playing around

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{A pile of FOs: (from the top down) this hat, this hat, this lace scarf.}

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{The two WIPs I’m focusing on. At least until I get distracted by something else…}

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{I have watercolors now. It is lots of fun.}

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{I really like how this turned out. It’s inspired by one of my favorite shows, Akatsuki no Yona. And I painted it without drawing the outline first.}

I’ve been experimenting with several different mediums lately, including ones I’m not comfortable with. Drawing has never been one of my strong suits. But I drew something and painted it and was actually happy with the way it turned out. Letting go of perfectionism isn’t easy but it can be fun. Playing is fun. Just deciding, “oh, today I’m going to try drawing that thing I really like” is fun.

2015 in fib-review

So, 2015! How is it already almost over? I feel as if the year just started. How can it be over? Oh well, there’s always next year.

Yarn/Fiber/Crafting of any sort

2015 was a big fibery year for me. In January, I purchased my first spinning wheel and started learning how to use it. In August, I purchased another one. After some fits and starts and a spinning lesson gifted to me by my wonderful parents, I’m finally feeling more comfortable using it and my yarn is turning out more consistent.

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{What is probably the softest, squishiest yarn I’ve ever touched}

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of wanting to knit 15 pairs of socks. I only completed 12, four pairs of which were for other people. But hey, that’s eight pairs I didn’t have when I started the year!

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{Only the first and second were for me}

Also in 2015, I completed 49 projects. 14 I gifted for various birthdays and for Christmas. I knit 10 shawls (10?!), 12 pairs of socks, 4 hats, and a few other random projects. My sweater is not done and at the moment, I have, gulp15 projects still in progress. Wow. That’s a lot… To be fair, 7 of them are socks either almost done, still needing the match knit, or I just haven’t picked up in a while. I also have two or three long term projects that aren’t going to be done for a few years…

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{Belated Christmas toddler vest I’m almost done with}

So yeah, 2015 was a productive knitting year.

Oh, and then there’s this.

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I’m…gonna go that way… (And yes, every single skein is fingering weight yarn.)

Books/Media

Blogging: Oh the blogging. I’ll be honest, I’m not a very consistent blogger. You know, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m sporadic at best. Which brings my blog post count this year to a grand total of 63 (after I publish this.) I’ll try to be better at documenting things in 2016, but I really can’t make any promises.

Books: I haven’t done a lot of reading this year. Knowing me, that’s a little scary. I have a hard time finding good books that will keep my interest. The books I did read were all pretty good. I started the Selection series and enjoyed the first one immensely. Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles are also on my list of ‘this was really, really good’. I discovered Philippa Gregory’s Tudor/English royal novels and, being the history lover I am, pounced on them.

I also started reading manga for the first time! I’ve read a handful of Fairy Tail, the first three volumes of Fruits Basket, and I think that’s about it. The two libraries in my area don’t have the best selection but I was able to find some titles I recognized.

I feel as if I’m turning a bit into this…

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I know a lot of people think anime and manga are stupid, but I personally enjoy them very much. Yes, it’s different but not really if you think about it. It has its own genres just like other books and shows: horror, crime, romcom, drama, fantasy, action/adventure, everything really. It was just in a different language originally. And it’s GREAT! 🙂

Random

Remember this bookshelf? Yes, it is now this:

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I’m not sure if you can tell, but it is a lovely, light purple color. It holds all my handknits with plenty of room for more. Ahem.

(Time to get knitting, darling.)

And the Alice dress! I never showed you a picture!!

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Okay, crummy picture, yes, but oh this dress. I love this dress. After I quit being a baby about it and started sewing, it came together easily, I set my first zipper and it’s the best fitting dress I’ve ever made. Well, I’ve only made one dress before this. But this one I’m in love with.

I’ve also started attending the Knit Night at my LYS on Tuesdays. I’m so glad I do, because it’s nice to go spend time with fibery people. And all the ladies are really nice.

Now for 2016.

I’m not going to go overboard and plan out my entire year. I’ve found if I make smaller goals, I’m more likely of meeting them. But there is one BIG one I’m going to try my very, very hardest to keep.

Knit only from the stash and do not purchase any new yarn.

Oh yes, I’m going cold sheep this year. My yarn stash has gotten a little out of control and it really needs to be pared down. It will be a serious exercise in self control, since as I said, the Knit Night I attend is at my LYS.

Aside from that, in 2016 I’d like to:

  • Read more manga
  • Finish my sweater and possibly start another one
  • Read through all of the new-to-me books I’ve purchased and knock that number down pretty far
  • Knit along with Andi’s Sock Yarn-a-Long, possibly do the mystery bit
  • Finish the three pairs of socks that are missing their match (oops)
  • Sew new project bags with the pretty fabric I purchased
  • Organize my stash and crafting storage so I can actually find things and I’m not scratching my head wondering where my tools have gone…
  • Work on Christmas/birthday presents throughout the year
  • Actually finish projects instead of just casting more on (HA! as if)
  • Knit myself more hats

I think those are all pretty decent goals. Let’s see how I do this coming year!

