Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sewing for the Imagination

For me, sewing is not a passion or a main interest, but I like to sew things that I can't easily buy. The very act of sewing is not what I love so much as the finished product I get when I'm done.  So I sew things like Beanie Baby clothes, medieval cloaks, and leafy curtains for my room. I sew things to help awaken the imagination.

My first true sewing project was an Elven-esque cloak.  I spent $1 per yard on some amazing blue fabric that had a wonderfully whispery sound about it. I loved the finished product, but I soon realized how impractical it was.  I made it one size too large, so it swallowed me up every time I put it on, and the bottom hem dragged about three or four inches on the ground. The brilliant blue color is very pretty, but just a bit too eye-catching for me (for example, how could an elf disappear in the forest while wearing such flashy clothes?).

So I made up my mind to sew a new cloak, one that was more practical, less conspicuous, and would fit me better. I wanted a green cloak, but the fabric store didn't have the right kind of fabric in that color, so I ended up with brown, which was my second choice anyway.

I worked on it occasionally, but I didn't have a reason to work hard at it until I found out my family was going to the Renaissance Festival. Then I worked on it constantly!  I finished just a few minutes before we pulled into the parking lot of the festival.

I enjoyed wearing it at the festival. I could almost imagine what it might have been like to live in that time.   I was surrounded by other people dressed much like myself, so I didn't feel like such a geek. I am fascinated by many aspects of the Medieval and Renaissance eras, mostly things like archery, swordsmanship, horsemanship, clothing, and legends and stories from that time. (But not much of the food. Yuck. Who would want to eat roast boar? Not I!)  I had a lot of fun wandering from shop to shop, hefting swords, learning how a waterwheel mill pounded rags into a pulp used for paper-making, watching a ridiculously choreographed joust (ugh), listening to the singing of a musical troupe or the lilting melodies of a skillful harpist, and just letting my imagination wander back in time.

I'm very happy with the finished cloak. I put some gold braid around some edges, and a silver clasp in the front to finish it off. Here are some pictures:

And finally, here I am wearing it at the Renaissance Festival!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Winter Night

The stars are a box of gems so bright
On this clear winter night.
The rising moon is a smiling face
Laughing at the snowflakes' lace.
The leafless trees are statues grand,
Entwining branches hand-in-hand.
The searching wind sings a taunting song
Reminding of cold months so long,
But his cruel threats fall on ears
That are deaf to his terrible sting
They are full of birthday cheers
For the wonderful Savior-King.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On to Bigger Things...

On November 30th, at 11:58 pm, I wrote THE END. I finished the first draft of my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel with a hefty 103,396 words. Whew! It turned out to be the longest thing I've ever written in my life! So far, that is. :)

I'm going to take a break from my novel for awhile. I need to let my brain rest. I might pick it up again in January to begin editing and rewriting, because it still needs a lot of work before I let anybody read it, even my family.  I skipped whole sections when I was writing it, because I knew that they needed time and effort that I was unable to provide during NaNoWriMo. I'm happy with the way my novel turned out, despite the many gaping holes and mistakes in it. I love writing.

So, now, in December, I'm going to try to get back to a few of the things that I've neglected lately, such as my altered book, schoolwork, and my blog, of course. I have a few posts waiting in the wings, and I've still got the feeling that I need to be writing, even though my novel is finished. I feel like I need to go on to bigger things, now that I have time to spare. I'll be thinking about what's next on my agenda...

Before I go, here's a picture of my novel cover, featuring my main character, Kimble Haansvoy. 

Friday, November 28, 2008


I don't have a lot of time for blogging these days, and just to prove it, here's my winner's icon for making it to 50,000 words in the National Novel Writing Month challenge (aka NaNoWriMo).

So, I'm working on my novel a lot, and right now I'm at about 96,000 words, and there's still two days left. I'm hoping to be at 100,000 words by the 30th of November, and have my first draft finished, too. It's a lot of work, but so much fun! I'm writing The Shadow of Rebellion, the sequel to my novel from November 2006, The Shadow of Greed. It's going to end up being a trilogy, I think.

I'm excited about this novel, even though it will be needing a LOT of editing. A lot. This is a really rough first draft for me, probably because I tried to squeeze in 100,000 words in one month instead of the usual 50,000.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about my blog-- I'm just writing like crazy right now and don't have much time. I'll be back in December, hopefully.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Altered Book photos

Here are those pictures I promised of my altered book! First, here are some pictures of the front and back covers:

On the first page, I have a sort of introduction- in poetry.

Here's the title page:

And last, here is a picture of my first completed two-page spread. I love traveling, and I wanted to somehow incorporate all (or most) of the places I want to learn about or visit. So I circled place names I found on the page such as France, London, India, New York, Ireland, etc... I also stitched gold thread on the right page, and a blue cord on the other page. I added a folded map of Venice and other embellishments that enhanced the feeling of world travel. It took me a long time to finish, but I had so much fun creating it that I didn't want to stop! I just kept thinking of more things to put in.

