Silver Crow Project

Bette ATC - Revisited!

Hello you lot!

Guess whose turn it is to post over at Gauche Alchemy today? Yep - and as my last post in the Lucky Month of March, I had to foist Bette onto everyone. Well... it had to be done.

It's very near the end of the month now so go leave some comments over there. If my work isn't to your taste then check out everyone else's, there are some seriously talented girls on the team and I'd love it if one of you lot won the random commentor of the month. Would give me a real Ready Brek glow so it would!

Plus don't forget there is a challenge running at the moment as well to win two fabulous GA kits and we only have two entries so far! Two! I know!

Go on. Go. Now.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by :)

The Iron Wolf

Vivienne, one of my favourite book bloggers,  recently asked "What books did you love as a child?" Well, I was a veritable hermit in my teens. I never have been a social butterfly but it got so much worse when the old hormones went haywire. Stayed in my bedroom, only really venturing out for the necessary bodily function breaks and to go to school... music vibrating the walls and just hid in my floor to ceiling book lined cocoon. If it wasn't reading that was being done it was drawing or vice versa. nothing else mattered to me... if I didn't have children I would probably be the same now.

But anyway - amongst many other books - the one that has stayed with me through growing from grumpy teen to grumpy adult, if pushed to pick just one - the book I would take with me to a desert island is...

The Iron Wolf by Richard Adams

This review is an updated version of one I wrote a while ago and posted on

Being a lover of anything fantastical does so get me in trouble - my imagination often wanders off for the day selfishly rendering the body of myself totally useless. However on the plus side having a roving imagination means I still absolutely adore the realms of fantasy. I still get a kick out of folklore, fairy tales and believe many a horror story is rivalled by the good old Brothers Grimm... though horror stories too are just tales of fantasy stretched to the extreme.

Imagine the glee of a teenage folklore geek uncovering a delightful compilation of Worldwide folk-tales, bound together in a hardback book and illustrated with delicious black & white line drawings and colourful, vibrant full page art work. Add to this the fact that the stories have been compiled and edited by Richard Adams - the man who gifted the world with Watership Down and we have a near delirious teenager begging an unfortunate boot fair stall holder to drop his price and accept her £1 pocket money for said treasure.

A good twenty years later and The Iron Wolf is one of the few books to stand the test of time. Not many these days are privileged with permanent residence on my bookshelf. I believe books are meant to be read - not to sit gathering dust on a shelf. If I know a book wont be read more than once then it goes to ReaditSwapit, given to a friend, donated to a charity shop or more recently, offered up here on my blog.

The Iron Wolf, now dog-eared but well loved, well read and every story memorised in order of preference will always be a firm favourite with myself and hopefully my children too.

° ° ° A Wise Man Once Said ° ° °

Richard Adams writing the blurb on Iron Wolf - “As it seems to me, the great qualities of folk-tales are two. First, they are full of surprises and marvels. The essence of fiction is that the hearer is dying to learn what happened next, or if he already knows, he is eager to hear it again and take fresh delight in his wonder. Secondly, they are most admirably witty, neat and adroit. I only hope I have managed to retain these qualities.

You did indeed Sunshine!

° ° ° Come A Little Closer, I Want To Tell You A Story ° ° °

Including the introduction which is a story in itself this marvellous book bears twenty stonkingly good tales that just beg to be read around a roaring log fire on a cold wintry night... Failing that a three bar ‘leccy does the job just as well for me.

The stories have been collected from all the far-flung corners of the World - China, Polynesia, and the Arctic Circle... and of course good old Blighty! They are a tiny sample of The Unbroken Web of dreams that cover our Earths surface. I haven’t given an in depth review of each story because each story is itself quite short and there would then be little point in anyone reading this magnificent collection:

In the Introduction ~ THE UNBROKEN WEB ~ Richard Adams explains to us just what the Unbroken Web is, how precious it is and how it must be kept alive. How all stories come from our dreams and that on analysis our dreams give us our folk-tales and legends from the past, create new ones for the present and will present us with a new wave of tales in the future thus creating an ever expanding, unbreakable web of tales.

