[Books] David Anthony Durham – The Other Lands

“The Other Lands” is the second part of the Acacia trilogy and curiously I think it’s better than the first. I very often find the middle part of trilogies boring, there’s not this exciting new feeling of a first part or the big question of how the story ends – the books often just drag along and I’m glad when I finished it to get to the last part. Durham managed to get around these problems by making the first book a more or less self-contained story with just a few loose ends that nevertheless set the stage for events happening in part two and three. And if my to-read list wouldn’t be that long, I’d start reading the third book right away 😉

Contents:
The story is set a few years after the events of the first book and the main characters definitely have evolved since then. Not in unexpected directions but I feel like the grew into the positions they had at the end of the first book. Corinn is a strong queen with a firm hand and always trying to secure the throne for her son, Aaden. Mena is fighting against the foulthings which are strange and mostly hostile creatures turning up all over the known world. Dariel traveled around the world for some time, helping the people rebuild and working with them. Corinn sends him on a diplomatic mission across the sea with the League, to the land of the Lothan Aklun and the Auldek. But as he arrives there, nothing is as expected. And treason is never far away in this world.

Conclusion:
It took me some time to start reading this book after the first part. I thought “The War with the Mein” was okay but not terrific. A nice book to kill some time. I still wanted to know what became of the characters. (I don’t remember clearly, but it could also be a translation problem since I read “The War with the Mein” in German. So maybe it was just a bad translation that slightly ruined an otherwise good book.) Anyway, I was surprised that I found “The Other Lands” so much more gripping! It is one of my the last paper books I had to read – I’m reading on my kindle while commuting (Did I use the right word here? I mean the time to get to work and home again) – so “The Other Lands” was my book to read in bed before sleeping when I had the time. Not such a good decision, it kept me awake too long far too often 😉 I actually had to make a rule of not reading more than two chapters per day, lol. And now I’m keeping myself from buying “The Sacred Band”. I first have to reduce my book stash… or maybe I should just read faster to justify buying it. You know, like “I only have 20 unread books instead of 30, I need new ones!” 😀

Did you ever read a series that got better with every book? And how do you keep yourself from buying far more books than you can possibly read?

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The Sew Weekly Reunion 2013 – Victory Faltenrock, Tap Pants and a Bolero

Here it is... my submission for The Sew Weekly Reunion 2013!

A “Victory Faltenrock” and a bolero for the Sew Weekly Reunion 2013 (and a pair of tap pants – but they are under the skirt!)

The Facts

Fabric: 1.5 meters of striped blue fabric, 60 centimeters of dark blue Crepe de Chine, 55 centimeters of grey melange jersey
Notions: Piping, zipper, skirt fastener, lingerie elastic, woven tape, sequin, bead
Pantone Challengen Colours: Mykonos Blue, Turbulence
Pattern: Selfmade
Time to complete: About 15 hours for the skirt, 1 hour for the tap pants and 1 hour for the bolero… plus drafting the patterns
First worn: August 24th, 2013
Wear again? Yes!
Total cost:  ~€30

Now, where do I start? I loved making this stuff! Most of the things were on my sewing list anyway, so I just had to find some fabrics in the right colours. I also decided to include more than one garment in the challenge, since the skirt needed an underskirt anyway and when I saw the colours, the Turbulence immediately made me think about that melange jersey I saw at the fabric store.

Just another picture of the whole outfit

Haven’t worn a skirt that hits above the knees for at least 10 years… doesn’t look that bad, does it?

Anyway, here are some details! The fabric for the skirt was actually in my stash for about a month and I have no idea what it is made of. It was labeled “Designer Fabric”. But it is a woven fabric. I love the dark blue with the brighter stripes in Mykonos Blue. The idea for skirt pattern came from a german sewing page with looots of tutorials, it’s called the “Victory Faltenrock” (Victory Pleated Skirt). I just made a normal skirt instead of a mini skirt, added a waistband, divided the front panels, changed the position of the zipper to the right side and hid it like it’s normally done with jeans. I think it might be my biggest sewing project up until now! (I didn’t realise all this piping would take that much time, I never sewed a zipper in this way and don’t even get me started on the pleats) And I just LOVE it! It took me ages to figure out how to alter the pattern so the stripes on the pleats would  be more or less parallel. And how I wanted to place the stripes on the the rest of the skirt. I went for the “different everywhere” solution, but I did match the stripes at the center front and center back. Another detail I just love, are the pockets under the pleats. And now, some pictures!

I love how the hidden zipper turned out!

The zipper, skirt fastening and the waistband – the inner side of the waistband is made of a soft cotton twill from my stash.

Here you can see the pleats... and piping!

A closeup of the top of the pleats – with some piping!

The piping is made of the same fabric as the rest of the skirt. I didn’t cut it on the bias, but wanted the brighter blue stripes to be visible on it.

The side view of the skirt

And here’s the side view of the skirt!

