Book Buying Habits




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 :):):)

Books I Read In January:

I loooove to read. It’s my favorite thing to do before bed! I’ll admit right off the bat that I am *not* a discriminating reader. I just want entertainment and a little escape. I don’t read serious books, mostly because life is too serious already!

Here are some books I read in January:

  • Faceless Killers: A Mystery. I super loved this one, I absolutely love the Wallander series on PBS and reading the books is nice because they are subtly different than the show. I think I read the other two after this one but I don’t think I noted it on goodreads. I’ll figure this out and report back. Either way, it’s a great dark series.
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer & The Evolution of Mara Dyer. This is a pretty decent YA series. Entertaining and I know I’ll read the next in the series but I sort of felt like it got a little repetitive towards the end.
  • Crescendo. Meh. I sort of think I’m over this series but I’m weird and feel like I HAVE to finish a series unless it’s absolutely dreadful.
  • Firelight. This is one kindle had on sale for $2.99 and I got it on a whim. I really liked it, I spent the majority of the book wondering what on earth was the genre of the book! Mystery? Romance? Historical? Paranormal? I don’t know but I enjoyed the heck out of it! I looked forward to reading before bed.
  • Moonglow. The second in the Darkest London series…I couldn’t get into it. I liked Firelight much more!
  • Ever After. OH YES. My favorite book of the month. Love love love! I feel like Rachel totally grows as a character in this book and it has a LOT of Trent! woo woo!!! By the last chapter I was both SO EXCITED, SLIGHTLY SAD but also OMG RACHEL YOU ARE SO MATURE! I sort of want to re-read the series from the beginning now!

What did you read in January?!



Candy Cane Socks: Done!

I finished my Candy Cane Socks on Saturday!

I’m super pleased with how they came out, the yarn is so soft and they fit great.

I used this tutorial for a picot bind off and it was super easy but…I’m pretty sure I should have done a hemmed picot. I’m afraid in the future the tops might roll down a little bit. I might weave some elastic in later on, so far I’ve worn them with no problems!

I’m in love with how peppermint bark knit up, it’s the prettiest yarn! I love how Cakewalk feels after blocking, it gets super smooth and drape-y, very soft! Also, I love watching the speckles form as I’d knit.

I started a new pair of socks this week, these are just plain socks with a slip stitch heel. I tried Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off for the first time & I really like it! Normally for socks I do a sewn bind off but it leaves the top of the sock kind of wrinkly looking, which isn’t a big deal but I like how smooth this looks! I’m not 100% sure I did it right but I like the results!

I’m using a yarn I bought last spring called Cozy Toes by LushMommy, it’s very pretty! It’s interesting to see how different hand painted yarn knits up, the second sock looks nothing like the first one!

I really want to knit more “plain” socks this winter, I have two pairs right now that I wear all the time, Harry Potter & Mansfield’s Garden Party.

I also decided to treat myself to a pair of  size 1 Signature Needle Arts circulars for Christmas. The candy cane socks are the 14th (!!) pair of socks I knit since last December so I thought I deserved a really primo pair of needles. They haven’t shipped yet but I’m crossing my fingers that they are amazing. I got them monogrammed with Mrs. McPorkchop, because seriously, monogrammed knitting needles?! Get out of town. Adorable.

If you are looking for a good book series, I’ve been *loving* this one, I’ve come down with a hardcore cold or the beginnings of the flu, yesterday I laid on the couch & devoured the first two books and I think I’m 45% through the 3rd?! Very good & creepy.


Kawaii Winter Sampler Progress

I’ve been slowly but steadily working on my Kawaii Winter Sampler. I ran out of the gray floss and then I started working on the frames of Woodland Sampler. But I’m hoping to finish this up by January 1st. I’m crossing my fingers I can frame it super cutely myself! I bought some glitter spray that is supposed to be archival and fabric safe, I’d love to give it a good glittering!

It’s been crazy awesome to watch people work on their winter samplers the past month on Instagram, everyone is doing an awesome job on it! Quite a few people have finished (amazing!) and they are starting on second ones to give as gifts next winter (omg!).

