Another year gone by

Here it is: 38. Feels about like 37. And 36. Et cetera et cetera, ad nauseum, whatever. It doesn’t even feel a year closer to 40. It just feels like another year.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the last year, I guess. Completed two full cosplays in record time (for me); finished the first draft of two different novels; started learning rapier fighting; taught myself how to sew Viking garb and stuffed animals…not too bad of a haul for a year.

Oh yeah, and there’s that house thing. Starting the process of building a home from the ground up. I suppose I should count that in my accomplishments. That’s more of a joint venture, though. The husband and I are in it together, through the thick and thin of it. Six and a half years together, five years to the day since he proposed, and a little over four years of marriage.

Do I have any special hopes for this birthday? Well, I have a few things I’ve been hoping for gift-wise, but that’s selfish stuff. I hope that work goes well. I hope that I get to leave work early enough to make it to the city for birthday dinner. I hope my friends enjoy the restaurant we’re meeting at. I hope for a free dessert. I hope the drives to the city and on to my in-laws’ are smooth and uneventful. Lots of hopes, but mostly just hoping for a good day with friends and family–after work of course.

Yep, I’m working on my birthday. I do most years; it’s kind of just another day in the grand scheme of things. Sure, sometimes I request for a vacation day so I can spend time with my family or take a day/weekend trip or just chill at home, but not always. There was even one time where I worked at two different jobs on my birthday. You gotta do what you gotta do, after all.

I’m wondering when the impending big 4-0 is going to hit me. For 30, it hit exactly one month before I turned 29; I was suddenly filled with anxiety and dread over reaching that milestone, which now seems insignificant. Will 40 be the same? Will I become obsessed with the notion that I’m “old”? We’ll see.

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…

As the dust settles

Now that I’m winding down from the most recent event, I have to take a moment to think about what I want to do next.

For the first time in months, I don’t really have anything I have to do in the mornings. I could sew. I could write. I could do a lot of things, but there’s nothing so pressing that it can’t wait. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

I suppose I should enjoy this rare free-play time, but it has been so long since I’ve had time like this that I’m not entirely sure how to handle it. The feeling that I’m forgetting something vitally important is nagging at the back of my brain. How can this be?

This seems like the most opportune time to write, I suppose. Didn’t a famous individual once say, “When in doubt, write”? A (cursory) Google search doesn’t show it, but we’ll say it’s been said before. Book 2’s lackluster “ending”-in-progress needs to be amped up, along with several chapters leading up to it. There’s a rough idea of where it needs to leave off in my head, but when I wrote the last words (or are they the last?) it just fell flat. Time to find a way to add to the sense of urgency…and to fix those goddamn holes.

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.

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.

Backlogged

Now that Phoenix Comicon is over, my work as a media attendee is in full swing. I already wrote one article during the con, but my recaps are still pending. I have one ready for editing/publication on www.talknerdywithus.com and one draft, plus at least two more to write. Alas, the day job beckons, so I must wait until later to get those taken care of.

Speaking of the day job, the realization that I’ll be back to it hit midday yesterday. I only thought about my job once during the con, and that was a moment of relief that I wasn’t working on a busy day before a holiday. It has been nice not having work looming over my head nearly every day. Not that my job is a bad one, just that it’s a lot of work and quite exhausting at times. I definitely needed the break from it to decompress and just be me for a few days. It was nice having friends from out of town as company, and it was nice to get away from everything other than the con.

I also have non-work stuff that’s been simmering on the back burner for a while. I’ve got to get back to editing/revising/writing on the new series plus more garb sewing for the SCA plus remaking my Dark Phoenix corset (omg it turned out SO BIG on me even though I made a mock-up…I have no idea what I did), and gods only know what else I’m forgetting at the moment. I think the SCA sewing will likely be first on that list, as we have events coming up where we’d like something other than pajama pants to wear as “garb.” Not that the pajama pants aren’t comfortable, but I’d like to have some more actual Viking wear. The fencing tunics were fun to make, but they’re three layers of fabric and a little hot on those sweltering Arizona days. I’m improving little by little on the rapier fighting, but I still have a long, long way to go.

Once I have the one pending critique that I’m relatively certain I’ll get back, it’s editing/revising time. I’ve got several scenes in book 2 that need complete overhauls, but I have to wait for the critique before I get to those. Don’t want to write the new scenes only to have to make story-wide changes right after. That would be counterproductive (and more than a bit stupid). The corset? That’s at the bottom of the priority list right now. It’s going to be a while before we go to another con or cosplay-type event, so I’ll leave that for any imaginary “free time” I get in the future.

Speaking of the writing, I’ve gotten back in the swing of the “free writing events” on Twitter, which is basically themed hashtags where you use a line from your WIP and the hashtag to get snippets of your work seen. It’s interesting (and good for telling which lines can be condensed into smaller, 140-or-less-character lines) and good writing exercise. Theoretically I could write new lines for the themes that aren’t in my current WIP, but I prefer to skip the themes that don’t apply and stick to my story. I want to maintain that focus on the story and keep my eye sharp for the details and nuances that are (or are not) present in the books.

Though the five-day escape from life-as-we-know-it was nice, I’ll be glad to be back in the normal routine of work, sewing, and writing. Working is rewarding despite the exhaustion, and the “extracurriculars” help keep me sane when exhaustion is on the verge of winning.

Almost weightless

I have almost done it! I finished the jacket last night, the pants this morning, and just have a couple small polymer clay things to finish tonight after work and I can call these cosplays DONE.

I think, perhaps, that I have learned a valuable lesson about procrastination on this most recent cosplay journey. As in, don’t procrastinate. I theoretically could have had all this done months ago. Months. I could even have had more time for a few extra details here and there. But nooooo, I had to write. I had to stare at the computer screen for hours on end. I had to nap.

No more. Next project (sewing-wise) is more SCA garb so we have more things to wear to events than just our rapier tunics. Perhaps I can even take some time to practice and learn embroidery so I can embellish the garb and make it more appealing to the eye. I’m not going to procrastinate though. I’m going to knock it all out as soon as possible. Pants next, then more tunics (with fewer layers this time), then maybe bracers, possibly shoes…as much as I can get done.

The only problem is that I have a critique of book 1 incoming after Phoenix Comicon. That means I’ll have to balance my time between reading the critique, going over the notes, revising and refining the manuscript, etc. and working on SCA clothing. But less staring at the computer screen and less napping for sure.

Now that I’m almost done with the cosplay work, I can settle down a bit and let the con excitement kick in–I hope. So far I’m still kind of nonplussed, but I think it’s because I’ve still got some work to do. I just keep telling myself that I’ll be done with the cosplay work tonight and then it’s cleaning up the craft room (aka the guest bedroom) and packing. A lot of the packing is done since we’re cosplaying each day of the con, but there’s still things like toiletries, makeup, meds, underclothes, etc. etc. etc.

I just hope we pack all the pieces of these newest cosplays. If not, I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind lol