Thursday, November 18, 2010

In which more felting is done | Reading round up October

At the moment my mind is full of ideas for felting projects.  I just got some more colours from Kane Carding, and I found Craftworld had some Alpaca wool which will be fun to try.

I was commissioned by a work friend to make this one for her.  She loved it and has already asked for another in a purply colour.  She was modelling it around campus and already 3 others have expressed interest in commissioning one from me.

Nuno Scarf for Michelle

This one is made of silk chiffon which is beautiful to wear and was much easier to work with than the cotton chiffon.

Nuno Scarf for Michelle detail

This one I made for a friend - it's synthetic crinkle chiffon but the weave was nice and large so the wool fibres could travel through it a lot easier.  I want to start making them a bit longer but my table is only so large so that means I need to learn how to "scroll" the laying out.

Nuno scarf for Heather

I also purchased some tussah silk (which I will have to dye) to use with the wool.  All new adventures!

It's the middle of November and I forgot to put up my October Reading Round Up so here it is.

First of all, the Blogosphere Book Circle Book of the Month

Pride and prejudice and zombies : the classic Regency romance - now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem / by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Philadelphia, Pa. : Quirk Books, c2009. ISBN: 9781594743344

Synopsis: A mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton - and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.~ from the blurb

This one has been advertised as an unashamed mash-up of the classic Austen novel with popular culture.  For me (an Austen fan) it required a total suspension of disbelief in order to read it.  The pop culture of zombies is one I find mildly amusing, especially when I see how some of my librarian colleagues have used it to engage their clientele. Mixed with Austen it was just really weird and to my mind a real disconnect. Though I did find the martial art aspect of story diverting (as Lydia Bennett might say) - that part was funny.  The come-uppance devised for Wickham was suitably disgusting and vaguely satisfying in a vulgar way.  But I did feel sorry for Charlotte and in a way, even for poor, sychophantic Mr Collins and their terrible end.

Fortunately, Mr Darcy remains delectably lucious.

The good plain cook / Bethan Roberts.
It's summer 1936 in rural Sussex, a local girl Kitty Allen answers an advert looking for 'a good plain cook', she has no idea what she's in for. Her employer is an American who believes in sunbathing in the nude. Kitty is in no place to criticise - after all she claimed to be a good cook, despite hardly knowing how to boil an egg.

There is a whole lot of conflict in this novel.  Kitty is pretty naive and her employer a sophisticated, worldly woman.  Essentially a coming of age novel, I enjoyed the development of Kitty's character.

Lands beyond the sea / Tamara McKinley.
Jonathan leaves Cornwall to sail on the Endeavour, leaving behind his sweetheart, Susan... That is, until an act of brutality reunites them in the penal colony of New South Wales. Billy Penhalligan survives transportation and clings to the promise of a new beginning. But there will be more suffering before they can regard Australia as home.~ from the blurb

Hmm.  It started promisingly but I think the author tried to cram too much into the novel.  I could have done as 2 sequels I think.  It chopped and changed from quite a few POVs.
Falling & laughing : the restoration of Edwyn Collins / Grace Maxwell.
 "In February 2005, Edwyn Collins suffered two devastating brain haemorrhages. He should have died. Doctors advised that if he did survive, there would be little of him left. If that wasn't enough, he went on to contract MRSA as a result of an operation to his skull and spent six months in hospital. Initially, Edwyn couldn't speak, read, write, walk, sit up or feed himself. He had lost all movement in his right side and was suffering from aphasia - an inability to use or understand language. Through a long and arduous road of therapy he began to re-inhabit his body until he could walk again. Grace's story is an intimate and inspiring account of what you do to survive when your husband is all but taken away without warning by a stroke."--Global Books in Print

Reccommended to me by a friend, I enjoyed this biography.  I wasn't aware of the musician himself but the story of his stroke and subsequent struggle to re-learn a whole lot of areas in his life was absorbing.

Animal's people / Indra Sinha.
Ever since he was a small child, Animal has gone on all fours, his back twisted beyond repair by the catastrophic events of "that night" when, courtesy of an American chemical corporation, the Apocalypse visited his slums. Now not quite 20, he lives a hand-to-mouth existence with his dog Jara and a crazy old nun called Ma Franci, and spends his nights fantasising about Nisha, the daughter of a local musician. Their lives, irreversibly changed by "that night", reach a new crisis when a young American doctor called Elli Barber arrives in Khaufpur. Elli has come to open a free clinic for the still suffering townsfolk, but instead finds herself struggling to convince them that she isn't there to do the dirty work of the "kampani". ~ from the blurb

Based around the Bhopal disaster, this is another coming of age story with some rather compelling characters.  I found it a bit confusing in places trying to read between the lines of what was actually happening in reality and in the narrator's mind.  Quite good.

 Lone Creek : a novel / Neil McMahon.
After a failed career and marriage in California, Hugh Davoren is back in Helena, Montana, as a construction hand at the old Pettyjohn Ranch, home of many childhood memories—including the seemingly accidental death of his teenaged first love, Celia. Hugh is just trying to get through another long workday on the ranch when he discovers two dead stallions. A further probe into the matter only pushes Hugh into dangerous corners, as he finds that the ranch's slick new owner, his beautiful wife, and even old Mr. Pettyjohn have terrible secrets to keep.~ from the blurb

A decent crime novel with some interesting twisty relationships.

The English patient : a novel / Michael Ondaatje.
Three individuals--nurse Hana, thief Caravaggio, and Kip--are brought together in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II by a nameless and hideously burned English patient. ~ from the blurb 

I have to admit I didn't completely finish this one.  It all got too waffly for me. 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

In which camping is done among other things

Photo of me wearing the beret I felted. This is my first attempt at a 3D object and it worked out quite good though I did have a few near disasters happen. All good learning!

We camped at Tawharanui over Labour Weekend. The weather was gorgeous and we had a prime spot in the campground too. DH took around 350 photos (most of which will be deleted) so he was pretty happy about that. There were some dotterel pairs on the beach which featured strongly on his memory card but also the sunset/sunrise scenes too.  You can see some of his efforts on his Flickr.

The children love camping.  They also like playing Angry Birds on the iPad.

We spent a bit of time looking around the rock pools and seeing the sea life there.  It's a marine reserve so there is quite a bit of interesting stuff there.

Even though we're camping it still seems that someone likes to visit Mum & Dad's bed!

This one tends to roll off the bed in the night.

Back home I went to another felting class this past week to learn how to make bags.  These were the sample ones the teacher had on display.  I really liked the red one.

These were the bags our class made.  We ran out of time to make the cords for the handles so I still need to do that.

This is a closer look at my one.

With the flap opened.  It has a little pocket inside for a cell phone.

I'm really enjoying the felting thing.

Yesterday I went to a Stampin' Up! Extravaganza and made some very cool things. :)  It was nice to get into paper craft again - I've done so little of it these past months.

I have also been sewing - it always annoys me how much I underestimate how long a sewing project will take! Anyway, done now. More planned. Just need time.