Friday, January 31, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/31/20}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 30, 2020

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Translucent Crashing Waves

This one was hard to resist. I love those little villages of resin houses and this is all one piece, with lots of little detailed houses and an inlet with the remains of a sunken boat....and just look at that translucent crashing wave the wraps around the side!

I talked myself out of it because it was expensive and heavy and I don't need a seaside village, no matter how many amazing little details it has.

Most of the clocks we see at the thrift store are new. I guess the one shaped like a clock radio must have been new-ish, because it was battery operated. But how much neater would it have been if it had been an actual radio instead of just telling the time? The gold and jeweled clock makes me wonder where it belonged originally. It's just so pretty and distinctive....

This little pillow we found in the bins was obviously once part of a very old quilt. I wonder what happened to the rest of it and what will happen to this bit and whether someone was dividing an heirloom into keepsakes. (In case you can't tell, I've got really mixed feelings about "cutter quilts.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Finally Casting On

A year ago, or maybe it was two years ago, I bought yarn to knit a striped shawl. A couple of days ago, I finally picked a pattern and cast on. 

If all goes well, this will become Jette, a free download from DROPS designs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

{I've been Reading} The Argument

The Argument by Victoria Jenkins

After sneaking out to a party and getting caught, fifteen-year-old Olivia vows that she'll never speak to her mother again. As the silent treatment drags on, it becomes obvious that Olivia is hiding things from her mother. Hannah is hiding things from her daughter. The author is also hiding a lot of things from the reader. Sometimes it's through misdirection and sometimes it's by leaving out a huge important detail of what was happening in a scene. When things finally did become clear, I felt cheated. This book honestly left me wondering what the "rules" of writing a psychological thriller are and how far the author is allowed to stray from them in order to create that shocking twist.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam all had unbreakable  plans for the weekend, but their employer summons them for a mandatory team building  exercise. Locked in the express elevator, the four investment bankers try to solve the clues of this unexpected escape room so that they can get on with their lives, but as the hours tick by, their situation steadily worsens.

The book opens with a prologue that didn't grab me at all (and a lot of time spent on a character you'll never see again), but a few chapters in I started to figure out how the two stories might be connected and enjoy the read. I'd expected the escape room to be a bigger part of the plot. Instead the book is really about what these four did in the past and alternates between the elevator and previous events involving other characters. The writing kept me entertained and it was different from any of the other thrillers I've read lately. 

Disclosure -- The publishes sent me advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

{This Week's Plans} Waiting for Appliance Parts, Casting on a New Shawl, and Gridding Aida

It's amazing how much time can get gobbled up while you're dealing with stupid little things. The compressor in the fridge went out and it was eleven days before the first available service appointment. Now that they've been here and determined what's wrong it will be almost four weeks until they come back to fix it. Oh, and while we're waiting I get to watch the porch like a hawk for the UPS guy because the parts come straight to the house in multiple shipments. And I still wouldn't have a fridge except yesterday the boys and I went out and bought a cheap one that we found Craigslist. At least I didn't have big plans for the week, except for a shopping trip with my daughter that will take place before I have to start watching for the parts. 

While we're waiting, I have things to do. 

To Do This Week:

Grid fabric for Riolis SAL
Cast on new Shawl
Make some progress on the Emerald City SAL
Sew reusable shopping bags

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Back Stitching As I Go

I'm ridiculously in love with European Bistro and the more I stitch the harder it is to put down. 

There are going to be miles and miles of back stitching, but if I work on it as I go, it shouldn't be too bad. Just look at that fancy lettering and how much it adds to the piece!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

3-D Cross Stitch

I almost tried to talk myself out of 3-D Cross Stitch by Meg Evershed. As charmed as I am by the idea of little three dimensional stitched houses, I've got a few patterns for them already. 

Then I flipped through the pages and saw that these aren't like anything I had in my stash. There's a shop with a separate awning and a church with a tower and two difference houses with timbered walls...these are so much better than what I was planning to make!

And there's a section of cross stitched dollhouse furniture. It's only a living room set and a bedroom and nursery, so you couldn't do a full house but I'm in love with the idea. And I've already got a chunk of red aida that should work for the couch...

You can see my full flip through and review by clicking the video below.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/24/20}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 23, 2020

{Antique Shop Temptations} The Calendar Tea Towels

Maybe this explains why I so rarely find old linen tea towels at the local thrift shops and estate sales. It's a whole booth full of them, all prettily displayed...and priced for the antique mall. 

