artist trading cards, HTRYN style

Look what I discovered in my box of odds and ends the other day:

Oh, fun, I thought. Doodles on neon-colored index cards. I love index cards, and I love doodles. But then I flipped the cards over and found:

Folks who’ve taken Holly Lisle‘s How to Revise Your Novel course will recognize these as the color-coded scene cards from Lesson 10. Apparently, after I was done with the revision, I recycled them into ATCs. I love that the leftovers and discards from one creative project turned out to be the raw material for another.

Btw, there’s a lot more you can do with index cards besides turning them into artist trading cards. Check out my post, 9 Ways to Use Index Cards, for more ideas. Also, Tammy over at Daisy Yellow hosts ICAD (Index-Card-A-Day) to get those creative juices flowing.

japanese paper dolls

I was going to do a NaNoWriMo linkfest, but honestly? I’m a little fatigued by NaNo. Even though it’s only four days into November–not to mention I’m not nano-ing. If you’re a writer, you’re probably subscribed to writing blogs that are doing a fantastic job of putting out and promoting NaNo-related content.

So, instead of NaNoWriMo, I’m going to talk about Japanese paper dolls.

Yep. You heard that right.

A few days ago I had only the vaguest idea that there might be such a thing as Japanese paper dolls. But I have a 5yo daughter who loves pretty things, and she’s studying Japan at the moment, so my thought processes went something like:

Japan–>must do related activity–>5 year old loves fancy patterns, bright colors and pretty costumes–>kimonos!–>rats, I don’t sew and I can’t fob this off on husband who does–>I know! JAPANESE PAPER DOLLS!

So, I googled around and realized I was not the first one who’d made the above connection. Turns out making Japanese paper dolls is a popular activity–and not just for kids. This klutz-proof tutorial yielded us several lovely dolls, albeit with black construction paper hair and faces, because 5-and-3-year-olds cannot fathom faceless dolls.

Of course, pretty Japanese-patterned origami paper is not a staple of our arts & crafts supply shelf, but not to worry. You can actually print out origami paper. It’s not as rich and finger-friendly as real Japanese paper but it does in a pinch. Alternatively, glossy magazines can yield suitable paper–for my test-run doll I made a kimono out of a picture of pink blossoms from a Birds & Blooms magazine.

After making our dolls, we pulled out Children Just Like Me: Celebrations and read a double-page spread on Hina Matsuri, the Japanese Dolls’ Festival that takes place in the spring.

I find real dolls rather creepy (thanks, Chucky), but paper dolls are so delightful and charming. I especially like the ones with period clothing.

What about you? Anyone into paper dolls, origami, or pretty paper?


I crocheted this scarf for my daughter a few weeks ago. I had last crocheted over four years ago (BC = Before Children). I wanted an easy pattern but couldn’t find one for a scarf. So I adapted a pattern I had for a (don’t laugh) crocheted dishcloth and went on my merry way.

I found that, as usual, I started off tight and loosened my stitches as I went along. I was also unable to get the right number of stitches row after row, so I had to adjust by adding and subtracting stitches. The scarf is not of uniform width, so it’s a good thing I wasn’t trying to create a sweater or hat where keeping good count of the stitches is actually important.

But, as D., said “handmade is supposed to look handmade”, and my daughter does not disdain it. Sir I. has also requested a scarf, in blue. He’ll have to wait until the fall, because I’m not going to jinx the coming of spring by making more winter items.

This time around I actually finished up the project by tucking in the ends of yarn. I don’t have a yarn needle, but I made one out of a baggie tie and it worked just fine.

I like crocheting, but I don’t think I’ll ever be more than a scarf-and-blanket-making dabbler. If I have to give myself a repetitive stress injury, I’d rather it be through writing than crocheting, hee.

Have you done any yarn projects lately? Do share.