Grand designs

Yesterday I started working on some notes to get my “lesson plan” ready for my embroidery class. Yeah, yeah, I have almost three months in which to get it done–it was on my brain, so my brain went with it.

I figured out which stitches I’d try to teach, what subjects I want to cover, what supplies I’ll need, etc. I’ll bring as many examples of past embroidery projects that I’ve done as I can. And I might even download and print out some simple line drawings that either are period designs (or ones that look close enough for government work).

I didn’t get a chance to ask my future Laurel to look over what I have, but I haven’t fine-tuned it yet. I haven’t put the topics in a logical order or written up, well, any narrative to go with it. I haven’t made it all pretty and nice looking. Should I include WIP photos with the handouts I make, or should I just include photos of finished projects? I feel that the WIP photos would be more beneficial to beginner embroiderers, so I think that’s the way I’ll go. I should also probably embroider one or more of the tunics I have to have something to wear to the class to display seam treatments in action. Hmm…. It’s a thought, but I’m already bogged down with projects.

Writing on Book 2 is still stalled. So frustrating, but I just can’t get my head in the game with it. I need to ask my Creative Director for advice. The sad thing is, she’s given me advice already, but it’s just not clicking as to how to implement said advice. I get to a certain point in Chapter 18 and just freeze. It’s really grating on my nerves. I feel like I should be farther along on the revision process than I currently am.

That being said, it’s probably high time I did the daily Twitter writing hashtag events before it’s time to leave for work. Then, if there’s time, maybe I can work more on my “syllabus.”

A learning experience for all involved

Estrella War is fast approaching, and though I have a ton on my plate–between sewing/embroidery projects, revisions, and life in general I don’t have a lot of free time–so of course I decided to volunteer to teach a couple beginner embroidery classes at War.

It’s not quite been a year since I started embroidering. I am almost wholly self-taught. And I am terrible at teaching things that I can pick up without help. So why did I decide to do this??

Part of it is because I want to get better at my art, and teaching something can sometimes lead to insight to better ways to do said thing. Part of it is because I want to impress my hopefully-future-Laurel. (Yep, Guilty.) And part of it is to get over my fear of talking in front of strangers and my fear of not being able to teach.

My problem with teaching is that, as mentioned before, I tend to pick up new things without much help. I am self-taught in embroidery through Pinterest tutorials and a book my husband bought me. That’s kinda pretty much it. Not trying to brag, mind you, but it is what it is. I learn through seeing and doing. I see a picture of a type of stitch, and I do it, and there you go. All of the following were pretty much done by derping my way through it. Go to Pinterest, search Stitch A, look at pictures, practice Stitch A, lather, rinse, repeat. I’ve even done some mundane embroidery for family members thanks to this learning method.

Not everyone learns in the same manner as I do, though, and that’s the sticky part. I have to try to tailor my teaching method to help people who don’t learn the same way I do. 

It’s going to be tricky, but I think I can do it. If I’m going to teach as a Laurel some day, I need to do it. Am I nervous? Yeah, but I’ve got a few months to get over that. And I get to plan ahead. I’m not diving in headfirst without a clue as to whether or not the pool has water in it. Who knows? I might even make a tutorial post or two between now and then to give me practice at teaching without an audience, so I can work out the kinks. (Heh-heh, I said “kink.”)

I’ll get all the things done eventually. The Persian garb. The gift bags for Christmas. My husband’s Viking hood. The cuffs and hems for Their Royal Majesties’ garb. The embroidery for the Barony of Tyr Ysgithir’s new Lady in Waiting bag. New cup cover for myself, possibly? Wait. I probably shouldn’t add new projects until I finish these…..

After feast comes famine

I made it through Thanksgiving weekend, despite my stomach and esophagus rebelling against the copious amounts of food I had each day. Now I have to buckle down and get back to work on Escaping the Light, among other things. 

There’s still the original Super Sekret Projekt for embroidery that needs to be done, and the current projects I have lined up. There’s making gift bags for the Christmas holiday giving season. There’s embroidery that the Baroness of a nearby Barony asked me to do before Estrella War. There’s my husband’s Viking hood to finish. There’s two full Persian outfits to make before January. There’s a lot.

