blaugust #26: tickles my fancy.

Torchlight 2 - Ozzy - 8-26-15b

For one reason and another, last weekend I decided to make a third alt in Torchlight 2. My main is an engineer, but she keeps getting really good drops for an outlander. There’s pretty limited storage in Torchlight 2, so I’ve sold most of them. I kept two rings, though, so I rolled an outlander. He’s called Ozzy, short for Ozymandias, and he’s got a pet panther named Tickles. Obviously.

I’ve been playing on normal for a couple months now, so I also decided I’d kick the difficulty up a notch for this one. This was possibly not my best-laid plan. I’m concentrating on a mostly dexterity build, with some strength points every few levels to bolster my ammo. But the outlander’s coolest and most devastating skill, early on, is a glaive throw that sucks the ever-loving life out of my mana reserves. I could improve that pretty quickly by spending some skill points on focus, but I’m going for a different build on him and I want to try to do without it, at least for a while. My experience over the first ten levels has been rough going. I can use my main shotgunne skill, with the weak ammo and lack of range that entails at low levels. That means I need a lot of health potions and I still die a fair amount. Or I can use my glaive throw and fare much better, but go through expensive mana potions at a pretty alarming rate. Essentially, early level fights don’t generate enough gold to sustain me.

Torchlight 2 - Ozzy - 8-26-15My solution for this so far is just to progress much more slowly than I have before. Kill absolutely everything and collect every penny on a map before I move on. Tonight I also remembered I can fish for income, so I’ve spent a peaceful and fairly lucrative hour doing that. Next up: seeing about some better, less death-y gear.

So far, I’m not enjoying this class nearly as much as engineer and embermage, but I’m having fun with the challenge of trying to work around the limitations.

(Today is day 26 of the Blaugust challenge.)

blaugust #25: #365kateris

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A few weeks ago I posted a bit of a rant about realizing I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with myself. On the heels of that, I decided to embark on a year-long daily self portrait project. I chose today to begin because it’s my birthday and that seems like the ideal time to begin a period of self-reflection. It’s also a good, unforgettable marker. I don’t have any rules for myself other than to post one a day. They may all be my face; they may not. For today, I decided to start by looking at my face in a place where I spend a lot of neutral time: waiting for a train. When I take pictures of myself, they’re always attempting to convey something. This time, I’ve tried to just look at my own face as other commuters probably see it. 42, waiting for the train after a pretty good day at work.

I’m curious to see where this leads me, and looking forward to seeing them pile up. I’m going to post these on Instagram, and they’ll be tagged #365kateris. The finished project will be collated on this website at the end of the year.

(This is the 25th day of the Blaugust daily blogging initiative.)

blaugust #24: home improvement.

2015-08-24 15.33.57I posted something earlier today, but as it’s a business post I’m not counting it for Blaugust. Which meant that this afternoon I looked up and realized I needed a plan for today’s entry. I turned to a project I’ve been meaning to do for months.

My bedside lamp is a beautiful, graceful bust of a woman atop a column. It’s a faintly greeny yellow, with slight crazing in the paint. It’s absolutely lovely, and it deserves a much nicer shade than the plain one I stuck on it when I bought it. There’s a fabric I’ve had in mind to use for covering it, in a modern geometric print that echoes the chartreuse of the base and adds punches of black and aqua. So that’s what I did this afternoon.

2015-08-24 16.18.01First, I measured the shade and cut a piece of fabric to fit. Then I used a spray adhesive to coat the shade, and rolled it onto the fabric, smoothing it as I went. A quick trim of the edges, and then I tacked them down over the top and bottom edges of the shade with a hot glue gun. I also folded the fabric over at the seam where it met, and then glued that down as well. Ta da, lampshade! Now that it’s done, I’m acutely aware that this shade isn’t big enough for the lamp, but it’s all I could find that had the old fashioned grip-wires that grab the bulb. I’m also not entirely sold on this particular fabric for this lamp, although I really like the contrast between old-fashioned base and modern shade. This was really easy to do, though, so I’ll live with it for a while and if I find a better shade I can do it again.

(This is my 24th daily post for Blaugust.)

 

Goblin Charms

 

There’s a new project afoot in my studio. I’ve unearthed my treasured hoard of “this is the last one” beads and I’m doing something special with them in a new collection of jewelry I’m calling Goblin Charms. Each Goblin Charms piece is unique, and I’m selling this collection only via Instagram and Twitter. They’re literally one of a kind, and made in collaboration with my partner, Phil. When you buy a Goblin Charm, you’ll get a piece of jewelry designed and made by me, in a package with artwork made by Phil.

