Tuesday, 30 September 2008

106 Books Meme

Below are the top 106 books tagged “unread” in Librarything.

The rules:
Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your tbr list.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre - talking book - the tape died.
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies - currently reading
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner ?
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged - it was insufferable.
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo - only the kiddie version.
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The Prince (Machavelli, I'm assuming)
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Woohoo! There's a new episode of the Lixie Knits It podcast! [Link is to blog; link to podcast in sidebar] Her boyfriend husband Pooch always insists on being interviewed for the podcast, even though he knows absolutely nothing about wool. In this episode, he uses his extensive knowledge of wines to match with the best wools. It's very funny. There's also an interesting section on knitting bags, and blog reviews.

Gosh, I love Lixie!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Spring Cleaning


During last week, I mostly worked on my Art Journal and laying down a base for painting on my art book. I used this journal entry to let out the stress and frustrations of the week, and it's pretty moribund. I did most of it while I was either drunk or hungover. So I'll just show you a detail:

This corner shows how I've taught myself to always find something positive in the bad and try to draw it out.

Materials include: acrylic paint, scrap fabric, scrap clear plastic, sticker offcuts from Kinder Surprises, scrunched up tissue, wine (applied with fingers), glitter glue.

My next entry will be all about Spring! If only the weather would co-operate....

Then on Saturday I made a display board showing all my projects with a bar showing how far off they are from being completed. Basically it has the same info as the sidebar of my blog, except it has the handy bonus that I don't have to log on to look at it! Now when I can't decide which project to work on, I have it all there to help me decide. I laminated the backing sheets and the project cards so they can be written on with whiteboard markers and erased. (The marker I stole obtained from work says erasable on it but geez, it takes a lot of rubbing and spitting to get it off! I wonder if it might have something to do with the laminated surface. Or possibly karma. The concept is solid anyway, even if the details are a bit wonky, I think). I'm finding it handy already.

It helped me decide to rip this:

Yup, it's all gone! Sparky's lovely dress that was reduced to a tunic (due to a shortage of yarn) that was reduced to a funny-lookin, half-finished, shoved-in-the-back-of-the-cupboard bit of a woolly mess. I loved the feel of the yarn, the colour, the lace pattern that alternated with columns of reverse stocking-stitch. It was the human element I didn't like - the wavy hem, the crooked column edges, the wonky stitches around the lace, the atrocious-looking join between the body and the yoke. So in the spirit of spring cleaning, out it went! Sorry Sparky, I'll make you something smaller but much nicer for your birthday this year.

I'm already utilising my rescued yarn to make this crocheted headband. I'm experimenting with a design that pushes the top of the crocheted stitch outwards and turns it into a design feature. (Sorry, no pictures, I can't be bothered. Next time, I promise!) I really like how it's turning out, and I might make a few in different colours. I might actually mean it this time, too!

Meanwhile, I was having a really serious think about this knitted sleeveless top (I believe they're called a shell in the U.S.) that I started about 2 years ago. I'm about 1/4 of the way into it:

[This picture was taken a while back. It's about twice as long now.]

At first I thought, "are you serious, girl? What were you thinking? You're gonna look like you're wearing a Muppet-fur vest!" Then I thought some more and I think it wouldn't be so bad as a cardigan. This piece could be the back; there's still plenty of leeway to make two fronts, a collar and some cute cap sleeves and have plenty of wool left over for making matching accessories. Rockin!

I also completely cleared off the table in the lounge and made it into a painting/drawing station, leaving plenty of room in the hobby room for a sewing station on the big desk. I don't have a picture of this cos - well, how boring would that be?
My only concern is that the light isn't as good in the lounge. You see, the slat blinds are broken in both rooms (long term issues with the landlord, grrr!). They won't go up and down, but I can adjust the angle to let some light in. I keep the one in the lounge permanently down so that when Boy and I are out, rudey people can't peek in at our stuff. The one in the hobby room is permanently open because there's nothing for said people to look at; it's tied open with an ingenious system of cords and old lanyards. I have a small lamp on the painting table in the lounge, but it doesn't help much. I'm thinking of getting a natural light lamp because - well, how cool would that be?

