Sunday, October 30, 2005

 
Your Daddy Is Johnny Depp

What You Call Him: Papito

Why You Love Him: He takes you to Disneyland
Who's Your Daddy?
I got this from Carol. I love Johnny Depp but most definitely wouldn't want to call him daddy. The fact that I think he is hot just makes it sick. I could just stare at him all day!

 

Old Friends

I really don't have much news. I haven't done any stitching over the last few days. I have been so tired from work that I haven't been able to read either. Today though I woke up for the first time in a long time feeling that I had a proper sleep. I woke up not tired. I can't remember the last time I felt like that. Maybe it was that extra hour thanks to the clocks going back. This means I will do some stitching tonight. Probably some more decorations. I ordered some from sew and so. Lili tempted me when I saw the lovely decorations she ordered. Two of them are for my mum. One I will stitch for her and the other I will put in her Christmas present to do herself. One for myself and a chart booklet of Christmas ornaments. I will take some photos when they arrive.

It's really strange how people I used to know have been cropping up in my life the last few weeks. I bumped into a girl I used to know at school a few days ago. To be honest I didn't recognise her at all. It wasn't until she started talking to me and mentioned school that I remembered who she was. Normally I would be embarrassed by not remembering but strangely I wasn't this time. We weren't particularly friendly at school. We knew each other through friends but we didn't share any of the same classes and didn't socialise. Then yesterday I received a letter from an old friend. In high school I had a few penpals and this one lasted for years. We got to know each other pretty well and even talked about meeting up. Somehow we lost touch. She said she had this strange dream about me and the next day decided to write. Will definitely reply to her. It's funny how these things happen all at once. I also bumped into someone I used to know at university. I didn't recognise her either although I only finished a few years ago.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

 

"Arrows Fall" Mercedes Lackey



This is the third book in Mercedes Lackey's "Queens Arrows" trilogy. In this one the main character, Talia, is now a full Herald. She comes back from her field training to face a range of problems. She has to stop a plan to marry off the heir, Elspeth. The distance between herself and Elspeth is growing. And then tow people she relies on have a huge dispute and she is stuck in the middle of it. She know Lord Orthollen is behind it all but she can't prove it and no one else sees it. When she is sent on a mission to view Elspeths potential husband the conspiracy is uncovered. Talia must warn the Queen before it is too late.

I have enjoyed reading these books but would class them as an easy read. These books are mostly filled with angst and fluff. If you are a fantasy fan I would recommend them as pure escapism only. The story lines aren't particularly complex and the majority of each book is spent on Talias feelings. If it was fan fiction Talia would be a Mary Sue. It sounds like I didn't like them but I really did. It is just that they are limited in what you will get out of them. They also remind me a little of books by Tamora Pierce. Particularly the "Lioness Quartet". I still plan on reading more of these books. As I said they are pure escapism and sometimes it is good if that is all book is.

Friday, October 28, 2005

 

Last Two Elves



I finished the last two elves for my mum. I just need to get some ribbon. I should point out that the elf holding my initial isn't supposed to be winking. It's really difficult to do french knots on plastic. I ended up leaving him like that as I thought that it did actually make him a little sweeter.

The Christmas folder is out now and tonight I plan to reorganise it. I have lots of Christmas designs to add to it and I need to look for some cute Christmas tree designs for my nieces. I did find a penguin alphabet which I might use to make tree decorations for them.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

 

More Tree Decorations



I haven't done any work on CW this week. I had hoped to get the gold in the dress finished but I just haven't had much time. That and I am starting to panic about how close Christmas really is. I bought "The World of Cross Stitching" yesterday and I fell in love with the elves alphabet. I thought they were so cute!. I decided that they would make perfect decorations to put in with my parents and sisters' cards. So I began stitching them onto plastic straight away. I have since decided to make one with my initial too and put all four of them in my mums card. That way she will have a whole set. These are the first two and I am almost finished with my dads. I hope to have mine done by the weekend too (and with any luck a little done on CW). You can't tell by the photo but the threads for the lettering are metallic. The white stands out more in real life. I am also going to have a flick through my cross stitch Christmas folder and see what else I can find. Maybe more cute alphabets.

