Saturday, January 31, 2009

On My Dolls:

I have been getting a lot of questions about my dolls. They are a project started about thirteen years ago. I started by making one doll because I had wanted to try to make a Victorian doll for some time and had an unexpected day with nothing planned, some extra fabric hanging around and a need to do something new and different. You know, a just use up some extra craft stuff day.

After the first doll was born I wanted a place to put her to show her off a bit and finally I made her a parlor chair and side table to sit comfortably on my coffee table. Christmas came and I had to dress up her world, more doll stuff followed. Now I was dressing her and the coffee table up differently each month for her. And of course she needed a friend.

Now, what to do with small rooms full of stuff? Make rooms. The first house was just cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other. After they got rumpled and shabby I went out to get some wood. Add wheels to get them around and the first house grew to a two sided thing now seven feet across and a second smaller house with it own side garden and family.

All this time I was also building stories about them in my head. I am still writing stories about their world.

The pictures here are older ones. I wasn’t going to wake Mountain Man to take pictures of the set up that has taken over half of the bedroom.

The dolls are 15 inches or 37.5 cm tall, 1 - 4 size. In other words, if you stack four dolls on top of each other they are as tall as a person. They have a number of clothing changes and lots of stuff.

You can’t see it well but Mountain Man is standing by the second house and in front of the garden. Thanks for the questions.

Friday, January 30, 2009

On Planned Happiness with a Cup of Tea:

Well the first month of the new year is almost over. Tough as it was we made it this far. The economy isn’t doing well and a lot of us have been sick. Here in the USA we have a new president and winter has been hard on a lot of us. Some of us had resolutions and most of those have been broken already.

But we have survived so far and spring is just around the corner. A new month with new things to do is coming in two days, the past is gone and can not be rewritten. Time to plan for next month.

Being the shortest month we will have a lot to do but it will go faster. So lets get planning so we can fit it all in.

Every year in February I have a little Tea Party for one. I dress up the table with linens and pretty dishes. I put on some lovely music and put on my fanciest clothes. I sip tea and have some little cookies or cakes bought or made for the occasion. I relax and enjoy my life and count my blessings. I have some pretty paper or a nice journal ready and I use the time to take stock of all the good things I have in my life and I sit back and appreciate them.

I haven’t picked the date yet but when I do I’ll let you know so you can join me if you‘d like. But even if you don’t do it the same day I’d like for you to give it a try next month and let me know how it went for you. So get out your calendar and start thinking about the best time to have a tea party for happiness. You can invite your kids or friends I don’t care how you do it, just take the time to think about the good things in your life and celebrate them. It really helps lift you up from the winter blues.

As a side thought, I haven’t gotten any Epitaphs for the contest sent in this week. So if not there won’t be a winner this week and you’ll have to wait until the week of February eighth to give it a try. You have until Saturday to get them in.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

On Find the Spot:

I can’t stay long I’m in the middle of a game. The game is ‘Find the Spot, Move the Pot.’ It’s a winter game played under the strictest of conditions. Snow, rain, ice.

We have ice jams on the roof and water is coming in and running down the walls. The rain and snow that fell yesterday has now frozen at the edge of the roof with the night's cold. Causing a dam at the edge, as the dam gets big enough the water backs up under the shingles and comes into the house. Carpets are pulled up and buckets are on the window sills catching the drips. It’s just a mess.

Mountain Man is up on the roof with a hatchet cutting channels in the ice dams and water is cascading down.

Fun is being had by all as we race around trying to save things under the brackish brown water coming through the roof. Many house holds play this game when winter plays it’s tricks on us.

Gotta’ go it’s my turn to save the pictures on the walls.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Chimney Sweep Day:

Sorry this is two hours late today. On chimney sweep day I usually just post on the timer the night before because we go through this about every two weeks all winter long. But last night I went to bed early with a headache.

On chimney sweep day we let the fire in the wood stove go out in the morning instead of keeping it going for the day and the house gets quite cold. Then Mountain Man gets all bundled up before breakfast and climbs the ladder to the roof with his chimney sweep brushes.

I huddle and shiver for this part under the covers until I have to hold a box under the one stove pipe in the living room to catch the soot from flying into the room through the stove.

Once the vertical chimneys are cleaned he takes the stove pipes that go from the stove itself to the standing chimneys and cleans them out in the yard. It is amazing how much the chimneys suck out the warm air from the house while they are being cleaned out.

The pipes are reconnected and a fire can be started in the wood stoves again but the house feels almost as cold at out side. So we wait and shiver wrapped in blankest standing by the stove for that first cup of tea.

Anyway it was a few hours before the house was but back to rights and warm enough to post. I love the wood stove life until chimney sweeping day.

So before the lights go out with the sleet storm that has just started. We got a few inches of snow last night but the sleet started a few minutes ago. Hopefully I will have lights for posting tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On Playing in the House:

My Doll House is calling me to play. I want to make more of my miniature world.

Yes, this is one of my doll houses.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On Did You See That Frog?

Yesterday I knitted but have nothing to show for it. I pulled it all out before I went to sleep last night. Seven hours of knitting unraveled. Gone like magic. Some days are like that.

Not that that is a bad thing. Some experiments work and others flop. If no one tried new things there would be nothing new again. I did learn a thing or two along the way.

I learned something new about the fiber I was working with. I learned something new about the stitches I explored. I learned something new about the level of my knitting expertise. I learned that fun doesn’t have to produce anything but an inner smile.

Some days I’m a Fairy Princess and others I just kiss frogs. What will today be like?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

On Second Epitaph Contest 2009:

Here are the rules for writing your own headstone epitaphs to have them shown on this blog in the ‘Epitaph of the Week’ or entered into the ‘Epitaph Contest.’

