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.

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…

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. 😉

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.

17807211_10158608783985604_7568748968472621397_o

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.

Movin’ on up

good-news-everyone

Yep, I’ve gotten some pretty good news in the last 12 hours or so. Some of it I can tell you, some I have to keep hush-hush until next week 😉

First off, the news I can’t tell (because spoilers) : Got a great new opportunity that, while it won’t make me any more money, will look good on bios and resumes and should be a lot of fun.

Secondly: I made my first sale on my Etsy shop! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadMindCreations Have to get it ready to ship out today so it can be on the way to its new owner. 🙂 Also have to figure out how much it weighs with packing, because I don’t have an official postal scale. I wonder if my husband’s kitchen scale will do the trick……

So today’s starting out exciting. Work will be work, but hopefully with this stuff in the back of my mind it won’t be too bad. Yeah, I’ve got das boot, but I think I can handle the hassle if it means I have these other things to look forward to. I might even treat myself to a little something later today (with the small amount of $$ I got from the sale lol). This might even spark more creative activity that’s kind of gone to the side for quite some time. Need to make more goodies for the shop.

My husband wants me to make some purses for the Etsy shop like the sugar skull Stormtrooper one I made for myself, but I’m debating on that. It’s a pain to make, but if I can figure out a faster/cheaper way of making it I might give it a go. Might. We shall see.

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.

Resolve

It’s that time of year again: the New Year’s resolutions that will get largely ignored by the end of January.

Well, not this coming year. Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing has opened my eyes. I need to take care of myself. As, er, big as I am, I’m at greater risk for heart disease…as well as diabetes and a whole host of physical illnesses (in addition to the mental illness that still lurks in the background, under control but never gone).

I’m going to finish and publish Book 1. It may not get “professionally” published, but I plan on at least self-publishing it…and pushing the marketing more than I did for Whispers of Death. I can’t waste time thinking I’m not in the mood to write or I don’t have time. I have to get it done.

I also hope to get the first draft for Book 2 done. Gotta keep that momentum going, because I hope for at least a trilogy, possibly a series out of this. There is a whole host of characters that need their stories told.

More cosplay. I need to create. I need to expand my mind and use it for things I’m still not 100% comfortable with, including sewing and construction.

Art. Art is so important to quality of life, and I need to get back to it. More paintings, clay crafting, foam crafts.

jedi4

I want to get a Jedi Order symbol tattoo. Cheesy, I know, but I wanted it before Carrie’s heart attack. This just cements it in my mind. I want the symbol of the Order with a quote from the new movie (even though Fisher isn’t truly in it): “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” Okay, so it’s a fictional religion–the point is, it’s a good point. Whether you call it God or the Goddess or the Universe, the Force is prevalent in everything. You change “the Force” to “God” or “the Universe,” etc, it is still a great mantra to have.

I’m going to make changes in my life. I’m going to make more time to create. I’m going to exercise more and eat less (or at least eat better). I’m going to make my life one I’m proud to live.

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.

Creative challenges

It never fails. I can’t do something, so naturally I want to do it.

I’m talking about artwork and crafts, and I have an idea in mind for something for my steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay that I can’t implement until after my in-laws come to visit this weekend. I mean, I can draw up a paper mockup but that’s not getting the actual project done now, is it?

The same goes for making a phoenix wall hanging sculpture to sell on Etsy and sewing my husband’s Cyclops cosplay pants….it seems like I’ve regained my crafting drive right when it’s least convenient.

At this same time, I’ve once again stalled on my WIP. It’s not too bad of a stall….just decided to take out a chapter that wasn’t flowing with the rest of the story, which means taking out the lead in from the previous chapter, rewriting the chapter to fit, and of course rewriting the beginning of the following chapter (and possibly rewriting the majority of the following chapter). I know a lot of “experts” say to just get the story down and worry about rewrites later, but that’s not how I operate. I want it to flow, and if I can’t get it to flow I can’t envision the next step in the narrative.

I’m going to give myself a few days to see if something clicks on the WIP. You never know; it could happen. I’ve surprised myself before.

So there’s my creativity for you: I want to do all the projects I can’t do right now, and the one project I can easily do I’m stuck on. Maybe I should just play Bloodborne for a while until I get bored with dying.