Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The To-Be-Read Challenge 2015

I'll get back to the blog posts I intended to write and publish after the break. :D

At last! I've been looking for a book challenge rather desperately recently! Last year and the year before I did the A-Z book challenge, and the actual completion of the challenge was posted up over here. And I read a further four books after that post, leaving me with a grand total of 74 books read between January and December of 2014! Alas, the last book of the Fablehaven series shall have to be a 2015 finish. Can't win them all I suppose. XD

After getting the challenge done at last (having failed miserably the first time, in 2013), I wondered what to do with myself next year.
But another quick search online turned up the fabulous To Be Read Challenge. It consists of reading the books that you have had on your shelves for a while, and always intend to read "someday." And that was very much along the lines of what I wanted to be doing anyway. I want to get all my books read, every single one that I own (including the 14 new ones that are arriving at my house - thanks Grandma for the gift card! :DD). So - I'll be going for it. They have it all broken down nicely:


and while I don't know if I'll be able to match 2014's 73 books this time around, I'll be shooting for the 50+ nevertheless! There were a lot of small, or at least easy-to-read books in my challenge this last year - Artemis Fowl series, the Twilight saga (all four of which, plus the guide, took me three days over a quiet weekend), the Sisters of Isis series was very simply written, and on and on. They were books I was interested in reading (for the already have it purpose and for many of them because they were my childhood), and so I don't regret reading them. But this year, I want to read the longer and more intelligently written tomes that I have around. Quality, not quantity, for 2015!

I do have something of a book list written up, but nothing hard-and-fast as yet. I do want to get through my series of books on modern-ish Chinese history - biographies on Madame Chiang Kai Shek and Madame Mao - as well as the various other historical biographies I own, of which there are way too many, and read through a few more older style books. I devoured Wuthering Heights over the course of a few days when I picked it up on a whim while at school, and I'd like to give the Austens and other Bronte books another go. Don't hold your breath for any Dickens, though.

Got it in before the bell! Still an hour to go before the New Year! Have a great evening everyone, and happy 2015!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Wrappings

'Furoshiki' or the Japanese art of wrapping with fabric - wrapping 9 books!
I was pretty proud of my wrapping this year. I did some wrapping in fabric, and some diagonal style wrapping. It was a lot of fun to take a break from the normal, especially as I was assigned wrapping duty this year! Well over 12 various sized boxes and soft items to get packaged up for the holidays, and then extras that I'll have to find the time to sneak into stockings unsuspected before Christmas morning! Boy has it ever been fun trying to keep stacks of massive boxes and bags away from inquisitive, present-happy little brothers, and inquisitive, claw-happy cats!!

Luckily I can schedule posts, and get these written before the day. This post is largely written on Christmas Adam, with some additions after the fact. At some point or another, everyone in the family will get on the internet and post some version of Happy Christmas on their Facebook accounts, and surf around, but for the most part it's a day of messing about with the new stuff we got from under the tree. Which is better.

I made some gluten free Shortbread cookies, a mix from Bob's Red Mill. Definitely have to add a LOT more liquid than they call for, it was about half a cup extra for my recipe, but they taste delicious. As the only holiday cookie I could eat this season, I was even more excited they came out so well!! I pressed the dough out flat and just cut it all into strips and squares, the way you do dumplings for chicken and dumplings. Came out delicious. XD

And now it's down to six days - New Year is coming!! Leave your lights up everyone, it'll make January a lot more cheerful!

~x~

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

8 Days Remaining

We're down to nearly a week, people! The New Year is coming soon. I spend so much time enjoying the anticipation for Christmas, that I always forget that another year follows soon after. Anyway, lately it's been all outlining for me. Backstitching Winter Wonderland is an eye-strainer!! The blue on the trees is the worst, and I can't even see the backstitched sections after I've done it anyway. >:\ The leaves look excellent now though!

The outlining is all worked on the left side, from the centre of the arch and down toward the foxes. The deer's eye is done, and the last stitches around the horns on the tree are making their painful progress. It's a lot more difficult to start three strands of thread for a single stitch than using two after being familiar with loop starts. Hopefully nothing will start unravelling!

