Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's been ages since I did any serious writing (not counting blogging, and that's often pretty sporadic). I wrote Creating an Heirloom and got it published, and now it's overdue for an update, and I can't get moving on that. Basically, I only have a single chapter that needs rewriting, but it's a pretty important chapter.

Various professional writers will tell you to treat your writing like a job because it is one. Treat it like a hobby, casually, and that's how you can expect to make money from it. Since I was in high school (before, really), writing was something I wanted to do. Over and over, I've let it take a back seat to other things in my life. I've treated it casually. Since I've been pretty cavalier with it, it's not treated me any better. Creativity is a muscle -- it atrophies when you don't use it. And while I have been creative in other outlets, I don't treat that any more seriously.

I finished a short story, about 2500 words (too long for micro or flash fiction, too short for what most people consider to be a "short story"), and now have to decide if I want to shop it around or go the epublishing route that so many authors are using. I'd really like to sell it, but anxiety can be pretty crippling. It's what keeps me from doing most things, actually. I hate it, that evil little voice in my head.

A friend made a suggestion about taking the completed short story, and turning it into a series of related vignettes. I kinda like the idea, I think it would make a nice "package" to publish, but after the (somewhat crazy) inspiration of the first, I'm not sure the others will come as easily. (Back to that creative muscle again...) I got an idea for another story, but the inspiration for it is taking me in the direction of a considerably longer work.

There are other things, too, of course -- there are always distractions. I have an art show this weekend, the first commercial art-related thing I've done since the gallery closed in December. (Shame on me...) I've had some health issues come up this summer. Meetings and appointments for my daughter. Stress. Depression. Frustration. It's been a rough year. You'd think that losing myself in fiction writing would be just the thing! And maybe once I get back after the weekend art show, I'll be able to do that. But today will be consumed with the mundane: dishes, laundry, packing for the weekend.

It's only quarter after 7. Maybe I can sneak some writing in before The Kid gets home from school...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wonder Woman Shadow Box

Cross-posted on Plastic Heroines.

The other day, I saw a small shadow box at Homegoods. It was about 8 inches square (they had larger sizes, too, but the smallest one suited my purposes) and came in two finishes -- crackle white, and distressed grey. I didn't care for the crackle, and it would have left a texture to paint over without extensive sanding; the grey would be immediately paintable.

I brought it home and dug out a 12x12" sheet of Wonder Woman scrapbook paper I bought years ago and never knew what I was going to do with it. Apparently, I bought it for this.  :) The somewhat subdued colors of the paper look great with the grey frame... which I promptly decided not to paint, since they looked so good together.

The tricky part was getting the back off. It was nailed on with tiny tacks, down too deep in the fiberboard to pull, so I ended up carefully pushing the back off. This left the tacks above the surface of the lip of the frame and I knew getting them to line up would be a pain. Instead, I used a screwdriver as a nail sink, and tapped them down with a hammer.

I had to sand the back a little, because in addition to the tacks, there was also some glue. The backing board is 8" square; I cut my paper 7 3/4" square after I made sure that would cover all the backing visible from the front. I used a permanent glue stick (not too wet, but plenty sticky!) and smoothed the paper down with a credit card. I hit some of the dried glue inside the lip of the frame with sandpaper, dusted it off, and put a thin bead of Tacky Glue all around the lip. The backing board went on next, pressing firmly to seat it in places, and to ensure good contact with the glue.

And here's what it looks like finished:

front view

looking down into the shadow box; it's about 1 1/2" deep

Sorry; I forgot to take pics "in progress," but I hope you can follow along with my process. This was super simple, and a really quick project.

Some of you might be looking at that and thinking, "wow, that's a really busy background, the figure sort of gets lost." And you may be right. Even though the colors of the frame and background are not really bright, it's a patterned background for a small object. I am considering going through some of the old comics and finding a suitable speech bubble to cut out and put near her head, and mat it on white to give it some definition. Others of you might be thinking, "of all the action figures, you chose that one?" Yep! Because she was my first. Plus, she gets totally lost on the shelf with the other Wonder Woman figures (she's only 5" tall with her arm raised)

This idea would work for maybe a trio of small figures (GI Joe-sized) or a pair of larger ones, assuming they don't need more than 1 1/2" deep to stand in. You could showcase some of your favorite smaller figures this way. I say "favorite" because the shadow box was $15 -- expensive if you plan to put all your figs on display this way. And you don't have to go all out like I did and change the backing, you could leave it plain, paint it a different color, or paint an actual background if you're artistic.

If you try it for yourself, I'd love to see the results!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chipping Away

I had the thought this morning, that if I could finish one project-in-progress a week, I could maybe, maybe, get caught up to the point where I didn't feel overwhelmed by everything. I could feel productive, work on new projects guilt-free, and have that sense of accomplishment that has been missing lately.

I want to start writing again, and because of the many many things racing around in my head -- ideas, thoughts, images, textures... -- I'm too distracted to do so. If I could chip away at the WIPs and the UFOs, it might allow me some breathing room. in my head (if you'll pardon the clumsy phrasing) to do some other creative work.

With that in mind, I decided to repair one of my daughter's threadbare blankets, that was coming apart at the edges. It's a quilted crib blanket my mother made for her, but the edges needed repaired. I bought bias tape, but wasn't happy with that, so I got some satin blanket binding and used that. This should be a simple and quick thing I can finish, before moving on to more work on the basement... HA! I had more trouble with that thing. The stitches are a mess, I had to rethread the machine several times, changed the needle, etc. etc. I'm confident that it was user error, not the machine. It seems to be working fine on material that's not got batting in it. However, I did get the binding on the blanket, even if it isn't pretty, and now she can have it back.

No more sewing for me today. Shoveling and sorting through piles of miscellaneous stuff will be like a vacation after the last hour + I spent fighting with this thing...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Long Weekend

I spent the weekend in the basement and I got a lot done. I tried to take pictures from the same angles as I too the ones Friday morning, but honestly I'm so tired I can't hardly think. I'll let the photos speak for me...

Taken from the stairs, you can see I still have a ton of work to do.
BUT there is more floor showing than there was!

The basket is empty, and the green bin behind it is full of lids.
The sewing and drafting tables are cleared off and useable spaces.
The shelves that were in the corner are now in the closet. It looks so much tidier!
The bookcase on the right holds craft books that were in the library upstairs.
I hung a small corkboard above the sewing table, and some of my photos.
The wheeled bin with the blue bin stacked on top are for the art show later this month.
Getting better organized all the time...
So that's what I've been up to since Friday. I sincerely hope that it looks like I got something accomplished. I've been staring at it for so long, I'm not even sure anymore...