Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So, yeah...

I've been a bit lacking in my blogging lately.  Let's just call this a 'vacation'.  I haven't been very happy with the layout, content, and direction of the blog for a while and am still trying to find my way into something I would like to do.

What do you, dear readers, want to see here?  Are you inspired by the Inspiration posts?  Do you want more crafty bits?  More insights into my writing process?  More or less religion?  Don't care for a certain part?  Let me know!

Oh.  This is my 400th post too!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Graveyard Rabbits


I like rabbits and I like graveyards, the older the better.  Somehow I had never thought to put the two of them together.  Luckily, I ran across a reference to The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.  Unfortunately, the association is not about rabbits in graveyards.  Instead, it is about the historical and social aspects of graveyards, grave markers, and the customs associated with burial.  Members of the association look for and research these different aspects, learning about our past through the things we leave behind. 

The group takes its name from a poem, another point in their favor.  Frank Lebby Stanton wrote a poem called The Graveyard Rabbit.  There are also superstitions surrounding those rabbits that choose to live in graveyards and burrow in the hallowed ground. 

Every year, my local county conservation center puts on a graveyard tour.  I went one year and still need to contact my mom to see if she wants to go again this year.  We went to a few local cemeteries, learned about the history of some of those buried there, and learned about the markings on the stones.

One of the cemeteries we visited has a large boulder as a marker for a family who died in a covered wagon making their way across the plains.  No one knew who they were or what happened, just that the wagon burned with everyone inside it.  Another cemetery was the small, family plot of Billy Sunday.  Another cemetery is basically in someone’s yard, but it can never be relocated and the ground can never be dug because most of those buried there died of one of those terrible diseases that can stay dormant until it hits fresh air again.

One of the few field trips I’ve gone on with my kiddo was the Pioneer Day last year.  We learned how the Pioneers lived.  We made lye soap, butter and gingerbread, washed clothes, and played games.  After lunch, we walked to a graveyard that is still active around a little church and looked for the pioneer stones.

I love the old stones, the carvings, the eroded stone, the hidden stones behind plants.  I’ve mostly gotten over my fear of treading on the dead and graveyards are a nice, quiet place of reflection.  If you feel the same, go check out the Graveyard Rabbits!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Polka-Dot Wallet


I’m picky about stuff.  I hate buying new bags (not purses, I’m not a purse person, or so I tell myself…), new wallets, new organizational systems, etc.  They never seem to have everything I need arranged the way I want.  So, I tend to make my own.

In a swap a while back, probably almost two years ago, I received a cloth wallet and loved it to pieces.  Well, it finally fell into pieces.  The corners of my cards were poking out the front and the interfacing was exposed.  It had been well used and looked like it.

My quest for a new wallet had begun.

I started searching through Etsy, looking for a pattern and inspiration.  I could have made my own pattern.  In fact, I had done it before, but I wasn’t quite happy with the result.  I found a great pattern on NapKitten and decided to go ahead and buy the pattern rather than trying to puzzle through it. 
Wallet by NapKitten

Here is the result.

It’s a nifty wallet, really, with a coin pocket and lots of card slots.  I think it’s a bit big, though, and might remake it with a decreased size.  My old wallet spoiled me with how small it was. 

I’m going to be strong and not tell you how I goofed.  The pattern itself was pretty easy to follow with lots of pictures.  If I couldn’t quite figure out what I was supposed to do in the written portion, the pictures helped me puzzle through.  Every step was detailed, something I adore because otherwise I get lost.

I bought another pattern from NapKitten for my sister’s birthday.  It’s meant to hold a camera and a phone.  I’m going to turn it into a voodoo head for a wallet and keys.  But first, I think I might make a prototype to fix any small goofs I might have.
Clutch by NapKitten


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writing about writing

I'm one of those who think that by writing things down in public, they will get done.  It doesn't always work, but I can hope!  Here are some of the deadlines / ideas I have coming up.

