About Writing

Crafting

I’ve been posting more of my crafting recently, even though this is my author blog.

Why?

Because it’s part of my process.

You see, we are multi-sensory creatures, and it’s been thoroughly proven that activities like fidgeting and pacing are soothing and help the mind work more effectively. Instead of sitting with silicone push-pop toys, I’ve opted to work on handicrafts to keep me busy. What can I say? They make me feel good about myself.

When you feel mentally blocked, work with your hands to get the creative ideas flowing again. Honor and respect the mind-body connection, and don’t underestimate the power of physical movement.

My major secret of productivity is that every time I sit down and take a break, I reach for my current crafting project. That’s all. Sometimes I think about my writing as I work, and sometimes I just want to meditate. Usually, by the time I put the kids in bed, I have an idea to write down.

And remember, it’s not about speed, it’s about persistence.

Bonus, I have a lot of neat stuff that I’ve made.

About Me

Happy New Year

Phew, still alive.

The kids recently watched The Emperor’s New Groove, so my husband and I decided that it would be fun to make spinach puffs for our New Years Eve party. I thought they were scrumptious, but the kids ate off the pastry and left the spinach mixture in the middle. *eyeroll* They really liked the cheese ball, at least.

Then ’round about 9pm, I started wondering if the kids really needed to stay up until midnight, or if I could get away with sending them to bed, lol. In the end, the one-year-old was the only one who fell asleep early.

And, of course, we kicked off 2022 with our traditional special breakfast.

For the moment, I’m in recovery mode. I’ve spent most of today lounging with yarn and knitting needles while the kids play video games and watch movies, and boy-oh-boy do I need the break.

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that you enjoyed the holidays, and that the next twelve month bring plenty of amazing new adventures. 🙂

I need more wool socks. My feet are freezing.

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Fiber of the Month – December

I signed up for the fiber of the month club with ParadiseFibers.com, and every month they send some sort of fiber along with miscellaneous goodies.

Here’s the yarn that I made with December’s fiber:

The one with Christmas colors is a merino/alpaca blend, and I followed the instructions for fractal color spinning that came with it. I’m very curious about what it will look like once knitted.

The white one is yak down. It is incredibly fine and soft … and far outside of my skill zone as a n00b. I really struggled to maintain any semblance of control over the fiber while I was spinning it, so the end result is … artistic. My skirt also looked like I had been snuggling a white cat during shedding season after I finished, lol. But hey, I have a book on spinning that advises to “press on and keep practicing,” so that’s what I did.

All told, it was quite fun. I’m glad that I’m getting exposure to different types of fibers, especially since I tend to default to what sounds practical and rarely venture outside of that (having 5.5 kids will do that).

I’m looking forward to January’s haul. 🙂

About Me

Life

I’ve dun-gone killed my stats by not updating enough. XD

I suppose you can blame eccentricities, since I lost all interest in the world outside of my home, and busied myself with my own business. But creative sorts are supposed to be inexplicably weird and moody.

At this moment, Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I never really feel 100% ready for it; there’s always something on my to-do list that I never get around to. The kids are getting more ecstatic with every passing day, and managing the chaos gets more and more impossible.

I’m relieved that I don’t have to see any relatives this year either. It still bothers me that one of them declared my Christmas tree “ugly” after I laughingly described some of the homemade ornaments the kids have done — not because I think that there’s anything wrong with my decorations, but because she didn’t even have the decency to feign politeness. Or enough of a soul to realize that the point is for the memories, not narcissism.

Nope. Don’t miss it.

In other news, I have officially decided to put The Scion Suit on the back burner. I’m not emotionally on the same page anymore, so I’m giving it some time to simmer before I come back to it, rather than mechanically type out everything I had planned.

But don’t worry.

I’m not going to abandon it.

After all, if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s to finish what I start.

About Me

The Forbidden Chronicles – Christmas

The year I left Christianity was the year I began to love Christmas.

Let’s face it, sitting around my grandma’s living room listening to someone read out of the Bible was the low point of Christmas Eve, especially when I was a child and wanted to run around playing with cousins that I hadn’t seen in awhile. When I was freed from the admonition to “keep Christ in Christmas,” the burden of guilt went with it. I no longer had to chastise myself for feeling empty every time I heard the nativity story.

