Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How To: Make Arm Warmers out of Socks (in Two Steps)

I finished my first semester of grad school!

In celebration, let's talk about something creative....that's not focused on words. (I'll try to get back to words later. I still need to see where my series The Work is heading. Those ghosts are calling my name.)

I digress. On to arm warmers!

Have you ever had a favorite pair of socks that you just can't bear to throw away, even though your toes are poking through the ends or your heel's hanging out the back? Or have you ever bought a pair of really cool socks only to find out they don't fit (or don't fit without stretching out the interesting graphic)?

Cute, interesting, and oddball socks have long been a passion of mine. At one point, I think I had socks for most of the well known holidays not to mention socks with random characters, animals and text on them.

Of course, they wear out, but typically, the most interesting part of the sock remains intact.

It seems a waste to chuck them in the trash bin, so I choose to go green and recycle.... Below is a pair of wrist warmers created out of some raccoon socks that I couldn't bear to part with. (They're just too damned adorable.)

For this tutorial, I have a pair of Harry Potter Slytherin House socks (they're sized for Juniors, so I knew they wouldn't fit when I got them).

Step 1.

Determine where you want to cut your sock.

I usually do it just above the heel so I don't get that weird pouch that interferes with folding and hemming. As always, measure twice, cut once. If you're not sure where to cut, just cut the toes off first, then slide your arm inside and see how they look.

Th Slytherin socks had the heel pouch colored black, so it was easy to trip a bit past that.

Step 2. Fold and stitch.

Some people recommended folding twice and then stitching. I say, do whatever looks/seems best. Usually one fold works for me. (And depending on the size of the sock, I may not want to fold more than once.)

I tend to sew small things by hand (partly due to the fact that I'm still not used to my machine), but do it however you want. I usually use a back stitch for these arm warmers.

And that's it! Apply a hot iron to help the edges stay down, if you like. Slap on your arm warmers and go. (There is an optional Step 3, which includes making a thumb hole, but I usually don't bother. It's one more step without much of a return on investment.)

The completed version. (And apparently I forgot to take a picture of my left arm, so you get the same arm warmer, repeated. It looks just like the other one.)


There you have it. Two step arm warmers. Put those old and interesting socks to good use.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Music Mondays: Slipping into Fall

The wind has shifted, the sunlight is at once strong and weak, bright against the backdrop of the sky, not quite warm enough to chase away the chill of the recent autumn breezes.

On the campus where I work, the leaves have been falling off the trees for the last month. They're just now starting to change color, a starburst-bright array of orange and yellow and red. There's a crispness in the air and on some days I can detect the smell of wood smoke, of leaf piles burning.

And just last week, the TPMS light went off in my car.

Without a doubt, autumn is here.

Much as I try to hate this time of year, much as I long for the warmth and softness of spring, there's a prettiness to the season that I can't ignore. Potential for revelations in the too bright days, a moment for nostalgia in the cool nights.

I had to accompany the season with some music.

"Into the Mystic" - Van Morrison

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" - Green Day

"The First of Autumn" - Enya

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WWR: Rogue Effigy

It had taken them all afternoon to build the dummy. Her arms were tired and scratchy from stuffing pine straw inside the old jeans and button up shirt.

But it was worth it.

The dummy sat upright in a rocking chair on the front porch. The feetless jeans were shoved into a pair of cowboy boots, the handless arms tucked into a pair of workman's gloves. And an old cowboy hat, hung from a piece of fishing line, hovered just over where a head would be.

Running back inside to drop off her tools (a rake and a pair of scissors), she grabbed the big bowl of candy and headed for the porch to join her straw man companion.

On the porch, the once occupied rocking chair sat empty, slowly creaking back and forth as though someone had just pushed out of it.

What happens next?

This is your prompt, should you choose to accept it. Scary, sweet, funny? Run with it as you will. Come back before next Wednesday to share a link to your work in the comments. I'll tweet about it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WWR: Seasonal Depression

He wakes up in a nondescript hotel room, the kind you'll find, cheap, near any major interstate. He doesn't know where he is. The last thing he remembers is leaving work Friday afternoon, ready to unwind with some laps at the pool.

Bruises bracelet his wrists; there are tears in his jeans. His wallet, with its twenty dollars, is still in his pocket, along with a jingling array of change. His face, in the mirror, shows weeks worth of beard growth.

Taking a breath, he opens the hotel door. The sun spills pale and bright over the trees, the hoods of cars. The air is full of the odor of fall, crisp air, moldering leaves, woodsmoke. His skin prickles with gooseflesh and something sour and hot stirs in his stomach.

There's a newspaper rack just down the way. He buys one. The date is September 23.

That sour-hot feeling crawls up the back of his throat.

He's lost three months.

Where did they go? 

This is your prompt, should you choose to accept it. Come back and share a link to your work in the comments. I'll tweet about it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

[Fiction] The Work, Part 2

(Continuing from last week's The Work.)

“Earl Grey,” she said, handing the tea cup to the dead man in her living room.

He took it, sloshing tea over the side, but didn’t drink, just sat staring into the bottom of his cup as though it held all the answers to the universe.

Eva slipped into the chair across from her visitor, studying him. The dim light of her living room blunted his pallor, made him look a little more alive. Well, aside from the autopsy scar and the milky eyes….

A spirit inhabiting a body after physical death. Vivens mortua was the Latin name. The living dead.

There were stories of them in every culture. Legend often saw them as just another kind of parasite, often tangling them up with tales of vampires and zombies. In other stories, they were mischievous creatures back to wreak havoc on the living. In still others, they were considered ill omens, predicting death or great loss for whomever saw them.

But they weren’t flesh eaters. They didn’t wear red silk lined capes or dine on human flesh or blood. And if they predicted ill omens, Eva had never heard of any coming to fruition.

Of course, she’d never seen one of the living dead either. Though she had heard stories.

Admittedly, they were little more than myths, handed down through the generations. People getting back into their bodies and going about their business like nothing had ever happened. They were some of the most difficult to move on, convinced as they were that nothing had changed. Sometimes, it wasn’t until their bodies began rotting around them that they accepted their own deaths.

But no story had ever depicted the living dead as so….

The man fumbled his tea cup again, fingers flailing as they tried to right it.

Uncoordinated, out of sync.

This man…he fit together wrong. Like someone had taken slightly mismatched puzzles pieces and mashed them together with a hammer and glue. His stunted, unsure walk; the way he held his body; not to mention the silver-grey mist that roiled from his body every so often, curling and dissipating like smoke.

A thought came to her. “Is this….your body?”

He looked up. “No.” His voice was low, raspy, decaying vocal cords struggling to produce sound. “It’s the body of the man who stole mine.”

Written for several prompts. Inspiration Monday's inhuman race, the Light and Shade Challenge's Thursday quote, and Studio30Plus' parasite.

A little short this week. I just started a graduate program and lost some of my creativity in the mishegoss of reading and homework.


Saturday Shorts #15

In 100 words, tell me the story of a well loved stuffed animal. From the stuffed animal's point of view, of course.

Share your links or stories in the comments by midnight on Sunday. I'll tweet about them.


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