* April 30 - Twit Publishing - PULP! - Book conservator horror
* April 30 - Twit Publishing - Dieselpunk - bootlegging mechanic
* May 15 - Bloodstones - Urban Fantasy Horror - Moe and Del with the Glaistig
* July 1 - Criminal Class Press - Engines of Deceit / Dieselpunk - Bootlegging mechanic goes investigating
* July 30 - Big Bad Anthology - Bad guys - Reworking my sidewalk hero, maybe.
* August 1 - Criminal Class Press - Dieselpunk - More from my mechanic

There are a couple other submission dates but I'm not positive on them.  In addition, I still need to work on my novel and ideas for the next NaNoWriMo.  Don't forget, May and Story a Day are coming up quickly too!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Heraldic Inspiration


If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know I’m a nerd and/or a geek.  You will also know that I’ve recently (re)joined the SCA and am busy getting my hands on history.  I have recently acquired a heraldry teacher, complete with homework!  Yes, I am in fact happy I’ve been given homework. 

Heraldry is study and system behind coats of arms and devices, all those nifty designs you see on shields and logos.  In the SCA, it also applies to names, and being a human microphone.  Remember Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale?  He was a herald.  Remember all those shields that showed who won?  Those are coats of arms.

The last assignment I was given was to go through a 16th century English roll of arms, a book of a bunch of devices.  I would link to it, but the link doesn't seem to be working right now.  There was probably about a hundred pages to go through.  But it was a lot of fun.  A lot of the designs were something that I could see people today coming up with.  There were also a lot of things I would never have thought of.  There was a chicken leg taking up the whole shield.  Seriously.  Okay, it was probably an eagle or some worthy predator, but it looked like a chicken leg to me.

Not only do these old designs inspire me to think up new designs for heraldry, but it sparked my creative juices in general.  I am actually working on that long list of projects that I need to get done.  Several of them were actually finished this weekend! 

History isn’t always dry pictures in books. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Crafting my list

One of the good things about having white boards is that I can write down lists.  To Do lists are all well and good when you have a plan, but when you have a list of things to do with no specific date, white boards can't be beat.  Unfortunately, once your list reaches from the top to the bottom of the board, it means you should probably get something done...

I have two white boards in my house and I consolidated my To Craft lists last night.  Holy crap, I have a ton of stuff to get done.  My goal is to get everything on it right now done before 2013.  Why so far away you ask?  Because otherwise I'll miss the deadline and nothing will get done. :)

Here is my To Craft list, or at least part of it.  I forgot to write it all down in my notebook last night.  And, of course, this doesn't include presents for holidays - except my sisters birthday next month.  I guess it's time for me to break out my sewing machine and get going!

To Sew for SCA:
Daemon's Greek tunic
Daemon's second tunic
Finish Dezy's green dress
Make Dezy a loose sleeve gown that doesn't bother the burn on her arm?
Dezy - New hoop skirt
Dezy - fix old hoop skirt
Camicia
Veils
Coazzone / Trinzale
Turkish coat
Loose Venetian gown / coat
Persian or Turkish garb - Pick one!
German Garb
Dezy bag
SCA specific bag
Daemon pouch
Fancy sleeves
Embroidered heraldry sleeve
For SCA:
Game boards
Rule book / binder - bind into a book?
Heraldry flash cards

To Sew:
Simple skirt / broomstick skirt
Yoke top
Wallet
Laptop / work bag
Project bags
New sharpie bag
New hook bag or roll

To Crochet:
Dezy voodoo head bag 
Dezy voodoo doll
Dezy bunny
 
Other Crafts:
Plastic Canvas creeper
Eevee in some form
Mother's day present

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You did what?


Typically, I don’t brag about my accomplishments.  Typically, I don’t share them at all.  I am just not that comfortable bringing attention to myself.  (But yet I write a blog…)  When I received my copies of A Rustle of Dark Leaves, I told a few friends and made a copy of the cover and contents page to post up on my cubicle wall.  My work situation isn’t the hottest with communication and cooperation.  I wasn’t sure if anyone would notice.

