Monday, January 31, 2005

 

Cushion, reading and Hellboy

I finally got a photo of my finished cushion. I am a little disappointed with the way that the photo turned out. It isn't very clear and makes the knitting look a little untidy. It's a lot tidier than that and the ribbon running through looks prettier than it's made out to be. Just now I am still stitching away as I said I would do. I'm on a roll at the moment and so hope to get the Castle finished soon.

I finished reading "The Novice" by Trudi Canavan. Yes, I realise that I have been reading this one a little while but because I have been working on so many other projects I have went a lot slower with my reading. It doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed it though. This one was just as good as book one. In this one Sonea is having to put up with a lot of bullying from her class mates because of upbringing. Any hope of them accepting her is soon lost when one student becomes the leader of a gang made to make her life a misery. On top of this she has to keep secret the fact that the Leader of the Magicians is using Black Magic. A friend is sent out to secretly investigate the High Lords past to find out how he turned this way. Meanwhile the only three people who know about this have to make sure the High Lord doesn't know that they know.

It was a great read. An easy one but still very good. The end solves one of the problems that Sonea must face but with the other we are left hanging. A good ending as it means that I can look forward to reading the next one. Not sure when that will be at the moment as I have a few more to read first. Hopefully soon as I am dying to know how it turns out.

Lastly I watched "Hellboy" last night. It was one of the films I had wanted to see at the cinema but just never got the chance. I am almost glad I didn't. It really wasn't very good. I realise there are only so much you can expect from these comic book films but this one is one of the worst. I just thought that the storyline was a little confused. There were lots of little ones and a lot of the time it seemed that the movie wasn't sure which one was the most important. I know that a good film can take a bunch of smaller plot lines as well as one large one but this one seemed to get lost between them all. Also there wasn't quite as much action as I expected. That could maybe have saved it a little. I just wouldn't recommend it.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

 

Still Crafting Away

Yes, this has definitely been a week for crafts for me. I only have one link to a picture for you. This one is an update for The Castle. I did a little of it this week after finishing the square for the love quilts. I am going to try to concentrate on it this week so that I can get quite a bit done. The rocks are beginning to annoy me. They are starting to take shape but there are still lots of large gaps.

I have finished knitting up my cushion. I got the rest of the wool I needed the other day. I have a cushion to put inside it and now all I need to do is sew it up. While I was buying that wool I noticed some blue wool similar to the pink that I used for my sisters scarf. My best friend really liked the scarf and so I decided to buy the blue to knit up for her and put away for her birthday at the end of the year. It is a different make and is knitting up a little differently to the way the pink did. This time it is knitting into stripes. I quite like the effect and I just hope my friend likes it too. I promise that I will eventually move on to more adventurous things. I have a few knitting patterns that I want to try next.

I handed out the valentines cards to my friend and she really liked them. She chose her favourite and then another friend asked if she could have one. I'm chuffed that they liked them so much. I have been thinking of making more cards for different events even though I might not use them. Just to see what I come up with.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

Zoo scrapbook page

Today I had planned to do some studying. Instead I had another day of crafts. I finished another scrapbook page with the zoo theme. I am really pleased with this one. I think the only improvement I could make to it at this point is to give it a title at the top. I have an idea on how to do this but unfortunately it requires the use of my printer and I have ran out of ink. So that will have to wait. This page is filled with photos of the monkeys. I decided to put the ticket from the zoo on this page and made a pocket for it by stitching together two pieces of brown card. The same card I used as border for the photos. The smaller photo I put on a tag shaped border as I did with many others but this time I decided to give it the same stitched border as the pocket. The brown card at the bottom is actually a mini booklet. The front page has a penny glued on it that I put in one of the machines in the zoo and has an image of a gorilla printed on it. Inside the booklet I stitched some extra pages. The first page has a small description on it. The others have pictures of the monkeys that were in hiding and so you can only see a tail or their backs.

I didn't spend all day doing this. I also finished the cross stitch kit of the lion cub. This is the one I am sending away for the little boy on the Love Quilts website. I am pleased with the way it turned out. I just need to put my name at the bottom before giving it a wash and then sending it off.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

 

More Valentines Cards

I made two more cards and I like these ones better than the others. For both I used my usual layering affect along with the idea I got from the magazine. The first card is for a friend. I promised her I would make her a card so I have made a few for her to chose from. The second one is also for a friend. This time it was because she was convinced that she isn't going to get any this year and I had to promise I would make her one. It didn't really take me too long to make. About an hour and I stopped for my lunch about half way. If I do this again next year though I think I will make sure I get more stamps so that I have more of a variety.