Hi Lili, to be honest I didn't have a clue what my inner child would be. I never really thought about it. I was definitely someone who played it safe as a kid but I still wouldn't have thought it would be scared. As you said though its only a quiz so I haven't taken it that seriously.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 
Your Inner Child Is Scared

Like a kid, you tend to shy away from new experiences.
You prefer what's tried and true - novelty is scary!
New foods, new places, and new friends are difficult for you to deal with.
Some say you're predictable, but you enjoy being comfortable.
How Is Your Inner Child?
I got this quiz from Lili. I have to admit that it is sort of true. I would never have classed my inner child as scared though.

Monday, October 24, 2005

 

Music Is Loud.

This blog entry is dedicated to Lili who asked how my music was getting along.

Basically it isn't getting on at the moment. It think that I have maybe had one practice since the last time I mentioned my Clarinet. It's not that I have given up on the idea or that I have lost interest. Far from it. I still want to relearn and then improve on what I did know. The main reason that I haven't been able to do anything since is that music is loud. There is no way to practice a Clarinet quietly (unless you just work on your fingering). This means that I can only practice when I have the house to myself.

The first instrument I learned to play was the recorder and I was still at primary school. I loved learning it and I used to practice all the time. The novelty never really wore off until I got to high school and had the chance to try out other instruments. I managed to pick up the recorder fairly quickly but this didn't stop me from driving my family up the wall. I remember my sister screaming at me every now and then to shut up. One time I stopped to get a glass of water and when I came back my recorder had vanished. I knew my sister had hidden it somewhere although she did deny it. It's the sort of thing that kids do. What sticks in my head about that incident is that my mum didn't intervene at any point or tell my sister off for what she did. I'm sure if I was to mention it now my mum probably wouldn't even remember it. But that is basically why am reluctant to practice when there are people in the house. I just don't want to annoy them.

I'm sure they would be fine with it. My family was very supportive when I took up the Clarinet and my sister was interested in music by then (ironically she had taken up the recorder). I would just rather be on my own when I practice.

Considering how little I am able to practice though I am surprised at how well I am actually doing. I thought that I would spend most of my time depressed over how much I had forgotten. Instead I am excited when I pick something up again. Just now I need to keep practicing the higher register. At my last practice I pulled out some of my old music again and was pleased with how some of it went. I played some of my favourites from "The West Side Story" and was able to play a little of "Music Of The Night". My incentive to keep going is a treat of some new sheet music after Christmas.

 
Your Blog Should Be Purple

You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.
You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.
You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.
What Color Should Your Blog or Journal Be?
I got this quiz from Jenn.

Friday, October 21, 2005

 




Which flock do you follow?

this quiz was made by alanna

I got this from Lili's blog.

 

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I have never done this before so I hope it works (transfer code from a quiz that is). I took the sci fi character test and came up with Jean-Luc Picard.

An accomplished diplomat who can virtually do no wrong, you sometimes know it is best to rely on the council of others while holding the reins.
There are some words which I have known since I was a schoolboy. "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." These words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie -- as a wisdom, and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged.

 

Alice in Wonderland & Checkmate


The story of Alice in Wonderland has never appealed to me. Even when I was little I had zero interest in the story. For someone who likes fantasy you would expect it to be the opposite. I refused to watch the cartoon and all the television adaptions. I just had a complete aversion to it. However, I used to have a strong dislike for "The Wind In The Willows" and I was surprised when I read the book for the first time not that long ago. Because of that and references to the book in Jaspor Ffordes Thursday Next series I decided to give it a go. I still didn't enjoy it. Maybe my initial dislike was too strong but I just didn't enjoy it. I am glad I read it and at least I can now say I did actually give it a try. My dislike this time wasn't towards the story itself but towards the characters. They all irritated me and I was glad once I finished it. In saying that this picture is from the cover of a pop up version. If you see this in the book store you should have a look. It truly is amazing. There is also the same type for "The Wizard of Oz". They would make great gifts!


