the awesomeness of friends

I have several things I’ve been meaning to post about, and lucky me, they share a theme: how awesome my friends are.

Let’s take them in chronological order, shall we?

First up: khet_tcheba. Some time ago, she created the mask you can see in my LARPing icon, plus a mask for kniedzw, because I wanted something very particular for the White Court game and suspected she would have the costuming-fu to create it for me (and then my boy jumped on the bandwagon, too). The results were spectacular. So, like a bad person, I e-mail her a month or so ago and ask whether she can make me a fore-and-aft bicorn for the Regency LARP, ’cause the only ones I can find for sale online cost several hundred dollars (I can only assume they’re vintage pieces, not replicas). The photo of me from the game doesn’t show it all that well, but keep an eye out for an upcoming post with links to other people’s pics and you’ll get a better idea. (The thing is freaking ridiculous, but the fault for that lies with history, not Khet.) So the Swan Tower Millinery Award goes to her, for adventures in felting.

Second: tooth_and_claw. Back when I was running Memento, she made a number of awesome sketches for the game, and I commissioned from her a portrait of Invidiana. I ended up getting two: a headshot and a full-length portrait. So if you want to have an idea of what the fae queen in Midnight Never Come looks like, there you go. (I’m hoping she’ll end up on the cover, but I have next to no control over that; all I can do is suggest it to my editor.) The Swan Tower Illustration Award goes to her — as if she hadn’t already earned it with the Memento cast painting.

Third: unforth. I have a hardcover copy of Doppelganger! Y’see, she’s a librarian, and she knows how to bind books. A while back she mentioned that she was looking for suggested rebinding projects. Until she delivered it into my hands, I had no idea she’d decided to make her first project a hardcover rebinding of my very own novel, complete with a wrap-around paper cover replicating the front, spine, and back of the original. Unless there’s somebody else out there with her skills and deranged enthusiasm, this will probably be the only hardcover edition there ever is — certainly the only hardcover of the first edition. For her, the Swan Tower Bookbinding Award.

So there you have it: I have awesome friends. Seriously, you all (not just those three) have a stunning array of knowledges and skills, and if I occasionally get depressed that there are a million and one things I’ll never learn to do, I cheer up when I remember that I might know people who do. Keep up the random hobbies, folks; they make me proud to know you.

Regency LARP

I got shot. It was one of the best things that happened all game.

I love it when I can say something like that, and mean it as a sincere statement of fun. ^_^

It’s easier to post about one-off games in a way that’s comprehensible (and, dare I hope, interesting?) to outside audiences, since they’re designed to be self-contained, so if you’re curious about how I got shot and why this was such a fabulous thing, look no further than beneath the cut.

(more…)

today

Today, I think I shall set aside research for Midnight Never Come (partly because the next thing on my plate is More Than I Ever Wanted to Know About Elizabethan London, Vols. 1 and 2 — oh, wait, misread the title, that would be John Stow’s A Survey of London, Vols. 1 and 2), and let myself loll around with Patrick O’Brian instead. I can only watch Master and Commander so many times in a limited span, and I’ve gone through all the Hornblower movies; since I don’t need to be sewing at the same time anymore, it’s time for a book.

And things like laundry, maybe. But not until later.

I think I need a day just to relax.

nearly there

I’ll quit posting costuming updates pretty soon, I promise. Some of you will be disappointed. More of you, I suspect, will be relieved.

Accomplished yesterday: four more buttons, seven pair hooks and eyes (actually eight pair, as I had to take one set off and sew it back on), lots of topstitching my coat, and the waistband of my pants. Still to do: pants buttons (which will finish the waistband; may or may not involve buttonholes), vest collar, topstitching the armholes of the vest if I have the time.

And ironing the thing, so it will look good.

This may be the only complex project I’ve ever done entirely on my own. My mother assisted with the sleeves of the Morwen dress while she was here last year, and kitsune_zen saved me from the zipper on its skirt; other things I’ve done on my own, but they weren’t this complicated.

At least I get to watch a lot of movies while I work.

buttons

Twenty-three down, six to go.

And seven or so hooks and eyes.

And finishing the waistband and cuffs on my pants.

And topstitching the edge of my coat.

