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Showing posts from April, 2013

Azure Lights

Today's post is going to be short since I'm in the middle of a book. Currently, I'm editing Azure Lights the sequel to Azure Maris. I am nearly finished and will be sending the full manuscript down to the publisher. Hopefully, the book will be released later this year - probably in the autumn. Keep your eyes open for it.

I usually allow myself a month between finishing the first draft of a novel and editing it to trick myself into looking at the manuscript as an editor not a writer. Sometimes, though, I do not put the changes into the computer as quickly as I should then I find myself having to think about why I suggested a change.

Does that happen to you? Do you forget the reasons for the editing choice? Do you find it easier to edit immediately after writing or do you wait for some time between writing and editing?

Come Visit in Wyoming NY

Little Joys

I learned ages ago to enjoy the little things of life because in the moment they happen, you can either ignore or savor. Sometimes savoring cannot happen, so I take those moments when I can. Here are some thoughts from this week:

While I'm sitting here in my studio, the dogs decide to start growling at something ... again. What do they see? A wild turkey at the edge of the property.
This morning, I took Mom to the airport and the moon was nearly full; but with the wispy evening clouds and darkness of three in the morning, the moon shone bright - just like a cover for a mystery book.
Finishing a book and sending it off for consideration. The book is called Shamrocks of Stone and is set in 1405, Ireland. I finished the book in March and finished the second edit yesterday. It is currently being considered for publication.
Being complimented on my book. My favorite one came from a cousin: "I'm as proud of you as a Christian can humbly be." It made my day when I read that …

Time Management

Life was easier as a child: wake up, go to school, do homework, play, eat supper and repeat. Summer and vacation skipped the school and homework part leaving more time for play, but the schedule remained the same.

If life were only that easy as a freelance writer and artist. Balancing the time needed to write, edit and weave, as well as family obligations and other items sometimes become overwhelming.

How do you manage the time? I've found that certain steps work for me:

Prioritize. What do I need to do today - everything else is superfluous. That might mean putting my writing on hold for a day or two to finish a project. It might mean putting other items on hold to edit.Prepare. When I have slower days or inspiration hits, I build up time by storing items. During the summer, I create stir-fry bags for a quick meal. I might create several journals at once so that I'm not rushed later when I need a quick gift. Procrastinate. I'm very good at this one, but sometimes somethi…

Ocean's Bag

This week, I have been working on a series of bags based upon the women of Azure Maris. The first bag, Ocean's Bag is available over at my Etsy store:

The bag is selling for thirty dollars, and I only have the one available. I can assure you that more are on the way.

Hope over and take a look.

The Difference a Weft Makes

Same warp; different wefts. In fact, they were four different fabric patterns, though all cotton. Beginning in the top left hand corner and going clockwise: Solid green weft; light green with vegetable patterns; lime, blue and yellow plaid; batik rotating from purple, blue-green and green.

This is one of the things that I find absolutely fascinating with weaving ... and story writing as well, quite honestly. The framework, or the weft, is the same yet when different characters or wefts are inserted, the book becomes different.

I realize that my books have a tendency to circle around the same topics be it arts, human trafficking or the church in general. While it is not a problem, it is something that I have to watch. My characters tend to be strong-willed, independent Christian women who are not afraid of a fight. Sometimes, my characters can sound like each other since the main characters are similar in personality. This problem often occurs at the beginning of the novel idea when…

Prayers for Boston

Most obviously there are prayers needed for those in Boston, and our nation in general, therefore, I offer this prayer:

Father God,
We come before You with sorrow in our hearts after what has happened in Boston. We ask that You heal those who have been injured; comfort those who mourn; and open the eyes to those who seek justice. I ask that You strengthen those who were injured both physically and mentally as they begin the long road before them. Give them peace and remind them that they can make it forward - no matter how small the step may be.
In Jesus' name,

Bands and Bags

A couple months back, I started an inkle band project that utilized some patterns from the book The Weaver's Inkle Pattern Directory: 400 Warp-Faced Weaves by Anne Dixon and Madelyn van der Hoogt. One of the patterns was this vine shown below:

Using the same color layout, I wove the first bag yesterday, but have yet to wash the fabric or sew it up. It is a loose rep weave pattern since it is woven only at 12.5 dpi. Most rep weaves lean towards the 25 dpi or more. The weft is a lime green, blue and yellow plaid that I purchased almost a decade ago. Currently, the material is 11 inches wide by 22.5 inches long. It will shrink down once washed to make it around 9 inches wide by 20 inches long - though this is a rough estimate.
The photo above is an overview of the fabric while the photo below is a closer photo.