I also read "Checkmate" which was the last in Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses trilogy. In this one Callie Rose has grown into a beautiful and angry 15 year old. She has been a member of the Nought terrorist organisation for two years and is about to do something drastic. She has been poisoned against her mother by her Uncle Jude as part of his revenge and has learned to hate. The only chance she has is for her mum to tell her the truth about her past and for her grandmothers to cross the racial divide and work together to save her.

To me this is the best one out of all three. Right from the start I had problems putting it down. The style of the book is a little different from the first two. It still flicks to each characters point of view but this time it also flicks through time. It starts in the present with a stand off between Callie and Sephy and a stand off between Jude and Sephy's mum. It then goes back to Callies childhood as she begins to learn more about herself. And how she becomes so angry and full of hate. This series is definitely a must read. Out of all the people I know who read them I haven't heard of a single person who didn't enjoy them. You don't have to be a fan of Children's books to enjoy them either.

Thanks again to everyone who has made comments on CW. I really do appreciate them. Those comments have been a great encouragement. Gill, the gold does stand out better in real life. It is still a little paler than I thought it would be. But not as pale as the photo shows. I used two strands for Celtic Christmas too but found it frustrating at times.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

 

Some Crafting Updates



I managed to get a good chunk of the metallic gold done this week. While stitching though it didn't actually feel like much. It felt like it was going a little slowly. Admittedly I would probably have got more done if I didn't have a two day hunt for the thread (from now on I stop putting things in safe places). The gold actually looks less vibrant than I thought it would. I think it will stand out a little more once I get to the edging. Carol has made a start on the border and it looks really good. I have to admit that I am itching to get onto that part. Feels like I am always looking forward to getting on to the next part but I think stitching will always have that affect on me. I know a lot of people use only one strand of the metallic thread because it is so difficult to work with. I decided to take this advice on board. The thread still snags and becomes all frayed but it's easier to handle. And before it gets too bad I give up on it and start afresh with another strand. I think metallic thread will always be difficult to work with. It's the price we pay for the sparkle.

I haven't made any more decorations yet (sorry Lili) but I did make some cards yesterday. I wasn't actually planning on making any. I got my card making things out to make a card for a friend. I had zero inspiration and ended up making these. I'm not sure who they will be sent out to but they still go along with my Christmas tree theme. I haven't actually had much card making inspiration in a while. Last year I couldn't get enough of making them. This year it has all gone. It's not that I am bored with it or anything. I just go blank when I try. These ones just happened as I hadn't really any intention of making them. Maybe that's why I could do them.

Sorry I still haven't gotten round to those book reviews. I will soon, promise!


Sunday, October 16, 2005

 

CW Update



I haven't been near the computer the last days which is why I haven't been commenting on peoples blogs of late. I did some catching up this morning though. I have been able to get a little stitching done in the mornings. But when I have got home from work I have been too tired to do much else but read a little and then sleep. With any luck though this week will be back to normal.

I was able to get the rest of the swirls done as planned. You can now see the stain from the spilled juice. It actually shows up more in the photo than it does for real. Anyway since finishing the swirls I have noticed that stitching will only cover bits of it. I am hoping that with a little more delicate washing it might come out. My mum usually has lots of different cleaning products. With any luck she will have something that will take it out but won't ruin it. Tomorrow I am going to make a start on the rest of the gold. I'm really looking forward to that. It will be nice to work with a different colour again. Still no luck in finding the beads again. Looks like I am going to have to order them again after all. You just know that once I do I will find them.

I have a few book updates to do too but I will do that at some point this week.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

Two Book Reviews



Before I go on to review a couple of books I want to give an update on CW. I am nearing the end of the swirls in the whites and grays. I think that by the end of the week I might have that done and then I can move on to the metallic gold. I'm looking forward to this as I think that it will really stand out. You don't have to use the metallic threads though. Gill is using Anchor reflecta and the effect is lovely. I think it really works because it is more subtle, softer. I think it will look gorgeous once finished.