And figuring out a collar for my vest.

. . . and probably ironing the whole mess so it looks good.

I’d intended to do my last four coat buttons tonight, but my button-sewing skills went sharply downward all of a sudden, and I decided it was time to stop.

But it’s a good accomplishment for one day. Twenty-three buttons, and seven buttonholes. I have successfully committed buttonhole: it’s a first for me. (The first attempt was during the original Boggan Deathmatch, when moonandserpent‘s velvet vest foiled me utterly. Man, that was a night full of failures for me.)

Sleepytime now. Who wants to bet I dream of buttons?

sigh

I’m learning to expect that, when the thing I’m sewing becomes recognizably the thing I’m trying to sew, I may still be nowhere near done. When I last worked on this costume (circa March 11th), my coat looked like a naval coat, minus collar, cuffs, and buttons. Many hours of work later, it has a collar and cuffs, no buttons — because a fair bit of that time was spent on the fiddly little finishing details, like stitching down the edges so they’ll lie flat and the lining won’t peek out. (And I’m not even done with that.) This is the crap that takes forever for little noticeable result, but the garment just looks better with it done.

Buttons will be my next priority, since the coat will look dumb without them, but once they’re on, it will be back to stitching all the rest of the edges I haven’t gotten to yet, finishing my pants, and retrofitting a collar onto the vest; the pattern doesn’t give it one, but in period they had ’em, and like an idiot I forgot I was going to add that on until the vest was done.

Game’s Sunday. Will I be done in time? I had better be. Here’s hoping this doesn’t turn into a Saturday night button-sewing marathon.

At least there aren’t any zippers in my immediate future. It would be a shame to torch my costume, so close to game date.

Oh, and? khet_tcheba is the awesome, yet again. You’ll see why, on Sunday.

MNC Webpage Report: “Elizabeth’s Household,” Sara Batty

Not a book, but very useful: this website, which appears to be more or less the text of someone’s bachelor’s thesis. (I say “more or less” because it’s rather lacking in citations for its quotes.)

. . . okay, I suppose it’s only useful (let alone interesting) if one might have a need for knowing what the acatry was, where it fit in the hierarchy of Elizabeth’s household, and how many people it employed. (Except that the acatry is one of the few departments for which Batty doesn’t give that last detail. Bad example, I guess.)

In other words, this is a highly tedious website I mention only because it might be of use to anybody else planning to write historical fiction set in Elizabeth’s reign and involving the daily life of her Court.

Which might be precisely none of you. At best, it is very few.

Carry on.

Swan Tower facelift

All right, folks. Courtesy of the inestimable sapphohestia, Swan Tower is getting a facelift to its CSS. I would very much appreciate it if some of you could take a look at the pages she’s mocked up with the new style, and let me know what you think. Is it readable? Does the page layout feel balanced? How does it work in other browsers, or with other sizes of screen? Etc. (Don’t bother pointing out busted links; we’ve only got three pages set up. When the change happens for real, we’ll just be pasting in the new CSS; all the links will work as they normally do.)

The three pages to look at are:
Introduction
Doppelganger
Midnight Never Come

There are two changes I still intend to make, though they haven’t happened yet. One is that I’m trying to get a proper site logo designed, which would replace the current image in the upper left-hand corner. The other is that I intend to have a bit of padding around images (the example here is the Doppelganger cover image) so the text doesn’t run right up against the border like it does now. But other than that, what changes, if any, would you folks suggest?

Now I have it right.

With a nice bit of distance between me and the story, I finally went back to “Kingspeaker” and got it right. It is the story I thought it was; I just needed to put an omen here, chop out that bit of awkwardness there, and play around a bit with the horses.

I think it works now.

If the folks at Sword & Sorceress decide they don’t like “The Waking of Angantyr” (which is in their hands right now), then I’ll send them this. Otherwise, it will be off to F&SF in the nearish future. Either way, I’m happy.

Mind you, this doesn’t finish “Once a Goddess,” which is supposed to be done this month. I really ought to have made notes of the ideas that were in my head when I set it down a while ago, but I was distracted by other things. My bad, and now I’m paying for it. But I’ll get some dinner, and then see what I can do.