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May. 24th, 2017 09:32 am
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No headache today, but I didn't get rid of yesterday's until nearly bedtime even though I tried to nap. I think that drinking extra water helped more than the attempt to nap. Pity I can't drink lots of water and then try napping. Sadly, it doesn't tend to work so well.

I'm probably going to try to nap again today. I feel like I might be able to, and my legs are aching in a way that tells me my body needs sleep.

I wrote 300+ words yesterday. It's not much, but it's more than I've managed most days this month.

I'm trying to come up with ideas for things to do while Scott's off work on Friday (and of things that need to be done then). It'll be my birthday, so I want some of it to be fun. Cordelia is currently planning to be out that evening. I think she's clear that we're not going to host movie night on my birthday. She may still ask, though, if none of the other girls can host. I just don't want to spend the evening stuck in our bedroom so that the girls can pretend we're not home. Spending those hours outside the house sounds like a kind of hell.
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[personal profile] wildpear
I wrote an essay the other day, because I had some things to process. Reading it over today, I still really like parts of it, so I'm posting it here. Thoughts, responses, and alternate POVS welcomed. There's nothing easy or simple about this stuff.


My grandmother always rooted for the underdog. I’m not sure what made her that way—her deep Christian faith? Her liberal politics? Her upbringing, as the lonely only child of intellectual parents? The battle with polio that put her in an iron lung for the first year of her only son’s life? The fifty years of living—not confined to a wheelchair, that’s an odious phrase—but limited in ways that had as much to do with her gender and the era as anything else but were not helped by the fact that she couldn’t walk her younger daughters to school or attend church without her husband’s support and assistance?

I don’t know.

What I know about Grandma is that she let children win games and that she always wanted the team on a losing streak to come out ahead. I know she identified more with the 10% Irish part of her heritage than the 90% English part, and that it pained her to admit the Irish ancestors were most likely the privileged Orangemen rather than the poor, oppressed Catholics. I know her favourite birds were the little, gentle ones—the chickadees and the titmice and the mourning doves—and that her affection for the flashier, more aggressive cardinals and blue jays always sat a little uneasily with her. I know that her favourite flower, the lily-of-the-valley, grew close to the ground: plain-coloured and unobtrusive, but surprising in the rich, bright sweetness of its scent.

I know she believed in fairness and patience and kindness above all else. I know she made little people feel big and important and necessary. Out of all the adults in my life, she was the one who made me feel safest, the one who gave me a sense of culture and roots and belonging. Of all the mixed-up mismatched parts of who I am, the parts that come from her are the parts I wear most easily and naturally.


I grew up on the boundaries of a lot of types of privilege, in the grey, nebulous space of not-quite-one-thing-or-the-other.

I grew up poor enough that my clothes were always in rags, that my working-class father still cries when he remembers the day the neighbour’s dog at my porridge and he had nothing else to give me.

I also grew up well-off enough that my middle-class mother could save for my education and teach me some of the manners and people skills I needed to win scholarships and approval in a middle-class world.

I’m a queer woman but I pass for straight—I didn’t come out, even to myself, until after I was married to a male-bodied person. I missed out on a lot of things, not figuring that out sooner—not so much the opportunity to make out with girls, though that’s true too, but the opportunity to know myself and figure myself out along with other people like me, the chance for a deeper connection to a community I’ll probably never fully feel a part of—but one of the things I missed out on was a flaming dumpsterload of hurt, danger, and oppression, and that’s a fact that can’t be denied or minimized.

I have health problems that affect my life but I’m essentially able-bodied. I struggle with depression, anxiety, and probably some other undiagnosed weird brain stuff, but I mostly pass for neurotypical. I’m a big girl: big enough to suffer social stigma and and trouble dressing myself and feeling okay out in the world, but not so big that I can never find clothing at regular stores, and not so big that everyone I meet in the street feels qualified to comment on my health and appearance.  I’m white—no way around that one, I am absolutely privileged in that area and I can’t wriggle out of it.

But I want to. I want to wriggle out of all of it. I look at someone like Rachel Dolezal and I cringe, of course…but I’m cringeing, partly, out of a shameful sense of recognition. There is a part of me that would absolutely wriggle out of identifying as white if I could. I am uneasy with privilege. I am proud of being a woman, queer, and agnostic; of growing up poor; of being curvy and socially awkward; of the scars I carry and the lessons I've learned from growing up outside of the culture and emotionally traumatized. I am not proud of being white, middle-class, able-bodied, cis-gendered, visibly married, or from a Christian background. I am in fact almost ashamed of those things.


