Read: December 2017

My December reading has included newfound literary Christmas treats, many novellas, and several 2017 buzz-worthy books!

Bonfire

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

In this fictional debut from actress and knitter (!!!), Ritter’s protagonist Abby is a lawyer who has returned to her rural hometown in Indiana 10 years after graduating high school and escaping to the allure of anonymity in Chicago.

She has no reason to come back and face unanswered questions until Abby’s legal team is sought to investigate claims that a local, do-gooder company is actually responsible for a variety of chronic illnesses and environmental red flags. Abby realizes the task to separate these current incidents from the unexplained behaviors of past acquaintances (many bullied her and were too mean to be called “friends”) is easier said than done.

My thanks to Edelweiss for access to the digital ARC. https://www.edelweiss.plus

TDOAL

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Probably best known for A Man Called Ove (which I have yet to read), Swedish author Backman tells a brief yet compelling story in this novella set on Christmas Eve.

Upon its completion I was left thinking about ambition and legacy, and as a Christian, humility and sacrifice.

Book read via: my academic library InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

ChristmasBall

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul 

I honestly can’t remember where I heard about this book, but it’s been on my Christmas TBR list for several years.

Cora and Simon are two co-workers whose paths have never crossed other than in a business as usual way. But when they both visit the same mysterious bookstore on the same evening and both receive tickets to the wizard’s ball, Divine destiny is giving them a push to take another look at one another.

Filled with a bit of Christmas magic from a Christian’s perspective, this novella was more traditional in its length and made for a sweet, romantic weekend read.

Book read via: my academic library InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

FamilyUnderBridge

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson 

This Newbery Honor Book from 1959 casts a heartwarming and dreamy look at a serious topic – homelessness at Christmastime.

When Armand, a beggar on the streets of Paris, encounters a mother and her three children who are now also homeless, he begrudgingly sets in motion an unexpectedly generous approach to helping provide for them in their time of need.

The illustrations by Garth Williams, whom I met as a young girl, are a beautiful accompaniment to this story about kindness and the family you choose.

Book read via: youth collection from my academic library

Chemist

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Recommended by a colleague back in the summer, I began listening to this during my Thanksgiving travels. The narration was well done with easily identifiable character voices. For those familiar with Meyer, the author of Twilight, I promise there are no sparkly vampires in this one!

This spy thriller unfolds well, allowing the reader to get to know The Chemist and how she earned her name from her former job as a mastermind of chemical persuasion for the American government. But questions remain: why is she still on the run, who set her up to interrogate an innocent man and why, and whom can she love and trust moving forward as she seeks answers (and revenge) for those who have wronged her?

Book read via: public library (audio CD)

ExitWest

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

The American Library Association’s Book Club Central, has developed a new(ish) partnership with actress Sarah Jessica Parker as their honorary chair. I just love how she describes herself as an avid reader, “To this day, I would never leave the house without something to read. I’ve been running late for things and run back just to get a book” (from American Libraries magazine). I hear you, SJP, I hear you.

Exit West has been the fall selection, which I added to my public library wish list and when I found it wasn’t checked out a few weeks ago, I brought it home with me.

Also mentioned in the NPR Best Books of 2017 list, this contemporary fiction novel depicts two Middle Eastern young adults, Nadia and Saeed, whose friendship and burgeoning love becomes increasingly difficult as safety within their unspecified city becomes painfully violent with infighting between rebels and the military. But rather than be trapped by their surroundings, portals exist in their city (as do they all around the world) allowing them to pass through a door and leave their home location.

While I would classify this as fiction with magical realism, it is steeped in a reality all too common for many who face being a refugee in various parts of the world. The prose is beautifully written and easy to follow, which makes for a beautiful read from a different cultural perspective.

Book read via: public library

FC-JRRT

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reading all of The Lord of the Rings series remains an ongoing goal, but this sweet collection of letters has nothing to do with Middle Earth. They have everything to do with Tolkien and his imaginative love shared with his children over the span of about 20 years as he writes and illustrates letters from the pen of Father Christmas.

This is a perfect Christmas read-aloud for members of the whole family but I would suggest using the print version so as to not miss out on viewing his variations of hand lettering and fonts for the different characters, along with the accompanying colorful illustrations.

