Category: Travel

My 2014 Metrocon Experience

Hey guys and gals!

First off, if you found this blog from my business card at Metrocon, welcome! It was wonderful meeting you at Metrocon and I hope to see you at another convention this year! Which ones are you going to? Leave a comment below, on my Facebook artist page, or my deviantArt page! I update this blog weekly on Saturdays. Hopefully soon I will be moving to bi-weekly posts. I’m also on Twitter and Tumblr. Click on the “About…” tab above to be linked to my other accounts!

The following post is a highlight account of my time at Metrocon last weekend with a cute recount story at the end. To see the entire album of my photos please visit my Facebook artist page, linked above.

That said, getting back into my art and attending Metrocon this year was so much fun! It was so busy and there were so many people but I loved every minute of it and I’ll definitely aim to be there again next year!

Metrocon Friday 2014
Metrocon Friday 2014

Frida was a little hectic, putting my new display stand together, organizing prints, cutting out a few more masks, adjusting prices – but I had great neighbors all around, and even reconnected with a great table neighbor I met last year! As you can see above from the first day I featured masquerade masks for the Fantasy Masquerade Ball hosted on Friday each year. There was another table selling masquerade masks next to me and she had beautiful feathers and sparkles on her masks, as well as sticks to hold them up in case you were wearing glasses or had a delicate hair do to keep in tack. Some of my designs were pre made, attendees could purchase a flat color and design one themselves, or custom order one from me. A lot of people enjoyed designing their own! However, I forgot to take pictures. Next time~ Two of the best custom designs were of Ichigo’s hollow mask from Bleach and a black demon mask with long spikes that dropped down over the wearer’s cheeks. I learned something else for the masks this year – how to retrofit mask designs to eyeglasses! That’s right, you read correctly. There were a few people wearing glasses who wanted masks and I cut slits in the sides just so the mask would fit inside the glasses for them. I’ve an idea for next year regarding that – you’ll have to wait and see!

Leftover Masks Metrocon 2014
Leftover Masks Metrocon 2014

Saturday was the day for convention attendees to break out their costumes! If you can only attend the convention for one day Saturday is the day to go. It’s a full day of costumes, games, art, crafts, and fun! I met so many people there. The old friends who stopped by and new ones I met made the experience even better than the last year!

My dad came to help me with the table~
My dad came to help me with the table~

Several of you stopped by and asked about hypoallergenic jewelry. Unfortunately I’d run out of my hypoallergenic hooks before the convention but I am ordering more. If you order jewelry from me online You will notice that there is a note in the description to notify me if you need hypoallergenic hooks. I am more than happy to exchange out the hooks on the earrings for you. The other metal parts on charms include tibetan silver, bronze alloy, etc. The stones I use are natural earth stones or crystal. I use a wide variety of materials to craft the pieces below.

I make earrings, keychains, bracelets, ear cuffs, necklaces, anklets, and more!
I make earrings, keychains, bracelets, ear cuffs, necklaces, anklets, and more!

Sunday was a great wind down day. I participated in a few art trades, purchased some goodies, and exchanged contact information with new friends! This was also a kids day at the convention. This is something new from last year which the convention organizers carried over as it was a success. It featured games, face painting, and pictures for kids day! It was on this day that the story at the end of this post occurs. I think it’s a great way to promote acceptance and involvement for both the convention participants (costumers, attendants, artists) and the general public who may not know or understand what it is we are so excited about. A convention to me is not just about the fans or the art, crafts, comics, guests, etc. it’s also about meeting so many wonderful people who have so many different areas of expertise all coming together to work together – to grow and improve – and enjoy every minute of it! It’s a similar energy and atmosphere that I feel when I am around many horses and many types of horse people.

Cosplayers Photos by Roocke Entertainment Cosplay
Cosplayers
Photos by Roocke Entertainment Cosplay

The neighbor behind me was Amy Ellis. She designs chibis of your favorite characters and they’re available as collectable stickers! Go check out her Etsy shop! She’s in the process of making it over but in the mean time you can find her on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter! Just search her name~

Amy Ellis from A. Ellis Creations
Amy Ellis Amy managed her A. Ellis Creations table in the row directly at my back! Shenanigans!

