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Book Buying Habits

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When we got The Big Life Event started this summer, I knew I wanted to start buying actual physical books again. My friend Saremy introduced me to a great local bookshop downtown and I started saving up my amazon affiliate rewards to put towards books on my wishlist.

I always wanted my home to be filled with books but with limited space in my current situation, that wasn’t an option at all. So I read a lot of eBooks & library books which was totally cool. But now I can get pretty books and display them! I’ve been obsessing over DIY bookshelves on Pinterest and coming up with all sorts ideas!

Typically when I decide I want a new book, I first visit my local bookshop. They have a membership card that is $18 a year and you get 10% off all your purchases. Which totally adds up because new releases are 20% off so with the card they are 30% off! Woo! Plus I’m in Chico once a week so I like popping in just to see what they recently got.  And if I can’t get a book with them, I then try amazon. I typically receive (full disclosure time!) between $15-25 per month in amazon affiliate money. I get it in the form of a gift card so I can save up two months of affiliate money to qualify for free shipping. I am super appreciative of that book budget (thank you for clicking my links!) so today I wanted to share with you a super pretty book I got that you might like too!

I recently discovered Book Depository! I don’t know if I’m just late to the party (probably!) but I thought I’d tell you about them!

I ordered a pink edition of FanGirl this summer after seeing it on Rainbow Rowell’s tumblr. I absolutely freaking adored that book. And I liked having a special fancy copy of it. For some reason it made reading it extra special! It helped that Cath was quite possibly one of my favorite characters of all time too! The dust jacket comes off and has a dance party illustration on it!

Now I check and see if there are alternate versions with different covers or features on Book Depository before I purchase on Amazon. They have free world wide shipping which is surprisingly fast, I usually get my orders in 4-8 business days after I order. They are in the UK & I’m in California so that’s not too shabby!

I found a copy of My True Love Gave To Me that blew me away! I don’t know how but my copy arrived before the book was even released? It was a super surprise! I thought it was cute in the photos but when it arrived, my head almost exploded.

PINK EDGES! SHINY GOLD WRITING! BIG LIGHT BULBS ON THE END PAPERS! I love those big giant old fashioned Christmas lights. I totally forgot to take a photo for this post but each chapter contains a cute illustration. The first page I opened to had a cat on it, so naturally I was in love. BoarishReads, my bookish instagram account, has a photo here.

Even the US edition is adorable. I like those ice skaters a bunch. I feel like I recently saw flannel sheets somewhere with ice skaters on them but now I can’t for the life of me remember where!

I haven’t actually READ this book yet, so I’m simply gushing that it’s SUPER pretty. I can’t tell you about the content but it’s all of my favorite authors (Holly Black, Jenny Han, Laini Taylor, etc) writing short winter themed romances. It sounds really cute but I’m waiting to read it until it’s actually Christmas/Winter. I like to read books that take place in the season I’m experiencing. Is that weird?

Here are three other books I got to read in November/December. They are either on order from amazon or I’m on the hold list at the library.

I’m currently reading The Young Elites, I somehow was the first person on the hold list at the library and it came on Friday. One thing I like about our library is if our branch doesn’t have a book, it will arrive on a Friday from an alternate branch.

It feels funny to be talking about Christmas/Winter before Halloween but I’m feeling inspired by it right now. Ashleigh & I spent the past two months designing and stitching a new club, Christmas Celebration Sampler that matches Halloween Spooky Sampler. I’m just SUPER into it. We basically took everything Christmas & pushed it to the max! It spells out Christmas with the best little designs, she made a Mrs. Claus that is so sweet. As a personal project, I’m currently stitching one of the blocks from Christmas Celebration Sampler with some silk from Dragonflylotus Designs for a bookmark.

Last weekend was Fiber-Fusion and it was SO much fun! Our booth came out really cute!! And I got to meet a Yak so that was neat! The booth across from us totally had me obsessed, it was a local woman who raises sheep. She had baskets of fleece, big wool blankets she knit and was explaining the sheep to yarn process. She spun and chatted and I adored watching her spin. Like, I’d find myself creepily staring at her for 5 or so minutes because it was so relaxing! She was using the prettiest Ashford wheel. I learned to spin briefly in college and was quite terrible at it but watching her this weekend + seeing all the amazing Spinzilla posts on instagram has me thinking a lot about it. She teaches classes and I think it would be really neat to give it a second try. I might have room for a wheel? I don’t think it would be hard on my hands like knitting? I’d definitely have to save up for one but it looks like a really neat craft. And I love seeing all the pretty indie dyed fiber. I just don’t know if I’d feel guilty spinning yarn but being unable to knit with it?

