Let’s start with The Cute Book. No one is better at Cute than the Japanese, and many Americans shell out large sums of money for Japanese craft books and magazines even though they cannot read Japanese. Cleverness is then required to figure out the directions and possible uses for the items shown.

Aranzi Aronzo’s Cute Book is now available in English. This book has patterns and instructions for making “felt mascots” of great cuteness, as well as some edgy ones like The Liar (“he is proud of being surreal”). All Easter baskets should probably have one. Then there are ideas for using the little felt mascots in other ways, including on tote bags and T-shirts, hair ornaments, and so forth.

Next, Dweezy linked to Sew Fast Sew Easy, a new-to-me site with patterns and books and fun stuff for sewing. Dweezy continues to be our premier source for online underwear instructions; this site includes kits and online classes for making “Tanga Panties,” and suggests having a Tanga Panty Party. You pay once for the video and can then download it ten times, handy if perhaps people are swilling sangria and miss part of the directions.

Finally, the new spring Knitty is up. As always, it contains little that I would actually want to knit, but that doesn’t mean I won’t visit it now and then. There is this amusing article on the mad idea that everyone ought to make a garter stitch scarf, and several nice sock patterns, including this one, Queen of Cups, which I might actually make. (Yes, I said yesterday that a different one was my favorite, but I am too old for knee socks.)

I meant that “finally” in the sense of its being the last of the craft allusions. There are a couple more things I want to draw to your attention. Ozarque is having a discussion over at her place on “scutwork,” by which they largely mean housekeeping and caregiving. We talk about those things in this xanga neighborhood, too, but I think we tend to discuss them as women who accept responsibility for them. We talk about when we’re going to do them, how we do them, and sometimes how we feel when we don’t do them. Ozarque’s contingent bring many different perspectives to the table, from the deeply philosophical to the irrationally irritable, and it is quite interesting.

I also want to tell you about Bloglines. I was probably the only person in the country who didn’t already know about Bloglines, actually, but I sure wish someone had told me about it, so I am passing this along to anyone else who might have missed this somehow.

You know how you can look over at your subscription bar and see which of your xanga friends have posted? And you can look at your blogrings and see who has a new post there? And how, when people are not on xanga, you have to slog all the way across the blogosphere to see whether they have posted something new, and if they haven’t, then you could have spent that time reading someone else’s new post and now it is time to make the kids’ breakfast and you wish you had that time back?

Well, you can go tell Bloglines all the the people you want to read, and then you simply go there, and they show you what’s new, just like xanga. It is easy and free to sign up.

I encountered Bloglines (well, strictly speaking, I see the word over at my footprints all the time, but I didn’t know what it was) in the course of work yesterday. I am diligently working on our online presence, and orders are beginning to come in, although I still find the Google webmaster pages completely incomprehensible.

Arkenboy told me some things to do to increase our page rankings, and I have been doing that. He also said to get a flyer with our web address on it into the hands of the people, and I have done that as well. He did not say to grab people who say they don’t shop online and make them look at our website, but I am doing so. I keep it up on the store computer, and point it out to them like Vanna White. There are useful links, I say. I explain how to use the state frameworks. I click on things to show how effortless it is.

I have also begun attempting to learn a bit of Spanish. I am told that the other store has Spanish-speaking customers, and I want to be ready to ask them “Que busca?” with or without correct punctuation.

I took a 6-week class in conversational Spanish, you may recall, and learned to say “I am X” and “I have X,” neither of which is all that useful in a retail environment.

Actually, in yesterday’s rather brisk sales, I not only browbeat people into admiring the website, but also shared recipes, discussed horror movies, commiserated with them about testing and our store’s closing, compared different methods of learning multiplication and whether doing so was any longer of any value, and explained copyright law. “Que busca?” may not really get me very far.

But the elasticity of my brain will be remarkable!