Saturday, June 11, 2016

Class of 2016

Today, my "baby brother" graduated from Rogue Community College.
Pictured with his Outstanding Student Award
('cos he didn't have his diploma yet when we took the pic)

It has been a long, grueling three years since he took that big step and made the decision to earn his AA, but God has been faithful to uphold him (even when being run through the meat-grinder that was that first year at North Idaho College--OY!), and He has brought him to this point.

 The college presented him with their Outstanding Student Award this Spring for his nearly-perfect 4.0 grade average and good attitude and work ethic. And considering his Electronic Engineering professor has only had nine students with that GPA since the 1990s till now...oops, there go my buttons again.... :-D

Congratulations, Peter! Mom and I are so proud of you!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Midway Check List

So here we are at the middle of the year. Only six months left in 2016. Zowie! Where does the time go??

Methought it fitting to check up on the goals I made back in January and see how I’m doing….
(All pix via Pinterest unless otherwise noted)

Writing Goals:

Nácil Vituódhtrán, Crown Prince of the Faeries:  ·        Finish first draft of Prince Nácil.

Haven’t done this yet, but I’m plugging away at it as inspiration hits. I’ll have to go some to get it finished by New Year 2017, though. (And my offer still stands for anyone who wants to beta-read it.)

Jane Foster and Elsie Douglas:
Jane Foster and Elsie Douglas.
Looking forward to working with these two cuties!
 ·        Plot out the Main Series. Need to give more serious thought to this. I think I know about where it ends, so at least I have a goal to shoot for….
Stardust, the silver Water-drake, in her lair. Obviously, she hoards books instead of shinies ;-):
Stardust, the silver Water-dragoness,
who hoards books instead of shinies. ;-)
·         Organize/finalize other series/story-arcs, including dramatus personae. I drew up a sort of “timeline” to help me visualize how all the story-arcs connect with the Main Series (and each other in some cases), but I’m still debating on some of the cast. I did bite the bullet and include The Pirate-hunter in Ýdára (since the protagonist and her love interest were essentially the same characters as two others in this world), so now I get to tweak backstories and add pirates to the mix of baddies my Characters have to fight. Um, yay? ;-)
·       Read/re-read snippets from fellow “scribblers” and send feedback. The two shorter ones are DONE, *confetti* and I’m working my way through the largest one…and then I discovered another snippet I’d forgotten about. *D’oh!* So, we make a little progress….
·        Write review for Water Princess, Fire Prince.
Mock Cover by R.R. Goodwill
DONE! Posted on Amazon. And eventually, I need to revamp my mock-cover. This one is blocky at best, and the Kastle is totally wrong.... /SELF-CRITICISM
Host a Blog Party for my Imaginary Worlds.
A glimpse of the Guardian:
In progress. Some of my Characters started talking to me, Real Life stuff happened (Whatcha gonna do when the well… needs sanitizin’…honey?), so preparing Party Posts wasn’t a top priority. But I’d still like to do it eventually…I’m thinking sometime in September, so’s I can feature the Pirate-hunter bits on Talk Like a Pirate Day. :-D Annnnnd…since I have several worlds, and they’re all more or less intricate, I may have to break up the Party into several. Or keep what I share about each to a minimum. Cue more pondering….

Sewing and Crafty Goals:
·        SEW ALL THE THINGS!!! Actually…the Lord finally got it through my thick skull that I really don’t *need* any more clothes. He’s provided some very nice “normal” frocks via the local thrift stores, so that takes the pressure off me to sew everything in order to have stuff to wear. It’s so freeing, really, to know my fabrics are packed away in a bin for when I need them—later. I do still intend to make up the embroidered things (including my Rapunzel costume), and there are a few items that won’t take too long to alter for the Summer and Fall. But there’s no huge rush for the rest now. *Ahhhh….*

