Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

More Death of rats and a new start

I am almost finished "Death of Rats" and all I have left to do is the blade of his scythe and his whiskers. I plan to do this tonight so that tomorrow I will have a finished image for you. Handsome chap isn't he? I have to admit that he isn't one of the prettiest design I have done. But then I don't think any of Terry Pratchetts Discworld characters were ever described as pretty. This is the first thing I have ever stitched for the boyfriend so I hope he likes it. Strange since we have been seeing each other eight years. The real reason is that he is fussy. While he takes an interest in my stitching he has never really thought of anything for himself. He has only ever requested two. One was a star wars image and it had to be a certain which I did manage to make on the computer. He changed his mind though (I was a little relieved as it would have taken me years to do it was so big). He then wanted a wolf but didn't like any of the designs I showed him. So I told him that if he finds one that he likes on the net I would stitch it for him. That was a few years ago and I am still waiting. Anyway, I am sure he will like this one. I think it will appeal to his sense of humour.

Since I can't stitch this with the boyfriend there I started another design yesterday. I decided to look out a flower fairy design since I have been itching to stitch one. I chose the Wild Cherry Blossom Fairy and am stitching her on a blue sparkly fabric. I don't have a photo for you as my digital camera isn't very good. All you see is lots of sparkles. I am going to be brave and try making a pillow for it using my mum sewing machine. I'll wait until I have finished though and then I will stitch another for my sister (different flower fairy though).

I do have a new digital camera (now named my baby) but I have yet to learn how to download the photo's onto the computer. It is surprising the difference in quality of photo it takes compared to my old one (maybe not so surprising since the old one is years old). And it is very cute. Until I learn how to use it properly I will just have to make do with what I have got so bare with me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan


I know, I haven't done a book review in ages including the ones I promised a while back. And I'm not going to do one now as I haven't finished the book yet. But I did have to mention it. I made a start on it last night (despite being in the middle of two others). I got 70 pages into the book and only gave up because I could barely keep my eyes open. The truth is I only intended to have a peak and the next thing I know I am forty pages on and I thought I might as well just keep going.

I read an excerpt from Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club" a while back (although at the time I didn't know that was where it was from. I enjoyed this small snippet so much that I had to find out where it was from and the book to my wish list (just one of many I must admit).

So far the book is about four Chinese women who moved to America and brought up American Chinese daughters. At the moment they are each telling their stories of their lives in China before they moved to San Francisco. Eventually it will go onto the daughters stories. While reading it you can picture these little old women telling their stories and it is hard to imagine that the young women they are describing are the same. I think the daughters have the same problem which is why they have difficulty relating to their mothers. It's a brilliant read so far and I doubt I will pick up the other books I am reading until I finish it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

 

Celtic Winter now ordered

I ordered the chart and materials pack today. I used a website that I haven't used before. That really doesn't mean much since there are very few internet companies that I have ordered from. This one was offering the set at a lower price than everyone else. I don't think this is normal, it seemed to be a special offer because it is new. It's almost half the price of some of the other sites which worries me a little. I thought I would give it a go anyway. If all works well I will mention the site I got it from. I got Celtic Christmas from two different places and I wasn't particularly happy with one of the companies I used. I can't remember which one it was but I ordered the chart and the material pack thinking that would be it. It turns out the beads weren't included in the pack (which wasn't mentioned on the site). When I went to order them they were asking double what everyone else was charging for them so I ordered from somewhere else.

I didn't go out of my way to chose a special material for it. I know a lot of people are mulling over what type of material to use. I just optioned for linen. I'm sure the colour will be fine and I used the linen for Celtic Christmas so I'm not really worried about that.

Not much else to update on. I was only able to do a little stitching yesterday. I am onto the last colour of the rats cloak. I don't know where I got this stitching by colour from. When I first started stitching I used to break the chart into blocks in my head and stitch it that way. Stitching one colour at a time is a new thing.

Monday, June 27, 2005

 

Death of Rats

Since I do have the stitching itch again I decided to pick up my stitching even if it isn't Celtic Winter or a flower fairie. A while ago I may have mentioned that I bought a kit of "Death of Rats" who is a character from Terry Pratchett's discworld series. The boyfriend is a huge fan and I decided to get one of the kits that are based on it. Personally I would have preferred the witches since I like them better but they aren't his favourite characters. And since this is for him and not me I thought I would be nice and chose something he might actually like.

I did make a start on it not long after I got it. The threads were all sorted for me and the design is fairly simple with no back stitch (unless you count the whiskers). Yet not long after I picked it up it got tossed aside. I had finished stitching with the first colour and was half way through the second before I realised I had made a stupid mistake right at the start. It meant basically that I had to start all over again. I was too frustrated over my own stupidity that I decided to leave it for now.

