Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello 2013!

From Berlin
  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sydney, Australia
and London.

 Good riddance to 2012!  Welcome in 2013 :))

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2 quotes, 1 visual #13

     'Beyond Bizarre: Frightening Facts and Blood-Curdling True Tales' is Varla Venturas' second collection of trivia drawn together to amuse.  Like the first book, this one also includes a nice index of sources.

Quote #1:  "The circumstances behind each incident are pretty much the samr: a young woman has been able to hide her pregnancy, but when her child is born, she throws it over a bridge to fend for itself in the murky deep.  It is said that if you turn off your car engine on one of Ohio's crybabt bridges, you can hear the wails of a newborn child in the wind."  (page 83, paragraph 1)

Quote #2:  "As an adult, in 1563, (Francis de) Civille was buried ia a mass grave during his stint in the army, but his servant dug up his body and discovered he was still alive.  While recovering in his own home, enemy soldiers invaded and tossed his body into a heap of manure, where he remained buried for three more days.  He was once more rescued and revived.  He went on to live to the ripe age of 105 and was buried three days after his death, just to be sure."  (page 156, paragraph 1)

One Visual: "Squirming around somewhere beneath the Gobi desert is the Mongolian Death Worm, a truly gruesome creature named for its resemblance to a blood-filled intestine.  It has spiked protrusions on its' head and tail, but because it has no eyes or discernable mouth, it's hard to tell which end is which."  (page 185, paragraph 3)
        This little beauty is a cryptid.  While I interested in seeing any number of cryptids, up close & in person, I think that I might pass this one up!

        Being a lover of indexes, & being that both books have decent ones, this set has a place in my shelves.

2 Quotes, 1 visual #12

      This past All Hallows, I was lucky enough to win a set of Varla Venturas' Colections.  The first book is 'The Book of the Bizarre: Freaky Facts & Strange Stories'.  It is a collection trivia buffs would be most interested in having on their shelves.  Here, let the quotes & visual speak for themselves.  They brought a smile to my face :)

Quote #1: "Lacking ladylike poison, Lizzie (Borden) did what every over-civilized, understated Wasp is entirely capable of doing once we finally admit we're mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore: She went from Anglo to Saxon in a trice." ....Florence King     (page 129, paragraph 2)

Quote #2: "The Hinemoa's faithful crew knew why the ship was cursed.  They claimed that deadly forces entered the ship when it was being built and were stored up in the vessel's "heart".  How did these forces arrive and in what form?  The first ballast--heavy material used to give the ship stability--was gravel from a London graveyard.:"   (page 278, paragraph 4)

One Visual:  "American children's author Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952), who wrote many a tender kitty-and-bunny tale, including 'Goodnight Moon' and 'The Bunny's Birthday', loved to hunt rabbits.  She collected their severed feet as trophies."  (page 165,  paragraph 1)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Kitties

Quick snap of Zim (white throat) & Ruby being sweet to each other.
What happens when I move to adjust the lighting: the two of them begin wailing the tar out of each other.

Also, I was lucky enough to win some lovely Yule postcards from Diandra which include her lovely kitty Greebo :)
Just so you can read the print:
And this:
And, hopefully, this:
Ugh!  In too much of a hurry, I think.  Might edit these later.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Little bit more finished

A donkey, little bear, & a giraffe are finished.  Now working on the big teddy (who is holding a book).

Also. this was done on Wednesday:
Thanks to crappy lighting, these may not look like much, but they're 12 dozen Peppermint Meltaways.  Bumpy frosting is due to the fact that while many Starlight candies were slaughtered to add taste & colour, not enough of them were pulverized.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #11

Todays' opinion is on 'Shaded Vision', Yasmine Galenorns' eleventh book in the Otherworld series.  The Otherworld series features three sisters: Camille, Menolly, & Delilah. This book is from Delilahs' POV, & involves a wedding, coyote shifters, drugs, & a demon lord. This is one of my all-time favorite series, & I have all of the books.  Galelorn has not only created but maintained a world within our world, stocked with characters so well developed one could expect to see them walking down a street.

Quote #1: "She gave me a pensive look. "I trust her to do what she can.  But I learned the hard way that even she can't control the world, and can't always stop evil when it rises.  But she can comfort.  The gods are not omnipotent nor omniscient."   (page 156, paragraph 3)
     One of the things that make this book, as well as the series, ring true for me is all of the shades of grey found in the social mores of this world of words.  No rose-coloured glasses, there is bloodshed amid the smiles, & fighting amidst the sex.

