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!
Greetings friends! So happy to see you this fine Wednesday. As you know, I don't knit, I crochet. Today in addition to the 3 fun crochet projects I'm working on, I have 2 books themed around knitting to share with you. I recently received a copy of Knit with Love: Stories to Warm a Knitter's Heart from the author herself, the funny and charming Lisa Bogart. I've only just begun, but already I feel a connection to the people and their stories as Lisa tells them. I'm looking forward to this one, and to sharing my review with you next week.
On the hook with this week's book is another washcloth. This one is a square and it goes quite nicely with the circle I made last week! The pattern, I Love this Washcloth!, is a simple cobble stitch. It's working up quickly and is producing a fabric that's sturdy and flexible at the same time.
Here's a peek at the other projects I'm working on this week
And now, Cast on, Kill off - The review of a book about knitting and murder!
Cast on, Kill Off by Maggie Sefton
June 2012 - Berkley Publishing / Penguin Group
I really wanted to like this book. I tried really hard, but it just fell short for me. The gang at House of Lambspun are excited to be planning a wedding for one of their regulars. All the events have been organized, menus are finalized and the ladies are putting the finishing touches on the shawls they're knitting to go with their bridesmaids dresses. Everything is perfect until Zoe, the seamstress making the gowns turns up dead. Who would want to murder the dressmaker? Everything points to her abusive, alcoholic husband.Or is it her sister Vera who steps up and takes care of finishing sewing the gowns and slips easily into running the shop. Then there's Leann who publicly accused Zoe of stealing her (award winning) wedding gown design.
There are plenty of suspects for amateur sleuth Kelly to ponder. All while balancing her flourishing accounting career, rekindling her love life, playing softball, knitting the shawl, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. (They're all very busy people!)
So why didn't I like this book? Because of the dialog. It's stiff and proper and way to formal for a group of young friends hanging out at the yarn store, or at dinner, or driving in the car. It made the characters all feel flat and phony. I just didn't believe anything that they told me. It was like a poorly acted Sunday movie - you know the kind I mean.
I know there are lots of you who will love this book so I won't tell you who did it. Sadly, as much as I love fiber arts this one has way too many dropped stitches for me!
At the library Tuesday, my co-worker suggested that we should start including my book reviews on our web site. I was surprised and flattered. Surprised because I didn't know she read my blog, and flattered because I do know that she reads a lot of reviews! For her to deem my book thoughts worthy is a great compliment, and I'd love to share them with our patrons. In the meantime, I'll continue to write honest, uncomplicated book reviews for regular people who read regular books, and share them here with you!
There's so much to see and do on Wednesday. I link up with my friends at their wonderful blogs, and then I like to stop in and visit the other crafters. I always find inspiration and encouragement in the variety of projects people are working on. Why don't you join me?
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
Last week I had such fun making flowers that I decided to whip up a few more. In my stash I found this solid red and patterned blue fabric. (The colors on the right are what they really look like.) To go along with the flowers I decided to make a coordinated hair tie by crocheting fabric around an elastic. Here's an easy way to attach fabric strips together without sewing. It's like ribbon yarn!
You can attach the strips as you go or do a bunch at the same time (that's what I like to do). Then I just take a I/9-5.50mm hook and single crochet the fabric around a plain hair tie/elastic. While working around, keep smooshing the stitches together. You want to fit on as many as you can. Slip stitch into the first stitch, fasten off and you're all done! This afternoon I'll be adding more of these easy hair accessories to my ever growing collection!
Even though it's been hazy, hot and humid all week, I've gotten a few (okay one and a half) more rows added on to Juliana Mod. She's coming along, slow and steady. The pattern continues to be a pleasure. The yarn (Bernat Baby Sport from the stash) is nothing to write home about, but it's washable and durable without being too stiff. With the bead work I plan to add to the end, I think this will be a pretty, functional piece.
