Shared posts

26 Mar 00:10

Watercolor Quilting Workshop

Last weekend I took part in a fun workshop at Handcraft Studio School in El Cerrito.  Watercolor quilting.  Yes, watercolor quilting.  It was so much fun!  We learned how to use special fabric dye to create an abstract watercolor painting on 10" squares of fabric.  Then we made a quilt sandwich and learned how to free-motion quilt using the painting as inspiration.  Some people did abstract quilting and some people made recognizable images, but they were all wonderful.  

I chose to stick to a single color in a couple shades, since I'm not too great at color mixing on the fly.  It was perfect, though, because it allowed me to really focus on the patterns that emerged from the paint and find interesting ways to emphasize certain shapes and lines.  The quilting on the back is just as interesting as the quilting on the front (maybe even more so since my paintings aren't that interesting).

Ashley, the instructor, is a professional quilter who teaches classes on Creativebug that are great for learning to make quilts.  In the workshop, she gave some tips on how to free-motion quilt without having to buy all the fancy tools, and recommended a few tools that she wouldn't want to do without.  She said the watercolor quilting class will appear on Creativebug sometime this year, so that is definitely something to be excited about!  I'll need some reminders for sure.
22 Mar 03:51

Dragon hound

by opusanglicanum

Just a small creature this week. I’m not sure he’d be much use at hunting dragons, he looks to me more like a spaniel who thinks he’s fierce.

I made two changes from the original ms, the first being the colour. I moved away from the original blue because he’s trotting along underneath a big blue horse, and that would have been too much blue. The second was that on the principle of blank space is a very bad thing in medieval art, I put a flower on the end of his tail. Although I’m not so sure it’s a flower, it could be a decorative version of those spiky clubs some dinosaurs had on the end of their tails?

Don’t ask me the name of the dinosaur though, it could have been Gilbert for all I know…

14 Mar 14:39

"On Cloud 9" - New Design Take One



So, here it is.  Version one of a new pattern I'm designing.  Despite all its imperfections and mistakes, I'm happy with the way it turned out.  The design uses a few very basic block designs, including "lazy angle," half square triangle, and whatever that clipped corner square is called.  My intention was to create a cloud hovering over a gradient sky, and I included both solids and prints to create dimension and interest.  Since this was mostly a learning/practice project to perfect the design, I'll mostly talk about its flaws (though you're free to admire its glowing qualities as well).

First off, the gradient went too light at the bottom left corner, making the cloud too difficult to see.  The easy fix, of course, is to start darker.  The next glaring mistake was in my initial mental calculation for how to cut and assemble the clipped-corner-square blocks.  After talking it over with my math teacher husband, I made a line graph that quickly and easily solved my problem, so version two will have perfectly matched seams.  Lastly, I ran out of one of the fabrics I had selected, which threw off my gradient in the top left corner and required a bit of muddling to get right again.  Next time, buy more fabric!

One thing I'm completely happy with is the quilting design.  The simple wavy lines, overlapping in random spots, adds some movement, like wind, so I can almost imagine the cloud can move across the fabric background.  I also love, love, love the bright yellow fabric print I chose for the binding.  It pops so nicely with the blue and aqua shades and adds a feeling of sunshine coming through the clouds.  

I think my next version will be a larger, maybe lap-size, quilt with a repeating cloud motif or just larger-scale single cloud.  Either way, it's a design I love that I will pursue as soon as I wrap up a few more projects in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile, I think this mini will become a thank-you gift for a woman who was, in a way, an integral part in the creation of this piece.  I hope she likes it as much as I do!
08 Mar 04:32

Let’s stop demonizing “filler words”

Let’s stop demonizing “filler words”:

Another article unnecessarily criticizing filler words, this time in the New York Times; another blog post debunking it, this time by Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein. Excerpt of the blog post:  

Among the many types of discourse markers are a subset sometimes known as verbalized pauses. People who are not linguists also call them “filler words” and “verbal crutches,” but those terms are misleading.

Why don’t we just get rid of them, the NYT article asks. After all, “verbal fillers that can make you sound, you know, nervous or not so smart.”