Anyway, bye!

P.S. Monstrous Muriel is in the shop!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Eight Great Blogs!

I've decided to start an occasional series where I list things I like, just cause I feel like it. I've started with my favourite blogs. Well, a few of them. The list on my reader currently runs to 141, and it was quite difficult to choose just 8. Perhaps I should call this Eight Great Blogs, Part 1!

* Meet Me At Mikes - The blog of the shop of the same name in Fitzroy. Mostly art, craft and vintage wares. Full of kitsch, funny, sweet, personal content. Updated frequently. The recent story about how the author helped a drag queen home late one night was absolutely adorable and typical of her generous spirit. I've got this one at the top of my reader!

* Crazy Aunt Purl - Used to be all about knitting, now it's more about the author's quirky life as a Southern gal living in Los Angeles. She posts once every 2 or 3 days, so you get regular updates without it being overwhelming. Her four cats, her commute to work, her out-of-control garden and her wine-laced knitting jaunts are a source of endless amusing stories. She also chronicles her attempts to improve her life by, among other things, deciding that she won't buy anything (unneccessary) for 6 months. I always click onto her blog when I need a pick-me-up.

* Plush You! - These guys just love plush! It's the blog for the Schmancy Shop and annual exhibition in Seattle. All kinds of handmade soft toys are featured, from the amazingly adorable to the truly creepy. The annual Plush You exhibition is on in October, and it makes me want to impulsively buy a plane ticket! I get lots of inspiration from this blog, though I haven't done anything about it yet!

* Crafty Pod - Home of the Craftypod podcast and so much more. Sister Diane is the doyen of all that is crafty, kitschy and fabulous. Her wry sense of humour and childlike glee in discovering new items makes both the blog and the podcast very consumable. (I actually get excited whenever I see a new podcast coming out.) I especially love her regular presentations of vintage booklets with the wierdest crafts you have ever seen. I'm not sure how often she posts as my reader doesn't pick her up properly (*pouts*) but its always a joy to read.
NOTE: This website is now offline. Here is the Craftypod Instagram.

* Joyful Abode - Mostly about cooking, this blog also touches on house-y stuff generally and the author's personal life. (Just recently she held a raffle to help raise money for the vets bills for a stray dog she found recently. She often shares kind gestures such as this.) The recipes are always easy and slip right into just about anyone's life, and she loves sharing tutorials of how she figured out different techniques. She has an online shop selling aprons, stationery, etc, but she doesn't annoyingly drop it into every post like some. This blog always makes me feel like I too, can be a 21st-century Betty Crocker. Posts about 3-4 times a week.

* The Tiny Fig - The blog of Connie, an Etsy seller from Canada. She makes the most adorable kawaii-inspired jewellery and more recently fabric pouches. She occasionally posts about personal topics, but it's mostly about the development of her range and her experiences with new equipment, materials and techniques. Despite the frequent mentions of her shop, she only talks about her experiences, not 'go buy my stuff' type plugs, so it's interesting to read. She is happy to share the lessons she's learned about running an independent craft business, and even hosts a second blog called Sweet Figments, which highlights other sellers. I feel I can really relate to this blog as I have similar experiences and problems as an Etsy seller. I love clicking on and finding out what she's up to!
NOTE: While the shop is still running, the blogs mentioned in this point are offline.

* Accidental Hedonist - This one's all about food, baby! And drink! It includes everything from summaries of current issues (e.g. a spinach recall (?!)) to reviews of kitchen equipment to articles about the history of whiskey and other spirits. The tone is down-to-earth yet knowledgeable. It's a fascinating read from a true gourmand, but it updates a bit too often for me to keep up properly. Still, I try my best!