·        Design/make jewelry to match outfits. In progress. I’m still kinda figuring out my personal style—what I like to look at and design often isn’t what I’m comfortable wearing. Plus a lot of my clothes either don’t need jewelry, or the necklines aren’t conducive to wearing a necklace with them. Then, too, there’s Summertime, when it’s just too hot to have stuff around one’s neck. That’s where my earrings get to come out and play, I guess. So yeah. Still tinkering….
·        Post new Etsy listings regularly. Och, I’ve been a bad girl here. Haven’t posted as often as I intended to so far. Need to get on the ball….
·        Finish knitting and crochet WIPs. Five little bears—DONE. Bearington—DONE. Afghan—In progress. Need 52 of one type of hexagon, 11 Dragon hexagons, and 26 half-hexagons to filling around the edges. Currently have about 45 hexagons made, plus one completed Dragon hexagon (actually two; I just haven’t sewn the Dragon to the patch yet). Six other Dragons made, but a few need tweaking before I make the hexagon part around them. Also need to figure out how to crochet a half-hexagon….
·        Knit some ear-warmers. Haven’t even started on this yet.
·        “Pixie Bonnet” —In  progress. Decided not to buy the knitted “Pixie-hat” pattern when I found this FREE crocheted one late last month. I’m using two colors of yarn worked together, and crocheting gives a better “tweed” texture than knitting, anyhow.

Other Goals:
·        Stay on schedule. Eh…sorta-kinda-almost. I have a loose routine I’m following right now, but it’s not set in writing.
·        Get E-Sword on my computer. *Sigh* Haven’t done this, either. But I am trying to read a chapter a day as possible, so at least I’m not totally neglecting my Spiritual life…quite.
·        Redecorate my room. Sold my fancy furniture the Winter and now have a much simpler, less imposing bed and nightstand, and a big desk (on extended loan from our pastor’s wife) that has a fold-down easel and a light-panel for artwork. Right now, it serves as a computer desk, but I do hope to use it for art eventually, too. Not sure I’ll actually do the tole-painting, since both the desk and nightstand are on loan from other people…and not that much of the bedframe shows anyhow. I may re-finish it, though, as the old finish is kinda messed up. Not even thinking about painting the walls/trim or hanging prisms this year.
·        Exercise more. I try to take a coupe laps around the drive when the weather is good, but that’s about it. And I try to do some stretches in the evenings….

So, not doing as well as I hoped…but then, maybe I bit off more than I can chew. :-P

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

Monday, March 28, 2016

The New Dream: Take 2

“What if it’s not everything I always dreamed of?”

Y’know that Rapunzel-inspired Party Frock I posted about a while back?
Since then, the more I looked at my fabrics, the more I began to have serious doubts about the whole mixed-prints thing…especially once I realized I couldn’t embroider the skirt (well, I could, but it would have been too busy with the print), and I did so want to embroider it.

I did some more thinking and rather confused praying about it, afterwards getting a second opinion from Mom. The resolution I came to as a result is this: I’ve had this dream for nearly six years; it’s something close to my heart—something very special to me—I don’t want to botch it up. Mom encouraged me to get solid-colored fabrics for the skirt and sleeves because that’s what I really wanted, and we both knew I just wouldn’t be happy with the mixed prints. I’ve done this to myself so many times in the past—wanting to recreate a favorite movie costume (or a more modest version thereof *cough*), visualizing it in my mind, having a goal for how to make it…and then either cheated myself with incorrect fabrics and/or messed up the project out of impatience, or just given up entirely.
I don’t want to settle for “close enough” or “sorta inspired by” just because that’s what I could afford/find locally, when just a little more effort (and admittedly, a little more $$$) can bring me closer to my goal.

No, I am NOT going to spend upwards of $20 a yard for the “authentic” design printed on silk. That were obsession. I have, however, taken Mom’s advice and purchased three yards of solid orchid-purple cotton, and half a yard of lighter purple, from a couple of Etsy stores. And here they are:
L-R: Kona Cotton "Wisteria" (upper sleeves),
Printed Bodice Fabric,
Kona Cotton "Crocus" (skirt)
 (Pardon the wrinkles; I haven’t had time to iron them yet.)
So now I can embroider the skirt like I wanted, PTL! And I’ve decided to use the embroidery patternfrom the movie costume. I mean, come on, if I’m going to make a Rapunzel dress, I should go ahead and make a Rapunzel dress, wot? Plus it’s so cute and fun and, well, Rapunzel-y! This graphic (thumbs-up to whoever made it) gives a pretty good idea of how the embroidery is laid out, so hopefully I can correlate it with the actual patterns.
I’d still really like to have the front panel be printed, but this print doesn’t come in a deeper orchid-purple. Not sure I could successfully over-dye it, either, so I’ll probably just make the whole skirt out of the “Crocus” fabric.