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and you have a wonderful, joy and peace filled New Year. See you in 2016!!

some favorite music

I’m sure I’ve said before, but my love affair with music is mutual and never ending. My music taste is also all over the board, with an interesting mixture of alternative, anime openings, endings, and soundtracks, folk, country, a smattering of pop, some rock, and classical music.

I have some music I gravitate toward that relaxes me immediately and puts me in a happy place. The Invitation by Klaus Kuhen tops that list as ‘my favorite cd of all time and I can never ever get tired of hearing it’. Anything by the Paper Kites is gloriously pretty but the prize goes to Bloom as the best of their songs. Seriously, just hearing the opening bars to the song immediately relaxes my body and makes me sigh with happiness. I don’t know what it is about the song. The banjo? The soft quality of the music? The vocals? The lyrics? All of the above? I don’t know. All I do know is that I love the song to the moon and back.

When it comes to country music, after digging hard to find the real gems, songs like Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band, Mary’s Song, Love Story, Enchanted, Haunted (acoustic), Eyes Open, Safe and Sound, and White Horse by Taylor Swift, If I Die Young, Independence, and Walk Me Down the Middle by The Band Perry, a bit of Rascal Flatts, and almost anything by Keith Urban (Put You In a Song is my favorite) are what I like to listen to the most.

I cannot mention music without mentioning Owl City and his various other musicalness under the names Sky Sailing (which is like a softer, acoustic Owl City), Port Blue, and Windsor Airlift. I adore Owl City and Sky Sailing. His lyrics are so quirky and off the wall it’s glorious.

And now we come to my newest musical favorite: anime openings and endings. I have an extensive list of which ones are my favorites. I’m obsessed in love. There are some covers of the original Japanese I love as well. Anything by Amanda Lee, (she has an amazing voice), Papermoon, Reluctant Heroes, Glassy Sky, and Wings of Freedom being my favorites. Natewantstobattle also has great covers. Resonance, Black Paper Moon, Again, and Snow Fairy are the best in my opinion. The English cover of Hikaru Nara is amazing as well.

Non-covers (aka the original Japanese songs from the actual shows), well, there’s a long list. I like a lot of different ones! It’s hard to choose. But if I have to, Sakura Kiss, Flyers, Snow Fairy, Splash Free, Hanayamata, Guren no Yumiya, Hikaru Nara, Hare Hare Yukai, I Can Hear, Be As One, and Resonance are my favorites. I know they’re in a different language and I really have no clue what they’re saying, but can you blame me? The songs are so stinking catchy! I’ve really fallen in love with anime music. It’s just so different than American music, language barrier aside. It’s catchy, upbeat, but can still have some softer, sweeter moments. I love. So much. 🙂

So yeah. Music. I love it all.

All the links! So many! Much craziness!

Infinity Dreams award {?}

The Dragon Writer did a post the other day and did a sort of general tagging thingy, I needed a blog post idea, so we’re just going to go with that, yeah? 🙂

The rules:

-Thank the person who nominated you.

-Answer their 11 questions

-Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions.

Since I wasn’t tagged directly, I’ll just say thanks for writing that post, Dragon. 🙂

1. If you could spend a day with any fictional character, who would it be and what would you do?

Hermmmm….. That is a very good question. I wouldn’t mind chatting with Percy Jackson for a bit. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton would be interesting people to talk to, so would Colonel Brandon and Captain America. Padme Amidala would have a wonderful brain to pick. What I’d like to do is invite them all over for tea and see what happens. Wouldn’t that be fun?

2. What was the last movie you watched?

The last movie I watched was Sense and Sensibility featuring Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. Over a month ago… I haven’t been watching movies very often.

3. Do you have a favourite super hero, and if so, who?

YES I DO HAVE A FAVORITE THANK YOU FOR ASKING. It’s Captain America. ❤ ❤

4. Tea or coffee? (or neither?)

Both, thank you. I like tea for the afternoon (Earl Gray) or right before bed (Sleepytime). I work at a coffee shop so there is lots of coffee consumed. 😉

5. What’s the weirdest fact you’ve learnt while researching something (for writing, school, whatever)?

Oh gosh. That’s a great question. I do a lot of research for stories and such, besides being a history buff, but I think the most interesting thing I’ve learned would be that putting pure liquid nicotine on your skin is not a very good idea.

Yeah, I look up weird things for stories. Don’t judge me.

6. What’s your favourite ever book/book series?

I don’t think that Louis de Wohl’s saint books count as a series per say, but they do to me. So that’s my favorite series. 🙂

7. Are you in any fandoms, and if so, which ones?

Oh the fandoms. My two biggest are Percy Jackson and Star Wars, my first love. ALL STAR WARS ALL THE TIME MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ALL OF Y’ALL. I do like LOTR, though not as much as some people. I also tend to fangirl squeal over Pride and Prejudice and North and South. (I blame Richard Armitage and Colin Firth.)

8. What’s your favourite place you’ve visited?

I visited the Smokey Mountains a few years ago and saw the Biltmore House. I’d love to go back someday and see the mountains again. They were really pretty during the fall.