I did have a bit of an accident although you can't see it in this photo. My sister left some juice lying and it took a spill. It's really my own fault since I left my stitching out. There are two splodges on the fabric although they are now faint because I washed it. The worst one will be covered by the frame but the second one I am hoping will be covered by the stitching as it won't come out. I've learned my lesson about having my stitching sitting out anyway.

My clarinet practice is going well. I did some more work on my rhythms and it is improving. So I felt comfortable in moving on to other notes. It's really funny how different people are attracted to different sounds. When I first began learning the Clarinet my dad once asked me to practice in the living room so he could here it. He didn't mind that I wasn't able to play any proper music yet but actually wanted me to play certain notes over and over again. With him it was all the lower notes. I couldn't understand it at the time as I had always been attracted to the high notes (although I hadn't learned these as yet). Now though I can appreciated it. There is just something about the lower range of notes. Today though I am moving on to the higher range which means that I will soon be able to practice some of the music I used to enjoy playing at school.

I actually find it really difficult to review books by Haruki Murakami. His books keep you thinking long after you have finished them. I am never sure what they really mean or are trying to say. When I finally think that I have got it worked out I begin to doubt this and the thinking starts all over again. "Norwegian Wood" is the only one so far which is pretty straight forward. "After the Quake" is no different from the others unless you count the fact that it is a collection of short stories. All the stories are connected by the fact that each of the main characters are affected in some way by an earthquake which hit Kobe. I'm sure there are other ways too but I have yet to think out what that is. Possibly a feeling of emptiness inside each of the characters but I am sure there is more to it. I will never tire of Murakami's work. I love how each of his stories flow and I love all of his characters. I would recommend anyone to give one of his books a try.

"Knife Edge" by malorie Blackman is book two in her Noughts and Crosses trilogy. In this one we meet Sephy again who has just had her baby. She is alone. Rejected by both noughts and crosses. Only her love for Callum and now Callie Rose is keeping her going. Meanwhile Callum's brother, Jude, has been rejected from the Nought terrorist group. His need for revenge has turned into pure hatred for all crosses. He has the chance to rid himself of that hatred but it only confuses him, causing him to carry out an outrageous act. Now his enemy, Sephy, is the only one who can save him.

This one isn't quite as good as the first one. The pace is a little slower at the start. However, in the last hundred or so pages it really does pick up and brings it back to the same level as the first one. A great book dealing with difficult issues.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

 

"Forty Signs Of Rain" and "The Web Planet"



I've read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars Trilogy" and "Years of Rice and Salt". So when I saw "Forty Signs of Rain" I couldn't resist. This is book one of a trilogy which is the same sort of story as "The Day After Tomorrow". This is a little slower paced than the film and (in my opinion) a lot more interesting. It is set around a small group of characters. Anna Quibler is a statistical scientist. On the way to work one day she come across an interesting group of people in her building. They are in Washington to try and do something to save their small country. Their are now one of the drowning nations thanks to the rising sea levels. Charlie Quibler is a stay at home dad who also work on environmental policy for a senator. He sees the changes in weather and is concerned that it may be too late to put new measures into place. But no one will listen to him. Meanwhile Washington is warmer than usual and it is all about to come to a head.

As I mentioned earlier this book is a little slower paced than the film. It deals more with environmental politics and science. Things really don't begin to happen until the end. I remember this from Robinson's Mars books. A lot of detail went into both the politics and the science. Both of which I found really interesting. Not that I completely understand the science. However, I did find it interesting. Reading this book I couldn't help but think of all the disasters that have took place this year because of the weather. Things like the tsunami and both the hurricanes which badly affected New Orleans. In the end I was reading with concern as well as interest. I think this is a definite must read and a good one. It is classed as science fiction but it is set in the present and the science isn't all that far fetched so even non science fiction fans might enjoy it. The second book "Fifty Below" is out just now but I will wait for the paper back to come out before I get it.

