Look at me, I do stuff!

Wow, okay. Another week of forgetting to blog. I’m sorry! I don’t mean to get so caught up in irresponsibility!

I have been hard at work, several types of work no less. I had to submit final edits on “Harvest”, which went rather well (at least, in my mind!). The only thing I have to show for much of my time spent (aside from, you know, a pay check and food in my fridge, that sort of thing) is a great new bio and a very, very slick header for The Damning Moths. The Husband took my concept work and made it AWESOME. Yes!


Clicky-click for full size!

So, this is used on the Facebook Page for The Damning Moths, found here: The Damning Moths | Facebook
And the official website, found here: The Damning Moths
The bio is also on the website, right there under “The Author”. Fancy.

Oh yeah. Did I mention at any point the books have an official website? Haha. See above. I’ve been gloriously lazy about getting the description finalised and put on the site, so you’ll have to forgive the lack of content.

Beside that, it’s all pretty slow going. Whenever I think I’m on a roll, I look at the overall progress and am hit with a “WHAAAAT?” moment. Because things like, I’ll have been editing for hours, and added over 2,000 words to the book, but only progressed through a third of the chapter I had intended on finishing. Don’t get me wrong, everything’s awesome, but the one thing I stuggle most with when editing is guaging progress.

There’s no definitive word count to judge yourself on. Editing isn’t all equal value. Working through a really tough scene might take twice as long as just whipping through a perfectly acceptable section of the manuscript. Man, final edits are trouble. Worth it, but trouble all the same.

~A

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Previewing the portrait

There are a number of you who have already seen this picture through Facebook! But of course, for the rest, I’m happy to blog and show you the preview of my most excellent photo shoot last Friday. And yes, sate your curiosity about the hair colour I chose! What do you think?

This is, officially, me being an author. Here’s a larger version, too.

My photographer was simply amazing. Kylie showed what she wanted from me with clear direction and has a wonderful eye for location and setting. We tried a few places in the historical and scenic port town of Fremantle, though the best shots ended up down a random little alley in front of this awesome wooden loading door, complete with flaking paint and worn bricks behind me. I love the colours, texture, and lighting. We had so much fun!

If anyone is looking for a photographer in Perth, I give the highest recommendation for Kylie. You can find her through her website, Photography by Kylie, or the Facebook Page for her business.

~A

Of baby things, part deux

A much-loved second child has added to my friend’s family. As baby number two is born within two week of my godson’s birthday, I’ve been passing on baby clothes. Even for someone who isn’t a mother of any human children, I find baby clothes to be so sweet and, of course, remember how adorable my godson looked in so many of those suits! (The four-legged furry children don’t take kindly to being dressed in clothes.)

A while after my godson grew out of his first batch of baby clothes, I was speaking to his mother about how she had a certain attachment to some of the suits, particularly the special “coming home from the hospital” t-shirt and pants set we’d picked out. I made the suggestion, why not “upcycle” the clothes into something the baby can keep? For those not in the know, upcycling is the trendy term for a kind of recycling, crafting new things from existing materials.

We came to the conclusion that upcycling her favourite clothes into a stuffed toy for the baby would be awesome. At that age, my godson had a fascination with owls (not without a bit of influence from me, of course…), so I sketched out a pattern for a big stuffed owl and spent a couple of days cutting and sewing together panels of his old baby clothes into a toy.


These days, Owl-cush is misshapen and deflated from all the baby love-wrestles he receives.

The belly-panel with the puppy picture, and the pale blue eyes, tufts, beak, and feet are from my godson’s coming home suit. The other pieces were either deemed super cute, like the grey elephants and mint stars, or I picked them for the matching colours. All in all, I discovered baby clothes don’t have nearly enough fabric for crafting with – which is why there ended up being so many sections – and it’s rewarding to make a keepsake which the baby will love, and the parents will cherish for the meaningful inclusions. Plus, no one feels like they’re keeping too-small baby clothes solely for sentimental reasons!

And it gives me more excuses to make cute things.

~A

Judging a good day

I saw a friend after she’d come out of a meeting. I made the light-hearted comment, ‘Must have been a good meeting, you’ve got a smudge on your face.’ And I meant that in all honesty. From my years of being a painter, and being a bit of a grubby outdoorsy type, I often judge an action’s success based on how messy you come out the other side.

I always painted with intent. Specific strokes, painstaking detail, blending colours together with my fingertips on canvas. I love the act of mixing paints, getting the tone you want. Adding just a drop of some colour you wouldn’t expect, if you weren’t experienced with paint, and getting the exact result you were after. I have never been a wild painter, with splashes and swipes. If a picture has paint dribbling through the background, I made each rivulet cautiously.

Regardless of my care, I always ended up splattered with paint, myself. And I wasn’t the kind of person to wear painting clothes or aprons, either, so there are numerous shirts and pants with the addition of a great green splotch or other (acrylic doesn’t wash off fabric). I would get paint through my hair, on my elbow, a spot on the side of my nose or in my eyebrow. And that meant it was a good day. I had painted. All was well.

Going outside and scrambling around often has similar results. Gotten twigs and leaves through my hair, mud over my pants, a scrap or two on my hands? A good day. If I’m all sticky from climbing trees, how could I not associate the mess with the excitement I experienced? Even now, you’ll probably find pen marks on me (how often I catch myself with the pen, or drop it, and get an errant line across my skin or clothes!), and I will feel certain that means I had a good day.

