Friday, November 29, 2013

Week in Review 48/2013

What did I see?

Another episode of Bones. What can I say, I'm boring! ;)

What did I listen to?
Feindflug - Roter Schnee

What did I ask myself?
Where will I work 4 weeks from now?

What did I read?
"Das Kind" (="The child") by Simon Fitzek. Creepy and intense and strange, but I already recognize a specific style Fitzek uses. I might need more time between books...

What did I work on?
Nothing. I'm in a creative drain currently. *sigh*

I was happy about...
Next week I will be in Vienna with my mum!

I was annoyed about...
Why aren't the people responding to my job applications? At least tell me you are not interested!

I bought...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A book and a blanket - part 3

Today is the last part of "A Book and a Blanket" although I really liked the series and I'm contemplating doing a book review per month. Anyone interested? Like last week, I'm participating in Marfi's challenge to write something about the books I read. Since today is my birthday (Go, party! ^^), I'm going to present my all time favourite book.

As I said last week, my taste in literature is pretty diverse. I'm naturally curious, so even if I think a book might not be exactly my case, I'm usually willing to try it out.  Although I'm not religious, I read the Bible front to back about 3 times. I like Shakespeare and Steven King, Cassandra Clare and Tolstoy, Science fiction and historical novels. My favourite book is a bit of all of these (and more):

The book I'm talking about is "Spares" by Michael Marshall Smith. A friend of mine lent it to me years ago and I devoured it within one night - remember that was during my days as a student, so allnighters were still possible! ;) I never heard of the author before and chose to fill my book boards with his other works soon after. Unfortunately he is not very productive - or at least he could write more in my eyes- because I love every single book of him!

Spares is a mixed genre book. It starts out as a kind of science fiction crime novel when the main character Jack Randall enters a flying mall which can't fly as it is defective. He is hunted by some criminals after he tried to escape with some fugitives from a clone farm. In this future vision, rich people are cloned right after birth and these "spares" are kept in tunnels in case the rich have accidents and need body parts to fully recover. At this point the book turns into an harsh ethical critique on science and questions what makes humans human.

With the escaped spares, Jack Randall tires to relive old relations ships in the (not) flying mall New Richmond, but looses his friends while having flashbacks of his old live where his wive and child were murdered. The book now takes a try on being a crime novel when he investigates what happened to his friends and family. There is also a huge part where the future society is criticised for their behaviour and the large gap between rich and poor is demonstrated (Critical novel).

While they are escaping there persecutors (in a very interesting fashion, now the book is highly technical), he also experiences flashbacks from his life as a soldier in another dimension. This part was emotionally really draining for me as the described scenes do not spare with brutality! The book takes yet another turn and is now between psycho drama and thriller.

I won't tell you the end, but if you ever see this book, go buy and read it, you will probably not be disappointed! I had several copies which I used to borrow out to friends, but they have a tendency to get lost because everyone wants to keep them for themselves... ;)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday cake - Lemon muffins

Yet again. Nothing more to say than: Everyone loves them, so I will probably make them again!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Week in Review 47/2013

What did I see?
This week, the Lady of Manners (Gothic Charm School) introduced me to the art of Jeremy Hush and his beautiful and surreal creations blow me away! Every picture looks like a fairytale!

What did I listen to?
 Wolfsheim -"Kein Weg zurück"

What did I ask myself?
Why so stressed out?

What did I read?
Some magazines and a lot of recipes

What did I work on?
Truffles. With salted caramel and rosemary and cranberries and more...

I was happy about...
My friend receiving a research grant and passing her PhD in one week!

I was annoyed about...
My boyfriend not helping me while making the sweets.

I bought...
Nothing but chocolate!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shop review - The Purple Peacock

I'm a bit torn about the review I'm about to write. But I think that other people should know about my experience. Also, this sounds way more dramatic than it actually is, so please keep reading!

On the ball "Le Poisin Vert" at the 28th of September, I fell in love with the works of Natascha, who owns the Store called Purple Peacock. I instantly wanted to buy one necklace, but unfortunately did not have enough cash on me. Since issuing my card was not possible (which is fine by me, it was totally my fault not having enough money with me), I filled an order form for later payment. I had a little chat with Natascha and felt really good that evening.

I still felt good about two weeks later, although I had not heard back from Natascha. So I thought I'd just pop her an email to receive the details for my payment. I was just waiting for her bill, because I didn't expect her to send the necklace before I gave her the money! On the 12th of October, I send her a short message that I was waiting for her bill and wondering whether everything was in order.