These kinds of pauses do give us time to think of what we’ll say next — but that’s not all they do. Compare the examples below with and without the discourse markers.

They allow us to soften disagreement or criticism by making it somewhat more polite.

  • The thing is, she worked really hard.
  • Um, it’s my not my favorite.

They emphasize whatever it is we’re going to say next.

  • My teacher is, like, a total nutjob.

They allow us to introduce delicate topics.

  • Sooooo, um, how are things at home?
  • Have you, ah, thought any more about counseling?

They communicate subtle nuances of emotional stance.

  • I’m feeling, you know, not too bad about that exam.

They allow us to indicate our degree of certainty.

  • I must have had, like, seven hundred pages of reading to do.
  • She was, I think, pretty pissed off.

As you can see, these discourse markers do an immense amount of important social and emotional work for us. They add nuance and richness to our speech. In fact, we can’t be socially appropriate human beings without them. Even if we got rid of particular markers — if we stopped saying um and so and like — we’d just end up using new ones in their place. […]

Mele writes: “Speakers who are well known in their professions but overuse verbal pauses are still perceived as credible because they have built a reputation. Audience members will chalk up those habits to just the way they talk, Ms. Marshall said. … But newcomers who use as many interjections as seasoned professionals will be seen as less credible because they do not have the years of experience.”

Yet he stops short of the obvious conclusion: there’s nothing wrong with using these words. The only people who are critiqued for using them are already low-status, and this critique helps maintain the low status of certain people and groups.

Read the whole post.

Previously: Alexandra D’Arcy on 800 years of “like”, teen girls as language distruptors, xkcd on quotative like and why linguists are hardcore.

06 Mar 16:20

malformalady: Given the chance, butterflies will eat blood....


Given the chance, butterflies will eat blood. Blood contains all manner of minerals and nutrients that are beneficial for most living organisms. It also contains a significant amount of sodium and glucose, two essential dietary blocks for most butterflies. Both of these are also found in fruit. It also contains a significant amount of sodium and glucose, two essential dietary blocks for most butterflies. Both of these are also found in fruit.

01 Mar 06:28

blue-mug:In my linguistics class we were talking about “insertion” which is basically when you say a...


In my linguistics class we were talking about “insertion” which is basically when you say a word and pronounce an extra letter or sound even though it’s not written in the word itself, to which my professor used the example of “hamster” because when you say it you pronounce a “p” even though it’s not written and this group of guys were going through an existential crisis because they couldn’t believe they said hamster with a “p” and one kid began to question everything in his life and it was beautiful

My favourite example along these lines is the hidden nasal sounds in English that you don’t even realize you’re producing. Everyone knows about /m/ and /n/ because they have distinct letters, but there’s also a sound that’s often written “ng” and yet not actually pronounced as n+g. For example, “ng” in “finger” is pronounced like “n+g” but “ng” in “singer” is a totally distinct sound (known as “engma” and written /ŋ/ in the IPA). 

Even more obscurely, /m/ is normally produced with a closure of the two lips, but when it’s found before /f/ or /v/, it gets pronounced with the teeth on the lips instead, just like /f/ and /v/ are, as in “comfort” or “symphony”. The IPA symbol for this is /ɱ/, and I don’t think it technically has a fun name, but I call it “emfma” by analogy with “engma” and every linguist I’ve said it to has understood me.

25 Feb 05:20

what people think linguistics is: i can speak 14 languages fluently

what people think linguistics is: i can speak 14 languages fluently
what linguistics actually is: god i love the consonant-vowel structure in polynesian languages
25 Feb 05:18

pochowek: beaky-peartree: remember when lol meant “laughing out loud” instead of “this is to...



remember when lol meant “laughing out loud” instead of “this is to indicate that this brief text isn’t hostile”

remember when lol meant “this brief text isn’t hostile” instead of “this brief text is in fact horrendously hostile and very passive aggressive”

There’s a linguistics paper about lol that explains both of these meanings!

