Knitted & Read

My Green Thumb mitts are done!
I feel like I haven’t finished a knit (with the exception of Frida’s Heart) in forever!!

Feels fantastic!

Untitled

Untitled

The yarn is Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch DK. I have a whole skein in brown that I will never, ever, knit. If you want it, holla!

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

I’m working on Hetty in these photos. It’s coming along so well. Maybe there is something to swatching after all.

Untitled

This is the upper back, nearly complete. After a couple false starts, last night and some ballet class knitting, today. It’s a miracle I got any done at all, as I am absolutely engrossed in a new book series:

The Monstrumologist.

I’m reading book #2 (The Curse of the Wendigo) which I walked clear across Brooklyn to borrow from the library. I couldn’t possibly wait for it to come in on hold, I was nearly done with the first one. There was a tense moment when I couldn’t find it on the shelf….luckily, I didn’t panic and asked the librarian to confirm its location. It was with the SciFi books (not YA, even though it’s a “kids” book).

Close call.

My feet still haven’t forgiven me for that walk, though.

Book It: OCD, the Dude & Me

OCD-the-Dude-and-MeI think I’ve made it pretty clear, here. I like books.

NO!

I LOVE BOOKS!!

I’ve always loved books and escaping into them. I love to judge them by their covers and stand in the aisle at a bookstore or library and read the first few lines to see if I’m captured. If I’m taken away by that first thought, feeling or action.

So, it’s a bit unusual that my career as a librarian has, thus far, involved very little contact with books. I could bore you to death with chat about how the role of libraries, and therefore librarians, has changed. But I mostly want to talk about the book in the post title.

OCD, the Dude & Me is told in one of my favorite formats: diary style. I loved it while reading Bridget Jones and Georgia Nicholson and Adrian Mole and this work makes it extra special by including essays, letters and emails. Veerry Cool!

The story centers around Danielle, who, it will come as no shock (I mean, it’s in the title), suffers from OCD.  Learning about disorders and the way the mind works absolutely fascinates me, but that is not really what this book is about. It’s about the life of a troubled girl, her daily struggles to get shit right and her slow transformation back into the person she once was. It’s equal parts sad and heartbreaking and funny and real.

It’s a beautifully unique coming of age tale with a Dude based story line. How could I NOT love that?!?!

I won’t ruin the plot (HATE THAT) but I will tell you that Danielle learns to “abide” and thrive and feel hope where there was once none. If you like YA books, grab this one (from your local library. GO GET A CARD!) and read it on the train so you can snort and get dirty looks from your fellow strap hangers :D

Also, watch this awesome celebration of ladies who like to read!!

Thanks for sharing this vid with me, Mari!!

Dolman Love, Story Love

I made this top on New Years eve. I think….this is why it’s important to blog promptly, or you’ll have forgotten all of your on the fly “mods”, misplaced the pattern notes you jotted down on the back of an envelope (my favorite doodling place) and forget when you actually made something. Which, as a sewing blogger, is clearly unacceptable. :P

Dolman Love

Handmade Top :: Cation Designs (free) Pattern
Jeans :: Forever21
Boots :: Anne Klein
Bangles :: My grandma’s
Necklace :: From my Sissy

Dolman Love

Dolman Love

This pattern is perfect. The top is DEAD comfy AND it has stripes. My favorite.

Dolman Love

I love how the size and color vary across the fabric. I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of rayon blend. Definitely little, to no cotton content, very stretchy and cozy.

In other words, perfect.

Dolman Love

And this dolman ease is perfect, too. Not too baggy in the armpit area and my narrow upper body is not swallowed up by extra fabric.  I’m too lazy to get the pattern out, but I’m fairly certain that I stuck close to my Lydia mods. The back is cut smaller than the front and the side seams  taper out to go over my hips instead of going straight down so that it sits on top of my hips. I have a ton of this fabric, it was a good 60 inches wide and I think I ordered three yards of it with a Drape Drape dress in mind. I’m so glad I went with something more wearable, instead.

This was a work outfit, of sorts. I volunteer at StoryCorps once a month and today was my January date. I missed out on a volunteer gathering (fucking migraines) in Decemeber so I hadn’t been by the office for a bit. Apparently the volunteers were given a gift.

A copy of this book:

It is SO beautiful! Though I enjoy listening to people speaking their stories out loud, I will always, always connect to the written word more. Essentially making this book perfect for a sap like me, lol.

Now, I think I mentioned how I BAWLED at my volunteer training. Well, it was this love story that did me in:

It was terribly embarrassing to cry in a room full of strangers. But, I did warn them that there was a chance it could happen after the first emotional story we listened to. But I was not prepared for my reaction to Annie and Danny’s amazing love for one another. They inspired this pin board and a really amazing heart-to-heart with my husband.

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 9.04.07 PM

I feel so fortunate to have a chance to work with the StoryCorps staff and assist in preserving the amazing oral histories they record!