I hope your week is going well :):):)

Stitching & Reading

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I got SO excited to share photos of my finished Mysterious Halloween Town & Autumn Harvest Festival today only to realize I left them with Ashleigh. Boo! But I did just stitch up a second turkey! I love making this pattern, it’s not super traditional colors and his little hat kills me!

Do you have plans this Saturday? Ashleigh & I are going to be vending at Fiber-Fusion! We have a small booth and are going to be selling…printed patterns for the first time!!! YUP! Printed patterns are coming to the Pumpkins. Ridiculously excited! We are hoping to offer them in our shop soon too!

I got my October Project Life box yesterday in the mail and I looooove this months kit. I’ve kept up with PL since June but stopped once things got crazy this summer. I might do a single big page collage of my favorite things in June, July and August and then start the card a day for September. I think it’s hard to motivate myself to be super creative during the summer but fall…that is when I want to create ALL THE THINGS. My favorite things in this months box are the washi tape, it has autumn-y sayings on it which are super cute. And I love the big card that says Sweater Weather is Better Weather!

This time I was actually home, had my computer on and remembered to check Studio Calico for this months add on kits! I haven’t been able to snag one in the past because they sell out super fast. This time I got some of lifelovepaper’s cozy card set! It’s so cute right? I’m going to turn the cards into a mini book celebrating Big Life Event. Speaking of Big Life Event…I *might* be able to share some news next week. Hopefully. Dang you long weekend!!!!!!!!

I got a really neat gift from Chop that might be of interest to you guys! Moleskine makes a journal for tracking your reading! It has an alphabetical sections and then six tabbed sections. I’m using one of the tabbed sections to keep track of long running book series that I always forget which book I’ve read. It came with cute little stickers that you can use to personalize your entries. I definitely want to use some of my Project Life supplies to make the book super cute. I follow threadofhearts on instagram and she’s always using ridiculously cute supplies to decorate her filofax and I find it really inspiring! So much kawaii! I do use GoodReads but I like this much better. Also, I saw MichellePatterns makes a pattern to sew a cover for it! Once I can decide on fabric, I’m going to get the pattern and sew one up. Everything is better with a cozy!

The library has been super good to me lately. I had either books on hold during the summer and this week SEVEN of them came in all at once. Usually I get them 1-2 per week, depending on when others finish up with them. I’m currently reading Ignite Me which I’ve been wanting to read since July. This series is written in this short, terse prose-ish quality that I really enjoy. Don’t tell me but I REALLLLY hope Warner is great in this last book!

Ok! I hope if you are local you’ll be able to swing by Fiber Fusion! :):):)

 

Little Skein in the Big Wool’s Green Gables Shawl Kit

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Yesterday was an EPIC mail day for me!

My Green Gables kit from Little Skein in the Big Wool arrived!

A few weeks ago Anne contacted me and asked if I wanted to co-host a KAL based on Anne of Green Gables.

Um. YES. Ironically just a few days before some dear stitching friends & I decided to re-read the book together- perfect timing!

The only downside is….I can’t knit. So I replied back to Anne and explained that my arm is falling off (ok, it’s not really but it sure feels like it!) and we came up with a solution! She generously sent me a kit to share my thoughts on and since it’s a KAL I’m genuinely interested in, I said YES! (Remember- I’m not a giant “for profit” blogger. I only mention things I personally like/admire on my blog!) She then asked folks if someone would be interested in knitting my shawl for me in exchange for a kit of their own, which I thought was pretty awesome!

Back story: Anne & I met at Stitches West in February. I had purchased her Olympic themed bag after seeing it on Knitabulls and *loved* it. It was super cute, great quality and it arrived a day after I ordered it (we live kind of close by). When I saw her walking around Stitches, I may or may not have creepily grabbed her and said “I LOVE MY OLYMPIC BAG & YOUR STUFF” and pulled it out of my tote to show her. Yup. Awkward fan girl moment! ;)

She’s incredibly kind and very, very, very professional. I love meeting fellow businesswomen who are just on their A-Game. And she’s one of them and it comes through in everything she does.

So this KAL is based on a beautiful shawl called Balsam Hollow by Paula Emons-Fuessle which is a gorgeous, leafy and squishy looking. The yarn is a new to me dyeing company called Leading Men Fiber Arts! I’m super excited when I get to try/see dyers that I’m not familiar with yet. The shawl is knit with their sport weight yarn, I had the hardest time picking a color because they are all right up my alley. I left it up to Anne and she sent my pinch knitter the Haunted Wood colorway. Dianne described it to me as “purple, brown, gray and black all at the same time. Soooooo amazing!” I can’t wait to see it in person!