Well as you can see I did pick it up again. I fixed the mistake yesterday morning and I am now almost finished with the third colour. I just have one more to do after that and the cloak will be finished. Providing that I don't get distracted by something else I will be finished by the end of the week.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

 

The stitching itch


I haven't had the stitching itch in a very long time. Not since I put down "The Castle" and really haven't had the urge to pick it back up again. The very thought bores me. I have done a few things since then but I haven't itched to do them. To be quite honest I haven't felt the need to do any crafts lately. Well, apart from crochet which didn't go so well. I have made a few cards over the last few weeks but haven't liked them enough to post pictures of.

Last night I bought the latest edition of "The World of Cross Stitching". Nothing in it that I got excited about. Actually I have been late in buying these magazines because I haven't got excited about any of them. Anyway, I was paying more attention to it then I have done recently. When I noticed an advert for a new Lavender and Lace design, Celtic Winter. I have the charts for all the other Celtic ladies but still haven't stitched them. Seeing this one though I must have just stared at it for about five minutes. Isn't she gorgeous? The memories of stitching Celtic Christmas came flooding back. Not once did I get bored from stitching her. I loved the colours. You would think that after a while I would get bored from all those reds but I didn't. I loved the smell and the feel of the linen. Stitching that design just seemed to feel so smooth.

So it is now pounding in my head 'must stitch' over and over. Picking out one of the many kits I have lying around won't do. I have to stitch this one. So next week I intend to buy this one and start stitching her straight away. It feels good to have this itch again. Although I will be honest that I do feel guilty for leaving the Castle behind. I have a horrible feeling that it will never be finished.

The stitching itch is stronger for Celtic Winter but I have a lesser one for another design. I have an almost overwhelming urge to stitch some flower fairies. I stitched a few for my mum but that was quite a while ago. Now I would like to stitch some for myself. I don't want them framed though. I am thinking of making some cushions for myself and my sister. We'll see how quickly Celtic Winter takes to get here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

 

Blogging with photo's


This is one thing that I have always wanted to do. I like pictures in blogs but have never been able to do it. Instead I use links which is effective but doesn't look as good. Now blogger has changed the way you can post photos which means simpletons like me can do it. At least theoretically. This is my test run. From here it looks like it is working but you never know once you upload.

If it does work then this is a picture of the postcard I wasn sent on the post secret swap. The sender gave permission to post it in the gallery we have for this so hopefully it is okay here too. The small print says "Some days it's easier to hate myself". I've had many a day like that.

Friday, June 24, 2005

 

Change of Music

My knowledge of any type of music has always been limited. In primary school I went along happily knowing nothing about music. Occasionally I would try to copy my cousin who was very much into music or even my friends. However, that didn't really happen that often. I was happy with the few pop music tapes that I owned and some of my mums music that I actually liked. Admittedly I did go through the general phases that my friends seemed to go through such as Kylie and Jason. But never to the extent that they did.

Then high school happened. I was made more and more aware of how little I knew. It wasn't essential that you knew who the latest groups were. If you didn't though there were times where you were made to feel a little left out. Later in high school I did catch up. I had my own taste and I knew what I didn't like. The truth was that I tended to follow the crowd in most cases. Even at university I followed the crowd simply because my knowledge was limited. It never really occurred to me to go and find out for myself.

Recently I have been made again to feel that I know next to nothing about music. This doesn't really bother me so much. I am now learning to go with what I like and not just what others like. As a result my CD collection over the last few years has become a little bizarre. I seem to have a little of almost every music taste. It's something I have grown quite proud of. And maybe because of my willingness to try a bit of everything my mind has opened a little more.

The latest for me is a move into classical music. I was never a fan when I was younger. At least I never allowed myself to be a fan. Too much of a sheep. I loved playing classical pieces in the school orchestra although I new next to nothing about them and I didn't let that grow. I regret that now.

Anyway, a few days ago I heard a little of Chopin. I decided that I liked it and today I went out and bought a CD. It's really only a collection of some of his work. Something to give me taste and I have enjoyed what I have heard so far. I really do like the sound of the piano. I think Chopin might be my introduction into the classical world.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

101 Things Update

This will be just a quick update. I have ticked off three more films. "The Breakfast Club", "Groundhog Day" and ""2001: A Space Odyssey". Yes I realise that it is disgusting that I hadn't seen any of these films before now. Trust me I have heard this quite a lot recently. I really enjoyed "The Breakfast Club". I think it was that whole 80s nostalgia. Although I have to admit that I didn't really pay attention to the 80s while it was happening. I didn't like Space Odyssey but I think that might be because I read all the books years ago. Glad I didn't just buy it as I had been tempted to do. Lastly I enjoyed "Groundhog Day" but I don't think it is as good as everyone has been raving. Lots of people have been shocked that I hadn't seen it and then go on to tell me it is one of their favourite films. I did enjoy it it. I thought that it was sweet and funny. I didn't think it was brilliant. Nothing much else to add to this. Hopefully I will have more to fill you in on soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

