Sew obsessed (or, a weekend alone)

I know, I know, I’ve been a bad blogger. A bad author, even. I took a whole weekend off to myself, and I spent absolutely none of it writing. No blog posts, no Twitter hashtag games, no new progress on my WIP. I basically spent the weekend embroidering, with bits of eating and napping thrown in. I was a lump.

Today I’m back to the “real” world, the world of work and deadlines and what have you. So I’m back, for good or bad, until the next rare weekend off. Today I plan on doing the #amwriting hashtags, I plan on getting ready for work and going in and doing my job. I plan on adulting.

Not much adulting was achieved this weekend. I took some of the trash over to my parents’ house, emptied the dishwasher, put away the laundry….all at the last minute. Oh, and I ate a salad. One salad.

On the plus side, I’ve hardly thought about work at all. This is a good thing, because work is one of the main stressors in my life, and one that I can only do so much about. It’s not like I can take time off of work just to decompress (like I have been with the SCA). I have to go. That’s just all there is to it. Which sucks, because the stress in my life is showing, and one supervisor and an administrator both took me aside at separate times Friday to discuss how stressed I’ve been and how they can help. Fuck. I hate when the bipolar seeps out to where it’s visible. That’s no good.

I did some reading this weekend as well. 1,4,3 by Alicia Sophia, a fellow Askew author. It’s good so far, but I think I’ve come close to figuring out the ending, which sucks because I’m only halfway in. But who knows? Maybe she wrote it that way on purpose as a ruse. I could be surprised after all once I finish.

Lots of rest did my soul good, but I need to put back on the jet pack and hit the ground running today. Gotta work, gotta come home and write or embroider, gotta work on a lesson plan for the embroidery classes I’m going to teach at Estrella, etc etc etc. Got a lot to do, and less and less time in which to do it. Why do I do this to myself again?

I’ve also got the embroidery for Their Royal Majesties to finish before Estrella is over. I kinda was working on my own stuff mostly this weekend. Bad me. Stupid flighty brain. But again, it did me some good. Focus on me, have some “me time” where I’m doing things for myself.

I hope I don’t seem as stressed at work today. I don’t need another supervisor taking me aside and chatting with me about how stressed/distracted I am.

Soon I’ll be back to writing. After Estrella, maybe. Get serious about cranking out Book 3 and that fun collaboration with my Askew author friend Angelique Jordonna. Her book, Dani (which I’ve had the pleasure of reading ahead of release), is amazing, and I know our book will be amazing as well. Just gotta get that first draft out. Lol

Oh! One more thing: I found out that a Laurel was looking at the embroidery I did on my husband’s Viking hood and, from what he says, she seemed impressed, enough so that she said she wanted to talk to me about it. That makes me feel good, because while I did slack a bit on the timing of finishing it, I worked hard on that hood. Plus, it’s a good ego boost when a Laurel is impressed with your work. Here’s a look:

Guess that’s all the update I have. Time to get ready for the ol’ day job. Shower, get dressed, put on some semblance of makeup to pretty-fy myself. That kind of thing.

Oh, wait! I did a live streaming interview/roundtable with some other authors! That was cool af! Here’s the link to the YouTube recording (it’s an hour long, but it’s a fun watch).

Until the morrow, good readers!

Bound and determined

My newest project starts with a hunt…. the Laurel Hunt for the SCA, that is.

No, we’re not supposed to literally hunt down Laurels; the goal is to meet/talk with/obtain signatures from fifty Laurels this year. Even though I know a lot of Laurels and seem to be comfortable talking to them, I’m going to participate just to see how quickly I can obtain fifty signatures.

Okay, backstory told, now to the meat of this post: where to store/collect these signatures?

The Facebook group dedicated to the Hunt suggests obtaining a notebook for this. Well, not to be a snob, but I wasn’t about to go pick up the latest Lisa Frank journal for this modern medieval quest.

Nope. I decided I had to teach myself how to make and bind a small book.

I had some leather left over from the mask I made a couple of years ago for my steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay (quite a decent amount of suede, actually), so I decided that would be my cover. I debated on teaching myself to make the paper for the notebook as well, but nixed that idea when I started down the Pinterest rabbit hole and saw how involved paper making can be.

Yeah. I was on Pinterest again. I’m actually quite interested in the different methods of book binding, so once I get the hang of it I might try bigger, “better” books.

Anywho, at around three thirty in the morning I decided it would be a great time to make the booklet. (Because what else is one to do at three thirty in the morning but start a brand new project?)

I found a small template on–you guessed it–Pinterest and printed it out. A few snips later and I had the cover of my book ready to start adding pages.

This is where it got tricky: most (hell, almost all) of the tutorials mentioned using an awl to punch holes in the leather and paper.

I could not find my awl at three forty five this morning… so I improvised.

The suede I have is fairly lightweight and thin, so thankfully an embroidery needle did the trick to get the holes started. I couldn’t seem to get them big enough to allow me to use the waxed thread for the leather, but silk embroidery thread slid through just fine. A couple of snips in the flap and the front cover and a little piece of leather lacing and boom! Booklet.

It’s small enough to fit in my belt pouch yet has enough pages for all fifty signatures.

See? Kinda cute, isn’t it?

I can see myself making more of these for largesse or even as giveaways at online book events (or maybe selling them at book signings??….), but I need to refine the process first…. and I need to find my awl.

