Greetings my lovelies and welcome! October is whizzing by. Halloween is on the horizon with Thanksgiving and Christmas ready to rush in. My hook has been in constant motion and if I'm not working on a project I'm planning for them. That means lots of pattern searching and yarn/supply shopping! And while I haven't actually completed any gifts I intend to give, I have several in the works. I'm sure that there will be a frantic push to finish including crocheting after midnight with copious amounts of coffee. As much as I wish, hope and pray this won't happen I'm relatively certain it will. No matter how hard I try I am a last minute, in just under the wire kinda gal. Always have been, and I imagine I always will be!
Today I'm pleased to report that I'm making fantastic time with the Little Wing Shawlette. What a difference in terms of time and technique from the recently completed Juliana. I made a modification right off the bat using a traditional Fsc instead of the method indicated in the pattern. There was a bit of a struggle at Row 2, but a good night's sleep offered a fresh perspective and once I figured it out it seemed so obvious I don't know why it gave me trouble to start with! Now just 9 days after starting I'm only a few rows from the end which makes this one of my quickest finishes. Another bonus is it appears that I'll have enough yarn left to make a pair of matching wrist warmers using my favorite Chevron Lace Pattern from Colour in a Simple Life. Yeah!
On the book front just for fun I've been keeping with the Halloween theme enjoying two witchy selections. I just started reading the Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston and in the kitchen I've been listening to Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong. Happily both of them are entertaining and are keeping me in the otherworldly spirit of the season! Also for you today I have a review of an eerily relevant story.
Could this really happen? Image life after "the Big Shake".
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
Blue Sky Press
March 1, 2012; 224 Pages
"Nobody around here reads anymore, Why bother, when you can just use a mindprobe needle and shoot all the images and excitement right into your brain? I've heard of books, but they were long before I was born. In the backtimes, before the Big Shake, when everything was supposedly perfect and everybody lived rich." These are the words of Spaz, a teenager living, rather surviving in the Urb. A desolate wasteland ruled by gangs who control everything. Where you live, what you eat, what you do - everything. Everything except Eden. Eden is as close to perfect as you can get in the post-bigshake world. But the only people who inhabit Eden are the Proovs - that's short for genetically improved human. Spaz earns his keep working for the leader of his section of the Urb. When he gets an order to rob a gummy (an old man) named Ryter, Spaz doesn't think twice. What he doesn't know is that his life - and life for everyone in the Urb is never going to be the same. A series of events finds Spaz, Ryter, an orphan called little face and a Proov named Lanaya on a mission to first see - then save Spaz's little sister Bean. As they search for a solution it becomes clear that a much larger task is at hand. What starts as a trip across the Urb becomes a journey that will change their world!
Okay, I'll admit this is way outside of my normal reading box. It's Young Adult Science Fiction. But after I commented to a patron how much I loved A Wrinkle in Time (which she and her son were reading) she asked if I'd ever read this book. Learning that I hadn't she encouraged me to give it a try. She seemed to think that as a librarian and book lover I should have this one under my belt. And of course she was right.
While the writing is a bit well, young, the story isn't it. The world that Philbrick has created is scary and real. It seems plausible that this could happen. In his characters we see the best of humanity under the worst conditions. This unlikely group faces adversity, clings to hope and questions authority. It's a story that makes you stop and think and at any level in any genre that is what makes a good book. And while I don't know that it'll make my all time favorite list I am glad I read it, and I would suggest that it be included as one of those books we all should read. Who knows when we might one day find ourselves experiencing our own big shake. Because just moments before I sat down to write this review, right here in central Massachusetts we had an earth quake that was strong enough to shake our house and everything in it - even waking my sleeping husband - now tell me that's not a little bit scary?!
Wednesday is a wonderful day for linking up and sharing your work. Today I'm joining my regular group of blogging buddies. I hope you'll take a look at some fun projects and add one of your own!
I am eager (and hesitant) to stretch and move outside of my blogging comfort zone. It is one of the main things that I'm hoping to achieve through participating in Blogtoberfest. And so, based on today's prompt I bravely share two poems I composed this morning.