I am almost finished the lion cub cross stitch. All I need to do is finish a little bit of the border and then onto the outline. Hopefully it won't take me too long and then I can send it away. I am thinking of doing another one for another child despite the fact that I'm not sure if I will have the time. There is a request to make squares that aren't for a specific child. I have quite a few kits there. I know realistically that I am never going to stitch them all and hang them up. So I am thinking of using some of them to send away.

 

Closer and Team America

Over the last few days I have saw both of those films. I was expecting "Closer" to be a boring chick flick. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a good chick flick from time to time. However, I wasn't really in the mood for one at that time. I did like this though and it wasn't really what I thought it was going to be. It was a love story but two of them ended up broken hearted. I am also not a huge Jude Law fan (yes I know that in some peoples eyes I am committing a huge sacrilege by saying that). I have to say though that I did like him in the film. I can sort of now see what everyone sees in him. Doesn't mean I would go out of my way to watch a film with him in it.

I was looking forward to seeing "Team America" as I thought it would be really funny. However, I was a little disappointed in it. It was supposed to make a pun at the cheesy American films where the Americans save the day. The problem was that some of it was just annoying. Maybe that was the point but it was all I could do to sit through it. It did get better in the end though and there were a lot of funny moments. I don't think that I would watch it again.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

 

Another Scrapbook Page Complete

I did another scrapbook page as I said I would. This is page one of a series that will be on the zoo visit in San Francisco. It was supposed to be a mix of animals from the Africa section of the zoo but I just couldn't leave out any of my zebra photos. So in the end it turned out to be a zebra page. It looks a little plain but I quite like it like that. With the baseball pages I used my own handwriting for the journaling part. This time I thought I would use the computer. I also cut out the logo from a paper bag that I got from the zoo gift shop to decorate the corner. I might do another page by the end of next week. The scrapbook has been ignored of late despite the fact that I bought all the materials I would need for the zoo pages. I am determined that it will be finished at some point though. A few people have said that this is one of those things that people will say they will do but never get around to it. I took that as a challenge.

I also made a couple of valentines cards. A friend asked me to make one for her to give to her boyfriend. I came up with a couple of designs so that she can chose from them. The first one isn't really my favourite. The stamp I got free from a magazine. I do like the stamp I just don't like the colours I used. I don't think that the reds and pinks go well together. I do like the idea I used of cutting away a strip from the from of the card so that part of the design is made on the inside of the card. The second card I like better but I got most of the idea from the magazine. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that but it is so much alike that it feels a little like cheating. The black back ground and the little heart border is about the only part that is original. Plus I get the feeling that it should sparkle a little. I might make a few more.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

 

Nothing much happening

There really is nothing much to say. I am working on a few craft projects. I have started knitting a cushion for my bed. I got this amazing chunky wool which also has ribbon through it. The wool is an orangey red but the ribbon goes from yellow through o purple. I am working on a cross stitch kit of a lion for love quilts and that's about it.

I just started reading the second book of the Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan. So far this one looks as though it is going to be as good as the first one. In this one the main character Sonea is having to fit in with her fellow students who all come from privileged families. Meanwhile her guardian is trying to uncover a magician using black magic.

Other than that I have nothing else to report. My course starts soon so I am going to have to start studying hard. Today is a day of rest though and I plan to do a page for my scrap book which I have ignored of late. And I might do some shopping.

Monday, January 17, 2005

 

Stranger In a Strange Land

I just finished reading "Stranger In a Strange Land" by Robert A. Heinlein. I did enjoy it at first but in the end it just got a little too strange for me. I could understand what the book was getting at. It was basically about how both happiness and wisdom could be achieved. A lot of good ideas in there but it still wasn't really what I was looking for in this book. I was looking for a down to earth sci fi book and that wasn't what I got. That is not to say that I wouldn't recommend it thought. Basically the story is about a human male who has been brought up on Mars by martians. When brought back to Earth it takes him a long time to understand humans and for humans to understand him. He doesn't understand the human way of life. Eventually he decides that he wants to show the world that it can be happy without being bad to others. There is a lot more to it than that but if I was to go into more detail I would probably end up here all day explaining the full story.

