Monday, December 15, 2008

Crafty Happenings

Hello all,

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the Christmas season. Can you believe that the solstice is almost upon us? I am happy about that, as I am ready for the days to start getting longer. It is hard to leave for work in the darkness and drive home in darkness... I feel like a vampire at this time of year...

I've been up to a lot of crafting lately, and I thought I'd show you two of my works in progress. I can never seem to get my mind straight for writing, so I'm trying to still be productive with my knitting and my cross-stitching.

My friend Meowr gave me a set of size 15 knitting needles for Christmas. They are HUGE! My hands can barely hold them, but they are fun to knit with. You can create inches and inches of scarf in no time with these. I decided to create a prayer shawl for her with my new toys. I bought 2 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn in the Fiesta variegated color. It changes color from turquoise to burgandy and everything in between, but there is a constant thread of gold throughout it, and it is gorgeous! And it feels great in my fingers. Basically, the Homespun is a yarn created from many threads loosely bound together by a single red thread. It is wavy in texture and makes for lovely stripes. Here is a picture of the shawl in progress, still on the needle:

The pattern is pretty simple.

I cast on approximately 60 stitches. I don't remember the exact number, but it pretty much filled up the needle!

I knitted the first 5 rows for a border.
Then I alternated rows of K1, *yo, k2tog* K1 with rows of straight knitting to create a lacy fabric. I thought it would be too heavy of a shawl with just straight garter stitch. My friend lives in a more tropical climate than I do, and I didn't want the shawl to be too hot!

I have 2 skeins of the yarn. I haven't finished the first one yet. I'm going to knit until I either decide it's long enough or I run out of yarn, whichever happens first! I'll try to put up a picture of it when I get it finished. I hope it turns out.

My other project... for you Gar/Raven shippers... I present a cross-stitch rendering of the pencil version of "The Kiss" from Teen Titans #30:

The original was, of course, pencilled by the wonderful Tony Daniel. I pulled the pencil picture into my cross-stitch rendering software to create the chart. This software (PC Stitch) does a wonderful job of rendering pictures into charts. It's the same software that I used for my other Raven cross-stitches earlier this year. It's far from done. I'm alternating working on it and on the shawl, so it will take some time to finish. It is HUGE: 200 stitches wide! It's so wide that I had to mount it on my scroll frame sideways, and I have to hold it sideways to stitch as well! Plus, there is a lot of detail in it, and the color-switching makes me crazy sometimes. It's not as simple as the monocolor Raven ink sketch. However, I think it will be worth it in the end. I'll post the final on this one as well, whenever I get it done. I'm halfway done with Raven's hair. Once that is done, I will tackle Beast Boy's hair and the rest of Raven's hand along his jawline.

The mister has been busy as well. He is learning about leatherworking. His initial goal was to create his own bracer for his archery practice. He used his wordworking skills to create a "stitching pony" to make stitching the leather safer... awls can be pretty dangerous! He built it using plans from a book by Al Stohlman, The Art of Hand-Sewing Leather, and it is officially called the "Al Stohlman (Quarter Horse) Stitching Pony". I am very proud of what he's done. It took him several days to build it, but it works very well. (I'm hoping he'll make some yellow bracers for my Speedy costume... I'd love to have REAL LEATHER for that costume!) Here are some pictures of his "pony":

The pony can be detached from the chair and moved about. It is very light and portable. The artist sits astride the wooden column in the front. The leather item is held tight in the clamp, and the artist can sew with an awl from side to side. He started with a simple lock stitch, but he can also do saddle stitch (using 2 needles, one on each side) using this setup. He can manage about 100 lock stitches in an hour... which is great considering the amount of effort it takes to make a single stitch in this craft! He is still testing it out, but it seems to work well so far.

I am thinking of learning some leathercraft myself some day. So many costuming possibilities... elf, barbarian... and BOOTS! lots of BOOTS!

Until later, have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Crisis = Danger + OPPORTUNITY

Hello all,

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I'm back. I've been cogitating a lot lately (like everybody else and their brother-in-law) on the current financial situation. But I'm taking a slightly different tack with my thinking, and I wanted to share it with you. It's just another way of looking at things.

Everyone has heard the old saying that crisis is made up of both danger and opportunity. I think we've heard about the "danger" side of the current Financial Crisis until we are sick of it, but we've heard very little about the "opportunity" side of it.

