Sewing: Sugar Skulls Quilt

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Back before Christmas I was fastidiously working on a gift for my brother and sister-in-law. Alas, since we are all in the world of social media, I couldn’t really share much while I was working on it. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to do a quilt for them and one day while paging through Tula Pink’s latest quilt book I found this pattern for a sugar skull quilt and knew I’d found the pattern.

Then I started looking for fabric and when I saw Alexia Abegg’s Sienna line that it would be perfect. But then I had to wait…and wait…and wait, because it seemed like the fabric was never going to be released! I even chatted up with her mom at Craft South in Nashville and finally found out that it had been delayed.

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Thankfully it came out by mid-November and I was able to get it and get started. The background fabric was a solid that I found at our local quilt shop. It’s not a solid navy and kind of has a shibori element to it (which was perfect since my sister-in-law does fair share of indigo work herself.

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I absolutely loved working on this quilt. It came together really easily and I was super happy with how it turned out. I decided to quilt it on the diagonal and I’m sort of wishing I had done a little bit of a wavy line in it – but maybe not.

Reading: March 2018

I know it’s nearly mid-April, but I honestly have been spending so much time on the computer doing other things that I haven’t felt like writing at all. I also haven’t been reading quite as much either because of this…

Currently

David Copperfield – this monstronsity is our June book for my book club and I started it way early because I knew I’d never finish it if I didn’t. I really loved the first third, the second third has been a little bit “ehh”, but it’s sort of ramping up again. I go in spurts and sometimes can sit and read it for a while and other times honestly fall asleep. I really do love Dickens, but sometimes his descriptions are so laborious that it’s just too much. But I do love the character of David and he’s so humorous, which seems strange to me as he is a Dickens character.

Reading People by Anne Bogel – I really loved the first couple chapters of this book and then it started going into all the personality types and I got all confused. I get it, but sometimes it all just bogs down in my head and I just wonder if it’s really worth it for me to understand it? But it is a good book and I thing she does a great job of bringing a whole bunch of information into a concise little volume.

Caddie Woodlawn – the chick and I are reading this one at night. It’s pretty good; rather Little House-ish, but kind of funnier in some ways.

Finished

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration – hands down the best Charlotte Mason-ish book I’ve read yet (besides CM stuff itself). Totally helpful and something that I know I will use and refer to tons. I highly recommend it!

What’s Next

I need to start reading The Hiding Place, as that is our next book club book and I want to start reading Steven King’s memoir on writing. But first I’ve got to finish this darn encyclopedia.

Reading: February 2018

 

February is typically a super slow month, but it seemed to fly by this year. I think it’s because my kids are getting so much older. Time just flies. It was a great reading month and I actually finished a handful of books. I found myself looking for something to read this week because I wasn’t sure where to go next!

Finished

The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain #1): this was a great and quick read. This series has been on my to-read list for a while to see if it might interest the fantasy loving kids in the house. There were so many similarities between Lord of the Rings and Narnia in this book and I found myself hearing Gollum for Gilgi almost all the time. I couldn’t even get out of my head that Gilgi wasn’t even anything like Gollum – but still. My daughter found the audio version on Libby so she’s excited to start listening to it and hopefully I can gather up the rest of the series to have for our home library.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You: This book was good; very practical. I really think I enjoyed The Shallows more – something about reading what literally happens to your brain when all you do is stare at screens seems to have more of an effect on me! But it’s an easy read and was for one of my book clubs and led us into a great discussion. Honestly I think we could have had multiple discussions about it over the course of months!

Alias Grace: This was my March book for my other book club and I figured out about one-third of the way through that this was the same author of Handmaid’s Tale…which is a book that totally ticks me off. (the ending…argh!!) But I pushed through hoping this one would end better and it did. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I do really love Atwood’s writing style. I’ve started watching the Netflix version and it’s so close to the book! It’s really good.

Uncommon Type: This is a book of short stories by Tom Hanks. I’ve just recently started enjoying short stories – and partially because I’ve told myself that if I don’t like the way the story is going, then I just don’t finish that one and move on. This book was about half and half. There were maybe 3-4 really compelling stories and a few that I didn’t even attempt after the first line and a couple that I tried to push through and didn’t. You could totally hear Tom Hanks reading these, which makes me realize how iconic he really is.

Princess and the Goblin by McDonald
Amazing! I’ve wanted to read this book forever after hearing Tim Keller reference it during a sermon. I don’t often write down lines from children’s books, but this one was full of so many good ones. I need to get my hands on the rest of the books too because I’m eager to know more about Princess Irene and Curdie.

A Touch of the Infinite by Hoyt
This was an excellent resource on ideas for how to teach music in a Charlotte Mason style. The amount of research she put into this book was amazing and found myself taking gobs of notes with the hope that next year as I plan for our composer study and more that I’ll be able to approach it in a manner that will encourage my children to enjoy the music – or at least appreciate it, rather than just bear it.

