More (Possible) Ancient Surgery

Photo by Renato Danyi on

Not for the squeamish.

Ancient surgical implant or modern-day fake? Peru skull leaves mystery.

Just a few (more) thoughts about ancient surgery.

I am fascinated, in theory, by what people are able to do with various kinds of technology. My upcoming book, The Great Snake, features a character who has spent the entire trilogy being called upon to do emergency surgeries on her extended family whenever something comes up. She has dealt with gouged eyes, lacerations, severe burns, miscarriages and C-sections, plus of course numerous births.

I can research and figure out what she would probably have had to do with the best of them.

In real life? Forget it.

A loved one recently had some emergency surgery without which she would probably have bled to death or worse. (Congratulations on your baby, Rachael!) Thank God we have medical professionals who know what they are doing. I would NOT know what to do in that situation. I wouldn’t know what to look for, or what I was looking at, and I would probably be petrified by the fact that someone’s life was in my hands and be totally unable to make any decisions. That’s if I didn’t faint. Again, thank God for cooler heads when we need them!

Tagging this “I’m a Luddite” … but am I really?

Amazon Unboxing

Yes, I know I am a bad girl for using Amazon.

I had … shall we say a number … of books I wanted to buy. I checked out prices on B&N. I would have been paying a lot more than on Amazon. Like, a lot more. And I’m Dutch-American and kind of cheap, what can I say?

The books are coming in several shipments. This is the first.

Live Not By Lies is one I’ve seen several people recommend. The books of Enoch keep showing up as primary sources in the reading I’ve been doing in secondary sources about giants and elohim and so forth, so I figured it might be just as well to own a copy.

Painting Inspired by Knitting

I’m in the process of knitting the scarf for a specific person. I picked the colors of the hand-dyed wool based on the intended beneficiary’s coloring, and the colors of the clothing they usually wear. Little did I know that when it knit up, it would portray a futuristic, sci-fi-book-cover type of scene.

Don’t see it? Look closer …

Now zoom out a little …

… and, all the way out …

There it is.

“Misty Mountains” Poncho

This was a complete coincidence.

We bought yarn in the colors the little girl liked. I had wanted to try a zigzag pattern on the next poncho I made. Turns out, when you do a modified zigzag using colors with an ombre-type fade, it looks like mountains receding into the distance! Who knew?

The picture above is one half of the poncho. I made the other half identical, sewed them together corner to corner, and added a brown tassel:

I like this mountain-y look so much, I am tempted to make one for myself some day. But that’s off in (you might say) the misty future, as I have a few other projects to get to plus a nerve injury in one arm to baby.

Knitted Baby Moccasins

I got this pattern from a book called Wee Garter Stitch. I found it in my then local library, and knew I would want to make this pattern again and again. With the way you can vary the color of the mocs and the kind of fabric you sew on the instep, it is just so versatile. The original pattern called for brown cotton yarn – which I use here – but it had the fringe being all one color. As you can see, in this iteration I decided to change it up.

First, you make the moccasin part. These are made by knitting a simple rectangle, adding a tongue, and sewing the whole thing together. They might be uncomfortable to walk on, but for a baby, they are basically just socks. The pattern suggests you sew the optional fabric onto the instep after the mocs are completed, but I have found that it’s easier to add the fabric before starting on the fringe.

Then, you pick up stitches around the open edge of the moc and start “making a loop” on every stitch every round or two. This pattern taught me the “make a loop” technique, which is pretty cool. It was at this point that I started switching out the colors, partly because I didn’t have enough yarn of just one color. I actually ran out of white cotton yard and had to sub in wool for the last few rounds on one moc.

You do that for a while, and, voila! it’s time to knit four rounds of rib and cast off. Then you cut the loops and even up the fringe.

I don’t actually know how easy or difficult these are to put on a baby, because I’ve never heard back from any of the moms I’ve given such mocs to. But I have a feeling that this time, I’m going to get lucky.

Here is another pair that I made with a different color scheme.

I stuff gift paper into them, to get them to hold their shape and stand up.

Knitted Stuff: Ponchos

My knitting is not to be compared to some of my fellow knitting/book bloggers, like BookWyrmKnits. The stuff she posts is just jaw-dropping.

This knitting project, on the other hand, is about the easiest gift you can make for a little girl (or three) if you just have basic knitting skills. For each poncho, I simply knit two identical rectangles, then sewed them together in the poncho shape. I used super-chunky yarn, large needles, and cast on 25 stitches for the larger ponchos (which fit a school-aged child) and 20 stitches for the smaller poncho (which I hope will be the right size for a preschooler). They are in garter stitch, which means I knit on the right side and the wrong side, instead of purling on the wrong side, which would have produced stocking stitch. The only thing I did that was slightly challenging was to use a different color of yarn for the border.

Ponchos are pretty forgiving (no tailoring), and if you have mastered the mechanics of knitting well enough to make a scarf, then you can also knit a poncho. You can add tassels to the corners (or the entire edge) using a crochet hook, but for this project, I didn’t feel the need.

Knitting Project: Mongolian-Style Hat

So, I’m going a little crazy with the animal print this winter.

I had so much left over after making my cave-woman costume. Counting the costume, handbag, and now this, I have done three projects with the same “fur.”

I wanted a hat that would feature this animal print, and would feature a knit using cream-colored yarn. When I started imagining the hat, I pictured it with a slight point on top, probably owing to all that time I had spent on Pinterest looking at pictures of traditional Mongolian, Tibetan, and Scythian costumes.

For this hat, I started with a basic ribbed beanie pattern, casting on 72 stitches. I worked 4 inches of 1×1 rib, then switched to a cable pattern for a few more inches. Then I started doing regular decreases, adapted from a pointy elf hat pattern. When finished, I sewed the fake fur to the underside of the four inches of ribbing. You turn up the brim to reveal the fur.

And here I am, standing in a chilly, windy, high-altitude place that is not so different environmentally from Mongolia. To look really authentic, I’d need long black braids coming out from the under the hat to complete the picture.

My whole life is about crushing on different ancient cultures, making costumes inspired by them, and then writing novels so you, too, can visit. You’re welcome.

Corn Cobs as Fuel

I wanted to know whether I could use the few pitiful dried corn stalks left over from my garden as a fire-starter. Poking around on the Internet, I stumbled across this blog post about burning corn cobs, which has a ton of fascinating historical information. My favorite part is the picture of a North Dakota housewife feeding corn cobs into her kitchen stove, with the baby in a high chair in the background, in 1940.

The Only Halloween Costume I’ll Ever Need

I went to the grocery store in this and got a lot of broad smiles.

I have the misfortune of liking costumes that look like people. Historical people, usually. It is always meant super sincerely — I really want to be that person — but can easily be taken the wrong way.

However, there is one interest group who still don’t mind if I represent them. Especially because, like the majority of people in the world, I am actually descended from them.


Faithful readers of this blog will object that, according to my own past posts, there is no reason to believe that Neanderthals carried clubs instead of more sophisticated weapons, or that they went around dressed in off-the-shoulder leopard skins. True. But a Halloween costume should be simple, iconic – a cartoon really – so that people can instantly recognize what you are supposed to be. So, I went with the off-the shoulder-leopard skin.

And used the remnants to make the handbag.

Neanderthal photo shoot

This was my dry run. The face paint was supposed to make my chin look weak, but apparently it comes off as a beard. Maybe on the 30th I’ll just give myself undereye circles and call it a day.

Also, you can’t see it, but there is a toy bone in my hair.


Should be able to use this costume for years to come.