14 Feb 16:07

The orgin and constraints of “shitgibbon” compounds


this analysis is very interesting

Today in hard-hitting linguistics research, the linguist blogosphere has been investigating shitgibbon and related words. 

Ben Zimmer starts off on Strong Language with an investigation into the origin and history of shitgibbon

Leach’s “fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon” was clearly inspired by MetalOllie’s “Cheeto-faced, ferret wearing shitgibbon” (which proved so popular you can even buy it on a mug). Shitgibbon has a lot going for it, with the same punchy meter as other Trumpian epithets popularized last summer like cockwomble, fucknugget, and jizztrumpet. (Metrically speaking, these words are compounds consisting of one element with a single stressed syllable and a second disyllabic element with a trochaic pattern, i.e., stressed-unstressed. As a metrical foot in poetry, the whole stressed-stressed-unstressed pattern is known as antibacchius.)

But shitgibbon didn’t originate with MetalOllie. Its early history has been traced by Hugo van Kemenade, a resourceful word researcher whose biggest claim to fame is finding the earliest known use of the word selfie in a 2002 Australian forum post. (He goes by @hugovk on Twitter and just “Hugo” elsewhere.) As Hugo shared on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange and Wiktionary, shitgibbon can be found all the way back in 2000 on music-related Usenet newsgroups.

EvilJam32, 21 Mar 2000,
Good luck and goodbye to the most sick-making, hypocritical bunch of shitgibbons i’ve yet encountered on the Web!

Later, Ben confirms the origin of shitgibbon

Breaking news! I’ve confirmed that the originator of “shitgibbon” is none other than David Quantick, writing for @NME in the late ‘80s.

Taylor Jones then takes us into what kinds of words can be variants of “shitgibbon”:

So, it’s not the fact of being a gibbon per se. Various other monkeys would work: vervet, mandrill, etc. However, crucially, baboons, macaques, black howlers, and pygmy marmosets are out.

Moreover, it’s not completely unlimited. Some words fit but don’t make much sense as an insult: cock bookshelf, fart saucepan (which I quite like, actually), dick pension, belch welder.

Others sound like the kind of thing a child would say: fart person! poop human! turd foreman!

Yet others are too Shakespearean: fart monger! piss weasel!

Clearly some words (waffle, weasel, gibbon, pimple, bucket) are better than others (bookshelf, doctor, ninja, icebox), and some just depend on delivery (e.g., ironic twat hero, turd ruler, spunk monarch, dick duchess).

For a while, I’ve been discussing vowels in insults with fellow linguist Lauren Spradlin. Note that when we talk about vowels, we mean sounds, not letters. Don’t worry about the spelling, try saying the below aloud. Spradlin has brought my attention to the importance of repeating vowels increasing the viability of a new insult of this form: crap rabbit, jizz biscuit, shit piston, spunk puffin, cock waffle, etc.

I would argue that having the right vowels actually gives you some leeway, so you can get away with following the first word with — gasp! —- a non-trochee! Be it an iamb (remember iambic pentameter?) as in douche-canoe, spluge caboose, or the delightfully British bunglecunt (h/t Jeff Lidz), or even more syllables: Kobey Schwayder’s charming mofo-bonobo.

Contrary to what Taylor has, I think “douchebaboon” would actually work just fine, for the same vowel-matching reason that “douchecanoe” works. (But “shitbaboon” and “shitcanoe” are both pretty bad, I agree.)

But unless the second word has a matching vowel (in which case all bets are off), I think we can systematically predict which trochees are going to be okay. Let’s group them and have a look. 

The good ones include: waffle, weasel, gibbon, pimple, bucket, biscuit, rabbit, piston, puffin, basket, whistle, helmet, blanket, mandrill, gopher, weevil, nugget, trumpet. 

And the not-so-great ones include: bookshelf, saucepan, doctor, ninja, icebox. 

Phonological constraints: trochee, CVCVC (+further optional consonants)

The good ones all seem to begin and end with a consonant (unlike ninja – and I’d argue that kitty, pizza, zombie, banjo, ascot, ankle, emu, inkhorn, office are equally bad). Extra consonants are okay in any position (lobster, blanket, vortex), but you need at least one in each. The only counter-example I’ve found here is “monkey”.