I finished the third Fablehaven book, and began the fourth! This is an additional four books on top of those that I have completed already this year. :DD This book feels different compared to the first three, and for a while at the start the two main protagonists, brother and sister Seth and Kendra, are separated instead of together in their adventures, as well as this book beginning in winter around the Winter Solstice (fitting for the current season!). All of the previous books have taken place over the summer holidays, each including the Summer Solstice. Though I haven't reviewed the other books, this one confirms the evilness of the character known as the Sphinx, and the introduction of the dragon preserves rather than generic magical-creatures preserves as Fablehaven is. I do love them, but re-reading them I wish there were more non-Greek based creatures: lots of the typical satyrs and centaurs, dryads and nymphs about. The brownies, house-spirits of Eastern European, and what is commonly known as Slavic, lore make a few appearances. The rest are generic 'fairies' and a smattering of heavyweight demons.

Today in my family, thanks to my Grandfather, is known as "Christmas Adam," since the 24th is called "Christmas Eve." It's the calm before the storm, as the last-minute panicking for cooking starts kicking in, and tomorrow is the time for us to have a family gathering, which for some reason seems to make the wait for Christmas Day even longer. Family gathering days feel like a week in and of themselves. Being around so many people at once is draining. You basically end up sitting there with a plate of food and waiting for the day to be over. I love how everyone has this story too, but then they're the ones talking to all and sundry and having a great time. Dx

Anyone made any resolutions? A few members of the cross stitch groups I'm part of on Facebook have written up official lists as to what they will [hopefully] stick to over the coming year. One of the groups is working on everyone having 15 projects as it's 2015 - and none of them are picking easy projects! Lots of Heaven and Earth Designs, and pieces as big and detailed as the Yuu patterns - there aren't even enough months in the year now to accommodate working on each by month, how on earth does anyone expect to anything completed?? XD I made a big program for myself a little while ago, all in a frenzy over a new moon, which is good, though I'm thinking about reviewing it and changing a few points still before the New Year. I don't know that I'll put in cross stitch, as I'm doing alright with that, and the Yuu projects will take a long time - which will overpower the interest in working on other UFOs.

Right, that was a bit of a post. See you on the flip side of the holiday!

~x~

Sunday, 21 December 2014

End to the Woodland Sampler

BEWARE: Link Heavy!

I never posted the finish of my Woodland Sampler!

Last this blog saw of it, the last two blocks were in progress. Since then, December and the year block have been added, and all the outlining finished for the whole project. Unfortunately, it's still not quite 'finished' since I haven't completed the sparkly dandelions in the July block, though I finished everything else in that block.

I really loved working on this piece. I wish there was another like it to work on next year. The sampler they did this year was too busy for me, though I liked the idea of the fairy tales. There's another one for next year (of course!) that they've been teasing this month in their Facebook group, this one called "Story Time" depicting characters from 'favourite literature.' I hope it isn't as busy as this year's was in the execution or it'll be another skip. :\

Another stitchery I found this year is Cloudsfactory, who I discovered through their Facebook group. They have a lot of extremely simple designs that generally focus around a lot of well-known images, such as Disney and popular television. I especially liked some of the blocks from their block-a-month club, Magical Creatures Calendar. It was posted one block a month as the Frosted Pumpkin does with their works. I really like January, the centaur, March's Phoenix, June's dragons, and especially December's Yeti/Abominable Snowman! But the rest of it. . . . not so much. I also like bits and piece of the Halloween-themed piece "Whacky Witches in Stitches" but not as a whole. Again - :\.

Friday, 19 December 2014

80 Skeins of Thread

Okay, 82. Plus one. Enough threads to get my Yuu Season Spring/Autumn done, and finish off the Winter Wonderland! Ran out of one colour before the end, and now I can get the last of the sky and leaves finished. I also got the Whisper thread, that I was supposed to use for the Winter Maiden in the Mirabilia project I gave up on a while back. I honestly don't know what to do with that thing. Perhaps I'll take out all the outlining on the face and try to figure something else out. At least she'll have a fuzzy cloak.

All this lovely thread came with a sad price though: the Piddlin' Patch, the place where I've gotten all my cross stitch supplies, has given their notice. The owners are going to retire, and are looking to sell. It's the only place anywhere nearby that sells much of what my Mother, sister, and I need for our crafts. Hoping for someone to buy it and keep it going!!

