Friday, 10 July 2015

10 Things: Week 27

1. Read: I put Strangers by Rosie Thomas to one side because I found out the next book group choice was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Now whilst I'd recognise the paperback cover of this book anywhere I knew nothing about it. Anyway, the moment I went on Amazon to buy it for my kindle and found out it was set in Amsterdam I started reading it. I was hooked and had the book finished within 24 hours. It was an enjoyable read but...Oh I can't say without giving away spoilers. Lets just say there was an element to the story that I'd have liked to have been explained a little better and not left so mysteriously. Maybe that's just me liking neat resolutions all round. Then I decided to get on with Re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank. This is a book I'd not read since school. I don't recall it being quite so dull as it was. But then again she was trapped for two years in an attic with the same people it didn't exactly give her a lot of different stuff to write about. That said it's incredibly poignant and moving given history tells us exactly how things would end for Anne and her family. Next I was going to read: Girl with a Pearl Earring only I was not about the pay that price for a kindle book (Unless I have to get a book for book group I limit the amount I'll spend on kindle books.) so opted for Amsterdam Calling by...forgotten! And I haven't read much so I'll tell you more about that another time.

Summerhouse reading

You're probably wondering why all the Amsterdam centric reading? Well Chief and I are off on a coach trip there shortly. I'm excited and nervous all at once because I'm not a great traveller and don't want to get ill and exhausted. On the plus side I'm visiting three new to me countries.

2. Made: I could resist no longer the urge to make a Luna Lapin! These have been popping up all over my IG feed and they are beyond adorable. I think she deserves her own blog post though so I'll just leave you a teaser picture here. If you can't wait until that blog post you can buy your own Luna Lapin kit from Coolcrafting.

Ok so making me pose like this is so undignified! #lunalapin 

3. Watched: I got the whole family hooked on The Syndicate. My niece keeps asking me what I'm watching on TV because I've given her some good recommendations lately. Although I told her last week she wouldn't cope with The Walking Dead and she apparently decided during episode one it was just too much for her! I am watching Odyssey on catch up (BBC2 Sunday 9pm) It sort of reminds me of Homeland before they killed off the best character. (Which was all the more gutting for me as a good friend put a spoiler on facebook, which told everyone this had/was going to happen and so ruined the last episode for me.) I'm loving all the different linked plot lines and conspiracy stuff.

4. My Garden/Flowers: I'm still getting lovely compliments about my garden, I keep seeing all the weedy bits that need attention!

5. Fish and Chips: Which were lovely at the time and I've regretted eating every since!

6. Visited: I had a walk through the grounds of my old school which had a wild flower meadow planted last year.

A walk through the Park

7. Recommended: This week it has to be Coolcrafting for their excellent kits like Luna Lapin.

8. Stash: In 4 fat quarters Out: 0

Sale pretties

9. Birds: It's not the best time for birding as many birds are feeding young and those finished with that are starting to moult. This means they lose feathers and look quite scraggy. It also makes them more vulnerable to predation so they keep out of sight even more than usual.

10. And finally...this is the most important bit in this whole blog post and it would be great if you could share about this on any social media you're involved with.   Elsie is the daughter of a very old school friend of mine. We go way back to primary school. Unfortunately little Elsie is in desperate need of a blood stem cell donation. Getting a match for anyone is so difficult which is why as many people as possible need to go on the register. Think of it like this: Elsie really needs to win this lottery and the more people on the register the more tickets Elsie has in the draw.  I was completely ignorant about stem cell donation. I'd heard of bone marrow donations and how invasive this is and I'd also heard on the news that if you were over 30 you couldn't go on the register anyway(and I believe this is the case for the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register.) However, blood stem cell donation is a whole different prospect. It's a bit like giving blood and you do it as an out patient and don't even have to have a general anaesthetic for it.  The age limit for registration is a lot higher. It goes even higher if you already give blood because you can register at the blood donation centre. What is making it even more difficult to get a match for Elsie is that the number of mixed race people signing up is not very high. Elsie is mixed race because her mother is white and her father is Indian.