Not much else to tell I'm afraid. I got a sketch book which I have started using to catalogue my crafts. I thought that it would be a good idea particularly with my card making. It means that if I am stuck for ideas that I can go back and look at other things I did.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

 

Another Crafting Update.

I have been busy with all my crafts again. I have been working steadily on the castle again and I am slowly getting there. It feels as though it is taking a long time because it is taking time for the rocks to take shape. I am persevering with it though and I have to admit that looking at the photo I am starting to see the outline of the rocks. The shades are all very similar and there is a lot of them which is another reason for it taking so long. Hopefully it won't be too long before I move onto the back stitch.

A friend from work is leaving which is another reason for me having a large crafts update. I made a card for her using a butterfly stamp that I had used before. I was shopping in Millers art store and found those butterfly adhesives and decided to use them. I really like yellow and blue together which is why I chose those colours. And I found a pack of yellow cards and envelopes that I forgot I had. She is going traveling for the next year which is why I decided to do something else for her. In a crafts magazine I saw a journal decorated using felt. I thought this was a good idea and decided to give it a go. The magazine design was a little different from this as it had a heart with a little message in it and a smaller square at the bottom with "journal" written in the centre. I decided just to have my friends name that way she could use it for anything she wanted. I thought it would be a good idea to stick to the yellow and blue theme and used the rest of those butterflies. I hope she likes them.

I applied to do a square for the Love Quilts website that I have mentioned before. I chose to do a cross stitch of a lion cub for a little boy who wants a wild animal theme quilt. I got the go ahead today. I had ordered the lion cub design and funnily enough got that through today. I am going to look out the fabric I need and get started on it. The kit does have fabric with it but it isn't the right size. It doesn't really matter as I have spare white Aida and I can use the fabric from the pack for something else.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

 

"Abhorsen" and stitching

I finished reading "Abhorsen" by Garth Nix and it was amazing. So many good cliffhangers. Such a great start too. There was a huge event at the start of the book that caught you back into the story again. And what an ending! Overall this was a brilliant conclusion to an amazing trilogy. Like most books I very much enjoy I wish there were others to follow up on this. The characters are so good that it would be a shame to say goodbye to them. I understand though that it is only meant to be a trilogy and once an author feels that the story is finished then that's it. Plus I can always read these books over again. I have to say that it is one of the best children's series out there. If you like "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman then you might like this. I am now reading "A Stranger in a Strange Land" as promised. I'm not far into it. It is quite good so far although a little slower in pace compared to some of what I have been reading lately. A nice change!

I have been organising my webshots pages. I put all my photo's from Finished 2004 into the Finished album. I then changed Finished 2004 to 2005. This means that all the links to the pictures that I moved will no longer work. They can all be accessed through the above link though. I have done a little stitching this week and managed to get two charts of Newtons Law stitched. These charts were put in cross stitch magazines for stitchers to make for National stitch week. Readers then send them away and they are made into quilts for charity. I don't think that I will make any more than the two but I have other charts there just in case. I have also been working on The Castle but have no photo to update it with. I made a mistake with one of the shades so I have quite a bit of unpicking to do today. Not looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

 

"Thief's Gamble" by Juliet E. McKenna

I finished this book yesterday morning. It was a good read and it definitely leaves you wanting to read more. I haven't looked at the others in the series but with the way this one ended the others don't have to have the same main character. Normally this would annoy me but in this case it might actually be a good idea. Not that I didn't like the main character, I did, but it would be different if they changed it. The other key characters would have to remain the same though. It could be that the main character remains throughout the series but after finishing this one it doesn't have to be that way. Anyway, as I mentioned before I am going to read the others. I'm just not sure when. Hopefully at some point this year.

"Abhorson" by Garth Nix finally came out in paperback. I started it yesterday and what a start! After just reading the prologue I was in shock. A good start to the last book in a brilliant trilogy. I'm not far into it but the story basically continues right from where "Lirael" left off unlike the first two books. There was a large time gap between "Sabriel" and "Lirael". I have been looking forward to reading this in a long time so I am just going to enjoy it.