9. Author you’ve read the most of?

Janette Oke, I think. I’ve been reading and collecting her books for years. 🙂 Jan Karon and Louis de Wohl are two other authors I’ve read a bunch of books by.

10. Strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Hmmmm…. I really don’t know. I’ve eaten some weird food in the past but I can’t think of one off the top of my head. I ate yaki-mandu several years ago and I loved it. I could eat my body weight in them probably. So stinking good.

But I love food. Food makes me so happy…

11. What was (or is) your favourite children’s show?

I like the Backyardagains. It’s not as loud or as stupid as most other kid’s shows. And it’s cute and creative.

All right! There are the questions from Dragon! So now I’m going to tag a few other bloggers and maybe they’ll answer my questions. 🙂

Anne-thology of Books

Becca and Books

Popcorn and Prologues 

Rose’s Reids

The Sock Monkey

Wool and Wheel

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All right, my questions for y’all. 🙂

  1. Coffee or tea? Or both?
  2. What do you like to do in your spare time?
  3. Any hobbies?
  4. Name one slightly odd fact about yourself.
  5. Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter?
  6. What was the first series or book that made you cry? Or at least tear up a smidge?
  7. Favorite genre in music?
  8. Star Wars: yes or no? (Don’t worry, I’ll still love you even if you say no. Maybe.)
  9. Who is your favorite author?
  10. What fandoms are you a part of, if any?
  11. Is there a movie you have watched so many times you could probably recite from memory?

my opinion of pop music

Don’t get me wrong, I love music. Our relationship has been going on for years now with no end in sight. I’m open to listening to almost any genre within reason of course. I’m not fond of rap music as a general rule.

Some country music I like, but you have to dig through the muck of booze, trucks, and scantily clad girls to find the real gems. I like foreign music, some K-pop or Vocaloids and a few Swedish songs by Caramel. Theme songs are always good, as are movie soundtracks. Alternative is where I find most of my music. (I’ll have to do a post about my favorite artists sometime.)

It’s pop music that gets me.

Where I work, the radio station that plays is the pop station in our area. I don’t mind some pop music. There are several songs I quite enjoy (Fight Song-Rachel Platten, See You Again-Wiz Khalifa, Coming Home-Skylar Gray for example). I do take exception to songs that degrade women, have cursing in them, or are just foul in general.

I wouldn’t have such a problem if the radio station would learn about this marvelous theory called “Variety”. Ever hear of it? Yeah, because playing the same songs over and over with no change gets really old, really fast. At the end of the work day, I’m more than ready to yank my hair out by the roots if I have to hear ‘Uma Thurman’ by Fall Out Boy one. more. time. *insert screaming*

So please, play something new. Or better yet, change the radio station, novel idea that may be.

For the sake of my sanity and peace of mind.

Thank you.

a day full of fibery goodness

It has been a day of fibery goodness.

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{Before: all curly and full of vegetable matter.}

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{After: So fluffy!}

I sat down and pulled out my hand carders to see if I could figure all that out. With my wheel, I got 4oz of white Ice Leicester Lamb (I don’t know what that actually means other than the breed). I could feel the lanolin in the wool, which was different. It worked pretty well and I’m starting to get the hang of the carders and making rolags.

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{The other two bobbins have some spun fiber that aggravated me, and the yellow is some commercial yarn I used to get a feel for my wheel, not handspun!}

…That led to trying out woolen style spinning. I have another, much older wheel and I spin worsted style on that, so woolen was different. I liked how it works, but my wheel was giving me fits again, so I took a break from that. I’ve learned in all my years of crafting that when I start getting frustrated, it’s best to take a step back and walk away for a little while. Otherwise, I start making mistakes, which upsets me even more, which causes me to make more mistakes… It’s an unpleasant cycle.

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{Drop spindle! Please ignore my messy bed.}

I’ve really gotten better at spinning on a spindle! I love it so much! Hopefully, I can get enough out of the fiber to make a small shawl, so maybe 300 yards or so? I’m not planning on plying it, so it will just be a single ply. I don’t know what the fiber content is, the bag wasn’t labeled, but it feels like wool, possibly merino? No clue.

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And my sock. I got the heel flap knit and the heel turned, so now I just have to pick up the stitches for the gusset, which is my least favorite part of sock knitting. I will put it off for days so I don’t have to pick up stitches. Gag me with a spoon!

So yeah, a day full of fiber. 🙂 It was very lovely.

people of earth, i have an announcement

Hello, people. Seeing as it has been over a month and half since I last posted, I think this is as a good a time as any to say this.

I’ve decided to change the focus of this blog from just books to a bit more variety. I love books, don’t get me wrong. I love them to pieces, but I’ve found that I can only write about books for so long before I begin to repeat myself. 😛 So now I’m going to write more about my knitting, sewing, thrifting, and other things as well as books. The URL and site name will stay the same, but the focus will be different. I hope y’all will still follow me and I will try to blog more often.

Love y’all bunches,
Alice