Squirrel!

What to do, what to do? I want to draw; I want to practice calligraphy/illumination; I want to sew; I want to embroider; I want to write … Making up my mind should be a simple enough thing, but this morning it’s just not happening.

I woke up early with a rumbling stomach. Guess I didn’t have enough for dinner. I ate a snack and drank some hot chocolate to try to calm my restless mind, but the longer I was up, the more I wanted to get done…and the less I actually accomplished. I started one sewing project by cutting the pattern pieces, then decided I should put that aside for another sewing project. Then I decided I wanted to try drawing some illumination designs. Then I decided I didn’t want to do either of those. Then I tooled around the Internet for a while. Got hungry again. Made more food. Printed out some designs to try to embroider (those are still on the printer, because I then decided I wanted to write).

Guess my Creative Attention Deficit Disorder has kicked in again. As soon as I set my mind to one task I’m flying off to another, and it’s terribly nonproductive. I’ve gotten my hands dipped into too many creative ventures/projects, and now I’m in creative overload.

Maybe I’ll skip creativity for more practical activities. I have a couple of articles to write–maybe by the time I get those done I’ll be better able to decide what the heck I want to do.

A Friend in Need

Sometimes it takes a friend in crisis (no matter how minor) to make you realize you have more talent that you thought.

calligraphy magic

I have a friend who needed some calligraphy and art for several scrolls. She was on a major deadline, and since I have some semblance of artistic talent (and since I was allowed to trace on the calligraphy) I offered to help. A couple of hours later, I had completed my first two scrolls. Granted, I’ve never really used a fountain pen much, and I’d never done calligraphy, but overall I think the people receiving the scrolls will like them. No, it’s not going to look like the gif above, but they look…decent. Acceptable.

I also did some art–very small, simple art–for each of the scrolls. Imagine a hand-drawn, watercolor version of clip art. Yeah, that.

It was kind of cool to do. I had been avoiding it because I am always afraid that my art won’t be “good enough,” but since my friend needed help I was there. Turns out, it’s not that bad. It’ll take some getting used to for the fountain pen and I’ll definitely need more practice, but it’s something I might consider getting into in the future…as needed. Lol

In other news, it’s two days until my birthday! (A day and a half technically, since I was born in a German time zone.) I’m looking forward to this year’s birthday. I’m hoping to get my own sword for rapier fighting, but beyond that I have no clue what people have planned for me. Guess I won’t have to worry about faking my surprised face 😉

Counting down

It’s getting closer–another birthday, another step closer to 40. I wasn’t worried about 30 until a month before I turned 29, and so far 40 is not causing undue stress, but it makes me wonder about my life and where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.

As far as major life events, my 30s brought me a husband and the ability to call myself a published author. Granted, I self published, but it was published nonetheless. Before I’m 40 I’ll be a homeowner, and I’ll be inducted into a HEMA rapier/swordfighting group. I’ve gone to pop culture conventions and cosplayed, and I’ve learned how to sew. I’ve gotten a great job that keeps me engaged and is almost never boring. Life’s pretty good.

So what will 40 bring? We’ll have to wait and see on that one, but here are a few of my hopes for it:

  • Become traditionally published
  • Learn enough swordfighting techniques to be able to teach as well as train
  • Become adept enough at sewing to be able to make more things and sell the things I make (while making some semblance of a profit)
  • Lean some elements of clothing design to where I can devise my own patterns from measurements that I take

That’s not all, but I think those are reasonable goals. Not quite bucket-list-worthy (except for the publication) but still things to shoot for and work on. I’d have to sit and think about what I’d want on my bucket list. What activities or life events do I want to tick off before I clock out? Maybe I’ll do that one day soon…

So stuffed

In the aftermath of two years of cosplay and garb sewing, I have a TON of scrap fabric lying around. Character prints, solids, fleece, cotton, satin … the list goes on. What to do with it? Well, I think I found at east a partial solution:

Stuffed animals!!

