luciab: (Default)
I just got email from the last teacher I owe work to.... ungrammatical, tough shit. I was supposed to give my presentation on Monday at 3, and was going to KY on Tues or Wed. She says, though, that we have to change the presentation date to Thursday. I am SO not amused. I wanted to get this crap over and done. Who would have thought that any grad student would ever be complaining about having too much time for a paper?

I've been painting today. I decompressed by reading this morning; read a whole silly mystery before noon. Sweet. I mean, not that I was too awfully compressed to begin with, but I still had absolutely no ambition this morning. So after lunch I turned on the TeeeVeee and started painting. I have a scroll blank I was going to try to do for the competition Livia had-- I hear no Laurels managed to get anything entered in that, BTW, which was disappointing. I decided to go on and finish that one, which was drawn, inked and calliged, with a little bit of painting started. I have an Undine to do next.

Mythbusters was on this afternoon while I was painting. I learned all kinds of interesting stuff, some of which I knew or strongly suspected, but it was entertaining. Myths are all done for the night, though, and Harry Potter is now meeting Hagrid for the first time, which is pleasant painting company.
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I found out Wed AM before I went to the book repair workshop for the day that I was to be able to make a scroll in honor of my lovely apprentice [ profile] harlenquinzell receiving a Coral Branch on Sat at Ymir. Eek. I rummaged through my books and found one with a good selection of artwork that might work, and slammed it into my bag as I ran out the door. Sunneva and I conferred over lunch and decided which piece to use. Wed night I cleaned off my drafting table and played with scroll texts a bit. I was having absolutely no luck with fine motor skills that night so I took the wussy way out and retired to bed with a book. Thurs AM I hit the callig boards, so to speak.

I had no idea how much I rely on being able to print out everything on my trusty printer. I've been having trouble with it for a month or two, and in trying to fix the original problem (won't scan) I "fixed" it so it won't even print at all now. In fact, the computer doesn't even know I have a printer now. Damn, I'm good. The immediate effect was that I couldn't print out the final text and I couldn't scan and reverse the image from the book. Off to Kinko's.

I had sort of forgotten how long it's been since I did any callig, too. Sigh. I am SO not happy with the callig. Spacing issues, mainly, and spacing is always a problem for me. Sigh.

So, Thurs night I was going to Livia's to help her with final touches on the two scrolls she did for Ymir. In a stroke of good fortune or good planning, Sunneva lives one door down from Livia. Convenient, eh? I just went over a few hours earlier than I told Livia I'd be there, parked my thoroughly unremarkable beige car several spots farther away from her house, and took the callig'ed piece to Sunneva's for her to transfer the drawing and start painting. At the appointed hour, I showed up on Livia's doorstep, and we took care of our business as planned. When I left, instead of getting in my car, I sashayed back down to Sunneva's where we worked a bit longer before I took the (half done?) scroll back home. All I can say is, Sunneva and I must be the world's slowest combat scribes. Heh. I worked on it all day Friday, and took it BACK over Fri night. I had Sunneva call me when Livia left for site Fri night so she wouldn't see me come in. We took turns painting till I had to come home and get some sleep so I could be at least remotely coherent in class on Sat. (Which was only mildly successful, BTW. The sleep was good, but the coherent part... not so much.) I have progress pics here; the ones that say "Thursday" show work that was done by quitting time Thursday night. The Friday ones were what was done when I took it back to Sunneva's Friday evening. She finished it after I left. We are both very pleased with it. Livia seems happy, too. We'll have to get her to post pics of the finished piece.

Ymir was good. Weather was about as good as it gets for the second weekend in February. During the day, it was damn near perfect, but I admit that my toes were small round lumps of ice by the time court was over. I have no idea what the temp was by then; it got down to mid twenties during the night but it was surely nowhere near that at 7 PM. I helped in the kitchen during feast, and damn, Daemon and Emma put out a fine feast. The pork loin was particularly succulent, moist, tender, and garlicky. Does it get any better than that? I think not. There was also a chicken course and a leg of lamb course, but I was stuffed just from nibbling. I can't imagine whole servings of each dish.

All in all, a fine weekend. Now to do homework.

