Hi everyone! It has been a couple of weeks full of changes. I made the decision recently that I would become a full-time stay-at-home mom to my 4-year-old daughter, and left my job in mid-January. I’m very lucky to be in a place where I can make this decision. So far, it’s been great. I think we’ve yet to find the exact rhythm of our weeks just yet, as BK was sick most of the first week I was home, and we are also doing some work in our kitchen, both of which have affected how we spend our days. But I’m sure that we will fall into a gentle routine soon, and our days will be even fuller than they already are. 🙂
This also means that I’ve wrapped up a few projects that have been lingering for a long time! Which brings me to my three things…
A Quillow. I’ve made 3, but I just finished the last one yesterday! Quillows are fast and fun sewing projects. Can’t wait to show you the full details of all of the ones I’ve made.
TMNT flip-top mittens: My friend Heather of BaH Yarns made the coolest self-striping colorway, Cowabunga, inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TMNT happens to be BK’s favorite thing ever, and I used some of the DK yarn to knit her a hat around Halloween time, and finally finished up some flip-top mittens with the leftovers just this weekend.
A Valentine’s countdown (close-up above): I LOVE this and I finished this within about 2 days of being home. Super cute! I hung it up on our bannister just to see how it looked, but have never taken it down! Technically, I shouldn’t have it up until Feb. 1, but it’s bringing so much joy right now I can’t. It’s very cold and grey almost every day, and the bright pops of color from this project are making me happy.
Full posts to follow on all of these projects, because they are so fun! Hope you’re all having a terrific Thursday. What did you finish this week?
When I was in elementary school, I went to the school library every morning before the bell rang and checked out a new book. I would read it that night, return it the next morning, and repeat. I was the first person ever in first grade to read 100 books at my school (you used to have to read the book at home, and then bring it into school and the teacher would pick a random page and make you read a few sentences to prove you really *could* read it). I was a very, very voracious reader as a child.
Since then, my reading life has basically gone in fits and starts. I did tons of reading in school, and minored in English Lit in college, but I wasn’t choosing many books on my own. My peak was the year I worked at the library – for obvious reasons.
But, at the end of 2016, I started gaining some momentum, after I discovered Maggie Stiefvater through one of my librarian friends. I devoured the Raven Boys series, and to my delight, after finishing Book 3, I found out she was coming to speak at my local library. I signed myself right up, got my books signed, and told Maggie how many hours of sleep I’d lost staying up very late to find out what happened next. Because that’s basically what I was doing – staying up super late 2-3 nights every couple of months to plow through a book. I wasn’t yet back in the habit.
And finally, finally, finally, in 2017, got my groove back. I read 34 books. Now, I know for many bookish people, this is not a big amount. But for someone who’d lost her reading way for a while, this is fantastic for me!
There are a few things that really fueled this revival. Since my biggest issue was figuring out WHAT to read next, I had to find some ways to find new stuff that wasn’t just wandering through a book store. I would recommend all of these to someone who is trying to get back in the habit:
My husband gave me a new Kindle (with the most beautiful cover) for my birthday. This means I upped my Kindle book consumption, which meant that the book I was reading was also always available on my phone via the Kindle app. I’ve never been great about keeping knitting in my purse, which means when I was at a loose end waiting for something, I was scrolling through my phone. Now that the books I actually want to read are on my phone, I’m making much better use of those spare minutes.
I started pursuing ideas of what to read. I started listening to the What Should I Read Next? podcast (thanks to my husband). Though not all books recommended here are my taste, I have gotten some really great recommendations out of it. The Golem and the Jinni (which was ABSOLUTELY SPOT-ON PERFECT in every way for me), and The Sun is Also a Star were two books I picked up due to this podcast, and they were definitely stand-outs in my reading year. I also first heard about Louise Penny here, and now I’ve read the first 11 Gamache books (also very good!). I also signed up for BookBub emails, and I’ve picked up several through there. Not all have been winners (there are a couple I abandoned), but I did manage to get the two books mentioned above on a deal through these emails. So… definitely worth it. I also read the “100 Books” lists on Amazon. They have a lot of different categories: books to read in a lifetime, YA books to read in a lifetime, sci fi and fantasy to read in a lifetime, etc.). I believe I found A Darker Shade of Magic on one of these lists (though I can’t find it there now! They must switch it up.), which took me into a 3-book series that I thoroughly enjoyed. Magic AND pirates? Sign me up.
