Because all experiences are valuable.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ice Wine

long past time to go
the wind still whips past me
my hair sticks to my lips
even though they are dry
like the leaves in the frost.

a concert of ancient instruments
forged from metals I can't name and stripped
trees pared to nubs, calls to me,
music I am hearing in between the soft beats of
hearts- I feel responsible for people
who do not care what happens to me.

I dream of endless acres of grape leaves
undifferentiated save their hypnotic undulation
from the heaviness of their fruit and the
pressure of the wind upon them,
so little time before the freeze.

time to pick, time to capture,
time to choose
and then forget.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wire Wings and Punk Fairy Costume

Had to leave class early today because I have a tooth abscess. Not a happy camper, but my dentist was super nice and helpful. We have to get the infection out, then we will try to have the lil toothy hang in a few more weeks before he has to be replaced with Mr. Artificial Tooth! I need a super hero tooth graphic here!
OMG I love the internet. Four seconds and I have a (um stolen kinda) super hero tooth graphic!!

If the picture is credited across the front, is that stealing a graphic? It's credited and you can't use it to sell anything. I am totally not sure on this one. Anyway!  To the costuming portion of the blog, as I feel too horrid to study.

I wasn't going to DragonCon this year, but Andrew talked me into it and Guy was willing to go. Neither of us had any time to make new costumes, so Guy was Mario again. People go crazy for his Mario, but he says this was the last year. I have this lovely corset MJL bought me and I always wear the purple side, but I've wanted to throw together a costume that uses the blue and silver side, and I've wanted to attempt to make interesting wire wings for a while now. So..blue and silver wire wings made in just a couple of hours.

Here are some pics then instructions:

These wings are delicate and kept getting squished by people who didn't see them, so Guy had to adjust them a lot, but if you are going to a party or Ren fest or someplace where people are not crammed in like cattle, or making for trick or treat, then they would be fine and are very very light.

I didn't know if I would get the usual great comments about my wings this time, but a lot of people told me they were gorgeous. You can't see how pretty the glass beads I used were. Really sparkly and each dangle charm moves constantly.  I made a necklace and earrings to match.

Yes, that is colored duct tape I used to secure the centers. It worked perfectly and I covered it with felt. I use a system of two hair clips (for styling) layered within felt to secure them to my corset. This way there are no arm straps. I believe this is 14 gauge wire. Heavy enough to be strong, but flex easily. I just took a long length and brought the ends together, and it naturally forms a teardrop. No need to force it at all! Then used
some 16 or 18 gauge wire in colors to secure the loops a bit together where they meet.

I wove the top wings with wire and made dangles of glass beads placed on the longest length jewelry making pin heads. Look for these where jewelry supplies are in the craft store. I hung each dangle at an intersection of the wires and wrapped it around so the wires ended up very secure as they were wired at so many points.
Added a couple of wire accents with extra wire that I just let uncurl from the roll naturally. These took me about three hours total. I think I spent longer choosing the beads! Put a premade crochet flower in the center and threw some extra beads on a wire loop.

I like pigtails personally. I never have a lack of fun in pigtails. Hope this inspires you to see what you can do with wire, especially if you have more than three hours to work on them!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Post Mortem

August is wise enough to lie down and wait,
like a dog panting watchfully for its master
until the grass grows up around his paws.
This year the master will not return- he sickened and died
over the course of a short sweet summer,
from complications of a broken heart and too many lies and sugar.

Watching the lost dog is akin to feeling an old wound
when the barometer is low, an ache in the feet or the hands,
that brings memories- heat lightning and trellises made for climbing.
She will watch the stars come out and the stars rise high,
and she will watch the dog turn and go,
and August will pass by kindly, awaiting its turn.

One Percent

I am a strong advocate of never staying the same. No status quo. No year passes without doing, trying, being something new. Give up things that aren't working anymore...or find ways to do them differently now.

I just watched the Next Food Network Star episode where the three finalists make their pitch pilot shows for the TV execs and for America. All three of the pilots focused in some way on taking something you are already doing and making it new, from dating to making pies. Guy and I were talking at the driving range, as we do a lot lately, about genetics. Specifically, he asked me if I thought most of what we do is predestined. I won't say what got him on this line of thought for that day, because that is personal to him- and he had some interesting thoughts. But here is what I answered, well, as best as I can remember.

I believe our lives are far more predetermined than we believe they are, but not by fate or by God, just by simple genetics. I think most "scientists" of any kind (even the science minded person) accept this, whereas most non-scientists don't like to dwell too long on how little control they have given the ancestors they were gifted with. We are made of simple things...some basic elements...some simple molecules. Those things come together into protein chains and enzymes and chemical messengers, and the only way to build a person is with a blueprint. The only blueprint anyone has is their DNA. DNA is a direct reflection of your parents, and their parents, and so on. The instructions for "you" are so far out of your own control that it can be sort of distressing if you aren't one of the few genetically blessed to match the set of standards that for a variety of mathematical and aesthetic reasons we all deem to be most perfect.

Others can take reality too far and decide that laying the blame at the feet of genetics for any and all shortcomings is a license to commit all sins unadulterated, or to let physical decline have its way with one like an overladen minecart down Pike's Peak.

MJL and I talk about this, too. Fighting gravity and staving off weakness and infirmity. He bikes. There is this huge hill which is his current nemesis. The other day one part of his 35-40 mile round trip was washed out from all this ridiculous rain. I texted, hey, you can just do the hill twice. I didn't think he really would. Later he texted...I made that hill my bitch, twice.

There is it right there.  The second part of my answer to Guy about predetermination was that while people underestimate how much they are controlled by their genetics from the very start, they underestimate even more the power they have within themselves at all times, much like Dorothy and her wish upon the red shoes, to affect literally everything about their lives. It's like you only have control of 5% of your own life...but that 5% is all of the things that really matter. Your attitude. Your effort. Your beliefs. Your willingness to work and keep working, to try and keep trying. Your ability to learn to be kind to yourself and to others, to be generous of spirit and to stop judging what is inside others. I don't advocate, as you may have read here previously, taking a non-discerning attitude about one's associates. Discern one's companions carefully, but don't judge what value a person may have inside that might be a wonderful asset to someone else.

The media tells us about the richest people being only 1%, or 3%, or .01% of the populace. Whichever...a very small percentage. Here, watch this famous Youtube video...you have to get to at least the five minute mark before quitting the video..

This can be applied to the whole genetics versus self-determination problem.You may only control 5% of what you are given to work with in this world. Maybe less. Maybe only 1%.
But- that 1% accounts for an overwhelming percentage of what happens in this life. That 1% is everything.

This is your life. It's a lot like a hill. When you think you are on the top, or you're on the backside- go around and do it again. That doesn't mean you can't ever "make it," or rest and relax. Just know that the brain and the body were not designed to need retirement. The strongest and the most healthy of the elderly never quit going, never quit working at whatever they loved, and never stopped learning something new.

Most fear is pointless. Most of your life there is no one watching you to see if you "fail." Failing is learning, anyway. Look back at what it took to learn the most important things that you know. We value most the lessons learned with the most effort. Now look back at how much time and effort you have wasted on fear of failure. We regret most the things we failed to master out of fear or laziness.

You are your own 1%. Life is out there. Make it your bitch.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


lost is the heart that beats in a barnyard,
ancient the owl that turns to the sound,
straw spun to gold and deals at the last card,
lights bright then dimming, mouse on the ground.

caves are for wishing: silence and crystals,
walls drip and shimmer, dry wings unfurled,
magik alone and in pairs, the air whistles,
tendrils of long hidden hatreds in curls.

sisters in threes, missing- one's missing,
lost ages wasted, crossed swords and cries,
Owl turns her head from the mouse in death's kissing,
unable to watch as the life leaves its eyes.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

World War Z

I saw World War Z last night. I thought it was quite engaging and engrossing. I'm fighting off a urinary tract infection, and I was figuring if it were to be a boring movie, then I could just spend extra time peeing. Yeah, I'm not kidding. My mind is a strange place. But I was interested all the way through.

I can't say that the movie offered any brilliant new insights. I guess the newest concept to me is "the tenth man." You'll know what that is if you see the movie. If now, then I have no doubt that it will be rising in the list of all things Googled, and will pop right up.

I kind of realize that I'm often the tenth man. I seem to ask questions that no one else asks (at least out loud), and I am willing to believe, or consider the possibility of things that others dismiss. Part of that is being a scientist. Part of that is being a lifetime sci-fi fan/reader/participant. Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke had a huge impact on my young life, combined with heavy doses of the Greek myths, the classics, and my father's love for mathematics.

I've decided that the world of BSN Nursing school is a complete mystery to most of the population. They have no idea what we study, or how much science we take. They don't really know that hospitals are run by nurses- LPNs, RNs, MSNs, and DNPs. How many minutes a day would you guess that a patient is seen by or is with an MD (excluding those having surgery at the time.) Less than ten minutes a day. If they are lucky- five in the morning and five in the afternoon.

The doctors are not doing anything wrong. They don't need to really spend that much more time with a patient in the hospital. They do what they do efficiently. They do not do what the nurses and the techs do the other 23.84 hours of the day. Generally, they cannot do what we do. They are not trained to and they simply don't know how.

In my five weeks so far of working full twelve hour shifts in the hospital, I have seen a lot of wild stuff already. I know it is just the tip of the iceberg. What I do is really significant. It really matters to the human you are caring for. It really matters to the family at the bedside. The deaths I see, almost daily...and the sense I have and am honing, of when someone has made the turn and needs to have hospice care, are changing my perspective on life.

Not changing in the way of a pop song which tells you to "live each day like you are dying," not changing in the way of  "hang on tight to what you've got," though those are good bits of advice. I see every day that one truly can lose someone beloved to them in one breath.

No, I guess I would say that my perception of what life actually is about has changed, and I become more resolute in knowing what I am and what my life is, and what I need, and why I am here. This is not new stuff. I'm not offering anything you can't read in other books, poems and blogs. I am just telling you again what movies like World War Z are trying to illustrate- that there is nothing worthwhile on this planet but life itself. People, animals, pets, plants, fish..whatever. Things that are alive.

Our planet is alive and we are killing it. We are alive and we are killing each other, in a billion different ways. We kill hope and we destroy passion and we murder love and we stamp out intelligence and creativity and music- mostly all for the sake of things that are not alive. You have to see that THINGS cannot love you back. I believe (tenth man!) that plants can love you back. We know they are sentient and sensitive to music and touch, and that they react to a person who loves them. Anything alive can give a love, or a feedback all it's own. Pets are the greatest loves in the world to many people. Animals give back what they are given a hundred-fold.

I have to ask you all...what is going to be at your bedside when you are dying? Who is going to hold you when things go terribly wrong and you are afraid? Who will offer you a hand up when you can't make it up on your own? Is it any of the "things" that we all place such importance upon?

I know I have to divest myself of a lot of things. Right now. I have to clean house. It's hard to know how to start. I have so much that was my grandmother's and was my mother's. I have things from when my boys were little that they might want to see when they have children of their own. These "things" were very important to my ancestors, and they are important to me, too...but I cannot keep everything. I am going to have to downsize and start thinking about what I am going to do when my lease is up in March. I have so many decisions to make. I have pool tables and Grand pianos (not plural, ahahah), and more china than a person should have. Maybe an estate sale? I knew that these things had to be done this summer, and I have to get started. Reid is heading off to Oglethorpe in the fall, so he won't be here next year. I thought these were joint decisions to be made, but as so often happens, I must make the decisions. I have to figure out where to live next, or end up homeless trying to finish the last month of school.

Here is what I know. One...any person...is no more than the sum of the choices that they make. Whatever that man "had" in life, whatever things he owned, whatever chaos or success he had- those things were not present at the end. I was.

What do you value? What are your priorities?

People think that World War Z is just a movie, and that it couldn't happen...that zombies don't exist. Well this tenth man says that they do, and that they are all around us all the time. That many many people are zombies already- driven by things they neither recognize nor care to contemplate. They are sick and they are already dead inside, they just don't know it. They have voracious appetites for consumption and acquisition, and they have no ideals or goals for anything but themselves and more consuming. They do not build or create, instead they use up and destroy.

That's a zombie, fellas. And this is indeed, a war.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In Passing

Sometimes the moon is pale and sweet
the golden hue of Summer wheat
and marks each cycle till complete.

Those times the stars are misty-eyed
as if you knew for whom they cried
perhaps it was your own that died.

Fair Mother Earth, who sleeps in snow,
though she will be the last to know,
She journeys with you as you go...
She journeys with you as you go.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I'll have Erin Gray's Jumpsuit from Buck Rogers, please.

Today I ended up taking my older son, Guy, shopping for some new clothing at Men's Wearhouse and at Dillard's. It seems lately that I have been doing this activity a lot with both boys, and not because they are growing in size or stature. More that their lives are growing in complexity and their needs are becoming larger.

I was thinking philosophically, as I so often do, about the amount and variety of clothing that is required for modern life in America. It's not exactly the unisex jumpsuited future the science fiction writers ( or maybe the movie costumers) predicted. There have always been jokes about the number of pair of black shoes and for that matter black pants or skirts, that women need just to cover routine activities and events of life. I personally own at least ten pair of black shoes- all of which I wear-and need, for different occasions. Probably six black skirts and three black pants.

Guy and Reid are heading off soon for a family wedding in California, and of course that brings with it rehearsal dinners or gatherings in addition to the actual wedding, which I hear is "casual," but I'm sure that is like nice business casual, not Hawaiian shirt casual. The term casual dress can be such a nightmare, can't it? I think it is a real art to dressing appropriately in our society. It is so easy to be underdressed or overdressed, and feel out of place. I'm not sure why it all matters so much, and why we feel so scrutinized when we don't get it just right, but I am terribly guilty of taking long looks (hopefully unseen) at those who egregiously fail dress standards of either event or good taste. I try to be kind to those who just have unusual styles; I appreciate artistic statements. The human body is interesting and so varied, and one size does not fit all in any sense of the meaning.

Still, I see some very bizarre things. Yesterday it was a family of tube tops on three women who "needed a lot more support," if you know what I mean. And there was more below the tube top than inside the tube top. Picture that... Beyond that, though, is the tube top really your best choice for almost any purpose?

I would like to feel that there is a proper, comfortable balance somewhere, between needing endless amounts of clothing to fit all of life's occasions, vacations, sports, business meetings, and outings and recognizing that people and relationships are what is important- not their clothing.

It doesn't help that period clothing, costuming for many purposes, and sewing (hence an obsession with fabric) are all hobbies of mine. It would be hard for me to live in a jumpsuit world. Aside from the tube top faux pas, the hospital is a great equalizer in many ways. The professionals are all in scrubs, and the patients are all in gowns, and it helps us treat everyone the same. All we really know about you is that you are in a gown and in a bed and that we are there to care for you. Likely we will get to know you and your family, but you will get the same standard of care no matter what.

One thing I was thinking about was how much I enjoy buying clothes for my sons when they are with me. I'm just as happy buying them things as buying myself something. Actually, I enjoy it more these days. It's just one more of those things I notice as I get older. The simple joy of watching your children try on clothes and look pretty smashing, and being able to provide those things they need, when you know that so many young men do not have these things. It is a shame that lack of proper clothing should ever limit anyone from getting a job or attending an event, but right now in our world it is a fact of life. I can say this- I will accept the space-age jumpsuit world should it ever arrive, even though I would miss the vast variety of clothing so much. But I would not complain about something that would benefit so many on this planet. Just to be able to feel there is one less thing holding them back from all that they can be.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Just looking for a home, I suppose,
takes up more time in life than we realize.
Are we driven to shelter in crevices that barely
keep out the wind, because we cannot survive
any other way?
Homelessness, I have learned,
does more damage to the psyche than being hungry
or being underclothed,
as we are taught that food, clothing, and shelter are our basic needs.
I am not sure shelter is enough.
But it is something.
If one never had a home, nothing safe-
does that man spend more of a life looking than does
the man who has known home.
I want to know if the Greeks spoke on this.
I want to see if great philosophers weighed in, and ponder what they
had to say.
I want to spend a rainy afternoon gathering in their great wisdom,
so that I may understand myself better,
so that I may love others more.

when I am sure that I am home.

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Beautiful Than We Think

There's been this video, well, several versions of a video, going around on facebook this past week. Since it's marketing for Dove brand products I'm not sure if you can say it is a viral video. Can advertising be viral? Isn't that the idea, and the marketing material is designed to entice people to share it? Anyway, I shared it, too, and I still think it is lovely and thought provoking.

The idea is that a forensic artist from the LAPD has a series of women he cannot see describe themselves to him and he draws them much as he would a perpetrator of a crime from the description of a witness. Then another person comes in and describes the person he just drew, after spending some time with that person. The artist then hangs the pictures side by side and the subject of the portrait is allowed to see, to her astonishment, that the picture of the self she describes is not only generally unattractive, but as we the audience can see, does not look like her. The portrait drawn from the objective observer's description is much more attractive and actually looks very much like the original subject.

The tag line tells us "you are more beautiful than you think." I think it's a wonderful message. Let me acknowledge that in watching the longer six minute version which is easily viewed on YouTube, there are not really any actually "ugly" people in the video. No horrible skin conditions, no truly unfortunate dental problems. Actually you might notice that no one is even overweight...they are all thin to quite thin. The men who are included as "observers and describers" are attractive. Here, you can watch it yourself:

I suppose the idea is that even people who are attractive, not stunning, not supermodels, but just pleasantly attractive, doubt themselves and have features about themselves that they don't like and would change. At the same time, people don't watch marketing ads full of ugly people. When I watch this, with the carefully crafted background music, I feel the contrived machinations of the team behind the production, and yet, at the same time I feel the genuineness of the aim.

If you have a positive message to spread in this media age, can you get it viewed if it isn't carefully crafted to appeal? Maybe not. Even the videos that are homemade are subconsciously or consciously created to fit our mold of what we think a cool hacker type "Anonymous" video should look like. I'm even starting to question the cute puppy and kitten videos- they look contrived to me, too! It's a rare thing to see something spontaneous these days that was captured. This is a great thing when it helps capture terrorists and reveals the faces of the perpetrators of crimes as we witnessed recently in the photos and videos taken at the Boston Marathon. Witness photos helped police tremendously.

Which brings me back around to my original point...the revelation of faces through the use of a forensic artist to show us that others see us as we actually look, while we ourselves do not. It makes me wonder what I look like. Did you wonder that, too, when you watched the video? There is a spoof video going around of men having the same "experience." It's pretty hilarious because the men all describe themselves as looking like Brad Pitt and George Clooney, while their female descriptors paint a very different picture of neanderthals and snaggle-toothed hillbillys.

I was in the shower last night thinking about all of this. Thinking about how much I hate my knees and how I think my hips are too big. So I was looking at my hips and I realized that they have been with me my whole life. Nothing that I have, other than my body, has been with me since the day I was born. Nothing else will be with me every second of the rest of my life. I am so much more than a body; no statement is truer than this. I am mind and spirit and intention and love. But this body is my home. It has kept my mind and my spirit safe all these years, and it will keep on doing so. There isn't a second of this life that my heart has not been beating. How many machines can you point to that can run non-stop for as much as a hundred years, often with no maintenance at all? I can't even think of one. These knees have knelt on the floor to care for my father in the last day of his life. These hips carried each one of my sons as I ran hither and yon with our full lives. I usually preferred to just carry them instead of using a stroller. They seemed to be less restless and we had great conversations and shared a view of the world. I know I will carry my grandbabies just the same someday, as long as I can.

