Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Day Michaels Almost Lost Me As A Customer

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Just kidding.

But still.

Oh, Michaels.

Just no.

For those of you who have no idea what's going on in the above screenshot, let me explain.  I was browsing the virtual aisles of  Michael's new fabric inventory (Hancock's isn't gone folks!).  I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of moderately inexpensive Disney cotton wovens when I saw the "Star Wars" category tag.  Of course, I simply had to see what they stocked, so I clicked on it.  There was one lone fabric on the page.  A Star Trek fabric.  Trek.  Not Wars.  Sigh.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Library Bag #6

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Graphic including books, dragon, castle, frog, the earth, and more.

We read.  We read a lot.  I haven't done one of these Our Library Bag posts in a while, but it is time for another! As of this moment I have 77 books, and one DVD, checked out on my library card.  Here's a sampling of what is in our bag this week!

100 Cupboards Book Cover

100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson
This is one of current read alouds.  I'm not sure who's enjoying this book more, Catherine or me.  Mysterious.  Intriguing.  Engaging.  It's really well written and I'm absolutely loving it.

Since I am enjoying this book so much I decided that it would be the focus of my questions for the "What Are You Reading Wednesday" link up.

Why did you decide to pick up this book - cover or content?  Well, I'm going to be un-original here.  Remember last week, when I said I was reading The False Prince based on a Read Aloud Revival recommendation?  Well . . . this was another one of Sarah's picks.  I suppose that means content?

Who is your favorite character so far, and why?  I'm going for the obvious answer here, Henry.  At this point, it is his story and everyone else just isn't fleshed out enough.  (Uncle Frank gives me some pause though, he seems like he's a lot deeper than we might expect.  I'm really hoping to see that developed!)  However, Catherine says that Henrietta is her favorite because she's a girl and in on the action.

Will you finish this one?  Of course.  And judging from what we've read so far, we will also pick up the rest of the series.

Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of... Right now?  I am seeing echoes of Narnia: the mystery behind closed doors.

What type of read is this one? A great read aloud!

The False Prince Book Cover

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Such a great read.  I really enjoyed this one.  I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! (This is the book I mentioned in WIPS: Yarn and Books.)  I have a feeling this series will get a blog post all of its own once I'm finished!

17th Suspect Book Cover

17th Suspect by James Patterson
Well, there's not much to say here.  It's the next book in a long line of unoriginal-just-barely-interesting enough crime mysteries.  But for some reason I keep picking them up.  I liken these books to the multitude of CSI: Name Your City available on TV these days: mildly entertaining and easily accessible.  There's also the fact that these are page turners.  I mean, quite literally, page turners.  With huge margins, extremely short chapters, and generous spacing there are barely any words on a page!

Talking As Fast As I Can book cover

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
What can I say?  I'm a Gilmore Girls fan.  Haven't finished it yet . . . however, thus far the overall feel of the book is exactly as it should be, or at least what I want as a GG fan girl.  It just feels like Lorelai.

A young boy, wearing a red shirt with dinosaurs, is reading a picture book called Dick and Jane.

The Ultimate Dick and Jane Storybook Collection
Dominic has enthusiastically been reading this book aloud to anyone who will listen for the past week or two.  He has read every page on his own.  I'm so proud of him!

A baby is crawling among a variety of books, including Optical Physics for Babies, Quantum Entanglement for Babies, Rocket Science for Babies, Newtonian Physics for Babies, and General Relativity for Babies.

General Relativity for Babies (etc.) by Chris Ferrie
When I stumbled across the books, not just this one, but ALL of them, quite by accident, at the library I was super excited.  I don't generally borrow board books from the library but these quickly made their way into my bag.  (Although, they seem brand new, we might be the first people to check them out.) In a nutshell, they are totally awesome.  I highly recommend them!

A girl with a wide grin is holding two books: Lea Dives In and Mr. Popper's Penguins.

Lea Dives In by Lisa Yee
Catherine wanted to include this book as a notable read for this week.  She really enjoyed it.  I knew she did, since it was started and finished in less than 24 hours.

Mr. Popper's Penguins Richard Atwater
Technically, this isn't a library bag book.  I picked this up (for FREE!) from a homeschool curriculum swap.  It's a hilarious classic and I'm happy to add it to our shelves.  And again, Catherine devoured it.  I loved that she would read the amusing bits aloud to the family.

I think that's enough for now!  I hope that you find some time to cuddle up with a good book this week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WIPS: Yarn and Books

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What's a WIP?  It's short for "Work in Progress".  It is frequently used in the knitting and crochet world to refer to an unfinished project.

I'm knitting a crescent shawl.  It's a delightfully mindless knit.  I mean this in a good way.  Sometimes I just want to create and yet have no little grey cells to dedicate to the project.  (Yep, that's a Poirot reference.)  I'll share the super simple pattern once I'm finished.

Of course, there are more than a few other works in progress languishing in my craft room.  My Dragon Blanket is getting so close to the end, but I put it away for a while to focus on some "quick and done" projects.  As for finished projects, I did crochet a backpack and knit a hat.

I got a little ambitious at the library this week.  We shall see how many of the 17 books that are checked out for me will be finished before they're due.  (The kids are set for the week too, I have 73 items checked out right now . . .)  The Baby is at that stage where he wants to eat my books and becomes singularly focused on that task, making reading slightly more difficult than normal.

I am currently reading The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen.

I'm going to link up over at Marissa Writes, so here are the required questions and answers!

