Posted in in the craft room, in the reading room, on the screen, these days

these days…

When I perused today’s to-do list earlier this morning, I found that I’d put “blog post” on there for today. I think I’d hoped to be ready to write an RIP post, but while I’ve watched several things I haven’t yet finished another RIP book. So as I was throwing together the ingredients for a second loaf of bread for tonight’s supper, I was debating with myself whether I should just skip blogging for today. Trouble was I was so busy arguing with myself that I forgot to pay attention to how many cups of flour I was putting in the bread machine pan. *sigh* If I had to say, I’m guessing there’s about a 50/50 chance this loaf will come out edible. Seems that after possibly bungling up tonight’s grilled cheese due to my scatterbrainedness and lack of simple decision-making skills, I really ought to just blog and have something to show for it.

So, what’s been going on in my mundane little life…



I’m still working on The Secret History. Since I’ve been reading it for a couple weeks now, it might seem that I’m not terribly enthralled by it, but I assure you that’s not the case. It’s just that 1.) I’ve been reading other books for homeschooling, 2.) it’s a slow, meandering sort of read, 3.) it’s a fairly long book, and 4.) I’m just a pathetically slow reader.

In the meantime, I finished a reread of one non-fiction comic and read two novels. Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn’t Work) in Words and Pictures by Michael Goodwin and Dan E. Burr is chock-full of so much excellent information that I just knew that I wanted to use it as our introductory book for our economics class. It was every bit as good the second time around, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, whether you’re interested in economics or not.

Next up was The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. We’re using a sci-fi course from The Great Courses for our English requirement this year, and thus far (only a few lectures in), I’m pleased with it. The lectures are more broad than deep, but that works quite well for us, as I tend to love for us to go off exploring on our own. While the number of works the lecturer talks about are still skewed towards white male authors, I worried it would be far worse than it is. In the last lecture I listened to, he spoke of works by Connie Willis, Octavia Butler, Nicola Griffith, and Jane Yolen. And it was obvious that he spoke of works he truly enjoyed, and wasn’t just doing so to avoid criticism. I loved the way he also matter-of-factly included a children’s book in the lecture. Hmmm…seems like I’ve gone on a bit about this course, but I can’t tell you how relieved I’ve been as sci-fi seems to include so many sexist fans in its ranks. Let’s just hope the rest of the lecture series doesn’t let me down. And back to The Devil’s Arithmetic, well I’ll suffice it to say that I thought this middle grade novel about the Holocaust was excellent.

But the book that I most loved was Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Passionately loved. As in it’s moved to my list of all-time favorite books. To me it shines as an example of how fiction can make us feel and understand things in a way non-fiction often can’t. And this is not a criticism of non-fiction, of course. I adore non-fiction. But the way Octavia Butler made the reality of slavery so very palpable was just extraordinary. This is simply one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.



I’ve worked a bit here and there on a number of projects the past couple of weeks, but the one I’ve focused most on is a sweater for Annie. And I’m happy to say that I’m close enough to finished that I feel confident in saying that it will make it under the Christmas tree this very year. 😉  I just have to finish the second sleeve (and if there’s enough yarn left, I may add a few rows on the body).



Actually watched quite a lot lately. It goes along with Christmas gift making, after all. 😊 And I suppose they all qualify as RIP-appropriate. After reading Natalie’s review of Don’t Bother to Knock, I knew I just had to watch it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I seldom watch older movies, not because I don’t like them, but more because I just don’t know which to watch. So I was happy to have read Natalie’s review, and instead of saying anything more, I’ll just suggest you read her post.

Finished up Quantico, which I watched because Max told me I might like it. And I sort of did, but I didn’t love it. I sincerely doubt I’ll watch season 2. There were things I enjoyed a lot, such as the diverse female cast (though diversity among the male cast was more lacking) and the exploration of how people deal with feelings of personal guilt (though I would have loved for this to have been explored deeper). But there were also things that I didn’t enjoy so much, but I don’t want to be spoiler-y so I’ll just leave it at that.

Rich and I watched the first season of Between, and started the second season…but then we both sort of simultaneously voiced our opinions that life is far to short to watch TV shows we’re not enjoying. It’s sort of Lord of the Flies meets Under the Dome, with not-so-great acting (though I honestly know nothing about acting, so take my comment for what it’s worth) and plot points that are so unbelievable that they’re downright laughable. On the surface, it sounded like a show I would have loved…but well, you can’t win them all, can you?

And lastly (I think anyway), I watched Marcella. I really loved this show. I found Marcella a completely fascinating character. Her complexity in some ways reminded me of Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder. Not that Marcella and Annalise have a ton in common, but more just the fact that we’re getting to see these characters as full-fledged human beings who don’t always fit that constricted little box that women are nearly always banished to if they want to found “likable.”

Okay, well, I thought I might talk about what was going on in my kitchen lately (not all that much exciting really) and in the organizing realm, but I feel like I’ve blathered on for long enough. More than long enough to check this off today’s to-do list.

(Edited: The bread? Completely inedible.)

Posted in in the craft room, thru the lens

a week in the life, day one…

witlI honestly had no intention of starting to put together my album until the week was over. But it was one “how about I just print those couple of pictures” here, and one “I should just type that bit of journaling” there, and before I knew it, I had half the day done and couldn’t resist just finishing it up. It’s unlikely I’ll keep this up through the week, but I’ll just share my days as I do finish them. (And hopefully I’ll be able to capture better pictures on future days; my usual glare-free spot for photographing just wasn’t so glare-free today.)