But oh my gosh.  One person noticed, then she announced it when we were gathering to say happy birthday to someone.  Then someone else sent an email about it.  Before long, I had a line of people wanting to read my story and someone ordered a copy.  Seriously.

It’s just a short story.

But it is my first anthology publication and I’m excited about it.  I’ve been published in smaller ‘trade/Pagan’ newsletters and my community college newspaper but a book seems different.  I’m excited that they are excited, and I’m excited for myself.  I just have to find the confidence to deal with it if I want to keep publishing pieces. 

How do you deal with your successes? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Music Gods don't hate me

There is a local band made good I have been trying to see.  Two times I got ready to see the band perform and something happened that kept me from going.  Once, I had been painting a mural all day and felt like sleeping for a month.  The second time, the kidlets I was with at a festival blew up and we all went home before mass murder was committed. 

On Saturday, the Poison Control Center was scheduled to perform at Aquapalooza, a fundraising festival in my old high school.  Aquapalooza was created to raise money to build a well in Uganda.  Two high school students put it together and pulled a bunch of bands together to perform from 2pm - 10pm. 

The music gods were handing me a third opportunity to finally see the Poison Control Center.  Another chance to see them perform in public.  I had met one of their wives, but never seen the band.  My sister, my kiddo, and I geared up and went to listen to awesome music.

In between a couple bands, we went out for dinner and ended up dying eggs real quick before we headed back.  I took the kiddo home after getting him to see Utopia Park.  He kept repeating "I'm so confused!" after we ran in a circle, crowd-hugged, and got down on one knee.  I replied, "It's okay.  It's Utopia Park."  I love that band. 

My sister and I managed to get right next to the stage for the Mumford's set.  The first song was awesome, just like we expected it to be.  Then, the mosh pit started suddenly and my sister took a dive onto the stage and straight into a stage light.  She burned the hell out of her arm and we left the concert.  I believed it was my fate to never see the Poison Control Center.

However, my sister was high on music and after slathering her arm with aloe and repotting the baby plants, she demanded that we go back.  We managed to get back one band before PCC.  Much to my delight, I finally got to see PCC jump across the stage.  One kept playing his guitar while doing a head stand.  The other, the splits.  And the drummer?  Awesome.

The music gods DON'T hate me. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's a bunny!

I thought my son was getting too old for stuffed animals.  Or, at least, for homemade gifts.  But luckily, this isn't the case.  The kiddo had been hinting around for a week or two that he didn't have a crocheted bunny and wouldn't it be wonderful if he could add one to the collection?  Of course, it might be because we have a cute, live bunny at home now and a stuffed one would almost be as cute.
With Easter/Ostara around the corner, it seemed like the best time to break out the hooks and get crafting.
I found this adorable pattern on CRAFT and got to it.  I was really worried I wouldn't have the time, but I finished the pattern Saturday morning.  The pattern worked up quick and easy and the pieces went together nicely.  The kiddo loved finding this cute bunny in his basket on Easter morning.  My sister has already requested one too.
 Happy crafting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Challenge Months Ahead

Normally I am all over this, ready and raring to go, but I'm still pretty burned out on lots of things. 

April is National Poetry Month. There is a challenge to write a poem a day over at Writer's Digest.  Robert Lee Brewer posts a prompt every day and chooses his favorite submission at the end.  It's pretty helpful to try to write a poem a day.  I've done it before, but I've been lacking this month.  I believe I might start tonight!

There is a program running in May called Story A Day.  Basically, you write a short story every day.  They are starting to gear up with writing exercises and collecting story ideas now.  I tried this last year and while I only managed to get a couple stories finished, I had partials for several others that I was able to flesh out and use later.

June brings the first Camp NaNo of the year.  Write a novel in idyllic camp settings surrounded by mosquitoes and bears. :)

Get your writing muscles in gear and write write write!

