Monthly Archives: April 2013

Week 16 of Making Something Every Day

Day 106: 5.5 x 7.5″ piece. Hope. In the spirit of visiting @WaterStep tomorrow.
day 106
Hope seemed to fit since Hallie, Amy (We are The Water Glass gals!) and I headed out that day to go to Louisville, KY to visit WaterStep. We had an amazing visit with Claudia and saw for ourselves how clean water changes lives.

Day 107: My art supply haul from @ArtistCraftsman in Louisville, KY.
day 107
Had to get a little fun in on our trip! While Artist & Craftsman Supply is a chain, it is one of the quirkiest I’ve ever seen. I had a great time browsing the aisles and came up with a nice bag full for about $60. I also met a great dog named Lucy!

Day 108: Faith. 7.5×5.5″ to go with Hope.
day 108
After Hope, I had to get faith in there too.

Day 109: Last of the series. Love. 5.5×7.5″
day 109
Love seemed the logical next step.

faith hope and love
Series all together.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
—1 Corinthians 13:13 (New Living Translation)

Day 110: Full on 80s extravaganza. I’m channeling my roots!
day 110
Yeah, I have no idea where this one is going…

Day 111: Added 2 birds to the big green piece. Trying to decide if I’m finished or not.
day 111
I think I’m going to add a bit more to this one. Thinking about it though ’cause I love it a lot right now.

Day 112: Made a very rough costume for Eli to wear in the spring musical tomorrow.
day 112
The costume in itself isn’t that much to speak of but Eli’s pose together with the dog’s long-suffering look makes me laugh ever time.

Week 15 of Making Something Every Day

Day 99: Lotsa church today so I’m kicking back with the dog & some crochet while watching a movie with @Sargent.
day 99
It’s the crocheted shawl that will never end!

Day 100: I had anticipated celebrating my 100th day. Now, not so much. Finished piece.
day 100
Shocking day all the way around. It seemed callous to toot my own horn about my 100th day on such a sad day.

Day 101: Pulpo ATC. (Now with photo!)
day 101
I love the word pulpo. I don’t think I’m tired of it yet.

Day 102: I am covered in gold dust from today’s work. Magical moment.
day 102
I got some gold foil from my letterpress teacher. He was really curious to know what I was going to do with it without the letterpress. Answer: watch the flakes dance in the sunlight and admire it all over my hands.

Day 103: BIG piece: 18×24. Liza declared it needs a bird in the upper left.
day 103
Liza declared it, so now I’m looking for a bird. I haven’t found the right bird yet and it’s gonna have to be pretty big to fill that space…

Day 104: Dreaming of rest for Americans tonight.
day 104
Friday of one of the worst weeks I can remember in a long time. I was thinking about folks in Boston and West, TX and thinking that everyone in the country needed a bit of rest and a few moments to catch our breath.

Day 105: Traveler ATC.
day 105
Just liked this flower.

Even If You Don’t Blink, The Weeping Angels Will Still Get You

The Doctor warns Sally about the Weeping Angels“Listen,” the man on the TV says, “your life could depend on this: don’t blink. Don’t even blink!” He gestures, thumb and middle finger in a circle. “Blink and you’re dead. They’re fast — faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back, don’t look away, and don’t blink.”

Weeping Angel from the Doctor Who episode BlinkThe Doctor is warning Sally Sparrow about the Weeping Angels, aliens on the TV show Doctor Who. The Angels have become one of the series’ most popular monsters because of how scary they are. When you’re staring at them, they’re “quantum locked” and are frozen in stone. They look like any other statue. But when you’re not observing them they move quickly, so quickly that they can rush toward you when you blink. And if they touch you, they’ll send you back decades in time.

It’s a simple but effective concept. The Weeping Angels take advantage of something we do every few seconds without realizing it. You can stop yourself from blinking…for a while. It’s like holding your breath. The longer you go without blinking, the stronger the urge to do so becomes, and all the while a deadly creature is right in front of you, waiting for your moment of weakness.

As you’d imagine, this has led to a lot of online theorizing of how to deal with the Angels, in much the same way that people like imagining what they’ll do when the zombies rise. Most schemes involve blinking first one eye and then the other so that you never stop observing an Angel. As long as you’re watching and Angel, you’re safe.

That won’t work, though, because you’re often blind even though your eyes are open.


Go stand in front of a mirror with your nose a few inches from its surface. Look at your reflection’s left eye, then switch to looking at the right eye as quickly as you can. Then look at the left eye again. Then the right. And then ask yourself this: why don’t you see your eyes moving?

Congratulations. You’ve just experienced saccadic masking.

You may think of your eyes like cameras, taking high-definition pictures of everything around you, but they’re not. Your eyes only see in high resolution across a small part of your vision, one that’s roughly the size of your thumbnail when you hold your thumb out at arm’s length in front of you. Away from that central part, your vision gets fuzzier and fuzzier and becomes black-and-white. To compensate, you move your eyes to sweep the narrow spotlight of your high-res vision all around. When you meet someone, your eyes dart to their eyes, their nose, their mouth, their hair. Your brain builds up a composite image of what the person looks like from these snapshots.

How saccades have us look at a faceThese rapid eye jerks, called saccades, aren’t fully under your conscious control. Once one starts you can’t change its direction or how fast your eyes move, and your eyes move fast. Saccades are the fastest movements your body is capable of. They’re so fast that your vision blurs during the movement. To get rid of that blur, your brain performs saccadic masking. Nearly a tenth of a second before your eyes move, your brain shuts down a lot of visual processing so that you’re not aware of your eyes moving and don’t consciously see any blurred images. As soon as the image on your eye is stable, your brain goes back to processing all of the visual data coming from your eyes. Your also lies to you, hiding saccades from you by fiddling with your perception of time during saccadic masking so that it feels like it takes less time than it does. The end result is that you’re effectively blind during a saccade.