1. No more then 12 lines, but the shorter the better.
2. It does not have to rhyme.
3. Just words. No pictures, cartoons etc.
4. Nothing ‘overtly’ sexual, violent, disgusting, or racist will be considered.
5. Leave a name of who sent it. (It doesn’t have to be your real name.) But it will be attributed to that name. No name, no entry.
6. If the words are not your own. Add the original authors name if you know it. Otherwise just add ‘Anonymous’ and add ‘Sent in by’ and your name after that.
7. Spelling counts. Please proof read it before you hit the send button.

If you are only entering the Weekly Epitaph and not the Contest please say so.

1-K Tatted Lace Edged Handkerchief. Pre-embroidered handkerchief with tatted lace designed and made by Lady Euphoria. Choice of Black or Purple.
2-D Knitted lace Doily. Knitted by Lady Euphoria from Tea Dyed Cotton, Pattern from The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese de Dillmont.
3-NB Tatted Lace Necklace. Made of Crochet Cotton, Lady Euphoria designed and handmade by the lady herself. Choice of black, red, white or blue.

Name of winner will be announced on the blog. I will also ‘return email’ to inform the winner and get information for delivery. Some spam filters may stop my email from getting to you so if you are named on the blog as a winner but have not gotten that email please check you spam file. I do not use any personal information I get from you to sell or trade, nor to contact you further. I myself value my privacy and would not like that trust broken. It is only for the purpose of delivering your package.

Send in your Epitaphs and Good Luck! Lady Euphoria

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Saturday Morning Cartoons:

When I was a kid Cartoons were only on the TV on Saturday mornings. Shocker I know. But really it was true. We would wait all week for it and get up willingly early to see them. The magic of The Bugs Bunny Show or Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Jetsons or the Beatles even. All of these mixed in with the old nature cartoons and follow the bouncing ball sing along styles left over from the movies. (Yes, movie theaters had cartoons on between shows to keep the audience entertained.) The Hanna Barberra jingles at the end of each show still ring in my head.

Cartoons of yesterday. The road runners constant flight from the coyote and the coyotes constant endangerment of self. Violence and meanness, stupid slapstick and dump on the little guy stuff. Tempered with classical music and social injustice.

The cartoons of today are so different. There are shows to teach cooperation and stamp out intolerance, they help children learn life’s lessons and to care for others along the way. And there are still shows full of violence but now there is a reason and an enemy for all the gore to spring forth. The QUBO channel has family cartoons on twenty four/ seven. At any child’s beckon call there are cartoons to watch.

And still after all this time I think of Saturday morning as cartoon time. I watched the Flintstones from the very first episode every weekday night just before dinner time. When a cartoon is on TV my head snaps around to catch a moment before I get back to my task at hand.

I slept in this morning because I have an ear ache but my very first thought as I came to awakeness was, ‘Saturday, what cartoons did I miss?’ And I don’t watch Saturday morning cartoons anymore for a number of years.

We think we are grown ups and have our act pretty much together and then comes an unguarded moment and we are children wanting to know if we’ve missed our favorite Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Friday, January 23, 2009

On A Fairly Fairy Difference:

The tide has turned. In my head anyway. I spent most of the day yesterday in butterfly wings. (Do you know how hard it is to clean the house in wings so large that they won’t let you walk through doors any way but sideways? And don‘t get me started about the falling glitter everywhere.)

I spent the day listening to Gary Stadler’s Fairy music and dancing. (I have five of his albums.) I got out my winter fairy head ringlet and wand. I made these fairy ringlets and wands of the seasons years ago for myself along with a small pair of wings that have seen better days. (Some day I’ll get better pictures of them.)

Anyway a new attitude has been found and I’m out of the doldrums. It is amazing to me how the everyday can be seen as so different when you are wearing butterfly wings. Magic? Maybe. I suspect that it would have happened had I chosen to wear an evening gown and tiara.

As much as I love the starkness of winter the doldrums find me so I am scheduling a fairy day in each of my weeks until spring is here to stay or maybe even summer I had so much fun.

But today I clean up glitter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On Dusty Wings:

I started this blog a few times already today. Mis-starts. Nothing new going on. I am not interesting even to myself today.

I knit only mittens and I know you are tired of hearing about that. The dogs are old and sleep most all the day. They don’t do cute things to tell you about. The weather is snowy and cold. No new projects outside for Mountain Man.

My dark story blog is a flop so far. According to the site counter almost no one but me goes there. So my attempt to improve my writing skills with your help is a no go. I just may delete the thing all together.

I have no time for my dolls, their doll houses or story books anymore. This is because of the mittens project. I know that when the weather warms up and I feel I can cut back on making mittens I’ll have more time for other things. But the mittens thing is here to stay and I will be knitting mittens at least a pair a week, all year long, until I can’t knit any more.

I was thinking of starting an Etsy shop of my own but that would put even more of a strain on my time. I would be making crafts for it and not making mittens or writing stories or taking walks in the woods. And lets face it, do you really need note cards or stereograph pictures with cemetery on them?

I want to start writing more children stories again. Yes, I do write totally lovely non goth/horror stories for children. Fairy stories, along with my other fiction for adults. And no don’t go there. Not ‘Adult’ Just not children’s stuff. But I have so many stories that I’m either working on already or fixing up for public viewing that I don’t have time for that either.

Wings. I haven’t been wearing my wings lately. Maybe that is the trouble. I need to go and dust off my wings and fly away for a while. Now all I have to decide is bat black or purple and blue butterfly.