As I’ve been constructing examples, I’ve also been noticing that while assonance makes the compound really good (see douchecanoe), consonance seems to make it worse: I avoided pisspirate, fartfreedom, shitscholar. But perhaps this is a matter of taste – I can imagine someone liking pisspuffin or wankweasel. 

Morphological constraint: monomorphemic

The good examples are also all monomorphemic, at least to current English speakers. For example, “gibbon” isn’t gibb+on, and even though -et might once have been added to helm-, blank-, buck-, this is no longer transparent to English speakers. On the other hand, many of the rejected words are transparently composed of parts: book-shelf, sauce-pan, ice-box. 

Indeed, I can’t seem to find any compound that really works (jetpack, doorway, keyboard), although there are are lot of compounds in English and I certainly haven’t tried all of them. I wonder if this is some constraint against creating a (one-time, nonliteral) compound out of a word that’s already compounded. English is happy to entertain stacked transparent compounds (bathroom towel rack screw holder) but might have a harder time if the whole is supposed to be opaque. Counterexamples welcome here. 

Semantic constraint: non-human

That leaves us with “doctor”. It’s dubiously morphologically transparent: English speakers probably recognize -or from words like “actor”, but “doct” isn’t an English word by itself. But I think that’s a red herring – I’d argue that the important part here is that doctor already refers to a human (or human-like) entity. There’s something similarly weird about shitdentist, shitdemon, turdscholar, fartbarber, shitpirate, douchelawyer, and so on. 

There are two possible reasons that I can see for this constraint. One is confusion – if you call someone a shitdentist, do you mean that they’re a shitty dentist or a generically bad human being? Whereas if you call someone a shitweasel, they’re clearly not actually a weasel, so you must just be insulting them. To this end, the generic titles (shitmaster, turd duchess) seem to work better than specific professions, because we already have a tradition of ironically calling people titles, while we don’t have a tradition of ironically calling people doctors, lawyers, or other professions. 

But secondly, having your second word be an animal or an inanimate object dehumanizes the target of your insult, which is more insulting – as Taylor notes, the swear+title forms are probably ironic. [Update: it’s not that you can’t say, for example, assmaster or cockdoctor. It’s just that in the right context, they’re practically compliments.]

Abstract and mass nouns are also pretty weird for the opposite reason, because they’re hard to associate with a human at all (shitweather, shitlanguage, turdmonday, shitfreedom).

At any rate, since this now seems to be an active area of linguistics research, I think we need a name for this construction. I’m going to propose “shitgibbon compounds”. 

09 Feb 05:23

Focus Knob

Maybe if I spin it back and forth really fast I can do some kind of pulse-width modulation.
06 Feb 22:07

Linguists in the #ActualLivingScientist hashtag on twitter.


I tried with Adam the "can you name a living scientist" question and he got hung up on naming a "famous" one. Removing that constraint we still only had a few to name...

28 Jan 17:20

Check out Utopia Jam

by lauramichet

I don’t know how many people habitually read my blog anymore who don’t also follow me on twitter, but if you’re not on social media– I’m running an jam in February, and you should participate!

The jam is called “Utopia Jam,” and it’s for games which take place in or help imagine better worlds. Check out the jam page for more information about the subject matter.

For inspiration, we’ve cited artistic subcultures, books, movies, and TV shows which take place in optimistic futures. Star Trek, the Culture series, Solarpunk art, and Ursula LeGuin’s blurry “Hainish Cycle” are all examples of optimistic futurism.

I’m running this jam with Cat Manning and we’re going to be making a game for it together. So far, over 50 people have expressed interest in participating through, so it seems like the right jam at the right time.