Yep. They’re relatively small, there are tons of free patterns and tutorials out there, and, if done right, can be cute with coordinating scraps. No need to go running to the store for more stuff; I can use the fabric that I already have on hand. I’ve already got ideas for using my scraps to create new gifts for friends and family. Birthdays, holidays, thank-you gifts…this could be something worthwhile if I can pick it up.

Will this lead to anything else? Will I find my “place” in stuffies? Probably not, but at least it will keep me occupied and entertained. I’m going to make my first stuffed animal today; I already know what fabrics I’ll use and who it’ll go to. There’s the small pesky detail of what to stuff it with, but hell, I can just use scraps to stuff the scraps, right? It might be a bit lumpy, but it could work…right?

Okay, so there may be some running to the store–eventually. Right now, I’m going to make do with what I have and have some stuffed fun!

The Devil’s in the Details

After last night’s meeting with the builder, the house is becoming more and more a reality. We nailed down some details, tweaked others, and had a great chat about what to expect in the process. The butterflies are still in my stomach, but they’re spending more time sipping daisies than flitting around.

Pinterest has become an addiction for me the closer the house gets to being started. I’ve started pinning storage, decor, and landscaping ideas like crazy (not to mention the pins of backyard obstacle courses for rapier practice lol). I think Pinterest is a great resource for organizing and finding ideas. Yeah, there’s Google, but can you imagine going through the process of saving and sorting hundreds of websites? Eww. Not exactly my cup o’ tea.

For organization, I’m looking at ways to spiff up the garage, craft room, and closets for the most part. These seem to be the places where I’ve had the worst luck keeping them straightened on a regular basis. Maybe if I can find good systems for these I can keep my new house looking sharp.

Decor is going to be fun to do, because I can now have free reign to decorate as I see fit. I’m already looking at ideas for at least one mural to put in the house, plus layouts for pictures and other wall hangings. I might even take up painting again to create some original (non-mural) art for our walls. Once we get some good shelves I can drag out, dust off, and display some of my treasured knick-knacks. I’m a sucker for a fun display.

“Landscaping” is going to be the easiest part, thanks to living in the desert. Xeriscaping is a fancy term for landscaping in a desert-like environment. Lots of rocks and not so much grass to mow. Pretty cool, right? I’ll save tons on a lawnmower, and since my dad finds pruning mesquite trees therapeutic, I have a bonus neighbor-slash-landscaper almost literally in my backyard.

That obstacle course, once we get it going, is going to kick ass. I find rapier fighting to be great fun, and being able to improve balance and coordination while having said fun will be cool. Plus, as a bonus, I can invite my rapier friends over to hang out and work out. I hope they enjoy the things I come up with. Yay, Pinterest!

Speaking of hanging out, we also plan on expanding our (suddenly-full) social lives with housewarming parties. We’re planning on celebrating with family, friends, and coworkers, plus having more friends and family come to visit from out of town and stay with us in our new, not-a-hastily-cleaned-up-craft-room guest bedroom. Geez, that means I’m going to have to start looking at what kind of furniture and decor I want in there….

Going forward, this blog will probably get a tad annoying with house stuff. Sorry, but I’m super stoked. It might be a while before my mind calms the fuck down.

Guess I have to get ready for work now. Something about having a house to pay for here soon. 😉

Missing in action

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged here, but I haven’t been slacking. On the contrary, I’ve been busy with that crazy thing called life.

After Rory was found safe, life hit full-force. Work, home, organizational stuff, gaming, laundry, work, meeting with a mortgage loan company, work…

Oh yeah, the mortgage thing. Yep, my husband and I have been pre-approved and will begin construction on our first house hopefully in October. We meet with the builder again this evening after I get off work. It’s both exciting and terrifying; on the one hand, we’ll be free of apartment life (forever, if we have anything to say about it), but on the other hand it’s a buttload of responsibility. Mortgage payments, repairs, upkeep, taxes, garbage pickup, etc. … plenty to keep us occupied–and harried.

