Spring Break Cosplay Madness

Some people go to Florida for spring break (and believe me the Michigan weather sucked enough for it this week…boo, hiss!). We Grants make cosplay dresses. Many of you cheered me on through Ren Faire dresses and the Captain America dress, and I welcome your moral support on the journey to a Winter Soldier dress and another Captain America dress.

cap concept dress

The Captain America Concept Dress

While some people make cosplay costumes that completely mirror the character’s, my girls like to design their own, incorporating their own personal style with the character’s. I fully support this…why look like everybody else?  So…here are the concept dresses as drawn by the girls.


Here’s Captain America…if Cap preferred a little swing and a silver petticoat.

winter soldier concept dress

The Winter Soldier Concept Dress

Next up, the Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes. He’s dark and forbidding.

Now, those of you who have visited with me before know that I prefer to build on someone else’s labor. I buy base dresses at consignment stores and from clearance racks and spice them up. In this case, we decided to go with homemade base dresses and spice as needed.

Enter the fabric store and the pattern book…

photo(66)This is the Cap base dress. It will be in navy with only a rim of silver lace on the arms.

photo(67)When push came to shove, the Winter Soldier went even more strappy. It will be in a black stretchy knit (yes, a fabric type NOT recommended by the pattern folks) with a straight skirt. So really…not much like this pattern at all.

Of course, cosplay dresses are never complete without a corset, at least not when my girls are designing them. The one shown below on the upper right will be for Bucky.


Cap will be going with a fuller corset…more like the ones shown in this Dr. Who pattern.photo(69)

We actually broke ground (cut fabric today). I’ll try to keep you updated.  Cap will still need a shield and Bucky a metal arm, but I reserve that for a later post. The Doctor of Phabric, Joselyn Vaughn and her amazing sister, Lillian, Chris Allen-Riley, and Cousin L. can expect panicked phone calls.

There’s our spring break…what did you do for fun?



Climbing Heartbreak Hill…with the Meddlesome Matchmakers!

With the restyling of Joselyn Vaughn’s Meddlesome Matchmaker Series, Climbing Heartbreak Hill has also received a new cover. I love the new look! And the story? A must read.

Ready? Take a look…

Climbing Heartbreak Hill_500x750


Climbing Heartbreak Hill

A Meddlesome Matchmaker Novel

Professional runner, Ryan Grant, blows out his knee training for another attempt at the Boston marathon and the dreaded Heartbreak Hill. Ryan retreats home, not looking for anything more than a fast recovery, but he finds solace in the arms of his tax preparer, Tara Mansfield.

Tara’s cheerleading career ended abruptly and she faces an upward climb beating the stereotype as dumb blonde in her new calling as an accountant. Framed with defrauding the IRS during the last weeks of the tax season, Tara’s tentative confidence is shaken, but Ryan coaches her in ensnaring the true perpetrator. She cheers him on in discovering his identity as a coach rather than an athlete.

With the help of the junkyard king and a mechanical bull, can Tara and Ryan find the courage to climb Heartbreak Hill together?

Buy it here!

Other books in the Meddlesome Matchmakers series: Hauntings of the Heart and Sucker for a Hot Rod



Ta Da! Cover Reveal With Joselyn Vaughn!

You know I love her. You will too!

It’s Joselyn Vaughn…rocking a new set of covers for her fabulous romance (romance with a case of the giggles, that is) novels in the Meddlesome Matchmakers Series.

This week, the cover is a reimagining of one of my faves of Vaughn’s novels…Hauntings of the Heart. Check it out below. Hauntings of the Heart_500x750

Hauntings of the Heart

A Meddlesome Matchmaker Novel

When lost love shows up on your doorstep, what do you do?  Minnie Schultz slams the door in his face. She and Gordon Anderson have a history—close to ancient history, given the fifty years since their last encounter. After all that time, it might seem like water under the bridge. But the water pours from the plumbing in Minnie’s bed and breakfast, the Lilac Bower, uncovering all the secrets and heartache between them. With the help of some paranormal investigators, an Elvis impersonator and a couple of nosey friends, can Minnie and Gordon find the future they were meant to have?

Buy it here!

Other books in the Meddlesome Matchmakers series: Climbing Heartbreak Hill and Sucker for a Hot Rod



Appearance Update

I realize it would have been better had I posted this on Wednesday instead of Friday…but better late than never?

Last night was Saranac’s Girls’ Night Out, a street/art fair. The library hosted about fifteen local authors (Believe me, they are great hosts!). Kelly Tinkham, Joselyn Vaughn and I all shared a section with a good time had by all.


In my defense for posting so late, I do have another appearance next week Friday, September 25th, at the Fremont Art Hop. Also in attendance there will be Joselyn Vaughn, WS Gager, and JQ Rose. Would love to see you too!

