Monday, August 18, 2014

Sir Ansgar's Story About the Horses: The Quest

The Story About the Horses

“Did Sir Ansgar ever tell you the story about the horses?” Crio chuckled as the Paladins sat around the table.  Ansgar’s face grew hot and he quickly silenced Crio.  The story about the horse was a terrible memory, and over the years Crio had twisted it into a tale of boyish mischief.  But that wasn’t how the story went.
The silver haired mare, Ansgar had heard Princess Ralia rave to her hand maidens about the untamed horse with “hair so white it looked like silver”.  None of the Kingdom’s horse trainers could break her in and the Princess wanted her badly.

Ansgar loved the Princess, and not in a way he should.  As a sort of orphan son to the King, the Princess was like Ansgar’s sister in many ways.  But he couldn’t help where his heart wandered.

In the early fog of morning, Ansgar snuck out to the stables.  He would do this for Ralia.  He sized up the beast, and to his amazement, she walked over and lowered her muzzle.  Ansgar always had a way with wild things, maybe because he had a wild heart himself.  Ansgar talked softly to the white horse and gently pet her neck.  Turning her eyes somewhere behind Ansgar, the horse reared up her head suddenly and began to trot and neigh. 

“Ansgar, what are you doing?” a small voice asked.  Crio, the Steward’s son crept up to Ansgar slowly.

“Nothing, this doesn’t concern you.  Go away!”  Ansgar growled.  The white horse turned in the field and began to trot close to the fence.  Climbing atop one of the wooden poles, Ansgar stood and readied himself.  As the silver horse passed, Ansgar leapt but Crio grabbed his ankle, causing Ansgar to fall onto its back awkwardly.  Ansgar clung to the silver horse for dear life as she bucked and ran frantically.

“Ansgar!” Crio yelled as Ansgar was thrown from the horse.  The white beast stomped slowly to where Ansgar lay unconscious in the muck.  Higher and higher she rose until she was standing on her hind legs, hoofs aimed for Ansgar’s skull.

A loud whinnie woke Ansgar and he watched a black smoke creep into the horse’s mouth just before it collapsed beside him.  Scrambling to his feet, he faced Crio who stood motionless with his eyes clenched shut.

In the distance, the King and the Royal Steward came running from the market.

“Crio!  Ansgar!  Where have you two been?  We’ve been worried sick.” 

“Father,” Crio opened his eyes and looked up helplessly at his father.  “I was just trying to help.  I only wanted to help!” he cried.

“It’s okay, son.  It’ll be okay,” the Steward wrapped Crio inside his cloak and soothed him as he looked out into the field.

“What in the Heavens?” The King shouted as he too saw the white horse.  “Ansgar, what happened?” the King asked, holding Ansgar’s face in his hand.

“He wanted to tame the horse for Princess Ralia,” Crio blurted out of turn, “then the horse, she…she just collapsed.”  Ansgar narrowed his eyes at Crio.  How did he know?

“Have the Healer come take a look.  I’ve never seen a horse die like this.  It looks most foul and unnatural,” the King ordered a stable boy.

Crio stood staring at the full moon that had begun to rise as the sun yawned closer to the mountains.  In just minutes, the stable boy returned with the Healer behind him.  Kneeling down next to the mare, the Physician did a brief examination before approaching the King with an astonished look on his face.

“Majesty, the horse has fallen victim to the plague.”  The King’s eyes widened and Ansgar hung his head - the plague had claimed the Prince not long ago, too.

“Plague?  But how?  The Plague doesn’t fancy the way horses smell,” the stable boy chimed in.

Ansgar turned his gaze on Crio who was still focusing on the sky.  When Ansgar looked towards the moon again he gasped.  Half of its face was now black.  How was it so?

“What is it, boy?” the King gripped Ansgar’s shoulder tightly.  Suddenly Crio looked to Ansgar with a dark stare, a silver light flashing through his eyes like lightening.  

“Ralia, y-your Majesty,” Ansgar’s voice shook.  The Princess will be very upset to hear news of the silver horse.”

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Robin Williams Tribute

I know this is very late but I found a conversation from the movie What Dreams May Come that touched my heart.  May angels lead you in, Robin Williams.