My sock weight skein in the photos is called “Anne’s Story” and it is so soft and beautifully dyed. It’s not for knitting the actual shawl pattern, it’s a companion yarn. It’s kind of killing me that I can’t cast on new socks right now with it!

The kit arrived beautifully wrapped in green tissue paper with matching stickers. Everything about this kit felt like a Christmas present! I love when people take the time to coordinate everything down to the tiniest detail! It just makes it feel really special and well thought out.

The stitch markers are really fun and sweet- I love that they came in their own tin. And the kit has lace helpers in a cute envelope.

I super love the bag. All of Anne’s bags are well made and clever. This drawstring bag stands up on it’s own and the lining fabric has quotes from the book in it! And the fabric!!! <3<3<3<3

There are four folks hosting the KAL on instagram! You can follow Anne, Susan, Paula & I! We are: @annielightknits, @susanbanderson, @knittingpipeline & @heyporkchop. I’m looking forward to watching the #annealong hashtag grow on instagram. I’m crossing my fingers I can maybe knit soon (I have a doctors appointment the second week in October!) because I love that sock yarn and how beautifully it coordinates with the bag. I think it would be a super enjoyable Autumn knit!

If you’d like to join the #annealong, you can find this helpful blog post on how to order kits. There are a bunch of different kit choices which I think is great, that way you can tailor the experience to your budget/time constraints!

:):):) I’m going to try and share some cross stitch stuff later this week or early next week. It turns out that “secret big life experience” I mentioned previously is taking up a lot of time/mental space!

It takes a village right?

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It’s still not even remotely fall-ish here which is really starting to bug me! It was 100 degrees all weekend. Ew! I refuse to drink a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte when it’s over 75 degrees. But I have been making some homemade ones because Ashleigh has this theory that if we dress like it’s autumn, eat seasonal treats and get cozy, the weather will HAVE to agree and turn autumn-y.

I appreciated all your emails and kind thoughts about my hand/arm stuff. I’ve been trying acupuncture which is so fascinating to me. I’ve gone five times so far and here are my thoughts:

I lack the ability to sit still. Truly. I am *always* doing things. Knitting. Playing video games. Cross stitching. Reading. Social Media. Just constantly DOING. And that hour where I have to sit still is HARD. Like the first time I went, I was nervously watching the clock and stressing out about my to do list. Then my friend Kelly had the brilliant idea to listen to an audiobook. That definitely helped, I asked my acupuncturist if that was ok and she said absolutely and now I have an hour of The Silkworm time. I’m not 100% able to relax fully but now I’m not feeling terrible about it, I look forward to listening to bits of the story. Last time I made it a full 37 minutes before I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I LOVE the narrator of this series, I listened to The Cuckoo’s Calling last fall and adored it. (Those are Amazon Affiliate links- meaning if you click them and buy those, I get a tiny percentage that I use to buy more books! But I obviously only suggest things I genuinely love!) I know they are JKR but go into the books just expecting a FANTASTIC mystery/crime and NOT Harry Potter and you’ll love them. I am finding mixed relief from acupuncture. I knit yesterday for the first time in two weeks and was only able to finish one row of my Great Divide Shawl. I have a dr’s appointment in October that some days I look forward to and other days I dread if I’m being honest.

It’s really bothering me that I can’t knit. And if I’m still being honest, this summer was hard. I had to cut back on all the things I love and I just felt sort of lost. I didn’t realize how much of my happiness, self identity and confidence comes from the act of creating. I was really starting to feel sad about it and then I decided to find an alternative solution:

What if I asked for help? 

I had bought two skeins of Socks That Rock with the intent of having a Halloween Great Divide, I emailed Michele and asked if she could knit me one and she agreed! She’s doing a gorgeous job on it!

And then! I’ve *always* wanted a crocheted afghan and my friend Bonnie made a beautiful one for one of her friends. I sent her almost my entire Plucky stash and suddenly…AFGHAN!

I had a pile of quilts I couldn’t hand sew the binding on and I’m awful at machine binding…some cupcakes and rosemary potatoes later, Saremy machine bound my quilts for me. I *love* knowing that even if I’m not making things, I’m at least going to be surrounded by hand made stuff.

