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Jan. 3rd, 2017 @ 09:22 am Moving and backing up
So, like a lot of other folks, I now have a blog over at Dreamwidth. I'm amethyst73 there too; haven't got my usericon loaded up yet, but that will come.  I still do most of my posting in a private circle on Google+; let me know if you want to be part of that if you're not already.

This is also a post to test out the Word/PDFing ability of BlogBook, which has been recommended to me as a way to back up my LJ account prior to possibly deleting it forever. (I can't imagine that anyone in Russia cares about my sewing projects, reviews, or family issues, but I haven't decided.) BlogBook will make a free PDF of your LiveJournal for the past year of posts, and a free Word doc for the past 6 months, and charges you for anything further back than that. I started this blog back in 2007, which is waaaaaaaaayyyy too many posts to manually back up, so it seems worthwhile paying the $29.99 or whatever to get the whole shebang. But I want to make sure it works first.

Here, have a random picture to test its picture-saving capabilities.

There. That should do it.
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Mar. 22nd, 2015 @ 06:44 pm More sewing stuff!
I did some messing around with the fabric I'll be using for the Artemis pillow yesterday.  It's fuzzy on both sides; the longer fuzz is presumably the front.

Front side

Technical natterings and a question for onyoukaiCollapse )

The pieces are coming together!  I've cut out almost all my applique pieces (the nose is so small I figure that if I try to cut it out beforehand it'll probably get lost, so I'll cut it when I'm ready), and here they are, almost in context.  Everything is going to come closer together at the center, but you get the idea.  It's going to be totes adorbs.  :)

(Also, who'd have thunk of me making fan art??!?)
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Feb. 28th, 2015 @ 09:45 pm Sewing stuff
So I posted a couple of things on G+ recently that I thought I would put here.

Huz took a look at this setup and wasn't sure whether it was a sewing project, or a piece of ritual magic in progress.  :)

One person thought I was making a Catbus, to which the answer is "no".  The yellow is misleading; this was just a mockup to see if I'd gotten the shape right when I filled it.

Then today I did this:

Another piece of the latest work-in-progress.  (Hint: It's not in the right orientation, and I only really need one for the moment.)

This is interesting primarily because it was my first experiment with my (ancient) (obscure) (unintuitive) (but free) embroidery software, thred32 (based on an even older program called thred).

The bottom form differs from the top form only in that the top curvy part was a little wider to try to reduce the satin-stitch effect I was getting.  (The top form ran out of bobbin thread partway through stitching, that's why there's that weird pulled area in the middle.)  It was somewhat successful; clearly I need to fiddle with the software more and see what else can be done.

The other thing I noticed was that the stitch distances, both for the understitching and the top fill, were smaller than what I've seen in the commercial patterns I've downloaded.  I used the default lengths/distances in thred for everything, and I think I'll probably try expanding the distances between stitches -  but possibly shortening the stitch length to try to get rid of that satin nonsense - next iteration.

The bottom one is probably good enough to use as an applique in my project, so I won't be doing any more messing with this particular form... at least not for a while.  At some point in the future, I will want a second one of these, and will probably get a more lemon-yellow color of embroidery thread to do it with.  (That's your other hint as to exactly what this project is.)
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Jan. 22nd, 2015 @ 09:35 am Tazz Cat Eastman, 12/1994-1/15/15
Tazz was one of our first two cats.  He and his brother Bernie were included in the package when we bought our house in 2002.  We had always wanted cats, and the previous owners didn’t have room for them where they were moving, so we took them on.  The two boys lived outside for the first few years, where they played in the yard, hung out on the deck, and took shelter in the garage when it rained.  Tazz had a buddy in his outdoor, a little black kitty who later joined our household.  We’d often come home to find Tazz and Billie in the front yard, Billie intently doing whatever she was doing and Tazz watching closely.

About the same time that we brought Bernie into the house to care for his sun-induced carcinoma, we brought Tazz in too.  At first Tazz was not happy at being inside, and would tell us repeatedly, at length, and at high volume just how displeased he was at the whole situation.  But he figured out pretty quickly that being inside at night was considerably more comfortable than being outside, and he adapted quickly.
Cut for length; kitty medical woes near the endCollapse )
Thank you, Tazz, for teaching us how to be kitty parents.  You were an awesome, amazing, adaptable kitty, and we will always love you.
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Dec. 20th, 2014 @ 11:07 am Kitty shenanigans
Our cat Penny bit the vet last week in a fit of terror.  We've baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies for him, and I enclosed the following note (more or less; I cursed myself about two seconds after sealing the envelope)
Dear [vet],
I am very sorry I bit you last week.  I was very scared but I am still sorry.  I asked my humans how I could apologize to you and they said what about a nice gift and I thought I could give you my favorite catnip toy even though that would be hard for me but they thought you would like cookies better. I hope you like the cookies and I am very sorry.
Your friend,
Penelope Eastman (dictated to Catharine Eastman)


Wow.  I never post here anymore.

