The 100 Day Project

I started the 100 day project again without really thinking about it. I could not tell you how or why I arrived at the embroidery, but that’s what I did. It originally started ask an idea for an abstract design, but it took a life of its own, become a diary of sorts.

I lagged a few days, and through about quitting it a few more. But i always caught up, and posted. I gave myself permission for it to be crappy, and a fair number of the circles were. Wonky stitches, skipped spaces, no plan. A few I thought about picking out and starting again. But I left them as is. And something interesting happened in that – my inner editor/critic was silenced.

I still posted the crappy ones, which was really hard the first few times for the usual reasons – nothing breaks a carefully curated social media image like the shit of reality, right? Not that mine was especially careful in its curation, but I have been known to adjust positions and fix lighting.

That gave way to the July NaNoWriMo project. There was a plan sort of. And I wrote/am writing. It’s not nearly a s good as the original short story, or some of the things I’ve written in retreats. But it definitely good as shitty first draft material. Already I can see that some of it is too long, doesn’t fit either in style or character. But there are nuggets there for directions i may not have found as i dreamt it and wrote a perfect draft in my head over the next millennia that I don’t have.

Like the 100 Day Project, a bunch of mismatched poorly crafted pieces can come together to become more than the sum of it’s parts.


I have hit peak beer t-shirt.

Actually, I think I hit it a few years ago; I’ve been buying patches and stickers as they are cheaper and take up less space.

I’ve gone through my beer shirts and have donated a bunch but it still left me with 30-odd shirts that had been given to me by friends, had been acquired in my travels, or were from places I really liked. I’m not wearing most of them for one reason or another and they are taking up space.

So I’ve decided to make a quilt out of them.

And no, I’ve never made a quilt before.

Going through the collection with Max’s help.

I’ve got a bunch of shirts selected, a bunch of youtube videos queued, a sewing machine and a spreadsheet.

Easy peasy.


tardisIt was day spend trying to head a cold off before it got too much of a foothold. I watched Doctor Who while knitting a Tardis glove; I’m going through the all of the new Doctors again and am just finished the Jones years. I’m kind of surprised how many of them I’d missed, but then again Martha has never been my favourite companion.

10 down, 20 to go

One-third of the way through the month, and one-third of the way through NaBloPoMo. I’m glad of the event to get me back into the practice of regular posts, but I am going to need some decent fodder for writing to prevent this from deteriorating into the lame side of things. Like this.

I have spent most of the day  knitting half a sock and mainlining Battlestar Galactica. The cat was trying to get me to nap by demonstrating how awesome an all-day nap could be, but I resisted the siren call. I was not able to resist it enough to actually get anything accomplished.

I did manage to import a year’s worth of posts from the old photo-a-day blog to the new photo-a-day blog without breaking it, so I am declaring it a win. Only half of the pictures actually imported though; the rest are linked to the old blog. So I guess it’s not an absolute win. It does however give me something (about 180 somethings) to fix the next time I need to procrastinate yet still feel productive.


7:00am: the cat meows by my ear. I ignore her. She is old, and like all old ladies she really hates it when the routine is disrupted. She does this for a few seconds, realizes me getting up is not going to happen, then turns to lay down. In so doing she flicks her tail over my face. Again and again.

7:15 am: move the cat by a series of increasingly forceful shoves. Funny how a 13 lb cat can suddenly take on the density of a small black hole. Tail no longer in my face. We both go back to sleep.

8:00 am: I should get up. I have a computer teachers conference to go to. I see the sun peeking in around the edges of the blind and decide that if it's going to be sunny, I'm going to stay home and enjoy the day. I go back to dozing.

8:45 am: Remember the two seminars that I really wanted to see at the conference, a workshop on processing.js and a session on getting more girls in computer sciences. Merde. I get up. I stagger around slowly until I see the clock and realize that I have only 45 minutes to shower, get dressed and transit down there.

9:10 am: out the door. I run for the bus, and the driver actually stops and waits for me. Realizing that there is no way I can make the opening keynote. Since I don't remember who that is, I'm not stressing over it.

9:30 am: transit luck continues; westbound subway arrives just as I get on platform

9:40 am: southbound subway arrives at St. George just as I go up the stairs. The degree of transit luck on a morning when I am late is freaking me out a little.

9:50 am: arrive at the ACSE conference just as the keynote is finishing. Still 10 minutes before the Processing ,js session, I have time for a strawberry muffin (yum) and a coffee from the urn (not so yum)

10:00-12:20: Processing.js session is plagued with technical difficulties. Bad USB keys, sketchy wireless, faulty projector cable have got the presenter slightly frazzled and most of the attendees a bit confused. Do I click here all the time? How do I find the files on the USB? I grab the files and evernote all off the links – I'll have to play with this on my own.