You see, I never experienced Christianity the way everyone around me always said they did. There was no sense of love or comfort, no still small voices, and no answered prayers. Oh how hard I tried, and all I ever felt was a growing sense of hollowness.

That year, I began to enjoy Christmas for what it was, instead of feeling guilty for what I wasn’t.

Santa Claus and presents, homemade desserts galore, decorating a tree … It’s all wonderful fun, and makes for a fantastic celebration with loved ones during the darkest days of the year. It’s one of the best holidays we have, and I adore dedicating an entire month to it.

It reminds us how beautiful life can be.

Unfortunately, I never feel like I’m allowed to explain why I celebrate Christmas despite not being a Christian. I’m far too accustomed to receiving catty criticism every time I try to explain how I see the world, so I’ve learned keep the magic to myself.

But maybe if I share just a little bit, someone else will learn to see this holiday in the same way I do.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com
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Cross stitch ornaments

My grandma taught me was counted cross stitch when I was a kid, and I can remember her telling me that the back should look as neat as the front.

Close enough.

Every year I make Christmas ornaments. Nothing commemorative, just random things based on my whims. This year, I thought that I’d dig into my stash of embroidery floss, only to realized that I’ve been whittling away at it since … March 2020 … without adding to it at all. So yeah, I didn’t have any deep greens. Or any of the other colors that I thought I had.

Oh well, all part of the fun.

Stories

Concept story – CR1515

I can’t help but jokingly think of this as “Beauty and the Beast with robots”.

This is still massively underdeveloped, of course, but I find it to be a thoroughly fascinating idea.


Aurora’s eyes closed, and for a moment she drifted into sleep before she snapped herself back into consciousness. The horizon was growing lighter, and he still hadn’t appeared. While she was doing her best to maintain the vigil, it was difficult to feel a sense of urgency when the fate of humanity rested on someone who was now hours late.

“He’s not coming,” Talon murmured, closing his hand around Aurora’s. His skin felt burning hot over her cold fingers, so she snuggled up against his side to soak in his warmth.

“He has to,” she replied quietly.

“As soon as the first sun rays appear, we’re out of time.” Talon motioned to the frozen mecha that stood some yards away, still poised in mid-attack. “The artifacts won’t hold it after daybreak.”

“He’ll be here,” Aurora weakly insisted. “He’s the only one who can stop it.”

“We need to leave before we get killed.” Talon stood then pulled on her. “Come on.”

“But what about the artifacts?”

“They’ll probably be destroyed. We’ll have to worry about that later.”

Aurora reluctantly followed Talon, but she couldn’t stop herself from looking back. Recovering the three golden artifacts had been a long and difficult process, and activating them to imprison the mecha had cost them the life of a friend. The thought of being abandoned by CR1515 at the last minute was too much to bear.

“Let’s go find him,” she suggested hopefully.

“If Robot Boy was coming, he would have been here hours ago,” Talon snapped, using the derogatory nickname for CR1515. Even though he was humanity’s protector, there were many people who resented and feared his abilities, and consequently sought to drag him down in petty ways. Despite the intended disrespect, CR1515 had never given any indication of noticing the nickname or the negative attitudes towards him … until his failure to appear that night.

“The Gate isn’t far from here. Let’s just go see if we can contact him, at the very least.” Aurora hated the thought of giving up, and even though she knew her idea sounded silly and irrational, it was far better than doing nothing.

“You go then, if it will make you happy. I need to tell the others what’s happened.” Talon stopped and turned to Aurora, put his arms around her waist, then kissed her lips. “Don’t risk waiting around, though,” he whispered. “If he doesn’t answer in two minutes, get underground.”

“I promise I will.” Aurora closed her eyes as they kissed farewell again, then continued to the Gate alone. She approached the metal door, standing in the middle of an empty lot free from any buildings or walls, and pushed the small button next to it. Silently, she began to count the seconds, feeling the weight of fatigue build with every number.

At 64, the door swung open.

She hesitated, then stepped through.

Aurora was no longer in the empty lot with solid earth beneath her feet. She was inside a large room with windows on every side, looking out at a dark sky that was speckled with innumerable stars, and her breath caught in her throat at the realization that she was no longer on the planet, but far above it in space.

Metallic footsteps came towards her, and she turned to face CR1515. It hurt to find him home, staring at her with his expressionless face, and she couldn’t stop herself from crying out, “How could you?”

