Battlemoor bound

Well, this morning we head off for Albuquerque, then tomorrow we’re caravaning (guess that’s not a word–spellcheck doesn’t think so, anyway) up to Colorado for our second out-of-kingdom event. (The first was Great Western War last year). It should be interesting at least. Only three of us members of the Queen’s Guard are attending (not counting the Captain), so we’re pulling five shifts at guard each, some of them double shifts. I volunteered for the double shifts I’m taking though, because I felt it was my duty as a member of the Guard to make sure the Queen is guarded. I hope Grand Court isn’t too long–I hate standing Court Guard, but it was the only one of the three mandatory guard shifts that were available that I could take.

I plan on taking at least a couple of A&S classes while I’m there–the one on leather carving sounds super interesting–and doing a couple rapier tournaments. Beyond that and guarding, it’s going to be a lot of helping out around camp. I don’t cook, so I’ll likely be doing a lot of dishes this week.

When I’m not guarding or swording or artsing or cleaning I’ll be trying to get some embroidery time and some writing time in. Writing time will probably be in the wee hours of the morning when I’m up and no sane person should be–embroidery time will be for times when I’m standing guard and the Queen is just resting or watching something (we’re supposed to have “hand work” to do when we’re not active–the benefits of the Queen and King both being Laurels) or when I’m in camp and not busy. I have to get my sister’s birthday present done, so the Outlands arts exchange project will have to be on hold until that’s finished. I found a cool howling wolf design that I think she’ll love to see embroidered.

Cell service in the area will be spotty at best but most likely nonexistent. In other words, read up on the archive if you’re interested in seeing more from me because I’ll be incommunicado. Oh, sure, some of it’s inane babble like this post, but there are some gems in there. You’ll have to read through them to find out! 😉

See you after Battlemoor!

Guard duty (heh-heh, I said “duty”)

The time has come for another out-of-kingdom SCA event, and as part of the Queen’s Guard (and one of only three Guard members attending said event) I had to pick out my shifts for guarding Her Majesty.

It’s interesting being on Guard for events. Normally at events I like to wing it and maybe plan to be at one or two things (besides rapier tournaments–whenever possible, I try to make the tournaments), but now that I’m on the Guard I have to decide what classes/things at the event I might want to do before I go raising my hand to volunteer for a shift at Guard.

The nice thing is that Her Majesty likes for her Guards/attendants/Court members to be busy with arts and crafts work as opposed to just standing around. So I get to embroider while I’m guarding, provided I’m not standing Court or some other such thing where it’s more formal. Still, that will go a long way in helping me to get my Outlands arts exchange project worked on. Of course, I’ll have to be more careful in who I let see said project, because the event is in Outlands and I don’t want the recipient to see my work before it’s done. I’ve gotten one piece done, but I plan on at least … four or five more pieces. There’s a $35 limit on materials cost, but with embroidery the cost isn’t as much in materials as it is in time, so I can make more items (provided I can find the time). I’m super excited to see how the recipient likes the stuff I make, even though they won’t get it until September.

Well, it’s about time to help a friend move. More on the Outlands event later!

I got it covered

I’d thought I had lost my Arts and Sciences project–the only one I’ve gotten finished so far–until yesterday. I gave the craft room one last sweep before I left to go visiting my potential-future-Laurel, and lo! and behold, there it was. On the floor. In a place I’d looked at least three times previously. Right between a couple of boxes. Thanks to that discovery I don’t have to redo the whole damn thing, and I was able to finish the beading on it. Next up (sometime in the next three weeks): the documentation paper to go with it. Easy peasy. Right? Well, maybe not so much, but I’ll get it done.

I got another project–well, the first part of another project–done as well. Introducing my fourth embroidered cup cover:

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Done for an arts exchange project with another kingdom, but it’s not the only thing I’m doing; I’m also going to make some matching napkins, a feast gear utensil holder, and, time permitting, some coasters. Yeah, ambitious, I know, but I have a couple of months on those. The cup cover, btw, is 100% handsewn and hand beaded. No sewing machines were harmed in the making of that cover.

Yeah, it’s not perfect. I pulled the stitches too tight and crowded them too much on the white embroidery filling in the device. I eyeballed the circular edge when I was sewing the back onto the front, so yeah, not the evenest. Still, it’s pretty, and it’s I hope something the recipient will love.