I still have warp on the loom, but since I ran out of the plaid, I will be using a light green cotton print. Mom say the bag yesterday after I took it off the loom and deci…

Green Blue Bag - Design and Creation

The fabric for this bag was woven in 2011, to be sold as a wrap. It never sold, so I turned I cut the fabric down and made it into a bag.

The warp is 8/2 cotton in a robin egg blue woven at 12.5 epi; the weft is 5/2 cotton in a variegated scheme including robin egg blue, green, yellow and white.

The one end was cut so I covered it with fabric that matched the bag.  The  blue-green fabric with lime dots can be seen holding the strap to the bag. The front fringe was twisted to form the fringe as can be seen below:

Unlike other bags in which I sew the strap to the bag, I did not do that with this bag partly because the strap I chose was already prepared with an adjustable band and hooks. Therefore, to add some width to the bag, I put in an inch gusset at the base.

Lastly, a close-up of the strap with the bag in the back. The strap was woven on my inkle loom and uses 5/2 cotton rug warp in the robin egg blue and lime.

I still need to add clasps to the bag since at the moment there is n…

April Book Review

Since the book for this month deals with tapestries, I'm focusing on one of my tapestry books today.

The Tapestry Handbook by Carol K Russell is a large book, but full of useful items. It is geared to be a tapestry study book whether used as part of college curriculum or independent. I've used it as an independent study.

If you want how to weave tapestries then this is a good starting point since it gives step-by-step instructions from pick-n-pick patterning to shaped patterning. In each portion of the book, she provides color and black and white photographs to illustrate the points, as well as up-close photographs. Most of the tapestries are created by modern weavers so it shows the wide range of tapestries out there.

Occasionally, instructions can be a bit confusing, which would be somewhat negated with a mentor or teacher. The photographs do help sometimes explain confusing sections.

In conclusion, if you want a book to step through the tapestry weaving process as well as…

Projects from Azure Maris

I try to incorporate the arts into all my books. Sometimes it is simply a character who draws, knits or creates journals. Other times, I have the art play an important role within the character's development. Azure Maris is primarily in the first category: she draws and creates her own journals, but as a princess she supports a variety of arts.

In one scene, Azure, Eliam and Mitch have gone into Crabapple Harbor for the Crabapple Festival. There, Azure sees wraps that she ends up purchasing: one in silk and one in cotton. In honor of the black cotton that she purchases, I'm currently weaving one similar to what it might have been like - not the exact vision, but a beginning vision.

The photo above is the current portion that I am weaving. The sett is 12.5 dpi and I am using 8/2 black cotton as well as an 8/2 weight of fun acrylic yarn that I received in a grab bag. The two cones of yarn are below.
The cone on the right was the free yarn, and I didn't know what to do with…

Updating ... New Project(s)

New month; new projects. It's snowing in Western New York; I dislike snow ... especially after Christmas, but I have to live with the snow nonetheless. I'm posting a photo that I took over the summer up at Fort Niagara looking out onto Lake Ontario ... warmer days.

Sometimes, like snow in April, we have to put up with a book in hopes that it'll turn around. I had a nice Easter weekend that helped unravel some problems that I had been having in one of my books. The story line is fantastic: a tapestry weaver must decide whether or not to tell her family's secrets in order to live. Added to that, she is the last of her people, and she is the only one who knows the family's secrets: does she betray all that she knows or does she gamble in hopes of a better future?

The book, as much as I loved it, was stuck. One of my cousins read the opening chapter and couldn't figure out if it was a historical fiction or fantasy - big problem. I didn't have much in the way o…