Friday, 31 December 2010

Okay, so this is the final post of the day

I know, I said yesterday was going to be my last post of the year, but I came to a good stopping point so I thought I'd take the picture and put it up. I've finished the top row of Little Snap Dragon, and I can definitely see the dragon now, so I'm quite excited. The top row is now finished, with a little run down on the right hand side where I was finishing cottons off because I didn't want to cut them off when I didn't have to. So, in theory, I'm now a third of the way through little snap dragon and I'm very chuffed to see the little curled wings making an appearance.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Beautiful Shoes Have Arrived!

And this makes me happy!
This will be a very short post, due to the fact that was pretty much the only purpose of this post, to inform of their beauty. I did throw a slight strop yesterday, cos I wasn't sure if they fitted, but I've tried them on again and realised that they're not squashing any part of my foot, the bit that's a little snug is the bit that's holding them on to my foot, so that's probably meant to be a little snugger than the rest. But aren't they beautiful? Weird looking, I'm willing to accept that, but also beautiful!

Lego Harry Potter is seriously cutting into my stitching time, but I'm working on it (the stitching and Harry Potter)!

Oh yeah, and what New Years Resolutions are you all making, I listed all my stitching stuff a while ago, but I'm also going down the get fit and get some more writing done route. Don't quite know how I'm going to achieve the writing, but I'm somehow signed myself up for Zumba twice a week, Badminton once a week and Belly Dancing once a week, so I'll be fit, or dead, that's how it's gonna go I think.
This'll probably be my last post to 2010, so Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A blatant plug

Good afternoon ladies and gents, I hope you've all had a glorious Christmas and are looking forward to New Year.
We spent Christmas was my dad and his fiance and had a lovely, albeit rather quiet Christmas, and of course all got completely spoilt. Dad and Shirl have given us the money to go to a local ski ramp, get me a couple of lessons and then a couple of hours skiing for the both of us. Ben really wants to go skiing but I refused to go on a skiing holiday without having a chance to try it first, so this is what we agreed to do.
Apart for from that, I got a couple of games for the Wii, Ben and I are now completely addicted to Lego Harry Potter, which is seriously going to cut into my stitching time if I'm not careful. Anyway, hope you all had a good Christmas and got whatever you asked father Christmas for.
Have you been shopping in the sales? We went today, but I didn't really  find anything, changed a jumper that I was given due to not being able to get my giant bum into the one I'd been given (too much Christmas chocolate methinks - and you should see how much is left), but didn't get anything else. Have a little money with which to treat myself, and am now debating what to spend it one. Indian Beauty Cross Stitch kit? Troll Beads bracelet? Yet more beautiful shoes? I'll have to have a think.

And now for the blatant plug. I have a new follower and am in return following her, and the lady in question is my dad's fiance, and I said that I'd give her a bit of a plug. If you're interested in paper craft then she's well worth a follow, so please pop over and give her a visit. Designs on Craft. There's some really lovely stuff over there. She does some amazing stuff, completely out of my skill level.
Have a look at the pictures, these are our Christmas card off her and my dad, the left one is the card flat as it first came out of the envelope, and the right is it all set up when it's all open. It's an easel card which are apparently very in this year. You make the easel card then need something at the front to prop the easel against. The front bit on ours pulls out, you can see the little ribbon on the right, it's a drawer that pulls out, and they'd put the money for our lessons in there.
Anyway, I said I'd give her a bit of a blatant plug, so pop over and see what you think.

Friday, 24 December 2010

I bought beautiful shoes!

Well, it's true I did! I haven't got them yet, I ordered them online yesterday. Apparently they've already been dispatched, but it seems unlikely that I'll get them before next Wednesday, the next working day. I'll post a picture when I get them because they really are beautiful. I didn't used to (awful grammar) have the 'traditional' shoe obsession, but it's developed in the last couple of years, then I discovered Irregular Choice and it's become a full blown obsession, although this is the first pair that I've bought cos they're quite expensive, but there was a lovely sale at Schuh, so it's all good.

Anyway, I'll stop obsessing about the beautiful shoes, and go back to stitching, which is what this is meant to (mostly) be about. Here's the latest update on In Love, I was hoping to get this page finished this week, but as you can see, it hasn't quite happened, it's definitely a lot more identifiable as people now, I think that that's the first that I've been able to say that. Haven't got as much as I hoped done as it's been a busy week (and who hasn't this week?). I was ushering the panto at teh local theatre one night, and out with the folks from work another, plus packing cos we go away to spend some time with family over Christmas, but it's made a jump forward, and I'm hoping to get quite a bit of stitching done over the Christmas break, seeing as I've got some time off when Ben's in work.

And finally, I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, and if I don't get back on here before, also a lovely New Year, good luck with all those New Year challenges everyone. My first one's looking quite good already seeing as it was finish In Love. Good luck everyone.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Winter's Majesty and a bit more snow

We woke up to snow this morning, albeit only a little bit, which, because I'm still a big kid, I'm very excited about. The strange thing is we got back late last night (it was Ben's work's do) and there was nothing, not even a sign that it might, then woke up this morning to our tiny amount of snow!
Anyway, here's the latest update on Winter's Majesty. I was thinking that there wasn't muhc progress since the last picture, but I've just looked back and it looks much better than I expected. I'm loving how the red makes the snow flake stand out cos it was really annoying me that I couldn't see the snowflake when it had been such a pain to stitch! It's lovely glossy thread, but I really don't enjoy stitching with it for some reason.
Quite excited that it's Christmas next week (I told you I was a big kid), we're going to see my dad and his fiance in South Wales, as long as the weather is all right. Ben and I have to go shopping today for a final shopping trip, so it's going to be chaos, but I need to get something for Ben's stocking. We only decided about a week ago that we were going to do stockings this year so I've had a bit of a last minute panic shop, especially as we're on a very strict budget, £7.50 to fill the stocking. I've cheated slightly, I got a 3 for 2 while buying a couple of last minute presents yesterday, so I've used the free 3rd one for his stocking, a real cheat, I know. But it's devious in a generous way, so I don't feel to guilty about it.
Don't know if I'll get another post in in the next week, so I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Oh dear!

She's my latest obsession (as well as all the HAED, obviously). I'm definitely going to have to get her in the new year. Saw her in the window of a shop in town and jus think that she's absolutely beautiful. She's 40 by 50cm, and done on evenweave, generally about £50, so I'd better get saving.

Anyway, that is all, just felt that I had to share.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Costume Chronicles and New Year

Another mid week post, what's going on?

