Saturday, April 30, 2005

 

Two New Finishes

I have been busy working away at a few projects this week and I actually managed to get them done. The main one is the journal that I finally managed to finish. I Already had the paper set up. All I needed to do was the cover. I used card and sheets of foam and then covered it with yellow fabric. On the front I had stitched a hula girl using the Stitch it kit. On the back I stitched Palm Trees. I am pleased with the way it turned out. I did want a little folder of some sort on the inside to hold stickers and things but as yet I haven't worked out an ideal way to do this. I basically don't want to ruin it. The whole thing ties together with yellow ribbon. It gives it that summery feeling and I am hoping to be onto it by the summer. I am definitely going to make them for friends. I did have a couple of better pictures but Webshots doesn't like them and wouldn't load them.

I went shopping for wool for the laptop bag for my friend. Unfortunately I couldn't get a hold of it so I had to order it from America. It will be a few weeks before it gets here. I would have used an equivalent but I couldn't find that either. I did buy wool for the party bag in SNB Nation which I promised to make for another friend. I did forget to buy one type of wool which I was supposed to knit with the one I did buy. It means it isn't fluffy but I do like the way it knitted up anyway. I finished it in one sitting and I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

 

Second Tea Towel

My second tea towel is now finished, I used green thread for the bow so that it is slightly different from the other one. I think this one is slightly neater but that could be all in my imagination. It was certainly quicker to stitch the second time round. I felt a lot more confident too. Very proud of that since my mum is at work and so wasn't able to give me a hand. It is a gift for her so it would have felt like cheating if I had needed her help. Hope she likes it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

 

First Go at Embroidery

Yep, as soon as I finished posting this morning I got the stitching out and had a go. I used one of the tea towels in the kit and stitched the cat onto it. I decided to stitch the main body of the cat black as it pretty much goes with any other colour. The bow is yellow to go with my mums kitchen. I do realise that it is now needing an iron but I couldn't wait to show it off. I don't think it is particularly neat but I am hoping that this will improve with practice. My mum seemed pleased with it though. I am going to make a start on the second one tomorrow night. With any luck that one won't take me long either.

I have to admit that adjusting to embroidery was more difficult than I thought. I had convinced myself that after four years of cross stitching I could manage it no problem. I think that the cross stitching may have been a handicap than a help. At first I felt very hesitant because there is only a rough line to tell you what shape the stitching should take. There is no diagram to say exactly where you place your needle. The book helped a lot though (and my mums encouragement). Having finished one I still recommend this book to beginners.

 

Stitch-It Kit

I got my stitch it kit by Jenny Hart through. I am very excited about trying it out. All I was really looking forward to was the patterns and instructions. I didn't realise that you also get a hoop, some thread (although I'll just use my own), and two tea towels. I am going to use the cat design for the tea towels and give them to my mum. She has been collecting cat items over the last few weeks. I think at first it was to annoy me but the collection has grown quite a bit since those cat place mats (I'm not a cat fan). I am tempted to use the Dog iron on for one of the towels but I won't, I'll be nice.

Anyway, I have had a look through the instructions and it looks very easy to follow. At the moment it is high on my recommendation list for beginners. When I give it a go I will let you know if it actually stays there. I think if it doesn't turn out right though it will be because of my own poor abilities rather than the book.

 

Doctor Who Ep5

This was the conclusion to a two parter. Cliffhanger really wasn't the same as those old ones but then I really didn't expect it to be. Mind you it was the same in that the Doctors life is threatened. We all know he won't die but we still get caught up in the story and hold our breaths until the next part. Again it was another good one. I think that the Doctor and Mickey had a good banter between them and it's a pity that he doesn't go along with him and Rose. I think that there could be some good stories out of that. Never mind though, he does come back again along with Roses mum. No one died in this one to save the Doctor so there goes my theory. Someone did offer though.

As I said I really enjoyed it but the one I am really looking forward to is next week. I think that I would be safe in saying that most Doctor Who fans will be looking to this one (even if they are wary about it). The next one sees the Daleks back. I have always loved Dalek stories. I know a lot of people were annoyed at some of them because of the discontinuity but I didn't care about that. I just wanted to see the Doctor beat them one more time.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

 

Princess Bride

I have been wanting to see this film in quite a while. It is supposed to be one of those cheesy classics that everyone loves. Yet, until a year or so ago I had never heard of it (not that my knowledge of films is that great anyway). Since I heard about it I have been wanting to see it. I have also wanted to read the book. In this case though I wanted to see the film first. Usually it is the other way about but most people I know who are fans of the story saw the film first and I guess it is just stuck in my head that it should be done that way. So despite coming across the book many times I refused to get a copy.