In the pumpkin patch
beneath the harvest moon
the soil packed firm from the summer’s rain
I think of you and wonder
Pie or Muffins?
Like a tornado I see them
Ubiquitous azalea stunning flamingo transcontinental sea-glass magician fireworks
Together I worry they mean nothing
Make no sense
And yet they are
Part of me
What is their story?
What is my story?
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me. If you like the little pumpkin, check back later and I'll tell you all about it!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Greetings friends! Welcome to another busy Wednesday at Crochet Nirvana. Can you believe that there are just 82 days until Christmas? While that make seem like ample time, I am acutely aware of how quickly it races by! And, despite my good intentions I am woefully ill-prepared for the gift-giving part of the season. This week, in between work, family and my other crochet pursuits I have vowed to devote at least a portion of each day's crafting time to the holidays.
A set of embellished towels is taking shape. I originally thought that I would use individual mini squares across the bottom edge. Then I thought - I wonder what a long granny style rectangle would look like? Since I wanted to try the yellow and white anyway I went ahead and made this piece. John and I both like the way it looks, however I remain unconvinced that this is the color scheme to use. What do you think of the white on white? I'm going to applique the rectangle to one end, and the squares to the other before I make my final decision. I've never sewn a piece of crochet work to fabric. I'd love to hear your suggestions or tips if you've done it already!!
Wednesday is book day! That means I get to spread a little literary love! Right now I'm reading a new release (July 2012) called Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill. Library Journal calls it "Chick lit with an intellectual streak." but I'm not sure that I'd agree. Really I don't know how I feel about this story that the jacket describes as "Reality TV - Jane Austen Style!" I'm only a few chapters in and I'm just getting to know everyone!
Without a doubt I can tell you how I feel about this week's book in review ~ I Loved It!! Keep reading to find out why!
A Surprising Story Brimming with Emotion and Flooded with Humanity
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Random House Publishing
July 24, 2012; 336 Pages
Harold is a simple man. He and his wife Maureen live a simple life in a small English village. He has recently retired from the brewery where he worked, well always. Maureen thinks that Harold is dull. Everything that he does irritates her just slightly. Predictably, the mail arrives just as it does everyday. But this time there is something different among the bills and adverts. A letter has come for Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessey is gravely ill and has written to say goodbye.
Harold is surprised by the letter. He hasn't even thought of Queenie in years. Regardless, proper English etiquette requires that he at least acknowledge her letter with one of his own. Quickly Harold jots a few lines, and heads out to post the letter. When he reaches the mailbox on the corner he finds that he's not quite ready to let the letter go. He continues on from box to box venturing out of his neighborhood. Then, following a chance encounter with a young girl in a convenience store Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person. And, that he must walk nearly six hundred miles in order to do so. Because, he believes as long as he keeps walking, Queenie Hennessy will keep on living.
And so begins the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Though he has forgotten to bring his mobile, is wearing yachting shoes (though he doesn't yacht) and has only a light sweater to keep him warm he embarks on a quest that will bring him to places he never imagined existed both physically and emotionally. With each step he travels closer to Queenie, and to discovering the man that is buried beneath years of monotony.
Harold and Maureen seem to be an average, normal couple who have settled into life. But the truth is they have been together for so long that they have forgotten why they fell in love in the first place. And then there's their son David. He's something of an enigma but a source of friction non-the-less. As Harold walks he thinks. As Maureen waits she thinks. And there is so much for them to think about!
Along the way Harold happens upon a cast of characters that are as diverse as your imagination allows and so rich with personality that their stories seamlessly become Harold's. Everyone has something to offer. Some times it's food or shelter and others it's a bit of advice. It is because of them that he is able to keep walking. But what's even more interesting is what Harold gives them in return, and how these brief chance meetings have such an impact on each of them.
As I was reading and getting to know the characters I grew fond of them. With every encounter that unfolded on the road I found myself holding my breath as I waited to see what happens next. There are so many layers to this book. So many stories that the author has brilliantly blended together. I didn't know if Harold would make it or if Queenie would live. I wondered what Maureen was going to do when she realized that she really missed her husband. And what about David? How did he fit into the story? Page by page, step by step they all are finding their way, and what started out as unlikely makes perfect sense by the end of the story.
