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?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wait, write THIS instead!

My muses like to be pains in my ass.  I wish I had a muse of Getting Stuff Done instead of Oh Here’s Another Idea For You.  Remember that clowns and romance story I was supposed to do a week ago?  Yeah, I finally managed to write up a micro fiction about it yesterday.  Every time I got two paragraphs in, I would have a different idea on how to write it.

I have about ten different ideas about how to write a story about books for a submission that’s due at the end of the month, five more ideas for a story for next month, and two different contrasting ideas for my novel.  Gah. 

I swear the muses just like to laugh at me.

The good thing about all of this is that I now have a huge list of ideas.  Now that the clowns have been put to rest, I can focus my writing energy where it needs to go.

Now, everyone should tell my muses to repeat Go Write!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seeds of the Soul

On Sunday, my UU fellowship shared in a seed communion.  We received packets of sunflower seeds and ate them as a group.  While eating the seeds, our interim minister talked about seeds taking root in the fertile soil of our souls.  She asked what had seeds had already grown and which ones were getting ready to sprout as the season turned to spring.

This imagery has stayed with me all weekend and I think it will stay with me a while longer.  

Spring begins tomorrow, the trees are budding, and the things I could name last year but have forgotten already are pushing up through the ground by my parking lot.  There is a storm brewing and the winds are blowing.

What a perfect time to think about planting the soil.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Love Life of a To Do List

I am caught up in the glow of a new relationship.  A friend introduced us and it’s been a whirlwind romance since then.  It keeps track of things for me and lets me know what needs to happen without being pushy.  I see this relationship going far. is my new crush.  It’s an online ‘personal task manager’ where you can enter your tasks, add a date, color code, and mark them important.  You can drag them into a nesting list like an outline, keeping all your tasks together.  It’s great for keeping all those little things that need to happen in every project together. 

I’m currently using the free version, but I can see myself getting the paid version in the future.  There are more features, like notes and reminders, in the paid version.  ToDoist can also be attached to Firefox.  Instead of having to open a new tab and flip back and forth, Firefox will put a button on your toolbar and maximize / minimize a small section for you.  It’s pretty nifty for home use.

I have a terrible habit of thinking a project won’t take very long because I forget all the little details that have to be accomplished.  ToDoist lets me plop down my basic idea / project, then start filling it up with all the little things that need to be done.  Then it will remind me when I need to get them done.  You can also set recurring tasks, so I don’t have re-enter when all my meetings are. 

My previous To Do list was written on multiple pieces of paper (normally whatever I had on hand), my white board, and my writing notebook.  I can’t take my laptop on errands with me, but at least I can keep track of the errands I should be doing from week to week.

If you haven’t tried out ToDoist yet, you might want to think about it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Poor Jeans

My kiddo is hard on his clothes.  It doesn’t really matter what he’s wearing, chances are it will have a hole, pen ink, or a stain on it before the end of the day.  I swear it’s like magic.  The other day, he brought me a pair of jeans with a huge hole in the back and asked me to fix them. 
The holes after patching.  How do you do this to your clothes, child?!
I, being the crafty mom, said no problem, let me whip out my new sewing machine.  Then I realized that not only did his jeans have one massive hole, but they had a bunch of smaller ones too.  I went ahead and patched them up, but they are about ready for the scrap pile. 

The front side close up of the hole.  I could have trimmed off the fringe before sewing, but I like it on there.
A friend of mine, Kristin from Craft Leftovers (and Ames, yay!), introduced me to the method I used.  I added a piece of canvas to the back side of the hole and sewed like crazy over the space.  I could have done it more artistically, but there were a lot of holes.  My patch job is only prolonging the suffering of this denim.
You can see at least two more holes on his jeans...

A close up of the backside large hole.  Once I was done sewing, I trimmed the canvas to size.
Kristin wrote a book on mending, Mend It Better, and it’s recently come out and had great reviews.  If you are looking for a great resource on making your clothes live longer, check it out.