26 Jan 07:05


With the right 90-degree rotation, any effect is a side effect.
18 Jan 16:15

Postage Increase on Monday

by Donovan Beeson

Postage currency
Ok, technically, it's on the 22nd which is Sunday. Any letters mailed on Monday the 23rd will need to have our old friend of 49 cents affixed. There is NO price change for postcards, international mail or for additional ounces for letters. Here's a handy chart:

  Now    On Monday
Letters (1 oz.)    47 cents  49 cents
Letters additional ounces      21 cents   21 cents
Letters to all international destinations   $1.15     $1.15
Postcards    34 cents 34 cents

It's not so bad! I just don't see why they had to jump down to 47 only to pop back up to 49. Yes, there are rules, but sometimes I think the government could really benefit from some common sense.



15 Jan 17:51

Natural language processing and fanfiction


So many interesting tidbits in this!

Natural language processing and fanfiction:

A post about doing natural language processing on fanfic, by Smitha Milli at the Organization for Transformative Works blog. Excerpt: 

The goal of this work was to share what fanfiction has to offer to the fields of natural language processing, computational social science, and digital humanities. Towards this end, we collected a large dataset of fanfiction from that consists of about 6 million stories written by around 1 million authors. To characterize the interaction between authors and readers, we analyzed the network structure of the community. We found that 52% of the authors in our dataset had reviewed another author’s story. Of these authors, each had reviewed on average 13 other stories. We did exploratory data analysis to investigate the content of these reviews. In particular, we ran a statistical model called “latent dirichlet allocation” to extract the different topics underlying the reviews. Probably unsurprising to most of you, most of the reviews consisted of positive author encouragement (“please update!!!”) or emotional reactions to the story (“aww cute”).

We also investigated differences between fanfiction and canon. Specifically, we compared ten canons present in the Gutenberg corpus to their fanfiction counterparts. (We used canons from Gutenberg, so that we would have access to the text of the original stories. The canons we looked at were Les Miserables, Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, Little Women, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the Secret Garden).

In both fanfiction and canon we found that female characters were mentioned less frequently than male characters. However, we did find that fanfiction had a slight, but very statistically significant, increase in the frequency of female character mentions. In fanfiction 42.4% of character mentions were female, while in the canons 40.1% of character mentions were female. We also analyzed how the number of times specific characters were mentioned differs between canon and fanfiction. For example, in Pride and Prejudice fanfiction, Mr. Darcy receives a large increase in mentions, while nearly every other character drops in the amount that they’re mentioned.

Read the whole post or the full paper (pdf)

This is a more data-driven version of the previous discussion on the phrase “toeing out of his shoes” in fanfic and may also be relevant to the character-based fanfiction stats found @toastystats by @destinationtoast.

05 Jan 03:51



the world needs more heckling like this

I didn't even realize you could HAVE a data set made up entirely of outliers.
30 Dec 23:01

Alchemy of Paint 2/3

by Joumana

I love these sort of "source to end product" type journeys

Previous post: Stones. In this post: Plants.

Persian berries

Grinding this is going to be a little more difficult...
Adding lye to extract the color...

Time to strain the dye.

This is ready to dye cloth with. But to use it in paint we have to turn this into a solid...

Here comes the alum!

12 hours later... Time to strain again, but
this time we want to keep the solid.
So we proceed as if making labneh (srained yogurt).
Many more hours later, this is what it will look like.

Much grinding later, we finally have paint.

Madder root 
(the legendary red of carpets)

This looks even HARDER to grind!



Yes, we're going to make beetle juice!
A color to dye for (sorry for that).

This one will surprise you.
Purple now...
Now clearly violet...
Almost black tomorrow (left).


A whole other process, this is an ink and always in solution.
Testing with different proportions of gum arabic.
This ink is fun because it's nearly clear when brushed,
then darkens dramatically on the paper.
30 Dec 18:33

Alchemy of Paint 1/3

by Joumana
I have had the most transformative week, a true revelation, learning to make colors from raw materials and with nothing but natural substances under the guidance of David Cranswick. I don't think there's any going back to synthetic paint and products after this, at least not for my personal work. Without disclosing too much of what we were taught, here's a flying tour of the genesis of true artist pigments. As this is very image-heavy, I divided it into 3 posts. In this post: Stones.

The alchemist's lab...
(a few ambiance pics)

This cozy space was home for 5 full days to 1 teacher, 4 students, 1 gecko and a bunch of large snakes (I'm not kidding.)

