wayfaringwordhack: (kicking it island style)
As I mentioned in another post, I spent a hectic couple of weeks doing hand-lettered signs to raise money for Egyptian charities.

I rented a booth at a Spring Fair, held by the Maadi Women's Guild, on the premises of St John's church in Maadi. I decided to give 50% of all sales to charities, and I sold exactly enough to pay for my booth and my framing expenses. I sold one more painting after the fact (and gave 100% to charity) and also got some interest to sell any remaining pieces in a store and two requests for commissions. One of the commission hasn't gotten back to me, and I haven't given my price to the other one. I think once I do, though, she won't accept. She wants me to hand-letter an entire Psalms and embellish it with watercolor. I know what a crazy amount of work that is going to be and won't just give the piece away. Ah, the joys of putting a price on one's time and creativity. I think she will refuse because she already winced when I told her (custom) framing would cost $25. That is crazy cheap, especially for the size of are we are talking about, which is 100cm X 70cm.

Here are some samples of what I did (click on thumbnail for larger image):

wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
OK, completed NaNo.

I have a first draft of my MG fantasy novel now. It needs some details but is complete at 51708 words.

Yay, me.

Will be setting it aside until February, I think.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Or shall we just call it, "The State of Things." Forgive me, LJ, for it has been awhile since my last post.

_________
I've never tried to put a cut under a cut, so be warned that when I say something vile happened, there should be an additional cut there to keep it out of public view unless you want to read it. If there is not a cut, don't read on, there's nothing more to see. :)
________

In which you can read about the State of Things )Vile Thing )

Anyhow. Did not mean to end on a tirade.SaveSaveSaveSave
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
This week, I spent the greater part of my writing time pondering worldbuilding issues, notably the religious beliefs of one of my  main societies. I still haven't finetuned it all, but I've had some ideas that will make the characters' actions and thoughts more consistent, understandable, and, hopefully, believable.

Forcing myself to think this issue through has also had the added benefit of helping explain why my characters have not abandoned ship when their home is under attack. In the past, I always went with the idea (in my own mind) that most people prefer the known to the unknown and are willing to stay in a bad situation out of fear and surety of their status in the world, even if that world is going to hell. That didn't sit well with all readers, however.  Now I have a plan to bring up differing points of view and solutions to the problem.  I'm sure the story will be stronger for it because it doesn't make this so cut-and-dried, black and white, and the characters won't be passive-without-cause.

These thoughts fostered the following, off-the-cuff, straight-from-the-brain-before-I-forget sentences:

    “It was to be a secret, but I see Srila has ways of prying into affairs that don’t--”

    “Enough.” Srila slapped the railing and may have, just maybe, sang a bit of power into the word. “I have the right of the stone. I called the council. For my own reasons. If Ario wishes to address us, she can wait. But since it seems her news is about abandoning our home, it is even more vital you hear me out before making a rash decision.”


In other creative news, I did a little sketch this morning, playing with my style idea for the kids' book, that I'm not dissatisfied with. If I can kick this headache that is sinking its claws into my brain, I just might work on it some more this afternoon.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: scrabble - novel)
Hold on to your hats, folks. You are going to get an actual writing snippet this Sunday.

Thanks to excessive prodding and no little abuse encourgagement from [livejournal.com profile] frigg, I have dusted off my Witherwilds file, as you may have gathered from my post on insomnia.

About two years have lapsed since I worked on this project, so there is quite a bit of dust to clear off files and out of the corners of my mind.

My plan is to proceed with the rewriting of the opening of book 1, hopefully reach a stage where old stuff can still stand, and then turn my attention to completing book 2.  But more than anything, more than setting goals, lofty or otherwise, the plan is to keep working on it.

Sola’li slipped out of the courtesy lodge before dawn and smiled to find Open City engulfed in mist. She could not have planned a more perfect help to her morning’s business. Patting the low bun she wore in hopes of being mistaken for a songless woman, she peered up and down the street. Overly cautious was better than caught. Movement across the way made her pause, hand still to her hair. She shifted deeper into the shadow of the lintel.

I also finished draft two of my nonfiction picture book.

