Monday, May 29, 2006
So here is my finished challenge. From the start I knew I wanted to stitch a black cat and that I wanted it to become a little matt. I got my inspiration from the calico cats but the design itself is my own and I decided to go with a silhouette cat in the end. I also knew that I wanted to create a border using my newly learned hardanger. The silk stitch hearts were added as an extra to fill in some space. It was looking a little blank to me and I quite like the way it turned out. I then used my first hem stitch to tidy up the edges and used beads to set it off. I am really pleased with the way it has turned out. My hardanger still isn't the neatest but I'm still learning. It made my mum happy when I gave it to her anyway (I posted a picture on the forum too).
Afterwards I went back to my practice Hardanger piece. This time I used part of the star in silk stitch to decorate round the edges. I am going to do one more border and then I think I am finished with this one. I have ordered another Hardanger book and am impatiently waiting for it. I will probably do another practice piece in the next week or so. This week though it is back to the snowman. With any luck grandson 3 will make an appearance and I can get you all to name him (or it could be a her).
This website here is quite good if you want to learn a little about Hardanger. It also gives some tutorials.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Challenge Almost Finished!
While stitching I listened to the audio version of the first ever Cyberman storyline. The Doctor, Ben and Polly arrive at a station in the Arctic just as another planet appears in the solar system. This planet belongs to the Cybermen and it is dying. They need the energy of the Earth in order to survive. The people of Earth are given to options, die on their doomed planet or go with the cybermen and become like them.
This story explains so much about the Cybermen. I was unaware that the Cybermen were literally human to begin with and makes other storylines make so much more sense. It was narrated by Anneke Wills who played Polly. It was the one thing I was worried about. I know that without any narration there would be a great many scenes of silence and nothing would make sense. I was worrying for nothing as the narration was done well. I will be collecting more of these missing episodes on audio. It does make you wish though that they weren't missing.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
San's Challenge and Booking Through
I just wanted to mention San's challenge. Everyone knows her website and so have probably read it for themselves. She also advertised it on her forum. She has challenged everyone to design their own cross stitch design based on a theme each month. This months theme is cats. She does say that if you don't want to design your own you could stitch your favourite cat design instead. I don't particularly like cats but I love the idea of this challenge and I have friends and family who do like cats. So I can always give what I do for them. I have a few ideas and I just hope it turns out well.
Booking Through Thursday
- What are the last five books that you finished reading?
- How long did it take you to read them?
- Did you enjoy reading these books? Why or why not?
The last five books I finished reading are;
"The Colour Purple" by Alice Walker
"Assassin's Quest" by Robin Hobb
"Tokyo" by Graham Marks
"Lost Japan" by Alex Kerr
"Happily Ever After" by Adele Geras
It took me just over a week to read them all. A few of them were very quick reads which is why it didn't take me that long. I enjoyed them all but for different reasons. The colour Purple is the title that sticks most in my mind. At first I found it a little strange. It really wasn't what I expected as it was written in the form of letters. Once I got used to that I found the book to be amazing. It describes so many different worlds and the characters were each brilliant in their own way. It's amazing how such a small book can hold so much. Lost japan was out of interest and the rest were easy reads. Happily Ever After was from my fairy tale phase (which I am not completely over). Within it there are stories based on Rapunzel, sleeping beauty and snow white. I enjoyed matching the similarities in the stories but the writing itself was a little young.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
More Bugs and Something New.
Thanks everyone for your lovely comments on bugs. At this point though finishing still seems a long way away. There is still the silver filling in the border, the shading inside the border and then the dreaded back stitch. I managed to get quite a bit more of the border done. More than what I thought I would have by now so there is a little hope that I will finish that part by the end of the week. Every time I got to pick it up I think 'God! Not this black again!'. But when I actually get to stitching I am mesmerised the way it contrasts with the white of the fabric. I agree though that Bugs is looking very dapper and the black border just seems to set it off. I must admit I am looking forward to seeing him finished myself.
There is something else though that might prevent me from keeping my goal for the week. I was looking through my craft books last night for a message I was posting on San's message board. One book I had forgotten all about was a beginners guide to Hardanger. A few years ago I was determined to give this ago and bought everything I needed to learn it. I never quite had the courage and so it lay forgotten about. However, in the last few months I have seen so many of you trying out these different types of stitches and I decided last night to give it a go. I am not working to any pattern. I'm just trying out lots of different stitches. I realise they aren't particularly neat but I am guessing that will improve as I learn (it also made me realise that I really need a new pair of scissors. I am going to keep going with this piece although I have no idea what to do with it in the end. It isn't neat enough to give away or even to frame for myself. I might just put it in my crafts journal.
