Random Writing from an Unfinished Story, Because That’s Really the Only Kind I Have, and This Will Probably Make No Sense.

•September 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sidhe like you ruin life for the good ones.”  Dolina looked over Sarai with disgust, holding the gun elegantly, like a glass of old wine. “Has it never occurred to you how selfish you are? You have the freedom to be the woman you were born to be. But what about me?” She pointed to Ian’s body. “He was my husband. We have children. Why did you take him from me?”

Because he was going to kill me.” Wasn’t that obvious?

She sneered. “No, because Sidhe like you are afraid of Sidhe like him. Like me. So you tell us we’re evil. And because we’re outnumbered, we are the ones who suffer.”

That’s not true.” Sarai weighed the risk of grabbing for the gun before Seth made it through the window. If only he could move faster…

Really?” said Dolina, “I suppose you are the expert on truth. Well, hail, Your Righteousness, for dispensing your wisdom to a humble sinner like me.” She cocked the gun and pointed it at Sarai’s head.

You’re trying to convince me that killing people is ok because it’s in your nature?” It sounded like what it was—a lame attempt to buy time—but Seth was only halfway though.

Dolina laughed. “How reductive. Did Kalem teach you to think that way, or was it your parents?”

Sarai bit back her rage. Buy more time. Focus on the gun. If her finger even twitches…

No answer?” Dolina tilted her head, laughter running from her lips like cold water.

Seth planted one foot on the floor, clinging to the windowsill for balance. “Most of the Sidhe think killing’s in the Unselee’s nature,” Sarai said, licking the sweat from her lips. “But I don’t.”

So you think we’re “evil” by choice?” she snorted.

I think you’ve all got chips on your shoulders.”

Seth set his other foot down and slid the knife from between his teeth. Sarai tensed. Dolina smirked.

You’re wrong, and you’re stalling.”

She swung the gun around and fired. Screaming, Seth fell, clutching his stomach.

Sarai wanted to scream. She wanted to rush to her fallen friend; maybe her only friend still living. But instinct clicked as she heard Dolina cock her weapon a second time, saw the barrel aim at her face, and before Dolina could fire Sarai’s hands shot out, trapping the gun and twisting it away. She stood, shaking, with the gun pointed at Dolina’s head. Dolina’s eyes flicked around the room, finding no help and no way out.

So,” she snapped, “The holy warrior has won. Go on; do your duty. Wipe this evil stain from the earth.” For the first time, Sarai saw Dolina’s cold, polished veneer crack. Her eyes wide, filled with hatred and desperation, her lips twisted into an uncontrolled snarl.

You’ve murdered dozens of my people already. What are a few more orphans? You’ll only kill them anyway.”

Sarai opened her mouth to protest.

Dolina cut her off. “Kalem murdered our children, Sarai. What does your conscience say about that? Tell me! Does it say they deserved to die because of the way they were born?”

Sarai could have said no. She could have tried to reason, the way she would have reasoned with Kalem, if she’d been there. But there was no reasoning with this woman, this thing that seemed bent on crushing everything she cared about. She glanced at Seth, huddled bleeding on the floor, and the tears finally came. This was not how Kalem had wanted to finish things. A simple killing wouldn’t end the war; not now. It might even backfire.

But they were trapped. She had no choice. So she pulled the trigger.

Dolina dropped, the wild look in her eyes frosted over. Quickly, Sarai shoved the gun in her waistband and hauled Seth up on his feet.

You…” he gasped and pressed his hand against his side, blood oozing out between his fingers. “You shot her.” Gritting his teeth against the pain, he stared at the body of his former master.

Sorry. Can you walk?”

No. I mean yes, just…not sorry. Just…” he grunted. “This was not what I expected.” His words slurred together. The man had a hole through his middle and he was still clinging to his sarcasm. Sarai played along, helping him to the door.

What? The part where she shot you, or the bit after that?”

Dunno…all sort of mushed together.”

Sarai checked to make sure the street was clear and stepped out onto the dirt road, moving as quickly as she could without hurting Seth too much. Already he was leaving a trail of blood spatters in the dust. If they didn’t move fast, they would never make it out. She whispered, “I wanted to bring her back with us. You know that.”

