Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday's End and Sac-Con 2011 Re-Cap

The holiday storm is over. The air is still, the shops are empty. I feel a bit like that woman at the end of The Descent, clawing her way out of hell...

Okay, really, my holidays were not even close to being as bad as a cave of horrors (though Xmas shoppers can occasionally resemble a horde of blind, bloody-thirsty monsters). There was an epic drive up and down California, and some serious good times with my family amid a flurry of wrapping paper. I even got to reconnect with some old friends from high school that I hadn't seen in years. I truly got what I wanted for Xmas this year.

Amid all the festivities, I failed to notice my Sac-Con 2011 re-cap up at the Red Stylo Media website. If you're curious to see the world's cutest little Marcus Fenix (as well as see how the show went) give it a read!

I wish I could say 2011 was going to end on a mellow note, but there would be no fun in that. After nearly nine years of living in the same apartment, the husband (aka Professor Lefty) and I are upgrading to new digs. The next few days will be a rush of sorting, packing, tossing, and schlepping. New year, new home!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sac-Con 2011

One last convention before the year comes to a close! I'll be at Sac-Con this weekend, reppin' Red Stylo Media as well as Everything I Needed to Know About Zombies I Learned From the Movies.

Sacramento, CA 
Sunday, December 11, 10am-5pm

Scottish Rite Center
6151 H Street
Sacramento, CA 95819

Come do some geeky X-mas shopping and pick up a copy of Poe Twisted if you haven't already! It's the perfect gift for that indie comic or horror literature lover in your life. 

Seems a bit appropriate that we end the year in Sacramento. It's the heart of California's gold country, which was the setting of Eldorado. Perhaps I'll see the ghost of the Rider and his horse in the hills...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bangkok: Sampeng Market (This ain't JoAnn's)

With all the flooding going on in Thailand right now, Bangkok has been on my mind a lot lately. I felt the urge to go back and share some of the happy times I had there this summer. It's resilient city, and I know, with time, it will recover. My heart goes out to the good people in this trying time.

Crafty Treasures from Thailand

When I was in Bangkok this summer, one of my favorite days was the crafty "girl's day out" my Thai hostess invited me to. We left the husbands and her kids snoring away, and were on the road by 8 a.m. to discover the crafty treasures awaiting us in the labyrinthine corridors of the Sampeng Market.

Sampeng Market

Located in Chinatown, this market tends to be a bit off the tourist trail. Though, if you have a crafting bone in your body, Sampeng is a must-see. It's jam-packed with fabrics, notions, yarns, and beads, as well as hair decorations, school supplies, toys, clothing, housewares, and "exotic" snacks (oh, how I miss you, salted snow plums).  Even better, it's all relatively inexpensive, though it really helped that I was with a local who could help me haggle.

Sampeng Bead Store 2

Our first crafty stop was at one of the biggest bead stores in the market. I was drawn in by the walls lined with bags of colorful sequins, and followed the glittery trail back to find a cavernous room lined with sacks of rhinestones and beads. It took me a bit to explain to the nice employees that I wanted smaller quantities of beads, not smaller sizes of beads themselves, but once I did I walked out with some gorgeous rhinestones and hand-made polymer clay flowers.

Sampeng Bead Store 1

 After a bit more shopping for hair accessories and gifts (as well as a new pair of embroidery scissors to replace the ones confiscated in Taipei), we stopped for lunch. We simply stepped out of the flow of traffic to a noodle vendor, and perched ourselves at the wee stall-side table while they cooked up our meal on the spot.

Sampeng Lunch

I have to admit, I felt a bit like an adult sitting at a child's table, though by then I was getting used to being the biggest person around. You can see just how little the stools were from the background of this picture. Comfy for Thais, not so much for plus-size Farang women.

Sampeng Noodles 2

After a tasty lunch, we browsed some more. I was in high shopping mode. I picked up a Japanese quilting magazine for my mom, tons of beautifully patterned cotton fabric, numerous spools of thread, and some fine crochet yarn for my friend back home. It was a beautiful, crafty haul.

Sampeng Yarns

I haven't begun projects with most of the materials yet, but I'm waiting for the right ideas to strike. These are once-in-a-lifetime treasures for me, so when I finally do make something, I want it to be the right something.

Fabrics from Thailand

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Reminder to the Writer

A little reminder

A little reminder I stitched up to put by my writing desk. Made with Sublime Stitching's Sexy Librarians pattern set (and non-bleeding floss).

