How We Do It: Leather Stuff

Very cool “How We Do It” by one of the other artists I met in the AA at Knightrokon this past weekend! Check it out!

Practical Futilities

  We love to use leather to make creations: masks, over the eyebrow headpieces, eye patches, fortune cookies, bracers, What Would Neil Patrick Harris Do bracelets, emoticons (sweat drop/pulsing vein and question mark/exclamation point), Avatar: The Last Airbender top-knot, Avatar: The Last Airbender element hair ornaments, and more.

A lot of people ask us about how we make our leather masks. Well, it’s no secret.


For our leather work, we use what is called Veg Tan leather. It’s a sturdy, approximately 1/8″ thick hide.

First, we trace our pattern.

Then, we wet it down using a spray bottle and water (so the moisture is even). This the key to working with leather. If you don’t need the extended working time, you can also using rubbing alcohol, which will evaporate, drying faster.

Once the leather is wet, we can begin the cutting process. The wetter the leather, the easier it is…

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One week away…

In just a week from today, my husband Charles,  and I will be celebrating our very first anniversary. Hard to believe a year has already blown by, but it has been pretty great.

I always thought the “it’ll be different when you’re married” saying was silly, but it isn’t entirely untrue.

Charles and I did have a few traits that surfaced that hadn’t since 2004, which is pretty astounding. But nothing that made either of us wonder “who did I marry?”, so that’s good.

One of mine was I apparently want things that aren’t mine until I have them, or once I have them I forget it wasn’t mine briefly after obtaining it. I realize that sounds bad for a woman celebrating her first wedding anniversary,  but this doesn’t apply to people or relationships. Let me explain with two stories.

Forgetting it wasn’t always mine:

We always had our sides of the bed,  but he always took the side with the night stand.  I had wanted the nightstand side, and after I had my wrist surgery, he “loaned” me his side.

It’s mine now.  It makes sense. I have glasses, he does not. I operate the alarms, he does not. He only snoozes them. I have jewelry and such that a night stand holds so nicely…but I digress.

So the other night, he asked if he could have his side back. I was confused. I told him “that is your side”…at which point he reminded me of how I obtained it, which had slipped my mind. Oops.

Once I get something…:

Charles always sat in the recliner on the right side of the couch, and I on the left. After a while, I started sitting in his spot when he wasn’t there. He asked me why I was there and not in my normal spot, and I said “I guess I just miss ya and I feel better in your seat. ” He accepted this, I moved, life went on.

The next time, he asked, and I said “this side is more comfortable” to which he replied “they’re exactly the same” to which I said ” the red recliner is blocking ny view of the tv there. Can’t you just sit in the recliner?”

Finally, he began sitting in the red recliner, and the coach recliner was now my spot.

Then,  one day, when he came home from work, I was sitting in the red recliner.

“No. Not this again. You always take my spot.” He groaned. “First it was my pillows, then my chair, then my side of the bed.”

“To be fair, that being my side of the bed makes sense…I have glasses and I set the alarms…and it’s more comfier!!” I chimed in.

“I would like my chair.”

“I didn’t even take your pillows. They’re the same ones I’ve always used since the night you got the new pillow.”

“I got the new pillow because I somehow ended up with all the flat pillows.”

(Skipping ahead…he had loaned me his fluffy pillow one night cause I had heartburn…and it’s been mine since. I totally took his pillows.)

So I gave him his chair back, then returned to my normal perch all pouty.

The next day, I was in his spot again. He asked why and I said “it has a massager and it’s comfier…”

“You just want it because it’s mine.” He said, sitting in my spot. He sat there the next night without complaint. And the next.

The following day, he came home from work, and I was in the couch recliner again. He laughed and sat in the red recliner and asked “so you’re back over there?”

“The red recliner is too warm. This one is more comfier…” I started to say when he shook his head. He knew where he would find me tomorrow.

He was right,  but since I’m aware of the behavior, I just steal his seat when he’s not there.


Charles isn’t innocent in all this. He had his secret traits too that had recently surfaced. He can’t deal with one laundry pile. He leaves his shirts in the oddest places,  like over the shower curtain,  around a bed post, inside the cushions of the red recliner, behind the couch…it’s like an Easter egg hunt when I go to wash the clothes.

But there’s been positives. He is oddly good at washing dishes. Charles was surprised by me knowing how to bread chicken. I knew it before, but since I so rarely cooked before, I guess it was new to him.

Looking forward to more years of learning, loving, and infinite silliness.