In addition to going back to my old writing and crafting habits, I have to create new eating and exercising habits. I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of feeling sluggish and miserable. I’m going to go back to exercising with my friends, but I worry that I won’t be able to get back into the routine or keep up like I used to. They have never once made me feel bad about not being on their level physically, but my own tricksy mind has. I mean, I used to kind of be able to keep up. Now, on the rare occasions when I’ve gone back, I am far, far behind while they all have increased their stamina and endurance. It sucks.

Today I have my annual physical, too. So I have to tell the doc about the weight issues and other concerns I have…like the aforementioned reflux that has been eating away at my esophagus and is in no way healthy. It can be damn dangerous if I let it go, actually, so I need to make sure I get some kind of prescription for it. I can take OTC meds, but there might be something stronger or better for it that he can prescribe. Maybe.

The breakneck pace of constant SCA events and other running around has slowed some, but not much. I’ve got a dyeing class that I’m going to this weekend, a household meeting (we’re finally officially members of House Sable Millrind!), next weekend is Christmas shopping with household members, the weekend after is the work Christmas party, the week after that is pre-Christmas at the in-laws’ house, the week after is…something, I’m sure. Maybe that’s a weekend off–I don’t know anymore.

Amidst all of that I still have to find time to exercise, to practice rapier more, to write/revise…

…And to goddamn sit up straighter. Geez, I didn’t even have anything overly spicy or irritating for breakfast, but because I’ve been slouching I can feel the acid creeping up inside my chest. Yuck.

The good news is, the Christmas tree has been up for a few days now and no cat destruction has occurred. They’re mildly interested from time to time, but aside from sniffing it or maybe nibbling on the plastic branches, Rory and River really have been good with it. Mostly leaving it alone. Hopefully I won’t lose too many ornaments this year to feline antics.

I still have a couple of Doctor Who ornaments to put up, but they’re fragile and important to us because they were gifts, so I’m waiting until I’m 100% sure they’re at least relatively safe from the cats. 

I guess that’s about all for now. Life moves on. The wheels keep turning and all that. But I’ve got at least some semblance of a plan for keeping myself in better shape and for getting things done.

(Not so) lazy Saturday

Busy busy day ahead of me today. I have to wash fabric for some Persian garb I’m going to be making, make mock-ups of the pattern out of other fabric, clean up the house for guests, have a ton of people over for a Saturday Thanksgiving, then, knowing me, I’ll crash early (as I am wont to do) and wake up tomorrow for more cleanup and then rapier melee stuff in Tucson.

I could’ve had the mock-up started, but I kinda keep falling back asleep. I wake up and another half an hour has passed. I’ve had my Adderal, I’ve had some coffee, but clearly not enough coffee. Need moar coffee.

Super Sekret Projekt #2 (technically #1 because I did it first) is done! Can’t post pictures because the recipient doesn’t have it yet, but I will once it’s gifted. Still haven’t received the silk for Super Sekret Projekt #1, so that one’s on the back burner until I get the fabric I’m going to be embroidering.

The Persian garb is for the Twelfth Night feast my husband is feastocratting for our Kingdom. It’s a Middle Eastern theme, so we’re making Middle Eastern garb to wear. I found some really cool black fabric with a neat gold-and-white pattern on it for my surcoat, but we haven’t found a good pattern for hubby’s coat yet. We were at a cringe-worthy price range as it was with these fabrics already, so we’ll have to get him a coat fabric later on. Here’s the fabrics I have for the pants, surcoat, and undershirt (pirihan, I think?):

Hubby found the grey-and-gold fabric, which is a similar pattern to some of the fabric we used for our Italian Ren for last year’s Yule feast. It’ll go nicely with the golden yellow linen for the pants and the black patterned fabric for the surcoat.

Book 2 is stalled–again. I just can’t figure out how to make the section I’m at more interesting and suspenseful. Grr.

I guess that’s about all. I really need to get off my lazy butt and get the fabric washed. Or the mock-up maths done. Yeah, the pattern we’re using requires math. It’s easy math, but I just cringe at seeing the equations like being back in school or something. Fucking homework, man. Just when I thought I was done with that crap.


Oh hey, look, I was writing a post.

I was also embroidering, revising, tweeting, Instagramming, showering, dressing, brushing my hair… but I started out writing a post.