It can’t all be about making Grandma proud. After all, except for being able-bodied, she shared those identities. (Unlike me, she was even an athlete once-upon-a-time.) They ought logically to be among the things that connect me to her, to my cultural heritage, to my sense of self. Sometimes I can even feel that, for a moment.

But there’s this deep distaste that lives in my gut for any way that I have to identify myself with the oppressors, with the winners, with those who enjoy what others are denied. I know that sometimes when I look at men—even men I love—I see the face of the people who hurt and oppress people like me. Knowing that friends, and colleagues, and strangers on the bus, must sometimes look at me and see the same thing? It hurts. It’s hard. It’s a painful, uncomfortable place to sit.

But listen: it’s true.

It is a true thing that I have privilege, all kinds of privilege, and that I share traits with people who abuse their privilege, and that I sometimes take my privilege for granted. All the ways I’m hurt and human and particular, all the love in my heart for people who are different for me, all my righteous indignation on their behalf—they don’t change that. They don’t change the fact that when the time comes for me to re-enter the workforce after over a decade of being a stay-at-home mom and aspiring writer, it will be easier for me than for people who don’t share my privilege—and harder for me than for certain others. They don’t change the fact that when I walk down the street at night or am pulled over by the police, I have legitimate reasons to be afraid—but I am safer than many other people. They don’t change the fact that crossing the American border is a very different proposition for me than for my bearded, dark-haired, long-nosed, olive-skinned husband...or the way that equation changes when his passport is read.  They don’t change the fact that I can special-order some of the clothes I need to feel good in my body…I have to make sacrifices of money and energy to do it, but it’s possible.

The thing about privilege is that I think we originally chose it because it’s not a bad word. It’s a good one. It means It’s a privilege to know you, and I feel privileged to be here. Privilege is power, and power, as we all know, is responsibility. It comes down, for me, to spoon theory. The spoons I don’t have to spend being afraid my brother will be shot tomorrow, I can spend on my work or my loved ones or my calling. I can spend them trying to make the better world I want to see and becoming the person I want to be. The spoons I do have to spend grappling with my depression and anxiety and body-image issues, of course, are spoons I cannot spend joining David Suzuki’s Blue Dot movement or putting out four new novels a year.

The concept of privilege is supposed to be empowering and empathy-provoking. “Check your privilege” doesn’t mean “shut up and hate yourself” it means “think about how this might be different for you than for the person you’re talking to.” It means “consider that in this moment, your story may be the one that has been told a thousand times while the person’s in front of you may have been told a mere handful—and consider that perhaps this is a moment to listen instead of speaking.”

It means, “hey, you’ve been handed an opportunity here: stop and appreciate it.”

There is something twisted in wishing that in addition to everything I struggle with, I could be further burdened so that I might feel less responsible and more righteous. It’s not healthy, and moreover, it keeps me focused on myself. I can feel sorry for myself about my privilege and the way it makes other people see me—the way some might be inclined to discount my suffering and vulnerability and focus only on my power. Or I can be grateful for the little bit of breathing room I’ve been given so that I may help myself and others. As an emotionally-disordered and culturally-confused mother and creative person, I only have so many spoons to spend…and here I am wasting them on feeling guilty that I do not have fewer.

My privilege is a thing to be celebrated—humbly, reverently, with awareness and compassion. It is an occasion for joy to be able, in some way. Able to listen, able to pursue my calling, able to share my strength with others in whatever ways I am capable of. We are almost all of us privileged in some ways, and lacking privilege in others. (Yes, even the angry young straight white cis-male gamer boys, though I struggle sometimes to remember it. I need to remember it, lest I eat my own anger and choke on it.) Many of these are not immediately visible to the naked eye, so we are never in a position to decide how much another person ‘ought’ to be able to give or understand; we can only be responsible for ourselves. It is okay to be grateful for strong limbs, or a healthy mind, or an inheritance that frees us up to do the work we find meaningful. It’s okay to be grateful when our loved ones are safe. It’s even okay to be grateful for this while knowing and grieving that it isn’t the case for someone else.