Yesterday though I bought the DVD. I am bad for buying DVD's before seeing the film. I have never bought a DVD that I haven't liked though as I only do this if I know that I am going to like it (does that make sense?). With this one though I wasn't sure. I wanted to like it but wanting isn't enough. But yesterday I decided just to go for it and if I didn't like it I could always give it to someone who does. I watched it last night and I did actually enjoy it. It's a spoof on lots of different maiden in distress stories. I knew it was a spoof but for some strange reason I was expecting a horror type. I really don't know why I was convinced of this. I wasn't disappointed. If anything I enjoyed it more because it wasn't.

Anyway, I am glad of the new edition to my DVD collection and am now looking forward to getting the book and adding that to my collection too.

 

Making a Journal

When I first came across craftster I discovered that it was actually possible to make your own notebooks and that a lot of people did this. I was intrigued by this and wanted to make my own. But I was also intimidated by how good all the ones posted on the board looked. I even got a few books out on the subject. During the week I decided to bite the bullet and just make my own. I was fed up with my paper journal and wanted a new one. I also wasn't sure what type of notebook I wanted which is why I decided to give it a go. I had a lot of nice paper there and so I began to stitch it down the middle fold. However, I didn't have anywhere near enough. Yesterday I went shopping and bought a whole load of lovely paper with petal fragments in them. Each pack was different in some way. I then began to prepare all of these in the same way. I now have enough paper prepared to make my own journal. There are a few other things that I want to add to it. Like sketch paper. I want to have some nice sketch paper at the front to practice doodling. I also want some kind of folder at the front and one on the back. I am also thinking of putting in some vellum paper to give some of the pages a different texture. And some printed writing paper to brighten it up a little.

These are really little things though that are easy enough to do. The sketch paper will obviously have to be added first but the rest are things that I can do later. The hard part is going to be the cover. I have strong card to make the cover with. While I was preparing all this though I had no idea at all on how I was going to decorate the cover. I was thinking of some kind of fabric but I wanted it to look really pretty. I then remembered this morning that I am expecting my embroidery kit through on Monday. I was looking forward to it but had no idea what to stitch the projects for. I have now decided to get some pretty fabric and embroider the front cover with something from this kit. I am now looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

 

Artists Way Wk3

Yes I actually finished the third week in the space of one week like you are supposed to. I got over last weeks excitement about the book and now I am just looking forward to completing it. I figure that I have started now so I might as well finish it.

This time I didn't agree with most of what was said in the chapter. The one that I truly didn't agree with was the section on synchronicity. The idea that you really want something to happen and so it does. Yes, I'm the cynic who believes that when this happens it is merely coincidence. I don't think that because I really want something to happen that it will. I believe that if you really want something to happen then you have to make it happen. Nobody should assume that things are going to be handed over to you on a plate. I just don't think that life should be lived waiting for things to happen. Most of us (myself included) are good at doing that and I think that most of us learned a long time ago that life just doesn't work that way. Apparently Jung believed in this. He wrote an essay on it. I tried to see if I could find it but had no luck.

Next week I am still going to continue but there is one part that I refuse to do. There is no way that I am doing reading deprivation. I am not allowed to read anything unless of course I have to for work. No chance. I love reading and I couldn't go a week without it. I don't want to go a week without it and I'm not even going to try. I haven't fully read the chapter yet but I saw that part when I glimpsed through it.

Friday, April 22, 2005

 

Stitch N Bitch

I love these knitting books. It shows that knitting isn't just a pastime for your little old ladies in their rocking chairs. Or that only horrendous things can be made from knitting. In the craft world it is now the in thing to do and this book helps. I have the second one Stitch n Bitch Nation and I love it. I love all the great ideas and patterns. I also love the pages on the people who get together to make these things. I now have a huge list of all the things I want to knit. It has encouraged me to try more than just a scarf. Next week I am going wool shopping and then I plan to get started.

Actually buying this book has made me realise just how few craft books I have. I have one or two cross stitch books and a couple on scrapbooking. But that is it. There are lots of good books out there so I am going to keep my eyes peeled for ones I can add to my collection.


** Since I said I would keep my eyes peeled for other crafty books I decided to go ahead and order one. I have had my eye on Jenny harts stitch it kit for quite some time. I am now really looking forward to receiving it.

