Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I didn't just post

I was reading one of my Celebrate Musical's Week posts and saw a spelling mistake. I fixed it, updated the draft, and for some reason it made it look like I'd just posted that. So in case you were wondering, I didn't just post.
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Celebrate Musicals Week: Why I chose My Fair Lady

It's Celebrate Musicals Week! (A great idea, by the way, Miss Dashwood). I love musicals. I grew up singing Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I, and Sound of Music songs. My mom is a musical lover. We try to watch  a new one every summer (at least one, anyway). I don't recall the first time I watched Cinderella or Fiddler on the Roof,  but I do remember the first time I saw My Fair Lady.
My sister didn't like it. She wanted Eliza to end up with Freddie (now she thinks Eliza should ditch both of them!). But I liked it – though in the first few minutes I insisted (having had no experience with lovely Audrey Hepburn) that Eliza was the same actress as Mary Poppins (which is ironic because Julie Andrews did want the part and she played it on Broadway).
Cinderella was always my favorite when I was little. I remember getting it for my fifth birthday. To me, Leslie Ann Warren was Cinderella (never mind the Disney version... I liked her, too, but when I thought "Cinderella" I thought of "A lovely night" and "Ten Minutes ago" not little mice in shirts [which my sister thinks is slightly creepy – a girl forcing little mice to wear clothes, thinking she's "helping" them...]).
Anyway! :) I always loved Cinderella, and whenever we listened to our My Little Broadway CD, I insisted that "I Could Have Danced All Night" was from Cinderella! Of course, my sister told me otherwise, which made me insist all the more. . .
I rather wish I could choose two musicals... Cinderella will always be so special to me, but I just love My Fair Lady!
However, I have chosen. My Fair Lady it is! For many reasons, but I can't tell them all here, because why would you then read my other posts? You shall simply have to wait. :)
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Sleeping in Faith

Hello, my dearies. This is a season where people are focused even more than usual on "me, me, me" or even "me and my family" – a time when we'll soon be having the after Christmas letdown because it wasn't as perfect as we imagined it would be or we didn't get the gift we wanted. So, in this time of thinking all about ourselves and getting mopey, I wanted to share some praise. After all, we're called to give glory to God in everything and every time.
So here it is:
Last year, I struggled with insomnia – it could take me hours to fall asleep. Sometimes I would wake in the middle of the night and it again might take me two hours to get back to sleep. When I was having trouble sleeping, I felt so anxious and alone, because I was the only one in the house who was awake. I would get really hot and my head would start to ache terribly, and sometimes I would even feel nauseous.
And each night when it was time to get ready to go to bed, I didn't want to because I was so worried it would take me a long time to fall asleep again. It was a vicious cycle. The more I worried about it, the more likely it was to happen. The longer I stayed awake, the more likely I was to get nauseous (because of getting hungry and having a head ache), and therefore it would take me longer to get to sleep.
I share a room with my sister. When I was in the midst of dealing with this (in the summer), we were remodeling our room, so for a while our mattresses were just on the floor. I would want to push them closer together and sometimes would call out to her to see if she was awake, so I wouldn't feel so alone. But when I called out and she didn't answer, that was always worse than not saying anything. When she would want to go sleep in the guest bedroom to have some alone time, I wouldn't want her to leave.
I'm not saying all of this so you'll feel sorry for me, or anything like that. I'm saying this so you'll understand what a struggle it was for me. To this day, I can't drink Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea because it reminds me of several times of getting up in the middle of the night and drinking tea in hopes it would make me fall asleep quicker.
Little did I know, I was not alone. One night, after we'd gotten our beds back, my sister went to sleep in the guest bedroom. My mother came in and I told her what I was feeling – anxious and alone, again. I don't remember exactly what she said, but it was something to the effect that I was not alone. When I felt alone I could just talk to God. Of course I'd heard this thousands of times and probably told myself the same thing, but for some reason it clicked that night. She also reminded me that counting your blessings is a great way to fall asleep.
So I did. As I fell asleep, seemingly alone in the room, I whispered all the things I was thankful for to Jesus. And since that night, I've never struggled with insomnia or anxiety like that again. I've slept alone plenty of times – and I don't care. Once in a while, I'll have trouble falling asleep again, but I don't experience the soul-capturing anxious feelings that kept me in bondage before.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
(Psalm 107:13-16)

I know that in God's time I'll fall asleep, and in meantime, I can have long conversations with him that maybe I didn't get time for that day. What was a curse can be a blessing. Paul talks about "walking by faith" in II Corinthians; well, I can now "sleep by faith" because of Jesus.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests! I hope that this time instead of being all about you can be one of drawing near to Jesus and learning of his peace in anxiety and his love amidst trouble. What can you praise God for today?