I believe that jewelry tells a story. When I make things, I’m imagining the person who will wear them, the story that this bracelet or that pair of earrings tells, the story that it will be become part of with a new owner. This new collection has a part of my story in it, as well.

Wear your story, and mine.

valentinesThis is a goblin love story. Fittingly, it starts deep beneath the earth, in a dark cavern veined with hidden treasure. Well, almost. Actually, it starts on the internet. Phil and I met on Twitter. We’re not 100% certain how we actually found each other, but it quickly became apparent that we both love books, extremely dreary weather, Spaceballs, inappropriate jokes, China Mieville, and making things with our hands. After some time, it also became apparent that we love each other. But PLOT TWIST! He lives in Yorkshire, England. I live in Portland, OR. We get to visit a couple of times a year, and we are very grateful to Google Hangouts for letting us be together in our virtual country. But we are in love, and we want to live together.

How are we going to do that, you wonder? We’re glad you asked. It’s a good story. I’m going to move to England. Patience is not my strong suit, and I may have already packed some stuff. But before this can really happen, I need to apply for a visa and we need to save enough money to pay for the visa, a plane ticket, and moving. As I said, we like making things. Phil codes ingenious tools and draws pen and ink monsters. I make jewelry. We’ve decided to make something together to help us reach our goal.

goblin with a ear rings and glassesFor a long time, I’ve been hanging onto a collection of rare vintage Lucite and glass beads. I’ve always meant to curate them into shadowboxes and have a permanent display, but somehow they’ve just stayed jumbled in a box. The truth is that I enjoy making things with beads more than I enjoy just hoarding them to look at. They should go out into the world and live their story there, even if it means they are lost or destroyed or lose their lustre. Beautiful things are meant to be seen and handled, meant to express themselves. I got the box out, and I started making one of a kind pieces of jewelry with these last precious works of art, and so Goblin Charms came to be. As I’m releasing a jewel hoard out into the daylight, I thought goblins were the perfect mascot. Phil draws excellent goblins, and he made a logo for us to use on packaging. Then he drew a small army of goblins festooned in jewelry just for good measure. This stripey lady just above with the John Lennon glasses is my favorite.

The money from each Goblin Charm sale goes straight into our savings account towards the day when we can live together. We are so grateful for our friends all over the world who have been watching our story and wishing us well. From the bottom of our goblin hearts, thank you. Your support means the world to us.

goblin_charms_bw

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blaugust #23: my, your scarf game is stronk today.

When I wrote my love letter to Murder, She Wrote, I fully intended to talk about Jessica Fletcher’s accessory wardrobe. It’s a regular feature of Murder She Drank to discuss her fierce scarf game, and I will not lie to you: scarves have been creeping into our fashion decisions since we started this thing. When it came down to it, though, I forgot that bit. But it’s ok! There is a whole week of Blaugust left to talk about JB’s scarves!

There are three main categories of scarf that Jessica employs. (Are you paying attention? There will be a quiz.) First, we have the casual, everyday scarf. It’s soft and feminine, generally tied loosely around the throat. It appears at home, while marketing down by the water in Cabot Cove, on a pleasant bike ride (during which we may discover a body, but that is no reason not to look our best), or when setting off on a holiday journey. Everyday Scarf:

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Second, there is the Business Scarf. This is also sometimes a pussy bow (there is an awful lot of pussy bow in MSW, and not just on JB). It’s styled with more definition than Everyday Scarf, and appears in meetings with executives or interactions with police officials or politicians:

The third category is rare, but crucial: when you are a famous author, there are times you need to be able to go about your detecting business without being recognized. This is where the Scarf Disguise comes into play:

tumblr_n8ql1cio021r3g7qno1_1280Mark it well, reader, and perhaps start carrying a spare in your handbag for incognito emergencies.

There you have it, the three main categories of Scarf Game in Murder, She Wrote. You’re all set to spot them now if you join us tonight for Murder She Drank. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.

popcorn

Popcorn.

I’ll leave you with this, which is just gratuitous, but it’s too good to miss. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

gratuitous

(All images property of Universal Television, and found via Google Image Search.)

(This is day 23 of Blaugust.)