music review · review

Music Minute | Suicide Mission by Jack Wall

Probably one of the best pieces of music in the entire trilogy of games, Suicide Mission gets your heart pumping from the get go!

This is one of the most stressful parts of the entire trilogy, as you’re racing the clock in order to keep your crew alive against overwhelming odds in the Collector Base. I love this song to absolute pieces, because it brings me right back to the game each time I hear it.

blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #7

So, crochet…

The skills needed to do crochet have long eluded me. I can make a simple square or perhaps scarf (if I really tried), but my tension is so TIGHT that after awhile I can no longer even get my hook through the stitches to continue working on the project.

Me + Crochet = Strangulation!

Honestly, my inability to figure out tension while crocheting is probably the reason that I gave up the hooks and went with needles instead. Of course, this also gave me the opportunity to really dig into knitting as a craft… I went from barely being able to hold my needles to knitting up wearable pieces, baby blankets and Baby Yoda!

Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Why did I pick up the hook again?

Well, my sister (enabler that she is) gifted me with two craft magazines (one for knitting and the other for crochet) which included kind of a beginner’s project complete with yarn and little, plastic hook. I struggled for way to long trying to follow the pattern using the included hook and yarn before deciding that perhaps better quality materials were called for.

bit of a work in progress here, but I did manage to make the stitches uniform!

Purchasing better yarn DID indeed help and I used the size E 3.5mm Boye hook I had from previous crochet attempts.

However, no matter how closely I followed the pattern or how many tutorials I watched, what I was creating looked NOTHING like the picture!

…turns out that the US has different terms for crochet techniques than, say, the UK and the double crochet I was trying to make was actually a triple crochet!

Once I figured that snafu out, things seemed to progress pretty quickly. My stitches were super uniform and I was able to crochet the head in no time at all! It’s also nice that this yarn is so soft, because it meant I was looked forward to working with it. 🙂

As the project continued, I was having a surprising amount of discomfort, from bruised fingers to stiff/sore joints, so I made the decision to splurge a little and upgrade my crochet hook from a regular Boye one to an ergonomic Clover one from the Amour line… and it is amazing! Truly, from the first stitch, I was hooked! …unintentional pun, lol.

I finished little Miss Kitty here soon thereafter, working on her skirt, limbs, and accessories while watching YouTube or winding down before bed and before I knew it, she was ready for her photo shoot!

Many thanks to my sister, who was kind enough to take pictures for me, since mine always seem to be super boring and she seems to have an eye for these things, lol.

As I don’t really have a need for handmade, stuffed animals, I will be giving Miss Kitty a new home where she will (hopefully) live a long, happy life.

Of note, I live streamed my attempts to learn crochet while working on this ballet cat and one of my viewers asked if I took commissions! I’d never taken a commission before, but they were very kind, explaining that a family of three cats would make a wonderful Christmas present for their children.

Before I agreed to take the commission, I thought long and hard about the request… did I want to make money from a hobby? Or did I want to keep things chill? Ultimately, I did agree to take the commission, mostly because I think it’s a sweet idea to have matching gifts for siblings and because I would have loved getting something that someone made just for me! In fact, I have received handmade gifts and they are some of my most cherished.

Believe it or not, at the time of writing this blog post, I have the one commission for three cats (2 ballet girl cats and 1 boy cat) as well as another commission from a good friend for an elephant and an owl!

Time will only tell, but making stuffed animals might just be my niche in the crochet world, lol.


Is there some craft or hobby that eludes you?

blog · review · video game review

Video Game Review | Storm Boy

Although heartbreaking, Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy is such a sweet, sweet game.

Anyone familiar with the book the game is based on, will be familiar with the story of a little boy (Storm Boy) and a pelican (Mr. Percival) who become friends on a beach in Australia.

