Tuesday, September 25, 2007

LO: The Big Bus Adventure (full layout)

LO: The Big Bus Adventure (right side)

26th August, 2007
We had such a grand adventure today. We drove to Constellation Station in the silver car, and waited for a blue Express bus to come. You put on your sunglasses and walked up and down the platform like Napoleon (one had inside your jacket) until the bus arrived. We all climbed aboard and Daddy paid our fares. You loved the trip into the city, and looked all around as we went on the motorway and across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. We saw lots of things including cars, diggers and trucks at the bus lane construction site and the Sky Tower when we drove over the bridge. When we got to Britomart in the city, we all got off the bus and went down under the ground to look at the trains. You thought they were great and we even got to watch one going off on its journey. Instead of being scared, like when you were little, you loved watching the train pulling away and disappearing down the tunnel with a roar. We had lunch in the foodcourt at Downtown Mall and then went to the waterfront to look at the ferries. Mummy was delighted when we found a shop selling real gelato, and you shared a cup of chocolate and lemon flavours with her. You didn’t like the lemon at all, but you loved the chocolate like any boy should. Back at Britomart, you got to chase the pigeons while we waited for the bus to take us home again. You loved the trip back just as much as the one to the city, and you even got to press the bell to stop the bus.

Background from "Serenity" by Tracy Ann Robinson; stars from "Frippery Stars" by Tracy Ann Robinson; overlay paper from "Perfectly Sheer 2" by Tracy Ann Robinson; journalling paper from "Remember" in the "Memories are Made of This" collection; postage stamp frames from "Covered Stamp Sheets" by Meredith Fenwick; beads from "Iron Beads" by Sophia Sarducci; butterfly from "Sparkly Butterflies" by Amanda Rockwell; bright flower from "Colored Gerberas" by Amanda Rockwell; large flower from "Big Blooms 2" by Janel Kretschman; vertical photo frame from "Multi Photo Vertical" by Nancy Comelab; blue flower and button from "Buttons N Blooms" by Dani Mogstad; font is Jayne Print.

LO: The Big Bus Adventure (left side)

Background from "Serenity" by Tracy Ann Robinson; stars from "Frippery Stars" by Tracy Ann Robinson; paint stroke from "Hunter" in the "Project 26" collection by Tracy Ann Robinson; overlay paper from "Perfectly Sheer 2" by Tracy Ann Robinson; postage stamp frames from "Covered Stamp Sheets" by Meredith Fenwick; beads from "Iron Beads" by Sophia Sarducci; alpha is "Hand Stitched Alpha" (recoloured) by Dani Mogstad; butterfly from "Sparkly Butterflies" by Amanda Rockwell; bright flower from "Colored Gerberas" by Amanda Rockwell; large flower from "Big Blooms 2" by Janel Kretschman.

LO: Vampire Teeth

To do list:
Get up and get dressed
Make a mess
Drive my mother crazy
Drink blood

Background paper from "Opera House" in the "Project 26" collection by Tracy Ann Robinson; leaf from "Crumples Spice" by Tracy Ann Robinson; music from "Frippery Music" by Tracy Ann Robinson; frame from "Glitter Frames" by Tracy Ann Robinson; journalling strips from "Signature Collection #1" by Christina Renee; alpha from "Hand Stamped Alpha" by Michelle Coleman; fonts are Jayne Print and Miss.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I finished reading... An Offer from a Gentleman

An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

The Bridgerton family is wealthy, well born, and universally admired. And with six of the eight Bridgerton children already mingling with society, it's no wonder they're mentioned so frequently in the most popular (and accurate) source of social news, Lady Whistledown's Society Papers. But not even the mysterious Lady Whistledown can identify the masked maiden who completely captivated the Bridgerton second son, Benedict, at his mother's masquerade ball -- a silver-clad beauty who vanished on the stroke of midnight. It was a magical night for Sophie Beckett, orphaned, illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Penwood. Attending the ball was a beautiful dream, sharing the evening with Benedict Bridgerton was the stuff of fantasy -- and returning home to her role as unpaid servant to her father's cruel widow and stepdaughters was a nightmare. Then she lost even the small security of that position, and things went from bad to worse. By the time Sophie met Benedict again, she was in truly desperate straits. He made her feel precious, even in rags, but Sophie had grave reservations about accepting.
I really enjoyed this addition to the Bridgerton family saga. At last, I had characters who didn't have to marry because the woman had been compromised, and in fact, it looked like they wouldn't be able to marry at all for most of the book.

Despite it probably being inappropriate for a modern woman to say so, the whole Cinderella-story works for me. And this is very clearly a telling of the Cinderella story, complete with an evil stepmother, stepsisters and a suitably handsome prince in Benedict. At the same time, Quinn doesn't let the fairy-tale direction of her story overcome the setting she has chosen to use.

The title comes from Benedict's not-exactly-honourable offer to Sophie that she become his mistress. Not perhaps what one immediately wants in a romantic hero, but given their positions and the society they live in, exactly what a gentleman in his position would do. Sophie's reasons for refusing are sensible and certain and the story unfolds as they try to find their own balance and resolution.

Of course, there is a happy ending. Perhaps the way it comes about is a little too pat, but not by much. I can easily imagine Violet Bridgerton "convincing" Sophie's stepmother to do pretty much anything she wished, and the hero and heroine are engaging to the reader, so that I wanted them to get their happy ever after in true fairy tale fashion.

