Wednesday, December 13, 2017

{I've Been Reading} Fierce Kingdom and Historically Dead

New socks on the needles and some fun books to read. I'm happy.

Historically Dead by Greta McKennan

Seamstress Daria Dembrowski is working her fingers to the bone to ensure that the (mostly) hand-stitched dresses and curtains are perfect for her client's appearance on My House in History. That's not quite enough to keep the bills paid, so she's still doing wedding dresses and the latest bride-to-be brings a very unwelcome visitor along to her fittings.

I love this series, which lets me vicariously experience a type of sewing I'm not likely to tackle myself. If My House in History was an actual show, we'd definitely be watching it at our place. The book develops some of the relationships that began in the first book and Daria and her friends are fun to spend time with. Too bad avoiding spoilers means I can't tell you what I loved most about the plot.

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

A mother rushes her  four year old son towards the zoo's exit, trying to make it through the gates before closing time...then hears the gunshots and sees the bodies and starts desperately searching for a safe hiding place. After the first few pages of Fierce Kingdom, I was absolutely hooked. Joan is the most realisticly depicted mother I've come across in a long time. This was such a good book -- until it suddenly wasn't. I started to lose interest when the book switched from Joan's point of view to a different character. And  I didn't like the ending.

I hate to say it, but the Amazon reviews were more fun to read than the last quarter of the book. How these readers imagine that Joan can just tell her hungry, exhausted preschooler to be quiet when they're hiding in the dark is beyond me. I'm guessing they've never spent a full day at the zoo with a very young child.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy of Histocially Dead by the publishers. Fierce Kingdom is a library book.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

More Changes at the Library

I'm not a big fan of change and tend  to avoid new things until they're forced on me (Except for ebooks. I can't say enough good things about those!) 

It seems like our local library is constantly making big improvements. I wasn't happy when they completely rearranged the children's section after twenty years. I knew where everything was and they moved it all. It's been a couple of years and I still can't find what we need. 

The new card catalog is an absolute nightmare. 

When this happened a few weeks back, I thought we might give up on the library entirely. How could they do this?!

They've had self checkout as an option for years and it's been awful. Now they're making all of us use it all the time. How can they do that to parents juggling multiple toddlers and fifty picture books?

I tried the new system because we had no choice and I can't believe how much better it is than the self check out, or even having the librarians do it for you. Put your card anywhere near the scanner and it pulls up your account. Put the book anywhere on the pad and it checks it out and demagnetizes the strip...most of the time. We set off alarms this week, but that happened with the old system too.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Wandering All Over the Village

The plan was to start in the upper right hand corner and work my way across, carefully parking threads as I went. Instead, I've wandered from building to building, stopped to play with the horse and rider, then crossed the bridge and worked my way through the flowers. And I've decided that parking threads doesn't work for me at all. 

Dimensions Gold Petites - Village Serene

I've spent two months avoiding the flowers that I should have stitched near the beginning and, as soon as I finish that little house and the trees behind it, I'm gong to have to finally get them done.

Either that, or I'm going to play in the muddy road. Mud sounds like it'll be easier.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Acorns and Threads

The most shocking thing about digging through my stash of cross-stitch charts is how I'm still excited about most of the same things I absolutely loved almost fifteen years ago.  While I was sorting through the latest batch of boxes, this magazine turned up. For me, the May 2001 issue of Stitcher's World was a complete and total game changer. 

I'd only been stitching for a couple of months and up to that point my entire stash had come from big box craft stores or thrift shops. This was the first cross-stitch magazine I bought and when I  read the article about Birds of a Feather I fell in love with these two patterns. They were among the first non craft store patterns I bought. I still haven't stitched them up, but I can see that changing soon.

That same article mentions Acorns and Threads in Portland, Oregon and as soon as I read  their description of the shop I was planning a road trip. There was lots of pretty cross stitch stuff at Michaels at that time, but I had no clue how many other gorgeous possibilities there were. I bought a lot of patterns there over the years.

On Thursday, I was up at Acorns and Threads for the first time in years, hanging out with some of my favorite Flosstubers. It was all kinds of fun and I fell in love with dozens of new projects, especially after switching to a sock to give my eyes a break, which also freed them up to take in everything that was hanging on the walls.

Someone please remind me that I absolutely hated the last Mill Hill kit that I stitched and really don't want the haunted barn or haunted hotel.


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