It’s not okay to forget that what is true for us is not true for others—but it’s okay to love ourselves anyway. To go for a walk and breathe in the sunshine. To not talk about politics for a night when we need a break—even if there are other people who don’t get breaks. You put on your oxygen mask first, not because you’re worth more than the person who can’t reach their own, but because that is the only way you can give yourself a fair chance of having the strength to help them.


My grandmother wasn’t less than me because she couldn’t walk: she was so much more. The cost of her disability was real: she was, I believe, stuck in an abusive relationship partly because of it. She couldn’t get things from her own basement, or dust things on high shelves, or come swimming in the lake, or pick herself a bouquet of lily-of-the-valley. But she could make a little girl feel more loved than anyone else knew how to do. She could play the snoringly boring Peter Pan board game 20,000 times when no one else would. She could make my favourite foods, every time I came to see her. She could teach me the right way to peel a peach or polish a silver spoon. She could watch my questionable ‘ballet’ performances as if they were both fascinating and inspiring.

She could ask me to pick the flowers, and dust the knick-knacks, and cut the chives from the garden, exactly eleven of them, cut off right next to the ground so they wouldn’t wither down ugly and brown. And I could do that. I had strong, healthy legs and a willing, attentive ear and so I could be her hands for the things she couldn’t do for herself, and it made me—weak and struggling in other ways as I undeniably was—feel utterly important and valuable.

It was a privilege.
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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Master of None

I’ve been a huge fan of Aziz Ansari’s Netflix comedy, Master of None, since its first season. However, if you’ve inhaled Season 2 like I have, you already know that this installment of Dev Shah’s story takes things up to a whole new level. What’s more, it’s exactly the kind of show that can contribute to saving the world. Or, at least saving television. **SPOILERS AHOY IF YOU’VE NOT YET WATCHED MASTER OF NONE S2**

After his break-up at the end of Season 1, Dev is single and has a life-changing time studying pasta making in Modena, Italy for several months. As was the case in Season 1, we walk with Dev (Aziz Ansari) as he tries to find love, but we’re also with him as he garners some greater success in his career. However, it’s the kind of success that’s financially lucrative, but doesn’t necessarily feed his soul. At the end of the day Dev, like all of us, wants to feel like a part of something bigger than himself in order to find fulfillment.

However, even more than was already the case in Season 1, it’s not just about Dev finding fulfillment. Ansari seems to be trying to give voice to the wants and needs of a diverse swath of New York characters. In addition to the diversity of voices, Master of None is also a platform for diverse ideas: about relationships, gender, sex, career, and aging.

Through the prism of this diversity, the show explores the very millennial fear of FOMO (fear of missing out) and how many thirty-somethings these days are struggling with needing to choose between emotional and financial fulfillment/success, and figuring out whether they’re making the right choices for their lives.

Here are five specific ways in which Master of None is single-handedly fixing television (and quite possibly making the world a better place in the process):

Master of None Francesca and Dev

It’s a Dude-Focused Unapologetic Rom-Com

Usually, we’re all about having female-led projects all up in this piece. However, when it comes to media’s role in subverting gender roles, it’s equally important that there be alternative versions of male stories that don’t buy into the cookie cutter shoot-em-up-punch-it-in-the-face destruction narrative men are constantly fed. Master of None being a genuine romantic comedy from a male perspective is hugely important. People are doing a lot of comparing to Woody Allen (ugh), but in his projects, or a zom-rom-com like Shaun of the Dead, the films feel like they’re apologizing for being romantic comedies. They’re very much male movies.

This isn’t to say that Dev isn’t “acting male enough,” but the show makes no apologies for stereotypically “feminine” qualities. It is unapologetically sweet, and kind, and the characters (both male and female) are genuine and earnest when talking about their emotions.


It Shows a Kind of Male Friendship We’re Not Used to Seeing on TV

When men are friends, they totally don’t sit around talking about their feelings. In fact, if we’re to believe what we see in media, men generally just grunt at each other and never talk about emotions at all. When they do talk about feelings, they make jokes about them, lest anyone think they’re actually talking about their feelings. All of that is true, right?

Dev and Arnold on Master of None shows us something else. These guys are plenty funny and snarky with each other, but it has nothing to do with covering up or apologizing for their emotional lives. When they’re sad or confused, they’re sad or confused, and they go to each other to figure stuff out.

When Arnold bemoans his ex getting married to someone who looks very much like him, Dev listens patiently and tries to make him feel better, then gently points out that Arnold has been on a dating app called “Hi Cuties” swiping on a full stable of women he’s been dating. He knows his friend, and he knows that as much as Arnold is lamenting the loss of this particular girl, he’s not actually looking to settle down just yet.

