Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tangled Thursday - String 058

Tangled Thursday is an occasional post on this blog. Heather at Books and Quilts is hosting these challenges in which we share our latest Zentangle inspired creations.

This week I challenged the other artists to use String 058 from

Here are my creations:
Warped Eggs, Tipple, Poser, Holibaugh, Nine Patch, and something that was supposed to be Betweed. ;)

Inapod, ???

Be sure to check out the other "String 58" creations on Books and Quilts.   If you'd like to join us, please do so by linking your post to the Mr. Linky on Heather's post.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Done!

My dark rose sweater is finally done! Yay! Well, almost anyway. I still have to weave in some ends, but otherwise it's done. Overall, I'm happy with it. However, it is a bit too big and the sleeves are a little too long. Also, I wish it would nip in a little at the waist because you can't tell from it here, but I do have a waist. I probably could have gotten away with a smaller size. It's going to be even bigger on me if I continue to eat properly and exercise more, like I have been. Oh, well. It's impossible to plan for these things.

I didn't know if I was going to like the collar.  I was thinking it was going to stick up and be stiff and with my short pudgy neck I thought it might bother me.   However, it's sticks up, yet remains really soft...I love it.  The front closes all the way to the top of the collar (if I want) and looks good done up. 

Here's a close-up of the pretty buttons:

There is an optional embellishment for this sweater.  It's sort of like an epaulet, but at the waist, just at the top of the ribbing, one on each side.  They are to be fastened to the sweater with matching buttons.  I haven't added them (yet) and I don't know if I'm going to.  They are a little weird and look sort of like handles.  Love handles? ;)   If I have time, I'll post a photo next week. 

All week, I thought about starting another project.  However, I just couldn't decide what I wanted to do.  After reading Tami's post this morning, though, I decided to pull out my knitting looms and do something on one of those. I have a cool square one that been sitting unused for several years.  It's time to put it to use.  I'm going to start with a simple ribbed scarf just to get used to it. We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts. If you've done any crafting this week, I hope you'll consider linking up so other can enjoy your creations.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Love DK!

Every February DK creates a boutique of their most popular books as selected by readers. Throughout January they invite DK lovers to submit their choices for their favourite DK book of all-time. DK then picks the top 20 and offers them up at 30% off.

Each person who votes is entered into a draw for a $250 DK shopping spree where they can choose whatever books they like from the DK website!

To vote for your favourite DK book, click here or on the icon to the left.

I'm so late in posting this! Sorry, DK. The voting is open until January 30th so you still have a little bit of time to vote for your favourite DK book and be entered for the $250 shopping spree on the DK website.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tangled Thursday - Paisleys

Tangled Thursday is an occasional post on this blog. Heather at Books and Quilts is hosting these challenges in which we share our latest Zentangle inspired creations.

This week Elaine asked us to create pieces that used paisleys. I didn't have a whole lot of time this week, but I did manage to turn out two works. The first one features the tangle "paizel", which essentially looks like paisleys. I had done this tangle before, but I wanted to try it again filling in a whole tile. Here it is:

The second one I did uses Purk, another of my favourites patterns, in the shape of a paisley. I didn't have a clear concept before I started, so it didn't quite turn out like I pictured. Here it is anyway:

Thanks for the challenge, Elaine! I hope you had a great birthday. :)

It's my turn to pick the challenge this week. As much as I've been enjoyed using these different shapes, my challenge to the participants this week is going to take us back to the basics, using a string, namely String 058. I purposely picked one that wasn't too busy. You can print it from the website or draw it freehand, which I plan to do. That's the only "rule". Size, colour and's up to you at that point.

Be sure to check out the other "paisley" creations on Books and Quilts.   If you'd like to join us, please do so by linking your post to the Mr. Linky on Heather's post.  

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

In Reconstructing Amelia, Amelia's mother, Kate Baron, is summoned to Amelia's school after Amelia is caught cheating. As she arrives, she learns that Amelia is dead from an apparent suicide; she has jumped from the roof of the school. The weeks that follow are a blur to Kate, but all of that changes the day she receives a text saying, "Amelia didn't jump". This launches Kate into a journey for the truth about Amelia's life and all of the speculation surrounding her death.