Have you heard of Costume Chronicles? It's an online magazine released four times a year (I think) that's about costume dramas, with a theme each magazine, the current one (and the next one) being Austen. It's completely free and written and produced by people who do it for fun. I recommend it, cos it's really interesting. If I'm honest, this edition I'm recommending it even more than usual cos they've taken an article of mine for the current edition, which I'm very excited about. But I recommend it for anyone who finds anything costume dramay interesting.

And secondly, what are everyone's New Year targets? I haven't taken up the Crazy 2011 challenge (I think that's what it's called), because I value my sanity and that could only end badly. In fact I'm not joining in any of the obvious challenges for the year, I'm just setting myself some targets.
So, what targets should I set?
1. Finish In Love (easy, should be able to do that quite happily)
2. Finish Little Snap Dragon (again, should be pretty easy, should be able to manage that without any real stress)
3. Finish Winter's Majesty (possibly, but I don't know, it's taken me about a year to do a page and a half, leaving four and a half pages for the next year. I'll give it a shot, but who knows)
4. Start and finish another birth sampler, we've got friends who I suspect are going to get Pregnant this year, and to stop the rush finish of the horrible Tatty Ted earlier this year I'm thinking that this time I should just start one and work on it in a leisurely fashion - I've found a really nice Newton's Law one, so I think I'll go down that route, or possibly a County Companions one cos I've always loved those.
5. Start my first HAED - I'm not going to lie to myself and say that I'm going to finish it, because we all know that that's not going to happen. But I do want to make a start on my first one, first question, which one should it be? I currently have Titania, Lance and Gwen & Bubbles (Selena Fenech) Iris, Alice in Wonderland, Queen of the Night (Meredith Dillman) and Mask of Colours (Linda Ravenscroft). Decisions decisions. I think it's either going to be Lance and Gwen, Bubbles or Alice in Wonderland because they're my favourites of the ones I own, but then I could end up being weak and buying another one between now and then.
6. Oh yeah, and I've joined Daffycat's TUSAL, although there isn't much there yet.
I'm going to cheat slightly, (on the targets, no on the TUSAL) cos I've got some time off for Christmas & New Year (ie my last day is the 23rd and I go back on the 4th - the time off was enforced, we all have to take it, and weren't massively happy about it at the time, but now I'm facing nearly two weeks off and that's quite a nice feeling) so hopefully I'll get some stitching done before the New Year, especially as Ben's got three half days between Xmas and New Year.
What does everyone think, any thoughts on if I can do it all, or which HAED I should do?
What challenges are everyone else setting themselves for the New Year?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A mid week post!

I'm away this week, so I won't be able to post, so, as it's Winter's Majesty that I'm working on this week I'm cheating and am going to work on it for two weeks instead and update the weekend after. (Any excuse to spend more time on Winter's Majesty).
As such, so tha tI can post something this week I have pinched this from somewhere... I'm feeling really guilty cos I can't remember who, so if you think it was you, let me know, and I'll give you credit.

A - Age: 27 - heading towards 30 much faster than I'm happy with

B - Bed size: Double
C - Chore you hate: All of them, I hate housework, probably cleaning the bathroom most though
D - Dog's name: No dog, so there's no name
E - Essential start your day item(s): Breakfast, can't cope without it, and a shower, cos I'm a real cow if I don't feel clean
F - Favorite color: Purple
G - Gold or Silver: Silver
H - Height: 5' 4" ish
I - Instruments you play: Recorder, very badly, but I quite fancy the mandolin
J - Job: Recruitment admin, but I'm contemplating a move towards events, sales and marketing
K - Kids: Nope, just the two fo us
L - Living Arrangements: Still just the two of us, in quite a wee flat.
M - Music you love: David Bowie, Beatles, Fairport Convention, Christian Kane, and then it starts getting quite obscure, Save Ferris, Letters to Cleo, Tangelfoot, Mundy-Turner
N - Nicknames: At the moment, not really anything, in the past, Kimby, Kimetha, Burly (as in Kim-Burly), Daria
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Yup, couple of years ago, pulminary embolism, or two, or four, it was very exciting in a very brief way, much to everyone's horror I found it very amusing from start to finish
P - Pet Peeve: Rudeness and bad manners.
Q - Quote from a movie: There's two 'As you Wish' from Princess Bride (and if Ben was reading over my shoulder he'd be yelling 'Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die - same film) and 'Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave' from Madagascar
R - Right or left handed: Left
S - Siblings: Nope, I'm an original, and obviously put my parents off having anymore.
T - Time you wake up: 7.15 on a week day, as late as possible on the weekend.
U - Underwear: Well, year, I own some, actually looking for new stuff, I have the La Senza site open even as I type this.
V - Vegetable you dislike: Sprouts and mushrooms, evil!
W - Workout Style: Where it can be witnessed by as few people as possible, although I do play badminton, and am starting Zumba next week.
X - rays you've had: Chest, see previous story
Y - Yummy food you make: Brownies, if I say so myself, I'm a good baker.
Z - The best place to visit: Dont quite get it, really want to visit Japan.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Look, look, look, a dragon!

I have the hiccups! That's completely unrelated to anything that I'm about to write, but it's annoying me, so I thought that I'd share!
Another progress on Little Snap Dragon! I haven't done as much as I hoped to this week, just couldn't quite settle into it really. Was hoping to get this page finished this week, but that hasn't happened. However, I think the next time this gets a weeks worth of stitching I should finish the top row of pages, cos there isn't much to do on the third page.
Also, look look! The dragon is appearing, those two little lighter curls at the bottom right of the page are the beginning of his wings (I was half way through this page before I realised that) so I'm well chuffed to see him start appearing.
Ben's got a boys afternoon/night tonight so I get sole control of teh remote control, and hopefully the return of my stitching mojo, and I'll settle and get some done, possibly the return of Winter's Majesty!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

In Love & Snow!

