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And that's done

OK, completed NaNo.

I have a first draft of my MG fantasy novel now. It needs some details but is complete at 51708 words.

Yay, me.

Will be setting it aside until February, I think.

Snippet Sunday

Sheesh. Almost let another Sunday slip past me.

These past two weeks were crazy busy with the pageant, making costumes and working on the painting that I have to do onstage, and with writing. It takes a lot of prep work to pull off something that is A) big and B) painted live.  Not something I really want to repeat in the near future.

We had a dress rehearsal yesterday, and all went well. This week, i have to adjust some costumes and tweak a few things for the painting. One more dress rehearsal on Saturday, followed by two shows, and then this will be finished.

And what comes next? Christmas. :P

NaNo will end in a couple of days, and I can ease up on the word goal. I don't, however, want to stop writing, unless of course I finish the story. I am writing towards the climax now. 

Sprout's Super Dino Party

As you can guess from the subject line, Sprout is still crazy in love with dinosaurs (at this time in her young life she says she'll be a paleontologist when she grows up), so dinosaur fun it was.

A peek at the preparations and some party photos.

I made my first ever pinata, a triceratops that I failed to get a picture of before it was smashed to pieces. Huge Fail. Especially since it was finished days before the party. Have some production shots:



My mil tactfully said, "That's not a dinosaur. It's a rhinoceros." And then wisely--since she'll be the first to tell you she isn't really "up" on her animals, much less dinosaurs--added, "Or maybe not." LOL

OK, I lied. I pulled a stillshot of the finished pinata from the video of the kids smashing it, but it was filmed at night and doesn't do it justice. If I do say so myself.


Out of salt dough, I made four dinosaur skeletons, one for each team of mini paleontologists to race to assemble. Here is part of the pterandon, drying:


Each dino had 45-50 "bones"  and measured one meter long. That's a lot of salt dough. I assembled and photographed them so the kids would have a "cheat sheet."  I had to use it myself to double-check the spinosaurus.


I would have loved to have the kids excavate the "fossils" and then put them together, but a) we don't have the room in our yard, and b) I didn't think the fossils would survive that. :P

Since this wasn't a surprise party, Sprout and Junebug got in on the decorations:


I got the idea for this cool banner off Pinterest:


Instead of cutting out each letter, I drafted the whole on three large sheets of paper, which I taped together.

I made dino eggs out of salt dough and coffee grounds with a small (not as little as I wanted, actually) dinosaur figurine inside. I was going to make one for each kid, but Egypt is not the US where one can find any little trinket one wants, not even in the Egyptian Toys-R-Us. So the eggs, which looked very much like rocks, doubled as decor, holding up an ostrich egg as a centerpiece. You can barely see them in the photo above, but I'll post another. There where just enough eggs that I could give them out to the members of the winning team in the Great Dino Games. But we played those after snacks, which were:

Herbivore Munchies, Cretaceaous Chips, (GF) Carnivore Chicken Bites, (GF) Pterosaur Tuna, Dino Tails (baby corn), dinosaur eggs, dino DNA, Fruitivore salad, Marshosaurus Molars (large and small marshmallows; I was pretty chuffed to find a dinosaur called Marshosaurus); dinosaur fossils (huge pain in the butt; will never make again), dino print cookies, and prehistoric popcorn.



I jazzed up some free food tent printouts with free clipart.

After snacks, the kids divided up into their herds: Triceratops, Stegosauruses, Spinosauruses, and Pteranodons.

Then they played Dino Stomp, which consisted of a timed race to pop all the balloons tied to J's ankles and wrists while he did his best to escape them. Next was Pterosaur fishing, at which the Pteranodon team exceled, clenching their victory of the games since they were able to catch the "special" fish, worth ten points. :P Then came the fossil puzzles, and finally the naked egg spoon race. That didn't last long, as you can imagine with small children, but it was OK because it was getting late and time for cake.



pinata.jpg

See how narrow our yard is:

pinata.jpg

I was all over the place with the party and didn't take any of the photos. So my absolute biggest fail was not getting a photo of the cake. It was a volcano, four layers high to get the cone shape. It had both chocolate and red velvet layers and was covered in icing, then ganache, and drizzled with red and yellow icing to simulate lava flows. It was a pinata cake; the top three layers were hollowed out to make the volcano chimney and filled with candy. It had fake palm trees and sparklers, and it was pretty awesome, even if prior to being decorated it it looked like a steaming pile of dino poo. LOL

Again I tried to pull photos from the video, but yeah...just not the same.