You heard me. I used the word "opportunity". I honestly think some good things can come out of this debaucle, if we can just be conscious of them.

  • The opportunity to re-evaluate : A large factor in this whole mess is the fact that our mainstream culture is convinced that a person's value is measured by their paycheck. I, too, have long considered my personal worth to be based on the number on my pay stub. But basing my value as a person on that is so very wrong. My dear great Aunt never got a paycheck in her life, but she was one of the hardest-working, most loving, and most wise people that I have ever had the honor to know. Her death was a great loss. Her wisdom and gentleness are greatly missed, and she contributed more to my life than any 401(k) match ever could. The loss of money that we are experiencing now gives us the chance to step back and look at the importance that money has in our lives and to change our attitudes.

    In the past few decades, money has become not just the most important thing, it has become the only thing. And this ought not be. Of course money is important; in our non-agrarian culture, we need it to put a roof over our heads and food on our table. However, it shouldn't be the most important thing, and it definitely should not be the only important thing.

    We have neglected our hearts and our spirits to worship a golden idol. And you don't have to overtly kneel in front of something to worship it. Putting an overwhelming amount of focus on an object, person, or idea is a form of worship, too.

    I just read a great interview with financial advisor Suze Orman that puts a lot of this into perspective. I think her description of the current situation is pretty accurate:
    We have built an entire economy on lies and deceit. It's like building a home or an entire building on a sinkhole. You have a foundation, supposedly. But a little crack, if something goes wrong -- a little earthquake, a tremor -- and it starts to open, everything starts to all down and ... that is exactly what has happened in the United States of America.

    You can read the rest of the article here . I agree with her statement. We have built our wealth on a false prosperity. We have generated wealth "on paper" with nothing real behind it. It was an illusion of wealth built on credit and money that wasn't actually there. Now that false prosperity is crumbling away. But once we are aware of the illusion, we have the chance to back away, turn around, and start to build a prosperity that is real, one that includes the spiritual and energetic aspects of reality, not just the financial aspects.

    When I was in high school, I took a local history class. For one project, we had to interview one of our family elders and ask them a series of questions. One question was "How do you measure someone's success?" Most people came back with the answer of "money". This surprised me, since a lot of the elders in question had lived through the Depression. I expected a different answer from them. But when I asked my grandmother, who had worked a great deal of her life, that question, her answer? "Happiness. If you are happy with where you are and with what you have, no matter what you have, then you are successful." I liked that answer. I still do. I like the thought of contentment.

    One co-worker of mine said it well when he said, "Advertisements just kill our contentment. They absolutely squash it. Because if we're content, we won't go out and buy more stuff." He is right. A lot of corporations can't afford for us to be content. They have to keep convincing us to buy the latest gadgets, the latest fashions, bigger houses, newer cars, because they have to feed their monster. The monster will die if contentment is found. And they have to keep the monster of Wealth alive. There is nothing wrong with having something good or something new -- just don't expect to get your contentment from those things. Contentment comes from somewhere else, from inside of you.

    Let's take this opportunity to re-evaluate the place that money has in our lives and to decide what is truly important. Let's re-learn what contentment means.

  • The opportunity to reconnect: Over the last few years, I've heard story after story about families that spend very little time together and are scattered to the winds by a packed schedule of soccer, ballet, etc., etc. But over the past few weeks, I've read other stories that say that people are starting to cocoon at home because gas was too expensive for that kind of running around (or in the Southeast, nearly impossible to find at any price). Well, here is an opportunity to reconnect with our families, to slow down from our constant buzzing about and actually be together for the first time in many years.

    Let's not whine about what we can't do because we can't go anywhere. Let's discover what we can do at home or in our neighborhood. We can learn that baking bread from scratch is actually a lot of fun (just did that last weekend and loved it). We can read a good book. We can even read a good book to each other! My husband and I read aloud to each other all the time and have rather lively debates about what we've read. It is great fun and great fuel for family conversation, and it is definitely more interactive than watching another rerun of "Desperate Housewives".

    You don't even have to buy books if you don't have the budget for it. You can rediscover the neighborhood library, trade books with other families, or even download some classics from the Project Gutenberg website. Many books whose copyrights have expired can be found here for free. It's even legal! There are lots of wonderful books by the likes of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Shakespeare and Mark Twain. (I am currently reading a download of Following the Equator, which I have heard is one of Jimmy Buffet's favorite books and inspired some of his songs. If you are a ParrotHead Completist, you must read it.)