Oh, and I made Junebug a pair of shorts. 
wayfaringwordhack: (critters: just ducky)
Last year, my mother-in-law started toying with the idea of getting a couple of egg-laying chickens. This summer, we helped her make that a reality.

First there was much cleaning of the site, a bit of land under some pine trees that was overrun by brambles, ivy, and pokeweed. The MIL and I were alone for this bit:



Look at those mounds of ivy runners. I had to use a weedwhacker to cut them because had we continued pulling, we would still be trying to get them all and would likely have uprooted the yard all the way to the house:



Future hen yard all cleaned up and staked out:



MIL and I then did a lot of research and planning and taking apart transport pallets. In the end, we didn't use the pallets. J's brother was able to get a lot of the wood for free.  We took the work-in-progress photos with his camera, so I don't have any of that to show.

Putting in a stone path in hopes of keeping MIL's boots more or less muck free when she goes to inside the hen yard. She can collect the eggs without entering the enclosure:



Remember those 4.5 tons of gravel I talked about shifting? We used the extra to try to keep the perimeter of the enclosure from being overrun again by ivy:



The two ladies, Lily and Cerise (Cherry), named by Sprout because "Lily has a pointy comb like a lily and Cerise's comb is round."




All the workers:



I can take most of the credit for the building design. J's bro did the plans, all fancy like on his computer, and then built the coop. :P  J did the fencing and gate (he went up the mountain and fetched wood for all the posts, etc, more money saved!).

Good practice for the Someday Farm...only our coop will be much bigger!
wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug: Diggin' life)
Finished the sweater!  Woot!

No photos yet because the model is in bed, but hopefully I can post a couple tomorrow.  The pattern, as I've stated many times, needs serious work, and I don't know that I have the time or energy to put into "fixing"* it and making a tutorial to help out any other people who might like to try their crochet hooks at it.  I would have loved to, though. Priorities, priorities.

Glad to have that project off my hands.

Come Sunday I hope to have writing progress to post here.

___________
* By fixing it, I mean not only make the directions clearer but adjust measurements to fit kids as I know (have) them.  I made the 18-24 month size, and it is understandably a bit long for Junebug, but Sprout, who is 4.5 can wear it. I can barely button it around Junebug's waist, even after adding rows to the buttonband. The sleeves were also too narrow at the wrists. I upped the size to the one for 36 month-olds and STILL had to add rows up the sides to make the sleeves big enough...
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
It's a miracle.

Two for the price of one, pajamas and nursing pillow!

Well, not J's pajama bottoms; he took them to work.  But they are made out of the flannel that you can see on the bottom of the pillow. You'll just have to picture a handsome, well-built guy modeling lounge pants for you. :P

pics )
wayfaringwordhack: (soaring hopes)
I've been crocheting like a mad thing all this week, making a blanket for Junebug.  Well, except for today because I have a nasty cold that gave me a nasty headache, and I just didn't feel like fiddling with a hook and yarn.

This is my progress so far, almost halfway done on making the circles for this blanket ( have to buy more yarn, at least one more skein in each color):

OK. Scratch that. LJ is being too much of a pain. I'm not going to fiddle with it for hours, trying to upload photos.  I'll post pics another time. In the meantime, my colors look a lot like the ones in the link up there, only my yellow is brighter and my light blue is turquoise.  I think it is a good, neutral color scheme.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
It is 4:18 a.m. here. I have just finished the chapter, a whopping 7095-word beastly beast. 5000 of that was written this evening.

Excuse me while I crash.

Editing shall happen. Just not tonight...er, this morning...zzzzzzzz
wayfaringwordhack: (Brio)
This week, I don't even think I touched my book. Nope, can't remember writing a single word.  Too make up for that, I hereby solemnly swear to finish the chapter I'm working on by next Sunday. In the meantime, here is one of the things I *did* work on this week:

S's Easter basket, made from this pattern:


bunny basket

It worked up really quickly and easily. As you can see from the eggs I photographed for scale, it is a wee basket, just right for a toddler, I think.

I can't wait until S sees it, but I'm saving it for the egg hunt. :D After that, she can use it as a little purse/sack.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
When I'm at the mil's house, I just can't write. There is something about this place that eats my writing brain.

