Friday, 26 January 2007

Artist Trading Cards (ATC's)

I first came across ATC's a few years ago. Artist trading cards are little pieces of art which are swapped between artists. They are used to promote work or in some cases made just for fun. They should all be the same size, 2.5" by3.5", and can be part of a series or one of a kind. The artist will number them accordingly on the back along with contact information and title. You can actually find out more about them from this website.

This form of art had been growing in popularity in recent years. If you were to visit the craftster board you would see various themed swaps for ATCs all going at once. There is now also a board just for ATCs where there are ongoing craft alongs, challenges and swaps. One member had a thread there where she posted an ATC every day.

I decided I wanted to give it a go and so took part in a swap. We were to create 3 cards each with a different theme; new, craft and the third was up to the receiver to chose a theme. I decided on New Year for my new theme, scrapbooking for craft and since my swap partner left it up to me I did one based on her likes and her website.

Mine are a little amateurish compared to most of them on the craftster board but I did have lots of fun making them. My swap partner decided on new shoes for new and a little saying for craft. For the third one I had asked my partner to base it on one of her favourite books. She decided on "PS I Love You" by Celia Ahern.

I will probably make more at some point as I did have fun making them. Think it is the papercrafter in me.

Angelsan did a review on the new Quick and Easy magazine not that long ago. They have decided to change their magazine so that it incorporates both cross stitch and card making. I think the biggest criticism of this new magazine is that it no longer has large designs. Instead lots of little designs so that paper crafts can be used with it. Many people have decided that they will no longer buy the magazine. My opinion was that the paper craft magazines are proving to be more popular of late. Quick and Easy are just trying to cash in on that especially since the popularity of the magazine had decreased in recent months. It's all about the sales. I was never a huge fan anyway. I only ever bought it if there was something that I liked in it and hadn't bought it in months. I picked the new one up yesterday out of curiosity. I have to say that I actually like it. It is true that it is mainly small easy projects but I like the ideas they give of using paper crafts with cross stitch. I even saw a project in there that a friend of mine would like.

Timewarden, if "Countrycide" is the right one I am thinking of then it did very much remind me of League of Gentlemen. I was waiting for one of them to pop out amongst the other villagers. I am looking forward to Captain Jacks appearance in season 3 of Doctor Who though.

Gill, they have actually just agreed to make a second season of Torchwood. Will be watching it too as I did enjoy it overall.

Judy, bugs is still unfinished. I put him away tidily but he still managed to get crushed to pieces. Will have to give him an iron before doing any more work on him. Will finish him this year though.

Lili, I preferred the sequels to "Eyre Affair" too. It is one of the few book series that just seems to get better and better with each book. I'm glad you are enjoying them. I haven't read any more by Lionel Shriver. She did have another book but it didn't appeal to me.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Thank You

I just realised that i didn't thank everyone who wished me well while I was away. I really did appreciate it and I want to thank you. So thank you. For those who showed concern there was nothing wrong. As I said in my first post here I just needed time away.

Thanks for the welcome back Von.


Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Back For Now

I am finally back after a 6 month break from the blogging world. I actually hoped to be back sooner than this but computer problems prevented it. We are on our third new computer so fingers crossed. I've titled this post back for now because I only occasionally missed blogging and that was mainly in the beginning. What I did miss though was the interaction between people with shared interests. i missed all the comments going back and forth and seeing what everyone was up or working on. This is why I have made a point of coming back to it and maybe my interest in blogging will come back again.

So why did I take some leave? One of the main reasons was that my interests were growing in other areas. This seemed to be away from the shared interests of the community I had become a part of. While I blogged about these other interests a few times no one else seemed to share that interest. Nothing wrong with that at all but it showed that I had become dependant on the comments of others. It was never why I blogged in the first place and I felt that I was stopping myself from sharing my interests because I was so dependant on your comments. I felt that taking some time away might get me back to the way I used to write about what interested me. Does that sound selfish? Either way it was something I had to do and only time will tell if the break away has worked.

So what have I been up to since then? Not much in the way of stitching I'm afraid. When I knew I was taking time out from my blog I no longer felt compelled to stitch. I did still enjoy it but by taking a break from writing it also meant a break from stitching. It just goes to show how much everyone has encouraged my to go on with my stitching. Not that I regret the break. I picked my stitching up again recently and within two weeks I had finished stitching the snowman stocking. As you can see I have still to put it together in the form of a stocking. I need to buy some material for it first and then build up the courage to put it all together. I have also decided to give this to my sister. If I was to give one to each of my nieces who knows when they will get them. After that I decided to stitch something for my gran. I haven't done that since I first took up stitching. I did embroider some pillow cases for her Christmas which she seemed to like. So I thought I would make something for her birthday. I decided on "Sitting Pretty". It is a design I have always thought is cute and would have loved to have stitched but no idea who i would give it to. My gran loves wild life, particularly the birds in her garden and so I thought this would be ideal. I have been doing the backstitch as I go along and I am proud to say that I just have two birds to go. I can't get over how cute and fluffy these little things look.

