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Archive for the ‘Craft’ Category

Currently I am living with my partner and his father.

I am pretty much an on the go person, except when I’m not. Recently I have been on the go. Baking bread, trying to weave (both fixed heddle and four shaft), write, bake, teach, study…

I fear I probably need a sedative as I am interesting to watch apparently. Maybe I don’t know how to relax.

Meanwhile, I am finding it hard to focus on the PhD novel. This post is probably an example.

It is just that there is so much to do and life is so short and I know I’ll never get to do all the things…and it makes me anxious!

Maybe I should just take a pill or meditate on what is important and reasonable.

Here is a picture of my 100 per cent Rye bread, first time ever. It’s all gone too. So yummy.

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I’ll be posting about my new novella next.

 

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Since my last post I’ve been reading and researching and then I took time out to attend the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra. I would have been doing this regardless of what else I chose to do. I’m just weird that way. I do cool stuff!

This is my second time at the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra. Last year I only attended two part days. One reason for that was that I was still working on my dress until late morning on the Saturday. For some reason I failed to enroll in any of the interesting sessions on at the festival, which meant I had to watch the dancing. I had hurt my foot so couldn’t participate. I met up with fellow writer Bronwyn Parry and her family and friends. I met some other people I knew too. I enjoyed it immensely then and took part in the promenade and carriage rides etc.

This year, I got my organization mojo going (I thought). I enrolled in a pre festival workshop to make a bonnet. This was a fab idea. I was interested in Aylwen’s method and I thought it was a good way to ease into the festival, maybe meet people. I failed, however, to enroll in any of the additional sessions. I couldn’t figure it out. Later I found a clue, an email had been sent in February with a password. Doh!

making bonnet

Cutting out the bonnet- a buckram construction

 

Unfortunately this year I also developed pain in the spine, everywhere and that put a dampener on things. I was going to participate in the dance tutorials, but egads! They were at nine o’clock! So pumped with painkillers I made it in on Friday. I sat and sewed with Bronwyn. I was on a mission to hand sew a white muslin gown. In the evening I participated in a dance. Nothing vigorous. But it was good to get out of the chair and move about. The atmosphere was fab! So many beautiful gowns. Dymocks Civic had a book stall so I bought a number of books. I also bought a second hand sari for converting into a gown and some fluffy feathers for bonnet trim.

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Books purchased at JAFA -some for my sewing and one for research

 

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Feathers and Fabric

Aylwen and John Gardiner-Garden are the organisers with volunteer helpers. The festival was managed wonderfully. I have organized SF conventions so I know how hard that is to do. The catering was wonderful and I don’t know how either of them could stand by Sunday night. John’s energy with the dance instruction and calling was indefatigable. The music was divine.

 

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Sewing with Bronwyn, Lauren and Kate

 

Saturday I stayed home for the morning. I hurt a lot, but rested and sewed and finished my gown. (this was for two reasons. I’m writing a Regency romance where the heroine sews gowns and I wanted to see if I could)

More painkillers and I was at the festival again. More dancing (just a little) but mostly watching and talking to people. I also bought a new bonnet blank (a straw base in the shape of a Regency bonnet for later trimming). My attempt at frugal practices was dead in the dirt by this time. I stayed for the Grand Napoleon Ball until after supper. I was hanging out to try the Syllabub. I went home earlyish.

This is a shot of me in my trimmed bonnet. I did it in a hurry as I had it for a year and was too ashamed not to trim it and wear it. Turned out well I think.

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Lauren and Kate in their lovely gowns. The Grand Napoleon Ball

 

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Assembled for the ball. I finished the white muslin gown all by hand.

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The hem detail of my dress. I had some vintage lace. I need to extend the hem as I ran out of fabric in the front.

Sunday and I was pain free. I was so happy that I was out the door relatively early. I missed the breakfast but I did buy some Bingley Teas. Bronwyn was delivering a workshop so I hung out with another writer Beverley and we had some morning tea. The big event for me was the promenade to the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens (Senate) where we had a picnic.

 

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Picnic!

