Friday, July 31, 2009

I want one


Maija Baerngard - drawing by Todd Lockwood, coloring by wraith2099, hair removed by my dear husband, with help from Gimp
Last night was the end of Maija - my ridiculously awesome barbarian in our Midnight D&D campaign. A little background - in 4 or so years of my D&D playing experience, I've mostly played casters of some sort. They do some damage, give a few buffs, and are fun to play (like my halfling druid with the dire badger for a pet!).

Enter Carl, and Midnight. The world in a nutshell: gods took to fighting, the arrogant evil one got banished to earth, where he stuck out his tongue at the rest of the pantheon - and sundered the mortal plane from everything else. Evil god Izrador now has his own little playground with the rather unlucky folks left on earth.

Result: a pretty depressing place, where magic is illegal (unless you work for Izrador), being fey is illegal (unless you work for Izrador), reading is illegal (unless you work for Izrador - sensing a theme yet?), weapons are illegal (yup, same thing), and so on and so forth. Also, no extraplanar anything, and no contact with any deity but - can you guess? - Izrador.

I decided to break out a bit here, and played Maija, a Dorn female barbarian. Midnight gives PCs (heros like we should be!) heroic bloodlines, so Maija is a Northblood. Anything to do with cold - she likes! Not to mention the bonus Con...

So by the time we played last night, our characters had advanced to 18th level (raging, I had 366 HP, 34 Str and 34 Con), gained a second bloodline, been sacrificed by the elf queen to save the world and shatter the barrier enclosing the mortal plane, and ascended to demigodhood (no, it's not sacrilegious. It's a made-up world. We can do that and it's perfectly okay!), and were ready to square off against Izrador's demigod minions.

Which we did, rather successfully. I rather liked the full-round attack (3/4 hit!), Smite Evil, Power Attack, Hunter's Strike, 270 points of damage blow that Maija did to the other barbarian. And the fact that she's immune to negative energy drain (perk of the second bloodline) and sort of smiled when he tried it on her. Or the part where our halfling shapeshifted into a felhound, grappled the sorcerer, and proceeded to chomp on it for 4 rounds. Plus taking bits of the world, buffing them insanely, and running over Izrador's troops.

All in all, this campaign setting is amazing (ok, so playing a barbarian who can soak up - and deal out - that much damage helped!). Izrador is a jerk, so rather easy to unite against, and there's so much background in the book that it feels very real. Plus Carl is an awesome DM. If you like 3.5e, try a Midnight campaign sometime! You will not regret it (except, perhaps, when Izrador's legates are beating you to a pulp...).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well it's about time!

4 years ago was my wedding. We had this awesome photographer, who took TONS (like, 1200) of pictures, so you'd think we'd have a really cool album, right?

Nope. Bought the negatives, daunted by the possibilities (that perfectionist thing again), and never got it done! Even bought an album - just never put it together. So here we are, a week and a half before the big move (PA to CO!), and I'm finally doing it.

This is the progress, thus far:

It's a start! The real question is can I finish it soon enough to get pictures printed - before we move, and I have to find a new photo place I trust with my precious negatives!

(Looking for a good developer in Western Denver...)

Wenches of all stripes

First of all, I'm covered in cat hair. This is entirely irrelevant to the post at hand, but it was bothering me! Thanks to Peanut Butter and Jelly (no, I didn't name them - they're my friend's cats) for that. So now I'm sitting here at the shop, waiting for my car to be fixed (and drop another $1000 on it, I'm sure!), picking cat hair off me, and blogging. What else is new?

Back to the topic. Kia lent me her sewing genius this week - and is trying to make some of it rub off! - and helped me make a brand new chemise. The old shirt I had - well, it's getting old. Plus the poofy sleeves, while quite fun looking, are rather annoying at times! So it was time for something new to wear. I found some light blue-gray fabric on sale ($1.50/yard!) at Jo-Ann's, and got 8 yards of it. A garage/estate sale provided me with some really pretty lace at dirt cheap. So a new chemise it is.