As Dev confronts his emerging feelings for Francesca, Arnold is an encouraging bud, but he also keeps it real and lets Dev know when he should pull back, or stop thinking about it.

And then there’s the unabashed fun they have together: singing theme songs about their favorite things, role-playing confessions of romantic feelings, Dev leaping into Arnold’s arms when he sees him after a long time away in Italy…these two are not shy about expressing how happy they make each other, and that’s amazing to watch.


It Actually Portrays New York City As the Diverse Place It Is

So many TV shows are set in New York City, and as a native New Yorker, I always find myself getting pissed off by how white the shows often are. Granted, it’s very true that people tend to congregate and form friendships with people who are like them. Girls, for example, didn’t bother me because the four protagonists were white. There are plenty of all-white small groups of friends in New York. What bothered me was that damn near everyone else around them was white, too! I was like, “What New York are YOU living in?”

Meanwhile, Master of None does two things really well. First, it portrays Dev as having the mixed and inclusive friendships I experienced in New York. He has a “token white friend” in Arnold, a Korean friend in Brian, and his childhood bestie, Denise, who is a black lesbian. He also has Indian friends with whom he can commiserate. Dev doesn’t hang with one type of person. He regularly interacts with people from all over the racial and ethnic spectrum, because that’s how you do in New York.

Second, it portrays the wider diversity of the city. When Dev dates, he also dates all over the racial and ethnic spectrum. Season 2 found him dating and pursuing white women, black women, Indian women, etc. And then there’s the brilliance of Episode 6 of the season, “New York, I Love You.”

In this episode, we stray away from Dev and his friends and instead follow a diverse swath of random New Yorkers living their lives. There’s the Latino doorman who’s privy to way too many resident secrets. There’s the deaf couple in a store signing “loudly” to each other about their sex life to the point where the mother of a child who speaks ASL comes up to them to reprimand them for saying “vagina” so often (this segment had absolutely no sound, which was an added touch of brilliance). There was the African cab driver who sleeps in bunk beds in an apartment with four or five other dudes and they all go out for a night of clubbing and end up meeting a group of pretty women and hanging out all night after-hours at a fast food restaurant.

Master of None doesn’t give a crap about making New York “palatable for middle America” by whitening it up, or only showing an affluent New York. It shows New York as it is. I moved out to L.A. five years ago, and I’ve come to love it here, but Master of None makes me remember all the great things I loved about my hometown.


Master of None Zooms In on People and Things That Don’t Normally Get Attention

Rather than devote the entire 10-episode season to Dev’s search for love, Ansari chose to have standalone episodes that dig deeply into groups and situations that don’t normally get media attention. In addition to the aforementioned “New York, I Love You,” there was also the third episode of the season, “Religion,” which was entirely devoted to Dev and his family’s relationship with Islam as they are visited by devout relatives, and Dev’s dad demands that they put on a show of how devout they are while the fam is in town. Meanwhile, Dev’s young cousin wants to try pork for the first time. Dev lets him, and his cousin lets loose, wanting to go to a food festival and eat all the pork things. In the end, Dev must confess to his relatives that he’s not as devout as all that. At first, his mother is upset, not because she’s particularly devout herself, but because she sees Dev’s lack of interest in Islam as a failure in her parenting. Dev meets her halfway, and starts thumbing through the Q’uran. It’s a beautiful look at average Muslims engaging, or not engaging, in prayer and tradition, and navigating all of that in a way that I’m sure people from every religious tradition navigate those things. In fact, the episode starts with a series of children of all faiths being dragged to houses of worship against their will.

The masterpiece of the season was the episode “Thanksgiving,” which we’ve already talked a lot about. Here, we see a coming out experience for a woman of color, a rarity when so much gay media is devoted to the coming out stories of skinny, white men. An amazing performance by guest star Angela Bassett as Denise’s mom anchored a beautiful telling of Denise coming into her own as a queer woman. Over a series of Thanksgivings from the 1990s through todayin which Dev takes part every year, Denise comes into her own, eschewing dresses for baggy pants and baseball caps, realizing that her interest in hip-hop videos and Jennifer Aniston have more to do with her interest in women than it does with either hip-hop or Friends, and she eventually comes out to her mother and starts bringing girls home. Her mother, meanwhile, has that all-too-familiar push-pull of shock, and fear. Wanting her daughter to be happy, but also being afraid for what might happen to her. In the end, Denise and her mom end up solid when her mom sees her with a woman that’s actually good for her, and who actually makes her happy. And who doesn’t have a really obscene Instagram handle.

