Monday, October 31, 2016

Postage Stamp Doll Quilt

My quilting friend said, "You made a postage stamp doll quilt!"

I said, "I thought I made a little hand-pieced, hand-quilted 1-inch scrap quilt."

It's a 22-inch square.

Whatever it is, it was a lot of fun to do.

NaNo starts tonight. Is anyone joining me?


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Oh, now I remember...

I couldn't figure out why I would have stuck a needlework project at the very back of a too-deep-to-actually-use cabinet.

Here's why:

This is one of those things that falls into the "what was I thinking" category. Tiny stitches. Black canvas. Not a pair of things that makes this project something that is easy for me to do. I see lots of light and several magnifying glasses in my future.

I've convinced myself that, just as in coloring, lines are merely suggestions. I'll probably do a few stitches here and there and see if it is fun or not.

The End of an Industry

The last producing sugar cane mill in Hawaii is going to close soon. The last mill about eight miles from our home.
Photo by Joanna Orpia
The tough part of it closing? The Pu'u'nene Sugar Mill was built in 1901. It employed 675 people until they started layoffs this year. Some families have worked in the mill since it opened. It's not a job, it's a way of life. It's painful to watch the confusion and fear in the worker's eyes as they re-train for other jobs. Much of their experience does not translate easily to other industries.

The best thing about it closing? No more cane burning. They would burn a field and then harvest the stalks that were left for processing. The smoke also billowed out of the stacks at the mill during processing as you can see in the above photo.

No one knows what's going to happen to the 36,000 acres of cane fields. Odds are they will mainly be used for agricultural purposes. (Although, I'm not sure I want to eat anything that they plant on land that's been abused for this long.)

I hope all is going well for you.

"L" is for look, it's almost NaNo time...

First, welcome to blogging, Susan. Please let me know if you prefer Susan or Sue.

Sue is a new blogger, but you'd never be able to tell. You can visit her at Blessings of Thread.

Notice that I'm not trying to get her to do NaNo. I've already pulled one new writer into the fun.

Here's my Writing Blip for today:
"Look! It's a monarch butterfly."
There were five outside my office window yesterday. They were sitting on flowers and drying their wings. I would have taken a pic, but I didn't want to disturb them.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2016

"K" is for knitting...

I woke up very early this morning, so I knit, read a book, played a computer game, and folded cranes. Yes, all at the same time. I had a busy brain this morning.

Lizzy inspired me to go visit my childhood home. I lived there until I was seven. Isn't Google Maps amazing that you can actually go and visit places?
Here's my Writing Blip for today:
"Knitting is like life. You have a choice of the materials you use and you choose how to put them together. You can easily start again if it's not going the way you want.

I guess that's one of the greatest things that I found to be true for me. My life became so much happier, I felt freer, and I felt wiser when I figured out that I couldn't blame my childhood for my grown-up issues. I realized that any old issues were in the past and I was in the future. What happens in my adult life is my responsibility, it's not due to someone else's garbage from a long time ago.

I was genuinely surprised when I looked at the house where I grew up. I felt nothing but curiosity to see how it looked. I am happy for the people that live there now because it looks so well maintained.

I enjoyed the visit, but I'm glad that I can return to now. I like now even with all of its challenges. And ultimately, I like the person I've become. Even, or because of, the split and slipped stitches that make me who I am."
I can tell NaNo is almost here. I'm starting to turn away from my tech writer habits of conciseness and brevity and I'm getting wordy. I'm also not editing anything, so please forgive any typos and crappy grammar. NaNo begins on Tuesday and I've already met a nice person on the NaNo boards.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"J" is for a strange little pep talk...

Today's Writing Blip:
"'Just do it!' she said with an exasperated sigh."
That's today.

Just do it.

I hope you're having a great day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Without comment...

"I" is for duck and cover...

I'm using the cloak of invisibility to sit at my desk today and, hopefully, no one will be able to find me. We'll see how that works.

Writing Blips for the day:
"Ignorance is bliss," she said, as she plowed through her second reading of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking."
I hope you have a fun day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From my office sidewalk...

"H" is for ...

Oh, oh. I can't even think of some weird little silly thing that "H" stands for today.

I'm noticing that everything gets a little harder without a good, sound sleep. Even silly little things.

It's good for me to remember when I get frustrated.

I'm fighting not to be "Debbie Downer." Dear Partner is having a tough day. He needs support and an attentive partner. I have to remember that I am not the center of the whole world. Making sure you help other people without making everything about you is important, too.
"Here, let me help you carry that. With two of us it will seem much lighter."
Two sentences today, but I needed to finish the thought.

 I hope you're having a great day.

The next post will be wordless. I'm trying to get my eyes to see things in a new light. After all, I have a friend coming to visit who is so excited about coming here. It's got to be a great place, yes?