    And of course, the Bible has been a best-seller for millenia and can be read online for free at many web sites, including here. Reading the Good Book right now certainly couldn't hurt, to be sure.

  • The opportunity to change the economy from a credit-based to a cash-based economy: This was suggested in the interview with Suze Orman that is linked above. We need to stop living from paycheck to paycheck if we can. I know not everyone is able to do this right now, but more people are capable of it than they think. Christmas is coming up; let's resist the urge to max out the cards on gifts this year so that we're not paying for them until the next Christmas. Let's not buy more "extra" stuff than the cash that we have now can get for us. (I include myself in this admonition as well!)

    If you are just now getting out of school... please learn from the experience of those who have been out there for a while. If you can avoid debt, do it. Pay off you college debts, if any, and please start saving some money, even if it is just spare change at first. Avoid the cycle of debt if you can. Don't be lured into the credit card trap by the siren song of building up your credit record. Lots of credit records get ruined that way. If you want the fun stuff, please save up for it and buy it outright... don't be paying for it long after it has lost its lustre for you.

    I never knew how much of this economy revolved around "credit", which is actually money that doesn't truly exist yet. I guess I new that there was a lot of short-term credit out there for businesses, but I didn't know how much of it was used to make payroll. Has it always been this way in our industrialized nation? If not, when did it change? How did we get so dependent on credit that we couldn't pay our employees what we owe them on time without it? Again, the reaction to frozen credit tells me that we as a nation rely on it far too much. The prosperity we have is just an illusion at that rate.

  • Other Views on the 'Net:

  • Spiritual Opportunities: A great essay on the spiritual side of what I'm talking about can be found at the Christian Science Monitor. For those of you not familiar with the CS Monitor, it is a media service sponsored by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, organization in Boston (not to be confused with Scientology, which is totally different). I am not involved in that organization myself, but I do like their web site. They have an NPR-like style in reporting the news. They tend to stay away from the more tabloid-gossip-stories that are all over the other major outlets.

    One quote stuck with me:
    Instead of relying on bank accounts and bailouts for our stability – however much they provide some answers – we can put our trust in the divine economy. Then, what needs to end – such as greed and dishonesty – will come to an end, replaced by revival and stability.

    I have often thought that there were 2 "economies": one financial and one spiritual. The financial one, of course, deals with the exchange of money. The spiritual one deals with the exchange of spiritual energy, whether it is between individuals or within a culture or between a human and a divine being. We have paid a lot of attention to the financial one but neglected the spiritual one. I think the two economies affect each other; when one suffers, the other will suffer in time as well. I think that is what has happened to us. I think the current situation really highlights how much we have neglected our spiritual sides... and now that we see it, we have a chance to correct it.

  • Environmental Opportunities: I have found someone else who also feels that this is a time of opportunity, the No Impact Man. I highly recommend this blog. I have read it off and on for about a year now. Although I am not as extreme in my views, I like a lot of what he says about happiness and contentment.

  • ... more to come as I continue to think of new opportunities here... if you think of any that you think should be listed here, please leave me a comment! I would love to hear what other ideas are out there.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Just When You Thought I Had Enough Hobbies...

    I just got (another) book from Amazon... "The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook"! It's a lovely book about a form of Japanese quilting. When I get more of my Christmas knitting done (and some writing on Dawn Child!), I'd like to try some of it. It is a beautiful art, and a wonderful one to add to my fiber art skills repertoire!

    Some additional information on this form of quilting:

    Purl Bee Sashiko tutorial

    A Short Sashiko History

    Sashiko FAQ


    Anybody else ready for Titans #5? I'm bouncing up and down waiting for it to come out tomorrow to see what happens. I also want to see 6 and 7... I'd really like to have Joey back and in his normal body for more than 5 minutes!


    I discovered another podcast site whilst at DragonCon. The AstronomyCast site features half-hour shows, updated weekly, on various topics in astronomy. The hosts break down the information into digestible bites. I've always liked astronomy, and of course I am interested in writing some original science fiction when I get Dawn Child finished (and I will!!!!). This is some great knowledge to have in my noggin so that I can make the stories as plausible as possible.

    If you enjoy astronomy, give it a listen:


    I will add it to my list of favorite podcasts as well. If you listen to it, let me know what you think!