Post-Christmas funk

It happens. Christmas comes and goes and you’re left with a void that you don’t quite know what to do about. You may have to go back to work, or do chores, or return something that someone got you, but after that, what is there?

For me, I’m thankful that I have my sequel to work on. Sure, I’ve got other projects aplenty, but this morning, at oh-dark-thirty, I cranked out almost two thousand words… And that’s not taking into account the words I deleted. I was on a roll!

Of course right before I got to the good part, I had to leave for work. The office beckons, and I must answer. At least until, say, three o’clock or so. Then it’s off to the household twelfth night party. Tomorrow’s a full day of lasers, Friday through Sunday I’m off, and next week, aside from having New Year’s Day off, it’s back to life as usual.

So I’m excited over the progress in my next book, not so much over the working. And yes, I am aware that I have nearly two full Persian outfits to make and a set of cuffs to embroider and two hems and….

Ugh. Can another holiday be added in here?

Aww, who am I kidding? I need the money from the day job, need the sanity from the writing, and need the sewing projects for when the words fail me.

Slow burn

I’m trying. I really am.

I get up and go to work every weekday (unless the office is closed or–rarely–I request off for an appointment or something). I work a full week, sometimes into overtime, and I hardly ever call out or ask to go home early. I clock in on time, and I stay until my boss says I can go. If that means clocking out less than twelve hours before I have to clock in again, then that’s what I do. If it means working when I’m in pain, I do. If it means working through a panic attack, I do. I can’t afford not to.

Most weekends I end up doing SCA things; whether it’s an event, a household meeting, rapier practice, or crafting various things for SCA events, household meetings, or (rarely) something just for me.

I sleep when my body lets me. Sometimes it’s six hours, more often closer to four, maybe four and a half. I drink caffeine and take Adderall to make it through the above listed days without falling asleep sitting up…or standing up. Or while driving.

I do the laundry every week, sometimes multiple days a week. Sometimes I’m aching enough that I have difficulty picking up the clothes that end up on the floor instead of the hamper…. so I leave them. Sometimes I’m so worn out from all the other things that I leave the clean laundry in the dryer for a few days and just fluff it when I need something to wear. Sometimes I go to the effort of taking the laundry out of the dryer and putting it back in the hamper until I have the energy to put it away.

When I have time alone–usually in the wee hours, when sleep evades me–I write. Or edit. Or revise. Or embroider. Or sew. Or plan and execute social media marketing stuff for my writing.

There’s more, but right now I can’t think of exactly what.

I’m trying. I really am. But I am feeling more and more burned out lately. Just thinking about the things I have to do makes me exhausted and depressed. The things that I used to do for fun are now duties. Chores. Requirements. Necessities. There are deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines. Even the SCA events that used to get me all excited now fill me with dread. It’s not “yay! I get to do this thing!” It’s “well, I guess I have to do this thing.” 

I need some me time. Problem is, time is not something that I have available to give myself. It’s all filled with things. Work. SCA. Housework. Crafting.

I can only do so much. My body and my mind and my spirit are all stretched as far as they can go.

I need to think. Introspect. Look inside. Take all the pieces and see where they fit–and what ones shouldn’t even be in the puzzle. I need to prioritize and cut back where I can. 

Some people might feel like I’m pulling away, but it’s not trying to get away from them so much as trying to regroup.

I’m committed to several things for the next two months. I have to hold on at least that long. But after Estrella War?

I might not try as hard. I really might not.

Full Plate, Table 7

I’ve done it to myself again. Gotten too many projects on my plate for the coming month or two. Sure, I’ll get them all done, but until then I have to start buckling down and prioritizing.

Projects pending (in no particular order):

1- I have to finish the embroidery for the Atenveldt royals. Of which I am less than a quarter of the way through. Deadline: about a month.

2- Persian garb for my husband and myself. Can probably step this up to get it done in time, with patterning help from a friend. Deadline: Jan 4.

3- Gift bags. These were a cute idea, but due to unforeseen circumstances no longer really truly needed. Deadline: eh, project’s scrapped at this point.

4- Embroidery for the Baroness of Tyr Ysgithir. Solid black boar about 5″ big. Deadline: Estrella War in February.

5- First official round of revisions on Escaping the Light. Giving myself a few days before diving back in. Deadline: no official deadline as of yet, but I don’t want to procrastinate too much on that.

6- Commission cross stitch for the “Boss Lady” at RhetAskew. Actually making some $$ off this one, but I’m not charging much. Deadline: none really given, and she knows I have some other projects going.

7- Non-Rus Viking garb pants for the hubs. He doesn’t dig the Rus style, so I have to find some magical time to get those done. Deadline: Probably Estrella War?

8- Finish the embroidery I started on hubby’s Viking hood that I made for him. More than halfway through with this one, but the royal embroidery took precedence (ha! SCA pun!). Deadline: Estrella I think. Hoping to crank it out as soon as I get Project 1 done.

9- Read an ARC of a sci-fi novel that I’m going to help promote. Need to know at least a few quotes from it for a game I’m going to do when I do the author takeover. Deadline: Oh yeah, this Saturday.

So yeah. I may have bitten off too big of a chunk. It wasn’t until I started putting the sewing projects on a spreadsheet to keep track that I realized what I’d gotten myself into! I can do it, though. I work better under pressure. Right? Yeah. Right.

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.


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!