I did the majority of the stitching during my downtime in Bangkok this summer. I'm really glad I took it with me. It may sound hokey, but crafting does provide a common bond across language and culture barriers. My host's Thai mother-in-law perked up when she saw me pull out my hoop and thread, and scurried to show me the crochet she was working on. Suddenly, we had something we could "talk" about, even with just smiles and appreciative sounds.

A little tip to crafters traveling internationally: be sure to check the carry-on regulations for all the airports you're connecting to. Though my pretty little gold scissors were okay at SFO, they were confiscated at our connecting flight in Taipei. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tara McPherson Embroidery

Tara McPherson Stitching

I'm doing a little catch-up with the embroidery posts. Though I haven't been sharing, I've still been stitching.

I do most of my stitching while my husband reads to me, and now that the semester's well under way there's lots of evenings spent curled up reading and stitching. Especially since we're currently in book two of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. So lots of good books = lots of fun stitching.

This is one I finished back in July. Tara McPherson is one of my favorite visual artists (so much so that I hunted down all 10 issues of the Vertigo comic The Witching, and I have to say, sadly, that her covers were the best part). So, I was over the moon when Sublime Stitching brought her on as a guest artist to make a pattern pack.

I carefully selected my colors, deciding on a rich, jewel-toned palette for this piece. It was a simple enough design, so the colors would really make it pop. It does. I loved how it came out...until I went to wash the finished piece.

You can't tell in very well from the photo, but the colors actually ran. I'd used a batch of no-name floss and the pink and purple bled permanently into the snowy white fabric.

At first, I was crushed. This was my first encounter with floss-color-bleed ruining a piece, and of course it had to be on the Tara McPherson pattern I'd waited so long to stitch.

However, the more I look at it, the more I like the look. It seems appropriate for this figure to have a hazy purple halo and a heart who's color bleeds gently across her chest. Thematically, it works.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to hoop her and add her to the growing wall of stitch, but at least I've come to peace with her.

Moral of this story: check to see if you floss will bleed when you try a new brand. Especially a no-name brand.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Little Halloween Friends

Little Halloween Friends

This is what happens when I have a free afternoon, some polymer clay, and an urge to indulge my inner mad scientist: I create my own little army of mini-monsters!

It began simply enough. If I was going to have a squad of adorable creatures, I would have to start with the basics: Frankenstein's monster, an iconic vampire, and a loyal Wolfman. Meet Frank, Drac, and Wolfie. 

Little Halloween Friends: Frank, Drac, and Wolfie

I couldn't just stop there. Though there's something to be said for the classics, one must keep up with the times, especially when it comes to ghoul-making. 

Thus, I included two of my personal favorite movie monsters, Pinhead from Hellraiser, and the Repo Man from Repo: The Genetic Opera. It only seemed appropriate, since I was watching Repo while sculpting my wee, fiendish pals.

Little Halloween Friends: Pinhead and Repo Man

Each of these are only about 2 inches high (which made some of the details a challenge). These were so much fun to make, I have a feeling my macabre menagerie will grow before the year is out. Friendly monsters are always welcome in my home, no matter what holiday it is!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Branching Paths

For years, I've identified myself as a "jill-of-all-trades." My posts of late have felt a bit like drawing cards from a tarot deck, showing a different face each time: The Writer, The Filmmaker, The Crafter, The Geek, The Cook, The Traveler. 

Makes for a bit of scattered reading, no?

So, after a bit of soul-searching, I've decided that it would be best to create separate spaces for the separate parts of my life. 

My writing and filmmaking have become increasingly more active, and though this is wonderful for me, I understand most of my visitors to HEMM are here for cute crafts and tasty treats.

So, I've created a new blog devoted exclusively to my writing and filmmaking. 

I have grand plans for this new little blog, including:
  • Advice and musings on the writing process, from inception to promotion. 
  • A chronicle of my adventures in filmmaking as I launch into production of my latest short horror film, Inner Critic
  • Book, comic, and movie reviews for stories that I truly consider "bloody good." 

Hand/Eye/Mind/Mouth began as -- and shall remain -- my crafty space. 

I hope some of you will join me over at Bloody Good Stories. If not, no hard feelings. I'll still be around here for a spot of stitching! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Eldorado" now available from Red Stylo Media

I am incredibly proud to announce the release of my first-ever comic book story, "Eldorado." 

