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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirlees

I signed up for Julia's fall book box last year, and received a pretty edition of Lud-in-the-Mist in addition to some fun little treats. I'd read the book before -- it's a lovely fantasy that manages to be very English and very magical at the same time.

The book cover was a pretty pick and green floral design, so pretty I was inspired to stitch it:

I think I'm starting a new series where I replicate different floral book covers; next up is Quartet in Autumn, the Plume paperback edition of which had a striking pattern.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A Flurry of Snowflakes

To finish off the Christmas season.

These are the brick-stitch snowflakes designed by Miyuki for Fusion Beads:

The two on the right I stitched last year, the two on the left this year. There's one more pattern from the Miyuki set, which I turned into holly leaves and berries, and another designed by Fusion Beads for this year, which isn't finished yet but which I'm hoping will look like pine branches and pinecones.

Bead & Button's December issue had a memory wire bracelet with snowflake dangles. I made just the dangles, and turned them into earrings:

Finally, I put some vintage mercury glass beads on a snowflake form:

A couple of the beads are already starting to crack -- they are so fragile! -- so I don't know how long this snowflake will last.

Maybe I'll crochet some snowflakes, too; it's still winter, after all.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Christmas Sampler

This sampler was the ninth of my stitch9challenge, and I finished it on the second to last day of the year. It was by far the most fun to stitch:
The Christmas pudding, and Nativity were inspired by other designs, modified by me to fit the 14x14 stitch squares. The Charlie Brown Christmas tree, regular Christmas tree (made from fly stitches), and winterberry bush were my own design. The cross stitched gift was a Stitchy Box design, the one over one cookies were Brooke's Books designs, and and the blackwork was from ... somewhere. The beaded candy cane was a reject from a pair I made for earrings. I made a beaded snowflake, stitched a woven rose, and embroidered an ornament-shaped piece of felt. Lace, charms, buttons, and a tiny crystal cross round out the squares.

I love inchie samplers, and I'm sure I'll be doing more.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Book Round-Up: Christmas Edition

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas: an easy romance by Kleypas. As with Smooth Talking Stranger, the best part was the depiction of the love between one of the protagonists and the child he adopts.

The Usual Santas: a Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers: The publisher Soho Crime put together an eclectic collection of stories from their mystery and crime authors, which span the globe. Beware the center section of tales -- they are super dark!

Ten Blind Dates by Ashley Elston: to get over a breakup, Sophie lets her large, boisterous family set her up on dates throughout the holidays. It was cute and all, but I think I am too old to be truly engaged by teenagers doing teenage-y things.

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson. Easily the best of the bunch, Winterson's stories and memories are gorgeous and moving; she has a profound understanding of the season. I got this from the library on impulse, and I plan to buy a copy for myself.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Advent Calendar Blog Hop Day 16

Welcome and happy holidays! As ever, I'm glad to participate in Jo's Advent Blog Hop. My stitchy work this year:

This is a sampler of my own design, similar to one I made for Halloween. It's also the last project in the #stitch9challenge on Instagram, and I'm hopeful it will be complete by the end of the year. So far I've stitched some tiny cookies (a Brooke's Books design, slightly modified), the iconic Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and a pretty gift (from a Stitchy Box sampler). The snowman is made of buttons, and I've also sewn on several charms and buttons.

I have a cross stitch ornament planned for my mother, from the most recent Christmas Ornaments issue, but I've barely started that one. I did fully finish off two ornaments I stitched last year:

but otherwise, that's it for cross stitching this Christmas. I did a whole lot of it earlier in the year for the Stitch 9 Challenge, so I'm a bit cross-stitched out (shh! don't tell anyone!).

Jo's question this year is about our favorite Christmas film. "Film" precludes my two favorite specials -- A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original cartoon, of course), but that doesn't make it much easier to decide. Other participants have mentioned Elf (so funny and sweet!) and A Muppet Christmas Carol (the best version, in my opinion), so I'll go with The Bishop's Wife. My mom introduced that movie to me, I introduced it to my husband, and now we both watch it on Christmas Eve. It's a lovely story, and funny, and if you haven't seen it yet do try to this year.

Have a peaceful and merry Christmas, and a stitch-filled New Year!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson

I picked up a free copy of The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom, the first in a series of mysteries with a librarian protagonist. And I couldn't finish it -- the petty humiliations the author heaped on the librarian became tiresome, and the dialogue was a slog to get through. So I switched to Amy Meyerson's The Bookshop of Yesterdays, which was much better!

Miranda Brooks inherits a bookshop when her uncle dies, and becomes obsessed with learning the truth behind his estrangement from her family. Despite the disapproval of her mother, the skepticism of the store's manager, and her neglected boyfriend on the other side of the country, she follows the literary clues he left her, a fun narrative device. Much of the mystery hinged on a couple of people not telling Miranda the truth, which initially I found annoying but made sense by the end. Refreshingly, none of the characters were perfect -- although genuinely good people, they all made mistakes and acted selfishly at times, as real people would. This added a sense of seriousness and complexity to the narrative, making it a deeper, more satisfying read. I look forward to Meyerson's next book.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Quilt for a Dear Friend's Baby

After many struggles, my friend had a baby boy this summer. I am thrilled for her and her family, and excited to make something for her son.
The fabric is "Curious Dream" by Angela Pingel for Windham Fabrics, an Alice in Wonderland-themed set that I absolutely adore, along with some of the grey fabric left over from the Minecraft quilt. The pattern is Diary of a Quilter's Easy Lone Star Crib Quilt, which true to the name was super easy. I am steadily improving my quilt basting, and this one has only a couple of tucks on the back 🙄. Using spray-on basting glue seems to be the best method for me. For the quilting I did a simple 3-inch grid, and I'm pleased with the results.

I loved the fabric so much I used some of the scraps to make a log cabin for myself:
For the binding, in an attempt to be frugal, I used some strips I had cut for the baby quilt but didn't use. I may redo it.