Butterfly. Today I need to visit my butterfly side of things again. So if you feel a little breeze on your cheek it is from me. Catch you on a fly by.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On Cabin Fever:

I love the Kevin’s Mittens Charity project and it is near and dear to my heart. I got a thank you card the other day from the Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter for the mittens and other things I have been dropping off there. And it gave me a boost in my mitten knitting.

There is little else that hits home in that certain part of the heart than giving of ones self to others. But I have been knitting in small circles on these mittens since the last week of November. I have throwing in a hat. But I am still finding myself bored with knitting.

This is not the knitting’s fault. It is mine. All work and no play, makes Jill a dull girl. The doldrums have taken hold and cabin fever has set in.

The Inauguration of the new President yesterday stirred me up a bit and showed me how mired I’ve been getting, but it left me with the feeling that I need to break out and do something new. I can’t bring myself to pick up my knitting today. I crave fun and excitement and something, anything new.

It might even be from the lack of shopping this winter. Not that I was a big shopper but I used to spend a lot more time in craft stores talking with other crafters as I carefully picked out my purchases. But the cold has forced me to hurry my way through the store because either Mountain Man was in the cold car waiting or standing next to me waiting for me to get going and move on. I miss the crafters chit chat.

I can’t wait for the Coraline movie to come out. I’ve watched my DVD movies and cartoons to death. I found myself sitting on the bed with dozens of books and project sheets scattered around me while I looked for a new pattern to tackle rejecting one after the other. Only to find it is not the knitting I’m having trouble with it is myself. My thinking. My outlook. My self.

It is time to change my attitude because I have a few more months of winter weather to get through. I will count my blessings and find my center once again. Because Cabin Fever is little else than boredom from wanting outside things to entertain instead of using your own abilities to create something new. I will still be knitting mittens but it is time to add a few new patterns to the backs of the hands.

It may be small and need a good tidy up, but I have a roof over my head. A warm wood stove to keep me warm. Mountain Man to help me when I have a need. I don’t live on the streets or my car as others have been forced to do.

Now I am happy again to just sit and knit mitten’s again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On Fixing the Past and Presenting the New:

I re-wrote and replaced the first story, ’Trouble in the Closet’ that I published on Thrill or Shiver a few weeks ago. I had wanted to have it done earlier but that migraine set me back. And now it is Tuesday the twentieth and time for the next story ‘Molly’s Train.’

I am still looking for a good proofreader. I look on my stories a bit like children in my care. In my stories I find flaws and I’m always combing their hair and telling them to stand up straight, right through to the end and even after. Like a good caretaker I want them to look their best but when I turn around and look again I see scabby knees and hair out of place and think to myself how did I let them out of the house that way. My liking for them gets in the way of seeing them for what they are until they are out there and I take a fresh look at them.

That said I am trying to be a better proofreader of my own stories and I am feeling like the effort is paying off. But a good proofreader is someone outside of ones self that can be more objective. And no matter how long I live I will always need other peoples perspective and input to finding the flaws I just can’t see for myself. I’m getting to be a better writer the more I do it but since ‘life is correcting the flaws in ones self’ I know some flaws will always be part of the whole. I am not perfect yet.

Still, I’m marching forward and sending the next story out into the world. ‘Molly’s Train’ has been polished a bit more then the last one and I‘m hoping for just a tweaking if at all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On Being Goth:

Eat a Pomme’ asked yesterday ‘What is Goth?’ She wanted to know if she was one and how other Goths knew that they were?

I can’t answer her question out right, mostly because Goth is such a broad term. There are so many groups under that umbrella. I told her that, to embrace her dark sided interests and be able to enjoy it and not hide from it was a good start.

I am at a disadvantage because I am older. I was Goth before Goth was a thing to be. I wanted to look like Snow White when I grew up. With her pale skin, dark red lips and black hair. I preferred black and white pictures of faces to color.

As a child I would sit in my bedroom alone and paint my lips with my mother’s black eye liner and relish the effect. I played in cemeteries while the other kids went to the park to play. I watched the original black and white Dark Shadows on TV each day with guilty pleasure. I followed The Addams Family cartoons as they came out in the New Yorker magazine long before it was a TV show.

There was no punk rock culture to group with. No Doc Martin’s, or vampire films. I was busy starting to raise a family of my own when the group of ‘Goth’ formed without me. I was trying to be a soccer mom and peace activist. I didn’t fit, but I did try.

I lived a closeted Goth life decorating my house Victorian before it was in to do it. I had Victorian costumes in the back of my closet that only came out when I was home alone. I studied the Victorian’s obsession with death.

There was a divorce for other, larger, reasons then my hidden Gothiness. I tried on other personas looking for a fit. I tried to be ‘normal.’ I had children to raise, a job to keep so I could feed them, my life was not ready for me to break out all Gothy.

Mountain Man (my current husband of 19 years) won my heart when he wanted to walk in a cemetery on our first date. He is not Goth but understands my need for it. He knows that there is a little Goth in everyone. After my breast cancer I shed the last of the ‘normal’ and embraced my Gothy self in full.

The trouble I find with the Goth culture is not in the group itself. It is in the media version of Goth. Yes, teens do have their depressions, black moods and rebellion. There are people who fancy themselves Vampires and/or Satan worshipers. That is their choice to make. But that doesn’t make them Goth by it’s self and all Goths are not those things too. I myself am not those things at all. It has been a long time since I was a dark moody teen and I am a Christian in faith.

I wear a lot of black clothing. I wear black lips and nails a lot. I like to walk in cemeteries and take pictures of myself and others in gothy clothing of all kinds. I am happy and love to laugh even though my son died nine years ago.

I am a Perky Victorian Romantigoth. Talking about death is one of my favorite subjects. But I am all grown up and have other interests also. I am Lady Euphoria Deathwatch but ever so much more too. In short my being Goth is a fit not a choice. I choose the type of Goth I like to be.

