Random Linkity

Hurrah! More Simon’s cat!

Here are some more of those random fun things I found 🙂

Flower Button Pendants

My friend Rachel is a very talented artist who makes gorgeous handpainted china and recently she has started making buttons.

I had been dreaming about what I could do with them and am very excited about these necklaces.

I have 12 buttons I bought from her. I fell in love with this one immediately and the others followed.

I had to have this one as she has the most beautiful silver teapots and we spent a very happy afternoon last year polishing silver together. I can just smell the Silvo now.

If you had a set then you could have afternoon tea on a cardigan or sweater…

The bird ones are my favourites and will be staying with me. This robin reminds me of the one that comes to our garden each year and his friendly face really makes me smile.

This blue tit makes me think of our nest box where some blue tits nested when we arrived.

My especial favourite is this one – the blackbird! I think of Mr and Mrs Blackbird and smile.

Rachel also handpaints the most amazing mugs and plates as well. She doesn’t have a website yet but if you would like to get in touch with her, just let me know.

Brooch or necklace?

I bought this beautiful fossil for the princely sum of 50 pence a little while ago and have been toying with ideas of what to do with it. I think it would look fabulous with obsidian beads as a necklace but equally it would look nice as a simple brooch. Any ideas?

Book 17: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

The guy who runs the library van looked at me extremely quizzically when I asked him to reserve this for me. I think he thought I was having him on until I told him that it was the novel behind the Bladerunner film. We are reading this for book group this month as we decided to go for something completely different and thought science fiction would be good to try.

Book 17: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter in the year 1992 when Earth has been mostly vacated after an almighty war which left dust storms in its wake. Most of Earth’s inhabitants have been moved to Mars where they are given a brand new android to do tasks for them but there are still androids on earth. It is Deckard’s job to hunt down six Nexus-6 rogue androids who have gone wrong and killed their human masters on Mars and have escaped to earth. Deckard is given a bounty upon ‘retiring’ them. He is disillusioned with his life and longs to have a real living pet as the android equivalents are not an adequate replacement but with real animals at a great premium, it is only through earning the money through his bounty hunting that he might realise his dream.

The Nexus-6 is the latest in androids and he has to test whether they are androids or not by administering an empathy test. He has to travel to the Rosen Corporation in Seattle where he has to find out if the test can still be valid on the Nexus-6 model. He is greeted by Rachael Rosen, who insists that he carries out the test on her and finds himself drawn to her.

In parallel, there is another character J.R.Isidore, who has empathy for the missing androids. He is called a chickenhead because of his low IQ and consequently he isn’t allowed to leave earth.

There is a sense of disillusionment and a slight sense of despair in the novel – will Deckard manage to ‘retire’ the androids? Deckard’s wife seems to be overly dependent on an Empathy Box which helps her ‘feel’ – he left the house with her preparing for a six hour depression. There are many houses which have been abandoned complete with ‘kipple’ – old possessions and those left behind are left to pick through the kipple of others to make a life wherever they want to as so many buildings are empty.

This is a very short novel but I really enjoyed it as it really portrayed an interesting insight into a post-apocalyptic world. I’d definitely be up for reading another of his novels.

Nothing android about this kitty cat. She’s 100% Tam Tam.

Shepherd’s Delight

Do you know the expression:
“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight.
red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.”

I just happened to be passing the window when I saw this amazing sunset. Looks like tomorrow will be a beautiful day if this sunset has anything to do with it. I hope that your day has been beautiful as well.

I must say thought that every day is delightful when Tamyra is around. You can’t feel low for too long when she is demanding a cuddle or wanting you to play with her. She is such fun.

Book 16: The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

I’ve not had a good track record with any of McCall Smith’s books apart from the Mma Ramotswe series but I thought I’d give it another go!

The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the fourth of the 44 Scotland Street series that McCall Smith has written about the inhabitants of a street in Edinburgh. Bertie is a 6 year old boy who, according to the author’s preface, has remained six throughout the series despite the others around him getting older(!)

Bertie’s troubles centre around his very bossy mother Irene and some of his irksome childhood companions who have names like Tofu and Olive. Irene is influenced by Melanie Klein and drives poor Bertie to distraction as he isn’t allowed to have a normal boy’s childhood. He has a pink bedroom and has to go to psychotherapy and is forced to play with Olive who is a bit scheming and sly so it always looks like it is Bertie’s fault. Bertie’s troubles don’t end there as Irene has not long given birth to another child, Ulysses, and immediately Bertie suggest that they could put Ulysses up for adoption as he knows there is a shortage of babies for adoption. Interestingly enough, Bertie notices that the baby has similar features to his psychotherapist Dr Fairbarn.

It isn’t just Bertie whose life is interesting as Angus Lordie, a painter, is bereft of inspiration because his gold-toothed dog, Cyril, has been impounded being falsely accused of biting someone.

Matthew is a wealthy gallery owner who really only dabbles. He is independently wealthy and employs student Pat to look after the gallery on part-time basis. He and Pat are going out but it doesn’t seem like a love-match or passionate relationship.

There is the very big and selfish, Bruce, whose purpose in life is to drift in and out of things that suit him. He is back in Edinburgh again flat-hunting after a stint in London and is looking for a cushy number he can take advantage of.

Big Lou is a cafe-owner who has trouble finding a suitable man and starts seeing someone who is part of a group of Jacobites(!) who believe they have found the descendant of Bonnie Prince Charlie (!)

There are other characters like Domenica, the anthropologist, and her friend Antonia, the would-be writer who I could mention but they are so numerous it would spoil the book.

