Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Autumn reading and lots of listening.


You can follow along on Instagram @ladyfacereads where I share all my reading adventures, at least some of the time.  And in the interest of full disclosure these are referral links to Amazon.com.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I bought this one as a kindle book while I was looking for a new audiobook.  It was sooooo good!  I started it one evening, and finished it the following afternoon.  It was such a lovely well written story that just takes you along.  You don't have to do any work to become involved.  It's great. It's about a set of twins, one in particular, who are just starting out as Freshmen in college.  Cath is obsessed with a fictional world and writes fanfiction.  She has other quirks and lots to deal with at home and at school.  She meets a boy, and some other people, and has a very interesting fiction writing class.  I loved watching her progress.  Things come up that she doesn't know how to handle, or deal with, and it's interesting to watch her go through them.  I liked the ending, but I wish it had kept going!  I wasn't ready to say goodbye to them yet!  I think this book is geared more towards the YA audience, but I really enjoyed it.  A lovely little break into another world. 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - I got this one as a recommendation from a great friend.  Actually, she loaned me her copy but I never started it and then she moved and I gave it back and became determined to read it.  I got the kindle version mainly because the whispersync option to add was relatively cheap.  And I was a little desperate for something new to listen to while I washed dishes.  I wasn't super intrigued by the description but was pleasantly surprised by the writing and the narrative.  I'll be looking into Kingsolver's other books.  This story is about a family who move to the Congo in the late 1950's early 1960's so the dad can bring Jesus to the descendants of Ham.  Ha. They're from Georgia.  I love how they talk, it's amusing and a whole different world of language. The story switches between the perspectives of the mother and her four daughters and spans many years after their mission in the Congo has ended.  The turns and twists the story takes each sister, and their mother through were surprising and unexpected and intense.  At first I wasn't fond of the narrators voice on the audible recording, I thought she sounded disinterested, but then she grew on me and it was fine.  I really enjoyed this story and am thrilled to have found a new author to read! I'd recommend this one for sure, especially if the 1950's life or anything related to Africa is intriguing to you.  

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham - OK, don't get mad here, to each his own, and this one I didn't like at all.  It's difficult to review a book about someone's life, because then it feels like you're "judging them" and while I'm not doing that here, I was so confused about the stories she picked to share.....Anyway.  I read this one because everyone's been recommending it since it became available, and it was only $5 in the Kindle store.  While I'm all for female empowerment, gender equality, and women's rights as I believe Lena Dunham is known for, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I had hoped.  I love hearing the stories behind the people who have "made it" in film and television and comedy, it's just interesting to me.  However, I'm always nervous that these stories will be a list of beds slept in, and who with, on the way to success.  I don't think that is or should be what defines your life story and don't like reading about other people's sexual mishaps and regrets.  I don't think that's brave or courageous unless it has some direct relationship to the lesson to be mentioned, or directed your life in some specific way.  I felt like this was a let down, a deceptive title, and the majority of the book was one bad sexual encounter after another.  It left me a little frustrated at Miss Dunham for not having better judgement and not learning from her previous mistakes.  She seemed careless and then regretful, and then careless again and if that was the intended tone then it didn't do much for me at all.  She consciously omitted the happy and healthy relationship she is currently in, which leaves us to wonder why the heck she told us all those gross stories.  Her childhood stories were interesting, but left me feeling sorry for her rather than oh wow, look how much she's gotten past that, how great for her!  It felt more like a cake you want to be done right now, and aren't willing to let it cool all the way before it gets frosted and turns out not as great as it could be.  I wouldn't recommend this one.  **A tip, if you buy a kindle book you have a few days to return it if you're not satisfied or bought it by accident so rest assured, this was returned.

