Tag Archives: Crafting

Getting that Fix

Currently reading: Vlad, CC Humphreys (and The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick)

Currently hearing: Guards! Guards! and Going Postal, Terry Pratchett; Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden; The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood.

Alright, so I’m cheating on my “no new books” thing. I’ve got four audiobooks on the go that are books I’ve read before, but the audios are newly purchased. Sort of. I decided to cancel my Audible account because while £14.99 isn’t breaking the bank, I’m not actually using it. So I had 12 credits of books to buy. Can’t waste that money! And audiobooks are reeeeally expensive! So I bought some audios of books I already own, and yes, a couple of new ones that I really want to read but technically can’t because I’m working through my To Read pile. But… but… OK it’s not really an excuse.

As for cycling through four in one go… my brain needs stimulation! And these things are many, many hours long. I like them for listening to while crafting or pottering about, because I don’t need my eyes or my hands to enjoy them, and they’re less distracting. But hearing the same voice for hours on end means eventually you start zoning out. I’m trying to cope with having less to occupy my brain by feeding it more fiction. Usually that works.

I’m also cheekily re-reading The Summer Queen. I didn’t even read it that long ago, but I was at the optician’s yesterday with my new tablet, and I’ve only just put Kindle onto it, so I didn’t have many books actually downloaded. So I HAD TO read what was to hand. HAD TO. And I was there for an hour and a half in the end, so I think I did the right thing. Also, I have ordered new glasses. It’s about time. I’ve had my current frames a good four years at least, and they were chosen when I had longer hair. I don’t feel like they suit my face as well since I had the chop. So that’s exciting!

I’m signed up to a craft swapping deal at the moment as well. It’s Christmas themed! I am pretty excited about it; you know how we love Christmas in Crow-Spicer-Quinn towers! I have to make a tree decoration of some kind, but I don’t think I can stick to that! I was Pinteresting earlier and have a lovely inspiration board. There are loads of cute ideas for small decorations that you could even stack up to make wall strings or mobiles so I’ll probably make a few things and connect them somehow. Or just make a complete tree’s worth of decoration, haha. VERY EXCITED. That also means more craft project photo blogs.

I broke my sewing machine earlier this week. Well, I snapped a lever with my WOMAN STRENGTH. But I soon had the screwdriver out to take the machine apart. I eBayed a new part and it’s in and ready to start levering again. That’s good because it meant all work on Rivka’s Christmas present had stopped. It’s pretty much taking over the craft room. I’m still excited though. There’s time to do some more work on it before dinner. It feels like there’s still a lot to do, but in the way that hopefully it’ll suddenly come together. Hopefully.

The nights are starting to draw in, the fire has been lit, and it’s cosying up time. Now is the season of quilts and spices. I effing love autumn. The next few weeks are going to buoy me up, I can tell.

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Federal Bureau of Instigation

Currently reading: Stephen Hunt, Secrets of the Fire Sea

Feeling: Potent! (in the sense of “full of things that will burst forth with glorious purpose!”)

Whiiiiiich immediately makes me think of this

Whiiiiiich immediately makes me think of this

Hello, hello. Well, I’ve been on holiday, and I have *thunderclap* read a book that was not on my list. But I couldn’t help it, because I was at my parents’ house, and it was just lying there… and I was bored… it was The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie; a series of shorts – twelve in fact – about the famous moustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. AND I’M NOT SORRY. Also, bloody hell, the olden times were misogynistic!

I went out bureau hunting today. It wasn’t so much a hunt as going to a shop and saying “yes, we’ll have that bureau, please”, but hey. Let’s make it an adventure. It was not a bureau for me, dear reader, oh heavens no! I’ve had a bureau for a while now. It’s lovely and foldy and has cubbies. What sort of self-respecting writer doesn’t have a bureau? Tut tut. How could you doubt me? I love it almost as much as the cocktail cabinet of joy. I have a cocktail cabinet. FEAR ME.

Anyway… I helped my friend buy and transport the bureau in my lovely, battered old car. We also did some gardening. I can feel myself levelling up to a new and impressive state of middle-class-ness. Hurrah for furniture that needs a key, I say!

I’m sorry to say that over my holiday I did not manage to get the draft of Once Bitten re-edited. I did pretty well with it, but the middle third needs a bit (a lot) more punch. Looking at it objectively (ha!) I can see a few holes that need some narrative polyfilla to appeal to an audience that isn’t me, or in on the joke. So Broadening The Range is the new goal. I’m happier with it than I was. I feel like it’s improving with revision, so I’m going in the right direction. I’m transferring the draft to Novlr as I go along (with a back up, of course! Never again, NaNoWriMo 2012!) and enjoying that process. It’s a pretty simple interface at the moment, more or less WYSIWYG, but they’re adding new features and fixing bugs as they go, and it’s working for me.

I’ve got a little crafting to do over the next couple of days so perhaps I’ll photoblog the things. Perhaps. Gotta leave ‘em wanting more *nudge nudge*

Onwards and upwards!


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Status and Stasis

Hey, guys. Confession: I’m probably never going to be a writer. And that’s OK. I just started a sentence with “and”, for Christ’s sake; look at the evidence! That’s not to say I have stopped writing or that I never intend to finish any of the many ongoing projects I have. I enjoy writing and I feel like I have stories worth telling. I just can’t stick to writing as a sole creative outlet.

So I’m planning to restructure this place as a more general creative space. I have a number of projects that are textile-based that I’ll be talking about, as well as things about writing. It’s a sad time but also a happy time. I haven’t been active on here or on Twitter for months and months. I can’t claim that this is a space I want to use as a professional tool.

