March & April 2019 Wrap Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS:

Dimensions “Love” Snow Globe — I love how this turned out!

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Stitching on the 14-ct plastic canvas was easy on my eyes, and since the plastic canvas was precut to the finished size it was easy to hold in my hand while stitching.

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I used the floss which came with the kit. The only change I made was to put the year on the snow globe’s tag rather than the word “Love”. For FFO’ing, I will probably cover the back with felt and add a corded hanger.

 

Dimensions Owl Felt Applique Kit — This was a quick-n-fun kit which I completed in an evening.

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Carrots! by Petal Pusher — I made this cute Anne-n-Gilbert hoop for a sweet friend and think it turned out super cute!

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It’s stitched on 10-ct “Daisy” Evenweave fabric, which has a wonderfully-soft handfeel and the holes of which were the easiest cross-stitching ever for my eyes. I have a package of this same cloth in “Burlap”.

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I made the floss-wrapped hoop using Lucky Star Stitcher’s tutorial; I found wrapping the hoop this way to be a nice change from my usual go-to method of ribbon-wrapping. I also put my Kreinik cord-maker to use for the first time and made a corded hanger, using Vonna the Twisted Stitcher’s youtube tutorial.

 

WIP: 2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I put the heat on in April so I could get this finished. I didn’t quite get there in April, but it’s my first FO/FFO for May and will be shared in my May wrap up post. Here’s where I was towards the end of April.

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This has been a relaxing project to work on, and I’m hoping Corinne will release calendar panels for 2020.

 

BOOKS READ:

A Court of Thorn & Roses [reread] -AND- [new read} A Court of Frost & Starlight (Sarah J. Maas) — I enjoyed my reread of the first three books, but the novella wasn’t as interesting to me. However, I’m not typically a fan of novellas; I’d far prefer a thick novel.

“C” is for Corpse -and- “D” is for Deadbeat (Sue Grafton)

On the Edge of Gone (Corinne Duyvis) — I liked it.

Bridgerton series (Julia Quinn) — These are good palate cleansers and fun reads.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

Reign — I finished out the series. Not a happy ending (obviously!), but I found it to be an entertaining series to watch. If you want your tv series to be historically accurate in all ways, this is not the series for you! But if you’re okay with a lot of liberty being taken, and you’re into costuming, this series makes for a fun watch.

Yellowstone (S1) — It took me a few episodes to get into this series, but I did end up enjoying it enough by the end of S1 that I’m looking forward to S2, which will begin airing in June.

Good Girls (S1 and currently-airing S2) — I like all three lead actresses in this series, as well as the dark humor.

The Rookie (S1) — This is a series my husband and I enjoy watching together. It’s good to see Nathan Fillion in a series again (well, in a series we enjoy!).

Teen Wolf (S1 thru S3) — I had watched the first 2-1/2 seasons back when they originally aired. After finishing Reign I was looking for another series I could listen to/watch while stitching and this fits the bill. I have a few other shows I’m watching before I come back to this series and start S4.

Killing Eve (currently-airing S2) — This is my and my husband’s current favorite show to watch together. Sandra Oh is, not surprisingly, fantastic, but this season we’re enjoying Jodie Comer’s performance even more…….her facial expressions are hilarious, her accents are wonderful, and we find her performance as a whole to be entertaining. And we enjoy the dark humor of the show, as well.

February 2019 Wrap Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS:

Dimensions Felt Applique Kit “Friendly Llama” — This kit was so much fun and I think Miss Llama is cute as can be.

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She’s residing on the door of our book cabinet, where I can easily see her while watching tv/stitching/reading.

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WIP: 2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I’ve made some progress since last month, but I didn’t get the panel finished. It’s a busy time for me right now, at work and at home, and will continue to be through March, so I’ve been doing very little stitching…and when I do stitch, I’ve gravitated towards projects which lean more towards being no-brainers. Not that this is a hard project to stitch, but I’m being thoughtful about my stitch choices and I may opt to add beads or buttons, so it’s not really a “no-brainer” project.

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WIP: Dimensions Love Snow Globe Ornament Kit — I’m enjoying the heck out of stitching this. The 14-ct plastic canvas is super easy for my eyes and is comfortable to hold while stitching, and the way the kitmaker carded the floss is one of the best I’ve seen from a kit. I’ll probably look for more kits like this.