So I would really really appreciate if you could watch the you tube video and if you're on facebook check out the page and share amongst your friends. @AMatchForElsie is the twitter thingy. If you're able to join the register that would be beyond fabulous. Imagine if you were a match for Elsie or someone else and all it took was a few hours in hospital undergoing a procedure that's a lot like giving blood and at the end of it you could save someones life.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

10 Things: Week 26

1. Read: I have moved away from my kindle of late because it's developed an annoying fault that I can't seem to solve. Despite trying various things on forums. Basically it's taken to freezing. I'm unable to move on to the next page or go back or do anything else. Necessitating a reboot. Then when it comes back online it's not remembered where I read to. Frustrating if I have to click through a lot of pages to find my place since it logged it before. I'm trying to remember to keep coming out of the book so it saves my place on a regular basis. But it is frustrating. I even left the device to see what would happen if I didn't reboot it. Would the home screen saver come on? Would it start working again? No, it just rebooted itself and my place was still lost! So I've moved on to The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah. I have mixed feelings about Sophie Hannah books. I find I devour them quite quickly but they do tend to make my brain spin with all the detailed character analysis. There is invariably a (female) character that I can't stand. This was a gift though so I felt obliged to read it. Next I've moved on to Strangers by Rosie Thomas. It's about two people that go out Christmas shopping first thing in the morning and get caught up in a terrorist bomb blast. Having never met before they find themselves laying beneath rubble in the basement of the store, only able to touch each others fingers and taking comfort in each others presence. They talk to each other. Tell them the secrets of their lives and hearts. I can't wait to see where this goes.

Latest read

2. Made: I am lucky enough to be part of a sort of bee-come-swap over on flickr. PIP: Project in Progress. Suggested by my lovely Scottish Twin Lynz because quite a few of us miss the way we interacted on the old style flickr. I've stayed with flickr, but am conscious that many people found it just too difficult from their various devices and I firmly believe that the changes in our lovely sewing community first started when we didn't have the cohesive base of flickr to hold us all together. Anyway, PIP is going to be a round robin swap where we all make small blocks of our choosing and send them on to be added to - whether that's an addition in the form of a new block or some embellishment to the existing ones. It's a cracking bunch of talented ladies in this group and we're already inspiring and bouncing ideas off each other. For my first block I couldn't help but want to do something bird related. So I made a reduced scale Anna Maria Horner feather. I reduced the two page pattern so it would fit on one page. It still seemed too big so I reduced that so it fitted on half a page. It made for some fiddly piecing and I messed the first feather I attempted up because I taped a pattern piece to another and I shouldn't have done. I only realised my mistake too late to sensibly put it right. But being such a quick block I decided to start over.

This is my #pip piece so far. Too small at mo so I'm contemplating adding to it #feather 

3. Watched: The second episode of Black Work. Seeing that Sheridan Smith was in the lead role and everything she's touched of late seems to be golden I had high expectations of this series. But by episode two I'm thinking: Hmmm haven't we seen this all before with different characters?

4. My Garden/Flowers: My garden is looking weedy. I need to find the time to get out and dig up the clumps of this pale green grass that seems to be invading parts of the borders. Seeding itself right in the middle of plants I'd really rather save. However, I fear I need to dig them up and risk losing them to eradicate this perennial invader.

5. Eaten: My brother and Niece invited Mum and I to a BBQ. I think niece had the idea in her head because I said I'd never seen her dads new gas BBQ bought mid-season last year. She was convinced we'd been down for a BBQ last year and I said we hadn't. Bro did us proud with yummy sides and great BBQ food.

BBQ cooking


 6. Visited: My brother has a totally different style of garden to mine. He likes neat and tidy and order. His garden looks excellent though. Although he still thinks it's not at its best. I've never know anyone get hosta's looking as good as he does. It was like visiting a show garden. Ironic thing is my brother does not like gardening. But he's motivated to do it because he likes a nice garden.

stripy lawn

Bro's Garden

Bro's Garden

Move over alan titmarsh. Bros got green fingers

More corners of bros garden 

7. Recommended: Eating outside. It doesn't matter what it is it'll taste better in the fresh air. Well I think so anyway.

8. Stash: In: 0 Out: Scraps.

9. Birds: Nothing of note to report.

10. And Finally...I seem to be taking more pics on Instagram than ever before so if you want to check out the random stuff I post over there I'm isisjem there too.

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