Mimicry

The sewing project that I thought last night I could do without pattern or tutorial? Woke up, started it, tried it, made one little mistake that was easily corrected, and nailed it. Observe the “inspiration” picture from the pin I found:

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For more experienced sewists, probably not too big of a deal. I, however, sometimes get mixed up without photos or patterns to go on, so I kinda sewed the pockets on upside down at first. However, that was, as far as I can tell, the only mistake I made. Behold:

I didn’t add a strap to hold it closed when it’s folded up (because it was like 3am & I was not quite functional enough yet to figure that bit out–next time though; next time), but basically I did the thing. A small folding desk organizer for my craft room–or for whatever I decide to stick in there. The best thing is, I didn’t spend any extra money on it. This puppy is made 100% from scraps and leftover materials I already had from previous projects.

So now Pinterest will become even more addicting. I’ve gotten it into my head that I can do probably more than I actually can, but if I can do even half the things I’ve seen that I want to do I’ll be able to use up a lot of the scraps that have been taking up tons of space in my craft room. I’ll be able to make gifts, maybe even things to sell on Etsy or eBay or something.

Just a little copycatting, and maybe I can be productive.

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T-minus 9 days

Nine days and counting until my first out-of-state war. Nine days to finish three tunics (one of the four is finally complete, one only needs the rest of the trim sewn down, one is cut but not pinned/sewn, and one hasn’t even been cut yet). I have my hands full, that’s for sure.

Thankfully, I have great friends to help out and make the time pass better. One of my friends has offered use of her home’s space to do my cutting and whatnot, as well as offering her company, both of which I am grateful for. I discovered last week that I tend to operate more efficiently (still slowly, but more efficiently) when I have someone to talk to, gossip with, whatever, than when I’m in my own workspace. I think part of it is that I get distracted by things like my phone, the Internet, and other projects that are piling up as well. None of that is really conducive to finishing these tunics.

My hope is to get the already-cut tunic finished and the not-yet-been-cut one cut and maybe pinned today. That would be a tremendous weight off my shoulders as far as the deadline to finish these. Hell, I might be able to get some trim on a couple more tunics instead of just the one.

The only good thing about this deadline is that it’s taking my mind off the reason for the deadline: the war itself. I haven’t done many rapier melees, and the ones I’ve done have mostly been practice. Okay, almost all been practice. I’ve been told it’s easier when you’re in the thick of it, but that doesn’t do much to calm my nerves about it. So far, I tend to be too slow and clunky on the field, especially compared to my more experienced comrades. Even my husband is much better on the battlefield, but I sometimes wonder if that’s due to his military experience. Hell, most of them have military experience. They know how to follow orders, how to make heat-of-the-moment decisions, all that stuff. Orders process immediately in their mind, whereas I have to think about okay, what was said? Oh yeah, this. So I need to do this. By which point in time the order for “this” has passed and they’re on to another order.

Now I’ve gotten myself all worked up over it again. Geez. I guess I should put down the laptop and get my fabric and thread together. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Into the ring

For the past several months I have been in a “deputy” position for a large volunteer/charity group. Last night, the opportunity came up for me to take the lead position in that department, and I decided to bite the bullet and submit myself for consideration.

I don’t know that anyone else would even want the position, because it’s a stressful one, but still, I’m a little nervous. I mean, I’ve only been with the organization for six months; kind of soon to take over a role like this. As far as I know, anyway. Everyone was surprised when I was made deputy after only three months of participating, so I’m guessing that six months is a little soon.

It’s going to be a lot of work, but I think I’m ready. I just have to get my lazy butt up earlier (is that even possible?) and get cracking every day. Pay more attention to the myriad of groups and pages and sites and events and … well, anyway, if I get the position, I’ll have my hands full.

Fingers crossed!

To draw or not to draw

So for my first official totally-done-by-me scroll, I wanted to use my own design for the border. My own design kinda sucks compared to some scrolls that I’ve seen (okay, compared to most of the scrolls I’ve seen), so before I make it permanent with painting, I have to decide if I want to stick with “original” or go more “classic/medieval” in the design.