Someone on instagram sent me a private message asking how I could claim a quilt that someone else designed, someone else quilted and another person bound as my own. This message kind of threw me for a loop. It’s definitely something to think about but I’m not dwelling on it. I feel like I have two choices: let my stash of collected yarn and fabric just sit & torment me or send it to friends and trade/buy/whatever in exchange for help finishing projects or creating projects I know I can’t physically do. So thanks to CrinkleLove for quilting my Thanksgiving Donut Quilt and Eileen Quilts for quilting my Halloween Donuts, Halloween Squares and Hashtag Quilt and Saremy binding them for me I ACTUALLY HAVE THINGS TO SHARE WITH YOU! I’m looking forward to blogging about each one individually because they are all super fun. AND I HAVE COZY QUILTS TO BE COZY WITH! Because COZY.

I started actually taking Sunday’s completely off. I have breakfast with my family at our favorite soda shop in Yuba City and then I come home and soak my arm. Last Sunday I cut out the first block in Moda’s Modern Building Blocks. This project comes in two formats: a kit with moda bella solids (check google or your local quilt shop!) and a project fan card. I bought the fan card option off etsy (the shop is now sold out and asked me not to link directly to them) and I *love* it but it appears to be backordered online everywhere at the time I’m writing this.

It’s this great sampler and the pattern cards are just the measurements for the blocks. I love it because it’s so sweet and inspiring. Every sampler I make will always remind me of doing The Farmer’s Wife Quilt with Angela and I wish that TFWQ book was set up this way! For me, it’s so much easier to see a block diagram labeled with letters and then below those letters with the corresponding measurements. I sort of “hacked” my pattern, I put washi tape on it and hole punched the outer cover (this shows the entire quilt) so I could keep it all together on a ribbon. I kept being afraid I’d lose the outer wrapper with the quilt diagram on it! I had a perfect matching washi tape in my stash from one of my Project Life kits which made me ridiculously happy.

So today I listened to some music and cut out another Donut Quilt. This one is sort of fantasy book inspired?! And then I made my first Modern Building Block! It’s a mix of quilting cotton, linen and silk. So much texture. I have no doubt this quilt will take me the better part of a year to work on and I’m sewing mostly from stash. I have a Big Life Event happening at the moment that I want to shout about from the rooftops but I’m afraid to jinx it so I’m not saying anything which is SO HARD but hopefully in 30ish days I’ll be able to share something great with you. If it doesn’t work out, forget I mentioned anything. Seriously. ;) If it does work out, this quilt is going to be extra special. I *love* long term projects because when you finish them and look back you see memories in them. Like “oh I was listening to this album and sewing this block when X happened.” or “I got this fabric from (insert friend) during November and made a block instantly”.

I took some photos last week of my current WIP cross stitch. It’s pretty much the most autumn-y sweet thing ever. I just need to make sure it’s ok to post them, I’m shooting for Wednesday :):):)

Have a good Monday!

Whoa Nelly.

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I’m so incredibly envious of all the folks I see mentioning that fall is coming! Cool weather! Leaves are turning!

It’s not even remotely like it here. The only thing that I’ve noticed is it getting a little bit darker earlier on our evening walks.

So I’m pretending that it’s happening here k?

I cut out a new quilt yesterday! I haven’t sewn since I made my mod blocks quilt in May. That’s crazy right?! I had almost a full day off from work yesterday and I decided to just put on some favorite music (lately I’m obsessed with old Death Cab Cutie) and just cut it out. I have two that I want to make, one sort of Autumn/Thanksgiving-ish and one Mystical/Fantasy-ish. I only got one cut out yesterday but I’m ok with it! I used a Moda Grunge that I haven’t tried before, it’s sort of a cream with darker cream splotches. I can’t seem to find it online but I’ll keep checking. I have no idea when I’ll be able to sew it together but it was fun to cut it all out!

On a whim the second week of August I went by my local yarn store and picked up two DK weight yarns. I thought I’d try my hand at a Great Divide Shawl! I got a skein of Juniper Moon Findley DK in Buckwheat & Sweet Georgia Superwash DK in I think…Cayenne? Don’t hold me to that, I’ve misplaced the tag. I cast on using size 9’s (pattern calls for 8’s) and just got obsessed with it! It’s a *very* fun and addictive pattern. I could definitely see myself making multiples of these. I’m knitting it a little looser and English style. I haven’t decided my border color yet- I have a skein of Tosh DK in Dahlia which just might be one of my new favorite colors. It’s the prettiest wine-y plum. And then I have a skein of The Verdant Gryphon Traveller in Maijishan Grottoes. Which is also gorgeous but I’d originally planned on knitting a hat from it. Tough choice! I got some new stitch markers for my birthday that I stuck on my shawl Pecan Pie from Sweet & Savory Trinkets & S’more + PB&J From Sucre Sucre Miniatures!