Interesting, funny, charming, sad, curious, awkward, corny, scary, personal, heart warming, unexpected, delightful, offbeat, wonderful. These are just some of the words that I can use to describe this book. It's quite different from anything I've read lately. It's a human story that I was able to immerse myself in. I don't know if you'll enjoy it as much as I did, but there's a good chance you will. Check out a copy at your library and see for yourself. You might end up taking your own unexpected journey!
Well folks, that's about all for today! To wrap things up I'm linking in with with this lovely group of bloggers. It's my first time visiting Ginger (Wow Me Wednesday) and Kara (Look What I Made) - who both have super creative blogs (take a peak!). All these ladies have something special to offer and I'm so glad to be able to include my work. I love seeing what others are doing and I always find something that I have to 'Pin' to my ever growing collection of boards!
Thank you so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me! I hope you enjoyed your visit and come back again soon!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
... is a bit like falling in love!
This weekend I started a new project. The Marlo Coat (MC). And I realized it's a bit like falling in love - or at least like having a crush. Let me explain. It started when I got the the Sept/Oct issue of Crochet! Today magazine. Flipping through I spotted MC. I was drawn to the neckline and the simplicity of the pattern. But I was already committed to Juliana and Eleanor so I pushed it to the back of my mind. Every once in a while I'd pick up the magazine. I took my measurements to determine my size and figured out if I would have enough yarn (I did)! I imagined what I would look like wearing my new sweater this winter (wonderful of course!). Then I finished Juliana! I was free to start something new! Eleanor wouldn't mind. She's my traveling project and get's to go new places all the time. I was so excited. I rushed to my pattern and grabbed my stash of yarn. Introductions were made by way of swatching. I knew that I needed to find the right hook size and make sure I liked working the pattern before I made a real commitment. After an evening with 3 different hooks I finally found the perfect size. To my delight the pattern was easy to commit to memory and produced an fantastic looking fabric! I knew that it was meant to be and I set to work on the back panel that very evening. Now MC is all I can think about! I spend every free moment working those stitches and watching it grow! It's only been a few days, and just like the beginning of any new love I'm giddy and talk to everyone about MC. I plan for when I can get away and we can be together. I know that things are moving quickly, and I really should be careful - but I can't help myself! So for right now I'm just going to bask in the happy feelings and keep my fingers crossed that it's the real thing and MC doesn't let me down!!
Things Left in Books
Working at the library I meet a lot of different and interesting people. I have regulars who I see often and can easily recommend a book to, and occasional visitors whose interest are as varied as the choices of yarn available on line. The books that we choose to read are personal. And during the time that you posses a book from the library it becomes a part of you. For that reason, people have a tendency to use items that are closely related to whatever is going on in their life as bookmarks. Often, these items are forgotten and returned when the book is finished. That's why we have an special spot for "Things Left in Books" at our library!
You would think that folks would be more careful, but they're not! Most of the things that we come across are fairly mundane - a receipt from the grocery store, an appointment or business card and of course regular old book marks. But there are lots of pictures too. And birthday and anniversary cards. We've found bills for auto insurance and copies of pay stubs. But the most interesting are the letters. People don't write letters often anymore, but over time we've seen some surprising stuff! Recently I came across a letter dated 1982 from friends who hadn't seen each other in some time. There was the usual reminiscing, but the line that caught me off guard was this one, "Have you told your fiance that you are a witch yet?" Wow!
Anyone who deals with books, from librarians to used book sellers, is likely to come across some crazy things. That's what prompted Michael Popek to write Forgotten Bookmarks - A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages. In this charming little book, Popek shares his favorites from 30 years in the book business. There are heartwarming love poems, recipes and advertisements (to name a few). Some are modern, most are antique and they're all fun to look at! My favorite? A handmade invitation to a sorority Halloween dance from 1910 where they invitees are warned to "be prepared to meet your doom!" They're required to dress precisely according to 7 points including "have your hair curled in 12 curls" and "wear your 'jeweled' dog collar"!! Also they must be prepared to sing "Oh Where Oh Where has my Little Dog Gone?" A final warning of "woe betide you if even one point is neglected!" and the skull and cross bones atop the page promise an evening of blood curdling terror!