And now I'm working on the next page! I'll continue to post pictures of new pages as I complete them. So, what do you think?

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Sample of My Writing

I hope to post some fiction or poetry on my blog sometime, but for now, here's an essay I wrote for my college English class this past semester. It's a true story. Enjoy!

Meal or Menace?

First they attacked my aunt.

She was strolling down a deserted gravel road with her sister-in-law, hoping to enjoy the nature and maybe catch a glimpse of the wildlife that lives on the 200-acre farm. Neither of them knew that they were being trailed. The stalkers prowled on stealthy legs through the nearby rye field, their savage eyes never leaving the two walkers. They snaked their way through the swaying rye and at last darted in front of the startled women. With a scream my aunt and her sister-in-law turned and dashed back up the road toward the safety of the farmhouse. One of the group still pursued them, and his powerful legs kicked up a small sandstorm behind him. He only halted when they had reached my grandparents’ mailbox near the house. With a cluck of satisfaction and a rustle of feathers, he sauntered away.

Who were these attackers? Thugs? Gangsters? Robbers? No. My aunt was attacked by wild turkeys.

These once-rare birds had first been spotted the previous Thanksgiving, when we all gathered at my grandparents’ house for the traditional family feast. The turkeys lay low in the woods, only daring to make their appearance after we had filled our stomachs with one of their unlucky cousins. Nobody knows where they came from or why they suddenly appeared.

My grandma, delighted with the huge birds, adopted them as her feral pets (to join the bunnies and the deer). She dotes on them with corn and birdseed, and she worries about them when it gets cold. Plenty of hopeful hunters have come up to ask if they could hunt on the property, but my grandma won’t allow it. “No one is going to shoot them!” she says fiercely. “My poor babies! Mommy’s looking out for you!”

However, since she started feeding them, they’
ve come back every day looking for more. And they’ve gotten pushy about it, too. If you don’t have any food, they chase you. If you don’t come outside, they peck at the house and peer in the kitchen window. Many times my grandma has been startled by a “peeping tom.”

The turkeys’ appearance alone can intimidate a wildcat or send a Rottweiler running off with his tail between his legs. Their heads look like they were dipped in lard, then stuck crudely on their scrawny pink necks. Most of the males have “beards” in the middle of their chests, which they puff out while they strut about, giving the impression of a pompous judge or a wealthy businessman. I don’t know why my grandma keeps feeding those fat old vultures.

Ever since that first incident with my aunt, the turkeys have chased everyone from the mailman to the meter reader. Whenever someone comes over to my grandparents’ house, my grandpa tells them, “Watch out for those turkeys.” Oh, and I would like to add some of my own advice: don’t hang around in your car too long. The bloodthirsty birds will attack your vehicle.

However, there are some advantages to having these crazy birds around. The turkeys keep away trespassers, door-to-door salespeople, and other unwelcome intruders. When I’m safe in my bed, I can sleep peacefully knowing that a rafter of wild turkeys is patrolling the block. I almost feel sorry for any prowlers out there. Almost. I have to say I would love to see those vandals who break the windows of my grandpa’s barn screaming in fear as they run from a pack of man-eating turkeys.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions- I'm desperate to improve my writing, and I'm always curious to hear what people think about my writing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Storytelling in My Blood

My biggest interest is not altering old books, but writing new ones. I have so many ideas for stories that I don't think I'll ever be able to write them all. I've participated in National Novel Writing Month for three years now, and each time I produced a first draft that was over 50,000 words long. I love writing.

My brother and I have created our own competition (just between the two of us) that we have done for two years now. It's an event we like to call "Nanooks in Pajamas," or NIP for short. It's a race to the 50,000-word mark, and whoever gets there first is the winner. We both write a novel with the same title, same main characters, and when it's over we compare them. We write about our Beanie Baby husky dogs (R. Nanook and D. Nanook), because when we were little, we played many unusual adventures with them. Last year we both finished in 6 days, and this year (with the title "Nanooks in Tuxedos") we both finished in 5 days. It's a little crazy and a ton of fun. Also, we developed writing, typing, and quick-thinking skills. Most of NIP consists of a never-ending game of 20 Questions.

I don't just write silly, typo-riddled stories. I have finished one other novel, a science-fiction/action-adventure story called The Shadow of Greed. It's my second attempt at writing a novel, and probably the best thing I ever wrote. I planned out the plot in one week, wrote the first draft in 30 days, and spent a month editing and polishing it before submitting it to for self-publication. If you want to know more about The Shadow of Greed and, check out the sidebar or click here.

My big goal is to get something published before I'm twenty-one. (I did have a poem published in a kids' creative writing magazine, but I didn't get paid for it, so that doesn't really count).