I haven’t been knitting as much as I’d like. At all. If it was up to me, I’d be have that shawl, some fingerless gloves and a new pair of socks done. My hand has been bothering me on and off all spring and has gotten much worse this summer. I’ve visited a few doctors about it and I’m not 100% in agreement with them so I’m trying acupuncture for the first time this week! I’m equal parts nervous and excited to try it. I’m giving it a shot until October when I have an appointment for a second opinion then I’ll see an neurologist for an EMG. It’s so incredibly frustrating to be surrounded by amazing yarn, great projects and not be able to work on stuff! But when I do take the time to knit, I enjoy every single second of it. Cute stitch markers, super nice yarn and a great pattern. It’s a special treat to be able to work on it here and there.

I’ve been reading a TON. I think because I used to knit in the evenings, now I’m reading more! I’ve really gotten into the BookRiot blog & podcast! If you haven’t checked it out and you love to read, you should. I also found The Readables BookTube Channel and she’s so adorable. I’ve started reading comics and I was so excited to see that Chico has a great comic book store, BaT Comics!  (Next to a pie shop and one block over from the bookstore. See you later money & waistline ;)) The owner is super nice and really knowledgeable. I’ve been collecting a few series and have totally become obsessed with Manga this summer as well. In some ways not being able to sew and knit as much has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things! Positive thinking right? Chop surprised me with a strange stuffed boar this spring, who I’ve referred to as Boarish Yeltsin, I decided he needed his own instagram account so I could share all my book-ish things. I love sharing what I’ve been finding at my local library- I got these on Saturday:

Our library has started using Axis360 and I’ve been REALLY liking it. Lots of brand new eBooks, you should definitely see if your library offers it! I’m currently reading Unbreakable and I kept thinking “is this Supernatural?” This morning I checked out GoodReads and read some reviews, yep. Supernatural! I’m not far enough along to say if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Before this summer I was a monogamous reader, just one book at a time. But now I have an eBook (for reading in bed at night), an audiobook (for listening to while I work) and a paper book (daytime reading) going at all times. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the characters in each story or get plot lines mixed up but so far it hasn’t been a problem. I get really excited when I get to switch between them as well.

I’ve been cross stitching a ton lately. Like, nonstop. And I’ve been enjoying it so much. If you’ve been reading my blog you might recall that I’m not the most confident of cross stitchers so my goal this summer has been to practice, practice, practice. Which has been a little tricky since my hand hurts and I’m sure it’s contributing to the problem. But this is my job! I look forward to my mornings with coffee, my project and a book (or music!). I’ve made 3 bookmarks for myself, I stitched two of our new mini patterns AND we decided to use my personal project (remember- our patterns are stitched by ladies other than Ashleigh & I to test them) for the cover sample for The Mysterious Halloween Town. I feel fancy! ;) My stitching is not perfect but it’s definitely getting better! I started stitching our new Autumn Harvest Festival pattern on a super pretty hand dyed aida and I really am enjoying it, it’s so soft and dreamy. Also, we’ve added two permanent promo codes if you are interested: PARTYTIME which is $2 off 3 or more mini patterns and 15% off 5 or more patterns in a single transaction with PUMPKIN the 15% off one can add up super fast and if you buy some of the bigger patterns, it ends up being close to getting a pattern free which is always nice!

I hope you had a good summer :) My summer blogging hiatus is over and I’ll be back to posting more often :):)

Favorite Projects & Books of Summer (so far!)

Here is what I love about summer:

  • extra daylight
  • iced drinks 24/7
  • sunsets
  • ice cream
  • napping

Here is what I don’t love about summer:

  • fire season
  • heat
  • feeling sweaty
  • heat. have I mentioned heat?

I made this insane goal that before the temperatures get cool (which is like…November) I want to have a little wardrobe of new knit goods to wear.

I want:

  • a hat
  • a cowl
  • a shawl
  • a pair of fingerless gloves.

I’ve accomplished one! I finished the cowl this weekend, I made Zuzu’s Petals from Madelinetosh DK Twist in Modern Fair Isle. I thought the pattern was fun and well written and I know I chose yarn that doesn’t do the pattern justice (I’m forever picking yarn that doesn’t show off lace…eek!), I’m looking forward to wearing it!