I do that sometimes. I kinda squirrel. A lot. It’s not that I didn’t have some grand design for a great post. I just got distracted. Like, right now my cat’s snoring is distracting me a bit. It’s so damn adorable! The other cat just walked up to him to find out what was going on. Apparently she doesn’t understand snoring. Also apparently snoring = bath time. Those two are too stinking cute when they co-bathe. 

Where was I? Oh yeah, distractions.

I have so much going on lately that I can’t focus on anything. Everything’s a blur. I want to get so many things accomplished that I end up accomplishing nothing. It’s frustrating.

Maybe the upcoming four-and-a-half-day weekend will help me out. I can decompress and relax and pick what I want to focus on.

Co-bathing time is over. Now it’s wrestling time.

My main goal this weekend is to get my embroidery project done. That one has a timetable. Of sorts. Okay, I made up a deadline for it. Will it be awesome if I can deliver it on a certain person’s special day? Yeah, but it’ll still be awesome if I’m not done “in time.”

Once the embroidery is done, then it’s on to revisions and Christmas gift bags. We’re not going the whole nine yards this year–just maybe a yard and a half. Normally, we go full-out and blow a ton of cash getting a few dozen people gifts. This year, we’re going to be making some stuff to give out. Because mortgage. 

Rory won the wrestling match. Or River got bored. Or both.

I guess I’ll kill the remaining half hour until I leave for work with some more stitching.

Unless I see a squirrel……

Righting wrongs

So I was wronged. It was probably not the most offensive of slights, but I was offended, and as such I ended up wronging the wrong person in trying to call out the person who had wronged me.

I could have let it go. I could have just said, “Well, that’s money I’m never going to see.” But in wronging me, the wronger also wronged someone else, and that didn’t jive with me. The person wronged by both of us–her directly, me indirectly–didn’t deserve to be wronged. Never deserved to be wronged.

Now I have a chance to right the wrong. I can’t undo what was done, but I can redo what was done. I can make it better.

This leads me into Super Sekret Projekt #2…which I guess is acutally SSP #1, because I’m doing SSP #2 before I do the first one I mentioned. I’ll have a great thing by the time I’m done, and once I’m done with the thing the person wronged by me will be happy and maybe a little verklempt. Maybe. But it’ll be a good verklempt

I can’t make this a super long post, because SSP #2 is about to be attacked by a River Monster, and I can’t have that….Later!

What a difference a year makes

A lot can happen in a year. You can move, change jobs, cut your hair, gain weight, lose weight, start a new diet…

…You can sign with a publishing company…

That’s right: it’s been a year since I signed with RhetAskew Publishing! What a whirlwind of a year it’s been, too! Edits and revisions and frustration and a trailer and marketing and promotion and cover concepts and decisions and book launch and signings and Tucson Comic Con–whew! Now my second book is in the hands of the great people at RhetAskew, and I can’t wait for my next round of edits–and my next year of publishing.

The whole thing is still pretty surreal. I mean, I have a published book. In bookstores. Online. At a con. I have a sequel in the works. A series in the works.

I wonder what the next year will bring… The sequel, of course. More cons? Maybe, maybe not. Tucson Comic Con was close to being worth it, financially speaking, but not quite. I still have books in the back of my car that I need to sell. There’s a smaller local con in February that I need to talk to my husband about. It’s much cheaper than TCC, and it’s close to home, but I don’t know if the logistics would work out. 

There’s also the possibility of another TCC. I’ll get an offer of the same table rate as this year because I was already a vendor, but again, it’s a matter of logistics. I want to try to get into TusCon, which is a sci-fi-specific con, but I’m afraid to even check the prices on tables for that. It’s gotta be more expensive than TCC was. Still, it would be a good opportunity. Hmm…

I still gotta work. Still gotta do all the things. Laundry, grocery shopping, bills, etc. Life’s not going to become all sunshine and roses and unicorn farts just because I’m signed with a publisher. It would be nice if things worked that way, but nope. Not quite. Lol

RhetAskew has been great to me this past year. They give great advice, and they listen to their authors. I don’t really feel that I had to really sacrifice anything to get Abnormal published. The book is great. The cover’s great. RhetAskew really does whatever they can for the author. They even give marketing and promotional advice–something I would have been lost on before!

I suppose I should get back to Book 2 before I have to go to work. I’m a little bit stuck, but I’ve made progress in the last week or two. Not as much progress as I’d like to make, but progress is progress. Who knows? Maybe next year I can add “NYT bestseller” to my list of annual accomplishments…Lol

Super Sekret Projekt

Yep, I’m at it again! I’ve got another big embroidery project ahead of me, and I’m really excited.