Quote #2: "I do...I'm just..."He paused, then shrugged. "What the hell, I'm going to have a long life unless I get murdered or do something stupid.  I might as well learn how to be adventurous."   (page 264,paragraph 3)
     One hallmark of a long-lived series is the ongoing development the returning characters go through.  It is a personal enjoyment to read (& watch, for I can see the action as I read the words) the steps familiar characters walk, whether I agree with the direction or not.

1 Visual: "A wreath of burning maple encircled his head, and around his neck, he wore a golden cord from which hung a skull, small and human-looking.  His boots--dark leather with stacked heels, left a trail of frost in their wake with every step he took.  Hi'ran was seven feet tall, and the Elemental Lord's eyes glimmered, a whirl of stars against the blackness."   (page 61, paragraph 5)  
     For those who have read Delilahs' books (Otherworld is written in sets of three...alternating the three sisters' POVs), this description adds another layer to Hi'rans' appearance.  Never going overboard with endless adjectives, Galenorns' characters develop at their own pace.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finished! & not so finished

Scarf begun.

Hooded scarf finished. A light dusting of what little snow we've had is on my shoulders.

Not so finished birth record, which is due in, like, 11 weeks......(cue murmured chorus of ''shitshitshitshit')

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I miss Carol Duvalls' show

I adored her...the common sense approach, her Christmas specials were spectacular, the crafts easy enough to attempt. Carols' show went off the air in 2009, & I'm still waiting for some network to come up with the younger version of herself.  A website  isn't the same, even if it is Marthas'.  Pinterest is cool...quite the time waster in the guise of 'inspiration'.  Online sites, such as craft gossip , purl bee (except I substitute more affordable fiber & fabric.....), & awesomesauce & asshattery , are wonderful to read & dream through.  *But* none of them are the same as being able to watch Carol at work & listen to her Michigan accent.  I find it rather sad that handcrafts are held in such low esteem, that prime-time media doesn't find them worth the expense of broadcasting.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2 Quotes, 1 Visual # 10

# 10 is 'This Brilliant Darkness' (Red Tash).  This was the first book I read of Reds, & it knocked me for a loop. Gorgeous plot, wonderful writing which took, & takes, me to a place within this world that I had never imagined. A dark tale told from several viewpoints, of a dark creature & the dark places it takes people.

Quote #1: "She thought of the elephant-headed god Ganesha, & she wondered what "crazy" might mean to God.  She snaked her arms through the air, & laughed."  (page 130, paragraph 1)
   So much crazy sht going on in this tale, but is it really?

Quote #2: "In the woods, on the brick-lined paths between Third Street & the office, the monster--Greachin was his name--had found Richard.  Tristan felt it.
                   He took his position, white silvery wings folded behind him, in a shady alcove of the round room.  She would be here soon.  The time was upon them."  (paragraph 2,3; page 196)
    As indeed it was. Such plain words, such simple turns, used to such great effect.  The entire book unfolded in my mind as I read, thanks to Reds' skill as a storyteller.

1 Visual: "Large black wings. A wisp of oily feathers & a beak as hard & smooth as steel.  A powerful chest, muscled like a man's, & leathery wings that would support such a body in flight. Over eight feet tall.
                  The woman shivered in her sleep."   (paragraph 10-1, pages 45-6)
   It doesn't take an over-abundance of adjectives to provide a vivid picture. *So* nice to read a writer who understands this.  This is a book to swallowed whole, in one setting, & then stroked, sweetly, one chapter at a time. Impatiently, it seems I must wait for the second installment.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


     There are quite a few blogs running Holiday postings: Elisalex , Ms. Misantropia , Magaly , & Maureen ,  among others.  I'm not feeling the HoHoHo Spirit at the moment, so I am going with this less intensive post for the Holiday Season.  I title it my Christmas Special in One Dimension (henceforth known as CSiOd, pronounced 'sod' ).  Viewers will have to furnish their own hot chocolate & candy canes (the peppermint red & white ones, not the Life-Saver flavored ones which are an abomination).
      My CSiOD has cute little baby animals (not white fluffy Disney puppies scripted with inane dialogue), the best sort of falling snow (the sort seen on a TV screen while sitting in a warm apartment), the perfect tree (Martha Stewart), the perfect Christmas Dinner (Martha Stewart), the perfectly wrapped gifts (Martha Stewart), &, of course, holiday music (hymn , carol , & song ).
     I hope  you enjoyed this little CSiOD.  Regular programming shall now commence (after this *one* Holiday Cartoon ...which almost puts me in a Good Mood ;).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #9

The last volume in this series is "Traditional Witchcraft for Fields & Hedgerows"  (Melusine Draco).  Whereas the previous volume was organized by season, this volume is organized by month.  The difference between Woods & Forests & Fields & Hedgerows is that of time & domesticity.  Woods/Forests are ancient creatures, full of knowledge, sometimes hostile & unsettling. Fields/Hedgerows are recent (comparatively) innovations, with a tendency towards the domestic & homely.  Believing both necessary to understand, two volumes are included in the Traditional Witchcraft series.

