Victorian Shoe cross stitch

I set aside my big cross stitch project because I needed to actually finish a cross stitch immediately.  So I took up the second of four old fashioned shoes patterns.  These shoes are being done in the new DMC light effect threads.  I find them a bit difficult to work with, so the stitching is slowed down some.  These threads tend to tangle, break easy, and fray, but the look of them is amazing.  I just love how the finished project sparkles.

This pattern was a free pattern offered by DMC on their website sometime last year or so.  It uses only the light effect threads, unlike the blue shoe I did which had both regular and light effect threads.  Both are small pieces (50×50 stitches)

So here is my work after my first stitching session

Cross Stitch

Even though this picture came out dark, you can already see the shine off the thread.  You can see how I build a piece using a jigsaw/puzzle method instead of counting.  What I call a jigsaw/puzzle method is comparing the stitches I am working to what has already been done, how many before or after etc.  In this piece I started with pink in the heel, then built the copper of the sole all the way around.  I then added in the first 2 lines of pink in the main part of the shoe and then put in the rose/purple accents.  I then filled in the pink for the shoe, filling in the blanks between the purples

And here is after my second stitching session yesterday afternoon.

cross stitch

Now you can see the shoe start to take shape and how the colors contrast nicely together.  I continued the jigsaw method here by filling in more of the pink and then adding in the gold and the dark pink accents in the upper part of the shoe.

And I stopped last night (3rd stitching session) with 46 stitches and backstitching to go.

Cross stitch

It’s almost there but you can see that it starts to blend together a bit.  As before I continued filling in the pink, extended the gold up through the top of the shoe and then added the line of purple along the top and the buckle work.  So this morning I finished the 46 stitches.

Cross Stitch

So here is the show without the backstitching.  I didn’t count out the last 46 stitches, all jigsaw method of just filling in the stitches in comparison to what has already been done.  As you can see, the small details, like the buckle strap and the inside of the shoe are not accentuated and are difficult to see.

And the finished piece

Cross Stitch

Gorgeous and I want a real pair!  Now to cut down the fabric, mount the picture, and add it to my frame.

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Pinterest, Productivty, and Plagiarism

It’s another snowy day here in North East Ohio and I have been completely remiss at both my cross stitch and reading.  Part of which has been the house recovering from illness all month.  The other part is because I finally joined Pinterest.  With so many good ideas, I’ve done several crafts around the house.  I finally got my son’s figment pin collection mounted and framed and I am working on getting peg board up in my kitchen (they are painted and stenciled, now need to do the wall work) to hang pots, pans, and other things from.  You can find both the figment project and the peg board on my Pinterest board.

Yesterday the romance world exploded with the finding of massive plagiarism by an author.  It was not a simple case of plagiarism either or just a stolen line or two.  From the reports on many blogs, every book she had published was plagiarized almost word for word.  I am not going to rehash the entire story, you can certainly read the whole thing, including comments in the links below, but no one should be shocked that this is occurring.  Plagiarism and pirating of books is not new.  What is new is the ease at which it is being done.   Between ebooks and self-publishing,  these types of cases are going to be on the rise.  What’s worse is that the places selling these stolen books, Amazon, Smashwords, etc have very little checks in place to ensure that people are selling their own work.  Amazon simply has the person check a box saying they own the work.  This, of course, is no deterrent to someone who has already stolen a book to publish as their own.  They also do not aid the authors, whose work has been taken, in getting relief from the accused.

At this point, the publishing world could go in one of two directions, or even both.  They could develop further digital rights management controls to make it more difficult to re-tune and republish a book.  While this seems to be the most logical direction, DRM brings with it a loss of flexibility to users, library (as determined by the vehement dislike of my Electronic resource librarian husband who deals with them all the time), and other difficulties.  The other way to combat this type of blatant plagiarism is to bring legal action and not just against the plagiarist.  Publishers and Authors would have to sue the plagiarist, their publisher (if any), and each site offering the book for sale for being negligent in not making sure the author actually owned the works.

Unfortunately, that direction may be a death knoll for self publishing as these big sites will not want the responsibility or liability of determining if a person owns the rights to the story and the easiest, most cost-effective way, is to shove it off to someone else, IE publishers.  Which is sad because self publishing is one way for small less popular genres to be made available to the public.  It is a way for an author to make a name for themselves in order to get a publisher on board.  Or for some authors, who are already successful, it is a way for them to write and publish the story they want, but the publisher didn’t buy.  In fact, self publishing is one way for an author to be more responsive to their fans and to have more control over their own work.  Sadly, cases like those of Kay Manning, may ruin a good thing for everyone.

