Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Something Strange is Going on Here...

You may have noticed that the blog is going under some cosmetic changes. I've wanted to change it for a long time now and make it more my own. I finally got a good stylus and so I don't feel like I'm drawing with my elbow. That is why I stuck to simple changes and things that were easily manipulated. Now I'm learning how to use Procreate (a great little program that only costs a few bucks at the iTunes store). I have a lot to learn, but I have had fun and decided to replace some things. I do hope you like!

Change in the blog header:
I think this will reflect better the direction it is going. I also could not put my pup somewhere in the header. The little monster would have made it but I started designing it before I had her. I also thought it would be too crowded but I may put the monster in a post header. Not sure yet.

Some of my post headers will have changed:
You've seen this one already and I have more coming. I may end up tweaking it here or there so I will share as I get to them. Some are already up on the meme page.

I also changed my button. The other picture is still active so it won't reflect the change until you use the one I've provided. Thank you for those that have used it.

<a href="http://melissawatercolor.blogspot.com/"> <img src="https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4487/37269621386_0978f2d11e_o.jpg"></a>

Oh and speaking of buttons. I only have a couple of people who haven't moved from photobucket and I think the rest are updated. I hope I haven't missed anyone. If I have, I apologize.

Yea, I already see things I want to change but I think I will leave it until I get more done or if it bothers me too much. Whichever comes first. LOL

Well, I do hope you like the direction the blog goes. I know not everyone will love what I will post but you never know when something may suddenly seem interesting. Here's hoping!

πŸ’

Monday, September 25, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Annette Bag with Accessories


First, I want to say thanks for those still sticking around while I change a few things. I really appreciate it. πŸ’

As you see I have a new header for the arts and crafts post and it may get tweaked... or not. LOL I'm still playing around with other things to change the look in the blog. Hope you like it.

Well, it has been quite a while since I've done one of these posts in what I created. I'm going to catch up one day. I have a few things I still need to photograph. I will share one I did for my mom back in May. Yea, it's been a while. 

This is the Annette Handbag (affiliate link) with a Necessary Clutch Wallet (affiliate link) a Zig Zag eyeglasses case (affiliate link), a Small Tissue holder (affiliate link, but this one is free), and a dog lip balm holder from Nana's Handmade Baby Embroidery Designs. I'll go more into the details below.


The Annette Handbag by Swoon Patterns*. The floral blue panel is made from a obi sash that I got from ebay (you can get some good bargains if you are patient). I think that was the 3rd one she chose that I didn't get outbid or go over my bargain price. I also used an alternative leather that is also eco friendly on the sides and handle of the bag. Cork from Sew Sweetness* has become a popular fabric and it was the first time I sewed on it. If you try it, use a slightly longer stitch and don't overstitch since the fabric perforates but also don't overworry it. Backstitching (which is not recommended in leather is no problem here. I also used a cotton batik for the pop of color on the inside which my mom picked out. It makes it a bit fun. I also added a bit of twill blue to cut down on the bulk in the cork in the handles and it also matched perfectly. the side pockets and side panels inside are also lined with the blue twill.

I changed a few things from the pattern. My mom isn't much of a handbag person and likes the shoulder strap length. This pattern comes with the mesurments for the handles at hand length and a way to connect a removable shoulder strap. I just added inches to the handle portion and it was an overall 28" each if I remember correctly. It was nice to sort of measure it before I made it since my mom knew she was getting this one. I also got the long john handle metal holders from Emmaline Bags. The overlay included in the Annette pattern is beautiful but would have covered the floral pattern too much. This was a happy medium. I also added a key lanyard I stitched into the lining so she could attach something that she may have to pull out of the purse easily (I usually put my keys or wallet at the end of it). The other thing I changed was the small flower at the end of the zipper. This was a zipper end that I machine embroidered from Stitch Soup and then glued on the end. 

I also added some chicago screws you can get in most craft or leather craft stores. The small detail of the handmade tag (Emmaline Bags) and the love you charm (buggalena embroidery) were the finishing touches to the bag. I was not done with her pressie, however. 

The Necessary Clutch Wallet* by Emmaline Patterns was the wallet I made to go with her bag. I had made one for her before and she loved it and wanted one to match. I had a small scrap of the silk obi left but I thought it was a bit plain. I but this butterfly out of a embroidery file and stitched it on the silk. As long as the silk is stabilized properly (I did with SF 101) and I used cutaway in my hoop. I changed the flap by squaring it out and using a magnetic snap. The inside mimics the bag and I secured the sides with smaller chicago screws. The outside of the wallet is cork.