I've got a tumblr account that I'm using mostly for embroidery stuff (at any rate that's the plan); my username is ceastman73.  onyoukai, I think you said you had a tumblr?  What's the address?
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Oct. 7th, 2014 @ 09:02 pm Awesome birthday stuff
Today was my 41st birthday.  Happy birthday, me!

Huz gave me Christopher Tin's recent album, The Drop That Contained The Sea.  I'd gotten my hands on Calling All Dawns as part of a Humble Bundle, and we'd both really enjoyed it - world music but very catchy, great orchestration, a different language and origin for each of the tracks.. really neat stuff.  Drop is in a way more of the same, but it's more of the same great stuff, so we're very happy.

We relaxed after dinner by watching Zombie Orpheus Entertainment's latest release, Humans and Households.  Since they're not tied to a pre-existing script written by a crazy Christian guy (see Dark Dungeons... but stop watching after the steam tunnels scene, cuz then it gets really boring and unfortunate), it's ZOE's usual mix of RPG riffs and humor.  Funny, funny stuff.  (And short - the three episodes together are only about half an hour.)  Check out ep 1 below!

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Oct. 3rd, 2014 @ 10:11 pm AIs as humans - for digitalemur
Hey digitalemur!

I know that copperbadge had been vaguely thinking about JARVIS in human form for a while, but nonetheless this tumblr post reminded me strongly of the tactile input bit in $LoveStory part 2. Is s/he stepping on toes? If so, I'll bite them for you.

(It reminds me of it in a GOOD way. It's sweet, and neat, and just a little sexy. Avengers and JARVIS fans might consider reading it. Plus, it's short.)
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Aug. 20th, 2014 @ 09:52 pm (no subject)
Sorry everyone - I've been posting pretty much everything over on G+.  (onyoukai, didn't you say you were on G+ somewhere?)  I don't know if the links embedded below will work if you're not in the appropriate circles - feel free to try though.

Life's been - surprise! - mostly dealing with the aftermath of my father's death.

There was signing the form promising that my dad wouldn't explode when they cremated him.

There was the exhausting process of trying to go through as much stuff in the house as my brother and I could over the course of a week, and shipping stuff, and meeting with people.  I found a bunch of neat things in the process of cleaning out, and documented a small number of them in various posts.

There was the business with the cemetery when I thought we might not be able to bury my parents in the plot they wanted (since resolved).

There was ordering a headstone.

There was finding out you can get urns from walmart online, but that's not where I bought the one that arrived at the funeral home today.

There was tracking down as many people as I possibly could in my father's addressbook to notify and invite them to the memorial.  (Still not quite done; there are folks I emailed who haven't responded, notably some near-ish cousins.)

There's still stuff.  I need to change the burial time to a little later in the afternoon so that there's time to eat and hang out after the service.  I need to get a proposal from the caterer for lunch that day.  I need to send a bunch of checks to the church for the service.  I need to finish putting together the playlist for during the reception.  And I need to write my four minutes' worth of eulogy.

I have to remind myself it'll all be okay.  I'll get it all done.  And I'll be okay.


(And I'll be better about cross-posting!)
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May. 26th, 2014 @ 08:53 pm Langdon F. Lombard, 1940-2014
Langdon Frothingham Lombard passed away earlier this evening peacefully at his home.  One of his caregivers and our care manager was with him.  He was 73.

There's not a huge rush for me to go back; we don't have the same immediate problems to be solved as we did when my mother died four years ago, but I'll be flying back to Boston this Saturday (5/31) and staying for a week to do stuff.  r_ness, I know you're around this coming week - are you around next week as well?

Thank you all for your support.  It means a lot to me.
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May. 22nd, 2014 @ 07:27 pm (no subject)
Tags: ,
Ugh. Dad may be dying.

