout

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Pictures of my nephew from 1991 (baptism) and 2005 (confirmation)

Dance Layout

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

My niece Sydney.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


You might belong in Gryffindor
Where dwell the brave at heart
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart.

I scored 58% Gryffindor, 28% Ravenclaw (?!), 24% Hufflepuff, and 16% Slytherin.

I took another test, through another site, and it put me in Hufflepuff. That's where I thought I belonged, but this test still told me Gryffindor. I might take the test again, just to be sure...

Or find that other test. It was through a knitter's blog...hmm...

D'oh! Here it is...and I'm still Gryffindor. Last time I took it, I said my favorite class was Charms, which isn't exactly truthful. With my love of cooking, I think I'd enjoy Potions more. I was afraid that would put me in Slytherin. Silly me.

a Gryffindor!

Hee, Kim is a Squib. That proves my answer to question 5: "I most enjoy the company of people...who are interesting and willing to be different."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Fairy Socks

I was going to go in with Kate on another Knit Picks order, and get the #0000 needles and pattern I needed for sock "earrings," but I realized I've knit enough socks (3 different kinds) to figure this out for myself. to Flying Sheep yesterday, to get the needles (and another skein of Summer Tweed, in Denim, for The Stole: 11 skeins down, 13 to go...).

The gal who rang me up said they use the #0000s for beading. The box said "lace needles." Since they were listed in the Knit Picks catalog alongside their sock yarn and the earring pattern, I decided to go for it, using the scraps I have from my first pair of (human-sized) socks (it has a little silver know how fairies love the sparkle).

Naturally, with self-striping yarn, you aren't going to get two matching socks, although I may try again when I get to the end of my second skein. There is a repeating pattern to the yarn, after all.

I think these would actually be a bit large for fairies, but there is no way I could go smaller with sock yarn. My lace weight silk from Japan, possibly. But I love the sparkle in my Fortissimo Disco yarn.

Too fun.

Knit In on Tuesday was great, even though it was Jen's last visit with us before she moves to D.C. I scurried off after the meeting to talk Harry Potter theories with her and Kim, well out of Emily's hearing range, since she hasn't read #6 yet.

Oh, BTW, looky who I Myers-Brigged out to be in the HP universe. Hmm...I always thought I was an INFP, not INFJ. Oh well, there's only 20 questions, instead of the standard 500. Props to Kim for the quiz link.

And Jillian (aka "Lupin,"an INFP) was kind enough to give me her advanced reading copy of a new (not-yet-published) sock book I sat drooling over at the meeting (very Perceptive). A year and a half away from BSC, and my free book mojo is still working!

Full of history (most of which I've read before in A Social History of Knitting...yes, I'm a geek, I read that one about 15 years ago, when I should have been busy knitting...Warren gave it to me as a gift...he knew me well), I've got dreams of lovely sock patterns in my head. Now to finish all those Second Socks I've got waiting.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Retail Therapy

Did you know there's a football movie (not Brian's Song, that's too obvious) that can make you break down and weep if you are totally hormonal? One word: Rudy. Swear to god, it's worse than Beaches.

"Rudy! Rudy! Rudy...!" Say that to me. Go ahead. Have Kleenex ready. A whole box.

Nothing much else is happening in the Ministry of Female Mysteries over here. Minimal bleeding, serious cramping last night (even with Motrin, still not bad enough to go to the hospital), yet...nothing. Last time it took exactly 30 hours, and when it was over, I knew (I will spare you the gory details, unless you're going through it yourself and wondering, WTH?!). So, a D&C might still be in my future. I have an ultrasound tomorrow that I may have to reschedule, or the doctor might just schedule surgery for me when she hears what's going on. I'm actually hoping for surgery, just to get this over with. It's torture.

Talked to my mom this morning. She's been through 3 miscarriages (I can't even imagine), that's how they ended up adopting me (I have two older brothers and a younger sister my mother managed to carry to term, though, so there's hope). It is so great having someone who understands what you are going through, even if things were different 40 years ago. Just talking, I've discovered, is a huge relief.