The first two scrolls I made (which were mostly done by me, with the Baronial device painted in by someone else) were quite simple and had no borders. The layout wasn’t quite designed for borders, so I suppose that part is okay, but I’d prefer to make it great, not “okay.” I want someone to be excited to get their scroll. I want them to want to display it, especially since this award is usually one of the first that people in our Barony receive.

So I have a dilemma. Do I stick with my original art, which is passable but not “period,” or do I find a suitable border online and print/trace (with maybe some alterations to the design)? I’m waffling.

Hopefully, with time, I’ll become “good enough” that I won’t have to worry about this. I will be able to mimic medieval style without having to research medieval designs. That would be cool. I’m pretty sure I can eventually do it–after all, I taught myself figure drawing by copying and altering comic book drawings.

Tomorrow night is our scribal night. There are going to be a bunch of us getting together, practicing and being assigned different scrolls to work on. Despite my insecurity on my own art, it should be fun.

The long road ahead

Got my critique back on Book 1 of my series….*sigh* Lots of work to do.

I knew I had a lot of “telling,” exposition, wordiness, and adverbs, so those comments weren’t surprising, but I still don’t quite know how to fix the issues. Some pacing issues that I was kind of aware of as well, some that I hadn’t noticed…and a few chapters of different POV that I thought necessary but the readers, not so much. So now I have to also figure out how to convey that info–which my main character has no way of knowing until the end–without switching points of view. Fuck.

It’ll all be worth it in the end, I know, but damn. I’m kind of overwhelmed. Some of the “problems” are part of my personal style, so I have to get into a different mindset to write it “right,” but some of them are things that flustered me to start with and are just beyond my current ability–or maybe just my current confidence–to fix.

The POV thing is really bugging me. I tried to throw in some politics and intrigue and plotting but now what do I do with it? Chuck it all? If I do that, the ending makes no sense. None. It comes out of left field without the snippets of the antagonist’s POV. Hell, the antagonist comes out of left field without them. Although apparently the ending needs a lot of work, too….

There’s a lot of rereading and revising and rereading and brainstorming and crying and tearing my hair out and revising and cursing and… Yeah. It’s like that.

Well, maybe I should take it in stages. Chapter by chapter? Issue by issue? Do I attack the exposition first then the adverbs then the pacing? Ugh. So much all at once. With Whispers of Death, not only was I self-publishing but I was also getting critiques a chapter or two at a time. So it was much less overwhelming as far as fixes go.

I can do this. I have to tell myself that. I can do this. It might take a while, it might take a lot of work, but I can do it. I also have to remind myself that I’m way ahead of schedule as far as where I wanted to be when I made my “new year’s resolution.” I thought it was a reasonable goal to have the first draft of Book 1 finished by the end of the year. Now it’s 2/3 of the way through the year and I’m on like draft 6 or 7 or something crazy like that, plus draft 1 of Book 2 with a few ideas on where to go with Book 3. So I have that going for me.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this….

As I ponder, bright and cheery

Yeah, despite the hour (it’s 4:15 in the morning where I’m at right now), I’m actually in a pretty good mood. I woke up during the night but went back to such a peaceful sleep that I almost feel like I don’t need the coffee I made. (I know better–the rush of a decent night’s sleep will fade once I get to work).

It helps that recent events have given me a boost to the ego. I did well in rapier tournaments at the last two events I went to–well for my experience level, at least–and I even got selected to fight in the finals of last weekend’s tournament despite being eliminated. It was a shock to hear my name called as one of the finalists, but it still felt damn good. No, I didn’t win–but considering I was up against fighters with years of experience compared to my five months and considering I was using a sword length that I’d never used before, I think it’s an accomplishment worth noting.