From the press release:

The digital release of "Eldorado," written by Sherezada Windham-Kent with art by Alex Cormack, is available now! 
The sun sets on a 300-year quest for fabled gold and glory in this Zombie Western comic by film director, Sherezada Windham-Kent, and Alex Cormack. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "Eldorado". 
The digital version is packed with EXCLUSIVE bonus content, including alternate covers and messages from the artists. This content will ONLY be available in the digital edition! 
Download will be $1.99 in the RSM store and on (soon also to be released on and iVerse.) Read more about this and all of the stories in the POE TWISTED Anthology at, published by RED STYLO MEDIA! 

Feeling a little giddy right now!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And the winner is...

My ultra-high-tech randomizer picked Looloolooweez as the winner of my 101 posts giveaway! Lest you accuse me of falsifying the results, I assure you that I used a trusted third party system (ie: Professor Lefty).

Thanks to everyone who entered! It's always good to hear from ya'll, so don't be strangers, now, y'hear? I promise, some crafty goodness is on the horizon. Most projects got put on hiatus for the summer, but now that my suitcases are back in the closet, my fingers are itchin' for some stitchin'. And typing. Lots of typing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sights of Thailand: Nutshell Edition

"And this is Selma dropping off our vacation film to be developed.
Thus concludes our Mexican Odyssey."

So, to keep this from turning into an, endless, Patty-and-Selma like slideshow of vacation photos, I've done the seemingly impossible and picked a handful of my favorite sightseeing pictures from the trip. These are what summed up our time in Thailand, and they may not always be what you expect.

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 Posts Giveaway!

Photo by Shirley Booth

This is post 101 on my blog!

It's been a little over 3 years in the coming, but that doesn't make this any less special. In these three years, I've started and lost jobs, made and pimped my first short film, and traveled to new corners of the world. I've also watched my embroidery skills grow, my knitting skills kinda flounder, and my repertoire of recipes expand. 

More importantly, I've met all sorts of wonderful new folks with this blog. To my fellow crafters, writers, and geeks, I just want to say "thank you" for reading, whether you started reading at post one or post one hundred.

I think this calls for a celebration, don't you?

In honor of my 101 posts, I'm doing my first ever giveaway! I've created a little mini-prize package that I think reflects the nature of this blog:

  • A DVD copy of my film, Everything I Needed to Know About Zombies I Learned from the Movies
  • A Sublime Stitching pattern pack, Molly Crabapple
  • A set of recipe cards from BoyGirlParty
  • A pack of pretty, handmade flower beads straight from the Sampeng market in Bangkok
  • A felt heart pincushion with some "wooden stake" quilting pins, each made by me
Leave a comment below by midnight PST on Tuesday, August 9, letting me know why you read this blog (is it the embroidery? The sporadic cross stitch patterns?) and I'll pick one winner at random.  

It's the least I can do to say "thank you!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sawasdee Ka Krung Thep (Hello, Bangkok)

Krung Thep means City of Angels, but we are happy to call it Bangkok if it helps to separate a farang from his money. –John Burdett, Bangkok 8

When we arrived in Bangkok, it was after 14+ hours in the air. So, everything had a sort of dreamlike quality for the first day or so as our bodies adjusted their biorhythms from Pacific Standard to Indochina Time.

I’ll always remember when we entered Bangkok proper for the first time. As our taxi swept down from the expressway into midday Bangkok traffic, a strange sense of familiarity flooded me. It wasn’t just the billboards for Western movies and products, or even the landscape of high rises jutting into the milky sky.

It was the near-claustrophobic crush of humanity right at street level: brightly painted taxis, spindly tuk tuks, and hordes of weaving motor-scooters. Vendors would casually navigate between the packed lanes, selling snacks and flower garlands. The BTS Skytrain glided above all the commotion like a sleek, pale eel as we neared Sukhumvit Road (essentially Main Street, Bangkok), marking our destination.

It took me a minute to pinpoint where the nostalgia was coming from. Then it hit me: the urban soup of Bangkok was not too unlike that of the Third World metropolis of my childhood, Mexico DF. Half a globe away from my continent, and suddenly I knew I was going to be alright. I could navigate this, even with a huge language barrier.

Our basecamp was a condo right in downtown, which was being rented for the summer by a good friend of ours and his wonderful family. They graciously put us up for the two weeks of our stay, and were the best guides we could have hoped for as we not only navigated the ins-and-outs of the City of Angels, but the way of living in Southeast Asia.

