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Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Round-up: Comics Edition

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll: This is a collection of short horror comics with a fairy-tale feel.  Like the best horror, they use tension and creepiness to scare, rather than gore and explicitness.  The illustrations are striking -- painted on black, the colors are mostly muted blues, browns, and greens, which makes the occasional use of red that much more vivid.

Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton: The second Hark, a Vagrant collection is filled with Beaton's signature kooky comics that take on everything from vintage illustrations to historical events to 80s pop music. These were lots of fun; Beaton has a knack for off-kilter takes on mundane subjects.

The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon: Weldon's book is a comprehensive tour of Batman from his origins to the present day, covering not just the comics but also the movies, TV shows, toys, and even literary works inspired by the character.  The takeaway from this enjoyable book is that there is no one version of Batman -- every generation and every cultural group latches onto and embellishes certain traits.  Also, Weldon never misses an opportunity to stick it to Bob Kane, the co-creator of Batman, so that's fun, too.

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman finally wrote another Sandman comic, and it's a treat to return to that world.  This story is a prequel, in a sense, of the original 72-issue comic, showing us what Sandman was up to right before he was captured in the opening pages, and why he was so weak.  The illustrations are lavish and detailed, meant to be explored and savored.  Now I want to reread the rest of the comics, in light of the information we are given here.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel: Bechdel's highly-regarded memoir of her relationship with her father is moving, wry, and filled with literary allusions.  I particularly love the way Bechdel draws the faces of her characters -- simple, endearing, and quite expressive.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cross Stitch: the Next Generation

I take Beadboy2 to his soccer matches on Saturday mornings, and sit on the sidelines working on the Sunday crossword.  But one Saturday the paper was late, so I took some cross stitch instead.  One of Beadboy2's teammates had a 5-year-old sister who was utterly fascinated by the pretty flowers I was stitching, so I showed her what to do and she made the following stitches on the leaf:
I told her father that there are cross stitch kits for kids; I hope he picks one up for her.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Adventures in Chain Mail

I went through a bit of a chain-mail obsession a couple of months ago.  The triggering event was the purchase of a package of large black jump rings for a button project; they didn't work for that, so I looked for another use and found a bracelet with the European 4-1 pattern in Chain Mail Jewelry:
Photographing this was tricky.
The original pattern called for alternating rows of titanium and rubber rings, allowing the bracelet to stretch over one's hand.  I just had the rings so I made the bracelet longer.  The rings are inexpensive and kind of scratchy, but it's fun and slinky on my wrist.

Not satisfied with one project, I opened up a mixed bag of rings I picked up ages ago, in all different colors and sizes.  A little bit of math later, I was able to adapt another pattern from the book to make a "crochet mandala":
Unfortunately I don't have the necessary small rings to keep all the rings on the edge nice and flat rather than floppy, so this piece is unfinished.  I could just sew the piece onto felt or something, but I'd prefer to keep it unlined.  I should figure out a solution soon (or find the right rings) because I love the colors.

I had actually made the earrings that go with this back when I first bought the book, using silver:
They are a little stiff, though, because I couldn't quite get the right sizes for the rings (perhaps because there are different ways to measure the rings and it is not always easy to go from one to the other).

I want to make more.  Urban Maille has great kits.  Mr. Beadgirl gave me the kits for three bracelets 10 years ago (sheesh); I should do some virtual window-shopping to see what's new.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Button Flowers

A few more to add to my bouquet: