Thursday, 17 July 2014

WIP: Oodles and oodles and a bit of hooking

Let's just pretend it's Wednesday.

I've been doing oodles and oodles of lovely, brain-free garter stitch lately as the log cabin blanket has been my mainstay project. It's also lovely and cosy for curling up to knit with (usually in the evening when it gets quite cool) so that's a definite plus.

There is a super-secret project going on in our family just now that means I'm crocheting again. I'm still fairly new at it, and these motifs are taking more brain power than I have at times so my progress here is a lot slower. I am really pleased with the one I've finished though so it is proving something of a mood boost!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Sucess Journalling

For a multitude of reasons life has been rather rough lately to say the least. I'm trying to get my mental health back on track so I thought I would try success journalling, something I've heard and read a lot about over the last couple of years as being beneficial.

Success journalling is exactly what it sounds like: at the end of each day you reflect and write down what you consider to be successful or positive about your day. It can be anything from the smallest thing to the larger, the idea is to remind you that despite the fact we can have a tendency to dwell on the negative, positive things do occur in our lives.Things like spent time with friends or family, knitted or crocheted, wrote, cooked, made an awesome cup of tea, didn't eat all the chocolate raisins (wait, is that just me?), anything at all during our day that is good or positive.

I've seen different numbers bandied about as the ideal list number, but after thinking about it carefully I settled on a minimum of six things. It's a big enough number to make a positive impression, but not too big that it's going to make me feel worse on bad days for not being able to come up with more.

It's also a good reason to break out one of the notebooks from my stash. (Not that I really need one.) This one in particular is purple with shiny owls, and it practically screamed my name the second I saw it in Paperchase. I look forward to writing in it every night (especially with a purple pen that is a nice writer), and that can only be a good habit builder.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

WIP Wednesday

I'm in one of those hardly knitting periods, but I have managed to make some visible progress on my sock.

I've put the marker in for the afterthought heel! Once again I'm really chuffed with how it's progressing, and the novelty certainly hasn't worn off yet.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Reading Wednesday

What I've finished reading
Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain. I have so many contradictory feelings about this book. On one hand, it’s apparent that Britain is improving as a writer, and I did enjoy a lot of the book. There was a lot of new worldbuilding, and there felt like there was some character progression. It didn’t go as I expected, but it was still mostly enjoyable. 

On the other hand, this is the fifth book in a series that started in 1998, and it’s essentially filler because the end turns out to be filled with magical!memory loss with only a few notes to remember the whole 700+ pages by. Plus the majority of the book feels like Britain decided she wanted to write a steampunk novel but had to write this book first so she decided to get it in anyway she could. (That said, I did really enjoy her take on steampunk, especially in relation to the Green Rider world, but the rest of the series is very much high fantasy so it was rather jarring.) And Amberhill. I do agree with all the other reactions that having three personalities seemed quite over the top, but in the overall scheme of things I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief too much so I'll let it pass. I do think it would have been more effective with just the two personalities though.

Overall, I did enjoy the book (which is what makes it all the more frustrating), but I am really glad I went in knowing the ending as otherwise I would have been as annoyed as a lot of the other reactions I’ve seen. And the more I think about it, it is more and more just the ending I have a problem with. What is the point of writing a 700 page novel only to forget it/essentially make it never happen? At the end of the day, very little in the plot is further forward, more angst is set up and it just all feels like a waste of a book, especially since it is likely to be another three years to the next one (not the longest wait I know, but still).

What I'm currently reading
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It’s shaping up to be a really intriguing, atmospheric read, and I am really quite enjoying it. Plus, the UK hardback edition I’m reading is a lovely book in itself.

Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan. I am also enjoying this so far. There are a lot of really interesting concepts, and I like the one main character I've met so far. He thinks things through! It's the sort of book where you don't think you've read much, then look up to discover half an hour has past and you are now 50 pages further on. 

What I'm reading next
It’s starting to become a bit of a joke, but I really am going to pick up Trading in Danger this time.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

WIP Wednesday

My mindless knitting (therefore the one getting a lot of work done on it at the moment) is my log cabin blanket, and I'm pleased with how its coming on (so delightfully dense and squishy!). I'm reached the end of the leftover yarn I had from the previous one blanket so I went stash diving and found two shades of purple that will match brilliantly.

I don't think I've mentioned this one on the blog yet, but I followed the herd and started Zuzu's petals a while back. It's definitely thinking knitting for me, but I've managed to get a few rounds done over the last couple of weeks. I love the pattern, and I'm finding it very clear to follow when I have a brain. Alas, whilst I also liked the yarn (King Cole Riot Chunky), I don't like the pattern/yarn combo. It just doesn't show the pattern off, so I'm about to rip it back and use some Debbie Bliss yarn from my stash instead. 

I've also managed a couple of rounds on my sock, but it looks almost exactly the same as the last time, so there doesn't seem like any point in taking another photo of it. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Reading Wednesday

It’s been a tough fortnight, and mostly I've knitted oodles of garter stitch and rewatched some boxsets. There has been progress on the reading front though!

What I've finished reading
The only book finished this last fortnight has been Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts. It was exactly the cosy read I needed, and though it is rather predictable and a little trite in places, I'm quite looking forward to reading the last in the trilogy.

I have been culling my library pile all little as well (I take a lot of random books home, and they quickly build up), but I'm not counting those as it was mainly skim reading to see if I was ever going to properly read them.

What I'm currently reading
Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain. I've just started this, but I'm trying not to get too excited after the three year wait for it because of what I've read online. I was going to avoid spoilers, but after the last book I learned it really is the only way to avoid possibly throwing it against the wall massive disappointment with this series.

I've started with How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott. I love the title, but I've only really read the first chapter so I can’t comment too much. I'm finding it an easy style to read though.

What I'm reading next
I’d like to get further through Trading in Danger (although I was thinking about this the other day and it may end up being a DNF).

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What I'm reading this fortnight

What I've finished reading
Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach. I loved reading it, and I thought it was a great ending to the trilogy. I especially loved how straightforward the answer turned out to be, even though implementing it wasn't straightforward at all. I really felt the Devi/Rupert in this book, and Bach completely made me believe Rupert deserved Devi's trust again, something I wasn't sure was possible after the last book. I squee'd almost as much as Devi at the ending, and all the little details sprinkled throughout (but especially at the end) make me want to read more about Paradox, especially the King and Royal Family.  Definitely a series that will be going on my reread pile.

What I'm reading
I'm loaded with a cold and sore throat at the moment, so it's Nora Roberts' Shadow Spell as some light comfort reading.

What I'm reading next
I don't even think I'm going to try naming anythng this time as I seem to keep jinxing myself lately.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Goldfrapp concert

I can't believe it's already been over a month since I went to see Goldfrapp perform in Glasgow.

I had a great seat in the second row, and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I may have filled my phone with photos. :D

I'm not always a fan of support acts, but We Were Evergreen were fabulous and I loved them from the first song. I’m currently listening to their debut album Toward and annoyed that I couldn’t make their gig in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Aren’t they just adorable? Very few of my pictures turned out as they were all frantically moving about, and the energy was just fantastic. Also, cornet! I’m a lapsed player, and I love seeing it performed live, especially when it’s not expected.

Then Goldfrapp. Goldfrapp in concert is always a great experience, but this was just fantastic. The first half was songs from the latest album, and spine chillingly brilliant is the best description. (I JUST LOVE IT, okay?)

And then it was onto some of the back catalogue, all the favourites, although I didn't get very many photos as they all turned out blurred due to my rather inept bopping about.

Did I mention how much I loved it? A fabulous night all round.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

WIP Wednesday


After finishing my first project on DPN’s (a baby hat, the FO post will be coming soon), I was looking forward to trying my first sock.

I thought I would start with something fairly straight forward so I went for Laura Linneman’s Afterthought heel sock pattern. It’s free on ravelry, and I’m finding it very clear and straight forward (though I did shorten the rib a little. It’s just a matter of personal preference, and I’ll just wait and see how that affects it).

I love it! I’m at that stage where I keep waving it in my Mum’s face (it’s all right; she does the same to me with her projects) because I love it so much. I’m using KnitGlobal sock yarn in the colourway cranberries, and it’s a nice wool/nylon mix that is knitting up lovely. I can already tell it’s going to be very cosy.

As predicted, my other big project at the minute, the hooded tunic, has stalled. I finished the front, and then pushed it to one side as I wasn’t in to mood to sew the shoulders together to knit the rest of the sleeves. Maybe when it’s a bit colder outside it’ll give me a bit of motivation to get it finished!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

My words have gone awondering...

It's been a hard couple of weeks for me, both physically and mentally, and as a result my words seem to have dried up completely outside essential situations such as the day job.

I've finally managed to start taking baby steps again though, and one of those has been going over to the park across from us and talking to the dog as she has her after-dinner sniff about. It's light enough now that I can see where my feet are and close enough to home that it isn't too taxing for me. I can still really only go out on my days off, but baby steps are still steps and who can resist that cute face? 

What I've finished reading
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I loved it, and was completely invested in all the characters. I did feel it lost a little momentum towards the end when it became one viewpoint, but that wasn't enough to put me off, and I found it a little easier to read (less brain required).  Looking forward to the next one.
Volume three of Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples.  Repeat what I said for the first two volumes. Absolutely loved it!!

Cross and Burn by Val McDermid. I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, and not just because of my lowered expectations either. I do think this is a better book than The Retribution - it didn't feel like plotlines were competing for space on the page, and the character reactions felt a lot more natural this time around. I am quite looking forward to the next in the series now.

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs. I ended up with a physical copy and I couldn't help rereading it. I loved it just as much second time around

What I'm reading
I'm reading Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon. I am enjoying it, but I'm kind of blah on a lot of things at the moment so it's not getting the full attention it deserves.

Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach arrived for me yesterday. I've read the first couple of chapters already, but I think I am going to leave it to this coming long weekend so it doesn't suffer from the blah effect. Which is incredibly hard, but I know I will enjoy it more (especially as the blahs are starting to fade a little).

What I'm reading next
I want to get Trading in Danger finished, as well as picking up Knife Sworn by Marzarkis Williams again. I've also borrowed How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott in the hope it jump starts something.