The three copper stones we're starting with: malachite, chrysocolla
and azurite, alongside lapis lazuli (lower right).


Grinding the stone above to a powder.

Wash and repeat.

And repeat.
And repeat.

Much later, the dried powder is ground with a medium
to make watercolor, egg tempera or oil paint.


Same process!

Homemade malachite watercolor


The product of sulphur meeting mercury, exploding with such strength it generates these rocks. What's not to love?

30 Dec 18:32

Alchemy of Paint 3/3

by Joumana
Previous post: Plants. This post: Mediums!

Gum Arabic

The resin is ready, and so is... the sugar.
Add hot water to make the oldest binding agent in the world.


Ochre yellow, an earth color.

Add gum arabic...
... and start grinding.

Repeating with burnt sienna...

... and building up a collection.
Egg tempera

My brain needs to stop referring to this medium as "egg tempura".
Other than that, this could be the beginning of a beautiful love story.

Passing the yolk from hand to hand till it's ready.

The delicate part...

Testing with egg tempera.


Grinding yellow ochre again, this time with linseed oil, produces this beautiful consistency, like soft butter.
Now to tube it.

Oust air, roll, crimp...
Voilà! Keeps for years!

Lead white is quite a bit tougher to grind...
A superb color endangered by dumb "safety regulations."
This spectacular color, minium, is obtained by heating lead white. That's all. Just magical.

Final result of 5 days of intense work: This beautiful natural palette and soooo much inspiration.
27 Dec 16:43

Dandelion Wine

by Melissa Sue
Early this year, I started a large group of new monsters. 

This project changed all of my work for 2016.  In order to create the new creatures I wanted, I needed all new colors to work with.  

Each monster is unique.  There are twenty individual creatures, with a different pattern cut and stitched all by hand.  

Fun with new techniques - like these wired leaves.  They take ~forever~ to create, but I love the effect so much.  These dandelion leaves became a big part of the collection.

For the last few months I've been sharing the process and progress with my Patreon supporters.  There was a lot of organization and planning, and some changes to the list of which beasts were included and which were cut.  This purple fellow was cut, but he'll be back later.  

Even towards the end of the year, with the deadline for the show looming, each creature was slowly and painstakingly put together.
Each creature is a different piece in a short story about the magic of Midwest Summer.  The colors and environments were all chosen to illustrate a particular time in the season.  

After months of tiny stitches - there was one magic moment on a wintry December Tuesday when all the monsters were suddenly completed, arranged, and on display.  

And then, an even more magical evening when the show opened.  So many people braved the weather to come hang out and celebrate!
In the main gallery space Lana and Andrew's show, "Night Fall", was also opening - so it was a total party night!  Their show is dark and beautiful and you should definitely check it out.


I'll share out some more photos soon - but in the meantime you can see the whole show over at:

There's still some beasts available, so if you're doing some last-minute shopping head over!
The show is up through the 31st, but they'll give you a nifty Certificate that you can wrap up for gifting on the Holiday.  

19 Dec 15:28


The many colors and flavors of #BakeAmericaGreatAgain. We raised over $3000 for ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and SPLC. Thank you to everyone who made it a success! @rswang @vineetgopal92 @vivster7 @mkolysh @trishala___ @cloy354 @hey.sallybakes @saifelse @rannazhou
17 Dec 16:44

Winter Sweater Envelope

by Donovan Beeson

Sweater tutorial envelope
A lovely tutorial on the Paper and Ink Arts blog by Jillian Kaye on how to make your envelope look like a holiday sweater. It's great how such simple marks can combine to make an intricate design. How's your holiday mail art going? Share some links with us if you've got pictures! Donovan

15 Dec 07:42

Who would have believed that the perfect Wikipedia photo caption...

Who would have believed that the perfect Wikipedia photo caption could have been improved on? (Alan Ferrier on twitter)

I love this as an example of Gricean humour. Grice’s Maxims say to only say things that are relevant (i.e. interpret everything someone says as if it adds relevant information to the conversation). In this case, the caption is “improved” by adding (right) after the name of the bagpiper. In many photo captions, (left) or (right) is used to tell us which of several similar-looking people the caption is about. If there were several bagpipers or even humans, (right) would be a neutral, informative information. 