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NEEDLEWORK PURCHASES: Namaste Embroidery recently had a 3-for-the-price-of-2 sale on her mini kits, which include a pattern plus the design preprinted on fabric. I’ve had her animal patterns on my “one of these days” wishlist for a while, so pulled the trigger on purchasing the hedgehog, the giraffe, and the red panda during the sale. I’ve never done thread painting before and am excited about having a go at stitching these cute critters. Jessica’s YouTube channel includes a video tutorial showing how she stitched the hedgehog.

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RE-HOMED NEEDLEWORK/PATTERNS: One of my goals this year is to be realistic about which of the cross-stitch patterns I’ll probably stitch, and to re-home the patterns I don’t think I’ll stitch. I’m surprised by how much I like the plastic canvas in one of my current WIPs and have decided I will, going forward, use plastic canvas, perforated paper, and larger-holed cross-stitch fabric, all of which are easier on my eyes, and if I think a design will be done a disservice by being stitched on one of these options then I will re-home the design.

I decided to re-home Strawberry Fields Forever by Blackbird Designs. It’s a beautiful design, but it’s one that, to me, would lose some of its beauty on one of my fabric options. The pattern was a gift from a friend who had two copies of it, so I sent this pattern along to another of her friends who had expressed an interest in it.

I also re-homed the Mirabilia “Fairy Moon” UFO I’d won in Michelle BendyStitch’s fundraising auction last fall. The fabric was just too difficult for my vision, so I sent the UFO, pattern, and beads back to Michelle to re-auction in a future fundraiser.

 

BOOKS READ:

Look Alive Twenty-Five (Janet Evanovich) — The newest book in the Stephanie Plum series. Not my favorite of this series, but nevertheless there were laugh-outloud moments.

“A” is for Alibi (Sue Grafton) — The first book in the Kinsey Millhone series. I initially read the first several books in this series years and years ago, but it’s been plenty long enough that I didn’t remember any of the story. I’m getting a kick out of these stories being set back in the 1980’s…lots of neat flashbacks to my teens and early 20’s, and I very much like the absence of cellphones, computers, and the internet.

“B” is for Burglar (Sue Grafton) — see above

The Wondering Years (Knox McCoy) — The Popcast is one of my must-listen podcasts each week, and when this ebook came up for sale on Kindle I snatched it up. It was a delightful read. If I were an audiobook person, I think this is a book which would be best read in audiobook format.

My Oxford Year (Julia Whelan) — I enjoyed this but it did take a bit of a serious turn which wasn’t quite what I was looking for when I started reading the book, but it didn’t bother me enough to quit reading ;-). I think this story would translate well to the screen.

 

BOOKS PURCHASED: This year I’m choosing to purchase more books and use the library less. I’ll primarily purchase in e-format since physical storage is a bit trickier for me, and also because I prefer to read on my Kindle than hardback/paperback; however, there are certain types of books I prefer to read in hardback/softcover, and I’ll let go of other books to make room for them.

I used my Christmas-gift money to purchase in hardback/softcover a handful of needlework books and non-fiction books. Of course I immediately flipped through all the needlework books and I love them all!

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I’m also making use of the Kindle Daily Deals and Kindle eBook Credits to build up my unread ebook library. I only keep unread books and my current read on my Kindle, to help keep my Kindle manageable; once read, a book gets removed immediately. (Have I mentioned I don’t like clutter?!!)  These are my Kindle purchases for February. The Sarah Maas books are a series for which I’ve already read the first three books, but I’m now rereading those so I can then read the newest book in the series. I went ahead and bought the series since it’s one I enjoy rereading. I also opted to buy Michelle Obama’s book; I’d listened to the first third of it on audio during a trip in January, but I didn’t travel in February and won’t in March and I didn’t want to wait until April or May to finish the book, so I used my Kindle eBook Credits to purchase it on Kindle.