If you have any advice or information about being a Goth for ‘Eat a Pomme’ I’m sure she would like to hear from you while she explores her inner Goth self.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On Contest and Up Dates:

We have a Winner in the Epitaph Contest. Well two really. I got an Epitaph for the contest when I was sick back on Nov. and lost track of it and then suspended the contest until after the holidays. I feel badly about that and since ~R was the only one to send in an epitaph in all those weeks a prize goes out to ~R also. Katt won the contest this time around and wants the black Tatted Choker necklace.

The next contest drawing will be on Jan. 31 and announced on Feb. 1, but anything sent before that will go in to this contest period so get your epitaphs ready and send them in. I’ll post the prizes next Sunday on Jan. 25, so you have a week to sharpen your pencils or find one to send in.

Other things:
I have been knitting but mostly mittens. Along with working on my pair of honor socks because shortly after I started the honor sweater I messed it up when I was sick and had to pull it all out. (For those that missed it. I only work on those honor projects for three rows after each mitten I finish to help me stick to the boredom of knitting so many mittens one after the other for weeks on end.) The socks are plain purple and for bed so nothing to see. And I have been knitting those plain wash cloths that were ordered.

On a whim I did knit a black cotton tea cozy for my small personal tea pot. It’s hard to see the ribs from the cables in the picture in the black.

Thank you to all of those that offered well wishes when I was down and out with a Migraine Headache for a few days. I’ll try to catch up with your blogs and emails within a few days time. If I miss anyone know that I appreciate the thoughts, helpful suggestions and good wishes you sent.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

On Nielsen Calling:

I have been accused of being a TV head. Mountain Man can go days without even looking at the weather report. This is not to say that he doesn’t have programs that he likes or that I haven’t had times in my life that I didn’t even own a TV set for years on end.

This past week an envelope arrived in the mail. The Nielsen Ratings Group is courting me. They want my opinion on TV viewing. They want me to tell them, show them, what I watch to ultimately help companies know how to sell their commercials on television time to their best advantage.

Now there was once a time that I would have given almost anything to have that little box attached to my TV. I was repeatedly disappointed with good shows being canceled in lieu of dumb sitcoms. I felt that there should be more programming with a heart that the whole family could watch together. I was tired of ill mannered kids making fun of their silly parents for a laugh. Cosby, Little House, Waltons all had their runs and I felt there should be something more for the next generation.

And that doesn’t even touch the adult shows done with intelligence and meaning. Even the ones that started out good lost integrity to please their commercial sponsors. Nature that once was on Disney and a Sunday night family staple was shuffled away to Public TV stations. (Not that they didn’t do a good job of it.) It was all down to the dollar and how much could be made by giving the easily swayed public silly garbage to watch in between they’re commercials.

I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore and the shows I do have been canceled or favorite characters have just left the cast. Grisom is gone from CSI and Pushing Daisies (Intelligent humor) has been canceled. I can’t get Cosby, Designing Women, Waltons, or even Golden Girls on rerun.

I can now have a Nielsen box but there is nothing much of intelligence or heart to get my vote. Yes, I can still help out with picking cartoons for other peoples children but not much else. And because I don’t have any children in my house I don’t know if my vote will count toward them either.

Nielsen is finally calling and I’m not so sure I even want to let it in.

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Migraine in Progress:

If you are reading this I’m in bed with a migraine headache. When I feel one coming on I take my meds and put this on the blog timer.

I had hoped to be feeling better enough to replace it before the timer ran out but it was not to be. The things I’ll do so I don’t miss a day blogging.

As soon as I’m able I will be back. Until then make no noise and what ever you do don’t turn on the light.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On Feeling a Little Winter Chill:

It is cold here. There is a point on the scale of comfort that I don’t like to pass. Yesterday we reached that point. I do not care how silly, stupid or un-cool it looks. I have dressed the windows in bedding.

Almost all the windows have plastic on them. (We do have to have fresh air to breath and to burn the fire in the wood stove with.) Every window on the north side of the house now has an extra layer of blankets or sheets or even table clothes on them day and night. On the other sides of the house they come down only when the sun is shining in on that side. And if the sun is shining I open the curtains wide to let the warmth in.

Yes, the house feels a bit like a living in a cave. Especially on the cloudy days. But it is only for a few days really. Sheets don’t block that much light. And they really do help the temp go up a bit. I do find myself taking a peek out every now and again to have my view back, but I like the warmth better.

The colder it is outside the faster the fire in the wood stove burns and although that means some more heat, it also means that the wood is used up faster and the air being pulled through the house to the fire to keep it going is faster and colder. There is a point when it doesn’t heat as far into the room much less into other rooms. It’s a heat going up the chimney faster thing because of the heat differential.

I don’t care about the math. I go to bed with hot water bottles for my feet and back. (Recycled plastic drinking water bottles in a sock, thank you.) In the day I can wear two pair of socks on my feet in my slippers, extra layers of clothing and sweaters, and I can wrap my hands around a warm cup of tea in my fingerless mitts. It’s the getting into and out of the bathtub that is the killer of my day. I shiver for over an hour and want to sit right on top of the wood stove.

I’ll even admit to skipping days as the cold settles in because, 1. I’m not into torturing my self in that way and 2. I’m not sweating in this cold so I don’t feel the need to wash as often. But I do still need to change my clothing.

This brings about a new ritual of warming the clothing before doing the Houdini like quick change into my cloths in the morning and ‘jammies at night. But much as I dislike the bitter cold I hate hot and humid more. So don’t tell my to move south it ain’t gonna’ happen.