Some about laughs, some about love, some about loss,
and most of them a combination of all three.

In the Club

Book club, that is.

As I seem incapable of NOT joining in with things lately, I thought,
why not add books to the list!?!?

Clutch Mag's Reading Challenge

Clutch, an online magazine that I read daily, asked their twitter followers for their “must reads”. Before long, the list morphed into an online book club/reading challenge!

Before the day was out, I’d joined the Goodreads group formed to house the virtual discussions and away we went with choosing the first title. Well, I should say titles. We decided to offer choices. This time we have a non-fiction and fiction work to chose from.

I went with non-fiction.

Silver Sparrow

That same day, I got an invite from another group of book lovers over on The Indie Chicks. Which I joined, of course, because I can’t NOT join in, lately. Lol

Indie Chicks Book Club

I have to say, so far, so good. I was able to download the ebook version of Silver Sparrow, from the newly revamped Brooklyn Public Library catalog, within minutes. You can’t really beat that! I read through the first chapters before leaving my chair. Always a good sign!

Alright people, I’ve had a seriously long week! I went into the library for a training session today, and tomorrow I’ll be out early with the kiddies to see some college basketball. They are VERY excited. I plan to get into bed the moment I return home and stay there until Sunday morning. Look for sewing progress then.

Gertie’s New Book for Making me Eat my Words

Hello, friends. It may or may not come as a shock to know that sometimes….
I am wrong.
I know, I know. This is a troubling revelation. :o
Let’s just skip right over all the ways I can be wrong in my “real” life and get right to the sewing related ones, shall we?

The thing that’s currently making me eat my words is this:

I decided, sight unseen, that I absolutely did NOT need this book. I don’t like hand sewing. I’m too cheap to invest in most Garment District fabrics. I like get-in-and-get-er-done type sewing. Keep your pad stitching and bound buttonholes. PLEASE.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

But, it took exactly one paging through of this book to make me do a complete 180. The content is not so very different from Gertie’s blog. In fact, the content is exactly the same. Though I always click through to her to read her posts, and have meet her in person on two occasions and found her perfectly amiable (I’ve been reading Austen themed books again, sorry) I am not a frequent commenter and had not been inspired to take weeks rather than hours to make a garment.

Is it the magic of book form that caused this alteration in my point of view??? As I’ve said before, as recently as my last post even, I LOVE BOOKS. I should amend that to say that I love the printed (or digital, I love my Nook) word.I promised myself that I would fall back on my purchases, though.

Until I started reading glowing reviews of the book and considered breaking that (very weak) promise. My husband didn’t help when we stopped by B&N. I was disappointed that they didn’t have it in yet and said that I probably didn’t need it anyway, to which he responded “Why not?? You like to sew and you like books.” I said “But I have a lot of books with the same info already.” He said “Yeah, but sometimes it’s helpful to read the same thing a lot of different ways.”

To buy or not to buy something is truly always that simple with him. Me: Do I really need more shoes??? Him: Why not? You like shoes and it’s not like one more pair will put us on the street. It’s hard to argue with that logic when you WANT the thing anyway, lol

This dress, and the inclusion of a much coveted blouse she made, didn’t hurt either.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

Truthfully, some of my hesitation was related to what Devra mentions here. While I have not invested in the classes and private teaching some seamstresses have, I do know that Gertie has. I even met one such private teacher, Sharon Butler, in person. I would love to see her, and others behind the scenes, have the kind of opportunities that some less experienced bloggers have had. That doesn’t take away from the joy I feel in watching women succeed at their chosen career and their opportunity to work and live on their own terms. I’m delighted by that. I do wish that the love was shared around more evenly.

Having said all of that, I do heartily recommend this book. It’s one of the few craft books in my collection that I read through, like a novel, from the intro. I’m usually a flip through kind of reader with how-to type periodicals, but this one had a writing style that grabbed me and held me.

Overall, it’s a great book to add to your collection, whether you vote yes and no to horse hair braid!

Sweet Book Hangover

In a protest against boring textbook reading, I thrust all library science related texts to one side and did some REAL reading. During a library visit with the kiddies I spotted two books that I had previously placed on hold and never made it the branch to pick up:

Two powerful stories that could not possibly be more different from each other.

The Night Circus is very difficult to sum up. Calling it a love story seems ludicrous when the story contains so much more. But, saying that it is about magic without mentioning love seems dishonest and misleading. Little Bee is also a sort of love story. Though giving a potential reader that information alone would lead them to a great shock. Both stories are equally about loss, hopelessness and hope.

I read into the small hours with both books, which led to that hangover like feeling each morning. I couldn’t help it. I absolutely craved to know what would happen next. The writing in both stories, though very (very) different in each, is so very beautiful. Descriptive but not unnecessarily so. Musical while staying true to the story each one is striving to tell. Emotional. Clear. And unique, too.