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OTHER PURCHASES OF INTEREST:

Elise Cripe is one of my favorite Instagrammers. I like how she approaches setting goals and trying new things, and I enjoy her 100 Days projects each year. She recently had a 40% off sale on her 100 Pep Talks book, so I purchased it, along with the perpetual calendar notepad (for personal use) and the project breakdown notepad (for work use). I have so many projects going on at work right now that I think the project breakdown notepad will be helpful in getting the mass of To-Do’s out of my head and onto paper so I won’t feel quite so like I’m barely treading water at work. I’ve tried various apps and online project management systems in the past, but when it comes down to it I’m just a pen-and-paper kind of gal and I need to be able to SEE what all is outstanding and needs to be worked on.

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TV SERIES & MOVIES:

A Quiet Place — This was SO. GOOD.!!! I’m not typically one for scary movies, but I’d heard such good things about this one, and Emily Blunt is one of my favorite actresses, so I bought this and made sure to watch it during the daytime :P.  I enjoyed having a movie capture my attention enough that I gave it 100% of my attention…no stitching, no dusting, no otherwise puttering around while the movie was on.

Reign — I’m still working my way through this series on Netflix. I’m continuously amazed by the costuming and would love to see the needlework and details up close.

 

FAVORITE PICTURES THIS MONTH:

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January 2019 Wrap-Up

NEEDLEWORK:

In January, I FFO’d two projects I’d stitched in 2018.

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The cardinal is from September House’s “Holiday Birds” pattern set. I had intended to stitch up the 3-bird set during November/December, but only managed to get the cardinal stitched. I love the design and enjoyed stitching it. I used a red Sharpie to color the hoop’s front and sides.

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The Santa is the CozyBlue Handmade “Many Mini Santas” freebie I stitched up last May. I had enlarged the pattern to fit into a 4″ hoop, which I found to be easier stitching for my non-slender, non-nimble fingers than the mini-size pattern :P.  The 4″ size made for a lot of French knots, but I love stitching French knots so I didn’t mind! I red-Sharpied this hoop, as well.

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Mill Hill “Happy Camper” — This was the last of the Mill Hill kits I had in my stash, and I stitched it up as a just-because gift for my sweetie <3.

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This is my favorite of the Mill Hill kits I’ve stitched thus far. The camper, the night sky, and the moon button are my favorite parts. I found this kit to be one of the easier ones and I love the colors. The red beads on the camper and the bronze-ish beads on the ground are so pretty when the sunlight hits them. I backed the ornament with a forest-green felt, which seemed appropriate for the theme!

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Although my husband and I never camped in this style of trailer, this still conjures up wonderful memories of the different times we’ve gone camping over the years, from when we were dating, to when we were newlyweds, to the various times we took our sons with us.

 

WIP: 2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I snagged a calendar panel, in the gray (DMC 414) colorway, right before Corinne sold out of them.

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I opted to first backstitch all of the outlining, using 3 strands of DMC 414 (gray). Now I’m working on the fill-stitching. Thus far I’m using DMC 3801 (coral), 744 (yellow), and 597 (blue). I’ve not been able to find a green in my flossbox that seems to work well with these colors; any suggestions?

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I haven’t decided yet which stitch I want to use for the very outer border of the rectangle’s frame — I think French knots would be pretty and would lend additional texture, but I’ll make that decision after I finish everything inside the frame.

Floresita is sharing her own progress on her calendar panel on Feeling Stitchy blog’s Project a Month feature for Jan. 2019, as well as on the Feeling Stitchyish Instagram. Her stitchwork is gorgeous, and her up-close photos show the details of her stitches beautifully. For even more stitchy inspiration for the 2019 calendar panel, check out the “septemberhouse” hashtag on Instagram. (I’m not affiliated with September House or Feeling Stitchy, but I am a fan of both!)

 

PURCHASES: I picked up a couple easy-peasy felt applique kits and a pair of ready-to-embroider pillowcases at Walmart when I visited my dad earlier this month, with the intent for them to be projects I can leave at his house and work on when I’m visiting him.

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I like having needlework to do when he and I are watching tv in the evenings and chatting, but I don’t want the needlework to require too much effort or thought on my part. These three projects are all plenty easy (the embroidery holes on the felt applique kits are even pre-poked!! see photo below), and I can embellish the projects as much or as little as I want.

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I did bring all 3 kits home with me, so it’s very possible they’ll be worked on here instead of being travel-only projects ;-).