Book read via: my academic library InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

TheHangman

The Hangman by Louise Penny

This Chief Inspector Gamache novella was written for the Good Reads incentive program for reluctant readers in Canada, thus making it very approachable with the plot and vocabulary. A handful of Penny’s characters from Three Pines make an appearance and only whets your readerly appetite for more!

Book read via: public library Overdrive

SistersFirst

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

Over the past three decades the Bush family has been synonymous with American politics. Without a political agenda, this co-authored memoir by twins Jenna and Barbara lends a very personal and inviting presence to hear their side of the story.

This memoir is filled with candid stories of their childhood, honest explanations of moments in the spotlight, and, most importantly, a deep and appreciative love for each other and their unique family.

Book read via: public library


Next up on the blog: my knitting recap and goals for 2018!

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Daily routine – Advent edition

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

—Annie Dillard

Recently, Katie from Cakes, Teas, and Dreams listed this quote and blogged about her daily routine, its everyday ordinariness, and the comfort this brings. When partnered with Emily P. Freeman’s clarion call to simplicity, over the past few days I’ve payed more attention to this sacred echo and the quiet moments that bring balance and order to my life in this season of Advent.

Weekday Mornings

The alarm goes off around 6:00 a.m. and I am usually the first to fully awaken. These mornings when the Earth tilts the farthest away from the Sun mean a few extra moments to lay in bed and by the light of my phone check the day’s weather, e-mail, Instagram, blogs, and read in Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman.

Shortly thereafter I putter around to feed Sylvester, turn on indoor Christmas lights, and return back to bed for a few last warm cuddles with The Optometrist and the kitty before returning to the kitchen to make us a quick breakfast.

Entering the kitchen heat from the vent warms my feet as I tap the iPod speaker to play Christmas music while I gather smoothie ingredients. It is most often a banana, ice, peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla & coconut extract, and almond milk (from Cooking Classy). Over the weekend I bake a dozen muffins, enough to last us the week, so I also pop two in the microwave with a little pat of butter to round out our breakfast (this orange cranberry muffin recipe is our current go-to, seasonal favorite). Before heading out the door The Optometrist and I usually incorporate a bit of reading aloud – the day’s Jesus Calling devotional and/or J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers.

As I arrive on campus, I greet our student workers and staff before heading upstairs to my office and turning on my lamps and M&M Christmas lights. The library is busy with students studying for finals, but at this point they no longer require research assistance, so I relish the quiet refuge of my office. At the end of the semester e-mails are less assailing than they have been, but mornings usually mean catch-up time from what’s arrived since the night before. It’s also imperative I login to Blackboard to check for straggling assignments I need to score so students will have a better idea of their final grade.

Weekday Afternoons

Living in a small community means having only a 5-10 drive to and from work, which is convenient for going home to eat lunch. Most of the time this means we reheat leftovers and squeeze in a few moments to watch clips on YouTube via our Chrome Cast: Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, or Rhett & Link.

Sometimes we ride together, sometimes we grab a quick bite to eat at a nearby Chinese or pizza buffet, and sometimes we fly solo – especially on Thursdays when I often attend a lunchtime yoga class downtown, taught by my favorite teacher Mindy.

Returning to campus, I often have afternoon meetings and/or follow-up to-dos from committee work that needs to be addressed before the university closes for Christmas break or shortly after we reopen in January. This is also a prime time to clean accumulated clutter and organize files in my library office before the end of the calendar year.

Weekday Evenings

I don my handknits to stay warm in my car as a local radio station plays Christmas music and I return home to the inviting glow of our exterior Christmas lights, already on thanks to a pre-set timer.

On nights when we have a scheduled music/civic/church event, it’s kibble for kitty and a quick dinner reheat for us before we grab jackets, gloves, and scarves and head out once more. Lately Tuesday evening has been my night to meet up with friends to knit and chat at a local coffee shop and Wednesday evenings find us both at church, rehearsing Christmas choral arrangements for upcoming services.

But the best nights are the ones when we are able to stay home and cook together – especially soup or something else hearty and comforting that can take temporary residence on our Christmas china. As we eat with tea light candles lit around us we debrief about our respective days, mention conversations shared with colleagues, and update one another on upcoming plans that might have adjusted.