It's Saturday morning, Ben's at work, it must be time for me to update here!
Another weeks progress on In Love is here, and it's actually starting to look like something, it's about time it does have to be said! It's another Vervaco and I am rather enjoying it because it's a really easy stitch but, because about 80% of it is scenery and background, it's spent a lot of time not looking like very much, but you can just see my people starting to emerge in the middle now.
In many ways I'm a bit odd when it comes to stitching like this, because there is part of me that likes to stitch round the edge first, then concentrate on the picture in the centre, especially if, like this, there's a lot of background and scenery around the central focus point. I think the thing is, I like to see that central picture growing, and lets be honest, most of us find the background a bit boring, so I find, if (using this one as an example) I'd stitched the people first I'd have completed the focal point then got really board stitching the back ground around it, it looks finished and you're just adding extra bits round the edge, (although you know that it'll look better when the background's done). My way, it's not finished and could never be judged as finished until I've finished that central point. I know it's all a bit odd, but there is method in my madness starting on the edge and working in. I think I'm going to do it when I start my HAED projects as well, do the 'border' pages first then work in.
I think with this project, if I really worked on it in the next few weeks I could get it finished by the end of the year, quite comfortably, but only at the loss of my other projects, and as I don't even have a date for the deadline for this yet (gonna be at least another two years - they haven't gone to Australia for the ashes/honeymoon this year, so it's going to be a two year wait now, I think) then there's no point hurrying for the sake of it.
And as to the other part of my title, snow! Those of you in the UK will have seen the news (and probably the snow as well) and if you've seen the news you'll know that everyone in Yorkshire is six feet under snow, except, apparently us. The entire North East has apparently been under snow for the last couple of days according to the news, but I was starting to believe that Harrogate wasn't in Yorkshire as I'd previously been lead to believe, because we didn't have any. But, I woke up this morning to a beautiful snowy view out of our living room window, so I'm quite childishly excited about it.
Hmmm, just seen Nigella cooking lemon polenta cake and it looks good, now there's tempting!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

I Couldn't Stay Away for Long

The pull of Winter's Majesty was just to strong and I had to go back to her and I've got quite a bit done, even if it has gone back to being a whole sea of blue again! I'm enjoying her though, this page isn't frustrating me anywhere near as much as last page did, you can already see this page starting to building up.
I started on the red to give a central streak to work around but I've then tried to start on some of the more fiddly colours so that I don't end up finishing with all the fiddly stuff like I did on the last page, having said that, I'm sure this is a lot less fiddly than the last page was. I (hopefully) seem to have been right, that I did the most difficult page first, meaning that the rest of it should seem like an absolute walk in the park. Some of the pale stuff isn't showing brilliantly against the blue material, but there are little cream dots across the bottom (4 half stitches in each dot, and there are two different colours in that, you can see why it's fiddly).
It was Children in Need last night (for non Brits - it's a massive telathon that's run every year, to raise money for Children in the UK be they living in poverty, have some sort of illness or disability, living with bereavement, pretty much anything that a child might be in need over) so I did a bit of stitching on and off while watching that. And I was good and gave a donation, it was only a little donation, but I figure if every person who watched gave a little bit then they'd make loads so at least I gave something.
I might get a little more stitching done this weekend yet, we've got a pretty quiet weekend planned after a few busy weeks and with the Christmas run coming up so we're making the most of not having to do much this week, but I had some half decent light an an opportunity to get my blog done while Ben's at work so I thought I'd do my update now.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A bit of randomness

I stole this off Stitchandie and thought I'd give it a go myself.

1. What are you stitching at the moment?
In Love by Vervaco, Winter's Majesty by Maia and Little Snap Dragon by Kustom Krafts2. How many finishes have you had this year? Small? Medium? Large? Extra Large?
2, 1 medium (Tatty Ted Christening Sampler) and 1 large (Tenderness by Vervaco)3. Do you think you will finish any more in the next month and a half before the end of the year?
It seems unlikely, I'm still quite early into all three.4. If you could buy 1 thing for yourself what would it be? (Doesn't have to be stitching)
Hmmm, frivilous or practical? Practical (ish) - a house. Frivilous - A Troll Bead bracelet, ooh or tickets to a (currently) non existant David Bowie gig, would love to see him live!5. What is the best thing you have ever stitched?
Toss up between Jewels of the Orient which is a Dimensions Gold, or Sea of Science (Beatles) which a kindly soul designed for me when I couldn't find a chart I liked - and I'm feeling really guilty because I can't remember her name or her site!6. Do you like making lists?
Used to, no so much now.7. Do you stitch in rotation (how does it work?) or OAAT?
Technically it's rotation, but there's no real logic to it, I work on which ever one I feel like at the time, unless I'm frantically stitching to a deadline. I only started rotation a couple of years ago when I was doing a present for my other half and needed something to work on when he was about!8. What is the next thing you plan to stitch?
It's definitely going to be a HEAD, but I'm not certain which one yet, Alice in Wonderland - Meredith Dillman, Bubbles - Selena Fenech, Lance & Gwen - Selena Fenech, Queen of the Night Sky - Fenech, or possibly one that I don't even own yet! But I need to wait for a frame to come free by me finishing something else first.9. What is your fave ONS? And why?
I don't really know what ONS is, but from th answers I've seen I'm guessing it's something to do with store/online? So I'm taking a random swipe of an answer with HAED10. Do you have a stitching chair?
Corner of the sofa generally, but it's not specific11. Do your children/pets get into your stitching things?
No children or pets, so it's all safe at the mo!
 12. Do you participate in any stitching forums?
Not really, I just love watching peoples blogs and progress that way!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Princess by Jean Sasson

I should possibly say 'ghost written by' Jean Sasson.
I approached this with a mix of feelings because I've recently read Love in a Torn Land also ghost written by Jean Sasson and thought that it was appallingly written. That's possibly unfair, it was an unsuitable writing style for the topic, however, I attempted to put that aside because I'd wanted to read this for quite some time (years) so when I saw it at the library I practically snatched it off the shelf (earning myself some very strange looks, I can tell you).

Princess tells the story or a Saudi Arabian Princess who tells the story of her life and the life of women in Saudi Arabia during her life. It's very well written and I've absolutely flown through this, occasionally reading bits out to Ben, generally when I couldn't believe them and needed him to hear it as well incase I was misunderstanding it. It's a fascinating read and to a Westerners eye, almost impossible to comprehend. It tells tales of women being punished by their father's by being drowned or locked in a darkened room for the rest of their lives, for things that we wouldn't even consider to be a crime, and not only are their father's not punished for this behaviour, they're actually applauded.

But to begin at the beginning, the story is told by 'Sultana', she doesn't reveal her real name, and changes the names of those around her to protect her. It starts with her earliest memories and follows her through to, I would guess, middle age. Sultana was a spoilt brat, and she admits that she was, she writes that she remembers things now and cringes to think that she behaved like that. But, for all that she is a brat, she's quite a likeable brat, she's got sensibilities that a Western woman can understand, and we side with her because we want her to be right and we want her to succeed. Sultana wants equality for the women in Saudi Arabia, and as a reader, so do we.

As is often the case with non-fiction writing, it's quite difficult to review, because this is someone's life, it really did happen to them so you can't really comment on the 'plot' as such. Jean Sasson's voice seems less prevelant in this than it had in the previous book that I had read by her, and that's a good thing. Love in a Torn Land read like a badly written Mills and Boons at time, and while I've got nothing against that, that's not the style you'd really choose to use for a war torn land.