Merry Christmas!
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Plot Bunny Strikes Again!

A.K.A., I have a new idea for a story. Here's a snippet.

It was men’s voices that she heard. Of course, one would be the master, but who could the other one be? Mrs. Cox paused with her tea tray and leaned her head against the door to listen.
“I only came for some rest, sir.” The unfamiliar voice was strange in Mrs. Cox’s ears; she hadn’t heard another voice for ever so long.
“No, you didn’t! That’s a lie.” The master.
The stranger was smart. He didn’t try to deny it.
“I don’t know if I can let you leave. You may be a danger.”
“Please, sir, I have a family I must return to,” the stranger’s voice was ever-so-slightly strained.
“Sure you do. And what are their names? Falsehood and Deception?”
“I have two sons, full-grown strapping boys. And a daughter, nearly a lady now.”
“A daughter?” There was an almost imperceptible change in the master’s voice; only one as familiar with his gruff tones as Mrs. Cox was would have noticed. “How old?”
“Seventeen, and very beautiful. If I’m not there to look after her, she might be stolen away by any sort of man.”
“Well, then, I shall let you go,” the master replied. “On this condition: that your daughter returns as my captive in your place.”
Forgetting her master’s uncanny hearing, Mrs. Cox gasped.

“Why don’t you bring in the tea instead of listening at the keyhole?” Her master called. As always, she obeyed.

This is from The Castle of Caliour, a Beauty and the Beast retelling (if that isn't apparent).
I must fly to finish it, so au revoir.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Writing Tag: White Roses

I know I just posted Thursday morning, so it would shock everyone to high heaven to have my posting again so soon, but I felt like doing a writing tag. I saw this one on Whisperings of the Pen. It is designed for a specific story, and so I am doing it for my latest, White Roses, a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, recently finished.
The original tag was 75 questions long (EEP!) so I shortened it  to 47 for your reading convenience (taking out the ones that obviously didn't apply, such as, "Do your characters watch TV" [being as there's no technology in their world] and all the many ones about the zombie apocalypse).

1. What's your word count? 
16, 947, to be quite precise. My goal was around 8,000 words, so I'm very happy with how it turned out.  :)

2. If you have finished, how long did it take you? 
It took me from early September to November 3rd to finish writing (although in the next few days after that I edited a bit). So, about two months.

3. How many words do you typically write a day? 
Ha. Most days I write nothing at all.

4. What was your greatest word count in one day? 
Probably when I wrote the climax – that was about 1,700 words written all at once.

5. What was your least impressive word count in one day? 
0,000 words.

6. What inspired you to write? 
The Twelve Dancing Princesses story, for one. Flowers, for another. Also, I'm currently planning a Victorian Christmas Ball, so searching for music and learning old-fashioned dances sort of got me in the mood to write a story about dancing.

7. Assign each of your major characters a theme song. 
Rose (and all the sisters): "I could have danced all night"
Malcolm: "I will be brave, I will be strong, I will be right, unless I am wrong".

8. Which character is most like you? 
I'm a lot like Rose, actually. We're both not the oldest but are still sort of motherly. We're both very practical and do-what-needs-to-be-done, but still romantics at heart and lovers of beauty.

9. Which character would you most likely be friends with? 
Aster, Rose or Magnolia.

10. Who is your favorite character in your novel? 
My wonderful Malcolm of Merradras. Malcolm is just awesome.

11. Have your characters ever done something completely unexpected?
To me or to the reader? Not to me. But yesss to second question. (I hope it's unexpected.)

12. Have you based any of your novel directly on personal experiences? 
Well, I did describe some of my favorite foods. And when Rose and her sisters get to drink coconut milk, I went and opened a can of coconut milk and drank some so as to be able to describe it well.

13. Is there magic in your novel/story? 
Yes indeedy.

14. Are any holidays celebrated in your novel/story? 
At least two birthdays and Christmas are celebrated.

15. Does anyone die? 
Yes. The girls' mother dies.

16. How many cups of coffee/tea have you consumed during your writing experience? 
Hm. Not very many.  Maybe one cup of tea. I'm not so much of a coffee drinker.