~ CRAB ~

Each story is told from a narrator’s point of view to a fictional audience. Each narrator is different for each story as is the audience. For example, in one tale the narrator is a Mum telling a bedtime tale to her child, in another it is a couple of soldiers in the trenches fighting to stay awake by telling each other stories and in another a teacher on the school trip from Hell tries to calm her unruly class with - you guessed it - a story. The narratives in themselves can sometimes be almost as touching as the tales they are telling.

I love how the narrator either starts off in one mood; scared (in the trenches), or trying to regain calm, (the school teacher) and how the story they tell has a moral entwined that relates to the audience they are talking too. ie: fear or what will happen if you break the rules. This again I find could be a marvellous thing when reading to a child - it’s something I have only really picked up on as an adult. To be honest when I was younger the narratives annoyed me and I used to skip them and get straight to the story. Now that I am older and, I like to think, wiser (ha!) I see that the audience and narrator are extremely relevent to the stories themselves. It really is very cleverly done.

Each story is a different variation of the best loved tales we probably have all heard when we were children - Why don’t we live forever? Why do some animals live in the sea and some live on land? - Why is there night and day? How did the Robin get his redbreast and is the moon really made of cheese? Childishly simple stories but fiendishly well put together, richly described in sometimes frightening detail - there are certainly a couple I wont yet read my scaredy cat three-year old. Basically because although most of the tales are enchanting and fairy tale-esque - a couple are dark, menacing and have very adult themes. I believe Richard Adams wrote this book for everyone to enjoy but I would advise some parental guidance for younger chldren say below ten/twelve as one or two stories do have a couple of naughty bits.

° ° ° Would I Like It? ° ° °

If you love to delve into the world of dragons, demons, legends, heroes, monsters and mayhem - you cannot possibly go wrong with this book. I absolutely adore it and am going to be inflicting it on my children for years to come until they have had enough and leave home to get away from me (Well it’s one way to get the little monsters to leave when they’re of age!) Luckily my girls have similar interests to myself and the nearly eleven-year old is showing quite a lot of hunger for history, legend and the like so she will get great enjoyment from this book. (Either that or I have brainwashed her)

So yes, I recommend The Iron Wolf wholeheartedly both for yourself and your kiddiwinkles alike.
Kudos must go to the beautiful art work too. Colour plates are by Yvonne Gilbert and the black & white drawings were by Jennifer Campbell. Beautifully done and just made the book complete.

Mr Adams my man - you done good!

Published as The Iron Wolf in the UK and in other countries as The Unbroken Web.
ISBN in my copy is: 0 7139 1341 X

Thanks for stopping by :)

Count Duckula

I've just had word that Count Duckula has landed at his new home so am able to blog him.

Blimey, me and he have had issues - so much so that he is almost (but not quite) a year late birthday gift! But this week, don't know what it was - I looked at him on the shelf, he looked at me and all of a sudden he was made!

I knew that Virgina wanted a duckie, preferably black and red to match her bathroom, with a True Blood theme. Didn't quite manage the True Blood... but a dashing vampire duck he is anyway.

Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing: Altered Rubber Duck - Count Duckula - Vampire
Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing: Altered Rubber Duck - Count Duckula - Vampire
I've just realised he is the first one where I haven't added a bow round the neck but I didn't think he needed it - all his decorations (tattoo's - he's a hard vampire duckie!) are velvety flocked - the ones on his side hopefully simulate his wings - Count Duckula gotta be able to fly, man!

Am so glad Virginia liked him, must admit next to Alice & Coraline duckies - he's one of my favourites :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Doone + Alice Cooper = Comic Relief

The woman is a legend! Please, please everyone go check out the bonkers Donna of Doings of Doone. I challenged her (with the bribe of a fiver to Comic Relief) to sing along to Alice thinking it would just be a quick ditty while she was making her splendiferous art.

You can never say the woman does things by halves! Brilliance - please go check her out, you wont regret it! And while you are there - do as she says! :D

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Sixteen-year-old bored rich kid Jacob has his life forever changed after a horrific incident one summer afternoon. A series of events finds him transplanted from the overwhelming heat of Florida to a foggy bog ridden tiny island in Wales, so cut off from the mainland and technologically deprived that there is just one working phone booth, no mobile phone signal and the generators that power the electricity on the island go off at 10pm each night.