    Anyone else for Steampunk? This technological vision of the Victorian era is absolutely fascinating. If you are into it, you might enjoy this link on creating your own Steampunk clothing:

    ThreadBanger's Steampunk episode

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Recovering from the Con - Updated 9/6

    I still have bits of costume strewn about my study as I clean them and organize them for storage until I can wear them again. I've got the same feeling now that I have after every Christmas, that empty feeling before everything starts up again for the New Year. In fact, it seems that a kind of year rolls over for me at this time, as I turn around and start thinking about what I would like to do the next year...

    I did meet a lot of new friends this year (still missing Beast Boy, *sniff*), and I also found a wonderful new blog at one of the podcasting panels. If you love Celtic music, and if you ever listened to the Thistle and Shamrock on public radio, you will love this:

    Marc Gunn Celtic Podcasts

    Check it out if you have any Celtic Soul in ye!

    We saw several bands at the Con with a Celtic sound, including Emerald Rose, who performed there several times. They perform traditional music AND con filking that is rather hilarious. I highly recommend them.

    I grew up listening to Andy M. Stewart and Silly Wizard and the Chieftains and Dougie McLean and Clannad... and too many others to name here. I hadn't listened to any of that for a while, and I didn't know how much I missed it until I heard it again. I love fiddles and penny whistles and the sometimes whimsical, sometimes wistful, Scottish and Irish (and Welsh!) music. I am of Irish and Cherokee descent (as well as English and German), so I suppose the music calls to something in my very marrow sometimes. I have always felt comforted by it.

    And now for some pictures! Part I, anyway:

    We finally found garb for the mister. We purchased it over different booths at the Con. I think he looks rather fine in it:

    Someone call the Colonial Marines!

    The band Emerald Rose (which I mentioned above)

    Top O' the Mornin' to Ye!

    A Steampunk "Automaton" -- steam punk was HUGE at the Con this year. We are thinking about indulging in a couple costume in this genre, since it is one we both like:

    My OYL Raven did make an appearance on Friday. Yes, that is a different wig than the one I wore for the McKone outfit:

    Another OYL Raven pic:

    Another McKone Raven of me that I found. Full Disclosure, yes I did photoshop my poochy belly just a wee bit, just to see what I WILL look like in the future:

    Black Adam and Isis

    Ted Kord Blue Beetle!

    I saw a couple of comic Starfires this year, which is new. I've only seen the animated Starfire's before.

    The only other comic Raven that I've ever met at a Con. She was more of the Wolfman-Perez version and used a different approach than I did in construction. I thought that the tailored waist was a great idea. I thought she was beautiful, and I do feel a little clumsy when compared to this version. She was very nice and stayed in character.

    Replaying a scene from "Hancock", which was a great movie...

    One of the coolest costumes EVER... This kid and his dad made this costume out of cardboard and spray paint. It looks great. What made it even better is that he actually transformed! His dad would take his helmet off, he would dive down to the floor in some kind of yogic child's pose, moved the flaps from behind him forward, and he was a tank! He won the Children's Costume contest, and I think the prize was well-deserved. People went nuts when he came on stage.

    Steam Punk and Punk Rock

    A group of Green Lanterns from NY in the parade...

    I thought she was a beautiful Green Lantern. I think she used the same pattern that I used to make the McKone Raven (I just had to alter it from pants to a skirt). She did a great job with the alterations on the pattern.

    And a GL Batman and GL Superman! How cool is that! And they waved at me and recognized my Raven costume. SQUEEE!


    Not my gumdrop buttons! The Gingerbread Man from Shrek

    The guys from ConNooga, which is a convention in my town of Chattanooga. Here we have a variety of characters, including Mork from Ork.

    The little guy from the Six Flags commercial. Makes sense, since Six Flags Over Georgia is nearby

    Here's one that Frank will like... a SteamPunk Batman!

    More later...

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    DragonCon 2008

    Well, another DragonCon has come and gone. We just got back yesterday, and I'm back at work. I am still decompressing. It takes a while to get used to NOT seeing spandex, Klingons and Jedi everywhere. There are no stormtroopers here at home to work security, and now I'm nervous! I'm sure I'll be fine. Just give me a few days.

