The Bard Project

WAIT! What happened to Ari!?

Not to worry, friends. Ari is alive and well in my imagination and living it up with an endless supply of sweet treats and sword training until I decide to play her again.

WAIT! Ari’s not a bard!

No, she’s not. When I say “Bard Project”, it’s actually just a little play on the title of my blog and the newest costuming venture I’ve undertaken. I know I haven’t posted in *checks* over half a year, so I’m not going to go over everything that’s been missed. Instead, let me jump into my new project.

A couple of months ago, Griswold decided to begin a new game with himself at the helm for a change. And so, Auerion and I began to play Pathfinder. It’s a very different style of game than I’m used to. Usually, I’m very fond of being able to role play and character build in game and actually be able to interact with the NPCs. Unfortunately, Pathfinder seems to be seriously lacking in these categories. I can’t get used to NPCs that ramble, and by the end of their quest objective speech I’m completely lost and end up just asking Griswold for a point-by-point overview. I don’t like not being able to interact with them like I’m used to, and I haven’t gotten much chance to develop my Bard character (see below) to her fullest.

On the bright side, I like how fast the game goes. We did four entire quests in module one in a span of a few hours, and a whole dungeon in module two in one evening. It’s nice to at least always be on the same page as to what is going on, and it’s REALLY nice to be on the same day! It keeps things a lot more focused, especially since I don’t live near the other players and can only do this intermittently.

So for this new game, Auerion and I each decided to move out of our comfort zone and play someone new (Auerion usually plays deranged, forgetful and simple, and elitist, while I usually play bitchy, holier-than-thou, and damned go-getter). After all, it’s no fun to keep playing the same character type over and over again, right?

For Pathfinder, Auerion took up the role of Barbarian in the group as a Highlander named Jhoven. Jhoven is very…. “simple”. I think he has an intellect of 6 or 7 (because Griswold wouldn’t let him go any lower), and he’s constantly making immature and lewd comments. And he likes to drink. Despite that, his caveman mentality (and did I mention a horrible forgetfulness? Is he part of clan MacDouglas, clan MacBrodie, or clan MacDougal today?) is coupled with a strong protective nature, particularly towards his little friend, my Bard, Melodie.

When I said that I wanted to play a Bard, Griswold made me promise that she wouldn’t be a depressed bard (Clover is suicidal, Ari is overly self-sacrifing, and Julia is just an out-of-control sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll teen). Thus, Melodie Thistledown was born (yup, another elf). She’s petite and chipper, even though she’s older than Ari. She plays a lyre harp and is also a sharp shooter with a short bow. She met Jhoven somewhere while on her way to join the Pathfinders and dragged him along (which gave Auerion an actual in-game reason WHY Jhoven would want to join in the first place). She always sees the light at the end of the tunnel (especially when she’s running towards it) and she is terrified of undead. She drinks and is adorable.

Wow, what a difference, huh? I wonder which of my other characters would tear her apart first…?

I’m still working on her backstory and character development, especially for role playing purposes. Melodie Thistledown is actually just an assumed name she took on when she began to travel as a bard so that her family (she’s noble) can’t find her. I have the idea that she was married or was about to be married, but either jilted the groom or ran away on her wedding night. I’m still not certain which I prefer.

In any case, I’m looking forward to getting in to her skin soon and figuring her out from the inside. Meaning, I look forward to playing her at the upcoming New York Renaissance Faire in September. As you’ve probably all seen with my previous characters (and I’ve role played and cosplayed as all of them), I really enjoy bringing a character to life both in personality and in costume. It’s interesting to interpret them for the “real world”, and especially to interact with people outside of our games at these types of events while in character. Although, it’s possible that I’ve overdone it with Ari at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

Melodie hopes to make her debut soon, so I’ve been working very hard to put her outfit together. She doesn’t really wear “armor”, so I’m looking forward to dressing a bit differently than I usually do. Oh, no corset! I can breathe!

The first order of business was coming up with concept art. Believe it or not, there’s really not much information out there on the fashion preferences of fantasy bards. So I basically had to come up with it myself. As a traveler and a performer, she’d have to be more mobile and showy than a paladin. But no so showy that she would really mind traipsing through a dungeon in her fancy pants clothes and possibly getting them dirty.

What I eventually came up with was a light outfit consisting of tunic(s), bodice, leggings, ankle boots, and a capelet (short cloak). The bodice doubles as “leather armor”, and she also wears leather bracers/arm guards for shooting her short bow.

