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 😉

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!

Can’t beat the heat

It’s mid-June. In Arizona. I’m about to head on a road trip in a sweltering car for three hours to a town that’s about ten to twenty degrees higher than our little mountain town.

WTF is my problem???

Guess I’m just a masochist or something. The conference/event/thing I’m going to is semi-mandatory for me (& not for pay), but I think it’ll be fun despite the weather. Meeting new people, learning new things, all that jazz. Plus I’ll have friends there, and my husband, so I won’t be all by myself. So that’s cool.

We’ll see how far I can take this peopling thing. I’ve been more socially active the past few months that in, like, the past decade. Not sure that’s really much of an exaggeration, either. Quite possibly literally a decade. And ​for a socially-awkward introvert, it should be interesting to see how I adapt. So far so good.
Right now we have friends in the car with us. I’m about to post this and then get social.

And melt… because the car temp gauge thing says 100 degrees.

Pants on fire

It’s that time again! Off to sew more stuff…once I re-craft the craft room, that is. Weeks after our guests have left I’ve still got the futon in bed formation and all my “stuff” piled on the cutting table off to the side. Granted, I didn’t have the fabric for these pants until Friday (and today’s my first full day sans planned activities since then), but still…I could’ve started on them sooner, I suppose.

These pants should be interesting seeing as, like the Rus Viking tunics I made, I have no true “pattern”…just tutorials and sketches I found online. I found some pretty good tutorials (http://sewsimplegarb.blogspot.com/2014/06/vikingrus-pants.html , http://pastimesofpasttimes.blogspot.com/2014/05/viking-rus-pants.html , and http://simbelmyne.us/sca/Viking/viking-rus-pants.htm –give credit where credit’s due and all that) so I think these will be successful pants.

Thankfully I don’t have to make multiple layers like the tunics. I’ll probably make some single-layer tunics next week or so, after we’ve bought more fabric. It’ll be good to get back to sewing again, though I’ll have less writing time while I’m working on that (I’m super slow when it comes to sewing). Also in my future are more multi-layer tunics, because my first attempts, while decent tunics, aren’t exactly easy-on/easy-off style tunics like the kind with buttons and all that jazz. Better for wearing over single-layer tunics if I can make them into jackets as opposed to full, non-buttoned tops.

Maybe I’ll make some different style garb as well. I mean, my husband and I can’t match 100% all the time…that would be boring–and a little creepy. So I’ll probably make an apron dress or two for myself and maybe some beaded things to go across. Again, Pinterest and Google will come to my rescue!

What I really want to try soon is making leather shoes, but it’s going to be a while before we can afford that much leather. Still, “authentic” shoes would be cool. Then I could totally go out with outfits completely made by me and brag about it 😉 Seriously though, I hope one day to learn enough about sewing and leatherworking to make full Viking outfits.

Leggings

I’ve found my rapier weakness (well, one of many).

I gotta watch my damn legs.

It sounds simple enough: keep the sword between you and the other guy and you won’t get bruised, right? Except most of the other guys/girls I fight against are wayyyyy more experienced than I am. And it seems others have found my weakness as well. Each week after Friday and Sunday practices I end up with more and more bruising on my legs from letting myself get struck. No, I’m not letting them hit me on purpose, but by not parrying or by getting in too close or by leaving openings in my defense I pretty much am giving them free reign to whack me in the legs.

At least now I know one of my focal areas of training: Legs. Gotta watch the legs. And head (but no bruising there, thanks to fencing masks). And arms, though I don’t get bruises on my arms as often. And, well, pretty much everything. I mean, I know it’s all important, but my Achilles heel seems to be my thighs at this point. I don’t know what has changed; when I first started fencing, I didn’t really get legged much. Now? Now I’m legged all the freakin’ time.

Am I discouraged by this? Nope. I’m still a newbie, so this just gives me more opportunity to hone in on areas where I need more practice. There’s also a rapier company that I plan on joining where learning and teaching are the main focal points, so that will help. I already have friends who help (most of whom are in the company), but I think that researching period fencing Masters–which is one of the requirements for advancement–will help me immensely. I’m a little apprehensive about it because I don’t necessarily do my best physical learning from pictures (and the Masters didn’t have YouTube in their time to document their styles). And written descriptions of what to do? Geez-o-Pete, it’s going to be tough. I’m still stumbling on the four basic parries. Is one down to the inside and two down to the outside? I know three is up, in, thrust and four is up, out, thrust…I think. So much to remember! And a lot of fencing terminology is Latin or Italian or some other foreign language that is not medical Spanish. So yeah. There’s that, too.

Still, despite all the hard work involved, I’m glad I found rapier fighting as a means of exercise and socialization. So far the local rapier community has welcomed me with open arms, which is refreshing, and I’m told that I’m doing really well for a newbie, which is surprising given my lack of coordination in all things sportsy in the past. Who would have thought that there would be any sport that I’d do well in, let alone one as technical as this.

