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Category Archives: Ultimate Blog Challenge
Don’t forget to nip along to DailyLit and sign up for the four Edgar Allan Poe choices to read along with me for a month of mystery and macabre delights.
The schedule is as follows:
1 – 7 Nov: The Pit and the Pendulum (7 installments)
8 – 14 Nov: Ligeia (7 installments)
15 – 22 Nov: The Fall of the House of Usher (8 installments)
23 – 29 Nov: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Raven (7 installments)
You can find the full details HERE.
Each Saturday, I will feature either something I’m currently stitching, something I’ve just finished stitching, or something I’ve just designed. I hope you’ll all join me in displaying some of your own work and leaving a link to your post in the comments below.
Quoth the Raven… is a single-colour sampler – all in black – and features the eponymous bird with the associated phrase “Nevermore”, framed by an elaborate lace border. The design is free for personal use (see the design notes attached to the chart for full permissions) and is 120w x 66h stitches.
Just click the picture to be taken to the design at my Kincavel Krosses blog. I hope you’ll have fun stitching it, and if you do, please send me a photo of your finished sampler so I can include it in the gallery of stitches!
What is Foto Friday?
It’s a weekly meme hosted by me.
How do I take part?
Easy – you post a picture and tell everyone the following:
* What / who is in this photo?
* When / where was this photo taken?
* Why you love this photo.
Then you just leave a comment here linking back to your blog entry. Simple!
When / where was this photo taken?
On the morning of 10th October 2010 in my bedroom.
Why I love this photo:
Like his Mummy, Xander doesn’t usually like having his photo taken, but on this occasion, he actually said, “Mummy, picture!” and posed for me without my asking. He immediately wanted to see the photo (which I’d taken on my mobile phone) and said, “Good one!”
We must have played for more than half an hour, hiding under the covers, playing peek-a-boo and pretending we were camping (with the duvet as our tent) and tickling each other, generally having a great time. It was a lovely morning. 🙂
What reading skeletons do you have in your closet? Books you’d be ashamed to let people know you love? Addiction to the worst kind of (fill in cheesy genre here)? Your old collection of Bobbsey Twin Mysteries lovingly stored behind your “grown-up” books? You get the picture … come on, confess!
OK, I confess – I love children’s books! I have quite a collection of them and I can’t get around it by saying they’re Xander’s because I had them for some time before he was born and they’re a tad too advanced for a 2-year-old. My favourites are the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer and the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell – actually, the Edge Chronicles pip Artemis Fowl to the post as I adore both the stories and the illustrations. I’m hoping Xan will love them as much as I do!
Last, but not least, honorable mention must go to Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren – I must have read it twenty times at least and I never get tired of it.
Of course, I also have the complete set of Harry Potter, but I have the “adult cover” versions, because they were prettier than the children’s ones and I like thinks to look nice on my shelf.
At one point, I became a reviewer for a site that only dealt with children’s books, and I spent many happy hours turning the pages and being completely engrossed. Sadly, the site is no longer in existence, or I’d still be reviewing for them now and feeding my addiction!
ETA: I’m not actually ashamed of any of these books really – they’re all proudly displayed on the bookcase in my livingroom, but it was the closest I could come to a “guilty pleasure” kind of thing – LOL!
I subscribe to the Craft Gossip newsletter and love getting all the inside information on many different crafts. I’m chuffed to ribbons that twelve of my cross stitch designs from my Kincavel Krosses blog have been given a feature all of their own HERE.
If you’re into crafts, I highly recommend signing up for the newsletter (I would recommend it even if I hadn’t just been featured – it’s that good!) for regular roundups of what’s going on in the craft world. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be introduced to something you’d never thought of trying before and find a new favourite pastime…
* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading?
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray – This is the Reading Circle choice for October at Book Club Forum. I’m still only about half way through it as it’s a huge chunker of a novel, but I’m enjoying it so far. I won’t get it finished this month though, that’s for sure! This one is on my bedside table for bedtime reading.
Denied by Pat Brien – I’ve been sent this novel to review and am halfway through it at the moment. It’s a vampire story, but with something of a twist which makes it very unusual. It’s an interesting read and I’m looking forward to seeing how it further develops. This one is in my bag for out-and-about reading.
Persuasion by Jane Austen – I’m almost half-way through this one as well (can you see a pattern forming here?). Im’ determined that I will read all of Jane Austen’s novels and after this I only have Sense and Sensibility to read to complete my little personal challenge. This one is in the bathroon for reading in the tub.