It took her another 12 days to answer; she send me the bill on 25th of October. I paid and soon after received the package with the necklace. The quality of the necklace was really good, it looks absolutely wonderful.

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But. But at the ball I was under the impression that there were earrings which belonged to the set and which I did not receive. The necklace is cheaper on etsy - had I known that I would have bought it there and saved money on the international bank transfer as I can pay via PayPal there. Plus I paid twice as much shipping costs than she ended up using. I don't mind paying an additional Euro for the nice packaging, but double the amount is... well, too much in my eyes!

So all in all, I really like my new choker and love the quality of the used materials, but I can not recommend Natascha's store with all my heart. She took a little to long for me to send me the bill and I would have saved me some money if I ordered it via etsy and not directly of her. I would buy again from her in person, but I will not order from the Purple Peacock again myself...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A book and a blanket - part 2

Hi, welcome to the second part of "A Book and a Blanket" here on my blog. As last week, I'm participating in Marfi's challenge to write something about the books I read. Last week I talked (a lot, ahm...^^) about the Monstrumologist series, but today I'd like to talk about something completey different.

My taste in reading is actually all over the place. I mostly read fiction (I need to read a lot at work which fully satisfies any need for non-fictional stuff), but there is hardly a genre I never touch. My mum is really into historical fiction, so naturally when I raided her bookshelf for new material I stumbled upon these books. The first book I vividly remember from that time was "The Physician" by Noah Gordon. Still a great book, so you should read it if you have not yet!

While my mum has a lot of medieval books, I recently came upon Victorian novels. I somehow found the blog of Charlotte - Gaiety-Girl- who writes novels about Victorian times herself and gives interesting insights into former times (unfortunately in German only). Before her, I was not aware that English Victorian royalty was tattooed or what interesting lifes young women at that time had! She really encouraged me to read some historical novels from that time!

The book I review today was actually won be me in her giveaway! The title is "Haunting Violet" by Alyxandra Harvey and it is about a young women called Violet Willoughby. Violet helps her mother who holds fake seances for rich people and lives off of their money. Her mother forces the unwilling Violet to also work as a fraudulent medium and her adoptive "brother" Colin works hand in hand with both in making "ghosts" appear.

But suddenly, Violet starts being visited by a real ghost. The ghost insists on Violet doing detective work to find the person who is responsible for her death. All the while, Violet finds herself in love with two dapper young men and trying to keep her very first friendship alive!

The book was a nice read, again the story is intended for young adult readers. The story has some unexpected turns, the obligatory love story doesn't up take too much of the time. I liked how accurate the time is described, wit the frenzy of supernatural seances and the tricks that frauds used to cheat people of their money. The book contains some creepy scenes, but is nowhere as freaky or gore-y as the Monstrumologist series. The characters are sometimes a bit flat, but the story itself is interesting enough to keep you going. I really liked to read it and I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in Victorian times and Ghost stories!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Sweet - Chocolate Cupcakes

Today the Sunday sweet post is a tad late as I prepared them for tomorrow. A friend of mine has her PhD defense tomorrow morning and I vouched for bringing cupcakes. For such a special event I wanted to make something special, so I went with chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and chocolate drops:

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Week in Review 46/2013

What did I see?
I saw the second Thor movie "The Dark World" this week and -well- it was kind of nice but it didn't blow me away. There were some logical problems and I'm just not that into Chris Hemsworth. Overall, a solid C.

What did I listen to?
Finntroll - Midnattens widunder

What did I ask myself?
Why is this year almost over? Wasn't it April last week?

What did I read?
I finished the Monstrumologist "The final Descent" and I was so sad! The ending is not what I expected, but what I feared. I still like the third novel "Isle of Blood" best, but it was nice to see how Rick Yancey wanted the story to end. In my head, it will always be differently...

What did I work on?
Not much, but this weekend I will work on truffles and finish the military outfit.

I was happy about...
Getting some stuff organized and spending some time with my boyfriend.

I was annoyed about...
Not moving forward at work. All my projects are currently stuck, which annoys me.

I bought...
New Rock Boots.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WGT Slitherin snake - Corset

Can you believe I finally finished this outfit which was initially planned for WGT 2012? You might remember that I ran out of scales short before WGT and the order didn't make it in time. But I re-ordered and had the scales sitting around for - oh, let's say half a year *blushes*:

At first I panicked because they were blue (which I didn't order), but the blue stuff was a foil which could be easily removed!