The hours after dinner are typically filled with a rotation of playing music together, watching a Christmas movie or something on Netflix (Broadchurch and The Great British Baking Show are two current favorites), gaming (him), knitting or reading (me), a cup of herbal tea (both), and a few text messages exchanged with my parents before bedtime.

Then before another day dawns I often read aloud from Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien, we ask one another, “What are three good things that happened to you today?,” and offer up a prayer of supplication and gratitude to Emmanuel, God with us.


These rhythms of life are grounding, are they not? Despite the hustle of the season, I hope you too are taking time to seek quiet, holy moments. Feel free to share your Advent routine in the comments below.

4 Quick Christmas Reads

With Christmas less than two weeks away, if you need a short but memorable way of getting into the Christmas spirit, I might I suggest these four titles?

TDOAL

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

While this is classified as a novella, I found it to be more of a short story that takes place on Christmas Eve as a man of importance examines his actions and behaviors in a selfless way.

ChristmasBall

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul 

More of a traditional novella, this story takes a cute perspective of Christmas magic combined with Christian principles and God’s love. Themes include looking beyond the surface of those you think you know, kindness to others, developing new traditions at Christmastime, and a sweet and chaste romance.

FamilyUnderBridge

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson 

This Newbery medal winner from 1959 is one I never before remember reading, but the cover looked very familiar to me. Recently I was intrigued when another book blogger mentioned how this story of a beggar and a family with small children find one another on the streets of Paris at Christmastime. So I pulled it off the shelf from my academic library’s youth collection, found it tinged with sadness at the beginning, happiness at the end, and a wonderful reminder of how often family are the people you choose.

FC-JRRT

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Of these four, this is the only one I haven’t yet finished reading. Since I still have another week to read it before it’s due and our library closes for the Christmas holiday, The Optometrist and I are enjoying taking our time reading aloud these imaginative letters J.R.R. Tolkien wrote from the pen of Father Christmas to his children, spanning the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. The illustrations drawn by Tolkien aren’t to be missed so if you are on the lookout for this, I highly recommend the print versus the audio!


Do you have any other quick Christmas titles to share? If so, please leave them in the comments below!

Knit: July 2017 & SSK Recap!

Super Summer Knitogether (SSK)


Leslie and Laura of the Knit Girllls are the coordinators and hosts of the annual Super Summer Knitogether retreat in Nashville, TN.  When I submitted my name to be in the SSK lottery last fall I was a.) not really expecting for my name to be drawn and once my name was drawn, b.) not really for sure what to expect since it was my first knitting/fiber retreat. Thankfully, other participants on the Ravelry SSK discussion boards were very helpful leading up to the trip and allowed me to have a general idea about what to expect.

Fast forward from November’s announcement to over half a year later, I loaded up my knitting and The Optometrist and I hit the road, heading due east on I-40.

SSK is held on the Scarritt Bennett Center, which was an entirely inspiring place in which to walk (it felt like a real life Hogwarts!), eat delicious meals (including grits), and meet newfound knitter friends.


Since everything and everyone was new for me, my introverted self had to work extra hard to come out of my little shell, but everyone was warmly welcoming and it was an extremely well organized event. I definitely felt like I belonged with my knowledge, skills, and ability (this retreat was definitely not centered around beginner knitters and/or spinners), as well as my understanding of the lingo – awareness of popular patterns on Ravelry, other knitting channels on YouTube, and independent yarn dyers.

During the retreat I took two inspiring classes, which will continue to require further practice: “Two-Handed Two-Color Knitting” with Margaret Radcliffe (who really does have two hands – poor timing on the picture taking)


and “Steeking Your Knits” with Ann Budd.


My yarn stash also got a little boost thanks to an amazing vendor market!