Overal, I really do recommend this book. It states in the reviews on the front pages that everyone should read this book, and I agree with that. I think it's important for us to remember just how lucky we are and how when we complain what an awful day we've had, it's actually not been that bad. As a Princess Sultana also hasn't had the worst life possible, not compared to the poor of Saudi Arabia, but at the same time her life has, in many ways, been much harder than mine, because I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to live with the restrictions that she has had to endure, simply because she is a woman.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Still no dragon I'm afraid

After two weeks of page finishes, this week is a page start instead, which I guess rather stands to reason.
I used practically every light in the house in an attempt to stop the flash going off and bleacing the colours, but it still decided that it needed the flash and so looks a little washed out. And why don't I just turn the flash off I hear you ask? Because, for some reason that I have yet to fathom, when I turn the flash off, it all turns my anti shake off. If anyone knows how to make it stop doing that please do let me know.
We're away this weekend, which is why I'm posting my weekly update practically part way through the week. It's Ben's cousin's birthday so we're heading off to Centre Parks for the weekend. I'm a little intimidated if I'm honest, there's a lot of Ben's family, and I find myself turning into the quite one that hides in the corner and doesn't speak when I'm around them. Plus it's going to be a very sporty, active weekend, which I'm not really. So, if I survive, I'll be posting noxt week.

Monday, 8 November 2010

A Weekend with Mr Darcy - Victoria Connelly

I've had quite a constructive evening already, I'm quite proud. I've done my exercise (just got Camilla's Cardiodance Workout, which thus far I'm rahter enjoying), I've submitted my article to Costume Chronicles and finished my book. So it's the book that I'm going to blog about.

A Weekend with Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly tells the story of Katherine Roberts and Robyn Love, both of who are Jane Austen fanatics attending a Jane Austen conference, and the romances that may or may not happen around them.
To be honest, I don't really like books that use Austen or Darcy or similar to get attention for their book when they don't necessarily need to. Victoria Connelly does better than most, the idea of the Austen conference works well as a background to the 'action' of the novel, even so, I think putting Darcy in the title is cheating a bit.
Katherine and Robyn are both perfectly likeable, as are the majority of the characters, Doris Norris is lovely (really, that's her name), a charming (in my head, little old) lady, although I don't think that you ever actually find out whether she is a little old lady or not.  Mrs Soames is in the model of Austen's matriarchs, although not really given enough time in the foreground to be a Lady Catherine DeBurgh or similar. Dame Pamela Harcourt is another matriarch (with a fabulous butler), although much less imposing and very keen on helping the plot along, although she really only gets involved in the second half. Of course, as we have two heroines and this is Austen inspired we have to have our heroes as well, I'm not really going to say anything about the heroes incase anyone reads this and feels inspired to read the book, because it's difficult to say much about the heroes without giving a lot of the plot away.
Her characters I like, the setting, again, quite liked, didn't feel anywhere near as contrived as I suspected that it was going to however, the plot. It's typical chick lit fair, and I don't really know why I keen reading chick lit because it often irritates me. It's very contrived. There are some crowbar plot points, people asking really stupid and obvious questions 'Who would possibly be able to do this?' So that ten chapters later a character can suddenly go 'I know how to solve this problem', but this is chick lit and we do kinda expect it, so I don't know why I moan.

Anyway, did rather enjoy it, pretty much raced through it, although I found myself skim reading hte last 5 or so chapters, she took a little to long to get to the end and then when she did get to the end stopped rather adruptly. But rather enjoyable, pretty brainless, nice chilled reading.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

HAED competition

Did you know that HAED have a Christmas competition on, with a very cool prize! Buy a raffle ticket (and the'yre pretty cheap really) and get entered into a draw for 25 charts of your choosing. Well, I had to enter of course, in fact I entered five times (oops, don't tell Ben). And while there is a massive temptation to not tell anyone (if you don't enter, my chances are increased - mouhaha) I figure everyone might fancy entering.

And, I'll get the ball rolling, if (by some extremely unlikely freak of nature) I win, I'll set up some kind of giveaway whereby someone else gets to share the prize with me, because there's no way I'm going to be able to get through 25 charts plus all the ones that I already own, so I may as well spread the love.

On that subject, if you're not already, head over to Threads Through Time where she's having an incredibly generous giveaway, she's offering the opportunity to win the chart of your choice, how sweet and exciting is that?

You know, I keep thinking that I've been here a year or so, and it's probably about time I did a giveaway of my own, hmmm, might have to think about that.,

Saturday, 6 November 2010

In Love has people

Here's another page finish, so I'm two pages into In Love and it's starting to actually look like something now, which is nice. I'm quite chuffed with it actually, its starting to look really nice already. Vervaco kits are lovely to stitch, becuase they're only about eight colours and are really simple to stitch, but look so effective when they're done.
This one's built up quite quickly this week, it seemed like it was going really slowly the last time I worked on it, but I've done about a quarter of this in a week and it's developed really nicely. And it's certainly a lot simpler and less likely to make me go cross eyed than Winter's Majesty was.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

I recommend the threat of nagging

I got everyone to nag me, and it's worked, suddenly I've finally managed to finish the evil first page. You've no idea how happy this makes me (actually, people who've been following me for a while probably do), this page seems to have been going on for ages, I think it's probably about a year ago that I started this. I've convinced myself that the other pages are going to be simpler and that I was simply unlucky enough to start on the most complicated page. I don't think that's just optimism, I've had a look and this does seem to be the most fiddly and confetti page. I've probably done not much more than a hundred stitches today, but it's all be very fiddly and taken me most of the afternoon because it's been filling all the little gaps where I've missed a stitch or two in the first instance (my own stupid fault, I know). The question is which direction do I go in next, across or up, undecided. Logic says up because I have already done a tiny bit of that page from when I very first started, but for some reason I think I'm going to go across instead. Either way it's going to be at least I couple of weeks off, I think I'm going to go to another project for a couple of weeks now, until I get the feeling back in my head.
Thank you for your support and nagging ladies, I'm very grateful, and will of course return the favour if it's ever needed.

In a huff!

That's it, it's no good, I'm cancelling my CrossStitcher subscription. I'm sorry, it used to be a lovely magazine, I've been getting it for years, through five different addresses, through them getting lost in the post through one of those address changes and I've stood fast and continued to subscribe. I've put up with them re-designing the magazine every six months in a completely unnecessary fashion, generally for the worst, because it still had enough in it that I liked, but now the end is nigh. They've re-designed one time to many, I gave them a second month to see if it would improve and it hasn't, so I'm off to cancel it.