But here, the only entities in the photo are Piper Kerr and the indifferent penguin. It’s very easy to tell the difference between them. So adding (right) brings with it the absurd interpretation that (right) is relevant information, i.e. that the piper and the penguin are hard to tell apart. 

13 Dec 16:16


#hawkhill #goldengatebridge
06 Dec 16:33


Of course, "Number of times I've gotten to make a decision twice to know for sure how it would have turned out" is still at 0.
06 Dec 16:32

New Weaving Kit in the Shop!

​Meet the newest kit now listed in my Etsy shop!

The weaving kit, the third in my series of Maker Kits for Modern Kids, comes with everything you need (except scissors and a bit of tape) to make at least three beautiful woven projects.  The instruction booklet includes photographs illustrating the processes for basic weaving as well as tapestry weaving.  Plus, you'll get a package of wood beads that I dyed by hand in coordinating colors.  The version listed in my shop is the mini version (with a loom measuring 3.5" x 6"), with the large version (with a loom measuring 6" x 10") to be listed soon.

Every kit comes packaged in a sturdy cardboard box.  And, because details are so important to me, I added a special wrap closure with yarn and wood buttons to keep the lid secure so the pieces never fall out.​

​With each successive Maker Kit for Modern Kids, I have increased the earth-friendliness of the materials.  Everything in this kit, from the box to the materials inside, is reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable.  Even the "plastic" bag with beads is made from plants.  I want to continue this theme with my next kits as well.  (I have a really fun kit in the pipeline that I can't wait to share.)

​If you'd like to purchase a weaving kit for yourself or as a gift, please visit my Etsy shop and I'll mail it out right away.  Thanks for your support!
04 Dec 04:24

Linguistics Merch 2016 Xenolinguist tote bag and other items by...


I like that cross-stitch.....

01 Dec 05:44

a-deadletter: ademska: reliand: sergeantjerkbarnes: simplydalektable: hannahrhen: sergeantjerkba...










so i just googled the phrase “toeing out of his shoes” to make sure it was an actual thing

and the results were:


it’s all fanfiction

which reminds me that i’ve only ever seen the phrase “carding fingers through his hair” and people describing things like “he’s tall, all lean muscle and long fingers,” like that formula of “they’re ____, all ___ and ____” or whatever in fic

idk i just find it interesting that there are certain phrases that just sort of evolve in fandom and become prevalent in fic bc everyone reads each other’s works and then writes their own and certain phrases stick

i wish i knew more about linguistics so i could actually talk about it in an intelligent manner, but yeah i thought that was kinda cool

Ha! Love it!

One of my fave authors from ages ago used the phrase “a little helplessly” (like “he reached his arms out, a little helplessly”) in EVERY fic she wrote. She never pointed it out—there just came a point where I noticed it like an Easter egg. So I literally *just* wrote it into my in-progress fic this weekend as an homage only I would notice. <3

To me it’s still the quintessential “two dudes doing each other” phrase.

I think different fic communities develop different phrases too! You can (usually) date a mid 00s lj fic (or someone who came of age in that style) by the way questions are posed and answered in the narration, e.g. “And Patrick? Is not okay with this.” and by the way sex scenes are peppered with “and, yeah.” I remember one Frerard fic that did this so much that it became grating, but overall I loved the lj style because it sounded so much like how real people talk.

Another classic phrase: wondering how far down the _ goes. I’ve seen it mostly with freckles, but also with scars, tattoos, and on one memorable occasion, body glitter at a club. Often paired with the realization during sexy times that “yeah, the __ went all they way down.” I’ve seen this SO much in fic and never anywhere else

whoa, i remember reading lj fics with all of those phrases! i also remember a similar thing in teen wolf fics in particular - they often say “and derek was covered in dirt, which. fantastic.” like using “which” as a sentence-ender or at least like sprinkling it throughout the story in ways published books just don’t.


