Friday, 25 January 2013

The Artful Reader's Club

It's time for the reviews of the books we chose for January.
I'm looking forward to seeing what others have been reading and what they thought of the books.
If anyone is interested, all the books will be linked to Darcy's blog.

My book for the month was "Le Champ du Potier" ("Potter's field") by Andrea Camilleri

This is # 13 in the series featuring Montalbano, a detective on the island of Sicily.

Reading this was like being reunited with old friends - all the regular characters, with their quirks and foibles, are present.

The body this time (there are an awful lot of murders on Sicily!) was discovered in a muddy field.....the mud being used for clay, hence the title.

Montalbano pursued the investigation in his usual laid back way....assisted by his motley crew...from Catarello and his inability to ever get a name right (and his mangling of the Italian language) to Ingrid, a sometime lover, despite Montalbano having a fiancee (Livia) on the mainland.

The plot develops in a leisurely fashion but never drags as there is a fair amount of humour in the book.

Camilleri really comes into his own with his descriptive skills...whether it be a meal, the sea or the countryside. I could almost feel the heat of the sun and smell the wonderful dishes that Montalbano eats.

I can recommend this book, and the whole series, as well written murder mysteries that aren't too heavy but that do make you think.


My artwork was inspired by Montalbano and Livia's relationship - it's tempestuous at the best of times and their phone calls often end up with one or the other slamming the phone down!

I did a page for my art journal. I was playing with some new (and very detailed) stamps and experimenting with monochrome with only the odd pop of colour.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Random Post

What to do when you're woken up at 03:30 and can't get back to sleep?
Do a blog post of course!

I do have some crafty stuff to share...

Friday's snow was very timely as one of this month's challenges was to do a winter themed LO. We had to add snow to the LO (I used structure paste and a Dylusions mask) and add something unexpected (paw prints, bone brads).

I used Bo Bunny "Winter Joy" papers and stickers .
Title and word stickers are Echo Park.

Next up is a birthday card made with Graphic 45 "Bird Song" papers. 

I love Graphic 45 but always had problems using their papers until I realised that they're best used cut up....there's just too much going on to use them 12 x 12.

I hope to be back Friday with my "Rocking" post.....

Friday, 18 January 2013

What's Rocking My World Friday

And it is actually Friday....gasps of amazement all round...

So what is rocking my world at the moment?

The snow....I don't have to go out in it (yet) and it looks so pretty...winter has finally arrived. And when I do go out I can wear my new snow boots. Gelli plate has arrived and I'm planning to get messy with paint this afternoon. providing me with some new punches to play with..I had a $25 gift voucher to spend...can't buy books for Kindle from USA so I did the next best thing...

Daytime T.V. ...BBC 1 has started showing some rather good dramas in the 14:15 slot....last week it was all about the final group of men/boys conscripted into National Service; this week and next it's "Father Brown".
In "Un Village Francais" (TV 5 Monde) we've reached Nov. 1942....have two more episodes of this series to watch.
On the same channel I happened across a contemporary drama series, "Les Soucis et  Les Hommes" which provided a slightly surreal moment..I'd missed the start of the episode so hadn't heard the theme was Annie Lennox singing "Angels From the Realms of Glory"....weird!

Quiz night....we didn't win last night but it was fun...and we have a double helping this week as we're going to a Charity Quiz on Saturday evening....our team of 4/5 will be seven strong....and one of the "extras" knows his music... yay!!

Man. Utd....despite not playing that well we're top of the Premiership and through to Round 4 of the FA Cup. I can't remember how much we paid for Robin Van Persie, but he's worth every penny.

The return of the's wonderful to be crafting again....have more ideas than time but that's a good thing ...I think...
Here's my latest LO..

I stamped the background using Pink Paislee "Butterfly Garden" stamps, made the tags from the packaging of said stamps, scraps of paper from the same collection and random embellies. This is one of my all time favourite collections....and I'm literally down to scraps...:(

The Hairy Dieters....I made their chilli this week....very,  very moreish...I did give DH a laugh though..I described it as looking "manly" as it was cooking...well, I knew what I meant!

FB....for the friends I've made on there and for the offers...everyone will be getting a Shamballa bracelet for Christmas this organised am I??? In a similar vein I've just bought a Groupon for a visit to a winery near Henley...should be an interesting day out...

