Sunday, July 31, 2005
CW and Blakes 7
I have done a little more of CW than I thought. Stitching with all those whites and grays is definitely a little boring. There are a lot of colour changes just now so it isn't too boring. As I progress it will look more like the bottom of her dress. I'm hoping that this development will prevent me from becoming really bored. Stitching on linen again though is a sheer pleasure and I don't know why I have left it so long to do again. Tonight I work on The Castle. Already I can feel that I am going to have to force myself. And just when you thought that there would be no more bookmarks I have joined another exchange. This one isn't organised by me so It won't be too time consuming. This one is on craftster and we get to chose what medium we use. I am thinking of doing something a little bit different which will be fun.
While I was stitching and making those cards from the previous post I have been watching Blakes7. I bought series two during the week and have been really enjoying it. I hadn't seen many of the last series but in this one I have only seen the first one. I now know how Gan dies and I got to see the second Travis. I have to admit that I prefer psycho Travis to the one in the first series. I'm guessing it is at the end of this series that Blake leaves but for that I will just have to wait and see as I am about half way through it. Hopefully I won't wait as long to get the next one.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Some cards and yet another bookmark
I did some shopping today. The art store in town has just been renovated and I was dying to see what it was like. There is a huge difference. It's so bright now and there seems to be more room. They also stock more craft items and it's a lot easier to find things. I didn't go mad although I could have. I just bought the paper I was wanting and some beads. When I got home the first thing I did was make those Harry Potter cards I have been wanting to make. I had bought a pack of cream cards made from corrugated card and I had to use them. I decided to use playing cards rather than the top trumps. I also made a Disney Princess bookmark to go with the booklet I made earlier in the week. All I did was punch four holes into the bottom of the card then strung some beads onto some floss. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
Oh, I also finally learned how to use my digital camera thanks to my dad (still haven't read the manual).
Bookmark Round Robin
The Bookmark round robin (really an exchange) that I organised a while ago is now finished. Isabel has still to receive the one I made for her since I only sent it yesterday but everyone else has theirs. Everyone also managed to come up with something a little bit different. These are the three bookmarks I received from Jossan, Isabelle and Fiona. They all took into consideration my favourite colours and the fact that I like fantasy. I absolutely love them. It was a lot of fun and this was the second round robin I organised. Thankfully both turned out well. I don't think that I would organise another one though. Not for a while anyway.
I didn't do any stitching on Thursday after all. I was back to my book again. I managed to finish Captain Bluebear and I will do a review of it later. I did some stitching last night though although admittedly not a lot. I will post a picture of that later too.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I have a small confession to make. I have done absolutely no stitching in the last few days. Instead I have been reading. I will do some tonight since I will be working on CW. I am still reading Captain Bluebear and really enjoying it. As well as the story I am enjoying the illustrations. I came up with the idea of using the illustrations to make cards. Since I don't want to ruin my book I tried to copy them. This is my first attempt and for someone who can't draw I am really pleased with the way it turned out. I thought I was going to have to resort to tracing. I added a relevant quote to from the book at the bottom to set it off. In case you can't read it, "I continued to toil across the viscous surface until I came to a cluster of harpoons protruding from the whales back." I realise this is a copyright issue but it's for personal use only. I have no intentions of selling them. I didn't mean for the drawing to be so big. There are a number of other illustrations I want to use and I am going to see if I can maybe do it on a smaller scale.
I still plan on making some more Disney and HP cards. I need to get some more papers. I have plenty but just not in the colours I want. So Saturday is shopping day and hopefully I will get more done. A big thank you to all the lovely comments for the first Disney card I made.
