Sadly, I bled for my art

Yes, another crafty post.  I only have 2 stained glass classes left, and my next 6 hours are going to be all about the soldering.

I had chosen a pattern for my second project (three flowers with a swoopy background) and picked out some glass I thought would look good together.

Then I stupidly chose to get my flu shot on the day of my class and ended up having to leave early because I got a fever.  First time ever, of course!  I was breaking glass all over the place.  It was pretty pathetic.  Then I caught a cold and had to miss the next class.**  Since the pattern I picked had over 60 pieces I didn’t think I’d have time to do it in the four weeks I had left so I had to find a new one.

I managed to get most of my pieces cut during the next class – also managed three finger slices and two embedded glass chips.  Hence the blood.  Last week I finished the cutting and ground the edges smooth so they wouldn’t be sharp and cut through the foil.  Though some of the flying glass particles got stuck in my arm while I was grinding.  There was more blood.  Sigh.  The equipment in the class isn’t exactly brimming over with safety features.

These are definitely not the colours I would have picked had I known I was doing this one!  I’m usually a little more conservative with my colour choices.  But I didn’t want to waste the glass I bought so I ended up with a flower on a disco dancefloor background. 

This picture ended up with a lot of glare due to my overhead lights and the flash, but I like it because it shows some of the textures in the glass. 

This is half of the pattern wrapped in copper foil.  I picked the black this time, so it should look quite different from my suncatcher.  I’m giving up for the night here, though.  I’ll try to finish the rest tomorrow before my class.  It feels like a waste of time to wrap pieces in foil during class – it’s the only time I have access to any equipment so I try to get as much done there as possible.

I’m feeling better about the way it looks now, however.  The foil seems to be helping.  :)

**I got sick no less than FOUR times this November.  I would feel worse about it, but I don’t actually know anyone who felt great last month.  Even the ones who weren’t actively sick felt off for a while.  Stupid November.


December 1, 2009 at 10:48 pm 5 comments

Cleaning out my camera part 2 – the crafty post

But first!  I took these at the zoo this summer:


This guy popped up out of nowhere when the zookeeper banged her bucket on the glass.


Elephant! I was actually pretty far away when I took this one.


The lions were quite good at ignoring everyone.

Ah!  You must be thinking.  You had such a wonderful day at the zoo!  Nope.  We got rained out by a massive storm and then came home to find my apartment had been flooded.  Arg.

Now on to the real reason for the post! 

I started my stained glass class a few weeks back and took some pictures of my first work in progress.  I made a suncatcher (we all did) which will be gifted to my mother at Christmas.  And she will like it because she is my mother and it was made by her only daughter.  :)

I forgot to bring my camera to the first two classes (of course), but I got to bring everything home to do some of it there. 

Glass pieces

These are all the glass pieces that make up my suncatcher. One of them has copper foil on it.

 It’s really important to have your pieces numbered according to the pattern.  They might all look the same here, but there were enough differences in shape that they wouldn’t have fit together properly if out of the right order.


The outside of the suncatcher!


The whole thing! I didn't really get to choose the colours I wanted, btw. The teacher brought in scrap glass and if you weren't fast you missed the really good colours. I'm not fast, and was too polite to grab all the blue colours, darnit!

 There are gaps between the pieces because the pattern is cut out with special scissors that don’t just cut along a line – a teeny strip of paper is removed along the inside lines.  That way you have room to add the copper foil, yet still have the finished piece end up the same size as the pattern.  My homework was to edge each part in copper foil, which is sticky on one side and can be folded around the edges of the glass.

copper foiled

I finished! Well, mostly. The yellow centerpiece had to be edged as well.


The pieces assembled! You can tell from this picture that I wasn't always the best at following the pattern lines. Some of those gaps are way too big!

tacked together

The first step in the soldering process is to tack your pieces together. My gaps weren't as bad as I thought they'd be, with the exception of #7. That one is practically floating in space...

You can also see where I dropped bits of solder on the glass.  They came off.  And this picture is blurry.  My camera continues to suck at close ups…

I got pretty caught up in the soldering process and didn’t get a chance to take any more pictures.  The next step was filling in all the holes with solder, which you can see I started around pieces 4, 5, 12 and 13.  It took me a while to do #7.  After that was bubble soldering, which meant running another layer around each glass piece, but trying to make it puffy and nice.  Decorative.  Unfortunately I discovered that I was not a natural at soldering.  It took me ages to do and the teacher had to fix a couple of places.  It didn’t help that I can be really anal about things like that.  Sigh.

