Friday, December 29, 2006

Dawn Star #007

Dawn Star #007
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Here's my progress at December 28th, 2006. I was going to post a picture earlier, but I kept thinking "just a little bit more, just a little bit more" and didn't stop for a photo. Once I had the background done and a hole for the purple sphere, I had to fill that in before taking the picture.

So here it is. This is probably about a week's work. I'm just loving working on this again which is probably why I've got such a nice amount done.

I'm glad I chose to bring this project on holiday with me and I have at least another week before I'm home again to be tempted by anything else.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dawn Star #006

Dawn Star #006
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

I'm afraid this isn't a new picture. This is where I was up to on Dawn Star when I put it away last.

It's the project I brought on holiday with me and I did some stitching on it yesterday. So I figured it was a good idea to put up the last progress picture. When I put up a new photo - probably just after Christmas - there will be something to compare it to.

I'm loving making progress on Alpine Seasons again, but it was also nice to pick up some 1 over 1 and get to work on that. The only problem is that I'm currently doing light colours on a light background and the lighting at my parents' house isn't absolutely spectacular, so it's occasionally a bit of a challenge.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


My layout of Marcus trying to unlock the front door just got picked for pachimac's scraplift challenge. Since, in a way I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing, this is totally amazing.

It's challenge #38 over here.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Escape Artist

Escape Artist
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Journalling ~
5 October, 2006
Leigh came to visit today and let you play with her car keys. After a little while I went to see what you were doing and this is what I found. You took your stool from the laundry to the front door, climbed up on it so that you were tall enough to reach the locks and tried using Leigh's keys on the door. I'm not sure if you thought you were locking or unlocking it, but you were very involved in what you were doing. I'm now very careful to make sure you can't get out that door any time as I don't want you to get onto the street. A little Houdini is something I really don't need.

Sketch*PLATE 5 by Anita Sterigou, including stylised flowers; everything else from Winter Whites by Christy Lyle and Robin Carlton; fonts are Jeana and Mom's Typewriter

Alpine Seasons #012

Alpine Seasons #012
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Further progress on part 8.

I now have about 2/3 of the hills and plants done and I'm a little over 1/2 done for this part. If you compare this photo to the previous one, that's what I stitched today.

Stitching done and photo taken 10 Dec, 2006.

Alpine Seasons #011

Alpine Seasons #011
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Progress of part 8.

I now have the summer trees and some of the mountains done. I love how the trees look, but I really hate stitching them.

Photo taken 10 Dec, 2006

Alpine Seasons #010

Alpine Seasons #010
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

The inner border completed on part 8.

Photo taken 7 Dec, 2006

The Ice Dragons Kingdom #005

The Ice Dragons Kingdom #005
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

My latest progress on IDK. I'm now up to working on the dragon itself.

Photo taken 1st December, 2006.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My November Reads

As always, ratings reflect my enjoyment rather than a carefully thought out analysis of the integral quality of the book.

1. The Runaway Princess by Christina Dodd (6/10)
Romance. Good light reading for when I didn't feel up to reading much, but certainly not the greatest thing ever.

2. After Midnight by Teresa Medeiros (8/10)
Paranormal Romance. Fun tale as big sister tries to figure out if little sister's potential fiance is or isn't a vampire.

3. Someday My Prince by Christina Dodd (6/10)
Romance. Follow up to The Runaway Princess. Again, okay light reading, but nothing special.

4. Until Death We Do Part by Sherrilyn Kenyon (9/10)
Paranormal Romance. Short story in Love at First Bite Anothology. It was actually a good little story; deliberately Romeo and Juliet based on Dracula's daughter and her star crossed lover. Both "survived" their untimely deaths and are still fighting about it today, but need to make up.

5. Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts (7/10)
Paranormal Romace. This is Roberts' first attempt at some kind of vampire/fantasy tale and while I think she flounders a bit at first, she manages to pull it together at the end. Six people from across time and two realities are pulled together to fight an evil vampiress. This book sets up the basic story and tells the first romance between two of the six.

6. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (9/10)
Fantasy. Great story where a condemned prisoner (murder in self-defense) in a very constrained society is given the opportunity to escape execution by becoming the leader's poison taster. She soon finds herself caught up in political and personal machinations and needs to save the country and herself.

7. Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh (6/10)
Romantica. Romantica is best defined as light erotica and I'm kind of embarrassed to having read this on a friend's recommendation. I was actually surprised to find it was pretty good. (Okay, my prejudices are showing I guess.) The world building was unexpected fascinating and I want to know more about what happens next. But the heroine had a really stupid name.

8. Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts (7/10)
Paranormal Romance. The second in the trilogy after Morrigan's Cross; Roberts has herself better grounded here and it shows in a better book. Of course, the set up is done now, which probably makes it easier as the six prepare to the final battle to come. Besides, who isn't going to fall for a guy who can turn himself into a dragon? The Buffy-esque heroine certainly does.

9. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder (10/10)
Fantasy. In the previous book, the heroine found she'd been kidnapped from another country as a child and has mage powers. In this book she is returned and has to try to find her place among people who remember her but she can't recall. I've seen people say they didn't like this book as much as the first, but I actually liked it better.

10. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (10/10)
Fiction. This is one of those books that defy categorisation. A biographer is called to write the life story of a famous author who is now dying and finds herself caught up in the tale of a strange, disturbing family and its secrets. Fascinating and compelling, I highly recommed this one.

11. Banner of Souls by Liz Williams (6/10)
SF. Far future tale of a young woman who finds herself guarding a girl who may or may not have the power to stop a deadly future. The world building in this one is great, the plot is solid, but I found it lacking something. Others may not.

12. Hot Spell by Emma Holly et al. (8/10)
Romance Anthology. I read three of the four stories in this and really liked them all. I'd never read Emma Holly before, but enjoyed this one. However, it suffered, as many short stories do, from needing to have characters fall deeply in love in a couple of days. The Lora Leigh story was in the same series as the book I read earlier in the month as was a solid little Ortale. I mostly wanted to read the Meljean Brook short story as I read her blog and this tale is her debut and set up for her first full novel out in January. I really enjoyed it and have found a new author to read. The fourth story I skimmed a few pages and wasn't interested. Note that all the stories in here fall into the "hot" category.

13. Orign in Death by J. D. Robb (9/10)
SF/Mystery. Another satisfying visit with Eve and Roarke. This time a plastic surgeon is killed and suspicions are raised about what he might be doing in his spare time, especially once his connection with a geneticist is discovered.

14. A Hard Day's Night-Searcher by Sherrilyn Kenyon (4/10)
Paranormal Romance. Another Dark-Hunter short story, in the My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding anothology. I felt this one was pretty much a waste of time, written for the anthology rather than from any need to tell the story. I'm really glad I got the anthology from the library and didn't spend my money on it.

15. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams (10/10)
Fantasy. This was a reread and I loved it as much as the first time, if not a bit more. I know some people find Williams a bit too wordy, but in this case it works for me. I've put Stone of Farewell on the TBR as now I need to reread the entrie trilogy.

16. The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (8/10)
Fantasy/Romance. Bujold has said this book was an opportunity to play and see if she could write a story where the romance gets less overshadowed by the plot and characters, as usually happens with her. I think she's done a good job, although the book doesn't feel as if it has quite as much depth as some ofher others. All the same, the world building set up is solid, the characters are nice people and I look forward to the rest of the story. The book was cut in half for length reasons and it does stop rather abruptly with a lot of the romance sorted out but most of the plot still awaiting its turn, so it's worth being aware of that when you start reading. The second half, The Sharing Knife: Legacy, comes out next year.

So all in all, a very good reading month. A bit light on content at the beginning, but some great reads. My favourite for the month was probably The Dragonbone Chair, with Magic Study and The Thirteenth Tale tying for second.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Charcter Creations December Releases

Spark Bearer - Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Star Walker - Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Strands of Starlight - Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

We also now have gift certificates - and they're 20% off between now and Christmas.

As always, details on the news page.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blood, Sweat and Tears for little reward

Tate Hallaway/Lyda Morehouse has just made a post on her blog about the near impossibility of making a full time living as a writer.

Reading it, I was inspired to comment, and rereading my comment before hitting submit I decided I wanted to post it here as well, just as a general reflection of life.

Go and read her post, but I think my response just about stands on its own as well.

I fully understand that this is true and I've always been happy to cry "that sucks" on behalf of all and any authors.

I just realised as I read your post that I mean that on a really true, deep and fundamental level as well as on the immediate response one.

After my family and friends, books and the people and stories I find within them are one of my greatest joys. It is totally unfair that the people that sweat blood to give me that joy are so poorly rewarded when others get outrageous amounts of money for seemingly ridiculous things - and certainly ones that don't give such great joy to others.

Yeah, that sucks.

Oh dear

Martina, of Chatelaine Designs, has just announced that the 2008 mystery will have a Celtic theme. I know that's just over a whole year away, but I'm in so much trouble. I love things Celtic.

Maybe I'll actually be well enough to do some stitching by then.


If I'm lucky.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Saw this format on another blog and I'm going to try it to get me back into commenting on books.

Title: The Thirteenth Tale

Author: Diane Setterfield

Author's Website:

Year published: September 2006

Is this book part of a series? If so, which one? What book is this in the series? It's a stand alone novel

My grade: 10/10

Why did you get this book? I don't remember exactly, but I think I saw good things about it on the net. I'm always a bit cautious of well hyped books, but this one sounded rather good.

Do you like the cover? Yes, I do. It works really well for me - but then, it is books, isn't it?

Blurb: Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea - a woman with secrets of her own - is a summons. Vida's tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn't trust Vida's account. As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth - hers, as well as Vida's.