If I'd found one I couldn't live without I absolutely could have taken it home to make a pretty project bag, but I resisted the temptation.

Remember that little toy stove I didn't buy because it wasn't the one I couldn't live without? I have a feeling I'm getting closer to discovering what "the one" might look like. This adorable little thing is actually electric?! I'm so fascinated by that idea (not to mention a little bit terrified) Maybe what I want is a little stove like this one....

I get the feeling that there's a whole rabbit hole of vintage toy ovens just waiting for me to fall down it.

The only other thing that really called our to me was this...

I spent so many hours of my childhood tethered to the kitchen wall by a bright yellow phone just like that one. The color is off, but I'm guessing that's because it faded over the years.

I never fails to amaze me how you can completely forget something existed, then see one in an antique mall and instantly be flooded with memories.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I Should Probably Frog These Socks

I've known a few knitters who did drastic things, like unravelling whatever was still on their needles at the end of the year. I'm not that kind of knitter....but I'm starting to wonder if I should be.

Currently on my needles are the three slowest pairs of socks in the history of ever. The green cabled paid is okay because the cables are fiddly and take forever, but they're gorgeous. The smocked pair has dark yarn that makes it hard  to keep track of my knits and purls. And this pair, which I've been working on since OCTOBER, is just awful.

Let's call the yarn "rustic" for want of a better word. Those gradient stripes look good in the right light, but the texture leaves a lot to be desired. It's either so tightly spun it winds back on itself, or it's so loosely spun that it wants to shred.

And that's all I've got on my needles right now. Three pairs of socks that are all relatively unpleasant to knit on. It almost makes me wish I'd had a drastic and unreasonable rule to force me to get rid of them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Off the Grid

Off the Grid by John Hunt

When a book isn't at all what I was expecting, it tends to be because I  either didn't read the cover copy closely enough, or I managed to forget part of it between adding the book to my Kindle and actually starting to read it. In this case, it's because the book veers wildly away from its description.

In the prologue, Graham Richards visits and outlet mall with his wife and son and all three are victims of a senseless mass shooting that only Graham survives. He moves to a cabin in the woods, shunning society, and of course when the man with the horribly scarred face purchases rope, a chain, and a padlock just before a local girl disappears, he becomes their only suspect.

The book shifts to the investigation of the girl's disappearance, then to the perpetrators and victims of another crime entirely. There are SO many characters here, all with more back story than we ever got about Graham. There's also a lot of graphic violence.

When the book gets where it's going things get interesting, but I didn't love this one.

Disclosure -- The publisher sent me an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, January 20, 2020

It Didn't Snow This Week

Have you seen that meme about the weather forecast, the one that predicts either eight feet of snowy apocalypse or a lovely sunny weekend? That's the sort of game my weather app was playing with me last week. I couldn't decide whether to cancel appointments or not, or when I was going to go grocery shopping. The one day it seemed most likely to snow was my youngest son's birthday so I worried about that, but the roads were totally dry and not frozen. 

We had a tiny bit of snow that didn't stick. I don't know if the roads got icy or not, because for the most part I chose to stay off of them. First because I'm afraid of ice and then because I got sick. It's just a stupid cold, but I'm shocked at how fast and hard it hit. 

I'm doing a much better job of keeping up with my planner. Jotting down quick notes helps keep the days from flying by in such a fast blur, and it definitely helps to write down what we had for dinner each night so I know just how old those leftovers in the fridge are. I'm also really liking the habit trackers. It's not all stuff that needs to be done every day, but it helps to see how often I'm getting these things done.

I'm determined to keep better track of my projects and finishes this year.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Stitching Along the Roofline

I'm starting to remember what I loved so much about stitching buildings. They have edges and corners that make it easy to keep track of where I'm stitching. 

I haven't looked at the entire chart, but what I've done so far makes me wonder if this is going to be an easy project that just happens to have sixty-seven thousand or so stitches.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Needlework Masterpieces from Winterthur

I've been trying to be more selective when it comes to the needlework books at the thrift store because at three and four dollars piece, the expense adds up quickly. It's a great price for a book I really want, but I'm trying to pause and make sure that whatever treasure I just picked up really needs to come home with me.

It was half price day when I stumbled across Needlework Masterpieces from Winterthur.

I flipped through just enough to find these two pillows with ladies fishing in their finery. I'd never stumbled across the Boston fishing lady embroideries before. 

I think I also caught a glimpse of these little purses. The best part, a twining section of gold and black, is actually on the bottom of the large one.