I think that's it..I'm off to link up to Virginia's  post...thanks for visiting and have a great weekend whatever you're doing.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Scrap Club

Last week I actually made it to Scrap Club (Wednesday)...yay!!
It was lovely to get out and to scrap with other people...and, of course, browse in the shop.

The LO was "Looking Back...Looking Forward" with journalling reflecting on 2012 and our hopes for 2013.

We used "Indie Chic" papers by My Mind's Eye.

I chose Nick's graduation photo as the cover picture. The journalling on view reflected this, our break  in Devon and Cornwall and how happy I am to have such friends online.

There was more space for photos under the circle. The hotel is where we stayed in Devon and no LO would be complete without Max! The photo is of him and his cousin Kibo. Max stayed with Kibo a few times last year...when we went to Bristol, when we went to Devon and also, sadly, when we went to the funeral in the NE.

The lows of 2012 and the wishes for 2013 are hidden under the date circles.

Next up is a layering challenge...we had to have six layers (including the photo):

Max and Kibo again! I used "Max and Whiskers" papers and did lots of punching. The sketch is from Pagemaps  (December 2012 I think). I chose it because it gave me the chance to use up scraps.....that's really all I have left of these papers now....:(

And now for the birthday cards I've made:

This one is all thanks to Craft Stamper magazine. The stamp was this month's freebie and the design was in the associated article.

Thanks to Docrafts for this one! I couldn't resist the Goody Bag for Jan/Feb.
Only the black ribbon was not in the bag. The stamped image has been heat embossed and the watch and sentiment have been fussy cut from one of the papers.

I'm currently working on a "flourishes" challenge....hope to finish it today.

If you've made it this far...thanks for visiting!
Sainsburys have just delivered and I have all the groceries to put least I didn't have to trail round the supermarket... :)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Book Review: "Literally Bitten"

Don't panic fellow Artful Reader Club members...I'm not publishing my review two weeks early!!

I was recently lucky enough to be given an author's copy of an e-book novella.....saving me pennies in my Kindle addiction...and all I had to do was promise to write a win as far I'm concerned!

The book was "Literally Bitten" by Victoria Blisse, part of the "Immortal Love" series.

Before going any further I need to declare an interest here...Victoria is a fellow supporter of "the bestest football team in the world ever" and, as such, I'm slightly biased in her favour.

Let me say straight away that I didn't need the bias...Victoria can write!

This is what the publisher has to say:

Books brought them together, blood lust binds them, but can her puritanical father pull them apart?
Lily loves fiction and has done since she was a child. It was her escape from the harsh reality of life being brought up by just her over-protective dad. Tom only ever reads textbooks, claiming that there’s enough to fascinate in this world and that he has no need to read about pretend places. But when he walks into Lily’s book shop he finds out they have a lot more in common than he first thought.
When the young couple take a trip to the famous vampire and human bar, The Point, Lily gets a shock. Her estranged father is there as part of a Purity protest; he is violently opposed to her, Tom and anything that the cult calls unclean. Which is just about anything fun.
Can Lily and Tom overcome these prejudices and their own inexperience to find love that will last forever?
I'm not going to talk in detail about the plot and therefore spoil it for future readers (don't you just hate it when you read a review hoping it will help you decide whether or not to buy a book and most of it is just a re-telling of the story?). 

I will simply say that the book has a credible and involving plot that touches on timeless and universal issues.

The hero and heroine are engaging and you really want them to achieve a happy ever after.

Despite their innocence there is a fair smattering of hot sex scenes and the whole book has an underlying, understated humour. 

The author doesn't take herself too seriously and her sense of humour is apparent throughout the story.

All in all this is a fun read but one that will also make you think.

I'd rate the book at 4.5 finished too soon for my liking..I really wanted to know what happened next!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

What's Rocking Your World Friday on Saturday

Only 24  hours late......

So what has been rocking my world...

My mojo is back ..and although I've mainly been working with Christmas photos I've also made some cards......and Jo....they are birthday cards...most of my family have b'days early in the year.
I may even get to Scrap Club this month!!

Having the boy home over Christmas was lovely...I'm pleased he's got a job but wish he'd had more time off over the holidays. It didn't help that I couldn't get in touch with him over New Year......a misplaced phone was to blame but I'm sure other Mums can imagine what I was thinking when I hadn't heard from him since Friday 28th, not even a text to say "Happy New Year"....finally got through on Thursday!

