Wandering at the Shadows' Edge

exploring potential and possibility

Prepping for Faire

Every year, as winter changes to spring, Sherwood Forest Faire begins. I love the Faire. The first year I went, I found an SCA friend running a booth – Tobar Tinker’s Pawn Shop. He was in need of some extra help – and he was willing to get me an employee pass if I would help out for the rest of the season. I jumped at the offer.

And I found I love working at the Faire. I’m not a sales person, but I have skills that make a difference for the shop. And I’ve made friends I look forward to seeing each year. I always plan to do more preparation before Faire – but I rarely actually get it done.

This year is different.  I’ve been meaning for a couple of years now to make a dual layer capelet – I have a lovely, heavy cloak, but as cashier, I can’t keep the front of the cloak closed when I’m working. A capelet, with arm slits, is a much better choice.  Finally, earlier this month, I cut the capelet out and sewed it together. Now I’m just decorating it.

Another project – a more period style account ledger. Because of the kind of business we do, its hard to automate. We’re trying, but we keep a paper record of sales and purchases. In the past we’ve used a regular notebook and pen. Over the past couple of years, I’ve started using a dip pen and ink, but the notebook was still distracting. This year, I think I may have figured out how to create a medieval looking ledger book that will adapt to the volume of business that we do from weekend to weekend.

One last bit of prepping I have to do this yeart won’t happen until next week after I’ve talked to my boss. I’ll need to update the Terms of Service and “How the Shop Works” and inventory sheets for this year.  That’s all on the computer, so it’s pretty quick and easy.

It’s nice to be ahead of the game this year and actually have done some of the things I’ve been saying I wanted to do for a couple of seasons.

100 Days of Art and Science – Check In #1

I haven’t been doing SCA events for quite awhile. Part of the reason is because I had let all my SCA projects and interests fall by the wayside. I decided I wanted to get those interests moving again. To do that I decided to participate in the 100 Days of Arts & Sciences Lite challenge.

If you’d like to see my day to day progess, you can look for #100DaysofASLite on Facebook and Twitter. This is just going to be an overall update of how I’m doing so far.

Days 1-12

  • Gathering supplies
  • Research
  • Choosing methods
  • Refreshing my skill at making Lucet cords

Due to general life circumstances, I didn’t do any A&S work during the second half of January.  Since I’m doing the Lite version of this challenge, I’m not starting over. I just pickws up with Day 13.

Days 13-16

  • Cut and machine sewing a double layered cape for Faire this year
  • Choosing pattern and thread for embroidered decoration of the cape
  • Weaving on my rigid heddle loom

Spotlight: Kelly Paige Standard

Here’s the first Spotlight for 2018:

Kelly Paige Standard

Kelly is an extremely talented artist who has worked in several different media but she’s currently making her living mostly by her oil painting.  I’ve known her since she and my sister were in high school together and her art has only gotten better. She does all kinds of paintings – portraits, pets, still lifes, fantasical images. She’s incredibly creative.

You can find her on Facebook  and at her website.

Here are a couple of samples of her work: The first is my sister’s first Great Dane, Zoe and the second is part of a series of paintings that Kelly used my sister as the model for. Although the second one has a price listed, I believe that it did sell.

Practice Practice Practice

What do you do when you have some projects in mind that are above your current skill level? Either you choose to let those projects go, or you start practicing!  So I’ll be doing a lot of practicing over the next couple of months. If I do enough, maybe I’ll even feel confident when I start working on the actual projects.

I already do a lot of practice writing and I can see the improvement in my storytelling and style. Whether I’m writing for myself or a wider audience, every time I put words on the page (or on a blog) I’m practicing. Am I always comfortable with sharing what comes of the practice? No. But feedback, constructive criticism is how I learn and improve. I’m comfortable with that idea when it comes to my writing.

I still need to get to that point with my other projects – whether it’s weaving and other fiber arts or calligraphy, illumination, and bookbinding. But I have to remind myself that I have much less experience in those areas than I do in writing. So of course my current efforts, practice or otherwise, have a lot of room for improvement.

So, more practice it is…. I’ll find my way through the shadows of doubt and self-criticism as I see improvement in my efforts. I don’t know that practice makes perfect, but conscientious practice does make one better at the thing you are practicing.

What skill are you going to practice until it shines from the shadows?

The Wandering Plan for 2018

I started and ended 2017 pretty well here…. the middle was a bit of a mess. I don’t want that to happen again. So here’s the plan and how I intend to stick to it.

