Monday, October 18, 2010
I cannot say anything about Girl Genious that Pat didn't say, except that, when I have $22 that's not immediately due to pay some bill or another, I'll be buying that first book, and I won't be sending it to Pat to take him up on his guarantee!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I moved on to the Dirty Girl Washcloths, which I was excited about because they use purl stitch as well as knit, and the patterns are simple but cool (as well as useful!). I finished the first washcloth and knitted about 15 rows of the second when I realized that my stitches were twisted because I had been wrapping the yarn clockwise instead of counter clockwise. So I tore it all out and started over. Last night, I got to the point where I was when I started over, and it looks so good!
I can't wait to try out the basket weave stitch and then use these stitches on other, bigger projects. I'm sad because the book is due back to the library on Thursday, and someone else has already reserved it. I guess I'll just have to make a purchase this week. :)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I recently borrowed The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting from the library, and I'm so excited about it! I already crochet, but knitting is just so much more versatile, and all my favorite patterns are knit. I have to admit to having been intimidated by knitting, but The Chicks with Sticks goes through everything in a fun lesson-like format. Each lesson has a project or two at the end, and most of the projects are super-cute things that I'd love to make. So far, I love the book, although their instructions for casting on seem to be missing a step, and I had to look for an online tutorial to show me how to do it. I might actually buy my own copy, since you can only keep a library book for so long.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I was busy, but happily. One of the things I did over the weekend was read The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka.
I loved this book. It is the story of an orphaned boy who lives with a soldier who fought beside his father. The boy is told by a fortuneteller that his sister lives, and in order to find her, he must follow the elephant. That same night, a magician conjurs an elephant, which falls right through the ceiling of the theater he is performing in.
The Magician's Elephant is a story about magic, and what is possible when you believe. Kate DiCamillo does not need flowery language; her writing is beautiful without pretension. The voice she uses throughout the book is simple, funny, and touching, and she does it all deftly. Yoko Tanaka's illustrations are perfect for the story. All of the illustrations are in black and white, and they capture the magical tone of the story. This story has had me asking, What if? Why not? Could it be? ever since I put it down.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I finished listening to this book as I walked in the door to work this morning. I love a good audio book, and Robert Jordan read by Kate Reading and Michael Kremer is a great audio book. The Path of Daggers fits into the fantasy niche for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, and of course it counts as one of my hundred, so that's two birds with one very happy stone.
The Path of Daggers is the eighth book in the Wheel of Time Series, and I would say you have to read the rest of the series before reading this one. I don't want to spoil the book for those who haven't read it yet, but I do want to say a few things about it. (If, by the way, you'd like to talk about the book in more spoiling detail, you can email me, and I'd be thrilled to chat!)
The first three or four books in the series were fairly fast-paced. A lot happened, and a lot of mysteries and prophesies were brought into the mix. The characters were interesting, well-rounded characters and the plot was well-developed (although the road to Cairhien took waaaaaaay too long).
Books four through six were well-written and full of character development, but they moved more slowly; there was a lot of political maneuvering and very little action. I think this is where the series loses a lot of readers, but if you're tempted to stop, don't.
Book seven picks up a little bit more, and things start to get into motion again, but while things begin to happen quickly, they also happen with little or no reasoning at all. I love the idea of Travelling, but while Jordan's characters fly all over the map, so does a bit of the plot. Mat's headed in one direction, then suddenly, Rand changes his mind, and Mat steps through one of the Travelling windows with his Band of the Red Hand and does something completely different. (Speaking of Mat, I adore his character, but I haven't read much about him at all in The Path of Daggers.
In spite of the fact that all that Travelling scatters the plot, things get really interesting in book eight, and the last chapter, with Jordan's description of what the people and rumors are saying, leaves you fairly certain about what didn't happen but completely in the dark about exactly what did happen. I was happy to see Egwene (my favorite character) start to pick up a bit more of the oomph that I've heard she really comes into in The Gathering Storm. She's tougher, smarter, more confident, and more capable of pushing things in the direction she wants them to go. This is a woman who might seem young, but she's more in control than anyone expects.