So I’m just sitting here trying to keep my perspective about a little winter chill. Burrrrrrrrrrr!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Belated Silly the Thirteenth:

(This was suppose to be on here yesterday and I didn’t realize my mistake until later on in the day. I lost a day which does happen and I am sorry. Here it is late as it should have appeared.)

Happy semi-annual Snow Person Day everybody!

Grab your mittens and scarves my friends. Take out your paper and paste. Decorate the house with snow people and their friends. Cut out snow people paper chains for the walls.

Today we honor our frosty friends world wide. As we do twice a year in January and July on the thirteenth so that both hemispheres of the planet can come together and enjoy the day to it’s advantage. (It just wouldn’t do to have it on say a May thirteenth day when no one but the polar regions had snow.)

The day is to have all the fun and frolic that any holiday should.

Whether you are a fan of Frosty or Raymond Briggs’ Snowman today is the day to get out your books and or videos and read/watch them. Play or sing snowy music like ‘Let it Snow’ and ‘Suzy Snowflake’ all day long and build yourself a snow person friend.

No matter if your snow person is of paper, cotton balls, legos, other materials or the real thing build a snow person today and enjoy the experience. And don’t forget to show it to everyone you can.

Foods for the day should include some or all for the following.
Hot Cocoa
Mashed Potatoes
Flaked Coconut

Play with your food and make potato snow people with baby carrot noses and green pea eyes, for example.

I am sure that your family has its own snow people traditions that make your Snow Person Day a memorable occasion twice a year. Please share them so we all can improve our Snow Person Holidays too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On Sleeping Yourself Well:

The latest study on health says that if you don’t get your full eight hours of sleep you will get a cold/flu much easier.

I just spent over an hour in bed in the dark Not Sleeping.

Most of my life I was an eight hour and twenty minutes sleeper. I also spent a lot of time sick by the way. After my son died I went down to three hours for the first two years then I upped it to five. Since the cancer I’ve managed to make it seven full hours most nights. But try as I might I haven’t been able to break into the eight hour again.

When I wake up my head is full of ideas, plans, dreams, stories, energy. I want to jump up and get started with my day. Laying in bed trying to reprogram my sleeping pattern is just making me nuts.

This morning it was a children’s story about fairies and field mice dancing in my head wanting me to get up and put it to paper. But there I lay fighting my muse so that tomorrow I might get a few more minutes of sleep. And so far all I have to show for it is a bad mood.

I just hate stifling my writing muse. I spent a lifetime (Fifty odd years to be exact.) stifling it because I had to work and take care of others first while I waited for time to sit and write. I had to get cancer to slow me down enough to get started.

Even if it isn’t a story that wants writing there is knitting of mittens or lace making or house cleaning to do.

I’ll keep on trying to take care of my health but I don’t have to like fighting with my muse.

Monday, January 12, 2009

On A Day Off:

I’m usually the industrious type. Always busy and with something in my hands to do. But yesterday I took an unscheduled day off.

I don’t know if it was the snowstorm or that my body was fighting something off. You know, it happens some times. But I didn’t get a thing done.

Not one stitch was knitted. Not one exercise goal was accomplished, in whole or part. I sat like a lump and vegged the day away. I didn’t even read. I did half heartedly play a few video games. Watched a movie and ate my way through a half a bag of tortilla chips. But that isn’t like me either.

Some days just don’t turn out like you expect them to. And yesterday I had no desire to move a muscle. I pretty much sat in the same chair all day and did nothing.

Today there are thing to do and places to go. I seem to be out of my malaise. But for what ever the reason I had a day off yesterday and today is a new day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On Epitaph Contest restart in 2009:

Lyman Atherholt: May 15th, 1863
In the service of my Country I sickened and died.
Mourn not that I thus early fell.
My God and my Country were ever my pride.
Parents, Brothers, and Sisters farewell.

Now that the major holiday crunch is behind us and things are shaking themselves out, I am ready to restart the Epitaph Contest.

So here we go. The contest will be biweekly in 2009. That is to say every other week. One week on and one week off. Sorry people, I have a life and can’t spend all my time and money making things to give away.

Here are the up dated rules for writing your own headstone epitaphs and having them shown on this blog in the ‘Epitaph of the Week’ or entered into the ‘Epitaph Contest.’

1. No more then 12 lines, but the shorter the better.
2. It does not have to rhyme.
3. Just words. No pictures, cartoons etc.
4. Nothing ‘overtly’ sexual, violent, disgusting, or racist will be considered.
5. Leave a name of who sent it. (It doesn’t have to be your real name.) But it will be attributed to that name. No name, no entry.
6. If the words are not your own. Add the original authors name if you know it. Otherwise just add ‘Anonymous’ and add ‘Sent in by’ and your name after that.
7. Spelling counts. Please proof read it before you hit the send button.

If you are only entering the Weekly epitaph and not the Contest please say so.

The prizes available to pick one of this week are:

1-S. A wool knitted Toilet Paper Scarf, five feet or 150 centimeters long.
Mochimochiland pattern without a face, thou it can be added on request.

2-C. Note Cards, set of three, for the dark at heart. Each has a different Black and white cemetery picture of Lady Deathwatch. (Sizes -1 single fold and 2 double fold.) They do make nice Sympathy Cards.

3-N. A Tatted lace, cotton choker Necklace. Lady Euphoria designed and hand made by the lady herself in choice of black or white.

So sharpen your pencils and start thinking head stones.
Good luck, Lady Euphoria

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On What’s Up with Crafting:

So, what have I been up to? Polishing short stories for ‘Thrill or Shiver‘, getting ready for winters next blast, watching my weight (Lost two pounds since new years day, thank you very much.), and knitting of course.