Just when I think Winter Sampler is the cutest thing ever, I see the charts and finished stitches of Woodland Sampler and I kind of die. Cross stitching = perfect winter craft! One thing I can’t do is cross stitch in the car. I can knit, I can read but cross stitching..oi. Not good. I either count incorrectly or feel sick to my stomach. It’s only an “at home on the couch” kind of craft for me! Which is a-ok with me, any excuse to sit on the couch and be cozy is perfect! ;)

Aurifil Designer of the Month Wrap Up!

I can’t believe this month wraps up the 2012 Aurifil Designer of the Month project!

Here is December’s Block from Lizzie B Cre8tive!

Here is November’s Block from Erin Cier!

Here is my contribution, October! Eep!

The designers did a blog hop with Christmas ornaments, unfortunately I couldn’t take part in due to personal reasons but the designs are SO cute!!!

Thank you so much Pat & Alex for inviting me to take part in this project with the other talented folks! I can’t wait to see the finished quilt :):)

September Aurifil Block of the Month

September’s Aurifil Designer of the Month is Amy Ellis!

I love these leaves, super cute right?!

Don’t forget if you stitch this block up and put it in the flickr group you can win Aurifil thread! :):)

June Aurifil Designer of the Month

Oh boy. This month’s Aurifil Designer of the Month is one of my favorite people EVER. PKM! PamKittyMorning!!!

Here’s what PKM & I have in common:
We love gobblers (the sandwich)
We love stitching!
We love kawaii
We love car trips
We love Haven

I have a truly LOVELY photo of PKM & I from last summer that I’m debating posting but I’m pretty sure she’ll murder me if I do. It might be snuck in this post later today ;)

Anyways, she is a gem. And she doesn’t live TOO far away from me. AND! She designs super super super pretty fabric!

Hope on over to Auriful’s blog to learn more about my friend PKM and stitch up her block (uhh how cute is it that she found matching clips?!) and post the block to Aurifil’s flickr group & you can win thread! Score!

May Aurifil Block of the Month

Ack! This month’s auriful block of the month is soooo cute!

It’s designed by Anna of Thimbleanna, her blog is super super super cute!

Don’t forget to post your finished block in the flickr pool, because you can win thread!

And…Pat has a new book out! Swing by her blog and check it out! GO PAT!!!! <3

Aurifil 2012: March!

Oh yes! It’s March which means it’s a new month in the quilt-a-long!

I have to say, I really love how unique each designer is in this group. I love reading about each one, how they work & what inspired their blocks. One thing I’ve noticed is everyone (so far!) learned to stitch when they were young! I only learned handwork 5-6 years ago! I wish I had the years of skills these ladies have! Look how perfect that chain stitch is (I’m pretty sure it’s called chain stitch?!)

My favorite part is looking at other people’s work spaces. Look at Victoria’s! It’s incredible. Look at all those windows! eep!

Don’t forget that if you stitch along and enter into the flickr pool you can win $100 of aurifil threads! yahoo!!!

And! Victoria runs a charity quilt group, which I’m keeping bookmarked. I donated my first 5 quilts to various charities & I’m always on the look out for more to give things too!

March is already amazingly crazy fun! The Pumpkin’s are hard at work and we’ve released a new pattern on facebook only! It’s a cute March themed one, swing by and check it out!

I have 3 WIPs this month, I’ll blog about them later this week! And I might review a pattern I’ve recently made. I’m not sure if I’m qualified to review a pattern but it might be fun to share some of my thoughts with you!

I had plans of running errands this morning, I woke up seeing sunshine & I thought…ICED COFFEE. Then I stepped outside, 30 mph winds and it’s 42 degrees. Haha! I think I’ll be working at home & drinking something warm. Spring fever is playing tricks with me! ;)

Making Marmalade

Marmalade is one of my favorite jams. It’s the best way to use up some big oranges and a fun morning in the kitchen.

I think marmalade is pretty beginner friendly, there is no added pectin. It’s a lot of hands off time, letting the fruit cook down and caramelize slightly in the pan. I like making it because the yield is pretty high, it’s super bright & summer-y in the jar and I can do other things while it’s softly boiling- like laundry or emails.

as adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (if you are thinking about canning, get this book! no seriously! right away!)