17. What is the latest you have stayed up writing? 
9:30 or 10:00.

18. Have you dreamed about your novel/story or its characters? 
Sadly not.

19. Summarize your novel/story in under fifteen words. 
Dancing. Pavilion. Roses. Death. Magic.

20. Do you love all your characters? 
Of course!

21. What was the last thing your main character ate? 
Roast goose and champagne.

22. Describe your main character in three words. 
Practical, persevering, loving.

23. What would your antagonist dress up as for Halloween? 
I don't think she would. She'd spend her money and time making costumes for all her little sisters.
UPDATE 6/23/15: I thought this said protagonist!

24. Does anyone in your story go to a place of worship? 
Rose and her sisters go to the church graveyard.

25. How many romantic relationships take place in your novel/story? 
2 1/2.

26. Are there witches, wizards or mythological creatures/figures in your novel/story? 

27. Is anyone physically ailed? 
Yes. Rose's mother, and the girls themselves.

28. Is anyone mentally ill? 
What defines mentally ill?

29. Does anyone have swine flu? 
Haha, no.

30. Who has pets in your novel and what are they? 
The nobleman-thief has dogs and horses, but they aren't really pets. Pansy has cats and dogs, but she doesn't own them

31. Are there political figures in your novel? 
Does a king and queen count?

32. Is there incessant drinking? 
Yes. Rose's father is a drunkard.

33. Are there any dream sequences? 

34. Is there humor? 
Yes. *cough cough Larkspur*

35. Is there tragedy? 
Yes. *cough cough Malcolm cough cough mom cough cough*

36. Does anyone have a temper tantrum? 
Larkspur pouts.

37. How many characters end up single at the end of your novel/story? 

38. Is anyone in your novel/story adopted? 
No, but there are some who are disinherited and then re-inherited.

39. Does anyone in your novel/story wear glasses? 
No. They haven't been invented, silly!

40. Has your novel/story inspired anyone? 
It's inspired me. :)

41. How many people have asked to read your novel/story? 
Two, I think.

42. Have you drawn any of your characters? 
No. Usually I try to find pictures that fit them by browsing certain people's pinterest boards, but I haven't looked or even wanted to look for pictures for this story.

43. What size shoe does your main character wear? 
Size six. She has small feet.

44. How would you react if your novel/story was erased entirely? 
I would cry.

45. Are there any love triangles, squares, hexagons, etc.? 
Sort of…?

46. What advice would you give to a fellow writer? 
Keep writing!

47. Describe your ending in three words. 
Dramatic, romantic, happy.

And with that–

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

5 Things No One Tells You About Having Braces

Here we are m'dears. Hope we're in time for tea!
-Mr. Sappleton from The Open Window

That is a quote from the play I'm currently in. Tomorrow is the performance. I'm pretty excited. You're all invited, of course. It's a very short play, really – probably less than 30 minutes. But it's a lot of fun. It's Victorian, you know, so that's always enjoyable, to get to dress in old-fashioned clothing. It makes me feel strange afterwards, though, when I've been wearing three layers of skirts for over an hour and had my hair done so nicely, to just put on modern jeans and etc. 
Anyhow. Today we bring to you:

5 Things No One Tells You About Having Braces

1. The useful skills you learn such as taking your rubber bands out with your tongue or putting a wire back in place in less than 10 seconds will sadly not have any application elsewhere in life. No use putting it on your resumé.

2. When rubber bands give you a sore, there's nothing you can do about it.

3. Eating pizza in polite company becomes difficult, because although it's pretty easy to tear off pieces and not painful (try eating carrots, ha ha!), you'll need to pick crust out of your teeth afterwards and will have to hope desperately that your companions suddenly become interested in something on the opposite side of the room.

4. Those useful little brushes that they give you actually have a name. Christmas Tree Brushes.

5. You can't make a fish face with rubber bands in. You know, the one where you suck in your cheeks? Not happening.

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tutorial: Beautiful Bubble Book Garland!

Well, hello! Nice to see you. We gather together today to witness the union of – er, the making of a beeeauuutiful garland made of book pages! (The tissue paper flower poufs are not included.)

Psst… you can see Weenie if you look close.