Seth didn’t answer. His eyes were half-closed, and he sagged heavily on Sarai’s shoulders. Sweat glazed his forehead, and his lips were tinged with blue. A block or so away, she heard shouting coming from Dolina’s house. They couldn’t stop. They’d only be tracked into a corner. The only way to help Seth was to get him out of the city, someplace the Unlesee couldn’t follow.

So she prayed, and tried to ignore Seth’s groans as she dragged him, bleeding, through the dark street.

Halloween Plans

•September 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Halloween’s always been a huge deal for me, but it started to get out of hand the year I switched to the Theater major with an emphasis in makeup and moved in with my friend Emily, who had the same major and many of the same, er, obsessions. We were both into Medieval reenactment, for example, and had a stash of cloaks, daggers, armor, dramatic boots, etc. Since we wore these costumes on a weekly basis, I think we both subconsciously felt that Halloween had to be that much cooler to be special. Add to that the fact that we both liked throwing complicated parties. The results? Two crazy redheads sewing frantically at 2 am on October 31, putting the finishing touches on a red satin evening gown (Emily’s) and a black leather and velvet waist cincher with silver grommets for my pirate costume. We filled our living room with cobwebs and shrouds, and served refreshments that included a cake with flowers piped in black icing.

The next year I was married and several months pregnant, but we still upped the ante with black and purple candles in black wrought iron holders and silver candelabras, blacklights and red lights, a glowstick in the toilet (we turned off the lights so that the toilet glowed from inside), and baked apples that bled when you bit into them. I believe she wore a very accurate handmade Victorian corset and bustle, though I was too morning sick to notice much of anything and had to settle for throwing on some Goth stuff I had lying around, along with a pair of custom acrylic fangs that I also happened to have. And a pair of fuzzy bunny ears. Yeah, I was pretty out of it.

Things have calmed down (a little) since then, with most of our friends graduated and Emily and I both married, but we still throw a Halloween party every year and make costumes as crazy as we can spare the time for. My personal record was probably the hand-made tattered fairy wings with matching circlet and fingerless gloves. Those took me weeks to put together.

Last year I did these guys:

and these:

and this one:

And nothing in moderation, it seems, when it comes to Halloween.

But this year, I have a baby due nine days after Halloween. For all I know, I could be in labor the day of, or at least far too tired and bloated to do anything creative. Will I let this stand in the way of making overly-complicated costumes for the whole family? Not a bit. I’ll just have to start now!

Yeah, I know, I’m already doing the Christmas tree thing, and I’m sewing Persephone’s bedding by hand. But I’ve got 9 weeks, and I’m bent on trying, because I certainly won’t have time for this sort of thing after.

Echo wants to be a ghost. Specifically, this ghost.

While I had something more like this in mind…

Only deader. She’ll probably end up with both, since I’m not sure her school will let her wear the first one anyway.

So Tom and I are going to go with the ghost theme. Maybe something like this Martha Stewart cloak for me:

And something like this for Tom:

Only cooler, and with a cravat.

So. Ambitions laid forth. I wonder what Emily is planning this year.

Ornaments for Festival of Trees: Installment 2

•September 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The other day I made cookies for a party: chocolate cake mix with rainbow sprinkles mixed in. Echo helped. She asked me to show them off to Tom when he got home from work.

ME: “For the party. Echo helped.”

TOM: “Oh, those look really yummy! Great job!”

(Pauses. Looks at cookies. Looks at me.)

TOM: “Are they real?”

This is the way things are at my house right now. If you find it lying around in the kitchen, it’s a smart idea to ask me if it’s actually edible before biting into it. Otherwise you might end up with a mouthful of papier mache or salt dough coated in paint. Mmm…crunchy. Yesterday Echo and I finished Round Two of ornaments for this year’s Festival of Trees: thumbprint cookies.

I think I’ll redo the ribbon hangers to cover the wire with the bow. They’re made out of salt dough with a glass gem baked in. Then I covered them in a light wash of yellow ochre paint, brushed on a wash of glue, sprinkled with a combination of crystal glitter and salt, and finished with a few coats of spray lacquer. I inserted bent wire before baking.

Yum. Makes me want shortbread. I only made a few for now, because I’m pretty sure I’m only going to manage a small tree for the Festival. Ornaments aren’t a problem. Finding a pre-lit artificial tree that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars is. I could put lights on myself, but Festival rules require them to be wired to the tree. Hmmm…wiring hundreds of tiny lights to prickly branches by hand. On site. No, thank you, I think I’ll buy them already stuck on there.