    We had a great time this year. We ran into some old friends that we see every year, some from Chattanooga itself and some I just get to see at Con, including one wonderful lady from Chicago who is a grand Harry Potter fan. I always enjoy seeing her. (However, I didn't get my Beast Boy hug this year! I scoured the Con for Dave and Robin and Frank and Rick, and I couldn't find them anywhere. I am sad. :( It's just not a complete Con if I don't get to say hi to them. I don't know if they didn't make it this year or if in the milling thousands of people there I just couldn't find them. Maybe next year. Sigh. )

    Anthony took lots of pictures, which I will be posting later. For now, I do have pictures of my costumes for this year. I wore the OYL Raven again this year, but you guys have seen that one already.

    Here is a better picture of Speedy than last year. It fits better, since I have lost 16 pounds and cut off 10 inches of hair since last Con:

    And here is my new McKone Raven outfit. I finally got a wig! I had to take it off eventually. The wig cap underneath it was cutting off the circulation to my scalp.

    And here is another shot so you can see the dress and the boots. Hmmm. I'm still a little on the pudgy side there. I have a little more weight to lose before this looks the way I want it to.

    I'm really proud of that one. It's the first costume that I made all by myself. Well, I didn't make the actual boots, but I did make the boot covers. There are a few corrections that I'd like to make to it before I wear it again, but it's my most comfortable costume so far... plus, this one suffered none of the wardrobe failures that I am famous for. I had to be careful of the wind outside (we were getting wind from Gustav all the way in Atlanta) to avoid any Marilyn Monroe moments. Thank Heaven for dance bloomers, just in case.

    I did see one other comic Raven this year (finally!). She was the Wolfman-Perez version. She looked so lovely. I'll post her picture with the others later. She stayed in character way better than I did. I think I probably smile to much to be a convincing Raven. Doesn't matter, I was having fun. The Con is like a great big family reunion and gives me the chance to hang out with 50,000 people just like me. Not something I get every day. It's a great holiday and a break from the real world.

    More later. Gotta get back to work.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Three Months?!?!?

    I can't believe it's been that long since I've posted! Sorry. It was one hellacious summer, with a very tough project taking up most of my time. That project has rolled to production (thank God! and I mean that!), so things have simmered back down to a boil. I am trying to finish up my new costume for this year's Dragon*Con now. Once the con is over, I MAY be able to get back to Dawn Child. Razzum-frazzum real life keeps getting in the way, doesn't it?

    As for costumes... the Raven (Johns/McKone era) is almost done. I hope to post pictures soon!

    As for Jane Sagan... well, given the tough project schedule and some other technical issues, I have been unable to get much done on that past the patch that I designed. I think I am going to have to just plan one new costume a year. That's all I think I can manage, given everything else that I always have going on.

    I hope everyone is well.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Getting Some Writing Done & Iron Man

    I actually got a little writing done! Yay! I'm not yet ready to post, but I have made a little progress this evening. We'll see how long the groove lasts.

    I went to see "Iron Man"! In fact, I've seen it twice. I really, really loved that movie. I think that Robert Downey, Jr., and Jon Favreau (the director) really made something special. Mr. Downey worked very hard to prep for this part, and it shows. I know people who have seen it who were not comics fans and loved it. The story was very accessible to those new to the Iron Man canon, but it was also great for longtime fans of the title (like my husband).

    During the scene when he was doing the first systems check of the golden armor, I leaned over to my husband and said, "Excuse me while I geek out. WOW!"

    If you haven't seen it yet, it is definitely worth the time and the money (over nine bucks here to see it at night now, I know that's cheaper than elsewhere, but OUCH). If you go, MAKE SURE you stay all the way until the end of the credits. You won't regret it.

    And the sound track rocks, y'all. I write code to it at work -- and when it's playing I just get into the zone and keep coding and coding... great work all around. I really hope that RDJ knows what a great piece of work this movie is, and that he made something that made me happy and forget my stress for a couple of hours, and actually made me interested in working with software again. For a while, I BELIEVED Tony Stark was a real guy, and that he really could be the mechanical genius that he was.

    And Jeff Bridges... what a great bad guy he made! I've been a fan of his since I saw him in "Star Man" many moons ago. I enjoyed the versatility displayed in his acting here.

    Ms. Paltrow was a very good Pepper Potts, as well. Definitely look forward to seeing her play again in the sequel. I think she played out her underlying attraction to Tony well. She's not just attracted to him, she's attached to him. They are, in a way, the only family either of them has.

    In my opinion, as far as comic book movies go, this ranks up there with "Batman Begins", "X-Men" and "Spiderman", which is a real compliment. The creators really took the genre seriously -- and those movies that take it seriously are the best. It was exciting and fun to watch, with a good balance of action and humor. There were some truly funny moments in it that were a result of the director's timing and RDJ's sense of humor, and the first-night audience that I saw it with howled with laughter.