I love this. Though I don’t think of myself as fantastic writer, by any means, I know the way I write was shaped more by fanfiction and than actual novels. 

I think so much of it has to do with how fanfiction is written in a way that feels real. conversations carry in a way that doesn’t feel forced and is like actual interactions. Thoughts stop in the middle of sentences.

The coherency isn’t lost, it just marries itself to the reader in a different way. A way that shapes that reader/writer and I find that so beautiful. 


and it poses an intellectual question of whether the value we assign to fanfic conversational prose would translate at all to someone who reads predominantly contemporary literature. as writers who grew up on the internet find their way into publishing houses, what does this mean for the future of contemporary literature? how much bleed over will there be?

we’ve already seen this phenomenon begin with hot garbage like 50 shades, and the mainstream public took to its shitty overuse of conversational prose like it was a refreshing drink of water. what will this mean for more wide-reaching fiction?


@wasureneba @allthingslinguistic

I’m sure someone could start researching this even now, with writers like Rainbow Rowell and Naomi Novik who have roots in fandom. (If anyone does this project please tell me!) It would be interesting to compare, say, a corpus of a writer’s fanfic with their published fiction (and maybe with a body of their nonfiction, such as their tweets or emails), using the types of author-identification techniques that were used to determine that J.K. Rowling was Robert Galbraith.

One thing that we do know is that written English has gotten less formal over the past few centuries, and in particular that the word “the” has gotten much less frequent over time.

In an earlier discussion, Is French fanfic more like written or spoken French?, people mentioned that French fanfic is a bit more literary than one might expect (it generally uses the written-only tense called the passé simple, rather than the spoken-only tense called the passé composé). So it’s not clear to what extent the same would hold for English fic as well – is it just a couple phrases, like “toeing out of his shoes”? Are the google results influenced by the fact that most published books aren’t available in full text online? Or is there broader stuff going on? Sounds like a good thesis project for someone! 

See also: the gay fanfiction pronoun problem, ship names, and the rest of my fanguistics tag.

22 Nov 05:39

“You can THAT a knife?”

“You can THAT a knife?”

21 Nov 15:35

A New - And Better! - Way To Make Floating Candles

by Jen

I dislike bulk crafting because it usually means you have to throw it away later and tea lights give me the heebie-jeebies because of the waste... but damn doesn't that look cool. Like... maybe that sort of bulk crafting would be okay maybe, say, once... or twice. Special occasion like.
I boggle at the idea they're doing 60-70 of them... like, that's gotta' look amazing...

Two years ago my DIY floating candles for our Harry Potter tree got a lot of attention online, so you might recognize these:

Those are battery-operated candles, though, so if you need to make LOTS of them - say, more than 10 or 20 - then the battery cost alone starts to add up. (They each take 2 AAs)

The only other floating candle method I've seen uses toilet paper rolls and LED tealights. The tealights are too small for the rolls, though, so you have to use hot glue to make a "shelf" inside the roll, then hang the candle from the roll itself with a V of fishing line, making it hard to hang straight.

I don't like the look of the fishing line V or the TP roll seams, and I'm too lazy to collect and paint dozens of TP rolls, so I set out to find a better, easier way.

And here it is:

My method requires no painting (unless you count the "wax" drips), no fiddly hot glue shelves for the lights, and no fishing line Vs. These hang directly from the flame tips - so they hang straight - they only cost a few cents more than the TP method, and best of all, you can make them any length you want!

 Here are a few hanging:
Instead of toilet paper rolls, my candles use cream-colored card stock.

Want to see how I did it?

Then let's make some candles!

You Will Need:

- cream colored card stock, cut in sheets 5.5 inches wide by however long you'd like your candles to be. (I did a variety of lengths)
- paper glue (optional, but handy, since it dries faster than Elmer's)
- Elmer's/white craft glue
- hot glue & hot glue gun
- battery operated tealights (I ordered these 100 from Amazon for $36)
- clear thread or fishing line (quilter's thread is great)
- white craft paint
- Dremel (not pictured) *or* a heavy duty needle 

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