Sunday, March 30, 2008

Drive By Comments on February Books, Part 2

The Last Twilight - Marjorie M. Liu
Dirk and Steele, Book Book 7; 9/10

I really like this series. It's not simple - there are all sorts of complicated characters we've met but don't have enough information about to understand who or what they are, there's a twisty world and over-all plot that is still only being hinted at seven books in and the darkness can certainly be dark - but for each individual novel there are also wonderful, strong characters and a solid story and developing relationship.

In this case, the hero is Amiri who can change shape into a large cat (I can't remember which one right now, please let me know). We met him Shadow Touch where he was a prisoner of the evil Consortium. Having been resuced he has joined Dirk and Steele and finds himself assigned to protect a doctor investigating a possible Ebola outbreak in Africa. Not keen to return to the continent of his birth and capture, he goes anyway and soon finds himself on the run and falling for Rikki. Rikki herself is another strong Liu heroine with her own past and scars (both literal and figurative) who finds great strength in herself and her growing relationship with Amiri as both must face their pasts to survive in the present.

I have to say that I found Amiri a very sexy character and I think that while it was mostly Liu's writing, the shadowy figure on the cover was a definite influencing factor as well. Lucky Rikki. I also really want to find out just what Rictor is and what he's up to and involved in. He's probably Liu's most mysterious character and she keeps tossing him into the story, surely to tease her audience.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Long Tailed Dragon

Here he is finished and I think he's delightfully cute.

Started: 26 March, 2008
Finished: 28 March, 2008

Stitched on: 28-ct Quaker linen
Stitched with: Sue-Purple-Ous silk from Hand-Dyed Fibers
Stitched: 1 over 1

(Frame by Tracy Ann Robinson)

Floss Toss for Book of Ink Circles

Floss Toss
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

While it's an extra project beyond the ones I was planning ot do this year, I've decided to do the Celtic mystery sampler from Ink Circles.

Here's my floss toss. The threads are Tracy's selection for the sampler from Carrie's Creation Threads and the fabric is 28-ct Quaker linen. It was a cut piece at the LNS so I don't know what the colour is, but it's a lovely burnished gold.

I have my little long tailed dragon to finish and then I'll start on the border for this. (You can see the border layout in the Flickr album at

My intention is just to do a bit at a time, but I can't promise what I'll actually do as time goes by.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Long Tailed Dragon #001

Long Tailed Dragon #001
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

I started this little beastie yesterday. The pattern is a freebie from that was originally done for filet chrochet but also works beautifully as cross stitch.

Jeannie-Maree sent me some lovely silk from Vikki Clayton ( for Christmas and this is what I picked to use it on.

I'm stitching 1 over 1 on 28-ct Quaker linen (I think it's probably Antique White) and I just love working with it. It's the smallest I've done 1 over 1 (I usually use 25-ct) and I don't think I'd want to go any smaller, but I do love this.

The silk is Sue-Purple-Ous and it is looking just so pretty.

Monday, March 24, 2008

For the record

I decided that the Mary Stewart I would add to the TBR is The Ivy Tree.

Since I've been thinking/talking about covers tonight, compare the haunting but cool new cover to The Ivy Tree with my ratty old one which dates from the Sixties.

As a disclaimer: My TBR only contains books I plan to read in the immediate future and which I try to keep at a reasonable level because others I get really, really stressed about how many books I have to read and it stops being fun. Right now, it's at 25, which is still a lot of words to read, especially since some of the are LONG, which is why I've been putting them off.

Some new book covers up

I tend to have great intentions that sink slowly as I get tired. One of those for me was to actually put up a cover a day on my A Cover a Day blog. Since I last posted there last October, you can see I haven't been doing so well. All the same, I still have plenty of covers sitting on my hard drive and would like to share them.

So three have gone up today, my cover infatuation reinspired by the lovely new releases of some of the Mary Stewart books (I haven't managed to find full size images for all of those yet, but they'll go up once I do).

Take a look and write me rude (but please not nasty) messages if I start slacking off. Uploading a single picture a day really shouldn't be that hard.

ETA: Okay so it turned out those ones I just posted weren't new. I'd posted them before and not removed the files from the main image directory. I'll keep trying. But not today. It's time for me to head for bed (horribly early you'll note if you check the time stamp on this post, but that's CFS for you).

Mary Stewart

Are you a Mary Stewart fan? If you are (or even if you're not and have never heard of her), go and check out Jennie and Julie's wonderful new (unauthorised) fan site at

They've put together a beautiful site with a biography, bibilography and more. There's a cover gallery (you probably know how much I love pretty covers - or even just ones I haven't seen before), quiz and a blog. Terrible women that they are, they've made me want to rush downstairs and start rereading Mary Stewart novels on the spot, even thought I've got heaps of other things to read. The biggest problem is that I don't think I could possibly choose which one to start with.

When I feel up to it, I'm going to scan my (all old) covers for them to add to their cover gallery, but in the meantime, here's a couple of beautiful new covers from two of Mary Stewart's wonderful novels.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Greek Island Mini by Michael Powell

Whoo-hoo! I have my fourth finish for 2008. I took a series of photos as I completed each step, so here you go.

With all the cross stitching completed:

With all the stitching done except the backstitch:

And here it is all finished:

Greek Island Mini
Michael Powell
(from World of Cross Stitching magazine)

Stitched on 32-count Blue Dynasty Belfast linen from Silkweaver
Stitched with DMC
Started 8 February, 2008
Finished 22 March, 2008

Drive By Comments on February Books, Part 1

I'm so far behind with my book "reviews" that instead of trying to do a long one for each, I'm just going to offer some quick comments.