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch - Ugh, I wanted so badly to like this one.  After reading The Dinner and loving it especially for it's unique style, narration, and creepiness, I was excited to read everything else Koch has done.  This story is about a doctor who may or may not have murdered someone, and the investigation that is done on the case.  The story is told from his perspective and is very creepy.  I got the kindle with whispersync (with audio so you could read along while you listen, but I just end up listening), and the voice was really bad for me.  It was just too creepy, the performer made it too much for me and I didn't make it that far before I returned it.  Not everything can be a winner!

What have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lately...



...things have been a bit nuts, because I've been going nuts and we've just been pretty busy.


Soccer ended last week and we went to get pumpkins at one of my favorite places in all of idaho.



I've been sewing a little and blogging even less, but only because I haven't taken pictures of what I've made yet.  

I signed up for a craft market in November here in Pocatello, and have been frantically making list after list trying to figure out what all goes into having a booth at a fair...which I've never done before.


We went to Logan over the weekend to visit friends who moved earlier this year and get family pictures taken by another friend who does great work.  It was a fun adventure and we can't wait to go back.  


Sorry for the absence, this space is easy the first to be forgotten when things get hectic.  What have you been doing lately?! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!  Hope things are productive in your house today, it's felt a little slow over here recently.

I've been working on these two projects for a while now and have been trying to pick up speed this month.

I'm hand quilting this shoo fly quilt that I put together maybe two years ago.  ugh, that's shameful!!  I really love this one, it'll be fantastic once it's finished.  It's ginormous and has already been approved as nap-quality.

I started this cross stitch project (purchased here - her patterns are so incredible, I want to buy them all and maybe one day I will) also a really long time ago.  I bought this pattern with Abby in mind and want to frame it and hang it in her room when it's done.  She really loves it and keeps asking if it's done yet.  And then asking me why it's taking so long, ha!  Darling filter-free child.

What are you working on this month?

Linked up to WIP Wednesday this time! Check out the other posts by people making wonderful things.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An outfit for Sam

I made this outfit for Sam a couple weekends ago.  Apologies for the less than stellar shots, this little monkey is getting fast, and ugh...it keeps getting dark quicker every night. And sometimes I just have to take the picture or it doesn't happen, you know?  Le sigh.

Anyway! It is a simple leggings and shirt combo that I looooove on her cute baby tushy.  

I used The Nessie Top from CINO (buy yours here), and Figgy's Sunki leggings (you can find that one here).

Both of the fabrics are from Wanderlust Fabrics, and that stripe is soooo squoshy I love it.  I'm using up every last piece.  

Happy Tuesday guys! Have a great week!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Monday list #5

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! Here's what I'm enjoying today:
1) A little sweetness - though if you know me, you know it takes an enormous amount of self control not to eat the whole bag.  Also, I'm going to try to go sugar free for the first 30 days of October (just to show I really can quit any time I want, ha).  And then catch up for lost time on Halloween.  Not really, but maybe a little.  Wish me luck with that.  Seriously, I'm going to need it. 

2) Time to sew this weekend - it was a great rainy weekend here in Pocatello, and I got to actually make stuff! Ben took the kids to some ISU football and basketball games so I had time to work on some projects and it was really great for my soul.  

3) Sunday Brinner - we have been doing a little Sunday dinner tradition off and on for the past year or so, of having breakfast for dinner (hence, Brinner).  And it's so much fun! We don't have family I town, so family dinners on Sunday don't happen with extended family very often, and brinner is something we all look forward to after church.  We haven't strayed too much from basics like bacon, eggs, biscuits or pancakes, and whatever fruit we have, but it doesn't need to be fancy or complicated, it just needs to happen at the table, with everyone.  

4) Fall weather!!! - finally!  Ugh. I'm ready! So ready.  I wore a scarf yesterday and imagined the scarf was equally pleased with the drop in temperatures so it could get out of the box in the closet! 