Tutorial: Bubble Book Garland

by Lady Awdur

You will need:
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • Oodles of books that you don't mind cutting up (they'll be ruined)
  • Something round to trace around (I used a cookie cutter with a 3-inch diameter)
  • A ribbon, as long as you want the garland (I made BLANK garlands BLANK feet long, so I used around BLANK feet of ribbon. Mine was white and ¼ inch wide)
  • A sewing machine (glue might work, too, but I didn't try this so I don't know)
How you do it:
First, trace twice as many circles as you'll need (you get three circles per foot, so if you wanted to make a three foot garland you would trace (3x3) x2 = 18 circles. Got it?). I traced 300. In most I did all words, in some (to vary it up) I got some of the picture:
I mean, it's Weenie. Who wouldn't want him in the garland?
Then, cut out the circles (that's pretty self-explanatory). After you have all of your circles cut out, you will need to prepare them for sewing. Unless you cut your papers from books that have no pictures or anything and all of them look the same, you might have a preference which side is up. The circles are double layered, so that they have some strength and aren't just floppy little pieces of paper, so one side of each circle will not be shown. If you care which side is in and which side is out, you'll want to lay them out. For instance, Weenie's other side looks like this:

It's just not Weenie.

And I much prefer Weenie, so I grabbed another circle and put them together with the sides I wanted facing out. Once you've prepared all of your circles and stacked them (not on top of each other but just barely overlapping so that you can grab one circle pair without grabbing more than one), you'll need to get out your sewing machine.

The overlapping stacks.

Prepare the ribbon by cutting one edge in a forked design to guard against fraying and make it look pretty. Lay it across the sewing machine and put down the presser foot.

Make sure you have some tail to tie the garland with. Grab a circle pair, place it under the ribbon, and sew all the way across. Keep sewing for ½ inch to 2 inches (whatever you think looks best) past the circle (you'll just be sewing on ribbon at this point), then add another circle pair (herewith referred to simply as a "circle"), sew across, sew for an inch or so on the ribbon, add another circle, and so on.

My garlands were made to hang vertically, so I did very short garlands, no more than 11 circles on each, so if you were doing horizontal garlands you'd have to figure out how many circle pairs you'd need to do.
When you've done as many as you want, cut the ribbon and the threads of the sewing machine. You're done!

Here's what they look like at the end:

Sorry the picture is so bad. Hey, I'm not a photographer.

Close-up of the forked tail.
Hopefully you don't mind how the ribbon twists a little in between. You could probably eliminate this by sewing each circle on individually instead of sewing from on end of the ribbon to the other. That seemed like too much work to me, though.

I sewed these on a Singer Fashion Mate 252 – how crazy it is that a machine from 1971 runs so much smoother than my 2005 Singer Simple machine?? I guess they really don't make them like they used to.

Au Revoir,
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P.S. Does anyone know how to get other google fonts beside Arial, Courier, Georgia, Helvetica, Times, Trebuchet and Verdana on Blogger? I thought I had it figured out… but no.
EDIT: Thank you very much to The Author for helping me with the fonts!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blogging Event at To Write Or Not To Write!

I've participated in a blogging event–link-up-thing! The Author at To Write or Not To Write has posted a collection of tragic death scenes , and I have contributed. It is in fact, the next part in the story The Girls Who Are Not Princesses Who Dance Every Night Starting From A Certain Night and Who Sell Flowers. So pop on over and read 'em!
So, my sister is a senior this year. Which means I'll soon be the only bird left in the nest, since my other sister is already graduated (with baby on way!). Whoa. That's a scary thought. Remind me not to think it again.

On a different note, this is, in fact, the 100th post on this blog. Who would've thunk? This blog has had numerous reformattings, a variety of posts, and at least once I considered quitting and deleting it. Since May 2012 I have shared my thoughts, snippets, and [very occasionally] a recipe, review or tutorial of sorts. Thanks for letting me ramble!
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

A [somewhat long] snippet

The one thing about our house that had any worth was our garden. When my mother was alive she was famous for her garden. People would say, ‘Her husband not worth a shilling, but the most beautiful garden in the the country’. Mama loved her garden. It was filled with hundreds of types of flowers. Daffodils, tulips, begonias, peonies, pinks and poppies, lilacs and violets, marigolds, periwinkles, mums, lilies and daisies, all culminating in two huge magnolia trees that leaned over a stone bench like tender mothers with a favorite child. It was a favorite hidden spot of many a couple. Mama always favored lovers. All the flowers of the different seasons were interspersed among each other so no matter what month it was, that part of the garden would be in bloom. There was a large amount of holly, mistletoe, and burning bush, so even in the cold winter months there would be spots of color in the garden.
But the most beautiful of all were the roses. There were yellow roses, white roses, sunset-pink roses, tomato-red roses, golden-orange roses, and pink-garnet-colored roses, every one curvaceous, tender, delicate, with waxy petals soft and perfect as a lambskin. People from around the countryside would come to buy Mama’s roses: bride upon bride wanted white ones for their bouquets, widower upon widower wanted red ones for funerals, and mother upon mother wanted pink ones for christenings. Mama was generous with her roses. If two young people from the village who would soon be joined in matrimony had no money, Mama would give them her roses as a gift. But she always said she had to be generous to her garden, too. “I can’t strip the garden dry no matter how much I would be paid,” she told my father again and again. It was my mother’s flowers that kept us alive after she was dead.