Quote #1: "Everything is covered with a glittering film of hoare-frost that forms when moisture in the air freezes on cold surfaces ( usually overnight), producing ice crystals in the shape of scales, needles, feathers, & fans.  This heavy frost represents magic, mystery, & Otherworld----the spiritual life-blood of traditional British witchcraft."   (page 11, paragraph 1)
     A lovely image,which would have been enhanced with another sentence or two as to why hoare-frost so strikes Draco so deeply.  In the previous paragraph, Draco writes that "Snow represents tradition, custom,  & history---the ancestral life-blood of traditional  British witchcraft.".  Given how careful she is to provide succinct explanations of why Draco thinks what should be done, I am puzzled as to why Draco doesn't offer any explanation for these two statements which are so important to her (she wrote them in bold font).

Quote #2:  A simple recipe for toasting apple trees on 5 January/12th Night. Perfect for this time of year.   "Wassail:  6 cooking apples, soft brown sugar, 1/2 oz ground ginger, 1/2 grated nutmeg, pinch of powdered cinnamon, 8 oz Demerara sugar, 3 pints mild or brwn ale, 1/2 bottle raisin wine, 1/4 bottle of sherry, 1 lemon, lump sugar.    Core apples, fill with soft brown sugar. Roast in moderate oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Take care that they do not burst.  Mix in a saucepan the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, & Demerara sugar.  Add one pint of the ale & bring to a boil.  Stir in the rest of the ale, the wine, & 10 lumps of sugar that have been rubbed on the rind of the lemon.  Heat the mixture, but do not let it boil this time.  Put the roasted apples in a large punch bowl & pour in the hot ale mixture with half the peeled & sliced lemon."  (Page 18-9, paragraph 4 & 1)
      Happy holidays! :)

Visual: "The tree sports some barbarous spikes & gives its name to the 'blackthorn winter'---a sudden, bitterly cold spell in the spring when the tree is in flower."  (Page 133, paragraph 1)
      The blackthorn is an important tree in older craft, & this description fits the more modern sinister reputation of this lovely wood.

All four volumes are neatly tucked into my bookshelves.  Until January comes, & that long month will give me time to reread & plan & practice.

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #8

Next up is "Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods & Forests" (Melusine Draco).   This volume is set up seasonally, & has a sub-title of 'A Witchs' Guide to the Woodland with Guided Meditations & Pathworking'.  I have an affinity with trees (their presence grounds me & gives great joy), however, guided meditations can be difficult given the distractions within this current household.

Quote #1:  "It is said that the forest knows all & is able to teach all; that the forest listens & holds the secret of every mystery."   (Page 8, paragraph 4)
     This I well believe: that the older the forest, the more knowledge, & danger, within.  When I touch bark, I can feel the sap flowing within.  When the winds blow, if all is quiet within, I can hear their words (although the translation is more emotional than verbal!).  When I walk in a forest, I am never alone.

Quote #2: The list of Native Trees (U.K.) written of, is like a meditative chant for me when spoken:  Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Blackthorn, Box, Cherry, Crab Apple, Elder,  hornbeam, Juniper, Lime (Linden), Maple, Oak, Scots pine, Strawberry tree, White Beam, Wild Servbice tree, Willow, Wych Elm, Yew.  (Pages 16-37)

Visual: " in the chill, monochrome British woodland...Winter light has more variety than in summer, with its subtle shades of grey & green & brown....pale, liquid dawns, fiery sunsets; low rain-filled clouds in all shades of grey; gossamer-fine mists..."   (Page79, paragraph 2)
     Here writes a person who has taken many a walk.  I very much wish that I could join her.

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #7

"Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore" is the second book that I read in this series of four, written by Melusine Draco.  In the front, Draco lists the classical music pieces which inspired the chapter names.  This volume isn't as heavily underlined as the first, primarily because I live enough inland that this isn't as pertinent for me.  However, this may change in the future, so this volume also has a permanent place on my bookshelf.  Plus, a dedicated playlist on my YouTube channel.