Did you enjoy the book? Yes, I did. A lot. This is one of those books that reaches out, grabs you by the throat and won't let go. I started it last night and read a good hour or more later than I intended. I then finished it this morning, mainly through turning on the TV and letting my son watch kids' shows so that I could keep reading. It was one where you aren't quite present in the real world while you're reading it and need to keep going until it is finished to figure out what's going on and get back possession of your own brain.

Anything else? In the hands of a less skilled author, this could have been no more than an overly melodramatic story. Setterfield makes is so very, very much more. Even if you're not sure this would be your kind of book, give it a try. Either it will grab you or it won't. It certainly grabbed me. My only other comment would be that I think the book's website is one of those flashy ones with little or no useful content. Save your time for reading the book instead.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Character Creations November Releases

Dark Angel - Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Daisy Bay, Revisited - Wendy Leach
As always, details on the news page.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christmas 2005

Christmas 2005
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Christmas 2005

Journalling ~
Joy to the World
Christmas Day 2005

Credits ~
Sketch is SketchPLATE01 by Anita Stergiou; everything else is from Celebrate by Tracy Robinson; font is Beautiful ES; gold action from Atomic Cupcake.

Christmas Party 05

Christmas Party 05
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Daycare Christmas Party 2005

Journalling ~
9th December 2005
You loved your very first Christmas Party. Nana Jill, Grandad Ross and Mummy all came to share it with you. You ran and jumped (and did a bit of enthusiastic yelling as well). You sang songs with the other Fantail Room children - and then Father Christmas came to give out presents. You went up happily all on your own when your name was called and got given your present. (I think you would have liked to try again when it was the turn of
other kids as well.) Nana helped you unwrap your gift and inside was a brand new Maisy book just for you.

Based on sketch by Lie Fhung, but altered to suit the layout; everything is from Christmas Time by Karen Hunt; fonts are Pea Lacy and Pea Stacey’s Doodles.

Moa Rider

Moa Rider
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Moa Rider

Journalling ~
Potter Children’s Garden
Auckland Botanical Gardens
Saturday 7th October, 2006

Credits ~
Background and black paper and paua for title from Pacific Paradise by Lauren Bavin; frame and raffia from Pacific Dreams by Lauren Bavin; fonts are Another and Dyer


Originally uploaded by rocalisa.


You had a Brum cake for your second birthday and you loved it. You loved it so much you even cried when the checkout girl at the supermarket put it away in the trolley where you couldn't see it. I put two candles on it and together we blew them out. You helped me cut the cake, even if I wouldn't let you play with the knife like you thought I should. We gave pieces of cake to everyone at your party. I think you liked the lollies around the edge and the picture more than the actual cake, but that's okay. That's how it works when you're two.

Template is from Simple Scraps Vol 7 by Dawn Wilson; all papers are from Meredith Fenwick's new collection Everyday Inspiration; alpha is Funky Basic Black by Gina Miller; font is Century Gothic.

Five Days is Forever

Five Days is Forever
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Five Days is Forever

This is my third layout using a photo from this moment so clearly it had a huge impact on me.

Journalling ~
Five days is forever when waiting to hold your child.
Mummy's first cuddle ~ 3rd February 2004

Credits ~
Background paper and heart doodle from Baby Love by Crazy Universe Kelly; Flower stamp and washer from Quiet Comfort in This Love by Dani Mogstad; Footprints from A Baby Boy Story by Jen Reed; Word art from Word Bits by Trish Jones; font is Adorable

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Ice Cream

Journalling ~
I treasure this
8 October 2006

Background paper and stars on wire from His Nursery in Expecting Sweet Stuff by Christy Lyle and Robin Carleton; Journalling papers from Journalling Pieces by Jen Wilson; ticket from Ticket Tags by Kellie Mize; Date from 110 Years by Anita Stergiou; Tags from Stitched N Squared Tags by Jen Wilson; Clay sun from Sunshine Mix Clay Shapes by Amy Knepper; Heart doodle from Spring Doodle Collection by the DDE Creative Team; Alpha from White Chipboard Alpha by Megan Leeson; Word Art from Art for Asher by the DDE Creative Team.

First Plane Ride

First Plane Ride
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

First Plane Ride

Journalling ~
12th August, 2004
Packing for your first plane ride was rather like trying to provision an army. We had your carseat, our suitcase, Mummy's TARDIS-like nappy bag that had just about everything imaginable in it, and you riding in the Baby Bjorn. I was rather nervous, as it was the first time I had taken you away by myself, but it all went well and we had a lovely time visiting all your grandparents.

Background Paper, plane and arrow cutouts from A is for Airplane Sampler by Jan Hosford; staples by Kim Hill; paint from Brush Strokes by Kim Hill; chipboard action from Atomic Cupcake; font is Accent.

I've made the change

I have, reluctantly, made the change to Beta Blogger. I did it now as otherwise I couldn't get Flickr to post pictures for me. (Of course, it still may not as I haven't tried again yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.)

So here's hoping everything doesn't go totally whacky on me - and you.