Next up in the series: The sights of Thailand.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Berkeley to Bangkok

Lordy, no posts since May? What kind of a blogger am I?

The traveling kind, I'm proud to say. I just spent the last two weeks in Southeast Asia (primarily Bangkok, Thailand, with three days in Siem Reap, Cambodia). I've been back in the USA about 24 hours, and I'm already at the keys. I'm jet-lagged and a little culture-shocked, but otherwise feeling good. A mix of sadness that it's all over, pride that we made it, and quiet relief at being home.

Bangkok is a metropolis unlike any I've ever visited before. Just like Thailand's prize dish, Som Tam (green papaya salad), Bangkok is a unique mix of sweet and sour, pungent and spicy. The air is humid this time of year, richly infused with the scents of lemongrass, diesel fuel, incense, and river water. You can find centuries-old temples and posh super-malls within a few Skytrain stops of each other. Cuisine ranges from street-cart noodles to luxurious, five-star dining. People from all around the globe gather here to shop, eat, and play: from middle-age Anglo men hunting for flesh to Burqa-clad women hunting for designer shoes. Not to mention thirty-something American writers hunting for inspiration.

How can I sum up the experience in just one post? I can't. So, over the next few days, I'll be posting a special series about the things we saw, tasted, heard, and did. Don't worry, crafting will be included. Promise.

For now though, it's time to unpack the bags, do some laundry, and catch up on my email. It'll take a few days to get back into the swing of things, but if there's one thing travel abroad has taught me, is to go with the flow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Isabela's Fortune

I’ve had poor Isabela here hanging on my wall for nearly two months, staring at me accusingly. With everything that has been going on, though, I just haven’t had time to photograph the poor girl before now.

Why name her Isabela? Well, it’s almost embarrassing to admit, but the pattern bore a striking resemblance to one busty pirate captain from a certain favorite video game. Yup. She’s named after Dragon Age 2’s Isabela.

I modeled the color scheme after the character’s, and even went so far as to add the little labret piercing under her lip. Yes, I'm a geek. What's new?

She was made using Sew Lovely Embroidery’s Mad Ink pattern set, which I think may be my favorite pattern pack ever.

It was a pretty straight-forward piece, all done with back stitch, with a little satin stitch and a few French knots to make it interesting. The most experimental I got was to tweed the floss (mixing navy blue and turquoise) to give her kerchief the illusion of pattern.

I painted her hoop a nice turquoise to match, which looks really neat hanging next to the purple one for my glow-in-the-dark Calavera (also from the same Sew Lovely pack). I’m envisioning a whole wall filled with colorful-hooped embroideries and cross stitching. It’s pretty well on its way!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nightmares, Comics, and Travel Plans

Aside from waxing nostalgic for ’80s movies and updating my blog layout, there’s been quite a bit stirring in my corner of the world.

A Nightmare on Van Ness Street

Some of the most exciting news I received recently is that my film, Everything I Needed to Know About Zombies I Learned From the Movies, will be participating in A Nightmare to Remember International Horror Film Festival.

The fest takes place Saturday, June 18 at San Francisco's Opera Plaza Theater. Join us for three hours of indie shorts, trailers, and general horror movie shenanigans, all presented by Horror Hostess Miss Misery (an awesome woman I had the pleasure of meeting at Wondercon this year). If you can’t make it, please wish me luck!

Panel by Panel

In other horror-related news, I also spent a good deal of time working on my very first comic book project. I learned a huge amount about comic scripting in a very short amount of time thanks to an excellent, patient editor (Enrica Jang, who is a marvelous comic writer herself. Check out her comic Azteca).

At this point, it’s all in the (very capable) artist’s hands, and soon I’ll have a link to share. All I can say is that it involves zombies (natch) and a certain favorite storyteller of mine.

Summer Plans

As if a film festival and comic project weren’t enough, there’s some big news on a more personal front: the Professor and I are in the midst of planning our first international trip together! We’ll be spending two weeks this summer in beautiful Thailand (mostly in Bangkok), hosted by some very generous friends. It still feels very surreal, but incredibly exciting.

Photo by D.Alyoshin

We haven’t had an adventure of this caliber since…well, ever! So, any tips and tricks for these newbie globe-trotters is most welcome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From Andie to Iona

As part of my overall plan to gradually simplify my living space, I recently purged much of my old VHS collection. I had three piles: Goodwill, keep, and buy DVD first. In the handful of films that warranted “upgrading” was my favorite film from high school, Pretty in Pink.