While his Father concentrates on cataloguing the avian life on the island, Jacob goes in search of the adventure he has always craved, the answers he so desperately needs and the peace of mind he wonders if he will ever know again.

With just a stash of creepy old photo's and a mystery surrounded decrepit old orphanage that the locals warn him away from, Jacob literally crash lands into circumstances way beyond anything he could ever have imagined.

When I got my grubby mitts on this book I was literally bouncing with excitement. The pictures alone peppered throughout the book are amazing in their own right. They really set a tone of what I expected to get from this book. And that was creepiness. In spades.

However, once I got done with drooling and settled down to actually read, I found that the story wasn't what I was expecting at all. I didn't like Jacob to begin with, he came across as a spoilt rich kid. Trying to rebel and not really succeeding... however towards the end of the book he came into his own and I started warming to his character and cheering him on, not envying the choice he had to make.

The story isn't creepy - there were parts where I felt tension start to build and that we were on the verge of some serious creep out moments - especially when Jacob initially started exploring the run down orphanage, I could almost feel myself going "here we go, here it comes..." but it didn't, the tone took a completely different route than I was expecting.

I really enjoyed the story, part of me still wants to read the tale I had virtually spun in my head but the other part of me loved the one I got. This is a tale of time travel, monsters, murder and mythology... and yes I would say a kind of coming of age type thing for Jacob too.

Such an easy and captivating read, I zipped through it in two days - which for me these days is fast. I really hope there is a second book because it ended in such a way that it could have been the end but you just know there is so much more to come - like this was the build up to something much bigger.

What I loved most about this book was the way that the real vintage black & white photo's - were interwoven throughout this fictional tale.

The pictures have been so inspiring , I keep flicking through them. I'm definitely going to use them as a basis for some arty crafty projects, those creepy clown(?) children are just begging to be made into art dolls! I can't tell you enough how much I adore the photos running throughout the book.

I can see me coming back to this one time and again.

Many thanks to Quirk Books for sending me the book to review.

Thanks as always for stopping by :)

Edited to add: It is indeed available on Kindle :)

Rocking My World Friday :)

Thaaaaaaaaank Crunchie it's Friday!

You know, with all the awful news happening in the World this week, I did ponder not posting what had made my World positive today. Craig has had the news channel on almost constantly. Awful, awful things - the terrible things happening in Japan, the people suffering in Libya, Comic Relief has once again thrown up images of children needlessly dying... what is going on with the World?

BUT it was thinking about this made me realise I have such a lot to be thankful for and positive about and that can only be a good thing...

So onwards we go go...

Firstly, because I'm still sat here listening to it, I have to mention the record breaking money raising event by Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave. They did it, they smashed the record and now are going for a global World record.

"They're hoping to break the record for Radio 1's Longest Show - as well as setting a brand new Guinness World Record for hosting the longest music show by a radio team. The record will be set at 50 hrs. After their show on Wednesday they'll keep going - and the DJs who follow, will co-present - helping Chris & Dave get through it."

I've been following them on the radio and on the red button, they've had me laughing and crying - sometimes both at the same time. Am in awe at what they've achieved - not just the staying awake and still being entertaining but so far they've raised £2,406,648! Wow!

Since I started typing they've now smashed the World record too! Yeah!

Walking over to the car this week, Ruby and I were greeted with a thick blanket of fresh blossom all over the carpark, it was swirling around in the air too. She thought it was snowing "pretty snow." It was a real genuine laugh out loud, twirl her around, wish I had my camera on me moment.
*whispering this bit* The lurgy seems to be on the move. At the moment I feel like I have a cold and nothing more. Am not going to get my hopes up to much as it's had a habit of doing this, giving me a few days and then coming roaring back. But, at this precise moment, I don't actually feel to bad. Knock on wood, cross my fingers and all that jazz.

Receiving the most amazing looking book in the post to review. Am steaming through it, it's so unusual and not only am I enjoying the story but it's accompanied by the most amazing and creepy black & white vintage photos which are really giving me some fabulous inspiration.

And am going to tease you and not tell you what it is till I review it.

