Monday, September 30, 2013

Mermaid Bookmark ~ COF Journal

 I had so much fun creating this Mermaid bookmark for Andrea's Journal. 
She requested that each member simply create a bookmark with a mermaid theme.  Since mermaids are one of my favorite themes I dove into this one.
 I tried to keep it as flat as possible and decided not to use glitter since it could rub off in the book. 
But what I really enjoyed doing is creating her tail.  I used a small hole punch and punched hundreds of various colored paper.  Then I attached them all to the tail in a scale like pattern. 
Right now I am working on the last journal in this rotation, kind of sad, but I can't wait to get mine back.  I hope Andrea likes what I have created for her.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong....
The Outlander series is one of my all time favorite reads.  I read the first three, Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager back to back over 7 years ago.  I got 50 pages into Drums of Autumn and put it down.  For years since I've been hearing that I just have to make it through the book and then everything gets better.  Well in my opinion there should not be a book you "have to get through."
This time when I picked it up I was determined to get through it.  But boy did it hurt.  The first 450 pages, yep you read that right, this book is close to 1000 pages, were so dry I might as well have been in the Sahara Desert.  It did pick up a bit after that but nothing like Diana's other page turning, heart racing, gotta know what happens books. 
This book also took us away from Scotland, which had happened before but they always returned.  It took place in North Carolina after the French and Indian War.  There was a lot about how to survive in the wilderness and deal with the natives but there didn't seem to be any reason for as much as Diana put in.  I missed my European setting. 
As for character development I think Diana missed the mark.  She spent a ton of time on Claire and Jamie (yes I love them but they are already well established) and not enough time on Brianna (Claire and Jamie's daughter) and Roger, Brianna's love interest.  Of course there was some but not enough to justify the length of the book.
Overall I'm glad I "got through it" because I have high hopes for the next book which I won't be picking up right away but do have more of a desire to read than I did this one. 
I'm linking up with 
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

French Inspired Swatches

 Recently I took part in a swap through Marie Antoinette Mail Art Group hosted by the fabulous Tabitha of Creative Wings
 We were to make 12 French inspired 4 x 3 swatches that could be sewn together into a large piece once everyone's were swapped out.
 I made one set with soft pinks and creams featuring lovely women.
 And added lots of vintage lace, flowers and buttons to them.
 For my second set I went with a soft blue vintage fabric my grandmother left to me.  She made a lovely dress for me out of it when I was little.
 Again I stuck with vintage laces but used seam binding and a floral appliqué to enhance them.
I have received the swapped out pieces and have a plan of how I am going to put them together, now I just have to find the time. 
This was a fun swap and I am so glad I took part.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.
This book is among one of the worst books I've ever read.  I am seriously starting to wonder about award winning books.  Does it have to suck to win an award?
The Round House is what I call a "boy book."  You know those books that are about boys and probably only appeal to boys (like A Separate Peace).  But the big issue is what boy would want to read about how another boy deals with his mother being raped?  So it fails even that criteria (yes it is my own but I have to have some criteria's).
Louise Erdrich did something rather unusual in her writing style, she used absolutely no quotations.  A number of times I had to read read sections to figure out what was actually being spoken out loud by the character, what was internal thought and what was just descriptions.  It was really annoying.  It broke up the pace (not that she had an edge of your seat pace, which a mystery book in my opinion should have).
None of the characters seem to have any redeeming qualities.  Again I feel like another author tried to make their characters more realistic by giving them flaws but went overboard.  The Catholic Priest in this book is particularly scummy, come on people stop picking on the Catholic's they are not all bad. 
As I'm sure you can tell from my tone I am absolutely disgusted with having made myself read this entire book and am loosing faith in the literary world.  I am ready to go back to my mind numbing teen vampires!
I'm linking up, come join us! 
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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.

Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils.

The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and jealousy.

I found Remarkable Creatures, remarkably boring.  This is the third novel I have read by Tracy Chevalier and I am starting to think that Girl with a Pearl Earing was a fluke since it is the only book I've liked.
In the video Tracy says the book is about Mary and Elizabeth's friendship. Well, she missed that mark.  Tracy spent too much time harping on the fossil aspect of this book (which she obviously did extensive research on) for anything but the fossil's to be well developed.  Every time I read about a new fossil discovered by Mary I thought, wow there are a lot of fossils on this beach.  It might be historically correct, but it was hard to swallow as a reader.
Another thing Tracy seems to be proud of is her discovery that Mary was struck by lightning as a child.  She writes this into the book but it seems out of place.  It adds nothing to Mary's character or the friendship the book is supposed to be about.
Overall this was a very dry, extremely slow moving book.

I'm linking up with, come join us!
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Parisian Gargoyles

 It's time for another fabulous Alpha Stamps Swap!
Click on the above image to go to the swap details page.
 As soon as Leslie said Paris and Gargoyles I was sold!
I decided to take the two different style chipboard cut outs and make a book.
 My idea was kind of a morbid cupcake theme. 
What if Marie's "Let them eat Cake" had gone more horribly wrong?
 To create the blood splatters I used a cupcake stencil, this was the best stencil I have ever used. 
 Added some bat wings to the Marie images and the bugs are another cupcake stencil.
It is hard to see in this image but the center chipboard gargoyle has texture like stone. 
This was so much fun to make!
Come join in the fun swap.