Working embroidery again

Well, I tried to take photos of what I was doing, tonight; unfortunately, only a few of my shots came out as even passable, because I was too close for the camera to focus. I can try again, another day.

fly stitch sampleI was, however, able to improve my skill with fly stitch, a lot. The image to the left is the culmination of that, for tonight. Essentially, fly stitch is a straight stitch tacked down somewhere in the middle so that it forms an angle.

I had been intending to try and make an image of a fern (thus the color of this perle cotton thread), or of a pepper tree. As I was working this, though, I found that the legs of the stitch looked…like pine needles!

I also learned that not everything has to be symmetrical, though I had been aiming for that, just to gain a decent sense of control. What I ended up having to do was account for the amount and direction of pull the thread (in this case, size 80 H.H. Lizbeth crochet thread) would exert on the underlying fabric.

It’s kind of like archery, that way: in archery, one has to account for the peculiarities of one’s bow and adjust one’s aim away from the target, in order to get the arrow to go where one wants it to go.

In this case, I couldn’t line up the second needle piercing of the fabric with the first one and put the third hole directly centered between the two…because that consistently gets me skewed V’s. I have to aim up and above the first stitch, and make the V wider than I think I need to. If it’s too wide, adjusting tension can help fix that (though I don’t know if that will have lasting effects later on down the line).

Anyhow…it would make more sense if I posted a video, but I’m very new to working with video! The point is, I have to compensate for the give of the fabric and the tautness of the stitch, to make things do what I want them to do.

I was very happy when I made the above little sprig. Before I lay down the stitches, I did a running stitch where I wanted to lay down the twigs, then made a small stitch at the tip of the frond, then did fly stitch until the pine needles would bump each other, and moved on to the next bit. It looks really bad if I put all the needles in, before planning where the branches will be…

…and it does remind me of painting, a bit. Experience in drawing did help me here, too.

tulip edging

The above is an edging sample I was toying with, last night: it’s something I would use to try and reinforce an edge (though I’m not sure it would work!). I’ve started on a different version with light blue crochet thread, but all the photos of it came out wonky. With this one, even, you can’t even really tell that I was making half-hitches with the thread over the edge of the hem, because the white is so washed out, but that’s where the pattern began.

Right now I’m thinking of trying a different camera next time; this was shot with a simple point-and-shoot, when I think a macro lens is called for.

But anyway, those violet things are little upside-down tulip stitches (basically a combination of a petal stitch [see below] and fly stitch). It helps that each one takes up about two repeats of the half-hitch pattern. The white cotton is DMC perle cotton crochet thread (Size No. 20), while the pink and purple are DMC embroidery floss (I mentioned last entry that they behave very differently when stitching over an edge — due to the fact that the perle cotton is round in cross-section, and the embroidery floss, is not).

By the way: I did absolutely make it out to the lace store, today. I have three little spools of perle cotton thread which are somewhere between being like a sewing thread in diameter and the DMC No. 20; and one spool of light blue DMC No. 20, as I’ve found pure white to be harsh. I’m hoping to put a herringbone pattern (and possibly edging) on one (or more) of my collars!

I’ve also found that I have consistent “likes,” where it comes to color and color combinations. I can stick with this for now and then branch out, but I find I’m drawn to green, rose/pink/violet, and blue. (I got some Fat Quarters at a different store [little bits of cotton fabric] and was surprised that I had, indeed, picked coordinating colors!)

And…yes…there are a couple of things about that experience that strike me. One is that it expands my options exponentially when I think about doing things for myself, just because I like to, instead of planning to try and monetize them.

Also, this may fill the hole that was left when my local bead stores went out of business (I picked up a rotary cutter and some templates, which…enable me to work on quilting!). The fine handwork portion is there, and the color play portion is there. And if I get good enough, I can even try to enter the State Fair competitions…

Yeah…maybe I shouldn’t think about that too much right now, and get back to what I’m working on…

embroidered red maple leaves

To the right, is the third photo which came out clear enough (and interesting enough) to post, tonight.