Introvert Girl

I've seen Anxiety Girl and even Procrastination Girl, well there's a new awkward girl in town and she's Introvert Girl.  Equipped with small-talk repellant ray and an invisibility cloak, this gal also flies around in her hamster bubble craft.  "Up, up, and away from social interaction!" is Introvert Girl's motto.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Unedited Post-Baby Body

My post-baby body.  While it's not terrible, I can't say I'm thrilled with it (and this is 3 years after giving birth).  So why am I showing you?  Because it's not airbrushed, it's not on the cover of a tabloid throwing the words "How She Lost All Her Baby Weight In Just Weeks!" in your face.

That's not reality.  The loose skin and ashamed look in my eyes, that's reality.

Just moments after my son was born, the ugly thoughts began: "How long will it take to lose the weight?" "I'm not pregnant anymore, I have no excuse to look like this."

Celebrities and social media have forced us to compare.  Losing baby weight in record time has become a freakish obsession.

My son is 3 now and in those three years I've been pre-baby weight, I've been under pre-baby weight, and I've gained.  It's not easy to lose weight, it takes hard work, a ton of sweat, and dedication.  So if you lost all your baby weight or even some, great job!

But you know what?  Great job if you haven't.  I believe in being healthy and working out, don't get me wrong, but I also believe in being human, in the crazy wonderful life that starts when you become a mom.

Whether your body snapped back after giving birth, or not, one thing is undeniable.  Our bodies change permanently and forever.  Even at pre-baby weight, my pants didn't fit the same. 

I will continue to work on my health and fitness, but for right now, I want to celebrate my post-baby body:

1. My stretch marks mean my baby was growing into a strong, healthy boy.

2. My soft tummy makes a great pillow for my child's head when we're resting between making memories.

3. My arms are flabby but are strong enough to carry my kid away from harm and adjust to his weight as he grows.  I'm pretty sure I'll still want to hold him when he's 20, though I won't.

4. My brain has gotten ditzy but I think it's so I don't feel embarrassed as I make grotesque faces and silly voices while I play with my son.  Life isn't so serious anymore and that's good. 

5. My heart has gotten soppy.  I cry over those cheesy commercials I used to make fun of my mom for tearing up over.  I get it now.  My heart grew.

6. My hair isn't always washed, my nails aren't always polished, sometimes I look like a hobo, but it's because I'm doing what I need to do, I'm being a mom.  I'm cleaning up toys every ten minutes and making time for fun.

What's your post-baby body like?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zombie Baby Boutique Blanket

When an old friend of mine announced they were expecting their first child, I started thinking about things I could make as a gift.

I decided I was going to make a blanket and found a super easy tutorial for a boutique blanket (which I'd never heard of) from The DIY Mommy.  I love this blanket because it's very easy to make and it ends up looking very cute, classy, and timeless.

Here's what you'll need:
1 piece of regular fabric
1 piece of minky, flannel, or other soft fabric of your choice
Needle and thread or Sewing machine

The hunt for cool fabrics began.  I knew I wanted to do something cool and different.  Knowing the couple were fellow Walking Dead fans, I went on Etsy and found this fabric called Riley Blake Zombie Apocalypse in cream:

Get it from ThreeMonkeysBoutique here

I fell in love.  It's cute, funny, rad because it's zombie themed, but innocent enough for a baby blanket.  If you think I'm weird, you'd be right.  This fabric says fun things like: "Zombies don't generally hang out in cemeteries, they prefer fresh to preserved food" "Zombies can't climb trees" "Zombies can't read" "Zombies can smell fear" and "Zombies are attracted by loud noises and light."

I wanted one side of the boutique blanket to have the cool zombie fabric and the opposite side to be soft for baby. 

Again, I scoured Etsy for minky fabrics (because they are the softest fabric ever.  Like butta).  This chevron minky by Shannon Fabrics caught my eye:

Get it from GlamFabrics here

The instructions I found on The DIY Mommy are here but I went ahead and wrote out what I did as well just to confuse you ;)

1. Gather your fabric and if you need to, cut both pieces you'll be using to the desired length.  I wanted this blanket to be big enough to cover baby for a while.  Some baby blankets I see are very small.  I used 1 yard.

2. Place both pieces of fabric with the "front" sides facing each other (the side of the fabric with the design or side you want to be seen).

3.  Start pinning!  You NEED to do this.  I put pins in the edges of my fabric about an inch apart the entire length around.