The day before yesterday I presented to you the neck corset to the snake outfit. This corset was much more work! I'm very grateful that the wonderful Neisella offered me her self developed pattern for a corset with hip gores, otherwise I would probably still be fitting the muslin.

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I used the same jeans fabric for the outer layer (and matching lining as well) as for the neck corset, but added an additional lining. This way I could integrate the bones between both lining fabrics, making for a cleaner outer look. And non the less, I sewed a lot of aluminium scales on both hip gores... I didn't count them, but I guess about 650-700 scales!

Finally, I can call this outfit finished! Now I'm looking forward to wearing it completely styled. You can bet I'll take some pictures for you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A book and a blanket - part 1

Today I read on Ms Misantropia's blog about an event named " A Book & A Blanket", where Marfi Bradford invites everyone to discuss and review a book for every Tuesday of November. I might be a tad late on the train, but I'd still like to participate. Not to win the promised book and blanket, but rather to talk about a subject dear to my heart.

I love reading, Ever since I learned how to read, I was a huge nerd and book worm. I remember my mother taking out the electrical fuse to stop me from reading late in the night as a child. Which didn't stop me on bright nights, were I just switched from bed to window board and continued reading by the moon light! ^^ Now as an adult, I still read a lot. I average on 2 books per week although it can be 4 in one weekend and no books for several weeks...

I love being comfy on the couch or in bed and drinking hot chocolate or tea and having a new imaginary world on my lap! I'm going to review a book series today which is still ongoing but held me captivated from reality for quite some time:
"The Monstrumologist" by Rick Yancey
 The series is about a reporter who investigates about a strange old man named Will Henry who appears at a nursing home and only owns the clothes on his body and some old diaries. The reporter claims to publish the text of the diaries in order to find potential family members - but also because the diaries speak of a hidden science called Monstrumology which is about hunting and analysing what "normal people" would call - well - monsters. Each novel contains one diary, a total of six are mentioned in the beginning, although the author was only able to publish 4 novels. Which means one more for me to read... Let's hurry up here! ^^

In the first novel "The Monstrumologist", Will Henry looses both his parents and moves in with his fathers former employer, the Monstrumologist and doctor Pellinore Warthrope. He starts writing this diary in in 1888, when he was 12 years old. The Monstrumologist gets handed a fresh specimen of Anthropophagus -a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest- and soon discovers that the may be a serious infection of the downtown area.

In the second novel "The Curse of the Wendigo", both Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry go on a rescue mission for an old friend of the Monstrumologist. John Chanler is missing on the hunt for Homo vampiris, the vampire, which he seeks to find in form of the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, in the Canadian wilderness. Warthrop is sceptical and doesn't believe in the Wendigo/Vampire, but learns that some surprises can happen even for experienced scientists like him.

In the third novel "The Isle of Blood", Dr. Warthrop leaves Will Henry behind to hunt for the “Holy Grail of Monstrumology”. He is send a nest of the “Typhoeus magnificum”, a unseen monster which is the number one hunted for in the ranks of Monstrumology. His new assistant Arkwright takes him to London while Will Henry stays in New York and for the first time experiences something like a normal family life. But soon, Warthrop gets lost on the hunt and Will Henry and Warthrop's former mentor van Hellrung try to save him.

I won't talk to much to avoid spoiling the storyline for interested potential readers, but the series blew me away. They are advertised as youth reads, but I strongly suggest them only for people with a strong stomach and nerves. There is a lot of suspense and scientific talking, monsters and gruesome deeds by humans are describe in detail, so they might not be for the weak of heart!

I really liked how the monsters are seen from a scientific perspective. You learn about their looks, their past and behaviour. There is a lot of Latin name dropping, but most of the names are really funny when translated.
The relationship between Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry is another focal point of the novels. Dr. Warthrop is a difficult personality to say the least, depressed and self-centered but manic in bouts of research. WIll Henry is a naiv and poor boy who in the beginning looks up to Warthrop and follows each and every "Snap to, Will Henry!" quickly. But in the later novels, the dynamic shifts and Will Henry grows more adult and independent while Warthrop finds out how depended he is on Will.
There is also a lot of suspense when the Monstrumologist hunt for their "prey monsters", but the monsters themselves stalk the scientists. There are also plenty of interesting side characters who often find unsuspected and gory ends. In the end, I can only recommend the series and will now head to the last novel "The Final Descent" which I just downloaded on my Kindle...