Reading while traveling. Mr. Snips and I went on a solo vacation (no kiddo) and I cannot tell you how much I plowed through here, including the massive 11/22/63. That’s not always going to be possible, but I have been doing a lot more reading even just in the car, picking up a few minutes here and there while we’re on the way to somewhere else.
So, that’s it! 2017 was finally a really solid reading year for me, when I managed to read consistently through the year. I plan to keep it up in 2018, and up that number even more!
What are you reading this year? I’d love to hear your recommendations!
Reading: Last night I stayed up waaaaaay too late reading a book. And the kicker is I still quit at only 88%, according to my Kindle. So many questions unanswered! There was just no way to stay up any later and make it to work this morning. (I was reading “How the light gets in” by Louise Penny.)
Dreaming: I also fell down the rabbit hole last night when I came across these amazing advent calendars on Etsy. I looooove them. I am so tempted to scrap my knitted countdown (whatever holiday that ends up being for) and just make a ton of these. I initially saw the reindeer one, but BK said she really liked the snow globe one, and after reading about it, I like the snow globe one, too – because a lot of the days use pre-made pom poms! I’ve almost even convinced myself I could pull off the snow globe one before December 1 (yikes! my delusion is strong). Regardless, I would also love to make the birthday one (what a fun idea!) and maybe just the ornaments that go on the Halloween one. She also has a free heart pattern you can sign up for, and I’m tempted to scrap all the little knitted ones and make 14 hearts for Valentine’s Day. But then again, BK has been after me to knit this little superhero girl. So that one will have to get done one way or the other.
Planning: to knit this Peanut vest for a dear friend’s little boy. This pattern is so darling, and am looking forward to purchasing some yarn for it this weekend!
Mr. Snips and I just recently returned from a flat-out amazing, wonderful trip to Hawaii, which is why it’s been so quiet here recently. It was a great trip that had a lot of time for relaxing and reading by the pool, but with enough fun outings that it didn’t get too restful. Above, you will see a picture of me knitting in our rental car, roof down (we had a convertible), and the sunset in the background. Bliss.
I’m nearing the finish mark on a quilt I’ve been working on for a while, and will be handing it off to get it professionally quilted very soon. I’ve never done that, so I’m excited! The other quilts I’ve done, I’ve bumbled along doing some straight lines on my little machine. Since this one is for BK, and the fabric is out of this world beautiful (Magic by Sarah Jane), I want to make sure that it gets a fancier treatment than I can give it alone.
It’s almost Halloween! I can’t wait! It’s hands down my favorite holiday. It may have something to do with growing up in a cornfield and always having to be driven to different houses for trick-or-treating. It’s not nearly as magical as what I always saw on TV where kids just walked out of their front door and went around the neighborhood. When we moved into our old house, I nearly burst from excitement when we had 100 trick-or-treaters come to our door (yes, I’m a nerd, I keep a tally). Our new house gets less traffic, but it is amazing to trick-or-treat in because it is basically a big loop. We also have a few neighbors who really go all out on the decorations and make it really fun. BK and I did the whole neighborhood last year and it was a blast. I can’t wait to go out with her again this year.
I’m joining in with Carole’s Three on Thursday. I fell off the Thursday writing wagon (and every other day, too, for a while!) and am now getting back in the habit.
I’m giving this little blog a kickstart with some more regular posting. I hope you all come back and visit my little corner of the internet again soon. I am planning a range of posts – knitting, quilting, general crafting, mom life, and reading/book reviews!
I’m desperate to start a So Faded Pint Sized sweater and even have the yarn picked out. But I’m afraid to start it, because I don’t want to stall momentum on the Flower Power dress. It would be easy for the excitement of the fade to overpower the miles of pink stockinette.
This week has felt like a farewell tour to summer – last dips in the pools, last sweltering temperatures, and a last hoorah for our favorite summer clothes. It’s been fun to have what feels like a bonus week of summer. But I love fall the most, so I’m OK with summer leaving us, which seems from the forecast to start from today!