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Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Round-Up

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer: It's rare that I don't finish a book I start, even if only by skimming, but I just couldn't get into this novel,despite the interesting characters and the bones of a good story. I think that was the problem -- the basics were there, but the plot elements, world building, and magical system weren't fleshed out sufficiently. I stopped about halfway through and just read the final couple of chapters. My copy comes with the sequel, but the idea of trying to read it exhausts me.

Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin: Another classic mystery, this one caught my interest because Shakespeare's purportedly lost play Love Labour's Won plays a minor role. I would have preferred more on Shakespeare, but it was an enjoyable book.

Girls Are Weird by Pamela Ribon: A novel of young woman experiencing a "quarter-life crisis" just as blogging was becoming prominent. My twenties were filled with different concerns, but it was fun to read about a life going (mildly) off the rails before getting a happily-ever-after resolution.

The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack: The central character is an appraiser specializing in manuscripts who discovers a long-lost work that purports to explain the ancient Egyptian origin of tarot cards (really a medieval creation), so of course I was intrigued. The heroine was a rather frustrating character because of her tendency to avoid her problems (which caused more problems, of course), but the book was otherwise a fun read.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Gift for A Sister

I had a lovely needlepoint pattern with grapes that would make a good thank-you for one of my sisters, who has a home on Martha's Vineyard (that's good!). But somewhere along the way I lost the actual chart (that's bad).  So I improvised my own design based on the fuzzy cover image (that's good!). But I ran out of Waterlilies thread in evergreen with only one corner Jessica stitch left (that's bad). But the thread pack from a Victoria Sampler leaflet had a strand of evergreen Waterlilies (that's good!). Unfortunately, it was from a different dye lot and too pale to use (that's bad). But an Au ver a Soie thread from the same pack was the right shade of green, albeit unvariegated (can I go now?).

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Join the Resistance!

After making a bunch of bracelets, I'm now on a cross-stitching kick. I made this little hoop for a dear friend:
There are a number of similar patterns out there, but I wanted something smaller (that's a four-inch hoop) and easier to stitch, so I designed my own. Which is now on sale in my etsy store, should you wish to defy the First Order and join the Resistance.

For myself I made a Resistance pop culture badge, and one for Night Vale for good measure:
All hail the Glow Cloud!
I'm also stitching the awesome Bless This House -- Mos Eisley Edition sampler:

Feels good to be crafting again!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Saying Goodbye to a Teacher

Who has done wonders for Beadboy1 the last three years.  I decided to do what I did before, and had him write a thank-you note which I transferred to fabric. (Sad to say his handwriting has not improved in five years, which is why he now types his class- and homework.)
Early morning on a cloudy day, so the color is off
She is a wonderful teacher and we will both miss her greatly. And she will miss him! Although he is an angry teacher at home, apparently in school he's the class clown.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Summer Bracelets

A very long stretchy bracelet made from teal seed beads, a few larger beads, and a tassel:

A bangle made from seed beads and Toho "demi round" beads:

Friday, June 8, 2018

Trying to Get My Crafting Mojo Back

So we moved, and we did as much possible ourselves to save money, and it was a long and drawn-out and terrible and I'M NEVER MOVING AGAIN.

Not everything has been unpacked/put away, and we are still figuring out new routines and schedules, but I'm aching to craft again. Specifically, I want to make jewelry (I always do, come summer). So I whipped up these two bracelets:
I couldn't resist the red beads when I stopped by Michaels to buy some more sticker-based hooks for the walls (we are in a rental). The "pearls" were from a stretchy bracelet Beadboy2 bought me for Mother's Day a few years ago that was too tight for my wrist. The dichroic glass dangle was an earring, the other lost long ago.

I also made a necklace with a dried floral pendant that had been floating around my jewelry box, inspired by similar ones in the latest Beadwork (I'm dying to make the necklace on the cover, too -- perfect for all the small amounts of seed beads I have):

Next up is a bracelet made from lovely teal seed beads I couldn't resist at Michaels when I went in for some headpins. Perhaps I should stop going to Michaels.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Codex by Lev Grossman

At the heart of Codex is a manuscript that may or may not have existed, written by a man with a mysterious background, that may or may not encrypt a secret that could devastate a prominent British family. Margaret is a medievalist with expert knowledge manuscripts, book bindings, and the putative author himself. A prickly, interesting character, she is skeptical at first that the manuscript even exists, but soon her passion to discover the truth drives her to take more and more risks.

She's not the protagonist of the story, however, just the sidekick to the hero: a bland, passionless banker bro.  It's what I recently heard described as the Hermione problem -- modern literature (and movies, and tv shows) are littered with Strong Female Characters who are quite accomplished and interesting (often more so than the male characters), who are no longer relegated to passive-love-interest roles but who nonetheless don't get to be the center of the story, either.

It's a major disappoint in an otherwise exciting story, and I think it's also the reason why the end fizzled out. Edward (the boring Wall Street dude) spends the novel wandering from scene to scene and letting things happen to him. He never really decides what he wants or whose side he's on, so fittingly he's left in the dust by people who wanted something (the manuscript, the truth, revenge) and acted on it.