Category: Real Life

A Lot More Art

In the before times (eg: before I had kids) I used to really love art. Drawing, in specific. I took art all through high school and while I didn’t have any grand ideas of doing it professionally, it was certainly something I really thought I had a knack for (practice, practice, and more practice). Eventually as life progressed I got involved with someone who didn’t share that passion, didn’t encourage or motivate my skills, and while they never actively discouraged my artistic endevours, there simply wasn’t any place for it in my back-then life.

That was around 20 years ago, and my sketch books have gone unused for the better part of those 20 years.

The thing is, it’s part of who I am. I love drawing. I love art. I love landscapes and architecture in specific. I’m not really one for drawing characters or people (I suppose I’m a hermit even in my artwork) but I decided ‘why not’ even though so much time had passed. I’m almost 41, I have two kids, and a loving husband who encourages and motivates me in ways I had never dreamed of. A little over a year ago I started doing digital art as a means to compensate for my multiple sclerosis issues. My hands shake a lot some days, and I have a lot of pain. Digital art gives me some freedoms otherwise not allowed, and without needing so many ‘tools’ I was able to pick it up and put it down much easier.

Last year I completed a total of 50 pieces, almost one a week for the entire year (though that was not my schedule). This year I’d like to at least match that, and perhaps even surpass it. To date, I’ve done 14 pieces. Some large and involved, others just quick studies. I picked up some Udemy courses on digital painting, and I’ve been following along. I’m learning sometimes brushes matter – and sometimes they just don’t. Relying on my own artistic instinct has been incredible. I’m at the stage now where after just a few brush (pencil) strokes I can ‘phase’ into that artistic mindset where time passes and I’m completely unware.

My latest piece took almost 3 hours to complete, and it didn’t feel any longer than the ones that take me twenty. My hands of course know the difference and constantly remind me, but I’m hoping with time and (even more) practice that perhaps that will ease into a comfortable dull ache rather than the blindingly annoying pain I get now. I’m happy with my progress. I’m happy seeing my skills grow. Honestly? I’m just happy.

I do have a deviantART account that is quite ancient and filled with art from my entire lifetime (as it were) so if you’ve got one feel free to friend me there. I’m out of touch with where people are keeping their art these days, so I may shift my activity some place else over time but for now, that’s where I am. I have no goals at the moment to monetize this or to turn it into anything more than what it is – me finally doing something for myself, and working on a skill that gives me great joy. It just feels nice.


2022 Comes in With a Bang

Geeze Stargrace, it has been over two months since your last post, what the heck happened?!

Well. First of all, I’m OK. Now, at least. Back in January a bunch of drama happened that caused me to realize that friendships I thought were important actually meant nothing to those involved. I realized that I was working incredibly hard to foster these friendships and cultivate them but that I was in fact very easily forgotten about – which is fine when you expect it, but I actually thought these friendships had value and meaning, so it sent me into a sort of tailspin, emotionally. It hurt. I pulled back from twitter, I stopped blogging, and instead I focused on fostering healthy boundaries and relationships. Once I was done sulking, in any case.

I’m still posted at my isolated post in the North. We were due out in December but things happened beyond our control and we’re still here until around the end of May. We’ll be moving East to Nova Scotia eventually, but being here has been difficult. Add in the pandemic, global issues like the war in the Ukraine, and you have a high stressed Stargrace.

I am still gaming. I actually play World of Warcraft, and I started up a separate twitter account as well as blog depicting my gold making adventures. You can find my twitter account under: @girlgoblin1 and the blog is (gasp) girlgoblin.ca.

I am also still playing Wurm Online and just recently acquired a new deed that I can’t wait to talk about. BDO is still way up there on my games played, too. They’re releasing new content in April that I’m excited about.

I’ve also been reading some awesome books this year, and I am hoping to continue writing about them on my book blog. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m cautious about things. Consider this a return to blogging if nothing more. I don’t expect I’ll be back on twitter any time soon, but there are ways to reach me if required (discord, FB, steam, etc). I am hoping that I get to start streaming once we move to our new location, but since we haven’t even bought a house yet that is all up in the air.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.


Learning Online (So Much Choice)

I recently wrote about going back to school but I’ve also been browsing different methods of online learning that are offered these days. I’m a big fan of (of course) using YouTube, and almost everything you could ever possibly want to learn is on there – but sometimes I’d also like something a bit more structured, or I want something where I can see in depth reviews. To that end, I’ve looked into two popular ‘learning’ platforms, Udemy, and Skillshare. Both do almost exactly the same thing, offer ‘classes’ for people that typically have a cost associated with it. With Skillshare it’s subscription based, you can access any of their lessons for a fee ($20 CAD or there abouts) each month. Once your subscription ends, you lose access. In fact I can’t even browse skillshare without an activated subscription which I find really annoying. They do offer 30 days free, but I’ve used mine up.