These are those maple leaves I was talking about before, which grew out of an attempt to make a six-petaled flower, until I made two petals different sizes and just decided to go with it. So the points are individual petal stitches, arranged in a circular fashion around a central point.

I’m pretty sure that these leaves were made using all six strands of the DMC embroidery floss, meaning I had to use a large needle, which made a large hole in the muslin. I’m pretty sure that there is a large danger of ripping through the fabric at the center, there.

I can see that the botanical theme I’ve been drawn to in Art, is also working itself out, here…I’m kind of wondering if it would be worth it to research floral patterns and nonfigurative art, in light of that.

Anyhow, tonight was…just really kind of awesome, especially when I figured out how to fix the problems with the fly stitch I was working!

I also did some work on re-teaching myself slipstitch, from my hand-sewing class, a long time ago. Right now I am not sure if I want to do quilts or embroidery or garments, more (or all three, meaning I’d have to shift energy and resources): there is a couture sewing book I have right now which is awesome for learning to construct garments by hand (no machine stitching). I’m not sure if I should try and find a copy to put in my permanent collection, or not, or just read it and Xerox what I need to remember.

Of course, a lot of that hinges on whether it’s even available…

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One week since the beginning of Break…

It’s only today that I realize it’s been about a week since my last posting. I’ve been busy moving things around, and cleaning. (By “moving things around,” I mean sorting through all the papers in my office, and sorting through everything in the bathroom. Also, going through the books on my main bookcase to organize them by approach and theme.)

This started with my cleaning and organization of the craft table, because I needed space to cut a sheet (or roll) of tinted acetate and didn’t have room for the cutting mat or the roll. Right now things are OK down there — space is usable — but it isn’t optimal.

I also went through everything in the drawers in my bathroom, and beneath the drawers in my bathroom. Anything which could spoil, which I couldn’t remember buying in the last 6 months, I was told was fine to throw away. Particularly, used makeup, which can cause infection if there have been bacteria growing in it and then one applies it to one’s face. (I also shaved down my old eyeliners [which I hadn’t been using], and threw out what had dried out.)

The only reason I started thinking about makeup is that I did have a job interview, a couple of days ago (which was the last big thing to get out of the way before I could have true relief). I did mostly go to the interview in order to gain practice and not be kicked off of the qualifying list, but I am not certain what I would do if I were offered the job. Nothing to do but wait now, I guess.

And I have realized by now…that having expanded piercings is kind of like having tattoos. I didn’t really “get it” until a couple of days ago, though.

I was able to get that Quinacridone Magenta paint I wanted! (I haven’t tried it out yet, though.) I’m hoping that it will give me clearer violets than either Permanent Rose or Alizarin Crimson. There was a complicating factor in that I went in to buy a tube of Winsor & Newton Quinacridone Magenta gouache (opaque watercolor), and they were totally out of that color!

I did recall that W&N’s Quinacridone Magenta’s pigment code is PR122, though, and that I did have a backup choice in Holbein gouache. What I didn’t know is that Holbein’s “Primary Magenta” color is PR122 (I found this out at the store) and at least from what I’ve seen online, is extremely close to Winsor & Newton’s “Quinacridone Magenta.” The major difference is that the W&N Quin. Magenta is bluer than the Holbein Primary Magenta, so there may still be a use in waiting for the W&N at another time.

Anyway, this is just a continuation of the Color Dynamics website that I wanted to put up on the Web (but which was much too voluminous in scope and content to use simply as a final project in my Web Design class).

It’s fairly apparent by now, though, that if I want to publish a full site to the Web…I’ll have to rent some server space, which is not something I’ve arranged yet. It would also help to know what I was doing when setting up that server space, though I have been doing some study to prepare me for that.

I had wanted to continue working on this project to help me build skills in Web Design! Now that the pressure’s off, though…hmm. I haven’t touched it in at least a week. But during that week, well…I’ve been going to work, organizing stuff, cleaning, and shopping.