I started knitting the fingerless gloves. I’m using zombie ViXen by Susan Claudino and it’s been REALLY fun! Have you ever looked through her patterns? She is so good at knitting creatures, she gives them freaking eyebrows. That detail kills me! I forgot how great cables are to knit. The yarn is from Spun Right Round and it’s called Combat Boots & Babydoll Dresses. Totally 90’s and I *love* it. It’s kind of a pale oat-y color with tiny flecks of orange, aqua and mauve.

I have no idea what I’ll do for a hat or a shawl. I really love Moonraker, it’s super unique and looks like it would be a really fun knit!

One of my favorite projects from this summer so far is my Quilt to Read Under. The pattern is ModBlocks by Johanna Masko. I had literally ONE weekend to make a quilt. My sewing time is super limited so when I have time, I want to make the most of it and get something great accomplished. I *love* Joanna’s patterns. They are direct and to the point. Really clever. Easy to understand. Sometimes I just want to read the directions and end up with a great quilt with zero math or thinking on my part. It drives me nuts when I buy a quilt pattern and it has a ridiculous amount of waste and strange cutting instructions.

I picked a bundle of colors that I normally wouldn’t go with but this year I’m crushing on lilac REALLY hard. Patchwork is always a very special thing to me, I like to take my time picking fabric to tell a story. I really wanted a new little lap quilt to take on a road trip to Modoc County we went on and I knew I wanted it whimsical and a tiny bit edgy. It has some silk. Some chambray. Linen. Double cotton gauze. Some old favorites and some new. I wanted the size to be small but the fabric to have a big impact. And maybe have a little fairy tale sweetness without being too saccharine. I love this quilt. FIERCELY.

I named it a Quilt to Read Under because I like dragging it to my chair and having it in my lap while reading. And this summer is alllllllllll about reading.

Here are my very favorite books I’ve read this summer. You should read them. Seriously. They are all very different and very good!

  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before- Jenny Han It was quirky and sweet!
  • Sinner by Maggie Steifvater I’m a huge fan girl of Maggie Steifvater and I went into this knowing that it wasn’t meant to be part of the Shiver series but more of a stand alone and wowowowow. With each book she writes, she just gets better and better.
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson I was so confused for the first 1/2 of this book trying to put the name to the character. Who was the prince and who was the assassin. Just when I thought I figured it out…nope. This was a fast read for me, one afternoon! I just was super into it! And it’s an excellent cliff hanger.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen I went into this book knowing nothing about it, only that I wanted to read a fantasy with a strong female lead. This is one of those books where you watch the character go from UGH to YAY. I love good character development.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This book. If you read just ONE book this summer, make it this one. Truly. What a beautiful and haunting story. It took me about two weeks to read this simply because it’s lushly written, I didn’t WANT to stop reading it but it’s such a HARD subject (WW2) that I’d find myself having to pause to catch my breath. It’s incredibly paced as well. Marie’s story is going to stay with me for a long time.

We have about A MILLION new patterns in the shop. Truly. So many people asked about my scissor fob that Ashleigh made me last summer that we did the pattern for it. And The Mysterious Halloween Town club is now two clues in and I LOVE IT! Once Upon a Time is growing and it’s insane! It feels like just yesterday we were stitching January’s block! My birthday is next month and we always pick our favorite things for our birthday month, mine I think will surprise people and I super hope everyone likes it! And speaking of birthday months! It’s Ashleigh’s birthday today! We always have a BIG promo code on her birthday- this year it’s 26% off your entire purchase with promo code BIRTHDAY

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It expires on Monday, July 28th at noon PST. Also, Picture This Plus has a huge fabric sale on July 25th so it’s a good opportunity to stock up on patterns + supplies!

:):)

 

Summer Reading

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2014 is the Summer of the Book around here at Casa de Porkchop.

I’m just sitting over here, reading & obsessing over books. 24/7.

I want to visit my local bookstore that Saremy introduced me too and pick out books based solely on their covers, pretty much EVERYDAY.

I’ve become obsessed with taking my Studio Calico bits & bobs and making bookmarks with cross stitched pieces from our Summer Sampler. I think frappuccino is going to be next because it’s adorable. I’m also slowly but surely working on sewing a book cover because my books keep getting smushed in my backpack.

