Author Archives: Jackie Bagwell

About Jackie Bagwell

Jackie is an artist, a crafter, a web-dweller, and a robot. She is one of the head organizers of Ashtoberfest, and is involved in many online communities. You can connect with her on Google+

flames.

i sent my husband a video of myself attempting to blow out a flame-lit lantern. i tried to blow it out three times in the video before facing the camera and admitting ‘this is making me dizzy. please blow out the flames.’

before resorting to recording and sharing my flame-extinguishing failure shame, i attempted to blow the flames out (on multiple lanterns) several times. i even tried to cap the flame to put it out. it still didn’t go out. when i lifted the cap, the shrunken flame danced right up again like some mocking, little asshole.

i wasn’t half-assing these attempts. i was huffing and puffing like a wolf in a kids’ story trying to put these out, but those flames were not at all interested.

it felt like when you approach an automatic door, and it doesn’t open. you’re just unexpectedly standing there, staring at your own, dumb face in the reflection of the door that didn’t open. you look up at the motion censor like it has personally wronged you. like it should not just recognize you as a person, but should recognize you, personally. then some other random jackass comes up, and the automatic door just opens right up for them, and then closes right in your face.

and you start to wonder if you even have a soul anymore.

that’s what these stupid flames felt like. here i am, a grown-ass human, breathing on these seemingly normal flames with all of my might. forcing all that i have inside of me into a singular, focused stream of human-created wind specifically in the direction of this flame… and nothing.

nothing.

Advertisements

dead and buried.

It’s 2019. I’m looking at a site I started in 2013, and haven’t touched since 2014. Plenty of things have happened since then. Arguably the most life-changing and active span of years in my life so far, in fact. I’m not really sure that I want this post to be an actual update, though. I don’t want to start a ‘dear diary:’ kind of thing here. That feels like some Clarissa Explains It All kind of nonsense.

However, I do need to write something here because in the course of things happening, many of them were good – great, even, but then they started to go downhill, and here I am sitting at my desk on a Wednesday afternoon feeling like I have holes in my brain. Sometimes those holes feel like they squeeze together to form one giant, gaping hole directly through my skull and brain and skin where blood just lightly trickles down from my forehead, all down my face, and drips onto my chest. And I just sit there, dumbfounded, blinking through the dripping blood – not even considering what to do because this is my new normal. I know there’s nothing I can do. I don’t even have proper feelings about it all – they’re all stunted and incomplete.

Emotions are like earthworms. They’re just going about their business, digging through the soil that is everyday life, processing the various scenarios, and dispensing out their own version. A version that’s been run through their own filter, and that now fertilizes their home and helps it grow. My emotions now are like when someone takes a fucking tiller to a garden and breaks up all the dirt, shredding earthworms along with it. Maybe some are still alive and processing, but it’s just not the same anymore. And none of them are working at full capacity. Then there’s that thing about how if an earthworm gets split in two, it doesn’t die, it just becomes two earthworms. Is that even true? There was that one episode of Adventure Time…

For the past few months, I have been unwillingly battling with the side effects of a health issue that has left me wildly anemic. It’s funny that the main symptoms and of the disorder have been going on for years, and sure, they’ve disrupted my life plenty, but they’re nothing compared to the side effect of a handful of blood cells going rogue. It’s also a little bit incredible just how much you can ignore and reason away your problems when you just don’t have the energy to face them.

I used to be a person that knew things. A lot of things. I was that friend on reserve for if you ever found yourself on a game show and had the option to phone a friend for help with a piece of completely useless trivia. I used to think critically and organize and plan on large scales. I could notice small details and work out useful information based around them. Now those aspects of myself are dulled. They’re not completely gone, but where they used to be this helpful, fiery orb in the center of my own, personal solar system, they’re now more akin to little speckles of sunlight bleeding through the leaves of the trees over a quiet, shady street. A quiet, shady, always extremely fucking tired street.

My house is now littered with little, lavender-colored pads with notes like “stars aren’t shining yet” and “why won’t it write,” alongside doodles of bunnies and ghosts. Flamingo-shaped holders filled with multi-colored pens – the clicky-top kind, of course. Jotting every, little thought down has become a necessary part of my day.

 

While I’m scribbling on some pages and typing in some boxes, I have a couple of stories to tell and some illustrations to share. Please stick around. You’re exactly who I’d like to share them with.

Neil Gaiman Bookmark

At the request of a redditor, here is that portrait as a bookmark. The quote is from Coraline. Feel free to print it off if you want to use it (I’d suggest doing so on card stock, and cutting it to size).

neilbookmark

Here’s a link to the CMYK version for proper printing..