    Another thing -- there was a good theme in there, but I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. Basically, we have a superhero that is not a Boy Scout. He has flaws in his character, just like the rest of us. But those flaws do not stop him from doing good things. It's good to see that I don't have to be perfect myself before I help other people. I am more like Tony than I am like Clark Kent. It is impossible to be that perfect while I'm still in a human body. But that doesn't have to stop me from trying to do good. I think that's a great thing to take with you when you leave the theater.

    To the cast and crew of "Iron Man", I would like to say thank you so very much for a job very well done. I'll be waiting on the sequel!

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    A New Design

    I've been so brain-dead lately that I haven't been able to write much. However, there are a few things I can do when I am absolutely mindless. Cross-stitch is one of them. Here is my latest one, a rendering of the "Raven" symbol from the 1982 "Tales of the New Teen Titans" mini. I have always loved this graphic, especially the colors.

    If I ever stitch it again, I'll use 3 strands of floss instead of 2. I see way too much of the background fabric on this one. Still, I'm pretty proud of it.

    I stitch on a wooden frame. I am not a fan of hoops for most cross-stitch, as they tend to warp the Aida fabric into shapes that are hard to press out once you are done. Hoops have their place, though, as long as the finished design is smaller than the hoop... or if the hoop IS the final frame! I'll remove this from the wooden frame and then have it framed for real at some point. The fabric is basted onto tabs attached to the dowels. You can buy frames that don't require basting, but I don't like them very much. I've looked at them at the store... the dowels are never sanded down enough and there are too many splinters for my taste! I'll stick with basting it on, thanks.

    There are a few spots I would fix if I did this again. I've mentioned using 3 strands instead of 2 for stitching the body so that less fabric shows through. I think I'd change some of the outlining on the letters as well. I think there are a few fractional stitches that are out of kilter. Overall, though, I like the design.

    It took about a month of obsessive stitching to do it. There are more stitches there than you think! And only 3 colors!

    I'd like to do a rendering of the new symbols used for the Titans in their new comic. -sigh- so many designs, so little time. I have other things queued up before I can tackle those renderings, let alone stitching them!

    Saturday, April 19, 2008


    Hello all,

    I just downloaded Audacity. I wanted to record something to post on a thread in one of the forums where I hang out. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone is curious as to what my voice sounds like.

    KT Reads!

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Raven Cross-stitch Framed

    She came back from the framer's yesterday. They did such a lovely job!

    I am still working on Chapter 6 of "Dawn Child". It was a tiring week last week, and I did not get much done. :(

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Dawn Child Chapter 4

    Hey there! I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day. Chapter 4 is up!

    Chapter 4

    Have a great day.



    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Chapter 2 of "Dawn Child" is up

    Hello all,

    Chapter 2 of "Dawn Child" has been posted!

    Chapter 2

    Thank you for your kind words and reviews. They mean so much to me. I hope I can keep the momentum going!

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    First Chapter Posted - Dawn Child

    Hello my friends,

    I am taking the advice of a dear friend and starting my posting of "Dawn Child", at least what I have written so far. It is nowhere near complete, but the first few chapters are close enough that I can release them. So I am releasing it a chapter at a time, unlike my normal habit of releasing the entire story at once. I will update it as I can. Unfortunately, I cannot promise any kind of regular schedule.

    I do hope you enjoy it! I have enjoyed everyone's comments and emails of encouragement. They really do mean a lot to me.

    Here is a link to the first chapter, which is all that is posted so far:

    Dawn Child

    Thanks & have a great day.



    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Blog Changes

    Hello all,

    I am figuring out how blogger lets me change things on my web page, a little at a time. It is vastly different from what I do at work. However, I don't spend a lot of time tinkering with the blog... it's too much like work! Go figure.

    Anyhoo, I have figured out the great Header mystery, so I am playing with my header image. It may change over time. The above image is the one I use in my signature over at RBSU. The main design was a gift from a friend. I added items to it. I may play with it a little bit, so this probably won't be permanent. I want to play with the colors as well. I haven't upgraded my template to the more-friendly editing type yet. I don't want to lose what I've done so far, and I'm always proud when I figure it out myself. However, some of it is just frustrating. It would be nice if Blogger put more comments in the HTML, like "if you want to change the image in your header, you would change it here". That would definitely make the learning curve less steep, especially for people who like to blog but don't have a lot of time to play with the settings to see what does what.