Popek's book is a great peak inside the forgotten private lives of readers, and his blog offers a look at his latest discoveries. Perhaps because of my own experiences I find it more interesting than others might, but it's charming none the less. Click over for a look, and don't forget to check your books before you bring them back to the library!
Today I'll be linking up with the wonderful blogs. There are always so many interesting things to learn about and be inspired by. I'm sure you'll find something you just have to try!
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a bit of your day with me!
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
A Trippy Towel Trial Run
So glad you stopped by. Recently I realized that (once again) I am spending too much time on the computer. Which means I don't have enough time or energy left in the day to work on the projects that I want to write about! Since the goal is for this to be a craft and book blog it seems appropriate (and necessary!) that I spend more time crafting and reading, and less time flitting about on the internet!! I'm sure you know exactly what I mean! How many times have you sat down just to check your messages and ended up 20 sites away looking at Pinterest or reading about cute baby animals?? It happens to me all the time! So I'm trying to discipline myself and limit how long I'm in front of the monitor each day. Hopefully it will result in more progress and more compelling posts. Honestly how many times do you want to see the same unfinished wrap no matter how lovely the yarn is?
Today I thought I'd share my idea for a Christmas present. Right now I'm in the planning/trial/practice phase. Here's what I'm thinking... I'll embellish a set of bath towels with granny squares or flowers, or maybe granny squares and flowers. I came across the idea in Granny Square Love by Sarah London. I think she did hand towels with a line of small squares across the bottom. They were so cute! It struck me as a great gift for the person who has everything and needs nothing!
I picked up the yarn and a test towel yesterday. My choices were limited, which left me with "Psychedelic" (that's what it's called - from Peaches and Creme) and "Sunshine". I'm not feeling a groovy kind of love for the yarn yet, but maybe once I turn it into something it'll turn me on! I thought I'd try out a few different patterns and sizes to see what looks best. If it comes out anything like Sarah's I should end up with a pretty hip gift - can you dig it daddy-o?? Stay turned for a preview coming soon!!
On the book front, I just started an interesting new novel called the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. A co-worker suggested it. She said it was really well done and even made her cry! I trust her judgement implicitly so I started straight away. I'm about 75 pages in and finding it quite enjoyable (no tears yet!). Harold is a simple English chap who finds himself having the most interesting adventure of his life as a result of the only impulsive decision he ever made! I can't wait to find out where he ends up next!
and for my Ravenous Readers a Wicked Good Book Review
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich
June 19, 2012, 320 Pages
Wicked Business is book two in the new Lizzy & Diesel “Wicked” series from Janet Evanovich. Lizzy is a pastry chef. Actually, she makes cupcakes at Dazzles Bakery in Salem, MA. Finally she is putting her life in order. And with the exception of Diesel and his monkey Carl things couldn’t be better. Diesel is her on again/off again partner. He’s extremely good looking and smells like Christmas cookies. Their partnership is a bit of a mystery. Diesel is a bit of a mystery. He has special powers. He can find people and things and there isn’t a lock he can’t open. He’s also (almost) immortal. I think you can kill him, but it’s quite hard to do. Lizzy as it turns out has “abilities beyond the ordinary” too. Hers seem to be along the line of being able to tell if people or things are enchanted. That may not be the right word, it’s more like she can tell if they have special energy. Diesel works for an organization that has assigned him to find and protect the stones of SALIGIA. They are old and mystical and are thought to represent the seven deadly sins. If you combine them all together they will unleash mayhem – the equivalent of hell on earth. Diesels’ cousin Wulf (short for Gerwulf Grimore) and his medieval minion Hatchet are their main rivals.
Rumor has it that the stones of SALIGIA have surfaced in Salem. In particular the Luxuria Stone which is said to be infused with the power of lust. The murder of Harvard professor Gilbert Reedy sends Lizzy and Diesel on a quest to find the stone. Hopefully before it falls into the hands of Wulf or the devotee of lawlessness and chaos know as Anarchy.
