My Favourite Things – May 2016

Favourite Things - May 2016
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It’s time for the May edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month.

If you read my last Favourite Things post you will know I’ve recently gotten into doing cross stitch (updates on Instagram). I felt like I needed something to listen to while cross stitching and the answer was Welcome to Night Vale which I’ve been subscribed to in YouTube for years and, on occasion, have listened to the first 10 or so episodes but never gotten any further than that.

Welcome to Night Vale
Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale is a fortnightly podcast that is in the style of community updates for the town of Night Vale. It’s format is that of a community radio station show run by Cecil who gives updates on the news, local events and areas (the dog park which is not for dogs. Or anyone. Don’t go to the dog park, no one is allowed in the dog park) as well as the weather which is actually a song.

You get to meet characters, such as the beautiful haired scientist Carlos, the glow cloud (all hail..) and old lady Josie who speaks to angels, and Khoshekh the station cat, as they go about life in Night Vale. It’s really weird and strange and any other word that can describe odd but also amazing at the same time. Cecil Palmer is the voice of Night Vale (voice actor Cecil Baldwin whose voice fits the show so well!) and you get to see the town through his eyes (or voice as it may be). And just be glad you don’t have to intern for the station.

Since starting to listen to it at the same time as cross stitching I’ve been able to get through 50+ episodes (there are more than 80) and am still really enjoying it. It is definitely more enjoyable than my local radio station, that is for sure!

If you like things that are a little bit different and are ok with the idea that mountains don’t exist and wheat & wheat by-products are banned then I really recommend you give it a try, even just the pilot (linked above) and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Goodnight Night Vale, goodnight.

Sarah

My Favourite Things – April 2016

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Click to Join the Linkup

It’s time for the April edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month. I meant to write my post nearly a week ago but kept forgetting! It’s finally here though.

This month is all about cross-stitch. Earlier this year I started playing Stardew Valley and one day I stumbled upon Siri’s (yes, I did join Twitch just for her channel) cross-stitch work of characters of the game and thought it looked awesome. Although pixelart is quite easy to replicate in cross stitch I never really considered that people were making cool cross-stitch work out of video game characters rather than flowers and mountains and the usual stuff that is associated with cross stitch.

Geometric squares cross stitch
Geometric squares cross stitch

I decided to look into patterns but didn’t want to start with something too difficult and I ended up on the work above. The completed work ended up being 64 squares with 8 different colours and many different patterns. While working on this I realised it might be my equivalent of adult colouring-in for relaxation and stress relief after work. I gave colouring a try and bought some pretty markers but I found it really frustrating and it sort of defeated the purpose. With cross-stitch you can’t really go outside of the lines and if you happen to stitch in the wrong spot you can just reverse what you did easily and quickly. The most frustrating thing with cross-stitch, to me, is when your needle becomes un-threaded. “that’s your home, are you too good for your home!

I also used the time I was cross-stitching to start listening to Welcome to Night Vale again and as I got faster at stitching I was able to complete one of the squares in the same time as an episode. Night Vale is so weird and crazy and Cecil’s voice is pretty awesome and I really enjoy it but I tend to have issues concentrating on podcasts because I start reading things at the same time. I don’t have that distraction where cross-stitch is concerned.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer cross-stitch
Buffy the Vampire Slayer cross-stitch

Once I had finished the square cross-stitch I decided to try something a little more geeky and slightly more complicated (mostly where stitch counting is concerned) and went for this cute Buffy pixel/sprite work. As it turns out it’s actually a lot faster and probably easier than the other one! I currently only have Xander, Willow and Giles (no Faith or Tara, maybe I could create them myself) to go and I started on this less than a week ago.

I think what I love most about cross-stitch is that it’s a creative outlet without having to need too much artistic skill. Sure, when I start making patterns of my own I’ll need to have a bit of skill but really this is just a bunch of coloured crosses on a piece of fabric, not dissimilar to count-by-number colouring.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what I’m doing in the world of cross stitch I have 2 hashtags I’m using on Instagram: #SarahsFirstCrossStitch and #SarahStitches (strangely, there is a model who goes by the name Sarah Stitches and she also uses that hashtag, she has some nice pin-up style photos and photos of tattoos!) or you could just follow me for all updates on Instagram.

Sarah

My Favourite Things – February 2016

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Click to join the linkup!

It’s time for the February edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month.

It was another month for games for me. I bought a couple of them in February including the Cities: Skylines DLC – I haven’t played it yet though because I also bought Undertale that very same day.

And, that is how the favourites begin:

  1. Undertale

    Undertale - the jerkiest RPG there was
    Undertale – the jerkiest RPG there was

    I’d heard a lot about Undertale but the game style and the fact it is an RPG was putting me off. People kept telling me I wouldn’t regret it though so when it went on sale on Steam I decided to buy it and give it a try. It’s a lot funnier than I was expected and also much more complex.

    It’s tagline is “The RPG game where you don’t have to destroy anyone” which is true if you have a lot more patience than me. You can either flee, give mercy or talk your enemy out of fighting you or you can just fight them. I wish I was playing more cleverly and trying to get through without killing anyone because it looks like (based on stream videos) there is a lot to miss when you just kill everyone. Maybe it can be for the second playthrough. If you like RPGs (or an RPG that pokes fun at other RPGs) with a great soundtrack, this is probably a game for you.

  2. Stardew Valley

    Modern life bringing you down? You should move to the country!
    Modern life bringing you down? You should move to the country!