Here is my summer reading bucket list:

  • Read a classic I’ve never read before! I started Jane Eyre this morning and I bought a super pretty copy of Sense & Sensibility
  • Read more YA! Favorites have been: We Were Liars, Sinner, Ruin & Rising and These Broken Stars.
  • Tackle unfinished books! It’s very, very, very rare for me to not see a book through. I was slagging along with the first Game of Thrones FOR TWO SUMMERS NOW and I can finally say not only did I finish it but I loved it!
  • Finish trilogies! I am the worst at loving the first two books in a series and being afraid the final book will make me hate the series so I just don’t read it and then inevitably I get spoiled and super annoyed. Terrible right? But I’m also the girl who (spoiler alert!) once I saw Mary & Matthew get married, stopped watching Downton because to me- that was the perfect ending! I finally finished Hunger Games with Mockingjay (loved it) and Immortal Instruments with City of Fire (blah!). I have 3-4 more series that I have to finish up.
  • Read more physical books! This is a big one for me. I’ve owned a kindle since they started selling them and I *love* e-reading. But I do think a lot about indie vs amazon so I am buying more locally and supporting the library. Also, we are house hunting and I heard a rumor that Chop is going to help me build some bookshelves so clearly it’s my job to buy more books ;)

I’ve been going back & forth about updating my blog this summer. Part of me wants to take the summer off and part of me feels like I shouldn’t. We (The Pumpkins) have a ton of new patterns (and some are limited edition!) and have been super busy getting stuff ready for this winter so I feel like I have a LOT to say but at the same time, I don’t want to sound like an ad 24/7!

In knitting news, I’m working on Zuzu’s Petals in Madelinetosh DK- the color is Modern Fair Isle (it’s the project that isn’t a sock in these photos!) and it’s pretty! One of my summer goals is to make a “fall wardrobe” of knit goods. I want to make a cowl, a shawl, a hat and a pair of mitts. I have until about November because that’s when it starts to get cool-ish here. I’m just knitting away slowly but surely, a few rows here and a few rows there. It’s nice!

Also, I find myself listening to this concert over & over through out my day. It’s funny because I technically think of them as a winter band (do you do this? think of certain bands and albums for different seasons?!) but I just love listening to this! I also recently got the audio version of my favorite book, The Raven Boys and o m g. It’s read by Will Patton and just fantastic, so if you are looking for a new audiobook, pick that one!

:):):)

Verilux Lamp Review

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I was *really* excited when Verilux contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their lamps!

I typically do *not* knit or stitch at night because I find it really hard to see. I wear glasses with bifocals and while we have good overhead lighting in our home, I still struggle with evening crafting. I’ve stitched entire chunks of projects with the wrong color, accidentally thinking dark brown was black! Worst! I recently knit my mom a dark purple shawl and knitting lace with dark yarn at night?! Not so much fun.

My stitching space is in front of a small window so during the day I pull my chair up to my table and stitch, using natural light as much as possible. During the winter it’s a little rough because the days are so short and gloomy.

I’ve been wanting a full spectrum lamp for a really long time. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews of Ott-Lite’s. One of our sample stitchers bought one this December and has found the light to be really harsh. I always look when I visit JoAnn’s & Michael’s and I can never decide if I want to spend money on one! Even with coupons, they are expensive. Also, their marketing kind of kills me- if you can offer something to me for 50% off constantly, I want to know HOW & WHY. I also am picky and I don’t want a craft lamp that looks chintzy or when you look at it you think “CRAFT LAMP”! I had NO idea there were other lamp options out there so I’m really glad they contacted me. They’ve been in business since 1956 and they also sell lamps for light therapy and sanitation!

I’ve had the Verilux Lamp for about a month now and I’ve used it every.single.night. since I got it. I wanted to really test it out before I said anything about it because I genuinely don’t understand when bloggers have an item for 5 minutes and are praising or cursing it from the roof tops. Real life experiences here folks!

Initial thoughts:

  • I picked the Nickle Heritage Natural Spectrum Desk Lamp. I chose this one because it doesn’t look like a craft lamp and it’s adjustable.
  • It has three settings all with the same energy use.
  • It was easy to put together.
  • It was well made.

I’m sharing with you four photos taken two consecutive days in a row. They have all been taken with my iPhone with zero editing except to add text over lay.

You can see my first photo I took at 9 am in natural light in my usual stitching area. The colors are normal and true- this is my ideal crafting light. I let my stuff just hang out, I didn’t touch anything (I had errands all day, lol) and at 9 pm I came back to take another photo and stitch for an hour before bed.

The second photo is of the same materials, same spot on my table but with NO other lights in my room on except the Verilux in the *low* setting. The lamp has three settings: low, medium and high. I’ve never used medium or high. I’ve found I just don’t need it. Low provides ample light for me personally.