The knitting is boring I know. Mittens, mittens and more mittens for the Kevin’s Mittens Charity and filling an order for ‘plain’ wash clothes.

I have been working on a tatted lace wedding handkerchief for The Princess Daughter’s wedding next August to Prince Charming. You can see what it will look like when it is done. I’m working on the last row now. That is if I don’t go and add another one which I am tempted to do. Only daughter and all that.

(Shhhhh, don’t tell the Princess. She has been too busy with wedding stuff to read the blog lately.)

We are settled in waiting for the next snow storm and the bitter cold that is to follow. Mountain Man has refilled the indoor wood pile and I have a box of mitten yarn waiting for me. And my dolls have been calling my name. I hear their wee small voices calling ‘Come Play!’ I have been neglecting them while I knit as many mittens as time will permit.

The tea pot is whistling, there are fresh sour dough rolls baking in the oven and I have no where to go at the moment. I hope you all have a good weekend.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On Writers Club Thursday Night:

The monthly meeting of the writers club was last night. (I had missed the meeting in December because of the weather.) The weather was still a factor last night because only three of us showed up. It was that or the fact of one of the local colleges was having a writing seminar this week. I had missed the announcement in the paper and the others wanted to end the meeting early so they could go and catch some of it as it was the last night in the series.

I did get to post a flyer about Kevin’s Mittens on the bulletin board at the library.

We agreed to a shortened meeting. Mountain Man wanted to catch the game on TV anyway. I know when I’m out numbered and things are not going my way. The time was cut down to twenty minutes. The other two guys shared, one a funny anti-Christmas song that he wrote, and the other some of his visual poetry. I found the pictures made up by the words and letters interesting.

I read them the story I posted on Thrill or Shiver. Neither of them are into goth or horror (or knitting and crafts) so they don’t read my blog. I got some really good suggestions on what my story is lacking. Like the ending needed more punch and I needed to draw out the suspense. And/or I needed to add more information about my characters and bring them more to life. So I’ll give the story another few days on Thrill or Shiver to collect some more comments, if it is going to, and then I’ll do a re-write.

I discovered that even I didn’t have any feelings about the characters in that particular story and that is probably why I didn’t take the time to polish the story more before sending it out in the big wide world. As to the basic story itself, that is going over well. So I feel a re-write is the answer.

On yesterdays subject of my friend Lady Pink. She had surgery the other day and is up and about with a walker. She is still staunchly refusing to dance with Death. She is not ready to go there and will kick and scream, fighting it to the end I believe. Gotta’ love that spirit.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On Deaths Dance with a Friend:

Most of you know that I meet with a cancer group. We are a mixed group and meet twice a month. When I say mixed group I mean, we are all ages sexes and types of cancers.

I have also talked before about my friend Lady Pink. I call her that because she is never without something pink on her person. She is a breast cancer survivor and this is her second time around with the beast.

Like Patrick Swazi she has been fighting her cancer in personally powerful ways. Lady Pink has been powering through for some time. As the cancer spread she fights on with a smile on her face. Lady Pink is a very lovely woman.

We watched as Death came courting, time and again. Now that the dance is getting intimate, and thou we love her dearly, there is the feeling of wanting to turn away. It is a hard line to cross. We want to be supportive, loving, caring as she bravely fights on, but feel like we are intruding on something very personal.

We have danced this dance ourselves at moments, this group of cancer survivors and know the need for support. But as more of her body fails under the strain of her cancer it is getting harder. No sane person likes to watch the slow destruction of a friend.

It is the helplessness I think. Wanting so much to fix the problem but being helpless to change a thing. Watching the changes as the slow progression takes it’s toll. We are not ready to break the bond of friendship with such a beautiful soul. We take turns going to visit and wait.

Today is my turn to go and see her. I will no doubt be surprised to see the changes in her. I see Lady Pink’s smiling face daily on my TV in a local breast cancer screening commercial. This is hard on me even with my fascination with Death. This is a time where only prayer will help. It is beyond me and I feel helpless.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On Story Writing: Thrill or Shiver:

The second big change to my blogging: Thrill or Shiver is my new dark story site. For those of you who don’t like horror stories of even the light kind, which most of mine are so far, they will remain there so you don’t accidentally come across them while expecting my daily blog. For those of you who do, just click the story link on the side of the blog and enjoy.

‘The Trouble in the Closet’ was not the first horror story I’ve written. In fact it was somewhere in the middle of the stack to date. I was having a hard time deciding which one to put out there first. So I just picked it out of the hat and there you are.

I’m not a blood and gore writer. I don’t add in that stuff just for effect. That’s not to say that there is no blood or gore at times because there sometimes is. But I don’t use extra just to gross people out. It is mostly ghosts, unfortunate events and odd happenings. So if it is excess blood and gore you are looking for I guess you are out of luck.

I will be adding more stories as time goes on and hope you find them to your liking. I do not expect that everyone will enjoy or even like what I write for the Thrill or Shiver site. The stories are varied so if you don’t like the first one you just might find the next to your liking. I am not a method writer so they differ quite a bit.

I will try to add to them about one every two weeks so that there will be new short stories on a regular basis.

I don’t have a proof reader for my stories and as we all know it is hardest to find your own mistakes. We know what we want to say and therefore we see it there, even if it isn’t. But I am trying to sift out as many of them as I can before I hit the publish button. So if you find a blaring fault in my story feel free to let me know so I can fix it if I agree with your assessment of my work. I do reserve the right to, agree to disagree with you.

And now ‘Thrill or Shiver’ is ready for your perusal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On Writing, Wellness and the Kindness of Others:

When I first started having a blog of my own, back in May, I was not in the place I am now. I was still shaking off a long dark period in my life. Although I had loving wonderful people in my life there was a part of me that was not getting the interaction I needed.