We did go to Nihon Machi (Japantown) recently, where I found a retrospective book on Emigre (the “type foundry”) which goes back to 1986. It cost a bit, but I was like, “when am I going to find this again,” and I didn’t want to buy it from Amazon. (It does seem that having an in-person store is a service.) I’ve read that experience with typography is one of the only things I need to know that I don’t know, if I want to be a Web Designer. I don’t think that knowledge of typography is one of those things that goes out of date, though.

I also found a book called Everyday Watercolor (from a different bookstore), which looks really interesting! I haven’t been able to look deeply into it yet, though, because I’ve been cleaning. What’s annoying is that in my cleaning the bathroom, I apparently disturbed something that was hungry (likely a spider) that bit up my legs and caused an emergency cleaning of both my bedroom and my office. So I haven’t been able to get as deeply into things as I would have liked.

I also replaced the Borden & Riley marker paper that I’ve almost used up. On the trip, I should have taken something printed, if not the old pad itself — translucency is key to this stuff being of use to me. If I had something to view through the paper, it would have made my choices easier.

The marker paper I had was like a very high-quality tracing paper. What I found at the store under the same name, however, was not the same product. The type of paper which is under the same brand name now seems to be different (more opaque, thicker, whiter) than it was when I bought my last pad.

Because of this, I did a slight shift and got two pads of paper which I hope will replace the Marker paper qualitatively (as I don’t really care if the markers bleed — but the fact that they had “No Bleed-Thru” paper that bled, is likely why they decided to sacrifice transparency). Borden & Riley is relatively inexpensive, which actually helps me be creative (because I don’t especially have a fear of wasting materials).

One of the pads is Borden & Riley #110M Technical Vellum (which is sized to be easily Xeroxed, at 8.5″x11″); the other is #37 Boris Marker Layout, 9″x11″. The new #37 appears more translucent than the old #37 Layout paper.

I’ve also been going through my photo archives, and have a couple of images that would be nice to work through in painting, both variants of the same basic photo. One of them can be a 4″x6″ panel in acrylic…unfortunately, these dimensions (2:3) are not common in larger sizes, at least here. However, I can do a larger version in 11″x14″, easily — and I’m thinking of doing that one in watercolors. The major issue with the latter is paper buckling, so I’m going to have to figure out how to map a 10.5″x13.5″ space out on the photo (0.25″ will be masked out on all sides to hold the paper down)…ehhh…

Yeah, that’s not going to be the most fun thing ever. But it will give me some Photoshop practice.

And yes, using inches as measurements is a pain. I haven’t yet done the research to answer the question of why letter-sized paper is 8.5″x11″ (I have a feeling it’s some historical quirk), but it’s been bothering me recently.

Also…I have a very good library to go through if I ever get bored. I’ve just got to remember that it’s there. I’ve also got to filter out things I will likely never read or reference. In particular, I have a couple of books on HTML and Web Design which have got to be fairly dated by now (they were bought by a family member, a while ago: copyrights 1998 and 1999, to be exact).

Yes, I think that if someone could have been born and graduated from high school in between the time those books were written and the time I’m looking at them, it may signal that an update is needed. The HTML book is on Version 3.2. We’re on HTML5 now.

Yeah, I…am not sure how much help those will be, except as historical artifacts…

Finally got caught up!

I’m caught up with my studies!  😀

Earlier tonight, I lay down in bed to warm up and didn’t get back up until about 9:30 PM, meaning that it’s very possible that I won’t be able to fall asleep until after 2 AM.  😛  Given that, I’ve decided to let myself have a break, and chill here with my anti-blue-light glasses.  Of course, I’m kind of fragmented at the moment (too much chocolate, and disorganized sleep), so I keep moving in and out of this room to talk with people.  🙂  And playing around with my SUPA-cheap sketchbook.  😉  (Which I have some idea how to use, now, thanks to a lecture by Bill Buxton!  Again, I’m shown the difference between Art and Design…)

I know that I really need to clean and reorganize my office, and then clean and reorganize my bedroom.  Both spaces are very cluttered.  Though I roughly know what is in each pile, I may not remember where they are after I put them away!