Monday, July 25, 2005
No stitching. Last night I was too tired to do much of anything so I just went straight to my bed. Today I could have done some stitching but after browsing on craftster I was inspired to do something else. The Craftster organiser has been setting craft challenges. In one of them some gorgeous stationary was made using playing cards. I had intended on doing something similar but completely forgot all about it. Then Kendaljay reminded me by making these lovely cards and saying she got her inspiration from the ones I had originally saw. The above is my attempt. After decorating the front using some papers and a Disney Happy Families card I wondered what I could use it for. I don't really use notelets. My letters tend to be long winded and even my short notes wouldn't fit on this. So I decided to add sheets of paper to the centre. This way I can use it by writing a fairly decent sized letter. The sheets inside are green and purple. I plan to make more with the other cards that I have. I also bought a pack of Harry Potter Top Trumps so that I could make a HP set too. Now all I need to do is think of a way to decorate the envelope. I can't use more of the cards since it will make it too heavy.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Arrows Of The Queen by Mercedes Lackey
Young Talia is hold born and a girl and so is expected to do nothing but obey her elders and her father. She is just turning 13 and her birthday present is that she is told that she will be married. She will get to chose whether she wants to be a first wife or an under wife. Talia chooses neither and runs away. While in hiding she comes across a horse. Not just any horse, a companion to one of the Queen's Herald's. Talia decides to take the companion, Rolan, back to his Herald only to discover that Rolan has chosen her to be his Herlad and the Queens own. Talia has a hard time ahead of her. She will have to befriend the bratty heir and uncover a conspiracy against the Queen and herself. The hardest lesson she will have to learn though is to trust herself and to trust others.
An easy and quick read but also a good one. It was easy to get caught up in the story and I am itching to read the two follow ups. The book actually reminded me a little of Tamora Pierce. I can see why a lot of fantasy fans like her and I will definitely look out for reading more. Mercedes Lackey has her own website if you are interested on learning more.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Whole Day to Myself
Today I have the house to myself. It feels a little strange but I am determined to enjoy it. I have the radio up quite loud and have spent the morning reading. After this I am going to go out and get in some lunch before I decide what to do next. Possibly watch some DVDs while knitting. Or maybe some writing. I also plan to go for a long hot bubble bath.
I'm reading two books at the moment. I finally picked up "The 13 1/2 Lifes of Captain Bluebear" by Walter Moers. I have had it on my shelf for over a year and after I said the other day I had reduced my TBR pile I thought it was about time I made a start on it. I'm only 50 pages into it and I am loving it. So far everyone I know who has read it has raved about it so I didn't really expect not to enjoy it. If you like the surreal then you might like this. i'll go into more detail once I have finished it. I am also reading "The Queens Arrows" by Mercedes Lackey. I haven't read much fantasy in a while and decided I wanted to get back to it. I wanted to try an author I hadn't tried before though. When I was a member of a sci fi group (the group closed down) a few members were avid fans of Lackey and I have wanted to give her books a try ever since. I remember them saying that a Lackey newbie should start with this one. So far so good. It's more of an easy read but I wasn't really expecting anything else. Great for escapism.
Time Warden, the scene in Voyage home is one of my favourite Scotty moments too. I also thought that his scenes in Final Frontier were some of the few good parts. I liked the first series of Chocky because it followed the books so closely but the second one is probably my favourite.
Friday, July 22, 2005
More Celtic Winter
Both Angelsan and Jenn are stitching HP bear. Because of the books and the films I have been itching to stitch him too. I also have a few Halloween bear kits stashed away waiting to be stitched. Once I finish one of my WIPs I think I will search one of these out to work on.
Angelsan, to be honest I never really thought about it when I decided to use aida to work on the castle. I didn't look at the design closely enough to realise that there were so many fractional stitches. I just used what I had in my stash.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Now that I have finished reading the 6th HP book I am very tempted to go back and read the others again. If it wasn't for the fact that I have many books that I want to read then I probably would. I'll wait a while though and then read all six over again. I was thinking about a list of books that I hope to pick up and the books I had in my to be read pile. I then realised that my TBR pile has drastically reduced in the last few months. My pile used to be about 20 books. Each pay day I would add to that pile. Now though I manage to get through my TBR pile in a month. I don't think I am reading more than what I had. I also didn't think that I had been buying less but obviously I have. One of my goals over the last few years or so was to reduce my TBR pile to a manageable amount. It feels strange now that I have. I have picked of "End of the Affair" again and was able to get back into it no problem. It reminds me a little of Paul Auster but maybe that is because the books I have read by him have always had a writer as a main character as this one does.