My writing was being ignored. Those that did read what I had to say didn’t have the need or desire to provide feedback. Fact or fiction it didn’t matter. They didn’t understand my passion for the written word. Eyes would roll upward. They had better things to do with their time.

So I came here to blogland. I belched words in an angry frustrated way. With a bleeding of gothiness added on top because that was yet another thing that they didn’t understand about me I burst fourth. But once the first bursting fourth was over I had days and days to fill and I dug deeper into what it was that made me content. I crafted and knitted my way through the free time of my days and I wrote.

To make my writing better here in blogland I joined a writers workshop. And there I found the a hidden talent (something I had avoided up until that time) to write horror. Not the blood and guts stuff but the ghosts and goblins sort. And a new dance with death was learned by me. There are now a stack of short stories in my file drawer all lovingly crafted by Lady Euphoria Deathwatch. Me, the one person that would never watch a horror film or read one of those books for years.

They flew out of me in a flurry of gothy fun. Family members wanted to know if I was possessed. They prayed for me. And I had never slept a better sleep at night. It was like once expelled from my mind to the page they no longer haunted my nights and dreams. My night terrors were gone. Not one more night did I jump up screaming, drenched with sweat, heart pounding.

All those years of bad sleeping with the ‘don’t think about it and it will stop bothering you’ philosophy that didn’t work for me was gone. And a new more caring, loving, kind person was able to emerge from those sleep filled nights. Not that I wasn’t any of those things before I was, but there was more of it now. And I was happier too.

I needed an outlet for this extra goodness energy and Kevin’s Mittens Charity was born. And I just have to thank you. Your feedback and caring was a integral part of the whole. And I can’t thank you enough. Many of you have helped in a variety of ways. But Little Black Crow and Knotty Mouse have at this point helped the most. I thank the Gods of blogland that we found each other in the sheer masses of people out there. You knew that Goth is beautiful and nothing to be scared of and helped in my rebirth. I am eternally grateful to all of you.

Sincerely, Lady Euphoria

Monday, January 5, 2009

On Charity Work from Home, Give it a Click:

Charity work has always been important to me. I have done a lot of it in my lifetime. From fostering children to volunteering at a homeless shelter, baked goods sales to helping build a soup kitchen, clothing donations to clothing drives.

My health has not been what it once was, so I don’t get around like I used to. Since my fight with breast cancer I get sick so very easily and I have not gotten my energy back to former levels. And then there is the seizures that keep me from driving. I miss my active charity work.

I like helping others and have done so since childhood. So starting this Kevin’s Mittens Charity has been a very good thing for me. But that doesn’t stop me from being involved with other charities from my home.

I have a breast cancer link on the side of my blog and I try to make sure that I go there and help give free mammograms by clicking the pink box everyday. Even though with my so very slow dial up service it takes forever to wait until it is all loaded to give it a click so that the click counts. It really doesn’t take that much of my time.

I know you are busy but I also know that you can do this too. The Click to Give Breast Cancer site has been able to give 7,577 free mammograms in 2008 from the 3,315 clicks and 4,262 sales. So please take the time to make one of your computer clicks count for more each day. Make it a habit to go there and click the counter and more people can benefit this year.

They have other categories that you can choose from if breast cancer doesn’t interest you. Hunger, Rain forest, Animal rescue, Literacy and Child Health. So bookmark them and click everyday for charity. It’s an easy way to help with little more then moving a finger.

Just One Moment of Your Time Please.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On Looking for Pattern Test Volunteers:

There has been knitting being done around here. Not that it has been a lot at the moment with all the time I’ve been putting into learning how to do new things for my blogs. I have knitted myself a Poinsettia neck warmer from Knitty and of course another pair of mittens for ‘Kevin’s Mittens.’

I’ve never really appreciated what a person goes through to get a knitting pattern out there before. And I am aware that a multi-sized pattern is not a great place to start.

I have been working hard at writing a multi-sized knitting pattern for the Kevin’s Mittens Charity blog and I am having a bit of a difficult time of it. Although I don‘t, to my knowledge, knit anything without changing something in the pattern to my liking and I have made a number of things from scratch. I’ve never written out a pattern in anything other then my own short handed way of writing it down before.

This is the first pattern that I’ve come up with to share. So, I’m trying to do it right. And then there is the fact that I’m a continental knitter so adding pictures to help get my point across for beginning and visual knitters is a difficulty. And added to that is the multi-sizing. I’m having to knit it up in all 14 sizes (Infant to men’s extra large.) in different kinds of yarn.

I’ve found that synthetic yarns have more of a size variant to wool then I realized and just changing the needle size doesn’t always fix the problem. This is most true for tighter knitted things like mittens. And I don’t want to waste other peoples time by putting a pattern out there that needs a lot of restarting and fixing up.

I’m not striving for perfection. I just don’t want to put people off by putting out a bad product.

So I’ll be needing some people to be test knitters for me. This is strictly voluntary because it is for a charity. So if you think you are interested let me know in a comment here or on Kevin‘s Mittens.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On First Big Change: Kevin’s Mittens:

For those of you who don’t know I’ll tell the tale again. On July 7, 2008 I posted this blog. My Son, who I had been referring to as Shining Son, died on July 6, 1999 in a car accident. Before my son died he volunteered with helping the homeless and troubled teens. Now I’m knitting mittens in his name for those in need and asking others to join in. This project is the ‘Kevin’s Mittens’ on the side of my blog. I have started a new blog page for this Kevin’s Mittens Charity work and will leave a link over to it on the side of this blog from now on. I plan to add mitten patterns in the future.

