Thursday, July 31, 2014

Books read in July 2014

With only eight books read, this month, it's clear summer projects have taken over.  I also enjoy how I read two of each category listed.  Symmetry appeals to me.

None of the middle readers blew me away.
YA:  Fly on the Wall (making this month three of E. Lockheart being on the top recommends list).
Adult Nonfiction: Wild
Adult Fiction: Landlines

Middle Reader
The Thickety
J. A. White
Read for Librarian Book Group
I wasn't sucked into the world building of this world and thus never really took a liking to this book. It also did that thing that I hate where the book ends abruptly, trying to pull you into the sequel, rather than tying things up and getting you excited about what comes next.

The Great Greene Heist
Varian Johnson
Read for Librarian Book Group
This was hard to start, because of the constant references to this book's predecessor, which I didn't have time to track down and read, but once I let go of the fact I was reading the second book before the first, I completely enjoyed it.  It was not believable, in the super fun way that the Ocean's 11 movies aren't believable, but so, so fun.  Props for having so many distinct and well-crafted characters (and from so many different backgrounds).  A fun read for the middle school set.

Update!  The Librarians tell me there ISN'T a book before this one. What I attributed to references to the first book were actually a choice the author made to plop us down in the middle of the action and fill us in as the story continued.  Seeing as how I just assumed I had missed a book, I find this to not be a very successful literary method.

Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything
E. Lockhart
Another good entry into the E.-Lockhart-can-really-write-a-good-YA-book pantheon. Gretchen wishes she was a fly on the wall in the boy's locker room and gets her wish, learning much about the lives of boys, and her own life in the process.  It goes deeper than one might think from this description.

Sloppy Firsts
Megan McCafferty
I found this book odd, beginning with the title, which, I'm sorry, makes me think of the porn term "sloppy seconds" and seems an odd choice for a YA novel.  The main character is full of gripes for the entire book and also seems to hate all her friends but not have the ability to make new ones.  I did think the dialogue was pretty teenaged authentic, as was the level of angst.  Plus, I kind of liked that Jessica Darling was not really that darling.  Despite all these gripes, I was hooked by the end and have already ordered the next in the series.

An aside:  "Darling" as a last name is trending for me right now.  I think this is the third book in as many months using that last name.

Adult nonfiction
The Bookseller of Kabul
Asne Seierstand
Read for Book Group
Good for people who don't mind reading about a big jerk of a man who rules his household as a tyrant.  Seriously, the bookseller himself was not a great guy, but Seirstand is quiet good at capturing details big and small of an Afghanistani family.  There were points where some of the family's thoughts were recorded and I wondered how she captured those thoughts, but overall, this was an interesting read.  Although dispiriting from a female perspective.

Cheryl Strayed
People have formed their opinions and drawn their lines in the sand.  And now I've read it, so me too!  You can find me firmly on the side of: liked it!  I loved the writing (that horse scene will stay with me forever) and the pacing and the change and growth.  Though I think it was stupid to attempt a very long backpacking journey without once going backpacking, or even packing up the backpack with all the supplies, I also found that to be quite refreshing.  I myself tend to bog down in preparation mode and maybe I should skip or abbreviate that part of a journey now and then.  So count me as a fan.

Adult fiction
What's Your Number (AKA 20 Times a Lady)
Karyn Bosnak
Oh how authors must despise the movie/book comparisons that appear once a book has been adapted into a feature film.  But I can't help myself, I saw the movie first and adored it and could keep from comparing it to the book.

Firstly, let me say that the original title, 20 Times a Lady is so much better than What's Your Number, which was the movie title.  However, the title was the only thing I thought was better in book form than movie adaptation. The two are very different.  I found the book Delilah (she was named Ally in the movie) to be unsympathetic and the things that I loved in the movie (the sister relationship, the interplay between Ally/Colin, the mother daughter relationship) to be almost entirely absent in the book version.  So this is the rare case when I recommend the movie over the book. But I thank Karyn Bosnak for writing the book that could then be adapted into a very good movie.

Rainbow Rowell
Oh Rainbow Rowell, you are so brilliant.  Here I am reading a perfectly serviceable portrait of a marriage in trouble and then you go and layer onto that pleasant-but-familiar plot something rather unexpected that completely works.  I also appreciate how different your four books about relationships have been and can heartily recommend them to many, many people. I can't wait for you to write another one.  Maybe for your next adult novel you will get a cover that is just as good as your YA covers, because this one is not really happening.

Moneta Work Uniforms. Tricks

Oh, Wonder Tape. I love you so.  My days of fabric slipping around when I try to hem are over!  I used Wonder Tape on all hems in this project: neck, sleeves, skirt.  It's one of those supplies I might have eschewed back in the day (why do you need this when you can use pins and do without it) but now that I'm an old, jaded sewist, I'll take anything that makes some regular task easier.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book reading: Lloyd Kahn, Tiny Homes on the Move.

I didn't realize until he started talking, that this guy was one of the people involved with the publishing of the book Stretching, which I've used for years.  If I had picked up on that fact, I would have brought my very used copy.  He even had the Stretching software installed on his computer, which I have used in the past.  

In Tiny Homes on the Move, we got a slide show of exactly that.  Many people in the audience were tiny homes enthusiasts and so it was amusing when people asked specific questions about tiny home construction, only to hear the author himself wasn't a tiny home enthusiast himself.