Why did you decide to pick up this book? 

Because it was recommended by Sarah of Read Aloud Revival.  I'm a sucker for good YA lit and I've enjoyed about 95% of the books that she has recommended in the past . . . I figured chances were good that I'd enjoy this book.

Who is your favorite character so far, and why?

Sage is the obvious choice.  He's scrappy, honest in his own way, and while completely imperfect you can't quite help but cheer for him.

Will you finish this one?


Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of . . . 

Well, at this point it reminds me of The Thief; however, I'm enjoying this book quite a bit more than that book.  (I struggled a little to really get immersed in The Thief.)

What type of read is this one?

If I didn't have responsibilities I think this is the type of book I would read cover to cover in a day.  Alas, I do have responsibilities (and I'm quite thankful for them!), so it's taking a little longer.  It is an enjoyable read.  At my library it's shelved with the juvenile fiction, but it doesn't feel childish.

Speaking of responsibilities, that's all for now, folks!  How about you, what are you reading or creating right now?

You can find where I link up here

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sale on The Read Aloud Family (Time Sensitive)

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The Read-Aloud Family is on sale this weekend! The Kindle version is $2.99, regular price is $16.99. 

I've been a big fan of the author, Sarah Mackenzie, since the first time I stumbled upon her blog, Read Aloud Revival.  Reading is a way of life in our house.  We've personally loved her book lists, her podcasts, and her author interviews so while I haven't read this book . . . yet . . . I can only imagine that it will be filled with good things. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Watermelon Hat: A Free Knitting Pattern

I received the yarn for this project in exchange for my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something after clicking on one of these links I might receive a small commission. This is no way affects the price that you pay.

A girl is wearing a pink, green, and white hat with black beads.

This gorgeous yarn is from Love Knitting.  This fun Watermelon Hat was knitted using MillaMia Naturally Soft Aran in Shocking Pink and Emerald Green.  This yarn is so soft and squishy!  It's such a fun cozy yarn.  Each ball has 87 delicious yards of yarn.  It can be machine washed, but don't put it in the dryer, it needs to dry flat!  There is lovely stitch definition and it was a pleasure to knit.  I'd absolutely love to work with it again!

(I must say though, that while I loved knitting the yarn, trying to get a good picture of the pink, was, well, shockingly difficult!)

This is a close up shot of the hat brim.  The watermelon theme is carried out with the use of color.

The Free Knitting Pattern

Begin knitting this hat with size 5.5 circular knitting needles.  I knit the entire hat on circular needles using the magic loop technique.

With GREEN yarn. 
Cast on 80.  Join, being super careful not to twist.  I used the crochet hook cast on method, I really like the look and I'm super comfortable with a crochet hook!

Work a rib knit for about one inch, I had six rows.  I used a K1P1 rib knit, but you could use a K2P2 rib knit, whichever you prefer.

With white yarn.

Knit around.

Switch to size 6 circular knitting needles.

With Pink Yarn

Before knitting with the pink yarn you must add your "seeds".  When choosing your beads be sure that they will easily string onto the yarn.  I used some black beads, very much like these beads, from my craft hoard.  Use my yarn threading tip to make it easier and then thread on about 100 beads.  You will need to continually push the beads down towards the ball of yarn while you're knitting.  If you find this tiresome you could sew the beads on individually after you've finished knitting.  I randomly allowed the beads to be worked in.

Knit around.  Continue until hat reaches about four and a half inches high.  For reference, I knit 21 rows in pink before my first decrease row.

Round 1: *Knit 20 Stitches. Place stitch marker* four times around to end of round.
Round 2: *K1, K2tog, Knit to two stitches before next marker, SSK* four times around.
Repeat round 2 until there are 16 stitches remaining.
Round 3: K2tog around.
Break yarn and weave it through the remaining 8 stitches.  Finish off!


A note about the sizing of this hat.  My lovely daughter modeled this hat for me.  As you can see it fits her comfortably with just a slight amount of slouch.  The hat also fits me quite well.  Her head circumference is about 21 inches and mine is 22 inches.  

A smiling girl is wearing a knitted watermelon hat.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Handmade Hat: Jack and Jill Hat with Hearts

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I really like hats.  When I came across the Jack and Jill Hat by Izzy & Ivy Designs I knew I'd love it.  This pattern comes with a huge variety of sizes -- baby to adult.  The size range is a huge deal to me, because I just know that I am going to make a hat or two for myself!

For this hat, I started with a fat quarter of the cheerful hearts fabric and simply picked coordinating fabrics from my stash.  I think it turned out quite nicely!  It's so bright and cheery!

Sadly, it looks like the pattern might be retired, as I can't find it in the Izzy & Ivy Designs Etsy Shop.  It can be purchased from Whimsical Fabrics, which is where I bought my copy.  The shop owner at Whimsical Fabrics gives amazing customer service.  (I also found a listing in Etsy by another third party.  This one is a little cheaper, but I have no personal experience with the seller.)

Overall, I found the directions to be clear for this Jack and Jill hat.  I did read through them twice in their entirety before beginning.  For some reason I was nervous to start this project.  However, once I decided to just do it I had no problems.  This hat took me about an hour and a half from start to finish, and that  includes the time it took to trace the pattern pieces.  (I should note that I left out the elastic in the back on this particular hat -- it just wasn't necessary this time.)

I see many more of these hats in my future! 

Below are some of the bucket hats that I've sewn.