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BOOKS:

the Throne of Glass series (Sarah J. Maas) — At the end of last year, I’d finished my re-read of the first three books of this 8-book series (I’m counting the book of novellas, which were prequels, as book #1). This month I finished rereading books 4 thru 7, and I’m currently savoring my first read-through of book 8, which is the final book of the series. I love this series so, SO much…..in fact, it lands squarely at the top of my list of favorite series. I’ll be having the post-book/series-ending blues pretty hard when I finish this book!!

Becoming (Michelle Obama) — (audiobook) I had been on the (oh-so-long) Hold list for this audiobook from our library. In a case of “the timing couldn’t have been better”, it became available for download the day before I was to travel back home from visiting my dad. I have a challenging time staying focused on audiobooks but hoped being in the car for six hours might help my train-of-thought not drift away from the book. I’m happy to say my attention did not drift one bit!! In fact, I didn’t listen to anything else on my drive besides this book….I started it when I left my dad’s driveway and stopped it when I pulled into my own driveway. Mrs. Obama is a fantastic narrator and storyteller. I still have two-thirds of the book left to go; I’m at the point in the book where Michelle and Barack are getting serious about each other, so I know there are many more interesting stories to come! I knew I wouldn’t finish listening to the audiobook before it’s due date, so I returned it to the library and will finish out the book when I next travel.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

Mansfield Park (1999 version) — I loved this! I left it in my queue for re-watching while stitching =D.

Vanity Fair (2018 mini-series) — This one tickled my funny bone, and is another one I’ll enjoy re-watching while stitching.

Mission Impossible: Fallout — My husband and I enjoy these movies, and they make for fun re-watches. We liked this one better than the last couple ones.

Casablanca — My dad has an extensive dvd collection and asked if I’d seen this movie. I had not, so we watched it one evening. I have a hard time watching movies in black-and-white, but I stitched and listened and that worked out well!

Reign — This is my current go-to when I’m stitching and don’t want to watch Flosstube. Reign is so very stereotypical CW Network, filled with pretty people and all the drama, but I find it entertaining and I love love LOVE the costuming!! Megan Follows as Queen Catherine is a DELIGHT(!!)……I just love her as her character. (Sidenote: I’ve never seen Anne of Green Gables and had no idea Megan Follows was THAT Anne!)

 

2019 GOALS UPDATE:  (“2019 Goals” post is HERE)

For my “Progress, Not Perfection” Goals #1 thru #3:

#1 – Groom Dogs Regularly — I didn’t do this as often as I would have liked. I’ll see how it goes during February and will then reassess if or as needed.

#2 – Floss Daily — This one’s just not happening, and I think I would do better if I tied it, along with brushing my teeth at night, to another habit. Since the hurdle seems to be that I stay up too late at night (that’s a whole ‘nother issue!), resulting in my being so-very-tired when it’s time to brush my teeth and get into bed, I’m going to see if it works better for me to brush and floss my teeth right after I feed the dogs in the evening. I’m not typically a late-night snacker, so there’s no reason to wait until bedtime to brush and floss.

#3 – Do Something That Requires Movement — Overall, I’m doing well with this one!! Keep in mind that I’m not talking specifically about “exercise” or “fitness” when I say “movement”. My goal is simply to not sit on my butt all day for work AND all evening after work. Some days I’m busy and moving around a lot, other days are more sedentary, and some days I crawl into bed right after work and read all evening. All in all, though, I’m happy with how I did on this goal in January.

For my two hobby-related goals:

#4 – ReadingMy general reading goal for 2019 is to not hurry to finish one book just to get to the next book or to achieve a certain number of books-read. I got rid of my To-Read lists, as well as most of the books on my library Holds list, and it felt So. Good.!! When I finish one book, then I’ll either grab an unread book I already have or I’ll poke around a few blogs or IGs for ideas for my next read. I am loving this reading goal and anticipate it’ll be an easy one to follow through with the remainder of this year.

I had two January-specific reading challenges: (a) no new buying or new borrowing, and (b) pick any unread book off my shelf and finish it by 1/31 or get rid of it.

