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.

Inside the Theme: Woodland Fantasy


I’m going to do something a bit different today…

A while ago I mentioned that I had signed up for a geeky pen pals site. But the IGGPPC is so much more than just a place to find pen pals. There are forums where you can chat and a blog that discusses the latest happenings in the geeky world (new computer games, books, films, TV shows…). Each month, there is also a different theme including various activities to go along with it, such as a watch-along of a film (everyone watches a film at the same time and tweets about it). There is also a set of questions to go along with the theme. This month, the theme is Woodland Fantasy and I liked the questions so much that I’ve decided to answer them on my blog.


  • What is your favourite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?That’s a difficult one to answer, but I think I’d have to go with Discworld. Pratchett was such an excellent writer. I love his humour, the way he incorporates elements of our world into his Discworld, managing to look at society critically while still being funny. The way he brings his characters to life. His descriptions. Just… everything about the series. Please don’t ask me to pick a specific book though!
  • What was your first experience with fantasy?It depends what you consider fantasy, I suppose. If animals that talk and dress in human clothing are fantasy then it was probably Beatrix Potter’s books. Otherwise it would have been something by Enid Blyton – maybe The Wishing Chair? Or it could have been Disney’s Alice in Wonderland – my favourite film as a child! Then again, there was also Bananaman and Superted. Which came first, books or cartoons? Hmm.
  • Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)Regular readers probably won’t need to be told this, but for me it’s definitely books! Real ones… no Kindles here, thank you. I do like a good fantasy film occasionally though.
  • Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)Dragon Eastside GalleryA dragon! Party because of the relationship between the dragons and their riders in the Dragonlance series, and partly because of Toothless. I mean… who doesn’t want a Toothless of their very own? Obviously I’m assuming I would have somewhere to keep said dragon and that it would either be harmless (no fire-breathing!) or very, very tame!
  • Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?I play a wizard in Warhammer Quest. Never anything else. I’ve also played the original Warhammer (the one with the huge table filled with different armies) where I was dwarves. I prefer Warhammer Quest though. I’ve never actually played Dungeons and Dragons, the original roleplaying game! And neither have I played on of the various computer-based versions (World of Warcraft or whatever).

So there you have it. Feel free to answer the questions yourself if you want – there’s no need to sign up to the website to do so!

A cross stitch design and a “geeky” website

Remember when I told you my favourite pen pal had decided to stop writing to me? Well, not long after that I went searching for a new pen pal site, since the one I used to use (run by the German post office) had closed down. I wanted one that seemed serious and safe, i.e. wouldn’t publish my home address anywhere! I quickly came across something called the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club, and despite not being sure whether I actually count as a “geek”, I decided that most people who label themselves as such were unlikely to be judgemental and decided to sign up.The site only actually matches official pen pals once a month (among those who sign up for a new pal), but there are also forums where you can meet people. Everyone who joins the site is also sorted into a “house”, which is a special forum that only members of that house can view. These are sorted by age, and believe me there are many people around my age there! Despite the name, this is not a site just for young girls! (There are even a few males on there).


Each month, my house hosts a themed swap, which basically means you are assigned a person who entered similar interests in a form and you each send the other person a package containing things relating to the theme. September’s theme was “Back to (Fictional) School and I was matched with a lovely French girl. One of the questions I asked when I wrote to her was which fictional school she would most like to attend, and her answer was Sunnydale High because she would like to hang out with Buffy and the gang. She also told me she’s a librarian (which, by the way, sounds like an awesome job – although sadly she revealed that she doesn’t really get to read the books they have there). So I decided that an appropriate addition to her package would be a bookmark. You read books at school, right? So it fit right in with the theme. Of course, it couldn’t be just any bookmark – I wanted to cross stitch it, and I also decided to design it myself. Step one was to trawl the Internet for some Buffy quotes – which just goes to show it’s been far too long since I last watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Then I charted the writing, designed some “books” for decoration (okay, they’re rectangles… but thy look bookish!) then began stitching. Once it was done, I thought it looked a bit bare, so I added a border before mounting it on white card and adding a border with some other card. Here’s the end result:

Buffy cross stitchSo, what do you all think of my cross stitch designing skills? Be gentle, I know it’s quite simple but I was proud of it! 😉