Now here's the problem. Every time I go to the fair, I get more and more gypsy. Ok, so I can't do anything about the blonde hair. Sorry - I draw the line there. But still, I've racked up a pretty decent collection of scarves, belts, jewelry, etc., and can make a pretty nice gypsy costume out of it!

This fabric, though, is silky and pretty. And did I mention the lace? Add purple velvet bodice, and that it doesn't match my gypsy skirts, and I have a problem. It just may be that I have to go to faire this year and NOT be a gypsy. Or a pirate.

I might have to be - gasp! - respectable. Like an innkeeper's daughter (wait, no, that's Kia's role! I suppose I can't steal that). Perhaps a noblewoman? We shall see (and there will be pictures). I think I have a string of pearly-things that might work out well.

Nevertheless, I can't NOT be a gypsy, just for lack of a shirt. It's in my blood.

It just means I'll have to make another :) Less pretty (more wenchy?) this time! A gypsy's work is never done - and her wardrobe never complete.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What to do in your spare time

I've found a new hobby this summer. First you must understand that I am a teacher - or at least, have been for the last two years. Second, I used to play WoW.

To anyone *in the know*, this should immediately tell you that I used to have NO FREE TIME whatsoever. But now it's summer. And I quit WoW (for now, at least, until Kia talks me back into it). Read: I have free time now! At least til I move across the country in two weeks.

But for now, I have a new hobby. It started with going to Africa this summer, and being put in charge (okay, so I volunteered) of meals. Me, I like yogurt. And I've become rather fond of strange things, like bulgar wheat, wheat berries, and beans of many types. So I decided I needed some recipes, and I needed to know how to make these things that wouldn't be so easily found, say, 8 hours out in the middle of nowhere. So my experimentation began. Pita bread, yogurt, tortillas (on my lefse iron!), french bread. Modest experiments. But they worked!! So now I'm hooked. Why buy it when you can make it, and it's FUN? Now I've made some cheese, which tasted pretty good (needed salt), and bagels are next on the list to try. I'm not up for challenges, but this stuff is easy!

"Jungle Camp" Brownies are good (Thanks Maggie!) but I take issue with "makes 16" - not the way I eat them!

Pancakes are so bloody easy, why use a mix? More-With-Less (new favorite - discovered in Burkina!) has a good 10 different kinds. I made Wheat Germ Griddle Cakes (minus the mace - no clue what that is or where to find it!) this morning, in all of 20 minutes start to finish.

The upshot is, this is fun :) Trying new things, probably cheaper (but then, who knows?) and they sure taste better. Downside? My dear husband has more dishes to wash. Well. I suppose I can help with those - at least a little!

Check back for new recipes whenever I get the urge to try them (and feel like writing about it)!

An introduction

Back in college, titles and introductions were usually the last parts of my paper to be written. The content was so much easier to come up with than the snappy things that make a good start to a story.

The idea of writing on a blog has appealed to me for some time. I've got plenty to say, but like any good perfectionist, I was hung up on what to call it. One can write a paper without a title, but you can't really MAKE a blog without giving it a name (URL, etc.) first!

So I've finally thought of something. Were I ever to start a tavern, or a strange and random sort of B&B, it would be called the Barefoot Wench. Lacking either a tavern or a B&B, this blog gets that name instead.

It's a collection of thoughts and ideas, running the gauntlet from crafty things (new bodice, felted wool lamb that's next on the list) and recipes (made tortillas last week!) to favorite RPGs (D&D, LARP, MMOs) to musings on politics, science, religion and philosophy. Just like a tavern - a little bit of everything! Now if only I had an oil lamp and a mug of beer...

Update: I changed my name! I still would name my tavern the Barefoot Wench, but this blog is now the Handmade Gypsy. Moving a little more towards the craftiness that started it all!