Friday, January 13, 2017

Random Hobbies --- Cross Stitching...

I have several hobbies -- cross stitching, quilting, sewing, crocheting, genealogy, baking...there are more, I'm sure, I'm just not remembering at the moment.  Cross Stitching is the one I'm spending the most time on right now.  I'm participating in a challenge geared towards finishing WIPs.

The top picture is one I finished in December - it is the "2011 Violet-Crowned Hummingbird" from the Crossed Wing Collection. It is stitched on a hand-dyed 28ct Linen called Storm by Crossed Wing Collection.



 This is the model for "The Storyteller" by Teresa Wentzler 






















I'm stitching it on 28 Count Cashel Linen in Jamaica Sunset by Silkweaver Fabrics












I was given my first Heaven and Earth Designs chart for the Holidays along with the flosses I needed for it.  This is "So Many Books So Little Time" artwork by Randal Spangler, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs.


This is being stitched on 25 count Lugana in Antique White

















I started this when I still lived in Okinawa, where R was born.  This Flower Faerie by Barbara Baatz.  
















  I'm stitching it on a 28 Count Linen - I don't remember the color.  It was whatever they had in a tube on base.













I take about an hour or so after dinner and stitch before I start writing -- at least that is the plan.  Everyone needs something that helps them relieve stress, this is one of mine.  What is really cool is that technology has been new designers, as well as hand-dyed fabrics and flosses, easily accessible.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Simone.  






Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Report - Booktube and Reading Challenge

Okay, so in the process of watching Flosstube some time ago (Cross Stitch videos on YouTube), I came across the knitting, crochet, sewing, and quilting equivalents. Then I found BookTube.  Most of the ones I've seen so far focus on young adult books.  There are some that are Sci-Fi and Fantasy though.  And some of the BookTubers have library tours...My To Be Read pile grew. Exponentially. And there may or may not be library envy.😊

My goal is read for 30 minutes a day. Not a lot, but I'm okay with it for now, since I also have a full time job in addition to writing, and have a kid still at home, which means I actually have to cook and have an assortment of associated chores to do.  And, at the moment, cross stitching is a stress reliever for me. But, I read most of the night I spent waiting at Urgent Care as well as reading about 30 minutes a day. I'm half-way through the Hobbit.

I was putting together a playlist for Behind the Masque, because no matter how much fiddling I do, I can't get my iTunes Desktop music library to lync to either iPad or my Laptop (which is frustrating), when YouTube recommended a video to watch that caught my eye. The BookTuber - Winx & Ink, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy reader - released a video here announcing that January was Sherlock Holmes Reading month. It was apparently decided a few months ago. I saw it yesterday morning. So, I have added several more books to my TBR list -- including several that are inspired by Sherlock Holmes. And decided that as soon as I finish The Hobbit, I will start "A Study in Scarlet" in the Barnes and Noble Classics edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I haven't read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories, so I'm looking forward to it.  However, I don't know if I'll get through the whole book.  So, I'm okay with the one story. (I have a 3 book collection of James Bond stories, and made it through the first story - Casino Royale only so far). 

I should probably add both collections to my list to finish this year.  It's January, with the whole year ahead, it's hard to see what I'll accomplish and what I won't.

Monday, January 9, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - Getting Back on Track

 First week of January and I'm already behind on every part of my goals for the year. On the way home from the day job on December 30th, I fell and torqued my knee. It was bad enough that I was afraid I re-tore my ACL.  It was repaired less than a year ago. New Year's Weekend was also spent with my family.  We crashed at my brother's for the weekend, which is not really conducive to writing. Way too many people and to much noise.  Holidays are important, it's a good time remember what's important in our lives.

So, after spending most of Tuesday evening in Urgent Care followed by strict orders to go home and not move any more than absolutely necessary because the doc was worried about a blood clot. I sat and stitched in bed for an hour before falling asleep.  Earlier I had made the decision to change focus projects, because there is a serious amount of world building that I need to do for Forbidden.  It's no longer NaNo, so I can -- and need to -- take the time necessary - and the word count - to do the world building.  So, I'm working on Behind the Masque again. But, I didn't want to jump in from where I left off, mostly because I don't remember where I was headed. So, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday were spent getting back up to speed and some editing at the same time. So, I'm back to a good starting point. The pain is gone and no blood clot. So, those are good things.

So, this week's goals are a lot like last weeks goals

1) Writing 5 times a week, 500 words each
2) 2 hours of world building and research
Focus - Behind the Masque (writing) and Forbidden (world building)

Have a Fabulous Week!

Simone.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Report - Book Haul and Reading Goals

My teenager bought me "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire and The Land of Stories #2 by Chris Colfer along with a new journal and a two new book marks for the holidays this year.  Our family drew names for a gift exchange and one of my nephews gave me a Gift Certificate from Barnes and Noble.  I can't wait to spend it!!

My Reading Goal this year is to read 26 books.  That's a little over two books a month.  I would love to get to one a week, but I usually stitch between the day job and writing, so there is less time to stitch.  I haven't tried Audible yet, although I've borrowed audio-books on CD from the Library.  The problem I have, and one of the reasons I haven't tried Audible yet, is because of my hearing. I'm hard of hearing, and there have been a lot of times I start to listen to a book, only to have to return it without listening to it because I couldn't hear it, even with the volume turned all the way up.  I don't want to pay for an audio-book I can't hear it.  That would be completely frustrating.