I’m wondering something though…would people want to pay for cup covers like the ones I’ve made? One of them was a commission, but there were … issues with payment. Was it because the person thought I was charging too much? I don’t know, but I enjoy doing these kind of short embroidery projects, things that take a couple of weeks of stolen moments before or after work or during lunch, little snippets of creativity snuck in when possible. What am I getting at, anyway? Basically, I’m looking for something I can do that can hone my embroidery craft while still making creative things for other people. I’m just not sure there’s enough of a demand for it to make any kind of effort to advertise what I do worth it.

Here are some pictures of the others I’ve done (one wasn’t beaded because the person who commissioned it wanted to put the beads on herself):

Considering my previous failed attempts at creative entrepreneurship, I probably should just let word of mouth do its thing and if I get asked to make some, I make some; if I don’t, I don’t. I can make them for gifts or something and stoke my creative fires that way.

Who knows. Maybe this post will generate some interest? Maybe so, maybe no. I think I’m going to stop overthinking and just go do some laundry or something.

Stuck between a wall and a soft place

Can’t seem to make up my mind as to what activity I want to do before work this morning… I mean, I’ve been kicking ass on the embroidery project I’m currently working on, but I also have hit a mild brick wall in the writing of Book 2, and that really needs to be addressed. Then there’s the Viking hood I promised my husband I’d make for him (shouldn’t take too long, but I have less than an hour before I have to get ready for work right now) as well as Arts & Sciences stuff to work on. Oh, and there’s the tiny little detail of my first A&S project disappearing sometime in the last couple of weeks.

Yeah, I hid it in a “safe place” for the SCA party so it wouldn’t get stolen or messed up.

A very safe place.

So safe I can’t for the life of me find the fucking thing.

It’s not like I can’t redo it, or even that I can’t redo it in the time I have left before A&S. I can, if I push myself, but do I really want to have to do that? No. I also don’t want to have to tear apart the craft room (the last place I have to search) to find it. Decisions, decisions.

I suppose I should just work on writing. It keeps my eyes focused on the computer screen, so I can see the time and theoretically not lose track of how much time is left before I have to get ready.

In Boot News, I am free of the boot on my left foot, provided it doesn’t start hurting too much again. I guess I sprained a ligament in the middle toe, but at my two-weeks-and-one-day follow up (I went back in earlier than three weeks because of how my work schedule is) the doc said I was doing better at 2+ weeks than most people do at 3 weeks. So I did something right, at least.

Well, off I go to, y’know, do things and stuff.

This brainstorming episode has been interrupted by…reality

I have it all planned out. In the mornings, I will write. Or embroider. Or remake my Dark Phoenix corset for Tucson Comic Con so it fits. Or do some such creative endeavor. I mean, I’m up early enough usually, and my husband is either sleeping or working. Lots of “free” time to create.

Except…We have that huge SCAdian housewarming party this weekend. And my husband’s Peer is staying in the craft room. And the craft room looks like a crafting tornado hit it. FML.

I hate cleaning before I have to work, though. I have limited time in the mornings because I have to pay attention to what time it is so I can get my shower in and get dressed and whatnot. When I’m hip-deep in fabric, it’s harder to keep track. I either waste time constantly watching the clock, or I set an alarm which goes off mid-project. I have the afternoon off today, so theoretically I can get work done then, but then the problem of needing to get other projects done comes in. I have things like blood work to get. And a podiatrist appointment. And SCA scribal stuff to do.

There are shelves to store the fabric in so I have easier access and can see at more or less a glance what I have–but I have to sort and fold all the fabric and put said fabric on the shelves. There are two 6’x3′ tables that are CHOCK FULL of supplies and sewing machines and what have you on top of them that I need to clear off for potluck foodstuffs that will be brought by our guests.

*Sigh* I suppose Book 2 and the embroidery projects I have will have to hold off for a bit. At least a couple of days, until I can get the craft room presentable. Then it’ll have to wait for me to set everything up in its proper place. Then…I write? I hope.

Slow but sure

Revisions are… coming along. Slowly. Mainly because of adverbs like slowly and mainly. And because of gerunds. I apparently love gerunds. It’s funny the things you don’t realize you do until someone points out how often you do them.

