Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- retirement project May 5, 2015

Filed under: fun,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:56 pm
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That old shell of a van

might make a fun project for you.

Just think, when it’s done

you can make out in the back with a hot chick,

or at least a chick with hot flashes.

.

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poem- wall whispers February 2, 2014

Listen

to whispers,

stories in the wall.

Poems found,

Titles titillate,

tease, and

tantalize.

Writing on the wall

whispers

through the room.

.

.

.

Last weekend I started wallpapering my dining room with pages from a book.  I was given a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn last fall.  I already have a copy, and the gift had a broken binding, so I pondered ways to use it for practical purpose.  Today I’m putting the finishing touches on.  Most of the wall layout is fairly straight-forward, but I had 9 extra inches that I centred, and there I’ve been playing.  I’ve included copies of autographs we have in other Diana Gabaldon books (copied onto a blank page of the book to match perfectly).  I’ve cut graphic  bits from Part divisions and used them decoratively.  I’ve taken chapter titles and made them into little poems.  I’m really liking my very unique wall!  

 This is a close up on a ‘poem section’ made with section and chapter titles:

Je t’aime

beaucoup

passionnément

pas de tout.

Blame

Forgiveness

The toss of a coin.

wall-jtaimepoemdry

Here are the dedications (John’s is actually in the copy of The Scottish Prisoner and says “For John- No one looks better than a man in a kilt!”  Mine is in The Exile and says, “To Shawn, Wonderful to meet you in person!”):

wall-dedications

Here’s a step back at the wall.  The diamond medallions spaced across the top were from dividing pages:

wall-fullfinished

 

learning, looking back, and moving on October 29, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:42 am
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My father asked me tonight if I’d learned anything at ‘that conference’ I went to, and whether I would change anything from my last books as a result.

No.

So it’s perfect, as it is?

Yes, Dad.  It’s as perfect as I could make it.   I went to the conference for the NEXT book.  All the workshops I picked were about the next project.

A little while later he tried again, trying to convince me that I didn’t understand his initial question.  Wouldn’t I change things, if I was starting over now?

No.  The book is what it needed to be.

He sighed, sure that I wasn’t getting his point.

I know he didn’t get mine.

Every day you’d write a different book.  Every day your words are new.

You can’t look back.  The last project is finished.

There is no point writing if you’re not trying to write the best book you can, at the time.

There’s not point thinking about what you should/could/would do once it’s out, though.  Once it’s in the publisher’s hands, it’s no longer yours to fret over. It’s gone.  It has its own life.  It makes its own connections with readers.

Luckily, Grace is doing just fine.  I don’t have to worry about ways I may have failed her.  I poured the best I had into her world.  It’s done.  She’s being well received.  Is she perfect?  Well, probably not.  But she’s as perfect as I could make her at the time, which means, Yes. She is.

It’s like raising children.  You do the best you can, and then you send them out into the world.  If your personal imperfections cause trouble for your kids as adults, there’s no point beating yourself up about it, or even contemplating what you could have done differently.  You did the best you could at the time, and now you have to look toward the future and doing even better.

Behind us lies the way of madness.  There can be no room for regret, only moving forward, to become the best we can be for the next project.  We learn to improve for the future, not to improve the past.

Past perfect 🙂

 

sonnet 61 shoes February 17, 2012

Filed under: Poetry,projects — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:54 pm
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When we were in Paris last March, I found a shoe sale. I ended up buying a pair of black leather wedge shoes (for just 12 Euros!  John said, “How much?  Why don’t you buy the brown pair, too?” lol) Now, I don’t really believe in plain black anything, and those wedges seemed to me to be a black board just waiting for something to be written upon them.

So I looked for some fine tipped, permanent opaque pens.  I couldn’t find them anywhere within 100 km, so bought the Sakura pens on eBay direct from Japan, and waited for the day when inspiration would strike.

The day has arrived!

My plain black wedges are plain no longer! They sport the complete Petrarchan sonnet Canzoniere 61, in Petrarca’s original Italian. You might remember that this is the poem I translated for Grace Awakening.

Where there are inadvertent spaces (like where I needed to even up a line, and where the next word didn’t fit) I added roses. For each line of the sonnet I switched colours.  I completely free-handed these, and I was quite delighted that the entire poem fit EXACTLY between the 2 shoes!  Lucky fluke, eh?

I am quite contented with the result, and even more content that I did manage to get the project done before a year was up!

 

All done! December 6, 2011

Filed under: projects — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:38 pm
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Today, the straps and buckles arrived from Scotland at last, and so I was able to finish off the kilt.

I started by sewing down the waistband. You’re supposed to match the plaid across the front apron. If you look closely, you’ll see that the very centre matches, but the print on the band is smaller than the apron. This is because while it turns out the the Saskatchewan tartan is balanced left to right, it isn’t up and down (though it looks like it is!). I needed the full width (divided in half) of the fabric for my tall husband, and so I was forced to cut the waist band from the end.

I made the under closure with a strap of velcro on the apron that connect through a loop on the inside of the kilt.

The leather straps from Scotland needed stitch holes, so I used my Dremel drill to make them. The buckles are attached using fabric straps, that are matched to the plaid. The hole for the buckle prong is a half inch button hole. The fabric straps are hand stitched down, and well camouflaged.

And that’s it! My first kilt is complete! After some 30 hours of ironing and stitching by hand and machine later, the project in Saskatchewan tartan is complete. The sporran has arrived from Scotland via eBay, as has a pair of “Lovat green kilt hose.” The garters and a set of flashes are done. Now, we have to wait for my November 22nd Scotsweb order. Apparently the kilt belt is still not in, and the order won’t be shipped until Friday (December 9). A clan crest buckle, ecru hose, and a kilt pin will arrive with it.  An additional purchase was a kilt hanger.  A regular skirt hanger can’t take 3 lbs of kilt, but a kilt hanger is wider and has 4 clamps.  With luck, we should be able to completely outfit the husband of the house in his finery by Christmas. Stay tuned!

Would I do it again?

Well. Yesterday I picked up 4 metres of green and blue Alberta tartan…

.

.

1. hem the approximately 8 yards of fabric

2. set the lining

3. pin the pleats according to hubby’s preference

4. press the pleats

5. manipulate the pleats from the fit at the hip to the narrower waist

6. hand stitch the 7-8 yards of hip pleats into position

7. baste pleats onto the lining

8. hand stitch the waist pleats

9. add apron fringe fabric

10. add waistband

11. pull threads to make fringe

12. add buckle closures (2)

13. figure out inner closure…

14.  add hanging loops (sporran loops- rather than hanging loops, actually)

15. sigh dramatically as spouse models completed kilt!

Bird-13

and there we are September 2017…

 

 
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