These two episodes in particular shine a spotlight on groups that deserve a spotlight, but rarely get one.

MON_203_Unit_00665 smaller

Let’s Hear It For Women and Older People!

One of the things I love about the character of Dev Shah is that he genuinely cares about women as people, and he’s not a person who’s dismissive of his elders. These are two things that don’t need one-off episodes at this point, because they’re baked into the DNA of the show.

One of the main storylines this season had to do with Dev’s latest gig hosting a show called Clash of the Cupcakes, which is Executive Produced by an Anthony Bourdain-inspired chef and TV personality named “Chef Jeff” Pastore (played brilliantly by Bobby Cannavale), who becomes a good friend of Dev’s, and gives him great opportunities, and who seems like a really cool, down-to-Earth dude…until it emerges that he’s all about sexual harassment. Dev has become friends with a female make-up artist on the show he ends up doing with Chef Jeff, and when she suddenly leaves the job, he finds her and asks her where she’s been. She tells him that Chef Jeff started getting really inappropriate with her, and that she wasn’t the first or the last.

Rather than not believing her and “siding” with his friend, he immediately gets uncomfortable and suspects that she’s telling the truth. It’s a small thing, but in a world where real-life women have trouble getting actual law enforcement to believe them about sexual harassment and assault, it’s important.

And then there’s Dev’s parents and Brian’s dad. Dev’s parents (played by Ansari’s real-life parents) were a standout in Season 1, and they are equally important to Season 2. In both “Religion” and in the episode “Door #3,” Dev’s dad plays an important role in teaching Dev the importance of devoting yourself to the things and people you love, even if it means doing things that are difficult (like pretending to be religious sometimes, or doing a TV show that isn’t exactly art). Dev’s mother is hard on him, but always lets him know that she’s proud of him and that she respects him as a person. Both parents are fully fleshed-out characters who are unique in the TV landscape.

Brian’s dad got a dating storyline this season and had to choose between two women he was seeing. The wonderful thing is that Brian talked to his dad about it enthusiastically. There wasn’t any sarcasm or eye-rolling involved, but rather, genuine interest and love. At first, Brian’s dad tried to have an open relationship with the two of them, which is certainly not conventional to portray on a TV show (especially in a media landscape that likes to pretend that older people don’t exist period, let alone have love lives), and then when they’re not into that, he at least gets to have a dog (which he may or may not have stolen from one of them).

Master of None treats all people with respect, and pays them the respect of giving their voices a platform. I desperately wish that more television shows would follow Master of None‘s example. This show proves that one isn’t sacrificing “being universal” when one chooses to be inclusive and culturally-specific. In fact, it’s being specific when it comes to race, ethnicity, body type, religion, ability, age, or class that allows a show to speak to more people.

Thank you, Netflix. And thank you, Aziz Ansari. Your world and media-saving efforts are appreciated.

(image: Netflix)

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Posted by rob mclennan

BookThug invites you to celebrate the launch of 3 new books of poetry: Charm by Christine McNair, Comma by Jennifer Still and Rag Cosmology by Erin Robinsong!

Saturday, June 10th
Montgomery Centretown Legion, Lower Hall
330 Kent St., Ottawa, ON
Hosted by Brecken Hancock.

Free and all are welcome. Cash bar.
Books will be available for sale.
All washrooms and hallways in the legion are fully accessible. We regret that there are two steps down into the lower hall.

Charm, the second collection by poet Christine McNair, considers the craftwork of conception from a variety of viewpoints—from pregnancy and motherhood, to how an orchid is pollinated, to overcoming abusive relationships, to the manual artistry of carving a violin bow or marbling endpapers. Through these works, McNair’s poetic line evolves as if moving in a spellbound kaleidoscope, etched with omens, fairytales, intimacy’s stickiness, and the mothering body.

The ecological is personal; the personal is ecological. Rag Cosmology by Erin Robinsong is a pulsating meditation on this most intimate relationship. These poems inject pleasure deep into the tissues of our language and state, countering fatalist narratives with the intimacy of entanglement and engagement.