I also need to reorganize the shelves in my office (not to mention, my files — I suspect there is much in there which is unnecessary to keep, at this point; and many folders can be migrated there).  I have been keeping copies of my textbooks…and the collection is growing.  It’s starting to get me to think that I’ll need to move some of the more esoteric stuff onto another shelf.  And I’m sure the receipt litter will get to me when things are mostly clear.

What’s really striking me, though…is that I’m really enjoying my Web Design and Web Usability classes, and have been able to cross-fertilize that with my Digital Archives class.  Not to mention, I’m fairly certain that keeping up this blog has prepared me for writing with relative ease, when I need to.  The difficult part of that is editing my copy down to something others won’t be too intimidated to read.  🙂  (I recently wrote 2+ single-spaced pages for an assignment on which most people spent two or three paragraphs.  No one commented; this is likely because no one read it.)  😛

Classes for next semester aren’t set for me yet, though I have some idea of what I’ll need to take if I want to be a competent Librarian, in addition to having Digital proficiencies.

Kind of a pain around this, though, is that I get the sense that one is never fully prepared to take on a new job when dealing with cutting-edge technology.  It seems there’s always something new to learn…not that this conflicts with my tendencies, but when foundational/recommended classes are changed out from under you, it’s kind of annoying.  (What would people graduating this semester in tech-heavy specializations feel, I wonder, knowing that people who came in later will learn something they won’t?)

It’s all relative, isn’t it?  Maybe I shouldn’t be too upset, and just plan on continuing education.  I did enter the program quite a while ago, after all…

The thing I had been upset about:  one class which has been recommended to newer admits into the program is inaccessible if one needs financial aid from the State to cover tuition and fees.  It just isn’t given to people who don’t have independent sources of cash.

I already have two classes lined up for next Summer (when the rules are different and I can take classes from this category); and they’ll likely be kickers.  I don’t think I’ll have the time to take a third (and still stay employed)…although I might be able to swing it in the Summer after graduation, before I’m too settled in a permanent job.

I do need to be thinking ahead to employment, though.  There is some more material I may have to give, here, but it’s on sketching and Design (quick/dirty/fast/iterative), and I’m not sure I can articulate it at this hour.

And then there are books…which I check out from the Library and then don’t read, because I’m too busy working through classes.  The nihongo-learning ones and the sewing one…I might be tempted by, but I am realistically not sure how much time I’ll have for either Japanese-language acquisition or sewing, until the start of Winter Break.

Well, I guess it isn’t as though I’m wasting my time.

I think the brain-fog is hitting me, so I’ll sign off, now…just a note, though:  I haven’t been able to keep to the schedule I’ve talked about recently, and still get my work done.  It’s ideal, and it works when I’m not busy…but I’m busy!

I feel silly for posting this, but:

I do keep talking about the Japanese language study, and toying with handwriting, and this.  So…it could be interesting for me to log my progress on the writing front.  Maybe it will help motivate me to keep going back to the books.

vertical lines of Japanese text read "watashi wa genki desu."
(by the way, this just reads “I’m healthy/in good spirits,” over and over again.)

I’m shrinking the size of this down just to make it clearer.  As this is on my screen, it appears to be almost at the size at which it was written (yes I used tiny pens).

I was seeing what I could get out of my pens, in addition to practicing kanji (some of which, like the “-ki” in genki), I’ve not totally gotten a handle on, yet.

And…I’ve realized why nib sizes in Japanese fountain pens run narrower than in Western-style fountain pens:  at a certain point, writing with a thick nib means you can’t write kanji legibly at a small size.

So…I’m pretty sure that the tiniest of these (rose and green) are Copic .003 Multiliners.  Then I tried a .005 and a couple of Microns (the latter of which made the sepia-tone marks on the left), along with an ultra-micro Uni-Ball Signo.

I’ve also got to remember to store my pens horizontally, not vertically in a marker stand as I had been doing.  I had a couple of Pitt metallic markers which totally lost their opacity and sheen (one of which made the aqua-colored writing in the center, there), possibly from the ink separating out.

Also…it appears that Gelly Roll pens have a shelf life (my silver one died and wouldn’t make any mark which wasn’t largely suspension fluid).  And I had to toss a white Uni-Ball Signo because the ink was doing something bizarre (the rollerball would divide all the lines it made).  I’m not sure why.