I’ll get it all fixed though. I am so excited for this book to be published! It’s been a long couple of years since I made the resolution to get the first draft finished, but I’m now on the final revisions and Book 2 is in the early stages of revisions for the first draft. It’s got a long way to go as well, but now that I’m more aware of my gerund affinity I’m sure it’ll be easier … Won’t it?

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll be just as stressed for Book 2, 3, and onward. Lol But it’ll all be worth it. I just have to push on.

In other news, the house is almost home and I’m doing some unwinding this weekend in between revision sessions. Soon things will be back to (my) normal. Work is work, and crafting is taking a hiatus while I finish the book. That means I probably won’t get the time to make and document enough stuff to enter as Champion for the Baronial Arts and Sciences competition. I can still enter as novice in a couple categories, but I’m a little disappointed in myself for not being able to go for the big prize right out of the gate. I had wanted to push myself, but maybe all this is the Universe’s way of telling me to simmer down and just take my time. I have the rest of my life with the SCA to try for Champion; I don’t need to get greedy the first time I enter.

Well, guess I should stop dwelling and get to the relaxation part of my weekend… While it lasts 😉

Butterflies

I’m starting to get a little anxious. “Why,” you ask? Well, because I’ve been told by my publisher that they’re going to start announcing me soon. I don’t know when “soon” is, but they’ve got my bio, headshot, and a drafty blurb in hand. The publishing is drawing ever nigh, and it’s got my nerves in a bunch. I’ll be glad to have Book 1 in the bag though, because that means I can start back on Book 2 and not have to worry about any changes that might be made.

There’s going to be promotional stuff…interviews, articles, ads. It’s going to be work. I got this though….right?

On the SCA front, I get to wear my anniversary dresses to Coronation today, so I’m pretty excited about that. My hair’s a hot mess, but thankfully hubby also commissioned a Viking hat for me to wear that’ll cover the I-slept-on-a-couch-with-my-face-stuffed-in-a-pile-of-pillows look. I also get to hand the bag I embroidered over to its new owner, in exchange for the temple rings that will match the brooches that were made for me.

Oh, and the house? Yeah, we have a Certificate of Occupancy now, which means that even though the loan hasn’t been finalized yet we can start moving our crap in–we just can’t live there yet. Time to start packing once we get home from Coronation.

Lots of changes on the horizon. Here’s hoping I can keep up!

Right on schedule

The embroidery commission is going well. I’ve gotten about one third of the second bear paw filled in, and once that’s done I can stitch together the messenger bag (which shouldn’t take too long). After that, I have sewing work to do for my husband and for our Arts and Sciences competition in July, plus some embroidery for gifting.

I hope I’m not getting myself too deep into anything. So far, my embroidery projects have been short and sweet. Small pieces that could be completed in a short time frame. The gift embroidery, though, and any for A&S, could end up being more than I can chew up and spit out. I want to make nice things for people, but I also want to get Book 2 back on track.

Not that Book 1 is even close to ready. It’s still in the latest rounds of line edits, which means there will be even more work to do on it once it returns. How much work? Well, I won’t know until the edits come back. So I’m chewing on my nails (metaphorically) as I wait for my manuscript to be emailed back with the editing notes. I’m kind of afraid to start back on Book 2 until Book 1 is back, because there were such sweeping changes to Book 2’s plot/story after the new ending of Book 1 that if I change too much more I’ll just be creating more work for myself. One of the flaws of being a pantser, I guess. If I had plotted I might have it easier, but the major plot points are still valid–for now. We’ll see what the edits reveal.

Work is work. That’s nothing much new. There could be potential drama afoot in the coming weeks, but it’s something that’s beyond my control so I just have to have faith that things will work out.

The house is close to done. I’m stressing over things like the final loan approval and the eventual move, but all I can do about it is, well, stress. And that’s not doing me any good.

Tomorrow is longsword class for the rapier academy I’m in. My husband isn’t really keen on longsword, so I will probably have to go to this class–and most of them in the foreseeable future–by myself. Maybe I’ll get a ride to the class. Let him have the car for a bit (also, I won’t have to drive at night if I get a ride…I freaking hate driving at night).

River and Rory are getting along swimmingly. Right now Rory is giving River a bath, and she seems pretty content with it. They keep each other company when my husband and I are away at SCA events or other things, so that’s good.

