Category Archives: Follow-Up

When to Fold? (On Giving Up)

Don't Worry. This is a muslin using an old bedsheet.

Don’t Worry. This is a muslin using an old bedsheet.

There is something to be said for being stubborn. To be an artist or craftsperson, you need tenacity, enough to see you to the end of a project. At some point (about the end of the second week of Nanowrimo) you will get discouraged. This can’t be any good you say, it’s cliche’d and badly made. You might push through, and your tenacity will have paid off.

Or not. In episode #12 of  Jason Brubaker’s Making Comics Podcast  (he also does the comic reMIND) they discussed knowing when it’s time to quit. Which got me thinking about Heinlein’s second rule of writing (you must finish what you start).

I started this jacket for a temp assignment interview, when I realized I didn’t have a suit. I had a pattern for a short jacket, and a skirt. I also had about three days before the interview. I knew from the start something extremely tailored would never work, because it’s impossible to make something professional looking in three days without any experience. I tried out the pattern before I bought any ‘real’ fabric luckily, and I knew by the middle of the second day this wasn’t going like I’d hoped. The project was abandoned and I bought something which worked (and got the assignment). Now there is no reason for me to finish the project. I don’t regret it — it will never be what I initially envisioned. Instead, I can focus my energy on to my navy blue knit dress.

There is tenacity and then there is trying to get a dead horse to run. When do you cut your losses and put a project out of it’s misery?  Knowing this is like knowing when something is done. It’s a matter of experience and a little luck (I had a printmaking teacher who would say you would have to lose something three times before you found it).

Heinlein’s Rules (for reference).



Filed under Follow-Up, Life

Cat Drawing (Domesticlife Drawings)

 I made this drawing of Chester, who belongs to Megan of The War in My Brain Blog because she asked for drawings:

Sketch of Chester Cat

Done in ballpoint pen and pro-white.

Actually, I draw a lot of cats. Or a lot of drawings of one rather fat cat. I find as drawing and/or still life subjects cats have several advantages. They are plentiful (at least in my house). Unlike dogs, they don’t care that you are looking at them. Dogs will come up to you when they realize they have your attention, completely ruining the tableaux. Cats… don’t care. They consider the attention their due. Cats are also bendy and make  interesting shapes without being asked.  Aside from their graphic quality (especially with tuxedo cats, like mine), they are dramatic yet strangely relaxed. Ever see a cat stuff itself into a box and happily fall asleep, while you wonder if the angle of the head in relation to the body is really all that comfortable, but realize it must be or the cat would not be quite so relaxed? Yeah. There is a reason they are the mascot of he internet.

These are all of my fat cat, Theodore:

Theo2 (Bug) crop

This and the following done in Prismacolor brush tip marker and Pro White.

Theo3 crop  Theo1 crop

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Filed under Colors and Images, Follow-Up, Inspiration, Links, Projects-Pictures; Paintings; Drawings

Books in Brown Paper Bags

I finally got down to doing the book review thing as I’ve always been threatening. I’m trying to update every week with a new book. Some of the books I have been saving up with reviews. Rogue Moon, Treasure Island, and Underground London all have reviews up now.

Script Frenzy has started. I’m not really a script-writer, I realized, but I’m still writing one, or something that looks like one, this month.

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Filed under Books, Follow-Up, Life, Links

Woah. I Finished A Novel. (Sort Of)

So it’s been three years, but I finally finished my 2006 NaNoWrimo. It’s a story I’ve been working on in one form or another since oh, about eighth grade. Don’t worry, the thing has matured as I have and I expect it to mature more yet as I edit.

In some ways I’ve finished with the easy part — the easy part many people don’t finish. What the first draft comes down to is putting your butt in the chair and advancing the plot. If something doesn’t click, you can write it out in the next scene and write a ‘note to self’ to edit it later.