For more information on the Salt Lake Primary Children’s Medical Center (which receives the money from the Festival of Trees fundraiser), check here:

http://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/primarychildrens/Pages/home.aspx

Interested in making something similar to today’s post? Here’s a recipe for salt dough:

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

1/2-1 cup warm water

Stir together salt and flour, then add water a few tablespoons at a time, kneading to make a smooth, non-sticky dough. Can be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters (which I will be doing later), or shaped. Don’t roll it less than 1/8 inch thick, or it will be more likely to warp and bubble as it bakes. Also, bake it at a low temperature; 250 or under, turning several times. That makes cracking, warping, etc, less likely. Can also be air dried, though some warping is likely. Will take at least a few hours to bake and a few days to air dry, more depending on size. This is great for adult or kids’ projects, and can be painted when dried. Seal with clear glaze for a lasting project. Have fun!

Christmas Already

•September 9, 2010 • 4 Comments

I prefer to ignore Christmas until November 26. We’ve got Halloween and Thanksgiving to savor. Why shortchange ourselves for the sake of letting the retailers make more cash? Yet Costco has already set out the gift wrap sets and the giant light-up tinsel Santa, and Micheal’s is now selling glittering Christmas floral picks and wreaths, right next to the screaming bloody Halloween zombie figurines.

For me, such merchandising tactics make it harder to get into the spirit of things. They remind me that much of what I’m celebrating with is only cheap junk, all pressed out of the same plastic. Yet I finally gave in to the pre-Christmas spirit last year while running Echo’s Reign–my short-lived craft and costume business that was too successful for it’s own good. By the time Halloween rolled around I realized all the other Etsy stores already had their Christmas stuff out, and I was going to get ground into the dust competition-wise if I didn’t snap to it.

This year I have no fairy wings to make, no giant cupcake pillows to sew. But Christmas crafts have already found their way into my home. It’s hypocritical, I know, but it’s for a good cause.

Every year, Salt Lake holds a fundraiser called The Festival of Trees for Intermountain Healthcare’s Primary Children’s Medical Center. It’s a staggering display, filled with hundreds of glittering, glowing trees of all sizes, wreaths, toys, Christmas treats, and more. It’s all donated, and last year’s event alone raised 1.4 million for children in need at the Center. I wanted to participate in last year’s Festival, but quickly became swamped with orders and had to give up on the idea. Not so this year! But, since Persephone is due at about the same time I’m supposed to turn the tree in, I have to start on it now to make sure it gets done.  The tree will have a ‘Christmas sweets’ theme, and all the ornaments will be crafted by hand. The first round is already finished!

These are made of papier mache, believe it or not. I got the idea from a Martha Stewart tutorial guest-hosted by Jenny B, who happens to be from Utah. She’s got her own website ( http://www.jenniboriginals.com/index.html ) and Etsy shop                  ( www.etsy.com/shop/JenniBOriginals ), and she somehow figured out that if you run wet paper through a blender and mix it with some glue, it looks exactly like cake once painted. Go figure.

I experimented with some of my own versions, including this one, which uses “crushed candy cane” made out of polymer clay. A gloss spray at the end is absolutely essential if you really want it to look edible. I made a variety of tarts and mini cakes, all with lightweight spackle piped on top for “whipped cream”. If you want to try this project, I suggest you don’t tint your spackle with paint. It makes the spackle more likely to shrink and crack with time, as I found out the hard way after making faux cupcake ornaments last year. With an artful touch, you can paint your spackle after it dries and still have it look realistic. Crystalline glitter makes great fake sugar.

If you’d like to see the tutorial, you can find it here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/christmas-tree-decorations#slide_3

And if you’re interested in participating in The Festival of Trees, you can find info here:

http://www.festivaloftreesutah.org/

They need donations of gingerbread houses, centerpieces, crafts for the gift shop, and just about anything Christmas-related you can think of. Most donations will even get you free tickets to the event! And every penny goes to help sick children in need, so really, everyone wins.

I’m on a Blog

•September 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

That’s right. I am. Not that I think my life is so groundbreaking that everyone will want to read about it. But many of my friends might thank me if I post my soapboxes here instead of on Facebook or Buzz. Of course, I will be posting blog updates to both sites, so…something ironic. Meh. Pregnancy brain. Maybe blogging will help me remember how to write.