Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Monday list #5

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! Here's what I'm enjoying today:
1) A little sweetness - though if you know me, you know it takes an enormous amount of self control not to eat the whole bag.  Also, I'm going to try to go sugar free for the first 30 days of October (just to show I really can quit any time I want, ha).  And then catch up for lost time on Halloween.  Not really, but maybe a little.  Wish me luck with that.  Seriously, I'm going to need it. 

2) Time to sew this weekend - it was a great rainy weekend here in Pocatello, and I got to actually make stuff! Ben took the kids to some ISU football and basketball games so I had time to work on some projects and it was really great for my soul.  

3) Sunday Brinner - we have been doing a little Sunday dinner tradition off and on for the past year or so, of having breakfast for dinner (hence, Brinner).  And it's so much fun! We don't have family I town, so family dinners on Sunday don't happen with extended family very often, and brinner is something we all look forward to after church.  We haven't strayed too much from basics like bacon, eggs, biscuits or pancakes, and whatever fruit we have, but it doesn't need to be fancy or complicated, it just needs to happen at the table, with everyone.  

4) Fall weather!!! - finally!  Ugh. I'm ready! So ready.  I wore a scarf yesterday and imagined the scarf was equally pleased with the drop in temperatures so it could get out of the box in the closet! 

5) Crayon drawings - I've been giving my kids drawing assignments every day for a few days so they can get their imaginations warmed up and to help them (trick them) practice their writing.  A few of the "prompts" have been: draw a fancy princess and give her a name (Abby's), draw a castle and a dragon and write something about it, draw a robot and write what he does, draw a machine or invention and write what it does.
Abby is a little harder to persuade into actually doing these (or anything I suggest), but if I tailor the prompts to whatever she's fascinated by then it goes much better.  Occasionally she will even ask me how to write words and practice them, which is almost a miracle.  Matthew has been writing on his own for these and I absolutely adore his effort, imagination, and spelling mistakes! A fun project for sure.   

How was your weekend? Finding anything fun today? 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guess what? I read some more books!

Yep, yep! I finished more books.  If you know how to become a professional reader of good books, sign me up. You can follow along on my reading adventures on Instagram @ladyfacereads where I post more often and just about books. Anyway, here's the latest:
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - If you don't know already, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J. k. Rowling.  Man, she knows how to create a world! Though this mystery isn't set in a magical world, it is very well fleshed out.  The characters are great and well developed of course, and complicated, human, and full of growth.  This story is about Cormorant Strike, a PI who is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a model.  I found it a little too densely rounded at times, which made it a bit of a slower read, but in the way where I kept reading, and thought it was going by quickly, but it had only been a page or two.  It's a long book, but enjoyable.  I liked the ending, it resolved in a way I felt satisfied with.  Though the revelation of "who" wasn't a huge surprise to me, the putting everything together and presenting the actual truth was very interesting and well done.  I'm looking forward to seeing what The Silkworm is about (it's already on my nightstand), and hoping it will be less background oriented now that the I've already gotten to know the main characters involved. 

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barberry - This one I listened to through audible and I loved it.  I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, also by Muriel Barberry, and loved the way it was written, and this one did not disappoint.  This one is told through several points of view, all residents of the same apartment complex, over the period of time of the death of one of its inhabitants, a famous food critic.  The critic is facing imminent doom, and is trying to recall a flavor, but cannot figure out what it is.  I most enjoyed his memories of food, of meals, and of memories associated with each that resonated with me and my own favorite dishes.  I love the way this author puts words together with such precision and exactness and delicacy it's extraordinarily delightful.  And listening to it was really neat also.  I'd definitely recommend this one, it's practically a vacation and an uplifting joy to read.  The ending is pretty great and that never hurts. 

The Last Town by Blake Crouch - This is the final book in the Wayward Pines trilogy and it had me gripped from the start!  It picked up exactly where the second book left off and as you may have guessed, things are in serious chaos and extreme danger.  There are lots of things facing these characters, and in this book, we get to view memories and past lives from many more characters than in the previous two books, which I thought was really interesting and made their experiences more powerful and real to me.  Just a warning though, this book is intense, with some violent and bloody scenes so if you don't like suspense or the potential for characters to die, don't pick up this series.  It reminded me a bit of Twin Peaks but with actual monster monsters. That should give you any idea of why not everyone should go for it, but also why it's so intriguing and thrilling! While it is very intense, I appreciate that it's logically intense.  Crouch doesn't waste words on gore that is uncalled for or has nothing to do with the plot.  I also appreciate that he asks the what if... question that starts the books, and then sees it through.  Sometimes I think authors get scared or nervous or something of telling action as it happens, and resort to things being told to their characters rather than having their characters experience it along with the reader, and I don't like that (ahemMockingjayahem).  Big pet peeve of mine.  In this series you are right there with them as they face monsters both physical and psychological and Crouch sees his story through to the end, going to all the places and facing ALL THE THINGS and all the feels that go along with it.  AND! The end is satisfying also!!  Bravo Mr. Crouch (I sooo wish his name was Barty...ha). Now I'm looking forward to how the new TV series on FOX will compare with the mental version I've got from listening to them! 

Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy - This is the second book in the Wildwood series and it's very enchanting.  The story is about the "impassable wilderness" and everything inside it, and everything trying to get inside of it.  It's a YA series full of fantasy, struggles and triumph, and growth.  I like the world Meloy has created and the pictures illustrated by his wife are incredibly gorgeous and whimsical.  I'm all for a book with pictures!  It's a wonderful trip, and would be great to read aloud as a family.  The journey in the first book is mostly discovery based, as the two main characters, Prue and Curtis, discover and explore this world of Wildwood and the power struggle for control of the woods.  This second book is about what happens after the power balance has been upset by Prue and Curtis' arrival and things are being reconfigured.  There are villains, heroes, and characters that make bad decisions, but aren't 100% bad individuals.  It's a great progression, and I'm excited to see how the trilogy wraps up in The Wildwood Imperium, which is also on my nightstand.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkein - I'm listening to this on Audible also (side note: I clearly use this a lot, but I have had my account on hold for 4 or 5 months, so it's not unreasonable, more like a special treat every once in a while for me, that I get weeks of use from, so don't think I've listened to these all in a few days.  Most of them I've been working on for months, listening to a little at a time as the mood suits me and depending on how much I'm avoiding my chores).  I'm a total nerd and am loving these.  I didn't like the movies so much because Elijah Woods triggers my gag reflex, but it's such an amazingly epic story that we own the DVD's anyway.  Ugh, this trilogy is SO GOOD.  But whenever I've tried to read it, you know, in a real book with pages, I fell asleep.  Like, instantly.  I've been trying to read this series since I was pregnant with Matthew and only made it a few hundred pages.  So listening to it, in amazing accented voices, is really wonderful for me.  Anyway, it's fun to be like, hey! I know that part from the movie, and it's word for word accurate.  I am anxious for the rest of the Hobbit movies to come out too, I'm a huge Morgan Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch fan (who isn't).  There's not much to say about these books that hasn't already been said better by experts, so I'll leave it at this: If you don't have it in you to read this story in a physical book form, I highly recommend the Audible version.  It's great.  And great to listen to while you do chores.  Then you're multitasking.  Plus, Tolkein is really a wonderful story teller, it's absolutely worth listening to for your own improvement.  I've got a lot of classics on my Audible list.  And by classics I mean books I was supposed to read in high school and college that I never finished...I'm waving to you Moby-Dick...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Happy List #4

Here's what I'm enjoying today.  Happy Monday!

1) Atly classes - I've mentioned these before but I want to mention them again.  I took this class over the weekend and it's got me so excited to try out the techniques and tips taught in the course.  I can't get enough of these and am constantly checking the site to see if they've added new classes.  And if you follow them on Instagram (@atlygrams) they frequently post generous new class discounts so they're extremely affordable.

2) Rain! - Also nothing new, but it rained last night, just as we were thinking we should water the grass again, so thank you Mother Nature for taking care of that for me! And a bonus, the air smelled so perfect last night it was glorious and fall, and crisp, and delicious.  

3) Flowers - I taught at church yesterday and I always like to bring fresh flowers to add somebrightness to the room.  Plus, I get to take them home and enjoy them the rest of the week.  I'm nowhere close to being good at flower arranging but I like this bundle of flowers together, unexpected and fun!

4) Hoarding, just a little - there's something to be said for hanging onto things, as long as they don't literally take over your house or your life of course.  Today Samantha is wearing overalls from the 1980's and her favorite toys in the whole house are the set of little people from my childhood that my mom saved.  She gets these out at least 3 times a day. And having seen Toy Story a million times, I imagine the toys are happy with that also. 