No matter what else is going on in my world, I always, always make time for books. Before I tell you about today's pick, let's talk about a few of the others. Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games Trilogy, kept me interested and entertained straight through to the end. I've been pleasantly surprised by this set of Young Adult books and have the final installment, MockingJay, on CD and ready to go. Next, I read Nora Roberts' The Last Boyfriend. This is also a second in a trilogy called The Inn Boonsboro. It's light and easy with beautiful people living beautiful lives. I'd say it's a good one for the beach or a weekend escape.
Last week it was finally my turn with Fifty Shades of Grey. There has been so much hype and media attention surrounding this trilogy of books I wanted to take a look for myself. I read the first two chapters and was not impressed with the dialog or story telling. If I hadn't waited for two months I would have stopped there. I pressed on cringing at the way Anastasia spoke and behaved. It was a strange blend of hip college student and spinster great aunt. And then it turned into smut. Pages and pages of it. I blushed and was embarrassed - even though my husband had no idea what I was reading. I'm not a prude, but I couldn't do it. I know lots of people love it, but it's not for me. I look for something different in the books I read, and I can't say I'm surprised by my reaction. I returned it to the library so the next person in line can decide for themselves if it's worth the wait!
After that I was happy to start There's Cake in My Future by Kim Gruenenfelder. I'm more than halfway through and enjoying this light and breezy slice of chic lit. Funny dialog, devoted friends, love, marriage and a cake pull that shows some very unexpected things will soon be happening. This one is much more my cup of tea!
There you have it. We're laying low and staying cool on this Independence Day. Before I get back to work on my patriotic hair accessories I'll be stopping by to visit Ginny, Tami and Sue. I'd love it you came with me.
Until next time friends,
Be blessed and stitch & read with love!
What a productive week! Finishing my cardigan seems to have given me a spark and today I have three projects to share. First up is the Angry Red Bird Hat. I'm testing this pattern for Sue, you may know her blog: SusanD1408 Crochet Addict. When she asked for pattern testers I just had to volunteer for this crazy, fun hat. As you can see, I'm very nearly done - and pleased to report the pattern has been a breeze to follow.
Last week I started a wrap using some of the stash wool that I received from my knitting/crochet club. The Spring Snow Shawl pattern is an easy repeat of fan like stitches. One row is worked in dc and the next in trc. These alternating rows work up quickly and so far seem to be a suitable way to show off this rather stiff yarn. Today the temperature is in the high 90s (F) and humid, so I was happy to set aside the wool for my next project!
This morning I began the Juliana (Modified) Wrap. Mary from Needles and Hooks and Books, oh my! is hosting a CAL for this pattern on the Ravelry group Crochet Shoulder Wrappers. They started at the beginning of the month, but that's worked out to my benefit! I was able to take advantage of a pattern modification that produces a half-circle shaped garment instead of the half-oval the original design creates. I'm using the Extended Single Crochet stitch and I'm really pleased with the way it looks and how fast it's going. I was afraid the white was going to be boring, but now that I see it I think it's going to be pretty. I'm going to add beads to the trim (see the 3 white ones?) for a little something extra.
This week I'm reading Catching Fire, book two in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I really enjoyed the first book and was worried that this one would let me down. It took a few chapters to capture me but the author has succeed again and I find myself reading just one more page even though I can barely keep my eyes open! In the kitchen I've been listening to Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner. I've read several of her books and always enjoy them. This story of a mother and her adolescent daughter hasn't disappointed.
That's all for today friends! I just looked at the clock - argh! I'm late for work!!
Until next time,
Be blessed and stitch and read with love!
Don't forget to check out the wonderful projects and books my crafting friends are working on:
I'm Robin and this is
Click to see what's new on the Craftsy Crochet Blog!
Tutorials and Patterns
Places I Post
Thank you for visiting!
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.
Did you enjoy your visit? Let me know by leaving a comment. I love knowing you dropped by, and hope to see you again soon!
Be Blessed and
Stitch & Read with Love!