8 Times More Awesome?

So I’ve been sewing lately, got on a sewing kick and did a few dolls.   Which of course means I had to spin a bunch of yarn to make doll hair.  But then sort of unexpectedly… this happened: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYep, it’s an octo-mermaid!  Or… something.  I don’t even know what inspired me, I just got the sudden urge to make an octopus-mermaid hybrid and… did! 😀  Made the ‘necklace’ with shells and beads strung onto wire.

octopusmermaidSpun the hair, almost didn’t have enough.  That’s all the gold wool I had on hand, but I’m really happy with how the style turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee, all 8 legs are there, honest. 😉

Of course, then my uncle had to do this…

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Stones

So, I said I had more stories, and here’s another one.

While I was in Navajo Nation, I got a chance to listen to a young man talk about his pottery.  I won’t even begin to do this story justice, but basically he lives in an area that was once inhabited by the Anasazi people, and he can walk around his house and around the rock formations and find old pieces of broken pottery, formed and painted so long ago.  And it inspired him to start making his own, based partially on what he finds and partially on a modern twist to their forms and designs.

I thought that was one of the coolest things I had ever heard!  He had some pieces he showed us, and told us about how he makes and fires the pottery, and how he creates the dyes, and all of it how it was done for centuries.

His story then inspired me to do something like that!  I can walk around my house and pick up stones, and then just like *my* ancestors did, I started making stone carvings!  Ok, so I cheat a bit and use a dremel instead of arduous hand carving with manual tools, but still, I’m loving this so much!

My sister got the first one.  She asked if I could do a scrolly design in green.  I said yes to the scrolly, but said there was no way I could color it that it would last, I only have water-based paints and they’d wash off too easily.  But I got a nice pendant-shaped stone and started carving away.

Then… as I sat at my computer desk… out of the corner of my eye… what should I see?? But green nail polish!  Yes! That’s it, enamel, that won’t wash off at all!  And if it’s tucked into the groove of the carving, it won’t chip off, either!  So my sister got her green scrolly design in the end! 🙂

stone pendants

stone pendants

That, along with the other two, were the first ones I tried.  I was using a diamond tipped bit, so it would drill through the stone, and had to keep the stone constantly wet to prevent stone dust from getting into the motor and to keep the stone and bit cool.  (also, wear a dust mask!  The stuff in rock can be super-duper awful to get in your lungs!  As awful as that dust mask smells, it’s preferable to the alternative!)

Well, after having such success with that, I decided to try others, drilling lots of little stones into tiny bead-kinda things, I don’t have pictures of those yet – coming soon.  But then I was telling a gal at work about it and ended up making three more just tonight when I got home, two for ladies at work and one for me.  One of the gals collects heart-shaped stones, so I carved a heart onto hers so she could have a “heart stone” with her always!

Heart-stone pendant

Heart-stone pendant

The other gal gets this fabulous red stone pendant:

Red stone with crystal beads

Red stone with crystal beads

And I carved my Norse SCA name into this and then added gold nail polish to the letters to make them sparkle (you can’t see it very well in this picture but it’s there.  Trust me.)

"Sigga" stone pendant

“Sigga” stone pendant

 

So this is my new hobby to add to the growing collection.  Stone carving.  Soon I’ll work my way up to larger stones and larger images (beyond pendants) like the Norse did all over the bloody place.

 

I also painted a cavern scene.  I can’t really blame this on anything except maybe an abundance of rocks on the brain 😉

©2014 Eliza Murdock

Sub-landscape ©2014 Eliza Murdock

(that’s supposed to be an underground lake… and yes, that may just possibly have been meant to be a city down there. >.> )

 

Oh, and almost forgot, in celebration of the whole Norse thing going on, I’ll add a third poem to the prompt I posted in my last entry for every word starting with the same letter of the alphabet.

 

Vaginal Vacancy

Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Vivid vigils viewed: vigorous, volatile.
Vanity vanishes, victory verges.
Voracious vyings, vaginal vacancies
Voluptuous vexations visit.

Valour, virtue vomited.
Vague vapors vent vitality
Vibrating veins, vindicating validating
Visceral vignettes vicariously.
 
Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Violet vineries ventured,
Vast vats voiding vows.
Vibrant vert vale vistas
Vast vassaled vaults.

Vilified voyeuristic visits
Via vestal virgin, vandaling vulvas.
Veiled velvet vortecies
Violated viciously, vilely.

Vikings verberate violently,
Verily! Valkyrie voices vie!

