35 Before 35: Progress report 7

A blog post two days in a row? What is this madness? I hear you cry! Well, it’s exactly a month until my 34th birthday (HELP!) so I thought I’d better check what progress I’ve made on my 35 before 35 list since my last check in – which was in January, apparently.

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I was up to 18 last time, and now I’m on a grand total of…. *drum roll* … 19. Yeah. I read A Sense of Style by Steve Pinker. I reviewed it yesterday.

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

Last time I was up to 22, and now I’m on 24. So a whole 2 for this category.  Die Stille Braut by Barbara Wenken (okay) and Märchenwald by Martin Krist (really good!).

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

I’d read 46 last time and now I’m on 56! Finally some real progress. I’m not going to list them all, so you can see all the Big Read books I’ve read here. I have 67 left to read… theoretically it’s possible, as long as I stop reading everything else!

Number 30: Learn to crochet or knit (or both)

I haven’t written a post on it yet, but I did loom knit a bunch of tiny hats (too small for even a newborn, but recognisable as hats) and one and a half socks for myself. Loom knitting isn’t exactly knitting, but the items are made of wool and look knitted so I’ve decided it can count.

Number 31. Watch 35 films I’ve never seen before

I had made it to 29 last time… and now I’m finished! I’ve actually managed to watch all six of the films I still needed this year. I completed this item by watching Kajaki. You can see what else I’ve watched here.

Number 34: Drink champagne in Champagne.

Woohoo! I actually did this. Thank you Germany and your ridiculous amount of public holidays in the spring! I wrote about it here.

So, I have made some progress on the reading front, discovered a new hobby in loom knitting (because I totally need even more sedentary hobbies with the way the scales are looking!), crossed off one more travel item and actually managed to watch films for a change. With one year and one month to go, I obviously won’t manage everything (especially not all the travel-related items) but hopefully I will at least get all the reading crossed off. Wish me luck!

In which I attempt to do something different with my cross stitch

Some time around November last year it suddenly occurred to me that I could branch out from card making and use little cross stitch designs to make brooches. So I bought some brooch backs from the Internet and promptly became so busy with Christmas cards that the idea of making anything else went completely out of my head. At the weekend, I rediscovered the brooch backs and decided to give it a go…

From a distance it looks alright (particularly if the photo is nice and blurry… sorry about that). I pinned it on a cushion for the second photo to get an idea of what it would look like in use.

How about a close up?

daisy-brooch3

Hmm. The sharp-eyed among you may notice my not really even stitching and the badly cut edges of the Aida (the fabric the pattern is cross stitched on).

Turn over…

  1. The brooch back thing was supposed to be in the middle. Why isn’t it in the middle?
  2. The stitching on the little strip of felt that’s covering the brooch back is awful! Note to self: stitch that little strip on before sewing the two bits of felt together.
  3. The sharp-eyed among you may notice that the strip of felt isn’t even covering all of the stitching that’s holding the brooch back on, thus completely defeating its purpose.

Apart from all that, it’s not bad for a first attempt 😉

Now I just have eleventy million brooch backs to somehow use up. (Well, 99 anyway…)

Christmas cards 2016

A few weeks ago I shared a bit of this year’s Christmas stitching with you. Now that I’ve made a few cards, I thought you might want to see what came of some of those designs, plus a few more that I’ve stitched since then. Obviously I couldn’t take all the photos in the same place, because that would be too professional or something?! (Insert eye rolling smiley here)

Any favourites here? Personally I like the “Santa stop here” one, because although it’s simple it’s effective. And I think the JOY one came out well too.

Apologies for the quality of the photos. One day I will figure out how to take good pictures of cross stitch!

 

A good idea…

Over the past few months, I have taken part in two separate tea exchanges through the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club (If you’re not sure what the IGGPPC is, read this post). Although, when I say “exchange” what I actually mean is I sent out tea twice and only actually received any from my second partner… but anyway, I digress.

Obviously I couldn’t just stick some tea in an envelope with a brief note and call it a day, so the cross stitch threads came out. Here’s what I came up with:

The first one I designed myself (if you can even use the word “design” for something that’s mostly text), the second was adapted from a book.

Tea and cross stitch… two of my favourite things!

And in case you were wondering, for the exchange where I actually got something back I received a green energy tea and a Greek senna tea, both of which I’m yet to try.

Christmas stitching 2016

I should really do another travel post to try and catch up, but the thought of sorting out all those photos just makes me feel tired, so instead here is some of the Christmas stitching I’ve done so far this year. All of these will be made into cards.