I tend to think some people would take it all wrong, though. Like I was making fun of them if I declare their mess a positive attribute. But truly, if you’ve been doing something that leaves you grubby, or your hair in a tangle, you’re probably doing it right. I like that. We should go run around the beach and get all sandy, or make pottery and get drenched in clay (two of my other favourite pastimes, no less).

We’ll end up dirty. That means we had a good day.

~A

Button Joy Reflected

Amy Rose Davis has Button Joy! She’s been a crafting manic lately, and found a buttony treasure during a big spring clean, spurring my own recollections of Button Joy. Now, I’m a bit of a button hoarder. Nothing serious. I just have a big jar of buttons. And I can blame it all on one person.

I grew up learning to sew from my paternal grandmother, and maternal great grandmother. They are pretty much the reason why I can sew and crochet, and have done so since the time I could wield a needle or hook. My grandmother was an amazing seamstress, and I think it was her careful eye which led me to be able to draft patterns however I want. I’m not exceptional at it, but if I want to make myself a pair of pants or a new skirt, I don’t need to buy a pattern for it, I will just draw one up and modify it as I go.

My great grandmother was an avid crocheter, though. Not only that, but she kept a jar of buttons; the jar which I inherited upon her death. Some of these buttons are very old, gorgeous wooden things or cast metal. Others are newer, some match, some never will. I’ve used buttons from this jar in my sewing for years; anything from teddy’s clothes, to replacing a popped button from a shirt.

But the truly remarkable thing about my jar of buttons is the smell. This seems a common theme among those with Button Joy. Open it up and stick your nose is, and I swear, it smells exactly like my great grandmother’s house, all these years later. It’s surreal and evocative. It’s the scent of a yarn collection, and her endless cooking, and whatever little things made the house so distinctive. Her moisturiser and make-up. Her perfume.

My jar of buttons sits on my computer desk, tucked into the shelf in front of me. It’s just the convenient place to keep it; accessible, yet out of the way. But it’s also a lovely connection to a woman who meant so much and taught me many wonderful things. I like buttons. Treasures from the past.

~A

A time for responsibility

It’s one of those words, isn’t it? Responsibility? Even we who are well into adulthood and are already used to taking care of things tend to baulk at life’s requirements every now and then. Not least when we have conflicting responsibilities!

I’m probably going to miss my self-imposed deadline for finishing TDM by the end of the year. The sheer amount of things I have left to do in preparation for Christmas is certainly enough to keep me busy, and then there are always other obligations and vital activities to attend. Yesterday, I helped a relative move house. Today, I finished a number of Christmas gifts. Tomorrow, I need to do more. When will I fit in writing, or editing? When will my mind slow down enough to let me dedicate my thought to the deep processes necessary for critical editing?

I like Christmastime, but man, is it busy.

I’ve considered a daily schedule of sorts, to try and fit in all my projects, but I know how I am. If I’m on a roll, or making something specific, I prefer to finish what I’m doing before moving on, not just stop at a designated time and come back to it later. This is the same for all my work. I’m not very good at schedules, regardless of how flexible I make them.

Writing is usually relegated to the “lesser responsibility” pile, unfortunately. Grocery shopping is more important, cooking meals is more important, sleep is sometimes more important. Finishing Christmas gifts is getting more important, as I need to send a number of them overseas ASAP, then going to the post office to wait in line for half an hour will proceed to become more important than my editing time. And while I might be able to write snippets while standing in line, or in the car (as I’m always the passenger), I most certainly cannot edit in those garnered moments.

If nothing else, I will try and put aside an hour every day, whether it be first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, or any other time I can be reasonably assured of few interruptions, and actually stick to editing a little each day. I know how much progress you can truly make as long as you keep chipping at something daily. I’ve used that technique to great success before! So it’s just a matter of being responsible to myself and my passion, as well as everything else I’ve taken on. My story is definitely that important.

~A

Crochet to the left!

Crochet to the right! I’ve been a busy little stitcher! And finally, a collection of projects has been completed, so now I can share photos of the crocheting that has kept me sane in between the madness of editing. Go ahead and click any of the images for a larger view!

First, is a really super snuggly knee rug or baby blanket. The green yarn is very soft, bulky and fuzzy. This was made with a v-stitch, then just single crochet for the border in a lovely variegated blue yarn.

The next knee rug or baby blanket is made from pale and dark blue bamboo/cotton blended yarn, with a segment of grey yarn for contrast. It is SO soft and has a really nice weight to it. This is just a standard granny square pattern, repeated until I was out of the bamboo yarn.

Carrot baby set! This baby beanie was requested by a friend, made with cute little curly carrot leaves. I whipped up the little carroty shaped bib to go with it, because the idea was just too cute!

And lastly, for now, is the most ridiculously adorable thing I’ve ever made: a flopsie-eared bunny beanie. The pink yarn is very soft, with little glittery bits through it. I really love the brown and cream yarn. Honestly, brown is such a great colour for baby things, especially as it goes really well with bright, rainbow colours.

With these four pieces finished, I still have a whole pile of other crocheting to get through. Good thing it’s a great activity to keep my hands busy while I’m trying to puzzle through my writing – any time I get a bit stuck at the moment, I just pick up the crochet and work on it until I’ve thought through my problem. Awesome!

~A