smallhobbit: (Book cup)
Only three books this time, but none are part of my regular series:

The Red House Mystery by A A Milne

Yes, the writer of Winnie-the-Pooh also wrote a mystery novel.  It was fun, to a point, but the interest wasn't so much in the mystery but in the characters of Antony Gillingham (the Holmes of the story - he calls himself that) and Bill Beverley (his Watson).  Stangely enough I could almost feel Tigger!Holmes taking part in the story, supported by a combination of Pooh!Watson and Eeyore!Watson - presumably something of Milne's prose carried over into his later stories of the Hundred Acre Woods.  And in true Watson/Holmes fashion, Gillingham/Beverley has produced a few fanfics, including one of my own.  It fills the Number/Colour in the Title square for LJ's bookbingo.

Omega and after: Bloomsbury and the Decorative Arts by Isabelle Anscombe

This was my second book on Vanessa Bell, which looked more at her artistic production.  Although I'd originally reserved it with the library, their one and only copy had gone missing, so I bought a cheap copy myself.  Bell's style is quite distinctive, but I can see why it wasn't particularly popular.  The idea of the Omega Workshop was interesting, and how it would have fared if it hadn't been founded just before WWI is worth considering, but it did seem to suit those artists who weren't dependent on their art, but had other forms of income as well.  There's an interesting conundrum about an artist producing what they feel led to produce, but if it isn't commercially viable it has to be sold to a wealthy patron.  Fills the Historical square.

Saint Overboard by Leslie Charteris

The last of my recommendations from [community profile] ffw_social  The book was originally written in 1936, although the copy I bought was dated 1955 (original price 2/-).  A good adventure, but very much of its time, there was far too much about 'the lady with the adventurous glint in her eyes'.  Worth reading but I won't be reading any more.  Fills the This Starts with the First Letter of your Name square.

For anyone who's interested, here's my book bingo card as it currently stands:
book bingo card )
smallhobbit: (Default)
Although it's only halfway through April, I shall be away next week, so I'm unlikely to get very much more done this month.

The bookmark is almost finished - I might get that done this weekend, then it's just a matter of sewing on the backing, and maybe doing the backstitch.

And the big news, as far as I'm concerned, is that I have completed a whole band of the Klimt.  So I'm an eighth of the way through.

smallhobbit: (Default)
It's time to commit to my new goals, rather than hoping they will simply sit in the ether.  The one thing I do know is that if I write them down then I am much more likely to keep them.  For any new members of my flist, my goals need to be attainable with a bit of effort.  So, without further ado:

Goal No 1 - Continue to write all the things

The emphasis this year is going to be on variety, rather than number of words.  It's very easy for me to slip into certain genre, generally casefic, with some hurt/comfort and a side order of crack.  Which I proved when I took part in B2MEM (a Tolkein based challenge) and still managed to write a casefic called Inspector Durin Mysteries.  Not that there's any problem with writing what you enjoy, but I don't think it will hurt to look at writing some different things, so I may be asking my flist for suggestions.  I'm steadily working towards 100 Fandoms, and still hoping to finish that by the end of this year.  And I've signed up for Exchange of Interest (Person of Interest exchange) again this year.

Goal No 2 - Actually do some artwork

The real disappointment of this past year was how little artwork I did.  Yes, there were plenty of reasons why I didn't do much, but this year there will be no excuses.  I've bought a new drawing pad, so I can do some pictures with pastels.  And I shall try and make a point of using my sketchbook when I go places, and not simply carry it in my bag.

Goal No 3 - Write two progress blog posts each month

This was the hardest to decide on, and I'm not really happy with the wording of the goal, so that may change.  I've been really happy with trying out lots of new things (and several of you have been kind enough to leave positive comments, for which thank you.)  And I don't want to simply look out for more new things just for the sake of the 'new'.  Equally I don't want to not do something because it's different.  But at the same time, I want to keep a record of how my current activities are progressing, because it's good to look back, and realise how much I have done.

So, I've decided every month to write two blog posts.  One will be a summary of progress on current projects - so you don't escape the cross stitch updates ;) - and the other will be on any new things, however minor, that I've done.  This may well include visiting new places, but I shall also include notes of how I'm doing with Goal No 1.
smallhobbit: (dragon)
Three of my flist have already done this, so I thought, why not?

Answers all start with the first letter of your middle name (no googling allowed):

Animal: Dragon, or, if you disapprove, Dinosaur, and failing that, Dog
Girl's Name: Desdemona
Boy's Name: Daniel
Colour: Dark red
Food: Damson jam
Something you wear: Dress (I think I possess two)
Drink: Drambuie
Place: Denmark in a Dark and Dreary Dungeon
Restaurant: Dining room - I don't cook so it counts ;)
Reason to be late: Distracted by the internet/book/craft/anything better to do, or the inevitable Delayed train
Job title: Dictator
smallhobbit: (Default)
And so my fifth year draws to a close.