The next step was figuring out fabrics and colors. Whereas Ari’s color palette is usually very predictable–blue, white, silver, black–I figured that Melodie would probably be a lot more colorful as a bard. But also, in reading about Pathfinder elves, it says that elves often take on hues and color preferences depending on where they’ve spent the most time. This led me to choose more of a natural, forest-like color scheme for her, in shades of Spring and Autumn. It wouldn’t seem like the colors all work well together–olive green, russet orange, brown, tan, gold, dark purple, dark blue–but strangely, when you layer them all together and look at them as a group, they create one cohesive harmony.

All of the materials are natural, using cotton, leather (I ripped apart a leather jacket and a hideous leather skirt), and even silk. It’s been a slow, but very creative and rewarding process to work on her outfit. And I’m really taking my time to make each element just right for the character, and for me.

One thing I look forward to with this outfit is accessorizing. There’s a lot of room to be creative and less plain and regimented than my other characters, so I’m eager to find small trinkets and elements to make the costume interesting. Things that Melodie might have picked up in her travels or collected, for example. They don’t even need to have a cohesion, which means that I can draw from many different cultures and ethnicities to make her outfit interesting.

As of right now, the capelet and bodice are complete, though neither has the hardware for a closure just yet (the bodice hardware is ordered, and I’m still looking to find or make the perfect closure for the capelet). About the only failure story of this outfit so far is Melodie’s lyre harp, which I found for an amazing price on eBay. However, it must have ended up getting addressed incorrectly, ended up in Bridgeport, CT, rather than Stratford, CT, couldn’t be delivered, and is now on it’s way back-to-sender… in Pakistan.

Oh well. Melodie will make pretty music, yet! Just you wait and see! ^.^

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Answers to Questions

A while ago, our DM gave us all 20 questions to answer, in character, about “ourselves”. Originally when we began playing the game, he did the same thing. Now that we’ve been questing for a while, he wanted to see how our characters were doing. Here’s Ari’s responses:

1)  Besides your armor and weapons what do you always carry with you? (consider gear, personal objects etc..)

As a paladin, I do not carry much in the way of personal possessions. I have a bag of holding which was gifted to me by my grandmother, and all I carry within it are the things which are necessary. My only items of luxury, if they may be considered so, is a bottle of honey and store of sugar which I keep on me. I’ll also carry pastries and other sweet treats on me when I can. I’m rather fond of sugar.

2)  What do you do on a daily basis?  What is your routine?

I used to have a routine; a very strict regimen of how I lived my life. However, since I began this journey with my companions, I find that my routine has been thoroughly disrupted. I still pray to Selene often, but I find myself with less time to commune with her. I am distracted and have been unable to stop and meditate. When was the last time I found myself truly alone? I used to spread Selene’s message and grace, now I simply find myself living from day to day in a constant state of… what is the word? I feel as though I am living on a scale, and the weights keep shifting!

3)  How do you feel about war?

War is, unfortunately, an inevitable part of life; from the largest battle to the smallest skirmish. Even a war of tongues; communication. Though I carry a sword—though I steel myself against the sight of blood—the smell and sound of the battlefield—I in no way enjoy it. I am merely proficient for the sake of helping whichever side I am allied with. At least then the battle will be shorter. Perhaps less bloody.

4)  If you died tomorrow who would mourn you?

Now that I have become the First Speaker of my House, most like the entire capital of Avordeem would turn out to grieve. However, I think I could count the genuine mourners using only my hands. My paladin brothers and sisters would be saddened by my passing, but would also accept that I had gone on to join our Lady. And I don’t really have too much in the way of family who would be too saddened to see me gone. However, due to my pact with the Goddess, I will be around until my purpose in this world is done.

5)  How do you feel about love and sex?

Love is beautiful and strengthens our resolve against the evils of this world through the sheer force of the connection it fosters, though I have never loved anyone myself. Sexual relations, on the other hand, are necessary to the continuing of our species. It cannot be avoided. And relations for the sake of lust, I believe, are deplorable.

6)  How do you feel about Elves?

Considering my own background, being of the Elves, I suppose I feel strongly about them. Although, now that I have begun to see more of the world, I am becoming more aware of my culture’s curiosities.

7)  How do you feel about Orcs?

They are abominations and must be eliminated at all costs.

8)  How do you feel about Goblins?

I find Goblins greedy and petty and they are surely not to be trusted. I’ll keep my distance.