And there's fruit. I don't know why that pineapple makes me want to stitch it, but I was already happy about the ladies and the purses and a dollar fifty for a hardback book full of gorgeous eye candy is definitely worth it, whether or not I ever make time to stitch any of the projects.

There's lots to be read in here, about the history of needlework and printed fabric and once I got home and looked up Winterthur I fell down a fun rabbit hole of videos about the estate itself.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/17/20}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Riolis Stitch Along

I've been collecting Riolis cross stitch kits for almost two years. Or maybe hoarding -- it's all in how you choose to define things. I've also completed four of them in that time, so I'm not worried at all about finishing (or not finishing) the rest.

People collect all kinds of things and I'm not going to feel bad about collecting these. Wouldn't it have been nice if I'd given in to the temptation to collect the Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams kits before they all suddenly became unavailable? Those are currently selling for hundreds of dollars on ebay.

I'll stick with what I actually do have in my stash. A couple of weeks ago, an Instagram follower asked if I knew of any Riolis stitch alongs. I hadn't heard of any and couldn't find one when I searched (except for the hedgehog SAL, which was specific and more focused on hedgies than on the Riolis kit so many of us were working on).

So let's start one! I'm planning on opening up this kit, because I'm still unreasonably obsessed with that wheel of cheese and peeled orange.

If you want to join us, just use the hashtag #riolissal on Instagram or wherever else you post your progress pictures. And leave a comment to let me know you'll be stitching along with us!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

{Thrift Shop Temptations} I Resisted the Hundred Year Old Fabric Ads...

Someone donated actual antiques to St. Vinnie's last week. There was an old Edison wax cylinder player (which I'm sure has a proper name that I don't know) and a gramophone and some pretty furniture. 

And lots of those huge hardback binders of fragile hundred year old newspapers...

I want beautiful fabrics at "great concession from regular prices!" I also want a huge binder of newspapers with ads like this one, but they were sooooo crumbly and I don't know where I'd store them or how I'd manage to physically read them.

One of my sons was trying on jeans which gave me plenty of time to carefully flip through a few pages and convince myself to be reasonable.

We also didn't buy this old soft sculpture piece. He looks creepy enough before you realize that his eyes follow you when you move.

I don't know who made him or how they pulled off that effect, but I'm impressed!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

{I've Been Reading} What Rose Forgot

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr

This is one of the best domestic thrillers I've read in quite a while. On the first page, a woman wakes up alone in the bushes, wearing only a hospital gown and unaware of where she is and how she got there. It's only a few minutes before a helpful bystander returns her to the memory care unit. Rose has no memory of the facility, no idea how she came to be a patient there. They tell Rose that she suffers from dementia, but that can't be right. Her mind is clear and becoming clearer as she hides her pills instead of swallowing them. She can't ask for help because her claims sound like the ramblings of a dementia patient, but she can't stay where she is, not after hearing someone in the hall saying that she's not likely to last the week.

The more I learned about Rose's life before she found herself lost and disoriented in the bushes outside the memory care unit, the more I liked her and wanted her to escape her current situation. I did find her family tree more than a little confusing and could have done without the current political references (especially a really obscure one that I had to look up to figure out what the characters were talking about -- it turns out that you don't need to know what they're talking about) but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read that kept me turning pages.   

The Beach House P. R. Black

An amazing tropical holiday takes a turn when a newly engaged couple discovers that they aren't alone on the private island they've rented.  They try to make the best of things and get to know their unexpected neighbors, who of course aren't what they seem to be.   This book got off to an extremely slow start. I don't have to like the characters to get interested in what's going to happen to them, but there was nothing about Cora or Jonathan that got me interested in their lives or eventual fate. She's a teacher. He's the owner of a tech company that he just sold for a massive amount of money.

Late in the book, the author does some amazing things with one of the characters and after that there's one truly suspenseful scene that had me holding my breath, but I was bored most of the way through. Those two fantastic scenes didn't make it worth the slog to the end, and what I suppose was supposed to be the big twist definitely wasn't one.

Followers by Megan Angelo

In 2016, Orla and Floss are launching their careers, with Orla using her social media skills to build fame for Floss and a future for both of them. In 2051, Marlow lives in a town built for social influencers, her entire life broadcast to her followers.(It's just like The Truman Show, except Marlow has  always known that she was on camera.) Between those two  points in time, something called "the spill" happened, destroying the internet which was then replaced by a version that the government closely controls and the public doesn't trust.

