Monday, 26 February 2007

More Margaret Sherry and some crafts

When I bought the kit "Santa Paws" I also bought the coaster kit of Margaret Sherry's cats. I made a start on them and this is the first one. The kit comes with one large piece of fabric so I will stitch them all before I place them in their coasters. Once again this is a gift for my gran.

I have also been working on other crafts for the last few weeks. I am taking part in a Dr Who craft swap. I just sent off my swap partners parcel today.

I realise that a scarf is an obvious choice but I couldn't help it. It's not the same stitch, colour or length as the fourth doctors scarf. I remember Romana had a scarf at one point (although I'm not sure the colours matched this one) so I decided to call it the Romana scarf.

I then made some Dr Who notecards. I used cards from packs of the collectible card game. I decided to just make them simple so that the cards themselves were the main feature. I also added extra paper on the inside.

I then used similar cards to make little notebooks. I got instructions on how to make these from a craft book. I thought it would be fun to make two. One for those days when you feel like and evil genious and one for when you feel good. It's easy to see which is which.

My swap partner wanted something to hold her crochet hooks. I decided to give it a go. I have made a few things with felt but they were all fairly small. I used felt to create an image of K9 on the front as she listed him as one of her favourites. It was fun to make and I am pleased with how it turned out. At the start I thought there was no chance I would be able to do something like that.
I also made some fridge magnets which unfortunately can't be photographed. They are too shiny and so all you see is glare, even without the flash. The magnets had images of the fourth Doctor and Lela as they were also listed as favourites.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Book Reviews

"Back When We Were Grown-Ups" Anne Tyler

Rebecca is the family cheerleader. The one who takes control of the family events. Making sure that everything that should be celebrated is celebrated and that all new family members are made to feel welcome. She steps in to make sure all her parties run smoothly and soothes the bickering between her daughters. Waking up after a dream of a son she never had she begins to wonder of the life she left behind. She wonders what would have happened had she married her high schools sweetheart. She longs to go back to being that 19 year old introverted scholar.

I have been wanting to read Anne Tyler for a long time now. Someone I worked with loved her books and since then I have been meaning to give them a try. Since I am going through a fiction phase I decided to finally go ahead and pick one up. This was the first one I looked at and as soon as I read the back I knew immediately that I would like it. It's very rare for that to happen, to just know and it was exactly as I expected it to be. Almost everything about it can be described as 'nice'. It was what popped into my head as soon as I put it down, 'it's a nice story'. I must admit that my heart did go out to one of the characters and if you read it you know who I will mean. A great book if you want a light read and a story that you really don't have to think too much about.

"100 Years of Solitude" Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A Man and his wife decide to leave their home town believing that they are haunted by a ghost. A group of men and women leave with them and after a lot of travelling they finally settle and build the town Macondo. There this man and wife bring up their family and their descendants. The town starts off as isolated but slowly the outside world breaks in. During these 100 years this family are heavily involved in the evolution of this little town.

This has to be one of the stranger books I have read. I started off not knowing when it was set due to the superstition and supernatural beliefs of the people. I was then thrown off by the introduction of technology. This supernatural is dotted through out the book which threw me off now and then. It took me about 30 pages to get into it but in the end I did enjoy it. I loved reading about all these people who seemed to live unfortunate loves (I realise that makes me sound sadistic but it's not like that, honest). It was one of those books that stays with you. There were certain scenes that I couldn't get out of my head. Mostly because I came away not sure what to think of the book as a whole.

"The Cutting Room" by Louise Welsh

Rilke is an auctioneer working for a small company that just gets by. He then gets a fantastic deal when an old man dies and the elderly sister want to rid of everything quickly and without fuss. It means extra work, man power and some cross words from the owner of the company but he agrees. The old lady has only one demand. Rilke alone must deal with the contents of her brothers private study and burn his collection. Rilke reluctantly agrees rather than lose the job. When going through the study he finds some photographs he hopes aren't real. He finds it difficult to let them go and so begins to do some investigating of his own which gets him into a lot of trouble.