I didn’t like the Scotland Street series originally but having read this volume, I have started to warm to the style of writing as it is a set of newspaper columns and I can see how they fit together as such. I don’t think I’d be adverse to reading another of the Scotland Street books.

Sirius’s only thoughts on Scotland are for his auntie D who he misses and would like to have visit.

Ten on a Tuesday : Ten Favourite Non-Knitting Blogs

Shamelessly stolen from Kristi again 🙂

1. Silver Pebble is a favourite as she makes the most amazing silver jewellery which she sells in her Etsy shop. I’m lusting after this beautiful necklace of sempervivums. It is always love to read her blog and she organises something called a Splash of Colour you may have seen me participate in to brighten up the dark winter months.

2. Attic 24 is a blog full of bright colours as Lucy is a crocheter. I think her house must be stuffed with afghans 🙂 It is a happy place to visit as she is always doing something with colour. It was her blog post about the Japanese stole which inspired me to start crocheting one of my very own.

3. Joy the Baker. I love Joy the Baker for her colour and generally happiness. The photography on her food blog is amazing and I love reading her recipes which I’ve made a few of. Cappuccino cookies are on the cards soon.

4. Resurrection Fern is another favourite. Her beautiful art pieces of covered stones and dyed fabric is so gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous, Lord Byron, Edgar and Arwen are true stars.

5. Vegetable Heaven is a gardening blog I like to call in on from time to time. She also makes lovely quilts.

6. I’m lucky that Meet Me at Mikes is in Australia or I’d have to take up permanent residence in the shop. This blog has a great mix of the interesting (some YouTube videos), craft and vintage. There was some beautiful Liberty fabric featured there recently 🙂 There is also a section called Learn to Make Stuff which has some very good crochet and embroidery tutorials.

7. The Vintage Magpie makes the most beautiful bears and often has interesting crafty things to say.

8. The English Can Cook is the blog of a supper club owner. I would love to attend one of these evenings as they and the menus sound fab 🙂

9. 29 Black Street is choc full of lovely art work and design inspiration. I also love the cats and dog and great photography. Nova Scotia looks like a gorgeous place.

10. Itty Bitty Kitty Committee has to be in the list. Those kittens are soooooo cute!

Special Mentions:
1. Even though, she describes herself as a sock-knitter, there isn’t much knitting on her blog so I feel a special mention should go to the
Dovegrey Reader Scribbles is a book blog. It is always nice to pop along and see what might be a good read. She organises read-alongs and is currently reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace with the intrepid Team Troika. She often holds contests to win books and I won Super Girl by Ruth Thomas last year. Sadly her handsome prize draw supervisor, Rocky, has passed away but she does have some other beautiful felines.

2. Jane Brocket is quite an inspiration too but again also a knitter. It is lovely to live vicariously through her trips to New York and other exciting places. She does make the most amazing quilts and her book The Gentle Art of Domesticity is a firm favourite.

Monday Memories

Regular readers will recall that every Christmas Eve for the past few years we have been to Leeds Castle. I thought I’d banish away the winter blues (it is extremely cold outside) with some unpublished photos of that day last year. It was unusual last year as we visited not long after we’d had quite a lot of snow and there was a definite nip in the air.

As we came out of the castle, we saw a hint of a beautiful rainbow. It was a sight to marvel after a year of some sadness and difficulty for me.

I was also cheered to see these three birds outside the castle gift shop. It was quite a chance encounter. It isn’t everyday you see a peacock, a robin and a blackbird together.

The blackbird flew off and I caught up with him perched on a bench.

Of course, when we came home, we had the beautiful Tamyra ready and waiting to help us finish our present wrapping although she wasn’t at all interested in the lamb-etta as she called it.

Book 15: A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry

My good friend Eileen recommended Anne Perry to me a long while ago and I saw this in the library van last week so thought I’d give it a read. Anne Perry is the author of Monk which we have on TV here and I enjoy. I’m hoping to read some of the Monk novels soon.

A Christmas Grace by Anne Perry

It is 1895 and Emily Radley has received a letter from her brother-in-law, Thomas Pitt, asking her to go and see her estranged aunt Susannah in Connemara, Ireland as Emily’s sister who her aunt had written to was ill and couldn’t travel herself. Susannah’s family disowned her many years before for marrying Hugo Ross and leaving her family in England to spend her life with him. Emily is reluctantly persuaded to go by her husband and sets off on the long journey to Connemara.

Upon arriving, Emily is soon reconciled to her aunt and discovers that she has been asked to come because there is a mystery that involves the whole village that Susannah would like to have put to rest before she dies. Many years before, a stranger named Connor, was washed up on the shore and was killed. During Emily’s visit, another young man, Daniel, is washed ashore by a shipwreck and seeks refuge in Susannah’s house and the village is on edge as everyone suspects everyone else with having to something to do with Connor’s death. Daniel seems to be asking similar questions of people and stirring up some strange feelings and Emily fears for his safety after learning of Connor’s fate so she agrees to investigate.

This was a very short novel and a very quick read. I enjoyed the story and it had great descriptions in it. I’ll definitely read another.

Sirius is volunteering to be on the look out for more Anne Perry 🙂

Gratuitous Saturday Kitten

What a difference from when he was tiny? Sirius seems to be getting taller this month! Personality-wise, he is very very timid. He was quite assertive with his brother when he was little but pao thinks he is hen-pecked by Tamyra. I sometimes take him off to a room by himself and encourage him to play a bit or give him a special treat as when he plays normally Tamyra steams in and he gives up straight away even though he seemed to be having fun.