I enjoyed that two people in the audience both wore hot pink and also sat near each other.

Moneta Work Uniforms. Tricks.

I liked the tip in the Mabel sew along, to mark your pieces with tape while you are sewing, so I did so with this project.  This is telling me this is the front (or possibly back) bodice.  I also marked my center front and center back as it is easier to do that now rather than after the pieces are joined.  Those other lines are just drawing attention to the tabs I've cut into the fabric.

The instructions have your join the front and back bodices and the edges of the sleeves and then finish the edges.  I find it so much easier to do BEFORE joining.  This way I'm not serging in the round.

Requiem: Serger Needle Theader

Oh lovely needle threader, you've been with me since the first threading of this serger.  I love your large size and how many times you've come in handy, because sergers are rather difficult to thread.  I am sorry that your wire finally gave out and I had to reassign you to the dust bin. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pop-up project.

What could I have planned for a set of King-sized satin sheets procured at Goodwill?  Stay tuned.

Postcards from Kansas and Kansas

But via Illinois!  This was sent by Heather, who recently visited Metropolis and is enticing me out to...

This place!
Where I will be visiting very soon.

There's no getting around it, I'm a paper lists type of gal.

I've just switched my paper planner (seen next to the water bottle) over to my phone calendar, but I still like writing things down and checking them off.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Postcard from Virginia

And here we have #6 of 17, the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Didn't they change the name?

Cutting and marking uniform dresses.

My good technique of what to do with material after you take out out of the dryer, but before you are ready to cut it.

I tried rolling it to preserve the matched selvages.  It was a so-so solution. Sentinel supervises.

Laying out the material.  There are two pieces because I didn't buy enough the first go-round leaving me nervous for the next few days until I could get back to the fabric store.  Happily, this is a very nondescript fabric, so it was still there.  Also, in the longer strip of material, I have marked a point in the fabric with two clothespins.  This was because I didn't notice one of those little plastic tag things (the kinds that carry the price tags on most clothing) before I washed and dried this material and said little plastic thing caused a huge snag.  So I had to work around that.  It was fine, though.  I had enough.

I am trying a new marking tool this time:  The Clover Pen.
My review?  Best marking device I've come across. And I've tried a lot.  It's full of chalk (you can get blue, yellow and pink, plus refills) and at the bottom is a tiny little wheel which rolls along the fabric and spits out a fine line of chalk.  It would get clogged at times, because of the fabric, but I couple of good taps cleared the clog.  This will become my go-to marking pen for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Postcard from Virginia

Postcard # 5 of 17 has arrived.  It is yet another view of Biltmore Estates.

What's happening on and around Belmont Street.

I had cause to take a walk up Belmont Street and took a few pictures. 

Check out the date on this sign. It has been hanging in this window since before we moved into our house!

I want them to solve this crime.  This poor guy, (friendly to all as far as anyone can tell) was walking along a bike path in Ashland when he was decapitated.  Yipes!

These two signs together are great:
A School for Self & Energy Awareness
Absolutely You Salon.

I love the retro sign for this convalescent center.

Can you spot the update to this house?

I'm guessing this happened in approximately 1968.  I kind of like it, though.

Fancy house.

Really great church building.

Next to the really great Presbyterian Church that now also holds TaborSpace.

Ivy growing like mad over this building.

Ah. It's a former Lodge building.

Look at that ivy go!

Around the side of the building we see one tenant.  I did some other checking and I think the rest of the space has been converted to residential.

Once I saw this, I wanted to make one of my own.

They also had painted bricks to look like books.

Here's a fun house for when I have untold millions.

And here are the new houses next door.  I wonder if the above house had a massive lot they subdivided to a not-so-massive lot.

Poetry post.

With very interesting stapled metal top.

Still apartments! (After the condo conversion mania of the 2000s, that's something.)

House for if I don't ever hit the "untold millions" stage.

There's some water sports and some biking going in with this car.

Three sentence movie reviews: Persuasion (BBC)

Part of the Ruby Oliver Film Festival.

This version of the Jane Austin novel has more running than a Tom Cruise movie!  I greatly enjoyed this tale of love lost, a deserving heroine and a convenient school friend who eagerly rounds up all hanging plot points in one breathless soliloquy.  I'm guessing it doesn't happen that way in the book.

Cost:  free from library
Where watched:  at home.

poster from:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Postcard from Virginia

and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia, and Virginia.

That's right. Regular commenter Sara cleaned out her stash and I got a long letter of 17 postcards.  15 arrived today.  Only #5 and #6 are missing.  When will they show?  I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons why my regular postal carrier knows me. Who else has such fun mail?

Colonial Williamsburg

Governor's Place at Colonial Willamsburg.

Covered bridge.

Kentuck Knob, Frank Lloyd Wright house.

St. Clement's Church in Philadelphia.

More Kentuck Knob.

Here, I'll translate for you:  The Conciergerie.

Summer evenings at the Biltmore House

Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Lady in Washington DC

This is not translated.  But I bet you know what it is.  

Another of our friend St. Clement's church.

West View of Biltmore House, but in the fall.

It's a Portland church!

An interior of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land.

And here's the largest private office building in the world.

Whenever I get around to updating my postcard display, someone is going to dominate an entire row.  Which, knowing that someone, was part of her plan.