Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 4

I'm still reading my way through Prairie Girl (and loving every tidbit of every note!), but hoping to finish that up this week.  I've just finished the chapter on The Long Winter (1880-1881) and it makes you appreciate your local grocery store, even if they do run out of milk and TP during winter storms occasionally!

I've also been reading I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe, for week #32: A book with a long title.  The author drew from a group of existant historical documents of American women who dressed as men (for one reason or another) and went off to fight in the Civil War.  The book is fiction, so it's a mashup of several of the stories she researched.  The main character leaves her family to follow her young, newly-wed husband off to war, and they've marched from New York to Virginia to fight.  (They are fighting for the Union.)  Rosetta (aka Ross) is a strong female character, but so far the book is a little....adrift?  She's also more than a little annoying (she makes me want to smack her a lot).  I'll reserve further judgment on this one until I'm finished it.  Not awful/not great - but definitely not a book I have been highly engaged with up to this point.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: 
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stitching Thursday: January 19, 2017

This week, I've been working on my Decorating the Wreath/Heaven and Earth Designs project.  I'm going to be switching up my weekly rotation a bit, as I've decided to participate in Terry/Stitching Petunia's challenge #2, and will be working on this full-coverage project a bit every week.  I calculated that I would need to work about 325 sts every week from now until the end of 2017 in order to have this project finished (which I really want to have happen!), so I'm going to put this in at the beginning of every week's rotation and try to stick to that.  I'll then work on whatever other project I have earmarked for rotation that week for the remaining days.

So... Decorating the Wreath now looks like this, and I'll be focusing on it for the rest of this week - thru Saturday.



Last week, I finished up the 2 clues that were released for the Tempting Tangles Welcome SAL, so that is caught up until the next clue releases in another week.  I'm loving the thistles!


I also finished up block #1 of the Village of Hawk Run Hollow, and I recharted the bits of block #2 I wanted to personalize, so I'll be ready to start that in February.



For next week, after I finish up my 325 +/- stitches on Decorating the Wreath, I'll pull out my Winter Garden piece from the Drawn Thread and put some time in on that one.  (Here's where I was when I put it away in December.)




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 3

I finished up Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, for week #2: A book with at least 2 perspectives. While I can't say this was a book I was in love with, it's a book that I will be thinking about in the future and would recommend for thoughtful reading.  While the vehicle to move the story along is the old fairy tale about maidens being whisked off by the "people under the hill" during May Day, it's really an exploration of what is reality?  And whose reality is right?  I found this one well-written, and despite the fact the store unfolds from multiple view-points, it was easily followed and not disjointed at all.

Right now, I'm getting my history geek buttons pushed with Laura Ingalls Wilder's annotated biography, Prairie Girl, for week 17 - a book with illustrations.  This is exactly the kind of history book a like - lots of little details, photos of the people described, maps, handwritten diary entries and letters.  I'm having a hard time putting this one down!

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: 
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle)
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

Friday, January 13, 2017

Spinning Friday: January 13, 2017

TGIF!  I've got some spinning to share this Friday with y'all. 

This is the December 2016 club fiber from Wooly Wonka Fibers, a blend of dyed merino and a slate-gray sparkle.



I spun this up into singles, and then plied them to get a 2-ply yarn.  (Can you see the sparkly bits in the finished yarn?  Love em!)


Project Specs:
  • Roving: Custom Blended Merino/Sparkle roving from Wooly Wonka Fibers Handspinner's Club, December 2016.
  • Yarn: 2-ply, 339 yards/4 oz of light sportweight. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stitching Thursday: January 12, 2017

Last week, my New Start for the New Year piece, Village of Hawk Run Hollow was up in my rotation to be worked on.  I started this New Year's Eve, and worked on it pretty steadily for the first week of the year, to get me to this point on block 1.


My plan was to try to stitch up one block a month from this piece (there are 12) over the year, but this is one of the simpler blocks and I wasn't able to finish it, even with a lot of focused attention, in a week, so I may have to rethink the plan for this.

This week for my rotation, I opted to work on my 2 SALs - Lakeside Needlecraft's Under the Sea and Tempting Tangles Welcome mystery SAL.  Under the Sea started on January 2nd, so I had the pattern downloaded and ready to go.  This month's motif is a little octopus chasing a fish.



I'm using the called-for DMCs, except I substituted a handpainted cotton from Colour and Cotton for the lightest green, and for the backstitching color.  I also added a blending filament in with the DMC for the seaweed vine to give it a bit of sparkle.  This block is essentially done.  The only thing not completed are some little white "bubbles", but I think I'm going to place those out with clear or white/pearlized size 11 beads.  I'm going to wait and see what the other blocks look like before I decide on that.  I can always go back in and add those.