And here is the lovely updated Winter Wonderland. Such a huge difference stitching in the rest of the blue around the star makes!! The lesser, white stars have yet to be sewn in, but the blue is about done - just have a few leaves on the right-hand side to get finished. The entire left side is completed but for outlining, and the snow needs going over with the sparkly thread that keeps trying to worm its way back out of the project as I work on it. >:\ Not much further to go at all!


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tilton Crafts, Christmas, and Fablehaven!

My Mother got me an awesome stand from a thrift store a little while back. I believe it's supposed to be a 'smoking stand' of some variety, where you would put newspapers/magazines on the racks and cigarettes at the top. Now it's a sewing stand, and holds all the patterns and threads while I stitch!

The Winter Wonderland project is tucked in the magazine there at the bottom, and the circle at the top perfectly holds a little Christmas themed box that I stick all the threads for a project in.


On top of this, I found the most amazing site ever: Tilton Crafts. I love their RAK option (Random Act of Kindness) that lets a person buy a download/PDF pattern and have it sent to the email of another person as a gift! My Father made use of that option, and sent me two of the patterns on my wish list: Our Seasons and In Her Room by the artist Yuu. I've already begun work on the third in the sequence of the seasons!

Our Seasons by Yuu
My sister, Mother, and I are in a bit of a disagreement as to which season it portrays. Obviously the last one is Winter, the second one is Summer, but which one of the remaining two is Autumn, and which one is Spring?? The first one could be Autumn, with the chrysanthemums, but so could all the pink. But if Autumn is first, then the seasons are a little bit out of whack - Autumn, Summer, Spring, Winter?? I don't know. XD But they won't be all on the same fabric, anyway, so I'll enjoy them even if I don't know what season it's supposed to be. Dx

First three of In Her Room

Last four of In Her Room
In Her Room, also by artist Yuu, is all one piece, though I broke it apart in the pictures here. I loved the colours, and what I could see of it on the website, but they really do need to give closer shots on their website. I didn't even realise it was the sequence of the girl's life until I opened the PDF! It was that small! This'll be another that is one section at a time, and I'll probably leave the bath scene out of it, but the rest of this, and the seasons, I can't wait to get stitching on! Of course there are so many threads I'm short on, so there'll be another shopping trip in the near future for them, but until then, I'll be happily stitching well into the new year for a few years to come! XD



And another update on the Winter Woodland! I'm getting a lot of the snow done - so much white!!

A new feature of my cross stitch updates is the introduction of the book I'm currently reading! I finished the second book in the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull late Monday night, and started the third one - Rise of the Shadow Plague - Tuesday morning. It has been so long since I last read these books. There are a couple of points where I start to recall things, but it's basically like reading a brand new book. Luckily I've got all five to bust through as quickly as I please! XD They're very simple reads, but I enjoy them nonetheless. I'm not sure how much I should describe or not, so I'll leave it at that and remember to give a better description than the cringe-worthy snippet on the back when I'm finished reading it!

~x~

Monday, 15 December 2014

Winter Wonderland

I've not posted about this project at all, and now it's getting near the close! It's "Winter Wonderland" from a UK based cross stitch magazine, The World of Cross Stitching. Picked it up in November, and got started nearly right away. I'm getting to use some of the fabric my Mother got me a while back at last!

The fabric count is so BIG. It drove me nuts at first. I'm having to stitch with three strands of thread, and I have lost my needle so many times!!! Seriously, the needle has abandoned this project three times. Lost one needle just sitting down - flew off the thread and disappeared. Lost the second needle over dinner - left it woven in the fabric, went to eat, and came back to a missing needle. The first needle reappeared a little while after that, and thankfully it's stuck around since then (knock on wood), but I'm hoping to get this one finished quickly so I don't have to worry about it anymore!!

~x~

Saturday, 13 December 2014

70 Books in a Year!

This year I read through the alphabet - a book beginning with "A," a book beginning with "B," etc. - and ended up reading an additional 44 books! I'm pretty happy with this. I haven't counted the number of books I've read in a year before, but the past couple of years I haven't been reading much at all. So this is definitely much more than I have been reading!