It gets worse! If something moves during a saccade, you generally don’t see the motion. If an Angel crept up on you during a saccade, you might not see moving it at all until it was too late.


Fine, you say, I won’t move my eyes around. I’ll stare fixedly at that Angel. Unfortunately, not even that may save you, thanks to microsaccades. Even when you think your eyes are staying still, they’re not. In part it’s to keep you from going temporarily blind.

As you’re reading this, are you sitting down? Can you feel the texture of your skirt or pants? Chances are, before I asked that question, you couldn’t. The sensory neurons in your legs adapt to the constant stimulus of cloth against them and stop sending signals. The same thing happens to the neurons in your eyes. If you were able to stare at something so that its image was perfectly still on your eye’s retina, then after a while the image would fade away due to neural adaptation. To keep this from happening, your eyes jiggle around, performing a smaller version of a regular saccade. It’s as if the world is filled with ghostly objects that fade if they’re perfectly still, so your eyes jitter to make the objects look like they’re moving. Microsaccades refresh the image on your eye.

Rotating Snakes illusion by Akiyoshi KitaokaYou can’t see microsaccades directly. Your brain acts like the image stabilizer in a video camera, smoothing out the shaky image from your darting eyes. But you can see their indirect effect by staring at Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s “Rotating Snakes” illusion. Our brain normally can tell the difference between apparent motion caused by our eyes’ microsaccades and actual motion caused by the thing we’re looking at moving. But with the circular snakes, our brain gets mixed up and mistakes apparent motion for real motion.

It’s Not as Bad as I’m Making It Sound

It’s possible you’ll still be safe from the Angels, because saccades don’t fully blind you. Saccadic masking doesn’t stop your brain from processing all visual information. When you look at something, the visual data moves through successive portions of your brain’s visual cortex. The different parts of the visual cortex look for things like differences in brightness or straight lines. During a saccade, smoother parts of an image are thrown away early in the visual cortex, while parts with a more complex pattern, like text on a page, are still partially processed. And saccadic masking is stronger when your eyes move a lot, but weaker during small motions and microsaccades.

It all gets back to what it means to observe something. Does it count if your brain receives visual information about an Angel and processes it? Or do you have to consciously be aware of what you’re seeing for an Angel to be quantum locked? If it’s the former, then saccades effectively blinding you doesn’t matter. If it’s the latter, though, send me a postcard from the past and let me know.

A Weeping Angel in Blink

Even More Information

Week 14 of Making Something Every Day

Day 92: Be of good cheer, daughter.
day 92
I’ve not been giving away the things I’ve made this year. I have a giant stack of stuff. This one however, I gave to a friend because it seemed like it needed to be with her.

Day 93: What sort of art supply/tool am I making? Answer tomorrow!
day 93
So I got Liza this book for Easter. I figured that we could work through some of the projects this summer. It’s like art camp! But for the price of a book! My kind of camp! The book is really great for intro projects to a lot of different art techniques. I found the one for gelatin printing particularly interesting. I made one plate, had to go to the store for more gelatin. Used that plate until it fell apart and then made another with the help of Becky and Ashley at craft night.

Day 94: first mono prints from my gelatin plate!
day 94
What I’m coming to realize about the gelatin printing though is that I need more stencils. I knew that before but didn’t have a good enough reason to buy more. Now I do!

Day 95: My favorite prints from today’s session with the gelatin plate.
day 95
I’ve got a ton of good material to work with from the plate and stencils.

Day 96: I made a storm hidey-hole for my craft today. (Here’s hoping we don’t have to get in it with the dog.)
day 96
Such a long, stressful day! Kids got out early from school because of the weather. Then we ended up all in the hidey-hole for about 30 minutes. So. Not. Fun. I was too tired by the end of all that to think about anything but going to bed.

Day 97: Using one of the gelatin prints as a background for a collage.
day 97
I used the plainest print from my sessions to start a collage.

Day 98: I am pretty pleased with the way this picture is shaping up.
day 98
Not finished with this one yet. I think I’m going to put a quote of some kind on the tag. Don’t know yet. Still thinking…

Week 13 of Making Something Every Day

Day 85: ATC based on ihanna’s work. See her cool postcards here.
day 85

Day 86: Another ATC today. I think this might be an all ATC week!
day 86

Day 87: There’s a bird on this ATC. No surprise there, huh?
day 87

Day 88: Liza’s first word was “buh-fly.”
day 88

Day 89: Put (another) bird on it! A magic bird that enchants Anwyn and makes her mind. Fairy tales…
day 89

Day 90: Continuing the 2 themes of the week: ATC of flying things.
day 90

Day 91: Broke my bird streak. Oh well.
day 91

Some notes on the all ATC week:
– Clearly I like me some birds and insects!
– I’ve gotten a bunch of little spray bottles that I’ve filled with a mixture of acrylic paint and water. I can spray and play. That’s where a lot of the backgrounds this week came from.
– I worked on several backgrounds at once and then finished one a day. Because of waiting for things to dry, it just worked better this way. I also felt like I hit a really good stride using this method. I had something I wanted to work on everyday because I’d worked a bit ahead for several days.
– Used a lot of pink this week. Not a color I normally go to first but I like how pink finished off several day’s work just right.
– Looking at the composition of these ATCs, I see that I like to move things from the lower left to the upper right. I’ve never noticed that about how I work before but things just feel more balanced that way.
– Best of all, it was fun!