Category: Real Life

How is the Drawing Going?

Last year I attempted digital art for the first time in 20+ years (after trying traditional art first, but my hands were having none of it). I completed roughly 50 pieces, and in December I set a challenge for myself to do at least 1 piece a week, or 52 pieces for the year in 2022. Of course then a cross country move happened, then my son broke his iPad so I gave him mine (and eventually got mine replaced), and dealing with life and all the rest. Still, I’m currently sitting at 26/31 completed so far, and that’s not too shabby. I’ve seen my skills growing with lots of room for improvement too but I’m proud. I appreciate the quiet time I spend with my iPad.

There are a ton of creative projects I enjoy. I knit, I spin my own yarn, and I cross stitch, to name a few. The problem is of course I also enjoy gaming and I have a family with two littles, so I finding the time to fit things in becomes an issue. I actively have to make time or else the project will just be neglected until I pick it up again for half a day.

When it came do drawing, I made sure I was setting aside time just for that. I usually draw when my husband is working nights, after the kids are in bed. Less distractions that way. It takes me anywhere from 1-3 hours to finish a piece, though some would argue that you’re never really ‘finished’ anything. I post most of my pieces on DeviantART but I’d love an alternative. There just hasn’t been anything that has popped out to me over the years. I know there’s ArtStation (I think?) but I believe that one also has a cost. I want to make sure I can apply watermarks to my work since I’ve already had some of my photography pieces stolen for NFT on DeviantART (they were older pieces where I had forgotten to add the watermark. I went back and fixed them after).

Anyway. Rambling post about creative endevours in the hopes that I feel motivated to draw sometime this week. We’ll see.

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


Blaugust Incoming

August is quickly approaching, and for a number of years now I’ve participated in Blaugust in various degrees, and hopefully this year will be more of the same. I know my blog posts tend to come in waves, but Blaugust has always been a great motivator. Belghast has all of the details over on his blog, and don’t forget to join the discord too if you’re into that sort of thing. You absolutely don’t have to if it’s not your thing. I’ve always loved watching the community that has evolved from this event, but I also tend to feel a bit on the outskirts of things. A part, but not a part.

The idea is to try to post on your blog as much as you feel comfortable doing. Some folks use it as motivation to post all 31 days, others have a more relaxed approach. There are little mini goals this year, along with the regular schedule for some post motivation. If it’s something you’ve never looked into before and you’re curious about it, I highly suggest checking things out. Blogging might be ‘dead’ but there are those of us who continue to carry the torch.

Happy writing!


Motivation

One thing I’ve wanted for quite some time is a fitness tracker. I’ve had a number of fitbit products over the years, but they never lasted longer than a year, whether it was because of poor quality or maybe my lifestyle was just too rough, I’m not sure. I decided enough was enough. I knew I was going to either go with an apple watch (let’s face it, I’m already deeply vested in apple products, we have 3 iPads, an iPhone, and a MacBook Pro), or I was going to go with Garmin. In the end I decided it was more important for me to have a fitness watch with smart watch capabilities, than it was to have a smart watch with fitness capabilities. I went with the Garmin 245 – heavily discounted from $479 to $299 (probably because they’ve just released the 255, and want to get rid of stock).

Setting it up was daunting but simple. It’s highly customizable, everything from the watch face to the screens that show to what activities you track. It gives health and fitness statistics like a heart rate monitor and oxygen. It can determine your sleep stats (though people say Garmin does not do this well, I think that can be said for most devices, they’re just not really there yet). It has GPS, can let me know if I have a call or messages on my phone, and so far I’m quite pleased with the device over all. Whether or not it stands up to the test of time is another matter. For the price I paid, I’d like it to last at least three years with constant use. It’s also just plain strange to be wearing a watch again, I haven’t worn one for many years.

I’m hoping this motivates me to move more, and to get healthier. I love statistics and have had good experiences in the past – so we’ll just have to see. On a side note, it’s hilarious that this also tracks stress levels. Let me tell you, as a parent to a 3 and 5 year old, those stress levels are ping ponging all over the damn place and bedtime is a zone you can effectively see on the charts.


Happy 16th Anniversary

I haven’t always been the most consistent blogger, but today marks the 16th year that I’ve had it up and running! I’m incredibly proud of this, and I love going back and reading about what my gaming was like way back then. In days before kids, marriage, and so many other life changes that have taken place. I also branched out from just writing about MMOs (you might remember that the blog used to be called MmoQuests) to writing about fiber related goodies, real life, and whatever else I was interested in at the time.

Here’s to 16 more! Maybe with a little bit more consistency than I’ve had over the past three years.


Settling In

Just over a month since I’ve written here, and absolutely everything in life has changed once again (finally). After 2.5 years we moved from our frozen home in the far North of Canada to a more moderate location in Nova Scotia (East Coast). This came after 6+ months of fighting and advocating for our family, and it was pretty draining. No one should have to fight so hard for quality of life changes against a government entity, but here we are.

We’re still moving in, furniture arrived two days ago, and there are boxes in the majority of rooms. The kids rooms are done as well as the rec room (ie: computers, TV, and other ‘essentials’) and most of the kitchen is unpacked. That leaves the bathrooms, the master bedroom, and my yarn room to assemble. All of us are pretty sick, my husband and son have been sick for almost a month straight now. We tested for covid just before we left, so it might be some sort of long drawn out recovery from that. It sucks.

That being said, already some things are so much better. We have a lot more room. A LOT more privacy. We have two day shipping instead of 2 week. Mail comes to the box at the end of our lane instead of to a PO Box. The internet is 500mbps+ instead of 5. Upload is 15mbps+ instead of 0.05. Some things are still daunting, the town has a very involved and confusing garbage collection that is once every two weeks and you have to sort absolutely everything. We’re not quite sure how to human with others any more after so long apart. The husband also has a lot to get used to at his new post, and since it’s larger and more spread out everyone sort of does their own thing and it’s not as close as our previous post. Overall, the changes are great for our family, but it will take some time.

I was able to update and patch all of my games that have been neglected since we moved, and let me tell you, I had a lot. It was amazing to see how fast everything updated. I plan on picking up with streams around June 25th – I’ll be streaming world of warcraft gold making, I know not everyone is comfortable with that game these days, but I believe in the people who continue to work on it, and it’s one of my comfort games, so I hope to have a bit of fun. I’ll also be streaming some Black Desert Online in the future, and I do plan on trying to stream a lot of fiber related stuff. Spinning yarn, preparing yarn, knitting, we’ll see what else. All in all I hope to be able to get back to a few hobbies that I’m very passionate about, and have more time and less stress in the long run. For now, we’re taking it slow and making this house a home.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!


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.


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