I would also like to mention that I did NOT get burned by the soldering iron!  I managed to scratch up my thumb the first night on a glass sample, and got a glass chip embedded in a knuckle during class two so I was understandably concerned.  You have to hold a super hot iron in one hand and feed in the solder cable as it melted with the other.  I did get a headache from the fumes, though.  :)

After that we used a tarnishing solution to turn the solder to a colour that matched whichever foil we used.  I used copper, but was quite jealous of how the black foil suncatchers turned out!  After that there was much washing, and we had to rub wax into it and polish polish polish.

finished suncatcher

I'm done!

finished with light

Or maybe not. You can see the wax I missed in this picture. Guess I have more polishing to do!

That’s it!  I’m doing a floral panel for my second project, and have picked out a bunch of different glass colours and patterns.  Tonight I was supposed to start to cut the 63 (!) pieces I need, but I (for the first time in my personal history) got a fever from the flu shot and ruined most of what I cut.  Guess it’s hard to be accurate when your hands are shaking!  I’m hoping it was the fever and not me completely sucking at cutting curved lines, anyway…  I think I’m going to find a geometric pattern as a back up.  :)

November 5, 2009 at 12:16 am 2 comments

I cleared the pictures off of my camera, so you get this post

My couch got taken away today for repair which left me with an unheard of amount of empty space in my living room.  I decided to take advantage by getting a picture of the block of manga shelves I have running along the back of the room.  Normally my couch hides much of the view or I can’t get far enough away to get a good shot.  I have a total of 6 shelves there, but the ones on either end are dvds/graphic novels and the other holds most of my fantasy fiction.  I am always amused by first time visitors to my apartment who stare at the shelving amazed at how many there are.  Because really… if I could I’d add more!
So yeah.  I decided to do a picture post.  I’m a geek.
Manga shelves

My main set of shelves are in my living room - these are generally things I am currently collecting and favorites that have finished. Most shelves have two rows of books, but I've tried to stagger them so things in the back peek out. This also makes it easier to find things!

closet manga

Before my last move I plastic wrapped about 500 or so volumes to free up much needed shelf space. Those boxes now live in my living room closet along with my 3 last boxes of comics. Some day I will actually label them just in case I ever want to find anything again.

shelf 1

One of my yaoi/shonen-ai shelves. Along with a stack of unsorted manga, that Clover omnibus that I have yet to get around to reading and a Totoro musical figurine I bought in a craft village in Japan. (When the clerk heard I was bringing it back to Canada she said, "Ooooh! Totoro is going very far away!" Then she did the shushing gesture and slipped a free magnet in my bag. I liked that clerk.)

shelf 2

Yaoi shelf #2. Carefully edited out is my collection of Fruits Basket stuffed animals that live on top of the shelf along with Mr. Saotome, P-Chan and a few Chococats. That middle shelf holds books I'm planning on covering someday with a second layer. They aren't things I reread much and so are hideable.

When I first put everything away in the new place I went with themes for each shelf.  #1 was shojo, #2 for shonen, then a weird sort of logic for the other 2.  Sadly, the first consideration for the yaoi books are size.  :)  It makes it easy if you’re browsing for roughly the same kind of manga, but I have literally lost things since then.  If a title is tucked behind the front row I’ve had a really hard time finding it.  I’m thinking of switching to alphabetical order.

I do feel the need to point out that Shojo Beat has THE most boring spines ever.  I’ve stood in front of my shojo shelf and tried to find titles that have blended in with the other red, basic print spines.  I make an effort to alternate the occasional CMX or Del Rey series just to break the monotony!  If you look at the top picture, the first shelf on the left is the most boring visually.  It’s mostly Shojo Beat books.  I can identify virtually everything on my shelves from that picture based on the spines *except* that one.  I think Viz is trying to be less yawn-inducing (based on Magic Touch and Otomen, anyway) but it’s already too late for my shelves….

I’m also going to say that while I felt pretty geeky taking pictures of my shelves, when I was looking at the top one and wondering if I should crop the sides I found a graphic novel that had gone missing.  I’ve been trying to lend the first Mouse Guard book to a friend and couldn’t find it anywhere.  I finally decided that I must have lent it to someone and forgotten about it (which happens, and then you can only hope the person who has it brings it back!) and gave up looking.  Nope!  For some reason I stuck it on the shelf next to my Kelley Armstrong books instead of where I normally keep it.  Sigh.