I loved this book! Even though the synopsis intrigued me, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it. When I realized that part of the story was going to be told from Amelia's perspective and was about her online and school life, I had reservations. I was hoping it wasn't going to turn into a young adult (YA) read. My school days are long gone and my interest in young adult activity is seriously lacking. However, I found the whole book compelling and wonderfully laid out. The author was able to build suspense and reveal little details as the story moved along to keep me on the edge of my seat. I really had to stop myself from skipping ahead; I couldn't wait to find out what happened.

The thing I loved most about this book was that it seemed real. Kate's loss and pain were palpable. However, she didn't all of a sudden became an amateur sleuth or computer expert. Instead, she relied on the police and other professionals to help her find out what happened to her daughter. That's not to say she didn't strike out on her own sometimes, but you could tell that was out of sheer desperation and based on some outlandish notion.

I also loved that the story was told from two points of view: Kate's and Amelia's and that the book included snippets of texting conversations, emails, and entries from Facebook. All of that added to the book's authenticity.

The book contained a couple of quotes that I liked:
Sometimes it's hard to tell how fast the current's moving until you're headed over a waterfall. (page 106)
...some things you can't outrun, no matter how fast you move your legs. (page 330)

The other quote I liked is from USA Today and appears on the back cover:
...this disturbing tale will make readers fondly recall the days when kids got in trouble for passing (print) notes in class.

My one complaint about this book is the name for the secret club that Amelia belonged to, the Magpies. Apparently, "Magpies" were the collective, while "Maggie" was used for the individuals. While the name "Magpies" was quite appropriate considering their behaviour, I didn't understand the use of "Maggie" for the individual members. As far as I could see, the two names, "Magpie" and "Maggie" (as well as their plural forms) seemed to be used interchangeably throughout the story. It was confusing. I just wish the author had picked one or the other.

There appears to be some minor printing/binding problem with the cover of this particular book. It's not a big deal, but sometimes little things like this nag away at my OCD tendencies. Other than that, the cover is great and drew me to pick up this book initially. Had it featured the same black cover as the hardcover edition, I wouldn't have picked it up at all, which is too bad because I would have missed reading a great book.

Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

For more information about the author, please visit Kimberly McCreight's website.

I picked up this book at Costco based on the description on the back of the book.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, Harper Perennial, ©2013. ISBN 9780062225443(Trade paperback),385p.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Needlework Tuesday - On a Wednesday - Shoulder Seams and Buttons Bands

Since I didn't get around to starting a new project, I only have an update on my dark rose sweater. Last week, I had mentioned I had completed the shoulder seams, but I didn't show a good photo of them.

To start off, I looked online for some ideas on how to sew the seams together since I never really learned the proper way to do it. I found this wonderful video with a method that was perfect for a 1-to-1 ribbing (K1, P1). You might notice that I don't have that type of ribbing anywhere on the sweater, never mind on the shoulders. However, I, for some reason, decided that I was going to use this method anyway. After doing a few stitches I realized that it was the "wrong" method for this type of seam, but did I stop? Nope, I went ahead anyway and did both of them like that. I had numerous chances to change my mind, too. Oh, well. Now I'm thinking, so what that they aren't exactly invisible? So what that it would have been better to do it another way? They did turn out a little decorative and makes the sweater unique, so maybe that's the saving grace.   Just maybe.  Here's a close-up shot of the seam (back at the top, front at the bottom, sleeve on the left, collar on the right, I think):

I also mentioned last week, that I'd be working on my button band if I could figure out how to properly pick up and knit stitches. Well, it turned out so much easier that I had ever imagined it could be. Picking up stitches on a straight edge like the front of a sweater is easy-peasy compared to picking them up on an edge that has decreases or what not, like for a collar. I'm so pleased at how both the button and buttonhole bands turned out. Here's a small snippet of them:

The sleeves have been attached (with a "proper" seam) and I've been working away at the other seams, so I should be able to finish it up sometime soon.  