So, here is my  breakdown of the books I want to read:

3 Classics
3 Non-Fiction
20 Whatever - mostly fiction.
   I want to read at least one in each of the following genres - Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and Mystery.


I have several classics on my shelf that I haven't read including Kidnapped and The Black Arrow. I also want to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  (My high school AP English class read things like Jonathon Livingston Seagull, which was 80 pages, pictures on 40 with large print, so I missed a lot of the required reading books in school - and some I don't remember reading if I did.)

I'm reading The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien now, which has a good pace to it so far.


There is a book from a book club I'm in that I'm thinking about reading because I want to see if it matches my expectations.  It's romance - or at least it's supposed to be.

For Non-Fiction, I have several on my shelves to choose from, but I'm pretty sure one of them will be Prague Winter  by Madeleine Albright



I picked this one up when I was looking for cozy mystery series, but I'd read one that I thought was going to be interesting and it turned about to be too unbelievable, so I stopped reading them all together, I want to give this one a try. Different series. Different Author - it's Death By Darjeeling by Laura Child. 



I found this on one of center aisle racks at Barnes and Noble, and looks like it's going to be Urban Fantasy.  Hounded by Kevin Hearne.



 This is one of those -- that sounds interesting books -- then I found out it was a movie, and it was shelved.  But, it's one of those I want to read it and see how they handle Zombies.  World War Z by Max Brooks.



 Those are the books I want to read this year.  Some I chose because I'm excited to read them, others because I put them down before I could get into them before.  My Reading Bullet Journal has most of the books I want to read written in there - either by year, challenge, or author.  So, far there are books listed on 52 pages.  Some are full, others aren't.  It's still a lot of books.

I have a simple tracker in the Goals section of my Bullet Journal Planner and a section on my weekly page for what I'm reading.

Book Tracker in Goals Section


Weekly Layout 



Happy Reading,

Simone.



 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

From the Writer's Desk -- Looking Forward in 2017

According to an article I read on History Channel's website, The History of New Year's Resolutions, the tradition of promising to make the new year better than the last one dates back 4000 years ago to Babylon -- they were promises made to gods, that if kept brought reward and if not - caused one to fall out of favor with the gods. Now-a-days resolutions are made - some with very serious intentions on keeping them, and some half-hearted or half-baked with little or no intention.  Some are doomed to fail before they begin due to the nature of the resolution.

I have started a new Bullet Journal that I hope will help not only keep track of things, but also help keep me focused on my goals. My biggest goal is to become a full time writer.  I like my day job, I love the organization I work for, but I would rather be writing. I'm still trying to work out how to stay writing when life stress gets overwhelming.

* Ideally, I want to write 12 books, my goal is 5.

* Write 365,000 words -- which sounds like a lot until you realize it's only 1,000 words a day.  Some authors manage 6,000 - that's my goal, but I still have a day job and life stress, so, 1,000 it is.

* Read 26 books
      3 Classics
      3 Non-Fiction
      20 - Whatever

* Blog Weekly


I've broken my big goals into smaller chunks, come up with a reasonable time line for my day that I think will work.I plan on doing Quarterly Reviews to see how I'm doing as well as a year-end review to see what I accomplished.

Weekly Goals, January 2-8

Write 5 times a day, 500 words a session
Blog on Wednesday and Friday
Read 30 Minutes everyday


I intend on keeping my resolutions this year.

Simone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Report -- New Additions

I was all set to start reading Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but the library wanted their book back, so it's now on my list of books to buy.  I'm looking forward to reading it and it's companion piece, The 8th Habit .


For now though, I'm reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  



A conversation with my friends Ara and Menina revealed a lack of knowledge of classics.  I was aware that Disney has long made classic stories into movies, but I wasn't aware that one of my favorites, The Black Arrow, was one of those.  Apparently, there are a couple of different versions, but the Disney version is the only I've seen.  Unfortunately, it is not one of those that has been released on DVD or re-released on VHS.  Copies are available for a small fortune. That sucks.  It would be interesting to see if I still thought the movie was as good as I remember it. But, I did find out that the movie is based on the book, The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stephenson. 


Disney's Kidnapped with James MacArthur from 1960 was also a favorite of mine.  The movie is also based on a Robert Louis Stephenson Novel.  So, I had a coupon and splurged and picked up this copy of The Black Arrow and this copy of Kidnapped .




Monday, December 12, 2016

From The Writer's Desk - Best Laid Plans


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/107030928622639316/

November was NaNoWriMo. I had my writing plans laid out, and a new book to work on. Then a switch in procedure at the day job and added a lot of stress meant, I wrote maybe 4 times the whole month. I did manage to get some reading and cross-stitching in.

Things are calming down at work and stress levels are back to manageable levels.  The day, month, week planning I discovered with the Bullet Journal planning system and the customization that goes along with it, has helped not just manage the stress, but seems to be helping with the productivity.

I'm in the process of figuring out my 2017 writing plans as well as my goals in general.  Ideally, I would like to finish Forbidden by the end of this year. However, if it's by the end of the January I'll still be happy.

So, my goals for this week --

Write 5 days this week (Monday thru Sunday)
Write 500 words a session
Spend 2 - 4 hours on World Development
Focus - Forbidden

Non-Writing -
Go through 2 boxes
Read 30 minutes a day 

Happy Writing and Reading,

Simone.