Japanese writing in light colors on a black background.
Large characters read “Tokyo dialect;” the rest are variations on, “Am I healthy?/Are you healthy?”

The good thing is that now I know what I have, and I still have some sweet stuff.

I tried not to blow up the image to the right too much, because most of it was written tiny to begin with.  This is the back of my Supracolor swatch, which I repurposed into a test paper.  (Trust me, no one will be able to tell.)

And — hey!  The Photoshop Levels adjustment makes black tone appear deeper, too!

I’m pretty sure the four phrases on the right are all Derwent Graphik Line Painters (the ones with the hollow nibs which I’m not sure will continue to be made).  I think “Snow” is the white one and “Fox” is the silver one on far right (I love how opaque that one is!).

As a note, when Japanese writing is vertical, it reads right-to-left, although I was writing stuff down wherever (and tend to still write — and habitually read — left-to-right.  I’m getting better, though.)

The bit saying “Tokyo dialect,” or tokyo-go, as my friend put it (see upper left corner of the above image), was written with one of those metallic Pitt bullet-point markers:  one of the ones still viable, that is.  My teal one turned transparent on black paper, where it should have been opaque, as above.  I didn’t think it was worth keeping.

And then there are a bunch of Uni-Ball Signo metallic gel pens that I have, that still work awesomely even if the gold doesn’t, say, look like it’s actually made of gold.  🙂  At least I don’t get weird ink flow issues like I did with the odd white one, which I think I may have ruined by drawing with it on top of a watercolor painting.

Come to think of it, that could be why my white Gelly Roll pen died, too (I’ve just gotten a replacement).  Hmm.

I should probably do some schoolwork or go to sleep, at this point…although!  I’m nearing the end of Unit 1 in my Kluemper text!  (I found this out randomly last night.)

Yeah, I should study:  I have assignments (that have to actually be turned in) coming up, soon…

But I do want to note to myself:  don’t use water-based marker on watercolor paper and expect it to dry quickly.  That’s what happened with the smudgy section in the first image, which is bordered by red lines.  The red lines are fine; the fact that I got a fistful of ink on my hand when I tried writing on my paper — after a decent amount of time — is not.  I’m just thinking that the paper absorbed the ink so much that it trapped the water and didn’t let it dissipate at a normal rate…

Sewing…? who knew I’d have fun at that…

I’m still getting used to the practice of writing in multiple different places, online.  It’s kind of hard to keep track of everything.  It seems that I’ve been able to keep up decently, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do within the next two days, for one of my classes.

Anyhow, this is the art and design and creativity blog, so…yes.  Well.  What have I been doing as regards art and design and creativity?

Recently, a lot has fallen by the wayside.  Out of all the things I listed before which I wanted to do, three four things have I continued doing:

  1. Sewing/Embroidery
  2. Homework
  3. Work
  4. Blogging (not so much, here, but for classes)

And I looked up the statistics on income levels for tailors and dressmakers, which has again…gotten me a bit ticked off with the economy.  It seems that people who do work which actually is important on the level of survival and necessity, in this country, are the people who are least compensated for their labor.  I have a feeling that if I investigate why this is, I’m going to come up with something ugly.

But I’ll try not to get into a diatribe.  It’s too late/early for that.

One of the things which I really enjoyed doing, over the weekend, was re-teaching myself how to sew by hand.  I found a good source on sewing methods…and have found some of the differing behaviors exhibited by different needles and threads to be — actually — interesting.  For instance, fine perle cotton thread — like the kind used for lace — makes an edging with a really nice sheen, when worked as a closely-spaced blanket stitch.  (Cotton embroidery floss, on the other hand, makes a dissheveled mess.)

And hand quilting thread plus a Between needle pulls through fabric (muslin, in this case) much more easily than embroidery floss plus an Embroidery needle.