Also kinda waffling on whether to go with the “all purple” color scheme like I originally planned, or to take that extra step and make pink lower sleeves, get pink piping and lacing, and add pink and blue to the embroidery. It looks great on Rapunzel, of course, and on little girls…but on me? Feels like it’d be a bit young, and I don’t want to look like a refugee from Disneyland (or and Easter egg, LOL).
Cue more thinking and praying….

And don’t worry about the swirly print; I love it too much in its own right to toss it. In fact, by God’s grace I discovered I can get a whole dress out of my 3 ½+ yards, with a little careful pattern placement. So hurrah! I get a purple Summer frock, too. :-D

I’ll admit, I was ready to give up on this project for a time, but God has brought me this far with it—providing for the materials—and confirmed it through Mom’s encouragement. I can only trust that He’ll guide me through to the end.

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quote Queste—March Anniversary Edition—Anton and Isabella

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Miss Melody Muffin’s “Quote Queste” writing challenge! *Trumpet fanfare*
To celebrate, I’m enlisting the aid of a couple characters from my Ýdára series. This month’s rather adorable quote seemed perfect for them:

 I’m still tinkering with their backstories at this point; Anton’s especially, as I had another love interest entirely planned for Isabella. But then I discovered more about her personality, and decided she needed a guy like Anton to teach her to relax once in a while. :-P They’re quickly becoming one of my favorite couples, and I look forward to working with them. Until then, a little experimental snippet….
Isabella and her horse:
via Pinterest
(Hair should be white-blonde and braided
...and ignore the horse for this scene)
       Last of the Nórska.
     The words echoed through Isabella’s mind, haunting her, weighing down her already heavy spirit. Images replayed in her memory—Morlock’s revelation, the firestorm, the devastation throughout Fjordhaven, the whirlwind that carried her to his fortress….
     Tears threatened to form in her eyes, and she felt her stomach tighten. Everything she had ever known, everyone she had allowed herself to love, was gone. Gone forever, as though they had never existed. She knew her parents at least awaited her in Elyon’s Country, and she found some comfort in that. But the thought of living out her years—so many long, lonely years—without them to guide her, without a single familiar face or object around her, filled her with a weariness that was almost physically painful. She wanted to find some dark, hidden corner of the forest, collapse on the soft grass, and cry herself into oblivion. She wanted to lie there until she died, and be reunited with her family and her people. She longed to be free of the burden of her rank and the wretchedness of a world tainted by sin—even such a beautiful Faerie-world as Ýdára—and enjoy the pure delights of Heaven.
     She shook herself and held her head a little higher. Enough! she scolded herself. Pull yourself together, Isabella Oláfsdóttír. You may be the last of your people, but you are still Crown Princess of Fjordhaven, daughter of kings and direct descendant of Bjorn the Black. Elyon has given you duties to perform and a purpose in this world—do not shirk them! You are technically a queen now; a queen must be strong, no matter what.
     She felt a tap on her left shoulder and turned to see who wanted her attention. But when she looked, she saw only the trees and mossy, twig-littered floor of Glenwood Forest. A tap on her right shoulder made her whirl about, but once again she saw no one. Then she caught a movement—a blur of stormy blue—in the corner of her left eye, and she spun around again, this time with success. Before her stood Anton Argyros*, one blue-clad arm outstretched, his face alight with a mischievous, boyish grin, his crystal-blue eyes twinkling with merriment under that thatch of tow-colored hair. Apparently, she had caught him about to tap her shoulder again. He quickly—and rather smoothly—turned his playful gesture into a sweeping bow.
     “Top of the morning to you, my lady,” he greeted, with exaggerated politeness.
     Isabella smiled in spite of her annoyance, but quickly composed her features before he looked up at her again. “Is there something you want, sir?”
