Sunday, September 27, 2009

Swap Happy.

So, over at Ravelry...I may joined a swap. Or two. Possibly three. Needless to say, this may be a case of me biting off more than I can chew, especially once you add Christmas shopping into the mix. (PSA: 12 weeks until gifts are due, people. Yikes.) But I'm slowly getting things done.

Christmas gifts for the ladies in my family this year are all coming from various etsy silversmiths. And as for the men? Well, I'm still wracking my brain on that account. This year, though...I refuse to knit gifts this year for anyone over the age of 10. The ratio of appreciation to work just isn't high enough to justify me wearing my fingers down to the bones.

And as for my swaps? I'm particularly excited about one of them - it's a swap based on Shakespeare! Partners haven't been handed out yet, but I'm already bursting with ideas. See, we have to include one big item (i.e. a hat/mitts/etc), a medium item (i.e. a skein) and two small items (i.e. chocolate, soap, tea, etc.). For the big item, I'm envisioning something really fun that involves beads and yarn. I'll keep you posted, as I may actually write this one up as a pdf pattern. Medium item will likely be a skein of handspun. I'll know what colour when I find out what my partner's preferences are.

For all three swaps, I will be sending stitch markers as part of the packages. So last night, I sat down and made up a bunch of prettiness.

See? Nice, eh? They're going to be hard to part with. I've also been sewing for the swaps, but I think that I'll save those pics until after the swaps are done. Y'know. Just in case. Wouldn't want to disappoint any one stalking me...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Righty-o, book reports!

I've been delayed on this post - has really stepped their game as of late, and we've actually been getting DVDs that we want to watch. Mind boggling, I know. And on we go...

The Other Boleyn Girl
Now, while I love me some historical fiction...this book was utter pap. I mean, sure there was a sprinkling of politicking and rollicking sex. But really? The characterisations of the real historical figures involved made me want to grind my teeth. I'm sure that it makes a good read, if you're mildly interested in Tudor era England. But for anyone not looking for a mindlessly diverting book for the beach, do stay away.

The Tenth Gift
This was a very ... odd book. Very cool, as it taught me that Barbary Corsairs raided the coast of England for slaves and to further their jihad. (Pirates! Who doesn't find those bastards fascinating?) The depictions of Morocco (both old and new) were intoxicating. Not to mention the fact that the use of embroidery as a constant motif throughout the book made me want to pull out my needles and threads. But all of this wonderfulness may be the reason why I felt so betrayed at the end of the book. Amazing beginning and middle...and a slap in the face at the end of the book. It's as if the writer realized that she didn't really know how to wrap up the story, and slapped a "conclusion" on the back of the manuscript. Finishing this book gave me a vaguely unsatisfied feeling by the end. Sort of like eating three eclairs and realizing that you really wanted a good steak.

The Zombie Survival Guide
Ok. I admit that I may be a little paranoid. But DUDE. If the zombie war comes...I am so going to have my titanium crowbar ready for action. This book written in a totally serious tone, which makes it even funnier. Every element of a zombie outbreak has been carefully considered, from the use of swords (take note: blades never run out of ammo) to the use of boats (don't do it - zombies apparently survive underwater). Very light reading, and awesome for feeding those late night "what if..." conversations.

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
Written by a neurosurgeon (!), this book makes me happy because it's all about language and how it is at the root of cultural shifts. After years of having my English degree mocked (especially when I've just been trounced at Scrabble), it is *so* nice to read about how someone thinks that semiotics can change humanity. The notion that the shift from the visual to the abstract ways of processing information (i.e. pictograms to alphabet) has fundamentally changed the way that the brain processes information is awesome stuff for a geek like me.

The Sandman series
The first time that I read these comics/graphic novels was waaay back in high school. My then boyfriend introduced me to Neil Gaiman and the Incarnations, and it was probably the main reason that I think of him in a fondly manner. (No, not fondle-ly manner.) If you haven't read these yet, please do. They will seriously mess with your mind, in a good way. Last month, I was in Quantum Frontier looking at board games with the family (the current craze here is for Memoir 44) and the store had the whole Sandman series on the shelf. Total impromptu move, I pulled them off and bought the whole lot. Food for the soul.

I have more to write, but need to go and feed small people before they start to go feral. Oh wait. Judging from the condition of my bathrooms, that may have happened already. Ok then, off to retame the Wild Things before they start eyeing the cat in an unsavoury manner.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Haz A Serious Happee...

No book reviews today, and sorry about the LOLCat talk...but I am having a major consumer geekasm today. First up - boots.

Yes, they're synthetic leather. I. Don't. Care. OMG, I *so* don't care 'cause I love these boots so much. They make my little inner steampunk skip for joy. They're boots and spats all in one! I figure that I'm going Neo-Victorian what with the long gloves and all, so why not go all out? They're from Spring, fyi. I'm thinking that some corsetry action is in order after this acquisition.

Next up, the best ice cubes ever.

I found these at Alberto Lorenzo, a new store in Dartmouth Crossing. They also have iceberg/Titanic ice cube trays. I'm thinking that one might make really awful, nasty days much more palatable. "Take that, Leonardo! Under you go, Kate! Into the sea of Bailey's with you two!"


I'm a bad person.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Screw You Mother Nature...

For I have finally figured out how to dress for the shite NS weather that you have been tossing my way lately.

It's too cold to just go around in a short sleeve shirt. Yet it's too hot to pop a sweater on top of said shirt. And halfway through the day, it'll change from cool to warm, so wearing a long sleeve shirt isn't going to work either. So, what's my genius solution? Gauntlets. Too cold? Pop 'em on and over the forearms. Too warm? Take them off!

And the best part? I get to wear my dragonscale gauntlets. (Red and orangey silk.)

Love love love these. But just never really found a reason to wear them out of the house. I originally knit them to keep my hands warm while playing WoW, but since I'm not playing anymore, they've been hidden in my desk drawer. A total shame, yes?

And I've discovered a personal truth...I am definitely a seasonal crafter. Sewing in the summer, and knitting anytime else. At some point, the sewing became a mild obsession. In particular, I've been sewing bags. Here, look.

My first box bag! Currently in use as a sock project bag, I used the tutorial from Three Bears. I think for the next box bag (oh yes, there will be more), I'll definitely interface it. Not sure if I'll line it, though. I forsee much fiddling in my future.

Placemat bags! Best dollar store upcycle ever. Thanks to the tutorial from Obsessively Stitching, a new obsession has been born. I mean, it all started so innocently...I just needed a book bag for my son, as he wanted a special bag for his trips to the summer book club at the local library. And then his best friend saw it and wanted one too. And then I realised over the course of the summer that the totes were a brilliant size for knitting bags. And market bags! And beach totes! And so on and so on.

These were made entirely from stuff from the Dollarama - 2 placemats for the sides, denim patches for the internal library card pocket, and a dismantled dog leash for the handles. The webbing from the dog leash is perfect, as it's not too stiff and it is certainly tough enough to handle anything a 6 year old can dish out. You should see the looks that I get at the checkout line when I buy several leashes at a time.

The red bag in the middle is my favourite - and the best part is that the pattern is available in red, blue, green, and orange! So yesterday I went to the store and picked up two placemats in each colour.


It's a sickness, I tell you. I have no idea what I'm going to do with these bags. But I *want* one in each colour.

Oh well, at least I'll be happy in my padded cell.

Next post, I'll be reviewing my summer reading list. I found some books that I'll definitely have on my re-read list, as well as some too-awful-to-toss-into-a-bonfire books.