Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meet the new blogger ...

... same as the old blogger ....

this is a bit scary, after nearly ... eight years in the same place. But I felt the need for a change, a makeover and a new address that was a bit more accurate for me.

So, if you will, go over here ................ and say hi :-)

Same old me, brand new address.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The restless reader

I have - so far - been having a pretty good reading year. I've been trucking along nicely, and keeping pace with my goodreads challenge.

I've read some good books, some great books (STATION ELEVEN) and some ... other books.

But, now, I find myself in that unenviable position: What's next? The fuzzy photo on the left is all of the books I have on my bedside table at the moment. One pile of my own books, and one pile of library books.

Misery is on there, for the June readalong, hosted by the ever lovely Care of and I had aspirations to start it today. I got about 10 pages in. I've read Misery before, and I do love it, but for today, my brain went "meh." So it's on the shelf, for now. I have a terrible unweildy omnibus which contains Misery so I might see if my library has a more hands-friendly copy and go from there.

My lunchtime ibook reading is Reaper Man by Mr Sir Terry Pratchett, and that's going okay. The book itself is wonderful of course, funny and sharp-witted and all of the best things. I took it with me today when I took spawn to the playground and my brain went .. "meh."

It's not you, lovely books, it's me.

I've had six months of excellent reading, and as I said previously, some excellent books, but I have hit that dreaded thing: The Wall.

Well, okay, I haven't hit it very hard, obviously, as I still have books on the go, it's more like .. I've stubbed my toe on the corner of the wall, and now I'm wary of touching the wall again because the wall means pain.

The wall.


I want my momentum back, is what I'm saying. I want the wall to bugger off. Or better yet, crumble into dust at my feet. I realise that I haven't hit the other dreaded thing yet: The Slump, but I've been having such a good reading year so far, that I want to avoid that at ALL COSTS.

So. I'm thinking what I can do to dodge the evil slump, where it lurks in the swamps behind the Wall.

Old favourites?
Something entirely new?
Something I haven't thought of yet?

Any ideas? :-)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dragons and wardens and cross stitch ...

Hosted by the lovely Trish, here:

So,  a few months ago, I ventured into video games for basically the first time ever.

I never played them before because I'm absolutely terrible with gaming consoles. I can't use them for some reason.

But THEN somehow I found out you could also play using mouse/keyboard and so I thought "well, I'll give it a go, see what happens."

(Stay with me.)

What happened was I bought Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2 in a bundle that Mighty Ape had on special at the time. I leaped in with Dragon Age because I'd seen people talk about Inquisition, and I thought "hey, that sounds like fun," and ... well, the rest is history, sort of.

I started playing in December and ... what, seven months later? I'm finally nearly at the end of the game. Go me, right? (THIS IS ABOUT CREATIVITY I SWEAR JUST BEAR WITH ME).

Now, I tend to get enthusiastic about things that I love.

Cats, for example.
Whittaker's artisan sea salt and caramel chocolate.

And I am very very very enthusiastic about Dragon Age. So much so, that I went poking about on Etsy recently, looking for cross-stitch patterns of the Grey Wardens' motto.

(Told you it was about creativity.)

I found a couple of patterns, and they were ... nice. But not what I wanted.

So, for the first time ever, as someone who cannot draw a stick person, I'm embarking on creating my very own pattern.

I'm not actually .... creating it, as in drawing it from scratch because that way madness lies for us all.

It's more ... a cobbling-together.

The Grey Wardens motto is this:
In peace, vigilance. In war, victory. In death, sacrifice.

Also, in the legend of the game, the original Grey Wardens would fly into battle on griffons. So I want to incorporate that, too.

I started with the alphabet. For the "I" on each sentence, I wanted something a little bit elaborate - and I found a free cross-stitch alphabet that suited my purposes. (I found it by googling 'free old english cross-stitch alphabets'). Here's the link:

For the rest of the motto, I wanted something with a tiny kick to it, but nothing too elaborate.

My Saturday night stitch-and-watch friend has a book of alphabets, so I've borrowed that for the lettering of the rest of the motto. On the book cover to your left, it's the small green one, second alphabet down. It's simple, but still has a bit of a curl to it.

The final piece of the puzzle was the griffon. So I googled once again - Dragon Age griffon - and found one that, as far as I know, falls under fair use. I'm not planning on selling the final product, so I saved the image and ran it through a free pattern generator. I guessed at the colour numbers - I chose 15, but may do it again with 10 because it's all shades of blue and grey, which is going to be the colour palatte for the whole thing.

Wait, I lied. There's one more piece - I have to decide whether I'm going to do a border or not. To keep my options open, I went through some of my magazines, and found a simple graphic one that would work. It's a bit thin, is the only thing, but other than that, it should work all right. Plus, I'm just doing this for myself, so if I mess it up, I'm not disappointing anyone else.

My friend suggested starting with the words, so I would know how big the border would need to be, which is good advice. My 'vision' is to have the griffon in the lower-right corner, below the motto, then encase it all in a border. Because of the griffon's colour palette, everything will be done in varying shades of blue and grey.