Nothing fancy. Nothing clever. Nothing new. Just some tidbits from our life. Tidbits that we’ll love looking at in the years to come.

I am so very grateful that I bought the kit from Ali’s shop. This is something I don’t usually do because I just can’t afford to, but I decided to splurge and spend my birthday money. So. Glad. I. Did. Talk about simplifying the process.

I haven’t done anything with the cover of the album yet or made a title page, but here are my day one pages:


Have always loved the look of enlarged photos in people’s albums, but rarely do it myself. And the day of the week letters in the kit are pretty much perfect for layering on top. I’ve decided to use these little day of the week stamps to sprinkle throughout for continuity. They’re another Ali product, but not from the kit. On the facing page, I’m capturing our morning routines. Each day of the week is similar in many ways, but also differ a bit depending on the day of the week. (There probably won’t be as much journaling here on future days, as I’ll likely just talk about what makes the morning routine different.)


I don’t plan to do an entire page on what we eat for each day, but I thought it good to include at least once. Not so much to show what we ate, but to show how very scattered our lives are many nights at this particular phase of life. The kit contains 7 of these cards–I just covered the days of the week up with a dymo label, which fit just perfectly, and added the journaling from the computer. Next comes the day divider (which came free when preordering the kit by a certain date). The only thing I added to the front side of it was another stamped Monday bit just for a spot of color.


On the back side of the divider, which is plain chipboard, I hope to attach a piece of “stuff” from each day. For Monday, that was a piece of the science test I made that morning, and Gray took that afternoon. On top I added the cute “hello Monday” chipboard piece that came with the kit. Then just a couple of pictures. I’m hoping to add a picture of everyday household chores to each day.


Included in the kit were 7 4×6 cards labeled “story of today,” and I decided to cover the today with another of the day-of-the-week stamps. And then have everyone tell me a mini story of their day. So simple, certainly nothing profound, but it may end up being my favorite part of the album–this little collection of tidbits. The chipboard stars are another Ali product, I think from one of her story kits, but I can’t remember for sure. The facing page is a half page, which I cut down from a larger page protector. (I’m sure you can buy them this way, but I already had plenty of the four-pocket ones, so I used them.) I hope to capture a screen shot of the weather forecast each day.


And finally, on the back side of the half-page, a record of my reading for the day (because this is Bout of Books 16). And then ending the day with another enlarged photo. The embellishments are both from the kit.

In a sense, this is a really hard project; it takes dedication for sure. But wow, already I can tell it’s worth it. Yep, Ali Edwards is still a goddess in my book.

Posted in in the craft room, in the reading room

good stuff a-comin’…

Next week holds a double-whammy of fun, week-long events that I’m very much looking forward to.

Bout of Books 16 begins Monday.

bout of booksThe official blurb:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’ve participated a few times in the past, but let’s just say my accomplishments have always been less than stellar. That’s okay, I’ve always had fun nonetheless. And because of that fact, I’m going to participate again.

As for goals, I would love to:

  1. Catch up entirely on my homeschool prep reading. (At this point that would be finishing 5 books, two of which I have started and maybe, just maybe, can finish up before Monday arrives.)
  2. Finish 3 books from my Smash Your Stack pile.

LOL–so even if I do finish those two books before Monday, that leaves me with a goal of reading 6 books next week. Yeah, dream on, Debra Anne.


Ali Edwards Week in the Life also begins Monday.


A memory-keeping project that Ali has been doing since 2005, and one that I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t have a good track record with these sorts of memory-keeping projects however, and I’m already desperately afraid that I’m going to fail. Yeah, I know, not a good attitude to start with. But I swear I am utterly determined to give it my best shot! I’ve already done a bit of prep work and hope to do a bit more over the weekend.


So yeah, I figure despite my level of “success” on either project, next week should prove to be quite the enjoyable one.

Posted in in the craft room, on the giving front

items of a crafty nature…

45. Make 100 gifts for friends.


My dear friend Eva’s birthday is in April, and I made this cross-stitch butterfly as part of her gift this year. It reminds me of her for its nod to nature and for the light teal colors (which aren’t showing up quite true in this photo). I so very much hope she likes it!


One of these bookmarks is also part of her birthday gift, wrapped around a bookish gift certificate. I made these bookmarks from the leftovers of the fabric I made to make Mom’s tote ( below).



46. Make 100 gifts for family.


I started making this tote for Mom last year. It took far longer than I’d imagined it would, but I suppose that’s because fibro only lets me sew for short periods at any one time. The longest part by far was making the scrappy fabric fabric from which the outer tote, the straps, and the inner pocket are made. It was definitely a fun project, one that actually turned out just like the picture I’d imagined in my head. And of course, best of all, I know that Mom is going to love it. Seriously, it is so her.

And those bookmarks above–Mom gets one of those too.



55. Make 100 Project Life layouts.


From the last week of February. Yeah, just a bit behind.



Posted in in the craft room

winter break project life layout…

55. Make 100 project life layouts.


Finally finished up the week of February 15th-21st, which was the week of winter break. I didn’t bother to take separate pictures, but there are actually 5 6×8 inserts in this layout because there were just too many photos and stories I wanted to include. I don’t want that to be a regular thing, but I’m okay with it for a special week like this.

Now can I keep this going for the next 99 straight weeks, so I can mark off an entire category…