Reappear!

Hey everybody!

I know I’ve really fallen off the face of the earth lately, or at least tripped very near the edge.  I haven’t had much time for myself, but I have tried to follow along with some of you silently.

Work is work, and overtime seems to be a never-ending condition these days.  Still, that makes it easier to pay bills so I won’t complain too much.

Part of my ‘me’ time has been going to volunteering for the local branch of the SCA, a medieval re-enactment group.  I’m my branch’s chronicler which means I take the meeting minutes (once a month) and produce the branch newsletter (4 times per year.)

I’ve also just finished making a youth activity book (y’know, coloring pages, word finds, picture matching, etc) so I haven’t been creatively dormant, just redirected for a bit.  I did warn you all that my focus can shift 😉

 

Okay!  So here are some of the pages from the book I made!  Feel free to print them and color them (or, y’know, have your kids do it).  It was an activity book that focused on kids in the Middle Ages, or focused kids on how it was different from modern life.

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

©2014 Eliza Murdock

Sewing Bug

The Sewing Bug got me yesterday, so I plopped myself onto the couch and watched a couple of movies while I made a new bag.

Now, the history of this bag is that my brother went to Scotland and brought me back this gorgeous wool scarf in my family tartan colors.   And despite how very wonderfully soft this scarf felt to my hands, it’s still just too darn scratchy for my neck, which is apparently overly sensitive to this kind of thing.

So rather than tuck it sadly away, never to be used and possibly forgotten, I decided to turn it into something I can carry around with me all the time, even if the weather is warm!  So I made a bag!

Both sides have the wonderfully fringey flaps to them, the ‘front’ has the tag which looks really quite slick on the front there, *almost like it was meant to be*.

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The inside has two full pockets, one open, and the other closes with a zipper to keep important things from falling out.

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And if I want to close both sides, I flip the back flap all the way over!

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There’s also a secret pocket, not shown, but its hiding under the front flap on the outside of the bag.

The whole thing was made simply by folding the scarf back and forth to create pockets, then sew all around the outside to hold the edges and bottom together.

Now I’ll look right at home at the next Scottish Highland Faire 😀

Norse Runes

I want to learn Norse. The precursor to such languages as Danish, Icelandic, and Swedish.  The two main dialects had diverged by around 1300AD or so into two main groups,  East Norse and West Norse.  East is the Danish/Swedish version and West is the Icelandic/Norwegian.

No matter which way you slice it, I’m pretty much Norse.  My mother’s side is Swedish, my Dad’s side is Scottish, but further back is Dutch, and all those came ultimately from the Norse, so I suppose if I’m going to decide to get obsessive about anything, Norse would be the most logical.

I’m hardly being obsessive for its own sake, though.  I’m trying to develop my Norse personae for the SCA, and in doing that I decided I wanted a better understanding of the language.  There are pages all over the internet where you can find the Norse “alphabet”, called the Futhark (so named after the first six letters of the language.)  This is further split into Elder Futhark and Younger Futhark, and I’m going for the Elder as it has more letters/sounds available.

Anyway, so while I can find the Runic alphabet plastered far and wide, that does nothing to understand the language itself.  So I went looking to see if there was any place to actually learn *Norse* on the internet.  Turns out, there is!  Very basic, of course.  I won’t be composing scientific dissertations in it anytime soon, but as a very rudimentary yet eloquent introduction to the language, I could hardly ask for better.

Of course, I’ve also been trying to memorize the Elder Futhark as well, which isn’t too difficult.  Many of the letters are similar enough to roman letters that it’s easy to make the association.  And I’m finding that reading them in a transliterative style isn’t all that difficult.  In fact, today during a meeting I was trying not to fall asleep in, I ended up making the following doodle:

 

list

…that’s my shopping list.

It says…

Shopping list
_____________
toothpaste
(v)inegar  [there’s actually no ‘v’ in Norse, so I used the ‘w’ instead]
dishsoap
bleach
===========
fabric dye
mustard
deep blue

It doesn’t say these things in actual Norse, of course, merely transliterating English into Norse runes.   But they say the best way to learn a new language is to make it as immersive as possible, and while I can’t exactly pack up and head to Sweden to find someone to chat Norse with me, I can practice reading and writing the letters. 🙂

I’m also doing more hand sewing again, and have sewn a populace badge for my local shire to wear on my belt.  (The SCA branches are split into several types of “chapters”, the smallest ( or one of the smallest) is called a shire. Populace badges are basically heraldry that says “I’m from here”.  Think of it as traveling to another state or country and displaying your home state/country flag as an indication of where you’re from, and that’s the general use of a populace badge in the SCA.)

