Thursday, April 19, 2012

Something to Do.

I'm not sure how I came to the decision of making a doll for my little doll, Olive. Just kind of picked up some scrap yarn, a crochet hook, and started playing. I wanted it to be something that would be soft and cuddly, but stand the test of time (and toddlerhood). I think at first I was planning to make a little ball but I was struck by a bolt of confidence and creativity. So one row at a time, I sculpted a little person. She's made from a blend of angora and acrylic, stuffed generously with love...errr Polyfill, but whatever. 

I just finished mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors. I'm not going to tell you the last time I did that, but believe you me, it was time. Olive is sound asleep, so I'm taking a break for a Geppetto moment. I stitched in little emerald green eyes, leaving the tails out for some lashes.

Business has slowed down a lot for me, so I'm trying to keep up my skills (and spirits) with some pro bono pieces. I was asked to provide a giveaway item for a "Diaper Drive" hosted by Sno Pea . They raise money to give needy families the cloth diapers and education they need, so they don't have to choose between food on the table or diapers. This is such an important cause to me, as I am cloth diapering for economical reasons, and I know there are so many families who resort to unsanitary means of diapering because they don't know about cloth. If you have a moment and a couple bucks to spare, please send them a donation here

Anywho, here is the wool soaker I designed for them, just need to add the leg cuffs.
 I call it "The Centipee Soaker". Get it? Centipede? Pee? Oh nvm.  

I used a technique called "Fair Isle" knitting, maybe you've heard of it. It's a technique for working two or more colors of yarn in the same row by carrying them together. You can do all kinds of patterns this way, and makes a really nice warm fabric. My problem was holding the two strands of yarn at the same time. Some people can knit with one in either hand, but I'm a "thrower" (carry yarn in my right hand) so I felt too clumsy for that. Unfortunately, as you work the yarn, they two strands become tangled really easily and slows everything down. So, I made this as a solution :

It's kind of crappy, but it works. It is just two paper clips that I had to wind around my finger and make little carrying loops for the yarns to run through. I know I can buy this for like $2, but my philosophy is "what's the point in buying something if you can make it?" Besides, it only took like 10 seconds. 

Well, that's all I got for now. I'm starting to get really antsy so if you know of anyone that would like a handmade knit or crochet item of any kind, please hit me up. I am also interested in donating items to a charity giveaway of some sort. 
Send me a message through my Facebook page: 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Reflection on a Lost Friend

Hey Randy,

Happy Birthday.  It's been 10 years since your last birthday.  I have to say, I miss you.  Everyone you ever knew misses you.  You were a great person and a great friend.  Today, however, is a day to celebrate your life that was, not mourn the life that never will be. You were an inspiration and a source of strength for a lot of people.  I'm not sure if you knew that  or not.  You were one of those rare people that made everyone around them better.  Maybe I'm romanticizing your life a little bit.  We have a tendency to do that.  At the time, it felt like kids being kids.  Looking back, though it's easy to see the joy you brought to our group.

Everyone we picked up to our circle over the years had their place.  I'm not sure how other people feel but that group of friends was probably the greatest group of friends I ever had.  I don't know that I ever told you this but when our little group first formed, it felt like we were our own little ninja turtles group.  Russell was the leader, Matt was the short tempered one, I was the nerdy one, and you were the goofy fun one.  I remember at first you were a bit of a tag-a-long, being 2 years younger than the rest of us.  That didn't last long, though.  You quickly became an essential part of our play group.  All those adventures in the tree house, the camping trips, the sleep overs, the summers spent swimming, the bows and arrows, hide and seek, playing  fox tail, rides around the block in the tractor, trips to six flags, trips to wet n' wild.  The four of us had some great times.

The size of our group changed, Matt moved or spent time at his mom's.  Frank coming over was always a special occasion.  Craig was in our little group for a while, with his awesome trampoline.  Then middle school hit and our group started to gain people left and right.  I think Josh was the first one to really become a regular part of our adventures, then over time we added Bryan, Lana, Brandon, Ashley and Becky.  Every single one of them brought their happiness and unique personalities to our group.  The constant thing though was just having a great time.  No matter what we had going on in our lives, when we came together things were good.  Even when the problems with our lives were the people in our group, it seemed that those problems got thrown to the wind when we all came together.

You will always be missed and you will always leave a hole in my heart.  The only reason, though, that you can possibly be as missed as much as you are, is because you brought so much to the table when you were here.  I loved the times we had together and I will never forget how good they were.