I decided to try this book because the author is from Glasgow and the book is set here. I have to admit that I didn't enjoy it. The only reason I didn't give up was that I wanted to know how it turned out. I just didn't enjoy reading about an old auctioneer drunk investigating the possibility of a dead man being into snuff porn. Some of it made me feel a little uncomfortable to be honest. I know a few people who have read the book and enjoyed it but I wouldn't recommend it.

"Ya-Yas In Bloom" Rebecca Wells.

A book of short stories based on a group of friends an their families. Mainly from the point of view of Vivien Walker, the leader of the Ya Yas, and her children. There were also some from other people in the town who's lives were affected by the ya yas in some way.

This is the third book about this group of friends. There are some nice stories in there and it makes for very light reading. To be honest I only read it as I had read the first two. I would recommend reading them first as they give a better idea of the background.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday
A couple weeks ago, we asked about how you take care of your books, with one of the questions asking whether you write in your books. Well, what about books that are meant to be written in? Like, say, a journal or diary? Do you keep one? Obviously, if you're answering this, you have a blog--do you just let your blog be your journal? Or do you also keep one for private stuff also?

I do keep a journal. My first journal dates back to when I was 9 or 10. A friend and I decided to start a diary while studying "The Diary Of Anne Frank" at school. that and we also had a diary at school (along with everyone else in the class) that we enjoyed writing in and then reading the comments left by the teacher which we would then reply to. I have kept one on and off since then. I hate looking back on most of the journals when I was younger. I read them and think 'surely I wasn't like that'. Now I have read a lot of books on journaling as my interest in them has grown rather than wained. I love the idea of illustrated journals and have tried to keep a few of those. I also love the idea that anything can be a form of journal. If that is the case then I also have a crafts journal and one for books. I also try to keep my regular journal light. I know everyone needs to rant now and then but looking back over pages filled with nothing but complaints is embarrassing. It is one of the reasons I hate looking back on ones from when I was younger.

As for the notebooks themselves not a single one are the same. I love looking out for a new notebook. I have a tendency still to not wait until a notebook is completely finished. I have many a journal with a few blank pages at the back. In the past it would be the cover of the notebook themselves which would call out to me. Now though all I want is for it to be thick and lined. The cover I can always decorate myself although I have yet to do this.

Timewarden, I passed that episode of The Tomorrow People and I didn't realise it was them. I didn't particulalry like that storyline which is probably why I didn't really notice. How could I have not recognised that voice?

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The Tomorrow People and a Happy Dance.

This is my second HD of 2007. I must admit I am enjoying stitching again. I only pick it up maybe once or twice a week now but I am happy with this pace. Since I finished stitching the birds for my gran I decided to make her something else. The birds were meant to be a Christmas present but since I finished it so soon I decided it would be a birthday present. I picked out Margaert Sherrys "Santa Paws" which I was going to turn into a Christmas card. I think it might be a little too big though so I might stitch it to a pillow or cushion instead. Again I went for the linen rather than the aida. I don't think you can see from the photo but the fabric has a slight green marbling effect. I didn't notice at first (too eager to make a start on it probably) and began stitching on the wrong side. I had done most of the white before I noticed. Normally I would have just stuck with the mistake and kept going but I really liked the green tint. Meant a lot of unpicking but I still got it done.

While I have been stitching I have been watching episodes of the kids show "The Tomorrow People". I remember watching the 90's version although I can't remember much about it other than the basic plot. I knew then that it was based on a show brought out in the 70's as my mum watched this version. I have always been interested to see what it was like. Recently I came across the complete series in a sale and jumped at the chance. I am almost half way through it and very much enjoying it. I just love the whole concept and the original is better than I remember the 90's versions being. For those of you who have never heard of it "The Tomorrow People" are about a group of kids who have evolved. Events trigger them into breaking out and discovering their telepathic and telekinetic powers. They are also able to teleport but are unable to cause harm to others. They travel around planets, time and the Earth in trying to protect their secret or help save others. It's a little like the X-men (and has even been compared to the X men). The sets remind me a little of John Pertwee's Doctor Who era which is part of the reason why I enjoy it.