My father always collected the money we’d made during the week on Fridays. Throughout the week we would take some out of our meager earnings for our meals, but we learned not to take out too much, because if we hadn’t earned enough Father would announce that something had to be sold.
“Let’s take a look,” he’d say.
“No, Father! Please not Marigold!” I cried.
“Well, it’s an expensive doll and if you can’t bring enough income we have to supplement it some other way.”
“Father, no!” I probably stamped my foot and started crying, but he took the doll anyway. It was not the first time my father sold our things to quench his thirst, nor the last. And so my sisters and I would stay in the streets until dusk, selling our flowers to any who’d buy. If we didn’t make enough we knew we’d have to eat a meager lunch – a few sweet rolls split between us, small portions for twelve girls. Times like that, as we spent the rest of the day standing hungry in our different streets, I’d wish I could feel my mother’s strong embrace again, and I’d tell myself I’d be satisfied with just a moment spent with her, but I knew it wasn’t true. I would not be happy with her being home for a minute. I wanted her back always. It was days like that I wished that we could sell on the same streets, because I desperately wanted to cry on my sister Magnolia’s shoulder.

-Excerpt from The Girls Who Are Not Princesses Who Dance Every Night Starting From A Certain Night And Who Sell Flowers

P.S. That's not the real title.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Read this today and couldn't resist sharing. I love it. I have nothing more to add.
Keep me safe, O God,
    for in you I take refuge.
 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
 As for the holy people who are in the land,
   they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.
    I will not pour out their libations of blood
    or take up their names on my lips.
 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
    you have made my lot secure.
 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
   Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
 You have made known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

(Psalm 16, ©NIV)
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Beautiful People: Araldon

Here we are, and it's time for Beautiful People again!

So, this is technically for villains. And although Lord Araldon is not "the villain" of my story, he marries Gwennie and so he is a villain of a man. It counts. Really.

1. What is their motive:
Okay, so this is hard, because he personally doesn't have a motive for his villainous action. He was told to do so by his superior because it was politically a good idea (you know, the motives for a good deal of noble marriages back in the Middle Ages). He's just following orders. He'd prefer not to marry Gwennie. He'd rather have his own life.

2. What do they want and what are they prepared to do to get it?
Lord Araldon is a handsome young man, smart, strong, but not overly ambitious. He is willing to help his master overthrow King Arthur because he'd like to be settled comfortably in his own castle. One day, he'd like to settle down, but currently he likes being the object of multiple young ladies. When forced to marry Gwennie, she's a little too spunky and less in awe of him than he'd like. He would, quite bluntly, be happy if she died and left him to be a happy bachelor, drinking, riding in tournaments, and flirting again.

3. How do they deal with conflict?
He is the oldest of three brothers, and when he and his younger brothers would argue, he would simply knock them down. Not a great way of dealing with conflict. Nowadays, when knocking people down isn't always convenient or politically correct, he uses words. He is not brutish, but actually pretty smart and perceptive. He will use what he knows about you to hurt you. And if all this fails and you are unintimidated, he becomes passive aggressive.

4. Describe their current place of residence.
Araldon lives in the castle, like most of the knights and lords. His chambers are on the southwest side of the castle (the back and to the left); they are very nice. High ceilings, one or two expensive tapestries on the walls, a large oak bedstead, elegant sconces, that sort of thing.

5. If they were writing this story, how would it end?
Gwennie would die, his master would conquer, and he'd be rewarded handsomely for his trouble.

6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them?
I always have a hard time with these kind of questions. Umm… I don't know of any speech patterns. He clenches his jaw when angry. He drums his fingers while having conversations.

7. How do they show love? What do they like to do with/for people they love?
He likes to spar verbally with people he loves.  Most likely, if you and he are friends, you like to eat, fight, banter back and forth, do the things he like to do, so that would be what you would do together. If he wanted to do something for you, he'd probably buy you something.

8. Do they have any pets?
He has a horse, but it is not a pet.

9. Where would they go to relax or think?
Probably he'd take a ride if he wanted to think. He's not fond of horses but he does like to gallop across the moors. To relax, he'd go to the Great Hall or to a tournament. He likes fighting and eating.

10. What is their weapon of choice?
A sword. But he is not above using his own two hands or his words.

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