 

Doctor Who Finished

Well, at least series one is and what an ending. I think that this Dalek storyline will probably be at the top of my favourites. Rose is probably the first companion who hasn't said lets just leave it here and go back home. Maybe not but the point was made that she didn't and I can think of quite a few other companions who did make that suggestion. Maybe that is why the Doctor wanted her home when things looked too dark. I was a little disappointed that the Dalek God wasn't Davros. I kind of expected him to be. But then maybe he had become so like the Daleks themselves that you couldn't tell it really was Davros. Anyway, a great ending and I really do hope that there are more Dalek storylines in the pipeline. Still going to miss Christopher Eccleston and I really have my doubts about David Tennent. But then I wasn't to sure about Eccleston and he grew on me so hopefully this will be the same. I'm looking forward to the Christmas special and of course the second series. There has been mention that the Cybermen are going to make an appearance (other than a head in a museum) so I can't wait to see that. There is even talks of a third series so lets hope it goes from strength to strength.

My overall view of this series is that it was a lot better than I expected it to be. When asked before there was talk of a new series would I like to see it back. My answer was that it would be nice but it really wouldn't be the same. I thought that it should be left alone and it shouldn't be spoiled by people trying to bring it back. When I heard that it was definitely coming back to our screens I was a little skeptical although I have to admit excited. I was disappointed to learn that Christopher Eccleston was going to play the part and that his costume would be a leather jacket. I was even more disapointed that Billie Piper was going to play the part of companion. I can safely say that these disappointment and skepticism disappeared completely after the first two episodes. i have enjoyed the lot and I really can't wait for the boxset to come out.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

 

Congrats to Sis

Not wanting to go into details since she wishes to remain anon. But my sis got her degree. I knew she would do it even if she doubted herself. I'm very proud of her and she worked so hard for this so she definitely deserved to get it. She can relax for a while now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

 

Crochet Failure

So on and off this week I have been trying out crochet. The bookmark didn't turn out too well. I made a second one and it wasn't too bad. Not brilliant but okay. Now I am trying out just plain squares. Easy you would think. But not for me. I have tried to crochet a simple square I don't know how many times over the last few days. The end result is always the same. It just looks like one big mess and I end up ripping it all out. It doesn't matter what I do I just can't get the tension right. I make it slightly loose and the thing has humongous holes in it. I make it tight and in the end I can barely get the needle through, by the second row it has humongous holes in it. I get the chain stitch just right and very neat. Again by the second row it has humongous holes in it. The pictures I am looking at say it shouldn't be like that. Maybe this is just one craft I was destined never to take to. Still I am going to persevere with it. I will get at least ONE neat square. Even if it kills me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 

101 Things To Do Before You Die

I love this book. I bought it last year and every so often I like to bring it out an flick through the pages. I am determined to get at least one star in the book. At the moment I have zero completed. Whenever I do pick the book up again I become almost obsessed. I was looking through it again recently and saw at the back that it listed a website. I really shouldn't be surprised as these things usually do. So I looked it up and have now added it to my favourites. The author has a blog where he lists the ones he himself is working on and all the ones he has completed (which at the moment is 24). The book itself has pages at the back to add your own and the website allows you to download extra pages to stick into your book. It also has updates for anything in the book that changes eg the worlds richest man changed and so you can print off a sheet to put in your book. It also has links to various websites that might help you complete some of the pages.

As I said I am determined to complete at least one. At the moment I am working on #52 Read the Greatest Books Ever Written. And #57 See the All Time Greatest Films. Compared to most people I know the number of films I have seen and my film knowledge is shockingly poor. Yet it is this one that is winning. I have seen 50 of them thanks to my boyfriend and my parents DVD collection. This one will be harder to complete than the books. Simply because I can get the books no problem. There are some films on the list though that I will only watch if it's on TV. At the moment I have read 33 books on the list and I am working on number 34. I'm not reading them in any order so number 34 for me is Kenneth Grahame's "Wind In The Willows". Surprisingly I am enjoying it. I didn't think that I would. I hated the cartoon when I was little.

The author, Richard Home, is the guy who illustrated the Harry Potter covers and has designed a few websites. He has a new book out at the end of the year, "101 Things To Do Before Your Old And Boring". The chances are I am going to buy this book too and become just as obsessed.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

Coaster Exchange Reveal

The coaster exchange was revealed last week so I can now show off what I did. First of all though I found out who sent me my lovely coaster and card. It came from someone who's screen name is Lizadonna. I love it and I use it on the table next to my bed.

The person I sent mine to has said that she liked it. I only heard through someone else as she isn't well at the moment but I am glad she liked it. Here is the card I sent, the front of the coaster and the back of the coaster. I have to admit that I am proud of the way that this turned out. When I cam up with the idea of using a cardmaking kit to cover the back of the stitching I thought that it probably would be too thick to get the casing closed.