5) Crayon drawings - I've been giving my kids drawing assignments every day for a few days so they can get their imaginations warmed up and to help them (trick them) practice their writing.  A few of the "prompts" have been: draw a fancy princess and give her a name (Abby's), draw a castle and a dragon and write something about it, draw a robot and write what he does, draw a machine or invention and write what it does.
Abby is a little harder to persuade into actually doing these (or anything I suggest), but if I tailor the prompts to whatever she's fascinated by then it goes much better.  Occasionally she will even ask me how to write words and practice them, which is almost a miracle.  Matthew has been writing on his own for these and I absolutely adore his effort, imagination, and spelling mistakes! A fun project for sure.   

How was your weekend? Finding anything fun today? 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guess what? I read some more books!

Yep, yep! I finished more books.  If you know how to become a professional reader of good books, sign me up. You can follow along on my reading adventures on Instagram @ladyfacereads where I post more often and just about books. Anyway, here's the latest:
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - If you don't know already, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J. k. Rowling.  Man, she knows how to create a world! Though this mystery isn't set in a magical world, it is very well fleshed out.  The characters are great and well developed of course, and complicated, human, and full of growth.  This story is about Cormorant Strike, a PI who is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a model.  I found it a little too densely rounded at times, which made it a bit of a slower read, but in the way where I kept reading, and thought it was going by quickly, but it had only been a page or two.  It's a long book, but enjoyable.  I liked the ending, it resolved in a way I felt satisfied with.  Though the revelation of "who" wasn't a huge surprise to me, the putting everything together and presenting the actual truth was very interesting and well done.  I'm looking forward to seeing what The Silkworm is about (it's already on my nightstand), and hoping it will be less background oriented now that the I've already gotten to know the main characters involved. 

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barberry - This one I listened to through audible and I loved it.  I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, also by Muriel Barberry, and loved the way it was written, and this one did not disappoint.  This one is told through several points of view, all residents of the same apartment complex, over the period of time of the death of one of its inhabitants, a famous food critic.  The critic is facing imminent doom, and is trying to recall a flavor, but cannot figure out what it is.  I most enjoyed his memories of food, of meals, and of memories associated with each that resonated with me and my own favorite dishes.  I love the way this author puts words together with such precision and exactness and delicacy it's extraordinarily delightful.  And listening to it was really neat also.  I'd definitely recommend this one, it's practically a vacation and an uplifting joy to read.  The ending is pretty great and that never hurts. 

The Last Town by Blake Crouch - This is the final book in the Wayward Pines trilogy and it had me gripped from the start!  It picked up exactly where the second book left off and as you may have guessed, things are in serious chaos and extreme danger.  There are lots of things facing these characters, and in this book, we get to view memories and past lives from many more characters than in the previous two books, which I thought was really interesting and made their experiences more powerful and real to me.  Just a warning though, this book is intense, with some violent and bloody scenes so if you don't like suspense or the potential for characters to die, don't pick up this series.  It reminded me a bit of Twin Peaks but with actual monster monsters. That should give you any idea of why not everyone should go for it, but also why it's so intriguing and thrilling! While it is very intense, I appreciate that it's logically intense.  Crouch doesn't waste words on gore that is uncalled for or has nothing to do with the plot.  I also appreciate that he asks the what if... question that starts the books, and then sees it through.  Sometimes I think authors get scared or nervous or something of telling action as it happens, and resort to things being told to their characters rather than having their characters experience it along with the reader, and I don't like that (ahemMockingjayahem).  Big pet peeve of mine.  In this series you are right there with them as they face monsters both physical and psychological and Crouch sees his story through to the end, going to all the places and facing ALL THE THINGS and all the feels that go along with it.  AND! The end is satisfying also!!  Bravo Mr. Crouch (I sooo wish his name was Barty...ha). Now I'm looking forward to how the new TV series on FOX will compare with the mental version I've got from listening to them! 

Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy - This is the second book in the Wildwood series and it's very enchanting.  The story is about the "impassable wilderness" and everything inside it, and everything trying to get inside of it.  It's a YA series full of fantasy, struggles and triumph, and growth.  I like the world Meloy has created and the pictures illustrated by his wife are incredibly gorgeous and whimsical.  I'm all for a book with pictures!  It's a wonderful trip, and would be great to read aloud as a family.  The journey in the first book is mostly discovery based, as the two main characters, Prue and Curtis, discover and explore this world of Wildwood and the power struggle for control of the woods.  This second book is about what happens after the power balance has been upset by Prue and Curtis' arrival and things are being reconfigured.  There are villains, heroes, and characters that make bad decisions, but aren't 100% bad individuals.  It's a great progression, and I'm excited to see how the trilogy wraps up in The Wildwood Imperium, which is also on my nightstand.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkein - I'm listening to this on Audible also (side note: I clearly use this a lot, but I have had my account on hold for 4 or 5 months, so it's not unreasonable, more like a special treat every once in a while for me, that I get weeks of use from, so don't think I've listened to these all in a few days.  Most of them I've been working on for months, listening to a little at a time as the mood suits me and depending on how much I'm avoiding my chores).  I'm a total nerd and am loving these.  I didn't like the movies so much because Elijah Woods triggers my gag reflex, but it's such an amazingly epic story that we own the DVD's anyway.  Ugh, this trilogy is SO GOOD.  But whenever I've tried to read it, you know, in a real book with pages, I fell asleep.  Like, instantly.  I've been trying to read this series since I was pregnant with Matthew and only made it a few hundred pages.  So listening to it, in amazing accented voices, is really wonderful for me.  Anyway, it's fun to be like, hey! I know that part from the movie, and it's word for word accurate.  I am anxious for the rest of the Hobbit movies to come out too, I'm a huge Morgan Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch fan (who isn't).  There's not much to say about these books that hasn't already been said better by experts, so I'll leave it at this: If you don't have it in you to read this story in a physical book form, I highly recommend the Audible version.  It's great.  And great to listen to while you do chores.  Then you're multitasking.  Plus, Tolkein is really a wonderful story teller, it's absolutely worth listening to for your own improvement.  I've got a lot of classics on my Audible list.  And by classics I mean books I was supposed to read in high school and college that I never finished...I'm waving to you Moby-Dick...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Happy List #4

Here's what I'm enjoying today.  Happy Monday!

1) Atly classes - I've mentioned these before but I want to mention them again.  I took this class over the weekend and it's got me so excited to try out the techniques and tips taught in the course.  I can't get enough of these and am constantly checking the site to see if they've added new classes.  And if you follow them on Instagram (@atlygrams) they frequently post generous new class discounts so they're extremely affordable.

2) Rain! - Also nothing new, but it rained last night, just as we were thinking we should water the grass again, so thank you Mother Nature for taking care of that for me! And a bonus, the air smelled so perfect last night it was glorious and fall, and crisp, and delicious.  

3) Flowers - I taught at church yesterday and I always like to bring fresh flowers to add somebrightness to the room.  Plus, I get to take them home and enjoy them the rest of the week.  I'm nowhere close to being good at flower arranging but I like this bundle of flowers together, unexpected and fun!

4) Hoarding, just a little - there's something to be said for hanging onto things, as long as they don't literally take over your house or your life of course.  Today Samantha is wearing overalls from the 1980's and her favorite toys in the whole house are the set of little people from my childhood that my mom saved.  She gets these out at least 3 times a day. And having seen Toy Story a million times, I imagine the toys are happy with that also. 

5) Fall!!!! - my favorite season. I can snuggle, work on quilt projects without sweating, take naps with layers and layers of blankets and quilts, wear sweaters, wear scarves, and don't have to shave my legs! Make soup, cinnamon rolls, and drink as much hot chocolate as my body will allow!! It's the most wonderful time of the year.  As an aside, Matthew thinks Halloween lasts the entire month of October and has been counting down the days until September is over and keeping track all on his own! It's so fun to see things again through the eyes of kids.  The best.  

Hope you guys have a great week!! What's getting you going today?