I also met Anna Douglas who has Grandmother Clock! They make plushes, hats, and all sorts of other goodies! Grandmother Clock had a pair of the greatest costume sets at the convention. You should see Anna’s cosplay of GLaDOS! I didn’t get a picture of it this time but I’m sure I’ll be seeing Anna again~

Anna (as Fiona from Adventure Time), myself (partial Yoruichi from Bleach), and Jason (Magic Man from Adventure Time) Grandmother Clock
Anna (as Fiona from Adventure Time), myself (partial Yoruichi from Bleach), and Jason (Magic Man from Adventure Time)
Anna and Jason managed Grandmother Clock’s table next to me!

There are so many more photos I wish I could fit in here. Please take a look at my album (linked above) and the Metrocon page albums on Facebook. Thanks so much for stopping by!

 

Heidi who helps all the artist settle in. She helps manage the events along with Alex Craddock.
Heidi who helps all the artist settle in. She helps manage the events along with Alex Craddock.

Do you want to hear a story? I guarantee you that if you stop anyone in costume and ask for a picture they would be only too happy to oblige you. The table I was situated at had a view over a row of doors and windows and was right next to the bridge to the hotel. A gal dressed in a beautiful Elsa from Frozen costume was making her way out to the hotel and I saw a mother pulling a little girl after her. She was waving her arms and running as fast as her daughter could go, calling out, “Wait wait!” with a camera in hand. Elsa turned to look over her shoulder and that was it. An illustration idea was born. It’ll be up soon on my deviantArt page!

Oh the lovely reaps of a convention~  From left to right we have: 1. chibi stickers by Amy (linked earlier in post) 2. hair clip and phone charm from Practical Futilities 3. Sesshomaru print from Real Dandy Art
Oh the lovely reaps of a convention~
From left to right we have:
1. chibi stickers by Amy (linked earlier in post)
2. hair clip and phone charm from Practical Futilities
3. Sesshomaru print from Real Dandy Art

See you at the next convention! Until then, go have an adventure!

2012 Resolutions in Review

First off I hope the message you took from my previous post was that you shouldn’t be afraid and also always try new things in life. I apologize if it caused you to have any kind of panic attack. That said I think one of my new year resolutions will be to try not to do something like that ever again. I admit I’m rather embarrassed by it. I had intended to touch on the topic of the end of the world theories but not as much as I did.

This week’s post is, as promised, about completing past new years resolutions. It’s out early due to more computer problems. Anyways, here is the post I made earlier this year when I officially kicked off the blog: Planned Year Projects. Along with those a few of my 2012 new years resolutions were as follows:

  1. Do more dancing (practice what I know and learn more)
  2. Swing poi more often and learn more weaves
  3. Start learning another language (more French; perhaps Mandarin and Korean)
  4. Swim to exercise
  5. Finish a book
  6. Volunteer with horses
  7. Publish short stories on Amazon
  8. Loose pudge (as in unwanted areas of body fat/tone muscles)
  9. Capoeira (go over the basics I was taught and do a cartwheel – maybe a flip)

Now, before I go through that status of these resolutions in lieu of the coming new year, remember that no matter what you plan for there’s always something that’s going to slap you in the face with a boar hair brush and paint you surprised. So gather up your past year resolutions and before you go through them, think of one good thing and one not so good thing that happened to you this year that you didn’t plan for.

Something good that happened:  I got a comfy new bed this year!

Something not so good: Car accident. At some point in 2013 I may do a post about this experience but right now I do not really want to talk about it.

Alright so, let’s go through our respective lists. To encourage yourself try writing or describing privately to what extent you completed the resolution.