"Doctor Who: The Web Planet" was only released on Monday there and I collected this one a lot quicker than I did the others. Mainly because I saw it at a really good price. Again my parents had this one on video (most people collected films on video but my parents collected Doctor Who and Star Trek, explains so much about me. lol). Surprisingly though I have never watched this one all the way through. It was bought at a time when I wasn't a huge fan of the old black and white stories. I only really enjoyed them if they involved Daleks. Since then I have grown to appreciate William Hartnell and watched the whole thing a few nights ago. The Doctor and his companions help a planet of insect-like aliens from an evil force who has taken control of them.

I found it difficult not to laugh at these actor dressed as large insects, especially the bees. I have no idea why that would be more ridiculous than other aliens. It did bring back memories of gym when I was little and we all had to run around pretending we were bees. Despite all that I still enjoyed the story. I love Hartnell's wit and it was refreshing watching one I didn't know off by heart. I have also always liked the companions Barbara and Ian. Barbara mainly because she seems more capable than a lot of the other companions. Always able to come up with a plan and keep it together. And she didn't let me down with this one as she came up with the plan of attack. This will never be one of my favourite stories but still one I enjoyed.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

 

Another CW update



I managed to get quite a bit more done. I finished three strips of swirls. There is still quite a bit to go but I'm pleased with the way it is looking so far. The bottom part of the dress is actually stitching up quicker than I thought. I'm not sure how much more I will be able to do over the weekend. So it may be mid week before I have another update. I am half tempted to do the gold as I go along too. I am dying to see the affect. However, I'll hold off as I also want to see the difference once the whites and grays are done on their own.

I haven't done any Christmas stitching since. I just haven't got round to it yet. Too busy with CW. I might try and make a few small cards tonight. I'll see how I feel.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

 

Some cross stitch updates



Sorry for the dark photo. I did take one with the flash on but you couldn't see her at all. I have just about finished with the top half of her body (other than the beads, still can't find them). I made a small start to the swirls at the bottom of her dress. I am basically doing this the same way I did Celtic Christmas. I work down one strip of blocks on the chart at a time. It means a lot of thread changes but I am less likely to get lost this way. I enjoy following the pattern of the swirls and watching them form. It takes my mind away from the boring colours. I must admit that they don't look that boring on the fabric. I can't wait to see how the gold turns out on the bottom of her dress.

This is the Christmas card I stitched this week. This one is worked with the usual two strands. The red beads and metallic thread was already part of the design so I didn't have to brighten it up. I did add the charm to the third tree though. I ordered a pack of star charms hoping to use them on these designs. Unfortunately the rest of the stars are a little too big. I am thinking of going with the Christmas tree theme this year. So I will hunt out some more designs and hopefully the stars will fit them. If not I am sure I will find a use for them at some point.

Lastly here are more tree decorations. I was able to do quite a few this week. I've still to buy some ribbon though. I will try to remember to do that at the weekend. I was thinking of making more of the bobbles. I thought of making one for each of my nieces but do the bands in different colours. If I remember I could do this for them each year and so they could collect each of the designs. There are a few other designs I want to do so hopefully I will have some more photos for you after the weekend.


 

Blake's 7 - series 3

I finally ordered the third series of "Blake's 7" on DVD and have watched most of it. I actually did get the collectors edition just for the ship. What can I say? I'm a big kid! I haven't taken it out of its plastic container yet. Many collectors will probably groan in horror but I do intend to open it. I don't see the point of owning something and keeping it within its wrapping just because it might be worth something later. This is one of my many pet hates. I once knew someone who bought all the limited edition board games (eg Star Wars monopoly) just to collect them. They would all sit on his shelf in their wrapping and collecting dust. Board games are made to be played with.

Sorry, I didn't actually mean to go on that mini rant there. I really enjoyed this series and had only seen bits of two episode in the past (thanks to badly edited videos). I knew the way in which two of the main characters left but I was kind of hoping that there would be more of an explanation but sadly no. It does mean more of Avon though and he always was one of my favourite characters. Servelan also has more of a role to play without Travis. I didn't like her character much in the first two series but grew to like her in this one. This series is also more about revenge than finding freedom which you might expect after Blake leaving. I did notice lots of actors who had also made appearances in Doctor Who. Most notably was Colin Baker looking slimmer and sporting an earring.

