Tag Archives: Little machines

A Break from Writing for Dreaming

One thing I always notice during Nanowrimo is how much energy getting out the word count takes out of me and how much more time I spend intently staring at the computer screen.  While it’s not as hard on my eyes as say an 8 hour marathon of spider solitaire or minesweeper, it does rather exhaust both my eyes and my brain to add that much more screen time.

This makes it more critical to take proper breaks and do non-writing activities that are both restorative and creative.  My usual choice for non-writing creativity is wychinanki, or Polish Papercutting, where layers of colored paper are cut into the shape of birds or flowers with colored paper on top in diminishing sizes.  However, living with relatives (gotta love the recession) doesn’t give me a permanent table for the cutting and gluing and has scattered my supplies.  Thus, I decided my non-writing activity would be cleaning my room and sorting through the clutter to find my stuff.  Joy.  But it moved my hands and rested my eyes and used a different part of my brain than novel writing does, so that was good enough to qualify.

Well, while cleaning I found a dreamcatcher kit that my aunt had given my husband for Christmas several years ago and he’d never bothered with.  I’ve

always thought dreamcatchers were really cool, but none of the people I knew who made them ever got around to make me one, and let’s face it, when spending money, it was never going to get up to the top of my list as far as actually buying one.  So, I got excited, and thought I’d try and make the dreamcatcher following the kit instructions.  It was an interesting process but I’ve ended up really pleased with my dreamcatchers and quite pleased to finally have some to hang up.

After soaking the reed and starting to bend it, I realized the instructions actually suggested making three smaller ones instead of one big one, so I switched to trying that and made three hoops out of the colored reed.  I was a bit clumsy, but liked the results anyway.  I started with the blue hoop, and decided to use the blue string in the kit for it, but while there were feathers, the beads and a small clay bird, supposedly in the kit, were missing.  So I hunted around in some of the old jewelry I had and picked the star and the turtle for the blue dreamcatcher, along with a couple of old earrings.  After all,  a turtle is as good as a bird for a symbolic dream symbol, right?

The red one, I found that I hadn’t made the hoop as well, and the tension started to warp it.  After determining this was inevitable without resoaking it and trying to shape it to be smaller and stronger, I decided just to go with as the warped shape was also sort of pretty.  Again, I used a couple of old earrings for beads and while I’ve never seen a bell on a dreamcatcher, this one lying around seemed like the perfect thing to add to it.  To conserve feathers as the kit was short, this is one I found in my driveway that I think was once a feathered earring, but ended up in the mud and so is a little worse for wear, but the rugged shape I think worked out despite that.

The final one (purple) I hoped to keep from warping by not pulling it as tight, but it did a little, although not into as dramatically as the red one.  I decided to go all out on this one as far as trying to weave things in.  The stone and cross I got from one of those little machines at the supermarket (see my previous post and ninjas and aliens for the little machine saga) and thought they would be the perfect elements for this.  The shell I found on the beach last year.  The beads are old earrings and I just stuffed the ends of the feathers into the beads and figure if I’m careful, it’ll stay together.  Over all, I love these.  It was worth the wait for the right dreamcatchers.

Ninja vs Aliens

I’ve always had a soft spot for those little machines you put coins in by the doorway of the grocery store.  Granted, the excitement wondering what you’re going to get is about five times more fun than the actual object you get, but now and then you get something really fun.  I used to collect the football helmets as a kid (in those days only 25 cents, now they’re 50 cents… doesn’t that make me feel old).

In varies places I’ve lived I use them as incentives to get myself to walk places. I’ve found some pretty good ones, with little animals, saints, or those little picture bracelets.  When I don’t have that as an excuse, I’ll reward myself for grocery shopping if I see anything that looks particularly good.  Lately they’ve had aliens for 25 cents at Winco.  Why these aliens are all holding sport utensils (golf club, baseball bat, tennis racket) I don’t know.  Either they were out of ray guns or it’s a sinister plot to infiltrate organized sports.  In any case, I now have three of them.

Then yesterday at a Chinese restaurant I spied an unmarked little machine, not one of the organized chain ones you see at the store, with what looked like very random, and possibly quite good contents.  Ignoring the husband eye roll, I got out a quarter and took a chance—and got what has to be the coolest thing I’ve gotten out of a little machine in a long time.


An extra cool rather rubbery ninja with two knives.  I was very excited.  He can now defeat the invading sports aliens and possibly save all the little rainbow animals was collecting before if I can find them.  They got lost in the move.

If I can come up with a good one, I will write all four of them a story.  Either that or they will happily distract me from getting stuck on my current work in progress.