Monthly Archives: September 2016


I might have been the only four-year-old little girl in 1973 with a skull shaped piggie bank in her bedroom. He was life sized, glazed in bone glaze with a carefully chosen brown blended to highlight the anatomically inspired cracks and fissures that traced over his surface in a realistic way, with a coin slot in his crown and a removable plug strategically placed in the bank where the spinal column would have gone through the ceramic vertebrae. His teeth were parted as if he were trapped in an eternal laugh, and between them was emblazoned the motto: Die for the one you love.

My father made him for me because I wanted my own Bernie the Talking Skull, just like the one on the Creature Feature, which I watched with my mom every week. She indulged me, letting me stay up way too late for a child of such a tender age. I watched for the monster movies and to spend time cuddled on the couch with my mom, nibbling on cinnamon toast and drinking Cambrick which was a real treat. 

But the biggest treat was seeing Bernie and his leisure suit wearing pal, Chuck. Here was a normal guy with an interesting friend (Bernie) and they liked monsters.
I didn’t know these movies were supposed to be scary. Bernie and Chuck reminded me of the Munsters or the Addams Family: Different people in a world full of people who thought that differences were frightening. I watched the films shown on the Creature Feature totally missing the point. 

I was rooting for the monsters.

I wanted Helen to realize that she actually was Ankh-es-en-amon’s reincarnation and run off with Imhotep, or barring that, for someone love lonely Imhotep in the original Mummy. Imhotep wasn’t a bad guy, it seemed to me. He just missed his girlfriend and his old life.

I crossed my fingers for Dracula to actually find a bride and get some friends in after moving to England. Sure, he had to drink blood, but that didn’t mean he shouldn’t have as normal a life as he wanted, right? He just needed to find some girls who didn’t already have boyfriends, make some friends with some boys, and go do whatever it was that grown-ups did with their friends. Based on my parents, I assumed that was play card games, like Mille Bounes and 500, and drink cocktails.

I sat on pins and needles for the sad, nameless “Creature” of the black lagoon, hoping he might find someone who could see past his scales and gills for the person he was underneath. I thought that maybe if they talked to Creature, he would find out that humans can’t breathe under water and then he’d stop accidentally drowning them. I mean, it was obviously an acciedent. Creature seemed so sad after he did it, he couldn’t have possibly known.Plus, the guys in the movie were really mean to Creature. He was just defending his home part of the time.

I mean, some films I understood. Tarantula? Them? Yes. Those were big, bug like things that shouldn’t be tramping through cities, especially not giant spiders. Icky! But you could see a 50 foot tall ant coming and have plenty of time to call the Army People. The Blob: well, if it touched you, you became a blob, too, so that was obviously a Bad Thing ™ – though certainly not something to have nightmares about. I mean, you could easily outrun the original blob, and sometimes you could pretend the floor became lava and you had to not touch it, too, so there was plenty of practice for dealing with dangers like that.

They weren’t scary. Just movies. 

I just didn’t understand monsters that looked like people could actually be monsters. I thought, like Herman and Lily, or Gomez and Morticia, that they were just different and the other people around them were just acting meanly to them because they didn’t understand that different was just different and not bad, and that was the underlying point of both shows: the real monsters were the normal people doing normal things. 

So, I wanted a Bernie. I wanted a Bernie so I could pretend to talk my friend the skull and play monster movies, or Munsters, or Addams family. Now days, it would be very likely that I could get a T-shirt from Zazzle or Cafe Press with his image on it at the very least, but back then, there just wasn’t merchandising for a local show like Creature Feature, and wouldn’t have been a skull toy anyway, so my dad made me a ceramic skull bank . My parents both did crafty things like that, so I imagine the hardest part was finding something that looked like a skull

I didn’t understand movies like those on the Creature Feature were supposed to be scary until the children of a family friend told me that they were “scary movies” in the middle of “Atom Age Vampire.” I was 12. They were 13 and 14 respectively. I learned to put myself in the other characters, to change my perspective, jumping when the disfigured “Vampire” came hunting his victims, but to this day, in my heart, I know most of the monsters out there are just misunderstood and most of the normal people don’t know how monstrously they behave sometimes.
As for Bernie, he traveled with me to college, creeping out my first roommate, and then to my first and second apartments. He broke sometime while I was living in my second apartment, dropped carelessly to the floor while cleaning. I don’t remember if I did it, or my boyfriend at the time did. What I remember was picking up the shattered pieces and realizing that I would never find another Bernie to replace him. The mold that made him was long gone and even if I could find a bank made from the same mold, it wouldn’t be a bank glazed by my father’s hands.