Oh, and you can also see a picture of poor Miss Molly with a nekkid neck, after the small tumor was removed. I swear, the vet took out a huge divot. And nekkid cat necks don't appear to be pretty even without chunks missing. Poor kitty.
luciab: (Default)
I am surprised at my mood today, though maybe I shouldn't be. In spite of three invitations for tonight, (including one set of plans) I find that what I am in the mood to do is sit and paint. I suppose I could blame/thank [ profile] zihuatenejo for this-- I went over there last night and painted for the first time in over a year. I half expected that my hand would be rusty from lack of use, but I was very pleased with the two butterflies and a bird that I added to Gigi's AoA scroll. One of the reasons I went was to get started painting again; I got as far as getting my drafting table about half cleaned off yesterday but sank back into inertia after that, reading the new Spenser mystery instead. (Spenser never changes, BTW. Same sardonic comments, same short sentences, same comfort level. Nice.)

So on one hand, I'm excited about painting again. I'm sure the 20 people who have commissioned me to do scrolls are all in favor of this, too, since most of them have been patiently waiting for years, and I do mean that literally. And I have the first three seasons of Buffy and several movies (some as yet unseen) to watch/listen to while I paint. And I'm sure Miranda will be highly entertained by my painting again. She hasn't had wiggling paint brushes to play with for too long now.

On the other hand, sometimes I needed to be jogged out of my tendency to crawl into my painting and stay there for as long as I possibly can. And it would definitely be fun to see the people at the gatherings to which I have been invited, and I"ve been wanting to see [ profile] foklens play. It's just that I really don't like crowds, and what is going to be more crowded than a bar on New Year's Eve?

So, I'm going to think on this while I paint and watch the first few disks of Buffy or whatever. If you have nothing better to do today than read journals and have strong feelings about this subject, feel free to weigh in. I will give your comments serious consideration.
luciab: (Default)
Well, at least in the context of my usual, sit-in-my-room sort of weekend, this one had some stuff going on.

First I got a commission for a peerage scroll, specifically to be trompe l'oeil. Cool! I haven't done one of those in a while, and that sounds like fun. So I started practicing my callig and fiddled around with the wording of the scroll to make the important parts fit. Lots more practice to do.

Today I invited [ profile] harleenquinzell and [ profile] zihuatanejo over for dinner. I fixed Lemon-Roasted Chicken (yum!) and a recipe from my new cookbook- Confetti Kale, which was.... interesting. Gorgeous, but interesting. It had a red pepper and some white corn cooked with the kale. Now if the kale weren't so bitter it would have been very good. Oh, well, it sure was pretty! Along with that I was going to serve pasta with an alfredo sauce. I had bought some sauce and thought, hey, why not just heat it in the jar? Well, now I know why NOT to heat it in the jar, and I think I can even guess the physics behind what happened. See, there was this big POP! sound, and then there was pasta sauce allllll over the inside of the microwave. Heh. Dripping off the top, running down the sides... I fear that there may even be sauce inside the vents, which will smell just lovely in a few days. Ewwww. Anyway, I'm guessing that an air bubble formed about halfway down the jar, and had no way to escape. The jar just directed the bubble the only way it could go-- straight up. Whee. At least there was enough left in the jar to coat the pasta, so all was well. Messy, but well. Since that was my fisrt explosion ever in a microwave, I don't feel too bad about it. Oh, yeah-- and for dessert I made one of my mother's apple pies. Yummmm, indeed! I really don't generally care for apple pie, but her recipe is worth making. It was a suitably tasty meal and I'm still stuffed.

Minutes after everyone left, I got a call from Mother. I mentioned the other day that my aunt fell and broke her hip, and I've been waiting for Mother to call and tell me how the surgery went. As it turns out, they haven't been able to do the surgery. When they were examining my aunt, they found out that she has three blockages and needs heart surgery. They won't fix her hip until they get her heart fixed. Tomorrow the doctors are going to make a decision about what to recommend, and then it'll be up to her to make the final decision about what to do. One of the heart doctors told her today that he's worked on 70 year olds who are in worse shape than she is, so I guess that's something. Mother says she's in a great deal of pain and, probably as a consequence, is frequently confused. It doesn't help that in the last month, she's been in three different hospitals and a nursing home.

I have got to get the scroll done enough to take it to Kentucky to draw/paint. I really think I'd have an awful time trying to do calligraphy there, since I get too distracted if there's any talking going on, and since there's a TV playing loudly most all the time at my parents' house. Sigh.

Night, all.


Aug. 4th, 2005 07:47 pm
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I got the Laurel's Tourney prize done. Two days... that's almost a speed record for me. Heh. You can see it here. I based it on this illumination from the Alphonso Psalter.

I'm not particularly happy with the overall design; I was so focused on arranging the individual pieces that I didn't spend enough time designing the in-between bits that tie the whole thing together. Fortunately, the details are good.