Crazee4books, my favourite classic Doctor Who is Tom Baker too. I also like Patric Troughton and Sylvester McCoy.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

What kind of care do you take of your books? Let's review, shall we?

  1. Are you careful with the spines? Or do you crack your books open to make them lay flat? I try not to break the spines. I don't have to actually think about it. Being careful with books just comes naturally to me. I am aware of it when I am borrowing books from other people though.

  2. Do you use bookmarks? Or do you dog-ear the corners? If you do use bookmarks, do you use those fashionable metal ones? Or paper? I love bookmarks and have quite a few. I will use a bookmark once or twice and then forget to take it out of the book I've been reading. I tend to just memorise the page number I am on. Folding the corner of a page is a pet hate of mine.

  3. Do you write in your books? Ever? If you do, do you make small marks, or write in as much blank space as you can find? Pen or pencil? Highlighter? Your name on the front page? When I was at university I would lightly pencil in notes or underline things in text books although only with my own and I would rub them out later. This was also only if I had no post it notes at hand. When I was little I used to write my name inside the front cover of my books. I have also occasionally written messages inside books I have given to people as a gift.
  4. Do you toss your books on the floor? Into book bags? Or do you treat them tenderly, with respect? Not tossed on the floor. I have a pile of books on the floor of my room that I have still to read. They are piled very neatly though. I also always have a book in my bag. Means I have to be careful with bags though as a few books have been damaged from the rain.

  5. Do you ever lay your book face-down, to save your place? Yes, I occasionally do that. Only if I have stopped to speak with someone though.

  6. Um--water? Do you bathe with your books? Hold them with wet hands? Read out in the rain? Anything of that sort? I do read in the bath but I am always careful. One book did take a dunking when I was in my early teens. I've never done that since. I also have a place to leave the book so that it doesn't get damaged once I have finished reading.

  7. Are your books lined up on a bookshelf? Or crammed in any which way? Stacked on the floor? My books are crammed into the bookcase for lack of space. Not so they would get damaged. I also have books stacked on the floor but again it is neat and in a corner where no one is likely to trip over them.

  8. Do you make a distinction--as regards book care--between hardcovers and paperbacks? I have a few first edition so I do tend to be even more careful with hardbacks. I always remove the dust jacket when I am reading them and never break the spines.

  9. And, to recap? Naturally, you love all of your books, but how, exactly? Are your books loved in the battered way of a well-loved teddy bear, or like a cherished photo album or item of clothing that's used, appreciated, but carefully cared for? I actually have some books that come under the first category. These tend to be books that I have loaned to others or have read a number of times. These also tend to be mass produced books so I'm not too worried about them. My favourite books or authors on the other hand are better cared for. When I loan these out people seem to be aware of how important they are to me and take better care of them.

  10. Any additional comments? When I was younger I used to love tattered books. I wanted all of my books to look well read. This changed when I loaned a book to my mum that I had gotten for my birthday and read once. She has a habit of reading a book with one hand and this was a very hefty paperback. I got it back with half the pages falling out. She has since been warned and I have changed my opinion on the condition I like my books in.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on sitting pretty (which I realised is actually called chorus line).

Lili, I got my love of sci fi from my parents. You could say I was brought up with it. Dr Who was one of their favourites. We used to watch it together as a family although I barely remember those episodes. When they were released on video my dad began collecting them and we used to watch them together too. It's where I got most of my knowledge from although there are a lot of people out there who's knowledge is far more extensive than mine.

