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cross-posted to tumblr.

When I first began living on my own, I didn’t really have any furniture. I started with an IKEA bed and a hand-me-down dresser; from there, I added wobbly particle-board bookshelves and lumpy couches left behind by previous housemates. By the time I was getting ready to move into my current house, a year and a half ago, most of my furniture was, frankly, kind of crappy.

So I started scouring Craigslist, and checking the furniture section at the thrift store, and called in favors from a few friends who owned vans or SUVs. When I moved into my new place, I had ditched most of the old stuff and replaced it with better-made, better-looking vintage pieces, almost none of which cost more than $200 individually (and that was for a midcentury modern dining table with eight teak chairs). Since then, I’ve also swapped out most of my particle-board bookshelves for hardwood replacements. I still pick up nice pieces when I see them and the price is right— most recently, a glass-fronted cabinet ($25), a velvet settee ($300, which is more than I’d usually pay), and a coffee table/console/end table set ($100).

collage of furniture photos
Actual furniture & art currently in my house.

There are a lot of reasons I prefer my current furnishings to the old ones. Well-made vintage pieces are sturdier, last longer, can better survive dis- and re-assembly, and (in my opinion, anyway) generally look nicer. I do still have a couple of Billy bookcases and a Lillesand bed, but I am also a human person under the age of 40 and living within 50 miles of an IKEA, so that’s kind of inevitable.

There’s one other good reason for buying vintage that gets overlooked. The furniture and other housewares I’ve bought secondhand will not lose value; in fact, should I ever resell them they will probably go for more than I paid. 

Because here’s the thing: if I hit a rough patch, or an unexpected medical bill, or other major unplanned expense, I am probably not going to have to resort to hocking my laptop or my few pieces of good jewelry. I can sell my 1930s enamel-topped breakfast table (bought from Craigslist for $85; would resell for $200 easily), or my 1920s spool cabinet (bought from an estate sale for $25, would fetch $250+ at an antique store), or a few of the thrifted paintings off my walls. They are all lovely things that I enjoy owning very much, but I would be fine without them and I would find equivalent replacements eventually.

So: let’s say you want to start divesting yourself of particle board. How should you start? What should you look for? How much should you be willing to pay?

they're more like guidelines, really )
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pretty pretty dresses below the cut! )

In conclusion: Next time I have a booth at DC Big Flea, someone else should probably hold onto the cash, and also my wallet.
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 Got my Yuletide assignment! v. excited. Also have at least one treat planned that I'm REALLY looking forward to.


Oct. 25th, 2014 11:27 pm
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This will be my tenth year of participating in Yuletide. I am probably disproportionately proud of never having defaulted so far.

Dear Santa: You are a rock star and I am wildly unlikely to be unhappy with your story. Things I like: adventures, inventive use of tropes, female characters getting cool stuff to do, pining (especially pining that is resolved happily), outsider perspectives, fish-out-of-water hijinks, found families, mistaken identities, secret identities, interesting worldbuilding. I am not fond of power imbalances, significant age differences, or noncon.

requests! )

Past Yuletide letters: 2013, 2012, 2011

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 Have been listening to Sleater-Kinney A LOT since they announced their new album and tour; sadly did not get tickets to their DC show because by the time I got the page to load (at 9:02, with tickets going on sale at 9) they were ALREADY SOLD OUT, WHAT EVEN.

Am having my periodic "should I learn to vid? I kind of want to learn to vid" phase, mostly because the lyrics to "Combat Rock" are SUCH a Captain America vid that I feel like it might actually be a little TOO on the nose. 

In other news, have been having wonky sleep patterns and not getting as much writing/comicking done as I'd like, so probably now is not the time to learn to vid. Sigh. But I have been doing stuff! Went to a zine thing in Brooklyn; went to Capclave; did the Halloween window at the shop.

I feel like I'm posting a lot more on tumblr than here, though. Sorry, guys. But I'm putting together my Yuletide signup and will have a letter shortly!
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May I face every day with the drive of Leslie Knope, the enthusiasm of Chris Traeger, and the aggressive weirdness of April Ludgate.

(real talk: I may actually start saying this in the mirror on particularly discouraging mornings.)
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In addition to the various comics projects in the queue, I want to make some more paper doll books. Am currently two-thirds done with a 40s/50s set, with Thoughts about many more. Anyone want to help me prioritize, or have further suggestions?

eta OH ALSO I forgot I started a set of Bucky Barnes paper dolls at some point, that is a thing I would like to finish eventually and also I guess i should make a dude paper doll set at some point right? 

Poll #15973 paper doll picks
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 7

Which paper doll set(s) are you most likely to want, should I make them?