  • I’m committing to one post a week here.  I may, at times, post more often, but the commitment is once a week.
  • I’m scheduling craft, reading, and posting time every week. So I’ll have projects and books to post about.
  • I’m setting up drafts for posts 3 months at a time. In most cases they’re just titles and a few notes bit they are ready and waiting.

And what will I be posting about?

  • I’m bringing back the Spotlights
  • I’ll be sharing my favorite authors and books
  • I’ve set myself a goal to work on a crafting project every day and I’ll be posting  updates on my progress
  • The actual projects themselves… some calligraphy, iconography, weaving, sewing, costuming, needlework, bookbinding, crochet and other fiber arts… And who knows what else.

I’m planning on exploring a lot of the shadows in 2018 and recording what I discover. Come wander with me.

2017 Sliding into the Shadows 

2017 had moments if brightness but a lot of the year was cast in shadows that were dark, even for me.

I wanted to post here more often but work and life got in the way.  The brightness I wanted to bring to people, the people I wanted to throw the spotlight on, I let fall by the wayside.

I think I’ve figured not only what went wrong, but how to keep it from happening again. So I’m coming out of the shadows, at least a bit though I doubt you’ll find me standing in the sunshine.

Cooking

I like to cook but I don’t do it as often as I should.  It’s a pain to cook for just one person and often it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. But I’ve been cooking more often over the last few months and it’s because of Blue Apron.

Every other week or so I get a box delivered. It has instructions and all the ingredients for three recipes and each recipe makes two servings.
Some of the recipes stretch to three servings, but whether they do or not I get the current meal and one serving of leftovers to take to work for lunch. That works out near perfectly for me.

I also get to try lots of different kinds of food without having to buy lots of specialty or hard to find ingredients.  If I like something a lot, I have the recipe and can go ahead and invest in the special items it may need.

Using the Blue Apron service helps my budget because I’m not wasting ingredients. It also expands my culinary experience and food palette. I’d recommend it if you’re interested in either.

Weaving

A scarf - my first weaving project

First weaving project

Starting my first project

The beginning of the scarf on the loom

Weaving a plaid

Weaving a plaid

My latest craft projects have been testing out my rigid heddle loom. I’m pretty happy with my two projects so far. 

The hardest part of Weaving, for me at least, is warping the loom by myself. Warping is doing the initial set up. The second picture is the loom warped for the scarf.

I have some projects in mind, including weaving some fabric to use in costumes. I need some more heddles and a stand for the loom to speed things up but I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do.

Big Changes and a New Craft Space

It’s been eleven months since I posted here – good intentions got swept up in the chaos and shadows that sometimes overtakes life. 2017 was a busy year.

One of reasons this blog faded was because I didn’t have space to do much in the way of crafting. The biggest event of 2017 changed that. I moved from a 500 square foot, one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom condo with almost twice as much room.  Now I can find all my craft supplies without digging through stacks of bins and boxes. And my craft table isn’t piled high with some of those same bins and boxes.

Things are still a little crazy – I’m working swing shift for a few months as an instructor for our new hires at work, and I’m concentrating on my writing. But crafting is still important to me. So I’m going to start posting here again and by the beginning of 2018 I’m going to start actively working on it again.

I dropped off on the Spotlights I was posting too – and I’ll be bringing them back – along with book reviews and other wanderings in the shadows.

Spotlight – Bethany Powell and Unlock Coaching

Today’s spot is going in yet another direction. One of the people I met at the Sirens Conference is a writer, but she also offers a unique take on life coaching. She targets her coaching toward those in the more creative fields. Being a writer herself, she has some insights the average life coach may not.

In Bethany’s own words on the Unlock Coaching website:

Are You Pursuing Your Dreams?

Or are you scraping for energy to write after work?

Unable to find focus for art projects on the weekends?

Wishing you had time for both work and play?

UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL FOR MORE WITH COACHING.

Bethany is a lovely person to be around, and she has the ability to help you see where you need to make changes to improve your creative efforts and feel better overall. And I think creatives, even more than those that don’t pursue creative endeavors, sometimes need some help keeping that creative well full and flowing while balancing the more mundane tasks life requires.

You can find information on Unlock Coaching and Bethany on her site, linked above, and on Facebook. She coaches both in-person and long-distance.

If you’re feeling like you could be doing better, doing more, take a look. You never know how a different set of creative eyes might be able to help you out.

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