THANKS to all my peeps who wrote with their sympathy. I hope to see (most of) you on Tuesday, depending on what goes on with my body in the next two days. I hope it's all over soon.

Yesterday I couldn't bear the thought of staying home one. more. day. I had to get out of the house. I had stopped bleeding overnight and felt no cramping Saturday morning, so I took E's offer to skip his usual Saturday morning tennis game (trust me, that's like Billy Graham missing church) and watch Tess while I headed off to Auntie Amy's.

I was so depressed that for the first hour I just wandered around, avoiding overly crowded booths and make-n-take lines (m-n-t's are there to sell new, "hot" product, PERIOD), and not going through bins of cheap unmounted stamps (my utter weakness). I was almost proud that I would be able to go home without having spent even half of the $60 I'd taken out of the ATM that morning (including parking, $5, GRRR, show ticket, $6, and lunch, $4).

Lunch revived me, however, and I went on to spend the rest of my $60 (wait, I have a couple of dollar bills left, that NEVER happens) and dropping another $100 on my credit card. My take for the day:

  • At Rubber Romance, a respectful number of unmounteds. I actually put some back that I really wanted. This was before lunch, though, so I was still restraining myself. I complimented the gal ringing me up on their classy line of "fresh" stamp images. I avoid all booths that hint "cutesy" (think "country mice"). I finally picked up the perfect mermaid stamp.
  • I continued my restraint at Cherry Pie Art Stamps. Found a "Namaste: I honour the light within you" stamp to go with the cool India elephant stamp I got last year, and (not really thematically related, just the best ink for watercoloring and using markers on images) an India Black inkpad packaged with reinker. They had some really cool Halloween images, including a "Witches' Alphabet" stamp that I put back (lest I go wild with the rest of the Halloween line). I didn't even know there was a witches' alphabet...
  • At Creative Mode (after lunch), I lost all restraint. Theirs was the very last booth I visited one year, completely out of cash AND credit, so I could not purchase their very, very cool Wonder Wash. This year I bought all three colors, then visited their unmounted bins. I had some images ready to put back when I got into line (the bins got crowded and I didn't want to try and find their envelopes, even though I'm usually good about doing that). Somehow, instead of giving them to the cashier to re-file, I heard her say "Fifty-four dollars and eighty-six cents, well, that's sure cheaper than buying them mounted!" and I had to agree with her...

Since I'd suddenly remembered GEE, these booths take credit cards, too! it was all over.

  • Well, dang. Now that I had a TON of unmounteds, I was going to have to visit the Cowtown booth after all, for more HALOs velcro and storage sheets...
  • Oh look at that, Wisconsin Stamp Supplies has cool inkpad storage systems (an expense I could not justify this year, but I took a flyer). And yay! waterpens cheaper than at Creative Mode...
  • Why is everyone always hanging around dreamer's designs? She doesn't have a website, perhaps? Her unmounteds are unique (if a bit steep)? All that, and she carries a lot of things that I can get at my local store. Except for microscope slides, ooo-wee. I'm off to hunt for copper tape to wrap them...
  • Next year I need to take a list of everything basic that I'm looking for and head to Gary M Burlin & Company right off the bat. Prices can be steep on some things, but lord, that man has EVERYTHING (except an online store). Including copper tape. And silver tape. And that Walnut Ink book I've been looking for. And a cheap Darice paper crimper. And glass microbeads. And Transfer Ink. And...and...and..

...I'm spent.

Now, off to get creative, so I can post some pictures later and share some of my goodies with you in an non-copyright-infringing way.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Why I'm Quiet

This has not been a good two weeks. On the one hand, it's been nice keeping a secret, but now that it's unraveling, I need to unload.

I have been nauseous for the last month, worse in the evening, but that will end soon. At first I was happy to be nauseous, because the last time I was pregnant, I was not nauseous at all, then I miscarried, so I took it as a good sign this time around.

But same as last time, I will not be pregnant for much longer. I lasted about one more week this time (10 instead of 9), and I credit my giving up caffeine for that. I took care of myself in many small ways this time around, but it all came to naught.

So, sorry if I am quiet a little while longer.