Asthma, Bunnies and Pie Charts

This week I’ve been struggling somewhat with the precarious balancing act of recovery. I am slowly becoming an active and autonomous person in this world. That fact is absolutely terrifying. I am attempting to be part of the world but not letting it overwhelm me.

I now exercise…yes it’s true. I have been to two whole pilates classes and am attempting to start kick-boxing. though I pushed myself too hard on the cardio at the kick-boxing on Thursday and my chest is still aching from my asthma attack. Attack sounds dramatic but I’m not sure what to call it. Incident? Episode?

Either way it was rotten.

I’m pretty keen to keep this exercise routine put. The problem is exercise was one of my negative coping mechanisms when I was suffering severely from my eating disorder. My therapist says that classes are good because there is a set end time so I cannot exercise to excess.  I was thrown entirely at pilates last week when Courage by Superchic came on the playlist, a song about living with an eating disorder.

The Internet is a major issue here. If we ignore all the horrible and depressing articles about  we are still left with disgusting adverts encouraging to ‘loose weight with this one simple trick’.

Ok thats is my rant over with…for the time being anyway here are the things I;ve been up to this week

Monday

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Scribbling though the first part of my novel and having lots of fun with pie charts . I’m ensuring I have all the elements of my novel stuck in my head before I go on to write the next part.

 

Tuesday

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More pie charts! It only took two days of writing every minute detail of each page to make me feel a little bit like I might be loosing perspective. to see more strange ramblings check out my other blog Today I Wrote…

Wednesday

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I left the house, read stories to the little ones at the library then went into Crafty Sew & So. It felt good to get out of my head for a day. Freya and I came up with a wonderful story all about two women who  become superheroes after training in the art of kick-boxing. I had so much fun sketching a comic of the story when I got home. At some point I aim to refine the it and find someone who can actually draw to complete the work.

Thursday

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I created a great little Bunny tutorial for Crafty Sew & So. It was a lovely day so I decided to take the pictures outside.

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My cat, Theo, was delighted I’d gone outside with him and wasn’t ashamed to show it

I went over to see Freya in the evening for the aforementioned kick-boxing class. On the way I couldn’t resist taking a photo across from the old liberty building.

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Despite the horrid asthma affair I did have lots of fun at Kick-boxing and will hopefully be back on Thursday, though I’ll probably be a little more cautious with the cardio.

 

Friday

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I was feel  exhausted still from asthma, but determined to have a good day. I got myself all prettied up in the morning, and googled how to wear a head scarf. At the shop I got started on gorgeous kit that has just come into Crafty from The New Craft House. The fabric is so easy to work with. I like sitting in front of the tv with  a good cup of tea and hand sewing the hexies together. Hopefully it will be done soonish and I can show you all how it turns out.

English Paper Piecing Cushion Kit

 

Saturday

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Manically crazy busy day at Crafty Sew & So, It seemed everybody wanted fabric, I tried to do a bit more of the cushion but I just ended up stopping and starting because of all the lovely customers. In the evening, however, when my husband was busy playing destiny I started trying to edit my novel. It didn’t particularly work as I ended up drawing a scene from  one of the pages.

And finally…Sunday

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Today I have been once again going through my novel, I managed to get through two chapters so far and hope to get at least another one done today. It was my plan to have finished by the end of the week. Above is the pie chart for characters mentioned and present in the first nine chapters.

 

 

All of the lovely things

Fifi Top

I’ve made a lot of things this week. I’m really rather proud of the Fifi top I made out of this lovely swallow cotton.

It’s was new in at Crafty Sew & So and will be adoring the window for a few months before a squirrelling it away for my wardrobe.  I made the Fifi Pj set from Tilly and the Buttons, a few months ago. It was a bit of a trauma because I got a bit muddled about which way round the panels went, and ended up doing  and undoing French seams  twice!

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They turned out great in the end, I’m looking forward to the warmer months so I can actually wear them for bed.  This time I didn’t bother with the French seams.

Novel

I’m also really proud of the fact I finished a revised edition of the first part of my novel. It’s printed out and I’ve managed to scribble my way through the first three chapters without too many embarrassing errors.

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Cakes

Lovely lovely cakes, It’s been a little while since I’d baked and I really enjoyed making this lot for Crafty Sew & So.

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Lemon Cupcakes with Butter Icing
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Chocolate Traybake

As you can see I’ve been very busy, too busy in fact. My husband has started back writing thesis and some of my old anxieties have reared their nervous heads. I’ve been  throwing myself into  various activities and unable to relax when I do stop working. Isolation is one of my key warning signs of falling back into depressive behaviours. And if that wasn’t a big enough warning, on Friday morning I had a hideous migraine. I arrived at the shop and promptly threw up. After spending too much time in the comforting dark of the bathroom I called my husband to come and rescue me. When my head had recovered enough we had a chat and worked out a routine for days when he is working. I love lists and timetables, I feel way less anxious when I am organised and feel like I have a modicum of control over my life.