I did both blanket stitch, and an actual buttonhole stitch, early Saturday morning (say 1-3 AM).  I find copious misinformation about buttonhole stitch, online; and even in some books.  I’m not entirely sure why, except people haven’t learned in person from someone who knows what they’re doing, who has in turn had the skill passed down to them…in any case, I can try and post a tutorial at some point (and/or a review of my source), but right now I’m running low on steam.

What I did find interesting, though, was that constructing something (edging a crease, which allowed me to envision seam allowances) seemed to be more engaging than just decorating something (though that’s fun, too)…

I should really get some rest…

Fairly wiped out, today.

Starting ~9:30 AM:

I wish I could say that things were better:  I started off today with a headache and nausea. I’m not sure if this is related to being up last night, actually starting a Bullet Journal layout after midnight…it well may be, but right now I wonder if I should go to work. I haven’t eaten anything except a ginger ale…(well, that’s a drink, but). One of the Librarians had a stomach sickness last time I went in, though, so it’s possible I might have picked something up (even if it wasn’t from them). I also might have food poisoning, or a migraine.

At least I now have an idea of what to write, for one half of my homework. This is in relation to UX efficiency. I would try to implement a button which would ask, “Was this helpful?” on catalog result pages. The problem is trying to gauge the duration of a session and trying to ask this question at the exit point of each session, as well as trying to gauge what a user’s information need actually is, as versus what they search for. It would seem that this information would best be gathered with a survey, and that it isn’t a simple one-click measure, however. I’m not sure how best to implement it.

In brighter news, I have three new babies (tiny baby succulents), though I’m not sure how long they will last (I watered one with my hand after drying it on a paper towel, and so I’m hoping I am not going to get mildew in that pot). I got three little soy sauce dishes from Daiso (the Japanese dollar store), and the pots fit right in there!

I’m trying to give them as much light as I can, meaning that the first light of dawn woke me up, earlier. And I realized just how fragile they are, after bumping one of them and having a leaf snap off! >_<;; (At least, the plant seems healthy…)

Writing resumed at 7:45 PM:

I did take photos of these this morning, but have been too wiped out to optimize them for the web, so as of right now, there are photos…but not ones which are ready to show. At this point, I’m fairly certain that what is going on is food poisoning…I have been having trouble regulating my temperature, alternately sweating and feeling cold, with a slight fever. The good thing is that the nausea has faded. I am not sure why I’m the only one who got sick, unless this has to do with the melon I ate, yesterday…

There are three-to-four books I’ve either read deeply into or have looked through, within the last semester, which show how much I could learn and implement about how I run things with my blog and web presence:

  • The non-designer’s design book:  Design and typographic principles for the visual novice (4th ed.) by Williams, R. (2015)
  • Letting go of the words:  Writing web content that works (2nd ed.) by Redish, J. (2014)
  • Graphic design school:  The principles and practice of graphic design (5th ed.) by Dabner, D., Stewart, S. and Zempol, E. (2014)
  • Don’t make me think, revisited:  A common sense approach to web and mobile usability by Krug, S. (2014)

I’m still kind of tired/wiped out, so I’m hoping it’s OK that I didn’t list the publishers or write this up as a style guide would recommend.

It’s also actually fairly amazing, how much my skill at picking out books online, has advanced. I find myself doing things like checking out review sites, multiple library catalogs, bridging through subject headings, reading samples, and taking criticisms of books which seem interesting, into account; in addition to taking into account the other books purchased by a given book’s audience.

And, I’ve been paying attention to how a book sells itself, what audience it is marketing itself to, and why. That is, I don’t necessarily want a self-help book aiming itself toward the market of people desperate to escape writer’s block, because it likely isn’t going to address what I want addressed, and it may be designed to prey on its audience’s vulnerabilities.

I also have called ahead to brick & mortar bookstores to ask if they have the book I want in stock, which probably saved me about three hours (not to mention wasted gas) earlier this week.

I don’t think I could say that I have much of a Web 2.0 presence right now, but it’s very apparent how I could do small tweaks to increase my SEO, for example (if I wanted to). I’m hoping things will get better next semester, as well; I should be introduced to HTML and CSS, then. I hate stressing about grades, too:  it seems so insignificant…but it isn’t, if I want to stay in the program!

