- Cross stitching a giant Andwabisabi design for a Christmas present whilst listening to another Downside Ghosts audiobook, I could happily do both all day.
- Watching Lost (I’m on series 4 or 5, I can’t remember which but please no spoilers) and rediscovering my love for Sawyer (Jack is just a wimp) and my admiration for the writers. I would love to be able to write something that complicated, that in-depth, and get away with it. I think the way how they explore character motivation is brilliant.
- David Tennant reading Book at Bedtime, ok so he actually read them last week but thank god for iPlayer because I did try and listen to them ‘live’ but I kept falling asleep. If you are in the UK and you fancy listening to David Tennant reading you spooky vampire stories, catch them whilst you can here . I particularly recommend the Tolstoy story, but as of typing I notice that particular story is only going to be on iPlayer for another 7 hours, so listen if you can because Tennant does some deliciously creepy voices in that one and the story itself (The Family of the Vourdalak) is as scary as anything as it is.
- Decent underwear.
One of the benefits of having to do lots of craft work is that it equals lots of time to listen to audiobooks and the latest one I listened to, Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane was fantastic, despite an initial (for me) slow start.
Unholy Ghosts is set in a world where some years previously (in the 90s), the dead had risen and murdered a very large proportion of the world’s population. The survivors turned to the only people who seemed to know what they were talking about, the people who had been practising magic beforehand. These witches formed a new church and gained absolute control. The main character in Unholy Ghosts, Chess, is a witch working for the church as a debunker (people can claim compensation from the church if they are haunted, leading to a rise in fake hauntings), she has a troubled past and a nasty drug habit, so when her drug supplier wants her to get rid of some ghosts at an airport he wants to reopen, she doesn’t have much choice but to comply. But when it turns out that what’s happening at the airport is more than just a simple haunting and a rival drug gang is getting involved to, Chess’ life gets very complicated.
This is an atmospheric, creepy book with an original and entertaining premise. There is excellent characterisation, with not just Chess but her two friends, Trouble, the enforcer for drug gang number 1 and Lex who works for drug gang number 2. Both men are dangerous to know but incredibly and utterly seductive with it, you can really get why Chess is not running as fast as she can in the opposite direction from these two men. Unholy Ghosts is an adult book (due to multiple drug references and some fairly passionate scenes) but I can not help compare it with the everyone’s read Twilight series, Kane’s men are far more ‘interesting’ than the vampire and the werewolf. Unholy Ghosts is part of a series, I can not wait to read more.
I’ve got lots of Christmas jobs to do and most of them are ongoing, so it feels good whenever I actually finish something. My second completed Christmas job was sewing tinsel onto a white T-shirt for Girl Lacer’s school Christmas concert (the school doesn’t do plays, it does concerts, probably so that they don’t have to worry about finding 30 school play parts, it’s also good for those kids who’d feel uncomfortable having the limelight on just them). As much as I’m grateful not to have to sew a costume (the fabric shops round here are soooo busy this time of year), I can’t help but think, tinsel, bit scratchy isn’t it?
Hmmm, this could be my first ‘official’ Christmas post for the year, there will not be many as I am feeling spectacularly un-Christmassy, which I keep telling myself is of course ok, as it’s still only November but when you’re aiming to hand make a large majority of your Christmas presents, you’re kind of forced into being Christmassy a lot earlier, which I don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the idea of a handmade Christmas but I’m also quite liking the idea of not having to think about Christmas till Christmas Eve as well, which of course is impossible, whether you’re doing a handmade Christmas or not, when you’ve got small children in the house.
Anyway one of the things I’ve been doing in the ‘being forced to think about Christmas way earlier than I want to’ category is helping with the school’s craft stall; the parents’ association have me down as one of the ‘crafty mums’ which means I can never ever escape (no actually I don’t mean that, I think the parents’ association is lovely and I’m glad to help). Unfortunately as you may have noticed from the almost complete lack of posting this week, I’ve been tied up with being rather ill, with a very nasty chest infection which I’m still not completely over (it’s been a week and a half now), so a lot of the things I’ve been meant to be doing have been delayed and this has included helping with the craft stall. Now I had said I would make some flower brooches, I have a large surplus of felt at home and I didn’t think it would be too hard, humph! I finally managed to clear some time to sit down and make them the Thursday before last and almost threw my scissors across the room in disgust, whatever shape I tried to cut out I just couldn’t do it (little did I know that as I was sitting there feeling disgusted with my cutting ability and thinking the flat was blinking freezing, I was actually coming down with the chest infection and that probably had a lot to do with my inability to cut anything). I had to go out again that Thursday (not knowing I was ill, just feeling really cold and tired), so in desperation just to produce anything to satisfy my brooch obligation, I went into John Lewis and bought two packs of pre-cut felt shapes. I then got sicker and I managed to loose the felt shapes, but luckily found them again this weekend, so I’ve just spent a couple of hours sewing brooch backs to them and adding some embellishments. The result, well I’m glad I’ve got them out the way, but I’m not particularly happy with them, I think in good health and nothing else mounting up time wise, I could have done something a lot better, but they will have to do. I quite like the snowflakes (which required almost zero work from me) and will probably end up buying one back, I normally wear flower brooches on my coats and jackets, I think I might as well try and look a little more festive.
