• Peyote Lake
  • Bighorns
  • Grizzly
  • White Anemone
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Purple Anemone
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Waterton
  • Foothills
  • Iceland
  • Red Sunset
  • White Tiger
  • Red Panda
  • Lightbeams
  • Orange Fungi
  • Grapes
  • Daenan
  • Arlayn
  • Stream
  • Alindar

Yearly archives: 2017

Temperature Blanket: Final Charts!

I wrote last time about how it’s been a hot summer in Calgary so Mom and I decided to tweak our temperature blanket charts in case next summer is just as hot. I made some changes to my chart and then ordered the Bernat yarn I needed. When the (very big) box arrived I excitedly laid out the balls…and immediately decided that a few of the colors weren’t going to work for me. Sigh! I guess I am a yarn snob (and I want my blanket to be really awesome)…

So, more changes! In the end I adjusted the temperature brackets for my blanket too, while Mom is keeping to the original set but with the +30° and -30° brackets added on. Here is where we’ve ended up:


Custom Postcards: Unboxing Magic

Some of my custom Postcrossing postcards.

It’s been almost a month since I first joined Postcrossing. So far I’ve sent seven cards (two are still in transit to their destinations). The two cards I’ve received to date have come from Germany and Ireland:

My first received cards: from Germany (left) and Ireland.

My first received cards: from Germany (left) and Ireland.

I’m actually having a lot of fun! The card from Germany arrived first and was in my mailbox on a day when I’d come home from work feeling lousy. It was a great pick-me-up! There was a lovely note on the back which made me smile. But what really got me grinning today was receiving my shipment of custom postcards from MOO!


Postcrossing!

Postcrossing

Something I did as a kid was participate in pen pal programs. I’ve always loved getting mail and writing letters to someone far away was fun, especially when we decorated them with stickers or included postcards, photos, stories, and other mementos. Two pen pals in particular have stayed in my mind over the years: the first is Carly, a lovely writer and animal lover from eastern Canada who I now keep in touch with via Twitter. I still have all her letters and we killed many a tree sending each other copies of stories we were writing that would surely be incredibly embarrassing if anyone were to read them today. The other pen pal was Ikue, a girl who lived in the Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in Japan. I was in my pre-teen and early teen years when Ikue and I started writing to one another. She wrote the most incredible letters on very fancy, delicate paper, and adorned them with anime- and manga-style drawings (in ink! with no mistakes!). She taught me simple Japanese words and sent me an entire children’s magazine (which probably helped influence my later interest in anime) as well as numerous postcards of her country’s beautiful landscapes and many other adorable things. Sadly, when the Kobe earthquake happened in 1995 I never heard from her again, though I wrote to her several times for a couple of years afterward. Almost 6500 people were killed in that earthquake (roughly 1800 from outside the Kobe area) and I have always wondered if she was one of them or if her home was just destroyed to the point that her family moved with no forwarding address. Maybe it was just a coincidence. None of my letters were ever returned so I really have no idea what happened. It will probably be one of those life mysteries.


Temperature Blanket: Back to Square One

The summer has flown by and soon 2018 will be here! It might be a bit early to be thinking about the new year for most things, but when it comes to yarn projects more lead time seems better, especially when trying to source specific yarn or adhere to a particular plan. The other day I reminded Mom that we should think about getting yarn for our temperature blankets. She (quite excitedly) exclaimed that she had finally found a pattern she felt she could use—and now I’m excited about it too!


A New Chibi Daenan

It’s been a long while since I had any truly new art to share for Heart of the Empire, but on Saturday I had an opportunity to get a commission from Sarah “Sakky” Forde. She was kind enough to draw Daenan using the updated ardrakin species design I’ve been working on. The female version of that new design hasn’t been started yet, but Sakky’s commission is chibi style so the proportions for a female versus a male aren’t as important. It came out great! Here is her adorable work:


Quality of Life Improvements – Incyanity Updates

One of the things I love about WordPress is its flexibility. Since moving Incyanity off Joomla in October of 2015 I’ve continued to tweak the site here and there as the need arose, and in the meantime have been able to add new content on a fairly regular (for me) basis. The other thing I really love about WordPress over Joomla is its built-in RSS functionality: whereas Joomla very annoyingly did not have a combined RSS feed for all content regardless of its category, WordPress provides that by default (along with the ability to follow only specific categories or tags if a person so desires), making it very easy for readers to subscribe to the site. WordPress also makes it easy to update existing content and “republish” it simply by updating the published date of the article. I’ve done this a few times since posting the various Heart of the Empire compendium articles, as the creative process is ongoing and several updates have been made to them—and what better way to let readers know there is new content than to simply republish it?