James Doohan 1920 - 2005
I was brought up with the original series of Star Trek thanks to my parents who had watched it as it was aired when they were growing up. Scotty was one of my favourite characters simply because he was a Scot. It wasn't often that you saw Scottish people portrayed on television. I preferred his later performances on the films though. He was able to pull off the sarcasm and wit just right and it was these scenes that I loved.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The Castle and Harry Potter
I finished the Harry Potter book last night. I fell asleep while reading it (I hang my head in shame over that) but I was so tired. I then woke up when my sister came home and continued reading again. After that I couldn't put it down until finished. Such a great ending. Yet annoying since I want to read the next one now. Please don't let there be another two year wait! I actually know a few people who were put off by the series because of disappointment over the last book. This one is a lot better. A few things were dragged out a little but it was still good and the next one is going to be very different.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Some photo updates
I finished the popcorn bookmark. I found a thread that matched and so was able to finish his head. I decided against the border because the design went right to the edge and I didn't want to spoil it. Hopefully my RR partner will like it. I also decided that since I am starting a rotation I would post pictures of each piece as they are just now. I scanned them in since the threads are too light to show up on the camera. The centre picture is of Celtic Winter. This is what I was able to get done on Friday. I haven't touched it since as I wanted to get the bookmark finished. I will do some more on Thursday. The last one is Wild Blossom Fairy which I will do some work on tomorrow. Also tomorrow or Wednesday I will upload a photo of The Castle before I do any work on it on Sunday.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Some stitching and some reading
Since I have a few projects on the go I have decided to start a rotation. A lot of stitchers seem to do this. I thought it would be a good way to finally get TW "The Castle" finished since I haven't looked at it in I don't know how many months. I'll start Tuesday since I want to get the bookmark finished this week. Sunday and Monday will be "The Castle", Tuesday and Wednesday will be the wild blossom fairy and Thursday Friday will belong to Celtic Winter. I have left Saturday open for whatever I am in the mood to stitch or for little projects. In "cross stitch card shop" magazine there were some designs of cats sitting on top of parcels. One of them stood as sweet even to me (not a cat fan I have to admit) and I thought it would be ideal for my sister. So that might be one of my little projects.
Well, I am onto Chapter seven of Harry Potter. I'm not going to give anything away but if you don't want to know one of the chapter titles then look away now. One of the questions that everyone was asking as soon as the title of the book was released was, who is the half blood prince? There was a lot of speculation on that and JK Rowling had to say on a number of occasions that it wasn't Harry. Personally I didn't have a clue and just assumed that it would be a new character. I never really gave it much more thought until last night. I got to the chapter called "Half Blood Prince". It was then that I realised that I was so caught up in the fact that the next HP book was out that the title itself didn't register. Not once while reading did I wonder who the half blood prince was even though it is obviously going to be a big part of the story. It's weird how that happens. Jenn gives a good review of her Harry Potter night experience.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Yesterday I did a little more knitting and finished the front panel. To me it looks longer than the image in the book but I did follow the instructions and used the needle size the book recommended. It also doesn't look wide enough to hold a laptop. Lets hope when it is finished it will look okay. If my friends laptop doesn't fit in it she can always use it for something else. I still doubt that it will be strong enough. Although others who have made this bag already assured me that it would be fine once felted. It's knitting up a lot quicker than I thought.
I also made a little more progress with popcorn bear. Not much I admit since I was so tired. I've got a lot on at work this weekend so I probably won't get it finished to the end of next week.
Celtic Winter just cam through the door so I am very excited about getting started on that. I will probably set it up today and get a little of it done. It's sitting there calling out my name. I don't normally have more than one large project on the go. So I think I am going to have to do a rotation like a lot of the other stitchers do.
Just now I am reading "The End of The Affair" by Grahame Greene. I somehow didn't really expect to enjoy this but I am. I doubt I will finish it before Harry Potter comes through the door (which Amazon just confirmed will arrive tomorrow). It will get left aside until HP is finished. One book I can't recommend enough is Malorie Blackman's "Nought's and Crosses". Last year she brought out "Eye For an Eye" which was one of those little world book day books. It links "Nought's and Crosses" to then next book "Knife" so I have ordered it. Her website is pretty good too and it looks like she maintains it herself. I can see myself working my way through her whole booklist (maybe not the young reads).
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Harry Potter Madness
With the sixth book in the series being released this weekend it is hard not to get away from it. I put my hands up that I am one of those individuals who have had the book preordered since the beginning. I will also be one of those waiting eagerly at the door for it to arrive and will make a start on it straight away. Everything else will be ignored until I finish reading it. I will then probably blog about it once finished.
