Thursday, July 31, 2014


I've been trying to read more this year and so far it's going really well.  I seem to be stuck in two themes and all the books I've read recently are either it's the end of the world and society is crumbling stories, or I can't believe you/I did that stories that explore what's next, human nature, or keep a secret from the reader.  I found all of these books to be very clean (save for the very occasional language), and highly recommend them all!! 
Here's what I've finished recently:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - I picked up this book after seeing it on Instagram.  It was a quick read with such a twist at the end.  The kind of twist that makes you rethink the entire story, it was...yeah, I never saw it coming! The story is about a family that spends their summers on their private island and more specifically about one of the children/teenage girls.  Any more details and I'd be afraid to give something away!

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters - This is the first of The Last Policeman series and it has been on my radar for a while and one day I found it at Costco, yay!  The story is about the end of the world, told by a policeman who has been recently promoted to detective just as an asteroid is on it's way to earth.  The book deals with a crumbling world with 6 months until impact.  People have "gone bucket" and taken their own lives, nothing is logical anymore, and while there is still something of a police force left, a death appears that seems suspicious.  And he investigates it while others see no point. Why bother? I really enjoyed how that question was explored in many ways and quick smart writing.  I loved this story. It was refreshing, interesting, real, and fascinating!

Countdown City by Ben H. Winters - The second book in the trilogy, now there are 3 months until impact and our detective friend is moving on from several things that happened in the first book.  Society is even worse, more dangerous, and there are no explanations for anything.  The police and any defense or protection is up to each person.  This time our detective is investigating a mysterious disappearance and trying to keep an eye on his sister who has gotten herself deep into a conspiracy theory she fully believes in.  The places he goes, things he finds out, and people he meets along the way were fascinating! I loved this one too,  great sequel.  

World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters - The last book in the trilogy and there are now only two weeks left until impact.  Our detective is trying to find his sister, his only remaining family, before impact and the unknown after that.  He follows her deeper into the conspiracy theory she was involved in, using a color system for towns based on their level of danger, searching for her and anything useful.  I will tell you that he finds her, but the things he finds along the way, and afterwards are what make this book special.  An Amish patriarch who has kept the asteroid a secret from his family, a couple with an RV and a flock of chickens, and everyone else.  I loved it.  And I'll tell you one more thing.  I'm sure we all assume that the point of a story like this would be to stop the asteroid, but it isn't!  I loved that the asteroid was unavoidable and dealt with the people.  The story ends with the glow of the asteroid hurtling towards earth.  It was wonderful, the whole thing. SO GOOD! The whole trilogy was amazing.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak - This was a surprise for me and to be honest I only read a few of them because it was due back at the library before I finished...  I was expecting stories that were predictable, or crude, but for the most part this collection of short stories was far better than I anticipated.  He definitely understands the power and potential of a good story and knows how to create one, even with the most seemingly unimportant, overlooked, and random things.  My favorite was a dating sketch between a woman and a warlord. 

Logo Design Love by David Airey - I read this one almost immediately after taking Melanie Burk's Atly class on Identity and logo design (which you can find by following that link).  The class was amazing, and this book was a great second perspective into a world and career that is really new and really interesting to me.  The information in this book is gold and I already know it will be a valuable resource in any design work I do.  It explains things clearly and concisely, which was important to me.  David Airey is an expert and writes in such a generous and friendly way.  If you're interested in graphic design, you should have this book (I have linked to the edition that I read, but I see that there is another edition that just recently came out with a black cover.  Just something to be aware of).

The Dinner by Herman Koch - (Also a library score) This was another exciting one along the same vein as We Were Liars in that it contains a secret.  The story is set in Amsterdam and is told over the course of one dinner between two couples.  They are having some uncomfortable issues with their children and I'll leave it at that.  Part of the excitement of this story is in wondering what the kids did!  I loved the way this story was told.  The narrator, one of the dads, tells it the way I imagine I would tell something like this.  There are memories, things hidden intentionally that he just doesn't want to share, and feelings remembered.  It is wonderfully interesting to see how they handle this, and how, as the dinner progresses and more is unfolded, how one mistake is dealt with and acknowledged.  It's like they are totally different people by the end of the dinner, unrecognizable from when they started.  As a parent now myself, I thought it was interesting to see how my own feelings developed as I read this story.  I love it when an author is good enough to make me examine my own feelings. 

What are you reading this summer?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oliver + S Playtime Dresses

As a follow up to my post about the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings, I also made each of the ladies a playtime dress.

For Sam (11 months old now) I made a 12-18 month size.  I shortened the sleeves and hemmed the skirt to where I wanted it. Actually I didn't measure, just ironed an approximately even distance all the way around, folded the raw end into the hem, and stitched it around.  That's how I do hems.  Hope for the best and plow forwards. 

She'll be able to wear it for a while, which I consider a bonus.  It has buttons, which caught me off guard since this is a knit pattern (fabric from Wanderlust fabrics), but the buttonhole making practice was good for me and of course it turned out just fine, it's an Oliver + S pattern!  They always work out.

For Abby's I sewed up the size 5 and it's clearly a little large in the shoulders.  I used the bottom of one of my old shirts that became too short after I disregarded the washing instructions...oops.  It has a bit of a hi-lo hem that I like.
I can also see this one transitioning into a tunic really well when she gets taller, so that's another bonus.  The mustard was from Girl Charlee a while back, and is thicker than is probably ideal for this, or at least for the thin jersey that I used for the skirt, but that's alright.  

There's also cool facing instructions that give the neckline and buttonhole parts some strength, and I found the topstitching templates great as well.  I always learn something new with these patterns and they ALWAYS turn out looking really well done.  

Abby's already worn hers a handful of times since I finished it, so that's a win despite it's imperfections!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Playtime leggings and baby toes

I finally made a pair of playtime leggings from the Oliver + S pattern of the same name.  I made them for Sam from an old maternity dress I wasn't feeling anymore.

I learned where the stretch stitch is on my machine, and used the existing hem of the dress for the cuffs of the leggings to save some time. 

These fit her really well, and turned out the best of any other leggings pattern I've made so far.  

She's starting to walk already, I'm in love with her chunky legs trying to walk around, it's so cute.  

I also made each of the girls a playtime dress (the accompanying pattern to the leggings) that both turned out really well, to be shared soon! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

wip Wednesday

Hello! I haven't linked up to a wip Wednesday in an eternity, but it's good to be back.

I'm trying to get two projects finished this week.  Both are at the quilting stage and if we didn't have the owner of our house coming for an inspection tomorrow I'd to it tonight, but now I have to clean (I hate renting!!).
First is this tiny baby quilt that will go in my Etsy shop.  I loved putting this together and see myself doing more solids and simple prints in the future.  I think this is much more representative of my "quilting style" than lots of my previous projects have been even though it's a pretty basic combination.  
Second is this quilt for Abby, you might remember from my posts about the blocks, but it's taken me forever to go from quilt top to basted quilt sandwich.  I hate basting and our living room is barely big enough for it, so I'm easily nudged into procrastination when it comes to this step.  I'm pretty excited for it to finally be done and for her to use it!