Oh, Pretty in Pink. It was already considered “old” when I discovered it, having been released 10 years before. But even with the ’80s time-capsule element, the characters and story resonated with the little DIY-goth-misfit that I was. I loved the film so much that I would break up my all-black wardrobe with baby-pink cardigans now and again.

So, when I got my new, shiny Pretty in Pink DVD last week, I devoted an entire afternoon to reliving Andie’s trials (and eventual triumph), and letting the nostalgia wash through me.

Except, a strange thing happened while I watched. There was the nostalgia, yes. However, I found myself relating more with a different character. Not just love-struck Andie, but her mentor, Iona.

Iona. Who is hip, funny, wise...and admits to being 15 years older than 17-year old Andie.Who pretends that teenage Duckie is her son to get him into the nightclub.

Who's prom memories involve a beehive wig and The Association’s 1966 hit “Cherish.”

It hit me, watching her comfort poor, brokenhearted Andie: it’s finally happened. I’ve graduated from being Andie to Iona.

Everyone has those “holy crap, I’m a grown-up!” moments. For a lot of folks, it’s when they become parents. For others, it’s when they buy a house, or land their first salaried job. For some film buffs, it’s when you start relating to different characters in films.

Okay, let’s be fair. A lot has happened recently to reinforce this new, “grown-up” feeling, such as creating my own career in the midst of a shitty job market, and planning for my first trip to Asia. But watching Iona serve Saturday tea in a cyberpunk-inspired cheongsam dress drove the feeling home.

Don’t think this is a complaint. Not at all. Back when I was a teen, I hoped to one day grow up to be a woman as unique, sweet, and well, cool as Iona. It’s a neat feeling to look around at my life, and see I have a few of those personal goals nailed. My wardrobe may not be as fabulous, but hey, I do have a cheongsam dress squirreled away in the back of my closet in case someone comes over for tea.

Ever had one those movie moments? Watching a film you loved when you were younger, and realizing that you relate to a different character now?

(BTW, If you're a Pretty in Pink fan, check out this great post from On This Day in Fashion about Andie's WTF prom dress.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Star Wars Easter Eggs

Star Wars Easter Eggs

To those who celebrate it, I hope you have a happy Easter!

Today, I'm extra happy. I've had my Easter miracle (thank you, computer, for not dying after I spilled water on you), my brother's coming over for a fancy holiday dinner, and I actually finished crafting in time! Hell yeah.

Not just regular crafting, but some super-geek crafting. I couldn't help it. I had two extra paper mache Easter eggs in the pack after I painted them for my mantle. Of course they had to be Star Wars!

The details aren't perfect, as I had a hard time wrapping my mind (heh, I'm punny) around the three-dimensional helmet designs, but they're close.

Stormtrooper Easter Egg (detail)

They look so cute, sitting amongst my colorful Easter decorations. They were a lot of fun to make, too. It's been too long since I've played with my paints!

Darth Vader Easter Egg (detail)

Maybe next year I'll add to the collection, make some Rebel eggs to duke it out with the Imperial eggs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Embroidered Dice Bag

I managed to squeeze in a bit of crafting before I got taken out by the double-whammy of Con and cold. The Professor’s birthday was at the end of March, and he had been dropping hints that he needed a new bag to hold his gaming dice. I was more than happy to oblige!

This was the perfect excuse to break out the brand-spankin’ new sewing machine my Mama gave me as an early birthday present. I don’t know why I hadn’t given it a run sooner! It’s truly a thing of beauty:

It’s a computerized machine, which is a light year leap from the antique Featherweight I’d been struggling with for months. Though I still love the old girl dearly, there’s really nothing like a sewing machine that is wholly and completely yours to bond with.

It only took me a couple hours to fully put together the bag, which is made from up-cycled denim from a pair of torn jeans. The embroidered emblem is the symbol of the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, from the old Ultima computer games. It’s a game that the Professor loved as a child, and I thought it’d be appropriate for a dice bag.

He truly loved it. It was nice to finally be able to craft something just for him that he’d actually enjoy and use, as opposed to the knit scarves I keep trying to hoist off on him!

I'm really looking forward to tackling some other sewing projects, and learning some new skills. Is it too ambitious to think I can sew a sundress by summertime?