Speaking of Egwene, Robert Jordan has some interesting takes on women in his books. But that's another topic for another time.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The full view. Needs some ironing, doesn't it? This will span from the back cover, over the spine, and across the front cover, blowing that golden apple away.
Here's a close-up. You can only see two kinds of stitching here: stem stitch and split stitch, but I also did a couple lines of chain stitch too.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
There were problems with the hinge, so the lid of the box is a little too high at the hinge and juts out over the front. See?
Not to worry, though. I fixed that problem with my second box, so the hinge is the perfect size.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The challenge is sponsored by a fabulous artist, Melissa Nucera. I looked at her Etsy page, ThisYearsGirl, and I found myself writing stories in my head to go along with her work. In May, when I've got a little extra money, I'm going to purchase one of her prints. I think the piece called Unwritten Tale is hauntingly beautiful. It's the kind of art that you think about for the rest of the day.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I like Brandon Sanderson. His writing is a little overly explanatory and his language often strays into overly formal or absurdly casual, but he tells a good, creative, interesting story and he writes strong, well-developed characters whose good/evil factor is always somewhere in the gray zone. His Mistborn trilogy was phenomenal, and if you even think you might like fantasy, you should read those books. I was excited when Warbreaker came out, but like many bibliophiles, I was already reading four other books and haven't gotten to it until now.
And let me say, the audio book sucks. I'm so disappointed in it. The reader is supposed to be this uber-talented actor-type, so I was looking forward to it, but the reader pauses in the wrong (and distracting) places, reads some characters with a stereotypical dumb surfer voice (no, they're not surfers), puts question marks into sentences where there is only a comma, and drones when he reads Sanderson's frequent explanations of what's going on and how things work. When I picked up the actual book yesterday, I got sucked right in; it's just as good as his other writing.
Brandon, please find another reader to do your audio books!
*As an aside, the readers who did the entire Wheel of Time series, Kate Reading and Michael Kremer, are spectacular, and their interpretation of the inflections, tones, and accents only benefited the story.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I intended to read Anna Karenina for a book club I really want to join, but I started the book far too late, and although the meeting has passed, I am finishing the book. My partner says it's a terrible book, but I'm actually finding a lot to like. I'll tell you what I think about it, but have you read it? Did you like it/hate it/spend a lot of time thinking but never come to a conclusion?
I read Tolstoy's War and Peace in college, and I really hated it. At the end of the semester, I still had 50 pages left to go, and you know what? The slip of paper I used as a bookmark is still sitting in the book, 50 pages from the end.
In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy does still meander off-course and from topic to topic, some of the dialogue is nonsensical (a character will say one thing, and the character responding will say something on a completely different topic), and there are several storylines. However, since that college course, I've discovered a fondness for plots that involve multiple storylines and characters connected by a single character or a few characters, or even connected only by a single event; stories that show the threads of commonality between people everywhere. There are fewer characters and fewer storylines in Anna Karenina than in War and Peace, so it's easier to keep track of them, and they are also more interesting. I've also developed a respect for Tolstoy's way of diverging from the plot to tell the reader what he thinks about humanity or what other people think about life. It's a truly fascinating read, and I don't regret all the time it will take to read this giant of a book.
I hope I have time after finishing Anna Karenina to read the next book that book club is reading!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Then I came home and designed a new pattern to stitch on my next bookcloth. Those two vertical lines are where the spine will be, so this design will span the entire cover.
Then I tore apart the last of those magazines I found and salvaged the last of those sweet pictures on the covers and inside. Can't wait to turn those into books and boxes!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I think, before I started listening, I wasn't really paying attention to the title. Anansi. The trickster of African stories. Winter is the season of the trickster, you know. It's the time of the year when you can tell and hear trickster stories without getting the often unwelcome attention of the trickster. And this winter, intentionally or not, I've been doing just that. It started with Coyote Road, which is a collection of original trickster stories prefaced by a long history of the trickster and the history of the trickster throughout the world. That was followed by going to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which, by the way, was absolutely fantastic. :) Charles de Lint's books feature Raven as well as Coyote (who's called Cody and is a background character). And now Anansi Boys, which I chose simply because I love Neil Gaiman, not remembering that Anansi is another trickster. I never even read the description of the story, but after listening to the first couple chapters, I'm pretty sure it's about the sons of Anansi.