Feeling better means getting to play again and am catching up where I got so far behind again. Thank you for all your constructive comments in the post below. I do need to step away sometimes. I'm finding it helpful to have a few things on the go at once now whereas before I would just do one thing and focus on that one thing till it was finished - partly because we just didn't have the space for me to leave stuff lying around drying (and Craig would have pulled all his hair out!) So I'm loving having my own space for that reason.

There are rumblings that the industrial estate where Craig has his unit will be shut down or put under a compulsory purchase order at some point. It is in the way of the area regeneration and basically the small businesses that trade from there can go whistle. Oh, the council have said they will allocate new units but no way would they do it for the prices that we pay for rent at the moment - it had been thought that this would be at least 8 years off but now there are rumours about councils taking advantage of the low prices they can compulsory buy for, what with the economic climate the way it is. If so it would mean the business coming back to the house till we could find another reasonably priced unit (unlikely) and that would be the end of my stu-stu-studio too. So while I have it I am determined to really, REALLY enjoy it, make the most of it and really cram as much learning and growing into it while I can.


What's been the positive in your week? Why not drop by Virginia's and play along?

I'm nicking this next bit from her - thanks for stopping by :)

At the moment I'm...

* listening - to the news channel
* eating - nothing but had marmite on toast earlier
* drinking - cuppa tea
* wearing - comfy troos, warm jumper and clashing stripy socks
* feeling - mixed emotions
* weather - chucking it down
* wanting - another cup of tea
* needing - to clear off my home desk
* thinking - about what I can hear on the news channel
* enjoying - reading my new book and all the ideas it's throwing up
* wondering - where to begin


Yeah, yeah - I know it's Thursday. I took the pictures yesterday, promise.

Hi everyone.  I haven't done What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday for a few weeks - not because I haven't been doing anything but I knew I wouldn't be able to get round many desks... have been missing it though so am going to join in, just wont link up.

So here is my desk, sketch book open, blank page taunting me. Am trying to get into journalling... My calendar journalling sort of fell by the wayside last month. I got fed up of writing 'still coughing.' Plus I've decided if I ever want to get ahead of myself and stop being on the catch up then I need to prioritise and maybe drop out of a few things. So I have. And I'm not feeling guilty about any of it. Much. OK, maybe a bit. Quite a lot actually.

But in doing so I have indeed caught up a bit. I'm almost finished a birthday present that is only nearly a year late, done one Christmas present and am getting back in to my classes again. I've only got three unfinished ones on the go after all. So many more I want to start but NO MORE till I've completed these three! Brutal. No guilt. But I wanna, I wanna, I wanna! Slap down that inner child!

This is what's on my floor...
Two graffiti-ish canvases. One is my unofficial OWOH gift. The other... I don't know. I keep looking at them and loving them one minute and despairing at them the next. I was at the despairing point when this picture was taken, looking at it now I quite like them again which is a shame as I got in a strop and did another layer of paint over them yesterday.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Yaaaar! Shiver Me Timbers & Cobble Me Wobbles..

... ahem...

T'is my day to post over at Gauche Alchemy!

Stop by and leave some lurve godammit! (Pretty please) Oh, and check out the rest of this months posts too. Remember one random commentor a month is chosen to receive some Gauchey goodness - so even if you can't be harsed just because you love me, do it for some free stuff. I so would if it was you. I'm all about the free stuff... oh yeah... and of course I loves ya! I do. Yep. I'd do it for the love.

Thanks for stopping by :)


Am I Missing Something?

Well... am I?

After reading about the SMASH book on Nicky's blog yesterday, I had to go do a bit of investigating. She said there's been a huge buzz about it and with a bit of digging I see there has. Huge buzz.

I'm sorry... I just don't get why? It may be my cotton wool brain at the moment but I suspect it's more likely my penny pinching side... it is 'just' a scrapbook journal isn't it? Like an art journal? I've seen many beautiful and fascinating things like this from fellow bloggers who have used a moleskin or sketchbook... why does this smack of another, probably over priced, product version of something we already do? Blimey - my 3 year old has her own rather fabulous version already!

I know for sure Nicky's version is one I'd much rather see in real life. Maybe I'll change my tune when I see a real one up close... I dunno... Is it me? Will you be rushing out to buy one and all the accessories when it comes out?

