25 September 2011

Giving Back

Just a quick post today, because I have a manuscript that needs editing, and it's going to be a lot of work (not my manuscript, but one for one of my many part-time jobs).

I've been thinking about better ways to use this blog. Mostly I've been using it to keep people updated about what I'm doing, in writing, in craft, in art, and in my house. Most of my family and friends are far away, and this is a way to keep in touch. But I also want to give something back to the folks who've supported me, with comments and encouragement, with purchases, with gifts, with love. My monthly giveaways are about that, too, of course, but I also want to write useful things for folks who stop by.

And I've noticed that the one post of mine that gets consistent traffic is the gothic medieval bookbinding post. So one thing I'm thinking of doing is adding how-to posts. How to make a pamphlet, how to print a linocut without a press, that sort of thing. Stuff people can try for themselves.

The other thing I just thought about today was little folklore articles. I have an MA in the subject, so I might as well do something with it. Also, this is something I can do for the readers of my fiction who might not be interested in printing or bookbinding, but who might want to know more about the creatures and tales I draw on to make my own stories.

So, to that end, I'm going to attempt a weekly short how-to (for more complicated topics, the instructions might spread out over several weeks) and a weekly short folklore article. Of course, this could all end in failure, as anyone who has read many of my posts will know I tend to try to take on too much for any one person to accomplish, but I'll try it and see how it goes.

Also, for those of you who are readers, as soon as I get myself a little better organized, I'll be posting little articles, comments and reviews on pulp adventure fiction, serial novels, and other fun things (like rayguns!) as Calliope Strange over at Raygun Gothic (and I may also change the title of that blog as it doesn't fit as well any more), and as Nic Silver I'll be writing about urban fantasy, dark and creepy stuff, and maybe a bit about human sexuality at Lies Through Silver.

23 September 2011

4 Seasons Cards (Well, Two of Them): Summer and Winter

Here are some digital proofs for cards I've been working on lately. You may recognize one of them, though I've changed the colours (they're not quite right yet, but I'll work them out when I actually print them).


And Winter (the raven may be a little smaller in the final version):

Of course, I still have Spring and Autumn to go, but it's taking longer than anticipated to do the foliage images. I also realized that I'm not happy with the oak trees I drew for spring, so I'll have another go at it later--hopefully in time to send the files when I send the one for the papermaking/printing job I have coming up in late October.

Then I just have to find time to print them all (Summer is 1/3 done, at least).

21 September 2011

Experiments In Papermaking 2: Plant Materials

So it looks like I'll be doing a papermaking demo and providing letterpress-printed-on-handmade-paper menus for an event in late October. While the client would be perfectly happy with made-from-recycled-paper paper, I'd like to make something rather more special. Plus, if it turns out, I can add a new product to my shop(s).

So a few minutes ago I came back in from cutting this from my back field:

That's a whole lot of super-tall grass (and there's an even bigger whole lot still uncut if I need more), and (I think) two different plants which are both locally called goldenrod. Although, they're similar enough that it's possible one could be a later-flowering variety of the other. My knowledge of local plants really isn't what it should be, so while these are drying, I'll be researching to find out exactly what they are, so I can include that information with whatever I end up making.

So now I have to let the plants dry (for now they're out in the sun, but if it threatens to rain, I'll move the bins into the shed). Later, they'll be cut up and boiled for a very long time to break the fibres apart. Then comes the blender. Oh, for a proper paper mill! Maybe someday, after I build my printshop (I am very good at dreaming).

And for anyone wondering what the place looks like these days, here's the hill leading up to the back field:

And here's the house with some lovely blue sky and the tree that rattles on the roof in the wind and drops fat water drops on the roof after it rains:

20 September 2011

Step 2: Satyrs in Colour

Just the flat colours, which is why they look, well, flat. I still have to add shadows and highlights. Plus, these aren't necessarily the final colours. I'll probably still tweak them a bit.

11 September 2011

A Leisurely Sunday Bike Ride And A Snack of Feral Apples

I was going to write a nice long blog post about the bike ride B and I took along the Cobequid Trail bike/hiking path between Old Barns and Truro today, with some of the many photos I took, but I just made and ate a tasty supper and now I'm too sleepy to concentrate. But there was much pedaling, and red Nova Scotia mud, and birds and cows and sea grasses and blue sky. Also feral apples, shaken from a tree and eaten in the sun (and a whole bag of them now in the fridge). And it'll be Fall Cleanup time soon, when people haul out all sorts of big heavy things for the garbage trucks, and we scored a battered old globe on the way home. It still has the USSR on it and the stand kind of flops over, but hey, it's a free globe! So instead of that long post and many photos, here is one photo, of a handsome fellow I met on the path:

(Click to make him big and see his weary, tattered wings.)

02 September 2011

September Giveaway: Pretty, Shiny Thing Plus Secret, Mysterious Extra Thing

OK, it's time for my September giveaway! This month I'm going to send a copper pendant to one lucky winner, plus their choice of any story or novel of mine from Smashwords, and some other mysterious item I will decide on at the last possible minute.

The winner can choose an OsteoSophy animal skull pendant, either one I've already made, or a custom one of their choice (or they can opt to have a bracelet or brooch or keychain instead).

See more of these in my Etsy shop.


The winner may choose a copper feather pendant instead -- again, either an existing one, or a custom-made one. These are larger than the skulls and made from thinner copper.

More are currently in my other Etsy shop (it made sense at the time).

To enter, just comment on this post with your choice of pendant--tell me which you'd like and what animal or bird. Tweets and Facebook posts and the like are much appreciated, too, but not required.

01 September 2011

August's Winner Is . . .

Rad Hall

who chose Milk Sister as the prize ebook. Yayyyyyyy! (insert Kermit the Frog arm-waving here)

Soon, a nautilus mini-print and some other prize I still haven't decided on will be on their way to their new home. 

Now I have to post a new giveaway. Hmmmm . . . Maybe a copper OsteoSophy necklace? Another print? If I don't post it later today, I will tomorrow for sure.

Thanks to Random.org for picking a winner for me.