There’s a plan and it’s a clever plan.

Okay, it’s not much of a plan. In theory, I want to post every weekday and write about crafty type things with an emphasis on the yarny and the geeky. In practice, I need time to prepare post topics. I need to actually get some ideas generated in general and get thing set up so that I’m not scrambling for topics at the last-minute.

It’s not like I don’t have fodder for this.

For example, I finished watching Sally Melville‘s Stashbusting Secrets for Sweater Knitting and More on Tuesday of this week. I really enjoyed it and there were some great ideas for how to put together different kinds of yarn to make cohesive sweaters. I’d love to apply some of the ideas to rearrange my yarn stash and make a project or two.

But that takes time.

I need the weekend to actually go stash diving and rearrange things. I need to take pictures while I’m doing it. I need to think about projects and let things percolate and have some time for the creative process to, you know, actually create. I need to work on other projects in the meantime (like my friend Shawn’s afghan, or my friend Casey’s scarf, or the scarf I need to make for myself before the snow flies again.)

I can write all about those things, about projects and the creative process and getting inspiration, but those topics also take some time to get going. I need to actually work on projects and make progress. I need to take pictures and write things. I need to think about what inspires me and where my inspiration comes from.

So please, bear with me: I have a plan. I think it might even be a clever plan, even if it’s not much of a plan at the moment. It’s just going to take a little bit of time to get it going.

In which I admit I am addicted to Craftsy classes

Seriously addicted. I have an unspeakable backlog of Craftsy classes to watch (and apply) on knitting, crocheting, sewing and photography, (even some cooking classes) which I am committing publicly to actually watching and applying instead of just saying “Oh, I have a class on that I should watch and learn from.”

I’m not currently a Craftsy affiliate (though I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity in the future.) I just love Craftsy classes and need a personal incentive to work through my backlog of unwatched classes and actually do something with them.

Photo A Day Challenge for October

I follow several podcasts, including the Geeky Girls Knit podcast. I know they say you can start any time (technically, never too late to participate.), but I like the idea of starting a photo a day challenge on the first of the month, so here’s their list for October.

Good Mail Day – September 26 2016

Grey heather, Dark Grey Heather, and Orange LĂ©ttlopi for a Strokkur, by Ysolda Teague. I fear the Dark Grey Heather isn’t enough contrast from the Grey heather, and will need to get another color to round out the sweater.

I’m tempted by either Sun Yellow or Glacier Blue Heather, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I ordered both so I can (gasp) swatch with them and test which color(s) work best.

Starting at the beginning

I have this friend who is really wonderful, but kind of a pest when he thinks someone should do something. What he thinks I should do is write.

I tried telling him that I have nothing to write about. Well, nothing non-fiction to write about. 

He said I could write about hiking and biking and geeky things and being overweight and yarn-crafting and living in Iowa and really anything else that strikes my fancy, which I said I think sounds like a terribly dull blog. The thing is that this friend just doesn’t give up and more importantly he won’t stop nagging me about the writing.

I still think it sounds like a terribly dull blog, but I’m writing it anyway because my friend has promised to stop nagging if I’m writing. Today’s the first day of Autumn, my favorite season, and Thursday, to boot. Not your usual day to start blogging (or anything, really), but you have to start some time. 

I hope someday to design knit and crocheted things with better proportions for larger sized people, of which I am one. The picture above is of a little asymmetrical shawlette I am making for myself from my own imaginings. It’s certainly not a design, yet. Just something I thought of to knit.

I also hope to write a book, but who doesn’t say that?

I have a day job, which I love (and won’t talk about here other than to say that I have a day job, which I love and which pays for my yarn.) I follow politics, but that’s not going to be a topic here, either. It’s far too depressing of late on the political scene no matter what your views might be.

And that’s what I think this space will be.