I’m also enjoying revisions on Book 1 of my series. I should have feedback on the last revision (yeah, I couldn’t resist–I revised before getting my feedback) soon, and it’s exciting to think I’m nearing the next round of edits before I move on to–you guessed it–more revisions. I want this as polished as possible before I work up that last bit of nerve necessary to brave the world of manuscript submission. (I’ll take a rapier fighter with twenty years of experience on me over a query letter any day of the week.)

My industrial piercing is angry at me but otherwise healing well. I often forget it’s there, and I’m super excited to get my sword barbell put in at the end of next month. Because c’mon, swords kick ass…quite literally, in the right hands.

I’ll also be doing more artwork in the coming weeks and months, which will be a boost to the spirits as well. I’d felt like I was in a rut artistically and almost kind of gave up on accomplishing anything worth looking at. I can’t show off the things I make here, but I know the recipients will love them and that’s what really matters.

So there you have it: a good morning. A rarity for sure, but welcome nonetheless.

En Garde

En Garde

Okay, I’m going to flat-out say it: I fucking love swords.

I wasn’t too sure about longswords at first; the first time I practiced with one, it was unwieldy and awkward, and I couldn’t get the forms right. I was so frustrated I burst into tears because of all the new input that just wouldn’t click. This elbow here, that arm there, and never mind that it feels weird or is a little painful. I was sure I’d never enjoy that form of swordfighting. Last weekend’s tournament proved me wrong.

Yeah, I had only picked up a longsword for the first time a week before the tournament. Yeah, my form sucked. But in two best-two-out-of-three rounds I managed to get one “kill” and one “double kill.” Granted, those were with different fighters and were both after I had already lost two rounds so they really didn’t count for the purposes of the tournament, but they counted to me. I was up against fighters who had years and years of practice, so just being able to hit them at all is, at least in my opinion, quite the accomplishment.

I did relatively well in the rapier tournament too, getting at least one kill or one double in each round (except against my husband lol damn his 6’4″ reach!), so I will take those as “wins” as well despite my two-out-of-three losses in each round. Again, aside from my husband I was paired against fighters with much more experience than I have–and even my husband had some experience with “modern” fencing when he was younger. So as the noobiest noob in the tournament, again, I did pretty well. To be able to kill or double kill against more skilled opponents is a great feeling, especially for me. I’ve never, never been good at sports. At all. And now I’ve found a sport that feels almost natural.

It helps to have the support of my local rapier community (and close friends), whose advice and opinions I deeply respect. For them to encourage me and tell me how well I fight given my skill level–it really makes a girl feel good.

Soon I’ll have a rapier of my own to practice with, which should help me a bit. The one I’ve been borrowing is a fairly short blade (so even with my freakishly long arms I don’t really have any bonus to reach) and this one that I’ve ordered is a couple of inches longer. A couple of inches might not sound like much, but in at least one fight last weekend I would have doubled versus lost if not for those two inches. I have to give that opponent props for halting the round until she could trade her regular-length sword for a shorter blade once she realized I was wielding a short blade to even things out. I’m 99% sure she saw how close I had been to reaching her and wanted to make the fight more even-sided.

That’s another thing about rapier, at least in my experience so far: chivalry. If there’s any uncertainty about a hit (because with some of the armor it’s hard to feel a hit or feel if the hit was “good”) there’s discussion and concession. Sure, there’s the occasional jerk who won’t acknowledge a perfectly good draw on the side or who will declare a double when you yourself didn’t feel a damn thing, but so far I’ve found that to be rare. The majority of rapier fighters, good rapier fighters, will fight honorably. And that’s super cool. How often in other sports do you see knock-down drag-out screaming matches or even physical fights? Well, I’ll tell ya, rapier is not like hockey. We don’t throw down our swords and lay into each other. Nope. Civilized, man, civilized. That’s the way to be.

I’m going to an event in a couple of months where I will know probably only one person outside of my local “circle” of rapier fighters. That should prove interesting, as I’m accustomed to the fighting styles of my friends and haven’t had much experience fighting others. I’m actually looking forward to it though; the more varied styles I can fight against, the better I’ll get.

Bring it on!