Be afraid

Just a warning that I've finally uploaded a whole bunch of recent scrapbooking layouts and they'll start appearing very soon.

You have been warned. :-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quick note to Erin

Yes, I read fifteen books in October, but I didn't do much else. I certainly didn't stitch much.

I spent most of the month working on decreasing my antidepressant dose so that I could shift to a different drug (started the new one yesterday and so far I've got the queasiness side effect) so reading books was a good way to hide from reality but still pretend I was paying attention.

I suddenly got the urge to go back to stitching Alpine Seasons yesterday and so far I've finished the inner border for part 8 and started on the mountains outside it. If this continues I suspect my reading for November will be severely curtailed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nut Brown Hares

Nut Brown Hares
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Nut Brown Hares
Art by Anita Jeram
Stitched on 32-ct Glacier Lugana from Countrystitch

I first saw this while I was in delivery at the hospital, in labour with Marcus. One of the midwives (I went through a number as I was there for about 40 hours) was stitching it. I loved it and asked her where she got the pattern. A couple of weeks later it arrived in the post for me.

I initially thought I would stitch it for Marcus, but there was too much going on to take anything else on stitching wise. When I heard my SIL was pregnant, I decided to stitch it for her and my brother's baby.

I finished it about a week after Emma was born, which wasn't too bad considering my health was all over the place at the time.

I still love it and I hope Emma will too when she grows up.

Celtic Horse

Celtic Horse
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Celtic Horse by Textile Heritage
Stitched on 32-ct Marine Belfast from Silkweaver
A gift from my sister
Completed 6th November, 2006


After nothing all year, I now have two finishes for 2006.

Baby Emma's gift has arrived safely and I just finished off the Celtic Horse. I need to take some pictures of the horse and then process and upload the images for both.

Once that's done, there will be some pictures on my blog for a change.


My October Reads

As always, ratings reflect my enjoyment rather than a carefully thought out analysis of the integral quality of the book.

1. Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey (2/10)
Fantasy. One of her Elemental Masters series and a retelling of
Cinderella. Read it for the Fairy Tales theme and didn't finish it
as I just didn't care about the characters.

2. Webmage by Kelly McCullough (7/10)
SF/Fantasy. Clever idea that the Fates use a computer network to do
their jobs. Protaganist is a descendant and hacker who is trying to
stop the destruction of free will. The execution was solid but not

3. Moon Flash by Patricia A. McKillip (8/10)
YA SF. I've been meaning to reread this since it was rereleased and
finally got around to it. I last read it at 16 and I really liked it
all over again now, although there was one major world building issue
I never saw before that kept bugging me as an adult reader.

4. The Moon and the Face by Patricia A. McKillip (7/10)
YA SF. Sequel to Moon Flash and published as a single edition.
Again I enjoyed the reread, but the world building issue remained and
I think the first book had a stronger story. McKillip's strength
lies in fantasy more than SF I think, although these are still well
worth a read.

5. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (10/10)
Romance. I tend to read reveiws and commentary *about* romance than
romance itself, and this book is always well received. When a friend
asked me to get it from the library for her because hers didn't have
it, I decided to read it first. I was surprised by just how much I
loved it and found it a really good love story. (That said, the
friend said she ended up skimming it.)

6. Apocalypse Array by Lyda Morehouse (8/10)
SF. Conclusion to Morehouse's AngeLINK series, all of which I've
loved. I thought this was actually the weakest of the lot as the
resolution felt very anticlimatic. That said, I think I can see why
she did it that way, but I'm not convinced she pulled it off. Still
a good book.

7. Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (8/10)
Fantasy. Solid conclusion to a solid series.

8. Remember When by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Romantic Suspense/Futuristic Suspense. This was the start of some
holiday reading, so I decided to take some of the J. D. Robb books
and a romance series for nice, uncomplicated reading. This one had a
modern first half and a second half with Eve and Roarke. It was a
clever idea and an okay story, but it meant neither story got the
full detail it deserved.

9. Rising Tides by Nora Roberts (8/10)
Romance. I found I really liked this series. This was probably my
least favourite and I'm not sure why as it was still a lovely story.

10. Divided in Death by J. D. Rovb (8/10)
Futuristic Crime/Romance. This was a very solid entry in Robb's
series, with Eve and Roarke facing the most difficult difference of
values yet.

11. Inner Harbour by Nora Roberts (9/10)
Romance. Again, lovely entry in a lovely series.

12. Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs (7/10)
Crime. Good story with solid characters and appropriate rough edges.
A few disturbing moments here and there.

13. Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts (10/10)
Romance. This was my favourite of the whole series. I just wish I
had a more visual imagination so I could picture Seth's paintings.

14. Visions in Death by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Futuristic Crime/Romance. More Eve and Roarke. Yay!

15. Survivor in Death by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Futuristic Crime/Romance. Ditto.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Updating my gallery

I'm in the process of updating my stitching gallery.

Originally I had one that required me to fully html code it. I have accepted that I can't keep up with that sort of thing these days, so started using Flickr, but I still liked the gallery set up and the fact it has most of my finished projects in it.