November 4, 2009 at 12:03 am 9 comments

Kimi ni tokoke anime?

Wow.  I’m a bit out of touch, aren’t I?  Just found out today that there’s a Kimi Ni Todoke anime!  This is probably old news to everyone else, but I liked the preview:

October 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm 1 comment

Kimi Ni Tokoke 2

I posted a note about the defective copies of Kimi Ni Todoke #1 that the Indigo stores in Toronto received, but I just realized that I never mentioned how much I liked the first volume.

In what I hope isn’t a new tradition, I was foiled in my attempts to buy volume 2 this weekend at work at the bookstore.  Some days the thought of getting to buy new manga early is the only thing that gets me there (I work the opening shift every Saturday morning, if that helps explain my reluctance to go in).  I was so happy at the thought of buying the new Skip Beat, Baby & Me and Kimi Ni Todoke… then I found out that none of the stores in Toronto got them in.  Ours didn’t even have them on order!  (Though that meant I got to make a manga list of titles we needed to get.  One of my favorite ways to kill time there is to make lists of things to order.)

Today after work I remembered it was new comic day and popped into the comic store.  I managed to spend $99 instead of the $28 I had planned.  Oops!

The first thing I read from my new stack?  Kimi Ni Todoke #2.  If you haven’t read the first one, it’s the story of a pleasant, helpful girl who is nicknamed Sadako (a horror movie name) and the object of much fear and scary rumours among her classmates.  In volume 1, a popular guy in class helps her break out of her shell a bit and make some new friends.  I liked the interesting mix of characters introduced in the first book and found Sadako’s odd situation both sad and amusing.   She’s just so weirdly helpful about the oddest things!

Volume 2 continues with a plot introduced at the end of volume 1.  Someone at school starts spreading rumours about Sadako’s new friends Yano and Yoshida.  Nasty enough on its own, but Sadako is also getting the blame for starting them.  This leads to misunderstandings among the group as Yano and Yoshida try to keep faith in Sadako while getting hit with hints that she might not like them as much as they like her.  Sadako hears part of what is being said and tries to find out what’s going on, but is also horrified that the two girls who were so nice to her are being hurt because of her.  She starts avoiding everyone, which sets off Kazehaya who wants to know why she won’t talk to him anymore.

Part of what elevates this a bit above the usual nasty rumour storyline that pops up in shojo stories (for me, anyway) is the fact that these characters actually spend time trying to figure what’s really happening and the confusion generally stems from half heard, half finished and half understood conversations.  Complicated (of course) by Sadako’s inexperience.  She’s used to being alone and not talking to people so she’s not the best at getting her meaning across.  Or even feeling like people want to get her meaning.

I think if I have any complaint at all about the story it’s that there’s far too much repetition.  Kazehaya will say something to Sadako, and while it’s nice that she takes it to heart and it helps her, I don’t need to hear her repeat things over and over again.  I have a low tolerance for that sort of thing.  I feel like it’s wasting time and space.  :)

I’d also like to mention that if Sadako was lifted from her book to replace Sunako in Wallflower, it could only be an improvement to that series!

While I think some of the characters designs are a bit odd, I really like the art in the book.  I also appreciate that although the supporting characters are nothing new, I like the mix of personalities and the relationships they have with each other.  I will also admit to getting a bit misty when Sadako was struggling with keeping her friends vs. abandoning them to protect them.  sniff!

(Whatever.  It’s late, I haven’t slept in two days and I think I’m coming down with a cold.  That’s why I was getting emotional.  Really.)

Two thumbs up!

October 8, 2009 at 12:02 am 4 comments

Yotsuba 4 vs. Yotsuba 4

That would be a very small comparison between the ADV edition of volume 4 and the one that Yen Press just put out.  I’m going by what feels right and funnier to me here.  I have no idea how accurate either company is with the translation (I know a lot of this can be tricky or involves judgement calls) this is just personal preference.  YMMV.
yotsuba yen0002

Yen wins cover-wise with me because the title stands out a little less than ADV and lacks an advertising blurb.


yotsuba yen0003

Sadly, I can't stand the cover blurb that Yen wrote. Yes, it's an all ages title, but does the blurb need to be directed to 4 year olds?

yotsuba adv0003

ADV's blurb makes me want to open the book.


yotsuba yen0004

This one is from Yen.

