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.

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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.

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.

Split decision

Posted: April 14, 2018 in #design, Art, Crafting, embroidery, SCA, Sewing

Well, I’ve gone and done it again; I’ve given myself a task that is going to end up being harder than it really has to be.

The thing is, I got involved in a new embroidery project that, while not too complex, is turning out to be more involved than maybe it should have been. It’s partly my fault; I was given “creative license” on the commission (those words are dangerous for an artist lol), so I thought “hmm, how can I give this image more pizzazz?”

Eric the Bald 2

It’s a pretty cool device but….Yeah, I wanted to kick it up a notch. So, being me, I googled “knotwork bear claw” to see what I could find that might be prettier. This is what I finally decided on:

bear claw 2

It’s freakin’ cool, right? Except I chose to make it six inches wide, and I have to fill in all those lovely lines somehow. Chain stitch would probably be the quickest, most efficient stitch of the ones I currently know. Probably.

But split stitch is so much neater and prettier.

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Yeah, I’m filling in all those lines with teeny little split stitches, because I tend to make small stitches in general. So far the outcome is nice….but it’s slow going. The end product will be amazing, but I’ve given myself a handful as far as work comes. Still, I am trading this project for a pair of Viking temple rings worth $80, so I guess I should do $80 worth of work myself, right? Fair is fair.

This is gonna be so cool, though. 🙂

I admit it. I’m a wuss. A coward, even.

Well, maybe not a coward. It’s not that I’m “afraid” to go back to exercising with my friends…or am I?

One thing’s for sure: I’m definitely discouraged. Between the month or so we all took off to prepare for Estrella war and my work schedule, I was off the wagon for too long, causing me to regain almost all of the weight I had worked so hard to lose. Couple that with the new exercises that we’re doing that require more coordination (which I highly lack) and you have a recipe for relapse. I just can’t make myself go anymore. I think about it. I try to psych myself up for it. But in the end, most days I end up staying home and wallowing in self pity.

Am I doomed to be obese forever? I used to be skinny; as early as ten years ago I was skinny. Then the move to Arizona happened, and the stress of not knowing if I’d have a job and having to make new friends got to me, and I stress-ate like a madwoman. I moved into an extended living facility (basically a hotel that has a pseudo-studio apartment for a room) and it was a lot of frozen dinners for me. That didn’t help. Then I met my husband who feeds me quite well, and I just ballooned. It’s been an up-and-down battle for years, one that I feel like I’m losing.

The most recent weight gain is the most depressing yet. I had worked so hard to lose that 10+ pounds only to have almost all of it back within a couple of months. I almost feel like “What’s the point? I’ll just gain it back in weeks the second I stop this” and I’ll end up quitting. I guess I kind of almost have quit already. I have no more motivation, no drive. I’d rather sit at home and wallow in self pity than get out there and exercise with friends.

I guess I’d better sign off for now. The cats keep walking across the keyboard in an attempt to get their morning wet food early, and I’m tired of deleting the jibberish they type.

When it comes to anniversaries, my husband doesn’t fool around. Yesterday (two days before our five year anniversary) he surprised me with a commissioned Viking underdress, overdress, and apron dress. He also told me that there is a naalbinded hat waiting for me (it’s a type of Viking “crochet”), a veil coming, and a Viking coat in the works, all from different SCA craftspeople. The underdress and overdress need some alterations (I need to stop eating so much fast food lol), but I was able to get a picture.

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The dresses are made from real linen and silk, the trim is silk (handwoven by my husband), and there will be a hand embroidered sword that will be placed between the two swans.

I kind of suspected something like this was coming when he asked where I kept my copy of my measurements a few months ago. Nothing suspicious at all there 😉 I had pretty much forgotten about it though, until he took me to our friend’s house last night, showed me the dresses on the hanger, and said “Happy anniversary!” Gotta admit, I was a bit slow on the uptake and thought he was telling our friend happy anniversary until he pointed out the swans on the dress.

Since not all the pieces of the puzzle are finished, it will be another month before I can probably wear it. The friend who made the dresses needs to add some width to them and she’s having foot surgery today, so that will have to wait until she’s recovered enough to work on them again, and the coat is still in progress (because the friend who’s making that is quite busy, but heck, it’s almost summer in Arizona so there’s plenty of time).

I think this is the most elaborate anniversary plan he’s come up with yet–and we’re only five years in! I had better step up my gifting game if I’m going to compete. 😉

There are also Viking brooches with swans on them that have been made for me (to pin on my treasure beads and pin the straps of the apron dress), and to trade for some Viking temple rings with swans I’m going to collaborate with my husband to make an over-the-shoulder bag for another SCAdian who does the metalworking. I’m going to embroider and make the bag, my husband is going to weave trim for it that I will then sew on before delivering it.

Once this is all done, I’ll be all Viking’d out! Lol

Gutless

Posted: April 4, 2018 in Thoughts

I had the perfect opportunity last night–a couple of times, actually. I could have told my seneschal that I didn’t want to do social media for the barony any more. I could have told my baroness. But did I? Nope. I chickened out every time an opening presented itself.

Why can’t I just admit to them that I don’t want to do the job any more? I guess it’s that I don’t want to let anyone down. I also don’t want to leave my barony in the lurch. Clearly no one else wants the position, because I’ve asked for someone to step up as a deputy an no one’s biting. Am I doomed to just stay stuck in this “dead-end” job indefinitely?

Oh, I enjoyed it at first. I felt so important, being an officer for the barony and being in charge of making sure things got posted to Facebook and (when I remembered that I created the account) Twitter, but now I’m filled with anxiety and dread any time I see a notification from a baronial account on my phone. It shouldn’t be like that. Sadly, though, it is, and aside from stepping down I don’t know what to do to relieve that anxiety and dread.

I’ve asked the kingdom social media officer if I can talk to her about it, but she wanted to talk face-to-face at the next event–which is this weekend. So I should’ve told my seneschal and baroness what was up. Especially considering my seneschal is also my good friend and rapier teacher. I should be able to talk to her about anything, but that guilt of leaving the barony in the lurch is eating at me almost as much as the anxiety.

The kingdom officer has assured me that the previous social media officer for the barony (my husband’s harasser) won’t ever get the position back, but I still worry. I can’t picture anyone else wanting the job, so basically I’m sitting in limbo “job-blocking” her from coming back to it. It’s not the best way to be.