I'm going to try very hard to love all of my parts. The power of the media that teaches us to hate ourselves is very strong. I can't remember what a non-airbrushed picture in the media even looked like. It's been that long. These women in the Dove ad...they are not airbrushed and they are real, even if carefully selected. I want to celebrate the motivation behind this ad campaign, behind the message from the beauty industry that says, for once, it's okay to love yourself the way you are. We think other people are judging us, and we think they are looking at all of our flaws...and maybe a few are. But on the whole, other humans are much kinder than we think, and they see beautiful things about us that we ourselves will never see.

Or maybe we can. Just a little. I love you, knees. I love you, hips. Thank you for carrying me all these years.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Queen of Spades Costume, Royal Flush Spades

I can't believe I'm still catching up on blogging about my costuming efforts from last year's DragonCon, but then again the internet is kinda timeless, so what does it matter. My post on how I made my green Jeannie costume remains my number one most view post of all time.

So, last year 2012, I wanted to do a Dark Alice in Wonderland sort of thing for our group. I knew I wanted to be the Queen of Spades. As the idea evolved, we became A Royal Flush of Spades with me, Mike (King), Reid (Ace), Guy (Jack) and Grace(ten). Then we added Eva and James because they were coming in from Little Rock. SO now we were more like...the royal family of spades plus the nine and eight? I wanted to make this make sense and thought the royal party would of course include a dark "cheshire cat" and their wizard or suitable prognosticator, right? So the Nine (Eva) became a kitty with nine lives and a cat o'nine tails accessory. The Eight (James) carried a "magic 8 ball" for offering future predictions. Here's a picture of the whole party.

 You can see the colors stuck to black, white, purple, silver and harlequin.  Each person has every one of those colors and patterns, though it is hard to see on the Kitty. She has a purple bow on her ears and she had a harlequin bow on her tail. My Queen underskirt is purple. One important element I designed is the sleeve insets on the men. I will tell you how to make those later. The men's vests are all from the same pattern. McCall's 4321 View D.
   I sat down and wrote out a list of each character and what the main color of their vest would be, the lapels, and the lining. Then what color was missing from the vest and so what color shirt did I want to use, making sure each was different. Mike's King lapel and shirt insets had to be silver because he is the King. I knew I wanted to make the back of Reid's Ace shirt into an Ace Card, so his needed to be white. The Jack just had to be purple, and so that made sense for the 8 to be black like an 8 ball.

I wanted to use military style insignias and "collar devices" to signify rank. The men's collars have spades made of felt and outlined in glitter. The shoulders all have rank patches, including mine, that say the rank of the card. Mine said "Q", naturally. You can look for these details in the pictures.

 Eva did her harlequin mask in makeup. The hats and crowns were a big part of the costumes.
Guy and Reid had tophats already, so I just made hat bands for them, and the large cutout spades from glitter scrapbook paper backed in white paper to make them pop.
 Below you can see the Kitty's cat o'nine tail, which Eva and James made from pieces of black suede that I had and part of a dowel rod. James put in a huge effort on this!!!

 Kitty has rhinestone claws...
 Grace (ten) is getting her shoulder insignia painted on by Guy, since she didn't have sleeves. He had to meet us there, so he had a stencil precut to do this with.
 Grace's vest is made from McCall's 5682. All of these vests are lined, including the men's vests, and they all have coordinating lining, even though it rarely shows...that's just how I roll!

Her petticoat is two crinolines layered with the shorter, sequin on on top of a longer full one. The one underneath is the Leg Avenue 15" black crinoline.  I made our choker necklaces from things you can get in the scrapbook department at Michael's crafts. You can see that her hat has the number 10 cut from glitter paper, and the same spade as the men's hats. The crowns are custom made and I will discuss that later as well. You can see my shoulder "Q" in this picture. The white hat is a Leg Avenue top hat, and my Queen dress is also a Leg Avenue costume for french maid...I got in on Amazon, the only place I have ever seen this particular dress.

King of Spades and Medieval Batman

I bought both my sons the purple and black checkered Vans shoes for their costumes.  Guy made his staff...Jack has to have the staff!! He hand painted the design on a long dowel, and hand carved the spade on top.