I know that although it is a kids book it is still fantasy. I had promised myself that the next book I would buy would be sci fi. So to make up for it I bought "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert E. Heinlein too. I haven't read any of his books before although they have been recommended to me. I plan to read this one next. Also Alastair Reynolds has a new sci fi book out so I am going to read that one at some point this year.

Monday, January 03, 2005

 

Reading a lot again

I have been going through another reading bout. I know it is unusual for me not to have a book on the go. But my speeds in getting through books do change and just now I am going through another fast one. I just finished reading "The Magicians' Guild" by Trudi Canavan. In this one a young girl is sick of the way her friends and family are treated because they live in the slums. The magicians help to keep things in the slums under control and so are hated by all slum dwellers. On one day they are out on force Sonea snaps and throws rock along with all the others. Only here rock got through the magicians force field and managed to knock one of them out. The magicians are now on the hunt for her. Sonea's only hope of staying out their way is with the help of the Thiefs. The problem is her magic is becoming uncontrollable and she is soon a danger to everyone and herself. Her only hope is to start trusting the magicians and possibly joining them.

This is the first book in Canavan's "Black Magician" trilogy. I was hooked after the first couple of pages and enjoyed almost all of it. I thought the chase itself was a little too long but I could understand the need for it. I have the next two books on my shelf waiting on me and I'm looking forward to reading them.

I am now about half way through another book called "The Thief's Gamble" by Juliet E. McKenna. Another fantasy novel which is book one (of five) in the Einarinn series. I was a little doubtful as to how good it would be at first. The fact that the main character is a gambler and a thief made me think that it was going to be a little dull. I was very wrong about this and I am enjoying it. Livak is the gambler and thief. She has been roped into helping a magician and an agent hunt down antiques which might help discover magic lost in the past. Someone else is also looking for these pieces and along the way Livaks group have been attacked by unknown groups. As I said I am liking this books so far and I think I will probably read the others in the series eventually. Since there is five of them it may take me a while. That and all the books I have left in my pile are book ones of a series. I am still going to try to read more sci fi which is another reason why it may take me longer.

Actually I almost bought myself another book yesterday. It was a children's book but it was also a fantasy story. I held back though. I do plan to read it eventually but I think if I buy myself a book just now it should be a sci fi book.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

 

Happy New Year

I wish everyone a very happy new year and hope that 2005 is good to everyone.

I woke up this morning having mad no new years resolutions the night before and thought that there really wasn't any point. I rarely stick to them. Well, that's not entirely true. I do stick to the ones like, try new authors. But then that is hardly something I have to resolve to do. I came on line to catch up with my emails and the various groups I am a member of. And I now have a few resolutions. The first one is cross stitch related. I promised myself that I would be more organised. In this part I started this about a week ago. I have a two sided zip folder. I keep the project I am working on, on one side. Last week I decided to pick out various charts that I plan to work on quite soon (about five or six of them) and put them on the side of the ring binder. Another resolution in regards to my stitching is to get out of the bad habit of not putting my threads back in their boxes when I have finished with them. I now have several shades of threads that I am going to have to replace because I can't find them.

I then went on the sci fi group and made another resolution. Not a biggie this time. I just realised that in the past year I have read maybe two science fiction books. I have been reading a lot of normal fiction lately but I have also been reading mostly fantasy. To be honest that isn't entirely my fault. Most people buy me fantasy books these days. The boyfriend does it because he himself prefers fantasy over sci fi. He got me into trying fantasy and I guess he just wants to keep me interested. Not that I mind. I have really enjoyed all the books that he picked out for me. But next year I want to get back into sci fi. I promise myself that I will read at least more than two. I have a few books in mind already. It will be a while though since I have a large pile of fantasy books still waiting on me.

Lastly I basically promise to work hard at my open university course which I start this year. I am very much looking forward to it. I know what I am like though. I get half way through something and I get bored with it. I can't let that happen with this since there are so many things that could come out of the end of it (a possible teaching career is one). The fact that I am paying for it is hopefully incentive not to give up on it.

I haven't made any resolutions in regards to my writing. This year is going to be a busy year and I don't want to make too many promises that I know I can't keep. I think the best that I can do is hope that I make some kind of progress on my original story.

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