Now that you have a little background on the series and this book, let me tell what I think. I have been a fan of Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum books since that series started. Truthfully though, after 18 adventures I’ve grown tired of Stephanie. Lizzy reminds me of all the reasons that I became a fan of Janet’s so many years ago. I love this story line. A bit of magic and mystery, dark menacing villains and a riotous cast of characters create a diverse ensemble. Lizzy is a funny, quirky woman. She’s smart and sassy, but not cocky. She’s not exactly sure what’s happening around her, but she’s a trooper and she’s willing to do what she can to stop the total destruction of the planet.
The book moves quickly right from the start and there’s lots of action to keep you interested. It had been a while since I read Wicked Appetite (book one) and I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Book two did not disappoint. There’s great chemistry between the characters, and while I feel an occasional shadow of Pluminess it’s not enough to turn me off. I also like that this series has a finite number (7). I’d hate to see a good thing go bad just because the formula works. Even too much of a good thing can be bad for you – like cup cakes…
If you’re a fan of Janet’s then you’re probably already on the list for this one. If you’ve never read her and are looking for a quick, light entertaining read than by all means go for it. You could read this as a stand alone, but I suggest starting with number one. Chances are once you start, you’ll be hooked!
On Wednesday I love linking up with my friends at these awesome blogs. I guarantee that you'll find something that catches your eye and inspires you! There are so many creative folks at there, and I'm thrilled to be part of the gang! I hope you'll click on a link and see where it takes you!
That will do it for me this time. Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Brilliant sunshine and a gentle breeze held the promise of a lovely day.
We had errands to run and an appointment to keep. I knew there would be plenty of time spent waiting, so I decided to bring Sweet Eleanor along and make the most of the free crochet time! While we were out we took advantage of the beautiful weather and a little of the local art and history.
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me. One of the best parts about blogging is linking up with other crafters and sharing our progress, projects, successes and even failures. This week I found a new place to hang out - with Tara at the Trendy Treehouse. While you're out and about please stop by her place or any of these other terrific blogs to see creativity in action!
After you're done visiting, why not check out your community and see what bits of history or art you can find. I bet it's there if you look closely. And don't forget to take your project along! I know they enjoy a day out just as much as we do.
So glad to share this time with you! Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
A Different Kind of Devotional
Greetings Friends! Granny square fever continues to burn! Each week I find myself amazed and surprised by the variety of patterns and color combinations waiting to be discovered. And speaking of discoveries... We just got this nifty book at the library, and after a quick glance I knew I needed a closer look. In The Crafter's Devotional Barbara R. Call has done a great job of compiling a diverse collection of crafty inspiration in a variety of mediums. Each day of the week has a category and there are lots of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. I'm particularly taken with the journaling prompts and button art. Ask for it at your library and give it a browse - I bet you'll find something that tickles your fancy!
Beads for Juliana
Here is the lovely Juliana. Finally we've had a break in the weather, and with the cooler temperatures I've been able to pick her up again. Last night I finished the final row of the mesh section - hooray! I'm really pleased with the amount of fullness and body that is developing. There are a hand full of SC rows and then the edging. I'm hoping to use beads for the first time to add a bit of sparkl . I've narrowed it down to the aqua, clear, white or opalescent. What do you think? I'd also love any advice about bead work, since I have no idea what I'm doing!
This week I started reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. This is book two in the All Souls Trilogy. It's crazy, but I've been waiting with great anticipation for this to come out. Last year a friend recommended A Discovery of Witches, a book I had been avoiding because as a rule I'm not into vampires or witches. But she usually doesn't steer me wrong and can be quite persuasive. I'm so glad that I listened! I was completely drawn into this story and found myself reading into the wee hours just to find out what happens next. Fingers crossed that book two is worth the wait!
And Finally, an Indecisive Book Review!
FYI - Eleanor is much bigger now!
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
April 5, 2005; 335 pages
I don’t usually do this, but today I’m going to rely on the inside book cover to tell you what this book is about…
"…Now in her luminous new novel, Kidd has woven a transcendent tale… Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.