Thanks for stopping by :)

Dreadfully Ever After

Received from the lovely chappie at Quirk Books to review.

Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

This book is the third in the Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) trilogy. The others being Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (obviously) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith and the prequel Dawn Of The Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith.

Our story begins four years after the end of PPZ with Darcy And Elizabeth encountering some marital troubles. She is not happy that it is frowned upon for a Gentleman's wife to be anything but a not a skull crushing, zombie killing warrior. Most unseemly. Also she is not to sure she wants to face the same fate of her sister and risk her life by going through childbirth. It's whilst the couple debate the subject one day that they become distracted and Darcy finds himself being nibbled upon by a Dreadful. (Zombie.)

Elizabeth, after first dispatching said Dreadful's skull against the nearest tree, knows that the right thing to do is to lop off her loved one's head and then preferably burn his body - just to be sure you understand. Unable to do this she helps him home and then joins forces with the enemy... Hearing of the development of a possible cure to the Dreadful disease Elizabeth risks not only her own life, dignity and freedom but that of her family too as they head to London in search of what might not even exist.

I haven't read the other two books in the series, though I have wanted to get my hands on Pride, Prejudice and Zombies for some time. However, this book is really easy to read as a stand alone novel - the background of what's happened in the other two books is filled in though not in a way that would irritate you if you had read the other two. You also don't need to be fully 'up' on Pride & Prejudice. I'm not in the slightest and it didn't affect my enjoyment of this book whatsoever. And enjoy it I did - immensely!

I loved how London was described, how it was separated into 'Sections' rather than boroughs with the Upper Classes getting to inhabit the nicer, less zombie infested sections - of course. I loved how you could positively smell the stench of decay as the area's around Bedlam Hospital were introduced. I loved the humour, the intrigue - the alternate history... was King George III really mad or was it something much more sinister? I love the black & white illustrations dotted through the book. Parts of it were predictable, but that was OK, I liked being able to go 'AHA! I knew it!' I loved reading how people from that time frame dealt with the everyday threat of a Dreadful attack and got on with their lives. One part made me chuckle when a snooty couple were disgusted that their favourite restaurant had been invaded - what was the world coming to?

In fact the only bit of the book that grated a tiny bit with me, and it is something so silly, there is a Scottish character and instead of just saying he had a strong Scottish brogue, every time he spoke a word with an R in it, it was felt needed to add several 'rrrrrrrrrrrr's after the word. Like I say - silly thing to latch onto but if I had to pick one downer for me personally in the book - that was it and I have no doubt it was done for the humour aspect.

Overall, I loved the book. I will definitely go back and read the others now - but you know what? I finished it this morning and I came straight on the internet afterwards and Googled Bedlam Hospital and a few other things mentioned in the book. I love it when a story gets me wanting to find out more don't you?

Thank you to Quirk Books for sending me this copy to review. Would you like to read Dreadfully Ever After? I'm offering up my copy as a giveaway so if you are interested, be sure and let me know in the comments below, I'll draw a winner in a week or so :)

Thank you as always for stopping by.

Rocking My World Friday :)

Oops I missed last week didn't I? I'll make up for it this week with a catch up so get comfy or escape now while you can :P

Click the pic to join in :)

First up on my list this week is this stuff...
Yeah you've guessed it, the dreaded lurgy is back AGAIN! I am now convinced it's never actually going away. It hides in a wee corner of my body just allowing a couple of days to convince myself I'm better, lets me start catching up on things before jumping out with ninja kicks knocking me flat out again. I cannot tell you how absolutely pig sick I am with my body at the moment. I cannot possibly cram more fruit and veg down my throat - it's a huge part of the Slimming World plan so where am I going wrong? Let me just say, once again, I DON'T GET ILL! Not like this, it's totally unacceptable and I am going to start lodging complaints soon! Since January people! JANUARY!

However *ahem* dragging myself back onto the positive look back on the week - Bronchial Balsam - from Tesco, been gargling with it and it is bliss for about 10 minutes or so afterwards - can breathe, can sniff, am not coughing, can taste... nectar for the broken down machine that is me.