Goal 1 - Write all the things

Yes, still writing all the things, although there's been a definite slow down over the last three months.  I've added another 10 [community profile] fan_flashworks  badges to my tally, bringing them up to 113.  The badges I'm still working for have quite specific criteria, but I'm making progress with writing at least one qualifying fic/poem every two months.  Plus I've already earned two Bingo badges which is pleasing.  In the end I wrote 171,600 words last year, mainly due to 15,000 on two casefics for [community profile] story_works .  For the first three months of this year I've written 32,000 words so I'm looking at 125,000 for the year.

Goal 2 - Continue with the art and craft work

Rather a mixed bag.  The art certainly didn't progress as I would have liked, although I have done a little sketching and the odd card for SM.  I had envisaged doing a variety of crafts, including possibly taking up knitting again, but in the end I concentrated on cross stitch.


Goal 3 - Do something new each month

As my recent post shows, this has been extremely successful, and one I'd recommend to anyone.  I finished a FutureLearn course on The Tudors, which I was rather disappointed in.  It was promoted as including the arts of the time, and although there was a little, most of that was used to underline the importance of the Tudor kings and queens, and I didn't really learn anything knew in that respect - in fact the Country House course I'd done had been more informative in that respect.

I shall be posting my goals for the next year (my sixth) in the next few days.
smallhobbit: (Book pile)
Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

The next in my list of books recommended by those on [community profile] ffw_social .  This was the suggestion of [personal profile] badly_knitted .  I'm not really grabbed by fantasy, but this one with Li Kao, who has a slight flaw in his character, and Number Ten Ox who is the delightful hero, is a fun read.  It's set in an Ancient China That Never Was, and is very entertaining.  I liked the way the plot wound its way along, the characters encountered on the way are highly amusing, and the resolution was satisfying.  I now have the next book of the series sitting on my book shelf.  Fulfils the New To You Author square on my LJBookBingo which seemed appropriate, since this will be an author I read more.

Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin by Nancy Atherton

The usual 'cosy mystery', which was at the right level when I ended up with the second cold in a month.  Set in Oxford, the Cotswolds and with reference to Cheltenham, it covers the Set in Your State/Country square quite well.

Hanging by a Thread by Monica Ferris

As I said I had a cold.  So I was going to bed early and reading in the warmth of my bed.  I enjoyed this, since it was set entirely within the neighbourhood of Betsy Devonshire's shop, Crewel World.  And, because I want to include my regular reads once in my book bingo, this went on the Free Space square.

The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh

Yet another 'cosy mystery', but this time I was reading it as an antidote to another book.  I do enjoy the Inspector Alleyn mysteries, and have reserved the next in the series from the library and I'm hoping to get it some time next month, which is fine, as I'm in no rush.  I'm using this for the Book Turned Into A TV Series square, because I'm not sure whether the other Alleyn one was.

Sketches in Pen and Ink: A Bloomsbury Notebook by Vanessa Bell

When I did the Tate Gallery 'Which woman artist are you?' quiz I came up as Vanessa Bell.  So I thought I'd read up on her.  The main section of the book is based on talks she gave on various memoirs, and either end are details of her life (as told by her daughter) and a short discussion of her art.  Since I knew very little about her before I began reading this was very interesting.  We're going to the Tate in July (there's a big van Gogh exhibition), so I shall take the opportunity to see the paintings of hers which they have.  Fills the Biography/Autobiography square.

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Another of the Fan Flashworks social recommendations.  I don't like horror, and I hadn't realised this was a horror story until I started reading.  Not my thing at all, and I skipped through some of the descriptions, but followed the plot.  It's the first of the Charlie Parker mysteries, but I won't be reading any more.  If you like horror, you'll probably enjoy it.  It does, however, fill the Horror square.
smallhobbit: (crochet Holmes)
Two years ago I decided I would try out some new things, and trying something new has been one of my goals for the past two years, so it seems a good time to reflect on what I've done/learnt.

new things )
smallhobbit: (Lucas 4)

Inspired by [personal profile] dariaw  who wrote me a delightfully silly three sentence ficlet featuring Lucas and Adam Whistle

I'm offering the same three sentence fic:
Prompt me with:
A fandom
A character (and let me know if there are any pairings I should avoid)
Leave a colour as a prompt

OCs are allowed!

smallhobbit: (Default)
And the last one:

smallhobbit: (Default)
Having enjoyed the Christmas wreath making at Nature in Art, I signed up for another Dare to Dabble, this time to decorate an Easter egg.  I arrived thinking I'd be doing something fancy with one egg, or maybe two if I was lucky.  This is what we were given to start with:
decorated eggs )
smallhobbit: (Default)
Once more posting without comment:

smallhobbit: (screech owl)
We were due to have two external activities to finish the term, but on Friday we learnt the planned trip to Lunar City, which we were sharing with another Brownie pack had been cancelled.  Lunar City is a large area full of various inflatables in the middle of Gloucester, and they had contacted our organiser to say the date was no longer available.  We were offered the following week, but that is within school holidays and although some of the girls could have gone, I feel like my involvement in Brownies is strictly term-time only.  I'm quite happy to have a shorter term anyway.