With my friend Rob, who I only ever get to see at DragonCon!
I think you can get a lot of ideas from these pictures, about all of the details I put into the costumes that really brought it together.

Ok, the sleeve insets. The shirts were just regular dress shirts. Iron the sleeves flat. Mark two inches down from the shoulder seam and two inches up from the cuff. Measure that. Now take a piece of inset fabric you choose , approximately one foot wide and the length you just measured. Mike's jacquard metallic insets were less wide because the fabric was so stiff.

Pleat the inset fabric longways in about 3/4" wise pleats. Adjust to suit yourself. Stitch the top and bottom across to secure the pleats. Make sure the outer two folds of the pleats are not inverted, meaning the right side of the fabric is out. Now use a seam ripper to slit the sleeve in the center from top to bottom between the marks you made. Turn the shirt inside out. Insert the inset pleated piece. Now it's time to sew it in.

I have to tell you, this doesn't make a perfectly neat insert. At the top and bottom, it sticks out a wee bit.I have been sewing a long time, so I was able to finesse it pretty well. Stitch the top first, then proceed around. Don't try to do top and bottom, then the sides. That doesn't work. If you have to do a few stitches in tight areas, you can do that by hand or use hot glue. Once you turn it back right side out, it really looks fabulous.

The cuffs looked dull, so they got glitter paint treatments of spades, as well.

The crowns were custom made by the incredible Guy Martin!!  He has built his own forge, where he bent the sheet steel to make the head rings. He cut the spades from the same sheet steel and riveted them in lace with copper rivets. Mike's spades are all large sizes, where mine is large sized in the front only. Guy painted the head rings black, and added shadow detail in purple paint with a spade design. The bridge in the back that holds the ring together is a double sided spade cut from steel. Originally they didn't have the fur on the bottom, but they are on the heavy side and needed some padding. I attached the fur on the inside with something like gorilla glue that James gave me. Guy is pretty much a genius fabricator. I tell him what I want..we have a meeting to get measurements and work out the design elements... then what he gives me is better than I ever expected!!   Though you probably don't have your own metal work genius, you could make crowns out of other materials. Just don't ruin all your effort with some crappy pre-made crown. the King and Queen have to look the part!   

As always, let me know if you have questions you need answered. Have fun!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

After the Next

Another Sunday comes,
promising shiny strings of beads from Mardi Gras,
or feasts of epic proportion,
it all looks so enticing.
Sundays should.

The menu, written in hieroglyphics,
these are pictures I know,
but I cannot place the words into the puzzle,
my skill at deciphering has deserted me,
there must be something to be done, but...
I do not speak the language.

Sunday should be something else entirely.
Such a big day, such a special name,
I would toil all year for a day,
named for a celestial body that gives us all life.
Were the sun worshipers so misguided?

I will leave this life with exactly what I brought in.
Some Sundays remind me that I am no more and no less than the elements,
but, I don't think these thoughts in a bad way.
Only in the way that lets me see the truth of my being,
one day after one day,
after the next.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No Burden at All

Into this sea I cast a note
much as a bell rings with no sentience of the listener.
I can see a crowd of fishes and loaves
but I cannot hear the whispers of heaven.
I am escaping pieces of vestigial skin I do not use
Layers dwindle to flakes and off into the tide, and pieces
become specks.
God hears me all the time
In response I try to watch what I say,
as best I can.
I could say I am only human...
as if that is any limitation of any sort,
when indeed it is the greatest power
ever given
ever granted to any creature
to have a mind infinite enough to perceive
that God exists.

He has his eye upon the smallest sparrow,
and indeed He must, for the sparrow knows Him not, after all.
But I do...I know the sparrow, and the shark
the rose and the latin names of the trees surrounding the world
with oxygen. I know the chemicals, too, and I 
know them in the body and how they balance delicately 
more subtle and influential than you would care to realize.

Knowing becomes the essence of humanity
because we know that we know,
and much like the bell that cannot be unrung,
self awareness becomes the purest humanity of all.
For that reason, I do as I do in this life...
and thanking God is no burden. No burden at all.