Happy Birthday, Sprout.
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

What women here put up with everyday

A propos of my last post, here is a video via frigg that shows a glimpse of a campaign to educate people here about sexual harassment:

Or shall we just call it, "The State of Things." Forgive me, LJ, for it has been awhile since my last post.

_________
I've never tried to put a cut under a cut, so be warned that when I say something vile happened, there should be an additional cut there to keep it out of public view unless you want to read it. If there is not a cut, don't read on, there's nothing more to see. :)
________

In which you can read about the State of ThingsCollapse )Vile ThingCollapse )

Anyhow. Did not mean to end on a tirade.SaveSaveSaveSave

http://www.isidewith.com/

I'm an American citizen, who lives overseas, and I do not follow the news or the election hullabaloo. Still, I hear plenty about it.  Enough to scare me about the future of the US presidency more than just about any other time since I've been old enough to vote.  So, I got online and figured out how to vote from overseas.

I received my electronic ballot today and then spent a goodly amount of time at http://www.isidewith.com/ to see with which candidate I align the most. If you are feeling over- or underwhelmed by the two leading names/parties, I urge you to check it out and consider voting for someone other than the usual suspects. Check it out anyhow; you might surprise yourself.

Enough voices make a difference.

For the first time I feel at peace about this election. My candidate might not win, but I did not sit by and just let whoever into office, not out of idleness or some fatalistic view of Oh-Well-the-Big-Parties-Always-Win-Anyhow.  But they will, of course, if enough people just go with what's familiar...

As much as that sounds like I'm implying someone is wrong to vote for a major party, that is not my intention at all.  I hope only to encourage people to examine what they really think and believe in.

It's the Final Countdown

*cue Europe's song* (Oh 80's, what hilarious fashion you witnessed!)

In one year, we will be returning to Europe. This time, excepting any strange and totally unpredictable happening, we'll really be going back to France on 31 July 2017, give or take a day.

This coming year is going to zoom by. O.O

And these wee ones won't be so wee in another year's time.


Ti'Loup will probably even be walking by then, or swimming :P

Seem to be making a habit of this

I fully intended to post a snippet on Sunday; I had photos taken and everything.  But then Junebug got sick (fever and vomiting), and all plans went out the window. He got better yesterday, but we had a guest over for dinner, which took up my time. (And now I just got back from cleaning up after Sprout, who is suddenly sick. :( )

So, quickly then, I finally decided on what kind of style I want to use for the illustrations, so I played around a bit with different media.  One experiment was doing suminagashi with materials on hand a cheap paper, so not the most stunning results:



The super bright spot on the right is a sun dapple. :P

Then I practiced drawing rats and did more sketches in the two poses I'll need in the book:




For fun, I did some symmetrical drawings, using both my right and left hands simultaneously.


No snippet next week because we are taking a trip to the Red Sea. 

Snippet Sunday

I worked quite a bit on sketching this week, but I could have concentrated more than I did on the illustrations for my picture book.  I did 18 doodles and only filled one page of my (admittedly large) project sketchbook. I finished the hedgehog, too.  My take-away lesson from the hedgehog is: Planning is important. If I don't plan something, I shouldn't be disappointed or discouraged if the back- and foreground are not integrated.  So, even if I'm doing something to horse around, I might want to think it through a bit more.

Some visuals of this week"s workCollapse )
This week's goal is to concentrate on the picture book illustrations and do a doodle a day.

Snippet, um, Tuesday

I didn't post earlier due to a crazy busy social calender. I swear we've had more visits and outings since Ti'Loup was born than in all the years prior. This is what comes of getting to know people in real life, apparently. :P

This was a pretty busy creative week for me.  I started a Doodle Book, different from a sketchbook in terminoloy only. The point is to doodle with purpose (and from real life), and by calling the work doodles instead of sketches, the pressure of creating something "nice" and "worthy" is relieved.  I got the idea off YouTube. It seems to be working well for me. The only thing is that I haven't worked in my picture-book-dedicated sketchbook in probably more than a week. I need to get back to that.

I also did some pencil reference sheets, meant to help me get a better handle on the brands and types of pencils I have.

And because I had fun experimenting with ink last week, this week I continued that by starting on a hedgehog:



I might forget to check this, so perhaps there is no point in posting a goal here, but in hopes of making more progress on my project, I'm going to declare that by next week, I will have finished this hedgehog and made at least 10 doodles and 10 project-relevant sketches.  There.  I've typed it up. Now I must come through. :P

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