* D'Blogala - I have only just discovered this blog, but it looks wonderful. It's written by Dawn Sokol, who runs classes and has now written a book about art journals. It's full of techniques, materials and ideas, and she seems very happy to answer reader's questions and provide encouragement. I will definitely have to go through the old posts on this one and I'm sure I'll be painting up a storm in no time! I've already visited Riot Art n Craft for a few supplies.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Mosaic Monday - Lazy

I didn't do any craft at all on the weekend. I didn't cross off anything on my list, or achieve any of my goals.

And it felt great!

How could anyone stay inside on a day like Saturday? 25oC, sun shining, light breeze, blue sky... lovely! A drive, a walk and lunch with some amazing friends and the always amazing Boy. I even had time for a little Op-Shopping. I picked up a couple of wooden bead bracelets, a framed embroidery, and a tin Barbie lunchbox just ripe for major girly radical feminist altering.

And on Sunday, I went shopping! New clothes, new bathers, new jewellery, new make-up. Spring, here I come!

P.S. I didn't even play any Spore!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

What I did last Winter...

... well, a couple of weeks ago, anyway.

I had so many projects in progress that I was determined to finish something. Even if it meant breaking out the needle and weaving ends in! I finally finished these:

I started them in March 2006. This was the most annoying, frustrating and infuriating project I have ever worked on. The pattern didn't make sense, it requires at least 6 double-pointed needles (which means you have to buy 2 sets), for a utilitarian project the back is pretty fugly (picture on the right), it has 12 ends to weave in (24 in my case as I was knitting with two strands), ... well, you get the gist. I feel like I've been whingeing and ranting a bit too much lately, so I'm going to try and cut back a bit.

On a more cheery note, I finished Monstrous Muriel!:

I'm not too sure about the shape of her body and position of her legs, but I love everything else, especially her needle-felted perm. I can't decide whether to keep her, donate her to Softies for Mirabel, or put her on Etsy (my craft inferiority complex being the main reason why I'm wavering on the second or third option).

Meanwhile, I'm mainly bludging of an evening, and failing to get up the motivation to do anything. I did a little work on Scary Selby earlier tonight - it took some courage to try to solve the top-of-head-looking-hinky problem, but I think I'm doing all right. I ran out of steam just before the end and swapped to the beret for a few rows.
I made up a list of things to do on the weekend. I love making lists. It's kinda the only craft-related thing I can do at work without looking obviously like I'm not working. (I did have an actual idea at work that I wrote down yesterday, too.) I have soooo many things on that list that I'm gonna do this weekend! I can't wait!

Oh, I keep forgetting - when I was in Daylesford I bought this book:

It's very cool and inspirational. I really have to get out my sewing machine!

Friday, 5 September 2008


I let my subscription to Creative Knitting lapse - because it was shit* - and I subscribed to Handmade instead. I figured that as I was branching out in my crafty endeavours, this would give me some ideas for different crafts. I received my first issue in the mail yesterday. Perhaps I should have put in a bit more research before I decided where to switch my loyalties to. Or perhaps it was just an unfortunate issue to be my first. It's the bumper Christmas issue!

Well, I don't celebrate Christmas, and I only like Christmas decorations for their kitsch value, which kinda cuts out anything made after about 1980. Now, if it had a Dias de los Muertos issue, that would rock big time! As if! At least there's some sites in the U.S. that cater to that, like the Crafty Chica. It also had a rather disturbing preponderance of teddy bears. I like most stuffed animals, and even beanie kids, but traditional teddy bears just don't float my boat. Sometimes they even make me wanna cry. I don't know why. I must have deep-seated emotional issues.