 

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

This novel tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz". It starts off with the witch overhearing the lion, scarecrow, tin man and Dorothy gossiping about her. It then delves back to the day she was born and tells her story from there. The first section of the book is about her first two years of her life. It describes who her parents are and their reaction to her colouring. It also explains the origins of her sister. More than that though, it describes the political background of Oz which is essential to the story. And it describes some of the religious beliefs. I have to admit that I didn't particularly enjoy this section of the book but most of it was essential to the rest of the book.

The next section sees Elphaba at school. For half of this it is seen from her room mate's, Glinda, point of view. It is later on on this section that we get to know Elphaba and we also meet her sister Nessarose. Up until then you are sure she is evil or at least you wonder in what way are you supposed to feel sorry for her. However, when she interacts with the other characters you begin to change your mind and find she is portrayed as very intelligent and feeling. The book then describes her life right up to her death. It describes all the things that came up in the film and how they came to be (eg the flying monkeys). All the way through you are waiting for the point in which she becomes evil.

This book is basically meant to make the reader see things from her point of view. It also shows that what we think of as evil completely depends on perspective. Until we see things from all sides we really shouldn't make a decision.

Despite a slow start I really did enjoy this book. It even gives the original story more depth and I wouldn't mind giving the book a try. What I would say though is be prepared for your view of the original to change. If you really don't want this to happen I wouldn't read it but then you never know, you might actually like it.

Monday, April 18, 2005

 

Local Library

I decided that for my artist date I would do something I used to love doing as a kid. Walk through the library. This was one of my favourite places when I was little. I loved everything about it. The smell, the quiet and most of all being surrounded by so many books. My mum used to take us all the time. I remember sitting at one of the tables reading books while my mum would be looking around on the adults side. If she found what she wanted fairly quickly we would make her sit down and we would take books to her that we had found. Or she would help us chose. Occasionally my dad would come home from work and if it was a nice day he would suggest a family walk up to the library. There was always something different about going in the evening. Something different in the atmosphere. Or maybe it just seemed different because we were all there. In those times we would occasionally run across to the adult side to find which section my mum or dad was at or to have them look at a book we were thinking of borrowing. In those visits my sister and I usually finished first. We would again go across to the adults side and sit in the big seats while we waited. Those memories are definitely some of my favourites.

As I got older my love of the library didn't grow any less. I would usually walk up myself or with friends and occasionally with my mum. The time I spent on the kiddies side grew less and less. I borrowed mostly teen books and then moved away from those eventually. I would spend time studying there too if I wanted some quiet. As I got further into high school my visits to the library decreased. I would get more books for birthdays and Christmas. My parents would by me books to encourage me to keep going. Finally I started working and bought all of my books. I hadn't been to the library in a couple of years. At university I was more likely to visit the campus library and so I can't even remember when I last went to our local one.

With all these images in my head I went to the local library expecting to spend an hour or so there. I guess my expectations were far too high because what I saw disappointed me quite a bit. It had changed so much. The children's section had been turned into a computer area. The children now shared the same side as the adults. I took a walk through the fiction section and half the shelves were empty and all of the books had seen better days. They didn't even have a new fiction section anymore. The non fiction section was also greatly reduced and all mixed up. I stayed about ten minutes and then left. I couldn't even bring myself to look through the kids books.

I wonder how it ended up like that. Have they spent so much trying to bring themselves up to date with all those new computers that they have no choice but to let the books suffer? Or is it purely because of budget cuts? Or even because of people like myself who used to visit regularly but now only visit book shops? Whatever the reason it will be a long time before I can bring myself to go back.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

 

Doctor Who Ep4

Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed this weeks episode. It still looks like it is getting better and better every week. This one is a two parter and I am really looking forward to next weeks. This one is set in present day. At first the storyline is about Rose returning home 12 hours after she left (or so she thinks). Soon though this is forgotten and it twists into a plot of alien invasion. A lot of famous faces in there. I am bad when it comes to remembering actors names, the only thing I can do is list some of the things they have been in and that would take too long. Needless to say that there were a lot of famous British television actors in there.

Not sure what to think of the aliens. Won't really get to look at them properly until next week. However, they aren't the cheesy obvious costume type from the old Doctor Who shows. I do have one favourite scene. Seeing the Doctor watch television was pretty funny. Especially when he shouts at others to shut up so he can watch and then fights with a child over the remote. It was just funny to see him doing something so normal. I don't think any of the other doctors would have laughed when seeing a space ship crash land though.

 

The Artists Way Wk2

Yes, I realise that more than a week has passed since my last post about week1. At this rate it is going to take me a year to work through the book rather than 12 weeks. The truth is up until this week I just didn't have the motivation to pick it up again.