This week we were tree planting.  A member of the local environmental group came to visit and the Brownies were all able to plant tiny trees as part of a hedge which is being planted at one end of the playing field area.  They enjoyed digging the hole, placing their tiny plant in it, together with a cane for support and surrounded by a plastic tube for protection.  The tubes are spirally cut, so as the tree grows the tube expands.  It was a fine evening, although getting chilly as the sun went down - not that the girls noticed, but the leaders were starting to feel cold.
badges )
At the beginning of the year girlguiding announced there were some grants available for units who were in the less affluent parts of the country, who were increasing in numbers.  It turned out that our unit qualified, as it is based in one of the less affluent areas, and our numbers have increased noticeably with new leaders.  I applied and we received a £150 grant.  The funds had to be spent on girlguiding resources of benefit to the unit, but it's meant we could buy a complete set of resources for the new programme, together with a number of badges and some more books.

Glitter Owl decided she would leave at Easter, although she will return to help when Doodles is on holiday.  We won't see eye-to-eye on everything, but I do think it sad that she felt she was just a spare part, without a specific role within the unit.  However, she's going to Rainbows, which she prefers anyway.  A potential new leader-in-training came to join us for the tree planting and it looks as though she will continue.  Hopefully this will work out better - personality-wise I think she'll suit Doodles more, and I can go back to being a proper Assistant Leader.
smallhobbit: (Default)
A blast from the past:

smallhobbit: (Default)
Again, without particular comment:

smallhobbit: (Holmes Watson pipes)
No surprise with this one:

smallhobbit: (butterfly)
But first the cherry tree, as I drew for SM's birthday card:

art and craft )
smallhobbit: (Ludwig van Loewethoven)
It should be very interesting:

smallhobbit: (Book pile)
A couple of my flist have done this, but I was peacefully ignoring it, but [personal profile] aome tagged me so, here goes:

I never tag people, so you're all safe! 

smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
The Daughter phoned me yesterday: "I've decided where we're going next year."

This was news to me, as I didn't know we were going anywhere.  Last year we went to the WWI battlefields, and we're going again next month, exploring rather more specific subjects.  So, extremely intelligently, I said "Oh!"

TD: "It's with Leger again."  (The coach company who run the tours.)

"Ah," I say, "Your Dad and I are doing their WWI Poets tour that summer.  I didn't think that was something you'd be interested in."  (That had been quite a surprise.  I'd mentioned to SM (husband of a significant amount of years) that I was interested in the tour and he had been all for it, so I'd booked before he changed his mind.)

TD:  "I'm not.  And that's fine.  We should do the D-Day landings tour."

"Oh, right!"  (Note the continued intelligent replies.)  We then discussed suitable dates, and I found myself agreeing to request the time off work and, once that's done, arranging the booking.

I am off to the Normandie beaches.
smallhobbit: (screech owl)
Doodles still hasn't been well enough to come to Brownies, so I've continued to lead.  I am now completely convinced I do not want to be the main leader.

Last week we made telephones out of plastic cups and string and the Brownies spoke to each other using the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc).  They enjoyed themselves and somehow managed to make the telephones work.  One of the parent helpers works with the police, so I was able to ask her about why they find the phonetic alphabet important.

This week the task was for each girl to speak for two minutes.  I knew this would be daunting for some of our girls, so I split them into three groups: 'this is a great idea', 'I'd like to try that, if I get some help' and 'this is Screech Owl's stupidest idea ever'.  We all did the same tasks of preparation, energising, relaxation and sharing worries, but worked within the smaller groups.

I took the 'this is Screech Owl's stupidest idea ever' group - a combination of our youngest girls, and those who hate the thought of doing things in front of people.  With a bit of encouragement they all managed to write some brief notes - several of them choosing to speak about their pets - a nice safe topic.  And they were all prepared to share their worries - often that of being laughed at - because they knew the rest of the group understood how they felt.

None of them spoke for two minutes, but that didn't matter, because they each said something - one sang a song but that was equally acceptable - and some, at least, surprised themselves that they were able to do it.  One even said how she was really shy at school, and found it much easier to communicate via her phone, and I was delighted she had to confidence to say so.  I was really proud of my group who all excelled themselves.  It turned out a number of the really confident group wheren't quite as confident when it came down to it.  And the middle group learnt that their worries weren't necessarily as bad as they thought.

Fortunately the next two weeks we are out and about, so I only have to turn up and count them.  The Brownies have enjoyed the activities, and worked hard, but I'm not sorry to be having a break.


smallhobbit: (Default)

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