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
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
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?