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Tag Archives: Catherine McLean

2017 – The New Year!

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Darq here – as you can see, the gown Catherine made for me is sensational. It’s this rich, fire-orange-red velour with a glitter netting vest of eight layers with an enormous train.  Here’s the back view –

img_5673-use-backviewThe train’s eight tiers are alternating between pink and black netting. There are seven flowing “chains” that are incrediably lightweight. As you can see, there are “jewels” dangling from two of the upper, shorter chains. Here’s a frontal view of the dress and the vest –

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and, of course, there are the shoes!

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All in all, I had a very nice New Year’s eve party and will soon be back at the farm. Then it will be off to England where I’ll be interviewed by a witch and baking Fruity Cake for her orphans.

I wish you and yours a peaceful, joyful, and happy New Year!

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and me, Catherine E. McLean, author of JEWELS OF THE SKY, a sci-fi adventure novel where two weeks after the book debuted, I found a doll that looked just like Darq, the story’s starfighter pilot and heroine. The story is  about –

Survival or extinction? 

Mercy or miracle? 

One woman’s choice.

    Being a direct descendant of the captain who massacred the Mayans, Darq is a Wysotti woman and a duty-oriented, pragmatic interstellar fighter pilot. She doesn’t believe in miracles or forgiveness, or that J’Hi-inti (god) would ever rescind the death curse on her people for what happened to the Mayans. Only J’Hi-inti hears one compelling plea for reconciliation and decides to let chaos rule— and test Darq. After all, she’s a wild card like her nefarious ancestor. What will she do when she faces the ruthless alien fleet commander who spearheads the blitzkrieg that is to finally destroy her homeworld, and who she once witnessed murder her cadet comrades?  Blinded by hate and survivor guilt, all that stands between survival and extinction, heaven or hell, for Darq and her people is mercy— or a miracle.

For other books and stories by Catherine, go HERE

New, lighthearted, sci-fi short story with a romantic twist has been published in Nebula Rift – check out “Christmas on Kifel”here.

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Valentines Velvet and Satin–an Erte-inspired gown

DARQ: I wish all who stop by a Happy Valentine’s Day mine is going to be sensational because Catherine sewed another Erte-inspired gown for me so I could look fabulous at the dinner party I’m attending tonight in – oops, can’t divulge the location, national security and all that. Here’s the sneak peek at the gown–

IMG_2935 2015 Valntine notrain lteThere is nothing like velvet on my planet, Wysa, but I am totally in love with this fabric, and the satin lining. And the color.  And, yes, peeping out from the front hem is a pair of velvet and satin shoes!

IMG_2971I couldn’t believe how sumptuous this gown turned out to be. I love it, love it, love it!

And here’s the Erte illustration I picked out for Catherine to work from:

Erte ValentinesDARQ2015Oh, so you want to see the back of the gown?  Well, here ‘tiz–IMG_2960 lte

The “train” is attached to the back of the skirt, which is pleated. Catherine says the pleats allow the train to be wider than the regular skirt would have been. The train folds up and is draped over my shoulders.  IMG_2967 2015 Val lte

Since the dress is fully lined, Catherine did something interesting to the velvet side of the train–she twisted the fabric around to showcase the satin. . .

IMG_2982 lte

And then she had a brilliant idea to flip to the velvet side, which she decorated with a butterfly–

IMG_2907 2015Valentines BtrflyBack lte

So, one outfit, many ways to wear it!

As to the clasp, it flips so it works for either the satin or velvet side.

IMG_2922 2015Valentines Velvet fronttop 1IMG_2932 2015Valentines Pink fronttop

What’s the gown look like with the train is down?  Why–

IMG_2895 2015FEB erte liteIMG_2897 2015 ValentinesBACK V

Notice the V-neckline of the front and that the back one is decadently deeper.

CATHERINE: Your husband will appreciate that.

DARQ chuckles, then says: He’ll appreciate more undressing me after he discovers that plunging back V.

CATHERINE: I thought you had a limit on things you can transport when you ship back home.

DARQ: This is a must-have item.  I love this gown more than the white and silver Erte outfit you made me for New Year’s Eve, 2013.

CATHERINE: Wow, and double wow.

DARQ: Besides, Catherine, this gown makes me feel and look ultra-classy.  So, what’s the plan for St. Patrick’s Day?

CATHERINE, shocked expression on her face: You need another gown?

DARQ:  No. I thought maybe I’d take you and your hubby out to dinner, someplace local.  So, I guess all I need is regular wear.

CATHERINE: As in a uniform?

DARQ: No silly, civilian wear will do.

CATHERINE: What’s Wysotti civilian wear like?

DARQ: Huh?