For Udemy, you purchase each class individually. You own access to that class for as long as you need it, and you can learn at your own pace without keeping an active subscription. The classes are much more expensive – but – they also have frequent sales. One example is the classes I purchased above, they were 85% off, and less than $20 each. I have absolutely no issue paying people for their time when they’re teaching me something but I obviously do prefer to just purchase a class outright so I can constantly use it instead of using a subscription. If one class takes me three months to complete and I’m paying $20 a month, vs. that same class costing $20 outright – well, it’s easy to see why I made the choice to just stick with Udemy.

I love that there are these (and other) options out there. I love that teaching, and learning, is promoted. It doesn’t have to be for everyone, but it’s something I personally like to make use of and I’m just so thankful that technology has allowed for this to happen. Of course there are good classes and bad ones, and free ones and expensive ones, so figuring out WHAT to take and WHERE to take it is always a challenge – do your research. If you’re good at self motivating and creating your own schedules, it’s definitely something I recommend.


You are NEVER too old to learn

I recently made the decision to go back to school – at 40. There were a lot of factors that weighed in on this decision but one of them was simply that I love to learn, and I never had the opportunity when I was younger due to the cost. I moved out when I was 16 and paying for a university education was not in the cards. Now that I’m older, some things (financially) are easier, while other things (time) are more difficult.

My kid was diagnosed with autism as well as global developmental delay at age three. His disabilities require care and help for life, and it’s a full time job. Due to our isolated posting I’ve been managing on my own with the help of my husband of course, but eventually we’ll have more resources available to us (I hope). If anything should ever happen to my first responder husband, I want to have skills readily available that I can use to get into the work force and provide for my family. I want to get these skills now, and not be rushed to get them later when I’m going to have more than enough on my plate.

I’m starting off with classes in French, the basics. I already know some basics but it has been years since I was in a classroom situation doing anything official. In Canada French is the official second language. These courses can ladder to a BA with a focus on French, or I can just continue forward taking certificate programs. Or I can decide on a completely different path, and those courses will work towards credits.

At the same time I’ve also picked up a bunch of Udemy classes on sale for some back pocket learning.

These programs don’t offer any certificates but they should still give me some skills (minus the digital painting one, that one is just for me for relaxation hobbies). I just feel better when I’m learning. I like the structure, I like the organization, I enjoy using new notebooks and pens to take notes. Even if I never really focus on anything, I think it’s important to keep pushing forward in that way. I’m not sure if everyone else is the same in that regard, but it’s almost like a bit of self care. Investing in myself. Believing in myself. I wish things could have been different back when I was a kid, but that doesn’t mean I want to just give up on myself. I love my children, and I love taking care of them – but there’s more to me than just that.


DailyCreative Goals – December 2021

Completed:

November was a pretty good month as far as knitting goes. I finished four socks on my circular sock knitting machine (gifts for Christmas) and I also knit a Christmas ball (I know the goal was two, and technically I DID knit two, but the second one just wasn’t working at all and I frogged it) – AND I made progress on my cable crush hoodie. I just have one sleeve and the hood left to knit. I decided to chart out how much yarn I used over the year vs. how much yarn I purchased, and I was pleasantly surprised. If I manage to finish my cable crush hoodie that’s another 2100 yards of yarn out vs. in, and that will put me in a pretty large deficit for this year. That’s going to be the goal for December. Of course I also didn’t make that many purchases this year, and I don’t have any advent calendars going or anything like that, so even with minimal knitting, I would not be far behind. My goal for this hobby is to use more yarn than I bring in – or at least keep it equal. Granted, I already have quite a yarn stash from previous years, but I’d like to keep it (somewhat) under control. I’m also not including spun yarn in this math, because that’s a whole other ball game.

WIP:

  • Cable Crush Hoodie

December Goals:

  • Complete cable crush hoodie
  • Complete 1-2 more Christmas balls
  • Complete one or more other creative pieces (drawing etc)

I know December tends to be pretty hectic and I don’t expect this one to be any different – but I do have all of my gifts completed, so we’ll just have to see. I hope everyone has an amazing month, no matter what it brings.


Some Days are Harder

I’ve talked about multiple sclerosis before here on my blog, but I usually try really hard to just go on with life as normal as I can, and not complain about the hand I’ve been dealt. The problem is, I can only do that for so long, and I don’t really have a lot of constructive outlets – so I use my blog. This post won’t be about gaming, but is more just a general unloading.

A lot of my days are great. I have a steady constant pain that doesn’t go away, but I’ve learned to deal with it. The pain makes me a bit short tempered, pretty tired, but I’m able to function for the most part. This is my life the majority of the time. Let us put the pain at about a two on a scale of one to ten.

Then there are relapses, which is what I have going on right now for the third day. The pain in my hands and feet is so bad that my hands bend into a claw shape and just ache like they’re on fire constantly. It’s so bad I can’t carry anything heavy because I’m afraid I might drop it. Typing hurts. Just sitting doing nothing hurts. I can’t knit or cross stitch and I do my best not to game because resting my hands on my keyboard / keyboard rest – hurts. Using my mouse hurts. It’s a solid 8-9 on my pain chart and let me tell you, my pain threshold is really high. I have a tattoo and it didn’t even bother me to have it done. My husband jokes all of the time because I take scalding hot showers and never feel it, but come out a blistered red. When I say my hands and feet are hurting, it means they’re really hurting.