Anyway, rant over, back to my stitching.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Have you ever noticed how just going onto the Heaven and Earth designs site inspires you to do more stitching? Well, I don't know about you guys but it always does me! I go on to the site, and look at all the beautiful charts on there and think "I've got to get stitching, I need to free up the frames so I can start on those, I've got to stitch as many of these as is humanly possible." But I'm still stitching away on Winter's Majesty at the moment, I'm determined that I'm going to get that first page finshed this weekend. Despite the extreme fiddlyness of it at the moment, I'm actually quite enjoying it, because it's filling in all those little gaps so it seems to be growing quite quickly, because I'm basically just piecing it together. So, it will be finished this weekend, the evil page that I've been working on for nearly a year will be completed, this weekend. And if I haven't posted a completed page 1 by last thing on Sunday I want everyone to shout at me and generally guilt trip me until I get my ass into gear and do it!
I've decided that no matter what my next design has to be a HAED, I have to finally stitch one of the beauties, I've got my eye on one of the Spangler's (there are so many beautiful copies of Train of Dreams out there at the moment) that I somehow just think would be perfect for my mum, I don't even know why exactly, but I just saw it and knew that I had to stitch it for her, however, I also already own seven charts, can I justify buying another when I already have 7 waiting to be stitched? It's a gift, it's for someone else, of course I can (so, how many times have we all said that, huh?)

I've been remiss with my stitching the last couple of weeks, we've been away at the weekends (last two weekends spent in Cardiff) and busy in the evenings so I'm trying to make up for it a bit this week, but then I also bought a Wii this week, (birthday present from the combined donations of family members), so I'm playing on that as well because it's my exciting new toy, but I'm trying to ration myself and make sure that I do do some stitching as well, and I am, I did about an hour and a half tonight and about the same on Monday, it's not a massive amount I know, but it is something and I'll attempt to do at least the same again this weekend. We've got a friend staying this weekend, my old housemate in fact, but he's recently decided that he likes hill walking and scrambling (which I hate), so he and Ben are going out for a boys day of hill walking and scrambling (or as I call it, genrealised plummeting, I hate it, you may have realised that) and I get the flat to myself for the day with the TV and my stitching, although I'll have to make sure that I get some exercise first thing, or they'll make me feel lazy, fat and guilty when they get back.

Anyway, what started out as a five minute post about how HAEDs inspire me to do my stitching has turned into quite a ramble (there's a reason why my blog was originally called 'Random Ramblings of a Kim') so I'll stop now, go and give my teeth a super clean (dentist type torture tomorrow - sigh) then go and curl up in bed with a book and wait for Ben to get back from his badminton match (damn single court venues, it's 10.50pm and still no sign of him).

Happy stitching all

Monday, 18 October 2010

Update on Little Snap Dragon

I've had a very productive evening, but that doesn't make for very good update pictures. So far I've stretched a piece of stitching ready for putting in the frame, just as soon as I find where my gummer tape has gone... or failing that gone shopping on lunch tomorrow... what do people usually use to stick their stretched piece to their mount board? I couldn't do the mount board to size and just slot it in, as the fabric in the kit wasn't big enough.
I've also mended a pair of trousers and put a button back on a jacket, so it's all been very productive!
But I do also have a stitching update, as you can see, this is the first page of Little Snap Dragon done, 1st of 9 and think, and not all of them are full pages, so its quite a big percentage of it done it quite a small period of time, by my standards anyway.
Not getting to get much stitching done again this week, but I'll try and put an update up at the end of the week.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Winter's Majesty continues to be blue

I continue to post updates on Winter's Majesty, despite the fact that it's really still just a whole lotta blue! And I'm aware that to the outside eye it doesn't really look like its growing much, but believe me, this is much changed since my last post on this project.
I'm actually starting to enjoy this one again after it frustrated me for a long time, I think it's because the end of this page is in sight and I'll actually be able to see it growing into something when I start the next page - woohoo!
I've got quite a busy week ahead of me so don't know how much stitching I'll get done, ushering at the theatre tonight (going to see Chris Addison, so that should be good), an evening of cake backing on Monday because I have to take birthday buns into work, meeting Tuesday evening, it's my birthday on Wednesday (woo) so I'm off work and might get some stitching done in the afternoon when Ben's at work, then I think I actually have Thursday evening off, before theatre Thursday night and away for the weekend.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Les Miserables at the O2 Live Broadcast

I mentioned on my Saturday post that I was going to see Les Miserables Live Broadcast at my local cinema, so I thought that I'd nip on today and give a bit of an outline of what I thought about it.
I first saw Les Miserables about 20 years ago (man that's depressing when I work it out), I was only 7 or 8 and don't have a massive memory of it, most of my memories are derived from the 1995 Royal Albert Hall Concert, which I absolutely loved. My mum originally took me because she loved it and decided that I would as well, the fact that this was incredibly heavy and probably a little over my head never occurred to her (I wandered round singing Lovely Ladies for two days afterwards until my mum caught me and politely explained to me that I probably shouldn't be singing that one).
This time I saw it with my other half (who I'd emotionally blackmailed into coming with me so I didn't have to go on my own) and his parents who, when his mum found out we were going declared that she wanted tickets as well. I was the only one who'd seen it before meaning that I occasionally had my other half leaning over doing "so, who's she?", "is he dead?" "is she dead now?" "didn't she die two hours ago?" questions like that, occasionally relaying questions from his mother to me then passing the answer back again, and so on. His father, got to the interval, decided that it wasn't his thing and left again.
I mostly hadn't heard of the cast. Was really glad to see Lea Salgona back as Fantine because I loved her as Eponnine, Matt Lucas as Thenardier, didn't like the idea but was pleasantly surprised, Nick Jonas as Marius, again didn't like the idea, he was okay, but blatantly out of his depth, he just didn't have the voice to compete.
The trouble I have is that I have cast members that I absolutely loved, Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean of course, Alun Armstrong as Thenardier, Lea Salgona as Eponnine and I thought that Philip Quast was wonderful as Javert (he hits notes so low that you don't so much hear them as feel them), so it was going to be difficult for other people to measure up, but I'll try to be level and not rule people out automatically.
Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean, actually very good, he managed to over come me being prejudiced against him for not being Colm Wilkinson, so he must have been good. Had a really good voice.
Nick Jonas, bless him, I'm sure he's very attractive, but he stood out, he wasn't a strong enough performer to manage in this forum, he was completely out classed by everyone around him, and you find yourself wondering who got turned down so a teen star could get the part. Also, his accent was annoying me, don't worry, he didn't have an American accent, but he'd obviously (or so it seemed to me) spent some time with a vocal coach to get rid of the American accent, and consequently came up with a couple of unusual pronounciations, tomorrow seemed to go on forever.
Norm Lewis, again never heard of him, didn't quite have the amazing range of Philip Quast, but he was very good and Javert's suicide was the only time I clapped (I feel stupid clapping in a cinema 200 miles away from where the performance is, and got royally mocked by Ben for it I might add).
Matt Lucas, much better that I expected, I really disliked the idea of him as Thenadier, thinking that he'd use it as a vehicle for himself, but he actually gave a very credible performace and was quite impressive really.
Lea Salgona was, of course, wonderful, simple as, I was slightly surprised when I heard she was going to be playing Fantine (don't know why, I just couldn't picture it), but she was brilliant, and got the first standing ovation of the night if I remember rightly, and probably one of the longest, meaning that I had to try and explain to Ben and his mum that she was quite famous and there were probably quite a lot of people there who were big fans of her.
Katie Hall suffers from the fact that I don't particularly like the role of Cossette, never have done. As a kid I just thought she was boring re-watching it now I realised that Cossette doesn't really have a role or a personality of her own, she's a catalyst for a lot of the action, but she doesn't really do anything herself, and she's the only main character to not have her own song. Gavroche has more of a solo than she does (why is it by the way that both concert versions have cut out the full version of Little People which I've always really liked). I'm sure she was very good but I'm afraid that she suffered from me really not caring.
Ramin Marimloo as Enjolras, again, very good, as you'd expect, I keep thinking that I recognise him, but I can't work out where from so I'll just have to leave that be.
Samantha Barks as Eponnine, Eponnine is one of my favourite roles, so I'm liable to get quite offended if you do something that I don't like. Aparently Samantha got to the last three in I'd Do Anything, but I'm afraid I really don't remember her. She was good, a little more shouty than singing at times, and a little to 'London' but very good all the same.