First Among Sequels - Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next, Book 5; 10/10

Thursday Next is back after 14 years (her time, not ours). She and Landen are happily married with three (or is it two) children and it's time for son Friday to join the Chronoguard. However, he seems more interested in being a typical teenager. I loved this latest outing with Thursday and all ther various secondary characters. It was crazy, it was silly, it was clever and everything a Thursday Next book should be. Goliath are up to their old tricks, Mycroft's ghost is haunting the garage (although sadly Mycroft has left us in the intervening years) and Thursday is trying to deal with two versions of herself in the Bookworld, neither of which bears any particular resemblance to her. Wonderful, wonderful fun.

Enchanting the Lady - Kathryne Kennedy

This was a paranormal romance with a good idea - a nobility that is tested for magical talent in order to retain position and shapeshifters - but it simply failed. There was no depth, like a pretty illusion on top of a fundamentally flawed underlying structure. I'm sorry I wasted my time.

The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
Damar, Book 1; 10/10

Having had two DNFs that were holiday reading, I found myself in something of a bind as I'd used by the books I'd brought with me. I looked through what I had on my PDA and decided to reread The Blue Sword. I loved this delightful coming-of-age tale in the times I've read it before and I loved it all over again this time. I'm so glad this is what I picked. I've always loved Harry Crewe and joining her journey as she discovers the Hill blood she carries and finds her way in a foreign culture that feels so right was wonderful. This book has recently been rereleased in both print and ebook format; if you've never read it go out and find a copy now!

Mine to Possess - Nalini Singh
Psy/Changeling, Book 4; 9/10

Another great entry in this wonderful series by Nalini Singh. After having three Psy/Changeling pairs in the previous book, this time the heroine is human, finally adding the last of the three races in this universe to the mix. Also different from the previous books, this time the hero and heroine have a history that completely colours their interactions now they have met up again. Subplots concerning the continuing disintergration of Psy society also continue making this a stronger, deeper story than if it focused solely on the couple. Singh manages a beautiful balance between the fantsy plot and the romanace development where neither overshadows the other, making this book and the others in the series a delight to read.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stitching Update

Here's my latest progress on Greek Island Mini. It's coming along very nicely. I have some little islands to do and then all the sky to have the basic stitching done. Then it's just the backstitch (just? just?). I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the month.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hello, My Name is Cally

Cally is settling in nicely. She's more interested in playing with the camera that being photographed, but I'm managed to get a few, so here are some pictures of our new family member.

Dave has some pics of choosing her at the cat adopt-a-thon on his blog, here (along with smart-alec comments).

I'm not feeling up to smart alec comments, so I'm just offering pictures.

She's a rescued kitten, so her foster mother doesn't know exactly how old she is, but around 14 to 16 weeks.

Her name comes from Blake's 7.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's official

It's official. We are now owned by a cat.

Pictures to follow once she's settled in and ready to pose for photographs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learner Driver

Frame from "Circle Frames" by Holly McCaig; alpha from "Summertime Fun" by Gina Cabrera; everything else from "Intergalactic" by Zoe Pearn; font is Blackjack. Thanks to Annette Farrelly for sending me the L-Plate.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ooooooo, Books!

I got a wonderful package in the mail today. Yay, new books!!

After having it recommended on a mailing list, I got Rhapsody from the library and enjoyed it so much I found a copy for myself on eBay and bought the next three in the series as well. I'll probably get the last two as well. I'd thought Rhapsody was long at 650 pages, so I was a little disconverted to see that the next three are even fatter. I haven't dared check the page counts yet.

I borrowed the books in Kage Baker's wonderful Company series from a friend and loved them, so I've slowly been working on getting my own copies. The earlier ones had been hard to find but have been reprinted in the last couple of years, so Mendoza in Hollywood is another to add to the collection. Not counting the short stories, I just have two more to get now.

I bought the anthology Lace and Blade because it has a story by Catherine Asaro in her Lost Continent series. Being something of a Catherine Asaro fangirl, I try to collect as many of her books as possible, so added this to my most recent Amazon order.

And lastly, the one I plan to start to read tonight, Anne Bishop's Tangled Webs. This is a new book in her Black Jewels universe and I've heard lots of good things from the people who have already read it, so I'm eager to start it myself.

Stitching Update

I did a bit of work on Dawn Star for the CC SAL in the last weekend of February. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I did finish the first page on the second strip, which was satisfying. Her hand and arm are on the next page, so hopefully I'll get away from background and into something more interesting soon.

I finally got all the white done on Greek Island Mini and that seems to have scared the frogs that were plaguing me off for now.

For the last year or more, I haven't had a proper stitching light. I've been using a clip on desk lamp clipped to the bookcase beside my stitching chair and it's been okay, but not perfect. I tried to win a floor lamp on the NZ auction site this weekend but I had to rest yesterday morning and fell asleep right about when the auction closed meaning I got outbid. So my darling husband too me shopping in the afternoon and I now have a nice, new halogen floor lamp. I used it last night and it was wonderful, especially compared to the old lamp. It's metallic blue rather than the usual black or white since that one was $20 cheaper and I'm all for making a saving where possible. It's very nice and I'm very happy.

And finally, here's my proper Sunday update of Greek Island Mini as this is where I got to last night before I went to bed. I'm delighted with how it is looking and now that I've got more stitching I'm finding I'm having less trouble with the pattern, so hopefully I can just keep stitching without too many frogs now. Hopefully.

March Releases from Character Creations

I have three new Character Creations releases this month, all from Abranda Sisson, along with small samples from some works in progress on older designs, especially favourite The Carpet Market.

Kat - Abranda Icle Sisson
Starfish - Abranda Icle Sisson
Air Element - Abranda Icle Sisson

Samples for The Carpet Market, Cats, Earth and Moon and Fantastical Cats.

Links are also on the News page.