When Jessie is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable act of violence, she is living a conventional life with her husband Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but once there, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas a monk who is soon to take his final vows.
Few novels explore the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Where does the yearning for a soul-mate come from? How does a woman find the place of self-belonging in herself."
So here’s the thing. There are parts of this book that are beautifully written. There are luminous moments as the cover promises, but the relationship between the main characters just doesn’t make sense to me. Jessie and Brother Thomas, two mature adults see each other one dark night in the woods and it’s love at first sight – what? They spend a few months sneaking off for hanky panky in the sand and without hesitation declare their undying love for each other. But when Jessie’s mom goes off the deep end it becomes clear that Brother Thomas isn’t going to be the one to help her deal with the problems.
There are some great characters on the island, and a dog that is a celebrity in his own right. It’s clear that Jessie is struggling in her relationships with Hugh, her mother, and her daughter as well as with the death of her father when she was a child. She is sad and confused and has a lot of “issues” to work out.
As I’m writing this I’m thinking, okay I guess I get it. But that’s not what I thought while I was reading. Then I thought, they’re not in love, they’re in lust – you don’t really expect me to believe they’re going to live happily ever after do you? Maybe Kidd wanted me to react that way. Maybe she was trying to show how confused, distraught people behave in erratic, unreasonable ways?
I suppose this is one of the reasons that I love books. They make me think. And there’s something to be said for a book that elicits this kind of a response from me! Do I recommend this one, honestly I’m not sure! I’d say if a book about relationships, family, trauma and figuring out who you are and where you’re going is you’re thing than give it a try. And please, let me know what you think. If none of that stuff interests you than it’d be best to steer clear.
So my friends, that does it for me today. As usual, I'll be linking up with these terrific bloggers. It's always a treat to meander about the web, meeting new folks, and seeing what everyone is up to. I hope you'll join me!
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Greetings friends! I'm glad you're here. I decided to take Sweet Eleanor on a field trip to work. It seems a great excuse for a little public display of crochet, as well as a chance to show off our new library! As you may know, we've spent the last month moving out of our cramped and tired historic library building. It's been a massive project, but absolutely worth it as our old library we be undergoing a much needed renovation. The current plans say that in about a year we'll be moving into a stunning structure that combines the original Andrew Carnegie building with a state of the art "green" addition that will see us through the next century!
On the crochet front I've been busy! The Granny Square Project is spectacular fun. There's been such fantastic feedback and it's generating more interest than I ever imagined! This week I'm exploring the use of color. That means more research and experiments! My Sweet Eleanor Scarf is making steady progress and the CAL continues to provide encouragement. I'm pleased that the pattern is finally taking shape, although some serious blocking is going to be in order! And Juliana Mod is patiently waiting for the weather to break. I'm so close and I'm really looking forward to being able to wear her this fall. I'm also thinking about putting beads on the last row - something I've never done. I have some that are a lovely iridescent glass that might add the right bit of sparkle to this snow white beauty!
Since it's Wednesday that means I get to (further) indulge my reading obsession! I'm just about through with the Mermaid Chair. I was really taken with the beginning. I'll let you know it was able to keep up the momentum and finish as well as it started.
For my fellow Ravenous Readers I have something a little different today...
The Time of Our Lives by Tom Brokaw
Random House Audio
November 1, 2011; Unabridged 7 hours
Read by Tom Brokaw
I don’t typically read (or listen to) non-fiction. It’s just not my thing. And I’m inclined to avoid anything that may have political overtones, because honestly politics confuse and depress me and I prefer for my book time to be spent with things that make me feel good. That said, I have been drawn to The Time of Our Lives since it hit the shelves last year. I brought home the book, but returned it unread because others seemed more interesting at the time. And then, as packing was wrapping up at work there was the audio edition – lonely and forlorn having somehow been overlooked in the frenzy. It must have been divine intervention and seeing how Tom Brokaw was doing his own reading I brought it home to give a listen.