There were a couple of unexpected sticking points. Finding an "X" was difficult as predicted, but so was - oddly - the letter "C"! There were so many Es and Ls! Both "X" and "Z" technically begin with author's names, as they are translations and the translators helpfully named their finished products after the original writers, otherwise I'd never have gotten all these done!

With the exceptions of 8 books, these are all copies that I own. The reading through 26 books by letter sort of morphed into reading all the books I own, as I absolutely love Friends of the Library anywhere we go, and I am constantly buying books. I've not read half of all the books in my room. Hopefully next year I can continue to knock them out!

Articles (A, The, Etc.) don't count in titles, nor do names of series. Titles of books in descriptions are generally from the bottom to the top and left to right.

A - C

Alix and Nicky by Virginia Rounding
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl Files  by Eoin Colfer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
By Fire, By Moonlight by Mary Stanton

Castle in the Mist by Liz Kessler (see what I mean about desperate for a "C"?)




D - F

Darkwood by M. E. Breen
Divine One by Lynne Ewing

Empress Dowager Cixi by Jung Chang
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Ever by Gail Carson Levine
Artemis Fowl: Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
Eon & Eona by Alison Goodman
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Enchantress by Lynne Ewing
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce


The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R.Tolkien
Fairest & The Fairy's Return by Gail Carson Levine
G - I

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud
The Haunting by Lynne Ewing
The Horse & His Boy by C. S. Lewis

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
In the Stone Circle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

J - L

A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne


A Kingdom Far & Clear (The Complete Swan Lake Trilogy) by Mark Helprin
Korean Folk Tales by James Riordan [not pictured]

The Last Days of the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport (highly recommended!)
The Last Emperor by Edward Behr (highly recommended to avoid, lousy book)
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis




M - O
Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis

Nicholas II by Marc Ferro (loved this one)
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Official Illustrated Guide to Twilight by Meyer (I was desperate for an 'O')
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer (then I remembered this book was also an 'O' Dx)
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper [not pictured]


P - R

Peony In Love by Lisa See (don't read unless you fancy being sick to your stomach)
Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy (I love this book and this Queen so much)

Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
S - T

Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
The Summoning by Lynne Ewing
The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

The Two Towers by J.R.R.Tolkien
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (it's sort of sacrilegious to put these two books side-by-side in a photo)
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Tales from China by Cyril Birch [not pictured]
U - Z

Utopia by Thomas More

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S.Lewis

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Werewolves by Nancy Garden
Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L.Stine
Wild Magic & Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce

Xenophon's Anabasis by W.H.D.Rouse (boringest book in the history of boring)

Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones

Zauzich's Hieroglyphs Without Mystery

Also J.R.R.Tolkien's little volume, containing "Smith of Wootton Major" and "Farmer Giles of Ham."
26 Books - first read in each letter


All 70 books in one shot - lots of stacks in the back too!

 So there we go - getting near the end of the year again! Love the month of December. I've got several projects to post about, so they'll be here very soon. Don't stop reading!

~x~

Friday, 3 October 2014

Halloween on the Hooves of Black Horses

I never updated the Halloween Carousel Horse I was doing a while back, even though I continued to a work on it - a lot - after the last update. I kept putting off taking another photo because I was still stitching this, or wanted to get to the end of that part, or that corner, etc., before I took a picture. . . . and it never got done! I got a LOT finished on this piece that I was very happy with, that I just never ended up sharing!

No more, because here it is!


What do you think?? I think the last time there was an update on this piece, the back of the horse wasn't even finished yet. Now that whole side is finished, backstitched and all, and continued on to the other side!

Today I picked up the last 16 colours (of 65!!) that I needed for a Heaven and Earth design - a freebie no less! Yes, Heaven & Earth has awesome patterns for free on their website. I'm doing "The Flower Bride." It is so beautiful!! I've worked about four hundred stitches already in the upper left hand corner, and it's just a tiny little square of purple. Dx

Lastly, though I got the remaining colours I needed, I worked on this when I got home:

Aisshhhh~ XD

Enjoying all the Halloween shows on the kids' channels!! Disney Jr. or one of those channels is showing new, Halloween versions of all their shows every Friday this month, and it is so refreshing to see new Halloween shows instead of the same worn few.