I got up this morning so focused on Pennsic and getting the various specifics ready to go that I completely forgot that I was supposed to be at Ten Thousand Villages at 10. Ooooops. Then when I got there, feeling all flustered and un-together, the staff member on duty mentioned that Thursday is the day that the Secret Shopper (Mystery Shopper?) might visit. Yikes. Not the day to worry about someone sneaking in to see if I'm doing a good job of being friendly and selling stuff. I am SO not good at selling stuff-- I hate being sold to, so I can't do it myself.

So, now that I have the prize done, and enough clothes to get by, at least, I can get on the organizing part of this expedition. And I plan to switch my cell phone company, so I can do that too. Whee!
luciab: (Default)
Quite the pleasant weekend. See more details of the weekend )

In other news, I'd been worrying about something I expected to be a problem for a few weeks, but had been so focused on the scroll I hadn't had a chance to actually check it out. Today I did, and I think it's less of a problem than I had feared. Weird tent discussion follows. )

In other matters of cosmic importance, I think I need classes in how to eat a tossed salad without looking like an idiot. Or is that possible? I admit, I don't recall seeing elegant salad eaters even in movies, but even in the real-people world, no one else looks as goofy as I feel. First off, the lettuce is always in big pieces- bigger than will gracefully fit into my mouth. Then you have to spear some stuff (lettuce, tomatoes) while piling other stuff on top of your fork (carrots, croutons) so as far as I can tell, it's not really possible to get a variety of things in one bite. Boring. Or should I just try for excitement elsewhere and let the salad-eating experience be boring as it need be? There, I knew that'd give you something to lay awake nights worrying about. Heh.


Jul. 22nd, 2005 01:11 pm
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The scroll is.... 99% done. If it has to be, it's done now. I'd like to touch up the outlines of the gold leaf, but that's it. Last night around 10:30 or 11 I had a serious oh, shit! moment when I realized I had several more hours of work to do, which was way more than I had hoped. I don't know why it finally hit me then, but the adrenaline kicked in and I worked till 2 AM. Then it took me another hour to go to sleep (okay, I admit I was reading the latest Janet Evanovich and I was laughing pretty hard a fair amount of that time, but even when I finished it and turned out the light it still took me a while to get to sleep, what with the remains of the adrenaline. A couple more hours this morning and I finished the scroll as noted above. Whew! That was too close for comfort. I still have to pack, and Livia is coming over to hem her dress on the machine. She was also doing court scrolls... plural. No idea how many.

Off to pack. I'll outline while she hems.


Jul. 21st, 2005 09:12 pm
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General frustration. The scroll is nearly done... really. Very little painting left to do. It's just that I've reached that unfortunate phase where I'm tired of looking at it. Happens every time; it always just takes a bit longer to finish than my enthusiasm lasts. Annoying. It's also unfortunate that I have other stuff to do to get ready for the event, since this lack of enthusiasm makes me dawdle over the scroll, thus delaying the other stuff I need to do, too.

Livia has thus far been lucky and has not heard the alleged "music" from upstairs. I haven't heard him for a long time, either, and thought that my fans were probably just masking the sound of his practicing. Nope, tonight I heard him practicing for a few minutes. Heh, heh. Livia will get the full benefit sooner or later. Poor woman.
luciab: (Default)
The painting is coming along nicely on the scroll. However.... the gold leaf is looking weird. Sigh. What was a perfectly mirror finish when first applied is now crazed with tiny lines or even completely eroded off the gesso. I haven't been abusing it, either. It's not a problem with the gesso, which is performing beautifully. I think it must be that the flexing of the paper has caused the cracking. No idea about the erosion, though. I can't imagine how I could avoid these problems. Maybe if the scroll were fixed to a rigid backing to minimize the flexing. That would help at least till I take it to site, but after that.... no help. And right now, or anyway before I deliver the scroll, I need to touch up all the gold by adding at least one more layer. I don't know if more would be better. Aaargh! Frustrating. It's going to be tricky adding gold only to the currently gold areas without it sticking to the paint. All I can do is try, though. I think I'll wait till I finish the painting to minimize further damage. Sigh.