I have to say that both began strong but seemed to lose me a bit towards the end. Maybe I was expecting too much after becoming so emotionally invested in (and damn curious about) the outcomes. I am planning to reread them both. Which is my favorite thing to do when a book challenges me or makes me fall in love with it. I prefer to know very little about a book before I read, so I will not give true summaries here in case any of you feel the same. I do heartily recommend them both.

The Night Circus to escape this world and Little Bee to wake up to it.

Have you read anything good lately? Have you read either of these beauties?

Where the Sidewalk Ends

I’m still trying to find my equilibrium after this weekend’s party. I really underestimated my dislike planning and paying for these kinds of events. I felt irrationally annoyed after it was all said and done. Because I was doing so much running around, I don’t have any nice pics either. None of the kids all together, none of my hubby and I with them. I baked two cakes that I would love to have shown you all, too.

C’est la vie.

I spent nearly all day yesterday cleaning up the mess I had let accumulate the last couple of weeks. The kiddies were a big help. Just my sewing room left and the place will be back to normalish. Pics like this one below, taken earlier, and trips to the library (we got back in a while ago) are the kind of thing I need in abundance to get back to feeling like myself.

Where The Sidewalk Ends

It’s my oldest son reading my copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends. I know that I’ve mentioned my love for Shel Silverstein on this blog before. In fact, my stats tell me that’s how many of my visitors find it. This was given to me at my 6th grade graduation for (co)winning a reading  contest to finish the most books by the end of the year.

Here’s what the principal wrote on the inside.
Note from my principal

I am beyond tickled that my son has taken a liking to my Mr. Silverstein! I see another copy added to our home library in the future. The kids were successful at the public library, too. Another Keven Henkes came home with us. The only unread adventure of Mouse and Mole was discovered. A new one in the American Girl series was started at the library. And the boy twin was quite picky today, but ultimately left with suitable dinosaur AND robot books. Super score!

Spring Break is Grinding to a Halt

And I haz a sad :(

I’ve really enjoyed this time off from thinking about school, well, I thought about it after I unexpectedly received a call about interning this summer. I had begun an application for federal internships after getting an email about them from school, but I didn’t complete it once I realized I would probably have to relocate to DC for the summer in order to accept one. I thought nothing else of it, until someone from the organization left me a voicemail about my incomplete app and asked me to call back because they were very interested in working with me.

After I dug around the net to locate the organization, and found out that the NY branch of the office they offered me a position in would not be utilizing interns this year, I called back and left a message  declining the offer. They called again and asked if I was sure that coming to DC wasn’t an option. Nice! While I am disappointed that I cannot take the position, it was extremely gratifying to be sought after. Hopefully, I can take advantage their future NY offers.

What else have I done…..I read a ton (An Available Man and too many Jane Austen retellings to mention) and watched some of my fave movies.

I also went on a class trip with the twins. We saw a puppet show version of Puss in Boots at Puppetworks in Park Slope. The show was excellent!!

Every time I see a marionette up close, I wonder about its construction. I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head, so I will refrain from investigating too much LOL!

  Right now, I’m reading

(a re-telling of Jane Eyre), working on my Mad Men themed projects for next week (No input from hubby this time, but he’s looking forward to supervising my photo shoot, lol. My Luck of the Concrete Jungle Dress was a big hit over there! It is so nice to read the sweet comments from the other members. My Frida projects were very well received, too!)

and trying to go through my magazines and rip out the inspiring things within. My sewing room looks like a clutter bomb blew up in it, so, along with gearing up for a return to schoolwork, I will spend part of tomorrow clearing the floor in this place.

What’s your Sunday looking like?

Librarian Hat On

Friends, I have already broken my “no personal reading when assigned reading is to be done” rule. I don’t know why I bother trying to limit myself. I love books and reading too much to ever stick to it.

Instead of trying to catch up on sleep last night, I was reading. I found this on a trip to the library with the kiddies. My oldest son loves the Mouse and Mole series and the branch had the rest of the books available. I will have to buy these for him, as he is already dreading taking them back.

Anyway, we were waiting for someone to finish in the restroom, which is right by the YA section. I picked up The 39 Clues Book One: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan* who also wrote the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This book was right near it. The title and unique cover drew me in. I’m so glad I checked it out.

A Drowned Maidens Hair

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A feisty orphan is taken in by a household of mysterious ladies in this intriguing, engaging novel.

Maud Flynn is known at the orphanage for her impertinence, so when the charming Miss Hyacinth and her sister choose Maud to take home with them, the girl is as baffled as anyone. As the mystery gradually unfolds, Maud’s intelligence and daring join forces with her compassion and conscience to help her find her way in this lively, atmospheric gothic tale.

Maud will win you over! Don’t read a more thorough description of the book as it will spoil the plot entirely! If you have a soft spot for YA books and orphans who are lovable despite being sarcastic and plain, just trust me and read this book.

* I really respect and admire Mr. Riordan for both his rapid output and the vast amount of research that must go into creating them. From reading his personal blog, he also seems like an incredibly kind person.