Well this week I finally read through the second chapter and worked my way through the tasks. I even did my artist date (which I will talk about at some point this week as it was a HUGE disappointment). What I didn't do is my morning pages every day. I know that the book says that this is essential but it just doesn't work for me. I do enjoy writing in the morning but it isn't always possible. I also have decided not to keep it separate from my journal. I hadn't written in my journal for a couple of months. The first month just because I was so busy and then after that because of these morning pages. I missed my journal too much and I felt that all I was doing is whining. So I have made a few rules for myself. Once a week I am allowed a day full of complaints and that's it. Obviously if something really affects me then I can break this rule but petty complaints are restricted to one day a week.

As I said I read through the chapter and I did actually agree with some of it this time. There was a part about crazy makers (I think that was the term) and I had to agree with most of it. I have known quite a few people in my time who fit that description. You have a conversation with them and the turn everything round onto themselves. They use you as a dumping ground for all their problems but do not support you when you have them. They have to go one better when they do finally listen to you. The affect of this type of person is physically draining. In the past this has been partly my fault though. To take one example I had a friend like this a few years ago. She wasn't always like that and I think that it was partly me who let her be like that. In the beginning she was a lot of fun and I think that if I hadn't made myself available to be her dumping ground we would probably still be friends. Instead of talking to her about it I let us drift apart.

Anyway, I actually enjoyed some of the tasks this week. I even managed to do most of my goals. I have read week 3 and plan to just spend one week on it. Some of the tasks look to be quite good. Mostly writing about my childhood. I had quite a good one so I like looking back.

Friday, April 15, 2005

 

Pat myself on the back

Yes, I have actually figured out how to add links on the sidebar of my blog. I know that it's hardly rocket science. But I had to go into the template and add it in myself in code. To me that is a big deal. Maybe I can learn to do html after all.

Yesterday I spent most of the day catching up on my journal. I haven't written in it in a few months. I've been too busy or too tired or have had other things that I want to do. Lately I have been inspired and so finally picked it up on Monday. I haven't want to put it down since. I still haven't found the perfect notebook for my journal though. In my head I know what I want it to be like but have yet to see it. Therefore last night I finally started making my own. I have been thinking about making my own for months now. Just never had the guts to actually do it. I got out some nice paper I had last night and stitched them together. So now I have a good number of pages in a variety of colours and textures. I need more paper to finish it. I'll do that at the end of the month which will give me time to think of things that I can add to it. I am thinking of getting some white paper which will be good for sketching on. I will also need time to think of how I want the front cover. I haven't decided yet if I want to make some sort of collage or if I want to use fabric. If I use fabric I could always embroider my own design. This will mean that I will be tackling something else that I have wanted to do for quite some time, take up embroidery.

Which reminds me. A member on Craftster made this bag. I thought this was amazing. It is so beautifully stitched and the colours go together so well. If I made something like this I'm not sure I could give it away. I would want to show it off at every opportunity.

Well, I spent most of yesterday thinking about what I could stitch next. I almost picked up one of the kits I have lying around and making a start on it. I just don't have the motivation to pick up the castle and finish it. Tonight I plan to design a couple of Dr Who keyrings for friends. Maybe tomorrow I will finally pick it up and keep going until it is finished.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

 

"Chilly Down"

I am now the proud owner of "The Labyrinth" soundtrack and "Chilly Down" has to be my favourite track. I have listened to the whole thing about three times and repeated that one song a few times. I'm not a big kid honest.

I'm on a role this week. As well as finishing that coaster I was able to finish a few other things. I looked through my charts for a good design for the first book mark. I found an AOY chart which I adapted to fit an aida band. I took one of the characters out of it and stitched a border around it. I finished that yesterday morning. I will post a picture of it once I have posted it out. I also made the first birthday card in the birthday exchange. I was messing about with a few things last night and liked the end result. Again I will post a link to the picture once I have sent it out. I think I am going to get a little stitching related gift to send along with the card.

I now have no reason to get back into The Castle and finish it. It's just finding the motivation to do it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

 

The Cry Of the Icemark

Thirrin is the next in line for the throne in the Kingdom of Icemark. With the death of her father she has no time for grief. Instead she has to lead her people in battle against invaders. The Empire is cast with a seemingly unlimited army. The only way to defeat them is for Thirrin to find allies. This means befriending witches, werewolves and vampires. Failure would mean the end for her people.