I am really happy about the friends and acquaintances I have made so far: E O Higgins, Ivory Quinn, Rivka Spicer (though I do know the last two IRL), Katie Cross, Julie Hutchings, Rich Ford, and the lovely people at Opening Line Magazine who published some of my poems. Not to mention my writer-in-crime JA Garrett whom I’ve known the longest of all of them, and apart from his wife I’ve probably read more of his stuff.

For a long time, writing prose and poetry was a saving grace for me. I can’t draw to save my life, but I could paint pictures with my words *vom*. However, I’ve always been quite craftsy. I have made wedding and birth records, countless friendship bracelets, clothes, toys, Christmas decorations, bedding… so despite my lack of 2D visualisation, I work quite well in 3D. I re-upholstered my own headboard!

My time and energy these days is more and more devoted to Stuff I Make With My Hands. I’ve got a few birthday and Christmas projects I’m very excited about. Priorities change, I guess? If I ever get to the end of writing something I’m excited about, you’ll be the first to know. But in the meantime prepare for photo blogs of stitching and rants about Hobbycraft.

And probably some more Book a Day things. Because they’re fun. The books are never going to go away.


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I love Christmas. Not an unusual opinion.

I’m sitting in my living room with Rise Against coming out of the speakers, looking at the log fire and contemplating the next festive activity with a cheeky glass of white wine. I think what it will be though is washing up and tidying, because with me and Rivka both busy on various projects, the housework goes by the wayside a little. And neither of us particularly likes doing the dishes. Ugh. Ah well, I earned some grown up points earlier so I feel I ought to earn so more so I can save them up and have a childish tantrum some time in the next week.

Anyway, Christmas. I’ve been making some things this year, from my stores of fabric and craft items, and I’ve really been enjoying it. You might know from Twitter, or from other vague mentions in posts, that I do a fair bit of sewing and crafting. So making presents and decorations is almost a busman’s holiday, but with the added pleasure of seeing someone realise I took the time to make them something instead of just clicking on Amazon or something. I’ve not made everything, I’m not a machine for heaven’s sake, but I have some things that I want to get finished this weekend and in the next week.

Haha, I did just order something from Amazon though, because I can’t make ceramic baking beads. But I’ve made some stuff. And I posted an international parcel today! That’s even more grown up points for me! I stood in the queue at the Post Office and filled in a customs form –

That really annoys me because I want the present I sent to be a surprise and I have to write on the label what is in it. Like, I understand the reasoning, and I am happy to do it, but it ruins the magic of “oh wow a surprise parcel! What could be in it?”

– and everything! I did parcel corners on the wrapping, too. I’m an epically good wrapper. I love ribbons and bows and neat wrapping. I think I like the wrapping of the gifts the best. It’s like wrapping up all the potential and all the best bits of the holiday (religious aspect notwithstanding) and then the presents sit about for a week or two reminding you that they’re there, waiting to be given. Looking all pretty, and possibly colour co-ordinated. And sparkly, on occasion. I can even wrap bottles (properly!) despite the wide availability of bottle bags. I’m big on personal gift tags.

Oooh! Maybe I should make truffles again?! I made some awesome cherry ones the year before last. They were hella tasty. Mmm tasty wine.

Well, time to go do the dishes. Rivka has helpfully piled them up for me on the worktop. Then I don’t know what to do… early night maybe. Today has seemed so long with all my productivity!

PS Been singing Kick it up a Notch for 36 hours straight. I think I got this!

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I’m writing this in my attic. Well, our attic, but my bit of it. Here in the new flat, there’s juuuust enough space to stand up unless you’re a midget like Rivka in which case you can stand normally with no problems. The roof slopes on both sides with a little sash window in the front side looking out over the High Street. Oh yes, we live in the centre of things. It is quite busy at the moment because it’s tourist season in the Highlands and our little metropolis is a perfect stopping off point for coach parties on day trips or on their way north. It’s quaint. It has an ancient priory to poke around in. It also has a massive car park perfect for coaches.

Yesterday was sunshine and showers, until it went really dark and lammed it down in the middle of the afternoon. The kind of dark from Independence Day or the Fifth Element, where it’s bright and then something smoothly rolls over the sun and fills you with dread. Thunder! Lightning! Zero visibility! Children were shrieking about in the street and a lot of tourists dressed for summer gt drenched. I watched it all from the window with a cup of tea.

Rivka came home saying town was chaos with flash floods and no way of seeing out the windscreen as the rain was so heavy. We battened down the hatches and watched The Breakfast Club, which she had never seen and then afterwards deemed merely “OK”. Learn from my mistake: never move in with someone who has such different opinions. OK????? OK?????? It’s one of the best films to come out of the eighties and that includes Cocktail, Top Gun, The Lost Boys and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Oh, and of course Labyrinth.

Regardless, we had a cosy night in. Today looks like more rain given the huge black cloud hanging around up there. Friday’s blog will be all about Ivory Quinn, since her book Redemption comes out on Saturday and I signed up to do pre-release promo. She’s getting ready for it to explode when it comes out as she has a lot of fans who are dying to know what happens. From some of the hints Ivory has been dropping, so am I!

Whoops, I just got sucked into the Internet.

I’m listening to The Night Circus on audiobook at the moment and I need my hands free for hemming. The wedding preparations have begun! I couldn’t sleep last night because I was thinking about epic embroidery. Visions of sugarplums danced in my head! Sort of. But it will all be very exciting if I pull my finger out and get it done. That means action stations. Ahahaha. Someone had better remind me to log in on Friday for Ivory’s book promo for I fear I will be up to my eyeballs in thread and tracing paper.

I am very excited by this planning stage, I tell you. Coffee will probably help with that.

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