Still going to reunion; I saw him yesterday, and he recognized me briefly, but that was it. His caregiver, who he adores, is there with him and won't leave his side, so it's not like he's all by himself. But assuming he goes soon, I'll be heading back to Boston afterwards rather than back to California.
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May. 12th, 2014 @ 09:24 pm John Watson has a blog!
With much thanks to scifigrl47 over at archiveofourown (read all her stuff here), I'm now reading the official blogs of Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, as presented by the BBC.

There's blog entries.  (The early ones on John's site are adorably clueless.)  There's forum entries.  (Holmes and Watson chat on Holmes' forums quite a bit, and it's as entertaining as their on-screen interaction.)

Go. Read them now.

Watson's blog
Holmes' site
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Apr. 5th, 2014 @ 11:00 am Dreamland is strange...
I had a bunch of interesting dream-fragments last night.

One bit was about riding a train, possibly in the doorway of the train.  It was going somewhat slowly, so that was okay.  I could see ladybird97 playing ball/catch with a small child/creature in a yard (or something - it might have been on Old Campus or New Haven Green) nearby, and we arranged to meet up later.  (All while I was on the train, mind you.)  The train part no doubt comes from r_ness's recent posts and photos about riding trains in various parts of India, of which I saw several last night before bed.

There was another bit where I was riding in a car with my mom (Hi Mom!  Miss you!).  My window was open, and I saw a bald eagle circling low over a building.  I cried out in wonder, "Mom, there's a bald eagle!  A bald eagle!"  The eagle came over to us, perching on.. I dunno.  It was larger than the real-life birds, probably about twice as big.  It seemed to want the piece of dark chocolate I was eating.  I said, "I don't think you'll like it.." but I offered it the chocolate.  The eagle ate it (without mauling my hand), and then got the kind of disappointed, disgusted look that a kid might get when eating dark chocolate.  But it seemed to want some more anyway, so I gave it another piece.  No clue where that all came from.

The last bit I remember was, there was a Baptist church in a field which was largely dry mown grass or hay or something.  Huz and I were on a bike, and we had an argument over precisely where and precisely how to lock up and leave the bike.  (There were bike racks, and something like a swingset, and the discussion was mostly over whether where we were 'parking' would block other people from getting through, or whether we were taking up more than our fair share of room, or whether we were 'parked' too close to the church.)  I'm guessing the church might be because I'm reading Kingsolver's amazing Poisonwood Bible right now, which has a Baptist family in it.  The bike and the argument?  Dunno.
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Mar. 31st, 2014 @ 09:26 pm Question for sewing people
So, I was putting together the bird bag earlier today.  I use a light cotton duck for the body and a (undoubtedly unnecessarily heavy) nylon thread for sewing, with an (also undoubtedly unnecessarily heavy) 110/18 jeans needle.  I start with a very long piece of fabric, fold it in half (with the fold being the bottom), sew up the edges with a triple seam stitch, finish the seams with an overlocking stitch, and then use standard straight stitching for the top and attaching the handles.  The stitch length is generally 3-3.5 mm to account somewhat for the heaviness of the fabric; I may be Doing It Wrong and having the stitches be kind of too big, but the standard 2.5 mm made things behave badly.

Sewing problems with photosCollapse )
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Mar. 24th, 2014 @ 09:18 pm Short life update. More later, I promise!
Tags: , ,
So, I've been doing stuff.

I've done another embroidery-on-a-bag, this one for one of my aunts.

And I put a panda on the back of the jacket of a good friend's daughter.

And, well, there's other stuff.

I went to a cardiologist the other week to discuss what appeared to be a high resting heart rate, combined with slightly high blood pressure.  The haven't-written-the-whole-thing-up-yet short version: I have a heart!  And it does in fact go pretty darn fast: when I sleep, it's around 90 bpm.  Your average person, by comparison, is down around 50-60 bpm when they sleep.  I'll be going in again the day after tomorrow for some imaging.. and to find out what my heart does when I actually try to exercise hard, as opposed to walking at a good pace.  (I know how I feel when I exercise too hard: head pounds, get nauseous.. generally unpleasant.  Wonder what my heart's doing?)  Stay tuned!

The other thing?  We found out last week that it's not going to be feasible to have my dad in his house much longer.  The only bathroom - and hence the only shower - is upstairs.  He can get upstairs with a great deal of help, but it's going to get to the point where he just can't.  So our care managers are talking to real estate agents about single-floor apartments that can at least be accessed by wheelchair, and we'll move him sometime in the next couple of months, maybe even when we're out in May for Huz's college reunion.  Stay tuned on this point too.
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Mar. 24th, 2014 @ 09:13 am Birthday wishes
Happy (belated) birthday to meepodeekin and orewashinanai!  May they, and the year to come, be full of good things.  :)
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Feb. 6th, 2014 @ 10:21 pm Behind on Sherlock, no spoilers pleeeeeze (but contains spoilers for end of Season 2)
So we just finished watching Reichenbach Fall (conclusion to Episode 3 of Season 2.  You know.  That one).