So I've compromised. Clicking on one of the WIP thumbnails will now take you to a Flickr photo set that has all my progress pictures for that project in it. I've also updated the WIP thumbnails in the sidebar here to like to those photo sets.

But I'm going to keep the gallery for finished projects. That means I'll only need to update the html when I have a finish, but the gallery can be used at any time to find current WIP pics as well.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Finish and Stash

I did it! I've finished my gift! No pictures until it has been received I'm afraid, but I promise to post once as soon as I can. I'm going to wash and press it tomorrow and then I'll take some photos.

I had a "loyal customer" voucher to spend at my old LNS here in Palmerston North (I'm down visiting my parents at the moment) so I went in today to see what I could find. They don't carry a lot of stock - certainly not of the kind I really like - so I didn't know what might be there, but since this was indulgence shopping I could pick something "pretty" that I wouldn't usually buy.

I came home with Victoria Sampler's Summer Garden Sampler which I think is lovely. The colours are beautifully bright without being in your face and I really like the whole "feel" of it. (It also reminds me to the tone of some books I'm currently reading - Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay Saga - which is the kind of thing that influences me to spend money.)

The only catch to this is that if I want it to look this pretty, I'll need to buy the Accessory Pack in from the States to get all the silks and special threads and that'll be more expensive than the chart.

Since I had some of my "free" money left over, I also ordered Mirabilia's Stargazer. I hadn't been sure if I liked it when it first came out, but now that I've seen some people's finished projects I find I want it for myself.

So all in all, a good crafty day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A lovely afternoon

I spent a wonderful afternoon today, visiting Nicki. We caught up with each other and I got to check out all her lovely recent exchanges - I've even seen one that hasn't been posted yet - and we chatted about stash and stitching and cats and all those sorts of things.

Then we settled in to stitch. I worked on my baby gift - and made a nice amount of progress too - while Nicki started on a baby blanket. Nicki's husband settled down at the table behind us painting model soldiers (they are so tiny, I don't know how he has the patience, but I was very impressed). We put an episode of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes on the TV and did crafty things for a very companionable few hours before I needed to leave to pick Marcus up from daycare.

It was fantastic, and we have good intentions to do it again. I hope we do, as it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Encouragement please

My niece was born today. Her name is Emma and I can't wait to see a photo of her.

The only down side to this is that I'm nowhere near finishing her birth gift. I started it in what I thought was plenty of time, but my health has been so yuckky lately that I've done much less than I hoped.

I know I can't push myself too hard or I'll just make myself sicker, but I'd appreciate all and any encouragement anyone can provide to help me balance my health and working on it so she isn't too old before I send it to her.



Originally uploaded by rocalisa.


Journalling ~
My sleeping boy
Heading for Palmerston North ~ 5.53am Saturday 20th May, 2006

Photo frame is from Deckled Frames 2 by Katie Pertiet; background paper is from Lucky Star by Gina Cabrera; shell and M alpha from Blue Water by Lynn Grieveson; BOY wordart from All Natural by Melany Violette; flower from Sorbet Blossoms by Melany Violette; stamp from Timeless by Melany Violette; pin from Chelsea’s Dream by Michelle Coleman; seal from Olde Worlde Charm by Michelle Coleman; starfish from Joshua’s Day in the Sun by Michelle Coleman and Diane Rigdon; font is FG Lova

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Google Doodle Petition

On November 14th March of Dimes celebrates Prematurity Awareness Day.

If we can persuade Google to create a doodle for us on November 14th, we can potentially be seen by millions of internet users.

Please help us spread the word, and sign the petition for the top spot on Google!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No QS Wednesday for me this week

I haven't felt well enough to stitch at all for the last week, so while I'm hoping to do a bit today, I really need to work on the present that has a deadline - of this weekend!

I know I'm not going to have it done by then, but I'd like it to be as little late as I can manage, so while I feel up to it, it's more important for me to stitch on that.

I'll get back to Aries as soon as I can.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My September Reads

I had another good reading month this month, although once again I suspect it was beacause I'm not feeling well enough to do anything much more energetic than reading. Still, it's great to be reading.

1. Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear (10/10)
Fantasy based on Celtic myth. Brilliant. Go and read it.

2. Imitation in Death by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Romantic Suspense. Spending more time with Eve and Roarke.

3. Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip (8/10)
Fantasy. Reread before reading Solstice Wood. I'm sure I picked up more this time that I did the first time around.

4. Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip (9/10)
Fantasy. In the modern world which is unusual for McKillip but worked very well.

5. Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward (10/10)
Paranormal Romance. So it's smart-mouthed vampires but I loved it. You need to read the series in order though, I think.

6. Dark Dreamers by Christine Feehan and Marjorie M. Liu
Paranormal Romance. I bought it for the Liu story, which I gave 9/10. It was kind of dark in places, but very well done.

7. Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh (9/10)
Paranormal Romance. Quite different from a lot of other paranormal romance and she's a New Zealander.