The end of the show saw the three current casts on stage, then the arrival of the original 1985 cast (minus, as far as I could tell, David Burt as Enjolras, I've done a bit of research and it looks as though he's still alive, so I don't know why that was). The final song was the 4 Jean Valjeans singing Bring Him Home, which was wonderful (queue audience shots of crying women). They closed with many children singing do you hear the people sing, personally I think that should have finished on Bring Him Home which was a much more effective closer, but that's just my opinion. I really enjoyed it and wish that I could have been at the O2 to see it, although I suspect that that would have been a lot more expensive.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Little Snap Dragon is Growing

Well, technically the dragon isn't growing, because I haven't started stitching him yet, but the flowers are growing, and I'm loving how fast this is coming along, even my other half has just looked at this in surprise and gone 'that's really going'. I think it's starting to look like something now, although that's possibly because I know what it's going to look like, so I know what I'm looking for.
I had quite a productive week actually, I like it when I'm at the end of the week (okay, so it's Saturday, but I don't know what chance I'm going to get to post) and I can see a definite difference between when I lasted posed a picture.
Talking about not being sure of time, I'm quite excited, we're going to see Les Miserables tomorrow night. Our local cinema is one of the ones involved in the Live Theatre projects so theatre performances are broadcast live to the cinema, and the 25th Anniversary edition of Les Miserables at the O2 is being shown on Sunday so myself, Ben and his mum and dad are going to see that, which should be good.

I'm actually feeling a bit guilty, I've been looking at my writing in the last couple of days and thinking that I ought to give some time to my writing instead of my stitching, it's difficult, I love both and whenever I'm doing one I fell guilty for neglecting the other. I did contemplate assigning days to one or the other, but I think that that'll back fire because if it's a day when I'm just not in the mood I won't achieve anything anyway. Anyone got any suggestions?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A shiny new start

A shiny new start, which makes me very excited, but does mean that I am, once again, posting pictures that don't really look like anything.
It also means that I've got three projects on the go at the moment, two of which I'm still on the first page of, and all three of which still don't really look like anything. Although I think this is currently the prize winner for not looking like anything.
He will be Little Snap Dragon, who will be very cute when he's finished, it's a really nice pattern, that I fell in love with and bought on impulse a couple of years ago, I've cut the material a little small, it's big enough for the picture, but I haven't left much of a border, so I don't know what I'll do with it when it's done, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!
Hello to my new followers by the way. You can tell that I'm still quite new to blogging, I still get excited when I get new followers!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Just some info

I'll do a stitching update over the weekend, but I've just seen this on the HAED website and thought that I'd pass it on and I'd love it of others do the same.
Feel free to take the picture off my blog to pass it on yourself, or let me know if you want me to send you a copy.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The return of In Love

In Love is back on the frame.

This is my weekly update, due to the fact this is the last chance that I'm going to get to do an update this week. I'm out every evening and then away this weekend, so here's my update, and we're back to playing 'can you guess what it is yet?' Whole lotta cream!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Tenderness - Another finsih - YAY!

My second cross stitch finish in as many weeks! I'm very proud, and I really enjoyed stitching this one! It's been a lovely piece to watch grow as I was working on it, which I have been doing, on and off for a year. My other half is a chiropractor, so I decided to do this to put up his clinic when it was finsihed. I originally meant it to be a surprise, right up until he caught me one evening, so I gave up on that, but I've still been working on it to go up in the clinic. I was aiming to get it done to go with their new brochure, which is going to have a similar image on the front, but that's be delayed now, so I'll just frame it up when I get a chance.
I do recommend Vervaco kits though, especially the sepia ones, they do look lovely and they're good fun and quite simple to stitch.

Now, I've had a productive weekend, getting this finished, now to get In Love put back on the frame, which I took off to work on the birth sampler, and to put a new one of the frame, Little Snap Dragon I think. This is what happens when Ben goes away for the weekend, I suddenly get loads of stitching done.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Tatty Ted is finished

He's finished, which is lucky because, as you can see from the date, Joshua came into the world this morning, which gave me the spur needed to finish the kit.
It has to be said, that despite the fact that it looks quite cute, I have hated this kit, really haven't enjoyed it at all. The stitching was okay in itself, but the back stitch was just unnecessarily fiddly, and badly charted, and due to a bizarre way of charting (and if I'm honest, my own stupidity) I've had to redo three of the four corners, one of them twice, and it's just driven me utterley insane. It's safe to say that I'm not going to do another Tatty Ted anytime soon.
On the plus side, I think this is the first proper finish that I've had since I've been blogging (I don't count cards as they're only little, although I'm not sure if I'm completely counting this, despite the frustration it's still smaller than I'd usually work on).