  1. Fill up a notebook with The Green Book story – Literally halfway complete and it’s coming along nicely. I’ve been telling you about it as I go!
  2. Break in the new sketchbook – I am breaking it in! It’s got plenty of illustrations of characters, scenes, clothing, and creatures from The Green Book, as well as for several commissions.
  3. Finish She Flies Without Wings: How Horses Touch A Woman’s Soul by Mary D. Midkiff – This is still in progress. Unfortunately I’m only one page away from where I was near the start of this year.
  4. Start on Drawing Words & Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden – I haven’t started this at all so it’ll probably be a roll over to next year.
  5. Do more dancing – indeed I have done this. Most notably I started learning line dancing this month. The place where I go to learn is a country club and there are lessons early on in the night. Now, granted I catch on to dancing pretty quickly but it’s a lot of fun and a great cardio work out.
  6. Swing poi more often – Also completed! I’ve even learned a few more weaves and improved swinging with my left hand.
  7. Learn another language  – I sometimes watch movies with French audio to keep reviewing what I learned in high school and college. Also, I’ve kept a notebook of Korean and Mandarin terms in an attempt to teach myself. I haven’t kept up with this for a few months now but I’ve found I can decipher certain simple phrases and key words without any guides and subtitles. Yay!
  8. Swim to exercise – Yes! For most of the year I’ve gone swimming at least twice a week until about October.
  9. Finish a book – Ah, I’m actually not sure if this means I wanted to finish writing a book or finish reading a few.
  10. Volunteer with horses – This was definitely done!
  11. Publish short stories on Amazon – I am very proud to say this was done! Unfortunately the single short I published isn’t up on Amazon kindle any longer because of some issues with pricing. Currently I am publishing short stories on Smashwords, one of which is free! Follow the link to see the stories! I publish a short about every 2 months. They’re meant to be single shorts for when you want to read a quick something before bed or on a lunch break but don’t have much time and do not want to become too tied up. Maybe I’ll gather them in a collection one day.
  12. Loose pudge – I’m actually really not sure of this. I don’t have a scale to weight myself on. So far what has happened is that I identified the root of why I was so negative about my own body and then started to change the way I look at myself.
  13. Capoeira – Only once have I gone out to a field of grass and done some capoeira. Early in the year I attempted to do a cartwheel and half-succeeded. Ah well.

So, how did you do? What’s your ratio of completion? Will you continue the resolutions into the new year?

Next week’s post I’ll put up some of my new resolutions at the start and then I’ll have something else for the main post. Happy 2013 in advance!

Stay safe and happy trails~

Exploring and Marinating

Alright, so I told you I was going to travel around and let the ideas marinate while I explored. For more details take a look at my previous post if you like.

I did go to Honeymoon Island but the beach was not that impressive to me. I tried a different beach nearby but obviously my GPS cannot be trusted 100% because it led me to a place I did not consider a beach to walk and swim at. It was about the length of three large yachts but not much for a long walk or jog. I had heard of Caladesi Island and was told by a good friend that it was worth visiting. I followed the directions I had written down from an online search and took close-quarters suggestions from my GPS. I seem to have gotten lost, however and I never reached. Still, I did really want to go to the beach for a little bit that day and luckily for me Clearwater Beach was just five to ten minutes south of where I was. What turned out to be unlucky was that the time at which I was searching for parking was the time when everyone else was doing the same thing. Clearwater Beach is more commercialized than any beach I visited in Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral where there is free parking less than sixty seconds walking distance from the sand. However, if you do know of a space for free parking near Clearwater Beach do let me know! Right now the price isn’t too bad here at about $2.75 per hour of park time. The beach itself is rather pretty and you can rent out the chair and umbrella stations along the sand. Personally I like walking on the beach so I did not have much desire to pay for one. Besides, there is a common curtesy on the beaches where if you leave your items on a towel or at the umbrella and chairs it is to be respected and left alone, something I observed many people doing. The beach right now is nice in the mornings; any time after noon and you’ll get baking hot sun, a clamor for parking and a thronging crowd of tourists and fanatics.

Also nearby is a biking trail that follows along with some roadways but breaks away and leads you under bridges and amongst trees. I have not tried it out yet but I’ll be more willing when the weather here cools down. I have to admit that while I do like being outdoors and exploring if it’s too hot I shut down. All that means is my better adventures will occur later in the year and will at least get a mention on this blog after they occur. Still to do: visit the bike trail, go to Fort Desoto (the beach for I have visited the fort and nature trail), schedule a horseback trail ride with friends, start art requests, edit next week’s blog post, and prepare for a self-published novel contest.

As for marinating ideas, the following makes me thing putting aside the writing for at least a little while was a good idea: I’ve been commissioned for a project that is now going smoothly, and is one I will tell you about later; I managed to rewrite an underdeveloped section of Poker Face, story two in the Kaleidoscope series, sufficiently and now it is ready for edits; and I look forward to waking up early and taking that average half an hour drive to the beach for a run and a swim on occasional mornings. Yes, it has only been a week but right now it feels good. I talk big about wanting to leave Florida because I cannot stand the weather, but that does not mean that when the weather is good I’m going to closet myself inside and not enjoy the better parts of Florida while I am here. Wherever you are, whether it is somewhere you are tired of or somewhere you cannot stand, learn to enjoy the better parts of it while you have it, because when you are finally gone the things you miss will be behind you as well. If you really have nothing good in your area then take a risk. Step out of it. Take trips, walk out, make a change, but most of all, stop talking about it and do it~

On that note I’ll leave you with a picture from a scene in my long term novel:

Want to read my short story Ointment for free? Go here. The next installment in the Kaleidoscope series is Poker Face which is currently undergoing edits and is due out in October.

