Friday, February 28, 2014


Riffing back to the food I love when I'm on the road, here's what I had for lunch the other day:

This is a half-and-half combo at Panera Bread, one of my favorite stops for a quick meal.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pearls and Rose

Embellishing ribbon can be tricky, but the scalloped edges of this flowery border lace take beautifully to faux-pearl beading. I covered the lace juncture with a scrolled ribbon rose and added an amber crystal bead to the center for an extra bit of twinkle.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Crystal Rain

I wanted to come up with a new way to embellish with applique pieces, and had this pretty scroll of embroidered flowers on netting that I thought would work on my current project. Since any stitches used to apply it would be visible -- and I didn't want that -- I decided to literally bead it to the patchwork:

Once I had beaded the lace netting into place I began adding extra beads below it so that it would look like the applique was raining beads:

To get some extra shimmer I attached all the crystal beads with multicolor holographic Sulky, which glints through the beading and adds tiny bits of color:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Apparently Rising

I stopped by the market yesterday to pick up some necessities and (of course) check out the latest crop of paperback bestsellers:

Nothing out of the ordinary, I thought, and then I spotted something quite familiar:

I freaked out a little bit, but as it's only the second time one of my books has made the shelves at my market (and the first as a rising star title) I think I can be excused -- and what a cool pre-release day surprise it was, too.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hail Storm

This past weekend we were hit with the worst hail storm I've ever experienced in my life. It lasted almost five minutes and violently showered us with thousands of quarter- and golfball-size hail stones. The noise from them striking the roof, windows and doors was practically deafening.

Luckily my guy (who at the time was outside doing some yard work) came inside just a few seconds before the storm struck, so he wasn't hurt, and our property damage was minimal. We also checked on our neighbor's livestock, and they made it through unhurt (although they were all covered with leaves that had been shredded from the trees.)

I can't believe all our cars got through it without shattered windows, but they made it through okay as well.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Storage Wars

Storing things in the Toriana universe is always an issue; I've borrowed some real-world furnishings like armoires and closets, but I have an idea for a story that will require something partly invented, too. Looking through the shop I saw some lovely storage solutions:

I love the colors of this hand-painted wooden chest, and a marble or jasper version that is spelled to serve as a neutralizing safe might make a good place to keep one's charmed stones.

This trunk caught my eye because of the lovely silver metal panels. If I mechanized it, a fictional version might have those panels geared to cover secret compartments.

This is simply a wooden tool chest turned on end for creative display, but that skewing gave me a different perspective on it, and with some retuning may actually resolve a major story issue for me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Shell Table

Since Rumsen is on the West coast of Toriana I imagine the people and culture are influenced by the sea and all things marine; I've already worked some of that into my world-building. I was thinking about how I can do more of that as I examined this glass-topped table filled with sand and shells -- the sea brought into the home, so to speak.

Friday, February 21, 2014


This three-in-one antique bench seat (I've also heard it referred to as a guest lounger) could serve a number of purposes in my universe, especially as a furnishing in any place where multiple people are obliged to sit and wait together. I also think it might work as a kind of child-safe public seating; Mum and Da can be seated on the ends with the little one tucked between them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Stuff of Fables

This gaudy but adorable example of papier mâché folk art had me riveted for a few minutes; it's exactly the sort of primitive art that would be at home in my Toriana universe:

Already the primary components of this piece -- the lady with the lantern riding the fox - simply beg for a fable to be written about them. What I found especially interesting is the snake draped around the lady's neck:

I think she might just be Toriana's female version of Paul Revere, if I can figure out how to work in the snake!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vintage Lighting

Three lamps in particular caught my eye while I was looking at different types of vintage lighting:

Elegant and rather stately for such a feminine piece, too -- I think when lit by flame the cut crystal globe chimney must have looked amazing from across a room. If it were amber instead of pink I think it would fit nicely into one of the bed chambers at Morehaven (Lord Dredmore's lair.)

The murano glass base of this lamp dates from the 1960's, so it's a bit too modern for my world, but I love the pagoda styling and the orangsicle colors of the glass.

Kit's best friend Carina probably has a pair of these lamps in her office with sculpted bronze bases. She'd probably commission them to feature a couple of handsome dudes versus the lady you see here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Antique Research Week

I'm a bit late posting today because I've been out scouring antique shops for story inspiration. While my Toriana universe does not have telephones (and will not as long as I have something to say about it) I thought this ornate boudoir version was quite interesting:

Smart phones may be able to realign the Hubble, but they will never have this sort of overblown charm. What I took away from the piece is how important it used to be for things to be as decorative as they were functional -- a good reminder for me when I'm crafting gizmos and gadgets for my world.

Stay tuned this week for more pics of my antique research junket and my notes on what I learned from it.

Pearl & Crystal Squiggle

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jeweled Crochet

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sailing Home

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Tote Giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day to my photoblog people. As promised, I'm giving away the tote I showed you earlier this week. Stop by Under the Covers book blog and enter for a chance to win it and all the goodies you see here, including a copy of Kit's pendant from Aunt Matilda's Jewelry box and signed print copies of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf ARC.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


This is one of the art pieces my kid will be selling at my MegaCon booth; I love the color and all the tiny little details.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Your Car is Flirting with Me

See if you can spot how:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valday Bag

I just finished this, my latest crazy quilt tote. Front:


Detail Back:

This time I outlined with gold holographic thread the solid bits in the white burnout velvet panel, and then pinned to it a pretty gold rose brooch I found at one of my favorite antique stores. I really liked the effect. Also, the white panel with the little violets and the lace medallion is an antique handkerchief.

Detail Front:

I love crochetwork but it's often hard to add and embellish a finished piece to quilts. I experimented this time with a small doily and added faux pearl and crystal beading all round it. One thing I learned: if you bead in a space, count your spaces before you bead in more than one color so you can stagger your shades accordingly!

I'll be giving this tote away on Valentine's Day -- stay tuned to my author blog for more details.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Adventures in Eating

What does real food look like when an amateur photographs it? Here's a slideshow of what I ate (or was tempted by) from my road trip last weekend:

Okay, I just realized, the first pic is not food. But everything else!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bird, Shot

My guy's shot of the bird he was watching. It's blurry because our feathered friend was flapping his wings to dry them after a dip in the lake.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Shooting the Bird

My guy, shooting a bird. With his camera!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Long Neck

Same bird as yesterday, this time showing off his looooooong neck.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Making Ripples

Compared to yesterday's speedy fisher, this elegant fellow sashayed around the lake's edge so slowly that I was able to get several excellent shots of him.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shallow Fishing

I took something like twenty pics of this fast-moving guy while he was fishing, but only this one turned out.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lake Lillies

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Sunset

All of this week's photos were taken during a single walk down by one of our favorite lakes.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Golden Path

I've seen some canoers out at twilight at this same spot before so this might be the same boat.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I met this rusty old beauty while traveling last week. See if you can guess what it is before the final pics in the slideshow.