Giving up your privacy by sharing things online is bad. That seems to be the main message of the book. But your private information is out there in the cloud and on servers if you've ever spent a second online or not, so I'm not sure how that premise works if even the people who don't use the internet are still at risk. Then how do you shift the blame to people who post too much? I found myself more interested in finding out what the Spill was than in what would eventually happen to the main characters. Marlow's discover about her family history isn't all that shocking. Kind of like the previews for a reality television show that promise much more excitement than the actual episode delivers. I wasn't a fan of this one.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC. This post contains affiliate links. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Stitching Something New

I gave myself permission to start one of the kits I got for Christmas now instead of waiting four months until Maynia....

I've been coveting European Bistro forever and I suspected that I wouldn't want to put it down once I took the plunge and started it.  As I type this late Saturday night, my eyes are a little blurry from all of the gridding so I only managed a little bit of actual stitching, but I'm excited to do more in the morning.

Impractical Chickens

I thought chickens didn't lay eggs in winter, but apparently our little flock is confused. They stopped laying in late summer and just started up again. I also thought the chicks we hatched were too young to lay eggs, but apparently I'm confused....

The one little game hen I wasn't supposed to buy at the feed store is laying like a champ and they're the itty-bittiest eggs  you've ever seen. 

Totally not practical, but our flock has never been practical so I'm not worried about it. The chicken's name is Thimble and I'm told she'll sit on your finger like a parakeet. I'm so tempted to incubate a few of these in the spring, but that would be even less practical.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano

The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano is the most gorgeous eye candy! 

It doesn't contain actual patterns for reproducing the author's creations, but it shows step by step how she works her magic, from the original sketches and composition process to detailed photographs of how she does the stitching.

I can't do this sort of thing. I don't know if I'll ever be able to learn, but this book gave me a detailed glimpse of how it's done and a strong push in the right direction.

If you want to see more of what's inside, click the video below for a flip through and longer review.

Disclosure -- The book came from the library. This post contains affiliate links. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/10/20}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Slow, Slower, Slowest Socks

I have three pairs of socks on my needles and they're all taking absolutely FOREVER. 

From left to right, Smock Madness is slow for no reason. The smocked bits are fiddly, but there's a lot of ribbing between them. Finding the Yellow Brick Road is allowed to take so much time  because of those pretty circular cables -- but I think it's been the fastest knit of the bunch. And Toes in the Sand is k2p2 ribbing that I think is slow just to spite  me.

I thought I'd cast on a shawl last night to give myself some happy mindless knitting, but so far it's not an improvement.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

{Antique Shop Temptations} How to Know it's Time To Diet

This caught my eye at the antique mall. Does it bear any resemblance at all to your weekly grocery list? 

I need my list to be more specific than just "meat" or "spices." Or maybe the hope is to jar your memory just enough that you'll know to buy paprika....but why does pepper gets its own space? And how often do people buy wax paper? Maybe I'm showing my own age and it was more commonly used in mid century kitchens.

I do love the little thumb tacks that you're supposed to move into the right position.

This plaque confuses me even more. The references seem to come from a couple of different eras. And it's a souvenir from the Enchanted Forest?!

I know that touristy spots sell completely unrelated things in their gift shops, but this has to top the list!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Hems and Homicide

Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney

Iris and her Grandmother are taking the plunge and opening a physical location for their online apron shop. The historic storefront will need plenty of work to transform it into a welcoming place of business, but they're confident that they can have everything done by opening day....until Iris discovers the decades old skeleton in the basement. They're still determined to move forward with their plans, but then their unpleasant landlord is found dead in the shop.

Iris's grandmother is able to identify the skeleton by its colorful clothing, but she only knew her friend by the name she was using in the 60s. Everyone had assumed that the young woman left town, but her body has been in the basement all that time. This book has that small town/small business setting that I enjoy so much, with a cast of well developed characters. It's entertaining to watch her try to reconcile her own grandparents and their peers with the lives they led long before she was born.

Cardinal Sin by J. R. Ripley

It was the oujia board on the  cover and the voodoo statue in the book's description that made me pick up Cardinal Sin, the eighth book in the Bird Lover's mystery series. I've obviously missed a lot by jumping in this far along, including the origin of the statue and lots of backstory between store owner Amy Simms and her friends and family, but the book was so enjoyable that I want to catch up on the earlier titles.

Yvonne, a new customer to her shop describes an uncommon bird that she's seen on her property and invites Amy to a dinner party at her cabin on Webber's Pond, a small community of rustic old cabins with some unusual residents. Only a few hours after the ouija board spells out an ominous warning, Amy finds Yvonne dead in her cabin. It's an atmospheric and suspenseful book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 


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