If I haven't been cross stitching it is also partly down to my new found enthusiasm for scrapbooking. I took it up a few years ago after a holiday to America. When I split with the ex I still wanted to finish the scrapbook but my heart wasn't in it. I then made a scrapbook for my mums 50th and I have a new found enthusiasm for it. It has encouraged my to make one for myself. I have the materials I need for the first few pages. I just need to get started. I have also been working steadily on the mini scrapbook for my sister. I even found a magazine I liked and it is now one of my favourites. It's called "Scrapbook Inspirations". It was one of the magazines I only occasionally bought and flicked through. this time I read it from cover to cover. I like it because it's not just page of layouts (although it does have a lot of these). It encourages you to try different scrapbook formats and different themes. The images are taken from the magazine staffs very own scrapbooks and they share when they try something new. It somehow makes it seem more personal.

My obsession with journals has just about burned out. It isn't completely gone as i am still interested when i come across something new on the topic. I also have various journals of my own on the go. The idea is that anything can be a journal. My most recent journal is one based on books. I write about the books I am enjoying and illustrated the pages.

I have actually slowed down in my reading but I won't be giving up on my reviews (this was one of the things that I did miss). I've been reading mainly general fiction. So far in 2007 I have read "Dance Dance Dance" by Haruki Murakami and "A Widow For One Year" by John Irving (which replaced my faith in Irving). I haven't felt inclined to move away from fiction and I think that I will keep going with it. just now I am reading"On Beauty" by Zadie Smith and it has surprised me by how much I am enjoying it. I also got back into reading History again. I read volume 1 of Simon Schama's "History Of Britain" and love it. So many historical characters in there that I want to go back and read in more detail. Definitely my favourite non fiction book of 2006. I have col 2 sitting here to look forward to.

In my time away I also watched the second season of Battlestar Galactica. So much more darker than the last series and I loved every minute of it. I have to say that when I first heard that Starbuck would be played by a woman I was intrigued but thought it would turn out to be a bad idea. After watching the mini series and then series 1 I was pleasantly surprised. In some ways the character is essentially the same. But she has also been adapted to fit present day sci fi. A female fits where she wouldn't have done in the original and she had some fantastic story lines which were well played. I am also loving Admiral Adama's character who fits our idea of a military leader more than Lorne Greene's version. The characters are filled with insecurities and faults which gets them into a lot of trouble at times. Not a single one has made a mistake and I guess that's what sets them out as human in comparison to the human looking cylons. We are presented with the idea that these machines have feelings and are living thinking people. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth when military leaders don't think twice when it comes to throwing them out an airlock. Season three looks set to be even better. We have already seen Lucy lawless take on the role as one of the human cylons and at the end we were also introduced to Dean Stockwell of Quantum Leap fame playing a similar role. Very much looking forward to it.

I also got to see the first season of Torchwood and I enjoyed that too. It is darker than Doctor Who with quite a bit of violence and sex. I think this is Russel T. Davis way of bringing in a new fan base as children seem to be the bigger fans of Dr Who. I have to admit that I was a little taken aback at first as you don't expect it from Dr Who and so I wasn't expecting it from a spin off of the show. As I said I did enjoy it although it did disappoint me in some ways. There were one or two episodes in there that I could have lived without. Also Torchwood seemed less like an organisation and more like a gang of amateur alien investigators. They had the gadgets but that was about it. Not really what Dr Who hinted at or showed at the end of season two. Still it will be interesting to see how they bring the two together in season three of Doctor Who. I did also watch the first episode of The Sara Jane Adventures. I doubt I will be watching it again though. Just too much of a kids TV show.

Lastly I have grown a fondness for two shows I didn't expect to enjoy. Firstly NCIS. I have managed to mostly avoid the CSI shows. I have caught an episodes of most of them here and there but never felt the need to watch more. NCIS on the other hand I will switch over to on a Saturday night. The characters in this one appeals to me more. Other than that I am not sure what it is I like about it.

"House" is the latest. Every episode follows the same format. A patient comes in with something that seems everyday but turns out isn't. House runs his staff ragged to find out what it is. They get it wrong a few times, patient/concerned family member gets angry and threatens transfer and then House saves the day. All the way through we have an ongoing battle with House' refusal to conform and a team each with their own issues. I should be bored with it by now and yet i love it. While i like the character House (although Hugh Laurie's American accent disturbs me) his assistants irritate me no end. Yet I can't stop watching and enjoying every minute of it.

You will be pleased to hear I am finished rambling for now.

I will not be posting as regularly as I did before. At least not for now but I will keep posting. I will eventually add links to this blog as soon as I find the time to spend time on it.