For any other links to my art page, Twitter, or Tumblr accounts go to the “About…” tab at the top of this blog.

Tell me what you think! Are there places a city or two away from you you would like to explore? Are there places in Florida you want me to visit and review? Let me know in the comments below or on my Twitter account!

Stimulus

To be entirely honest I have not been able to write much at all this week. I feel scatterbrained and completely disorganized. Have you ever felt like that during your creative process? You are not alone.

Everyone has a different way of functioning at their best and while some people are good at whipping up completed projects in that scatterbrained mind set, I cannot. For me, when I am in this mind set I cannot get what I want to get done. It feels like being trapped inside a sturdy bag underwater. There’s a trick lock to open the bag from the inside but the key is near a rip in the bottom and is slipping closer to the hole every time I move to get it. Why not just escape through the rip? Well, you see, there are sharks outside the bag waiting for anything that comes out of the rip, while at the top of the bag there’s a floating deck with a hole in the middle where I can climb out of the top of the bag. It’s very frustrating, more so when you’re fully aware of your own peril. This is an over exaggeration but the general image is correct.

At the same time there are so many ideas brimming behind that invisible barrier in my mind. Like the image in the paragraph above, it’s like being stuck, immobile lest a single muscle flex wrong will land you just where you do not want to be. I sat down recently in my room with no music on, no noise, just listening to the rain preceding hurricane Isaac and tried to figure out why I couldn’t just write. In looking around my room and my travel journal the realization crashed on me like waves pounding the black sand beaches in Hawaii: I was stuck, physically and mentally stuck in place.

The most creatively productive times in my life were when I was organized and  traveling around. In elementary school my parents would take my sister and I to Jamaica, on family trips, and around our area. Our backyard was a mini nature walk, with trees and grass to run and lay on and a swing and a hammock. In high school I my family went on a trip to Canada every summer and I was on Robotics team 233 (which I joined since I couldn’t have horseback riding lessons) and each year we travelled to an out of state regional competition and then the championship in Georgia. If I was not hanging out with friends I was exploring on my own. When it came time to travel away for college I was still in motion. I was shy to go out on my own so I mostly tagged along with my friends. The more I explored, the more my senses were stimulated, my desire for adventure was fed, and I learned constantly and adapted to change. All of this fed my creativity.

During this recent slump I went on an escapade in my new area to find jeans and a nice top. I have only been here a month and I had not really explored the area just yet except for a few bike rides to the park. Visiting one location with my GPS for guidance yielded a new top and a potentially comfy pair if shoes, but finding comfy jeans is metaphorical murder for me: it’s hard! Now my GPS is not a top notch, fancy dancy device but I told it to navigate to one of the department stores it had listed. On the way to said department store I stumbled – as much as you can driving – upon the mall not far from my new place. I think I had been to this mall once before and a few years ago but I had no idea it was so close. Considering the way both the mall and my place were situated we were tucked away in our own little part of the area. Outside and around the mall there were a plethora of shops that I would usually find in the same area only across the state where I’d lived before college. It was the first mall I’d ever been inside where you enter on the second floor and could pay to skate at an ice rink inside. Finding this new place excited me so much that I did a lap and a half on each floor just grinning and swinging my umbrella before I noticed my stomach was demanding food. The quest for food lead me to finding a wonderful Thai place in the food court that I would like to try again.

Back in my room contemplating this adventure I decided that this was it. I was fed up of the bare routine of going to the gym, going to work, then coming home. I missed exploring. I wanted the stimulus of finding out what was in my area and places I could have fun and explore. Since that trip I have located a pretty nature bike trail I want to try on another day and park not far away called Honeymoon Island. That’s an adventure for later this week.

How does this relate to my creative process? Stimulus and marination of ideas is part of the process. Stimulus provides new ideas and a way to puzzle out what I could be stuck on, something that has worked before, and marinating ideas is like aging alcohol: there’s a certain time each needs to develop all the flavors in the brew. So while I am at my current job I will find a way to be mobile, continue learning, have fun, and keep moving towards publishing and working with horses. I will do it.

Time to slip out amongst the sharks. Don’t worry, I’ll keep the ampullae of Lorenzini in scope for defense.