On A Big Mitten:

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago. Okay, my son was seven and my daughter was five. Anyway, I was trying to find something to use up a box of yarn leftovers. The kids were on the floor playing with a game of wooden pick up sticks.

I had made the kids some extra winter hats and mittens already. And asked them, “Okay what should I knit next?” Shining Son said, “Make me a mitten.” I said, “I did already.” He said, “No, a big one that I can climb into.” We all laughed. I said, “I don’t have any circular needles only these double pointed ones for people size hats and mittens.” Shining Son got down on the floor and scooped up the game and said, “Use these.”

And that is how it got started. I used those 17 colorful pickup sticks, size 8, double pointed knitting needled to make a big mitten from the scraps. Of course I didn’t have enough scrap to finish it that year. And times being tough back then, I had to wait until other people got around to giving me their leftover yarn too. And Shining Son kept on growing.

I must admit that I didn’t think about it sometimes for years before I’d hear from him asking about the mitten. I’d get it out and knit some more. Finally I bought some miss matched clearance yarn, in keeping with the rest of it, and finished it off. He was over six feet by then. But I did good. When he slipped it over his head it covered him completely. I found it on his bed at his apartment as a bed spread after he died.

The thing is seven feet from cuff to tip. I laid a yard stick on it so you could get an idea about how large it is.

Yes, I know it is not true to size in the thumb. I started the thumb separately when it was going to be smaller. No, I have never thought about making another mitten to go with it. He asked me once if I would make another if he had kids some day. But he never got that far. So it stands alone. Or I should say sits alone in a box with some of his other things. And some of those the pick up stick knitting needles are still with my other knitting needles and I used them just last month. And every time I do I remember the ‘Big Mitten.’

Friday, January 2, 2009

On Starting New Things:

The start of a new year is as good a time as any to start new things. So I am going to be changing a few things around here. Some things will be moving to a place of there own, others will get a face lift, and some will be no more.

I noticed other blogs getting a face lift at this time which got me thinking about my blog here. I am not doing this to have the biggest best blog ever. I just want to have an easy place to have an exchange of ideas and have some fun with like minded people.

I have a firm belief that life is fluid and not stagnant so changes are part of the process. And as I move along this blogging river I am changed also so the changes in me will of course be reflected in my blogging.

I do want to try to continue Blogging daily as I have so far. I like the discipline and the challenge that is in it for me. So I don’t want to hang an under reconstruction sign and disappear for a while and come back all shining new. The changes won’t come all at once and if something changed that you don’t like I’m open to hear you out so feel free to chime in with feed back.

The Epitaph of the Week spot will remain. And I will be bringing back the Epitaph contest but I’m not sure if it will be a weekly thing or not at this point. (This is more of a time factor thing then anything else.) There will be knitting and crafts. Ideas, thoughts and silliness will still spill fourth as before.

I know that not all change is good. And some of the things I put out there will turn out to be a flop. But I will try to do my best to put together a good blog and not just throw things together and hope that they work out.

This is a place I feel good about and I don’t want to have a place I’m uncomfortable with. So if I loose a few people who don’t like the changes and move on, I’m glad for them that they know their own minds. I’m not a puppet to popularity. I’ll be doing my own thing and hope you enjoy what you find here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On That Must Have Been Some Party, Right?:

I’m sorry that my blog is on the late side today. At this time of day I’m usually into or done with my yoga by now. I wanted to have a good start for the first of the new year. But I still can’t feel my thumb.

I was going to bore you with that yearly up date. You know, what I have been doing and what I plan to do. Then I was going to reintroduce myself to everyone so that the people that have joined in reading my blog in more recent days could catch up.

Instead this is what you get. Eclectic* me. (e.clec.tic - To choose or enjoy things from various sources or in various combinations.)

As I said a few days ago we have a ‘build your own pizza party’ for new years eve. Now that the kids are grown and gone we do it by ourselves some years or invite friends to join us. Much fun in the kitchen.

Most of you already know that Mountain Man and I live in the woods on top of a mountain in northeastern Pennsylvania. Well as life is not set up to fall in place just because I have plans, the weather did not cooperate. The snow came down. The wind did blow. The temperature headed to the bottom. The guests did not show.

Time to do something else with the time I put aside to make many pounds of pizza dough and chop up toppings for a group. Do not despair. We did in fact have pizza for two and had a lovely time. (I froze all the extra cheeses, of which we had five different kinds, for another day.)

I headed over to the compute while Mountain Man sat transfixed in front of the TV with a game on. (He likes sports but is a busy man and doesn’t get the opportunity to watch as often as he would like.) And needing some fun I headed to RavensBlight web site. (Love that man by the way. He has saved more then one of my days from a blue funk.)

I printed out a few of his ‘free print out paper toys to make yourself.’ And prepared to end the old year in a manor in which I have always wanted to do again, but haven’t since childhood, in a cemetery. (As you can see by the picture of me at the top of the page I like to spend time in cemeteries.)

I picked and chose the parts of different toys and set up my own little cemetery to lay to rest 2008’s cold dead body at midnight. (Okay, just after midnight. I did have bell ringing to do.) And ‘08 now sits in the crypt as we speak.

I have carpul tunnel and shouldn’t use scissors very much. But I was set for a celebration so scissoring away I did. I spent the afternoon cutting away at stiff card paper and I cut and glued to my crafty little hearts content.

This morning I woke late and I still don’t have anything but a slight tingly feeling in my thumb along with the pain in my hand and arm, but no real thumb feeling.

But someone had to put the old year to rest. And it was going to be me. (A smile still caresses my lips.) I’m saving this cemetery set for next years pizza party. I’m going to do this again minus all the cutting and pasting.

I hope you had your own kind of fun last night. Good luck in the new year.

Lady Euphoria Deathwatch