It’s all new and different and a little more than overwhelming. There was a time in my life where I thought I’d never own a home of my own, let alone freshly build one from the ground up. Now it’s more than just a dream; it’s a swiftly-approaching reality. It will even be complete before our fifth anniversary. Some anniversary present, isn’t it?

Once the house is built, I suspect our social life will evolve in several different ways. We likely will have to adjust to the new, higher cost of living before our ability to participate in activities stabilizes, and we’ll probably host more get-togethers at “our place” as we get things settled. We’re already planning two or three major housewarming parties (family, work, friends) as well as having several out-of-town friends and family members come visit. We’ll need more furniture for sure–can’t have visitors sleeping on the floor, and guests would likely want places to sit–which will mean more spending. It’s cool to think of our house being done, but weird to think of it as being empty. There’s enough furniture to fill our two-bedroom apartment, but with three bedrooms (one of which will be a craft room), a great room, dining area, garage, kitchen, etc., it will be a while before the spaces are filled comfortably.

I almost wish I could speed up the process of finishing my latest novel. I know, I know, the likelihood of getting published any time soon (even if I finish tomorrow lol) is slim to nil, but the thought of being a traditionally published author and a homeowner is thrilling. Like, maybe some day there will be a photo of me standing on my land with the mountains in the background on the back cover of a trade paperback. That would be cool. (Better than the selfie I took outside of my old apartment, anyway. Granted, the selfie looks pretty decent for a selfie, but it’s not the same.)

The going has been slow on the writing, editing, and revising, mostly due to that little thing I mentioned earlier called life. I’m going to try to kick it up a few notches, though, and finish the character sheets I started while I wait for the most recent edits of book 1 to be done. I’ve debated starting on book 3, but I think I should slow my roll until I know what changes I’ll have to make after the edits and critique come back. I don’t want to get too far in and then have to make sweeping changes. That would suck. It feels good to have the next two or so books brewing in the ol’ noggin, though. I’d like the series to continue further, but a quadrilogy would be okay. Maybe a quintilogy. (Spell check says that’s not a word, but Google says it is, and who am I to argue with Google?) Not a trilogy though; there are too many ideas for just three books.

I hope that some of you blog readers will be interested in reading these books. Is dystopian sci-fi your thing? A little bit of politics, some action, some sexyfuntimes? (I know that’s not a word, but I don’t care lol) Keep an eye here for updates on how they’re going. My goal is to have something ready to submit to agents/publishers by the end of the year, with my goal for next year being to have book 2 ready for pubbing. I know it’s not likely that I’ll be anywhere close to having book 1 even published by then, but if I have more installments at the ready I’m hoping it will let publishers know that I’m serious, and that there’s more to come.

Will I be a household name? Probably only in my own house, but that’s okay. I can deal with that.

My own house. Damn, that sounds good.

Sew busy

It’s time to rev up the sewing machine again. As we near our first “war,” I’ve got a tight deadline for getting two full garb outfits done. I started yesterday, and we leave for the event Thursday–which means it’s crunch time now. How do I get myself into these situations?

The good news is, I had the pieces of garb that I’d already made as “patterns” to start out with. That made the bare bones part easy enough, and I just built from there. The first tunic (the one that’s for me) came out … not very Viking-ey. Not that it didn’t turn out well, per se, but aside from the knotwork design on the buttons it really doesn’t read “Viking” at all. Observe:

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Yeah, I know, the lighting sucks. Still, you can see that it’s not quite “right.” I can fix it with some embroidery I think, but that obviously won’t be something I can do in time for this weekend.

My husband’s tunic hopefully will be better now that I think I know where I went wrong. A little tweaking on the red part of the design and it should work. I think. Maybe.

Once his tunic is done (hopefully tomorrow morning) then it’ll be time to crank out the pants. Those have less “design” to them as they’re all one color, and again I can use the ones I made earlier as patterns.

I guess it’s a good thing I have so much experience with Con Crunch, because I’m much less stressed about being able to finish. If I can finish complicated cosplay pieces in a stressful crunch situation, then these basic tunics and pants should be a snap. No need to sweat it. I got this.