Thursday, November 28, 2013

Let's Talk About Books, Baby

If you haven’t noticed, or just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, I love to read. I cannot sit still without distractions for more than two minutes before I start looking around for something – anything – to read. Want to make the drive-thru lane at Taco Bell move faster? Whip out a book! This also works with those pesky red lights; nothing makes a light change from red to green faster than finding your spot in the book you’re reading.

Where do you find your next book? When I had the money to buy my books at brick & mortar stores, I would wander the sections that interested me, looking at titles and covers. It’s how I chose a lot of my books; something would catch my eye, I’d read the synopsis, and if it sounded good, I bought it. I still do this, but now it’s at the library. The problem is that our library is about the size of a 7-11, so there’s not as much to choose from.

In swoops my saving grace – a freebie magazine that the library hands out called, “Book Page”. It features the newest releases in all kinds of genres: fiction and non-fiction, young adult, children’s, cooking, audio, romance, mystery, etc. There are author interviews, my favorite one being in the children’s books section where the author gives his answers in pictures. I LURVE this little magazine and after snatching it up I dutifully study it cover to cover, turning down the corners of pages and marking books that I am interested in. Then I go to my library’s website and search for those books. At times I have had 20+ books on hold, waiting for them to arrive; one time I had six books come in all at once! YIKES! If they are really new and other people have holds on them, you can’t renew them. I had a bunch of overdue fines that month! If your library doesn’t have this little gem, you can check it out online at

Here are the books from the October issue that I am going to check out:

This House is Haunted by John Boyne
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Identical by Scott Turow
Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas
One Summer by Bill Bryson (a rare non-fiction choice for me)

I recently finished The Cuckoo’s calling by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling. I never read any of the Harry Potter books, but I did read her other book, The Casual Vacancy, a while back. I liked this book a lot, and I hope she writes a couple more as sequels. I enjoyed the way she has an eye for detail, and I liked the characters.

I also put a bunch of different cross stitch books on hold – I can’t wait for those to come in! Here they are:

All Our Yesterdays: 33 Charming Designs From Bygone Days by Faye Whittaker
Art Nouveau Cross Stitch by Barbara Hammet
The Art of William Morris in Cross Stitch: Over 40 Projects Inspired by the Design Master by Barbara Hammet
Oriental Cross Stitch by Debbie Minton
Star Trek Cross Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting by John Lohman
Twisted Stitches: 30 Corrupt Cross Stitch and Embroidery Designs by Phil Davison

What are you reading these days?

I plan on going to Portland tomorrow to visit a cross stitch store I found online – very, very excited about this. I also want to visit the Fabric Depot to look for fabrics for some purses I’d like to try my hand at. It is THE most awesome fabric store around, and this is coming from someone who knows pretty much zilch about sewing. I’ll let you know how it went.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

WIP pics - finally!

Well, whatever problems Blogger was having with my computer, they seem to have finally called a truce. Now I can finally share my cross stitch progress pictures! Yay!

My current project is a HAED pattern called Poppy Puss. I started it sometime in late 2011 and was pretty happy with my progress. However - and here I am blaming poor vision and horrible lighting to work by - I discovered that I had made so many mistakes that I could not really continue comfortably. I'm willing to let the odd counting mistake go, but the amount I had was really going to make things difficult to make things work out in the end. So I got rid of my contact lenses and discovered that I could see much better up close without any help at all, and bought myself a really good Ott lamp. Then I ripped out all of my progress, and with some tips that I picked up from some other blogs, I started over.

Here is where I was when I decided to rip it all out:

I'm sure you can imagine my angst at spending an entire day pulling out all of those stitches. But, I felt it had to be done, so there you are. I started over and this time used a water-soluable ink pen to mark the grid on the fabric. I was really amazed at how much that helps! Here is my progress to date:

If you look closely, you can still see the shadow of the other stitches I pulled out. They should be erased by either the new stitches, or the final washing once the project is completed. Cross your fingers for me!

My other project is a Country Sampler. Here is my progress so far on that one:

You may recall that I have mentioned that my bedroom is actually a storage room with a bed in it? It makes it very difficult to stitch in that environment. I cannot sit on the bed and stitch because it makes my back ache; I can't sit in the living room and stitch because I can't keep the dogs off my lap; the dining room is also out because the lighting is horrible, and that Ott lamp weighs too much to carry around the house. I got sick of it one day and decided to find a niche in my room somewhere; and here it is:

It's not pretty, but there is a window behind the chair that lets in some nice natural light, and combined with the Ott light, I see quite well!

Well, despite the truce, it has taken me bloody ages to do this post. I was going to talk about books, but I think I will do that post tomorrow since there won't be any pictures in it to mess with.

Take care!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Down but not completely out

Well, so much for the blogging everyday thing. I caught the dreaded crud Les was infesting around the house, and I still have a cough that is capable of making me pee my pants at any given time. The slightest physical activity, like…oh, blinking, makes me cough. Thinking about blinking makes me cough. I am really, really tired of it.

So, I didn’t get any sewing done over the last few weeks. In fact, I haven’t gotten much of anything done over the last few weeks! I did finish Omens; it was not the kind of story I thought it was going to be, but I did enjoy it. And it left you hanging, so now I have to read the next book as well. I didn’t finish the John Le Carre book; I just find his style of writing to be kind of hard to get into, and can be a little hard to follow at times. Maybe it was because I was sick; I dunno. I also read Dr. Sleep, Stephen King’s newest. This was a follow up to The Shining, and followed the little boy – Daniel – into his adulthood. It was good, I enjoyed it. My experience (many times) is that his novels start out well, get either really weirdly out there or really off center and preachy in the middle, then either ends with a great twist or with a bit of an irritating fizzle (as in Under The Dome). This was pretty consistent all the way through, though the end didn’t have as big of a climax as I was expecting. Still gets two thumbs up from me.

I have now started a book by a new author to me: Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne. It appears that most of her books have been in the vampire/paranormal type genre, but this more of a detective/horror series. The follow up, Wake to Darkness, won’t be released until December, but I already have it on hold at the library.

I was so disappointed in myself this weekend. My bedroom is a complete sty that looks like a tornado hit it. I am famously terrible at being tidy, and to add to that, it is one way my depression manifests its self. So, I mapped out my entire weekend hour by hour to be sure I worked on cleaning and also my sewing. I overslept both mornings and only got a handful of things done. But, you can see my nightstand for the first time in about eight months, so there is a small amount of smug patting of one’s back going on. I joined a website called (most members seem to be in the UK, South Africa, and Australia) because there are absolutely zero groups to join locally. I’m still trying to get pictures of my work onto my blog, and will keep trying.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully will have more to talk about next time.