9)  How do you feel about Lupins?

I had never met a Lupine until recently. And even though my friend Auerion is only half of such, I feel as though I am interested in them. In many ways, my friend is more in tune with the land than even myself, which is very admirable.

10)  How do you feel about Katarins?

I have never met one, but I have been told of their… tek-no-gy? Tech… nolo… gee? Either way, it is unnatural. I have no reason to distrust the race, but I am wary of their weapons and tools.

11)  How do you feel about the great war and Dwarves in general?

My parents were both lost in the Great War, and though I have had a lifetime to accept this, I still find the whole ordeal of the War itself saddening. So many lives were lost needlessly, on both sides. Prior to traveling with my companions, I had met a few Dwarves, but I had never had a very high opinion of them. My companion Griswold is certainly… different than the others I have met, although his actions often concern, and irritate, me. I consider myself a patient person, but I have no patience for his antics.

12)  If you met a Dwarf tomorrow what might you say to him?  How would you treat him?

Considering I have one sleeping out in my stable right now, I’ll probably greet him by asking if he’s sober. Then, my general ignoring of him will continue. He irritates me so!

13)  What god or Gods do you worship?  Why?

I worship the Goddess Selene. She has cared for me since I was a child, and has spoken to me for many years. I feel at peace in her presence and would do anything I could to serve her. My paladin vows state that I will do all I can to do her work in this world. I have given myself over to her completely. She may use my voice, my hands, and my body as she sees fit. And I am content with this.

14)  What is your most important possession?

My most important possession is my holy blade, which also happens to be my family’s Selu’Tria, or choosing blade. With it, I can serve justice on behalf of Selene and my family.

15)  Who is closest to you in your life?

I do not have many friends or acquaintances in my life—which is most likely one of the hazards of my lifestyle choice. Many of us here avoid deep connections with others, though I have a couple of friends in my brothers and sisters that I have made over the years. Other than that, most likely the closest one to me is my cousin, Alnir. We get along well, and though he can be a bit aggravating, he is still my closest confidante. He is even the steward of our House in my absence.

16)  What is your life aspiration?

I aspire to be Selene’s champion in this world. No matter the cost, I hope to serve her to the fullest until my final breath.

17)  What is your greatest wish?

I was once graced with a vision of my Lady, as I lay on my deathbed. I hope for just one more glimpse of her face before I fall out of this existence.

18)  What are your feelings about death?

Death is a natural part of life. It cannot be avoided and must be approached with an open mind. I believe, in death, our departed ones wait to welcome us home. I already have many who are waiting for me. However, Selene has granted me the favor of never allowing my body to pass on, so long as I can be healed. In this way, I will continue to do her work in this world until my time in this world will end.

19)  Have you ever killed someone?  If so how did it make you feel?

I have killed many, but all in service to my Goddess. Those who would do harm to others and who cannot be dealt with through peaceful or verbal means must be eliminated, especially if they are posing a threat to myself or those I care about. However, though I have killed many, I take no joy in it. I have frozen myself to the sight of death and try not to allow it to affect me.

20)  If I Gave you one million Gold pieces what would you do with it?

It would be my obligation and privilege to donate as much as possible to my temple to better further the influence of Selene’s good will in this world. I have no need of money, as a paladin or as a woman of noble birth.

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Stop SOPA/PIPA!

Wow, my first post in months, and I actually plan on making a political statement! What’s this world coming to?

But actually, that IS my point. I didn’t choose to censor my WordPress blog today (not for any particular reason other than that I couldn’t figure out how to and it was too late at night to do so by the time I really wanted to try). But, if the Internet censorship bill is passed, being able to read my WordPress blog, as well as countless others, would be a thing of the past. Though I haven’t used my blog in a while, I’m grateful for the ability to be able to do so. Being able to say what I think and post up pictures that help to tell my story and that of the people I’ve met is a precious commodity that I think often goes unappreciated.

Under the Internet Censorship bill, sites that deal in possible copyright infringements–such as Thinkgeek.com, Etsy.com, Wikipedia.com, TheOatmeal.com, WordPress.com, and countless others–would be subject to the terms and conditions of that bill. If I understand it correctly (and Elves make terrible politicians!) this would result in a cease-and-desist on such sites, as well as a permanent blackout of such information. It would turn the power over to the copyright owners to block those sites that are committing infractions and Internet piracy.