I have realized, though, that part of what I’m being introduced to is called, “Design Thinking,” and it’s the same sort of thing I think I would be dealing with if I got a MBA in Design Strategy elsewhere. Except…it’s in Libraries, which has a different ideological slant to it.  I also just heard about Stanford’s “d school,” as well…which, at least, seems very interesting.

I think I’m going to post this and get back to bed…

Update (after a while)…kind of long ^_^;;

Really?  I finished my work early???

(How…)

By Friday night/early Saturday morning, I had finished my classwork.  The weather forecast had put our temperature into the high 90º F’s for Saturday and Sunday daytime temperatures, and I know from experience that my computer doesn’t like being on, when it’s that hot.  I scheduled some offline time, then, even though I didn’t know what I would do with it.

Right now it’s a bit more comfortable, but still warm.

Because I finished my work early, I basically had 1.5 days free.  Yesterday, especially, I had a hard time deciding what to do, with no demands on my time.  Although my memory of what I did for most of the daytime is hazy (I can guess that I slept), I do remember that I finished the kana workbook associated with the Kluemper text, last night.

Japanese reading and writing…

I’ve also realized why it was difficult for me to get back to facing katakana:  I have a hard time writing a good 15 out of 46 of the katakana syllabary, because it’s hard for me to remember what they look like.  (Comparatively, I have a hard time recollecting 2 out of 46 hiragana:  “se” and “nu”.  Though hiragana “nu” [I would write katakana “NU” in capitals; katakana are used for emphasis like ALL CAPS or italics] does remind me of a Japanese dog [like a Shiba Inu or Akita] with a curly tail [“inu” = dog].)

I do have the Japanese for Busy People Kana Workbook, however, and I can work through this in order to build vocabulary and word recognition.  Writing is included here, too, though sentence structure isn’t emphasized in the workbook — meant, as with the Kluemper text, to be completed possibly before one starts in reading kana in the first book (though there are two versions of this text:  one in romaji [Roman letters; i.e. English letters], and one in kana).

I opted for the latter because romaji are misleading where it comes to pronunciation, and basically almost useless if one wants to read in Japanese.  They’re a stepping stone, but lack much of the obvious grammar, etymology and sentence structure conventions associated with kana (syllabary) combined with kanji (imported Chinese character) use.

It will at least give me more words to practice with — even though the Japanese for Busy People series does seem as though it should be titled Japanese for Business People (a reason I picked up the Kluemper and Hasegawa texts in Honolulu [both published by Tuttle], when I had the option.  [The Kluemper texts are meant to be used as high school AP Japanese textbooks; the Hasegawa texts are meant to be used as first-year University Japanese textbooks, or for self-study]).  But that’s just me.

If you’re in the area of San Francisco, though, Kinokuniya Books at Japan Center has a very wide selection of Japanese-learning texts; much broader than the Barnes & Noble in Honolulu (which I am told is one of the few bookstores on Oahu).  The major disadvantage at Kinokuniya is that the books are just generally sold wrapped in cellophane — meaning that you will very likely get a very clean book, but there may not be a display copy available for you to read, in order for you to see if you actually want it.  (Sometimes people buy the display copies.)

I’ve never asked to see if I could open the packages, and don’t really know if there is a protocol in place that says when it is OK or permissible to do so.

If you’re in the South SF Bay Area, I think there is also a Kinokuniya in San Jose’s Japantown, but I’ve never been there, so I…really don’t know much about it!

Anyhow…I did finish the kana sheets last night, though I am finding that very often I have to make a conscious decision to do something other than go to bed.  This was not an exception.

Wanting to restart painting

I also want to start on a painting — I just am not entirely sure what size canvas to use, which I know isn’t the greatest reason not to have started yet.  🙂  But I’m thinking of going back to the 30″x30″ canvas, even though I know I don’t yet know what I’m doing.  Or I feel like that, anyway.  The thing to do would be just to push myself to start it, even if I’m uncertain or feel unprepared.

