I don’t remember being into mysteries or murder or the macabre when I was younger.

Although now that I think of it, I did rather enjoy the novels written by Lois Duncan, who writes some pretty amazing books for teens and young adults.  Some of my favorites were Daughters of Eve, Killing Mr. Griffin, Stranger with My Face, and I Know What You Did Last Summer.  Even now, as an adult, I love those books.

So maybe that’s when my fascination with murder, crime, and death in general started.

Which brings me to the reason for this post.  One of my favorite websites is called Find a Death and I find it utterly compelling.  It is basically a compilation of the “death stories” of celebrities and not-so-celebrities, complete with photos, death certificates, gossip, and sometimes, mementos.


The creator is a guy named Scott Michaels who has what I think is a pretty interesting story of his own.  Scott also has a business called Dearly Departed Tours, which I’ve never been on but wouldn’t mind seeing.  Maybe a good sightseeing trip for the English relatives?

Some of my favorite profiles are:

Desi Arnaz (some good gossip here)
Jackie Coogan and the Addams Family Cast
Sam Cooke
Grace Kelly

A word of warning:  Some (maybe most) of the content on Findadeath.com is not work-appropriate.  Some content on it is not for the squeamish.  Finally, while I don’t personally find it disrespectful, there is the occasional hint of irreverence about death and celebrity on this site and if you think you might be easily offended, perhaps it isn’t the website for you.

Otherwise, have at it.

The new and improved Amazon Kindle 2 comes out today.  Correction:  You can pre-order one starting today for shipment on February 24.

I got my Kindle about a year ago and it is my favorite electronic gadget of all time.  That includes my iPod, my iPhone, my Garmin, and pretty much anything else I can think of.

If you're a reader and you have the price, I'd highly recommend getting one of these babies.

But boy, am I proud of this pillow.

I’ve been threatening to start sewing for a long time now.  The primary reason is that every time I go to U-Handbag I find another bag I want to make.  I’ve just been too lazy to set up the sewing machine I bought a few years back.

The other day, however, I decided enough was enough, I was gonna start sewing.  I am more or less a complete novice–I’ve sewed a little here and there, but not enough to have any degree of competence.

A couple of years ago, I bought a cool book called Sew Subversive, which contains a lot of easy but cool patterns and funky ideas for customizing your clothes. 

It contains a pattern for a simple tube top made out of a t-shirt and I decided I wanted to make one, but I thought it would be best to start with the first project in the book:  a pillow slip cover.

I went to Joann’s and found a fabric that I liked, then asked the nice lady to cut me a yard of it.  Then I found some thread to match it.  Armed with these and a few other supplies, like sharp new scissors, I went home to tackle my project.

Alas, when I set up my machine, I realized I didn’t have the manual, and I couldn’t figure out how to fill my bobbin (yes, folks, I am that inexperienced).  After some trial and error, I finally got it filled, and thanks to a helpful diagram on the front of my machine, I was able to thread it.  Next, I measured and pinned my fabric, then ironed the hems to make it easier to sew (and, they say, to make it look more “professional”).

I actually ended up making three pillow slip covers.  The first one I made was for a 20×20 pillow, and while it looked real purty when I was finished with it, one of the seams didn’t sew correctly and I decided to do it over, but with a smaller pillow so I would have enough fabric for two slip covers.

The second cover I made came out absolutely perfect (well, I use this word loosely) and it’s the one I photographed for my blog.  The third came out not-so-perfect, but perfect enough for my purposes.  I proudly have them displayed on my sofa, much to the dismay of Mick who is already frustrated by the amount of pillowage in our house.  The concept of throw pillows escapes him, poor sod.

Today’s project will be that tank top.  I bought a t-shirt at the Police concert specifically so I could make one out of it.  Sting will be proud.

About three years ago, I made it a goal to teach myself to knit.  It was a little rough going at first, but with practice I got the hang of it.  Though I’m still not an entirely confident knitter, I know my way around a pattern and while I’ve had some trouble with fit on sweaters (check that gauge, no matter HOW much you don’t feel like it–believe me–I’ve learned the hardway), overall the things I make turn out right.

I used many resources to teach myself to knit.  When one book didn’t explain something so that I could understand it, I’d go to another book or search on the Internet.  Lately, I’ve really gotten into knitting blogs and they’ve inspired me to try my own designs out.  I’m still learning though and definitely have a ways to go with that.

All that said, I thought I’d compile a list of the resources that have helped me the most in learning to knit:

Knitting Help – Possibly the best site I’ve ever used to learn to knit.  I wish I’d known about it when I first started!  This is absolutely the first place I’d go for knitting instructions.

Knitty.com – I love this website.  Lots and lots of patterns, instructions, inspiration, etc.  It’s not necessarily a beginner’s website, but novices can certainly benefit.  I am obsessed with this website!

Hollywood Knits – This was the first pattern book I got and it really inspired me!  I wouldn’t say it’s the best design book I’ve got (more to come on that later) but it was a good starting place for me because the designs are hip and the knitting directions were pretty simple to follow.

Knitting Pretty – Another pattern book with a good mix of easy & intermediate designs.

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges – I love this book!  It is a very good starting point for creating your own designs and once you get past the beginner stage and understand knit basics, you will almost certainly want to have more flexibility in your knitting, which is exactly what this book helps with.  It remains one of my all-time favorites.

I will be posting more about pattern books later on.  I have a lot of them, some better than others, but all inspiring in their own way.