You play as the titular character, Storm Boy, and the story is told in text as you direct him through the game. The controls are simple, which is to be expected from an indie title with such a short amount of playtime. Storm Boy can be played from beginning to end in less than 30 minutes, which makes it a good game to play if you want to sit and relax for just a little while before making dinner or whatnot. 😛

From the opening scene, I was blown away at the art style in this game. It’s as if you stepped into a painting or particularly well-designed picture book and I can admit to having stood a long while just watching the beach grass blowing in the wind and listening to the sounds of the ocean.

Like I said, this is a pretty short game, there are a handful of mini-games where you get to dig up mussels, feed the pelicans, or play in the sand. They are both cute and fun to play as they help add an interactive element to what would otherwise be a plain (if gorgeous) walking simulator.

Now, if you’re familiar with the picture book, then you know that Storm Boy and Mr Percival become close friends, even though Storm Boy’s father advises against it. They spend their days together playing catch on the beach and enjoying the freedom of wide open spaces… because of their games, Mr Percival is even able to help save a group of fishermen during a storm!

He is a hero to them and to Storm Boy.

But, as many stories do, Storm Boy doesn’t get a happy ending. As you continue playing, a new type of character is introduced… hunters. Mr Percival, smart bird that he is, has a great dislike for the hunters and does his best to foil their plans. The bright pelican begins to warn the ducks when hunters are near, flying over them constantly and keeping the ducks away.

Eventually, one frustrated hunter shoots Mr Percival.

“And at nine o’clock Mr Percival died.”

It’s a heartbreaking moment for both Storm Boy and the player, even though you’ve only played for a short while, as you learn that there are cruel and stupid people in the world who care only for themselves. It’s a sad lesson, but one that everyone learns in life.

The end of this lovely, heartbreaking, game is just as beautiful as the rest. As Mr Percival’s spirit, you fly through the clouds towards the post he used to roost on and get to see Storm Boy as he remembers his friend…

Storm Boy is forever changed by his friendship with Mr Percival and the player learns that “…birds like Mr Percival do not really die.”


Stats and stuff…

Title: Storm Boy
Developer: Blowfish Studios
Genre: Adventure, Family
Platform: PS4
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Trophy difficulty: Easy

blog · life · memphis · tennessee · travel

Travel | Dixon Gallery & Gardens

After months of staying home, except for going to work or the odd grocery trip, I decided a change was needed. I kidnapped my sister, with the promise that she’d get to enjoy tiny things, and off we went to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens!

For America
&
Maritza Dávila Journey

Inside the gallery itself were two exhibits, the first being For America and the second, Maritza Dávila Journey, by a local artist…

Diálogos, Maritza Dávila

For America was absolutely full to bursting with beautiful pieces! Featuring a hundred paintings, For America is the creation of the National Academy of Design and contains both portraits of the artists as well as representative pieces from it’s many varied members.

One of the hallmarks of the Academy is that it’s members must donate a work of art to the collection and in 1839 they began to include portraits as well. I found the self-portraits especially interesting as they sometimes were entirely normal and other times you could see a little of the artist’s particular style coming through. 🙂

Some of my favorites…

Out of all the paintings we saw, Provider by Walter Hatke was my absolute favorite. I could sit and stare at this painting for hours and never get bored of it. It feels as if you could take a step and be inside the frame, enjoying the world living therein.

Provider, Walter Hatke

Bonsai: Majestic Miniatures

So, my sister goes absolutely bonkers over tiny things and bonsai has been a longtime interest of mine, as well, which made this next exhibit perfect for the both of us! Lol, I once tried to grow my own bonsai, but when that venture failed, I decided to enjoy the trees that others have cultivated…

The Gardens

Taking the time to walk around and enjoy the actual gardens at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens is worth every minute! The gardens are so beautiful and well-kept that people of all ages can enjoy walking through them without worrying about tripping over a stray root or fallen branch. You can enjoy the shaded areas or sit on the lawn and eat a picnic lunch, if you prefer (we saw a small family doing so).

My favorite thing about the Gardens is how peaceful it all is. Intellectually, I know we’re still in the middle of town with two major streets on either side, but the Dixon feels as if it’s a world apart.