The truth is though that I didn't overly enjoy the last one. It was good but a little long winded and I have the feeling that this is going to to be the same. Last time I read the first four again so that I would have the storyline fresh in my head. I haven't done that this time. I just didn't feel much like reading the fifth one again. There are better children's books out there but it is easy to see why this series gets all the attention. I myself adored the first four. It also got kids into reading again and I think that it opened the market for more children's authors.
As I said I am probably going to write more about it when I get the book into my hands and finish it. I won't be one of these annoying people though who will give away all the important bits in the book.
I finally got my wool through from America which I ordered a few months ago. The company itself was very helpful. They had ran out and were waiting for it to arrive from their suppliers. So I don't blame them for it being so late. Anyway, as you can see I have made a start on it. The base is done and most of the front panel is done too. I love this wool. It just feels so soft. It's almost a shame that I am going to have to felt it. I would leave it be if it wasn't for the fact that it won't be strong enough without being felted. And that it is for my friend who requested that bag. I also learned to do two new things from this (and thanks to my mum who showed me because I couldn't see what the instructions meant). For the base I had to do a horizontal Herringbone stitch. This involves knitting your first stitch. Slipping the next stitch on to your other needle. Knitting the next stitch and then pulling the slipped stitch over it and then knitting it. I had to start all over again a few times with that one as I kept losing a stitch somewhere. Once I got into a rhythm though I had no problems. Then next new thing I learned was picking up stitches from the side of the base. This is a little hard to explain without any pictures but I managed it. After that it just involved the stocking stitch and the most difficult part was changing colours (which I remember from when I used to knit when I was little). The back panel will be the same so I don't think it will be long before I get it all knitted up.
I started the bookmark for the round robin. I don't have a picture of it yet though. I decided to use a popcorn bookmark kit I had there. I am going to add a border though using this persons favourite colours. Just to make it a bit more personal. I will get back to Blossom fairy as soon as the bookmark is finished.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Far Too Warm
Speaking of books. I'm about half way through "Naughts and Crosses" by Malorie Blackman. Most kids books coming out these days follow the girly trend (e.g. Princess Diary stile) or follow the fantasy trend. Although this is set in an alternate universe it is very different from either of those. In this universe there is a division between the Naughts (white) and the Crosses (black), The difference is that the naughts are fighting for equality for themselves. Fighting for the right to the same schooling, etc. A young boy and girl are both on opposite sides but when with each other it had never mattered. Callum is more aware of the differences than Sephy and she only comes to realise the racial hatred he really faces when he wins the right to be educated at the same school as herself. I haven't finished it yet but it is a great read and I highly recommend it. I think it would be great as a class book. I did spoil the ending for myself though. I was reading the back pages about the author. This is usually the first thing I do when I pick up a book. I flicked forward a few pages to see if there was anything else. This one page had a short paragraph on it and so I didn't think that it would be part of the main text. Turns out I was wrong. It hasn't completely spoiled it for me because now I am dying to know how it got to that point.
Stitching wise I have done absolutely nothing over the past few days. It has just been far too hot to do anything. Maybe I will try and do something tonight.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Best pen in the world
Away from my boring story about pens I picked up my stitching again last night. I got about half of what I picked out done. I am going to have to take a break from it soon as I have a bookmark to stitch. I have no idea what design I am going to chose for the bookmark but I think I will try and make a start on that tonight. This week I challenge myself to learn how to upload photos from my camera so that I can post decent progress photos.
I finished reading "The Man In the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick yesterday. It's the first alternate history book I have read and I really enjoyed it. It is set in America which is controlled by Germany and Japan. America and the rest of the world are supposed to be split between the two after they won the war. One of the parts I liked about the book is that it describes a famous book which the Japanese allow but the Nazis banned. This book tells what happens if the allies had won WWII. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. It's not just for sci fi fans as there is very little of sci fi in it. This was my first taste of Philip K. Dick and I look forward to reading more of his work.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Swapped the needle for the pen.
Just wanted to mention the pride I feel for the emergency services helping out in London. Watching the nurses running out of Ormand St Hospital I couldn't help but feel proud. I hope maybe that this will make people realise just how important our nurses are. They aren't given the respect and treatment they deserve. This goes for all areas of the emergency services.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Yesterday though I had an extremely frustrating morning. The first thing I did was go onto the net and check the status of some books that I had ordered. There were still no signs of them appearing. I had ordered them over a month ago and I knew I could get them more easily here so I cancelled the order. That wasn't really frustrating. It was more annoying than anything else.