~x~

Monday, 29 September 2014

A Bustle of Progress

Getting close! Another project flying by. None of this was done today - back to school again, and that means shelving stitching until Thursday evening. But since last updated, the girl has come into full view, and most of it is already outlined - just a little bit on the farthest corner left to do. Both the puppy and her face have been started, but not much to show for them at this stage. It'll be a lot of pale peaches for her face and browns for her hair from here on out, but I can do it! XD

And I'm a bit bothered that all this blog has turned into is pretty much a log of daily progress. I'd like to do something more with it than just this, so perhaps starting this weekend I'll get some more things in the works. (:

Monday, 22 September 2014

Give a Bow

Here's the next part! This one is just a little further down than the Bunny couple, and the picture is of my progress up until this morning. Got a lot done! It'll slow down a lot this week now that school is started up again (this past weekend was a good one for stitching), but hopefully I'll get it done in time for another batch of stitching this coming weekend on the third and final piece for this span of fabric.

This one is of a little boy and girl and their puppy performing a New Year bow, an event to get dressed up in your Hanbok and make a ceremonial bow at the start of the new year. There'll be some lattice/door as you can see behind him already, and a branch with blossoms on it (probably cherry) above the little girl who will be to the right of this guy as with the bunny couple. There's actually only two rows of stitching left for him! I was surprised myself stitching it. XD

Saturday, 20 September 2014

All Finished

And the bunnies are done! What a great project this has been. I completed them late last night, actually, and got started on another - but that's for another post! Here's the finished couple - the rest of the pot/urn has been filled in and outlined, and the shadows under their feet got stitched in. The pot gave me the most troubles on the whole piece, when I started one colour a stitch off, and messed up the shading pattern, but got that fixed with a bit of a hasty method. And then they were done! A little further along the fabric to the right of the girl, I've begun the next little pattern I've got. It seems like I'll be able to get three patterns of about the same size along the length of the cloth, so that will be fun to see finished as well!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Pair of Bunnies~

Both the boy and the girl are completed! All that's left is to finish their urn/pot/jar that they are mixing and adding ingredients or hearts to, and that's them finished! I love them. ^ω^

 I am so happy with this piece. Much happier than I have been upon completing a much larger, more complicated piece. I love the colours, the high contrast between the lights and the darks for shading (colours I would never have chosen personally, and got to watch click together just perfect on the fabric), and the way the outlining is sketchily placed. I even like the cheeks, when I thought I would definitely want to fill in the white spot with the dark pink, but left it instead when I found it looked really good on the fabric anyway! I just can't stop singing its praises. xD Can't wait to do another!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Bunnies!

Yay progress!

Got the little girl in progress! Her skirt is a few stitches from being done, and her blouse is all completed. Her head is already nearly finished. I love quick projects like these!

I've been stitching this at the end of a long strip of fabric, and I'm playing with the idea of just doing lots of little pieces like this along its length, or whether I should cut them apart and do something with them (decorative pillows or something like that?). It'll depend on how much background work I want to do on each of them. This one has a few hearts and stars around the outside, nothing too extravagant. Eh. I'll probably end up stitching a bunch and leaving them there without ever properly 'finishing' them, as is my wont. Dx It's a fabulous way to wind down after a day at school though! My one downside is that I can't watch my dramas at the same time, since my language skills are good enough to get through a few minutes solid, and then oh, that grandma with the dialect is speaking again, or they've got that fast speaker, filled with technical terms, and there's goes the comprehension. It's getting better, but not that quickly. XD

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Finally!

I've been gone a long time. Sorry about that. I've had plenty of opportunities to post, and I just haven't taken them. Since my last post, I've started college, fulfilled a week of exams and essay turn ins, started and completed about three dramas and halfway through a fourth, and today added more cross stitching to the list!

Isn't he just adorable? I love him to pieces!! Definitely what I wanted to be stitching. It's not even turned out the way it was supposed to and it's perfect. ^ω^ I can't wait to finish it - there'll be a little pot under that spoon, and a girl on the other side facing him - but I'll probably have to wait a while before it can be finished. There's more school tomorrow! And there'll be more tests this week as well. :( And the second essay for the English class is a hair's breadth away from being assigned; for now we're just discussing the type of paper, but it'll be due sooner than I'd like anyway. I've had a serious cold the past week followed up with a just killer headache today that made everything painful. It was great to have him to work on, keep me from biting anyone's head off!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Birthday Batch - Pictures!