I have been busy, however. I smocked a too-big tank-top that I made in....oh, 2009, before leaving Mayotte. Remember the one I wore in Paris while pregnant, [livejournal.com profile] frigg?  That one.

I made a pillowcase for Soëlie.

I made a cushion for a chair that I'm renovating for S and painted the chair as well. I could have finished reassembling the chair today, but I need to buy some hardware.  Tomorrow, I hope. I want to show before and after photos.

I also painted a flower for J's gram's birthday, which we will be attending Saturday. Don't feel like uploading a photo now, so I'll share that later, too, if I think about it.

Oh, and we sorted stuff for Egypt.  

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going to Millau to camp, and Julien will go paragliding. Then Saturday, birthday party, drive to Bordeaux, pick up friends from airport, and a week of holiday fun will begin. Who knows, maybe I'll even write a little...
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
I don't know that I deserve to be called a domestic goddess today (even though that is what [livejournal.com profile] frigg says I am) because I'm not the one who straightened the house. J did that.

But things I did or participated in:

- went to the farmer's market bright and early
- put S down for a nap (she didn't sleep) and headed to the health food and grocery stores to do the rest of the shopping.
- made cinnamon rolls and shrimp cockails, both completely from scratch
- fished for calamari; caught none
- made supper
- nursed S and put her to bed
- prepared veggies in brine for kimchi
- cut up and salted lemons for preserved lemons
- tidied the kitchen

I'm very ready for bed, but I'm going to relax with a tisane first (homemade, too, but not tonight :P) and try to do some plotting on index cards.  Yesterday, I spent over an hour working on my timeline. No new words on the story, but I am going to count it as a day's work, just like tonight's plotting will count.

This time, I'm going to write the scene goal, conflict, etc (actually going to try the Scene/Sequel thing: Goal --> Conflict --> Disaster -->Reaction --> Dilemma --> Decision).  I know this is a useful approach for writing focused scenes, but every time I think of doing it, I freak out, sure that I'm going to write hackneyed, formulaic stories. Still, it will be a good exercise to make sure I have goals, conflict, etc. I'm not sure my innate sense of "what makes a good chapter" is as honed as I would like for it to be. :P

Does anyone else have success using the above approach, or do you have another way of making sure your story moves forward instead of meandering too much?

__________
* see above comment about this being [livejournal.com profile] frigg's term. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (passionfruit)

This, [livejournal.com profile] frigg, is what I did with the acrylic ink.  It finally arrived at its destination, but not in one piece like I had hoped. I really did think I had wrapped it well enough to withstand the rigors of overseas traveling.

[livejournal.com profile] clarentine, if you need help piecing it back together, this is what it looked like before the Post Office rose to the "Fragile Challenge."  :(




I found several roof slates in a pile along the Loire River before we left Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, and despite having a very-full-houseful of stuff to pack up and move, I knew I had to take some, sure I could use them to some good purpose.  This past weekend, Soëlie and I went to visit my bro- and sis-in-law in the Midi-Pyrenees, and we strolled around Najac, a charming perched village.

Several houses there have lovely, lovely shingles like this one:



So when I saw a pile of them on the ground, I had to snag one.  It is small, but nice and thick and just waiting to be inked...



 

wayfaringwordhack: (!!!)
What does one do when one has:
 
a) to pack an entire house;


b) finish a draft of a book by Sept. 1st;


c) finish crocheting a blanket, among other projects;


d) art journal everyday;


e) crit a friend's MS;


f) host a cookout for 7 and tea for 4;


g) keep a very active baby out of trouble?


Why, one cuts 400+ squares out of madras and white cotton then sews the little squares into strips






and the strips into squares






and joins them with bigger squares to make a madras quilt top, a king-sized quilt top to be precise, the first quilt one has ever made (excepting a simplistic baby quilt --the one hanging on the Sprout's crib).






I used this quilt  from Pippa Patchwork as inspiration but had to recalculate for size and the more abstract look I wanted (smaller squares inserted in the large, frex).