But the most important part is to write. The writing won’t be done all at once (the fastest I’ve ever done a draft is 30 days, that was part of a challenge and it was hardly the length of a usual novel: 50,000 words), so the best thing is to do a little ever time you get the chance. This may mean doing the same time every day, or like I did, in between everything else. I took a spiral bound notebook with me and wrote scenes on the bus, on my lunch hour, on the train, on the weekends. I wrote a lot of  other things in that notebook too, including bus schedules, phone numbers and grocery lists. Interspersed were pieces of my novel.  When I got home I would transcribe the latest bit of my story into the document in my computer.

I had to write the end of the story three times before I got one I could live with. There are a lot of loose ends to the narrative and I have a feeling I know what my next NaNoWrimo subject is going to be.

Something to keep in mind about writing though: everyone works differently. Find the thing that works for you. I may take a lot of searching. I can only write about what works for me.

So the “easy” part is done: now I get to edit this big fat mess. It’s a story I’ve been working on so long a yet I still love the characters — which I take as a good sign. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford the ink/paper needed to make a hard copy…

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Filed under Follow-Up, Projects - Writing

Making Christmas Presents: What I Learned

So this year, for lack of money, I decided to make my Christmas presents. Other years, I’ve thought of doing it, but I’ve had enough money to buy most of them. This year I have more art supplies than money so I went handcrafted!

Well, not entirely. But for those who are considering it for next year: Here is what I learned:

  1. Don’t learn a new craft. If you are serious about making nice gifts, don’t use this time to learn something new. There is no time to learn it properly, then get and the item won’t turn out very well.
  2. Make a list of your recipients. That way, you will make gifts that the recipients will like and you won’t make too many or too few.
  3. Time is the real expense. What you won’t spend in money, you will spend in time. I started making the presents at the beginning of December, after NaNoWrimo wrapped, but the few hours I had after work and the weekends wasn’t enough. Now I promised myself that this year I will have Christmas in July. Right.
  4. People like small handcrafted things better than large bought things. Making a small gift shows a lot more thought and care than buying it, so the things you make don’t have to be elaborate or large.
  5. Shipping will cost. Don’t forget, buying the presents is not the only expense. If you live away from most of your family like I do, you will have to send most of your presents through the mail or UPS or FedEx or whatever. Luckily you can decide the item’s weight and size.
  6. Don’t forget to do your homework. As always, just because you know how to make something, doesn’t mean you have it all planned out. Sketch out your project, even if it’s on the back of an envelope. It will save you time and money and your sanity later.

I’m sure there are a lot more that I haven’t thought of.

On a completely other note, I’m pretty sure that tweeting book reviews is not going to work. I’ve also hatched a plan to started another blog strictly about books.

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Filed under Books, Follow-Up, Holiday, Instructions

November Madness and Book Reviews

It’s almost November (a few more hours…),  and I’m going to the midnight launch of National Novel Writing month in Portland. So I’ll be dreaming up a novel in November.
Go to to witness (or get in on) the madness.
Also, find me on Twitter: “ThePripyet.” I’ll tweet some book reviews during the month instead of writing here. I don’t have a pic yet, but don’t get freaked out. I’m planning to add one very soon.

And, for the record, The Adventures of Augie March is slow going.

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Filed under Books, Follow-Up, Life, Links, Projects - Writing, To Do List

Fruit and Booze, Part 2

Awhile ago, I detailed how I put some fruit to soak in vodka. The idea was that the fruit would impart it’s flavor on the vodka (and I could use the fruit for baking).

After about  two months the fruit looked like this (the little jar is half gone because my mother and I had to ‘test’ it):

The Fruit Flavored Vodka

The Fruit Flavored Vodka

The Fat Bellied Jar is an orange liqueur, made from obscene amounts of sugar (as in sugar measured in cups) and orange peel (and vodka). The tall dark jar is the same but with cherries.

They all came out about what I expected, though I think plain cherries is better than cherry/apricot and the pear is as bold as I would’ve liked (but that is pears for you). My favorites are definetly the liqueurs. I like really sweet things though.

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Filed under Colors and Images, Follow-Up, Projects - Food