Between 2008 and 2014, while her brother was in a lengthy coma, award-winning poet Jennifer Still engaged in a private collaboration with the art and wonder that was his handwritten field guide of prairie grasses. The result: the stunning works of poetry and imagery encapsulated in Comma. Still was moved by an overarching impulse of grief to create these poems. In the brittle lexicon of botany, and in the hum of the machines keeping her brother alive, she developed a hands-on method of composition that plays with the possibilities of what can be ‘read’ on a page. Comma enacts a state of transformation and flux, all in an effort to portray the embodiment of grief and regeneration that can be achieved in the physical breakdown and reassembly of lyric poetic forms.
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Posted by Mary Corbet

Once upon a time, long, long ago in a land called Kansas (in fact, last year), a young girl (or old lady – or at least middle aged…ok, 40’s…) who writes an embroidery blog began the epic journey of sharing with her friends some monogram designs from a particular alphabet.

And then she somehow forgot to finish the alphabet.

And apparently, no one could live happily ever after, because none of the loose ends in the fairy tale were tied up.

When I mentioned on Monday that I had a free pattern to share with you this week, I got a couple emails kindly reminding me of the unfinished alphabet.

It’s always nice to end a story neatly, so today, I’m sharing with you the letters U through Z of the Floral Script Alphabet. You can see the style of the alphabet in the photo of the E below.

You’ll find the rest of this monogram alphabet (along with several others) available on my Monogram Patterns index, here.

You can also find the entire alphabet, collected in one spot, along with 15 other complete monogram alphabets, available here in my pattern e-book, Favorite Monograms, which I’m discounting through this weekend to celebrate the end of this particular story!

Floral Script Alphabet Letters U-Z

The Floral Script Alphabet is a pretty alphabet, somewhat formal in design, but it really depends on how you stitch it. You can dress it up or dress it down, depending on your approach.

I have two articles here on Needle ‘n Thread that illustrate how I embroidered the E above:

Beginning the Monogram – Threads, Stitches, Techniques

The Finished Monogram – detailed photos of the embroidered monogram

In fact, you can find a whole index of articles with ideas on how to embroider monograms here. You can apply the techniques to practically any monogram design, from fun to formal. So there’s lots of stitching scope there, for anyone who’s interested in embroidering letters.

Easiest Way to Transfer Monograms to Fabric

If you’re looking for an easy way to transfer these types of designs to fabric, I highly recommend Sublime Stitching’s fine-tipped iron-on transfer pen, which I’ve reviewed here. It works well! I like the blue one best.

Sublime Stitching Iron on Transfer Pen

Just remember, if you use the iron-on pen, you need to print the design and flip it over and trace the letter from the back of the printed paper. You have to trace a flipped image of letters; otherwise, your letter will end up backwards on your fabric.

Floral Script Monograms U-Z – Free Patterns

I’ve divided letters U-Z into two PDFs that you can save to your computer and print. The letters print at 2.5″ high.

Here are the PDFs for the final letters in the alphabet:

Floral Script Alphabet U-X
Floral Script Alphabet Y-Z

Favorite Monograms – On Sale Just for You!

The whole Floral Script Alphabet – plus many more monogram styles – is available gathered in one easy-to-download PDF in Favorite Monograms, a collection of 16 monogram alphabets perfect for hand embroidery and other crafts.

To celebrate finishing the alphabet at long last, the e-book is 15% off now through May 28.

Favorite Monograms for Hand Embroidery and Other Crafts

In the photo above, you can see samples of each alphabet available in Favorite Monograms.

Each letter in each alphabet in Favorite Monograms has been carefully traced into a clean line drawing that can be easily enlarged or reduced on a home printer or a photocopier. If printed straight from the PDF, the letters print at 2.5″ high, when choosing “no scaling” or “100%” in your printer settings.

The 16-alphabet collection is delivered via a download link to your inbox shortly after purchase, so that you can begin creating right away! Priced on sale at less than $0.80 per complete alphabet, monogram lovers can’t go wrong with this collection!

Favorite Monograms is available in my shop, here.

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Posted by Mark Walton


IKEA recently released its own line of Wi-Fi enabled smart lighting called Trådfri. While great value—prices start at just £15 for a bulb and dimmer—the Trådfri range was limited to use with the Swedish furniture retailer's own app and hardware remotes.

