Book review: Witchmark

witchmark

  • written by:  C. L. Polk
  • ISBN: 9781250162687
  • published by:  Tor
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Rating: 4/5
  • German version: “Witchmark: Die Spur der Toten”

Plot:

Miles Singer works as a psychiatrist especially for veterans of the war between Laneer and Aeland. This per se is already quite a challenging task as the war leaves veterans with a dark mark on their souls that only Miles can see and that makes them all talk about nightmares of a killer inside them. Then things come thick and fast when a male witch dies in his arms and claims that he has been murdered. All evidences though disappear and Miles finds himself the only one that is willing to solve the case.  Together with the Amaranthian Tristan Hunter who was sent to earth to find the reason for the disappearance of souls, Miles sets off to find the murderer bringing himself in danger’s way. How is this connected with the terrible murders committed by veterans from the war and how is Miles’ real family involved from whom he tries to hide?

My opinion:

This little book – it has only 318 pages – is an easy read. The story does not have much depth but the characters are quite nice. The mystery behind the murder and the involvement of Miles’ family evolves really nicely and leaves place for speculations until the end. I also like the same sex relationship the author is bringing into the book without being too blunt in her writing. It’s a nice and refreshing twist. I only regret that the steampunky environment was not described a little bit more in depth. Overall I would recommend the book as a light read in between more complex books.

Coming up next: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

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Upcycled storage boxes

I love small boxes to store little things and could collect tons of them. That’s why I was really happy, when a very good friend gifted me such a little storage system for Christmas. It so called tea storage to me when I unpacked it and I fell in love immediately. It had only one flaw – somehow it got smudged a little bit and those smudges could not be removed from the wood no matter what. So I decided to pimp it up a little bit.

What I used:

    some sanding paper
    two small bottles of colours for wooden surfaces in white and lilac that I found at Sostrene Grene
    a medium paint brush

I sanded down all drawers a little bit so that the colour would adhere to the surface better and to get rid of some surface dirt. Then I added several layers of colour on all four sides waiting in between for the colour to dry. And that’s it – very simple but a great result. Now the little boxes look gorgeous on my white shelf in my living room and the rag stores six different types of tea easily accessible. The side even holds my new teabag holders that I bought in Berlin. I love my new tea storage ❤️.

Recipe: Beef Fajitas with Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

I love baking no matter how long it takes but I hate cooking for hours. Therefore I am always aiming for fast recipes that are still healthy without too many calories (I still need to shed lots of kilos). Tex Mex is something both my hubby and I love, so I made Beef Fajitas with Guacamole and Pico de Gallo last Sunday.

What you need for the Fajitas:

  • cut 250g beef  in mouth sized stripes and sear them in a pan with some native olive oil
  • finely slice 1 onion and add it to the meat
  • finely cut 1 garlic and add it to the meat
  • quarter 1 zucchini and cut each part in mouth sized slices, add them to the pan
  • cut 1 red sweet pepper in slices and add them to the pan
  • cut 1 tomato in medium pieces and add to the pan
  • open a small can of corn and throw as much in as you like
  • cut some fresh hot pepper very small and add as much as you like (keep the rest for the guacamole and Pico de Gallo or leave it out if you do not like it hot)
  • season it with salt & pepper to your liking
  • add some store bought taco sauce if you prefer your fajitas juicier such as we love them
  • warm the tortillas as instructed (usually the microwave does the job well ;)), add some salad leaves and fill each with an equal amount of meat-veggie mixture
  • add some ground cheese (everything tastes great with cheese ;))

Then you add some guacamole and Pico de Gallo and roll up your tortilla – if you are still able to do it :P. I always seem to overfill them and have to struggle to get them decently covered up ;).

Now don’t go and purchase your guacamole – it’s so easy to make and tastes so much better than any store bought one!

What you need for the guacamole:

  • mash 1 avocado with a fork – it does not need to be perfect in my opinion as small pieces give it a better mouth feel (you can use a food processor if you differ ;))
  • pull of the skin of 1 small tomato and mash it with the avocado
  • add 1/2 a finely cut onion
  • crush 1 garlic and mix everything well
  • add some fresh lime juice – take it slow and mix and taste as it might get to sour easily if you just pour it in
  • add some of the finely cut fresh hot pepper you have saved before
  • you can add some fresh coriander if you like
  • season with salt & pepper to your liking

What you need for the Pico de Gallo:

  • coarsely cut up 3 tomatoes
  • add 1 finely cut onion
  • crush 1 garlic and mix everything well
  • add some fresh lime juice (optional)
  • add some of the finely cut fresh hot pepper you have saved before (or leave it out if you prefer it not hot)
  • add some fresh coriander if you like
  • season with salt & pepper to your liking

Enjoy! Drop me a line on how you liked it, if you have tried this recipe :).

A lot of thinking and a new plan

I recently have been thinking a lot about what I have achieved last year and actually what are my plans for this year. I have such a tendency of losing my focus on what I really want to do and then realize in the end that another year has passed. As well I was thinking about where this blog should be heading. I love the slowly growing number of readers but I think it might be quite boring for you just to read about my running projects and finishes.

A collection of some of my projects from 2018:

So for this year I have set myself a set of goals that I want to achieve, so that I can keep myself on track and check on the progress during the year. I actually got the idea from Emma from Emma Crafts Design who did pretty well with her goals last year that way. As well I will be posting more on the process and the learning behind it, so that those following might find some tips and tricks and avoid some pitfalls I am stumbling into myself.