Here’s to my continued training and growth in rapier fighting, and here’s to not letting myself get hit in the freakin’ legs! 😉

Ironing out the details

Once again, I must get cracking on my husband’s cosplay coat. There’s just one little thing that’s halting my progress the past couple of days:

Ironing.

It’s not that I don’t know how to iron; it’s just that my most productive time of day is first thing in the morning, and sometimes I’m too tired to be productive then. Like, so tired I should not be operating an iron. Burns = bad.

Once I get the interfacing all ironed on the pieces it goes on, though, it’s gonna be crank-out time. Sewing away in the mornings and on the weekends, busting butt to get it done.

My husband is working on a leather bracer, a sort of “flamethrower” for my costume (since Dark Phoenix is all about the telekinetic flames). It’s great that we have some friends who are willing to help us out with our cosplays, because without them we’d have been lost on the leatherworking with these latest costumes. Our skills have increased since we began this project, though, which has me feeling pretty good about things.

Having a circle of friends again (after having gone so long with no one really to hang out with) is weird. Like, all of a sudden we have a social life. Plans. We’re going out and doing things. With other people. Who like spending time with us. Weird.

I gotta admit, it’s a little exhausting, especially with all the cosplay work (and the day job) on top of the new social activities. Suddenly we’re doing something on almost every day off–and even some workday afternoons–and it’s a little overwhelming. Not that it’s not fun; I have a blast hanging with our friends. It’s just, like…surreal.

The funny thing is, the most fun I have is when we’re doing rapier practice. Yeah, I get bruises out the wazoo, but it’s exercise that I actually enjoy. And it’s a blast. Fucking swordfighting in the 21st century. Wicked. I wish I’d known about this when I was younger, before age caught up to me and my metabolism ground to a halt. Maybe, if I’d been fighting with rapiers earlier, I wouldn’t be the fatty that I am now. Yeah, yeah, big is beautiful too, but I want to be comfortable with my weight. Which I’m not at the moment.

And I just realized something that has my cosplay panic revved up to a new level of panic: We’re going to have house guests (apartment guests?) after Comicon for a couple of days. I have to clean up the craft room as soon as I’m done with hubby’s coat.

Crap.

Hello grogginess, my old friend

Good Goddess, I can’t wake up for anything this morning!

I suppose it’s my own fault. I was up “late” (for me, anyway) last night and then woke myself up early–ostensibly to start on cosplay sewing. With how sluggish and groggy I am, though, I’m not quite sure I should be operating a sewing machine.

Coffee is not helping. I wanted to start on the skirt for my Dark Phoenix cosplay this morning and plug through that; it shouldn’t take too long–maybe a couple of early mornings– especially given that the bustle wasn’t a bad project and that was more involved (I’ve never hated elastic as much as I did then lol) but I just can’t. Not this morning. Not even with Phoenix Comicon looming less than a month away.

The writing is on hold temporarily while an editor friend looks it over. I have been ordered not to make any changes until she has had a chance to read through it and offer critique and suggestions. It is very, very hard to not tweak it when I think of something that could be better.

Since I don’t know what changes she’ll suggest (or rather what changes she’ll suggest that I agree with), I can’t work on book 2 either. If the change or changes are sweeping enough to affect the plot/flow of book 2, I need to be ready to make the changes to that book as well. This is difficult as well, because I already don’t like the grand, epic scenes that I wrote most recently. I have decided that one of the primary scenes driving those grand scenes is fatally flawed and must be murdered for the sake of the story. However, if enough changes are make to book 1, it may be a moot point. I suppose I could still delete the offending scenes, but if I did that I don’t think I could restrain myself from rewriting everything.

Rapier fighting is going well. I can “feel the burn” after practices and I have been told by multiple people that I’m doing really well for a beginner. Also, apparently though I’m mainly a passive type of personality in my regular life, once I get a sword in my hand I become “really aggressive” and go on the offensive more than I do in modern-day situations. Put me in a position where I have to make choices or something, I tend to either go on the defensive or take a don’t-rock-the-boat stance on whatever’s going on. With rapier, not so much.

That reminds me: I also have to fix the hood I made for my husband’s fencing mask. I made one that I *thought* was good, but it turns out it’s either not long enough or not heavy enough to prevent the wind from blowing it up over the top of his head and leaving the back of his head exposed. I know how I want to try to fix it, but again, groggy + sewing machine = almost certain disaster. Even now my eyes are crossing and trying to close on me…not ideal conditions for using a machine that pumps a needle with enough force to penetrate skin. I really don’t want to deal with that literal mess this morning.

I guess for now it’s more coffee (or possibly an energy drink) for me. At the minimum I need to get this grogginess out of my system before I have to go to work lol