View Answers

1940s/50s clothing
1 (14.3%)

1920s/30s clothing
3 (42.9%)

1900s/10s clothing
1 (14.3%)

Orphan Black (with interchangeable hairstyles for each clone)
1 (14.3%)

Ladies in Sensible Armor (feat. Alanna of Trebond and Sabriel)
5 (71.4%)

Ladies of Classic Who
2 (28.6%)

actually just one whole book for Romana, why not
1 (14.3%)

Ladies of AtLA/Korra
4 (57.1%)

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This would probably also be a good time to note that you can buy digital copies of both the original comics I debuted at SPX, as well as the paper doll book I made. Available here!
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Trying to decide what I want my next comics project to be. There are kind of a lot of contenders, and I can really only do one at a time. Would very much appreciate opinions, as I am at the “but I want ALL of them, right now” stage and cannot narrow it down.

Option 1:
Adapt the YA novel I wrote some time ago into a comic.

Elevator pitch:
Teen girl reads too many fantasy novels, longs to be a sparkly special chosen fairy princess. Learns that magic is real and some people are, in fact, sparkly, special, etc; however, she is not one of them. Her bratty kid sister is, though. Also, magic is dangerous and adventures are scary. Kind of what you get if you put Un Lun Dun in a blender with Northanger Abbey, salted generously with Narnia. Kind of.

already know how the story plays out, have good sense of what the characters look like, not super long as the novel ran a bit short.

Cons: Still much longer than anything I’ve done, would need to write a proper script first and probably make a lot of changes, possibly a bit of a stretch for me drawing-ability-wise.

Option 2: Adapt a friend’s screenplay into a comic.

Elevator pitch:
Superhero story about what happens when you have superpowers that aren’t up to scratch for actual crime-fighting. (You do children’s parties, is what happens.)

Screenplay would be easier to turn into a comic script than a novel. Has majority-female cast, characters of color, queer characters. LOVE the concept, and feel like it’s actually something superhero comics haven’t done much of.

Long, again. Not my own concept, and while friend is interested in collaborating, have never actually drawn someone else’s script before. Several characters are clowns, and I am scared of clowns and do not want to draw them repeatedly.

Option 3:
Make a bunch of short comics about witches.

Elevator pitch:
Remember that post that went around recently, about two witches who both arrive to claim the same firstborn baby? I kind of tripped and fell and worked out character designs and names and some bits of plot for this. Basically it’s what happens when Molly Weasley and Maleficent have to co-parent; many Odd Couple shenanigans ensue.

Could do this as a bunch of short comics, rather than one long thing. Really adore the concept. Have worked out many, many jokes about the Maleficent-esque witch’s familiar, who was a cat before she turned him into a human and made him go to law school so he could handle her legal and financial affairs.

Not actually my own idea. Have nothing written yet, and not sure if idea will cohere into an actual, engaging story.

Option 4:
Put together anthology of short nonfiction comics about amazing women in history.

Elevator pitch:
Collection of 2-4 page comics about little-known but really really awesome women in history, each accompanied by a 1-page bio. Would feature Tumblr faves like Julie D’Aubigny; my personal wish list for this includes Hannah Senesh, Mary Bowser, Lucy Stone, and a few others. The friend I worked out the idea with suggested the title “Firebrand,” which I LOVE.

Relevant to my interests, would put my obsessive knowledge of historical costume to good use, have been wanting to do a Kickstarter-able project and this seems like a good candidate.

Collaborative projects take a ton of effort and energy, between rounding up contributors and nudging everyone til they send in their stuff and actually putting the book together and so on. While I pride myself on my cat-herding skills, not sure if this is achievable right now.

As I said, I am currently paralyzed by indecision and cannot choose. Thoughts and suggestions welcome. Anyone?
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(cross-posted to tumblr.)

1. Upon entering, ask "Is this a thrift store?" The salesgirl will patiently explain the difference between a thrift store and a vintage store (to wit: thrift stores sell whatever they are donated, from any time period; vintage stores sell items carefully hand-picked from, mostly, the decades prior to 1980). Thirty seconds later, tell the friend you have been on the phone with since you entered that you're at the thrift store.

2. You are, of course, here because you have been invited to a costume party; even odds on whether it's a Seventies party or a Gatsby party. Tell the salesgirl you want either a Pucci print maxidress or a beaded flapper dress.

3. When she explains that those items are rare, expensive and (especially in the case of flapper dresses) basically nonexistent in a wearable size or condition, get extremely huffy. Be sure to dismiss out of hand the half-dozen historically-accurate alternatives you are offered.

4. When the small child you have, for some reason, brought with you begins to get bored/cranky/hungry, do not under any circumstances change your plans to accommodate this. When the salesgirl attempts to distract and entertain your child by inviting them to try on hats, grab your child by the upper arm and order them to wait patiently without touching anything. Repeat every three to five minutes as needed.