So, in summary: embroidery good, books stalled, house stressful, and kittehs are being cute.

Near a fortnight

Wow…almost ten days with no posting. Where’s my mind been?

Oh yeah: embroidery commission deadline and SCA event and house stuff and work and…

There might just be a few distractions in my life right now. Lol I’m making headway on the embroidery and SCA should soon slow down a bit, but there’s still a ton of stuff going on with the last-minute house things and, of course, work is work.

Last weekend I ran my first rapier scenario as part of a tournament. It was pretty fun, and the fighters seemed to like it. I even got accolades and recognition from the event steward (who is herself a rapier fighter), though she gave me more credit than I deserved. I did the one thing, but for the most part I just helped out the Master of Defense who was truly running things for the tournament. Still, it was nice to be able to get my feet wet with running a tournament and kind of see what kind of prep is needed. Who knows? Maybe next year at this event I’ll be in charge of the whole tourney. We’ll see. 😉

This week I have to make a PVC “sheath” for our rapiers, because the prince and princess who will be stepping up in a week and a half don’t want exposed blades around them when we’re on guard duty…which I understand, but I don’t think they realize that, in order to be legal for fighting, rapiers have to have caps on the end. Secure caps. Which means a standard sheath is not going to work. So I have to improvise. I just hope I have enough scrap leather to cover the PVC so it doesn’t look so much like a plastic pipe. Yay for Barge contact cement and leftover suede from a project last year.

Depression’s not too bad compared to a couple weeks ago. I’m still a bit down from time to time, but for the most part I’m doing okay. Taking my meds and all that jazz.

Writing is still at a standstill, but I’m hoping that once SCA stuff calms down I will break through the block and get moving on Book 2.

Community spirit

It’s not seen as much in modern day: the medieval concept of community and trade. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past week or so, especially since my husband’s big reveal of his anniversary conspiracy.

In the SCA especially, this community spirit is alive and well, and trading goods and services works just as well as cash or PayPal. My husband has been trading trim and belts that he weaves for different goods and services for months, but it wasn’t until recently that I saw the enormity of what can be accomplished with fair trade.

For my anniversary gifts, some of them were obtained through volunteers to make the things, but some were obtained through trade. Chris, bless his heart, made a TON of belts and trim, both for my garments and for others to make things to go with the garments. It wasn’t just the traded goods that spurred others to make stuff; these people care. In the SCA, it’s a family.

I’ve heard the phrase “chosen family” in reference to the SCA dozens of times throughout the year I’ve been playing, but it’s only now truly hitting home how much of a family it is. There are people I barely know who stood up and said “Sure” when my husband asked for dresses (made by Lady Mariette of the Barony March of Mons Tonitrus–apron dress pending hand embroidery by Lady Illaria), or a Viking naalbinded hat (made by Willa McCafferty of the Barony of Tyr Ysgthir), or custom Viking brooches (made by Eric the Bald)…I could go on, but basically, these people were willing, some for a near stranger, to take time out of their busy lives to make something for a nice gift. It’s pretty cool. Here are just a few of the things that have been made/are being made for li’l ol’ me:

Since I’ve started the embroidery, I’ve started contributing here and there to the community aspect as well. I’ve done tiny coats-of-arms to finish the ends of belts that my husband made for gifting or largesse. I’ve done a commission piece for a kindhearted person who deserved something nice. I’m doing embroidery right now for a trade for temple rings to match the brooches shown above. Here’s a sneak peek I “stole” off of Facebook (temple rings also by Eric the Bald of the Kingdom of Atenveldt):

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How cool is that? And all I have to do is make an embroidered bag and sew some trim on it, something I’m more than willing to do for such a giving individual. It fills my heart to overflowing to see this type of community in the SCA that has, for me at least, been absent in mundane life. Even outside of SCA-related activities, our chosen family has been there for us. Recently we had nearly half a dozen SCA friends over at the new house, all sacrificing part of their Saturday to help finish some wiring on the house. They didn’t need to. They could have said “no”…instead, they came on over, some bringing their own tools and supplies, to help, for nothing more than some pizza and sodas/bottled water.

I am taking this time to extend my eternal thanks and gratitude to this chosen family, to tell them that they matter, that they’re appreciated (even if I don’t always know how to show it), that their efforts have touched me.