Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Christmas Prep

It's been over a week again since I last posted on here. Truth is that it hasn't been because I haven't had time. About a month ago my Digital camera decided it wasn't playing anymore. I have been borrowing my dads since then. He has one of those big fancy ones that I would probably need lessons to use properly never mind just reading the manual. Since I only wanted to borrow it to log my crafts I didn't see the point in asking for help. Actually stubbornly refused (ask my dad a question on one aspect of it you would be sitting there for hours). So I managed the few poor photo's you have seen already but after that the camera wouldn't work. Or rather I couldn't get it to do what I wanted it to do. This morning it hit me that I actually had to pay attention to lighting. Didn't have to do that much with my last camera (it was pretty much just point and shoot). So here I am with some slightly better pics and an actual update.

As you can see I have been once again working on Christmas items. The drum tree decoration I finished a while back. That was the first thing that refused to be photographed. I am really pleased with the way it turned out and I think I prefer it over the trumpet. I think it's the bold colours of the base of the drum that makes it stand out more. My mum liked it too which was the important part. I think it's her favourite so far too. Myself and my sister had brought her a whole load of tree decorations back from Amsterdam and with all the ones we have made for her over the years she is thinking of getting rid of all the less sentimental decorations. She's very excited about decorating her tree this year. When it comes to it I might have to take a pic of it.
The second picture is of a banner or wall hanging that I am stitching (also for mum). I have just the teddy bears and then the back stitch to do and then I'm done. I think next year instead of items to hang up I might stitch pillows like I did for Halloween this year. I plan on making the rest of my Christmas cards this week too. I think this will be the second year in a row that I will once again be organised for Christmas as I have most of my presents in too. What about everyone else? Are you an organiser or is it rushed in the month of December (I usually fall under the second one).

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Still Alive

I took a little more time away than I planned. Still busy at work but I also came down with a cold. Only a slight cold so I'm fine now.

I finished stitching the witch for my sister and turned it into a little pillow. I'm now glad that I used the fabric that I did as it is just a right size for a pillow. I took two pieces of purple felt and stitched it together using orange thread to fit in with the Halloween colours. Didn't take long to make at all. I wasn't there when my sister got it but she said she loved it.

When I showed the pillow for my sister to my mum she tried to steal it. I had to snatch it back out of her hands. As a surprise I got to work on a pillow for her. Along with the witch there was a chart of this cat which was shown as a card. Once again I used the smaller fabric count and attached it to a pillow made from felt. It's actually small enough to be used as a pin cushion. My mum has a habit of leaving sewing needles all over the place (not that I can talk!). I have also been working on some Christmas items but have no photo's as yet since my camera broke down on me. Have to wait until my dad isn't using his so that I can take some snaps.

Thank you everyone for your comments on the beaded ornament. One of the Christmas items I have been working on is the drum (which is actually finished). I am thinking that the violin is next as it's my favourite. I had always wanted to learn to play the violin when I was younger but was never allowed. Took up the clarinet instead. I think my parents must have thought that a clarinet would be less painful to the ears than a violin when in the hands of a beginner. How little they knew, lol!

Lili, I've never had a book put me off a place that I love. Not that I'm well travelled mind you. Have you ever read a book that has made you want to visit somewhere? For me Murakami's books have all made me want to visit Japan. Everything else I have read on Japan since has just increased that.

Timewarden, I quite like the track "I can't decided". It's actually becoming rarer and rarer these days to find an album that doesn't have bad language in it. Not something my parents had to worry about when I was little but these days you never know. Some parents that I have dealt with don't seem too bothered by it but others don't always realise it. A few parents I've had to warn about some CD's have been very surprised.

Crazee4books, I do like vampire stories although I don't go out of my way to pick them out. I think vampire stories are difficult to write well. Actually, maybe the horror genre is difficult to write well as I said the same thing about ghost stories. I did read one of the Anita Blake stories by Laurel Hamilton but didn't think much of it.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Booking Through Thursday and a Musical Christmas!

Decorum October 4, 2007
Filed under: Wordpress — --Deb @ 1:54 am

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

Books with profanity and explicit romantic scenes don't bother me. These things can have their place in books. Stephen King is one of my favourite writers and in the past he has used both in his books. James Herbert, while not a favourite, is also an author I have read plenty of who uses these things in all of his books. He's actually famous for them. So I guess yes I take them in my stride. I don't go looking for them though. Unless of course you include "Forever" by Judy Blume like every other curious teen in my class. If the profanity is pointless and out of place in a book then I am going to be more disappointed by the writer than anything else. If the book is solely based around explicit romantic scenes then I'm not interested. I would rather read a book that was decently written and has an actual story to it.

If I close a book it has to be really bad. I don't buy racy books such as your mills and boon or the racier black lace. To me they are a waste of paper. Give me a good sci fi or fantasy book any day. So I have had no reason to really want to close a book for those reasons. The closest I came to it was when reading "Gerald's Game" by Stephen King. For those of you who have read it you will know that it's based around a romantic scene gone wrong. I didn't enjoy it at all but I forced myself to finish it because I was such a big fan of his books at the time (still am). I don't think it was really the scenes that bothered me but more that the whole book was based around one. It was just so boring. Other books that I can think of are those written by Richard Laymon. The horror genre likes to use sex and profanity. I think it's for the shock value. They like to use extremes to make a book all the more horrific. I do like horror but Laymon's books had some horror and a lot of sex. It seemed almost that the genre was used as an excuse to write these scenes and lots of them in each book.