I've been having a lot of fun making my monsters lately. I like them a lot more than the kokeshi dolls. They can be lumpy and lop-sided and have 7 arms and it doesn't matter. I feel a lot freer and less pressure to make them perfect. In an effort to give them more personality, I've decided to write a new zine called 'Monster Stories' or something similar, with a half-page story about each monster and a drawing of her/him. I might make both black-and-white and deluxe colour versions. Maybe I'll make a little mini-booklet to offer with each monster with the same information. Course, this may take some time as it takes me forever to make each monster.

Meanwhile, my brain has been obsessed with how to turn this into a softie:

An individual of the species Brongla.

It's my first Spore creature! Isn't he cute!

*goes back to obsessing*

* Why was it shit? They take patterns from British magazines (with permission or not, I don't know) and Paton's pattern books for almost all of their content. There seems to be a lot of padding to make the magazine longer - unnecessarily large title headings, etc. Often, the finished item isn't shown from different angles; there's often just a single photo and you can tell the close-ups (when there are any) are all just zoomed in from the main photo. In the last few issues, there were no articles whatsoever. I buy magazines more for the patterns than the articles anyway, but many people don't. Also, the patterns were always pretty dull and uninspired. Yet another plain, stocking stitch jumper with a bit of froo-froo on the bottom hem. I've read similar complaints from other readers on their forums, which they don't seem to have addressed. And really, I already have more patterns than I could possibly knit in my lifetime. I've gotten much better patterns for free, Knitty being only one of hundreds of great sources. Then there's Twist Collective, a new online magazine where the articles are free, and you pay individually for the patterns you want. I must check it out sometime! But to be honest, I've gone off pattern collecting a bit. Even vintage ones don't excite me much anymore. I'm more interested in the pictures in them than the patterns. There's much scanning and printing and collaging fun to be had!

Thursday, 4 September 2008


It's Spring!


Can't you smell it?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Monthly Wrap-Up

colorful woody, originally uploaded by swelldesigner.

Two months ago I set some crafty goals for myself. I achieved most of them in one day, a few weeks ago. If only more days were like that! Here's a summary of how I went:

1. Increase number of items in shop from 35 to 45.
No chance, no how! It's still 35. This goal was waaaaay too ambitious.

2. Finish 3 older projects.
I finished 2 - the Amigurumi Chihuahua and the Flower Facewashers. I guess 1 per month is a more realistic goal.

3. Re-photograph and re-list 4 projects.
I actualy did 6! Thanks to Boy's new camera and his enthusiasm for trying it out. So that one worked out well!

4. Work on long-term project/s for at least 4 hours total.
I did this in 1-hour blocks and I managed 3. All this energy was spent on the Circular Rug, mainly because it's the easiest one. I worked on this Zombie Project while listening to The Hound of the Baskervilles. Enlightening! I want to find out how it ends, so I'll extend this goal into next month.

5. Improve storage situation in hobby room.
Well, if you count putting away all the stuff that I bought over the last few months, then yes, I did improve things! Mainly it was getting a new eco-bag and going, 'right, that's my new fabric storage area'. So not really.

6. Set next month's goals at the start of the month, not a week in!!
3 days in isn't too bad!

I learned a lot from this and I've adjusted my goals a little bit to reflect the things I'd like to achieve this time, and also the fact that I probably won't have much time in the near future (more on that later). So here are my September goals:

1. Increase number of items in shop from 35 to 38.
2. Work 2 hours on Long Term projects.
3. Do 2 pages in art journal.
4. Utilise drawing board in some way.
5. Look through old paintings and list at least one in shop.
6. Reduce number of projects by 2 (either by finishing or dismantling).

I've tried to keep these a bit light-on this month, as I will be pretty busy. I've renewed my motivation to exercise and lose a bit of weight before I go on my trip, and also..... da da daaaaa!
Spore came out yesterday! In case anyone doesn't know, it's the latest computer game from the makers of The Sims. You manipulate an evolving creature from a single-celled organism, right up to leaving the planet and conquering other galaxies. It's the ultimate god game. It's just my kind of game! =)

See you in a bit. Probably quite a bit....