4. Choose a colored thread that matches your fabric and start sewing.  You don't want this thread to show, so a crazy color isn't necessary. You'll want to use just a basic stitch here.  I sewed about an inch in from the outside edge of the fabric.  Pull your pins out as you go if needed, or just pull them when you're finished.  LEAVE ABOUT A 6 INCH SPACE ON ONE SIDE OF THE BLANKET UNSEWN!

5.  When you're done sewing, grab some scissors and cut the fabric off the corners of the blanket, making sure to not cut too close to the seam.  This is so you get sharper edges when you pull the blanket inside out.

6.  Put your hand through the space you left unsewn, grab the fabric, and gently begin pulling the fabric out of the hole.

7.  You may need to grab something and poke the edges (I used the eraser-end of a pencil) so that the corners get pushed out all the way.

8.  You've made it to the last step!  Now all you have to do is make the final stitch all the way around your boutique blanket. 

Voila!  You new have a beautiful, homemade gift that you can brag about.  I love this blanket because you can customize it as much as you want.  You could pick a colored thread if you know the nursery colors and/or gender.  You can pick a cool stitch for the final step if your sewing machine has that option (or if you're doing sewing by hand and are super talented).  I did a zig-zag stitch and it turned out great.

Hope you liked this D.I.Y., show me your boutique blanket in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Original Catwoman: Julie Newmar

Today I'd like to pay homage to the Original Catwoman, Julie Newmar.  This bombshell actress set the scene for Catwoman, the first ever to play the now famous sex kitten's role in a Batman TV series in 1966.

To honor the first Catwoman, I made some fan art with pencil and Sharpie.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Quest: The Grand Vizier Fan Fiction

The Grand Vizier's Back Story

"Out of the darkness twelve stars are approaching.  Of them, one's light shines bright and true.  This one the shadows fear." The royal mystic cast her cloudy blue eyes at the Vizier who thumbed a glass amulet underneath his cloak.  How could it be?  His face flustered.  "You must stop, Grandson," the frail white-haired visionary warned.  He flinched at the word.  How dare she address him as such?

"You will not utter that word again, old hag," the Vizier growled.  He would not accept the fact that he was born of a half-witch's womb.  The fact haunted him in every leer his stepmother, the Queen gave. 

The mystic turned her head away.  "They will all find out," she crooned.  The Vizier's hands closed into fists as his rage swelled.
"Leave my chamber!" He pounded at his table.  From twitchy lips came no more words, only incoherent mumbles as the woman pulled her distorted skeleton towards the door with her cherry tree staff.

The woman was senile.  Her vision could not be so.  He'd made arrangements to have them all killed. 

Someone knocked wildly at his door.  "Grand Vizier, a rider is at the gates.  He calls himself Crio and he beckons you." The Dreamer - he'd gotten away.  Stabbing the black scroll with his dagger, the Vizier shook with anger.
"Bring him to me!" the Vizier boomed.

The disheveled Dreamer was tossed into the Vizier's chamber.  The Vizier turned his nose up at Crio who stunk of stale sweat and upturned earth.

"Vizier -," Crio started.
"- Grand," the Vizier glared.
"Grand Vizier.  I've brought you twelve Paladins.  They've been selected by the Fates to turn the darkness away from Everealm."
"And?" the Vizier asked, bemused.
"And...The One True Hero, Grand Vizier."
"Do you forget that there were twelve Paladins before, all of whom FELL?" the Vizier shouted.
"Please.  Come see for yourself.  I beg of you." If it was true, that one of the Paladins was The One True Hero, he would have to devise a new plan.

Leaving his bedroom chamber, the Vizier remembered the night he signed the black scroll deep in the Marwood.  That same night his father, the Old King had entrusted the task of training The One True Hero (an honor that should have been his) to the orphan Ansgar they'd found in the woods.

"Not a skilled enough soldier" and frail "like a woman" the Old King had told him as he lay dying.  The only son of the King was given the title Grand Vizier: Chief Advisor to the Queen who hated him and had his birth mother slaughtered.

Yes, he would destroy the One True Hero and take the Sunspear to the Dark Witches of Marwood.  Then the Order of the Black Scroll would begin.  The Grand Vizier smiled darkly to himself.


Want more The Quest fan fiction?  Read about Sir Ansgar here