<deep breath>
Spoilers for end of season 2 if you care about that.Collapse )

Oh.  I am still alive.  Worky work.  Cats.  Some sewing stuff.  Singing going well.  The usual.  It's even raining!
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Jan. 6th, 2014 @ 04:52 pm Callie Cat, ~2004-1/5/14
Current Mood: sadsad

About a year after we moved into our current home, three feral kittens showed up in the neighborhood, often hanging out in our yard and driveway.  The next-door neighbors assured us that they would take care of the kittens, and we thought no more about it.  Callie and her several siblings, who came along about a year later, introduced us to the feral cat population problem in California.

Callie was a pretty little calico, mostly white with harlequin patches of black and orange here and there.  The coloration around her right eye was quite striking: surrounded by an orange patch, she had a thin outline of black right around the eye that looked exactly like eyeliner.  Her fur was fairly soft, somewhere between the wiry stiffness of Mouse and the velvet of Billie.  Her skull had a prominent ridge at the back which always surprised me when I petted her.

But it took a while to learn the softness of her fur and the shape of her skull, because she was even shyer than the other kittens in the litter. We barely knew she existed for a few months after we first saw her siblings; I suppose she might have belonged to some other feral group. After some work, our backside neighbor L managed to catch her and get her spayed.  For some time after this traumatic experience, Callie refused to let any of us come near her, though she happily ate the kibble we left outside for her.

After a few years, Callie gradually lost her fear of humans.  She regularly came in to both our and L’s house.  If it was particularly cold, we’d sometimes let her spend the night, though she often yowled to be let out at five in the morning.  Over the last few months, she became quite social, demanding to be petted and jumping up onto the futon and next to or onto our laps if we were sitting there.  She was really quite affectionate if given the chance, and was even willing to approach strangers to be petted.

She was an excellent hunter and would announce her latest kill on our back porch.  After the first time that she brought her prey inside for our approval, we learned to step outside to praise her instead… and then go inside while she completed the messy business of playing with and eating her kill.  (There was one episode when she hadn’t done in her catch quite as thoroughly as one might like, and the squeak that the poor injured mouse made as it tried - and failed - to escape subsequent capture sounded _exactly_ like a squeaky cat toy.)  Despite her being fed by two households and supplementing her own diet occasionally, she never gained much weight.

Possible TMI: discussion of kitty woes including cancer and inappropriate defecationCollapse )

May you romp in fields filled with fat mice, kitty buddies, and loving humans.  We’ll miss you, Callie.
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Dec. 18th, 2013 @ 01:44 am Recent embroidery photos!
Here's some of the stuff I've embroidered recently.

Picspam!Collapse )
I haven't been as happy with the patterns that came with the machine as I have with the patterns I've bought off the web.  Part of the problem is likely that the booklet that came with the machine only has REALLY TINY pictures of the big patterns, so it's really hard to see what they look like in any detail.  Also, this particular set of patterns got printed out a shade or three too dark. Further, there's just color swatches next to each picture, without a written description of what each color is _for_.

What I would love, is to have embroidery software that can (1) read the .pcf files that are on the machine (and which are made whenever I put a combination of stuff together, like the Cthulhu text) and (2) has thread color choices that at least are pretty close to the colorset I've got.  I've now had two patterns (the ducks and the palm tree thing) where I've been distinctly disappointed by the thread colors I've used, and I'd really like to have a way to simulate results without having to spending an hour or so using materials to stitch out a pattern.
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Dec. 14th, 2013 @ 02:27 pm Happy birthday, resonance42!
Many happy returns of the day!  (Take the day OFF, willya?)  :)
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Nov. 30th, 2013 @ 01:06 am Sewing stuff!
Hi everyone!  I know I’ve been a little quiet with regards to what I’ve been sewing recently.  It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything - quite the opposite - but I wanted to keep things private, so that Certain People wouldn’t see their designs in advance.
Pictures ahoy!Collapse )
So that’s what I’ve been up to recently!  It’s still a blast.  I love love love my machine.  :)
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