Copyrights are not something to mess with.  As a lawyer I know that intrinsically.  But unless you have lived under a rock while the music industry has sued the pants off people who illegally download, you do to.  By taking a book and claiming it’s yours (even if you change a few words here and there), you assume that your readers and Google are stupid and won’t recognize that you stole someone’s work.  But neither are, and like a drunk driving, you WILL get caught.

To read the story of Kay Manning please see

SmartBitches

Dear Author

Liz Felding, who broke the news as it was her novella that was originally found to have been plagiarized

The difference between reading a book stand alone and reading as part of a series

As I posted earlier I am a huge fan of serial books.  Like TV shows, many books today can be read stand alone (or in the tv analogy watched as a single episode).  For a TV, say like House you will understand and can enjoy the story, but you also miss things.  Like the inside jokes or why one character reacted to another in a specific way.  You can House in any order and things will still make sense, but if you watch the show from the 1st episode to the last, you get an entirely different TV show, with more depth of character and more consistency.

Books are no different. By reading a series of books in order one has an entirely different experience then if they read each book randomly.  Of course, for me, one of the hardest things to do is to reread a book.  I find the story does not flow as smoothly in subsequent reads as it does the first time, mostly because I know what is going to happen.  But I also find on subsequent reads that sometimes there are little things I overlooked or my perception of them has changed by information I gathered later on in the book.  And sometimes, I am finally reading the books in order and that changes things.

I am currently rereading Vicky Dreiling’s How To Seduce a Scoundrel.  Between the first time I read it a few months ago and now, I had the chance to read the first book in the series, How To Wed a Duke.  With the first go around, the book really only had three characters, Hawk (the hero), Julianne (heroine) and Aunt Hester (noisy busybody older woman).  All the other characters were superfluous.  I gained nor lost anything in the story by the presence or absence of anyone outside of Hawk and Julianne.  So much so that upon reading the How To Wed A Duke, some of the characters did not even register in my mind.  But now having read the 1st in the series, I have a whole new depth and understanding behind the characters and interactions in How to Seduce a Scoundrel.  For instance, Aunt Hester’s over the top behavior makes much more sense now.  She is not just a worldly nosy aunt who cares little of what people think of her anymore.  Because I now know the personalities of both Julianne’s mother and brother, Aunt Hester’s personality takes new meaning.  She must be bold and brassy in order to balance the strong personalities and influence of mother and brother.

In addition, I was able to understand better the relationship between Julianne, Georgette, and Amy now that I have read the first book.  The whole wine scene, after Hawk announces that Julianne is like a sister to him, transforms from merely the two other girls there in order to avoid having Julianne drinking alone, to a reflection of their personalities carried over from the previous book.  Instead of seeing Georgette’s remark to Amy that “She never would have thought of that” as being somewhat snide and childish, I can now appreciate the remark as a compliment to Amy and Georgette being sincere.  It will be interesting to see what other differences I notice between the two readings.

Do you reread books and notice any differences in your understanding of the characters and plot development between them?

Cross Stitch update

Ahh that pesky lady is not done yet, but still making progress.  I have not been working on it as diligently as I should be, but I am getting there.  Not only do I have a lot of stitches left, but the beading on the picture is extensive and time consuming.  I get asked a lot how I do such large projects.  I don’t really count my stitches like others do, but instead prefer to stitch relative to the rows around it.  So instead of counting out 10 stitches in the line, I see it as a puzzle.  Thus I compare my start and end to the line above or below it, starting how many before/after, stopping how many before/after.  I like this method because if I do make a mistake and miss it, I can easily correct the problem as I fill in the jigsaw.  The other tracking method I started with this project was highlighting the pattern.  I do find it saves me a lot of time as I no longer need to track where I am going and I can see the pattern fit together easily.

 

Here is an example of the highlighting on this project.  It also matches the progress I have made.  The entire opposite side of the pattern is already highlighted out.  You can see there are some strings of un-highlighted areas.  That is all the beading I still have to do.

 

As for progress, here she is

 

As you can see, I am about half way through her skirt, and then have to finish the beading.  I have done almost all the beading on the front half.  This project is also the first time I have used the very large beads.  In order to secure them flat, I come up through the bead, put one of the green beads on top, turn in and thread back through.