Love you,  my fella!!

First post of 2014 – Panda is BACK!

Well a very delayed Happy New Year to you all. To be fair, I totally got close to when Lunar New Year is sooooo, partial credit?

Obviously, I’ve been AWOL for a very long time. I have had an eventful few months, so let me bring you up to speed.


– Spent Christmas together with my family and my husband. It was the first time in the entirety of our time together (since 2004) that we were in the same place for the holidays, and it was awesome. We built a tiny snowman. We missed all the really bad weather. We even drove up and back in our own car and the car didn’t die (yet).

– During December, I noticed a distortion in my vision. Turns out I had a CNVM – Choroidal Neo-Vascular Membrane, which is when a view forms between the retina and sclera (the white part) in the eye, and mine was bleeding right near the Macula, so it was near the center of my vision. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything more serious or anything chronic, but I did have to get an injection directly into my eye, which was tough.

During the month of January, I was largely out of commission online, as looking at anything backlit, like my phone or laptop, was incredibly difficult, and reading anything was nearly impossible. I wore an eyepatch when I’d do my commission work, which I dubbed “Pirate Art Hour”. I still wear the eyepatch from time to time, but it’s not required nearly as frequently.

Earlier this month, the doc said it’s clearing up, which of course I noticed, and that a second injection should not be required. I was and am a happy girl.

–  On October 15, 2013 I launched an artist facebook page to display my work, get feedback, grow my audience, and seek out more commission patrons. I have been putting a lot of time and energy in there, and we just hit 100 likes about a week ago. LINK There’s the link for the page, if you want to come join the fun. I’m hoping to launch a giveaway sometime in the coming week, so come check it out!

Lightning Banner
– I recently entered an art contest drawing a custom outfit for Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, and I think it came out well (LINK). I will also be entering a contest drawing Diablo characters. I think I learned from the last time I entered a similar contest, and my sketched concepts are pretty dynamite, if I do say so myself. If you know of or are hosting a contest that I should enter, shoot me a line here! I wanna get into more.

– I’ve applied to an upcoming artist alley, my first where I’m participating in more than the art show (which I did in 2001 at Otakon). I’m still waiting to hear if I got in, but I should know in March. Wish me luck! ❤

– I began working again, returning to a QA testing position at n-Space on a secret project, so my NDA prohibits me from saying more, but from the look of things so far, the game will be brilliant. First time being a part of the same team as Charles, which has not caused even a little trouble because he and I are totally PRO. We understand that man and wife can work in the same place and not be all up in each other’s business constantly or having domestics in the lunch room or anything like that.

Only one day a week so far, which will increase as the project ramps up. Not to mention, this schedule allows me time to keep doing my art stuff, running my facebook, and hopefully continue writing this blog, which I have neglected for so long.

13 - 1And now I’m tired. Haha! Got a little cold, so I haven’t felt my best. I woke up early too to help my sis (she’s almost a DOCTOR!) …so part of me just wants to curl back up under the covers. I think I shall rock some dayquil and try to make some art today.

Be seeing you again soon, I hope.

Day 49 – 60: Been a while…

I totally had not realized that it had been nearly 2 weeks since my last blog entry. Just slipped my mind, I suppose.

I picked up reference photos for the next art commission for Pizza Xtreme. It’s coming along nicely, but there have been some stumbling blocks on the way, compliments of my still recovering wrist. These piece demand more accuracy than my usual pieces.  The setting amd person are real places, and so it takes a lot more attention to detail to capture a likeness

Shading is also a challenge. If I blend for fifteen minutes or more, my hand begins to cramp up. I got enough time to shade a portrait without pain, but tgese commissions I have now are both extensive and intricate. I’ve had to do them in bursts.


Click the link below to view on DeviantArt.

The Elven Queen by Miserie on DeviantArt
One of my warm up pieces is now available on my deviantart page as a print. Take a look at the above link to view or order a print.

I always do warm up pieces. It’s a little test to make sure I’m on point when I do these commissions. Commissions are meant to be my best work,  and sometimes I have a day or two along the way where my lines are messy but my coloring is great…or vice versa, or I just cannot draw/color anything decent at that moment and I try again later.

Creativity isn’t a switch. We can’t just turn it on or off. So I test mine out.

I actually have many people on DA who provide me with lineart to test color on. I’ll share some of my fave groups and creators in a future post.

As for lines…that’s all me.