We are now showing off our postcard for the postsecret swap as we receive them. Here is a link to the gallery. Only those who want their postcards to be viewed will be posted.

Friday, June 10, 2005

 

Lesson learned and another new craft.

The bag that I had began knitting remains unfinished, I got half way thought the front piece and decided to give in. It was the difficulty that made me give up. It was the wool. Remember I guessed the colours of the wool and got them wrong. That was my big mistake. The colours together looked too much like the football colours of a local team and that was enough to put me off. I tried to finish it thinking that maybe someone else would like it but I couldn't. I hate football colours, especially the ones of the local teams. So I have given in and I don't intend to pick it up again. The wool I could use for something else, separately. The lesson? Well next time just chose colours that I actually like as long as I get the wool type and quantity correct. Common sense should have told me this first. I will get back to the bag but only after I have chosen different colours.

I got sent through "Cozy Crochet Kit" by Melissa Leapman. It is the same style as the embroidery and knitting kit. I wanted to learn crochet and I thought that this would be the best way. The instructions are simple and very easy to follow. It came with crochet hooks of different sizes and some really nice patterns. It even came with wool. I decided not to use that wool and instead use some of the wool that was originally intended for that bag. It was better quality and I thought it might feel better to practice with. I made two bookmarks. I know it seems as if that is all I make these days but it was the simplest pattern and so the best one to have a go at. My first one turned out a little too loose. The second one is a lot better but still not perfect. I think that with some practice that I could get better at it. I am going to try making up some squares as practice. I could always turn it into a blanket later if I make enough of them. I have plenty of odd balls of wool around to use.

My next task is to make some cards. I have a few events coming up that I need to make cards for. I also want to make my mums birthday card. It is a long way off yet but I got some lovely paper that I think would be perfect for her. Also, next week I am going to a one off class on card making that is being given. I have never been to one before and I thought that it might be fun.

 

Doctor Who Catch up

It's been a while since I mentioned Doctor Who and the geek in me is crying from being shut away so long. Or maybe not since I have still been watching and obsessing over the new series. Anyway it's been a while since I have written about each episode and my thoughts on them and I now have a lot to catch up on. Not to worry I am not going to go over every single one since then. Just my favourites.

The ones that stand out for me just now is the two parter set during WW2. It was the fear factor that made it stand out from all the rest. Back to the old doctor who when it was actually scary. Who would have thought that a small child asking for his mummy would be creepy. I think if I was a kid again I would have had nightmares. Or at the very least had problems sleeping from thinking about it. Then there was the others who changed into that little boy. That was second to the little boy in its creepiness. Definitely one to add to my favourites list and I think that it is safe to say that the new Doctor Who series is a success. Viewing has remained very high. I have friends who hated Doctor Who in the past and are watching it now.

I think the next two are another two parter and are the last in the series. Looking forward to this one as it involves the Daleks again. More than one this time so it should be good.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

 

New Knitting Skills

I still think of myself as a newbie to knitting. Even though I used to knit on and off when I was little. Even after knitting a bunch of dolls when I was in high school. I never really got beyond the stocking stitch of the plain stitch. I knew how to do ribbed stitching but I never had reason to do it. I think I may have done it once when I began knitting a baby cardigan once when I was little. It never did get finished which is probably just as well since the wool and colours I chose were horrendous. As I said I never got beyond the stocking stitch. Even when I have taken it up again. The two scarves I have made have just used plain stitching and the purse was just stocking.

I bought Simply Knitting and it has in it a pattern for a bag that I quite liked. I decided that I was going to give it a go. I dutifully wrote down all the wool colours and the make. I went out to the shop and then realised that the wool labels do not name the colours but instead have codes. I was going to give up but then realised I wasn't sure when I would be able to come back in and I really want to get started. So I knew the make which is the important thing the colours I could guess. Of course I got them completely wrong but at least they all match. The one that did confuse me was that one colour was described as Jelly. What kind of colour is that? I seriously stood there for about 15 minutes trying to work out which colour seemed more jelly like. Common sense then kicked in and I picked the one that went best with the rest of the wool.

I got home and got to work straight away and learned a new skill. It's called moss knitting. It's so simple that but it just never occurred to me to try this. All you have to do is knit one purl one for the entire row and then repeat this on the next row. It's quite a nice effect. Almost bobbly like. I also wondered about knitted bags. I mean how strong can they be? This pattern recommends that you use three balls of wool at the same time to add more strength. Again it would never have occurred to me to try that. Guess I'm just not the imaginative type when it comes to knitting. With any luck I will have it finished soon and I will be able to post a picture. Also, with any luck the colours I have chosen will still look nice. I am a little worried that it is going to look too much like football colours.

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