Monday, April 2, 2012

I love my local music


I love my local music scene.  I don’t get to very many concerts (partly because I’m busy, partly because I’m crazy self-conscious), but I love the fact that we have such a wide variety of local musicians.  The music isn’t confined to just bars either.  We have house concerts, a dedicated space for music and art, and a local community radio station that plays host to concerts.  We also have a couple different series of concerts during the summer outside at a park, a series at the library, and a weekend festival of musicians at all sorts of different locations in Ames. 

I love my local music scene.

Last Wednesday, I went to a house concert for SJ Tucker.  Chesire Moon, a local group, opened up for her and I can’t say enough good things about the concert.  Everyone was awesome and the music…  It was fantastic.

This Saturday, I will be going to Aquapalooza at Ames High School.  It is a fundraiser to help the Ames non-profit Clean Water Movement build a well in Uganda.  For only ten dollars, I might finally get to see Poison Control Center!  Utopia Park will be playing and they put on one crazy, crazy show (guy hanging from the ceiling upside down in a dress crazy.  Seriously.  That’s what happened last time I saw them.  And he got stuck.).  Christopher the Conquered and Mumford’s, both of whom put on great shows, will play along with a bunch of others. 

If you are in Ames this Saturday, I suggest you drop anything else you have planned and get your butt down to the high school.  You will not be disappointed.

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Dresses in Seafoam and Burgandy


Most of my creating time lately has been filled with sewing.  I’m going to a SCA event this weekend and I wanted to make a new set of garb.  It could have been one a lot sooner, but I, of course, suffer from fear I’m going to screw something up. :)

I managed to make a gown based off the styles of Venice in the 1500’s.  I forgot to take pictures of it all by itself… grr.  The bodice is the main time consumer on the under dress.  In front, there is a couple layers of canvas cut in an odd way to make the bodice self-supporting.  The dress has two side openings which lace up.  The skirt material is cartridge pleated to the bodice and sewn up the sides. 


The over dress (the red one) is split open in the front and has a v at the front and back.  I used a hook and eye to close it.  When I tried it on without the under dress, it stayed closed all on its own.  I might have to add another hook and eye a little further down. 

This over dress was probably the hardest part of the whole thing.  It’s not a hard pattern, but I was stressing out like crazy because I just couldn’t wrap my head around the instructions.  Last time I made one, I didn’t do the gores right and I really didn’t want to mess this one up.  But I followed through with the instructions and it fits wonderfully. 

The sleeves I’m not sold on.  I might have to make a different set to go with it.  They are in two pieces, a closed upper sleeve and a tied lower sleeve which lets my camicia poof out through the openings.  The upper sleeve should probably be made shorter.  But it’s not bad for a first effort.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Rustle of Dark Leaves is out!

I'm happy to announce that the anthology that includes one of my short stories is finally published!  A Rustle of Dark Leaves: Tales from the Shadows of the Forest was officially launched yesterday and ready for purchase.  This is my first short story published beyond my college newspaper or e-newsletters.  I'm pretty excited! 

My story is The Rusalka Sang, published under the name CL Tice.

My favorite duo of monster hunters, Edward Mosley and Felix Delperdang, go hunting in the forest for a Rusalka.  Rusalkas are female ghosts or water spirits.  At night, they would climb out of the water and seduce men to their deaths.  They also climb trees and sing. 

One of these days I'll write about bad male spirits, but Mo and Del mostly end up encountering female monsters.  Maybe Mo is just having fun before he retires.

If you end up reading my story, let me know what you think!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Recycled Paper Flowers

I have a thing for paper.  Well, for all stationary products in general.  Paper only tickles my fancy when I can fold it into things - books, flowers, stars, etc.  I found this tutorial a couple years ago and started making flowers from used post-its at work.  Then I fell out of the habit.  This week, however, I have been revisiting my paper flower balls.

My new post-it ball isn't finished yet.

But here's an old one I did.

And my scrap letterhead one!  Well, half of it.  I have yet to make a complete ball.  All I have to do is glue two of these together and I'm golden.  Or I could leave it the way it is and leave it pinned to my wall. 

I'm thinking of finding some green paper or yarn and adding stems to my paper flowers to decorate the side of my cubicle.  What do you think?