CATHERINE:  I mean, how different from Earth fashions is your civilian Wysotti clothing.  Can you show me a picture or two of what you normally wear?

DARQ: You know, it would be nice to wear fashions from my homeworld . . .  When I check in next week with fleet HQ, I’ll see about downloading pictures of current fashions so you can work from them.  How’s that?

CATHERINE: Sounds good to me.

*** Stop back on St. Patrick’s Day to see Darq’s civilian Wysotti-wear.  In green, of course, because St. Patrick’s Day is for the wearing of the green!

NOTE TO SEWERS:  Darq’s Valentine’s gown is rayon velvet. I bought the fabric more than 10 years ago for the bib and sleeve cuffs of a dress I made for my local Morgan Horse association’s awards banquet.  There was a lot of fabric left over. I used some a couple of Christmases ago, when I made my daughter an “old fashioned” Christmas Stocking. Still there was an L-shaped piece left, and that’s what I used for Darq’s gown. I used all of it. No scraps left.

Interestingly enough, the longest side of that L-piece of velvet remnant was just long enough to make the train–from shoulder seam to tip of the train is 40″.  The gown is fully lined with metallic, stretch satin.  The hardest part about sewing the gown was hand sewing the hem and attaching the lining to the sleeves at the cuffs. I must have tried six different hand-sewing needles before I found one that would pierce the tough rayon, slinky satin, and the metallic threads in the satin.

Now my only problem is how to preserve the gown without crushing the velvet. So if you have any ideas, please let me know.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Broadway

IMG_2430 Darq Broadway USE

Catherine’s computer screen winks on with Darq’s smiling face filling the monitor.

DARQ: Hi, Catherine. Just checking in with you. I’m having a great time in New York.

CATHERINE:  Nice picture, but what’s with the marquee and blank background?

DARQ: Security reasons. Don’t ask for the details. I’m lucky the MIBs allowed me this picture for my album. I wanted the marquee in the picture so you’d know I was really at the theater.

CATHERINE: Considering you saw the movie “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” why would you want to see “Wicked?”

DARQ: I was fascinated by the reviews. By the way, it was an excellent play. Oh, and I’m also sending you a picture, also background blanked out. It’s from the weekend in Boston, at the Pops. The weather has been terrible.”

IMG_2319 2014 Nightout Darq w-flwrs

CATHERINE: It hasn’t been any better here. Freezing cold and snow. You look nice in black.

DARQ: Thanks!  I got lots of compliments on the outfits.  Gotta go, the MIBs are impatient to get brunchy-breakfast.  Oh, before I forget, I should be back with you the first of the week.

CATHERINE: Just in time for fittings for that Erte-inspired Valentine’s dress I’m making you.

DARQ:  Great! See you soon. Bye.

The connection ends.

***This blog will update Valentine’s Day with a look at Darq’s Erte-inspired Valentine’s outfit.

Follow this blog to stay abreast of Darq’s adventures on Earth with the author of her story, JEWELS OF THE SKY.

***To request emails only for when this blog updates, go HERE.

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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy New Year 2015!

Telephone rings at 5 a.m.

CATHERINE, only barely awake, picks up the phone from her bedside stand, and mumbles: Hello?

DARQ: Happy New Year, Catherine!

CATHERINE, grumbling something unintelligent, takes a deep breath and comes more awake: Happy New Year to you, too.  Where are you calling from?

DARQ:  The party. I’m on my way out the door.

CATHERINE:  I thought you were staying until Sunday. Was the party that bad?

DARQ, her voice lower:  “It was a nice party but, well, boring.”

CATHERINE: I thought my staying at home was a boring way to spend New Year’s Eve, but you went to some ritzy party!

DARQ: Not so much ritzy. The place was an architectural wonder.  All slabs of rock, cement, metal, linear–think Frank Lloyd Wright-ish.  And the interior–all white, black, chrome, glass–so pristine that no one dared get drunk or spill anything on the gold carpets. Standing around making polite talk is not my idea of welcoming in a new year.

CATHERINE: No saving grace for the place?

DARQ: Well, there was the view.  The towering mountains covered with evergreens. All dusted with snow. A full moon.

CATHERINE (hears helicopter blades revving up): So you’ll be home soon?

DARQ:  No. Change of plans.  I’ve been invited to New York City for a couple weeks to take in the lights and a play or two. I’ll let you know my ETA later. I have to go, but I’m sending you a picture one of the MIBs took of me in the Erte-inspired outfit you made me. Everyone raved about it.  Gotta go!

