Monday, 22 January 2018

Stitch'n Time - Have I Accomplished Anything?

I am having one of those days where I question whether I accomplished any thing in the past week.   I didn't sit at my sewing machine once and I miss it.  I did knit.  I have been working on the body builder afghan and have now completed all the part that makes up the body and the weights.  Six more rows till I start the top border.  At this point you will have to wait until after it is delivered for a finish photo.

I also prepared a presentation for work.  It was a workshop for teens, which I'll say went well even though we didn't really have any teens attend.  I had a curated selection of poetry books and prepared materials, but there just weren't any teens in the store during that time period.  Other shoppers did approach and another co-worker (a teen) and I spoke with them about what we were doing.  They were totally on board with it, writing and posting notes with positive messages.  I sent my co-worker home with all the messages we created for her to post around her high school.  I also got to try out one of the 7 year pens that we sell.  It's from Seltzer Goods.  It does write nicely, though I still prefer my fountain pens for writing at home.

In between knitting and planning, I finished reading a few books and managed to post some book reviews.  I have fallen behind on those lately.  Too many work hours during the holiday season which is still continuing.  arg, I want more time at home for stitching.  I also spent some time planning.  at the top, is an afghan I started a few years ago.  At that time I finished all the blocks and then it got packed away as we were having visitors for a few weeks.

I would like to try and join the blocks together by crochet and have pinned a tutorial that looks reasonable.  After that, it needs a few border rows around the outside, which is on the pattern somewhere.

When I reflect back, it was more of a productive week than I had thought.  I should take Kate's suggestion from last weeks comments, and keep an ongoing list of finished for the year.  That way, an easy look will give the information I need and the moral boost at the same time.

I hope that you all have had a wonderful and productive stitchin' week.  Did you write about it on your blog, if so, Mister Linky is waiting below for you to add your link.  Happy stitchin' and I'll see you again next week.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Swing it, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

Sunny has had a lot of changes in her life lately.  She's started middle school and her adored older brother has been sent to a boarding school.  Talking to her grandfather once a week really helps, but she's still sad.

at first this story seemed all over the place, then I realized that Sunny's life was continuing with her varied activities even thought her brother wasn't at home. Yes, she had sad moments, but mostly her  life was continuing on track.  She really started turning things around when she stopped feeling sad for herself and started to consider her brother's feelings.  It's a big step for any person to realize that the world doesn't revolve solely around them.  Once Sunny reached out to her brother she started to feel better and so did he.

This is a touching story about Sunny's concern for her brother.  She learned a lot about what it means to be part of a family.

This graphic novel is suitable for middle school and younger readers who read at an advanced level.

I received and advanced readers copy of this book from Indigo Music & Books Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, 19 January 2018

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Maya is in her final year of high school in a small American town.  She is quiet and often hides behind her video camera which she employees to make documentaries.  She'd love to attend NYU for film studies though her parents expect her to follow their wishes of meeting a nice Indian boy while she attends a near by law school.  Maya is torn between pleasing her parents and following her heart  All these plans are thrown in turmoil when a response to a serious incident elsewhere in the country unleashes islamaphobic attacks upon the family.

Maya is your typical girl next door that you'd want your child to be friends with.  She is kind and sensitive to others, smart and studies hard.  She also happens to be Indian and Muslim.  These shouldn't and don't matter to most people, but there are some who hold these differences against her.  Just because a person is different than you, it doesn't automatically diminish that person nor does it make them bad.

At an age where so many teens are struggling with what they want to do with their future, Maya has a very clear view.  She wants to study film so she can make and direct documentary films.  She also wants to be able to tell her parents that she wants a love match and not an arranged marriage.  She wants to be given the freedom to make her own choices.

I love this book.  It spoke to me on so many levels.  As a parent, Maya is a daughter that I would be pleased to call my own. She was brought up in a warm and loving family by attentive parents.  She is intelligent and well prepared to face the adult world.  When the world crashes into her life and her family, her response is realistic.  She is concerned for the well being of those who were directly impacted by the incident before she questions how this might reflect back on the Muslim communities across the United States.

Author Samira Ahmed has shone a light on an ugly incident of the type that happens far too often in our so called 'civilized communities'.  She helps to call attention to racial and religious bigotry.  Such hatred has no place in this world.  All it does is create damage.  Education is the best weapon against such ignorant actions.  This book needs to be widely read.  It would be a good starting place for class room discussions about combating racism.  This is a strong debut novel by Ms. Ahmed and I eagerly await her next novel.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

I loved this book.  It is wonderfully creative.