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Heaven and Earth

Why? Why would Heaven and Earth Designs have a sale when it's payday on Tuesday? I cannot justify another kit at the moment, but there are so many beautiful charts... I've got 230 charts on my wish list for goodness sake, 62 of those are Love to Have or Must Have, 21 of them are in my must haves, so I really need to get stitching (and buying for that matter). And I can't decide which one I want the most, I've always loved Bubbles by Selena Fenech (I've even got a pair of earrings with the design on, and it's my profile picture), and I love the colours on Dancer by Meredith DIllman, ditto Dragon Fae 2 by Selena Fenech and I've just completely fallen in love with Alice in Wonderland by Meredith Dillman (you can see a theme here, Meredith and Selena). I think that when I get paid I may end up caving and getting one of them, probably Alice, if I can just over ride that sense of not being able to justify it.
Ahh well, I've got a couple of weekends of stitching coming up, Ben's away hill walking with friends next weekend and away on a course the weekend after so lots of stitching time. I'm planning to get the birth sampler finished, then the woman's back that I'm doing for Ben's clinic, I reckon that's possible in two weekends, then that'll free up a frame for a new challenge, and as I posted a couple of weeks ago, all that's left then is to make the decision of which one it's going to be... hmmm, ponder ponder!
Oh yeah, and I have to build furniture this weekend, Ben took me to IKEA in the week to buy a new wardrobe and bookcase, and I need to do some baking because I moved to a new office a week ago and the girls are complaining that I haven't baked them anything nice since moving into my new desk, how exciting is my life?
Wish me luck!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Tenderness Cross Stitch update

As promised, I've finally got round to doing an update on Tenderness. I actually took this picture a while ago, I just haven't got round to uploading it, and I haven't done anything else on it since the picture was taken. I need to finish the birth sampler I'm doing (hopefully this week), then I can go back to getting this finished, hopefully by early September anyway!

I'm still very fond of the Vervaco charts, the sepia ones look so effective when they're done. I've got two nearing completion which means decisions will have to be made soon! Birth Sample will be replaced by In Love, which I had to eject from the frame in the first place, but I haven't decided what I'm going to replace Tenderness with, I've got about half a dozen in mind! Little snap dragon, regency ballroom from Cross Stitch Collection, King Arthur sampler, which a kindly soul donated to me once, a nice Arthurian lady who was also donated, the the famous shot from Memoirs of a geisha of her white face and the black hair or pluck up the courage to start my first HAED, I've got 5 so I really ought to pick one, a couple of Meredith Dillmans, a couple of Selena Fenech and a Linda Ravenscroft one, there are so many to choose from, and I just can't decide. Still, I've got a month to think about it, and knowing me despite the fact that they're all the ones that I've got 'queued' at the moment, you know I'll end up picking something completely random instead!

Anyway, after that quick update, I''d better head back to the kitchen. I'm attempting to make chocolate mousse cake, and I think my mousse is to runny and isn't going to set properly. If I'm honest, going back to the kitchen isn't going to help, it's done now, I'm simply hovering round it in a nervous fashion and hoping that it sets. This is why I normally do cupcakes, cupcakes are simple and I always get those round, but now I'm trying something new, and I'm a bit worried about it! Ah well, wish me luck!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Toy Story 3

I meant to do a stitching update today, as you can see, that didn't happen, so I'll try to do it either tomorrow or Monday instead. However, after an aborted attempt at going to see the A-Team (can you believe out local cinema already stopped playing it?) we went to see Toy Story instead, so I thought I'd do a review on that instead.

It has most of the cast that we'd expect from the old films, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Rex etc but also introduces some new characters, such as Lotso and Ken.
Andy has now grown up and is going away to college, consequently he's packing up his room and the toys are terrified of being thrown away. Woody is put in a box to go to college with Andy (you can't help thinking that this will eventually result in some Grade A bullying) and the other toys are put in a bag to be put in the attic, but there is a mix up and they end up on the pavement waiting for the bin men to come and collect them. Woody, sees the mistake and goes to rescue them, but they won't believe that it was a mistake and think that Andy was deliberately throwing them away and so stow away in a box for a day care centre. The toys excitedly watch children playing with the other toys and can't wait until it is their turn, this is a new chance for them to be played with again and the day care centre seems like a haven, but all is not as it seems.

We know the vocal talent is going to be good on this, Tom Hanks, Joan Cusack  and Tim Allen reprise their roles as the heroes, along with all the original cast, except Jim Varney as Slinky Dog who sadly died in 2000 and has been replaced by Blake Clark. We also see (hear?)  Ned Beatty, Michael Keaton and Whoopi Goldberg take on new characters and roles in this film. The plot as you can see from the summary isn't exactly complicated, but then I'm a 25 year old sat in a cinema where the average age is about 15 years younger than me, so I possibly shouldn't be surprised by that (the guy selling us the tickets actually mocked us, but that's by the by). But it's enough of a plot to hold the film together, it doesn't just feel like it's tying several set pieces together.

For me personally it took a long time for the humour to kick in (if I'm honest I thought the funniest bits were all in the last half hour), but those around me, including my other half were laughing all the way through, so I'm willing to accept that that was possibly just me. And there are some good moments, Mr Potato Head in different guises is very good. This is also, in places, actually quite creepy, look out for the screaming monkey, it wouldn't surpirse me at all if I had nightmares about that monkey tonight. And there are some sad bits, there's a real tear jerker towards the end of the film, there was definite sobbing and nose blowing behind me, and I'll admit that I had a lump in my throat, and the final scene before the credits, I actually thought was even sadder, but there was less sobbing during that.

It's nice to see the film grow up with it's audience. I was about 11 when the first film came out, so it's not that long since I had to go through my old toys and decide what I was going to do with them (and yes, I still have a lot of my teddies), so it's kinda cool to see the little boy I remember when I was a kid going through the same things himself. To the adults this is a story about growing up and leaving your childhood behind you, to the kids it's a good adventure with some funny bits. Either way it is a good film and I did enjoy it thoroughly, I probably won't bother to buy it when it comes out, but then I don't own the first two, so that's probably not surprising. It made me laugh, it made me feel sad and it creeped me out in a major way, not bad for a kids film.

And I'd just like to finish by saying 'The Claaaawwww'

Well, they always were my favourite character!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Book review, I haven't done one of those for a while.

I've just finished reading Nation by Terry Pratchett, which I read some months after seeing the National Theatre Live version, which I loved by the way.

Nation tells the story of two teenagers thrown together after a storm. Mau is an island boy who returns to who home island to find that he's the only one left, Daphne is a young British girl travelling home whose ship is wrecked by the storm. They don't speak the same language and know nothing about each other.