The Arabian Nights by Anonymous – I’m receiving this in installments direct to my email inbox from DailyLit. There are 633 parts and as of this morning, I am up to part 60 (I get 4 parts sent every morning). As you can see, I have a long way to go yet, but it’s wonderful so far.
What did you recently finish reading?
Chocolate by Elizabeth Ferretti – This is a non-fiction book that came with a chocolate-making kit my Mam bought me as a gift, as I recently decided to take up chocolate-making. It’s packed full of tidbits of information on the history and making of chocolate and features some lovely recipies too. I’m looking forward to putting it all to good use!
What do you think you’ll read next?
Remix by Lexi Revellian – This is another book I’ve been sent for review, so as soon as I’ve finished one of the books I’m currently reading, this will be the next one I pick up. It will become my “bag book” for taking out and about with me to read in any spare moments I have.
I thought I’d share with you all a wonderful resource I use regularly to read literature in small installments absolutely free. It’s called DailyLit and the installments are delivered daily to your email inbox so you can read good books, even if you only have a couple of minutes free to do so every day – fantastic for the busy reader on the hop!
Therefore, I cordially invite you all to a month of thrills with Edgar Allan Poe. Registration is absolutely free of charge and all the books I propose to read next month are also available gratis, so I hope you’ll all join me in this journey into mystery and macabre with one of the greatest and best-loved horror writers ever published.
At the end of each book, I’ll make a post about it and invite you all to share your thoughts on them too – whether in a brief comment or by linking to your own blog.
1 – 7 November:
The Pit and the Pendulum (7 installments)
Edgar Allen Poe’s 1842 Pit and Pendulum is the story of a prisoner trapped in solitary confinement during the Spanish Inquisition. The prisoner’s cell is completely dark and, unable to make sense of his surroundings without light or sound, the prisoner collapses. When his eyes open, the prisoner makes a horrifying discovery. A deep and deadly pit lies at the center of the tiny space, promising certain death if the prisoner were to fall. As he contemplates this grim prospect, the prisoner notices something else he did not see before: a pendulum with a sinister blade swings sickeningly back and forth overhead. As we read on, we find that these two horrible threats are not the only ones the prisoner will have to face. How will he ever survive? Sentence yourself, if you dare, to thrills and chills in this work by one of literature’s greatest horror writers.
8 – 14 November:
Ligeia (7 installments)
Love defies all obstacles in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1838 story Ligeia, though not in the way you might think. The tale’s narrator, a young man, is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Ligeia. She is bold and intelligent, a most unusual woman. Tragically, Ligeia dies suddenly one night. Before she breathes her last, Ligeia makes a cryptic statement to her devastated husband about the difference between life and death being a matter of sheer willpower. Not taking much comfort in his wife’s last words, the inconsolable man buries her and moves abroad. Years later, he comes to marry another woman, although not with the same sense of passion and connection that he enjoyed with Ligeia. When his second wife, Rowena, also dies unexpectedly, the narrator sadly wraps her cold and lifeless body in cloth, in preparation for the grave. To his great amazement, however, Rowena’s body seems to stir, as though somehow coming back to life. As only the bravest of readers will find, the narrator is in for a surprise that can only be called out of this world.
15 – 22 November:
The Fall of the House of Usher (8 installments)
The dead rise from their graves and a house inexplicably takes on a frightening life of its own in Poe’s chilling 1839 story The Fall of the House of Usher. An urgent letter summons a man to the home of a friend and his twin sister. Upon arrival, our narrator finds that both Usher siblings—Roderick and Madeline—are seriously ill. Trying to comfort them, the narrator trades stories with Roderick and listens to his unusual and eerie music. Tragically, Roderick informs the narrator one day that Madeline has died and insists that she be buried immediately. Not questioning his friend’s extreme haste, the narrator helps his friend to lay Madeline to rest. Neither man is able to shake a strange feeling that seems to pervade the entire house, however. Then, on a stormy night, they see a mysterious light emanating from the ground around them. The narrator tries to calm Usher’s fears, but as the reader soon finds, there will be no peace until after the shocking conclusion of this tale—celebrated as one of the greatest works of gothic fiction ever written.
23 – 29 November:
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Raven (7 installments)
Enter the chilling, bizarre world of one of the original masters of horror with this “Poe-Pourri”–a collection of three of Edgar Allan Poe’s spookiest (and short) reads. First is “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which tells the story of one man’s cruelty and guilt–or is it madness?–over the course of one fateful evening. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” it is the fate of hundreds of revelers that is at stake. Dancing at a masquerade ball held in a secure castle, the party-goers think they are safe from the vicious plague that is ravaging the countryside. Not all is as it seems at this sublime party, however, and the threat of death stalks the halls at every turn. Finally, Poe’s poem “The Raven” traces a man’s journey from despair to madness. Beautifully musical and eerie, this poem is haunted by the Raven’s famous refrain: “Nevermore.” These, though, are stories you won’t soon forget.
