Monday, October 30, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Memorial Pillow and New Sling Bag!

If you have been around the blog this year, you know I lost one of my puppers. She was a sweetheart and LOVED to wear scarves. I got her into it as she was jelly of my other dog wearing coats (dobies are notorious for hating the cold and have a thin coat). She was a malamute (translation: fur, upon fur upon fur, upon... well you get it) so a coat for her would have been cruel. I decided that perhaps she would like a scarf instead and thus was born an obsession where she hated to go a day without one. She was sad when one was taken off (or walked off depending on how dirty she got it) and was elated when a new one was tied around her neck. Since she was my cousin's dog first and my aunt knew about the obsession I created, I decided to do some memory pillows out of her scarves. One for me and one for my aunt. I made hers first and still have to find the courage to make mine. Anyway, short story long here is the pillow:
This is actually a in the hoop embroidery design from Sweet Pea. You make each section and then sew them together. The grey and the black with paw print fabrics were my base and the rest were parts of her scarves she wore. Hopefully my aunt will get it soon.

And speaking of puppy crafts...

I needed a bag to carry my essentials for puppy classes for the monster pup. I didn't want to end up carrying too much so I took a small bag pattern I had and made it smaller. :) Just enough to fit essentials and my epi pens. This is the Speedwell Sling Bag by Blue Calla Patterns.

I would say this pattern is an intermediate one but the directions are clear so if you are up to it, I say try it even if you are a beginner. My biggest problems is that I reduced it by 15% so some of the details were a bit harder, but it was still doable. The parts I added was a zipper pocket in the back compartment for my epipens. I also lined it with insul-fleece by Pellon. That way my epipens stay at a more consistent temperature. Epipens should not be out in hot weather and never leave them in a car. Hopefully that addition will keep my medical supplies safe as possible.

I also added one of my charms and an embroidered note. If you are noticing the zipper, I added 2 metal zippers and crossed them at the top so it zips up on both ends to the top. I learned a lot about zippers with this one and a previous project. I'm becoming quite knowledgeable about them. More than I wanted to know, in fact! LOL I also added snaps to the pockets to keep things separated. The  pocket was exactly the right size for the epipens and I couldn't have gone any smaller. The bag is not big as it is written either (so it would be good for those not wanting a big bag).

I also added card slots in the front section. Your cards go "sideways" to fit. That way I created 6 slots and a pocket in the back. The original pattern just had the slip pocket. The zippered section is also part of the pattern. I did reduce the grommets to 1/4" instead of 1/2" to fit the ascetics. The grommets are so you can put earphones or electronic cords through. You can still get the earphones to go through it, but you have to slip it through with the plug end. The earphone section will not fit through it but I felt that wasn't needed in my case. I did add charms for bling and the front 2 charms on my bag each represent my 2 dogs. Also, the glitter on the bag is a glitter canvas and not glitter marine vinyl. I have a domestic machine which is good on most things but I still have to watch the thickness. A good canvas backed glitter with a think vinyl coating worked well here and should also wear well.

While this bag isn't recommend for a beginner, I do think that someone who hasn't been sewing long could tackle this bag easily. It looks harder than it is and this was the first time I put together a bag where you use a seam binding. It was much easier than I thought it would be and because of the binding there was no saggy lining. 

Hope this inspires you to tackle your projects! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Audiobook Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #2
Narrator: Kate Simses
11 hrs. 57 min.
Publisher: HarperAudio
Published: 2/5/13
Source: Library
Amazon Affiliate Link (Book)
tick tick tick tick tick
it's almost time for war. 
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. 
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. 
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. 
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
My thoughts:

I'm glad I read the prequel and it did set things up nicely for this book. So, do get to that one first if you can. And yes, this one does set up things for the dreaded love triangle. I don't like triangles, but I don't have the aversion to them as others have when immediately hearing a series or a book has them. I've actually read good triangle books but I will concede that they are few in number. And how do I feel about this one? I'm not sure. It is too early to tell, but so far I'm intrigued by how it is set up. In some ways it makes sense depending on who Juliette decides who she IS in the end. She is still a child, growing and learning so she has things to think about. Even though she gets jumbled up in her head and needs to leave that space more often, she still finds a way to figure out, in baby steps, who she wants to become as she learns more about her world. Now, that I do appreciate and that is really what drives me along in the book. The triangle for me is just another way for her to explore herself more even if you might get frustrated with her confusion from time to time. It is good to remember her formative years were quite stunted.

I admit this one took me a while to get though. It was no fault of the book, and I was always glad to get back to it, but I also didn't have a problem letting it go from time to time. Still, by the end of the book I was very curious to how Juliette would progress and how all her friends fit in it.

I give this audiobook 4 stars. The narrator, Kate Simses, does the voicing of the various characters well and it is easy to get lost in her telling of the story. I really like how they took this visual book and made it work in audio. I do think I'll continue this one on audio if I can and it does look like the library has the next two. I do recommend the audiobook format.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #1.5
109 p.
Publisher: Harper
Published: 10/2/12
Source: Library
$2.99 at Amazon (Affiliate Link)
Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45. 
In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of...
Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

My thoughts:

I've been wanting to do a little catching up so I decided to get back into this series since my library is carrying the next audiobook. I had heard to also pick up the novellas as well and I was happy to see my library also carried this novella.

This is where we get to know Warner. It had been a while since I read Shatter Me so it took me a bit to remember which one Warner was but it quickly came back. In this one, I must warn you, the guy you hated in the first one becomes human. He becomes human through Juliette's diary and he falls through her emotions which triggers his empathy. This may spell trouble for those that hate love triangles, but nothing has happened yet and this is just a look into Warner and how his motives change.