    Stardew Valley is basically Harvest Moon for PC. Except it’s made by a singular developer who has been working on it for the last few years and is slightly different (but not much). You start in your modern life (picture above) working in the giant corporation Joja and dying a little inside every day. Lucky for you your grandfather gave you a lease to his old farm on his deathbed and said to go out there when you were giving up on the modern world.

    So out there you go onto this run down farm full of trees and weeds, but no worries. Farms are fun! Or so the locals would lead you to believe. As someone who really enjoys simulation games and gets into pretty much every Harvest Moon game ever, this was definitely for me. The only downside is the lack of tutorials or assistance in the game, sometimes you just have to spend a while working things out – this may change though as the game is developed as it was only released a few days ago. It’s really nice to play this type of game with a mouse for once though!

    I actually bought my copy of this game from GOG because they provide regional pricing and for some reason the local price of this is $5 cheaper (for me) than if I were to buy it in USD and have it convert into AUD. So if you’re not in the US you might find it to be the same in your country, the only down side is that the GOG version doesn’t have any achievements.

I’m having a lot more fun with games recently and finding more to get me interested. Hopefully this is a trend that continues!

Sarah

My Favourite Things – January 2016

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Click on the image to join or see who else is participating

It’s time for the January edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month.

January was definitely the month of gadgets for me and I had fun learning how to use them all.

  1. Google Nexus 5x Phone
    I finally made the decision to buy a new phone late last year. I was really looking forward to the Nexus 5x but when it came out I wasn’t really impressed with the price. For a low to middle range phone it had a too high price ($739AUD) so I looked into other devices for a while. Ultimately, had it been available in Australia, I would have bought the Oneplus X (and I recommend it if you’re looking for a cheaper, nice looking phone) but it wasn’t so I bit the bullet and bought the Nexus 5x… but when it was on sale. Now that I have it I actually really like it. The fingerprint scanner is fun but takes some getting used to and the phone is SO LIGHT, I feel like it’s going to blow away on a windy day. And one plus is the camera is really great for a phone so it’s been fun taking photos of everything!
  2. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

    Technically I got this in December as a Christmas present from Jarrod (check out his video review on it above) but I mostly used it in January. I am a very late adopter of ebooks and really much prefer to have hard copy’s but I must say it is just so easy to use the kindle, I especially like the light options it has so I can read in bed without disturbing Jarrod with a bright backlit screen or noisy page turning. The one-click buy from Amazon has been quite dangerous though! To offset that I have been using BookBub which emails you with great deals every day.. for a while I was getting nothing but romance and historical romance but realised I could change the settings to things I like and have downloaded many free or cheap books through it.
  3. Fitbit Flex – Add me as a friend!
    I have been looking at Fitbit’s for a while but was a bit put off by them because of the price. Then Kya mentioned she had bought hers fairly cheaply so I decided to investigate a bit further. Although I didn’t particularly like the lack of documentation in the box I ended up working out what to do and have been wearing it every day since.
    Initially, I bought it because I wanted to see if I was doing the recommended daily steps (I am! .. mostly) and see how it tracked sleep. I also try and keep up with my water intake on the app now too.. I’m not quite as good at keeping that up though. Originally I wore it in the shower but I kind a bit annoyed with water getting stuck under it so have started taking it off instead. As someone that doesn’t really wear any jewellery or watches or anything it took a bit to get used to something being on my wrist all the time, especially in bed because I have a tendency to sleep on my hand which ends up with a fitbit shaped imprint on my face. Other than that it’s been good to see how I progress.

Sarah

My Favourite Things – December 2015

Click on the image to join or see who else is participating
Click on the image to join or see who else is participating

It’s time for the December edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month.

Apparently I’m not much of a favourites person but just a favourite person because this month I’m just focusing on one thing again. I did consider 2 but they didn’t really relate to each other well and well, this one favourite is quite cool!

In the middle of the month I went to see The Illusionists 1903 which is basically an old school magic show. I really enjoy things from this time period but you rarely ever get to see anything like it live so when I saw the posters advertising the show I was fairly certain I wanted to go until, that is, I found out the tickets started at $80 and the ‘good’ seats went for $100 which for 2hrs of entertainment is quite a high price.

The Illusionists 1903 - Waiting for the show to start
The Illusionists 1903 – Waiting for the show to start

So the idea sat in the back of my mind for a few weeks and I occasionally went to see what seat I could get if I went. About 2 weeks before I made the decision and bought the ticket and ended up in row B (which was actually the 4th row with AA and BB being the front 2 rows) which, according to the conversation I eavesdropped of the 2 women sitting behind me, were really hard to come by, they had gotten C row seats and had bought their tickets in the first day of them being on sale. I guess it was one plus of going to the show solo, better choice of seats!

The show itself was really great with all the performers being amazingly talented at what they did. My favourite of the group was Dana the Charlatan who was very entertaining and had a psychic bird, Dwayne, who really wasn’t very psychic at all and Dana may have cheated for him just a little.. (“It’s a bird!”) maybe a lot! He was one of the performers who brought a kid on stage which I wasn’t too pleased about but it ended up fairly hilariously with most of Dana’s jokes going right over the kids head but getting quite a giggle out of the rest of us.

There was also The Conjuress who did an incredible illusion that involved a floating ball that she controlled somehow and I have exactly zero idea of how. Then there were The Clairvoyants who were able to guess the strangest of objects and provide specific details about them. I would love to know how their tricks worked but I suppose much of the fun to magic is the unknown.

I was a bit uncertain about going to the show by myself and, in some ways, it did make the experience slightly less fun with no one to talk to about it but I’m glad, although I didn’t know anyone else who wanted to go, that I went along anyway. It was a fun experience and something I would be interested in doing again.

Sarah