Gym return was delayed but I shall be returning this week. I was a bit under the weather early this week. But Tuesday morning is it. Woulda been Sunday but since football season began we have been spending Sundays woth his parents so I’ll be far from the gym. Have been swimming though.

More later…

Day 42 – 48: Wacky Schedules and Pleasant Surprises.

It’s been a busy week.

I’m creating an etsy shop for my mum’s handmade crocheted blankets. Got 9 baby blankets to list, but I had to source some packing materials and see what shipping costs look like.

I really want to offer free shipping somehow,  but so far it’s looking like a lofty goal. Til I find a placr to cheaply yet nicely source boxes and packing materials from, it may be out of reach.

I’ll be making a post about our shop as soon as it goes live. Her blankets are truly beautiful and I know you guys will love em.

I got a cool, very part time gig, mocking up website designs in Photoshop for an awesome web design company in New York. Totally on the as needed basis, but the pay grade is great and the work is fun. I hope to get more work soon. My first project went out the door and the client chose my very first design. It’s just great!

I’ve played lots of Sims 3, made lots of art, and started prepping minis for my D&D figurine shop.

Fella got the day off. We stayed at his parents’ house and right now I’m cooking cinnamon rolls.

Votr update coming soon.

Luna Pop

My padawan drawing lunar: silver star story’s Luna inspired by pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe per my challenge.

Oandasan is my Eternity

Luna Pop

This was a challenge request that I did luna from the game LUNAR Silver Star Story.. I made her like a pop star ( marilyn Monroe) ‘cept I kept her original blue hair .. and made her modern.. made with only a mousepad, and the on the program paint.. Super super fun.. Slowly getting better.

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Day 41: (9/9/13 late post) – Sixmonthiversary


Charles and I got hitched six months ago,  and it’s been an amazing journey so far. Through the trials we’ve faced and joys we’ve shared, we’ve stood together…as we always have…but our bond just seems to grow even stronger with each passing day.

Most recently, he’s been so great with the recovery from my wrist surgery.  Helpful in taking up extra housework even though he so often works late and more often lately hasn’t had many weekends off (including labor day). Selfless in giving up his side of the bed so I could prop my arm up more comfortably, 3am runs to the fridge for more ice, and cvs dashes for pretty much anything I ask for to make my recovery go smoother or be a little less boring. 

Wrist is healing up nicely,  and I’m not sure how I coulda got through the anxiety before and recovery progress I’ve made so far without my Fella.

The day before our sixmonthiversary,  I was so happy he had the day off. I figured, as we watched football, that this would be the time we spent together for the mini-milestone. It was a little sad, but we had fun with his folks – I’d not pass up the chance to see them either. He’s my hubbs but he’s their son and I know how to share. Not to mention,  they are both really wonderful people I enjoy spending time with.  It was a good day-before-sixmonthiversary-quality-time session.

It didn’t hit me fully, til we were driving home, that Mondays at his work were the worst for lateness. There was a high likelihood that I wouldn’t see him at all beyond the morning send off til Tuesday morning, since I usually fall asleep before he gets home Monday nights. I been so moody lately, and it made me a little weepy. He apologized, which he didn’t have to do (totally not his fault) that he had to work…he and I stayed up later than we should have that night just reminiscing about our big day just six months ago, being up long enough for midnight to roll in so we could say “Happy Sixmonthiversary” all official-like on the actual day.

So the next morning I sent him off to work. I threw myself into artwork, drawing the runners up in the crowd creation art vote. Completely finished the goddess, and began work on the apace valkyrie, and he let me know he could at least make lunch. We enjoyed some taco bell and held hands while ate our burritos,  and I was so happy to see him.

When he dropped me off, his absense was felt, and the presence of my painkiller was too, so I caught a little nap. After about an hour or so, I woke,  and decided to call my Mama and chat a bit. I mean, when you’re blue, ya either call hubbs (who was in meetings much of the afternoob) or Mama. They both make me feel better.

While I was on the phone with Mama,  there came a knock at the door, and I answered it. There stood a man holding the flowers, saying, “Flower Delivery for Jaclyn Stuard.” I knew who sent them, of course,  and it was so super sweet.

The delivery guy was worried passing the vase to me with the battle damage on my wrist, but I assured him I had it. I qas quite tickled the guy actually said Stuard properly, not Straud or stward.


“Mama, I got flowers!” I said over the speakerphone call to my parents.

“He got her flowers, Leland…did you hear that? He got her flowers. You should take some notes from this boy.” Mama said playfully.