Here ends the procrastination (I'll do the back and the actual quilting while watching the Rugby World Cup this Sept/Oct). I must now pack for the truck must be loaded Monday night, and we are hitting the road early Tuesday morning.  Next time I see you I will be in on the flanks of the Black Mountains or on the shores of the Arcachon Basin.



Be well, my friends.

Bibs

1 Jul 2011 01:46 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (Soëlie eating)
 
Because I am insane blessed with so much free time, I decided to make a bib for each wedding that Soëlie and I are attending.  She wears the bibs, but then afterwards they are intended as keepsakes for the bride and groom in anticipation of future babies.

Here are some pics because [livejournal.com profile] frigg  wanted to see.

This is Carolyn, my friend from Minnesota, with S.  The focus isn't on her in the photo, but you can see her more clearly here in a commercial she did for CarSoup.com.



Close up and second bib under cut )
As you can see, the bibs are made to coordinate with S's dress (used same fabric); let's hope each couple has a girl. :P I hope to have more pics of S in her outfit at wedding n˚2; she was too feverish and unwell for pics at the first one.
wayfaringwordhack: (!!!)


Yesterday, we had to move the mattress in Soëlie's crib to the lowest position to prevent her from tumbling out when she pulls herself up with the bars.  Our baby is getting big!



Seven months old today!  She isn't crawling on hands and knees yet, but she sits up on her own, gets into push-up position, not girly style with knees down but on her toes, body straight and stiff enough to make any drill sergeant proud.  She can also get her knees under her and starts swaying back and forth like she's working up the courage and momentum to make that first coordinated movement. Still doesn't have it figured out. When she decides she wants something, though--like N'djema's tail or the camera strap--she goes after it and can drag/toe-push herself pretty far. 
wayfaringwordhack: (my loves)

Soëlie and I have two weddings to attend this summer, so I decided I'd make her a dress for the occasion(s). One wedding is in Minneapolis, USA and the other in Carcassonne, France, so I'm pretty sure no one is going to call us out for wearing the same frocks twice... The first wedding is a month off and the second in July, hence why the dress is a little big on her now.


I have a better photo montage than this, but LJ is having a server problem and doesn't want to upload it.  We are leaving tomorrow morning for a 10-day trip to the south of France and I really want to post before we go, so mediocre photo it is. Accessories to follow as I have time to make them:


charlotte dress2
The Charlotte Dress

Made from the pattern/tutorial, generously provided by Jess from "Craftiness Is Not Optional" 

I bought this fabric in Dubai a couple of years ago, intending to have it made into an outfit for me for a wedding.  I never got around to it and then felt the fabric didn't look like "me" any more.  But it is perfect on Soëlie.  The fabric is embroidered and a therefore a bit stiffer than normal, so I had to make some adjustments to the pattern.  Both the bodice and skirt are fully lined--the fabric may be stiffer, but it is extremely thin and some of the embroidery threads were a bit willy-nilly across the back and a danger for Little Miss Kicky Legs.  And, fearing that the gathers would look a bit bulky, I opted for box pleats on the front, two kick pleats on each side in the back, and petal sleeves instead of the gathered cap sleeves.

I'm not a seamstress and I got waaaaay too familiar with my seam ripper on this project, but I'm happy with the result. So was Soëlie. Is it too early for a girl to be interested in clothes? Because, no kidding, she starts wriggling like a puppy every time she gets a new outfit. o.O 
wayfaringwordhack: (passionfruit)
Because I was chatting with [livejournal.com profile] rabiagale  about it, I thought I would show what I'm working on this these days when I'm not sewing or writing:





It's going to be a lap blanket for the couch. If I can do three hexagons per night, I'll be able to finish mid-May. Just in time to put it away for next winter. :P I could have made progress if I had taken it to Martinique, but crocheting in Caribbean heat and humidity, no thanks.
wayfaringwordhack: (cabana boys)
 It's official:  J's been accepted as a security guard for the embassy service!

This does not mean an immediate posting.  He must first attend a training course  (the date of which we still don't know) before he can be considered, but at least he is in the pool now.

Hooray, hooray, horray!!!!!

Thanks again for all your prayers and positive thoughts.

::wonders which country we'll be sent to::
 

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