Zig Zag Eyeglasses Pouch* by Moments Designs was the next project. This one actually opens up flat which I thought would be great if she wanted to stow it away when not in use. I embroidered another butterfly in the same file I used in the one on the wallet and in the same color. I also used the same file from Stitch Soup for the zipper end. Of course, I also added a zipper charm to top it off. The hardest part of this one is making sure the zipper is solidly on and doesn't slip. Also closing felt a bit tricky so I did use some basting glue to make sure it didn't move in the final stitching. However, if you want to try this one, don't worry about it and go for it. It actually was easier to do than I thought and it even surprised me in how quickly it came together. This is a fun one I will do again in the future.

Last but not least was the small additions I added to the overall pressie. The tissue bag was quickly whipped up with some batik material I had (from the bag and the blue is from another project). She had also asked for a balm holder (from Nana's Handmade Baby Embroidery Designs) like what I made myself so I had some better tan vinyl so I added that to the present. (The links for those products under the group photo).

*whew* I guess now you know where I disappeared! Not really since I did these in May but I can still claim it, right? 

Well, I think I now need to get busy on some holiday projects as a few personal ones. I also have to get busy in taking some pics.

Hope you enjoyed!
🎁

Bloggy note: Affiliate links are either identified directly or by a *. Not all links are affiliate links and I tried to identify all project pattern makers. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Series: Immortal Guardians #7
541 p.
Published: Sept. 19. 2017
Publisher: Author Published
Source: From author for review


Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember. But she never saw Aidan coming. When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception... and passion. Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan's arms and in his bed. Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.
Immortal Guardian Aidan O'Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don't trouble him. The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan's brethren turning against him, so he can't help but feel alarmed. While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?
My thoughts:

Oh another addition to this wonderful series. Seriously, if you haven't started this one yet you are missing out on some great action and romance. In this book we get Aiden's story. A hunky Celt who has recently joined the ranks of Seth's Immortals. We got to know a bit of him through the other stories and found his longing for a romantic companion very swoony.

Okay, now I have a problem reviewing this book. Not because I didn't like it, but because I did and I'm TRYING not to spoil anything from this book or from previous books. So what to do...

Aidan appears vulnerable in how he is trying to meet the right woman which is adorable. We see him woo Dana and her reactions to the world she gets thrust into. Oh and I should also say that Dana is a great addition to this series as well. Not a shrinking violet but someone who takes no guff and protects those that she loves. There are also quite a few humorous moments within this greeting as well.

The action does seem less harrowing than in the other books but there was still one instance where I was thrown which also led me to believe that not everyone may be safe in the end of the series. Granted they might be as well, but it shows that the author is willing to risk some of her characters and keep us on the edge of our seat.

I don't think that spoiled it too much... you have no idea how much I wanted to say!

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is a great series that I suggest starting from the beginning. Not only do the characters develop throughout the series but so does the mysterious story arc connecting all the books. You could get away with reading this one without the rest, but I have no doubt that you would feel as though you missed some good story telling and you would be right. Therefore, get the whole series! I highly recommend it.


Don't forget to check out the blog tour post on the blog. There is a good excerpt there! Just click HERE or on the pic below:
Check out the excerpt and the prizes!

🎁

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Dianne Duvall, comes the next heart-pounding romance in the Immortal Guardians series - BLADE OF DARKNESS! Order your copy today!


28700596Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Guardians Book #7
Releasing September 19th, 2017

Return to the “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.

Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember.  But she never saw Aidan coming.  When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception… and passion.  Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan’s arms and in his bed.  Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.

Immortal Guardian Aidan O’Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don’t trouble him.  The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan’s brethren turning against him, so he can’t help but feel alarmed.  While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?



Excerpt:

“It really doesn’t freak you out, even a little bit, knowing I can see things from your past, present, and future? Knowing that the more time we spend together, the more I’ll see and the more I’ll know about you that you may not want me to know? Because I will see stuff you don’t want me to, Aidan. I always do. And it always ruins things.”

Leaning forward, Aidan crossed his arms and braced them on the table. “It doesn’t freak me out at all, Dana, because I’m in the same boat.”

