Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 16: P Is For Postal Mail

I adore non-bill mail.  I started sending cards to friends and now we have a little network that sends each other actual cards in, you know, the mailbox.

Pretty awesome.

What do you think of postal mail?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 15: O Is For Optimism

I find, that of all the choices we make each day, the choice to be an optimist is the most underrated.  It's considered by some to be naive, even.

But consider this:  if we didn't try, if we didn't do something that we haven't done before, then what?  We just stay the same as we are and do not grow.  That's not brave.  That's the opposite of brave.

What things are you happy about today?  This week?  Right now?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 14: N Is For Noonhour

This is my favorite Noonhour episode.  I read one of the pieces I wrote for the March FADness competition, which was a new prompt each day in the month of March.  That month I wrote 31 different flash fiction pieces along with two Flash Fiction Carnival pieces - it was a great month.  I had a ball, wrote a ton of new material, and now have a body of work from which I can create more podcasts.  Win-win.  :)

Of all the things you've done creatively, what makes you nostalgic?  What are you glad to have made?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 13: M Is For Money

Money.  la la la  (Think Pink Floyd.)  (If you don't know who they are, then I give up.)  ANYway, where was I?  Money!  la la la...

Today, in the States, it's Tax Day - time to pay the tax man or time to get money back from the tax man.  (I hope you're in the former and not the latter group.  If you are, I'm with you - we owed this year. Poop.)

Money's pretty fascinating stuff.  There are three things that make money, money.  The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has them on their site:
In short, money can be anything that can serve as a
• store of value, which means people can save it and use it later—smoothing their purchases over time;
• unit of account, that is, provide a common base for prices; or
• medium of exchange, something that people can use to buy and sell from one another.
From "Back to Basics: What Is Money?"
I came across an awesome article by Glyn Davies called "A History of Money From Ancient Times to the Present Day" that's worth checking out - and after you read it, think hard about bit coins and whether an unregulated currency is really such a good idea.

What's your favorite thing about money?

Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 12: L Is For Llama

Yum.  Llama fiber.  Soft, warm, and easy to knit.  I prefer alpaca because there's a wider range of colors and alpaca are more friendly, but I can't deny the gorgeous sheen of the fibers of llama.  Vicuña is a related fiber that's quite luxurious but harder to find because the vicuña are very shy and much harder to cultivate than either llama or alpaca.

Think that alpaca is only the purview of knitters and other textile artists?  The famous designer Loro Piana cornered the market on the stuff in 2010 and last year announced a 60% stake in an alpaca ranch.  I've seen quotes of the alpaca fiber suits of his that go for $20,000 USD.  No, that's not a typo.  $20k.  That's enough for a down payment on a house.  Yikes.

Why is the fiber so desirable?  It's lighter than wool and warmer.  The natural colors are quite wide and alpaca has the only naturally-occurring black animal fiber - black sheep are actually only black on the tips of the fiber, not at the root.

I could go on, but I won't bore you with fibernautics.  But I will ask you this:

What's your favorite fiber to wear?  Wool? Cotton? Fur?  Microfiber?  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 11: K Is For Knitting

You had to see this coming!  OF COURSE K IS FOR KNITTING!  What else could it POSSIBLY be for?  Really now.

I took my first knitting class in 2000, after a friend at work recommended Sharon Shoji as an excellent instructor.  In my first class, Sharon taught us to knit plain knitting all the way through ribbing.  After an initial struggle with the ribbing, I got the hang of it.  We progressed through textured knitting to cables and lace and from there, I was totally and completely hooked.

In 2008, I started this blog.  Shortly after, I decided to start Knoontime Knitting, where I focus on the crafts that make me totally bonzo:  knitting, of course, but also needlepoint and embroidery (my first textile art, in fact), weaving, calligraphy, and pysanky.  I love to make things with my hands but didn't allow myself to do much of it until I took my classes with Sharon.

What I have learned informs my writing process as much as my textile arts.  See, it's like this:

  1. If you keep going, you'll end up with enough knit and purl stitches to make a scarf, or a sweater, or an afghan. 
  2. Dropped stitches don't always mean the piece is ruined.  Sometimes you just need to undo a little bit.
  3. Some mistakes make the piece more beautiful and unique.
  4. If you let it, knitting will soothe you the way flowing water does.
  5. Learning new techniques keeps it interesting.  Always be a beginner.  Zen mind, beginner's mind.
What has your hobby taught you about life?

Friday, April 11, 2014

A to Z Challenge, Day 10: J Is For Jewelry

Earrings.  Left hand, wedding ring.  Right hand, writing ring.  Bracelets.  Sometimes a necklace.  That's the work uniform.

Then I found these huge dangle earrings with peacocks on them at my belly dancing school (Arabesque, well worth checking out!).  They're so big they're ridiculous, especially given that right now I have really long hair and my hair is blond.  I adore them, stereotypes be damned.  And then I found this awesome red and purple ring that I even wore in my new author picture.

It ridiculous too, but I've been known to sneak it into my office and wear it during my day job.  Haven't done that with the earrings yet, but I'm sorely tempted.  I feel like Jeremy from the Rats of N.I.M.H. - I love sparklies!