The first step, if I were being careful, would be to prime the 12″x12″ canvas with a mixture of gesso and Phthalo Blue.  Then I would go in with white pastel and try and make a loose drawing of the photo I gained from so long ago at the State Fair — which will be much easier on the gigantic canvas than on the small one.

My major hangup is that most of the main colors which I want to use — violets, roses and blues (with yellow highlights — maybe something like an Expanded Complementary palette) — are largely transparent colors (except when mixed with more opaque colors like Titanium White), so I might trip myself up if I do something wrong which I then can’t cover.  Which, in turn, is the reason to start on the small canvas, first.

But what’s the worst that can happen?  I dislike it so much that I gesso over the canvas and use it for something else?  I waste time that I could be using to sleep?  😛

I’ve also got to be aware so that I don’t block the drains with acrylic paint (easy to avoid, with disposable palette sheets), and avoid getting the paint on my hands…and getting pastel dust on the floor.  Maybe I should just use vine charcoal, instead.  That sounds workable…I have become a bit wary of pastels, particularly since that Titanium Dioxide scare a few years back (with free nanoparticles leading to concern over carcinogenicity…nothing of the sort with vine or willow charcoal).

But if I use the tiny canvas, I can see if this works, first, before using the big one!

I just don’t want to get sick of it in the small version and then never go on to the big one…

If what I can predict will happen, happens, though:  I’ll probably have ideas on where to take Version 2 that won’t be apparent until after I’ve gone through the process of completing Version 1.

And I do really want to paint, again.  I want to make something colorful and pretty.  🙂  And I can’t do that if I’m too intimidated to approach my easel (I did get an easel, a while back:  it was the only thing my Studio Art classes had, that I didn’t have.  Well, besides company, and a mentor).

And work on…Bullet Journaling?

I also have my little dotted notebook here (it’s from a company called Kyokuto)…and it’s weird? but I don’t want to stick to any rigid format for its use.  I’ve been looking over the Bullet Journal website, and…I’m thinking that it really isn’t like me to follow directions to get to a predetermined endpoint.  Maybe I can use the principles behind the Bullet Journal system, but really…heavily tweak it, so it turns out being something that’s mine.

And I really wish I knew how many pages were even in this notebook:  I don’t.  But it is really elegant, and I want to use it.  My problem, I think, is planning and attempting to look ahead at what I’ll have to do (when I don’t fully know, yet).

I also…think maybe I’m throwing out the baby with the bathwater on this one, and — looking at a past post — maybe I do have some idea of what has to be done.  Maybe I just forgot, because I didn’t look at my notes from before.  🙂  (Why do I blog, again?)  I think that something like a Bullet Journal could seriously help me organize my time when Fall Semester starts, and I’m carrying nine units, again — in addition to possibly having a new job.

I found it a little odd that my creativity would be circling back around to language (particularly writing), stories, and books, but I guess I am planning on being a Librarian, so…maybe I’m just overlooking the obvious?  😛  Learning to write in Japanese language is one of those things that ranges into calligraphy (or would, in an extreme case — right now it’s just “learning to make things look correct”).

Fiction progress

Writing in English…has stalled a bit, but it’s interesting to see what my mind does when it’s let loose like that.  🙂  It actually isn’t stressful for me, anymore!  It can be fun, because I actually have complete control over the situation (relatively speaking) — which I did not sense, before — and I can make things as serious or light as I want.  I’m very, very new to “light” writing!

But it’s nice to know that I don’t have to dive into my history of trauma every time I try and create a narrative.  I think my main character is helping with this, as well — I’ve started the narrative about 2/3 of the way through the story, and added a couple of extra layers which are helping things along, I think.

It’s also really nice to not absolutely know where the story is going to go, or all the facts that are associated with it — it leaves things open for experimentation and adjustment.

Heh — I think I’ve written enough (?!?!) — and…I see it’s now after midnight.  Well, that was a good 3-4 hours spent here (?!?!) …but not wasted.  I feel a lot better now that I’ve logged what’s happening — writing nearly always helps me get my thoughts together.  I’ve also noticed that a lot of people I follow have been quiet, recently, so here’s to adding one more leaflet to the Reader pile!  😉