Yield: 8 half pints

2 1/4 lbs oranges, unpeeled but scrubbed clean.
grated zest and juice of a lemon
6 cups of water
9 cups bakers sugar (This is just extra fine sugar, I find it dissolves better in jam)
1/2 cup honey

vanilla bean paste and vanilla vodka for an orange creamsicle marmalade
2 habanero chili peppers and a dash of red pepper flakes for a spicy marmalade

Wash your jars in hot soapy water, then place them in a water canner with at least an inch and a half of water covering the jars. Do not use them straight out of the package. Set the canner on the stove to boil, set the lids and rings in a small sauce pan on the stove in simmering warm water. Don’t boil the rings and lids. I always sterilize a few extra jars, just in case!

Put 4-5 metal spoons in your freezer.

Using either a very sharp knife or a mandolin slice your oranges with the peel on very thin (1/8th to a 1/4 inch thickness) and remove the seeds.

Zest your lemon.

Combine lemon zest, oranges, juice of the lemon and the water in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, lower it to a gentle boil. This means the bubbles are there but it’s not a crazy rolling boil. Once it starts to gently boil, set a timer for 40 minutes. During this time I like to stir occasionally, check my email, do laundry, etc. But keep in mind that you are COOKING. Don’t abandon your oranges completely or they’ll scorch, especially if you are using a thin metal pot.

During the gentle boil your fruit will start to turn a light yellowish orange and fall apart. This is good!

After 40 minutes, feel free to spice things up by adding some habanero chili peppers or dried red pepper flakes.

Set a timer for another 30 minutes and partially cover. You’ll keep boiling gently but really keep an eye on it. The fruit is starting to break down a lot now, the peels will start to break. I like to press them against the pan every so often, if they fall apart easily, I know I’m getting close to done. Plus I prefer smaller peel bits in my marmalade.

I know, 40 minutes and another 30 minutes of cooking. You are feeling like this is a long time right? Nope! It’s what gives marmalade it’s deep taste and characteristic darker bright orange color.

After your 30 minute timer goes off, it’s GO TIME. If you’ve added peppers, remove them now.

Add 9 cups of sugar, a little at a time, mixing well. I pre-measure out the 9 cups so I’m not digging around in the sugar bin. Keep the jam boiling and set a timer for 15 minutes, this is what causes the marmalade to thicken- the super rolling boil and the sugar. Towards the end I add the honey. During the last 5-7 minutes of cooking, grab the cold spoons from the freezer and dip them in the marmalade. This is called doing a sheet test. You want the marmalade to come off the spoon in a sheet, not single drops. Drops mean the marmalade is still too liquid-y and needs to keep cooking.

At this point, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, the mixture is at a rolling boil, your stirring often so it doesn’t burn, it’s foaming, but don’t worry. It really does take 15 minutes to gel, sometimes longer. I was at 19 minutes before I got a nice sheet off my spoon. I also keep a thermometer in the pot, 220 degrees is generally when it thickens, but if you are at high or low altitude this temperature will be different. Let the fruit cook, it will foam and that’s ok! If you get overwhelmed and are concerned about burning it, keep in mind that there is NOTHING wrong with marmalade that is slightly runny. It makes excellent marinade for chicken, fish, duck, pork…really anything. Plus of course on top of ice cream and in oatmeal.

Once your fruit has reached gel point, take it off the stove and start filling jars!

If you want to make a creamsicle jam- stir in 2 TBL vanilla bean paste and 2 TBL vanilla vodka to the marmalade. It’s pretty swoon worthy!

You’ll need 1/4 inch headspace, make sure you remove any air bubbles from the jars and wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Put the lid and band on the jar, place the jar back in the canner. Once the water starts boiling again, set a timer for 10 minutes to process. Once the timer is done, lift the lid and let the jars set for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool undisturbed. If you have any jars that haven’t sealed, either reprocess or put in the fridge to use within a month.

That’s it! Not too bad right? You can find the original recipe here but buy the book! It’s so good and my copy is well loved and used.

so now you HAVE to make marmalade. And give it to friends! or be a meanie like me & hoard it ;)