All the people who have flown thousands of miles and spent tons of money can't all be wrong.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"G" is for Scrivener

Updated by Scrivener and had to remember how to reset all the fonts, sizes, and colors.

I'm glad I started ahead of NaNo time.

I've been using Scrivener for several years. They have never charged once for an upgrade. Classy way to do business.

I have nothing for today's Writing Blip.

Don't think. Just type.

Here goes:
"Grab my hand, Sister, and we'll rise together through the darkness."
 Yipes, this blip sucks. It'll probably look like War and Peace about the second week of NaNo.

I'm almost ready for NaNo. I need my mascot:

He brings me the first line of everything I've ever written.

Thanks once again, Snoopy.

I hope you're having a great week.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Weekend fun

"F" is for my son will be here soon...

Dear Son will be here for 10 days starting the last week of November. What great fun it will be. It's so much fun to see the island through fresh eyes.

Today's Writing Blip:
"For the sweet love of everything that is holy, put down my peanut butter and jelly sandwich!"
 I didn't know peanut butter and jelly sandwiches meant that much to me.

I hope you're having a great weekend.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"E" is for listening to the birds waking up

I love the dawn. The first birds awake make me smile. You can almost see them stretching their wings.

It's Saturday. A day of infinite possibilities stretches ahead.

I am bone-tired.

Today's Writing Blip:
"Each morning she would read the last page she'd written the day before and then fold it into an origami crane."
I hope you have a great Saturday.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"D" is for "Hooray It's Friday!"

It's Friday! It's Friday! Yippee!

I don't usually use exclamation points. It's on of the things my first editor, Frank, taught me the first time he read something of mine.

However, today is a day that deserves exclamation points.

I already have some great things lined up for this weekend. (None of which have anything to do with work.)

  • Dear One and I are going to picnic at the beach one day. 
  • I'm going to work on my "no stress" room. 
  • I have the first six "Jack Reacher" novels in an e-book compilation from the public library. 
  • There's a cute knit cotton dishcloth that I found that's almost halfway done. (This is a found treasure from my fun room organization effort.
I have a sign very similar to this that's going on my fun room door:

I'll take a pic of the door when it's hung this weekend.

And now for the Writing Blip for the day:
"Despite having wings, she was still afraid to fly."
 For once, I know where this thought came from...

I hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"C" is for...

The faster I go, the behinder I get.

The Writing Blip for today:

"Camel spit in his face did not help him enjoy his touristy visit to the Valley of the Kings."
 Camel spit? Camel spit? Why was my brain thinking about camel spit?

Maybe my brain made a thought typo and meant "camel sh$t."

Who knows.

I hope you're having a great week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"B" is for "See I Can Post Every Day"

I'm at least going to joke and be light and airy here.

I'll make my own stress-free environment.

"Before he knew it, the train had whooshed by, taking his hat along for the ride."

Several of my characters from other stories are begging to appear in NaNo this year. Did you ever wonder what your past used characters do while they are waiting for you to call on them again?

Mine, thank goodness, have been thinking of adventures they'd like to have.

I hope you're having a great week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"A" for it's almost NaNo

I have nothing exciting to say. I'm working too many hours. Feeling too much self-inflicted stress. Using too much energy trying not to get fired. Sometimes not saying things takes a lot of energy.

So, in honor of NaNo and getting in the habit of writing each day, I'm starting Writing Blips again.

Every day. One sentence. The letter of the first word marches through the alphabet. No thinking. No editing. No explaining. Just writing.

Today is "A."

"Although most people would probably agree he looked like a Pekinese, he had always fancied himself a Doberman Pinscher."

Huh? Don't you often wonder where stuff like that comes from? It makes me wonder just what else is wandering around the dark corners of my brain.

I hope you're having a great day.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

National Novel Writing Month already???!!!!!

Oh, Lizzy.

I had completely forgotten it was almost November.

My stomach flipped when I read your email.

Wow. Just wow.

Yes, I'm writing. But it may only be 1,000 words. One for each crane I'm folding. One thousand words feels like a hopeful goal to me. Just as hopeful and positive as folding 1,000 cranes.

Thank you for reminding me, Lizzy.


Still alive...

Work is still in turmoil. I'm looking for life lessons from the universe. Here are a few that I'm choosing to believe:

  • No one has power over you. They only have the power you give them.
  • Work is something to do to earn money to do the things you love. Happiness in real life doesn't have a thing to do with happiness or unhappiness at work. (OK, I'm struggling with this one. So much time is spent at work that it somehow seems to overshadow home.)
  • It's essential to leave work and work and not let it color off-work time. (I'm struggling with this one, too. I'm finding singing "Na na na" when I think of work at home is driving my Dear Partner crazy. I'll have to find a new mantra.
There are more that I'm trying to see. It's hard.

In real life, I'm folding 1,000 cranes for a dear friend who just had open heart surgery. I'm sorry for her challenges. I feel honored that she asked me to fold cranes for her. (She thought the legend was for 100 cranes. She felt guilty when she found out it was 1,000.)