So here’s my list for 2019:

1 big tatting project finished

I want to design and tat myself a pretty nice and lacy summer scarf – which will be the biggest project I have taggled so far in tatting. But it has been on my mind for quite some time and I never found a pattern that really was to my liking.

2 quilting projects finished

So this is a long runner – I love quilting but I only have successfully started several projects small and large but never really finished anything bigger than a coaster. However this year I want to finish my summer quilt (some more cutting and sewing and a lot of quilting left there) and my table set (only needs quilting but I have not decided yet, if I try machine quilting or rather do some hand quilting).

3 sewing projects finished

I want to get more into sewing clothes but never got further than buying fabric and printing out instructions. Also I have several plushies patterns that are waiting to be tackled. No way to run away this year – get that sewing machine to run wild!

4 new recipes tried

Last year was terrible concerning baking – I did not even bake Christmas cookies and for all other things I rather stuck to the same, already tried recipes. I have a long list of techniques I want to try out so this year I will try to tackle some of them.

5 WIPs finished 

I have still a lot of WIPs laying around that I really need to get working on. So I decided that I want to finish my Grinda shawl (finished already last week), the Havana blanket (down to the last 20 rows and the border), my knitted summer shawl, my No drama Llama (working on the body) and my Wacky Weave blanket (half the squares done).

6 new beading projects finished

I am currently collecting project patterns and beads for specific projects but just did not find time to do them. As well there are several new techniques that I want to try myself on. And – I am so ashamed – I still need to do the birthday present I promised my friend last year. She picked the pattern but I never did it ….

8 miniatures painted

I love to paint miniatures and have collected tons of them over the years. Recently my hubby funded several kickstarter projects for tabletop games and I myself the reproduction of Confrontation miniatures – a set that has been previously made by Rackham before they went out of business and have gorgeous details. With new minis on their way I really need to get some done and off my list. The Warhammer Quest minis never got further than being build …

9 times hand lettering practiced 

Hand Lettering needs so much practice and thought that I have not gotten into it much recently.

10 language session each month finished

My running buddy and friend asked if my hubby and I might join her on her trip through China in 2 to 3 years. As she is speaking Chinese – a language that I never learned – this would be a great chance and we would love to grab it. However we plan to start in Moscow with the trans siberian railway, so I decided to contribute to the team by brushing up my Russian. I want to do at least 10 sessions each month – let’s see how this will be going.

11 training runs each month 

We are running the relay marathon this year again and also a lot of 10k are on this years list. I need continuous training to get better. As well we are aiming for a half marathon next year so I really need to up the distance run each month.

12 books read and review written

Reading is a passion of mine but last year was terrible concerning the progress. I was let astray by all my facebook groups and was much more checking those on the way to and from work then reading the book I always carry with me. I also had a book review blog once that I always wanted to merge with this one but never got to it. I think one book a month is a good plan to get it started …

52 pictures taken and post-processed

This actually should be an easy goal… I usually just snap a quick picture of my projects with my Ipad but am quite disappointed with the quality.  But I am just too lazy to switch on my computer in order to use my big camera to shoot in RAW and post-process them – and wait for all the windows updates being processed (hate those the most). So I finally bought myself an SD card reader for my Ipad and set up Lightroom CC. The later I wanted to do already for a year as I would love to upload and process pictures already during my travels rather than having the whole work at the end of each vacation (and never really doing it right). That way now I am set to use my camera for craft pics too!

So, that’s that. There will be a lot more going on for sure – a tatted heart exchange in January I am participating for example or another bout of upgrading my crafting areas – but this will give me at least a frame to align my projects most of the time.

The end (… of 2018)

Well, well, well …. haven’t I been naughty not to write for such a long time. Life has been tough the last month and time was a limited resource. A lot has happened though that I like to share with you.

The last weekend in November I visited the VIECC, the Vienna Comic Convention. It’s a pretty big convention for geeks and nerds and cosplayers and it was a lot of fun to look at the great costumes everyone was wearing. As well I got autographs from Walter Bishop (alias John Noble) and the 7th doctor (alias Sylvester McCoy). Both are great actors as well as super-cool people – the first really took his time while autographic chatting with everyone and the later is so funny I had a stomach ache from laughing.

Sadly, two days after I started to struggle with the inflammation of a tendon just below the right knee that left me in pain for a whole week. It was impossible to sit for long periods and craft and keeping up my running training was not an option at all.

As soon as I was better, I went on vacation to the hot spring in Tyrolia. It’s a tradition by now that I am always looking forward to. Lots of warm water, nice crisp air, great food and relaxing time just for ourselves. I spent some time tatting but most of the time I was just playing some handheld games or reading.

After that I only had one more week at home before heading off to Berlin for some Christmas vacation. As neither my husband nor I have lots of family visit responsibilities, we usually are spending Christmas all around the world. It’s fun to see how other countries celebrate – and Berlin especially is a city I have fallen in love with before. This meant one week of lots of walking around the city that added up to more than 75 km on my sports watch :).

And last but not least hardly back home again, we went to visit a friend of mine with her hubby and two kids for Years End. It’s also a tradition by now as we hardly meet during the year and therefore established this fixed date each year. It was fun again but now I am happy to stay home again and have some time to think about the new year and what I want to achieve.