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2017 Reading Challenge Update - End of April

I finished up a couple of books over the last 2 weeks for The List: 

For week 46, a time travel novel: Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.  I'm not exactly sure how I missed this was a time travel novel from the description - but it is.  I thought it was going to be a historical fiction about Jack London's ranch in early 20th century California.  And it sort of is, but not really.  Some interesting themes of loss and time and place, but you know what? I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would (even after I figured out it wasn't the genre I thought it was).  If you like time travel, I'd stick with The Time Traveller's Wife or maybe Somewhere in Time.  It'd probably be a good summer reading choice.  It's pretty light fare all told. 

For week 7, a book with an animal on the cover/in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.  At the risk of completely stealing someone else's thunder, let me share a review from Goodreads about this book w…

2017 Reading Challenge Update

A bunch of things to check off the read list:

For week 10 - A dual timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home,  Liked but didn't love this book; it was a bit scattered for me.  The main story line is about the wreck of the Titanic and one of the survivors.  The back store/dual timeline part of it is present day where the granddaughter of the survivor slowly unearths the history of her grandmother's voyage on the boat.  I'd classify this one as a light read - a good summer beach book - but not a page-turner.

For week 14: A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.  Oddly enough the main character is not the strongest female character in this book, but rather the protagonist.  The main character is a girl born with a discolored mark in the shape of a bird on her face, Flavia.  Her family shuttles her off to a convent, embarrassed by this "defect" and she attaches herself to a former Venetian courtesan who knows the secrets of all kinds of beaut…

2017 Reading Challenge

I'm way behind on updating the list, but I have been reading!

I finished up the collection of retold fairy tales for week 51: Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.  Some of these I loved.  Some of these I didn't, but the 2 stories by Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman are probably worth the price of admission alone.

For week 6, I opted not to pick a book being made into a movie specifically in 2017, and just went with a book that was made into a movie with Olive Kitteredge.  I enjoyed the way the main character's story unfolded with chapters that were essentially short stories from her point of view, as well as others in the small New England town she lived in.  A nice set of character studies - not a particularly plot or action-driven story, but well-written.

For week 41, I read His Bloody Project, by Graeme McRae Burnet.  A historical novel that chronicles the events leading up to a man's murder in a small rural village in 1869, but told from both the mu…

2017 Reading Challenge: Week 6

This week, I read Summerlong by Peter Beagle for week 12 (A book based on a myth).  I'm a fan of this author's writing, and this book is definitely in the same "voice".  A lovely, somewhat bittersweet retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades (with Demeter thrown in for good measure.  I don't think this book was as strong as The Last Unicorn (which is one of my favorites), but I enjoyed it and appreciated the subtle plot twists that intertwined the myth and it's characters with contemporary day folks.  What was it Karin Blixen says in Out of Africa?  When the gods wish to punish you, they answer your prayers.  Yeah... that.  The characters are slowly revealed with all their human issues and it turns out the gods aren't so perfect either. 

Next up, week 51, a collection - in this case of retold Fairy Tales, sent by my dad since he knows what I like.  :)



The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectiv…

2017 Reading Challenge: Week Five

Finished reading Prairie Girl and thoroughly enjoyed this one!  I loved all of the historical notes and tidbits, photos, drawings and generally in depth footnotes.

I take back what I originally said about I Shall Be Near To You (week #32) topic.  The first half was a bit of a tough go, but I'm glad I perservered and read this one through to the end.  The author really found the main character's voice in the second half of the book.  Not an easy read - this one made me cry, which doesn't happen very often - but the last 3 chapters were beautifully written and pulled this one together for me.  Recommended for historical fiction/Civil War buffs.  If you do decide to pick up a copy to read, zip to the back and read the 2-page author's note about the actual historical person she based this story on.  It doesn't really give away the story, and I felt like I would have enjoyed the first half a bit more knowing a back story on it. (See last week's post for a bit of a …

Stitching Thursday: January 26, 2017

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Here's my progress on various and sundry things this past week:

I put about 900+ stitches into my Decorating the Wreath by Heaven and Earth Designs.  It now looks like this:


I watched a really helpful tutorial on YouTube by Pam of Pam's Crafty Corner about working a single color of thread cross-country per page, and the lightbulb went off for me, so I'm going to try working the remainder of the page in this fashion.  It seems to speed up the stitching (or at least it appears that way), since you aren't changing out colors and starting/stopping threads as much this way.  I figure it's worth a try to see if I can make some more focused progress on this piece.

I'm also thinking of switching up my rotation going forward in February, and making this my focus for a finish piece by working on it during Fri/Sat/Sun of every week, and then keeping the other 3 projects I've got going on a weekly rotation for the other 4 days.  It will mean those other projects won…

WIP Wednesday: January 25, 2017

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An overview of what I'm currently working on:

Sekret Knitting:
Just about done the shawl sample I'm taking to Stitches West.  Worked up using a new speckled dye colorway and a tonal solid, this is a fairly easy elongated crescent-shaped shawl that I'll have as a featured kit in the booth.
I have (I think) 2 more rows of increases to do for the cabled sweater I'm working on for a Filament magazine issue.  I'm working this one up in a yummy merino/cashmere/silk DK weight from Shalimar Yarns in the Water's Edge colorway.   On deck is the sample for the March Sweater club, which will be knit up in my Freya DK (100% BFL yarn). I've got no personal knitting on the go right now, as I'm mostly just attempting to get thru the deadline knitting that I've got queued up for the next 2 months.  Once I get the shawl finished up, I'll cast on for a hat/mittens set that's for the same Filament magazine issue since those are a fairly easy project (comparatively …

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 …

Stitching Thursday: January 19, 2017

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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 th…

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 putt…