     “Well,” he drawled, lifting one corner of his mouth as he bent to pick up his quarterstaff—which Isabella had taken for a fallen tree branch a moment ago—“you might come huckleberrying with me; I know a place where they grow so large—”
     Isabella cast a distressed glance down her spotless teal gown. “What!” she frowned. “In this?”
     “Oh, to be sure, that fancy frock would never do for berry-picking,” he conceded, bouncing his staff on the root of a nearby maple tree. “But I’m sure Fiona would be happy to lend you some more appropriate garb. She’s generous like that, you know.”
     Isabella’s frown deepened a tiny bit. The thought of herself—Isabella of Fjordhaven, Crown Princess-cum-Queen of the Nórska—traipsing through the woods in search of berries that would inevitably leave her spattered with blue-purple juice, wearing borrowed clothing…and such clothing! A tunic barely long enough to be modest for a woman, paired with trousers much too tight for her liking, and knee-high boots only fit for men on horseback…well, it made her cringe.
     She hesitated.
     “Come now,” he grinned, switching his staff from one hand to the other, “it’ll be great fun. And you needn’t worry about getting lost, either; Jason knows the way—he’s the one who showed me where to find the best berries—and his sense of direction threatens to rival the great Gil the Green’s.” He stilled his staff-juggling—for which Isabella felt a wave of relief—and smiled a warm, inviting smile that begged to be returned. “Please?” he asked eagerly, yet gently. “Won’t you get down off your high horse—just this once—and have a little fun? Stop being a queen for a moment and enjoy life?”
     His words, though not particularly gracious, had a certain persuasive charm she found difficult to resist. His tone, that twinkle in his eyes, that impish, playful smirk—there was something about his manner that made even berry-picking sound like a delightful experience. An experience, he seemed to imply, that she would do well to have. She forced herself to look him in the eye, even went so far as to begin mentally forming the words to accept his offer….
     But no! Such a thing was unacceptable. It was undignified in one of her position. And a queen must maintain her dignity at all times. She stiffened.
     “Your offer is kindly meant, I am sure,” she replied coldly, “however, I cannot accept. Please convey my regrets to your friends.”
     His smile faded for a second, leaving him looking confused, and she wondered if she had been too harsh. Then he cocked his head and assumed the expression of a Spaniel begging for table-scraps.
     “Are you sure?” he wheedled, turning his head further and further sideways. “You’re not the least, tiniest, little bit interested?”
     His silly antics drove away any inclination she might have felt to change her mind. “I am not.”
     He straightened, again with confusion.
     “Why do you persist?” she sighed, feeling guilty, yet annoyed with him at the same time. “Why do you seek my company?”
     His eyes shone, and his mouth formed that warm, inviting smile again, this time broader and more genuine. “Because I like you,” he stated.
     His frankness startled her out of her cold reserve, and she gasped loudly, her hand flying to her mouth in her surprise.
     “Oh, I know I haven’t a chance,” Anton admitted, leaning on his quarterstaff. “You’re a queen—a direct descendant of Beorn (or Bjórn if you prefer)—whereas I’m just another boy without a crown.” Here he placed his hand over his heart, bowed his head so that his chin nearly touched his chest, and assumed an exaggerated humble expression. “A lowly serf, a peasant not fit to kiss the hem of your skirt”—Isabella’s eyebrows shot up—“and therefore unworthy of your notice.” He looked up at her, his crystal-blue eyes twinkling with mirth, and lifted one corner of his mouth. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t notice you, my lady,” he added impishly.
     The corners of Isabella’s mouth twitched, and she felt herself relaxing. The fellow had charm, to be sure. And if he could truly “like” someone who—she knew all too well—projected such a cold, well-nigh heartless façade, then he must be either much wiser and more perceptive than she had thought him, or else he was a glutton for rejection.
     But then she remembered who she was, and she drew herself up straighter.
     “That will do, sirrah,” she intoned. And before his boyish half-grin could trick her into returning it—or worse, make her laugh and therefore destroy all appearance of propriety on her part—she turned her back on him and walked away.