(a)  When my name came up on the Holds list for Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming,” I did opt to go ahead and check it out. If I had not been out of town and facing a long drive home, I would’ve bumped the book on to the next person in line. But since I knew I could listen to a chunk of it during my drive, I opted to go ahead and check it out. This is the only book I borrowed this month, and I did not buy any books. I felt a bit of pressure about trying to hurry up and finish the audiobook before it’s due next week, but then decided I will get the book through Audible before I travel again, which took away the low-level anxiety I felt about trying to get the book finished before next week.

(b)  The unread book off my (Kindle) shelf is the book I’m currently reading, Kingdom of Ash, the last book in the Throne of Glass series. This is a series I will re-read repeatedly, so I have no interest in getting rid of it.

The February-specific challenge is to read a book gifted to me or get rid of it. I don’t have any books which were gifted specifically to me, but there is one book which was gifted to both my husband and me back in 2006: “Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier”, by J. Evetts Haley, with an introduction by Elmer Kelton. This is not a genre I’d normally read, but I’m game to give it a try. (We have several of Mr. Kelton’s books, which is why this book was gifted to us.) If it ends up not holding my attention, it stays on the bookshelf because (a) it was a couple’s gift, and (b) it’s inscribed specifically to my husband and me by the author and also includes Mr.Kelton’s signature.

The month-specific challenges are by way of the #unreadshelfproject2019.

#5 – Needlework

~ Finish my last Mill Hill kit; stitch up the 2019 Calendar Panel:  Check, and check! I finished the Mill Hill kit, and I’m currently working on the 2019 Calendar Panel.

~ Convert patterns I already own into applique+embroidery projects:  Not yet. I currently have an embroidery project I’m working on and I’m not in the market yet for another WIP. I tend to be a monogamous stitcher and don’t usually think about the next project while I’m still working on the current project.

~ See if there are any cross-stitch kits or hard copies of patterns I want to let go of: Sort of. I’m still on the fence about a couple items. I’ll revisit this goal again in February.

~ Be proactive about always having an embroidery and cross-stitch project ready to pick up and work on:  The embroidery project I’ve been working on is easy to pick up and stitch at a moment’s notice. I also have the two new felt applique kits that are good pick-up-and-stitch projects. I’m just not feeling the cross-stitch love right now, so don’t have a cross-stitch project that’s in “pick up and go” status.

~ No new purchases or patterns, other than what comes in magazines to which I already subscribe:  Whoops!! 😛  The two felt applique kits and the pillowcase embroidery kit are purchases I made this month. I’m opting to ditch this goal, because I do love to have small kits and projects at-hand for when I want to start something new and don’t want to have to kit it up myself. I know what my storage limitations are for stash, which helps keep me thoughtful about what I purchase, so I feel comfortable eliminating this item from my goals.

 

FAVORITE PICS:  It’s all about the plants!! I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but I’m making an effort to add some greenery into our home.

This trio of plants were each in tiny 2″-size pots — so cute!! The nursery at which I bought these had a good assortment of tiny potted plants. If the nursery has more of these set-of-3 pots when I’m back there next time, I’ll pick up another one or two of them along with a variety of plants to go in them.

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This plant was a Christmas gift, but I don’t know what kind of plant it is. It was full of flowers, which I cut off after they died. There are actually three plants in the one container, so I’ll either put them in a large pot together or split them between three smaller pots.

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This is part of a Pothos Ivy we’ve had for quite a long time. I like this white pot a lot, so bought two of them and split the ivy between them.

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I love the leaves on these Neanthe plants! I didn’t buy any Neanthes this trip, but will pick up one or two if the nursery still has them when I’m there again.

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The Kangaroo Paw plants would be for outside. In reading the care label, they do seem like plants that would do okay in our environment, and I love that they’re good for attracting hummingbirds. We do have hummingbirds visit our hummingbird feeders regularly at certain times of the year; these plants would be a tasty and pretty addition.

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We’ve had a mild winter thus far, so wandering through the nursery and seeing all the pretty outdoor plants sure gave me the itch to get the Spring plants and flowers going. However, we have a couple more months before we pass our last frost date, so I will be patient and wait to begin purchasing new things to plant.

Happy stitching and reading!!

Mid-September thru December 2018 Wrap Up: part 2 of 2 (books & movies/tv)

[Part 1 is HERE and recaps the needlework goings-on.]

BOOKS:  (These have been added to my Books Read page found HERE.)  