Ysolt came over with lunch today. She hadn't met the kittens yet. Carmen was friendly, but Miranda headed for cover and wouldn't come out, which surprised me. Lunch was a delicious curried chicken salad with grapes, mango and pineapple in it. Yum! Pretty good deal when guests bring the food and it's really tasty! I was sorry she couldn't stay longer, though. She was in between assignments and got a call ref one of them and had to go. We hardly had any time to talk. We'll be able to talk at Pennsic, though. I'd like to be able to go up for both weeks but it has dawned on me that I need help getting my pavilion up there, and I don't know when I'll be able to get it there. I do still have a lot of getting ready to do, though. As soon as I get done with this scroll....


Jul. 17th, 2005 10:30 pm
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Second entry today... I got the gold leaf on the gesso. Woot! Amazing, though, how something that shines like... well, gold... makes every little flaw show right up. I burnished the gesso before applying the leaf, so it was nice and shiny. Oh, baby. It'ts looking SO good. I have to lean up the lines... the gold stuck to them, too. (I could never figure out how come it stuck to the ink so easily but not always the gesso.) I should be able to start painting tomorrow.


Jul. 17th, 2005 04:02 pm
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I just finished putting the gesso on the scroll. Holy cow, there's a lot of gold leaf gonna be on here. It's a real trick to learn to see the negative spaces between the leaves and what not, which is where the gold leaf will be-- and it turns out I'm not nearly as good as the medieval scribes were at keeping the leaves tight to each other and the shapes they are wrapped around. Ergo, lots of gold leaf. (Patience, grasshopper... I've scanned it and this time next week you should be able to see it posted. Heh.)

Yesterday Livia and I went to a surprise B'day party for Papa Bolt (aka Steve) He's turning 50. Yikes. The actual date is in August, but the poor man had the incredible lack of foresight to conflict with Pennsic, so he got an early party. It was fun... a cookout with plenty of beer and chicken wings. Yeah!

The only bad news is that I've had a migraine for going on three days now. (Ie, while there was plenty of beer at the party, I didn't have any. Sigh.) The Imitrex has helped a lot, but even taking a full dosage yesterday it hasn't gone completely away. Sucker keeps coming back. And it's a real mark of restraint that I started that word with "S," too.

The gesso should be dry enough now that I can start applying leaf. Or maybe I'll have a light supper and let it dry a little more. The test bits I've done have worked well-- I only hope the rest does as well. This baby's going to glow like a thousand suns. Heh.


Jul. 15th, 2005 12:21 pm
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I just looked at my calendar and realized I was supposed to volunteer at the library this morning. I was sure I hadn't signed up for today, but apparently I was wrong. Embarrassing. Very.

Instead, I spent the day starting over on the current scroll. For once, it wasn't the callig that prompted this turn of events. (That's so common I don't even mention it.) No, I spent the day yesterday inking outlines, and a good portion of the night lying in bed thinking about how bad they looked. I used a pen that was too wide, and so instead of looking all light and airy, the vine things on the sides were heavy and awful. When I got up this morning, it looked as ham-handed as it did when I went to bed last night, so I started over. It took me about two hours to re-do the calligraphy. I'm getting ready to start the inking... again. This time I'm using a dip pen which will give me more control over the width of the line than taking the "easy" way did. Sigh.


Jul. 13th, 2005 04:42 pm
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The callig is DONE. It looks pretty good, too, especially in terms of spacing. I wound up penciling in the words that weren't evenly spaced, and that helped a lot. Geva always said she did that, but I'd never been sure enough that I would make the letters the right size for the pen. Got it this time, though. Now I can start transferring the drawing, and then do the gold leaf. I'm going to try the raised gilding again, for the first time in a long time. Maggie showed us a lot about how to do it, and what to look for when making the gesso. I know that was the problem before-- the gesso wasn't right, so the gold wouldn't stick to it. I sure hope it works this time. Nothing is more gorgeous that good raised gilding, but nothing can be more frustrating.
luciab: (carmen)
The kittens are growing up. They have (or at least one of them has) become a Mighty Hunter. When I went to the kitchen this morning I found that a roll of paper towels had escaped from its assigned position and was apparently making its way to the bedroom where I lay sleeping. If it hadn't been for my fearless kitten, I might be dead in my bed right now, smothered by a vicious roll of paper towels. My protector, however, had gutted it thoroughly and I only needed to dispose of the shredded remains of this most dangerous of creatures. (Cue Wild Kingdom music.)

My apprentice came over to work last night. We sewed on her dress, and got it done except from some embroidery she's going to do around the neck, and hemming it. We can do that another night this week.