Kim, this is weird I was discussing with a friend not that long ago why as a kid I though the Daleks were scarier than the cybermen. The Daleks are just so different and those voices too. So completely different and it scared me. Also their gun was a part of them. They were never without it. They were also alien and the first Doctor Who bad guy I remember watching. All of this helped to make them scary for me (that and my sister used to scare each other with our own stories). The cybermen came a close second but they had more recognisable human features. Although the whole turning people into cybermen creeps me out. I hope this helps.
Stewart, thanks to it being lost I've never saw Tenth Planet. I have ordered the audio book though and I am just waiting for it to arrive. If it is any good I might start collecting the lost ones that way.
Lili and Kim, the parts I know are though to be autobiographical are the wrestling and the fatherless main characters. I am sure there is more than that though. I remember on the programme that I watched on him that a brother he didn't know about found him. I think there is meant to be something of that in his latest. Kim how you felt about Fourth Hand is exactly how I felt about Cider House. I just couldn't get into the characters. None of them seemed particularly likeable. And Wilbur Larch really irritated me.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Bugs and More Doctor Who
I managed to do a little work on Bugs yesterday. The top corner has been filled in and I have started to work my way along the top. My hope is that I will get the black of the border done this week. But as I said before this part is slow work. It looks as though it should be straight forward but it is bigger than you think.
While stitching I listened to the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Spare Parts". It's the one I mentioned before. It stars Peter Davidson as the Doctor and Nyssa as his companion. Some sci fi fans will recognise the voice of the cyber doctor. The actress played Jenna in Blakes 7. This shows the beginnings of the Cybermen and how the Doctor tries to prevent or at least postpone them coming about. Like the recent television episodes it has a moment when one of the cybermen remembers who she is and tries to return home. I think most Doctor Who fans would enjoy this. It is one of the few Big Finish productions that I could listen to more than once.
I have also had a change. Growing up my favourite Doctor Who villain was always the Daleks. The Cybermen came a close second but the Daleks scared me the most and for that reason I enjoyed their stories the most. However, that has changed. I think the Cybermen are actually under appreciated. I have been watching the "Lost In Time" DVD again but playing special close attention to the Cybermen episodes. It just leaves me wanting to see more. I am now seriously considering buying some of the BBC audio books of the old cybermen episodes. Just wish they would release more of them onto DVD.
Big thanks to everyone who commented on the card. I'm glad you liked it.
I haven't seen the film "The Cider House Rules" although I have seen clips of it. I have heard that the films do not do the books any justice which has put me off watching them. I heard that the Owen Meany one is the worst and best to be avoided if you love the book. Lili, I could talk about his books all day too despite only having read the three. The part I find interesting is that there is meant to be a lot of Irving in the main characters of each book (although Irving denies this). From what little I know of the author I can see it. I do plan to read more of his books but like you I won't be reading them all at once. You do need time to let them sink in. I still get flashes of imagery in my head from Cider House.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Card for a Friend
When I first started card making I couldn't stop. I loved nothing more than getting all my supplies out (which were few at that point) and seeing what I could come up with. As time went on though I had certain things in mind before I started. And now when I don't it puts me off so I haven't made as many cards of late. This one I made for a friend and I went back to how I used to do it. No clue as to what I was going to do, just my supplies all spread out for inspiration. The feathers/leafs were my sisters idea. She insisted that I used them and suggested that I had it round the edging. I went one further and decided to edge the whole card with them.
I edged the front with pink, purple and blue and the back with greens and yellows. I thought it would give an almost petal and leaf effect when closed. I then cover the card in blue tissue paper. I used my butterfly stamp to decorate the front and then finished it off with flower and star gems. It is a little different from what I would usually do but I am pleased with the way it turned out.
No stitching up date I'm afraid. Although I have appreciated everyone's comments of the FF fairies. I love this design the more I work on it. I didn't actually do any over the last two days so the last update is accurate. This week I am going to go back to bugs and see how much of that border I can get done. It is really slow word so I doubt I will get it finished. I have also been knitting which is another reason my stitching is slow. I am making a blanket for my sister (she uses them to sleep downstairs when she some in late from work and has an early start the next day). So I am knitting up lots of squares to stitch together. I have done 30 so far but quite a few more to go. It's not exactly interesting but it is easy to do when watching DVDs.
If anyone caught the second part to the Dr Who Cyberman story I would love to hear what you though. I sat on the edge of my seat through out. There was one part (I don't want to say too much and give it away) where you could see what was going to happen but hoped didn't and couldn't look away from the screen. I am tempted to say that this was better than the Dalek episodes.
