Saturday, 9 February 2013

Nancy Drew is a Clue

So frustrating. My Nancy Drew quilt is making me uber happy as it all starts to come together but I said at the end of January that I wouldn't be showing it again until it was finished. What to do....
Nancy Drew Heaxgons
Side on doesn't count right? Like side boobs don't count. I also made a start on my purchase from the Scrap Store last weekend.
Upholstery Fabric Hexagons
I'm deliberately playing with having the stripes running different ways to play with the texture. The fabric is thicker than the cord used in the original (picture in this blog post) and my y-seam skills are poor so it's not exactly perfectly flat.
Upholstery fabric
But still, it's an interesting experiment.

I feel I ought to mention in passing this bizarre situation that is going on in Europe about horse meat. Personally I have avoided Findus since they saw fit to retire the creamy bacon crispy pancake and can't remember the last time I bought burgers, but it seems increasingly likely all of us red meat eaters have been eating not-so-thoroughbreds for some time now. The big question in my mind is - where is all this horse meat coming from? It's not like the plains of Texas are covered in horses.
queen tweet
Well said Ma'am.


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Books 2013 #1 #3

#1 Have Mercy on us All
by Fred Vargas


That Fred - she's good. In the first two books I grew to rather like her detective Adamsberg. In this book he is still likeable but then he does something SO stupid. So. Stupid. But that is just a side plot. The main plot involves a conspiracy to bring Black Death back to Paris. The story weaves in and out of the refurbishment of the police department and the life of an old sailor discovering a new role for himself. The book is very well written and although you just want to kick Adamsberg I'll definitely be reading the next. In fact I already have a copy and am holding off as I don;t want to finish the series too soon. 

#2 Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol
by Gyles Brandreth
 
Having gone off the boil a bit with these books this one comes right back up to standard. It deals with the period during which Oscar is actually in prison and the way he is treated and lives during that time. It's rather unsettling - even non-history-buffs can take a guess at what the prison system was like back then - but not too weighty and the deaths are approached in an interesting way since Oscar is clearly not at liberty to investigate as he usually would. Some authors want to show off how much research they've done and cram it all in regardless. Not here. The characters of the mainly male cast are well developed and brought to life and the story avoids getting bogged down in historical detail.

#3 The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still
by Malcolm Pryce
I've loved this series all the way through. This is what I was reading when I met up with KnittingontheGreen and we discussed them as she's not partial. I think having read Dashiel Hammet and Raymond Chandler in my formative years I can admire how well Pryce writes the hard-boiled detective genre, set in a town in Wales with a caravan park, philosophical ice cream seller and machiavellian mayor. Not afraid to bring in the surreal and super-natural, this book includes much talk of aliens but Louie is so sceptical and hard-bitten about everything that it doesn't matter whether you believe in such things or not. You become so enthralled that by the time the story reaches the point at which the mayoral elections are decided by human cannonball you barely notice anything odd is going on. I adore these books - of which this is the sixth - but if you can't stomach silly or hard-boiled you may not want to read a second. 

On my reading list for the next few weeks is a non-fiction about success, another magical mystery by Clayton Rawson and maybe, just maybe, the next Fred Vargas. Any recommendations?



Monday, 4 February 2013

Reading is Good For You

I love reading. You find out sooooo much. Even reading fiction - large parts of my vocabulary and behaviour are based on PG Wodehouse and Margery Allingham. Last week KnittingOnTheGreen and I met up to got to the "A-Z of Crime Fiction" exhibition at the British Library.
A-Z of Crime Exhibition
It's only a small exhibition but really hit the spot. KotG combines a vast experience of the genre with a great memory so was able to help when my side of the conversation dissolved into "oh you know that author, I think it began with a V, like Poirot but modern times, or was it Campion?" We had a great time discussing current and past favourites and I came away with eight new titles on my reading list.

I've also started a new Coursera course this week called "E-Learning and Digital Culture". Lots of reading needed for that and I started thinking again about the whole Kindle question. To e-read or not to e-read is something I've been debating for quite a while. I kept telling myself that I got a lot of books secondhand so it wasn't worth it, but in fact I get a lot from the Library, who also lend e-books. Plus all my study reading is online. Mmmmmm....maybe.....
Kindle Paperweight
Yeah, so I bought a Kindle. I'm waiting until the case arrives before I get stuck in properly but so far I'm quite impressed. I've naturally already explored how to work around the way the manufacturer would like you to use it and look forward to getting more acquainted over the next week.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

This Weekend Belonged to Charlie

Behold...Charlie!
Charlie the Tortoise 2
I would never, in a million years, have thought of myself as a tortoise person. But...within seconds of catching sight of him out of the corner of my eye positively powering along with watercress in his sights I was hooked.  His favourite thing, apart from watercress, is climbing and so when on the ground he would immediately set off for higher ground. He made it up to my neck and then fell asleep.
Portrait with Charlie the Tortoise
It is rather lovely to have a tortoise fall asleep on your neck. Pooch said he'd passed out because of the smell but I prefer to believe he liked the warmth and felt safe.

The main purpose of the weekend was not tortoise discovery but spending time with my pregnito sister and her husband. And how better to do this than with a visit to a Scrap Store.
Scrap Store 1
These places are awesome. I'd never been to one for real but had seen them online. If you're not familiar with them they are essentially a genius combination of recycling and community action. Local businesses donate unwanted bits that would otherwise end up in landfill.
Scrap Store 2
Maybe they made too many packaging pots, or the bits cut out of huge sheets of plastic/wood/card weren't needed or they had stuff left over. It comes here and then groups and families from the community can go along and fill a sack with what they want and pay a token amount for it. And I mean token. I got large scraps of felt, leather and card plus the item below and they would only charge me £4. I tried to insist it should be more but no. I had to just stick the rest in a donation jar. This was the gem:
Fabric Sample Book
You know those fabric sample books you get? Yep, a whole one! Well, a few reds are missing but there are still more than 40 colours. I had previously seen this bag on Pinterest...
Source: etsy.com via Alex on Pinterest

Oh yeah. I'm going to have a rainbow one. Yee ha!

While at my sister's I got to hand over all the baby goodies I've been stockpiling. Including this blanket.
Baby Blanket
This is the one I'll be writing the pattern up for soon. And speaking of which...
Hexagon Quilt Planning
I am planning my entry for the Festival of Quilts competition. I'll be entering the miniature quilts section and doing tiny little paper pieced hexagons. I'm just deciding whether to go for a traditional pattern or something more pictorial.

Sister and hubby were on good form and she's all healthy and rounded at about 5 months but it is freakin weird to see your little sister with one in the oven. I felt the niece-in-progress kick and saw the nursery. All so exciting! Having decided not to have any of my own I'm going to take full advantage of the subversive aunty role.

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