A fun read.

An Offer From a Gentleman
Bridgertons, Book 3
Julia Quinn

I finished reading... The Viscount Who Love Me

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, This Author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London's most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in all truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better...

-Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1814

But this time the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry-he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield-the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate's the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes to not make the best husbands-and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate's determined to protect her sister-but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...
This is my third Julia Quinn book. She has a lovely light, fun writing style and I've found I enjoy her books when that's just what I'm looking for. It happens more often than I like at present, so it's a good thing Quinn has a nice, long backlist.

The Viscount Who Loved Me is the second in Quinn's Bridgerton family series and is a very nice addition. The idea of the man who choses a potential (and beautiful) bride and soon finds himself falling for the plain older sister has been done before (I love Georgette Heyer's Devil's Cub for example), but Quinn pulls it off nicely all the same. Kate and Anthony make a lovely couple and their courtship is a lot of fun, although I was a bit worried to find myself at three-for-three on the compromising position means marriage plot in my Quinn reading. This time, it's all a bit over the top and silly and Anthony, long traumatised by the death of his father, over-reacts when Kate is stung by a bee. All the same, a very pleasant story.

Bridgerton croquet is hysterical, by the way.

The Viscount Who Loved Me
Bridgetons, Book 2
Julia Quinn

I finished reading... The Raven Prince

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

After reviewing her somewhat precarious financial situation, Anna Wren comes to the conclusion that she needs a job. When she discovers that Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, requires a new secretary, it seems like the perfect solution to her employment problem. Having already lost two secretaries because of his temper, Edward reluctantly agrees to give Anna a chance. Much to Anna's surprise, she finds she likes working for the often stubborn but unexpectedly kind Edward, and Edward soon realizes that Anna is not only an excellent secretary but also an extraordinarily intriguing woman.
It's just long enough now that, given my awful memory, I don't remember a lot of the details on this one, but do have an overall impression. This was a good, solid but for me, average, read. With one significant exception, the story flowed nicely, and Anna and Edward worked well together.

The love scenes were a bit more vulgar (not in a bad way, just that I can't think of a better word) than in many historical romances. I don't know if this is due to the author or the setting, as this is a Georgian-set rather than Regency-set novel. They work fine, but I did notice the difference.

My main problem with this book was the whole "Anna in the brothel" aspect of it. How does a gentle and impoverished county widow end up, appropriately dressed, in London's classiest and most exclusive brothel, in the position to choose who she spends the night with? The coincidences required for this just stretched my suspension of disbelief too far. All the same, if the unliklihood of all this is ignored, the story is a decent one and I enjoyed reading it. I'm expect I'll also read the others in the series.

The Raven Prince
Prince Trilogy, Book 1
Elizabeth Hoyt


I've been doing lots of reading this month - if not a lot else - but unfortunately so far I haven't felt up to reviewing the books. I'm going to give it a go all the same, but they may be shorter than usual.

I've had lots of books turn up at the library for me, so whatever has come in there has mostly dominated my reading this month. I started reading Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series of historical romances and they kept on turning up and turning up, so romance has been a dominant theme this month. I suspect I may end up on a fantasy or SF kick for next month since I'm starting to feel the need for a change.

I joined a new reading group (I know, silly me) that is going to do a different genre each month. We're starting with historical fiction and have chosen Connie Willis's Doomsday Book. I'm looking forward to branching out my reading a little bit and think this one looks interesting, so that will be good for October.

So lots more reading ahead and maybe even some more reviews as it is very satisfying to write them if I can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I hate French Knots

That's all really, just a grumble.

Like many other stitchers I'm sure, I hate French Knots.

I wanted to do a little bit of soothing stitching yesterday, but Dave is in the process of repairing my floor frame and I didn't want to work on a BAP anyway. So I pulled out "Alpine Garden" by The Drawn Thread. I started this while on holiday earlier in the year and it has sat around ever since, waiting for me to pick it up again.

I did last night, but despaired at my pathetic French Knots which just weren't working. And I have to admit, even when they do work, I don't like them that much.

I've decided to leave the spaces empty for now and I'm 99% sure that when I get to the end, I'll go pack and use beads instead. I have enough of a collection of beads now that I'm sure I should have something the right colour to use.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

September at Character Creations

There are no new releases this month (I haven't been feeling well enough to do the work), so instead I've put my entire catalogue on sale. Everything is 20% off for the whole month of September (the discount shows up at the shopping cart, not in the main pages).

Character Creations

Saturday, September 01, 2007

My first quilt block

At last, I've got my strip sets that were wrong resewn. I think I've figured how to make up for the fabric I lost in the mistake and I'll be okay and have enough to get the quilt done without too much further trouble.

So here's the first block finished. I'm delighted with how it has turned out. Now I only have 31 more of these blocks to do. Then of course, there's the other set of blocks and putting the whole thing together, but it is still a very good feeling right now.

Latest progress on Cinderella

Here's my next five hours on Cinderella. I have the castle done now (although there is still some backstitch to do, not to mention beading, which I will do right at the end) and need to do the right hand side trees next time around.

I'm pleased with how this is coming along, even if my crafting progress remains slow.

2 over 2
32-ct Evening Dreams Belfast from Silkweaver