 

Because apparently I have the bug now, today I started working on another Grainline studio top, I’ve made one before and fancied one in a different pattern. It’s useful to give me a fair bit of practice on jersey materials. I actually made sure I stopped at five o’clock despite the fact I still needed to add the binding to the neck and arms. For a while I will have to stick rigidly to this routine. I can’t trust myself to know when I need to rest.

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Productivity Away!

The chaos of Christmas seems to have passed and I’m feeling refreshed. Things seemed a lot easier to get done this past week. There are several reasons this could be. Routine has come back into play. I’m going into Crafty Sew & So three times a week, reading and singing songs at my library every Wednesday and taking my driving lessons on Mondays.  it’s a comfortable kind of busy.

Right now I’m sitting in my  freshly made Fifi Pyjama’s, with thermal undies because it’s way too cold!

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Yesterday I made a really simple blanket for the Stories and Rhymes mornings at the library. I picked up some red gingham in the Crafy Sew & So sale and some cotton backed wadding. All I had to do was put the fabrics right sides together, used a bowl to round the corners and then sewed along the edge leaving a gap to turn it right side up. In hindsight I probably should have used pins to ensure the gingham was stretched out fully before this as I ended up with a few bumps after top stitching.

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After tuning it right side up I used a pretty top stitch to close the gap and then ran it all around the edge. Next I stitched large squares, lining up with the pattern and had a nice sturdy mat for story time.

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Also for the first time in at least I month I did some work on my novel. I’m currently revising a draft and managed to finish a chapter which had been bugging me for a while.

Here’s to another productive week!

Birthday Blog

Today I turn twenty-seven. Facebook has reliably informed me that it has been forty days since my last blog. I have since convinced myself that this is because I have been far too busy doing things to have time to write about them. However I have somewhat ended up with many half -finished projects which I will post here at a later date.

However as it’s been a while here is a piece of flash fiction:

 

The log burner cracks then falters, the room darkens as bright yellow flames dim to a faded orange.  ‘Fire’s dying Will.’ Elizabeth says glancing up from her book. Her husband grunts a reply and pokes at the cindered logs with an old iron fire poker. Grey ash falls away to reveal bright red burning embers. The room brightens. ‘Thank you.’ he shrugs taking fresh wood from the pile. The day was long, tiring and too many boxes remained full. They had a sofa, an armchair and most importantly a great big log burner. It’s one of the reasons Elizabeth fell for the house. The prospect of unpacking all day tomorrow didn’t seem as daunting  so long as she spent the evening curled up with a book beside the crackling fire.  

A brisk wind batters the window and the fire sputters. Still embers burst to life hitting Will in the face. Logs scatter as he staggers back.

‘Jesus, What happened?’  Elizabeth stands and places a careful hand on her husband’s chin, examining the damage. The embers have faded to ash but Will’s face is covered in angry raised white spots.

‘We need to get some water on that.’ He nods as Elizabeth leads him slowly away, taking a long look back to the fire. The garish electric light of the kitchen is almost unbearable, Elizabeth runs the tap over folded kitchen roll, the old plumbing knocks and gurgles.

‘I think we might need to go to the emergency room, these look pretty bad.’

‘That shouldn’t have happened.’ William says as she dabs his cheek.

‘It was just the wind, don’t worry about that now. how do you feel?’

‘It was not the wind. Unlike you my dear I know how log burners work, the flue was shut.’

‘Maybe the wind was too strong?’

‘He pulls away, ‘I should go check the fire.’

‘You’re going to need ointment.’ she calls but he’s already walked away. biting the inside of her cheek Elizabeth pulls out her phone, and searches for Burns first aid. ‘Hey, hun, we’re meant to keep cold water on your face for at least ten minutes.’  She slips her phone back into her pocket.

Her forehead furrows when she doesn’t even receive his customary grunt. ‘William, can you come back please, I don’t think you should be playing about with the fire, they say to keep away from heat.’ head still reading the article she walks to the sitting room. ‘Did you hear anything I just said?’ Elizabeth looks up, the fire is out and her eyes are slow to adjust to see the hunched figure of her husband, She places a careful hand on his shoulder. His clothes burn hot and she snatches her hands away. too much ash smothers her fingers as she struggles to comprehend the gaping hole in her husband’s shoulder.  She kneels to his side, and touches his too pale face. her finger leaves a hole. A crack runs along his cheek before his face slips away like grey ash. The husk that once was Elizabeth’s husband  falls in a halo of ash around a shining lump of embers.