I think I finally convinced her that she was giving me a gift letting me fold them for her. The cranes mean so much more when each one if folded with a specific person in mind.

This has been a great break this morning. I'd better get back to work.

I hope you're having a great week. I'll try to post a bit each day. Maybe I'll start "Writing Blips" each day just to get back online.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

NaNo Tips from Scrivener

NaNo Tips for Writing with Scrivener

The intention here is to share some tips that I have found useful when working with Scrivener during my excursions into the realm of National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo” for short, or even shorter, just “NaNo”. If you have any ideas for this series, please feel free to drop me a line.
When writing your book this month, it is widely considered acceptable to write as much as you can, even if the quality of what you write may not be what you would consider “up to snuff” for the story you are writing. Since the daily word count is the main goal of the project for most people, this is okay. However, if you are also working toward the goal of producing something worthy of publishing—or at the very least, something you can be proud of—you might wish to somehow mark passages of text that you do not feel happy with, without completely deleting them or excluding them from the total counted work. There are a few ways of doing this in Scrivener.
Inline Annotations: The first and most direct method is through the use of inline annotations. Annotations can be used to mark blocks of text as a “comment”, and it works a bit like a toggle, much like a bold or italic range of text might—but this is merely the default way in which Scrivener treats them when you compile. In the “Footnotes/Comments” compile option pane, you can elect to leave annotations in the text, right where they are in your editor. You can even remove the enclosing brackets that Scrivener would normally insert around them, causing them to appear as normal text. For NaNo, all you need to do is submit raw words. You don’t need a formatted document, and so compiling as a .TXT file is perfect as it will strip out markings such as annotation colour. The advantage of this method is that it is as easy to “delete” a poorly phrased sentence as it is to italicise it, and it even looks a bit like you took a red pen to a printout, which is always satisfying.
A “Dust Bin” File: Another way of approaching this is to indeed fully remove the offending text from the section you are working on, but in such a way that it remains counted. An easy way of doing this is to select the text and then right-click on it, choosing to “Append Selection to Document”. What I like to do is create a single “Dust Bin” document at the bottom of my draft for the collection of all these bits of text. On the Mac, you can set that as a favourite document by right-clicking on the “Dust Bin” item in the Binder and selecting “Add to Favorites”. This will bump the item up to the top of the append sub-menu for easy access in the future. While this method takes a bit more work, the advantage is that it leaves inline annotations free to use for their intended purpose, as comments to yourself while writing, as well as keeping your text clean and easy to read. So long as the “Dust Bin” text item is located somewhere in the draft, they will be counted by the various statistics tools available to you, and included in the draft when you compile. Once November has expired, you can simply move this file elsewhere or delete it entirely.
Inspector Comments: Similar to the above, this technique moves the text to the Inspector sidebar instead of a secondary document. Inspector comments, like inline, can be included in the final output, with the advantage of being pinned to the precise location where they came from. That may come in handy if you change your mind later on. One downside to using these is that text moved to comments will not be counted in the program’s statistics while you work. (If you are a Windows user and cannot find this feature, try downloading the NaNoWriMo demo version. It has a sneak preview of the feature, which will be included in the next stable release.)
Overstrike: A natural way of marking text to be deleted is to draw a line through it. It’s easy to mark text with an overstrike in Scrivener, and on the Mac you can even set the compiler to automatically delete any text that has been overstruck. For NaNoWriMo, that won’t matter much, because as we’ve already noted, you want all of this to be in your word count anyway. For Windows users, while there isn’t a way to strip out overstruck text automatically, you can however search for overstruck text with the Edit/Find/Find by Formatting tool. An alternative to overstrike, if you find it causes too much visual clutter, are highlighters. A number of preset highlighter colours are available. Like overstrike they can be searched for with “Find by Formatting”, even by colour.
There are many other ways to sequester text to the loony bin without fully getting rid of it. Stashing them into the Document Notes sidebar is a good choice, as this pane is readily accessible even from Composition Mode (called Full Screen on Windows). You can turn on Notes export in the compile Formatting option pane to include them in the overall count (though do note that Scrivener’s internal statistics features will no longer pick up on them if you do this).
I have found the ability to set aside text I don’t much care for to be liberating in an endeavour like this. It is all too easy to just throw up your hands and tell yourself that quality shouldn’t matter. And to a degree, when you have 50,000 words to write in 30 days, that is not an unfair assessment. But being able to physically shove text aside that you know you’re not happy with, and forging on without it toward a better core of text that you are happy with can help keep your spirits up throughout the month.
As always, remember that we have a coupon available for 20% off to all participants of NaNoWriMo, and those that qualify as winners by November 30 will receive a 50% off coupon toward Scrivener on the platform of your choosing (Windows or Mac OS X). Good luck, and keep writing!