One last thing. If anyone likes Star Trek then this might amuse you. I came accross what is supposed to be Captain Picards journal on Blogs of note.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Judy - I have read all the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde and I agree they are a brilliant read. And very funny too. I have the latest of his books sitting there waiting on me to read but I just haven't got round to it yet.
Booking Through Thursday
I have never met an author so charming that I have had to read all their books. And I have never been put off a favourite author either. It does happen though. I have a friend who enjoyed one author. Went to a few of his events and he turned out to be so arrogant that my friend refuses to read any of his books.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Homer Wells is an orphan from St Clouds. He is the oldest orphan there due after three failed attempts at adoption. Homer sees himself as belonging to St Clouds and so begins to learn from Wilbur Larch. He learns to take care of the pregnant women who come to St Clouds and to take care of the orphans. Wilbur Larch hopes that Homer will take over his duties as soon as he is ready. However, Homer leaves St Clouds for another small town where he falls in love with a new life and his best friends girl. He has no intention of returning despite the desperate need the orphanage has for him.
This is the third book I have read by John Irving. I have been wanting to read this ever since I watched a program on the author. It seemed one of the most interesting. However, I found myself to be very disappointed. The characters were no where near as likeable as in Owen Meany and Garp. In fact I found them to be a little dull. Despite this there are still sections of the book which stick in my mind and so it was well worth reading. It certainly hasn't put me off reading other books by this author.
"Magic's Price" Mercedes Lackey
This is that last book in the "last Herald Mage" series. This one sees Vanyel falling in love again and reluctantly. He now has someone else that the enemies of Valdemar can use against him. The only hope Valdemar has is if Vanyel directly challenges the evil which threatens the land. However, if he does it could mean his end and if he fails it would certainly mean the end of everything he loves.
Like the last two in the series it is an easy but enjoyable read. I flew through the book and enjoyed it as pure escapism. Definitely one for people who enjoy fantasy and want something light. I will be looking out more of the authors books based in Valdemar at some point.
"Evil Star" Anthony Horowitz
This is book two in Horowitz's "Power of Five" series. Matt is trying to pull his life back together after the events of the first book and it isn't working. He doesn't fit in to his new posh school and feels strange having Richard look after him. Then Nexus get in touch with him. They suspect that a second gate is going to be opened in Peru. As Matt is the only one of the five to be found it is up to him to go and try to stop it. However, there appears to be a leak within Nexus as the enemy seems to know Matt's every move.
I love Horowitz writing. He knows how to create suspense and has the ability to leave people wanting more. This is certainly true with this book. I found difficult to put the book down and then at the end I found myself feeling impatient that that the next book wasn't available yet. It is a kids book but I highly recommend it. Anthony Horowitz's website is here.
"The Land Of Laughs" Jonathan Carroll
Thomas abbey is the son of a famous actor. He hates the notoriety this brings and so hides away from it through teaching English. His one escape is reading the books of children's author Marshall France. It has always been on his mind that he should write the biography of the beloved author and so he quits his job and heads our to France's home town with girlfriend Saxony. Once there he has to convince France's daughter, Anna, that he can so the biography justice. Strange things begin to happen and they discover that there is more to this little town and that Marshall France and his books are somehow behind it all.
This is another book that I found difficult to put down. It is fantasy but a very different kind of fantasy than I normally read. It is set in present day but fiction seems to become reality. This is definitely something to read if you want to try something a little bit different.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Firefly Fairies & Doctor Who
I know I said that I wasn't going to comment on any of the Doctor Who episodes but I couldn't let this one go by (if you don't want any spoilers then you should skip this part). This weeks episode saw the return of the Cybermen. The Doctor, Rose and Mickey are stuck on an alternate Earth. One where a madman is so concerned about prolonging his life that he has created the Cybermen, unfeeling machines with human brains. This reminds me so much of a Big Finish story which was about the creation of the cybermen. Just as creepy even if it was very different (I will have to look it out and listen to it again). Like in the Dalek episodes which ended the last season the Cybermen didn't really make an appearance until near the end and what an ending. The Doctor and co are surrounded with no way out and the Cybermen intent on killing them. I can't wait for next weeks. They do remind me of the Daleks though. These new cybermens mouths glow when they speak and like to say "eliminate" when killing. I can't remember if they ever said anything like that in the originals. (The photo is from the BBC website)
Thanks to everyone who commented on the snowmen and the hitchhikers gde to blogging. I have to admit that I do wonder what is the point sometimes too. However, when I am excited about anything I can't help but share. Blogging can be very addictive. Also when you find a group of people that you visit blogs with and swap comments it really turns into a little community which makes it all the more worth while. I can't remember why I first began though. I think it was partly curiosity. I had heard about blogs and wanted to give it a go.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Warning! Long Post Ahead!