A great children's fantasy story. In places it did remind me of other books. Particularly Thirrin's friendship with the snow leopards. This reminded me of the bears in Pullmans "His Dark Materials" trilogy. I liked the mix of magic with horror. As well as witches and wizards and elfs there are vampires and ghosts and werewolves. I especially liked the part of the ghosts helping the people of the Icemark without them knowing it. A great read with, I hope, more to come.

 

Text Generator

I got this from Wil Wheaton's site. You just get the site to generate three paragraphs and this is what it came up with. I don't know who Barnaby the Bear is but I had to save it for the Thundercats alone.



Barnaby The Bear's my name, never call me Jack or James, I will sing my way to fame, Barnaby the Bear's my name. Birds taught me to sing, when they took me to their king, first I had to fly, in the sky so high so high, so high so high so high, so - if you want to sing this way, think of what you'd like to say, add a tune and you will see, just how easy it can be. Treacle pudding, fish and chips, fizzy drinks and liquorice, flowers, rivers, sand and sea, snowflakes and the stars are free. La la la la la, la la la la la la la, la la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la la la la la la, so - Barnaby The Bear's my name, never call me Jack or James, I will sing my way to fame, Barnaby the Bear's my name.


Thunder, thunder, thundercats, Ho! Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose. Feel the magic, hear the roar, Thundercats are loose. Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thundercats!


Ten years ago a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-team.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

 

Coaster

I did go back to the back stitch on the castle for about one night. The next day though I was off and so decided to look through my cross stitch charts for a design for the coaster exchange. I made a good start on that and I am almost finished. I can't give any details of this at the moment as my profile on the group is linked to here. What I can say is that I chose a design that was listed in the likes of the person I am to stitch for. I have already made a card to send along with it and this matches the design in the coaster. I also have plans for the other side of the coaster so that the back of the threads don't show. We send them out at the end of the next month. Once everyone has theirs we reveal who we sent coasters to. Once that is done I will link to the photos of them on my webshots.

I also got the details for the birthday card exchange sent through. That will be the next one. I haven't decided what I am going to do for this one yet. I might not use the list of likes as there was only one thing on it. Also I might not stitch it as we also have that option. I might try out more of my card making.

I have finished organising the bookmark round robin too. Yesterday I bought an aida band so now all I need to do is chose a design for it. I am going to have to look through my designs and some of my website links for inspiration. It shouldn't be too difficult after the questionnaire everyone filled out.

 

New Doctor Who episodes 2 and 3

The last two episodes have been better than the first one. Chris Eccleston as the Doctor is starting to grow on me a little. His humour is different from the others which I think is helping. I suppose I shouldn't get too used to him as he will be leaving. Each week I am also more surprised by Billie Piper. I really did not think she would be good. I also thought that she was going to be so irritating that it might put me off watching. Far from this she is very good and is possibly going to be one of my favourite companions.

The second episode saw the Doctor and Rosie going to the future to watch the Earth dying. A huge celebration is made of it and the rich and famous come to watch (including the last ever human). I had my doubts when i saw the ad for this one. The last human is really just a thin sheet of flesh with barely recognisable eyes and mouth. It just looked so fake but I did enjoy it. Makes a play on going too far with plastic surgery.

Last nights episode was another good one. This time the Doctor and Rosie went into the past and met up with Charles Dickens. A story of the dead coming back to life. Of course there is more to it than a haunted house and there are actually aliens involved. This one is probably my favourite to date. Next week it is set back in the present again and looks as though it will be another good one.

In the next few weeks these are being brought out onto DVD. Was disappointed when I heard that they weren't all going to be on the one disc. However, if I wait longer a boxset of the series is going to be released near the end of the year. Will have to look out for this.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

 

Ballerina Finished

I finished the little DMC Ballerina last night. Thursday I plan to post it out to the people of Love Quilts. There is no deadline for this one since it is stitched for any child. But I'll send it out just now anyway. I don't want to hold it off until I completely forget. I loved stitching this little ballerina. I just think she is really cute. I have the three others which are in the series so we will see how I feel about them once I have stitched them. The chart is still in good condition. I am in two minds whether to give it out to someone on one of the groups or hold onto it in case I want to stitch it again.

I am going back to The Castle. I have promised myself that I am not going to start anything new until I have finished it. It's only back stitching I have left to do so it shouldn't take more than a week or two to finish. Not sure what my next large project is going to be. I think I might get all the things I need for Celtic Summer and stitch that.

Until then I have the things that I joined in with on the new group to be getting on with. I got the details from a birthday card exchange group and the coaster exchange. On my day off I plan to go through all my charts and chose which designs I am going to do.

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