Some of My Favorite Books

A lot of the books I have really enjoyed have similar themes. Homesteading, hard work, faith, love (of course love), birthing babies, and raising families. They are usually in the ‘olden times’. Almost always, there is a (head) strong female for the main character.

A classic, and one of my most memorable reads is….

I remember reading it when I was pregnant with my first daughter, thirteen years ago! Yikes! I loved the book and even read the sequel. Didn’t love the sequel. I loved Scarlet’s quote, ‘I’ll think about that tomorrow!’

I was a librarian, actually a library director, (there is a difference), for about 5 years. My mentor, the retired librarian suggested I read ‘Come Spring’ by Ben Ames Williams. I didn’t read it right away, but when I finally did I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved this book. It has all the characteristics of what I like in a book. It is a very thick book but it goes fast. Too fast. I live in Maine, not too far from Union, the town in the story. How cool is that!

Sometimes a book is so good you want to re-read it many times. I have read the series ‘The Awakening Land’ twice. I wouldn’t mind reading it again. It is that good. I didn’t read it in the big book I have pictured here, but kind of stumbled upon it while perusing the shelves. First I read Trees, then Fields and finally Town. Again, hard work, homesteading, faith, and a strong female character. One of my favorites!

Recently I started reading the pair of books about Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy Turner. I love them. I’m so excited to find out there are more books by this author and plan to read them as well. Don’t you love when you find a great author and she/he has written lots of books? I enjoyed the diary format in ‘These is My Words’. Being quite outspoken myself I can relate to some of what she talks about. Now I just need to buy myself a gun! (No, I won’t.)

I don’t always read about characters from days long ago. One of my favorite authors writes from a modern point of view and I love her books. Ever heard of Debbie Macomber? I have read all of the ‘Blossom Street’ novels. I only wish she would write them more often, but maybe they wouldn’t be so good if she did that. Do try and read them in order starting with ‘A Shop on Blossom Street’

I read a lot and I read different styles. I love biographies. Lately I have been reading a lot of books about Julia Child. Another favorite biography I read was about Eleanor Roosevelt. I have read almost all the Catherine Cookson novels. I love reading Bill Bryson’s books. Just heard he has a new one out called ‘The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain’. My favorites by him was ‘In A Sunburned Country’ and ‘At Home’. I learn so much when I read his books.

I have always and still do read a lot to my children. Some of my favorites, and theirs too, are ‘The Little House on the Prairie’ series and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ series. I have read them so many times I have lost count. There seems to be a lesson every time I read them.

I would love to hear what your favorites are.

Happy Reading!

 

Starting a Shawl

I have started a new project! An interesting one after all those socks! I enjoy sock knitting but love to have something that is a bit of a challenge that keeps me on my toes. I found a pattern on Ravelry called Curlew Shawl by Verily Knits. I love how it is coming along. I talked about the yarn here.

IMG_0925

I am reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ right now by Elizabeth Gilbert. I like it. I read some of the reviews and most were not great but so far I am enjoying her adventures. Yes she is a bit self absorbed and has an air of entitlement but sometimes I think we need to be that way when we are struggling through something. No, in the big scheme of things her struggles are not earth shattering, but for her, when she wrote them they were. It is sometimes difficult to understand how someone that seems like they have everything going for them or that they don’t have any ‘real’ problems could be depressed or lonely but it happens. My sister battles severe depression on and off and it really is disabling for her. When you hear about some of the horrible things that are going on in the world it is hard to believe that people who are safe, have their basic needs taken care and have loved ones who care could possibly be down in the dumps but it happens.  Intellectually they know that there are people out there that are having a much worse time of it, but it doesn’t change the way they are feeling.

I am joining Ginny today for the Yarn-along. I can’t wait to see what everyone is reading and knitting!

 

The Read it First Rule

In our home there are not that many real ‘rules’. I won’t go as far as to say it is a free for all, but a lot of how we treat each other is based on mutual respect. Of course that doesn’t always happen but that is what we shoot for.

Our ‘rules’ are really actions that are strongly suggested. Usually when something is suggested there is a question asked. Like, why? As long as you answer with something other than ‘because I said so’ or ‘don’t ask me why, just do it’ the suggestion is usually taken. For example, I say, “I really would like for you to brush your teeth”.  She says, “Why?” Then I say something like “Brushing teeth prevents cavities from happening to your teeth. Do you know what a cavity is?” I am sure you get the picture of the conversation. By the end of the explanation of cavities and rotted out teeth and falsies she is usually pretty happy to brush her teeth.

We have a family rule that we read a book before we watch the movie that is created from the book. For example, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe was read (in fact the whole series was read) before watching the movie. Why? Because I said so. Just kidding!

There seems to be an infinite amount of movies out there that were actually novels first. Adult and children’s books. I could give you a list but you would tire of reading it. We don’t usually consult the list before watching a movie. Mostly we use our common sense. There have been times that we watched a movie and later found out it was a book first. Rule breaker! We do try hard though.