“Yes, Ma…I heard.” Dad replied,  obviously pleased with her tone, but he returned to his normal voice and said, “That’s very nice of him.”

We gabbed about the types of flowers in the arrangement, all the while Mama would point out her favorites to Dad-la in case he “didn’t know.” They were red and yellow, like our wedding colors, since my fave flowers (the daffodils) were out of season.

My brothers dropped by mom’s house,  and both were congratulatory. Jenson vocally, while Jarod’s nod was relayed verbally by Mama

Mama, Dad, and I chatted a little longer before I was ready for another nap, as were they. We said our farewells,  then it was off to sleepy land again. But not before my mini photoshoot with my bouquet, sharing pics on social media.

I woke up around 6…when Charles is SUPPOSED TO be coming home,  and I was a little down again, but I keep looking at the sunshiney bouquet and thought, “he sent me those since he couldn’t be here himself…chin up, girlie. There’s more wedded bliss to come tomorrow.”

I was in the midst of updating vote posts and working on some pixel art when I heard keys turning in my door.  It was about 8pm, and I was ecstatic. My fella came through the door.  He had sneaked (or snuck…whatever) away from work to come make sure I was doing okay. He got glomped and thanked for the flowers as I told him how happy I was to see him.

He said that work had cleared out a bit, and he didn’t have much left to work on, and asked if I’d come with him and keep him company. I started grabbing up my art stuff and he said “you don’t need all that stuff. Just take what you NEED.” I grabbed my keys,  wallet, cell, and meds (as I was due another dose), slipped on ny sandals, and we left.

He missed both turn ins for his work complex. Said he’d make the uturn but again he kept going. We finally reached the Jared jewelry store where we had gotten our wedding bands. He said “you’ve been wanting to get our rings cleaned and today seemed like a good day. ”

I was super excited, and he and I enjoyed the service by the gals there, trying to sell us even more jewelry.  They kept offering that I try on rings and I told them “I have all the rings I need.”

Once we reclaimed our rings, all super sparkly, he said it was time to go back to work.  I groaned a little, saying I shoulda brought my sketch book at least. He shrugged it off and he headed back. But he missed the shortcut.  So we took the long way there, and then turned early into the parking lot of one of my fave restaurants.

“This is too much…you gotta get back to work, lovey!” I said. “And I don’t have anything for you…”

He hushed me and said “I’m not going back, and I have you. I don’t need a gift ”

“You’re not going back to work tonight?!” I practically rocket launched toward him, hugging his arm tight from the passenger seat.  “Today is the best sixmonthiversary a girl could ask for.”

We grabbed dins, which was way yummy, all while talking, talking about our day and how sparkly our rings are now, and we watched the Redskins take on the Eagles on Monday Night Football.

We stayed up late again, chatting more like we had the night before. We were both thankful to have each other and to have so blessed with happiness. We have been apart a lot lately, but I should have known that day was just as important to him as it was to me that we be together on our sixmonthiversary.

I know I say this all the time, but I’m truly a lucky girl.  I found the love of my life, who’s sweeter and kinder than anyone who isn’t married to him or related to him could really imagine, and he even manages to surprise me with being even more of both than I had even realized. We learn more about each other every day, and it’s been a wonderful journey so far.  Can’t wait for the next six months…and the next…and the next, til our days are past.

I know when we’re old and grey,  we’ll still hold hands everyday and never go more than a few hours without saying, “I love you.” We’ll take care of one another. Honor and cherish.  Through the good and the bad. In sickness and in health.

I hope that everyone who reads this finds someone like I’ve found (nope…sorry ladies…ya can’t have mine!), or already has. And that when you do, hold on tight, and make sure to let them know they are loved as often as you possibly can.

This may all sound like sappy newlywed talk, but I’ve been with this man for over 9 years. The ring and last name may be new, but the love has been around for a long time.


I love ya, Fella. Totally for always and then some.

VOTE: Choose the Bard’s Instrument

Well, broke the tie by pulling in a judge who hasn’t been involved so far – the husband – who selected the bard.

The space valkyrie, goddess, and forest nymph will each get their own sketches,  we just won’t be voting on them. Valkyrie is underway now.

The first selection – what instrument should she play?


Pan pipe, Harp, Lute, or Fiddle? You can also suggest an instrument if you’d like. This vote will close Tuesday morning at 9am EST.

Let’s keep creating together. Spread the word,  and tell your friends to join us on the blog here to vote and get in on the fun! They can also join on on instragram (@sweetmiserie).