Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Better late...

Once again, I’ve left my blog far too late to update.  I don’t even want to look to see when my last one was… and after I’d pledged to spend more time blogging.  As usual with life, once things seem to get on course, a bulldozer of events decides to take me down.  I suppose having a toddler to look after, putting together my non-fiction book, starting a new jewellery business, learning new camera techniques, doing knowonder stories (although that has stopped until the new year as they have so many subs to wade through), working on my children’s book, doing three chapters for the Isabella anthology and setting up the new house was too much.  A blog just wasn’t going to happen.
So I’ve had to make some changes (more personal cuts).  For October, I focused on Seadrake Creations and the house (while being Mum of course!)  and I’m starting to relax again.  I’ve stepped back from the Isabella anthology but will refine my work I’ve already done and step in when help is needed on the publishing side.  Then, December is going to be just my non-fiction book and celebrating Christmas Dickens style (okay, well, maybe a bit of Elvis thrown in ;)
Seadrake work has been going well.  I had four commissions in October and my first two sales on etsy (pirate ring and sapphire with silver; see link below for pics)
My workshop is developing.  I’ve been using an eco-pickle.  For those who don’t know what pickle is, it’s a solution that jewellery is put into to clean up firescale after annealing or soldering.  It’s usually sulphuric acid and even ‘safety pickle’ has some very unpleasant chemicals.  After doing some online research, it seems that the census for the most effective pickle anyway is a solution of vinegar and salt!  It may smell like a chippy in the workshop now, but at least I’m less likely to burn my face off (cue scene from Westworld).
I’ve also been working on a line of medieval rings with traditional cabochon stone set in silver (anyone seen Kingdom of Heaven, they may recognize this ring).  I’ve kicked off this by first testing out the method with PMC silver and tourmaline (as in Pic above) but I’ve ordered the most beautiful rainbow moonstone to try it out with sterling silver.  Although, there was a debacle with an e-bay seller.  I like to use cheaper stones when I’m experimenting and then go with the nicer stones for final products, but now I think I’ll skip the cheap stone phase as I ended up with three unusable stones in a pack of five moonstones.  I don’t think I’ll use any of them for the rings I had in mind as the good stone I bought from a dealer is so beautiful, it outshines the others by far.
But to keep readers from yawning, here is a story that knowonder said no to:
Vampire Kitty
It was late at night when Nathan heard a scratching at the window – he knew it wasn’t the tree as it had been trimmed not too long ago. He also knew it wasn’t his friend Rob; Nate’s room was on the second floor.
Scratch, scratch, tap, tap.
Nate pulled the covers over his head and listened.
Scratch, scratch, tap, meeeoooowwwwww!
He jumped. Of course, it was a cat! Cats can jump that far, right? Nate went to the window and looked out. Two bright green eyes stared at him, their orbs were enormous and looked hungry. “Meeoooowwwww!”
Not being able to help himself, Nate opened the window. He didn’t know what came over him – he wouldn’t normally open the window to a strange animal, especially one with eyes like… Nathan shivered.
“Mmmbrrroowww?” she asked. Nate found himself nodding and leading her to the kitchen for some milk. She didn’t drink it, but looked at him long and hard as if she was reading his mind.
Nate didn’t want her in the house – his parents and little sister were sleeping soundly, not knowing that he’d let in a stranger. A stranger with claws and teeth. The black cat meowed again and Nate stumbled back to bed, asleep in an instant and dreaming.
In his dream it was very dark and glowing green eyes surrounded him. He was in a forest, trying to get home and there was meowing all around him.
He woke, drenched in sweat, with two similar green eyes staring into his. The meowing was loud. Nate rubbed his itchy neck, half expecting there to be scratches or bite marks. There were none, but he kept rubbing it anyway.
“Oooh kitty!” Renee’s voice shouted in her usual high pitch that only three year olds seem to be able to produce. Then Nate heard her running down the stairs to tell their parents. Nate smiled. Maybe he couldn’t say no to the furry intruder, but he was sure that his parents would.