5) Fall!!!! - my favorite season. I can snuggle, work on quilt projects without sweating, take naps with layers and layers of blankets and quilts, wear sweaters, wear scarves, and don't have to shave my legs! Make soup, cinnamon rolls, and drink as much hot chocolate as my body will allow!! It's the most wonderful time of the year.  As an aside, Matthew thinks Halloween lasts the entire month of October and has been counting down the days until September is over and keeping track all on his own! It's so fun to see things again through the eyes of kids.  The best.  

Hope you guys have a great week!! What's getting you going today?

Friday, September 19, 2014

The September Tunic

Wait...I finished something?! Yep I did.  I know!  I'm surprised too! Ha.  

I've had this purple linen-y version of The September Tunic cut out for a while.  It was a quick sew that ended up being pretty fancy, by Abby's expression. 

It was the buttonholes that did me in.  More just my loathing of them, so it sat on my table for a month, at least, all sewn up, until I finally got up the nerve to do the buttonholes this morning. 

I used 7 buttons that Abby picked out and as you can clearly see, I still need all the practice I can get with buttonholes, but I'm happy with it, especially that it's done, being worn and enjoyed.

Abby loves it and immediately asked, "Does this make me a princess now?" So cute.  And of course I said yes.

I think I'll make a dress of this next.  The neckline was a little annoying, but it looks better on her than I imagined.  I was also worried that the pouf of the sleeves wouldn't be evened out by the bottom, but it looks great.  As usual, I worried about nothing.  This kid makes everything I make look extra incredible!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Happy List #3

Well hello! I didn't mean to suddenly abandon this space but it happened again, and it probably won't be the last time.  Things have been busy and busier as usual so I can't complain.  Here's some fun for your Monday:

1) All About That Bass with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots - not only do I LOVE the message in this song, but isn't this version just amazing?! Makes me happy just knowing it exists.  Those guys look like they have sooooo much fun at their jobs, I love it. And you've probably seen it already but watch it again. 

2) Cooking/baking - I've been trying to be better about making thoughtful meals for my family, and while it hasn't gone over that well (the kids haven't liked what I've made so far, but Ben and I have!), I like preparing meals.  It's cleaning up afterwards that I would happily pay someone else to do if were rich.  If you're curious I've made this recipe from Our Best Bites, and chicken and dumplings from this book.  Both were very tasty and made a lot of food.  

3) Making goals - I took some time this morning to make some concrete goals and then some steps to make sure that I get to those goals.  I'm really good at making lists and plans and not making them realistic or solid enough.  I'm trying to work on that.  Having a good pen and notebook is a great way to start! And sometimes Rifle Paper Co. is on Zulily!  Here's my referral code if you haven't already joined.  Great deals, just watch the shipping.

4) Books - I finished a book over the weekend that I'll share soon, but got to wondering about how many books I've read this year because I don't really keep track.  And I have a lot of books that I've bought with good intentions, got distracted and bought other books, and so I have a lot of books sitting around lonely and unread.  I'm trying to fix that for the rest of the year at least. So, I set up an Instagram account just for the books I read.  If that's something you'd be interested in I'm @ladyfacereads

5) Good friends that share advice freely - I still feel like I'm 12 years old but I'll be 27 in a little over 60 days.  I really don't feel like I have my stuff together so having friends that will share advice freely and don't mind when I bother them for it are such a treasure!  I am learning to appreciate friendships more as I "get older".  Having people that understand you just as you are is so important! 

What's been on your radar this week?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More summer reading

Hey guys!  I've been reading/listening to some books lately.  Here's what I've finished lately.  Check out the #sewandread for more recommendations on Instagram.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen  - I listened to this one on Audible as part of my free 30 days of Kindle Unlimited (yay for being cheap!).  I was thrilled to see that along with the kindle version it came with the Audible version (I've linked to the audiobook here), and I listened to it while I ran, washed dishes, sewed, and it was a wonderful story.  There were some very brief parts I wish weren't included but they were small enough to overlook and didn't color the rest of the book for me.  I liked the reading, and the voices were well done.  This story of a man who worked on a circus is told in two phases of his life, during his time on the circus, and as an old man waiting to go to the circus.  Besides the fact that it made me even more scared to become an old person and watch my body decay as it must, I LOVED the insights, the stories, the narration, it was gorgeous and an incredible telling of a time we don't give much thought to anymore. 

