Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fishtail skirt, summer dress, sewn greeting cards, another diary cover and four varieties of Hunt the Wumpus!

Hello world,

Well! It's been a long semester, and therefore a long time since I dedicated some time to a blog post. It is time for this to change! I have lots of things to show, and plans for more on the way. :)

What to do first? My own chatty news or some piccies of creations that occurred in the last... six months? I think creations. Maybe interspersed with my normal chatter.

First of all we have this extra-groovy fishtail skirt. I followed this tutorial, minus the extra frill, and I think it turned out splendidly. Don't you? This is probably the most professional piece of clothing I have ever made. EJ's mum gave me a book voucher for my birthday back in July and I got this great big book of sewing, which has all sorts of nifty advice in it. (I must admit, much of the stuff I took on board and used in this skirt were things that my Mum had taught me at one time or another, but that I gave up doing pretty quickly because I am one impatient puppy.) Things like tacking seams together before actually sewing them with the machine so as to prevent any accidental slips, and tacking the zip in place in order to get it done just right (so, so much tacking - I guess I just never wanted to waste all that thread), and nice ways to neaten up the raw edges (I used bias binding for this), and how to install a proper interfaced waistband. Speaking of such, I was very cranky when I went to my local Spotlight and asked after waistband interfacing and received the response, "[derisive snort] Never heard of it." No offer to ask someone else, no offer to check on the computer, not even an apologetic smile. I know not everyone knows everything, but if the big Spotlight brand is going to push all the small businesses out of town, the least they could do is train their employees properly! Anyway, after that I went for a wander about the notions section and stumbled across the exact same waistband interfacing, brand and all, as the one described in the book. So good for me and my skirt, bad for Spotlight's street cred.

Brown pinstripe fishtail skirt

That picture doesn't really do the skirt justice, now that I look at it. Anyway, here's a close-up for the waistband and ultra-pro zipper:

Fishtail skirt - Waistband and zipper closeup

...and a pic to show you how awesome the tail is (and how much dern material I needed to make this lovely garment).

Fishtail skirt - tail spread out

It's lots of fun to spin around in circles in - looks read pretty!

Fishtail skirt - spinning around

All right! I've also made this beautiful dress for a bargain sum of $15, also thanks for EJ's Mum. She also gave me a Spotlight voucher, where I got the pattern on special and the fabirc at just $4/metre! The second-most professional piece of clothing I've ever made (because I made it right before the fishtail skirt). The only problem is that I've lost weight since I made both these, so they're starting to look a bit funny on.

Sun dress

That's right, astute readers - I have had great success in my Weight Watchers efforts this year. I am now a (I cannot believe it still) size 10! Not only that, I am in my healthy weight range for the second time in my adult life! Unfortunately, the notion of being fat is still so completely ingrained in me that I doubt that I will ever feel slim. Not to worry though - being able to fit into smaller clothes goes a long way to helping me blot those feelings out. The only problem is that since we moved into the new house, I have not kept up my measly exercise routine, nor have I managed to keep to my points regime. For the present I am skating along on my adjusted metabolism, but if I don't start being frugal in my eating choices soon, I've no doubt that I'll start piling the old weight back on. So I guess I should make a commitment by the time I finish writing this blog post. The commitment is: I will return to Weight Watchers and exercise, effectively getting rid of my wobbly bits that keep my overweight mindset, as soon as I come home from my trip to Queensland this month.

Speaking of all this made me think - should I post WeightWatchers-friendly recipes on here? I made a poll, which you can find on the sidebar. Please help me decide!

Next on my list of things to share are this little sewn greeting cards. I always enjoy reading the funny greeting cards that you find at the shop, but I also never like to buy them if I can help it. As long as I can remember at my house we always tended to make greeting cards (except for my Dad, who delights in finding cards at a bargan price of a dollar or less), not just because it's a bit of fun, but because you know you're giving something unique. So considering this, it was only a matter of time before I combined sewing and handmade greeting cards. In fact, I think the main reason I did it (aside from having left getting cards for some people's birthdays until right before I was meant to walk out the door) was because I was completely out of double-sided tape and pretty paper. Solution? Use all those pretty scraps from ties you've massacred in the making of a tie dress which you still have yet to complete. Grab a piece of card, fold it in half, cut the scraps to any shape or size you want, then sew sew sew. Et voila!

Sewn greeting cards

Too bad the camera's flash blew out the colours on some of the pretty tie fabric. I definitely am going to make myself a light box for taking photos of smaller creations such as these. Yet another item to add to the future projects list.

Next is this diary cover which I made for my darling friend Kylee's birthday. It's made the same way as the previous covers, but I like to share. :)

Fabric diary cover - False eyes

The image is one that I made myself, and the sources I used can be found by clicking on the image below to be taken to the original posting on deviantArt. It's called False eyes.

False eyes

The big news for pretty much... no one but me, I guess, is that I have four varieties of Hunt the Wumpus available for download! Hunt the Wumpus is an old computer game, originally text-based when it came out in the 70s. During my last programming subject at uni - CSCI337 The organisation of programming languages - we had four assignments in which we were to develop Hunt the Wumpus using a different programming language and programming paradigm each time. My four varieties are as follows:

  • Hunt the Wumpus - Lisp (Functional paradigm)
    This is basically the original game as from its creator (Gregory Yob), but programmed in Lisp rather than BASIC.

  • Hunt the Wumpus (evoke) - Fortran (Imperative paradigm)
    This follows the same narrative of the original game and the same rules/events/hazards, etc, but I rewrote the story to be a bit more evocative. Programmed in the dinosaur language Fortran77.

  • Wumpus Noir - Literate C++ (Literate paradigm)
    Here is where I start to make it a bit more fun! The Wumpus is now a mafia boss, and you are a detective on his tail. It was great, though my darling Karina pointed out after I'd finished that I'd consistently spelt labyrinth incorrectly the whole way though - 'labarynth'. Not to worry. Anyway, this one is using C++ and the literate programming paradigm, one that is very smart and really ought to be used all the time, in my opinion! It forces you to document your code, something which future programmers will thank you for.

  • Wumpus Intergalactica - Prolog (Logical paradigm)
    Finally, we have the sci-fi variation. You are a bounty hunter off to neutralise the Wormhole Union of Marauders, Pirates and Unsavoury Scoundrels, aka the WUMPUS. Written in the very frustrating logic language Prolog. While nowhere near the insanity of Lisp, this language is tricky to get used to, and should be left for AI and not games.

I am going to upload these games with instructions on how to load and run them on a Linux system since that's what I used to code them, but I am not going to do that now lest I never post another blog entry this year. So I will update this post with the appropriate links once I have completed that arduous task.

***Edit: You can now download and find the instructions for all my Hunt the Wumpuses in their dedicated post, which you can find here.***

Finally, I'd like to end this with an interesting site that I discovered during my astronomy class this semester (which was tres awesome, by the way). www.nasaimages.org not only saved my bacon while putting together my final assignment, it has a wealth of beautiful space images that anyone can access, like the gorgeous infrared image of the Helix Nebula below (FYI, the Helix Nebula is a planetary nebula, which is misleadingly named because it resembles a gas giant like Jupiter when viewed through a week telescope - in fact, it's the carcass of a star similar to the Sun). Of course you should always be sure to follow copyright laws, but no-one is stopping you from grabbing one of these hi-res babies and using it as a stellar desktop background. Click on the images to be taken to the original article and image.

And that is all for me today. But coming soon you can expect a look at the various items I'm making for xmas presents this year, as well as a tutorial to make the lady-tails from a while ago. And of course, a post detailing the excitement of quadralingual Hunt the Wumpus!



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