She frowned. “What?”

Aidan took one of those pauses that made her think he questioned the wisdom of speaking. “I’m in the same boat,” he repeated. “I haven’t dated in a long time because I was born with gifts similar to yours that tend to make others uncomfortable.”

Disappointment filled her. Seriously? He was mocking her?

“You look a bit like you want to hit me over the head with the breadbasket,” he stated, brow creasing, “so—to keep you from thinking whatever it is that’s making your eyes flash with fury—I’ll tell you that I’m telepathic and can prove it if you’ll give me permission to read your thoughts.”

Hell yes, she was furious. This was Jason all over again. That asshole had pretended he had psychic abilities like hers in a lame attempt to get into her pants. He hadn’t realized she actually was psychic and would see through his bullshit.

Dana leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “You’re telepathic?”

“Yes.”

“Prove it.”

“I can read your thoughts?”

“You tell me,” she countered, a blatant dare. Read my thoughts, my ass, she mentally grumbled. She had thought Aidan was different, but to mock her like this by pretending he had a special gift, too? What a disappointment.

“I am different,” he insisted. “And I’m not pretending. I do have a special gift. More than one, if you’re to know the truth of it.”

She frowned. Had he just read her thoughts?


“Yes,” he said.

She narrowed her eyes. Yes, what? Yes, he had read her thoughts? Or was he just guessing the path they would naturally take?

“Yes, I read your thoughts,” he said. “And yes, I could’ve guessed the path they would take, but I didn’t.”

She stilled. Okay. That was a little spot-on.

“And to prove it,” he continued, “I’ll tell you that, although I have not been listening to your thoughts on our date, I did give them a listen both times you gave me a reading and know that you’ve had two visions about me that you failed to mention.”

Her heart began to pound. How did he know that?

“In the first one,” he said, lowering his voice, “we were naked in bed and I was touching your—”

“Holy crap,” she whispered, dropping her arms and gaping at him.

His lips twitched. “I was going to say breast, but—”

“How do you know about that?” she blurted.

“The same way I know that in the second vision, you were cupping my face in your hands—as you did earlier—and I kissed you and pulled you up against me, sliding my hand down over your lovely bottom. I read your thoughts and saw it as clearly as you did.”

Speech eluding her, Dana stared at him so long that her eyes began to burn.

“Blink,” he instructed.

She did.

“I know it’s a bit of a shock,” he murmured, eyeing her with some concern.

“A bit of a shock,” she parroted numbly.

“I know it feels… intrusive. But I didn’t read your thoughts the whole time. Most of the time I can control what I hear and don’t hear and can block others’ thoughts fairly easily.” Younger telepathic immortals weren’t so lucky. “But when the visions struck you, I saw them as clearly as you did without even trying. I think because we’re both gifted.”

She hadn’t told anyone about those visions. There was no way he could’ve known about them without reading her mind. “Holy. Crap.”

His eyebrows rose.

“Are you reading my thoughts right now?” she asked.

“Yes. They’re a little chaotic. I’m sorry I’ve shaken you up so much. I just wanted you understand why I haven’t dated in so long and hoped you’d appreciate my honesty.”

Honesty! He had read her thoughts! He had apparently been reading them all this time, saying exactly what he knew she wanted him to say and—

His brows drew together. “Now wait a minute. That’s not true. I would never use what I saw in your thoughts to manipulate you. If that had been my intent, I never would’ve told you I’m telepathic.”

“Dude,” a voice interrupted, “you told her you’re telepathic?”

Aidan swung around and shot a glare at Sheldon.

Dana guessed Sheldon was in his early twenties. Tracy looked to be thirty or thereabouts. Both eyed her and Aidan with great interest as they gathered their laptops and gear and stopped by Dana and Aidan’s table on their way to the door.

“Sheldon,” Aidan growled, definitely a warning.

“You know he’s telepathic?” Dana asked his friend.

“Yeah,” Sheldon responded simply. The woman at his side nodded. Neither seemed to view it as anything extraordinary, as if she had just asked them if they knew Aidan could play the piano.

“It doesn’t bother you?” Dana pressed.

Sheldon gave a dismissive shrug. “Nah. Aidan’s a good guy. He almost never reads my mind.”

Aidan grimaced. “Because there’s too much porn and weird shite up there.”