Finally I've returned. This past month (June), I had my 20th birthday! In celebration I got myself a couple of things I'd been interested in getting from the 'net, and the last of them finally arrived today! (Hey, they had to come all the way from China.)

First off is something I am absolutely in love with - a corset!!

 This is currently cinched to 25 inches at its narrowest point, which is my natural waist size (and the size I ordered). I actually got this and the movie I ordered only two days after my birthday, due to quick shipping, and I've cinched down another inch or so since then. It takes getting used to, especially when sitting in the car!


This is one of my favourite movies of all time. It's a little hoky and a little silly, especially at the start, but it's a great film nonetheless. It's about a girl who has been magically cursed to have a pig's snout for a nose that can only be gotten rid of if someone of old money marries her. It's got a great cast who really pull the whole thing off, and there's not a thing I don't like about it. I've been told that this is the 'American edit' and that the original (British I think?) film has longer scenes in some places, but having not seen that version, I am quite content to add this one to my collection!

What arrived today were two lovely folding hand fans and my first K-Pop merch! Folding fans are a little. . . . delicate, and they break even faster with extended use. I've had two really nice ones in the past years that I was really fond of, and the second of them finally broke (the first having shattered - plastic rather than wood - several years back) just before my birthday. So I got myself replacements!




They just glowed in their pictures on Amazon, and I knew these were the ones I wanted to get. They only cost a few dollars apiece, though they ship from Beijing, and when I ordered them on the 22-23 June, I was given an estimated arrival time of July 17 to August 4. O.O But here they are today, on the 7th of July!

They are some of the tiniest fans I've ever owned. They don't appear small, but they close to such slender dimensions! Seeing the package I wasn't sure if both were there. The fabric is said to be silk, and it certainly is very soft, and very fine. The handle is stained blue wood, and each comes with a little tassel. In some previous orders, when the price was much higher, they were said to come with bags to hold them in according to previous reviews on Amazon, but I really don't mind them coming without bags. At about $2 apiece, I don't mind, and I have a lovely lined Chinese box that my Grandmother gifted me sometimes ago that will fit them just fine. They feel delicate, and they are slightly transparent.

Coming alongside the fans were my first K-Pop merch, as I said before. Yay!!












I have wanted bracelets like these (not specifically EXO-M, but just bracelets like these) since I was a child, and I'm very glad that I've finally acquired some, especially for a favourite band! The black one is my favourite, with the symbols for each of the members on it and the name of the band. Each says from EXO Planet though, and I wasn't expecting that. The white has all the members' names on it, and that's nice and all but I really prefer the black one. XD Again, these shipped from China, and were given the same end of July, start of August arrival date, but came in today, at least a full week ahead of schedule!


So one more thing were these guys. Aren't they adorable? I had some money left over on a card, and wanted to max it out (got it down to 28 cents. Grr. . . . ) so I stopped by Dover for a few little goodies. I love the wedding kimono and the pink opera gown, don't you? :D

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Why I Hate Gluten-Free

There are times when I absolutely hate being gluten free.

It's not like it's hard enough skipping all the delicious alfredos, spaghettis, lasagnas, pizzas, cakes, brownies, and cookies, and every battered-and-fried delicacy you can think of. It's every little dig that 'well this has no calories so you should like it' and start playing up 'well such and such ingredient is free range, and organic, and rated whatever excellent' just to jab at you. Some think it's cute and funny to say stuff like this, others are fully aware of what they're doing, trying to get a rise out of you, because obviously you're only eating that way because you want to be a size zero model. (And since when was being on the thin side a punishable offence?)

I'm not gluten free by choice. It's not my fad diet, not what I chose because I inherently believe in the weight-dropping properties of a gluten free diet. I didn't wake up one day and skip the toast because I wanted to look slim and follow the trends. No. My body utterly hates and rejects forcibly anything with gluten in it - even just a bite. I am physically ill, my stomach feels like it's attempting to ingest itself for the next 24 hours, and my bones hurt. Every joint in my skeleton makes itself well known to me, everything cracking and popping, and hurting like I'm going to just shatter apart at any moment. Yes, that one bite is terrible, and no thank you I won't have it.

