Brain Stuff

I was diagnosed with chronic depression in late 2006 or early 2007. I resisted the idea of going on any kind of medication at the time, in part because my cousin had recently passed away after years of struggling with mental illness and drug addiction. Talk therapy actually made me worse, so I stopped going. A secondary diagnosis of general anxiety happened a few years later, and I still resisted any kind of treatment. For the most part I’ve been able to fight through my bouts with depression and anxiety and go on living my life. I would slip into a funk for a while, wallow around in it, and then pull myself back out eventually.

I started to notice that I was headed into another downward pattern in April. It crept in slowly, with little things like insomnia and fretting about problems I knew didn’t matter. Looking back, I had actually been having symptoms for a few months. When my father-in-law died in January, I had an anxiety attack over not being able to find my Kindle for the flight out to his funeral – I knew it was a minor thing, and intellectually I told myself it wasn’t worth freaking out over, but all the stress of that week just came to a head at that moment and I had a meltdown. It wasn’t about the Kindle; it was about something going on in my brain.

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Popping In

Just wanted to poke my head in and say I’m still here, and still Making. In fact I’ve been working on a lot of projects since I last posted a month ago. I’ve just been kind of bad about taking photos and writing process logs, so there hasn’t been much to share.

Right now I’m working on some papier mache projects, turning some hardback books into storage boxes, and my Jaeger pilot armor.

I’ll try to get back in the groove of posting about these projects instead of just making them, so you can see what’s going on in the workroom :)

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Jaeger Pilot Armor Update

Since my latest post about my pilot armor, I’ve made quite a bit of progress. I’m pretty much done with the patterning, although I’m sure there will be some small pieces to pattern out before the end.

This is my first original character (OC) costume. Pacific Rim hints that there were numerous Jaeger installations at one time, and a fairly large number of pilots. Since I didn’t really want to replicate any of the specific costumes shown on screen, I decided to develop a costume that would fit within the movie’s universe without actually reflecting an individual character design from the film. Some costumers go one step further and develop amazing OC costumes that don’t draw from any specific film or series.

I haven’t delved too deeply into the character’s backstory or origins, but I have been making certain decisions based on practical concerns. These include the location of the pilot’s Jaeger base, which will help me determine the colors and decoration of the armor; which side of the Jaeger she controls, so that I know where to place accessories that are designed to hook into the machinery; the history of the pilot’s service, which allows me to decide how worn/damaged the armor will be and how to weather it.

One thing I did as I began to wrap up the pattern-making process was to lay out the paper armor pieces on a mannequin.


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Baby Snakes

This one is another polymer creature sculpture. Just like Antonio the spider, this was shaped to fill a container. I found these 7″ glass domes with wood bases for sale and knew they’d be perfect for some more little shelf-sitting creatures.

Just like Antonio, Lempi the Love Worm here started off as a wire armature. Antonio had multiple sections of wire (abdomen, cephalothorax, legs) all twisted together. This critter is mostly one piece of wire.


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Tastes of Summer

I told you there’d probably be some food posts scattered along the way :)

My entire garden succumbed to the weather this past winter, and I decided to do a full refresh. I grow all my food plants in containers, and the soil was getting pretty poor anyway. Due to an unfortunate late frost, I actually lost a bunch of the plants I bought to do the refresh, but my Kentucky Colonel mint survived.

In early April it was a tiny little thing that didn’t even stretch beyond the bounds of its 4″ inch pot. Today it is a staggering behemoth that protrudes well beyond the edges of its 8″ prison. I keep it a safe distance from my other pots; one year I had a mint plant that sent out a tendril into another pot, where it happily took root and killed the previous occupant.

To tame this beast, I trimmed off ten small bundles. Half went into a saucepan and half got muddled in a glass with crushed ice.


This is 1 cup water and 1 cup mint sugar (plain granulated is fine, I just happen to have made mint sugar with a previous batch). A 1:1 ratio of water to sugar can be used for a lot of things, depending on the temperature it reaches. Here, I just cooked it over medium heat until the all the visible grains were gone and the syrup was clear. It takes less than ten minutes. Then I strained off the mint and let the mixture cool.

An ounce of that stuff and one 50 mL bottle of Maker’s Mark later, and you have this:


And what do you have at the end of this process? That, my friends, is a pretty classic mint julep. I don’t own any pewter or silver goblets, but it’ll do.

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