It so happens that the Shire of Midhaven falls within the mundane county of Skagit in Washington State.  Among other things, we are quite well known for our tulips.  Like, we rival Holland.  Our populace badge for the Shire is, therefore, a tulip.  The tulip itself is white, on a blue background, and bordered on both sides by a white stripe then a black stripe.   I dusted off my applique skills and decided to sew up my badge.

I’m extremely proud to say that every last stitch was done by hand, and the back has a loop for passing my belt through.

Shire of Midhaven populace badge

Shire of Midhaven populace badge

Now that I’ve finished mine, I’m making two more for two of my friends who live here as well.  The second tulip looks much better than this one (it isn’t leaning) so getting better with even the small amount of practice.  The third should be just about perfect at this rate 😀

And in the grand tradition of collecting hobbies, I’m also going to be attempting scribal and illumination arts soon.  I want to take some of my more ‘medievally flavored’ poems and songs and put them onto illuminated scrolls, so more artwork and painting will be in my future, as well as learning calligraphy.  I already have a pen and ink set, so I just need to practice drawing the shapes of the letters.

For those who can’t quite picture what I’m talking about…

This was an award given me by the Baron and Baroness of Dragons Laire (a somewhat larger branch than a shire, and located not too far away.)  The date of AS 41 equates to 2006.  AS stands for ‘anno societatis’ or ‘Year of the Society’ and counts from the beginning of the SCA.

Yep.  I certainly do like collecting hobbies. 😀

What’s That Smell?

I decided to make incense.  Sort of like how I woke up one morning and decided to make paper, I decided to go around the house and pick yummy smelling things like rosemary, lemon balm, cedar, and lavender flowers and grind them up into incense.

Fresh ingredients: rosemary, lemon balm, cedar, lavender flowers

It wasn’t entirely spontaneous, I had been looking up websites for two days how to do it.   That’s not to say I exactly *followed* most of the instructions, but I did look them up.  The most helpful site (and the one I actually followed closest) was this one, but mostly I just got my mortar and pestle (I’ve always, always wanted a green marble mortar and pestle set, and I finally found one at the thrift store!  And since I don’t know what ever may have been ground it in before, I’ll use it for apothecary endeavors!)

 

Green marble mortar and pestle with dried hibiscus flowers

 

I’m making non-combustible incense (sometimes referred to as incense of the ancients) which means it isn’t shaped into sticks or cones, you can’t just light it and have it smoke.  It’s the pulverized blending of various woods and herbs and left in a semi-powdered form so it must be added to something to make it burn.  You can do this in a variety of ways, either get some incense charcoal disks, put it in an incense warmer, or sprinkle it into a fire (though the fire’s own scent will likely overpower any small amount or mild fragrance so it would take a very strong scent or a lot of it to get this method to work.)

From my beading days, I still have a handful of little sealable bags, so I can store my newly pounded, ground, pounded, ground, pounded and ground herbs, flowers, and woods.  And believe me, it takes a lot of pounding and grinding, especially the cedar bark, to get to a mostly powdered final product.  I may be developing some blisters on my hands, and no doubt my shoulder will remind me of this tomorrow.

Most of the instructions say to blend your ingredients and then wait at least two weeks before burning it for best results, so I won’t – alas – get to test the fruits of my labors for a few more weeks.

Fresh pulverized lavender flowers

 

Along with the fresh ingredients I had around the house, I also have a host of already dried herbs – such as white sage, chamomile, and green tea – or other fresh ingredients – like clover or dandelion – that I’d like to try as well.  But that will have to wait.  My hands are a little raw and I want to heal before I go pounding and grinding and pounding and grinding again.

Lavender, hibiscus, cedar, and rosemary, ready to be stored, tagged with the contents and date of bagging for future reference.

I’ll have to experiment quite a bit between the raw smells and the burning scents they produce, as they aren’t always exactly similar.  I’ll also have to do some experiments with which burn well together, and what ratios I should use, though I suppose if I were smart I’d follow the already tried-and-true recipes found on the internet.  But I like finding these things out for myself!  Besides, there’s too many things I want to try that I don’t think anyone has before.

Or they did try and it failed miserably, which is why you don’t find things like green tea and hibiscus incense.  But I’m going to make it anyway!  I can’t wait!  I hope it turns out okay…