There are those who have taken up the diet of free will and discovered that by not eating breads and other forms of wheat, they lose and keep off weight. They can still eat wheat otherwise, without pain, but they'd rather keep their figure. I say power to them! You're being healthy about it, you're eating well for your body then by all means skip the wheat!

Then there are those that do actually do it just to follow a trend, be the exception in a crowd and get a little attention. They don't care about the health benefits or negatives when it comes to wheat, and some aren't even fully aware exactly what all wheat is in (it's in a lot. A lot.). In a few years when it will be fashionable to be allergic to papayas, or root vegetables, or purple protein shakes, these people will move right along with it and keep being 'special.' And it's these people that give those who really hurt a bad name. Makes everyone they meet immediately dismiss their problems out of hand, because obviously they're just following the fad. They don't really have problems, and if they do, it can't be that bad, can it? Just a bite or two. Isn't there some medicine for that, you can just take a pill or a shot and eat it anyway?

I guess there really isn't a point to this post. Just blowing off some steam from another day of try this and eat that, and you're just overreacting/being stubborn/ridiculous, so just eat it anyway. And I know I promised pictures again but I'm working on the piece again! I've reworked the entire last square in the Woodland Sampler (it was off by one stitch, and it was really bugging me - got it ripped out and redone!), and have gotten the December square started, with the house nearly finished, and two of three trees done! Perhaps the next photo of my sampler will be a completed piece photo! :DDD

My younger sister also graduated from high school today! Got to watch her walk across the stage and be insanely jealous and cheer for her, and everything. Course, it won't be long now for the next step - stopping by the local college next week to set up her next few years of education (for which, being a smarty-pants, she gets the first two years free!). Very happy for her, and can't wait to see where she goes next. ^.^

~x~

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

It's June. . . .

Ergh. . . . so it's been since May that I've posted?? DX And now it's June. . . .

I've been dabbling on a lot of different projects in the time elapsed. I've read nearly 30 books since January (trying hard to push through the last two - at this rate I'll never finish all the books I want to by December); I've begun a corset - which has two sides assembled, hand-sewn flat-felled seams, and one bone sewn in; I've been playing around with my Manchu Banner Dress (I really don't want to cut the good fabric!); I've cut the pieces for a new Hanbok top; I've broken a sewing machine (as per usual, it's when I have to change the bobbin. I live in dread of changing bobbins.); I've drawn two new portraits; and I've begun the last two squares on my Woodland Sampler!

Whew!

I've also started up a review of math, starting in algebra and working forward. I'm really hoping to get through as much as possible this summer, but I have no idea how far I can actually get. I managed three hours yesterday, but my hand/wrist was just so worn out today that I could only get about an hour and half today before I had to quit. There are too many projects taking up my hand - hand-sewing a corset since I broken the sewing machine, as well as cross stitching, drawing practice, and three+ hours writing is not a good mix on my hand. Either projects have to be dropped, or my hand will. DX My right arm across the top all the way to my elbow hurts right now, though I'd really like to finish up a few blog posts and get them ready for posting later throughout the upcoming week or two!

I never feel busy, but when I get to recording it all, and when my wrist starts giving out on me I realize I've got a lot going. O.O

Since my last post, I did finish another drama (Just You; best drama in a long while, seriously), and I've kept up with the one-episode-a-week torture of Taiwanese airing schedules on Fall In Love With Me. And that's about it on that front. I've not continued watching Secret Love Affair, I Can Hear Your Voice, or any of the others.

Tomorrow (as it's night currently, and there's no way pictures will come out right), I'll get some snaps of the Woodland Sampler as well as my sewing projects! I'll keep attempting to get good shots of my portraits, but I can't make any promises. I really wanted to upload them already to DeviantArt, but even that can't happen because my drawing is too light for the scanner to pick up and I keep getting bad angles on my webcam. It sounds like excuses, but really every time I think I've gotten a good shot for once, I look at it straight on and think it's dreadful. I'll keep attempting!!

Until then!

~x~

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Toss Up

Somehow I missed Wednesday! I spent the entire day yesterday thinking it was Tuesday. DX I have no idea how that happened. -_- At any rate, I have a lot of progress to show!