A sweater’s quantity of Bare Naked Wools Better Breakfast Fingering in Mocha in which I’m going to knit the Flax Light sweater by Tin Can Knits, a bar of wool soap from Tuft Woolens in Red Currant and Mandarin, a gobstopper of self-striping Lollipop Yarn in Showers and Flowers, a skein of self-striping yarn from Gynx Yarns in the House Cup (Harry Potter) colorway, and two double skeins (each exactly matched for two-at-a-time socks) from Rock and String Yarn in Caramel Apple Cider and A Hunting We Will Go. We also were kindly given a beautiful skein of self striping yarn from Fishknits in the At Sixes and Sevens colorway in our goody bag along with lots of coupons and knitting accessories. Needless to say I’ve returned home excited to get started on some new projects and revisit others that have been a little bit neglected!

A few lessons learned at SSK (and to remember if I’m selected to attend again):

  • Dress coolly and comfortably.
  • Just pack one, easy knitting project.
  • Don’t bring as many bags – you will receive more!
  • Participate again in the stitch marker swap.
  • Bring a book to read during quiet moments.
  • Immediately look up new friends via their Ravelry IDs (this user-name identity was just as heavily used as their real name).

And as for what I actually knitted in July…

FOs (Finished Objects)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pattern: Striped Socks with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Cost: Pay for pattern by Sox Therapist
Needles: US 1, 40″ Signature Needle Arts fixed circular needles
Yarn: Patons Kroy – Blue Striped Ragg
Recipient: The Optometrist

Using the Turkish cast on method, CO 10 sts and increased to 64 sts. Knitting these two-at-a-time, toe up, using Magic Loop on my beautiful, personalized Signature Needles (a birthday gift from The Optometrist). I adjusted the two balls of yarn to have matching stripes which is visually pleasing, especially beginning and ending with the same colors!

The feet are knit plain/vanilla, then knit a 3×1 ribbing (knit 3, purl 1) around the leg of the sock to fit snugly, and finished with a 2×2 ribbing (knit 2, purl 2) for around 7 rows at the very top.

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Pattern: Basic Baby Hat
Cost: Free!
Needles: US 6, 16″ circular Knit Picks Rainbow fixed circular needles & US 6, 5″ Brittany birch DPNs
Yarn: Patons North America Beehive Shetland Light – 4739 (fuschia), Plymouth Yarn Encore DK – Cream
Pom Pom Maker: Clover
Recipient: Olivia

Last Christmas I knitted little gifts for my parent’s pastor’s three children: a pair of mittens for the two older boys and a stuffed animal for baby sister. Even though we may not be able to attend church with them near Christmas this year, I’m already thinking ahead to cooler weather, hand-knits, and this year their gifts are going to be hats!

I’ve made several hats from this simple pattern, so this time I decided to design my own color scheme using alternating colors in stripes and rows and had a great time letting the creative juices flow!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pattern: Mitt Envy by weezalana
Cost: Free!
Needles: US 3 DPNs
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM 703P
Recipient: TBA

Last winter I knit a pair of these for my Momma for her birthday and enjoyed the pattern so much I bought another lovely skein of Koigu, this time to make them in a grape colorway.

These accompanied me to SSK, but weren’t my primary project (keep reading…), although I did finish the first one while in Nashville and then started and finished the second after returning home.


Pattern: Granny Annie
Cost: Pay for pattern by Hanna Maciejewska
Needles: US 6, 60″ circular ChiaGoo Lace
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK – Molly Ringwald, Stovepipe, Candlewick, Great Grey Owl
Recipient: I’m keeping this one!

When I saw the version knit by the Plucky Knitter, I instantly fell in love with this color combination – pale pink, mustard, dark and light grey, so I loved recreating my own using luscious Tosh DK. This was the other project I took with me to SSK, on which I knit the most thanks to lots of garter and simple increase rows. It was the perfect travel project to knit in the car and around groups of people (read: not a lot of concentration required).

Since I adjusted the gauge, the end product was a bit smaller than I would have liked, but it’s a decent size and we’ll see how it adjusts with a vigorous blocking.

I was also very disappointed with the Leopard (charcoal grey) colorway. It routinely turned my left index finger dark, as well as my hands, as if I had been holding newsprint. Since Leopard often appears right next to Molly Ringwald, the two darkest and lightest colors, I’m not going to block it until I’ve received some Shout color catchers to help absorb any excess dye from bleeding onto the rest of the shawl.

WIP (Work in Progress)

img_0510

Pattern: Granny Stripes
Cost: Free!
Hook: Size E
Yarn: various sock/sport weight bits & pieces
Recipient: I’m keeping this one, too!