The book, despite being a Pratchett fan I took a while to warm to, it's a book that I seem to have faded in and out of, I'll enjoy it for a while, then get bored for a while, then back to enjoying it for a while, and so on. It's difficult having seen the live version that I really enjoyed because a character I loved on stage, was nothing like that in the book.

But, the book, opening chapter is very cryptic, you're trying to catch up and work out what's going on, but I think that's intentional, it does grab your interest.

I like Daphne, she's been bought up in a traditional Victorian style way, this is no use to her when she suddenly finds herself shipwrecked. She and Mau eventually learn to communicate, in a roundabout sort of way, and she starts to realise that just because she's been told something is right, doens't necessarily mean that something is.

Eventually more people arrive on the island, building up a bigger character base, giving a bit more interest to the action. The more westerners from the ship that Daphne was travelling on arrive on the island throwing them into chaos.

This book is aimed at children, and handles some pretty big concepts. Mau learns his way around religion and belief, Daphne touches on right and wrong, not just in the simple form of 'it is wrong to lie' but in the form of what is an acceptable form of retaliation when something wrong is done to you. They're big concepts for children to handle, although I actually find them quite interesting. Daphne's morality story more so than Mau's religios story.

As the whole the book was shorter on laughs than I'd expect from Pratchett, but I did enjoy it as a whole.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tatty Ted - Baby Powder

Guess how I spent my day yesterday? I started this Friday evening and am now nearly finished, all I've got left to do is the white and then all the back stitch to get it finished, which I can probably do today, although that does make me a bit sad, because that will mean that I've done this in a weekend. However, I've got to make sure I save a few stitches for Ben to do, which means that I can't do the back stitching until he's done that. I'm thinking if I leave some in the talcum powder cloud for him to do then I can do all the stitching else where and get it nearly finished before he gets back.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Whole lotta blue!

I think the title of this pretty much describes where I'm up to with Winter's Majesty. It has grown, I can see a massive difference from when I last did an update on it, but it's just so blue, and so fiddly, and generally driving me up the wall a bit, but I keep going because I know it's going to look brilliant when done, and because I'm aware I started on the most fiddly page, which means it can only get easier.

Ben's away this weekend (yet another stag weekend) so I've got another weekend of cross stitch ahead of me, but it won't be on this, or on any of the other kits I've got on the go, because I had a new kit arrive yesterday and I started it last night. I know, I've got three on the go, plus the fact that I've started my Christmas cards already, I really don't need another kit on the go. Add to that the fact that Ben's little sister is about to start a kit as a present for someone and it's her first ever attempt at cross stitch so I'm on call for helping her when needed, I don't need another kit! But I have an excuse, it's a present, we've got friends who are due to have a kid in a couple of months, so the new kit is a christening present for them. Ben ruled out the ones I wanted to get on the principal they were too big (I wanted to do a Cut Thru' by Bothy, but Ben argued that they were too big, and to be fair, I'd never had got it finished in time) and so talked me into something smaller, so we've got a Tatty Ted kit instead, so that's my weekend planned, although I'll have to leave a couple of stitches for Ben, because if we're giving something as a present he likes to have done a couple of stitches as well!

So that's my weekend, make massive in roads into that, currently trying to decide what I fancy watching while I'm stitching, I'm thinking I quite fancy a Buffy weekend, possibly Angel, so I'll have a look later.

Anyway, I've also been remiss in keeping my blog up to date recently, so I'll try to be better in the future.

Hope everyone is having a lovely time!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Tenderness and to long since I've last updatred

Two weeks update on Tenderness, I did loads last week but this week's been much less productive, after a slight explosion at work on Wednesday (almost literally, my sewing machine was making some fascinating burning smells at one point). But here is the progress, I'm hoping to get this page finished today. Ben's off to watch the football and a barbeque with mates so that gives me a quiet afternoon to do what I want so it's going to be either a film or an audio book and my stitching for the afternoon.
Oh yeah, and trying to forget that I've got a dentists appointment tomorrow :-(
Does anyone remember the Sweet Valley High books by the way? I read most of them when I was a kid, and I've recently got it into my gead that I want to re-read them, and while you used to be able to get them in every charity shop you now can't get them anywhere, and I'm having to trawl amazon and ebay for them. Also, does anyone else remember the Trebison school stories? I never knew anyone else who read them.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon

So Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon, one of the many books that went on holiday with me this year. Working in three time periods, going down to two when two of them join together and based during and just before the Crimean War, it follows Mariella, her fiance Henry and her cousin Rosa.
There are three time periods that are followed, Mariella's childhood, the time just before the war and the time during the war, eventually these second two meet and you're only following two time lines. Mariella is a traditionally reserved and quiet young lady who spends most of her life sewing, her cousin Rosa is the opposite and seems to go out of her way to be shocking, Henry I found quite difficult to get a handle on, so I'll refrain from making any real comments about his personailty.
The book opens with Mariella travelling to Italy to visit Henry who has become ill being the war and been sent there to recover. Once there he seems not to recognise her and instead raves about her cousin Rosa, leading Mariella to believe that he may have fallen in love with her (this is the first chapter, I'm not giving any of the plot away) and the plot follows Mariella's decision on how to deal with this and what it leads her to do. The story of her childhood is 'simply' that of how she met Rosa and Henry and her developing relationship with each of them. The childhood sections especially are not always in chronological order and you can be left piecing together what goes where.

My opinion? Divided! I enjoyed the first half, but found my interest waining and kept picking up the other book I was reading instead of this, especially in the last few chapters I found myself skim reading simply to find out what was happening and to get to the end as opposed to actually wanting to know. It has to be said that, without saying what happened, I found the ending singularly unfulfilling, almost like McMahon wasn't really sure what she wanted to do with the end of so just stopped writing one day and sent it to her publisher.

As I say I lost interest half way through, and I think that's because I stopped caring about the characters, I didn't like Henry and I can't really put my finger on why, I just couldn't bring myself to be interested in him. I couldn't bring myself to like Rosa either, and normally she's the sort of character that I would quite enjoy reading about but, partially because I found her quite selfish and partially because we're seeing her through Mariella's eyes who, while she may love her doesn't always approve of her behaviour, I couldn't bring myself to warm to her. Mariella I did quite like, and I found her dedication to her sewing quite endearing but when she was the only one of the main characters that I really warmed to then it wasn't enough to keep me reading on.

Finally, there was a section about Rosa's step father that I personally thought was unnecessary, it didn't seem to add anything to the book that I could see and I don't really understand why it was included.

I've been very negative about this, that's not to say that there weren't some things that I didn't enjoy about it, but it wasn't enough to make me look upon this particularly favourably and I don't think I'll be hurrying out to read anything else by McMahon