Monday, November 11, 2013

WGT Slitherin Snake - Neck Corset

Ahem... In the course of reducing my pile of Un-Finished Objects (UFOs), I rediscovered an outfit I had planned for WGT 2012, the Snake neck corset and corset. Since the scales arrived and I got my sh*t together and finished this thing off, I will show the snake outfit parts here as well, even if it didn't get done in time for WGT 2012. Let's start with the neck corset to keep the tension up, right? ;)

I actually started with the trial version months before WGT (2012 *cough*) at one sewing weekend with Neisella. I used the pattern from and sewed it up according to instruction:

Why yes, these are the leftovers of the ugly fabric swap...

ironed inside - looks crappy, I know!
When I put  it on, I soon realised it is pretty big. I also wanted to change the back view to reach lower and cover more skin. But see for yourself:

Sorry, it's rather hard to take pics of your own neck...

So I eliminated one pattern piece and changed the lines to fit my original idea:

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The corset was sewn from black jeans and pink lining. In the beginning I planned to include a third layer (some non-stretchy polyester fabric), but this turned out to be to thick. Now I'm rather happy with both design and fit!

I'm still not sure though whether I should add some scales to the neck corset as well. Any thoughts on this one?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Sweet - Lemon cupcakes

I did it again! I made lemon muffins and added some lemon icing. This time I also put some yellow food colour in the icing and they look a bit egg-y. But what the hell, they were delicious!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Week in Review 45/2013

What did I see?
I did watch a lot of movies last weekend as I really needed to calm down and reload my batteries. All of them were seen several times before, but I really like The Crow, The Nightmare before Christmas and The Avengers!

What did I listen to?
Feindflug - Kalte Unschuld

What did I ask myself?
Okay, who is offering me a job now?

What did I read?
After the second novel of the Monstrumologist, I'm now in the middle of the third "The final Descent". Until now, I like it best of the series!

What did I work on?
A dress and a military outfit in PVC.

I was happy about...
Just being able to enjoy life again and feeling less stressed. Oh, and going to sports again!

I was annoyed about...
The lack of motivation is still a problem, but I'm working on it.

I bought...
4 more printed editions of the PhD thesis for the library.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Asymmetric jersey dress

Now that I have some free time in the evenings, I finally get to sew again! On the last fabric market I bought a rather thin grey jersey. I was not sure what to do with it at first, but finally decided that I'd do a dress after one of the shirts I bought at Krankhaft. I simply lay the shirt on the fabric, cut around it (with added seam allowance) and elongated it to make it a dress. 

The full dress was done in 1 hour including cutting:

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Book wreath

I'm back with full force now that the d*mned PhD business is over! This weekend I finished something I had on my to do list for quite some time: A door wreath made from book pages!

I saw the wreath first in Agnes Barton's blog and she linked back to the original tutorial here. Essentially, you need a polystyrol base, an old book and lots and lots of hot glue! I did some in progress pics:

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All ingredients needed!

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I can assure you that the novel was not worth saving. I would have never re-read it, it had nicely yellowed pages andI would never buy a new book to destroy it!
Now I folloewd the tutorial. Yu can even find a video tut here if you are unsure how to roll and glue.

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So after burning your fingers a lot of times and about 3 glue sticks in the hot glue gun, your wreath is finished:

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And this is the final product hanging at our door! I added a ribbon to hang it and a cut out raven that is part of my Halloween decoration. But with the changing seasons I can easily see the wreath adapt (a Christmas bauble? Some flowers in spring?)...

Do you like it?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Week in Review 44/2013

What did I see?
I loved Rango with his strange attitude and crazy characters! Also the Terry Pratchett movie Going Postal was really funny, my boyfriend did not read the book yet so he was really surprised by the plot twists!

What did I listen to?
The Spellblock tango. Amazing song, great idea - go watch it!

What did I ask myself?
What is next?

What did I read?
I finished the Monstrumologist: Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey and loved every page of it! Now I bought some more books (hey, beginning of a new month means more money) and look forward to reading something not PhD related...

What did I work on?
I started with a book wreath.

I was happy about...
I did it! I'm a PhD now!

I was annoyed about...
Me being unmotivated and out of shape. But that is soon to change!

I bought...
2 pants and a choker and 2 tops and a pullover and 3 books. Wow, don't let me loose with money in my pocket... *blush*