8. Black Powder War by Namoi Novik (9/10)
Fantasy. I love this series, I love Temeraire and Laurence and I hope Peter Jackson does turn it into a movie.

9. The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud (8/10)
Fantasy. A solid read, but Nathaniel is still a little sh*t and it suffers from book 2 in a trilogy syndrome.

10. Body Work by Fiona Brand (5/10)
Romantic Suspense. Not quite a waste of my time, but close. I'm glad I didn't pay good money for it.

11. Earth by David Brin (10/10)
SF. This was a brilliant book 15 years ago and it still is today. It's hardly dated and is being discussed on [Beyond_Reality] this month. David Brin will comment.

12. The Last Mortal Man by Syne Mitchell (8/10)
SF. A bit slow to start because she needed to build up herfuture before she could start tearing it down, but a good story and a good start to a trilogy.

13. Sea Swept by Nora Roberts (9/10)
Romance. I was surprised how much I liked this. It's about home and family and loyalty as much as, if not more than, how boy meets girl. I'll be reading the rest of the series.

14. Alpha by Catherine Asaro (9/10)
SF with a good touch of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this, but I'm biased to like Asaro and this didn't disappoint, although it took a while to get moving.

15. Heart Quest by Robin D. Owens (8/10)
Paranormal Romance. Another thorougly enjoyable addition to Owens' Celta series and I look forward to the next one.

Note, I tend to be generous with ratings. I don't seem to be able to help myself.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Character Creations October Update

Seven Ravens - Abranda Sisson

Owl Woman - Nicole Cadet

Brigit - Pamela Matthews (both standard and deluxe editions available)

The Hermit Macro Edition - Lisa Hunt

As always, details are on the news page.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Good grief

Last night I started reading Mercedes Lackey's Phoenix and Ashes for this month's Fantasy Favorites group read. We usually vote on a book for everyone to read, but this time chose to do a theme. "Fairy Tale Retellings" won and I chose to read Phoenix and Ashes.

I have to admit to a fundamental liking for the Cinderella story and there aren't many retellings of it - Beauty and the Beast seems to be the favourite and appears often, but not Cinderella.

I read and enjoyed the first in Lackey's Elemental Masters series, The Serpent's Shadow, which is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, although I've tried a couple of times, I never got into the second one, The Gates of Sleep (Sleeping Beauty). So I'd decided to leave Phoenix and Ashes alone rather than have two unread books in the same series sitting on my shelf. This month's theme gave me a good excuse to buy the book after all.

So far (probably about 1/3 through) I'm enjoying the story but good grief, the editing is apalling.

There are words left out, misspellings, extra words and other fundamental errors, so that I have several times been tossed out of the story because I need to reread a sentence several times until I figure out what it is supposed to say, as opposed to what's on the page.

Probably the best one so far was "the sun shown through the window". I puzzled on that for a bit until I worked out that the sun actually shone through the window, which makes much more sense.

I don't know if the problem here is Lackey, the editor, or a combination of both. I am more inclined to blame the editor as, while I'm no long the Lackey fangirl I used to be, she can still tell a good story when she leaves her soap box at home, and I assume she has way too much experience for these kind of basic mistakes to be anything other than minor slip ups from the typing and creation process. Surely it's the editor who should be noticing missing letters and missing words as that's what he/she is being paid for.

I'm finding it highly annoying. This is basic suff that shouldn't be in a novel published by a big publishing house (Daw). Come one guys, maintain some standards please.

Aries #002

Aries #002
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

My stitching after my second Wednesday working on Aries.

I stitched 408 stitches this week, which gives me a total of 689 stitches, which is 2.2%.

There's going to be a lot of scattered stitches, but I'm still enjoying myself.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Boy Has Persistence

The Boy Has Persistence
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

The Boy Has Persistence

Journalling ~
Sunday, 21st May, 2006

Marcus and the Gumball Machine outside KMart, The Plaza, Palmerston North

I thought you might like to watch one of the gumballs going around in the machine while we waited for Daddy to finish some shopping. Boy was I right. You loved it. You loved it so much you did everything you could to get it to happen again. You tried to get the gumball back up inside the machine from the bottom and the top and the side, but nothing worked. Luckily, when Daddy arrived he had another coin and he made another gumball spein around inside for you to watch. You didn't care about the candy, just watching it go.

Credits ~
Sketch from Baby Love by Traci Reed; papers, including brackets, from Artlines 4—Kallista by Tracy Robinson; ribbon from The Photo Shoot in Expecting Sweet Stuff by Christy Lyle and Robin Carlton; metal flower from Bloom of the Week Club by Amanda Lacey; alpha is Hand Stamped Brushes by Michelle Coleman; fonts are Pea XOXO from Karen and OCRB

Caution - Underage Driver on the Loose

Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Underage Driver on the Loose

Sheepworld ~ 29th July, 2006

Scraplift of "Naked Raspberry Picker" by Emily (SheScraps) in the DST gallery

Frame doodle by Susan McCormack from "Art for Asher" by the DDE Creative Team; alpha is Paint Stamped Alpha from "This Love" by Dani Mogstad; everything else from "Puppy Love" on the "This Love" CD by Dani Mogstad; font is Bernard MT Condensed

A Day at the Zoo

A Day at the Zoo
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

A Day at the Zoo

How could this beautiful lady not get a scrap page?