Winter Garden (Kristin Hannah) — This was an emotionally-heavy read, but it sucked me in and I didn’t want to put it down.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (Hank Green) — It was an interesting plot and I finished the book, but I might’ve enjoyed it more at a different time.

the Graceling Realm trilogy (Kristin Cashore) — This was a reread of the books Fire; Graceling; and Bitterblue. This is one of my favorite trilogies.

The Immortalists (Chloe Benjamin) — I read the entire book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents (Pete Souza) — Pete is one of my favorite Instagram follows. If you’re a fan of 44, this might be right up your alley. If you’re a fan of 45, however, you’re not the target audience.

The Hazel Wood (Melissa Albert) — I had gone into this one knowing nothing about it. I liked it just fine, but think this would’ve been an instance when I would’ve like knowing which genre I was getting into before I started the book. (I don’t always look at genre info or read blurbs before starting a library Kindle book.)

Head On (John Scalzi) — The sequel to Lock In. I enjoyed both books, and really like that Scalzi did not assign a gender to the main character.

The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde) — It took me a while to get into this book (which was more because of my head space at the time rather than because of the book), but once I did get hooked into it I thoroughly enjoyed it.

the Throne of Glass series (Sarah J. Maas) — I started a reread of this series towards the end of the year, in anticipation of reading the newest (and final) book. I finished the novellas and first two books before year-end 2018, and will finish the remaining books, including the new book, in early 2019.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

The Rookie (currently-airing S1) — This is a series my husband and I both enjoy. Nathan Fillion is a gem and I’m glad to see him on tv again (I didn’t find Castle interesting, and Firefly was a long time ago!). Very enjoyable cast all around on The Rookie.

The Great British Baking Show (S9) — I’m gonna say it…I really, REALLY like the new line-up of judges and hosts. (But I also really liked the prior line-up, as well.) I’ve not yet watched the newest (to the U.S.) masterclass series, but it’s in my queue.

Bodyguard (S1) — This series made for tense viewing, but I liked the series.

MOVIES — I’m sure I’ve watched some movies the past several months (besides Hallmark’s two months’ worth of holiday movies), but nothing specific is bubbling to the surface of my memory. If something noteworthy does, I’ll add it to my next wrap-up.

 

SIDEBAR UPDATES for FLOSSTUBE & PODCASTS:  It’s been a while since I’d updated these two sidebar lists, so, as of today, they agree with my current watch-list and listen-list.

 

BAKING:  Because I’ll be looking for these recipes when the holidays roll around again…

Chocolate Pecan Pie I (Allrecipes) — I used a store-bought deep-dish pie crust, increased the crushed pecans to 1-1/3 C., rimmed the top out edge of the uncooked pie with pecan halves, and used 1 C. dark chocolate chips. I baked for 55 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie (Smitten Kitchen) — I used a store-bought deep-dish pie crust. No changes to the filling.

 

WEIGHT-WATCHERS (now officially re-branded as “WW”):

While I’ve not been actively following my WW program in recent months, I have managed to maintain the 15(ish)-lb. loss from summer 2018. I’m okay with holding steady, especially since there’s been a fair bit of stress-eating the past three months!! I had not renewed my membership when my six-month special pricing ran out, but when I submitted a request to cancel my membership I promptly received a two-months-free offer from WW, which I accepted. I’m hoping by the time the end of those two months rolls around things will have stabilized with family health issues (see the Part 1 post from earlier today if you’ve not already read it) and I’ll be in the frame of mind to pick up my efforts and move forward with my weight loss.

 

RECENT FAVORITE SNAPSHOTS:

This is one of my first cross-stitch projects, which would’ve been completed in 1991 or 1992. The person to whom I’d gifted it is the family member who recently passed away. It brings me a great deal of joy to see this project, along with several others I’d made for them, still displayed in their home.

 

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Okay, 2019…let’s do more things!! (preferably not involving hospitals :P)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August to mid-September 2018 Wrap-Up: part 2 of 2 (books & movies/tv)

[Part 1 is HERE and recaps the needlework goings-on.]

BOOKS:  (These have been added to my Books Read page found HERE.)  

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) — Written from the points of view of a black nurse, a white supremacist, and a white public defender; racism is a central issue.  The kindle version I read contained an author’s note, which I was hoping it would, and a good bibliography.

Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman) — I’d read The Rules of Magic a few months ago, which was a prequel to this book but this book had been written first. For me, both books stand alone just fine; you don’t need to read one to enjoy the other. I did wish I’d not already seen the movie before reading this book.

Firefly Lane (Kristin Hannah) — The first part of this book had lots of “brings back memories” references for me from the 1970’s and 1980’s. This book left me feeling melancholy.

Calypso (David Sedaris) — Enjoyed this one.

Retire Inspired (Chris Hogan) — I actually didn’t finish this one, but am placing it on my list because I do want to come back to it as we move further along in our debt-free journey.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham) — This was interesting, although I suspect it would’ve worked better for me as an audiobook.

On Turpentine Lane (Elinor Lipman) — A light, fun read.

The Outsider (Stephen King) — I’m not a fan of crimes against children being a plot point, and this book starts off with a graphic one…and the details get brought up several times throughout the book. I opted to skim liberally in order to finish the story.

Labyrinth Lost (book 1) (Zoraida Cordova) — This fell into the “not for me right now” category. I did finish the book, but won’t be moving forward in the series right now.

Notes from a Blue Bike (Tsh Oxenreider) — An older book and I’m not the target demographic, but I like Tsh’s writing voice and did enjoy the book.

Magic Hour (Kristin Hannah) — I liked this one a lot. The plot was a step off the beaten path from what I usually read in fiction, and that was a nice change.

 

TV SERIES:

Secret City (S1) — I enjoyed this, although I did have to make a point to pay attention and not be fiddling with my phone at the same time ;-). It was a good show to watch while doing needlework. (netflix)

Sneaky Pete (S1 & S2) — I liked both seasons and will watch S3 when it’s released.  (amazon prime)

Great British Bake Off (2017) (aired on U.S. Netflix 2018) — Love. Love. Loved it!! I enjoyed the new judge and hosts, as well. (netflix)

Sisters (S1) — I enjoyed this. (netflix)

Madame Secretary — I  watch a few episodes then take a long break before going back again. I like the cast quite well; I’m just not always in the mood for a government-crisis-of-the-week show. (netflix)

 

MOVIES:

Captain Fantastic — Loved it. What a great cast. This is one I’d watch anytime I came across it on tv. (I think I watched this during a free weekend of Showtime via our Sling app)

Moana — Loved this one, too. The story was thoroughly enjoyable; the animation of the texture and movement of Moana’s and Maui’s hair was superb. (netflix)

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before — Also loved this one, and will absolutely watch it again. I’ve not read the books, and probably won’t since I enjoyed the movie so much. (netflix)

Victoria & Abdul — I love Dame Judi and thought she did a fantastic job of portraying the loneliness and isolation of being a queen. Wonderful cast. Beautiful scenery and costuming. (hulu)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri — I’ll watch most anything with Frances McDormand in it. Another great cast. (hulu)

Avengers: Infinity War — Whew! There was A LOT going on in this movie. I had planned to stitch while watching it, but found I missed too much if I looked away from the tv. For such a long movie, I thought the time went by quickly. I did end up googling for an explanation of the ending (I’m not a comic book reader nor am I otherwise immersed in the Marvel Universe). I’ll definitely watch this one again when it lands on netflix or amazon prime. (amazon rental)

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society — I enjoyed this movie; I’ve not read the book. (netflix)

 

PODCASTS:

Sorta Awesome Ep. 162 re: Self-Care, Self-Comfort, What’s Healthy, What’s Not — I don’t typically recommend specific podcast episodes, but this is one which, as I listened to it, I thought would be interesting and helpful to pretty much everyone I know.

 

WEIGHT- & DEBT-REDUCTION PROGRESS:

I’ve lost about one-third of the weight I’d like to lose, and have, since the end of July, been maintaining that loss within a pound or two. I’ve not been actively trying to decrease my loss further just yet; it’ll probably be another month or so before I’m ready to shift from maintaining back to losing.

This month we paid off our smallest debt and were also able to pay an additional amount on the next smallest debt, which felt great! I imagine it’ll take another month or two before we have our budgeting process tweaked to what works best for us.

 

RECENT FAVORITE SNAPSHOTS:

thunderheads

sisters

yellow rose

daisy