Judy, the storyline you mentioned is called "Trial of a Timelord" and was during Collin Bakers time. I vaguely remember seeing it when I was little. It was about the Doctors meddling rather than the time war. What we do know about the time war is that it was an all out war between the Timelords and the Daleks. The Daleks weren't involved in "Trial of a Timelord" and the Timelords were still alive at the end of it.
The cast changes from season 1 to 2 of Seaquest were done to bring in a younger audience. They got rid of people they thought were too old. Stephanie Beacham left because filming moved cities and constant off screen arguing between people behind the scenes. Stacey Haiduk who played the young commander left because she didn't like where her character was going. In season 3 more changes were made because they though the cast was too big and the new Dr was axed because she was considered to be too weak. I think I preferred season 1 too.

Gill, I missed Primevil. I was out seeing "The Nutcracker" (which was fantastic). I have heard a lot about it though.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Sitting Pretty

I finished stitching "Sitting Pretty". All I need to do now is get a frame for it and it will be ready for my Gran's birthday which is a few months away yet. I loved stitching this design. I opted for even weave in place of Aida and I am glad I did. The fabric is so much softer and is pleasure to stitch with. I did the back stitch as I went along so that the birds came to life as I stitched. I love their little characters and I just hope that my gran will like them too.

I had plenty of threads left over and so I used some pale yellow linen to stitch one of the birds and put it on a card. This will be a birthday card for my gran too. I liked the idea of making this as a set and I wasn't bored with stitching these little guys yet. I highly recommend stitching this design. The great thing is that not only do you have more than enough threads, they come all sorted for you. Always a bonus in my book
I'm not done stitching for my gran. I have started a Margaret Sherry Christmas design which I plan to turn into a card. It is one of the cat designs as she loves them too. No point in showing it at the moment though as the stitching I have done so far is all in white.
Timewarden - Definitely poor ol' Bill. I have heard so many stories of his arrogant moments but I still can't help but like him. Plus for all that he is still doing well for himself. Winning awards for Boston Legal as well as his horse riding events and then there is his books (although I have only read a few of the Star Trek ones). I would love it if he were to write an autobiography. I am probably one of the few people who loves his album "Has Been". Not that I class it as serious music and I think it is all very tongue in cheek for him too.
Your right the red headed Doctor was Stephanie Beacham but she was only in the first season. She left when filming of the second series meant moving from LA to Florida. There were a total of two and half series and it first aired in 1993. Roy Scheider (of Jaws fame) played the Captain in the first two. The second season was given a more sci fi spin to try and bring in a larger fan base which only succeeded in alienating some of the original fans of the show. The third season is set ten years later after the crew has been abducted. Michael Ironside took over the role as Captain as Roy Scheider was angry over the direction of the show. Although he did appear in a few episodes after that. It was then cancelled after 13 episodes despite a growing fan base.
Lili, the episode you saw was called "Fear Her". An alien used to being with millions of brothers and sisters is trapped on Earth. It is drawn to a little girl who is also lonely and they try to end that loneliness by bringing everyone together. The Doctor is an alien. He is a Timelord from Gallifrey. In the classic series he had run away from his people so that he could go round helping others. Gallifrey law was too constricting for him. In the new series' he is alone. All his people died in a great time war. So far we are still learning about it. All we really know is that the Daleks were involved, the Timelords didn't survive and there were many other victims. It makes the Doctors character darker than it was in the classic series. The episode you saw was one of the lighter ones, it's about love and hope. Although the ending is a little ominous as it is hinting at the next double episodes which ended series 2. I hope you get to see more.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Seaquest, DSV

I got over my obsession with "House, MD" (not that I had a choice as the third season isn't out yet) through watching "Seaquest, DSV". When I first watched this I loved it because of a childhood crush on actor Jonathan Brandis. This time round I'm watching it for the show itself. I do remember most of the episodes pretty well but I took a greater interest in them. It isn't quite as good as I remembered but then time seems to have that affect. I noticed that with American Gothic which I gave up on. The similarities between this show and Star Trek: TNG are surprising. More surprising that I didn't notice it when I first watched it as I was a fan of both.