It's the story of a seemingly absent minded father who steps out of the house for a few minutes to buy milk for his children's breakfast.  His is gone a very long time.  When he returns home with the milk,  the children ask what took so long.  This launches dad into a fantastic tale.  With time travel, dinosaurs and aliens, what child wouldn't be entrance to listen to their father read them such a tale.  Did I mention pirates?

This is a wonderfully told tale that had me hanging on every word.  Oh, please Mr. Gaiman, write more for children.  You definitely have a gift of knowing what they love to hear.

If you are looking for a book for a new or expectant dad, or heck, any dad, Fortunately, the Milk, would be the perfect choice.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by Mr. Gaiman.  1 hour. Suitable for young readers.

Be sure to read what Mr. Gaiman has to say about this book.

Cover image courtesy HarperCollins Canada

Monday, 15 January 2018

Stitch'n Time - Heads up on current project

I have been having such fun with this project.  Even though I designed the pattern and totally understand the concept of knitting and purling, it still amazes me to watch the image come to life.   The part that was giving me the most worry, was how the face would turn out.  It didn't have to  resemble the baby's father, but it did need to look human.  I am so pleased with the results.  Yes, he does rather have a grimace on his face, but remember that he is hoisting a massive amount of weight on that barbell.
It will be exciting to pass this along to my son to gift to his friend.  You will get to view overall photos once it has been delivered.

I have a few more inches to stitch and then I'll give it a gentle wash, pin it out and let it dry.

As this project draws near to close, I have been thinking of what to work on next.  I do have another unfinished knit afghan as well as a crocheted one that needs the blocks stitched together and then a border added.  Then again, there is that new ball of yarn destined to become a hat....

Today I have a rather fun experience at work.  I know it isn't mainly stitching related, but I do want to share.  One of the librarians from the school that our store adopted in the fall came in to purchase books with the donated money.  She has a lot of buying to do as our store and customers raised well over $7000.00.  That equated to approximately 700 new books for their school library.  Today she selected 88.  One of the books was a knitting instructional book.  The librarian said that when she loans it out, she is going to include a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn.  The children from that school are generally not well off and there is no sense in borrowing a knitting book if you don't have supplies.  How thoughtful of her.   I'm going to look through my supplies and select some for her.  Who knows, perhaps the kids will start a knitting club at their school.

Thanks for joining me for Stitch'n Time.  I'll be back again next Monday with my next project.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Stitch'n Time - All New for a New Year

Welcome to my inaugural post for Stitch'n Time.  It was a hard decision to retire Needlework Tuesday, but it needed to be done.  Frequent readers realize that along with my needlework posts, I also read a lot and post reviews of those books.  What I didn't know when I started my needlework column, is that new books are traditionally released on Tuesdays.  Now that I am a book seller, I thought it was important for me to be able to post related reviews on their date of release.

Stitch'n Time will be a work in progress.  Mostly I will be sharing my needlework progress on an assortment of techniques and projects.  I would like to add a few tutorials as well as group projects/challenges.  Details on those are still very loose.  What will never change is the encouragement I get from my readers .  I love your comments as they boost me along and keep my moving forward.  Also returning will be Mister Linky so that readers can add a link to their current needlework post.

I hope that you will join me on Mondays for Stitch'n Time.

With all the extra hours I worked over the holidays, I didn't have much time for stitching.  Sure, I buried a few yarn ends and knit a row or two, but no major amounts of progress were made.  It's just in the past few days that I've had a chance to spend a notable block of time knitting.

I have been focused on this baby blanket.  The little boy is getting bigger, but this is an oversized blanket, so it won't be a problem.  He is still in the baby category so it will still count as a baby gift.

For new visitors, the dad is a body builder and my son asked me to make a blanket with that theme.  When I couldn't find a suitable pattern, I designed my own starting an online open image.  Shown in this image is the torso up to the underarm area.  I am really pleased with how this is turning out.  I'll keep you updated with my progress.

Since I haven't had a needlework post in a few weeks, feel free to add your linky to your recent stitch'n posts from the past few weeks.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Fairy Mom and Me by Sophie Kinsella

Fun early chapter book.

Her mother is a fairy and Ella can't wait to be just like her.  One of her favourite activiites is to watch while her mothers works on her online fairy classes.  Ella loves those classes and finds them useful when her mother has trouble working any of her spells (which happens far too often).

This would be a great selection for mothers and daughters to read together.  Ella and her mother are very supportive of each other.  They encourage the other to do her best and never make fun nor tease when something does't go well or as planned.

The story of Ella and her mom has the stamp of approval of author Sophie Kinsella's own children.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.