* * *
Switch out the weapons for a quarterstaff, and make the clothes stormy grey-blue and more Medieval, and you have Anton:
via Pinterest
(Not an exact representation,
but it does capture his personality)
    Anton watched her go with a strange little pang in his stomach. His silver tongue and comedic face had never failed him before. Everyone else he met had always succumbed to his natural charm and joined him in merriment, afterwards becoming one of his many friends. And for a moment, he had though the Nórska queen was about to favor him with a smile at least…but apparently queens either didn’t know how to smile, or else this one deemed him unworthy of hers.
     Not at this point, anyhow.
     A sly grin developed at that thought. Perhaps he’d had it too easy until now. He’d always taken it for granted that he could make people like him because even the grouchiest people he’d met had eventually ended up laughing at his jokes and clownish acrobatics. Yet here was this beautiful lady who seemed determined to rebuff every effort he made to be friendly. The more he joked, the more she resisted. The sillier his antics, the deeper her frown. But perhaps with a little more effort on his part, she’d forget to be the prim-and-proper Queen of the Nórska and allow herself to be just a maiden. Perhaps then he would find out for certain if she knew how to smile. Everyone had a breaking point—eventually, he reasoned, he would find a way to penetrate that wall of ice and touch her heart…or at least tickle her funny-bone. Determination to find that way welled up inside him, spilling out in a chuckle and a little leap in the air. He flung a two-finger salute in the direction she had disappeared.
     “Challenge accepted.”

Like I said, I’m still tinkering with them at this point—mainly to see if I can write a “cold-fishy” character but still make her likable to the readers, and portray a “class clown” accurately, without turning him into a Jar-Jar Binks. :-P
Thoughts? Suggestions?

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

* I’m still noodling with his name, too. Not specially happy with Anton Argyros, but it’s all I could think of for now….

Monday, February 29, 2016

The New Dream

30 Day Disney Challenge Day 2: Who is your Favorite Disney princess? Rapunzel from Tangled is my favorite. If I was a princess, this would be me. She's silly and quirky, but more importantly she has faith in her dreams. I love how Disney makes strong and confident women who have hope in themselves. So many little girls can look up to them.:
“I’ve got a dream!”
(She’s got a dream!)
“I’ve got a dream!”
(She’s got a dream!)

Even before my family saw Disney’s Rapunzel, I’ve been fascinated with her pretty pinky-purple dress because, not only is Rapunzel the first Disney Princess to wear purple (my favorite color), but while watching the movie, I found myself thinking the style is something I’d design myself:
·        Small puff-sleeves (not poofy), with fitted lower sleeves—one of my favorite sleeve styles!
·        Sleeves are ¾-length—warmer than short sleeves, yet keep out of the way for hands-on tasks
·        Sweetheart neckline (so feminine! ’Though I’d have made it higher or filled in)
·        A-line skirt (fitted at the waist—no bulk!—flared at hem)
·        Mid-calf-length—long enough to be modest and elegant, short enough to keep out of the mud :-P
·        Subtle lace trim
·        EMBROIDERY!

I tried to make my own version of this frock a few years back…let’s just say I didn’t know what I was doing, and it didn’t turn out well. But the desire for a Rapunzel-inspired dress never really left, and this year it’s come back in full force. By God’s grace, I was able to buy the materials needed for this project this past month (what weren’t already in the Stash, that is). PTL! See, Grandma sent me some Green $tuff for my birthday this year, plus some extra to buy my “Snow Queen” jewelry set, so this was kind of a birthday present from her. :-)
I’ve decided, however, not to try and make a 110% screen-accurate reproduction. :-P Not only is that stressful and obsessive, but it can also be very expensive (and if you don’t believe me, just check out the prices of various fabric options for the fan-made “authentic” print on Spoonflower). So I’m aiming for an “inspired-by” version—made from fabrics that will still evoke the look of the movie costume, but be easier to care for than silks or satin [read: machine washable and –dryable].

Here are the materials for my frock:
Clockwise from top: Bodice fabric, piping, lower sleeve fabric (with embroidery floss, sewing thread, and zipper), skirt pattern, skirt/upper sleeve fabric
The color-scheme is admittedly a bit more purply than Rapunzel’s dress, and you’ll notice I got purple piping instead of opting for pink embroidery or binding. That’s because it looked better to my eye. A bit classier and less blatantly Disney Princess (which is why I’ll also be using lavender for the lower sleeves instead of pink). 
…but then again, the movie dress is computer-generated silk brocade and –taffeta, so it shifts hues with the lighting. Sometimes it looks really pink…
Full body screenshot of rapunzel from tangled for dress reference:
…other times it’s more orchid/lilac…
“Eew, there’s a lizard on my lap!”
…and by moonlight, it’s almost a true lavender...
Rapunzel - Tangled - Beautiful <3:
So I guess we could dub this dress “Rapunzel by Moonlight,” LOL
(and then there’s this odd little GIF, where her dress is almost periwinkle…???)
"Just ask my frying pa--oh!"

