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.

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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 😉

If you have to force it, it’s probably …

Yeah. That’s where all my creative ideas are right now.

Writing and drawing are at a standstill right now… I want to do all the things, but my muse is giving me a big fat middle finger the past couple of days. I want to get the story down on Book 2, and I want to play around with my Wacom drawing tablet. Book 2 is yet again stalled as I have found an end point that isn’t really an end, and I can’t even figure out what I want to draw. Even picking out a blog topic after a day or two of no blogging was a struggle.
I guess it’s a sign that I need to take a break from it all. All that stuff probably should be left alone until the creative funk is gone, which is something I have trouble doing. I am so driven to complete the projects that I want to do that I can’t seem to make myself take that introspective step back.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that you can’t really force the creative process sometimes. It’s good to try to push through on some things, but knowing when to sit back is important as well. What I need to do is find that balance between pushing through and dragging along.

What do y’all think? Is it better to keep up the momentum every time or should you give yourself some “time off” to regroup?

Making no progress

I wanted to show you the cool sketches I’ve done on my new Wacom digital art tablet for my computer (see below), but my computer hates me.

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First time I tried using it, I used the free “lite” software that was available for download with the registration of the tablet. This software worked great, with one small problem: it saved the image to a specific file folder (would not permit me to save to Pictures) and I cannot find said folder anywhere on the computer. FML #1

Then this morning I spent over two hours working on another sketch in Photoshop. It turned out great…up until the point I was almost finished. Then Photoshop quit working all of a sudden (and guess who didn’t save her work) and it was all lost. All of it. FML #2

I really like drawing with this tablet, but my luck in finishing and sharing a drawing with it is terrible. I’m going to try more this weekend (saving my work as I go), but I’m just so frustrated that I can’t get anything to save.

Soon. Soon.

The Great Outdoors (kind of)

Well, it’s official: I’m am now a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. (Not a card-carrying member yet; those won’t come in the mail for a bit.)

This weekend is my first official SCA event. A camping event. I am not a “camping person.” I am a “creature of comfort” person. But I’m going to give it a try for my husband. He’s so excited for this weekend and for me to be joining the SCA, so I’m glad I can make him happy with this.

I don’t have any “garb” (medieval-style clothing) of my own, so I’m borrowing some from a friend. I’ll be making us some clothing soon, which will cut into my cosplay time, but some of the garb is fairly simple to make so I think I’ll still be able to finish the cosplays by Phoenix Comicon.

So far I enjoy the rapier fighting practice part of the SCA (although it will be quite some time before I participate in any kind of actual fighting/competition). There are apparently a lot of arts things that are available to try/learn, like calligraphy and scroll making and sewing, so hopefully I’ll find more things to do than just stabby-stab people with tipped swords. Not that that’s not fun, but y’know, gotta keep occupied. Plus I’m not a card-carrying fighter, which I guess is a thing that means I’m cleared to actually do more than just practice as a noob. I don’t know how long/how much experience it takes to get one of those cards, but I don’t mind if I just practice for the time being.

One of the pieces of garb that I need to make (technically two, because I need one for me and one for my husband) is some kind of jacket for fencing/rapier practice. It has to be kind of specific in that the fabric has to be puncture-resistant. And I’d really like to have a jacket that fits better than the loaner gear our friends have. Not that I’m not grateful that they provide loaner gear, but I’d like something that doesn’t restrict my movement due to being a bit tight. I’ve already got a fencing mask thanks to my husband being a former fencer, and we plan on ordering a gorget (neck protection) and gloves and stuff for me soon. Basically, all the things I can’t make myself besides the actual swords. Those are expensive. Or at least to me they seem expensive, but I guess for quality you have to pay for what it’s worth, so I don’t mind. We’ll just have to wait a bit and use the loaner swords until we can afford to get our own.

I suppose I should check out the SCA websites (for the SCA itself, our kingdom, and our barony, etc) to see what options I have for activities. Art is probably the way I’ll go, because sewing can get expensive once you factor in all the fabric. Then again, so is cosplay. So I guess this is kind of cosplay of a different sort.

This weekend will be spent in tents and on cots, with a few people I know (and a ton of people I don’t know), and lots of drinking. Not that I want to turn alcoholic, but I may end up getting lit just to cope with the social aspect of it all. I tend to get physically exhausted from too much social interaction, especially with people I don’t know. Our friends will be there, but they’ve all got things to do at this event, so I’m either going to be a social barnacle to my husband or I’m going to sit awkwardly off to the side by myself and try to become invisible.