Weight Watchers...I've signed up to do this online again.....put 2lbs on first week...I don't think Christmas was a good time to start somehow! But have lost them back to square one.
I found the Hairy Dieters book in my was on my wishlist, so that was good and I'm looking forward to trying their recipes....the chilli they made last night and the quiche with filo pastry looked yummy.

Music....I discovered Lady Antebellum just before Christmas and since I had an MP3 credit from Amazon I downloaded one of their non-Christmas albums....I just need to get it onto my player now...why do I never find techy things easy?

Darcy's Artful Readers Club.....this will give me the kick start that I need to clear the pile of books beside the bed....I've already started # 1 ..well, I've read the intro. which explained how the translator chose the dialect for the Sicilian bits....and therefore figured out where the American translator went my humble opinion anyway.

And last, but not least, the girls in our WW group on FB.
We had a mass live chat last Friday.....due to different typing rates there were at least a dozen conversations going was hilarious and really, really good to talk to everyone. ROCK!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Documenting Christmas or The Return of the Mojo

I'm back again and have lots of pictures to share with you...thanks to the almost total lack of anything remotely interesting on TV (and I'm saving "White Collar" Series 1 for when I'm alone ....can then drool over Matt in private...and, yes, I know he's gay but a girl's got to have something to dream about..).....I have been crafting!!

First up...... my annual LO of our tree...for this one I used October Afternoon "Holiday Style" (think Gangnam Style but more retro) papers, embellies, trims and stickers.

Next we have the front cover of my "December Daily"
I used a Teresa Collins kit and added papers from the "It's Christmas Day!" collection by Toga (France)

This is a double page LO detailing my Christmas Countdown.
I used old papers from stash for the background ...the squares were made from scraps of the papers I've used this year.
The sketch has been adapted from a November Page Maps sketch.
The title on the second page was cut from the packaging of my French papers and the leaves and paper flowers are from an old Anna Griffin card kit.

And finally....

we have Max....who had great fun ripping up the wrapping paper!
For this LO I used papers from last year's Toga collection "1001 cadeaux"
The title is courtesy of M&'s a present topper.

And before you ask...yes, that really is an Arsenal see what I have to put up with???

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Secret Santa

I took part in Carmen's Secret Santa in was so much fun as it involved "stalking" and creating and buying....I love buying...and giving!

I had no idea who my Santa was until Carmen posted her list on Sunday.

Thank you so much Ally! My parcel was perfect...right down to the footballing Santas on the wrapping paper.....

Here it is just before opening (and I was very good..I waited until Christmas Day..)

Note that I'm still sharing my "craft" table (it's really the dining table) with a jigsaw puzzle....I think DH may have to venture into the attic as he's run out of charity shop/Christmas present jigsaws...... but I digress...

Here is the parcel after opening...

It was packed with goodies....the chocolates have disappeared only to no doubt re-appear on my hips in the near future.
The crafty items have been stroked and drooled over, along with the tote...and I have plans for the notebook...

During the crafting drought at the end of 2012, I had time to prints off lots of "journal" pages that I'd downloaded from various sources (prompted by Pinterest)...I intend to journal seriously this year.....but you know what's paved with good intentions don't you? Fingers crossed I manage it.

And there you have it....thanks to Carmen for organising the swap whilst being very busy with a new (and totally gorgeous) baby boy.

I'll be back tomorrow with some Christmas crafting.....oh, yes....the mojo is back...and back with a vengeance....

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year, New Challenge

Happy New Year everyone!!

My first challenge this year is taking part in Darcy's Artful Readers Club.

We have to choose 12 books for the year, one for each month - the intention being to  post a review of the book we've read (by the end of the month) and also to produce a piece of art work inspired by the book.

Here are my 12....from the pile of at least 50 books beside my bed...I read a LOT but have been using my Kindle whilst still buying hardbacks of my favourite authors.....I decided I had to do something when the latest "Scarpetta" arrived and I realised I had the two previous books still to read....

And here is the book I've chosen to read first: 

"Le Champ du Potier" by Andrea Camilleri.

Camilleri is Italian and his books are written in Italian with a large pinch of Sicilian dialect. My copy is in French (sadly I don't speak or read Italian).....why French you ask? Well....I have a problem with the English translations...they're done by an American who has used the Bronx as Sicily.....and they just don't read right.

Follow the link above if you'd like to join in with this challenge!