Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Two Weeks Without Knitting

I cast on a new pair of socks before we left for the trip, expecting to have at least the first sock done before we got home. The toe went into my bag and never came out. Now my fingers seem to have forgotten how to move.

Cora Chevalier has been doing everything possible to make her new crafter's retreat a success. When fingerprints that seem to match her good friend Jane's are found at a murder scene, the attendees scheduled to attend her first retreat being to cancel and Cora begins to panic. Jane's fingerprints have been distorted by years of work as a potter, so the match isn't perfect and Cora is sure of her friend's innocence. Unfortunately, some of her new clients aren't.

Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan is the  first in a new cozy mystery series.  It took me some time to warm up to Cora. In the first few pages of the book, she's rushing to the police station to help one of her dearest friends and stops to admire her stained glass window.  Later in  the book, she pauses again to describe her love for the historic house she lives in and it feels much more genuine. With the wide variety of crafts practiced by her visitors and the focus on the healing potential of crafting, I think this is going to be an interesting series to follow.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Yarn Along.

Monday, August 29, 2016

{Thrift Store Temptations} A Bicentennial Lamp

My favorite thing about thrift store shopping is when you stumble across that thing you've never seen before and can't quite believe exists. Like this lamp. 

I don't understand. At all. But there's a part of me that can almost picture the room this thing would be at home in. 

I know about the bicentennial, but that doesn't explain why anyone would feel the need to print the Declaration of Independence on a lampshade. Or the combination of wood and fake hurricane lamps. I'm usually a fan of electrified hurricane lamps, but not this particular example.

And then there were these --

I can't tell you how much I wanted these. When Hubby and I were first married, we had a pair of spectacular old lamps that I think his sister had given him. They were huge and spectacularly ugly and I absolutely loved them - maybe more in hindsight. Imagine the pebbled glass globes from this pair, in red and two feet across! They broke when we were moving, which may or may not have been an accident. Or we made the decision to get rid of them. All I know is that we used to have them -- and the ugly but comfy couch that went with them -- and now we don't.

As much as I love the memory of those lamps, these are better! I've never seen anything like them and, unlike the lamp with the Declaration of Independence on the shade, I would love to have these in my house. I walked around the store three times convincing myself that there's no place in the house to display them and that they'd need to be rewired and that someone else would come along who would love them just as much as I do. Their five  dollar price tag made it hard.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I Think I Found the Perfect Fabric

When I admitted that the time might be  coming to retire my beloved Nancy Drew bag, I knew the hardest part would be finding the perfect fabric. It has to be something that I absolutely love, that I won't get tired of if I carry it around every day for a couple of years. Something that can compete with those book spines...

And it's got to be something from my existing stash.  I've got gorgeous fabric I still love years after purchasing it, but the ladies in vintage Barbie-style dresses are on a light background that would show dirt. The vintage school prints will scream "homeschool mom" just a little too loudly. The vintage circus posters (which get bonus points because they came from one of Grandma's thrift store bags) might be a little too adventurous for an everyday bag, but they reminded me of  this print....

I think I've got the basis for my new tote bag! There's only a fat quarter in my stash, but that's actually more than I had of the book spine print. And I've got red and black yardage that I bought when I thought this was going to be a wall quilt.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 6 1/2 yards
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 18 1/4 yards (+2 sheets)
Net added for 2016: 12 3/4 yards

Yarn used this Week: 0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 4850 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 7366 yards
Net added for 2016: 2516 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

{I've Been Reading} The Fabled Oak

About fifteen years ago, I read some horror novels by Simon Clark and really enjoyed them. At the time, most of his books were only available overseas and the budget didn't stretch quite far enough for me to order them off of ebay, not without cutting back on the cross stitch supplies.  Now, I've got more of a book budget and some of those books have been made available on Kindle. (Did I mention how much I love these e-readers?)

The Fabled Oak is apparently part of a series. Ghost hunter Byron Makangelo and his team have been summoned to a high-tech hippy commune to investigate "Tree Face" a menacing apparition that terrifies the group's children. I've been unable to find a list of the books in the series, but this definitely wasn't the first. It felt like I'd started watching a random episode of an established television series. Although I had to figure out who was who, the ancient oak with its centuries of offerings was interesting enough to pull me in. And the story behind the tree was truly haunting.

I can't recommend On Deadly Ground. It's one of the books I was trying to find a decade ago, so I was looking forward to reading it. The book is long, almost seven hundred pages, and I found myself skimming over pages and pages of graphic gore and sex that did nothing to advance the plot. The whole thing is told from the point of a nineteen year old boy and it takes forever for him to figure out and explain why the world is ending. All we know is that the ground has become hot and the members of humanity who aren't dead yet have been reduced to cannibalistic savages. The apocalypse does start to get interesting near the end, but for me it was too little too late.

So I'd recommend one book but not the other.  I'll definitely be downloading some of the other titles I missed when they were first published.

Disclosure -- the publisher provided me with ARCs. 


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