Auckland Zoo - 25th January, 2006

Made with a sketch template from Lime; everything is from A Day at the Zoo by Michelle Coleman.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Aries #001

Aries #001
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

My stitching after my first Wednesday working on Aries.

This is a grand total of 281 stitches, which works out at 0.9% of the whole. If I can keep up doing this much every week, by my calculations I'll be finished in two years!

Except for the bit I had to frog because I had placed it out by a stitch, it went pretty well. The chart is very hard to follow though, so I'm highlighting it as I go and I'm grateful this is a small design (150 x 209 stitches).

Aries Original Art

Aries Original Art
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Original art of Aries ACEO by Sara Butcher ( as charted by Heaven and Earth Designs (

I've decided to stitch this as part of the HAED BB's Quick Stitch Wednesday SAL. That means I just stitch as much (or little) as I feel up to on a Wednesday and let it take as long as it takes.

I don't feel up to my big projects at the moment, but did want an art wone going. Nicki ( suggested I make starting this an anniversary present for myself (this month it is 16 years since I developed CFS) and I thought that was as good an excuse as any.

The rest of the time I'll work on my smaller projects (mystery gift, The Ice Dragon's Kingdom and Celtic Horse) and see if I can get in a finish or two by the end of the year.

Fifth Embroiderer's Guild Sampler

Fifth Embroiderer's Guild Sampler
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Wow, at last some stitching.

As usual, I did the last row, in this case satin stitch hearts. The threads were actually really slick and it was hard to keep the stitches taut, so it was a bit harder than I intended it to be.

I have two left to do and I'm just waiting for a bout of energy to get to them.

(I hope this is rotated right, Flickr seems to be being silly about it.)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip

Solstice Wood
Patricia A. McKillip

What a beautiful, lovely book. Solstice Wood is a wonderful blend of the mundane and the mystical, all tied up through misunderstanding.

Two worlds collided badly in McKillip's Winter Rose and in this book, generations later the reverberrations of that are still present. After Rois Melior won Corbett Lynn back from the queen of the winter wood, spells and guardians were put in place to keep the wood folk away and contained.

If you follow tradition and the path set down by your forebears, is there ever room to re-evaluate the situation and see if perhaps, it is time for tradition to change.

This, really, is the crux of Solstice Wood. It is beautifully told through differing first person point of view characters. This manner of writing seems odd to me at first, until I realised that all of them had a different view on the same truth and only together could the full story be told and understood.

McKillip's lyrical writing still shines, but in this modern world tale, it is tempered with the everyday, and I think this probably makes Solstice Wood more accessible to the causal reader. I love the way she writes - I always imagined I would like to "write like Patricia McKillip, but less obscure" and that's how this book feels. It's still weaves magic with words, but I feel much more like I understood the story than I sometimes do at the end of one of her books.

This book makes a much deeper, emotional sense if you've read Winter Rose, but it still works alone. All the same, I'd say read both. Why miss out on another good story.

Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip

Winter Rose
Patricia A. McKillip

This was a reread for me. I have McKillip's latest, Solstice Wood and since I knew that was about descendants of the characters in Winter Rose it seemed a good idea to reread that one first.

This is classic McKillip. The writing is dense, lyrical and beautiful. The tale is told in a tangle of metaphor and illusion that drags the reader in. Winter Rose is build from the basis of a retelling of Tam Lin, but McKillip takes the tale new places and tells her own, new story all the same.

The story threads are never crisp in a McKillip tale; they are wrapped up in and occasionally obscured by her lyrical writing but the story always comes through as they do in this case.

It's years since I last read Winter Rose, and I came away with a feeling that I had a clearer understanding now than I had before. It was worth the reread and makes me want to find space to put more McKillip in the TBR shelf to see what else I can discover in her other books.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Imitation in Death by J. D. Robb

Imitation in Death
J. D. Robb

A quick read for me, and very enjoyable.

More lovely progress on Eve and Roarke's relationship and a good murder mystery this time. I did some to-ing and fro-ing on who the murderer was before it was revealed at the end.

Just one small word of warning - don't look at the cover too carefully (the US version) as it gives something away. (Which is why I haven't included it this time.)

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear

Blood and Iron
Elizabeth Bear

Wow. I loved this book.

Bear has created a complicated and compelling world and tale in Blood and Iron. It builds on many well-known tales, particularly using Tam Lin, the Celtic faeries and the Arthurian legends, but with her own, personal and I think brilliant spin.

The writing is beautiful; evocative, complex, metaphorical and lyrical. She paints pictures with words that touch the emotions and drag the reader in.