Recently my daughters have been reading the Hunger Games series. When they finish I plan to watch the movies with them. (I already read the books years ago to my son.) Another series that is being read around here is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My oldest daughter is almost through with the third one, on audio, and my youngest daughter is just starting the first. She heard there were movies and was not going to let her sister see a movie without her! Ha, the motivators. Which is one of the reasons we insist on the book first. Movies are cool. They are exciting. Entertaining. So, without our little rule they may not have read the book first. They may have just skipped to the movie.

IMG_0788

Other reasons for reading a book before a movie are:

We think it is better for the brain to form a picture of a story with imagination rather than someone else supplying that for you. If you are a reader you know what I mean. The way a story describes things. Like a countryside or how a person looks. I feel that is really good for your brain to create your own ‘movie’. It was pretty funny, we finished ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ a couple of weeks ago and bought the movie on Amazon. All three of us (my daughter’s and I) said that Mr. Wickham was much handsomer in the movie than we all imagined him to be.

We think that you get so much more of the story if you read it first. A movie cuts out so much. There is the risk that the movie will be disappointing because of your knowledge of the whole story. That is okay though. Remember, you have the real movie already in your head. Movies move really fast. Many times I have to use the rewind button because I am confused or missed something. If you have already read the book chances are you won’t feel as confused when you watch the movie. It is like you have some back ground information. It is like a really good trailer.

WP_20160425_004

Another reason is the whole ‘Delay gratification’ lesson. Yes watching the movie is a whole lot quicker than reading the book. (For most of us anyway) There is such a better feeling for the climax to be reached slowly and with a build up. Right? Movies are so loud and dramatic. There are lots of special effects and sometimes scary moments but it really is nothing compared to being in suspense during a book and not being able to put the book down. That suspenseful feeling when you are reading a book lasts so much longer than when you are watching a movie.

‘Reading’ in my book, pardon the pun, includes listening to the story on audio or having someone read it to you. I absolutely love listening to a story just as much as actually reading it. It is the words that matter. I have to drive into town almost every day. Having a story to listen to really makes it so less painful.

Of course this is all opinion. My opinion. I feel reading is a valuable skill. Reading is a way to entertain yourself when technology is not available. Reading is good for your brain, body and soul.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Something New for Socks

The other day I went to AC Moore looking for mechanical pencils. While I was there I just so happen to find the knitting section. I spied some very small 9 inch number 2 circular needles. I had always wondered if it would be possible to knit socks on a circular needle but not use the magic loop method. Just one sock on a small circular needle. So, I bought the needles and that night I cast on.

IMG_0784

They work! Can’t tell you how I will do the heel yet, but I will attempt that tonight. Pretty sure there must be a way to do it.

IMG_0787

Right now my only projects are socks. I haven’t thought of any other knitting project to do since I finished my sweater. I do want something more challenging to knit, but I think it will come to me when it is meant to. I am thinking I may try cables.

IMG_0783

These blue and white socks are just about finished. My daughter is anxiously waiting for them.

The book ‘Sarah’s Quilt’ is quite good. Just the kind of book I love. A strong female character, lots of hard work, and takes place in the early 1900’s. There are a few things that she says that I could identify with. One in particular is she noticed her adult sons riding up towards the house. They were supposed to be in school. She asked them why they were home, and not in school. They told her it wasn’t for them. They changed their minds. They belonged there, at home. She was not exactly thrilled. I have three adult sons. I love them dearly. I miss them even more. But, (always a but) I cannot say I would be thrilled if all three decided that the big world was not what they expected and had decided to come home. I just don’t think that would work well at all. Now, maybe if there was a cabin out back or if they wanted to live above the garage that may work. Maybe. It would be great to have some extra hands around here.

On Tuesday’s I am hosting a Garden Party. You can click on ‘Garden Party’ tab on my side bar for more information. I hope to see other people’s gardens!

I am linking up with Ginny today. I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s projects and reading choices.

 

Empty Needles!

IMG_2299

Usually it isn’t a thing we want, empty needles, but these empty needles are such an awesome thing! I am celebrating! I am so excited! I finished my Lady February Sweater!! It has taken me so long. I actually had to start the sweater over two times. It was sad both times and I was beginning to think I would never finish it. Determination took over. The yarn was pricey. The picture on the pattern was beautiful. I loved doing the Gull Lace. So many things kept me going. Encouragement from friends and family tops the list of reasons I kept going. Not one person said anything negative, like ‘maybe you should try something easier’. It wasn’t a hard pattern, but I was more or less a beginner. Really all I had knit before attempting the sweater was a scarf, dish towels and hats. I have an amazingly patient knitting teacher that helped me through all the tough spots.

I am still reading the Orchardist. It is a very good book. I just do not get a lot of time to read. It has been a busy couple of weeks and I have been tired at the end of the day. My sneaky friend must have bought me a subscription to Cooks magazine because I have been getting them in the mail and I didn’t order them. I’ll deal with her later! The magazines are really good. I like the way they make cooking seem like a science. I guess it really is in a way. Magazines are great things to read when time is limited.