I try to keep telling myself I can do this. I can do the camping, the outdoorsy stuff, the social stuff … but I’m not sure I have myself convinced yet.

I just hope my social anxiety/agoraphobia doesn’t get so bad I start crying. If that happens, I’ll probably be hiding in the tent for a while. A hermit in a social club. “Hermits United,” as The Doctor said in the “Utopia” episode:

The Doctor: Bit of a hermit.
The Professor: A hermit? With friends?
The Doctor: Hermits United. We meet up every ten years. Swap stories about caves. It’s good fun. For a hermit.

(Had to incorporate Doctor Who into this … because, c’mon, medieval-era stuff? Definitely timey-wimey.)

Well, it’s time to get ready for work. My last bit of modern day before diving into the past. Well, pseudo-past.

Let’s do this!

Harnessing my creativity

Pinterest is great for organizing ideas, tips, and tutorials.

It also sucks when you can’t find where or how you organized something important.

So here’s a little backstory: I made a phoenix-shaped breastplate for my Dark Phoenix cosplay. It looks really cool, but I have to make a harness to wear it. I’ve got the leather, got the leather dye, got rivets and buckles and all that fun stuff…but I don’t have the harness tutorial I found months ago.

Fuck.

Luckily, I have enough artistic ability to design something that might work. The problem is figuring out which something will work best. I’m coming up with several different options, and I can’t make up my mind. That’s the tough part of design–settling on an actual design.

think I know what I’m going to do, but until I get the leather straps out and start assembling the thing I won’t know for sure if it’ll work. I’d try a mock-up, but I don’t have any fabric straps that are the same width/length (and I don’t want to cut into the leather until I’m ready). I suppose I could dig the leather straps out of the bag they’re in, but they’re in the bottom of a bag in a bag that’s packed up for going over to a friend’s house today to work on it.

Yeah. Queen of last-minute crunching. I’ve had months to figure this out, and I’m only just sitting down and getting serious about it now. FML.

I’ll get it done, it’s just frustrating that I had such a good tutorial with step-by-step pics and I lost it somehow. Maybe I forgot to pin it when I found it? Who knows at this point.

Something poignant on New Year’s Eve

There. I wrote “something poignant” on New Year’s Eve.

To be honest, I have no idea what I’m going to write. Has 2016 sucked? Well, yes and no. Yeah, a lot of celebrities died; it happens. A lot of them were older, some of them were younger. Social media has made this more visible, with more “tributes” and memorials that last as long as the individual person’s grief does. Prince has been dead for months–and I still see memorial posts on Twitter. Same with David Bowie. Grief lasts forever when people don’t let go of it.

2016 has also been pretty good to me… personally at least. I’ve advanced significantly in my sewing and cosplay skills. I’ve advanced at work. I’ve finished the first draft of my next novel and started in on the sequel.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. I’ve gained a lot of weight…a lot. So I need to work on that in the next year and the years to follow. I have to make life changes as opposed to resolutions, I think. I’ve got to try to find time/ways to exercise, and try to resist the urge to eat sweets and drink sodas. And resist Frappuccinos. I’m addicted to those.

For next year, I hope to be able to revise and edit my second novel to the point where it’s ready for self publication. I’m still quite anxious when I think about the process of submitting to agents and publishers. Like, full-on panic attack mode. Sick to my stomach, frantic thoughts, freezing up…yeah, all that and more. I have friends who encourage me, but sometimes friendly encouragement isn’t the same as personal confidence. I need to build up myself and tell myself that I can do it. And maybe, just maybe, having a series in mind will help me sell my book to a publisher. Also it will help that I’m not working in as much of a narrow-niche genre as Whispers of Death was.

I also hope to increase my cosplay work and skills. I want to make more costumes with more details. Hell, I want to increase all my art. I want to use the EVA and craft foam to create actual art pieces. I want to draw and paint more. I want to get back to working with clay to create art. I want to bring beauty into my life.

Let’s see…what else? I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to do more. Live my life. Be alive. Enjoy life. I’m reminded again of Carrie Fisher. Yes, I’ve already written a post on her and I just mentioned above about the drawn-out grief on social media, but she was an amazing woman. I want to get a Jedi Order tattoo (yeah, yeah, say what you will, but I wanted it before Carrie Fisher died). I want to be more open, to be more of myself but still myself…if that makes any sense.

So that’s my year-end review and my hopes for the coming year. Perhaps some of it was a bit poignant, but mostly it’s just me being me…and that is, I think, a great thing to be.