I did a lot of the stitching while watching "March of the Penguins". There is something about the penguin that I have always loved. Maybe I like the fact that they are so different from other birds. Watching this has just increased my fascination for them. It shows the life of a Penguin. It begins with their March towards the place they were born and the place where they will find a mate. It then follows them through this and the life of a chick and ends with them back where they started. It is narrated by Morgan Freeman who does a wonderful job. Very moving at times, can't help but feel for them although I did find myself laughing too. I definitely recommend this. Especially if you enjoy animal documentaries.
Lili, I haven't read Harlan Coban. I don't read much crime to be honest. I prefer fiction or sci fi & fantasy. Occasionally I will take a notion for crime though. The next time I do I will be sure to try one of his books.
I got this from Mary's blog. It pokes a little fun at blogging. I thought it was funny and thought some of you might too.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Blogging
Blogging: Blogging is the act of regularly updating your web site with some humdrum information about your life or a link to something you just read on the Internet in the mistaken belief that anyone actually cares. It is the 21st century equivalent of hanging around railway stations writing pithy but erudite descriptions of the passing trains. To take part in blogging or, to use the appropriate terminology, to join the blogosphere there are a couple of things you need to do. Firstly, you will need to increase the size of your ego. Without a swollen ego, you simply cannot achieve the levels of solipsism required by a modern blog. This necessary step is often missed by new bloggers, but without it you won't believe that anyone is remotely interested in what you have had for lunch today, how cute your cat Mittens is, or whether or not you designed some tedious Internet protocol. In fact, blogging without an oversized ego can actually be dangerous. If you start using words like blogosphere, there is a very real possibility that your own major intestine will leap straight up through your neck and throttle your brain in an attempt to preserve civilization. Fortunately, there are various forms of medication to increase the size of your ego, many offering a money-back guarantee that you'll be at least twice as obnoxious in four weeks or less. Until you are sufficiently obnoxious, you might feel the need to explain, or at the very least describe the very things you link to. Experienced bloggers know that they are so important that readers will blindly follow their links. After all a few seconds of one blogger's time are clearly more valuable than all the time spent by people discovering they really didn't care. The other thing you should do to become a successful blogger is change your web site to use dotted lines and unreadable tiny fonts, wherever possible.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I didn't get much reading done while I was sick but I did manage to read two books. I couldn't have chosen two more depressing books if I tried. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed them but probably not the ideal thing to chose while recovering.
"We Need To Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver.
In a series of letter to her husband the narrator describes her feelings about her son. She does this by going back and describing scenes from when he was born up until he became a killer. In her descriptions she conveys the feeling that her son is evil and that this was shown from day 1. Something that her husband refused to see as anything but purely in her mind.
I did enjoy this book. Through out the book you wonder if the son is truly evil or if it is maybe the strange relationship with his mother that turned him into what he became. I have to admit since you see everything from the mothers point of view you do feel her frustration that her husband doesn't see what she sees and allows it to come between them. Well written and engaging from page one I only have one criticism. I just find it very difficult to believe that a child can be evil from the day it is born.
"The Pact" by Jodi Piccoult
The Golds and the Hearts have lived next door to each other since the wives were pregnant with their first borns. The wives became instant best friends and so it was only natural that Emily and Christopher were close. The day it became something else was a day that both families were looking forward to. Then something went wrong. Emily is shot dead and Chris was the only other person there. He says it was a suicide pact but his mother seems to be the only one who believes him.
A relatively easy read despite the content. Definitely one to pick up if you are looking for a page turner. I did enjoy it and particularly like the fact that the chapters alternated between present day and the run up starting with families first meeting. I just found it a little too coincidental at times.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
It turns out that I had done more to the snowman stocking the last time I picked it up than I thought. Last night I only had to add a few stitches and the top half is completely finished. A little unexpected surprise. There is still quite a lot to do on the bottom half. There is another snowman (I'll call him baby snowman for now) and then of course the banner to put a name. I am leaving the banner until last as I will have to work out the spacing of the lettering. Hopefully I will get quite a bit more done this week.
If anyone is looking for a great place on the net to talk to other stitchers then San has set up a forum just for this. It has a board for chatting to other stitchers, for showing off your work, giving blogging advice to newbies, stitch alongs, round robins and more. And San being bilingual has even set up a board for Spanish and French speakers. Definitely worth checking out. You will find me there as Karensff although I have yet to post anything.
