Recently my husband and I watched a Netflix four part miniseries, Tokyo Trial, about the war crimes tribunal in Japan at the end of the Second World War. I knew absolutely nothing about the trials and the series captured my attention.

Not many days after viewing the series I stumbled on Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson, published in 2016. I found it through the Hoopla app through my local library. I like to listen to audio books when I take walks and in perusing what was available this title jumped out at me seeing as Japan and WW II were fresh on my mind.
To read more of this book review please go to my new wordpress blog ...Thanks! 
The third book I read in the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge falls under the category of a Gothic or Horror classic. Now before I go any further with this review I need to give you some background ...
I do not like scary stories or being scared ... at all. I have been known to partially cover my eyes with my hands during particularly intense or scary scenes when watching movies. I've even thrown a crocheted blanket over my head watching the scary parts through the holes!  
...for the full review go to my new Wordpress blog!


I Have Moved!

... not to a new house, but I do have a new address; a new blog address that is. 

I have moved from Blogger to Wordpress and my new address is:

Please come visit! We can read together and crochet and have so much fun visiting!

To not miss a post be sure to follow through email or Bloglovin. Those of you who are subscribed to this blog now will need to re-subscribe at Wordpress if you want to continue following. At the new address, scroll down the right sidebar to sign up to follow through Bloglovin or by email. 

Thanks so much!

Reading Challenge 2017: Second Book Review

The second book I read in the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge is The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith first published in 1766. This book falls under the category of a classic originally published before 1800. To read more please go to my new blog...


Blanket Finally Finished!

Way, way back in February, 2015 Sandra posted on her blog, Cherry Heart, about a new blanket pattern she was working on, The Weekender Blanket. I was so drawn to it and determined I would make one for myself. And what a great way to use up stash! Who doesn't have a boatload of stash?

With a name like Weekender Blanket it sounded like it would be a quick project. NOT! Especially when you get side-tracked, which is definitely my modus operandi. I can't say for sure exactly when I began the project but I downloaded the pattern in March 2015 and began working on it shortly thereafter. It took until this January 2017 to finish it ... To read more please go to my new blog...


Reading Challenge 2017: First Book Review

The first book I read for the Reading Challenge is authored by my favorite, Anthony Trollope. I actually downloaded the book to my Kindle and began reading it in December. I was looking for some fun reading and hadn't planned to include it in the 2017 Challenge. But December is a very busy month and I didn't make it past the first few chapters. When I saw that romance was one of the categories for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2017 I knew this book would be perfect.

To read more please go to my new blog...

A Table Runner For January

When we took down the Christmas decorations I left the winter wreath and garland hanging, several amigurumi snowmen sitting on shelves and tables, and a number of crocheted snowflakes hanging on little suction cup hooks in various windows. It definitely gives a cheery winter theme to the house. And while we haven't had much snow to speak of, so far anyway, we've had some fairly cold days, and nights with wind chills down as low as -15 to -20 F. Brrr! So the "inside winter" decorations go well with the season outside my windows.

When the Christmas table runner (not crocheted) was tucked away I was left with a very naked dining room table. Unlike most homes, the front door opens directly into the dining room. It's the first room you see when you walk in.  So I try to decorate the table (with other than dirty dishes).

To read more please go to my new blog...


A Journal Pen Holder

As I've mentioned before I use a bullet journal. It has made all the difference in the flow of my days. Being someone who is naturally disorganized and easily side-tracked, the bullet journal has been a great help keeping my days more focused.

Having a pen always at the ready is absolutely essential. Previously I used a small clip attached at the side of the journal to hold my pen. It worked. But then I found Kate's post about the journal pen holder she made and decided to give it a try.

Kate's directions are easy to follow and she has pictures that explain the process. I did make some changes in construction and measurement though that differed from hers.

So what did I tweak? To completely understand what I did you'll need to jump over to Kate's directions and read them first. Otherwise my tweaks may not make complete sense.

I added iron on inner facing to the pocket in order to make it stronger. I was afraid the pen tip would end up putting a hole in the fabric considering that I was using thin cotton. The pen would be removed and reinserted into the pocket multiple times in a given day and I didn't want to tempt fate.

I also cut the back pieces a full inch longer than the height of the journal. Kate indicated she cut her lengths 8 inches long but that wouldn't allow for a seam allowance in keeping with the fact that I wanted the finished pen holder to be as close as possible to the height of the journal. My journal is approximately 8.25 inches long, same as Kate's, so I cut the back piece and back facing piece 9.25 inches. That gave me a full half inch seam allowance on each end if I thought it would be needed.

I used elastic that is 3/4 inches wide, mostly because I had it on hand, and cut it about 9 inches long to allow for overlap. It can be trimmed if it's too long before the second end is inserted at the top. Plus, I felt the wider elastic might be sturdier. She doesn't specify the width of the elastic she used but looking at her pictures I think she may have used 3/8-1/2 inch wide.

I constructed mine a little differently too. Kate's directions tell you to lay the pocket piece on top of the back piece wrong sides together and stitch, but I skipped this preliminary sewing step preferring to stitch the pieces together all at once with only the one seam.

I sandwiched the layers of fabric and elastic together as follows:

1. bottom layer is the back piece right side up, 9.25 inches by 2 inches wide.
2. middle layer is the pocket (with iron on inner facing attached) also right side up, 6 inches by 2 inches wide.
3. next comes the elastic, 9 inches long, with about 1/4 inch extending beyond the bottom.
4. top layer is the back facing piece wrong side up, 9.25 inches by 2 inches wide.