A Ren Faire We Will Go…

So the girls hit me up this summer with a request to go to a Renaissance Faire. We’d been once quite a few years ago, so they kind of knew the deal and informed me they would have to go in costume. Egads! Now I’m a kind-of sewer. I can make flannel PJ pants. I can make Halloween costumes out of felt (no hems and lots of forgiveness). Bridget's base dress

But I can’t make a major costume without a little help. I knew I’d have to start with a base of some sort. For B., we found it at a local bridal shop on the $10 clearance rack of bridesmaid dresses.

Ren Faire base dressM.’s $25 wedding dress came from Mel Trotter.

B.’s dress required no alterations, which made me very happy. M.’s was a different story. I needed to let out the waist, take in the chest, lose the rosette and bustle and hem it. A lot. She’s not very tall after all. Not wanting to cut the train off, the hem job was a real undertaking.

After that I proceeded to do the additions. For B., I did an off-the-shoulder Bridget in costumechemise-type shirt and an overskirt. I bought one pattern for both of those. Unfortunately, the shirt was a complete bust. I ended up winging it completely. I cut 2 squares and 2 rectangles, threw in some elastic, and called it good. The overskirt was a success. Here’s what she looked like when all of it came together. I know I should have altered the vest to put the lacing up the front, but I just wasn’t up to that.

M. wanted more of a noblewoman appearance, so we went with a fancy gold fabric for an Meg's dressoverskirt. Bad choice. It frayed and puckered. Then it would fray a little more. Did I mention it frayed? By the end I just hoped it would last the day. Throw in a tiara (because she wanted one, people!) and we called her good. Admire that hem job on the wedding dress as you go by, folks. I actually ended up shoving a needle under my fingernail while doing it!

In the past, this particular Ren Faire was always held in October, and it was darn chilly. So in preparation, I made each of the girls a cloak. Again, it was hem hell. But they turned out quite nicely.


Bridget's cloakphoto-5








The only issue? The Faire got moved up to September and it was 78 degrees out. The cloaks got taken back to the van shortly after we arrived. photo-6

So how was the Faire? We had a tremendous time! Here are the girls with a friend from school and The Doctor. Which Doctor? Doctor Who! Because he was there and he looked fabulous. He even had a sonic screwdriver.

By the end, we were all sunburned and exhausted!




Hand’s on at the Ren Faire.





photo-10It was clearly a success. I will admit there were times during the process that we all felt a bit like this. But it was worth it!

At this time, I need to send major thanks out to the Doctor of Phabric who walked me through the choice of the base dresses, Joselyn Vaughn who interpreted patterns for me by text, and Christine Allen-Riley who traded encouragement texts at midnight the night before between seams. Thanks to all of you, I did it!

So…maybe next year I’ll actually try making photo-11 myself a costume. Bridget has already chosen this pattern for next year. Egads! Here we go again.


How about your fall projects? Going well?

Word Play

Since I’m a writer, I love to play with words. Recently fellow authors W.S. Gager and Joselyn Vaughn showed me a whole new way to turn what I write into a work of art.

Here’s the first chapter of my WIP, Reservoir, broken down to its core elements…those little 4-, 5- and 6-letter beauties that form a story.

Renny wordleIt’s a word cloud! Formed courtesy of wordle.net and my own first chapter. Wordle takes what you feed it and creates these maps. Words that show up more frequently are in larger type-face. (Who knew I used the word ‘one’ so often?) You can tweak the shape and color of the cloud, but it generates from what you’ve built.

Cool! Just another way to make art from words.

Give it a try with an email, dissertation page (hint, hint), a blog, or a page from your WIP and let me know how it goes.

Shades of Summer

I can’t believe summer is over. It was with mixed feelings I sent the girls out the door to summer farmschool on Tuesday–one to her first day of middle school, one to her first day of high school…sniff, sniff. Maybe now I’ll get the house cleaned, maybe I’ll get some writing done, I think. But I know that I’ll miss our impromptu trips to the beach and late nights seeing how many stars are out even more.

I never did post an update on the curb appeal project (but I will soon!). The walkway did get finished. Unfortunately, not much else did. Thank goodness, Mother Nature pitched in with all the day lilies, ferns and hostas, and the farmette ended up looking pretty good.

Summer was a whirl–a trip to Maine (hi Brenda!), our first foray into the world of marching band, the garden. But I wanted to share a few pics of writing and reading friends I spent time with along the way.

L-R: J.Q. Rose, Tess Grant, Joselyn Vaughn, and W.S. Gager

L-R: J.Q. Rose, Tess Grant, Joselyn Vaughn, and W.S. Gager

First off, the Artsplace in Fremont, Michigan. JQ Rose, Joselyn Vaughn, WS Gager and I met to talk about what inspires us during the dog days of summer.

My future fan

My future fan

Next there was the Reading Rocks Festival in Rockford Michigan. I met one of my future fans there…isn’t he a doll?

Kitty who is Irish with her copy of one of the Kitty Irish books.

Kitty who is Irish with her copy of one of the Kitty Irish books.

I also met Kitty who is Irish. Isn’t that a fun coincidence? Of course, she bought a copy of the first book in the Kitty Irish trilogy, Trajectories.

How was your summer? Make any new friends? Bump into any old ones?