5. When browsing, never read price tags. Instead, hold each item up and demand to know how much it costs. Do not show the salesgirl the tag until prompted to do so. Once informed of the price, emit a small, disbelieving huff. Honestly, $18 for a signed piece of 1960s costume jewelry? That's barely less than half of what a lower-quality piece would cost new! Outrageous.

6. When told that an item of clothing is not your size, try it on anyway. In fact, try on as many items as you can, ignoring your salesgirl's recommendations whenever possible. If you pop a zipper or shred an armscye in the process, that is hardly your fault.

7. Do not, under any circumstances, put clothes back after trying them on. Endeavor to leave as many items as possible on the floor, in a pile, unzipped and inside out.

8. Ask if you can put a pair of $5 clip earrings on hold until the weekend. When told there is a 24-hour limit to holds, insist that you will come back for them. Do not give in!

9. Time to make your sole purchase: a pair of $6 sunglasses. Here is where your earlier disbelieving huffs will pay off. Having established that the shop's prices are insultingly high, you may now haggle. Just like you would at H&M.

10. Pay with a credit card. Do not ever come back for the clip earrings, ever, no matter what.
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THE COMIC IS DONE. And with five days to spare before it has to be at the printer!

Would anyone be willing to give the final version a once-over for typos, bits I forgot to color, and other small errors? I've been staring at it for so long I don't trust my judgement anymore.
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Current break-from-drawing activity: Writing about the Quill family’s sad yard sale and the aliens who unexpectedly crash it.

It is really annoying when the POV character can’t know another character’s name for most of the story. I feel like I’m writing Sentinel fanfic in 1996 or something. At least I haven’t had to resort to “the taller man,” “the blond,” or “the Mountie.”
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I'm doing DC Big Flea this weekend, which will be my first time as a vendor. Eep! Exciting, but scary. Right now I'm trying to figure out how I'm getting all my inventory out to Chantilly to get set up.

Actually, if anyone knows someone with a cargo van, minivan, or even a large SUV who'd like to make a bit of cash this weekend, could you pass them on to me? On Friday morning I need help loading, transport to the Dulles Expo Center, unloading, and then on Sunday evening I need the same in reverse.

I also would love to have company during the show itself, if anyone would like to come along or pay me a visit while I'm there. Let me know! I'm in booth 302 on Aisle E-- nearly to the end of the row, on the right.
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Apparently the stunt coordinator for Buffy S1-S4 has posted a shit-ton of his behind-the-scenes home video to Youtube. I am OVERCOME WITH FOND NOSTALGIA.

(also, remember when that dude had a super public meltdown on the Bronze? Also, remember the Bronze?)
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Have worked out a pretty thorough cast list with the babysitting charges (eta: and additional suggestions from [personal profile] ellen_fremedon), as follows:

Kermit as Valjean
Sam the Eagle as Javert
Miss Piggy as Fantine
Link Hogthrob as Tholomyes
Rolf as the Bishop
Janice as Sister Simplice
Sweetums as Fauchelevent
Statler and Waldorf as the Thenardiers
Robin as Gavroche
The Electric Mayhem as Thenardier's gang
Gonzo as Enjolras
Rizzo as Grantaire
Scooter as Combeferre
Fozzie as Courfeyrac
Beaker as Joly
Bunsen as Bossuet
Clifford as Bahorel
Beauregard as Feuilly
Pepe as Prouvaire
the Swedish Chef as M. Gillenormand
...with the token humans playing Cosette, Marius, and Eponine
(also Camilla is going by Patria for the duration)

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Trying to find new anxiety meds is no fucking fun. Relatedly, I basically have to write the last week or so off as a loss.

On the bright side, I managed to shower and get out of the house long enough to make a vintage-buying house call, and am now in possession of fifty-plus STUNNING 20s-50s summer dresses. Go me!

I have written the first thousand words of like eight different MCU stories and have stalled out on all of them. Dammit, brain.
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Having finished the Buffy zine right under the wire (woo!) I am now realizing that someone other then me should probably look all the finished zines over before they go to print tomorrow.

Anyone want an advance peek? I really just need you to check for typos and tell me if the formatting looks wonky on your computer.

Buffy, AtLA, and my solo zine need looking at right now; I also am going to TRY to eke out the needed Young Wizards pages and get it done by tonight.
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So, I am off work this week and going a bit stir-crazy at home. Anyone interested in an outing tomorrow, either to do touristy DC things or to see Cap 2 again or both?
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Had a conversation yesterday about how Sam Wilson and Maria Hill should be BFFs, because reasons )

Additionally, I have decided that I am cool with Natasha's spoiler )
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