The scroll has reached the real-paper stage. I had laid out the calligraphy lines last night, so this morning I got up, practiced a bit to get my hand (and my Hand) warmed up, and started to do... Real Calligraphy. Since I had done at least three practice runs of the main body of the text, and had the best one taped beneath my (translucent) Pergamenata as a guide, I figured this would be a piece of cake. I was not even a third of the way through when Idonea called. While I was talking to her, I glanced at the scroll, and noticed that the last line I'd done was, in a word, embarrassing. The first half of the text was condensed and the last half was stretched out to make it fill the line. I stood back a few feet and looked at it, and it still looked crappy. WTF? How did I miss that before? When we finished talking, I looked at it some more and debated. I finally took it off the desk and got out fresh paper. With all the work I've put into making this calligraphy right,, I couldn't let it go out looking like that. By the time I got the calculations done for how to get the most scrolls out of the sheet, cut the paper, and re-drawn the callig lines, it was lunch time. So now I've eaten and read all my friends' journals, and I'm ready to go back to work. At least I know I won't be attacked by a sneaky roll of paper towels.
luciab: (Default)
Okay, awittykitty outdid herself today.

I am prepping to do calligraphy on the new scroll. I've practiced the text a couple of times and I'm working on the spacing, using the A-R method (notice the hyphen) explained in the May 14 entry, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

I just pulled out a book my original mentor gave me. The book is Explicatio Formarum Litterarum: The Unfolding of Letterforms. I guess it's a book on paleography; it isn't just all calligraphy hands but includes timelines, with special sections on the ampersand and abbreviations, for example. Each page folds open to show several examples of different texts of that particular time period. I'm using the ampersand info this time. It's all way cool. I'll bet my apprentice will really enjoy it when she comes over this week. Heh.
luciab: (Default)
What a perfect song to be playing... I have a friend who lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Fl, which the Weather Channel guy specifically mentioned as being in Dennis' path. That sucker is a Category 4 right now. Beth and Stan have always been pretty blase about hurricanes, but I'll tell ya something... after Fran, which technically wasn't even a hurricane by the time it blew four oak trees over on my house, I don't ever want to be that close to any hurricane again, never mind a category four. I say that, but I don't know that I'd evacuate from where I live now, except maybe in light of the aftermath. I'm on the second floor of a three story building with 12" thick masonry walls, so I'm not likely to have the roof land on me, tree branches come through the walls at me, or flooding get to me. The aftermath, however... I also remember no water, no power, no phones.... ah, good times. Har.

In other news: I found this article interesting. I've never considered myself to be particularly analytical about politics, but I thought this was pretty obvious. So much so, in fact, that I was almost surprised to see an article articulating it. Now, if.... oh, never mind. Not gonna happen, anyway. Sigh.

The new scroll is coming along. For some reason, the acanthus leaves have given me fits this time. Usually I don't have any trouble with them. I finally got 'em going, though. Whew. I plan to try real raised gold leaf gesso this time. I found the required hide glue on Friday, which had been a problem in the past. So, what with one thing and another, I'm feeling all happy about the scroll. Whee!
luciab: (Default)
So maybe the cinnamon ran away with.... geez, I dunno, maybe the other jar of cinnamon. I had a new jar that I had been using in my coffee in the mornings, and a few days ago it vanished. I looked everywhere--the cabinet where it belongs, the refrigerator, the pantry, under the cart where the coffee pot sits, but it was nowhere to be found. Finally I decided the kittens must have knocked it off into the trash can which sits too-conveniently close. Silly me, I guess I forgot to put it away, and the kittens are definitely enjoying knocking things off whatever they're on. So I gave up and bought a new jar. I got to use it once, to make cinnamon toast... and now it's gone too. WTF? I've looked all over- again- and all I can think is, maybe I need to start buying the stuff in bulk. Maybe I'll get to use some before they all vanish.

I made some stuffed peppers today. I found eggplant, peppers and onions on the day-old shelf at the Teeter. (Brigida says they called it "used food" when they were kids and the damn phrase is stuck in my head. Ewwww....) I made what would be moussaka if I layered it with bechamel sauce, and it's pretty tasty as stufffing for the peppers. (It would have been better with the cinnamon the recipe called for, though.) I got papaya and passion fruit on the same shelf.... yeah, passion fruit. Boy, that's what I need, alright. Huh. I've never bought either of those things and had no idea what to expect when I cut the passion fruit open. Whatever I expected, it wasn't what I saw, though. Weird. I had to look it up online to find out what the hell to do with it to make it usable. (It's used for juice, which you get by straining the pulp and seeds through a wire mesh strainer. It's going to have to be pretty damn good to be worth the mess!)