One thing I was waiting for was the arrival of another character. I had remember reading about her on some website and even seeing her picture. Since I only have two episodes to go I thought maybe I had imagined it. But after using google I found that I hadn't after all. Turns out there is a fourth series of Blakes' 7. I had always thought there was only the three so this was a pleasant surprise. I checked amazon to see if there was any info on its release but no joy. Something to look out for though.

I did do some more work on CW but unfortunately I left my digital camera at a friends. She's a little big for the scanner so my update will have to wait until I get my camera back. So frustrating as I can actually see in my head exactly where I left it. I also have more decorations to show and another Christmas card. Hopefully I will get my camera back tonight and I will update tomorrow.


Ronnie Barker 1929-2005


Comic Legend Ronnie Barker died on Tuesday after suffering from heart problems. My first memories of Ronnie Barker was from watching the Two Ronnies with my gran. I loved them even though I probably didn't understand most of the jokes. It wasn't until later that I also appreciated "Open All Hours" and "Porridge". Both of which were hugely popular and very funny. He will be sadly missed.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

 

First Practice To Go Bad

I did some practice as I said I would and didn't feel that I got very far. So far learning the notes again hasn't went too badly for me. I think if I wasn't enjoying it so much it would be frustrating since I used to be able to play them without too much thinking. The last few lessons in my book have been about timing and to be honest that has been the most difficult part so far. I am fine when it comes to normal 4 count beats but when the speed is doubled up I run into difficulty. I seem to stumble all over the place. The good thing is that I am not put off by it. It just means I will have to spend the next few practices going over it again. Actually it will probably take more than the next few practices. I will continue learning more notes but I will spend part of each session working on my timing until I get it right. I've actually been looking at sheet music on line. Wondering what I can order once I am back on track. This might be one of those times when I shouldn't count my chickens so I have held off ordering anything yet.

I was hoping to spend some time on CW today but instead I will be visiting some of the family. I will pick her up again tomorrow. Looks like doing the bead work on her hair and neck is out of the window for the moment. I don't know where I put the beads. I put them in a safe place since I didn't think I would be needing them so soon and now I can't remember where. Hopefully by the time I really need them I will have found them. I made a few more tree decorations yesterday and hope to get at least one more card done this week.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

 

Christmas Cross stitch

Again I would like to thank everyone for their lovely comments on CW. I have really enjoyed watching everyone else's progress too. Also seeing the progress of those who are stitching the other Celtic ladies has got me itching to get onto them too. Not to worry. I will only work on one Celtic lady at a time.

You might remember a few weeks ago I mentioned a magazine that had lots of lovely Christmas items in it that I wanted to stitch. I finally ordered the things I needed and it cam through two days ago. This is one of the cards I wanted to stitch. The material is linen which I have never used for cards before. The stitching is all done in one thread. I thought this was kind of strange but I quite like the effect. There is also no backstitch which is always a bonus. Once I had finished it seemed a little dull though so I added some red beads to brighten it up. I haven't decided how I will mount it. I might go shopping for some cards next week as I think it might look a little washed out on cream.


I also got the beads through and plastic canvas to make the tree decorations. Here are a few I have made so far. All I need is some ribbon. Not sure what colour to use though. Possibly deep green. I ordered more beads in different colours so that I can make more. Hopefully they will be a nice surprise when people open their cards.

I also managed to get in more clarinet practice and I should be able to do some more today. It is still coming back to me slowly. The fact that I have to relearn all the notes is making it more slow. I don't mind though as I actually enjoy doing it. I thought the most difficult thing would be remembering how to read music. That is proving to be the easiest. During my last practice I decided to have a go at playing some of the music I used to enjoy. One of the songs I loved playing was "Somewhere" from "The West Side Story". Actually most of the songs I loved playing were from that musical. Yesterday I decided to give it a go and found that I could play maybe about half. I didn't think I would get that far to be honest so I wasn't too disappointed considering I used to play it over and over again.

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