I’m going with this color scheme because it’s what I could find. Plus I look awful in really pinky-lavenders. :-P

~The Bodice~
I saw a print like this on Etsy and immediately thought of Rapunzel. Thankfully, the local fabric store had it in stock, so I didn’t have to pay shipping. Yayness! I’ll be using my drafted princess-seamed pattern, which is based—I think—on McCall’s 4107 (and heavily modified to fit my shape). This is probably one of the biggest differences between the movie costume and my dress. Rapunzel’s bodice is constructed more like a corset, with multiple seamlines and boning channels and stuff. There’s also an odd little buttoned bit in the back (someone suggested she wears a blouse under a corset). My bodice will have a high neckline in back with an invisible zipper, and I plan to dress it up with piping in the princess seams and decorative lacing. I’ll probably cut the sweetheart neckline in front about the same as the movie costume’s and wear a higher-necked sleeveless layering tee underneath it for modesty. (The reason: I like sweetheart necks, but they look awkward when cut up high enough to be modest. Laying Tees to the rescue!)

~The Skirt~
Originally, I was going to get a darker version of the bodice print for the center-front skirt panel, then use solid orchid-purple for the rest of the skirt. However, I couldn’t find the darker print locally and didn’t want to order online (color matching should be done in person as much as possible), so I decided to get two solids…unfortunately, the only matches I found for my bodice fabric were on a swatch card at Jo-Ann, and both colors had been discontinued. :-( Then the nice girl who waited on me mentioned a new fabric store in town, so Mom and I dropped by…and I found this:

The color was a perfect match, and just a little deeper than the bodice fabric. The print goes surprisingly well with it, too, even though they’re not a bit similar. It adds a bit of Gunne Sax pattern-mixing to the project, which is cool. :-D

The plan is to use Butterick B6179, View C, for the skirt, as it’s fairly close to the movie skirt. My only modification at this point (other than eliminating the waistband, of course) will be to cut the center-front panel on the fold instead of having that seam up the front.

~The Sleeves~
Ideally, I’d like to make the upper sleeves in the deeper print, using my drafted puff-sleeve pattern based (loosely) on another one, the number of which I don’t have right now….
And while I like the look of the ribbons on Rapunzel’s sleeves, mine has to double as a Real World party-frock, and nothing says “costume” more plainly than stripey sleeves for some reason.

~Trims and Embroidery~
Disney's Rapunzel Costume Analysis! Close-up of the skirt:
Obviously, I’m not going to find the *exact* trims used in the movie costume. That’s OK, ’cos I’m not going for exact here. ^.^ I do, however, hope to add some subtle lace trim to the sleeve-edges and neckline, and possibly the hem of a new petticoat I have in the works. So a look through our Stash of vintage laces (some of which belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother) is on order soon….
I’m omitting the lace on the bottom edge of the bodice because, unlike Rapunzel’s, my bodice will be sewn to the skirt instead of separate pieces. Plus it feels a bit excessive.
The embroidery on Rapunzel’s skirt is cute and fun, but I can’t figure out the pattern, and I’m not going to try, especially since this isn’t an exact replica. I’m thinking of this design, which I used for my cousin’s Russian(esque) peasant costume:

I’d work it in the variegated orchid-purple floss in the first materials picture, rather than in pinks and blues like in the movie. Seems like any embroidery on my frock needs to be a bit more subtle because the whole skirt will be printed, rather than just the front panel. I mayn’t even need embroidery on the skirt, so I may just do something on the sleeves. We’ll see when I get to that point.

I’m so happy to be one step closer to realizing a pet dream I’ve had for several years! It’s still a wee bit unreal that God has actually made it possible…proof—once again—that my little projects matter to Him, too. :-D Sole Deo Gloria!

It’ll probably be a while, realistically, before I do anything more with this project, as there are several other Real Life projects on a higher priority. But they’re none of them very difficult, so Lord willing, I may get to this dress sooner than I think. :-)

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Actually Finishing Something: Bearington

By God’s grace, I can finally cross one thing off my New Year’s list: As of  this afternoon, I finished my new mascot, Bearington!