What about you? Have you visited anyplace interesting lately?

blog · knitting life · life

A Quiz About Gifting

With the holiday season right around the corner, it seems appropriate that NothingButKnit has shared a quiz about gifting… She always has the most interesting quizzes and, since it had been awhile since I did one, I thought it a perfect fit.

Now, let’s get to answering these questions!

1. Do you gift your handmade items?

I do! Most of the items I make are gifts, from the finger-less gloves I made for my sister (that she’s only just now getting to use) to the stuffed Baby Yoda’s (that continue to be mailed out) to a sweater for my mom (that I will finish even if it’s the death of me!) and the micro-preemie socks that I knit and donate… lots of gifts indeed!

In fact, I think there is only one item that I knit for myself, lol.

2. Do you have limits around who you gift to or what you gift?

Limits? Not really, now that I think about it. If someone asks if I can make something I’ve never tried before, I look at it as an opportunity to learn a new pattern, stitch, or skill.

3. What type of things do you like to make and gift?

I love to make micro-preemie socks and can have a pair finished and ready to go in just an afternoon! These are donated to a local NICU in fishbowl-sized batches, since a fishbowl was all I had to store them in, lol.

4. Have you received handmade items?

My mother used to crochet us hats and scarves and mittens and I wish that I still had some of those, but they would be too small for me to wear nowadays. Oh! And her oldest sister, my aunt, gifted me with a crocheted blanket that I use year-round.

5. Have you ever asked for a gift back?

I do not, mostly because the people that I gift items to already know about and want the item being made for them.

6. Do you gift handmade items for holidays?

Not as a general rule, but if something is finished close to the holidays then I will gift it.


Now, before you do anything else, may I suggest checking out NothingButKnit’s post and reading all of the fun and interesting answers she and others have shared!

blog · challenges

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday for September 29: Favorite Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general)

I spent an awful lot of time thinking about these quotes… I knew I wanted to share the ones that have particular meaning and which have stuck with me through the years, in addition to some newer ones. Hopefully, you enjoy these quotes as much as I have and, perhaps, they inspire you to read some of these titles (if you haven’t done already, lol).


“You need discipline most, when it’s hardest to muster.”
~ Nathaniel Fick, One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer

“Cruelty isn’t a personality trait. Cruelty is a habit.”
~ Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”
~ Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“If you want to get a good sense of a person’s character, work alongside ’em. A little boring, back-breaking work’ll show you exactly who they are.”
~ Jun Eishima, Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“If you’re as good as your word, words should be good enough.”
~ Rainbow Rowell, Carry On

“Kick off your shoes. Unburden yourself with song. Tell each other tales. Dance around the table. Leave the cleaning up for the morning. Then go outside and look at the stars.”
~ Noble Smith, The Wisdom of the Shire

“A life worth having is a life worth taking.”
~ V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

“…submitting to the will of another requires trust and humility.”
~ Ann Hood, Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting

“Memories were short and history unkind. It was the way of the world.”
~ Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night


Which of these quotes stood out the most for you?

blog

October TBR

October is my birth month and so I’ve decided to re-read some favorites. These titles have been gathering dust on my bookshelves for… well, longer than I care to admit, lol.

Mercedes Lackey is one of my all-time favorite authors and her world of Valdemar is absolutely wonderful! Brightly Burning is one title that is sure to make me sob, it’s inspiration and heart-break all rolled into one amazing book. As for Caught By Surprise? Well, now I know it’s a romance and I don’t generally read them, but this is such a cute book that I had to buy myself a copy after I first came across it!


Fantasy

Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey

Sixteen-year-old Lavan Chitward’s world is turned upside down when his mother is selected as a textile guild representative in the small rural community where he was raised.

Moving to the capital city of Haven rips him away from his friends and boyhood pleasures, and nothing in Haven seems to fill that void. Unable to fit into the nouveau riche society, and unwilling to follow his parents into the textile guild, he finds himself adrift and depressed. His father enrolls him in a special school that will allow him to choose a trade that interests him, rather than be apprenticed against his will.