12:20 – 1:00 pm: lunch. I sit at a table with three men I have never met before and listen to them talk about how to get more girls interested in Computer Science classes. Kudos to them for addressing the issue, but their ideas come from a middle-aged geek guy mindset. We spend the rest of lunch talking about how to change girls' perception of CS – a girls tech club, be transparent ask them what they want to learn, use creative, open-ended & self-directed projects. I tell them what I've used successfully: Alice, Lilypad Arduino & soft circuits, game development, app development, cross-curricular projects with art & science.

1:10 – 2:10 pm: session on getting girls in CS. The statistics are good to know and I got some great links for contests and the like, but there's not much in this one I can use. I realize about 20 minutes in that I should have gone to the App Inventor workshop instead.

2:10 pm: Bailed on the last session and the closing. I'm not willing to miss the last of a sunny afternoon so I pack up and walk through the U of T campus and Kensington Market to Queen Street West. Am amused by this sign in the window of a used record store. I pop into Romni Wools on Queen Street to get more yarn for my Christmas present knitting. Guess I should really start on that.

3:30 pm: get sidetracked on way to transit by the way the sun fell in an alley off Bathurst. Spend a half hour walking along Graffiti Alley and taking photos with the crappy iPhone.

4:00 pm: apparently I used all transit luck this morning. Waited for 25 minutes for the 504 King car while I realized that perhaps bringing a scarf & mitts might have been a good idea. Was rewarded for my discomfort by a sunset view of the city as the streetcar went along Broadview past Riverdale park.

5:00 pm: Home. Stopped at the grocery store which was not a good idea as I found myself paying for a bag of Miss Vickie's chips and a container of onion dip. While my dinner did not comprise solely of chis & dip, it was pretty close. Calorie overage ensues.

5:30 – 9:30 pm: watched many episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix US while finishing a scarf for a friend. While watching the Journey's End episode, I decide that “Playthings of Davros” will be my band's name which gives me added incentive to learn the guitar since I can't get drunk enough to sing in front of people.

9:30 – 10:00 pm: bubble bath and book. Finished both books by David Wong, John Dies At The End and This Book is Full of Spiders; liked them both in a did-drugs-been-there-saw-that kind of way. Started reading Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, one of science fiction books from the list. I would have sworn I've read this before, but nothing looks familiar in the first 4 chapters.

10:00 – bedtime: bored. The cat is bad company and there are only so many times one can hit Refresh on Twitter and Facebook. Played some Rush poker on Full Tilt, netting an increase to my bankroll of about $85. ABC poker > Eurodonk stupidity.


gettin’ my craft on

A few years ago, Keith got me this great handmade bag by Canadian crafts-person who recycles fabric. I loved it, but parts of the construction were sloppy and frayed badly after some use. I kept it anyway, thinking that *someday* I’d reverse engineer it and make another.

The stars finally aligned, and *someday* was this week.

My local Goodwill store had a sale Monday, 50%-70% off everything in the store. How could I resist? I love shopping in thrift stores for several reasons: I’m cheap, the recycling concept makes me feel noble, it appeals to my punk rock aesthetic, and I like speculating about both the anthropological past and the potential future of an item (think who the hell would buy that new?!? and hmm, I could make _____ out of this).

I wish I’d had my phone with me to take pictures of some of the stuff I found. I almost bought a ceramic Tiki mug from Hawaii (perfect for summer umbrella drinks, don’t you think?) and an original vinyl record of the von Trapp Family Sing Christmas (perfect to make a gift box or a handbag).

I did buy two suit jackets, two dress shirts for lining and two ties for the straps. Add two days to deconstruct the old bag and write instruction notes in reverse, make paper patterns, cut up the suits (my stitch ripper got a workout, let me tell you) and the dress shirts, sew the pieces, and press and finish the seams, and voilà, two bags  and the pattern to make more.

To say I’m pleased with them is an understatement.

The colours are true in the first picture. The second bag is actually black with a deep burgundy silk tie. Both bags are about 10″ x 13.5″, and will fit an iPad plus other stuff like wallet, phone, yadda yadda. I’m going to keep one and sell the other…not sure which yet though.

Things I learned:

  • I remembered more about sewing than I thought I would. Thankfully.
  • Men’s suits are made waaaaay better than I thought. Took me forever to pick apart some sections.
  • Summer suits make lighter bags, but might be too floppy in the long run.
  • Wide ties are better.
  • Extra large garments= more room to maneuver the pattern. Easier to incorporate existing pockets into back or lining of the bags for extra storage.
  • How to do a French seam.
  • I am both cleverer and stupider than I think I am at any given point. For example, as I was thinking of a different/better way to assemble the front and back, I sewed the suit and lining back pieces together without adding in the tie strap. Get out stitch ripper. Again.

Keith thinks I should make some more and put them on Etsy. It might happen. After all, Goodwill is having a 75% off sale this weekend.