Just now I am listening to the Zutons new album "Tired of Hanging Around" and loving it. It is a little slower paced than the first one which is one of the reasons that the first album is still my favourite. It does still have that distinct Zutons sound though so there is no doubting at all who it is. This is definitely going to be an album that I am going to go back to again and again.
Mary, thanks for your message. I'm glad that you like Bugs. It is definitely one of my favourite designs.
Timewarden, thanks again for your message. I really don't see myself as doing that much but thanks for your concern. I actually like the scene in the classroom but your right it is a good example of him being OTT.
If I haven't got round to posting a comment on your blog I'm not ignoring you. I am just a little slow at getting round everyone.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Two posts in one day after days of none. I'm really sorry about that. I was sick again and it took me longer to recover. Nothing series but it took a lot out of me and I had to spend most of my free time sleeping. I did manage to slowly get back into stitching though.
I picked up Bugs again and managed to get a good but of the border done. I have put him aside for now though. This week I am going to concentrate on the snowmen. I feel they have been neglected quite a bit and deserve a week to catch up. I am sure that I didn't thank you for your name suggestion to second snowman. A big thanks to everyone and since the suggestion was so popular Ernie it is. Definitely goes with Bert.
I have also been enjoying the new series of Doctor Who. I am liking David Tennant as the new doctor although I feel he is a little OTT at times. I'm not going to review the episodes. If you want to read episode reviews go to Timewardens blog who has done a great job. I will probably do a little summary of favourite episodes when the series is over.
I am not going to have time to catch up on anyone's blog today. I will hopefully be back tomorrow though and will check in on you all then. Hope everyone is well.
Cross Stitch Card Shop #48
The exclusive design to the magazine is an All Our Yesterdays chart called "Out Paddling". I do normally like the AOY designs however this one is a little dull. The colours are paler than normal which makes the design seem a little bland. To make up for this though it asks for light effects for the water. While it is a nice touch it really doesn't do much to help the design. I doubt that I will ever stitch this one.
Next are the party animal cards. A range of cards featuring different jungle animals in party mode. I love these cards. They are bright, colourful and full of fun. They would be ideal as birthday cards for any child (or if you are a child at heart any adult). Will definitely think about stitching these for my nieces. And I think my sister would love the monkey.
Next are some Gardening scenes which are stitched on linen. I don't normally like this sort of thing. However, there is something about them that appealed to me. The liked the different shades of green which remind me of when I was little. My sister and I used to love drawing out own gardens and we would use as many shades of green as possible. I decided to stitch one of these for my mum who loves gardening. The design size is fairly large so I don't think it has to be used as a card. I plan to get a little frame for it to match my mums kitchen.
Next are a set of house work cards. While the colours are lovely and bright I don't know anyone who would appreciate one of these. I never have liked this kind of card. They could be seen as funny as the ladies in the cards are all dressed up for a spot of housework. Maybe someone will like them.
Sue Pages art nouveau flowers are lovely. All pinks, peaches and greens. Not sure who I would stitch them for but I would probably hold on to these designs just in case.
The zodiac cards by Lesley Teare are appearing two at a time in every issue of the magazine. This issue it is Gemini and Cancer. Although not a fan of zodiac cards the colours are in lovely shades of orange and turquoise. Ideal for anyone who enjoys astrology.
The Fathers day cards by Maria Diaz are simple and will probably stitch quickly. If your dad's hobby isn't featured there I think it would be fairly simple to alter one of the designs to suit.
Another series featured in the magazine are Simply the best designs. This issue features Best mum and great pool player. Both are fun cards and would be useful to hang on to. I think I am more likely to stitch best mum than great pool player.
Next appears Maria Kelly's baby cards. Most baby cards I have seen use pastel colours. These ones use the usual pinks, yellows and blues but bright shades are used which makes them stand out all the more. I actually really like these as they are a little bit different.
The sea views by Debra Page are great too. They are described as being great for holidaymakers. I think they would also be good for people who love boats and yachting as there is a yacht in every single one of them.
Lastly there is the free design. The one thing I like about this magazine is that the freebie is always something to stitch and they don't over do the Winnie the Pooh designs. This month was a birthday card featuring a little dog. I thought it was very cute and couldn't resist stitching him. It really didn't take that long to stitch. Not sure who I will give him to but it is always good to have a card or two there just in case.
For anyone who is new to the magazine you will notice I haven't mentioned any readers stories. That's because there aren't any. It does have a letters page but that is it. Just means all the more space for more designs. Another reason that I really enjoy this magazine.