Tracy laughed and gave Sheldon’s shoulder a shove. “Freak.”

Sheldon grinned. “You know it.” Then he caught Dana’s eye. “I’m surprised he told you. People don’t usually react well when they find out he’s different. I’d think you’d understand that since you’re different, too.”

He knew she was a psychic? “How did you—?”

“I heard a rumor that Aidan was smitten with a psychic.” He shrugged. “When I saw you two together, I assumed you were her.”

Aidan frowned. “Where’d you hear that?”

Sheldon hesitated. “Cliff let it slip while we were playing video games. You won’t hold it against him, will you? He didn’t mean to. He was just… more distracted than usual. And Tracy is the only person I’ve told.”

Aidan shook his head. “It’s fine.”

Tracy smiled. “We’d better go before Sheldon says anything else that will embarrass you.” Taking Sheldon’s arm, she urged him toward the door. “You two have a nice evening.”

“What’d I say that embarrassed him?” Sheldon asked, puzzled.

She whispered something to him.

Sheldon snorted. “Yeah, right. Like she didn’t already know he’s smitten. It’s so obvious.”

Tracy pushed him into the hallway and closed the door after them.

In the wake of their departure, Aidan swung back around and met Dana’s gaze with obvious reluctance. “Apparently there’s something else I failed to tell you that you should probably know.”

Seriously? Something else? “What’s that?” she asked, unsure she wanted to hear it.

He sighed. “I suck at dating.”

Dana laughed. 
πŸ“–
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Giveaway!
Tour-Wide Giveaway: 
(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card
(1)$25 Amazon Gift Card
(1) Immortal Guardians Prize pack

(for some reason the Rafflecopter form is being dodgy on Blogger so I thought the most secure way is to share the link:)



(click either one)

🎁

The Immortal Guardians Series:



About the Author

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and"wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest | Goodreads | Google Plus

Friday, September 15, 2017

Art Book Review: Dare to Sketch by Felix Scheinberger


Genre: Art
160 p.
Published: Sept. 19, 2017
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review

An inspirational, instructional, and visually stimulating guide to sketching and drawing. Dare to Sketch is filled with practical tips about which materials to use, a variety of subject matter ranging from easy to more challenging, and wisdom about overcoming creative blocks and fear of making mistakes.
A whimsical beginner's guide to sketching, covering all of the important basics: what kind of notebook to buy, what drawing materials to use, ideas for subject matter, and daily exercises. Includes inviting, inspirational, and idiosyncratic tips (don't start on the first page of your sketchbook!), Dare to Sketch is gorgeously illustrated with the author's unique and contemporary art style.
My thoughts:

 I'm always on the lookout for a sketching book to finally get me to sketch! Yea, I know... it is up to me and not a book but inspiration is always a good thing. While this one didn't quite get my butt in gear and start sketching as much as I should, it was a good primer book for those that want just some information on sketching in general.

I actually didn't agree with some of the suggestions here, I didn't quite disagree either. I do like his suggestions on materials, but I think to get someone to sketch you need to make it more accessible and more relaxed. The suggested paper and pens were ideal, but I think that a much more relaxed attitude toward it gets people to start more than anything else. Ironically it is a sentiment he seems to make when getting down to how to record what you see. His attitude there is that you don't need to produce photographic type of drawings (keep those for a camera) but to get more of the gesture and feel of the objects.

In the end I give this book 3 stars. It is good basic information for those starting to sketch and it does have some good inspirational sketches from the artist. I also like the last couple of pages that talked about master artists and what happened to their sketchbooks. I always love those kinds of tidbits.

πŸ–‹

Friday, September 1, 2017

Craft Alert: Watch All Day Craft Classes Monday at Craftsy for FREE! (Affiliate Post)


I won't be around much blogging today (due to life and the need to deal with it. I will visit your blogs soon, promise!) and I didn't want to wait to post this so I had to give you a heads up on a great deal at Craftsy! Can I say FREE? πŸ‘€

They are teaming up with Cricut to give you free access to ALL their craft classes for one day only! So mark Sept 4th on your calendar! You do have to be a member but the membership is always free. Just click HERE (it's my affiliate link) to go to the page to either sign up or check out all the goodies! You can also click on the pic below (same affiliate link) to go to the same page. Have fun!!



πŸ–Œ