It’s been several months since I’ve picked up my crocheted blanket, but after returning from SSK, I have been inspired to get more done on this languishing WIP! I now have several sock yarn colors to add – all the Hedgehog colors from my Fade, the aforementioned finished pair of socks and mitts, and an adorable mini skein from Rock and String Yarn included in my purchase from SSK. And as fall gets closer and the blanket grows bigger, it will be the perfect project to have on my lap during cooler weather!

 

Books: December Edition

Several sick days during finals week (when the library was busy with students, but slower for me not having to provide any instruction) afforded me lots of glorious time to stay at home to rest, drink tea, and read, read, read! And then, with the semester ending and visiting family over Christmas, I had even more time to read! And somehow, I forgot to post this before 2017 rolled around…so here is my December reading recap!

good-behavior-175

Good Behavior by Blake Crouch
Oh how I love anything by Blake Crouch! The Pines trilogy was so engrossing and Dark Matter was my favorite book read in 2016 (twice). Now, after finishing Good Behavior, I realize why I enjoy Crouch’s books so much: he writes descriptively and draws the reader in, which helps vividly envision scenarios and characters’ mannerisms, allowing the stories to mentally come to life and remain with you long after the last page is turned.

Comprised of three novellas stories, “The Pain of Others,” “Sunset Key,” and “Grab,” we meet Letty Dobesh, a seasoned criminal who is smart but her past choices and addictions haunt her life post-prison and influence the decisions she currently faces. The stories each stand alone, so there really isn’t a cohesive flow between the three. Yet, after each short story/novella, Crouch provides additional commentary about the story, its creation, and/or how it was adapted for TV; a neat, insider’s glance behind the scenes, allowing the reader to understand this slightly disjointed structure.

While I haven’t seen the TNT series, I’m curious about it simply because Michelle Dockery, Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, plays Letty. Talk about an actress not wanting to be typecast and playing a diverse range of characters!

My thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC!

greenglasshouse

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

I saw this listed as a Kindle daily deal in early December, and as I always do, first looked to see if my library had this in the youth collection, which we did (which means I probably ordered it…)! Free beats a Kindle deal any day!

This is an inviting story, perfect for cold, snowy weather, drinking hot chocolate nestled near the Christmas tree, and escaping into a world where two children are solving ongoing thefts and mysteries in a unique, snow-bound inn. Although this is a children’s book, the reading level is advanced (upper elementary for sure) and the plot requires some attention to remember different characters, various names, and details about the mysteries that unfold.

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What Light by Jay Asher

I received a three-chapter preview of this Young Adult novel from NetGalley, and it propelled me to request it from our public library. Jay Asher is best known for his book Th1rteen R3asons Why, which has become a well known, go-to YA story about the tragic impact of bullying.

In comparison, this Christmas story is much more positive and sweet. Sierra’s family owns a Christmas tree farm and each year they travel from Oregon to California to sell their trees, so she has two lives and two sets of friends divided around the holidays. This year, however, she meets a cute boy whose past is shrouded in speculation and rumor, and she must decide whether to accept him as he is, or be fearful of his past. This YA novel includes positive messages of acceptance, fresh starts, and openness towards the future.

submerged

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

While I’m pretty familiar with Inspirational Fiction authors, Dani Pettrey had never been on my radar until seeing one of her books as a Kindle daily deal. Again, I opted for checking my public library first to see if any of her books (especially starting with Book 1 of a series) were available. Thankfully, several were, including Submerged, the first in her Alaskan Courage series.

Although I’ve never been to Alaska, I was easily whisked away to the small, fictitious, coastal town of Yancey where Cole McKenna and his adventurous siblings work together with a friend from years past to uncover the motives surrounding a series of interconnected murders. This Christian fiction story includes themes of forgiveness, letting go of the past, the bonds of family, and an assurance in God’s faithfulness.

shattered
Shattered
by Dani Pettrey

After devouring Submerged I grabbed Shattered, the second book in the Alaskan Courage series, at my public library and enjoyed it equally as much as I did the first! The McKenna siblings return once more, with sister Piper and family friend Landon being featured as the main characters in this installment, as they collectively work to prove the true identity of someone who has killed their brother’s friend.  Themes in Shattered include dependence on God, being open to love, truth prevailing, and loyalty among family members.