I can’t really say much what it’s for, other than that I get to work on royal garb again. It’ll be a big project, but one I hope I can execute to Their Royal Majesties’ liking. 🙂

I want to show you pictures of what I’m going to be doing. I want to share it on all the media. But I won’t. I shouldn’t. But damn, do I want to.

Despite my excitement at this new project, I still am in kind of a funk lately. I’ll be “normal” for a period of time, but that depression creeps back in. Mostly when I’m busy at work. Or not busy on lunch break. Or sitting at home. Well, okay, so there’s not as much “normal” as there is “blah.”

This project, though, once I get it started, should have me back on the ups. Yeah, I’ll get frustrated at times or discouraged or just plain tired of stitching, but being able to see the finished garments, if they indeed will be worn to an in-kingdom event, is a good motivator. I never got to see Duke Ivan and Duchess Ianka’s finished garb except in photos, because they wore it to an out-of-kingdom event and to the Coronation that I missed due to Tucson Comic-Con. Maybe some day I’ll get to see my work on them.

As with Ivan and Ianka, I get to have input as to what I’m going to embroider, which I think is cool. I’m sure there will be SCA royalty in the future that has a set thing in mind and that’s that, but I’m glad that the royals I’ve worked with so far have been open to me providing ideas or suggestions.

In a few months I can show you what I’ve done, and I might provide some sneaky peeks in the interim. Right now, I have to wait for the fabric to get here (the Queen is mailing out the fabric soon), and I have to go buy the thread. For royal garb, my little cotton thread won’t do.

Cries of “Excelsior!” shall echo through the halls of Valhalla

It was finally time.

He gave us ninety-five years, and he gave them selflessly. He created people, places, world’s, universes. And he created a society where geeks and nerds can be who they are. He made nerddom chic.

I know it was coming any day. I know it had to happen. No one lives forever. Not even The Man.

Still, I know my eyes will tear up when that last cameo flashes on the screen. They’re tearing up now, as I think of what the world has lost: a great man, and a creator without equal. He understood what it was to be an outsider, and he gave the outsiders people to relate to when few existed.

I’ve always been more of a Marvel girl that a DC girl. When I was four, I told my mom that I was going to marry Spider-Man. Well, Mary Jane Watson got to him first. 

I don’t really know what to say. What can you say about a man who touched so many lives? From the very small to the brightest stars in the biz, he made everyone fit in. There’s a place for everyone in Marvel.

I never got the chance to meet him. Well, I guess I had the chance, but I never took advantage of it. He was at Phoenix Comicon one year that I was attending, but I couldn’t afford an autograph. I should have stood in line anyway, if nothing else than to shake hands with the man who meant so much to so many. 

I knew it couldn’t last.

I just didn’t believe that it would really happen.

Legends are supposed to live on forever. But I suppose no matter how legendary the person, Death still wins in the end.

A Legend may be dead, but his legend lives on. In the comics he created. In the worlds and universes he created. In the hearts of everyone who was touched by his creations. In the word “excelsior,” a word that means excellence.

You were most excellent, Stan Lee.

Safe travels.

Write drunk, edit sober, revise… tipsy?

Hemingway has some great quotes about writing. But revising is, in my experience, kinda somewhere between writing and editing. So how did Hemingway handle it? I’m not planning on getting drunk today, but it makes me think regardless.

Writing drunk I get. You’re less inhibited, and some of the best crazy ideas that you’d never put to words sober come out of hiding. It’s pretty fun, too. 😉 

Editing sober makes sense too. You want to catch as many errors as possible. Hard to do that when you misspell spoken words. Lol

Revising, though? It’s kind of a grey area. You’re taking out “errors” so to speak, because you’re cutting some stuff that doesn’t fit or doesn’t need to be there, but you’re also writing new stuff. When I’m revising, I often end up writing thousands of words’ worth of new material.

Like I said, I won’t be drinking today. So I won’t experiment with the sobriety level of revisions. But it makes me think. 

I don’t have any profound words on writing yet. Maybe some day I’ll be quoted like Hemingway. 

But will those words be taken from a serious interview, or will they be drunken ramblings overheard by a lucky individual?