Now, IKEA is bringing Trådfri up to speed with the competition by adding support for voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri. Voice functionality will trickle out across the range starting this summer and running through to autumn. The update makes Trådfri one of the most affordable smart lighting solutions available.

Individual bulbs retail between £9 and £12, with the Wi-Fi hub costing £25. A bundle of bulb and dimmer switch costs £15, while a bundle of bulb and motion sensor costs £25. By contrast, similar Philips Hue bulbs sell for £15, and a motion sensor costs £35 without an included bulb. The Philips Hue starter kit does come in cheaper at £60, but the £70 Trådfri "Gateway kit" contains two bulbs, a Wi-Fi hub, plus an extra remote.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Posted by Steve Benen

Nearly 30 years after George H.W. Bush broke one of his most important promises, Donald Trump has arrived at a "Read My Lips" moment of his own.
jennaria: Japanese kanji (with a heart) saying 'I heart yaoi!' (Generic Japanese)
[personal profile] jennaria
There are lots of things about going to cons that I remember perfectly! (Bring water. Bring soda. Bring money (and have a clear plan as to budget). Wear good walking shoes, because you will be on your feet more than you expect. The 5-2-1 rule. Etcetera.) I'd just forgotten the following, which inevitably happens a day or so after the schedule is released:

*"Ooo, the schedule! Gotta look through that and see what we want to do!"
* :look look look: "That panel looks interesting...oh, and gotta do this...and can't skip the AMVs..."

(Brought to you by MomoCon scheduling the AMVs and the Yuri On Ice actor panel opposite each other. Along with three other panels that look fascinating. DAMMIT.)


May. 24th, 2017 07:33 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
I don't have a New Book Wednesday yet, but here's some good stuff that happened:

* We got a new mattress! Our old mattress was sagging on each side and had a hump in the middle and was getting increasingly painful. The new one was delivered yesterday and so far, so good. At the store we looked at a fancy one that sucked the heat out of your body while you were sleeping, but it was more than twice what ours cost and I did wonder how comfortable it would be in the winter.

* The paperback edition of The Murderbot Diaries is back in stock at Barnes & Noble, Powells, Indigo, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and Amazon US, if you were still looking for a copy.

* I cleared out our guestroom closet and my office and got rid of a lot of random crap.

* I've been trying to get Murderbot 4 started and for about two weeks and finally got the first scene written. It and Murderbot 3 are not sold yet, so keep your fingers crossed.

* I got a Raksura Patreon story started and about halfway finished.

* When we were at Comicpalooza, we walked past the end of the row where one of the big Star Wars cosplaying groups had their booth, and they had a full-size backdrop of a Death Star corridor for people to take pictures in front of. One of the people in a stormtrooper costume was standing in front of it, and as we slowed down to look at backdrop, and the stormtrooper did the voice-synthesizer "Move along, move along" bit. It was pretty hilarious.

* We also saw a full-size Taun-taun with rider costume.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Mark Walton

Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

While this phone is not currently scheduled for release in the US, we thought you would be interested in this review from our colleagues in the UK.

SCREEN 2.4-inch QVGA LCD (167ppi)
OS Nokia Series 30+
STORAGE 16MB (plus microSD expansion)
PORTS Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone jack
CAMERA 2MP rear camera
SIZE 115.6mm x 51mm x 12.8mm
STARTING PRICE £50 (buy here)
OTHER PERKS A really bad version of Snake

That the new HMD-made Nokia 3310 was the star of this year's Mobile World Congress says more about how dull smartphones have become than it does about the appeal of Nokia's chintzy slab of noughties nostalgia.

Despite the retro appeal, the Nokia 3310 (buy here) is little more than a Nokia 150 (a basic feature phone that sells for a mere £20) wrapped up in a curved glossy shell and sold for a millennial-gouging £50. It is, for all intents and purposes, a fashion statement—a phone for the beard-grooming, braces-wearing festival set that think tapping out texts on a T9 keyboard is the ultimate irony.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Reading recs?

May. 24th, 2017 08:40 am
batwrangler: Just for me. (Default)
[personal profile] batwrangler
Looking for stories about, "I did the Thing. Now what?" Any suggestions?

(no subject)

May. 24th, 2017 08:39 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley
Your struggle is not the only struggle in the world.
[syndicated profile] dinosaur_comics_feed
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May 24th, 2017next

May 24th, 2017: TCAF was super great! It is my favourite show every year and this year DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Thanks to everyone who came by and said hi!

– Ryan

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