My absolute favourite in the entire piece is now that owl. I can't get over how well it turned out. XD I'm also really surprised at how much I like the porcupines and their edited leaves - changing green to red - though I'm not sure I'm liking the wind swirls (not in this picture). And November is fully finished as well! I did pick up on July's Fox, and got the head finished but for outlines, and then the horrid filament for the rest of the dandelions. Can't. . . . wait. . . .

For the past two days I've been watching Taiwanese dramas. Namely 'Fall In Love With Me' (all five episodes I hadn't seen yet in a row, on one day), and 'Just You,' in which I'm up to episode 7. These two are the BEST. Okay, Fall in Love With Me is higher on the list. I cannot wait for new installments. Just You is great, but just not as good. XD



Taiwanese dramas make me happier than anything else I do in my free time. No matter what they are, they always seem to get me smiling and in love with the story faster and for longer than any other show. Often that can be my downfall - Substitute Princess' lackluster ending crushing all the happiness I gained from it - but otherwise they leave me bubbly and happy for hours after watching them. XD



But of course spending two days enjoying myself so thoroughly means I need to be brought back down. And brought back down I was. I learned this afternoon, as I scrolled down through my Facebook feed, that EXO's Kris is going to the courts to terminate his contract with SM Entertainment. A sure sign you like a group too much is when you hear something like this and then spend the rest of the day with a lead weight in your chest. Everything just. . . . fell. There's a lot of rumour going around at this point, some saying it's true, and it's confirmed by the lawyers, others are saying none of it's confirmed, and some people are saying they are just going to go over the contract again, like they've done in the past, rather than it being a termination. But with what other group members are posting/doing on the internet (namely Instagram and Weibo) makes me think that it's not going to be dismissed as rumour anytime soon.

All I can think is - SM is really well known for 'slave contracts' and mistreating their artists. So many groups in the past have been broken up, members filing in the courts to get rid of their contracts and get away from SM, that it's almost a given with them. And all I can think is that, with this as a well known fact, he knew what he was signing on for. . . . and then it was so bad that he wants to get out. Now. In the middle of promotions for their latest comeback. What on earth happened that made it so bad, so quick, that he needs to get out immediately? I don't know - no one who isn't directly involved really knows - and the whole case isn't going to be public so it's likely that no one will ever really know what went on. I really hope and pray that he's okay right now, and all 11 of the other band members. I just. . . . wish SM didn't have to be this way. It won't be the same without Kris, the leader of EXO-M. It won't be the same. But I sincerely hope that if it's that bad there, that he is driven to this, that he can come to a good settlement with the whole thing. That he can walk free and be okay.

Ugh. See what I mean? Lead weight.

Anyway, enough with the down stuff. I'm busy going through my things and getting rid of as much as I can, sifting through books, clothes, and cross stitch supplies. I've got quite the stacks of goods to give away or throw out! I'll be getting back to that now before I pick up any more stitching (or drama episodes), so - hope to write again on next Wednesday! The actual Wednesday! XD

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Porcupines, Squirrels, and Owls Oh My

So the owl didn't get done. But the rest of it did!



All but the last two boxes at the bottom are stitched in (using up the last of the 869 I was using to complete November's), and all the month names have been stitched! I really like the colour I found for it, it's very Fall-y. Just a few more additions here and there - the snow on the squirrel's branch, the stems on the leaves in September, and a little more work on the owl's part will see this section done! I just need to go back to July and finish that poor fox and the sparkly dandelions. Dx

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Regular Work-In-Progress You Are

Finally new photos of progress!! I have pictures of the Woodland Sampler - finally updated - as well as the newer piece I've been working on.


I began work on the October square - the one with the branch, beside the squirrel - this morning. I'm picking out colours for the owl right now, and hope to get him done before tomorrow evening, if I don't get distracted with other blocks! If all goes as planned and I keep working on this sampler, I should be finished before the end of May!


These are slippers that go with Hanbok. This piece will be full of traditional Korean images!

This one had some colours missing that I was replacing. Yesterday my Mother and I stopped by the local threads shop again at last (The Piddlin' Patch), and I picked up the last six colours I needed for this piece and its companion. I also got the most of the remaining colours I needed for the next few projects I want to get done this year. I'm cleaning up my list of projects and going through my patterns - I'll get plenty done the remainder of this year, I hope!

~x~