I also wanted to have a matching underskirt. Only, I didn’t make an underskirt but a pair of tap pants (also called culottes – such a cute word). There’s a tutorial for drafting the pattern and sewing them here. I did alter the pattern a little here and there, used lingerie elastic at the waist and simply hemmed the legs. As the front and back are looking quite similar, I rummaged around a little and came up with a sequil and a matching little bead from my mother, which I sewed on to mark the front. And gone is the fear of short skirts and gusts of wind!

Tap Pants

Tap Pants - Front

The sequil and bead are a dark green

The bolero is a very simple one, I found it more than once on the internet already. I used this tutorial, but I must confess it’s a little too big for me. And I did scale it down already! Apparently just not enough. I found this woven tape with a black, white and grey tartan pattern, but next time I’ll sew a bolero I’ll get bias tape – the woven tape was so slippery I needed to hand baste it all around before sewing it on 😉

Bolero

Oh, and it looks totally boring on photos.

A closeup of the woven fabric

A closeup of the woven fabric

And just because I want to mention it: I listened to Ayreon while sewing this stuff. In fact, to everything from Ayreon (even the bonus CDs)! Totally awesome project by Arjen Lucassen!

So that was the TSW Reuninon 2013 for me, I had lots of fun with it! And it was a real challenge for me to work with colours… I’m one of those persons who mostly wears black 😉

[Books] They really have nothing in common

It’s late in August and looking at the books I’ve read since my last update, that’s all that comes to my mind. We have here: a crime novel with some psychological stuff, a fantasy novel (written for children), a short story about a knight (also fantasy, but definitely not intended for children!). I’ve written about the first book in German cause it’s been a while since I read it and I’m too lazy to translate now 🙂

Alan Russell – Multiple Wounds
Seitdem ich meinen Kindle habe, schaue ich brav (fast) jeden Tag den “Deal des Tages” an, also ein englisches Buch, das nur an diesem Tag runtergesetzt ist. Und gelegentlich stolper ich dann über solche kleinen Schätze wie “Multiple Wounds”. Das Buch spielt in San Diego und erzählt die Geschichte um einen ungewöhnlichen Mordfall. Die Besitzerin einer Gallerie wird erstochen aufgefunden und zu den Verdächtigen gehört auch eine Künstlerin names Holly Troy. Mit dem Problem, dass Holly Troy mehrere Persönlichkeiten hat, genauer gesagt elf. Fast alle davon sind Gestalten aus der griechischen Mythologie und haben die Eigenschaften, die ihnen zugesagt werden. Es steht schnell fest, dass eine der Persönlichkeiten, Pandora, etwas über den Mord weiß aber nicht verrät was. Nun stellt sich nur die Frage, ob das daran liegt, dass sie den Mord gesehen oder ob sie ihn selbst begangen hat.
Die Grundideen für das Buch finde ich wirklich gut und auch originell. Ich wäre zum Beispiel nicht auf die Auflösung des Mordes gekommen oder was hinter Hollys Persönlichkeiten steckt. Auch die vielen Abschweifungen in die Mythologie haben mir persönlich gefallen, ich hatte allerdings schon immer eine leichte Schwäche dafür 😉 Allerdings fand ich den Charakter von Cheever (dem Inspector) dagegen irgendwie zu flach, ich bin über das ganze Buch hinweg nicht wirklich warm geworden mit ihm. Das gleiche gilt für Hollys Psychologin, die auch eine wichtige Rolle spielt. Auch die Art, wie der Mord aufgeklärt wurde, fand ich ein wenig seltsam. Es gibt eigentlich immer wieder neue Hinweise oder Details, die untersucht werden, aber letztendlich wird nichts davon verwendet. Für mich wurde das Buch erst durch Holly lebendig, wenn sich ihre verschiedenen Persönlichkeiten gezeigt haben, oft mehrere nacheinander in Einzelsituationen.
Mein Fazit: Ein gutes Buch für zwischendurch, mit originellen Ideen – aber die Umsetzung hätte meiner Meinung nach etwas besser sein können.

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
I haven’t seen the movie yet (and I don’t plan to – I’m just not a big fan of movies, especially when there’s a book), but several of my friends have been urging me for at least a year to finally read the damn book!!! Yep, those were their words. So I did. I seem to have a thing for books that are intended for children (I think I’ve mentioned this before). Anyway, “The Hobbit” is… a nice book. Really. It’s about Bilbo Baggin’s adventure and sort of the prequel to “Lord of the Rings”. You won’t get epic battles and shocking turns of events and all those things, and you have to keep in mind that the dwarves and wizards here are what is today considered to be “boring standard characters” – but Tolkien set those standards!
The story is what you expect – Bilbo is drawn into this adventure, often complains that he wants to be at home but still stays true to his comrades und always helps them out. I like Tolkien’s writing style here, it’s not overly dramatic oder childish but keeps you interested in the fate of the characters and the overall story. So, if you like fantasy and haven’t read it yet – Just read the damn book!!!