I decided to do some stitching on Wild Cherry Blossom. I was happily stitching away and had finished with the white. I made the mistake of being pleased with my self thinking that I would be able to get quite a bit done. As I moved onto the bottom half of the dress I realised that I had made a mistake right at the start and that the only way to fix it was to unpick the lot. I could have cried as I had done this with Death of Rats too. What makes it worse is that the whole time I'm unpicking it I know why it had happened. I blame Scrubs coming out on DVD. When I sat down to start this I also put on the DVD. I was probably concentrating more on that than I was the stitching. My normal reaction would be to put it aside for a few days but I'm not going to do that. It will take me a few days to catch up to where I was but I will.
After spending the morning unpicking stitches and then stitching a couple of rows I decided to blow the dust off my French books. Could I find them? I hunted all over the place for them and still I couldn't find them. I must have annoyed my sister too with all my searching as she was trying to sleep. I had some lunch before deciding to start again in my search. I did finally find them. I found them in the first place I looked and exactly where they were supposed to be.
Anyway, the rest of the day was okay so I am putting it down to just a bad morning and not the fact that it was a Monday.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Sorry for the poor photo
I tried again to get a clear photo of my stitching and again it just looked white an sparkly. Thanks to photo shop I was able to clear it up a little. The fabric is really a pale blue not grey. I have just about finished the white in the dress. There are lots of white flower but I think that I will just stitch the fairy first before I go onto them. I think that even when I go onto other colours the design won't stand out. The camera just takes a horrible picture.
Yes, I still haven't read through the instructions on my new camera to work out how to load images to the computer. The truth is I hate reading instruction manuals. It's not that I don't understand them it's just that I can think of about a million other things that I would rather be doing. I am one of these impatient people who want to know instantly how something works without going through the boring process of the manual. Maybe I will open it up tonight and look through it (yes it is still in it's wrapping). I could just pass it on to my dad who would read through it just because he would have a new toy to play with. But then I would have to listen to his long explanations which usually involve half an hour of things I already know. Probably less painful to just read it myself.
In a previous post I mentioned that I had problems getting the bead for Celtic Christmas. Carol kindly offered to give me a hand if I had problems getting them from Celtic Winter. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. Thanks for the offer it was really nice of you and I appreciated the thought. This time though I read the content of the materials pack and the beads are included.
Finished - The Joy Luck Club
That is basically what I have taken from the book. I imagine that everybody could interpret it a little differently. I really enjoyed this book and would probably have read it in one sitting if it wasn't for work (or stitching of course). I'm not sure what I actually feel about the back. I can't think of much else to say about it or ways to describe it other than I enjoyed it and thought it was a good read. I liked the fact that it brought back lots of memories of my holiday in San Francisco. I liked looking into these lives which are so different from my own. I will definitely make a point of reading more of Amy Tan's work.
I did a search on this book just to see if I could see what others thought of the book. The first one I cam across described it as a bad Chinese book. The individual was from Chinese descent and describes all of Amy Tan's books in this way. I stopped searching after that as I didn't want to be put off. Still it made me think. I suppose there could be Scottish writing out there that lots of people love but us Scots would class as trash. Maybe it's like that (although my knowledge of Scottish literature is extremely poor).
Friday, July 01, 2005
One Finished Rat
I also did more work on the wild cherry blossom fairy. I still can't post a photo as I am still only stitching with white. Maybe once I start using another colour she will show on the camera. Or even better, maybe I will actually learn to use my new camera. It is safe to say that this design is prettier than the last one. And it looks like I have the stitching bug back.
I am looking forward to receiving Celtic Winter which I hope will arrive soon. Some cross stitch bloggers kindly asked if I wanted to stitch it in their SAL and I jumped at the chance. When I stitched Celtic Christmas that was also with a SAL but sadly the website crashed and the organiser never fixed it. I kept stitching of course but it was always nice to see how others were doing and give each other support when things went wrong. I will be stitching alongside Carol, Karen, Julianna, Katrina, Becky, Jenn and Kathy. It will be fun stitching with so many people.