There are layers upon layers here and I'm sure I didn't get all of them on this first reading. That's all right though, as I'm sure I'll be reading it again.

This is not a simple tale and there are places I'm sure I missed all the nuances. It's epic and passionate and tragic all at once and the reader is drawn in to care about the characters even when they are struggling to feel and care themselves.

There is no clear cut right and wrong, not obvious heroes and villians - one of Bear's themes seems to be that we are what we are and must take responsibility for what we do, whatever our motivations and reasons. I don't know if the "good guys" won, heck I'm not even sure if anyone "won" but the end of the book, but that too is part of the complexity and depth of the tale.

There is no simple story and happy ending, indeed it has a feeling of high tragedy about it at times and that is what makes this such a great book. No easy roads are taken, not by the author or her characters and as a result, not by the reader either. It's a journey well worth the taking.

I finished this just before going to sleep last night and, as I rather expected, the fae invaded my dreams. This book and its characters dig their hooks deep and don't easily let go.

Go. Buy. Read. Recommend.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oh dear

When Martina Weber from Chatelaine announced that she was going to be doing a Pompeiian Garden Mandela, I started drooling on the spot. When she released the first picture, it was with a certain relief that I decided it wasn't for me after all. I'd been imagining gardens and statuary and columns and we seemed to have houses.

Unfortunately, I've now seen the final picture - the class started today - and I'm drooling again.

Isn't it beautiful?

Of course, with my current stitching progress, I know I can't just go off and start it. I have no time and two Chatelaine projects before it. The stash budget is also totally empty and likely to be for a goodly while, so I can't afford to pay US$250 for the materials and probably couldn't justify it even if I could. All the same, I find I'm in love after all.

I guess I'll watch the progress pictures on the board as they starting coming up and see if it turns out as beautiful if it looks now. If so, I may try at least to buy the pattern and hope I win the lottery and get fully healthy at some point so I can consider actually stitching it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Character Creations September Update

Can you believe it? I'm actually a day ahead this month.

There are four new releases this month, two from Lisa Hunt (one of which I know is a request) and two from Abranda Sisson - one is a petite and the other has been stitched by Lyn is just beautiful.

Anne - Abranda Sisson
Tilley - Abranda Sisson
Tara - Lisa Hunt
Venus - Lisa Hunt

As always, details are on the news page.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Two Today

Two Today
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

The family on Marcus' second birthday in January. I deliberately used the same papers and things as the layout of Marcus called "Two" since they were taken at the same time.

Credits ~
Sketch by Liz Newberry; black paper from Mystic by Melanie Willman; red and medium blue papers from Sweet Liberty by Gina Cabrera; dark blue paper from Navy Fall by Amy Tanabe; light blue paper from Paradise Sampler by Amy Teets; ribbon from Summer Sunsations by Krista Mettler, Jeanine Baechtold and Jen Reed; alpha is A Child's World by Katie Pertiet; font is Grace


Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Marcus helping Dave put a hole in the door frame for the deadbolt. (The drill is unplugged, I promise.)

Helping Daddy fix the front door
26th August, 2006

Everything is from the Scrapmommies Collaborative Kit "I Heart Dad"; silver action from Atomic Cupcake; font is Jarman

Mad Hatters

Mad Hatters
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Friday, 25th August, 2006
[Daycare] had a Mad Hatters Fish and Chips Night. You didn't eat any of the food Daddy and I brought with us, but you happily munched up [daycare] sandwiches. You got tickled by Aileen, swapped hats with Daddy and had a very happy time. I had a good time too and got to meet some of the parents of the other kids in the Kingfish Room.

Paper from Fundamental Fun by Trish Jones, alpha is Surprise Inside by Carrie Stephens; paint strokes from Painted Brush Strokes by Miss Mint; font is Big Fish Ensemble


Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

I decided against any journalling on this one. It's a case of a picture telling a thousand words I think.

Paper from My Sunshine by Melanie Violette; "bliss" from Fundamental Fun by Trish Jones; stitched words by Amy Martin; calender from 110 Years by Anita Stergiou

Who's Guarding Who

Who's Guarding Who
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

I don't know who is guarding whom here, but if you are the little prince, then I suppose that makes Daddy the dragon. Is he a scary dragon do you think?

Everything is from Prince Edward by Katie Pertiet; font is Cheryl

Beta Blogger?

Has anyone converted over to this? What do you think of it? Is it worth it?

Monday, August 28, 2006

I stitched today!

Just a little bit and it was mostly fudging around an earlier mistake, but it's still stitching.


Sharing the Love

Stacey Tippin is a fantasy artist, whose lovely art is charted by Heaven and Earth Designs. I've just learned that she has also been designing some beautiful sampler type designs for Dinkey Dyes.

My favourites are Wave Dancer and Summer's Gate Sampler but they're all beautiful and you an see them here.

Hmmm, is it too early to drop hints about Christmas presents?

Wave Dancer

Summer's Gate Sampler