I hope that's clear...

After pinning securely I made one continuous 1/4 inch (or thereabouts) seam, beginning at the top of the side, down along the side, across the bottom, and up the next side ending at the top. I DID NOT sew across the top but left it open so the other end of the elastic could be inserted.

Turning it all right side out was a little fiddly and took a bit of time, but I was happy with the end results. I top stitched across the bottom for extra security.

The only thing left to do was to turn under the top by folding the ends inside and inserting the elastic. At this point you can adjust both the length of the holder and the elastic before top stitching across the top.

I did two rows of top stitching across the top simply because I'm neurotic and was concerned the elastic might pull out. Unlikely though since once the pen holder is placed onto the cover of the journal it is not messed with. It will sit on the journal until the journal is full and then it can be transferred to the next one.

Check out Kate's pen holder! You might be inspired to give it a try!

Reading Goals 2017

This will be my third year participating in the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate. I am excited to begin and have a general idea of most of the books I hope to read. I've chosen titles for nine of the categories and of those nine three are authored by Anthony Trollope. Did I mention I'm a Trollope fan?

Only a few of these books actually reside on my bookshelves. I will likely buy several, and some I will read on kindle (not especially my favorite method of reading). I will probably also listen to one or two with the Hoopla app on my phone, while others will be checked out of the library.

1.  A 19th Century Classic ~ The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope. This is the fifth of six books in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. 

2.  A 20th Century Classic ~  My Man Jeeves, by P G Wodehouse.  

3.  A classic by a woman author ~ Maybe Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell?

4.  A classic in translation ~ Our Friend Manso by Benito Perez Galdos. My good friend Silvia introduced me to Galdos in the Fall of 2015. This will be my third title by him and I am looking forward to it.

5.  A classic published before 1800 ~  The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, published in 1766.

6.  A romance classic ~ I'm going with Trollope again. He Knew He Was Right contains several romances. Looking at the cover below I'm guessing at least one of them doesn't turn out too happily. But again, how can you go wrong with Trollope?

7.  A Gothic or horror classic ~ I'm thinking perhaps Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. 

8.  A classic with a number in the title ~ Again, I've found a Trollope title that will fit, The Three Clerks. According to Wikipedia it is considered to be the most autobiographical of his works. 

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title ~ There are a number of books that would satisfy this category, but at the moment I'm thinking of The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat.

10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit ~ This one is still very much up in the air. 

11. An award-winning classic ~ Again, undecided.

12. A Russian Classic ~ One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Of course there's no guarantee that the books I listed above will be the books I actually end up reading, except for Trollope of course ... (did I mention I'm a Trollope fan?) but no matter. The end result will be the same ... a fabulous year of great reads!


Crochet Christmas Projects

I've not been posting much recently but that doesn't mean I haven't been very busy crocheting, among other things.

I thought I'd share a few Christmas projects I've been working on.

First of all I finally completed the Granny Tree Skirt I started 2 years ago. It was love at first sight the moment I laid eyes on Sandra's creation back in September 2014. To say I was wowed by it is an understatement.

To read more please go to my new blog...


Little Owl Ornaments

For a number of years I've given my grandchildren Christmas ornaments. Recently I've crocheted them and with fifteen grandchildren this is no small undertaking. In previous years I've crocheted Icicle Boys and GirlsLittle Christmas Trees, Santas, Snowmen, Little Stockings, and Matryoshka Dolls. I began the little owls in late August. Good thing too because I made numerous changes along the way.

Shortly before I wrapped them in November I took them outside to my neighbor's yard. She has a beautiful "Christmas" tree in her front yard and I hung all the little owls on it so I could take some photos.

To read more please go to my new blog...

Reading Challenge 2016: Wrap Up

Looking at the list of books that I read this year I'm finding it difficult to decide which single book was my favorite. Obviously, I enjoyed some more than others but every one of them had something worthwhile, some thought to ponder, some words to enjoy (and beg someone to listen to), some truth, some Thing that resonated with me. Some of the books drew me in instantly while others took a chapter or two or more. Some had endings that made me sit and smile and sigh and feel like all's well with the world, while others left me hanging, feeling somewhat dissatisfied. The book didn't seem quite finished. The author needed at least another chapter to bring about a proper my humble opinion.

Of the twelve books I read this year, six of them I already owned. Five books I borrowed from the library, and one I listened to with the Hoopla app through my library.

Five of the six books I already owned. One is packed away in one of my many book boxes.
I introduced myself to a few new authors; Agatha Christie, Jules Vern, Junichiro Tanizaki, Aldous Huxley, George Macdonald, and revisited a few old favorites; Willa Cather, Elizabeth Gaskell, Benito Perez Galdos, and of course my most favorite, Anthony Trollope.

Since I have already posted individual reviews I won't mention specifics about any of the titles. You can click on the links if you'd like my take on any of them.

1.  A 19th Century ClassicNorth and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

2.  A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966 - Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes

3.  A classic by a woman author - Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell

4.  A classic in translation - Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos 

5.  A classic by a non-white author - The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki 

6.  An adventure classic - Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Vern 

7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic - The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald. 

8.  A classic detective novel - Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie 

9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title - Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope 

10. A classic which has been banned or censored - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

11. Re-read a classic you read for school (high school or college) - My Antonia by Willa Cather

12. A volume of classic short stories - Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

In addition to these books I've read a number of other works this year (and the year isn't finished yet!), novels as well as short stories. I'm so glad I have participated in the Challenge these past two years because it has certainly broadened my reading horizons.  I definitely look forward to participating again next year.

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