For the rest of the week, I plan to work on the Tempting Tangles SAL and get caught up on that.  (I've already got clue 9 and clue 10 releases on Friday.)  If I've got time left then between now and Saturday, I'll go back to working on Village and see if I can get that finished up before rotating on to my Decorating the Wreath project.

One thing that I have decided to do is personalize the Village piece.  I am going to be changing out the names of things in the Village to match names of my grandmother's family in their little area of central Pennsylvania, including changing things from Hawk Run to Moose Run (as that's the creek that runs through the area, and the name of the road they lived on).  So I need to plot out the changes for block 2 to customize that before I get there in February.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 2

I finished Daughter of the Forest this week.  I loved this book.  A retelling of a fairy tale combined with Celtic legend and historical fiction - I was delighted I finally picked this one up and read it.  Highly recommended if you like any of the above types of books.

This week, I'm reading Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, for week #2: A book with at least 2 perspectives. The premise of this book is that the main character, Tara, gets spirited away by the fairies (only don't call them that; they don't like it), and spends 6 months with them in their realm.... only to return home to find she's missed 20 years.  Her parents and brother have all aged, but she still looks 16. Is she telling the truth?  Or is she some poor misguided soul with some mental health issues?  The book is written from Tara's perspective, as well as her brother's, her analyst's, her nephew's, and her old boyfriend.  Joyce weaves the tale of Tara's time away intertwined with things that are happening to her in the present.  All of which you can choose to find a (relatively) rational explanation for, or which you can choose to accept as the truth.  Things aren't always what they seem.  An interesting read so far.

The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel:
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (
link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle)
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Stitching Thursday: January 5, 2017

Trying to stick with my 2017 goal of reviving the blog a bit, I'm kicking off a new set of posts: Stitching Thursday, with details on the stitching projects I've got going right now.

I've set up a weekly rotation schedule that seems to be working fairly well for me - I spend a week (Sunday thru Saturday) working on a specific piece and then switch off to a different one.  I'm focusing on 4 projects per month (or close to that anyway) and a week seems to be a good amount of time.  I stay motivated and focused and get a fair amount done, but I don't get bored or burned out on any one thing.

Right now I've got the following going:

The Village of Hawk Run Hollow
  • Pattern by Carriage House Samplings.
  • Fabric is a 22-count Hardanger from Picture This Plus in the Legacy colorway.
  • Called-for threads from DMC.

This was a new start on January 1, 2017 and I'm planning on working on a block (there are 12 in total) a month.  This is block 1 so far and what I'm working on for my January Week #1 rotation project.  I'm stitching this 1/1.


The Winter Garden
  • Pattern by The Drawn Thread.
  • Fabric is a 32-count linen in colorway Smokey Gray.
  • I'm using Gentle Arts threads for this (my own conversion).

I've got the first page finished on this design.  I'm stitching this 1/2 and this will be up for Week #2 in January's rotation.



Decorating the Wreath
  • Pattern by Heaven and Earth Designs with artwork by Scott Gustafson.
  • Fabric is a 28-count undyed linen.
  • Called-for threads from DMC.




I worked on this the last week of December and finished up a page (the upper right portion of the image) that included the little pinecone and the bow.  This will be my January Week #3 rotation piece. I'm stitching this 1/1.

Welcome SAL

  • Pattern is a mystery SAL by Tempting Tangles.
  • Fabric is a 32-count linen from Picture This Plus in the Wren colorway.
  • I'm using Gentle Arts threads for this one (my own conversion from DMC).

This is currently through Clue #8.  Clue #9 came out the last weekend of December, and there'll be another clue released on the weekend of January 15th.  I'll get caught up with those 2 clues for my final week of January's rotation.  I'm stitching this 2/2.

I'm also planning to start the Under the Sea SAL from Lakeside Needlework.  I have the SAL fabric and the threads ready to go.  The first clue came out January 2nd, but I am planning on working the 2 SALs the same rotation week, so I'll be starting this one once I finish up the next 2 clues in the Welcome SAL.  I do have the DMC floss called for in the pattern, but I think I'm going to switch it up and use some handpainted cotton threads from Colour and Cotton instead.  At least for the first block, I've got all but maybe 1 color that'll match pretty closely to the original colors.  (And if I need to, I can sub back in the called-for DMC).