Monday, December 28, 2020

2020 Year End Totals

I said that my tracking for 2019 "wasn't great." My tracking for 2020 just didn't happen at all. Most of the things I finished after July didn't even get photographed, let alone get their own blog posts. I'm going to try to do better next year, but I'm not making any promises. There are a lot of things that I hope go better in 2021 and project tracking is the least of them. 

I finished some projects that I'd started in previous years...

And stitched patterns designed for being well and stitching during the pandemic...

And stitched some things I wanted to start in 2020...

There are also a lot of projects I started but didn't finish, most of it in the first half of the year. 

For someone who usually knits when she'd stressed there was a surprising lack of knitting. I finished the Finding the Yellow Brick Road Socks in March.  They're the most ambitious pair of socks I've knit in a very long time. It's the first time I'd tried that style of cable and I think the sock heel was also something new. I also finished three other pairs of plain stockinette socks in fingering weight Toes in the Sand, a pink pair in Drops Fabel, and a pair in Lion Brand Sockease Toffee)  and two in worsted weight (one with clearance Hobby Lobby yarn and one with Dollar Tree acrylic) 

I knitted the Jette Shawl, a striped garter stitch shawl, in Woolike, a fingering weight acrylic. There are no pictures of the finished shawl, so lets go with a screen capture from the yarn review video I did. 

There have been stressful years before this one. I'm hoping that 2021 will be better, but I'm not expecting things to be magically better when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Visitors


 Absence of Alice by Sherry Harris 

Sarah Winston is having a little trouble with her latest client, a woman with inflated ideas of what her possessions are actually worth. A rival garage sale organizer has been trying to steal her clients and it's driving Sarah nuts....until she gets the phone call. A kidnapper has taken Sarah's landlady, Stella, and is presenting Sarah with a series of tasks to earn Stella's release. She's forbidden to call the police or ask for help. 

I've read every book in this series in order as it came out and this one is definitely different. The circumstances throw Sarah off balance from the very beginning and, for the most part, keep her isolated from her usual support network. It's fast paced and had me worried about Sarah, and Stella, and whether Sara's actions in this book are going to have consequences that stretch into the future. 



Her Final Prayer by Kathryn Casey

I absolutely love this series! Born into a polygamous family in a small Utah town, Clara Jeffries is such a unique heroine. After the events of the first book, Clara has taken a job with the police department, something that not all of the locals are pleased about. When one of her mothers finds a murdered family, Clara is called to the scene and discovers one family member clinging to life in the kitchen an a young infant safe in an upstairs bedroom. Without cooperation from the locals or even her own family, finding answers to what happened is complicated. The mystery is suspenseful and complex and I can't wait for the chance to spend more time in Clara's world. 


The Visitors by Miranda Rijks

Everything in the renovated barn is as perfect as Hannah can make it. It's taken years to convert the old building into the perfect holiday rental and she can't wait to welcome guests into her tranquil little country retreat. Mike and Nadia are nothing like the guests she had imagined. They're loud, rude, and demanding. She fears what kind of damage they'll do to the interior of the barn. And when their week is up, they refuse to leave. 

I read this one almost straight through. The tension starts to build early on and Hannah isn't doing herself any favors as she attempts to solve problems without involving her husband. She's so determined to have her little side business go well and Mike and Nadia are such horrible, awful people. I was dreading how it might all turn out and loved it right up until the end, which fell flat. 

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Lots of Nonfiction


The cover copy promises sewers and caves and abandoned subway stations, which intrigued me, but I had no clue how absolutely fascinating the rest of this book was going to be. Did you know that there are miners in the present day that sacrifice llamas to statues for protection? Or that there was a photographer taking pictures of the catacombs and sewers under Paris in the 1860s? The author talks about lots of fascinating places and their history, but he also spends a lot of time exploring the relationship that people have with the dark spaces underground. I finished this book with a list of things I want to explore further, even through the author provided lots of information and photos. It's a great vicarious trip to places I'd never be able to visit in real life. 


Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom

This one actually isn't as grim as the title implies. The author describes her work with the anthropodermic book project, which uses scientific testing to prove whether books supposedly bound in human skin are authentic. I don't know if I was more surprised by the number of confirmed examples or the fact that they look so much like any other old, leather bound book. The science and the reasons the authentic books were made in the first place intrigued me, but the short book also takes a lot of detours, including the author's plans for donating her own remains after her death. 

The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson 

Reading this one led me to the conclusion that I've probably read enough books about Lizzie Borden for one lifetime. Focusing heavily on the trial itself, the book doesn't provide much new information about the actual murders. I didn't know about the cow making noise outside the windows of the courthouse, or the outbuilding where reporters would retreat to finish their stories. There are a few interesting tidbits here and there, but it's a long dry read. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Other Couple


 Hidden Treasure by Jane K Cleland

Josie Prescott is an antiques expert with her own popular television show and when she discovers an old trunk in the Victorian she and her husband are preparing to restore, she follows all of the proper procedures to reunite it with its rightful owner. That trunk belongs to the former owner of her house, not to the two nieces who show up demanding that Josie hand the trunk and its valuable contents over to them. Maudie Wilson is an adorable old lady and when a body is found in her apartment and there's no trace of Maudie herself, I was seriously worried. I don't know how I've managed to miss the Josie Prescott Antique Mysteries before now, but I definitely want to pick up the earlier books and spent more time with these characters.  


The Other Couple  by Cathryn Grant 

Skye and Joe are sitting in an expensive Lake Tahoe restaurant, enjoying the view and their drinks and discreetly observing the other diners. They're looking for a husband and wife who will fall for their con. Maggie and Brad fit the bill perfectly and before the evening is over they've invited Skye and Joe to share their lakeside rental house. I was quickly hooked by the plot and enjoyed the way that chapters alternate between the four main characters, but it got very repetitive very quickly and the plot began to drag. Brad wants time alone with his wife to work on their marriage. Maggie is glad to have their new friends as a buffer. Skye and Joe are just in it for the free vacation and whatever they can steal....and then things go wrong.  I appreciated that each character had a distinct voice but the plot started to lose its grip on me about halfway through and there was a twist I just couldn't make myself accept. 

Only Truth by Julie Cameron 

Isabel Dryland was brutally assaulted as a teenager. She can't remember the details of that day, but it left her physically and emotionally damaged. Her life as an adult is good.  Her loving husband has found them a wonderful house and she's renovating one of the outbuildings into a new studio. Everything should be fine...but it isn't. This is a gritty, sometimes brutal domestic thriller that had be both wanting to keep turning pages and wanting to put the book down because it's all rushing fast towards something awful. 

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


Friday, December 04, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {December 2020}

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


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