Warning: I’m not sure if it’s possible to spoiler a documentary but if you can, the following review contains spoilers a plenty, so if you’d like to watch this documentary and don’t want to know what happens next (and trust me, it’s surprising), don’t read on.
Whilst Mr. Lacer is away, Mrs. Lacer gets to watch some culture. Today’s culture was Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary about a French guy’s attempt to film Banksy. And despite Banksy’s obvious secrecy, the French guy, Thierry Guetta, a fairly successful shop owner in LA back in the 80s, manages to succeed after befriending numerous other street artists. So Guetta, who has up to that point spent pretty much his entire adult life with a video camera in his hand documenting his family, driving to work, going to the toilet, you get my drift, starts filming the street artists and the street artists think he’s making a documentary but the thing is all the tape he’s recording is going into boxes never to be watched again, so when Banksy says to Guetta that he needs to make his documentary now, only then does he get to work. Six months later Guetta shows Banksy the almost finished documentary, it’s awful, but Banksy thinks something can be done with all the footage he’s shot, so in an attempt to get Guetta out of the way he encourages Guetta to go back to America to do some art of his own, maybe do a little show. Guetta takes this literally and puts the biggest show you could ever imagine on (and this with no experience as an artist himself), after remortgaging to the hilt and hiring a team of artists, leaving Banksy and the other street artists Guetta had befriended to look on aghast, as he produces a mish mash of images rather similar to cultural icons already out there.
This is a fascinating movie about the street art movement and it is a fascinating movie about one man’s (Guetta’s) obsession and how someone can be seemingly incredibly lucky against all odds.
The line Banksy says at the end though kind of says it all (and I’m paraphrasing here).
“I used to encourage everyone to have a go at art. I don’t say that any more.”
- Banksy in line for Oscar nomination (guardian.co.uk)
This one was actually completed a while ago as part of the Hoop Up Swap, but I wanted to wait and make sure it had made its way safely across the Atlantic before blogging about it. This one was for Scott, who wanted a cottage theme, which when I heard that I knew immediately what I had to do, one of my most favourite views in the UK, the red cottage at the Museum of Welsh Life at St.Fagans. It’s one of the first things you see as you come out of the other side of the visitor centre and the view is so inviting. You can see the photo I based the piece on, plus a photo of the interior in my blog post about my last visit there, here. Anyone remotely in the vicinity of South Wales I highly recommend you go to see the museum, it’s one of my favourite places from my childhood and it’s free!
Anyway back to the embroidery (can’t you tell I so desperately want to go back?), it was my first attempt at proper mixed media and um, it didn’t work as well as I would have liked (trust me, close up I think it looks a bit blah), but I think Scott liked it!
Hi, sorry for my tiny absence. Last time I was ‘here’ I was a bit crabbitty, little did I know but this was partially due to me coming down with my second flu like illness in two weeks (the first had been a feverish, muscle achey sinusitis, this one, and I’ve still got it, is more in my chest). I spent all of that Thursday convinced the flat was freezing cold, little did I know it was me.
Anyway, although the pile of stuff I should be doing is now mounting up at an even more alarming rate than when I’m healthy, I have been able to do a little embroidery, problem is with all the pieces I ‘should’ be doing (i.e. for Christmas), of the two I’m working on at the moment, one is a large cross stitch and the other is a series of pieces for a quilt which on the face of it look quite simple but actually involves using chain stitch as the outline stitch and like cross stitch, chain stitch takes ages, so neither project was really suitable for a spot of minimal concentration, quick reward embroidery.
So does anyone else have emergency embroidery projects stashed away, for those moments where you just have to do ‘something’? So much of my crafting these days seems to have a purpose and it feels like I could almost forget the feeling of crafting just for fun. Luckily for me I did have an emergency embroidery project tucked away, another Cate Anevski pattern I adored but didn’t have time to do when I bought it, even though I had gone as far as finding a white T-shirt to embroider it on and the right colour floss, but it was all in a bag, ready, waiting and now was the time. Except of course I’d forgotten that stitching with stabiliser (for the T-shirt) isn’t my most favourite thing to do, particularly when I’m not feeling particularly with it, so consequently some of my stitches are a bit loose (you really need to stitch tightly with stabiliser), but still, I quite like it . . .
The pattern, called ‘Sorry’ is available here.