Er… I forgot to scan the ADV panel for this one (and my scanner is now put away) but the dialogue is:
Jumbo:  Wow, look what you’ve got here.
Yotsuba:  Bad mitten!  Ena lent it to me!
Yotsuba:  I’m practicing!
Jumbo:  Well, well.

ADV wins this one for me.  Yen seems to mix more of Yotsuba speaking normally (well, for her) and saying things like “borrowed it to me.”   I think Yotsuba is charming and childlike enough without resorting to mixing up words like that.  Yes, I know it’s natural for a small child, but I’m reading a comic here.  I also get annoyed when manga characters refer to themselves by name.  Not even Yotsuba can make that one better with me…


The next panel is from the end of the volume.  Yotsuba has decided to be a summer fairy, which is why she’s dressed like that.  The previous panel has her father asking where she got the ice cream from.

yotsuba adv0004



yotsuba yen0007

Yen ftw! I just think the dialogue fits with the reactions more. Also, this panel made me laugh.


This next bit is from a series of four panel strips in the middle of the book.  Yotsuba finds a soccer ball in the park, and Ena explained the no hands rule.

yotsuba yen0001

Gosh, this is blurry. I was trying to avoid spine damage. :) I think this one is funnier, though. Again, it made me snork in the cafeteria at lunch. Risking possible public embarrassment is always the sign of a funny panel.

yotsuba adv0001



A break from the competition!  I love this section.  Five panels, four reactions from Yotsuba.  She's such a fun character.  Dialogue aside, the art is always enough to keep me entertained.  Kiyohiko Azuma does great reactions.

A break from the competition! I love this section. Five panels, four reactions from Yotsuba. She's such a fun character. Dialogue aside, the art is always enough to keep me entertained. Kiyohiko Azuma does great reactions.

(When I first wrote this caption, I used the word “great” three times.  sigh.)
Next up!  Summer is almost over and Jumbo plans a fishing trip for the girls.  I love that he doesn’t usually hold back when teasing them, and can get quite competitive and childish with them.  He’s so tall and potentially oppressive that it’s fun to see him acting like an idiot.
He especially likes to tease Miura.
 yotsuba adv0005a
yotsuba adv0005b
These two panels are from ADV.  (Captions refuse to take on this picture.  Perhaps they are scared of Miura….)
yotsuba yen0005a
yotsuba yen0005

This one is from Yen. I don't really have a preference for either bit of dialogue, but here you can see one thing Yen is doing that ADV didn't. The cultural notes are placed within the panels to illuminate readers.


Hmm.  Do I have a clear winner?  No, not really.  Pros and cons to both, I guess.  I’m just happy to have Yotsuba&! published again.  I also appreciate the clean, white paper I get with the new volumes and I love the black and white drawing of Yotsuba in the back cover.  I think it would look charming in a frame on my wall, if it didn’t involve destroying the volume.  :)

I’m going to save #6 until I have the time to appreciate it properly.  I think it deserves it after I waited so long.  :)

All told, I think Yen Press has more than earned the extra love and money I’ve been trying to send their way since I heard they licensed Yotsuba&!.

September 11, 2009 at 12:28 am 23 comments

A new Yotsuba day is a good day

I declared today to be an unofficial Yotsuba day! Yes, I was happy to traipse off at lunch to the comic store to pick up volume 6 of Yotsuba, which I have been very eagerly anticipating! (Thanks ADV!)

So I went shopping today expecting to get Yotsuba 6 and the first volume of Super Human Resources (because I loved what I saw of the free online preview, but was too lazy ass to finish reading. I hate reading comics on my computer!). Sadly, after my Summer of No Manga I have little control over myself when presented with new books and I ended up spending $85 instead of $25. Oops!

I was curious about how different the Yen Press translation of Yotsuba would be from the ADV so I ended up picking up volume 4 as well… chosen at random because I didn’t really remember the scenes I saw when flipping through that one. Ah, crappy memory… you’re finally good for something! I decided to read #4 at lunch since I didn’t have much time left after shopping and there were a few things that stood out as being pretty different. For instance, I don’t remember Yotsuba referring to herself by name before. (That’s one of the manga standards that annoys me, I admit. At least she’s probably doing it because she’s 6, though, and not because she’s trying to be precious and cute.) I’m probably going to do a closer comparison when I get home and if there are a lot of changes, I’ll probably end up rebuying the other 4 at some point. What the heck. I’m trying to send what extra love I can to Yen because I was so happy about them picking this title up. :)

September 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm 4 comments

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