I really hesitate to say this, but I haven't had a headache for most of the week. Wow, what a great feeling! I've been really productive, too. I'm getting lots done on the current scroll, and it's looking pretty good. I'm still having trouble with the gold leaf, but a different type of trouble than I usually have. I got some stuff called "Instacoll" to use put the gold leaf on, and it was supposed to give a smooth finish like gesso. Ha. I've tried thick coats, to get the surface tension to prevent brush strokes, but that gave me a pebbled finish. Nobody else has heard of this happening. Several thin coats still give me the funky texture, and it's not brush strokes. Anyway, the gold sticks to it wonderfully but I can't get the damn texture as smooth as I want. It still has that great flash, though. Heh. I can't post pics of it yet (court scroll) but I'm happy with how it's coming along. I'll post a link when it's safe.

I'm volunteering at the local library starting Monday AM. Nia had this idea that the library would be a good place for me to work-- low stress, no overtime-- and hey, it does sound good enough that it's worth volunteering to see what I think. Besides, I'm there regularly anyway, so I might as well be helpful. I need to balance it with the other commitments, including working on the proposed business stuff, as well as another court scroll, and of course there's Pennsic to sew for. I have lots of garb, but most of it's way too big now, and while many of the dresses look like T-tunics, I got just fancy enough with most of them that taking them up will be a pain.

I'm off to bed with my book now (passion fruit notwithstanding) so I can get up and do laundry tomorrow morning, and then work on the paying commission job, and the scroll, and cuddle kittens in between.
luciab: (Default)
I've been working on calligraphy this AM and figured out a good trick to help fix my spacing troubles. I always print out the text I want to use on the computer, in big letters so I can read it easily while I work. A long time ago I figured out that once I have an idea (from practicing the text) of how many words will go on each line, I can then adjust the width of the borders so that the same number of words print per line of the Word/Word Perfect document. This really helped keep me from losing my place. Today I realized that if I draw vertical lines top-to-bottom on the print out, with corresponding lines on the scroll page, I can use them as a guide to help keep my letters from spacing out. Then I figured out that if the printed text is justified on both edges, the resulting calligrapy text would also align, at least much more closely than it has before. The result still isn't as perfectly aligned as my Laurel's was, but damn! It's so much more evenly spaced than anything I've ever produced before. I'm so proud of myself! I know there are some natural calligraphers out there who will think this a very awkward way to work, but.... pbthpthbth! It's going to help me a lot. Now I can start on the rest of the design. The fun part-- Whee!!

Catching up

May. 3rd, 2005 10:07 pm
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It’s been too long since I posted… time sure slips away. I’ve been busy and kept thinking of things I wanted to write but I was getting so much done I hated to stop work to write. When have you ever heard me say that? And now I’ve forgotten too much of it. Sigh.

Brigida came over Saturday last as planned for our white dinner, and we had a really good time. It’s been so long I can’t remember everything we fixed, but the main dish was shrimp with mushrooms in white wine sauce, served with rice. We cheated and had brown rice, but that’s still pretty damn white. Dessert was angel food cake with vanilla ice cream and a kiwi/mango topping that was delicious. Don’t blame me for all the color in the fruit—Brigida did it. Since the whole white theme was her doing, I just went with it, and it was might tasty, too. She was feeling in a mood to spoil us, and got white roses for a centerpiece. I was delighted to be able to provide a few low-drama hours in her life. I’ve had plenty of drama, and I’m just mighty damn glad I’m not having any right this minute. It’ll be back, I’m sure of it. Wait, am I supposed to knock on wood or something now? Throw salt somewhere?

I’m working on a backlog scroll, so it isn’t even a secret. It’s been fun—lately I’ve been doing mostly court scrolls, so I’ve gotten into the habit of being secretive about what I’m working on and not letting the recipient know. This is Gisele’s AoA, and I’ve had to almost force myself to ask her questions about preferences. I’ve got the calligraphy done. It actually went better than usual, which was a vast relief. Practice! I’ve got to practice more. Duh. I know I’m always amazed at the difference it makes but I still don’t do it.