I’ve also realized my favorite books are written with a strong sense of place, which allows me to fully immerse myself in the writer’s world, and this series definitely whisks me away to an inviting, fictitious place!

baxterchristmas

A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury

I began reading stories surrounding the Baxter family in 2008 and have read every.single.one.of.them (this is the 24th) over the years – wow!  This is definitely the longest series I’ve read and endeavored to keep up with, but the characters leave imprints on your heart and it’s always cozy to return to beloved friends found between the pages.

However, Kingsbury shares a brief backstory about all the characters in the preface, so you can be completely new to the Baxter family and still enjoy this sweet story of love, honesty, forgiveness, family relationships, and the birth of Jesus at Christmastime.

My thanks to Edelweiss for the digital ARC!

 

Christmas Knits 2016

Now that Christmas has come and gone (avoiding posting spoilers beforehand!), I’m happy to share some gifts from the heart I made for loved ones this year.

gardenwaffle

Title: Garden Waffle Socks
Pattern: Blueberry Waffle Socks
Recipient: Momma
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light: Mansfield Garden Party
Needles: US 1, 40” Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
Method:  Two-at-a-time (magic loop), toe up
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Sock Blockers: Squire Country Crafts (Size: women’s small)

hermione

Title: Blue Hermione Socks
Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks
Recipient: Dad
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk: Marine Blue
Needles: US 1, 40” Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
Method:  Two-at-a-time (magic loop), toe up
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel

policebox

Title & Pattern: Police Box Sox
Recipient: The Optometrist
Yarns: Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids: Marine, Koigu Premium Merino: Black & White
Needles: US 1, 40” Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
Method:  Two-at-a-time (magic loop), cuff down
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Toe: Hermione’s Everyday Socks

gingerbread

2016 Christmas Ornaments
Title & Pattern: Felted Gingerbread Ornaments
Recipients: various family & friends – smallest star and smallest heart
Yarns: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted: Roasted Pumpkin & Cascade Yarns Sunseeker: White
Needles: US 13, 24″ Hiya Hiya Bamboo

forall

Title & Pattern: Mittens for All
Recipient: Josiah D.
Yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! Tweed: Red Tweed
Needles: US 5 & US 6 DPNs

worldssimplest

Title & Pattern: The World’s Simplest Mittens
Recipient: Gideon
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore DK: Gray
Needles: US 5 & US 7 DPNs
Size: Child
bonbon

Title & Pattern: Bonbon
Recipient: Olivia
Yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! Carousel Ombre
Needles: US 6 DPNs

purlsoho

Title & Pattern: Super Easy Lap Blanket
Recipients: Lauren & Max (New Year’s Eve wedding afghan!)
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Worsted: White, Clarity, Dove Heather, Silver, Cobblestone Heather, Asphalt Heather, Black
Needles: US 10, 47″ Addi Turbo

 

Books: November Edition

It’s been a lighter month of reading, but these were both enjoyable books, although very different in theme and writing style.

christmascat

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson

I always enjoy reading Christmas-themed books throughout November and December and this one was immediately available via Overdrive from the public library. This was a simple story of faith, honoring a family obligation, and the special connections that exist between felines and humans.

A few years ago I would not have voluntarily read a book with the word “cat” in the title, but after our rescue cat Sylvester came into our lives and home over a year and a half ago, I have a soft spot for kitties, and this was a wholesome story that demonstrates the power of matching good pets within homes and families.

pancakes

Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson

Yes, this book will make you want to eat a hearty, all-American breakfast. Yes, this book will make you want to travel to Paris to eat a hearty, all-American breakfast at Breakfast in America.

What I wasn’t expecting was for this book to be filled with such a thorough background, business details, a long timeline, and the many personal ups and downs Carlson recounts in establishing his overseas business Breakfast in America in Paris. Yet, seeing his dream fulfilled and becoming so successful was rewarding to read.

My thanks to NetGalley for this digital ARC!

More Christmas (and non-Christmas) reading to come in December as the end of the semester nears, giving me more time to read, and Christmas break awaits!