He was wrong.
“Oh, you’re right Renee, it’s a beautiful cat. Where did you find her Nate? Oh, it doesn’t matter, she’s here now just like she should be.” Nathan’s parents both seemed to have fallen in love with her.
“Well you’re not fooling me,” said Nate when the family had left the kitchen (they had all just finished breakfast and the cat had again ignored her milk).
“Mrrrrow?” She walked boldly up to Nate and rubbed her head against his leg. It seemed like a normal cat thing to do and Nate relaxed just a bit. But then the cat jumped up on the table and did that staring again. Her large green orbs drilled into his like she was trying to tell him something important.
Nathan jumped. The cat had just sent him a clear thought. It was just one word, and it was surrounded with more feeling than sound, but it was clear. The skin on his arm started to prickle and goose bumps appeared. The cat really expected him to feed it. But he knew it didn’t really want normal cat food. As if it understood what Nate had been thinking, it jumped up on his lap and purred.
Nate sighed. “Right.” At least she hadn’t scratched or bitten anyone in the house yet. Or was she just biding her time? “If I feed you will you go away?”
The cat looked at him. One ear pricked up as if in thought, then she jumped down and sauntered away.
Nathan felt sure that if he didn’t find the right sort of food for her, she’d find her own; and it’d be something that he really didn’t want. He rubbed his neck again.
Later that day his dad brought back a bag of dried cat food. Nate was watching TV and Renee kept trying to turn the channel. “Ha!” she said as he turned his head towards the door. She grabbed the remote and turned the TV channel over to her favourite cartoon network.
Nate ignored her and followed Dad into the kitchen. Dad poured the dry food into a bowl. The tinkling noise echoed through the kitchen but the cat, sleeping on the table, didn’t stir.
“Huh,” said his dad. “I was sure she was hungry.”
“She is,” said Nate in a miserable voice. He supposed if the cat was going to try to eat any one of them tonight, at least it had better be him.
“We just need to find what she likes,” said his mum. “I’ll go to the market and get a range of food.”
When Nate’s mum came back she brought five different varieties of wet cat food. The cat’s ears pricked up, she sniffed each one of the packets, turned up her nose, then looked into Nate’s eyes again. She was looking very pleased with herself for some reason.
“Is it me, or is she getting bigger?” asked Nate’s dad.
Nate bit the inside of his lip. She did look bigger than before. Was there something in the house she was eating? He couldn’t see anything and the packets of food remained.
At bedtime, Nathan made sure the cat was locked in the kitchen. His excuse was that she could be with the food and still jump out the kitchen side window if she wanted out. The real reason was that he wanted to keep his family safe. From her.
Nathan couldn’t sleep. His room was right over the kitchen. When the cat jumped about or moved, he could hear her. When it was too quiet he got suspicious. There were some noises, then it went dead quiet. He heard a door creak open, then he heard soft thudding on the stairs. Finally, his own door creaked and a black furry head poked through. Long and sleek, the cat came in and jumped up onto the bed. She was even bigger now and licking her paws as if she’d finished a meal. She curled up, started purring, and went to sleep next to Nate.
Nate jumped up when he was woken up by screaming. Bright sunshine flooded the bedroom. Somehow, Nate had slept until morning and the cat was gone. “No, no, no,” he repeated as he rushed down the stairs. Renee was on the kitchen floor in sobs, but she seemed unhurt. “Bad kitty,” she said, pointing at the cat.
Looking down, Nathan saw a mouse. It was dead – but it hadn’t been killed like a normal mouse hunted by a normal cat. Two puncture marks were on its tiny neck. Nate was puzzled. One little mouse was hardly enough to feed that huge (and continually growing) black cat.
Then he looked at the packets of cat food. At first glance, they looked untouched. A little deflated, but not opened. Upon closer inspection, relief washed over him and he smiled. Each flattened packet had two small puncture holes just like the mouse. His vampire cat could eat normal cat food after all.