Do you have any favourites among these? Personally I love the snowman most, although I do also like the bauble in the “JOY”.

Now I just have to make sure none of the people who occasionally read this blog receive the pictures featured here 😉

Welcome to Night Vale: The Librarian

The entire point of our trip to Paris was to see a live show of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The title of the show they’re currently performing in Europe is The Librarian. I went with Jan and my friend K, who is the one that first got us into it. Amazingly I was the one who told her about the European shows though! All the performances in Germany were either too far away (Hamburg!) or in the middle of the week, but Paris is only 3 hours from us and the show was on a Friday, meaning only one day off was needed. Perfect!

For those of you who don’t know the podcast, a brief summary. Night Vale is a desert community somewhere in America (presumably the south-west – that’s where all the seserts are, right?). The premise of the podcast is that it’s community radio, so each podcast contains things like the community calendar, traffic, local news and announcements  about things that are happening in town, all read out by narrator Cecil (voiced by Cecil Baldwin). But all is not as it seems in Night Vale. For instance, there are angels… or at least beings claiming to be angels and a dog park that neither dogs nor humans are allowed to enter. Also, beware of helicoptors, librarians and hooded figures. Basically listen to it! It’s free to download, so at least go and get the pilot. If you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted any money.

As I’ve said, the show we went to see was entitled The Librarian. I won’t tell you too much about what happens because a recording will be released at some point in the future, and also the tour isn’t even over yet! I will, however, say this much: it all starts when the town council decides to renovate the public library and one of the librarians gets loose. Also, creator Joseph Fink shows up as new intern Joseph… and we all know what happens to interns! Seeing Night Vale live was an amazing experience. The shows are always good, but Cecil’s facial expressions and gesticulations added a whole extra dimension. In fact, everyone did a great job (other performers included former mayor Pamela Winchell, who called a press conference (what else?) right in the studio and Deb as one of Night Vale’s sponsors, played by Meg Bashwiner better known as the voice of the credits). Here are some photos of the show:

The weather was performed by Mary Epworth, a British singer-songwriter who I liked a lot.

There were quite a few people with the Night Vale moon drawn on them or extra eyes, but there were also some really good costumes. One of my favourites was an excellent girl scout! Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of her, although Jan did get one of a different girl scout. K went as the glow cloud, and was quite rightly hailed/worshipped all night. I think every single audience member wanted a photo either of or with her! I went as Tamika Flynn (as I’ve already mentioned) and was very disappointed by how few people actually knew what I was supposed to be! Especially considering Tamika is one of the few characters who is actually described even vaguely. And you would have thought the librarian head would have given it away! Most people only understood after I showed them my sticker chart, which had “my” name on it. One group of hooded figures actually thought I was supposed to be a librarian, which was a bit weird! Here are a few photos anyway (some taken by me, some by Jan). I have included one of K which I hope gives a good enough impression of her costume without revealing her identity too much (yes, I know it seems hypocritical to care about that considering I’m using photos of a bunch of strangers, but being strangers it’s less likely that people will figure out who they are via me!)

At the end of the show, we hung around for a bit waiting for the performers to come out. I bought a CD by Mary Epworth, which she signed for me, then eventually Cecil Baldwin and Joseph Fink showed up. I got them to sign my ticket (Cecil also signed my sticker chart) and got a photo with each of them. They were both lovely 🙂

After the show, we decided to go for a drink with two other girls we had met there. One we met in the queue (she came over to meet the glow cloud) and she ended up sitting with us and the other we met after the show when she wanted a photo with K. Appropriately enough, she was wearing a glow cloud T-shirt. All in all, it was an excellent night and I’m glad we went. It being on Halloween was just an added touch of brilliance. If there is ever another tour of Europe, I would definitely think about going!

You can download all the episodes of Welcome to Night Vale here or also on iTunes.

Christmas cross stitch

I know it seems really early for Christmas (I mean, it’s literally only just October!), but I rather ambitiously decide to cross stitch all my cards this year and if I don’t get a move on I’ll never be finished in time! Especially judging by how quickly the past few months have sped by. Here are a few of the items I’ve stitched so far:

The bauble was an experiemnt to see the effect I could achieve with some multi-coloured thread I bought. I think it turned out quite well, what do you reckon? (Click the image for a better view.)

I love robins and couldn’t resist giving these two a try. I like the one on the right best.

I know I have some readers out there who also cross stitch… is anyone else planning on doing Christmas cards? If so, I would love to see yours!