June 24, 2009


Those of you who read regularly will know that over the last year or so I've been getting back into sewing. First quilting, then some bag making and last month (in a surprise twist I would never have predicted) I've picked up knitting and crochet.

I learned to knit in primary school but never really did a lot and pretty much gave it up altogether by the end of high school. I preferred cross stitch and did a bit of clothes sewing back then. It's interesting coming back to these things (and picking up new things like quilting and crochet) and seeing how my approach has changed. Back then I was really focused on finishing the thing. I liked the end result more than the process itself. Now I find that I'm happier to slow down and enjoy the process. I enjoy the how and learning a new technique (though in true virgo fashion I approach learning with much reading and studying and trying things out on 'practice' projects). I still like the end product and being able to say "I made it" but it's the doing that's more the point (apart from cutting stuff out in sewing...I don't think I'm ever going to love cutting stuff out). I think the change is partly due to age and partly due to the fact that now I do this stuff both as relaxation and as another facet of creativity.

Enjoying the process is an important part of being creative. Particularly writing. There's enough about publishing and the business side that's frustrating so trying to keep discovering the joy in the actual storytelling bit (even through the teeth pulling slogging parts) is vital. Given I do the other craft things as pure relaxation it's even more important to enjoy what I'm doing.

The other thing I'm finding interesting is the fact that (at least with sewing) I'm starting to experiment a bit more. To tweak patterns or try and make something I see that I think is cool without a full pattern. I was taught to sew in a very much "follow the pattern" fashion. I used to sew mostly clothes so that was probably a good thing (bag modification have far less potential for disaster than clothes, you can't end up with a three armed bag after all). These days I don't really want to sew clothes (though I am going to do a sewing stretch fabric course because if there's anything I'm likely to want to sew it'll be the sorts of stretchy tops and things I wear regularly) so I'm experimenting a bit more. The internet helps. There's no end of advice and people sharing what they've tried. It never really occurred to me before to stray far from the patterned path. But now I take the side roads more regularly. It's fun to try stuff out and see what works. I'll be interested to see whether I get more adventurous in my knitting and crochet too as I get back into the swing of them.

I think this is kind of like developing your writing process. Most people who write books would probably confess to having a dire first novel (or bits of one or more than one) under the mattress. I think it's because when you first sit down to write something you do it the way you think a book "should be". Whether that's following some mythic formula or what you've read you should do. But as you write more and get more confident and relax, you start to write books your way. The stories you want to write instead of stories written how they're 'meant to be'. You find your voice. You play. You learn what works for you, what interests your muse and you, what makes your stories shine.

Anyway, there is kind of point to this post. This is my writing blog and I try and keep the focus on the writing with some random wanderings on other life stuff. But I also want somewhere to talk about my sewing etc from a more technical viewpoint, what I'm doing, how I did it, what I used etc etc. Given I imagine that this would be about as exciting as watching paint dry to some of you, I'm going to move that stuff over to a different blog. I'll probably still talk about the creative side of craft here and how it helps with the writing but the detail will be over on the new blog. Which is here. We'll see how it works out.

Both blogs will show up in my twitter feed but I haven't figured out whether I'll post a "New craft post" type thing here when I post there or whatever. I'm just going to let it evolve. And now, given the dreaded work lurgy is stalking me again, I'm going to go veg on the couch and stare at the TV.

June 20, 2009

Pseudonyms 'R Us

As Seen on Jenny Crusie's blog:

1. YOUR PORN STAR NAME: (Name of first pet / Street you live on): Tara Illawarra (try saying that ten times fast!)

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (Name of your favorite snack food / Grandfather’s first name): Cheezels Thomas or Krispy Ernest. Or maybe Krispy Thomas (if these are my options I'll be avoiding Hollywood).

3. YOUR FASHION DESIGNER NAME: (First word you see on your left / Favorite restaurant): Essential MoVida (Sounds more like a drag queen to me)

4. EXOTIC FOREIGNER ALIAS: (Favorite Spice / Last Foreign Vacation Spot): Cinnamon Francisco

5. SOCIALITE ALIAS: (Silliest Childhood Nickname / Town Where You First Partied): GG Melbourne (you know, that's not a bad name for a socialite)

6. “FLY Boy” ALIAS (a la J. Lo): (First Initial / First Two or Three Letters of your Last Name): M Sco (sounds like a degree. or a disease)

7. ICON ALIAS: (Something Sweet Within Sight / Any Liquid in Your Kitchen): TicTac Moscato

8. DETECTIVE ALIAS: (Favorite Baby Animal / Where You Went to High School): Kitten Leongatha (Leongatha is never going to be a good surname and Kitten is hardly hardboiled).

9. BARFLY ALIAS: (Last Snack Food You Ate / Your Favorite Alcoholic Drink): Muffin Margarita (LOL)

10. SOAP OPERA ALIAS: (Middle Name / Street Where You First Lived): Joy Marilyn (yep, that sounds soapie).

11. ROCK STAR ALIAS: (Favorite Candy /Last Name Of Favorite musician ): Violet C (Crumble) Hewson (though man, picking a fave muso is HARD).

I think I like my exotic foreigner and socialite aliases the best. Maybe I can use Gigi Melbourne if I ever decide to write glitter-lit ala Judith Krantz and Joan Collins...

June 14, 2009

A new place to play

So from Monday 15th (US time), a bunch of my fellow Golden Heart finalists and I will be blogging over at Nobody Writes It Better.

We've always called ourselves the 007's hence the Bond references : )

We're kicking off with Gail Fuller hosting Robyn Grady and Melissa James.

So come over and play.

June 04, 2009

Too quickly it goes

David Eddings passed away. Sadness.

I can still remember reading Pawn of Prophecy for the first time in high school. Adored it. I'd always liked fantasy but this I really liked. It felt more real than things like Lord of the Rings. There were still exotic names and monsters and magic but the people were cranky and sarcastic and funny and there was some actual romance (well, okay, really just hints in Pawn but still). I can remember waiting impatiently for each new book to come out through the Belgariad and the Mallorean, spending my carefully hoarded pocket money. It took a long time for new books to trickle through to the our local newsagent (the only source of books in town). I still have those books. And the Sparhawk trilogies. And others. I re-read the Belgariad and the Malloreon at least once a year, they've become comfort books even though, now, as a writer myself the experience is a little different.

So I'll say, thank you, Mr. Eddings for many many happy hours of reading lost in your worlds and hopefully wherever you've gone is full of magic.