One of the things I hate about RSS reader apps is, depending on the app in question, the updated article isn’t always fetched. Said article appears at the top of the RSS feed on the site based on its updated publish date, but some reader apps remain blind to that change…meaning certain people who follow my content will never know it’s been changed no matter how many times they check their app, unless they come to the site itself and see those updated articles on the landing page. This was aggravating to discover: I tried a few so-called “popular” RSS apps and a few of the highest-recommended ones didn’t show my republished content even after clearing the app cache or deleting and re-adding the feed. Other apps had no issues but weren’t as widely used, probably because they are poorly designed or don’t have as many features. Rawr.

One of the few things I miss about Joomla is its built-in ability to display the date an article was last modified. WordPress has the function but doesn’t seem to integrate it by default and none of the WordPress themes I’ve ever considered bothered to use it either. Bummer. Originally I didn’t care so much because I could just republish…until I discovered that some RSS apps are stupid about that. Full circle arg. What to do?


Temperature Blanket

What’s a temperature blanket? Is it a blanket you plug into the wall, or is it something less likely to short out and burn down your house? I had never heard of temperature blankets until a few weeks ago when @LionBrandYarn tweeted this:

Discovering temperature blankets for the first time!

Discovering temperature blankets for the first time!

When I looked into what a temperature blanket was, it seemed to be a nifty and fun idea, especially since Calgary can have some pretty wild weather at any time of the year!


The Growing Stash: Becoming a Yarn Snob?

In my entry called Beginner Crochet: Ten Tips I Wish Tutorials Had Taught Me, I said:

Make it a rule for yourself that you’re not allowed to get more yarn if the basket is full.

At the time, I’d just purchased a fairly large wicker basket to stash my yarn in. I had more yarn than I expected and when I was done putting it all in, the basket was full. I wrote that quote above with the best of intentions and figured it’d be reasonably easy for me to keep to that rule, mostly because I’m primarily interested in crocheting amigurumi and one does not really need a lot of yarn for that.

In that entry, I also said:

Fact is, unless you are remarkably strong-willed (but just assume you aren’t, it’ll be easier in the long run), your stash won’t be confined to that small space for very long. There are just too many pretty yarns out there…

Pretty yarns indeed. I now have direct evidence to support that, like many other people, I am definitely not strong-willed. I have succumbed to the lure of pretty yarn! I am not ashamed of this! But now my stash doesn’t fit in the basket, not even close. It got to the point where the basket was an overflowing mess that was taking over the living room. While organizing it, I started to wonder if I’m becoming something of a yarn snob.


On the Go

As I start writing this entry I’m sitting on my balcony, rocking gently on my deck swing. It’s mid-morning on a Sunday and it will be a beautiful spring day, even though for the moment I have a blanket wrapped around me because the sun hasn’t quite come around the building far enough to warm up my deck. My neighborhood is quiet; other than a distant lawn mower and few cars going by there’s nothing to listen to except for chickadees, swallows, red wing blackbirds, and some other songbirds I don’t know the names of. It’s a clear day and I can see the Rockies stretching away to the south all the way to the Chain Lakes and then some. They still have quite a lot of snow on them. There’s a May tree growing off to the side just below my balcony that in a few years will be almost tall enough to touch. I like May trees; like lilacs and crab apples, the gentle fragrance of the flowers is one of the best parts of spring in Calgary.

This year I’ve taken to sitting on my balcony quite a lot on weekends when the weather is good (and even when it’s tolerably miserable). Life has been busy…maybe a little too busy…and these moments offer some peace and quiet that I feel I desperately need.


Time for Music

The commercial ended and she came back on the screen.

What is that thing called again? Devek wondered, contemplating the black box on the wall. Ah yes. A television. Forefather of the integrated-vid data stream… The information tickled his brain for a moment. Strange how the ads of this time and mine seem so similar. Did we really lose everything, or is it still there, somehow?

He was sitting at the bar, a glass of scotch, on the rocks and nearly empty, between his fingers. His CO would put him on report for drinking while on duty—and not only that, but drinking real alcohol—but Devek didn’t care. Hell, that bastard had ordered him into this mess. Devek figured he deserved to get drunk. He rubbed a hand through his close-cropped brown hair.

She was singing now. He drained the last of the cool liquid, feeling it bite as it went down. The sensation was disappointingly not comforting. Devek coughed, unused to the drink, and signaled the bartender for another. His eyes never wavered from the screen. Yes, she was singing again, but it was becoming evening and the lounge was filling up. Her sweet voice was almost lost among the clink of glass and the yammering of the other patrons.

Couldn’t they shut up and listen? He wanted to climb onto the bar and yell at them to quit with their pointless small talk. Just listen, he felt like shouting. Too soon music will be dead!