I was hoping to have Gigi’s scroll done by the time I go up this weekend for Crown, since I’m staying at her place. I don’t think it’s going to happen, though—at least not if I go up early to see a museum or two as I’d planned. I’m going to blame it on Nia and Nikulai, okay? They’ve been concerned that I’ve been too hermit-like, so they’ve kept me busy the last week or two. I mean, busy. Last week I was Out Doing Stuff three nights in a row, which is unheard of for me, at least the last few years. It was great fun, and I wanted to do every bit of it. Except… I wasn’t working on Gigi’s scroll. I’m good, but even I can’t be two places at once. I admit, it wasn’t ALL their doing. They were just too damn proud of themselves, is all. But on Wednesday night I found out that hot fudge cake is absolutely delicious with champagne, (Heh! I say, and Yum!!) and on Thursday night Nikulai fixed an email thing for me before we all went out for Mexican food, and on Friday he took me to Hillsboro to the opening of an art show and then we went to dinner again. He particularly wanted me to meet some other artist friends of his.

One of the things that has had me a bit distracted is the whole question of starting a small business out of my home. This has come up before, and I’m still scared witless by the concept. Read more... )

The headaches and their effect on me have been really erratic. Read more... )

I’ve had a lot more energy and gotten a lot more done lately. For example, I’ve been on a cleaning kick. First I did the kitchen, then the bathroom, then night before last I was putting away laundry and got annoyed because the linen closet was a mess, so I rearranged everything in it. Wow. What’s up with that? Most days the scroll work has been equally efficient, too. Not that I’m complaining, you understand. I want to work on the apartment as much as I want to find out about the business stuff, so I’m going to be bi-i-izzzzy.

I have been reading an interesting book by a woman who has had chronic migraines for several years. The book is called All in My Head and the author’s name is Paula Kamen. It’s both entertaining and informative.Read more... )

The fiction I’ve just finished reading is With No One As Witness, which is the latest in the Thomas Lynley/ Barbara Havers series written by Elizabeth George. That sucker has depressed the hell out of me. It’s slightly less depressing now than before I knew how it ended. Still, I hated the ending, which is just … awful. Hated it. So there. She gives you one hopeful thing in the last paragraph, but I’m afraid to read the next one (whenever she writes it,) for fear of what she’ll do next. It only makes it worse that she’s such a good writer, because then you really care what happens to the people in the book. I might make someone else read it first (like Ysolt—she’s the one who got me hooked on the series) and tell me if it’s safe to read.

I was very disappointed yesterday to find that Amy had mailed me a complete set of CDs of the music from their wedding over a week ago, and I haven’t gotten it. Oddly enough, I had been thinking I’d like to have the music. I was probably thinking that about the time she mailed it. (Let’s hear it for that mother-daughter connection…. Ooooh weeeeeeoooooh…) Anyway, that’s the second item mailed to me in less than a month that I didn’t get. I knew our mail isn’t real secure but I’d never been aware of a problem before. Amy said the package was just a plain CD mailer and was obviously nothing special, so she can’t imagine that anyone would bother to take it. It’s just weird, though….

I'm going to call it a night, and hope I'm back in go-get 'em mode tomorrow. And I'll take some light reading to bed with me. A mystery that is entertaining and doesn't make you get all engrossed in the characters and then... oh, nevermind.
luciab: (Default)
What a pleasant weekend! (This was supposed to be Monday’s entry, but I had a hardware lockup—peripherals, not the Mac—and lost several well-honed paragraphs. I was not amused.) Nothing really exciting happened, but then again, it wasn’t dramatic, and that in itself can be wonderful. Just ask Brigida, who is so drama-ed out that she wants to come over next weekend for a couple of drama-free hours. She wants to sit in a white room, (that would have to be the studio, which I find inherently less restful than other rooms, but it doesn’t have yellow walls,) and talk about stuff that isn’t stressful, although even she admits it’s not always possible to predict what will trip her switch. We could eat white, non-exciting food and drink only white stuff. We had some fun creating the menu for this meal. We came up with pork (the other white meat,) mashed potatoes (no chives) and cream gravy, and cauliflower with white cheese sauce. We’d drink white wine, of course. For desert, rice pudding (maybe with almonds and golden raisins) and then maybe White Russians. All this reminds me of the meal Alfred Hitchcock is reported to have served once; all the food, including the butter, was dyed blue. His guests were said to have a hard time eating. This wouldn’t be quite as bad, but it would be pretty weird.

Tournament of Chivalry was fun. I would have enjoyed it more if I’d packed the night before or else gotten up early enough to make sure I had everything I needed before I left the house. (Duh.) As it was, I had to come back home (good thing I’m only a half hour away from site) and lost a chunk of time out of the middle of the event. I did get what I needed done, though, so I don’t have that hanging over my head for another day. I got to spend a couple of hours with Alianor, too. I’m doing a scroll for her, and she’s doing some stained glass in exchange, so I got to do some window shopping. Heh. (Couldn’t resist.)