Anyway, I don’t really understand the situation well enough to make any drawn out stance against this. All I know is that, personally, this act would cause my favorite creative outlets to be shut down. And that just would not be cool!

If you’d like to learn more about what this is all about (and at least be mildly amused while doing so and be spoken to as an equal or valued customer, rather than by a politician using crazy lingo or an Elf that probably just doesn’t fully understand this situation but is hurt by it nonetheless) please feel free to visit the above bold websites for more info.

Please, no flames or comments trying to explain the Act to me in full. I just wanted to put my two cents in. I’ll find out the outcome when I come home from work later. Thanks!

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Weekend Plans

This weekend, I’m taking the crew (Little Ari, Gilan, a borrowed Liddell, +1) up to CT for our annual Christmas party. Little Ari is very happy to finally get rid of Liddell, who has been hitting on Gilan relentlessly. Lucky for her, Gilan seems to have no interest in Liddell (or Little Ari, for that matter). I dressed them both in their medieval finest for the yuletide party ^.^

Of course, I’m also looking forward to seeing all the friends I don’t usually get to see, especially some that I don’t think I’ve even seen since ConnectiCon! Fifteen of us, crowded around the Christmas tree in Griswold’s Hobbit Hole of an apartment (the inside joke). We’re having a Secret Santa gift exchange, and I think that the person I got gifts for will really like them 🙂

In other news, Denya and our Dungeon Master are finally getting a house of their very own… but it is very far away from the rest of us 😦 On the bright side, they’ll be able to spread out  and maybe, MAYBE we can finally get back to our DnD game one of these days. Auerion is still angry at Ari (not sure if I ever spoke about that in blog form). But hopefully he’ll come around ^.^

Hopefully I’ll have some pictures from a fun weekend on Monday!

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Why Yes, it IS a Ride-On Dinosaur!

Why? Because I needed to come up with swap gifts for a 23cm doll and wasn’t sure what else to do! Seriously.

On Dollieh Sanctuary, I got the chance to participate in the Holiday Swap this year. People were matched up and sent gifts to each others’ dolls. Gilan got matched up with a cute 23cm Obitsu. But the doll didn’t need clothes, and I wasn’t too sure of the scale. I wandered around Target one night looking for small gifts, but couldn’t come up with much. So, what do you get for the little boy doll with what looks like 10 or so like-sized sisters?

Answer: A ride-on dinosaur, complete with handmade custom saddle and bridle. Happy Holidays ^.^

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Review for The Junky Spot

Hi everyone! This is coming a bit late (a few days late, to be exact), but I just wanted to talk a little about my recent purchase with The Junky Spot. This is a great online store which specializes in BJDs and supplies. They are super friendly, very professional, and on Black Friday, they were offering some really great deals! So how could I resist?

They had Black Friday deals going all day long, and even continued with some sales after the day was done. Throughout the day, they kept listing up dolls and supplies at really great prices. But the listings weren’t guaranteed to last, so you had to work fast and keep checking back! I couldn’t afford her anyway, but I was really eying the Hujoo Dana they had on sale. She’s a really sweet looking doll with an innocent pursed lip face and a unique ratchet posing system. Too bad she’s too innocent looking for a Clover or a Julia. She’s just cute….

Yay! More nightmare fuel for Auerion kun!

I ended up purchasing a pair of Junky Spot exclusive Hujoo eyes, called “landscape”. They’re pupiless 16mm acrylic eyes in a gorgeous and striking royal/electric blue, and I thought that they would look perfect in an upcoming doll project. And the price was very good so, again, how could I resist?

No sooner had I placed the order, then I got a confirmation email, an invitation email to their forum, and the shipping confirmation email all within a few minutes. Wow! I ordered them on a Friday and they were to my doorstep by Monday. They came securely packed up in a box with packing peanuts, and I even got a candy brain to munch on and a couple of Junky Spot business cards out of the deal. Awesome!

All in all, I had a very positive first buying experience with The Junky Spot and would highly recommend them. Enjoy!

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Introducing the BJD Cloak & Kimono Co.!

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Breaking Into Etsy, Take II!

