Progress… and an Averted Crisis

So, a little progress on my current workings…

First off, however… I swear. I know I’m a fantasy author but my head seems to be up in the clouds lately, and not in a good way. I seem to be forgetting things left and right. Is this the curse of being artistic, complete and utter forgetfulness?

I got up this morning and checked my email only to find an email from TracFone (yes, I’m way old school.. I have a TracFone phone that’s about six years old) telling me that my phone had been disconnected. I checked my phone only to find that my phone card had expired on the first. Umm… oops. I checked older emails – because I swear that they never sent me the usual five thousand messages telling me my service was expiring – yet, low and behold they were there. *Sigh* I swear I’m losing my mind. Now, my biggest fear with this phone is that they are going to disconnect the service and I’m not going to be able to get it back because the phone is so dang old. What can I say? I like my little brick of a flip phone. A little scuffed up from my dropping it so many times – as well as my cat knocking it off my dresser into the trash can – but nothing that a good old Sharpie can’t fix. Fortunately, the email told me as long as I bought service today it would be fine and luckily it was. Now, hopefully I don’t space out that badly again. That’s the first time I’ve done that.

Onto other things – my plant crisis and my leather working in particular.

I’m happy to say that I think I successfully managed to quell the gnat infestation in one of my houseplants – as well as apparently remembering the correct way to spell gnat. Here are some before and after pictures of what I ended up doing:

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You can’t see the abundance of gnats in the first picture and be glad you can’t. I’m hardly squeamish, but even that gave me a bit of the creepy crawlies. I’m just glad it wasn’t something more disgusting or dangerous or whatever. At least gnats don’t bite… or do they? I actually have no idea. Anyways. What I ended up doing was spreading a layer of coffee grounds on top of the soil. I guess it’s true that gnats don’t like coffee because that seemed to work right away. The day after that I sprayed the topsoil down with a mix of vinegar and soap and that seemed to kill a bunch more of the adults that were still flying around. Then finally, I read on one of the many sites I scoured for information that gnats don’t like sand and won’t breed there. So, as you can see in my second picture, my dragon tree now has a beachy look. I added about a half inch of sand on top of the soil (left the coffee grounds there and sprayed it with vinegar one last time) and added some rocks for decoration. Not only do I like the look it left me with, I think that all thankfully worked. There are still a few gnats flying around but I think those are just the remaining adults that are moreso confused as to where their home went.

Leather working update:

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Isn’t it pretty? (you know, in that dark, medieval kind of way)

Now, of course this isn’t the final product. This is a scrap piece of leather that I’ve been playing around with since I first picked up the idea of even starting all this a few weeks back. I’ve punched test holes in it. I’ve laced it up and now attacked it with a woodburner that I bought over a year ago and have now just taken out of the box to play with. I’ve got my second bracer cut out and I’ve punched small holes all the way around it with the idea to add decorative lacing all the way around the perimeter like what you can see on this test piece. Even with my rotary punch that took awhile. I seem to have very little strength in my hands, but hell if that will stop me. A lot of this is what I plan on doing to the piece I’m actually working on – the symbols of my own creation and the runic writing – but, like any good artist, I decided not to just jump in and use my hopefully final product as testing grounds either. So, I spent the better half of a day trying to get the hang of the wood burner. I’ve seen some amazing stuff made with one of them and I will admit it’s not an easy thing to get a hang of. Since it’s sitting in the top corner of my picture, you can see just how far back you have to hold the burner to keep from, well, getting burnt. That has been really difficult on me as I’m usually holding pencils right at the very tip when I’m drawing. So, to use this has thrown me off a bit. Yet, even just playing with this test piece, I’m rather happy with the results. Just have to learn to be very, very light with it. Definitely something that I plan on continuing with as well. Maybe actually get into the burning wood portion of it. We have a cedar tree that fell in our yard last year that got cut into pieces and I’ve had the notion to make a cedar wood box out of it. I could do that and burn a lovely design on the top – related to my book, no less.

… So many hobbies yet to get into. I took wood shop in high school and actually really enjoyed it – save for the fact that the teacher was kind of creepy. I would love to get into woodworking… probably even metal working one day. Do you know how ecstatic I would be if I could make my own sword? I’ve already gotten into making chain mail and have all the intention of making a full tunic one of these days if I can save up the money to buy that many rings. … Digital art… photography… and so many other things. The problem with most artistic ventures is the money it takes to get started. Leather working, especially, is no cheap hobby. Leather alone is expensive, which is why I’m currently working out of scrap bags from Michaels. Luckily I’ve been able to find a few awls at garage sales and my dad had a set of leather punches. I really do plan on keeping with this hobby though, so I shall see where it takes me.

As for my book… I have not forgotten about it. I don’t know if I’m on a block right now as much as I’ve just been so busy and distracted by a dozen other things. But, it’s always lingering there in the back of my mind, my characters demanding to be heard. As well as making good progress thus far on my story-related digital painting, I think it’s high time to step back into that world. I think I will sit down later tonight and make a little outline of the edits that need to happen in the next section I’m working on of the first book.

Besides that, I’ve also started rereading the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, not only because I loved the first two books and have yet to read the last in the trilogy to completely finish the story, but also because that it the series that quite literally sparked my imagination and I suppose you could say was the origin of Nyte-Fyre. So I’m hoping that by reading that again I might get a nice kick in the butt to get back to my own novel.

And to leave you with one final thought / update: I bought some orange hair chalk the other day on clearance and have been dying to play with that. It might sound kind of weird to add orange to my red hair, but I saw it in a magazine awhile back and it actually looked really neat – almost like the girl’s hair was on fire. Now, seeing as my main character in my book is a fire dancer and has magic that revolves around fire, that of course intrigues me.

— Apparently I have lots going on… (now if only I could get as much writing done on my story as I have in this blog)

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