I actually started knitting him in October, I think, but what with one thing and another (and some procrastination on my part *whistle*), it took a while to finish. For the curious, I used the Mister Bean’s Teddy pattern by Sarah Bradburry for the head and body, Debbie Bliss’ Teddy Bear pattern for the ears and legs…and just winged it for the arms. I also added a neck, as the head didn’t look right just sewn directly to the body.
Because I’m an incurable tweaker, I made some other modifications:

·        I used US size 1 knitting needles instead of #3s to make the gauge as small as possible (I didn’t want him ending up too big)
·        Because the head and body ended up bigger than I expected, I had to lengthen the legs to be more proportionate
·        Instead of using felt and buttons for the facial features, I embroidered them with yarn. I also added the black paw-prints and “claws” on the paws and feet, to add character.

·        I made the inner ears cream instead of brown like the pattern called for, and I used a buttonhole stitch along the edges to have a line of brown over the cream parts. It looked less stark that way.

He ended up a bit taller and skinnier than I imagined, and his paws are a bit more squared-off than I hoped, but all in all, he turned out really cute, and I’m so happy to have him done now!

On to the next project….

Say goodbye to the nice people, Bearington.
Bye-bye! Come again soon!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Go for the Goals!

A belated Happy New Year to all my Gentle Readers! Now that the Christmas busyness has settled down, it’s time to look ahead to the coming year and prayerfully set some goals. Below is a list of things I really want to accomplish this year, God willing. Things I need to get done, for my own peace of mind, and because these are the tasks God has given me to do. Feel free to “bug” me from time to time if you’re so inclined—I need all the motivation I can get!
So then, The List™:

Writing Goals:

·        Finish first draft of Prince Nácil. This will be the official first book of the House of Othniel series (the “Main Series”) in my Ýdára multiverse (more on that later). My inspiration for this book kinda dried up, but I’m determined, with God’s help, to see it through. I was really starting to connect with Victor, Little Jane Foster, and Lady Müriel, and finding out some things about the secondary characters that I think fleshes them out nicely, so I definitely want to keep at it.
BTW, if anyone is interested in beta-reading (editor wannabes/grammar Nazis welcome, too!), shoot me an e-mail (tomwildrose[at]gmail[dot]com), and I’ll send you the “coherent bits” to look over. :-D
·        Plot out the Main Series. These books will continue the adventures and character development of Jane, Prince Nácil and their friends, and also establish the presence of Adam’s Race (Humans) in the heretofore Faerie-world of Ýdára (which will set the stage for the “spin-off” series or story-arcs). Not sure how many books will be in the House of Othniel series, as I don’t really know where it ends (or even what-all happens after a certain point).
·        Organize/finalize other series/story-arcs, including dramatus personae. These are stories that will take place several years (if not decades or centuries) after the Main Series, and are therefore not strictly connected to it (although Prince Nácil, Lady Müriel, and maybe a few other Elven/long-lived Characters will pop in now and then) I think I pretty much know what stories I want to tell, and who should be in them, but there are a few Characters who need to gel in my mind still, and some events and what-not that need sorting out. Fun stuff, world-building.
·        Read/re-read snippets from fellow “scribblers” and send feedback. A couple cyber-friends were good enough to send me bits of their writing, and it’s high time I kept my promise to give my opinion (and some suggestions/ideas, if they want).
·        Write review for Water Princess, Fire Prince. Yes, Gentle Readers, I have finally been able to read the long-awaited first book in Kendra’s Rizkaland Legends! Wa-hoo! Wow. I hoped to write a review during her Blog Party last week…but then my cousins from California decided to visit us that same week and…yeah. So I intend to get that done before too long. (If you haven’t yet read it, I suggest you do so. Only be warned—it’ll leave you wanting to know more about Rizkaland, and then you’ll realize that Kendra is still working on the sequel, and…./FANGIRL)
·        Host a Blog Party for my Imaginary Worlds. I’ve mentioned my Characters now and then (mainly in Character Encounters and Quote Questes), but never really said much else about them or where they live or anything. I’d really like to throw a week-long party and share a glimpse of my imaginary worlds (yes, there are more than one), like Kendra did a while back. Reading about her writing—learning about character development and world-building—really whetted my appetite to visit these fascinating worlds she’d created and the interesting people who inhabit them. It helped me visualize them better and understand the characters prior to reading their stories, and it also helped me get back into my own writing again (however slowly and sporadically). My hope is that, by doing something similar on my blog, I can help my future readers see how my own little worlds look and work, and hopefully get them interested in knowing my Characters’ stories.
…and that sounded way better in my head….