There he finds himself terrorized and tortured by the boys in the sixth form until, with an awful roar, the gift of fire awakens deep within him and extracts revenge for his sadistic treatment…

With the help of a unique herald, an empathetic healer and a special companion, Lavan soon learns to keep his gift under control and eventually, to direct his awful firestorm as far as he can see. When the kingdom of Karse attacks, Lavan is hurried to the border to assist his king and country by repelling the invasion. During the final battle Lavan earns the name Firestorm and becomes one of the most famous heralds in the history of Valdemar.

Goodreads


Romance

Caught By Surprise by Sandra Paul

He’d make her pay…

…for luring him to her ship and having her men imprison him.

Yes, the beautiful American had sealed her fate, for Saegar, the royal prince of Pacifica, would claim Beth Livingston as his wife, brand her with his passion and make her his forever….

What had her father’s crew discovered?

Whoever–whatever–he was, Beth knew the prisoner with the chiseled face and chest of a Roman warrior directed his anger at her, and if she didn’t convince her father to release him, she would one day feel the full wrath of his fury–and his heart’s desires….

Goodreads

music review · review

Music Minute | The Untamed on the guqin and flute

This particular arrangement is from the Chinese drama, The Untamed, about two young men who are “cultivators” or magic users charged with the protection of their communities from the forces of evil. Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji are unlikely friends, but together solve mysteries that eventually unveil a much larger plot to subdue all cultivators and control the world!

This song is played many times throughout the series and is so perfect for these two characters. Lan Wangji playing the guqin (a traditional, seven stringed Chinese instrument) with Wei Wuxian accompanying on a Chinese flute.

Have a listen and, if you like this song, maybe check out the show? It is currently available on Netflix and Rakuten Viki, which is where I watched it because I enjoy watching Asian dramas, lol.

blog

Blog | I’m a Gamer Girl (Streaming on Twitch)

I started taking my Twitch streaming seriously this year, mostly I think because of how isolating 2020 has been with the continued restrictions and never ending lock downs.

Even though I was one of the lucky ones who was able to continue going to work every day, I spent Monday thru Friday from 9am until 6pm in a windowless office with my door closed and next to no human interaction. That might have been worse on my state-of-mind than just being told to stay home, honestly.

But enough about depressing stuff! Back to the stream…

Mainly, I stream two things: gaming and knitting (though I’m branching out into crochet fingers crossed)

Knitting streams have music and conversation, sometimes some tips and tricks that I’ve learned, and just a general good time. These tend to last the longest, because I like to either finish a project or make some serious progress before calling it quits, lol… this has led to a number of way-too-late nights, but it’s hard to regret such a thing when I’m having so much fun!

As for the gaming? Well, I’ve streamed all kinds of games but am currently focusing on Final Fantasy XV and 7 Days to Die which I play with my brother on a multiplayer map. I really enjoy being able to share games that I fell in love with and to just ramble on and on about the different canon and fanon bits of lore that I have rattling around in my brain, lol.

If you’re looking for a laugh, I’m pretty sure that my evil cackling when I summon Ramuh to strike down my enemies in Final Fantasy sounds absolutely, hilariously deranged.


What am I hoping to accomplish with this, you may ask. Well, my goal is to reach Affiliate status in the next few months, so I’m working to build my following and encourage people to hop in the chat and have conversations with me… What can I say? I like to talk with people. 😛

To that end, I’ve decided that if I can get to 25 followers before my October 22nd Birthday, then I will do a “Spooky Halloween Weekend Stream” and let my followers decide what I’ll be playing! This is especially nerve-wracking because I don’t play horror games. Like. At all.

I’m sure it will be a fun evening for all and I plan to have one scary game and one fun-scary game, so I can take a break from the terror inducing title that is chosen for me to play, lol. Here are just some of the titles that have been suggested to me…


Do you enjoy scary books or games? Why or why not?