This little trumpet is a Mill Hill beads tree decoration. I know it is very early but I can feel the Christmas spirit building already. I love Christmas and every year I seem to be starting earlier and earlier. I was on the sew and sew website buying threads for a design I am considering stitching (funnily enough a Christmas one). While there I thought I would take a look at their Christmas decoration kits. Not really expecting to see anything new. The first thing that appeared on the page was these lovely Christmas musical instruments to hang on the tree. I tried to say no but I couldn't. Next thing I know four of them were in my basket. As soon as they arrived I made a start on this trumpet and finished it that evening. I thought they were a little different to the usual Santa's and snowmen (not that there is anything wrong with those, I love Santa's and snowmen). There are two more in the series which I didn't buy but I think I am kidding myself when I say that I will probably leave those. My mum is very excited to get a hold of them and put them on her tree when finished. I am just looking forward to getting them all stitched up.

I haven't forgotten about the little witch that I was stitching. I have just about finished and she should be ready to be attached to a pillow over the weekend. So expect a photo soon. Actually it might be a week or so before I am able to post again. I have a lot going on at work just now (nothing bad but I have a big project to do which is going to take up most of my time). It don't think that it will take me much more than a week. When I come back, as well as a pic of the finished witch, you can expect me to be talking about Dr Who, 4400's, DS9 and possibly more book reviews.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Book Reviews

Bethany is a young girl who works in Staples. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life but she knows she doesn't want to spend the rest of it stacking shelves. One day she comes across a journal written by her co worker Roger. Except this journal is written as though she herself has written it. Bethany writes a reply and although angry at first she wonders how he can write as her so well. From then on they communicate through this journal. We learn more about them both as Roger writes his book for Bethany and Bethany replies to him.

This isn't my favourite Coupland book. However, it would be difficult to out do his previous book "Jpod". I still enjoyed it. I thought it the friendship between Roger and Bethany was sweet. You couldn't help but hope that everything turned out for the both of them. You wanted Roger to get his life back on track and you wanted Bethany to go out there and actually live her life. A friend of mine felt that it was saying that you don't have much of a life if you work in retail. I don't agree. Yes there was a hint of that but I don't think it was directed at retail. Roger and Bathany could have worked anywhere just about any job that involved a little monotony. The point of the book would still have been the same. A great book if not Couplands best.

Jude is an aging rock star. He is living out his life in a huge house with occasional road trips to let the world know he is still alive. He is also a collector of anything dark and unusual. One day his agent comes across a ghost up for sale. All Jude has to do is buy a suit belonging to the old man and his ghost will follow. Not really believing it but not wanting to miss out just in case Jude buys the suit. Sure enough the ghost follows behind it but it's not the friendly old man he was hoping for. This old man was the step dad of his old girl friend who killed herself. This old man is out for revenge against Jude and everyone close to him.

For those of you who don't know Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King. It was my curiousity over that which made me pick up the book more than anything else. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. His writing style is very similar to his dads but he adds a modern touch to it. Probably the same touch King was able to add during his youth. Despite that if I had read it without knowing who I would probably think it was King. Still worth reading as it was a good story and good ghost stories are difficult to write (same as good vampire stories). It will be interesting to see if he develops his own style as his career develops.
Anna is a surplus child. She shouldn't have been born along with everyone else in the surplus complex. Surplus Anna is the best surplus child in there. She makes sure that every hour she is awake is filled with usefulness to make up for her parents greed. She has a secret though. A diary and if anyone was to find out she would be badly punished. For surplus children are not allowed to have anything of their own as they shouldn't be there in the first place. Then along comes a surplus boy who tells her he knows who she it. He tells her that her parents love her and want her back. He tells her that surplus children aren't a drain but the people who want to live forever are.

I'll be honest. I was attracted to this kids book for its cover. I'm glad I read it though. It is very simply written but sometimes those are the best. It looks at the questions what if we run out of energy? What would happen to the planet if we found a way to live forever? Really not what you are expecting when you see the bright pink cover. It's definitely worth a read and if you like Malorie Blackmans "Noughts and Crosses" series then you will love this too.

This is the sequal to Hamilton's "Pandoras Star". In book one we learn all about how humans have expanded across the galaxy. They learn of a star system which has been enclosed in a Dysons sphere and send a ship out to investigate. While there the sphere comes down and a war race attacks the confederation. Meanwhile the confederation is fighting another battle. That with the cult called the guardians. They believe that the old alien ship "Starflyer" is not so dead and that it is turning humans into it's agents. "Judas Unchained" continues on from those events. The commenwealth is now coming up with battle plans to save their worlds from the motile aliens. If none of these plans work they may have no option but to consider genocide. Meanwhile a few high up in the commenwealth are beginning to believe that maybe the guardians are right. Maybe the starflyer is an alien working against humanity. Maybe the Starflyer brought down the sphere in the first place.

I love Hamilton's books. I shouldn't because they always involve a lot of battle. Essentially they are science fiction war books. The stories though are so complex and involve so many different characters and story lines that all eventually come together. It's for that that I enjoy them so much. That and I do like the technology he comes up with. Like all his others it's a large book and there are probably so much he could cut out but I enjoyed every page. Definitely one for science fiction fans.

Judy, I suppose I do have a large DVD collection. All the Star Trek ones aren't mine though. They belong to my mum who loans them out to me. I do seem to spend most of my money on DVD's and books. Occasionally I will spend it on craft supplies instead though. And I only buy DVD's that are on sale unless it's something I have been waiting impatiently for (like BSG).