Sewing and Crafty Goals:
·        SEW ALL THE THINGS!!! I’m determined, with God’s help, to whittle down that ginormous pile of sewing and alterations to things I really like, that look good on me, and are appropriate for my lifestyle and personality (no costume-wannabes for this plain country spinster, thank you…even though it’d be soooo cool to have a Rapunzel-inspired frock and perhaps a Snow Queen costume…but we must be realistic here). It’s high time, the Lord has shown me of late, that I started being content with the “normal” clothes He’s provided, and stop trying to be a character from my favorite works of fiction (even my own). That doesn’t mean my Real World garb will be boring—oh no! Several projects involve one of my favorite hobbies: EMBROIDERY!!! :-D
·        Design/make jewelry to match outfits. Once (Lord willing) I get my sewing projects done, I’ll know what shinies to make to go with them. (Making jewelry for myself—what a concept. :-P) Don’t need much, since I don’t wear jewelry on a regular basis, but it’d be nice to have a good variety of things that compliment my outfits.
·        Post new Etsy listings regularly. I’m in the process of getting my Etsy store back up and running and have lots of new inventory to offer. My plan (again, Lord willing) is to list a couple things each day as I’m able, until I run out (and by then the first listings will probably be expired, so I’ll get to re-list them, LOL).
·        Finish knitting and crochet WIPs. At present, I have five little crocheted bears nearly ready to finish up (one for each of a church-friend’s four kids, plus one for Baby, who is due in February), one mostly-complete knitted teddy bear (my new mascot, christened Bearington, who just needs arms), and the beginnings of a crocheted afghan.
·        Knit some ear-warmers. These are like wide headbands with ties, which look like they’ll be good for wearing with my hair down and be bang-friendly (hard to find in most headgear). I may add a knitted “Pixie-bonnet” (lined with fleece) to the list if I have time, as I need something for really cold weather (which is thankfully very little in Southern Oregon).

Other Goals:
·        Stay on schedule. Mom helped me make out a schedule for my activities and hobbies (which will include blogging, if possible), but I am notorious for getting off-track, especially when certain activities get disrupted. I pray that I can be more diligent from now on.
·        Get E-Sword on my computer. After hearing how handy this is for looking up cross-references, original Greek/Hebrew roots, etc., I really want to give this a try. Hopefully that will add some meaning to my Bible study time.
·        Stay on schedule.
·        Redecorate my room. I’m so grateful for my current bedroom, as it’s at least a third larger than that cracker-box I had in Idaho, and the built-in closets/cupboards and drawers are a big plus. However, my pretty French Provincial-style furniture is just too grand—imposing, even—for this size of room, and the place feels crowded. So I’m hoping to sell it (Lord willing) and put the money towards some scaled-down pieces that I can eventually tole-paint. I’m also planning to install another shelf/cupboard above my main closet (the space is there; we just have to put up a shelf and remove the paneling) for more storage. Eventually I want to repaint the walls (probably lavender), hang some curtains/swags to soften the windows a bit, and put up my prism collection. I miss my prisms…. But that’ll probably be next year’s project.
·        Stay on schedule.
·        Exercise more. I’m not fat by any means, God be praised, but since most of my activities require sitting still for hours on end, I’m feeling a little flabby. I’m determined to get up and move more often—even just taking a turn around the driveway—and firm up the old muscles a little.
·        Did I mention staying on schedule?

Those are the main goals. Obviously, some are short-term (it better not take me all year to review WPFP and send feedback!!!), whereas things like sewing will probably be year-long projects (but hopefully only ONE year). As with anything, these goals are in God’s hands, and I know He will help me to accomplish the ones He wants me to do.
Anyroad, thank you for stopping by, and best wishes with your own goals for 2016!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,