IMG_2291

Back to the sweater though! I am so excited to finally wear it. I am wearing it for the second day in a row and I may have to wear it until it is hot outside. I have a lot of making up time for this little lady. I have to say it is the most comfortable, cozy, warm sweater I own. I am so happy to be able to say I made it myself!

IMG_2292

I love the gull lace pattern. Which, if I may add, I can now do in my sleep.

IMAG00065

I love the three buttons I chose. They came off another sweater I had that didn’t fit anymore. I really like how the sweater is open at the middle. It has a nice swing to it and doesn’t make my belly look big.

I apologize for all my gushing! I am just so glad to have this sweater on me instead of those needles!

I am linking up with Ginny today for the Yarn Along. Can’t wait to see everyone’s knits and reads. I am also linking up with Jessie and Marie’s link party.

Happy Knitting!

Mrs. Smith Farmer’s Wife 1930’s #74

IMG_0646

I finished Mrs. Smith. It was pretty difficult. I did not paper piece it. I pieced it in sections. I cut the pieces, drew 1/4 inch lines on every piece, pinned the daylights out of them and then sewed them together. I am not going to do a tutorial in this post but a photo journal of sorts. I took my time with this block. I used reproduction fabrics by Jo Morton, and a line from Marcus Fabrics. If you haven’t heard about it I am using the book Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt. I apologize if some of the pictures are not crispy clear. I am not much of a photographer.

IMG_0497

I cut all the pieces out exactly the size indicated in the directions. I have read that some people have been cutting the pieces out bigger and then trimming them down. I think that is a great idea. I just didn’t do it with this block. I may try that technique with other blocks.

IMG_0635

IMG_0636

Like I said I really pinned these babies. I put a pin at each point then one or two depending on the size of the piece in the middle. As you can see in the photos I made sure the pin stuck in at the drawn line on both sides of the fabric.

WP_20160321_006

These are the four corners of the block. I sewed these first. I put a penny in the photo to show how small these pieces are. I love sewing these small blocks. It is a challenge but it feels good when you see it coming together.

WP_20160317_005

I kept adding to the first four patch pieces. So cool to see the block getting bigger as you go.

WP_20160321_001

More pinning! Awful photo, sorry!

IMG_0640

I took the sewing very slowly. It was very nice having the pencil line to go by. I found it hard to take the pins out without moving the pieces. I did everything very carefully.

IMG_0642

Here is the block with most of the pieces sewn together. It was very exciting to be able to see the star in the middle. I had to contain myself a little at this point. I started getting anxious to see it done but was afraid I would make a mistake it I hurried.

IMG_0643

I press every piece after I sew it. I press my seams open. I had a nice conversation about open seams with the woman that I buy this fabric from. Her name is Cyndi and she owns the shop Busy Thimble.  She explained that this is how the women did it back in the old days. She says it allows the block to lay flatter. Since I am using reproduction fabrics and the book I am using is a 1930’s sampler I figured I should do it the old fashioned way. My stitch length is very short too so this ensures there will be no pulling away from the seams when I press them open.

IMG_0644

It is so satisfying to see how pretty the block looks even from the back.

IMG_0645

Eventually I got the block down to three pieces. It was so exciting. Lot of oohs and ahhs and giddy giggles! Good thing no one heard me, it was a little ridiculous.

IMG_0646

For a wonderfully satisfying finish! I really liked working on this block even though it was a hard one. Not sure which block I am going to do next but maybe I should pick an easier one.

Are you working on these Farmer’s Wife 1930’s blocks? How are you liking them?

I am  joining Amanda today for Finish it Friday! And Sarah and her Whoop Whoop!  Happy Quilting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Mitts & A Great Book

Getting away for a little while was so good. I am fortunate that my husband works on the road. This past weekend he had a show to go to in Rhode Island. He asked if we wanted to come and stay overnight with him and find something to do in Providence and then also visit his family in Connecticut. Of course I said Yes!

I got a lot of knitting done on the ride and in the hotel. Being trapped in a car is so good for the hand work projects. I was able to finish the fingerless mitts that I was working on.

IMG_0624

My sister in law offered me a bag of books that she had finished reading. The first one I tried is so good! I was hooked the second page in. That hardly ever happens.  I am only on the second chapter and it is one of those books that I don’t want to put down. Unfortunately I do have other things that have to be done so I can’t read it as fast as I want to. Maybe that is a good thing. Many times when I read a great book I am disappointed that it is over. So if I read this one slowly maybe I can savor it. The book is called the Orchardist by Amanda Coplin. It takes place at the turn of the century (20th). So far it has talked a little about this man Talmadge who is the main character and in just one chapter he has had some tough times!

IMG_0631

Rhode Island was much warmer than Maine. There were trees in bloom and daffodils in full color! It took us five hours to drive down there, so I wonder what that equates to the warm weather getting here and the flowers starting to bloom up this way?

WP_20160318_020

Happy Knitting and Happy Spring!

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along today! Can’t wait to see everyone’s projects.