People can’t SEE this pain though. They just have my word to go by. I have two young kids and a husband who works shift work so I can’t just give up. I have to power through the days and do my best, which means making sure meals are done and the kids don’t hurt one another. Talking on twitter or doing a blog post is usually dictated and is my only real means of escape because we’re at an isolated post, and I can’t game (another reason I play BDO, where I can AFK or just stare at the screen and make progress). Tylenol and other medications don’t help. There’s no inflammation, it’s from lesions sitting on certain sections of my brain and spine, telling my body I’m in dire pain and triggering all my pain nodules. I’ve tried cannabis to ease symptoms but it doesn’t make the pain go away, it just makes me care less and I can’t function like that – and I have to function. I have to be able to take care of my family.

Some days, like today, I’m really angry. I’m frustrated that I can’t do what I want to do. That I can’t use a can opener unless it’s electric. That everyone around me is so loud when I’m just trying not to drown in pain and I can’t focus because MS takes that dignity away from me. I slur my words and just get so frustrated so easily because I’m trying to balance everything and function like a normal human being under insane conditions. Let us add the fact that I have a child with autism and a learning disability, and a second child on top of that, at an isolated post – and well, you have a small window into how life is going for me lately. I don’t like to complain or whine to people because I know that makes it even harder to be friends with me, and I have few friends. No one wants to be around a sad person all of the time. No one wants to hear them moan about how much pain they’re in each day. People don’t like that. Don’t even pretend they do, because I know otherwise. I’ve experienced it.

I’m just so tired. I want a break. I want a single day without all of the pain and confusion and anger that I constantly feel. I haven’t been away from the kids for more than an hour or two since our first was born five years ago. I can’t drive. I feel like a prisoner and it’s not anyone’s fault that this is life. I keep trying to make it better, trying to change it, trying to be a better person – over and over. Today, it’s just not working.

I’m sorry.

Thank you for listening.


Bring on the Spooky

It’s not the best picture, but I decided this year that I wanted some more home made Halloween decorations that I could store in those boxes that sit under the stairs and you bring out once a year. I got out my acrylic paint and some tiny little canvas I bought in the city, and sketched some little scenes. Painted, and used some pen to outline them. I have had some frames kicking around for a bit that had no use, so I put it together as best I could and ta-da! A unique little piece. I’ve got some other activities that I don’t think will be done in time since it takes me so long to do anything these days (a combination of lack of time and physical limitations) but we’ll see how it goes.


A Little Cooking (sorta)

Living at an isolated post means we have no access to any fast food – but we also don’t have access to a lot of fresh food, either. What little there is, is very expensive ($15 for a head of lettuce) and it goes bad quite quickly. Amazon doesn’t deliver to my location, but it will deliver to the town 1h away, which is better than nothing. I’ve learned over the past two years that if I want to have a little ‘treat’ when it comes to food – it’s best that I make it myself.

So I decided some panko crusted shrimp made into sushi rolls was exactly what I wanted. I found sushi rice and wasabi powder on amazon, bought some carrots and cucumber, and had some left over nori from last time we were at an actual grocery store. The powdered wasabi actually turned out much better than I had expected, I made it into a paste and it’s nice and strong. The panko crusted shrimp wasn’t as good as fresh seafood, but it still fit my cravings, and I used a little soy sauce I had on hand for dipping. Not as delicious as actual fresh sushi, but it fit the bill.


Crafts? Crafts!

I have an obsessive love of miniatures. I’m not sure why, but I could spend hours looking at others creations and wandering through miniature towns – anything to do with miniatures, I love. It’s only natural that I want to combine my love of miniatures with my love of crafts. Sadly, my eyes and my MS tend to decide otherwise for me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still give it a try!

We were recently in the city for a few days on an impromptu holiday, and I stopped in to Michaels to pick up some items to begin my miniatures journey. I have a few shadow boxes, and I wanted to make a miniature fairy village scene using the small leaf mould pictured above and clay, along with some acrylic paints. I also picked up some miniature canvas so I could do some miniature painting. What exactly do I want to paint you might ask – I have no idea. I was thinking some seasonal paintings that I could some how swap out. I have 6 miniature canvas, so maybe three Halloween and three Christmas scenes that join together to create a larger image. I might sketch out some ideas and go from there. I do know for my second shadow box I’d like to create a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, and then print out books for those shelves. For now it’s all just ideas in my head, and I am hoping before too long to transfer some of those ideas to actual creations.


Relaxation

The family decided on an impromptu vacation to the city for a few days, so we’re tucked into our amazing hotel suite and I’m relaxing with one of my favourite drinks ever. EVER. I love clamato in all of its renditions.

Be safe and happy gaming! I’ll be back in a few days.


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