However, I don't want to just write anything and get it published. The publishing world of fiction has run amuck with ungodly, evil books, even for teens and young children. What disgusts me the most is that many of these are on the top of the bestsellers list. Some appear to be innocent and well-written stories on the surface, but underneath is an insidious pulse of anti-God and pro-evil mentality. Some lure unsuspecting readers in with engaging characters, plot, and style, but there is an ulterior motive to teach them atheism and worldly attitudes. And a few are obviously evil through and through. Sometimes I can't understand how today's children are reading such disgusting things.

So my goal is to write and publish fun, clean, exciting books for children and young adults. I want to create characters who have or learn good morals in a unique way. I will try to grab my readers' attention with a clean and well-crafted story that engages the imagination and subtly show them what a godly life might look like in an interesting setting and plot.

If this is what God is calling me to do, I will give it all my energy and with His strength, write fiction to the glory of God.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Camera!

One of my passions happens to be photography, specifically of nature and animals. Unfortunately, for two years I've been stuck with a hand-me-down digital camera that has no zoom, is all automatic, does not respond well to lots of light or very little light...and has only 1.3 mega pixels. Yeah. I'm not exactly complaining -I got a lot of good pictures out of it and I learned a lot- but I think it's a good time to upgrade.

After months of saving pretty much all the money I earned while working at the library, I finally got the camera of my dreams- a Canon Digital SLR, with 12.2 mega pixels! I got it on Saturday, and I used it for the first time yesterday, taking a Grand Total of 294 pictures in one day!

The difference between my old camera and my new camera is incredible.

It's the difference between this:

And this:
(Click on a picture to see a bigger version)

Both are pictures of the same subject: fiddleheads in spring. Can you tell which picture was taken with my new camera?

Yesterday a chickadee flew into our sliding door screen and fell to the deck rather dazed and befuddled. It took a long time to recover, and while it caught its breath I picked it up and set it on the railing, out of our dogs' reach. Then I grabbed my camera while the poor little thing was too shocked to notice me and started taking close-ups.

Seeing this tiny, living piece of God's handiwork at such a close range gave me a new appreciation for the complexity of Creation. God designed the intricate feathers, bright eyes, and sharp claws of this little bird, and many people don't even think twice about this common songbird. And God cares for the needs of this insignificant creature that lives outside in the storms and droughts and heat and cold all of its life. Jesus reminds us, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7)

This is why I love photography: I am constantly reminded of the complexities of God's awesome creation, and that none of this could ever happen "by chance." I am always eager to head out into the woods to see the world in a whole new perspective- through the viewfinder of my camera.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Art With a Book

Even with my excruciatingly busy schedule, I am able to find small tidbits of time to let my creativity out. My most recent endeavor has been constructing an "altered book." Making altered books is a way to recycle old books that nobody reads into a work of art that is pleasing to the eyes and fun to touch and hold. It can include elements of collage, painting, photography, poetry, journaling, stamping, sewing, or whatever else that can fit inside the covers of a book! And even if it doesn't fit, you can always cut out a secret compartment in the pages of the book and put something special in it. It can be whatever you want it to be.

I've always been interested in scrapbooking and painting and photography, but I usually don't have a special project to work on. I don't often remember to take pictures on my travels, and I'm always afraid that I'll "mess things up," if I try making a scrapbook.

When I first learned about altered books, I was skeptical. (I mean, what kind of person would cut and paint and decoupage in a PERFECTLY FINE BOOK?! Scandalous!) But then I saw some pictures of altered books and it immediately captured my attention. Here are some examples of altered books: (I didn't make any of these)

Isn't that cool?
Anyway, it inspired me to make my own altered book. I began searching for a suitable  book to use. I wanted an old, thick, mysterious book that was dirt cheap or free. I finally found what I was looking for at a homeschool book sale. In a box marked "Free Books- Take One" I found a single discarded volume from a world history set that was published in 1906. Perfect!

I took it home and made my crafty plans. I have ideas for a travel spread, a winter spread, an enchanted forest spread, and perhaps some other pages, but with altered books it is better to only make a few pages, because if you make too many, it won't be closeable.

So far I have painted the cover and made the title page, which reads:
"Destinations & Discoveries: The Observations and Dreams of a Curious Mind." It's nothing fancy yet, but the beauty of making altered books is that you can always add to it later. When I get a chance, I'll post some pictures of my work-in-progress. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To Boldly Go... Into the World of Blogging!

Here I am! Ta-da!
*insert trumpet fanfare here*

Evergreena's Journal has now officially begun. And may it be a God-honoring, fun, exciting place of words!

If you're reading this, the chances are you already know me, but if you don't, that's okay. Hopefully this blog will mostly be about all things creative, both in my life and in the lives around me. And I hope to draw attention to God's ultimate creativity and bring glory to him.

And I'm getting a whole bunch of crazy ideas...