Next up is a real *doing a jig around the living room* and *cheerleader star jumps* moment while Craig tried to book our holiday for this year. I may have mentioned once or twice how much I love Scotland. Grew up there, miss it like crazy, in my heart of hearts I am Scottish even though I have a chavtastic Kent accent and was born in England. I am Scottish - they just have to deal with it. It was merely a freak of nature and my parents fault that I was born in the wrong country. I went through a phase of desperately wanting to move back there - still do if truth be told but know we would miss the parents to much if we did... so it probably wont happen. HOWEVER, as a compromise Craig did agree that every second year Scotland would be our holiday destination. No questions, no arguments. The year in between we would do something different to be fair on the kids.

Guess what year it is this year?

*Happy Clappy*

We booked it last week.

*Happy Charleston dance*

So come August we will be loading up the car and making this journey...

Starting waaaaay down there on the green marker in Kent, travelling 617 miles all the way up there to Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness. WOOOHOOOO! According to the AA site it will take us 11 hours. Truthfully, with rest stops it's nearer 11 and a half to 12 hours. But you know what? I look forward to the drive almost as much as the holiday. I bliddy love that drive I do. We do it through the night, just as the sun is rising we are usually passing Ben Nevis and the Scottish cliff-sides all covered in purple heather. Craig and I just talk and talk and talk all the way while the kids snooze in the back.

So excited!

Next up, see on that map above? About half way up, near where it says Darlington? That's where we were this past weekend, well, roughly that area anyway. Seeing the bonkers one that is Gaily otherwise known as Myzdamena.

We loves each other really

Am SO grateful that we managed to go last week, as the weekend before or this weekend I wouldn't have gone. I couldn't have driven for a start and I wouldn't have risked passing on the lurgy - so whatever Fate was smiling on us that week - thank you for the reprieve. I always love seeing Ms Bonkers, is just such a shame we live so far apart. Am sure we were meant to be sistahs! Still, will be back up there in October! Whoop whoop!

The girls on the R.I.P circle journal I'm involved with - remember that?

Well bad news was that a couple of the journals went M.I.A when one of the participants dropped out, mine included. The girls were fabulous about it, said they would wait while me and the other girl remade our journals and sent them on their way again. By this point I was so behind with everything and didn't want to put something purely for me ahead of other things I was behind on and didn't want to hold the girls up even further so told them to go ahead without me, but I'd still fill in the other journals. Didn't want them to have an empty space in theirs when they got them home. However this week I've had loose pages start to arrive here - the girls are doing me a page anyway and sending them direct to me to compile into a book in my own time - I'm so overwhelmed with the loveliness of it - and how gorgeous the pages are. Really, it reinforces what an amazing community we are a part of. I will definitely compile them all together and share with you all when it is done.

You lot have been Rocking My World - thank you for the emails and blog messages asking where I am or sending get well vibes. It really, really is appreciated. Makes me feel all warm and fluffy in a 'if I died and the dogs were left to eat me, someone would eventually notice my absence and send the police round' kind of way ... not morbid at all, a very happy feeling! I did actually have a similar conversation with my sister not to long ago... but that's another story... what I'm saying is - thank you! And yes, I am being looked after - Craig and the girls have been amazing and I've been heading off to bed about 9pm every night and zonking straight away, unheard of for me. Usually Midnight at the very least before I think about heading up but there you go - maybe I need to start having earlier nights. Gawd, but this lurgy makes me feel so old!

I am sure I'm missing stuff off my Rocking list but my head is a bit cotton wooly at the moment so you'll have to forgive me... I know I have some PIF and OWOH gifts to show you but want to do a post for them on their own. However to the senders - thank you, they've really been putting a smile on my face this week. I will really have to get my PIF thinking cap on!

What's been Rocking Your World this week? Thanks as always for stopping by :)

Jack The (Lucky) Lad

Hi everyone :)

It's "Getting Lucky" month over at Gauche Alchemy. This was my offering this week.

If you'd like to know more about Jack and his Jiggered Junk then click here. While you're there be sure to check out the rest of the GA blog and leave some lurve... one random commentor gets picked for some Gauche goodies at the end of each month! So remember to check back there to see if you Got Lucky too!

Thanks for stopping by lovely people :)