Quote #1:  "Remember that retrieval could be extremely dangerous, so ensure that your reasons for casting the charm in the first place have sufficient justification, or there could be serious repercussions, & you'll only have yourself to blame."   (Page 9, paragraph 3)
     This references having to retrieve, & destroy, a charm rejected by the sea.  I greatly appreciate that Draco makes clear that the sea has a potential to be dangerous, & that one should remember this when working sea-magic.  No rose-coloured glassed here.

Quote #2: "It all depends on the shade of blue.  For example, a very dark blue sky against which the clouds are sharply defined is a forerunner of stormy weather, but a soft, light ble means settled weather."   (Page 13, paragraph 2)
       Again, a very practical book.  If a person is going to be engaged with the Sea, they need to be fully aware of all of its' colours.

Visual:  "...the discovery of hagstones.  Those found on the beaches are created naturally by the elements, or by a small, burrowing creature that works its way into the stone.  Small stones are pocket-sized, while others can be the size of small rocks.  Some are formed by the wear & friction of other rocks, the sea & weather, while in others a rock-boring creature called a piddock initiates the process."  (Page 44, paragraph 4)
     I love hagstones. I lost the one that suddenly appeared in my household to inattention, & I have been regretting it ever since. Also, I love the sound of the word 'piddock'.  Although the image of a Common Piddock is kind of eewwww. Perhaps because I am not used to sea creatures as much as I could be.

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #6

The first in a set of four, "Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living" (Melusine Draco) is a primer for the modern city-dweller.  Practical, written in a no-nonsense manner, albeit from the perspective of  the U.K., this book reassures as well as informs.  There are a great many underlined sentences & bent pages, in addition to the following.

Quote #1: "Not once, in all that time did I have the luxury of wild, open spaces--it was all concrete & asphalt. But not once, in all that time, did I stop being a real witch."  (Page3, paragraph 1)
     Quickly, Draco reassures & dismisses the notion, brought up by certain people, that Real Witches must needs be in close contact with Wild Nature.  Granted, it has been a while since I've heard such fluff.  Then again, I avoid such people.  Those young on their path may not be so lucky.

Quote #2:  "In fact, the psychic pressures on an urban witch far outweigh those of her country cousin because whereas in the country it is always possible to find a quiet corner, in the town there is that continuous tidal wave of negative psychic interference (albeit unintentional) from neighbors & our immediate surroundings."  (Page 25, paragraph 2)
       Draco aims to help the urban witch cope with this psychic barrage through the publication of this book.  It is certainly something that I need help with!

Visual:  "As the years go by, & the witch learns to hone those talents through repeated experience, the inner questioning of his or her own ability is no longer'll know what you are.
          When one looks at it, one cannot see it;
          When one listens for it, one cannot hear it;    
          When one seeks it, one cannot find it;
          When one uses it, it is inexhaustible.   "         (Paragraph 140, page 3)

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #5

When I was a young girl, I devoured Conan Doyles' Sherlock Holmes. At one point, I could quote entire passages from my favorite stories.  Todays' book reminds me so much of these great short stories...the settings, language, pace, the flavor...but with that paranormal twist :)  "The Secrets of Doctor Taverner" (Dion Fortune) is a book I shall savor most particularly on stormy nights.

Quote #1: 'Then that German we all saw---'
                 'Was merely a corpse who was insufficiently dead.' (Page 18, paragraph 4)
   'Insufficiently dead' is better than a zombie any day!  Even better is the use of the word 'merely'.  
As if running into the insufficiently dead is a common occurrence.  An interesting life, indeed, does the good Doctor have.

Quote #2: 'Rhodes,' he said, 'would you prefer to die & be done with, or to spend all your life in fear of death?'   'I would sooner die 10 times over,' I replied.    'So would I', said Taverner.  'A life sentence is worse than a death sentence.'         (Page 83, paragraph 9)
     A very good point. Death is the easy way out.

Visual: "Then I saw the form of a woman at the window.  Shining with its own luminosity, it was clearly visable in the green gloom that was like the bottom of the sea.  The hair floated out like seaweed, the shoulders gleamed like marble, the face was that of a Beata Beatrix awakened from her dream, & the eyes were like sea-water seen  from a rock...."   (Page 170, paragraph 5)
      A lovely image of a mermaid, or a selky, perhaps.  The phrasing is a little old-fashioned, but all the more pleasing to my ear.  A comfort when faced with the nonsense of modern stresses, such as Black Friday ;)