He stopped. “Have you never questioned whether or not you are worthy of my help?”

“Aren’t … we?” Aurora was lost for words. The truth was, through all the hard work and sacrifices that they had made to reach their goal, it never once occurred to her to wonder what CR1515 thought of them – she had assumed that he would assist the moment he was needed, because he always had before.

“I have grown tired of humanity. Save yourselves.” He turned to walk away, but Aurora jumped forward and caught hold of his back, pressing herself against him as she begged,

“Please. Please. We’ve done everything we can, but that mecha is … a lot of people will die if you don’t do something right now!”

“No,” came his harsh reply.

“I swear that I’ll do anything you ask, if only you’ll kill that thing!”

“You swear?” CR1515’s metal hands pressed down over her wrists, holding her in place with her arms around him.

“I swear!”

“I want what your species takes for granted.” He thrust Aurora’s arms away from him and once again turned to face her. “I want to touch, and to love.”

She stood, numbed by the words, unable to stop the thought, He’s a robot, from repeating itself over and over in her mind. CR1515 possessed the likeness of a human, but he was undoubtedly made of hard metal. How could he touch?

“Will you be mine?” he asked.

“But …” Aurora’s voice faded.

“Those are my terms. If you won’t accept, then begone.”

“…Yes.” Her lower lip trembled, and she wondered if she should try to take back the word despite having said it.

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Marking Fabric and Debunking Misinformation

I learned most of what I know about crafting through books that I picked up from thrift stores, usually published in the 70s and 80s. That probably makes me a major weirdo for my age group, but since I was living in a vehicle at the time I started, I didn’t have constant access to a computer or money … so yeah, major weirdo.

In 2017, I bought a book that had been freshly published, mostly out of morbid curiosity, and I found it to be a major disappointment. For starters, the title was grossly misleading. Secondly, the author left out a huge amount of relevant information, but went into an excessive description about how a-may-zing the purple disappearing pens are for marking fabric, followed up with demonizing the blue water-soluble pens as the most useless invention ever.

Everything the author said was accurate enough for where she lived in the deep South, where it’s humid. But where I live in the arid West, it was thoroughly horrible advice. On dry days, I have used the purple pens then watched the marks disappear in a matter of minutes. I only use them when I need to mark something immediately before cutting or sewing it, because the marks aren’t guaranteed to be there ten minutes later. Blue pens are by far the better option for the climate I live in. So far, I haven’t seen any modern creators mention that local weather patterns can have an effect on tools and fabric.

Books from the 70s are a priceless resource for learning how to accurately mark fabrics when neither pen is an option, especially because they don’t assume that you’re too lazy to spend five minutes on doing a good job.

The sewing and embroidery community has since decided that “heat erase” pens are the greatest thing ever, but I strongly recommend against them — on the grounds that they don’t actually erase. It’s color changing technology, and heat makes the ink turn from dark to white. The ink is permanent, you run the risk of bleaching the marks into fabric that isn’t white, and if there’s any chance of the project being exposed to cold (mailing a Christmas gift?), those marks are going to come right back in all their hideous glory and make a bad first impression. So please, save the heat erase pens for design sketches and notes, and don’t use them on your fabric.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because of the growing popularity of debunking videos. I know that crafting is a little too niche and nowhere near as dramatic as, “THIS WILL EXPLODE ALL OVER YOUR FACE AND KILL YOU!”, so the chances of it getting the same analysis are fairly null. But frankly, it was the misinformation spreading through blogs that killed my interest in using the internet and contemporary books as a learning resource years ago. I still preferentially turn to decades-old books to figure out what the heck I’m doing (and don’t get me started on youtube; slogging through a 20-minute video to get five seconds of clarification is a painful waste of time, and I don’t like your personality enough to want to simply watch you exist).

So, here are my two cents on marking fabric:
Purple air erase pens – good for humid climates
Blue water soluble pens – good for dry climates; rinse thoroughly with cold water before washing with soap to prevent residue
Chalk pencils – good for dark fabrics, may stain pale shades
Heat-erase pens – pls don’t go there

I recommend Sewline products, and heavily use the pens, mechanical pencils, and glue sticks myself.

I can’t help but wonder, are people are ever going to get sick of exploitative clickbait, and cry out to know reality instead? The debunking videos still don’t get anywhere near as much attention as the “hacks” do.