Happy Birthday, my friend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An introduction to one of my passions....

Hello All,

Your friendly neighborhood husband blogger, here.  So Tracey has been bugging (read: lovingly suggesting to) me to write another blog post.  It's taken me forever to figure out what I could possibly write about.  She suggested I write about music, since I'm so passionate about it.  That struck me as a great idea, but the more i dove into it, the harder it got to do.  I think, though, that I have finally settled on writing a series of posts about various things that I'm passionate about.  So with that, I think we'll start with a general overview of why I like music and why I say if you're open to it you can find something to appreciate in any genre of music.

What makes music so great?  At the end of the day, there are a finite number of notes in the human hearing range.  The magic lies in how those notes are arranged.  I know on a conceptual level everyone gets that.  Everyone has their favorite genre of music.  Most people like music similar to what was popular in their teens.  There are several reasons for this and this article has a good explanation of it. (Also, is hilarious)

7 Reasons you'll end up just like your Parents

If you weren't exposed to lots of different kinds of music back in your teens, it may be too late for you, but I'd challenge you to try new music when you get the chance.

Music is very evocative.  You might not think about it much, but you hear it all the time.  People will put on their favorite music to relax or to inspire them.  Sometimes if they want to get in the right frame of mind they put on a particular type of music.  There's a reason we don't refer to screaming metal as "romantic."   Music is one of the few human sensory inputs that described as things like mellow, sad, droll, happy, jumping, lively, soaring.  There are so many ways to describe a given piece and everyone receives it differently but there are commonalities that can force people to feel a specific way.  Movies use this to great effect (well the ones with a good score.)  I tried to point this out to a room full of people watching a movie one time because it struck me so vividly, but it didn't really go over too well.  Check out this clip of the title screen to the new Star Trek movie and let's talk about it after.

(I was going to embed the video from YouTube but embedding has been disabled)

Star Trek Title Sequence

Notice how it starts with just these quick high notes.  It starts to evoke a sense of anticipation as the image fades out.  As the picture fades completely you get your first hint of percussion.  As the titles start to fade in and you can see the side shot of the Starfleet emblem, the percussion comes in a little heavier underneath some accent notes that are added into the mix.  Like I said before the anticipatory feeling was already building by adding in accent notes along with a hint of what you are about to see visually it cranks up that anticipation but subtlety letting you know you're getting close.  Then the notes drop out of the mix and your left with only percussion.  The music is letting you know, "this is it."  Then just as all the letters become visible and the symbol gets to a quarter turn, the music let's loose with this sweeping, soaring main theme.  That contrast from the previous style of short notes to this new style of long notes evokes a feeling of majesty and a sense of an epic scale.  It holds that feeling for a few seconds and then goes back to the shorter notes that promise action and adventure.   Regardless of your feelings of the rest of the movie, these 35 seconds or so have just made a promise to you of what you are about to see and it's up to the rest of the movie to live up to that promise.  When a score is done right by a competent person, these things are very thought out and measured.  Score composer do your best to force you to feel the way the director wants you to feel about any given scene. What other medium has that kind of power?

I don't think this will be my last post about music. In fact, it may become a regular thing to dissect a given piece that i find particularly enjoyable.  I'm not really sure.  I want to leave you with a song that just makes my music heart happy.  The song is called "The Humbling River" by Puscifer.  For those of you not familiar with musical jargon, I'd like to take second to explain at a overview level what a couple of things are.  For you who do know music, yes I'm oversimplifying the concepts, but I don't care.  Melodies are the familiar part of songs.  They're the sequence of notes at the forefront.  Generally their the notes you sing when you're singing a song.  A Harmony is an accompanying line of notes written in the same rhythm and pattern but using different notes that complement (hopefully) the notes in the melody.  A harmony can make a melody sound happy or sad.   A counter melody is similar to a melody in that it is a series of notes, but they are generally a different rhythmic pattern sung in the background of a melody.   What this song does so beautifully is it gives you a melody over and over. Eventually it gives you a second melody. It's very similar to the original melody but it has a slight difference in the length of notes or syllables.  To emphasize the difference there is also a harmony thrown into it.  Then the brilliance happens, the thing that pushes this song from pretty to beautiful.   They bring the first melody back as a counter melody and underlay it beneath the new melody and add harmony to it as well.  The technicality needed to pull this off is mind blowing.  This is a master crafting a song.  I really don't have enough words to express how great this is.