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller - A flu has wiped out nearly everyone, and it is 9 years later.  Those who have survived are tough and hardened.  This story about a man, Hig, his dog and his neighbor, was immensely enjoyable.  It's written as Hig's thoughts, which makes it read differently from other books, and adds an intimacy between narrator and reader that I really loved.  The plot part comes in when Hig, who is a pilot, hears someone on his radio during a routine perimiter check, and it gets him wondering what is outside the perimeter they've established and protected.  I thought this would be a pretty gritty book since it was in the end of humanity category that I'm loving right now, but it was surprisingly tender and sweet in all the right ways.  Not that there wasn't violence, there was, but it wasn't excessive or just for show.  It was handled well.  I loved it.  I can easily imagine reading it again someday. I would also love to see this one as a movie.  If well cast it would be incredible!

Pines by Blake Crouch - Another audio book I downloaded during my free trial of Kindle Unlimited.  The story is interesting and compelling and you're constantly asking yourself what could possibly be going on!  It's intriguing and scary at the same time.  It's about a secret service agent who goes to Wayward Pines, Idaho in search of two other agents who disappeared. There's all these weird things that seem so off, and blatantly not normal, but you're not quite sure how at the same time.  You have to keep listening/reading.  I got a lot of dishes washed and laundry folded while I listened to this one.  This type of story isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed it right through to the end. Definitely entertaining. And there's a sequel!

Wayward by Blake Crouch - The second book in the Wayward Pines trilogy and also listened to on Audible through Kindle Unlimited.  Oh my goodness it was intense. I think I listened to this in a day and a half.  Every chapter is something different that makes you rethink what you thought you knew about the main character, Ethan Burke, and everything that's happened to him.  I don't want to give anything away but in short he investigates a murder that is not what it seems. There's a 3rd book but it's not on Kindle Unlimited so I'll have to actually read it... Ha! Also, I found out that they are turning these books into a series on Fox called Wayward Pines and I'm really excited to see it.  You can see the trailer here and it seems to stay pretty tight with the book so it will give you an indication of what to expect if you read these books.  I'm excited to see what the third one has in store!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - I totally judged this one by the cover.  So cute, right? But the inside was actually even better.  Set in the 1980's this story is about two teenagers and their discovery of each other.  It's full of wonderful conversation, and immediately transported me back to some of my high school memories.  This story does deal with some uncomfortable things, specifically an incredibly unsafe and unhealthy home life for one of the characters, so just be aware if that isn't something you want to read.  I thought it was a great read despite the uncomfortable parts, and enjoyed the characters and writing. I wish the ending had been clearer about what happened to certain people in the story but sometimes you just don't know, that's life, and it was consistent to the point of view in which the narrative was written.  

What have you been reading recently??

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday Happy List Volume 3...on a Tuesday? Oh well.

Happy Tuesday! I'm in complete denial about how close September is, we've got a back to school meeting on Thursday for the Montessori school the kids are going to this year and I don't want it to happen.  Well I do, you know, it's just the milestone that I'm afraid of.  Ha.

Here's what I've been enjoying this past week:

1) Wanderlust Fabrics - great fabrics, even better service.  I've bothered Angie a few times now and she is THE BEST! Always prompt to reply and quick to accommodate any questions or requests I have, I can't say enough good things!!  Here's a recent purchase.  Such beautiful fabrics.   Big plans for these beauties.

we spent one rainy day trying to pair all the lego heads with bodies. quite a challenge.

2) Rain! - it's been raining here quite a lot and I am LOVING IT!!! It's been such a cool august, I have been able to get away with wearing sweaters and having piles of blankets on the bed to snuggle with, it's wonderful. Not to mention how green everything is, we probably won't have to water our lawn for the rest of the summer!!

tried teaching abby to embroider.  she liked carrying this around by the strings but was actually pretty good at it.

3) Taylor Swift's new song and the video to go with it - Ok, I know everyone and their dog are loving this right now, but count me in!  I like that she's 100% herself all the time, and I really respect that. So talented.  I think she's doing great things.

cookies make me happy

4) New opportunities - I'm really excited about something new for me, and thrilled to have taken a risk to put myself out there.  It's forcing me out of my introverted shy self but in all good ways.  If its quiet the next few weeks it's because I'm busy working on this project and I'm so excited to show you guys when it's done.

today's morning nap

5) Fall sewing plans - I've got big plans for my handmade wardrobe.  I want to make this in this dotted chambray fabrics, this skirt in a yellow/mustardy chambray much like the pattern cover, and this dress in a black and white stripe with the same sleeves and length as the yellow one on the pattern.  I don't think I'll ever make my own pants.  A million points to you if you have. 

What is getting you going this week?