In The Time of Our Lives Mr. Brokaw explores the challenges that we face today in America and asks, “What can we do to restore our country to greatness?” Through stories about his working class family and their experiences as well as those of several interesting and inspirational Americans he paints a vivid picture of the country that was, and the American dream that meant so much to so many. But what has become of that dream? What do we hope to achieve in our lives and what do we want for our children? In the past century we have gone from the great depression to decades of great excess and now into the great recession. How do we find our way back to the top? Can we find our way? Mr. Brokaw doesn’t profess to have all the answers, but he offers insight into what restored us following WWII and how it might help us now.
Like I said, non-fiction isn’t my thing, but I’m really glad that I brought this one home. First, I love his voice – he could be reading the dictionary and I would listen. The main reason though is it gave me so much to think about. It also led to several stimulating conversations with my husband, John. What is our American dream? Things that were once so important, like owning a home, have a completely different meaning to us now. And how about retiring and living a life of leisure? I’m pretty sure that won’t be happening any time soon! It isn’t all about the big stuff. He reminded me that my son won’t ever have a collection of 45 rpm records, and that the salesman won’t be coming to the door with this month’s encyclopedia! There are other things too, like how much our life expectancy has increased, and the amazing advances that we’ve made in medicine. I’m pushing the envelope on 50, but hopefully I’m only half way done!
The book moves along at a good pace. Even the parts that touched on politics and world events were presented in a way that held my interest. I like Tom and his family (by the end, I felt like we were friends so it’s okay to use his first name!) There’s a bit where someone asked what his wife thought of being married to a “news celebrity”, and he replied, “I’m surprised when she even remembers what I do at the end of the day!” Family and community are important and he reminds us with touching stories of everyday heros and regular people displaying extraordinary strength and compassion. I’ll even admit that listening to a story at the end of the book about a herd of cattle in the Montana wilderness was so moving that I found myself tearing up! The moral of the story - when we’re faced with a difficult situation it’s always easier to go through it together. You’re right Tom. And I promise to do my best!
So there you have it my friends! Thanks so much for dropping by and spending a bit of your day with me. I'll be linking up with these talented bloggers to share my adventures this week. I just love taking a little time to see what you've been doing, and I'm always rewarded with something special.
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Crocheting with a Group Offers Inspiration and Guidance
Have you ever participated in an "a-long"? My Sweet Eleanor is part of a Crochet-a-Long (CAL), and I'm having such a great time. There's a group called Crochet Shoulder Wrappers over on Ravelry, and they are just the nicest bunch of people. They do amazing work, offer a tremendous amount of encouragement, and are so willing to help you succeed. Every month there are 3 new projects to choose from plus threads to share patterns, to show off your work, just for designers - all kinds of things. This is where I found my Juliana wrap. She was the CAL for June. I'm getting close to finishing, and may even have done it if a new month hadn't started. Because of course I had to take a look, and that's where I found Sweet Eleanor.
This group is my first experience with an "a-long", and I'm glad I decided to join. I find the pattern tips, modifications and explanations are excellent resources. I imagine if I had started this on my own I would have become frustrated and thrown in the towel. Instead I'm making swift progress. I also like comradery and fun we have cheering each other on. Whether you take part or just visit there's a lot of good stuff happening!
And what would Wednesday be without a little book chat? Yesterday I started The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. She also wrote The Secret life of Bees which I haven't read, but I did adore the movie. This book seems to have hooked me right from the start. Her words evoke images and feelings that give me moments of pause yet keep me turning the pages. I look forward to exploring all it has to offer.
A Mini Review for the Ravenous Readers
Full Blast by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes
St. Martin’s Press Paperbacks
April 10, 2004; 344pages
I’m tossing this one in for Janet Evanovich fans. It’s an earlier work (Stephanie Plum was only up to “To the Nines” when this came out.) that’s part of a series she wrote with Charlotte Hughes. The residents of Beaumont, South Carolina are a diverse and wacky bunch, just the kind of folks you expect from Evanovich. There’s a dog named Fleas, a car named Muffin, a hunky millionaire, a cute, spunky newspaper owner with a coffee and sugar habit, a lingerie shop run by a librarian (haha!), aphrodisiac brownies, a psychic who writes an advice column, a beauty queen, and a former professional wrestler who happens to be the mayor - just to name a few. With a population like this there’s never a dull moment, especially when someone starts offing women who seem to be connected to ads placed in the papers personals section.