Portrait: Neil Gaiman

Since this wonderful author has such a unique and interesting look, as well as very entertaining hair, I decided to use his lovely face as practice. He looks rather sinister in this.

neil2

Making a Cloud Lamp (instructional)

I have a pretty cool house.  A lot of it is fun, it’s laid out well, has some great features, and my guy and I have added our own touch to it. We love it.  However, one thing that has bothered us here is that the lighting in a few rooms is either very weirdly placed, or completely non-existent.  Now, I can’t handle a ton of overhead light anyway, so for the most part, using lamps has been great. However, for this particular area of the house, a standing lamp isn’t really much of an option, and I wanted hanging lamp.

I’m sure we have all seen those concept cloud lamps on pinterest and the like, but I have yet to see an actual DiY for it, so here you go. I’ve been wanting to do this for weeks, but couldn’t quite visualize the base I wanted for this in my head. Until I saw this:

ring

As some of you may know, we have a couple pet rats (they make absolutely wonderful pets), and this is the running wheel that came with their cage. If you have small pets with long tails, do not give them wheels like this. Their tails can get caught in them, and they can get injured. So naturally, we took this wheel out of the cage when we got it, and I re-found the wheel in a cabinet a month or so later. This is a pretty perfect base for the cloud lamp. It’s wide enough, and allows for enough room between a bulb and the edges. You can also free-form some chicken wire for this, or use an old lamp shade or globe (though, be sure to find one for a hanging lamp).

Next, I lined up supplies: Crafter’s Choice Polyfill, a hot glue gun, and plenty of extra glue sticks.

suppliesMaking the cloud layer is actually extremely simple. You glue some stripes of hot glue across your surface, and stick the polyfill to the glue. I used a low-temp glue gun, but in retrospect, I wish I had used a high-temp one because it cools down very, very quickly. The trick here is simply to go little by little, making sure you cover every centimeter of your base surface, and be sure your polyfill is fully adhered to the base. You can go back and fix any mistakes later, though, so it is a very forgiving project. Here are a couple of in-progress pictures of the gluing process:

inprogress1

inprogress2Keep in mind that clouds come in all shapes and sizes, so you don’t need to aim for perfection with this unless you just really want to. Make sure you have plenty of room to work in, though, because polyfill specks do get EVERYWHERE. I would also suggest hanging the frame up for a day or so before finishing off the lamp part to make sure you can identify any loose pieces that need to be glued back down. If it’s at all necessary, you can even use some fishing line or white thread and a needle to tack large pieces onto your frame.

Now that I had all the sides covered, it was time to attach the lamp fixture. Finding the right fixture for a decent price was a little bit of a challenge, but I found this click-switch overhanging lamp cord for $6. Since the height of my ring is a little shallow, I bent out the bars on either side, tied the lamp cord to the upper bar, and wrapped a little crafting wire around it to keep it in place.

However, since my metal ring is shallow, the bottom did not look great. And since this is going in a room next to stairs that go down to the bottom floor of our house, you can see the bottom very clearly. I wanted to cover this, so I just ran to the craft store and got a piece of plastic mesh for the bottom for all of a dollar:

meshFor attaching this, all I needed was a needle and some thread.

bottomI didn’t take photos of the process, but all I did was cut the mesh to the size of the bottom, and loosely sew the edges of the mesh to the wire frame. Since I covered it up with polyfill, I didn’t even bother being careful with it or making the sewing part pretty.

Afterwards, I put four hooks evenly spaced around the top of the lamp, and tied some twine (that I actually put tiny silver star charms on) from those hooks to a centered, singular hook, and hung it from a little hook that happened to already be in the ceiling. I also strung the lamp cord across the ceiling to an outlet, of course.  And that was it!  Here’s the finished product.

window

room

And here it is in a darkened room –

darkFinally, just the clear any misunderstandings – nothing about this is a fire hazard. The polyfill (like pretty much anything that can be used for bedding, and under most laws) is fire-resistant. Not only that, I made sure to leave plenty of space around the bulb just in case, and the bulb is only 25 watts.

Now that this project is completed, my crocheting boyfriend is going to make a large, 5-point crocheted star rug to go under it in that room, which will go nicely with the little gold stars I have hanging around there, too.  All in, this project ended up only costing me about $10 since I already had everything but the plastic mesh, silver star charms, and hanging light cord laying around in my craft room being unused. Not too shabby.

Battling Literal Errors in Left 4 Dead

Recently, my guy and I were playing a round of Left 4 Dead. Zombie shooting is fun.

However, when we actually loaded the game up, it was full of errors. I’m not talking a random graphical glitch here and there, I’m talking LITERAL errors. Giant ones. And the red ones were flashing.

error1

What was particularly terrifying, though, was when the errors started CHARGING AT US.

error2

They didn’t seem able to harm us, though. We were able to shoot them, and blood came out, but no errors died in the making of this blog post.

error3

And lastly, a bonus picture of an octopus sign.

octopus