Trickster's stories show up all around the world: Kitsune in Japanese tales, Raven and Coyote in Native American stories, Anansi in African and Carribean stories, Puck in Celtic tales, Hermes in Greek, etc., etc. One thing I've always been fascinated by is fairy and folk tales, and the ways in which they are adapted and used in cultures as time goes by. If I went back to school, I'm pretty sure that's what I'd study.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The snow we've gotten is incredible, and I've decided that I can't decide if Onyx is part snow ostrich or part dolphin. I couldn't get a picture of him diving through the snow, but here's him burying his head in it:
Friday, February 19, 2010
This is a book I showed in a post in my old blog, but it's worth showing here. If you click on the photo, you can see the headband more clearly in the large version.
I bound this journal for an old friend of mine, and it was the second hollowback hardcover I made. The first was in my first bookbinding class, and that class taught me a lot but inspired more questions than it answered. One of the big questions was, If you're binding books by hand, why not take the extra time to sew in a functional headband instead of just gluing on a non-functional decorative one? And how do you do that, anyway?After looking through tutorial after tutorial online, I found one on a blog called Pied Crow Press. The photos are great and show each step clearly, the instructions are detailed and understandable, and my first headbands turned out beautifully. The beads on the headband on the bottom are a little rougher, but not by much, and the top one was wonderful. Definitely gift-worthy. Anyway, if you're curious about hand-sewn headbands, here's a link to the tutorial. Happy binding!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I've really loved the other classes I've taken, but I'm not sure if I should spend $110 on a class or if I should just teach myself. I think I'll see how easy it is to learn from tutorials (that's now I learned to do hand-sewn headbands), and then take the workshop if I need more. If they ever offer a class that teaches several different kinds of stitching, I'll be signed up in a heartbeat!
Friday, February 12, 2010
My favorite two:
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The next book is Atonement, by Ian McEwan, which means that I have to pay off my exhorbitant library fines so I can borrow it from the AADL. It's gotten to the point where I honestly wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper to buy a book than pay the old fines and borrow it from the library. Does anyone else rack up the library fines, or is it just me?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Over the weekend, I got an Advance Reading Copy of Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher. The book was $5.50, so I should have gotten a new trade-in certificate for $2, but the woman at the register wrote $2.50 instead. I know it's only 50 cents, but I feel like I should tell them next time I go in.
Anyway, I'm going to finish the book today. It's delicious. This is one of those books that keeps you up at night and makes you forget to feed the dog. The characters are compelling and well-developed, and the story is fast-paced and set in a world where darkness has seeped into the light of idealism. I think I've read too many books in my life, because the general story line so far has been predictable, but reviews say the ending has quite the twist, so I'm looking forward to it.
Monday, February 8, 2010
The formulas for the second box are finished, so I'll be able to start cutting boards and papers tonight. I'm excited, because this box is the one I'm making for me, and I'll be thrilled to get my cards into a proper box. I'm making it with a gorgeous green paper with gold vines, and the inside will be a gold Lakta paper. Again, pictures to follow.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The inspiration for box-making is actually uber nerdy, but I’m okay with that. I recently picked up some Magic: the Gathering cards and started to play. Now, if you play, you already know, but if you don’t, then one of the things you should know about these cards is that, unlike regular old playing cards, Magic cards come in packaging that really isn't meant to hold them for any longer than it takes for someone to buy them and take them out. No neat little box to slip them back into. They come with all kinds of packaging (I know, it makes my eco-self cringe too) that’s not meant to hold your cards after you take them out. So…What to do with those cards?
Option 1: Keep some in the flimsy, open plastic packaging they come in and figure out what to do with the ones that won't fit.
Option 2: Purchase a rather tacky deck box for each set of 60 cards.
Option 3: Keep them in a used Amazon.com box.
Option 4: Rubber-band them all together.
Option 5: Forget about it altogether and just leave them spread across the coffee table where they’re free game for the dog.
Option 6: Make my own box, customized with my own design, details, size, number of cards it holds, etc.
Needless to say, my crafty self immediately started fantasizing about glue and decorative papers, and I was sold. This is the tray just after it was glued together (this particular box is going to hold 1200 cards):