I do recommend this short to go with the rest of the series since I have a feeling Warner is going to play a bigger part than we thought. I am curious to see where it goes next. I give this novella 4 stars.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On My Wishlist: The Cruel Prince and Into the Drowning Deep

The Cruel Prince
by Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 1/2/18
Amazon Affiliate Link: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air)
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. 
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe. 
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. 
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. 
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Um... Holly Black. I do like her worldbuilding!

Into the Drowning Deep 
by Mira Grant
512 p.
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 11/14/17
Amazon Affiliate Link: Into the Drowning Deep
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. 
Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. 
But the secrets of the deep come with a price.
I have so many of this author's books on my want list, might as well add one more! :)

What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

Series: Dru Jasper #2
290 p.
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 7/11/17
Source: From publisher for review
When sorcerers disappear off the streets of Denver, the only person to notice a pattern is Dru, proprietor of The Crystal Connection and newly-minted sorceress. Monstrous creatures are attacking and dragging off anyone with magical powers. Signs point to forbidden necromancy in the hands of someone trying to fulfill the prophecy of the apocalypse scroll. 
With the dead rising from the grave, Dru fears someone is picking up where the Harbingers left off half a century ago. Now more than ever, Dru needs half-demon Greyson and his infernal car, Hellbringer. Though Greyson is missing and presumed dead, Dru believes he’s alive—and trapped at the center of this evil.
Dru will need her friends—and her enemies—trusting in Rane’s strength, Opal’s wisdom, and her own crystal magic to infiltrate the mountainous fortress of a powerful sorcerer intent on bringing about doomsday. 
Because the moment the prophecy is fulfilled, legions of undead will rise to consume the souls of everyone on Earth…
My thoughts:

I reviewed the first one where I didn't know what to expect and found myself having some fun with it. I knew I'd probably feel the same way with this book, but things got in the way so I didn't get to this story until now. I'm so glad I did read it.

It has the same fun as the last one and I think surpasses it. I knew what to expect and the characters really grew on me this time. They all matured a bit but not too much (which is a good thing). Plus, with the awful cliffie of the last book, this one gives you all the answers and only an open ending for the next book. No real cliffies in this one! YaY! My only complaint is that Hellbringer, the car with an attitude, really didn't get a part in this one. He was there, he saved their collective behinds but it wasn't quite the same as the first. I missed that and it was my favorite part of the first book. Still, he is there and will be in the next one. So, I'm good. :)

I give this fun short book 4 stars. I recommend this series now since you get the answers you didn't get from the first book. Plus with these being very short (but not short on action) you could easily read them back to back. I do suggest reading these in order. I think those who like a fun PNR will enjoy this series.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

On My Wishlist: The Hazel Wood and The Passion of Cleopatra

Oh this one looks interesting and the worldbuilding here sounds like something I would enjoy.

The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert
368 p.
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published: 1/30/18
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.” 
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Anne Rice's The Mummy was actually the first Rice book that I read (yep before her vampire books). LOVED it and was so sad that she never continued it even though she said she planned on it. Now her son is involved and I can't wait to see what happens next. I may have to do a reread it was so long ago. 

The Passion of Cleopatra
by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
Series: Ramses the Damned #2
416 p.
Publisher: Anchor
Published: 11/21/17
Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.
So what are you wishing for this week?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Art Book Post: Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey

Genre: Art Instruction
224 p.
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Published: 10/10/17
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review

A contemporary paint-every-day watercolor guide that explores foundational strokes and patterns and then builds new skills upon the foundations over the course of 30 days to create finished pieces.

This beautifully illustrated and inspiring guided watercolor-a-day book is perfect for beginning watercolor artists, artists who want to improve their watercolor skills, and visual creatives. From strokes to shapes, this book covers the basics and helps painters gain confidence in themselves along with inspiration to develop their own style over the course of 30 days. Featuring colorful contemporary art from Mon Voir design agency founder and Instagram trendsetter Jenna Rainey, this book's fresh perspective paints watercolor in a whole new light.

My thoughts:

This is probably one of the best beginning watercolor books that I have come across in a long time. I really like how it breaks down skills and puts it in easy to understand format. I would love to see an accompanying video since watercolor is a visual art. I think that it would also be helpful to grasp the concepts much easier. However, once you do the exercises one or more times it should become more clear in what skill the book is trying to impart. For those new to this art, I would suggest taking each project as it comes in the book. The skills build upon the other.

For more advanced artists, the earlier exercises might seem too simple, but it is also good to go back to the beginning and just practice. You should be able to fly through those first chapters or skip around in this case. The last projects were you put the pictures together would probably be more interesting here and I do like how her simple and bright washes keep the paintings clear and high value. Makes the art look very fresh and it seems to be a trend in the watercolor illustration market.

In conclusion, I give this art book 4 stars. I would recommend this book to someone wanting to try watercolor and some good practice for those that have been painting for a while.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Art Post: Scary Potter by Dylan Pierpont

I HAD to share these pictures Dylan Pierpont made of alternative scary covers of Harry Potter. These are so good and I think these really reflect the books so well in a very scary way.

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

Those of us who are fans do not need the title to know which books these pictures belong. Wouldn't you love to read a graphic Harry Potter novel by this artist?

I thought this is perfect for the season! Check his stuff out. There is more Harry Potter stuff in his links.

Artists Infomation