With shaking lips and a dry mouth she stares at the embers. They move. A shape forms, little hands curled around bent knees. licks of vibrant hair falls in curls. the brightness fades to reveal a naked little girl, pale as ash with fiery red hair and coal-black eyes. Elizabeth does not move. bare toes, the colour of hot iron, curl around  the sooty remains of Elizabeth’s husband. The child stands, fast as a flickering candle. Her skin shifts from burning red to a soft flame yellow.    

She smiles and reveals pointed white teeth.
‘I’m cold, will you light the fire?’

I created a world

World building in fantasy is exhilarating but frustrating. After scribbling vague countries onto pieces of scrap paper I decided to browse the inter-webs for help. surprisingly I was rewarded almost instantaneously with this website:

http://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/world/

You can decide all sorts of things or alternatively keep clicking randomize until you get the world you want. I am just awful and geography so this little device has helped no end. it’s even got little tropical trees for land near the equator. I decided to choose a planet with a fair bit of ice and not that much land. 55ba1219569ac438 Another really fun thing you can do on this website is create your own calendar, choose how many days, months and weeks in the year and how many moons the world has. I stepped away from the computer and worked with pencil and paper to scribble down country names. Then  I assigned characters to different countries and figured out how their heritage changes how they behave and look. I found it a relativity easy way to work diversity into a story.

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I have a cork board now dedicated to geography

I also worked on smaller geography and sketched out a very inaccurate version of ‘The Hollow’ which is the location for most of the action in my story.

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Writing Writing Writing

This month I’m joining in with Camp Nano, click here if you want to see my current progress. Unlike in November, when the word count is set at 50,000 words, I can set my own word count for the month. I decided to try a modest 10,000 words of my revision.  Having done absolutely nothing for ten days I finally started.

Participant 2015 - Web Banner

so far I’ve written 4920 words of my revised draft and am beginning to forget what the world outside my story is like. Needless to say I have taken little time out for crafts. Though to break up the writing I have started designing outfits and characters:wpid-20150706_210219.jpg

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If you are curious about their identical positions, it is because i am not particularly good/patient enough to draw figures so I used a book of figure drawings. The Fashion Sketchpad.

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This is my little writing nook, it’s always got a supply of chocolate  and often cups of tea supplied by my husband.

 I’m afraid that’s all the sense you’ll get out of me today.

Back to my writing!!

long time no blog…but I made a lot of headway in my novel!

I have been away from my blog for far too long but my very noble excuse is that I’ve been editing away! This is the first draft I have printed out in it’s entirety. though I think in all honesty it’s probably around the fifth draft in all it’s different incarnations.
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I printed it out on blue paper because because my dyslexia means it’s almost impossible to process anything if it’s on white paper, Here’s a link if you’re interested. Eyes and Dyslexia.  There has been a recent study which claims coloured paper doesn’t help people with dyslexia. I do recall my tester telling me something along the lines of the vision issues being a separate but related issue. My elder sister doesn’t find the tinted sheets useful, however I know it takes me three or four times to understand a document without my tinted glasses and only one or two read through with them. This is all very much beside the point. Here’s a link to the new study: Forget colour overlays – dyslexia is not a vision problem.

That’s enough about dyslexia for now, back to my editing.  This is the mess that I’m left with after around a month of solid editing:

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I made an extra notebook with the same stab binding, I also got a new guillotine with a fancy perforation option.

The first bit of editing was probably the most laborious, I went through every chapter and separated it into scenes, one posit per scene with a very quick description, list of characters, location and whatever I want to change.

The next bit was almost as laborious I took an idea from The NaNoWriMo Blog, It’s a fantastic resource for writers and come november there’s a wonderful manic mass writing hence the name National Novel Writing Month.

Here’s an exert from A 7-Step Guide to Big Picture Revision (With Bonus Checklists!)

Here come the highlighters! Look at your list of scenes. Use a different colour to highlight each subplot.

  • Do some of them only show up a few times?
  • Are some introduced too late in the story?
  • Are any unresolved?
  • Do some do nothing to advance or mirror the main plot?

When you are done, anything that is left unhighlighted is your main plot line. Read these over.

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At this point I was mostly just bewildered by the amount sub-plot / plot / maybe not even relevant. I took a step back, left the chaos for a few days and did a bit of a free writing which was blissful compared to the mind twisting editing. In the meantime I put my novel in a folder and gave it to my mum, who has wanted to read it for a very long time.

Then came time for lists:wpid-20150702_113058.jpg

I wrote plots from from lots of different characters and got my time line entirely set wpid-20150702_113019.jpg

Next I tangled out the most important plot points and wrote a 500ish word synopsis. My novel is still far away (at my sisters house). Until I get it back, with all it’s pencilled ideas, i will not start revising. My plan is to free write from different characters points of view to really flesh out each personality.