George R.R. Martin – The Hedge Knight
And here we have another prequel to a great fantasy saga! Or, not really a prequel book, but a prequel short story. It only took me about one or two hours to read, but George Martin managed to make them a rollercoaster ride! Wow!
The story is set in Westeros about 100 years before “A Song of Ice and Fire” starts, meaning that the Targaryens still rule. The protagonist is Dunk, an orphan who was taken care of by a hedge knight. When the knight dies, Dunk decides to participate in a tournament to get some money. And, needless to say, everything turns out different than he planned.
I would strongly advise against starting to read this when you need to stop reading in between. I picked it up in the morning, nearly forgot to get off the train and the time before I could read the rest in the afternoon was kind of horrible 😀

So that’s it for now. I also read a couple of Sherlock Holmes short stories, I always try to read a few between two books to get over my occasional “book hangover”. Sometimes I just need a little time to get away from a story when I’m so drawn into a book my mind is still wandering in there after the last page.

Oh, and I’m done with my stuff for the TSW Reunion – yeah! I just need to take some not-as-shitty-as-usual pics (I already have a few grainy ones) and what can I say? I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Have a nice week, all of you!

I’m on Bloglovin’!

If you don’t have a WordPress account and don’t like emails (I’m certainly sometimes annoyed by all those update mails fluttering in my inbox), you can now follow my blog on bloglovin’!

There’s a button on the right sidebar, just klick it 🙂

I really like this option, since I’ve noticed that I’m mostly following wordpress blogs because it’s just easier to click follow and have posts appear in news feed than having to check your mails regularly for updates. With bloglovin you can follow all blogs you want (if the owner claimed it there) independant of the platform they’re on. So convinient!

Have a great week!

PS: The skirt for the Sew Weekly Reunion is coming along nicely and I managed to get all my fabrics washed over the weekend. If I don’t get too distracted I might be done by next week. My biggest problem seems to be that I lost some weight since measuring myself for the skirt, so I now have to change the fitting. I’m trying not to be annoyed by this 😉 After all, it’s a good thing, isn’t it?

[Sewing] Color Decisions

Some of you may have noticed the badge on my right side bar from The Sew Weekly Reunion. Yes, I decided to join it, even if I had no idea it existed until a week or two ago. And I decided to post about it in English, since it just would be kind of silly otherwise. So here’s the German girl trying not to fail too hard at writing in English about her sewing adventures.

The theme for the reunion are the Pantone Fall Colors 2013 which, I have to admit, are not sooo much my cup of tea.

Pantone Fall Colors 2013

Pantone Fall Colors 2013

At first glance they don’t look that bad, but: I just don’t like orange (seriously, nothing in my wardrobe is orange), I’m very picky about red because I’m still letting my red dyed hair grow out and it changes its color weekly with the summer sun bleaching it and never looks good with any shade of red I own and brown… well I like brown but I’m not really wearing it. Not sure why. Then there are three shades of green, but I don’t like this murky tone of the Deep Lichen and while I actually think Linden Green looks nice I prefer darker colors for myself. So that leaves me with Emerald, Mykonos Blue, Acai and Turbulence. While Emerald is Pantone’s Color of the Year, I can’t really remember seeing it anywhere.

Anyway, when I looked at them I suddenly remembered this piece of blue fabric I had in my stash, which is a dark shade of blue striped with Mykonos Blue and a wonderful more or less Turbulence melange jersey I saw at the mall but had no idea what to do with it and therefore didn’t buy it. The blue fabric was originally bought for a skirt which I didn’t come around to make yet, so I’m gonna change that and while surfing around in a forum I came across a really easy and striking idea what to make out of the jersey, so I ran to the mall and bought it. I already used an Acai colored lining two times this year and am a little bored by the color and I really found no fabric at all in Emerald. So I’m settling to make that blue skirt and my jersey project for the reunion. If I do happen to find an Emerald fabric, I’ll buy it for a shirt because I really like the color (and I already know what kind of shirt I’d like to have). I guess that means my reunion project is not one single garment, but rather a whole outfit. Since I have a whole month to sew this, it sounds quite possible to me.

I don’t want to go into the details about the outfit but here’s what I already did: I made a pattern and several muslin parts for the skirt, wrote lots of notes what I have to do and in which order, bought all the odds and ends I still needed and started cutting the blue fabric. The biggest problem here is the placing of the stripes. I also got a fabric for a matching pair of tap pants. The jersey project doesn’t have a pattern, only instructions, and sewing it shouldn’t take more than a few hours but I still have to wash the fabric. I’ll try to first complete the skirt, then the tap pants, then the jersey thing.

And how do you like the Fall Colors? What would you make out of them? I’m already sooo excited to see all the things coming out of this and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!