 

 

I was pretty exhausted but did a dance lesson then listened to a talk on Regency and tea, had seconds of syllabub and went home. There was another ball after that but I was done in. I don’t know how people do it. What a jampacked weekend. Next year I want my daughters to come and Matthew too. I have a fantasy with him wearing Regency costume and dancing with me. I should take a pill.

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Me in the bonnet I made at the workshop. (not 100 per cent finished) and wearing the dress I made last year.

 

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Today it’s back to the PhD study. I’m working on questionnaires for readers and writers of romance and in depth interview questions. I feel it is a bit early to develop these but I have to submit my research proposal with my ethics clearance. I can’t do any interviewing etc until I have ethics clearance at that can take months. The form! My god. It’s complicated. I am so glad my supervisor, Tony, knows what it requires. So I’m sitting here at my desk avoiding work! Not! It’s good to recap I suppose. Now it’s time to be diligent.

Now it’s time to read about Bourdieu and drink some tea.

 

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Happy New year! 2015 is done and 2016 is here. Yipee!

2015 was a tough year for me on many fronts. My mother passed away on the 4th of January and then my health was a bit up and down. (Looks like it’s thyroid issues). Work became a bit of struggle and then I injured myself, resulting in a diagnosis of some thoracic disc protrusions. That diagnosis sent me on a downer. Not only was it (is it) painful it curtailed my writing in a big way. The bigger thing that diagnosis it did was make me look at my life at what I was doing with my work and what I wanted to do with my productive time. You see, I can only see this arthritic spine of mine getting worse over time and so doing things like craft, writing  etc becomes more precious to me. I love making things. It’s my life blood.

I lost my friend Sonia to scleroderma and other close friends have had some health scares. My eldest son moved to China for work. He loves it. I miss him.

On the bright side, and there is one (or many), I’m generally healthy, so is my partner, Matthew, my children and my grandchildren.

2015 me and dweeb

Me (the Dweebette) and Matthew (the Dweeb!)

So apart from some chronic pain I’m really happy on in the inside. That makes a big difference. We love our house. Our deck got built and it’s amazing.

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The long awaited deck and a peak at the views.

I also got to see some Koalas when I took some visiting Indonesians out to Tidbinbilla.

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As I wasn’t able to write, I had to do other things to keep me sane so I did some craft-weaving, sewing and millinery. I try to use a timer to alternate through different things so I don’t injure myself. Millinery can be done standing up. I also discovered Audible and have been listening to some fab books. I’m going to continue that.

I also did a few cakes. Like this one for my daughter. Totero and this one for my boss’s farewell, a vintage Kombi.

So what is in store for me in 2016? As previously mentioned on this blog, I am commencing candidature for a higher research degree (PHD). That starts in February. I have lots of reading to do and some papers to write. The topic is Feminism in Popular Romance.

I’ve got a bit of organising to do to get ready for that. I need to clear the decks of some writing tasks. The reason I’ve taken January off work. I also need to do some practical things like reorganise my office in readiness for study. I wouldn’t call it organised now…but that needs to be improved. I had a message from my daughter. Mum: junk attracts junk. I get the message.

I’m hoping some books will also come out in 2016. I may experiment with self-publishing. Sometimes it can take too long to flog a book and it gets dated. In that case, I may as well get it out there and experiment.

Appearances wise, I’m hoping to get to Contact in Brisbane over Easter and to the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Adelaide later in the year. I’m very tempted by Supanova!

With regards to hats, I’m working on doing more of those and setting up a website to sell them. Bring on the steampunk hats!

I’ll be finishing up on the day job in the first part of the year. Losing the good income is a scary prospect, but you know I’m going to take the leap and see where it gets me.

Happy New year! Hopefully you will pop back again.

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Me in one of my hats. Photo by Cat Sparks.

Oh and Dragon Wine Part 1 is on promotion. It’s free in ebook. I’m also doing a blog tour and a give away of a hard copy. To be in the draw to win a print copy of Shatterwing leave a comment.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

Blurb

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/shatterwing-dragon-wine-1/

 

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