    Tomorrow night is Craft Madness with my friend. We get together with a group at her church the last Friday of a month to do crafts. It started out as scrapbooking (a gathering known in scrapping circles as a "crop"), but it has since expanded out to cover any craft that someone wants to bring in. I've done drawing, cross-stitching, and scrapbooking (I collect hobbies) at these events, and I just enjoy it. It's great to have a time that is dedicated to making something, without interruptions from the dog or the phone. It's nice to get together and hang out, too. I enjoy spending time with my friend, crafting or no. But tomorrow night's project: continue work on the Jane Sagan patch.

    In the meantime, I AM still working on Dawn Child. I've just been suffering from bout upon bout of writer's block. I did sit down and make a lot of pre-write notes the other night, and I think that will get me moving again. I am seriously considering posting a chapter at a time this time instead of the whole thing, just so I can get this ball rolling. What do you think?

    UPDATE: I just changed the header image again, this time something I created myself. I may still play with it over time, but it is a sampling of some of my hobbies.

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    Raven Cross-stitch Complete

    Hello all, I hope you are keeping warm. We are going to get a cold snap tonight, so I'm about to go enjoy a cup of hot tea. I'd like to share with you pictures of my latest cross-stitch project. This is a picture of the comic book version of Raven. The original sketch was done by George Perez and can be seen on Bill Walko's website, Titans Tower . The link directly to the sketch is in the previous post. I imported it into a cross-stitch rendering program to create the chart. I don't think I made any changes to it once it was imported -- the upload was very clean. I then printed the chart and stitched it up. Here is the result. I really do like it, and I hope you do too. I truly love this picture of her. This is the original Wolfman-Perez Raven. I thought it was so beautifully drawn by Mr. Perez that I just had to stitch it up. He draws her in such a hauntingly beautiful fashion.

    She is 150 stitches wide by 200 high on 14 count Aida fabric. It's all done in black (DMC color 310) and took about 2 full skeins of thread. I started this on New Year's Day, so it took the better part of 3 weeks to stitch. All stitches are full cross-stitches (no quarter or half stitches are used).

    I had her on a scrolling frame while I stitched her. I only use hoops if the design is smaller than the hoop itself. I don't like the way hoops bend the Aida fabric.
    This does tend to curl the fabric at the ends (even though it does offer some protection from fabric fray). I need to press it out before it can be framed. I'm not sure what I'll do about the framing yet, but I do intend to get it framed.

    My next stitching project: the patch for the Jane Sagan costume. This will be a little different, as it will be mostly satin stitch and not cross-stitch. I am way more experienced with cross-stitch. It's almost mindless... I just make little x's. Enough x's, you get a picture. The satin stitch in and of itself is easy, but I don't have the nice pre-made holes to guide me. I am following a trace of the design, but it's a little harder to get the stitches exactly side by side. We'll see how it goes.

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Being Crafty

    I took Friday off in hopes of getting some work done on my costumes. When I first tried to sew, the machine started a fight with me. It won. I think my husband may be able to referee between us later, but for now, I did not make any progress on the gloves. :( However, I did get something done. I made the clasps for the cloak: old jacket buttons from the 80s (literally), funky foam, and 2-sided adhesive. They look pretty good, but I want to sand down the foam to get the outer edge nice and smooth. I'll try to put up pictures later.

    I also got some work done on my Jane Sagan patch. I traced the design that I did several months ago (seen here) onto some stabilizer fabric. I have basted that onto the actual patch fabric and placed it in the hoop. It is now ready for stitching. I will probably attack it with a series of satin stitches. The hardest part was getting it set up. Hopefully I will have pictures of it when I am done.

    I am working on another cross-stitch project, one that has helped me generate ideas for my latest story (which I have been stuck on for some time). It is a cross-stitch rendering of a George Perez sketch of Raven, as seen on Bill Walko's site. I imported the JPG into a rendering program and turned it into a chart. I've been stitching on it since New Year's Day, and it is nearly complete. Again, I will post a picture once I'm done. I probably won't post it on deviantArt since it's not my sketch originally, and I just don't feel comfortable posting it on an art site. I don't mind showing it here as a "Here's what I'm doing now" sort of thing, though.

    I hope everyone is doing well!