Ok, here I go again! Trying to break into Etsy for the second time. Last night, I posted up a set of silicone SOOM eyes which were purchased at NYCC. And then, I spent the better part of this morning finishing up the kimonos I kept meaning to work on and photographing them. I figured out a cute setup for photos, unfortunately the lighting in my room is awful! So hopefully I’ll get around to putting those kimonos up on Etsy later, too. I’m trying! ^.^

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Upcoming Projects

Wow. So I’ve REALLY fallen off the ball this year, post-wise. I think I remember at this point last year, I was beginning to wonder what posts I was going to feature in my “year in review” post. And, I remember that I had trouble narrowing it down to 20! Did I even make 20 posts this year? I’m not sure…

Anyway, moving on. So, I’ve finally decided I need to move forward and work on something around here to break up the monotony (and possibly make a little extra cash). Some of these plans are new, and some have been in the works for a while. The only hurdle I need to jump is to actually START!

So, upcoming projects:

– I’ve decided I really need to start selling those MSD sized kimonos I keep making for no reason other than that I “can”. Especially since it’s now the holiday season, I think they’d make very good gifts if I could get them up on Etsy. Currently, I have one finished boy’s kimono, and two finished girls kimonos (one cotton, one kimono silk) which only need belts to be made completely done. So if I could finish those off, I can finally get my doll clothes business off the ground. It may not be FAR off the ground, but it would be a good start. I plan on selling cotton kimonos for $15 each, shipping included, and silk ones for $20. Thoughts?

My next project, which will be a well-worth-it-in-the-end-but-a-real-P-in-the-A-to-get-started project is the BJD business which Griswold and Denya and I are planning. This has nothing to do with this blog, but I feel like if I write it down then it will probably have to happen, just to keep from disappointing myself.

But the last project on my list IS blog related. I decided today that I’m not getting any younger (at the ripe old age of 24, yikes!). But anyway, I think that thought finally gave me the incentive I needed to do something a bit out there. I decided today that I think it’s time to put my cosplay skills to use for recognition. I’ve never done it before, and it might be crazy, but I think I want to set a goal for myself to enter into the cosplay competition at ConnectiCon this upcoming year. There’s no reason I can’t; I just need to get started! Yup…. I’ll try and keep this momentum going for as long as I can. Oh… and what cosplay, you ask? Actually, it’s probably not what you’re thinking. You’ll have to wait and see! 😉

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New Armor, and a New Problem

So a few nights ago, I finished constructing the breastplate portion of Gilan’s armor. Made from a single piece of leather with attached pauldrons, the armor is fit to his unique body type and laces up the sides in elastic for a flexible fit. Though I’m enjoying his bishi-ness for now, I plan on making him a tunic, kidney belt, cuisses with articulated knees, and arm armor in the weeks to come. I’ve even managed to find awesome leather boots on eBay which would compliment the outfit perfectly (though I haven’t purchased them yet). I also, just this morning, put the finishing touches on his new cloak, which is fully lined and very heavy.

But not everything is going peachy in my room. Liddell is here on vacation (from Lacey), and she’s starting to stir up trouble!

Earlier this morning…

Gilan: (kneels) Little Ari?

Little Ari: Gilan?

Gilan [Elvish]: Now possessing both sword and armor, I find that I am now able to swear my fealty to you as your protector. Allow me to be your knight–a shield against all the evil in this world. Even if all the depths of hell should rise up and attempt to overtake this world in a horrific apocalypse of disease and death, I shall stand before you, unafraid, and fight for your safety. Even if the sky should open to rain death down upon this world…

Gilan [Elvish]: (continues swearing noble fealty to his Little Ari)

Little Ari: (has no idea what Gilan is saying, but it’s in Elvish and is therefore very pretty, so she’s fairly certain he’s professing his undying love for her)

Gilan [Elvish]: …were you to be struck down with a horrible, skin rotting disease that left you miserable and helpless, with my holy sword I should smite the evil possessing you and restore you to glorious health. Having sworn…

Liddell: Oooooooh, pretty hair….!

Gilan [Elvish]: Woman? What are you doing?

Liddell: (giggles)

Liddell: Oh, hey Little Ari!

Little Ari: You… you hussy! You leave my Gilan alone! What happened to Man Toy?

Gilan: …

Liddell: Man Toy’s too BIG! *wink* But this hot little redhead is just my size… hehe

Little Ari: You… you wench! This is my room! I saw him first, so hands off!

(Liddell and Little Ari continue to argue)

Gilan: (walks away, thinking) Curse it! I spent all week writing that speech. Now I’m going to have to start again from the beginning.

 

Later…

Liddell: So? Which of us do you like better, Gil?

Little Ari: Yeah! Come on, Gilan. You have to choose!

Gilan [Elvish]: (mumbling) Goddess take me now… -.-*

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