A ship going out discovering new things and taking on peace keeping duties. Mainly a ship of scientific discovery but will bring out the guns when it has to. A blatant attraction between the Captain and a red headed doctor. A young genius who isn't an official crew member but helps out now and then. An almost father-son relationship between Captain and boy genius. The only difference is this one is underwater. I am even tempted to compare Darwin to Data but that might be pushing it.

The plot lines themselves aren't that bad. In later series they do border on the bizarre, taking on a more sci fi spin. In this series though the stories seem more plausible and the science isn't so far ahead as to make it entirely unrealistic. One episode I was looking forward to seeing again was one which guest starred William Shatner. I have to admit I am a Shatner fan but even I couldn't fail to describe his acting in this as anything but bad. He was meant to be a dictator on the run determined to hear his son speak. I got the impression he was trying to be on a different level from everyone else. Which worked but I just don't think "drug induced haze" was the affect he wanted (not saying he was in one its just how his acting appeared).

Anyway I enjoyed it and I eagerly await the second series. From what I remember another Doctor love interest comes along but this one has more in common with Deanna Troy.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Long Awaited Book Reviews

"Dance Dance Dance" Haruki Murakami

The narrator is a fairly successful freelance writer. He doesn't particularly enjoy it but he is good at it. This life is interrupted when he begins dreaming of an old girlfriend. Feeling that she is calling out to him he heads out to the last place he saw her, the Dolphin Hotel. The hotel is now upper class but the narrator senses the old hotel underneath. After getting a message from his guardian angel he heads back to Tokyo. There he becomes the friend/guardian of a 13 year old psychic, befriends a depressed movie star, becomes involved in a murder and finally learns the fate of his old girlfriend.

This is my first book of 2007 and it was a good one. You can't really go wring with a Murakami. I loved this book. Murakami has a way of making his words flow. This book is the sequel to "A Wild Sheep Chase". It does refer to the events of that book quite a lot so it is worth reading first. Both involved a mystery. The first a missing friend and this one a missing girlfriend and a murder to sold. It wasn't just about that though. It was about living life or taking control of life. 6 months down the line I will probably change my mind though. Murakami's books have that ability.
"A Widow For One Year" John Irving

This books is spilt into three parts. Each part shows a window into the life of Ruth. The first begins when Ruth is Four. Her father is an author and illustrator and her mother is still mourning the death of her sons. Her parents are separated although they share Ruth in a strange domestic arrangement. Her father then highers a young boy as an assistant with a striking likeness to the dead boys knowing exactly what the result will be.

In Part two we meet Ruth again. She is now 36 and is a successful author. More successful than her father and the young boy assistant. Her personal life is another story as she still struggles in coming to terms with what happened in the past. It is at the height of her success that she once again meets the young boy assistant (now not so young) and they strike up an unexpected friendship.

In part three Ruth is a mother and is publishing her first book in four years. On a book tour she returns to her place of research and finds something she didn't expect to find. Now only one thing is missing from her life.

After reading "The Cider House Rule" I was a little disappointed with Irving. I didn't like any of the characters and therefore i struggled with the book. This one though has brought me back to Irving. I enjoyed the book from page one and the characters were more real. It is one of those books where despite some of the things that happen it is still a nice story. Or maybe it is the ending that makes it a nice story.
"On Beauty" Zadie Smith

Howard Belsey and Monty Kipps are both respected in the same field of work. Their opinions are so widely different that they feud. Yet to the reluctance of Howard and Monty their families are brought together again and again. these men who have very different families and beliefs find that they have more in common than they think.

The part of this book I enjoyed the most was reading about the lives of Belsey;s children and wife. They all have very different personalities which leads to clashes. The fact that they all love each other is very clear. The title can be applied to most aspects of the book. The beauty of art, the beauty of family and friends. The beauty of being different.

I have read some reviews of this book which say that it was difficult to get into and a little too long. I didn't find this at all. In fact I felt that the book itself a little too abruptly. I wanted to know what happened next and would have happily kept going.