Here is a close up

Sorry it’s so blurry, my camera on my phone dislikes real close ups, but you can see how I have the flower shaped bead laying flat with a bead on top of it.  The rest of my beads are attached with single strand dmc in one of the colors surrounding the beads.  I chose not to use black thread to secure the beads because it will show up against the light colored blues and whites of the skirt.  I attach my beads with a half stitch.  I do all my stitches going right for the under and left coming back.  Thus all my beads are secured, half stitch to the right using a beading needle.

You can also see that I have moved off my QSnap frame to a 10 inch hoop.  I use the qsnap on large projects when I am working more in the middle as a way of controlling the amount of fabric.  But now that I am down to the bottom, I move to the hoop as it is easier for me to hold and stitch with.

 

So if you stitch, how do you prefer to stitch and how do you handle doing specialty stitches and beading?

Review: How to Marry a Duke

How to Marry a Duke
How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Witty and charming. It was nice to see a story where the snobby girls get their comeuppance and those left in the competition were confident and acted like adults, instead of spoiled brats.

I did enjoy watching Tristan and Tessa preconceived notions about each other fall away over the course of the book. Both of them showing to be mature complicated adults trying to do the best they could to act honorable and overcome their ideas of their past. While unconventional, their romance was more of what one expects from two adults. Nothing overt and lacking huge romantic gestures (except at the end) but a mature relationship built on mutual respect, conversation, and shared ideas.

And that big romantic gesture at the end is about every girls dream and for Tristan to remember the message her father gave her mother everyday almost made my cry, it was so touching. And getting me to cry over a romantic gesture is almost next to impossible!

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Review: The Rogue Pirate’s Bride

The Rogue Pirate's Bride
The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The 3rd and final book in Shana Galen’s series and the book was well worth the wait. What isn’t there to love about a book that starts out with the hero and heroine engaged in a sword battle?

Early on in the book I found Bastien to be a cross between his other brothers, which Raeven confirms, telling him he’s a mix of both. Raeven is a character well worth Bastien, both as a pirate and as an aristocrat. She’s fearless, intelligent, and cunning. More than enough to force Bastien to set aside his arrogance and respect her for whom she is.

What I found so compelling about the book was the detailed descriptions, especially of the navel battles. My only disappointment in the book was the lack of the family until very late in the book. Unlike the other two, where the family and the search for the brothers was first and foremost driving the story, here it was more of an after thought. Further, the way Bastien was brought to England was how I anticipated the story was heading. My guess came true even though there were several other alternatives in the story. While those alternatives may have hampered the ability to build a relationship between the Father, daughter, and future son-in-law, Shana Galen could have pulled it off. I also would have liked a more comprehensive epilogue regarding the entire family, especially since they were not featured in this book, thus not giving us to peek into their lives.

I’m sad to see the series end. The premises of the series is not common in historical romances and it was pulled off very well.

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Review: To Wed a Wild Lord

To Wed a Wild Lord
To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another successful book in Sabrina Jeffries Hellion’s series. The more of this series I read, the more I adore it. Perhaps it’s because, like in the book, I am married to a man who lost his father at a young age and I have seen first hand the effect it has had over his life. It has been interesting to watch how each child dealt with their grief and how difficult it was for them to overcome it, even almost 20 years later, to take a chance at finding and pursuing love.

For Gabe, he chose recklessness and fearlessness to hide his pain, even more so after losing his best friend while racing him. It is at first his guilt, that he was the cause of Roger’s death, that brought him and Virginia together. If you recall Virginia challenged him to a race at the end of the previous book.

But Gabe quickly sees that with Virginia there is more than just guilt between them and he strives to become worthy of her. So much so that he admits to having no memory of the night the race with her brother Roger was challenged and in the end taking on another challenge from Chetwin in order to discover the truth. And the truth does come out in the end. I it also finally discovered that the Sharpe’s parents were murdered and the long ago concocted story is truly false.

Gabe and Virginia are sweet characters, each being able to see beneath the surface to what is in side. To see the parts of each other that many overlook or take for granted. I was very drawn to Virginia because she is a lot like myself, or as Gabe describes her “Who knew that beneath the crisp linen and starched apron lay so much velvet and lace?”.

The book is an easy, fast paced story that will draw the reader deeper into the Sharpe’s world and leave you clamoring to read the next installment.

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