I'm thinking of making the "I's" of each line a darker shade than the rest. I'm debating whether to do the rest of the motto in a different shade of blue, do blue/grey for each line, or something else.

I may end up stitching the griffon first, just to see what colours are available.

Now that I type all of that out, it strikes me as ridiculously ambitious - lol.

Will that stop me? (Signs point to no.)

I sketched out a rough design (I stole Spawn's crayola felts and scribbled on a page to help with visualsation. As you'll be able to see, my artistic skills are ... well. You'll see ...
 So, what's inspiring you this week?

Monday, May 25, 2015

It's Monday ...

... what are you reading?

Hosted by the lovely Sheila at or you can jump on the #IMWAYR hashtag on twitter to have a nosy.

Since our last instalment,  I have given up on both books I was reading last time, finished two other books and am digging into Discworld again.

Hurry Up and Wait by Isabel Ashdown has a great premise and I'm sure it's a really good book, but I got to a point with it where it felt like nothing was happening and I troughed (opposite of peaked). The same thing happend with Prince Lestat, which I wanted to like, I really really did but it's so .. random and halfway through it starts going off on very odd tangents, so it, too, is on the Perilous Shelf for now.

After that, I picked up Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and ... well, I did finish it, because it was super-easy to power through. Did I like it?


I liked the premise a lot, but some of the prose, which did more than flirt with the colour purple, it let the colour purple fill its whole dance card and scandalise the local matrons was a sugary, sugary, giant sugar pill to swallow. It was a lot.

It had a likeable lead, a nice love-interest and an engaging psycho. I just. Also, I went looking for book two on Goodreads and I see people are now talking Team Nice Love Interest and Team Psycho.

Nothing makes me Seacrest out of a series faster than a love triangle. Especially since, in book one, TEAM PSYCHO HAS HER KIDNAPPED AND HOLDS HER HOSTAGE. Like. I get that he has Daddy issues or whatever, but that doesn't excuse bad behaviour!

Anyway. For my lunchtime reading at work, I'm rolling with Reaper Man by the late, redoubtable Mr Sir Terry Pratchett. I'm working my way through Discworld in chronological order. It's slow going but every time I read a Discworld novel I marvel at my own stupidity in not reading them years ago.

I'm loving it, is what I'm trying to say.

Over the weekend, I devoured A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott. It's about a girl with Big Dreams who comes to Hollywood in the 1930s to try and make it as a screenwriter. She gets tangled up in the lives of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and also witnesses history in the form of the making of Gone with the Wind.

I really enjoyed it - it reminded me of Longbourn in a way - a cosy, historical read.

Up next, on my workmate's recommendation, is I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes.

What are you reading?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Inspiration on Monday

 From Trish at comes Inspiration on Monday for all things creative.

I want to start blogging more (it's like the continuous goal - lol) so I'm Making an Effort.

I learned cross-stitch about .... 20-odd years ago, when I was at University. My flatmate taught me, and I had no idea how easy it was because with fiddly creative things (embroidery, knitting etc) I generally have 10 thumbs.

But tiny coloured x's? That I can do!! I have more examples, and in later posts, if I don't get distracted by shinies, I'll talk  about  other projects.

Right now, I'm working on a gift for a friend, who is a huge X Files fan. It's from on etsy.

I used to do a lot of x-stitch for gifts, etc, but now I mostly work on things for myself and as I say to my stitching friend - who works far quicker than me - it's about the journey now, and not the destination.

However, once in a while I have the urge or a reason to work on a gift, hence the pic above.

I have a few I'd like to finish, and I'd also like to get into more fandom stitching. I really want to do a Rivendell chart, but I can't find one. D: And also the Grey Warden's oath from Dragon Age: Origins.

I.... have rambled enough. :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

It's Monday ....

Hosted by Sheila here: or track the #IMWAYR hashtag on twitter, to add to your TBR :-)

I hit a mini-wall for the first time this year a couple of weekends ago. I looked around and went "huh", because for the first time I didn't know what I wanted to read next.

So, of course, I went to the library. I picked up a few graphic novels, and some sundry other books.

I read Hawkeye Vol 1: My Life as a Weapon, and absolutely loved it.  This is the Hawkeye that should be in EVERYTHING Avengers - damaged, introspective, impulsive ... did I mention damaged?

Other than that, I started Hurry Up and Wait by Isabel Ashdown. I'm only a few pages in because I started it today, but it's promising so far.

Yesterday, I asked spawn to go and get me a book from my room, figuring he couldn't do worse than I have been lately in choosing reading material. He came back with Prince Lestat by Anne Rice because he thought the writing on the cover looked 'cool'.

Good enough.

What are you reading?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Readathon hour one meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Reading/cheering from Middle Earth
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Probably Keeper of the Keys by Janny Wurts
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Crispy M&Ms
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I started gaming recently and am now 100 per cent totally obsessed with Dragon Age Origins. I've never played any kind of computer game before and now I'm already trying to decide what to play next.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I'll try and actually read more - lol If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Chatting! I mean. Reading. Obviously. And cheering. Go #teamfrodo!