1. Who is your all-time favourite author, and why?
Terry Pratchett. I accidentally discovered his genius in the summer of 1992 whilst bored on a family holiday in the Lake District. I picked up two books – one was Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (which is excellent, by the way, and far better than the film), the other was The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett. I was blown away by the story and the style – and immediately vowed to search out all his other work. The Discworld series really sealed it for me – the man is nothing short of being a God in the writing world! His books never fail to entertain me and there is always some witty link back to something in the “round world”.
2. Who was your first favourite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favourites?
Astrid Lindgren. I picked up a copy of Ronia, The Robbers Daughter when I was about 10 years old and was transported to a world where the real world collided with another filled with mystery and magic. The characters are wonderful and the writing is enchanting. I read it again a little while back and was pleased to find it was every bit as wonderful as I remembered – it’s still a 10/10 book and has appeal for readers of all ages.
3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favourite authors, and why?
Margaret Mitchell. I very recently read Gone With The Wind for the first time and i was, if you’ll excuse the pun, completely blown away! It’s the book I most recently rated 5/5 (there have only been a very small handful this year so far) and one I know I’ll read again in years to come and still find as fresh as the first time.
4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?
Straight off, I’d have to list Terry Pratchett, Simon Scarrow, Kelley Armstrong and C S Lewis – those are the ones that jump out of my head immediately. If I think a tiny bit harder (and really, it doesn’t take much to bring these spinning out either!), I’d add Ben Elton, Stuart Macbride, Christopher Brookmyre, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, A A Milne, Kenneth Grahame, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Philippa Gregory, Neil Gaiman and P G Wodehouse. And that’s just a start. I have literally hundreds of favourites who I rate highly for a variety of different reasons and depending on my mood.
5. Which “unknown” author do you recommend to people most often?
I’m a huge fan of Gerald Brom (most commonly known simply as Brom). His illustrated novels, The Plucker and The Devil’s Rose are works of dark and brooding beauty, both in words and pictures. These are not picture books for children, but for adults, depicting a world of horror and fantasy, but with a delicately perverse edge to the characters that both repels and compels. His first full-length novel, The Child Thief, spins a raw and earthy version of the Peter Pan legend, making it pithy and believable. I highly recommend Brom to everyone, even if they don’t ordinarily like graphic or illustrated novels, as once you crack open the covers, I guarantee you’ll be captivated and unable to put them down!
It’s worth mentioning, I rated all three of these books 5/5…
I’ve been hard at work, designing a small series of samplers for those who love a good cuppa; one for latte-lovers, one for espresso aficionados, one for tea-tipplers, and one for hot-chocoholics.
Design: Espresso Yourself
Dimensions: 84w x 83h
Info: Two shades of brown – dark and light in coffee shades – make this a simple design to stitch. Two little coffee cups, a fun motto and a coffee bean motif border – it would make a fun gift for a coffee-loving friend.
Design: Thanks a latte
Dimensions: 72w x 82h
Info: Five colours and some beads or French knots for this design – dark, mid and light browns, dark and mid cream. More coffee beans in the border and two little latte glasses with their steaming-hot layered drinks inside. The fun pun would make this a lovely thank you gift for a friend who’s done you a favour.
Design: Tea for 2
Dimensions: 80w x 80h
Info: Three shades of blue – dark, mid and light – mimic traditional colours for a china tea set. Two little cups on saucers with steam rising from them, and a border mimicking a china tea set pattern.
Design: Hot Chocolate – Liquid Heaven
Dimensions: 94w x 94h
Info: For the chocoholics among us who know that a hot cup of chocolate is literally liquid heaven! Two very large cups of my favourite hot beverage, surrounded by a pretty border, all stitched in three chocolatey colours – dark and light chocolate-brown, and mid cream – for a rich and delightful stitching experience.
You can download all the charts for free from my Kincavel Krosses design blog by following the links. And while you’re there, you might like to take a look at the other designs and see if anything takes your fancy – they’re all completely free of charge!
If you do stitch any of my designs, please let me know and send a photo of the finished pieces – I’d love to add them to my gallery of stitches!
- All designs are copyrighted to Kell Smurthwaite and Kincavel Krosses
- You may use, copy and/or share these designs, and you may change them to your liking for your own use
- You may not sell these designs or use them to make up kits
- You may sell the finished pieces for charity, but you may not sell them commercially