Currently

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass
This book came out with much fanfare in my Charlotte Mason circles and I went back and forth on whether I needed it or not – but man am I glad I bought it. This is an excellent book and so super helpful. It’s always a win when the book you are reading about an educational “task” actually makes you calmer about it rather than more freaked.

Caddie Woodlawn by Brink
The chick and I are reading this one and so far, so good! My daughter is so much like Caddie that it’s been fun to read and almost every night discover another way that if she were living on the Prairie she would be just like Caddie and getting into all sorts of trouble.

Orthodoxy by Chesterton
I’ve actually set this one aside while I read a different book of essays for Lent, but I started it and it’s challenging for sure. I feel like he’s having a conversation and I’ve missed the first half. But I’ve already found some gems and I do want to keep going.

What’s Next:

I started Station’s Eleven and so far I’m totally hooked. I’m a sucker for a good dystopian book. David Copperfield is our June book and I know I need to start on it soon, so I’m trying to lay out the rest of my reading spring so I can make sure I leave enough time to read that ENORMOUS book! My other book club is going to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I need to re-read that one and we are all going to attend the movie together! Such fun!

Writing: CIA Trend Report

 

I’ve got an article in February’s Craft Industry Alliance Journal. The article was a Trend Report on the art of hand lettering. It is something I wish I had the time and energy to pursue; I love handwriting and I love pens and papers so it seems fitting. But alas, the quilting bug has bit me badly so I’m thinking the hand lettering thing is going to have a sit on the side for a while.

It was the first time I had written an article that involved some research and interviewing and I’m super pleased with how it turned out. I really loved the experience and hope for many more!

Reading: January 2018

(a picture of my living room side table where I read every morning)

 

A new year and a new year of books. I entered January a little bit stressed about the reading plan ahead of me, but I’m feeling pretty good. There are times when my brain can’t seem to remember where I read something – the hazards of too many books going at a time I suppose. January was a great month and so far I’m excited about all the books ahead of me. Here’s where I’m at with them all.

Currently

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
I have been on the waiting list at the library for this book for at least 4 months. It’s a compilation of short stories and I’m about half way through it. I’ve never been a short story reader, but this is my second book of short stories that I’ve read in the past couple of months. I’ve found them to be a great thing to read right before bed. Just enough to calm me down before sleep, but over quick so I’m not tempted to stay up reading beyond. I’ve skipped a couple in this book so far that I wasn’t really getting into and there are a few so far I’ve really enjoyed. You can totally read this and hear Tom Hanks speaking in your ear.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You
This is for our mom’s book club with our co-op this quarter. I haven’t loved this one as much as The Shallows, but it has been good and refreshing to have a more biblical perspective and reminder of what our phones and all this constant access to technology is doing to us not just mentally, but also spiritually. I’m sure it’s going to make a great book club discussion.

The Princess and the Goblin by G. McDonald
Seriously love this book. I can’t believe it’s taken me so many years to finally read it. It’s so, so good.

A Touch of the Infinite: Studies in Music Appreciation with Charlotte Mason by. M.E.Hoyt
This has been amazingly helpful as I figure out how to incorporate music/composer studies into our Morning Times together. I’ve been a super failure when it comes to how to do this well and make it worth anything.

A Wind in the Door by L’Engle
This is the second in the Wrinkle in Time quintet and the chick and I have been reading it aloud at night. It’s beyond bizarre.

Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark
Still a great read – we are enjoying this as our biography for this term.

Finished

Pride and Prejudice by Austen
I hadn’t read this for a million years and it was our February selection for my other book club. Goodness it’s so good. Emma is my all time favorite, but I totally saw similarities between Elizabeth and Emma that made me smile. While Mr. Darcy is totally awesome, Mr. Knightly is still by guy.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by T. Warren
If there was one book I could already highly recommend this year, it would be this one. I think it will almost end up being a yearly re-read, sort of like Humble Roots. It was beyond great and such a super book. I’m almost leaning towards doing a summer book discussion of it this year because I want to discuss it other so much.

Beauty and the Word by S. Caldecott
I’m glad I persevered through this book, there was a lot to glean from it, but there was also a lot that was over my head. It’s probably one that I honestly need to go back and do it’s own post for in order to really process through the things I jotted down as I was reading. This book made me feel smart and dumb all at the same time 🙂

Murder on the Orient Express by Christie
This was for my January book club and a reread for me; although I had totally forgotten the ending so it was a surprise again who did it.

What’s Next

My next book club read is Alias Grace by M. Atwood (which I just realized is a show, so I’m excited to start watching that after I’m done reading) and I’m getting ready to start that one. I’m also going to start Orthodoxy by Chesterton in the morning. I recently purchased Steven King’s book on writing and I was hoping to start that soon, but it might have to wait till this summer when my school pre-reading slows down a bit.