For stitching, this lamp is so awesome. I like that I’ve been able to stitch in the evenings on 32 ct linen and can see perfectly fine. I don’t find the light bulb hums or buzzes. Quite simply: it’s a lamp and it’s doing it’s job!

For knitting, the following day I laid down my sock in progress on my table, took a photo, again with my iPhone with zero editing except to add text over lay and left it there.

9 pm, my sock looks the same! You’ll notice glare spot on my table, this is my tables typical behavior (can tables behave? idk!). It has a really glossy surface and I wax/polish it. You’ll rarely see this table in photos that I take with my DSLR because the stabilizing light causes spots in the photos. I think what this photo best shows is I’m knitting with white based yarn and the lamp keeps it white! It’s not cream. It’s not yellow-y. It’s still white! Cool huh?

I’m pretty pleased with this lamp. I told Chop that when we buy a home, I want one of the floor lamps in this style to keep next to the couch. I’m pretty curious about the light therapy lamps as well!

Verilux generously is offering 25% off with promo code PORKCHOP and is letting me giveaway a lamp! AWESOME! Just comment on this post and on Tuesday, I’ll close the comments at 12 pm PST and use a random number generator to pick a winner!

:):)

Sock Yarn & Book Covers

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Things I love:

  • reading!
  • knitting socks!

So today I thought it would be fun to sort through some of my stash and see if I could find yarn that matches book covers! The kind of yarn that even though the dyer didn’t set out to create book cover themed yarn, they totally did! There are dyers who dye yarns inspired by books, t.v. shows, pop culture, etc but these are just skeins from my stash that reminded me SO much of book covers! Sometimes you finish a book and you don’t want your time with the story to end…so socks inspired by books?! YES!

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(sorry this cover is so tiny!)

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  • The Selection by Kiera Cass!
  • Plucky Knitter in All Spruced Up!
  • You might just have to trust me that this color is an exact match to America’s dress on the cover- this yarn was super tricky to photograph. Plucky always has the most rich and full of depth solids. Also- the name! All Spruced Up! Yup. I went there. ;)

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  • Teardrop by Lauren Kate!
  • Hedgehog Fibres in Dragonfly!
  • Oh yes. This is the skein that sparked my curiosity of yarn+book cover matching. I saw Beata post a photo of this skein on facebook and I was instantly like TEARDROPPPPP! And it nails it! The ethereal water-y background of pale blues, aquas and pops of pink. So, so, so PRETTY!

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We launched a new pattern today- Cherry Blossom Sampler and as we were working on it I kept thinking about this Opal yarn I bought that reminds me of sushi. It’s not a book cover but that’s ok ;)

So how about you? Can you think of any skeins in your stash that might match book covers?!

WIP Mermaid Hair Socks

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The light tonight was just too pretty not to share with you!

I debated blogging but I feel like I have absolutely nothing exciting to share with you!!! But that’s ok right?!

Glitter/Sparkle yarn! Have you ever knit with it before? I have a few skeins in my stash and this skein of Mermaid Hair by Squirrel Stash Yarn was just begging me to cast on. Her yarn has the cutest names, the sparkle base is called Hazelnut Glitz and my order came wrapped all sweet with an adorable stitch marker. It definitely didn’t hurt that my yarn came the same day as my new DPNs!

I’ve been hemming and hawing about these needles, double pointed needles, trying a new way of sock knitting etc for months. Seriously. How many times have I asked you guys your thoughts on them? A million times. My very first sock was knit on DPNs and it was…rough. I knit the second sock on circular needles and it was like a light bulb went off in my head but lately it just isn’t working for me, especially two at a time.

For comfort reasons, I thought I’d try a pair of short DPNs and so far, I love them. Like, LOVELOVE. Also, I’m not sure how it’s possible but I’ve cast on for these 6 days ago and I’m already an inch above the heel. What?! That is SO fast and I’ve barely had any knitting time, this was a project just in my purse- meaning I work on it in the car, waiting at appointments and while looking at tumblr at Starbucks. If you’ve never knit with circular needles, as you knit you have to adjust the cord but it’s totally no big deal, I’m not sure if it’s the lack of cord adjusting, the crazy sharp points or what but I just feel like these socks are FLYING. I am *not* a fast sock knitter at all and I’m definitely enjoying each stitch of these. We’ll see if this keeps being awesome, I’ll definitely report back!

I do find purling to be tricky so I need some practice on that. This is definitely not the neatest sock I’ve knit but I’m enjoying it. It also happens to match the cover of a book I’m starting tonight, Plus One so that’s exciting.

:):)