There’s the click of the disconnect, and Catherine brings up the picture Darq sent:

IMG_2761 12-2014 ERTE NwYr Window

 

*** Note to fashionistas and those who sew —  Below is a frontal view of Darq’s two-piece outfit. The skirt front has a “waterfall” effect, which took me two days to figure out how to make. The most expensive about the outfit was the pair of tassels that hang off the belt at the side seams. Making those tassels took three skeins of metallic gold embroidery floss.

IMG_2774 12-2014 ERTE NwYr POSED

And here is the Erte illustration that I worked from:

Darq-Erte NwYr2014 illustration And, yes, Darq’s wearing a new pair of shoes.  Blingy-gold (and made from duct tape).

 

***This blog will update January 15 with a look at Darq’s NYC visit (and outfit). Follow this blog to stay abreast of Darq’s adventures on Earth.

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Highlights of Christmas 2014

CATHERINE:  As promised, here’s a look at–

DARQ:  Let me tell the picture story of my Christmas day.

CATHERINE:  Okay, tell away.

DARQ:  The Christmas tree (an artificial one) was a-glitter with lights and sparkling ornaments of silver and kiwi-green.  With all the gifts piled under the tree, I  was hard pressed to ferret out my presents. At times it felt like I was drowning among the brightly wrapped gifts.

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However, I manged to find my three presents– Ta Dah!

IMG_2696  Xmas2014 DARQ Presents

What did I get?  Well, the contents of the bag was from my MIB detail and Santa. It was a red stocking filled with various wine samplers.  The little box held Catherine’s gift to me of earrings–and yes, I am wearing an old pair of red shoes (no new ones) and my Ugly Christmas Sweater (which, the more I wear it, the better I like it!).

IMG_2700  Xmas2014 DARQ Earrings-MerlotAnd in the big gold glittery box was–

CATHERINE: Hold it right there.  No revealing what’s inside that box.

DARQ: Why not? It’s the outfit you made for me for the upcoming Downton Abbey themed New Year’s Eve party I’m attending next week.

CATHERINE: But we won’t be revealing that Erte-inspired outfit until New Year’s Day, so don’t spoil the surprise.

DARQ: Can I just say it’s black and gold and white?

CATHERINE: No.

DARQ: Can I say it’s beautiful?

CATHERINE: Okay, you can say that.

DARQ: The Erte-outfit Catherine made is simply — BEAUTIFUL!

CATHERINE: Now that we have that settled, how about guarding the cookies so my husband leaves a few for me?

DARQ:  I’m on it!

IMG_2708 Xmas2014 DARQ cookies

CATHERINE and DARQ:  We hope you had a very good Christmas and will stop by New Year’s Day to see Darq’s Erte-inspired outfit of black and gold and white!

**** Catch up on all the Christmas activities by scrolling down.

***Unfamiliar with Erte?  He was the Father of Art Deco and a designer of 1920-30’s haute couture – check out last New Year’s Eve’s gown, as well as the Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter outfits made this year.

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Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I’m back and just in time for the fairs!

IMG_2153 Fair-2014 Rbns N Darq DARQ:  Well, I returned to find Catherine had sewn outfits and done a few craft and flower projects for entry into not one but two county fairs. One of those fairs was the awesome Crawford County Fair, billed as the largest agricultural fair in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

And, as you can see, Catherine did very well indeed–a total of 25 entries and 24 ribbons (mostly blue, which is first place!). And, she found time to sew me a new “summer” outfit.  I love the daisy print blouse and it’s gauze sleeves!

CATHERINE:  You love your new shoes more.

DARQ (smiles): True. So true! And they’re blinged out with sparkles.

CATHERINE: Hey, don’t get any of that cotton candy on my ribbons!

DARQ: Wouldn’t dream of it.

CATHERINE:  You know, you could cut a few calories by not pigging out on that stuff.

DARQ (with mouth full of cotton candy):  Can’t stop myself. It’s so sweet, and it melts on my tongue.  We don’t anything like this on my homeworld.

CATHERINE:  So, what did you think of the Erte outfit that took a blue ribbon at both fairs?

DARQ:  Awesome! DARQ-erteFAIR 01

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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Where is Darq Now?

Swirling Clouds @ 2013 www.CatherineEmclean.com

Swirling Clouds @ 2013 http://www.CatherineEmclean.com

 

CATHERINE:   The MIB (Men In Black) showed up after midnight last night (they have no respect for sleeping people!).  So, Darq packed a bag—actually three bags—and off she went with the MIBs.  Of course, mums the word and no one tells me where she’s off to nor when she’ll be back.

Then again, my house guest is not underfoot, so I can write, read, sew things for myself and the upcoming fairs, take pictures, plant flowers to take pictures of when they mature, and, hey, I can actually enjoy some quiet time!

ONE HOUR LATER . . .     The house is too quiet.  No, no, I can’t be missing Darq . . .

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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