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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Christmas Cross Stitch

More partridges! More pear trees!

Stitchyfish's design in the 2018 Ornaments magazine caught my eye right away; I adore the bright colors.

I tried so hard to finish this freebie by Paulette Stewart by the end of Christmas (today), but alas.

I also fully finished the Primitive Needle's Yule Sampler. By moving it from one hoop to a smaller one, heh.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Christmas Crochet

My friend finally wrote up the pattern for the pink pussy hat ornament she crocheted, and I leaped at the chance to make one for myself:

I embellished the Christmas tree I made a couple of years ago:

I crocheted crowns for Three Kings Day (should have done it ages ago):
I plan on reclaiming them soon, so I can save them for next year.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Round-Up: Christmas Edition

 A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis: This was an unusual but fun collection of Christmas stories, involving spirits, aliens, futuristic technology, magic, global blizzards, and androids. There was a certain narrative sameness to many of the stories, specifically a Grinchy attitude towards the unwashed masses who celebrate Christmas the wrong way, but there were some standout stories, too. "In Coppelius's Toyshop" was creepy, "Adaptation" was lovely and touching, "Cat's Paw" was a nice little subversion of the brilliant detective trope, and "Epiphany" was a wonderful meditation on belief and the Second Coming.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz: I was hoping this would be a fun, frothy read, but it was disappointing. The book had barely any connection to Pride and Prejudice other than the names (of course there was none of the satire and social commentary of the original), plot points were so crammed into the narrative that the timeline made no sense, and the adult characters behaved like teenagers. The overall impression was that of a story too hastily written. (For those of you curious about the movie version: Hallmark sanitized the heck out of it, getting rid of the gay couple, the drinking, the kissing, and the character conflicts.)

The Mistletoe Murder and other Stories by P.D. James: James's first four Christmas-themed mysteries, written annually for a newspaper I think, were exactly the kind of cozy, wintry stories I was in the mood for. My only complaint was that they were too short.

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire: Maguire's latest novel purports to be an origin story for Herr Drosselmeier and the Nutcracker, but it was so much more than that. Maguire weaved together 18th century German life, fairy tales and folklore, and even a little Greek mythology into the story of Dirk, a foundling who has a fatal yet magical encounter in a sacred forest. Because of that, or perhaps his childhood or his nature, Dirk grows up caught between two worlds, not quite able to fit in to Bavarian society yet also not quite able to acknowledge the magic that clings to him. Maguire's voice is timeless yet wry, and the result is thoroughly lovely and sad.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Gifts for Others

I already blogged about the Minecraft quilt for Beadboy2.  I also made a scarf for Beadboy1 (crochet, this time; no more knitting for me!):

And a Flash t-shirt for Beadboy3 (which, within an hour of being put on, got covered in blue paint,  hot cocoa, and who knows what else):

It's not Christmas if I don't stitch something for my mom:
The pattern is from Better Homes & Gardens's Christmas Quilts & More. I simplified the design somewhat, used several colors of thread, and trimmed the dishcloth in a holly print fabric.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2018


Beadboy2 knows it's coming, but I hope he enjoys it.

As with Beadboy1's quilt, it was quilted by Susan Woods of Valentine Quiltworks, and again she did a fabulous job.

Two done, one to go! But I kind of want to take a break from such massive projects.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Advent Blog Hop Day 19

Greetings, blog-hoppers! It's time for Jo's annual Advent Blog Hop.

As is usual for this time of year, I'm focused on finishing some handcrafted gifts, so I haven't had as much time to stitch. I did finish a pillow, using Jedi Craft Girl's adaptable "I Love Cats" pattern:
My quilting is not great, probably because I didn't use a hoop (the small size of the project and the decision to use perle cotton size 5 tricked me into thinking it wouldn't be necessary).

I also made a couple of felt ornaments by Betz White. A Christmas pie (kind of liked what I baked for Thanksgiving!):

A festive llama, using DMC's new, sparkly Mouliné Étoile threads which I received as a birthday present:

I have done a bit of cross stitching, specifically StitchyFish Design's "Partridge in a Pear Tree" pattern from the 2018 Christmas Ornaments:
 It's working up quickly, and I hope to finish it after the 25th.

Jo asked us to pick a favorite holiday song, and hoo boy is that tough. So I'm picking three!

One of my favorite religious songs:

One of my favorite secular songs:

One of my favorite Puerto Rican songs:

I hope you all have a lovely, peaceful holiday!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Book Round-Up

Hooked on Murder by Betty Hechtman: I'm annoyed I spent money on this, rather than getting it from the library; it really wasn't very good. It's the first in yet another series of crafty cozy mysteries, this time centered around crochet. The mystery itself was fine, but the characters were terrible. I think the author was going for "flawed and relatable," but really they were just selfish, petty, and materialistic.

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link: her latest story collection, most of which have been published before. Link is one of my absolute favorite writers, and this did not disappoint. Her stories cover everything from space ships to superheroes to elves to futuristic technology, but linking (ha) all of them is the humanity of the characters. Whether you are in a pocket universe or a magical house, love, loss, pain, loneliness, and yearning are always there.

Possession by A.S. Byatt: Every time I read this book I find something new to focus on. This time around it's the use of color and Byatt's insight into people, and all the various ways we try to possess one another (get it?). This is one of the most intelligent, romantic, fascinating books I've ever read, and I can't get enough of it.