Many years ago I read another book in this series so when I came across this one I figured, why not? It’s what I expected. Lots of quick banter, eye rolling and exasperated sighs. Some hanky-panky, a little arguing, and people rallying together to help each other. It’s not her best, but since it had been a while it felt fresh enough that I was able to enjoy it. I’d say don’t go out of your way to find it, but if you happen upon it give it a try. Who knows? It just might tickle your funny bone!
Well friends, that's all for me today. It's be terrific having you here. I'll be linking up with my crafty pals who always have lots to share. I love clicking around and soaking in all the creative goodness - you never know what you'll find.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
This collection of whimsical stories are favorites that I've read many times.
And just to make sure that I have plenty to do...
This week I joined a CAL over at the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers on Ravelry. What a terrific group this is! I just couldn't resist the Sweet Eleanore Scarf that is on tap for August. You may recognize the yarn I'm using. It's from the stash and it was going to be socks. Since that never happened, I decided to use it for this funky little wrap. I can't get enough of them. The Juliana Mod is also from a CSW CAL. I stalled a bit in the sweltering heat, but I worked on her during the opening ceremonies and I can see the end is near! If you've never done a CAL/KAL I really encourage you to give it a try. I've gotten excellent tips and pattern explanations from the group, and they're all so nice!
Finally, a book review for my fellow ravenous readers.
Button Holed, by Kylie Logan
Berkley Prime Crime Publishing, NY
September 6, 2011; 288 Pages
Welcome to the Button Box, a specialty shop located in a converted brownstone in the New Town section of Chicago. Josie Giancola, the young proprietor is quickly establishing herself as one of the country’s leading experts on all things buttons. She has invested her life savings in opening the Button Box and it looks as if her dreams are about to come true. Hollywood starlet Kate (the Great) Franciscus has picked Josie to find her custom buttons for her wedding gown. This could be the client who puts Josie and her shop on the map.
Imagine her surprise (horror!) when she finds Kate the Great dead in her shop and an antique button hook looks like it’s the weapon. Now it’s up to Josie and Homicide Detective Nevin Riley to figure out who ended the career of America’s sweetheart right before her royal wedding to Prince Roland of Ruritania.
I picked up this paperback while I was packing. I don’t usually read them, but the buttons on the cover caught my eye, and I’m a sucker for a catchy cover. I was hesitant though, because my recent experience with this kind of book has been less than stellar. By this kind I mean mysteries in which the protagonist is the owner of a craft/specialty shop. There are many about knitters, quilters, foodies and the like, but this is the first about buttons.
This book is the first in a new series by Kylie Logan, and I think she really hit the mark. Josie is funny, spunky, smart and human. She’s believable and I could feel her love and obsession for the buttons she has dedicated her life to. In addition to Josie, there is a terrific cast of characters at play. Some are specific to this story, but others – like Nevin the hunky detective; her sexy, unreliable con-artist ex-husband Kaz; and Stan Marzcak, her fatherly neighbor who’s a retired Chicago police officer are sure to show up again.
Here’s why I liked it: The book moves quickly, and the dialog is smooth and often funny. There are twists and turns as Josie tries to put the pieces together to figure out who the killer is even though he’s doing his best to stop her. She finds herself in a variety of situations that I can actually imagine happening. And here’s the best part – I never knew who the killer was until the final pages! That is a big plus for me.
When I closed this book I had a smile on my face. It was entertaining. The author was always a step or two ahead of me keeping me anxious to find out what happens next. I like Josie and the other people in her life. She reminds me a bit of the early Stephanie Plum, the heroine of the Janet Evanovich series. (The movie version of One for the Money was released earlier this year, and Notorious Nineteen is due out in November of 2012.) If you’re a fan of Stephanie and her gang, I’d say there’s a good chance you’ll be hooked by this one!
Now that I've had a chance to tell you about my projects, I'll be heading out to link up and visit with my friends on their blogs. These are diverse, creative and interesting groups and I always find something that takes my breath away. I'm sure you will too!
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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