I also got to see Livia’s two latest scroll’s and was very impressed and excited at her progress. Sometimes people talk about “progress” when somebody’s work starts out really sucky, but in this case it started out good, with great promise and is getting better, so I really am excited. Did I mention impressed? And excited?

After the event I went to dinner with Ysolt. Lots of times it’s fun to do a huge dinner and circulate between tables gossiping, but Ysolt really wanted quiet decompression time, I think. She’s been spending a lot of time with Geva, who’s just gotten out of the hospital and gone into a really bad nursing home. What with one thing and another, she’s wound up taking care of a lot of Geva’s financial details, too. The whole situation has been rough on everyone. Geva’s mother may be able to help more now, though she needs several months of R&R herself.

My mother called yesterday to say that she got the birthday package I sent on Saturday. Damn good thing the USPS was having a fast delivery spell, is all I can say. She actually got the package on her birthday! I sent a silk scarf from (you guessed it) Ten Thousand Villages and a card made from the original painting I used to make the self-portrait icon I’m using on LJ. I think she was as pleased with the card as with the scarf. She loves the medieval cards I make, and sends them to all her friends, and brags on how I paint them. They write back and say how they love the cards. Now if I could only make a living selling cards to little old ladies who like medieval cards. Hell, I’m not proud. I’d even sell to people who aren’t little old ladies.

I’ve been painting on Keith’s AoA scroll, which is about three quarters done. I pulled my old stunt of doing the main body of the text and then going directly to the illumination—in this case, a trompe l’oeil border, because that’s the fun stuff. I didn’t do his name yet, because I’m going to do that in red, and I didn’t have the red mixed up, and I just didn’t get the Rex/Regina and Heraldic confirmation part done, because I just wanted to start the fun stuff. Now I have to go back and do the rest of the calligraphy, which just gives me hives. It’s a Batarde, which is not a hand I’m comfortable with, and now I have to make the last part match the part I’ve already done. Erk. Stupid of me. Plus, I haven’t drawn the heraldry yet, and I’m not really looking forward to that, either. He doesn’t have simple heraldry with stars or wavy or anything like that. Nope, he has entwined snakes, owls, and apples, all of which are deeply symbolic. (Of course. Nothing is simple for him; everything is deep.) The real kicker is, at this point I wonder if he will even want the damn thing. I’m pretty sure he isn’t playing and probably won’t ever play. I’m not sure he’ll want a reminder of me hanging on his wall. Well, if it were me hanging, maybe…. Oh, nevermind.

I got registered for Pennsic yesterday. Whee! I’m looking forward to going after missing a year. It is at least theoretically possible I won’t be able to go, but the stars would have to align in a fairly rigid way for that to happen. If I can’t go I should know far enough in advance to either sell my space to someone else or get a refund. It’s also theoretically possible I’ll be traveling most of the month of August--to Kentucky to see family for a week, then to Pennsylvania. Hrm. Wonder if those could/should be back-to-back? Make a big loop instead of going to Ky, coming back here, unpacking, repacking, then going to Pa? Wonder what the relative sanity factor is? Shit, there’s a pun in there, isn’t there? Haw, haw.

The kittens’ distinct personalities are really starting to come out lately. If one of them jumps into my lap and immediately starts purring very loudly, it’s Carmen. If one of them jumps into my lap and wants attention it’s Miranda. If one of them tries to leap to my shoulder from the floor, it’s almost certainly Miranda. The one who is most likely batting stuff onto the floor while looking innocent is Miranda. Really, it’s like it took two kittens to make up Niccolo’s personality. One of them has taken to sleeping under the covers, too, but I haven’t been awake enough to find out which of them it is.

I’ve got a good mix of CDs in my player, on random play. It’s kept me entertained for a couple of days so far. It includes Johnny Cash, Warren Zevon, Bonnie Raitt, the Putomayo American Blues compilation, the Allman Bros, Patsy Cline, and Toni Price. The only problem I’ve found with it is that it’s pretty hard to paint those fine details when I’m dancing. Heh. They might call it “blues,” but baby, if Taj Mahal singing Cakewalk Into Town doesn’t make you feel happy, maybe there’s something wrong. Or, to put it more bluntly, mebbe you jes cain’t feel.

I think I should take advantage of this dancety feeling to get some dishes and cleaning done. Later, gators.


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Susan Arthur

February 2011



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