On a related note, I was showing my husband how nice the sweater was coming together and how pleased I was with the job I was doing when he asked me "How are you going to finish the bottom edge of the sweater?" Huh? I said, "It is finished"', then walked away before my fist involuntarily struck a part of his anatomy. Talk about a confidence killer. :(  

Anyway, next week I hope to have a photo of the finished sweater and possibly some information or photos of a new project.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tangled Thursday - Sun

Tangled Thursday is a new occasional post on this blog. Heather at Books and Quilts is hosting these challenges in which we share our latest Zentangle inspired creations.

This week Heather challenged us to create works using a Sun.

Here's mine:
This is my second creation.  My first one was very similar, but about half way through, I made a major mistake and I couldn't figure out how to recover from it.  I actually tried to work with the mistake and was somewhat successful, however, 10 minutes later I botched it up even more.  *sigh*  So, I started again.  This isn't exactly what I had in mind when I started, but it's okay.   

This is such an appropriate challenge as we are once again being hit with a blast of winter. While yesterday was +3C, it didn't feel like that because of the wind and snow. Overnight, it was supposed to be gusting to 110km/hr. Hold on, Dorothy! With the 5cm of snow we got yesterday, today have major highways closed (TransCanada across most of the province, and parts of two major highways into the US) and wind chills around -30C. Enough with winter already! Bring on spring and sunshine.

Be sure to check out the other "Sun" creations on Books and Quilts.   If you'd like to join us, please do so by linking your post to the Mr. Linky on Heather's post.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Sweater Collar and Cold Weather

The last couple of weeks have been less than fruitful with regards to needlework. I had hoped to get my dark rose sweater finished. However, I ran into all kinds of trouble.   When I first started the collar, the ribs didn't quite match up with the body of the sweater.  The pattern didn't state that they had to, but I knew it would look at lot better if they did.   I was quite frustrated with the whole thing, so rather than rip it out, I put it down for a couple of weeks.  When I picked it up again, I really didn't want to pull out the needles and rip back, so I basically worked backwards ripping out individual stitches until I could correct the ribs at the base of the collar.  It's still not perfect, but it's better. 

A few of my other problems stem from being a self-taught left-handed knitter. I'm able to pickup some stuff from the internet/YouTube, however, the left-handed thing is proving to be harder to overcome. Most of the good videos I've found are for right-handers and while sometimes I can figure out how I can to do it, it's not always that easy.

Anyway, the shoulder seams are done and the collar has been added. Here's the latest photo:

I should add that the sleeves are done, just not attached yet. Next, I'll be working on the button band, which shouldn't be too bad, as long as I can figure out how to properly pickup and knit stitches. I fumbled my way through that with the collar, but I'm hoping to do it better on the button band, which is much more visible.   I'm also struggling with putting the pieces together, which I never really learned how to do properly.   

I also worked on my temperature scarf. It was brutally cold in December and the colours in the scarf reflect that. I even managed to use the coldest colour (about the 8th ridge down from the top in the photo), which represents daytime high temperatures colder that -30C. Just recently, we've had a warming spell, so I'm back to using some dark and light greens. Yay! Here's the latest segment:
That's it for this week. I hope to start a new project at some point. I love sitting in front of the TV with a knitting project.   However, neither of these projects are compatible with that.

As you can tell, I'm feeling a bit whiny today.   I'm so done with winter, bad roads and shovelling.  Did I mention that we were rear-ended last week because of the slippery roads?  *sigh*    We're fine, but the vehicle has a major boo-boo.  It's totally driveable, though, so that's something to be thankful for.      
Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Ophelia Cut by John Lescroart

In The Ophelia Cut, Moses McGuire becomes the prime suspect when his daughter's ex-boyfriend, Rick Jessup, is found dead. McGuire's brother-in-law, Dismas Hardy, is hired to defend him. Hardy is worried that McGuire, who's recently started drinking again, will spill his guts about a long kept secret that could destroy the lives of many people. His job is to keep him sober as well as out of jail. As overwhelming evidence stacks up against his client, Hardy has to come up with some clever manoeuvrings to plant the seed of doubt in the minds of the jury.

I loved this book! Even though this is #14 in the series and I hadn't read the others, I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I'm sure there were references that fans of the series understood, but they weren't so obvious that I felt left out. I liked that the author kept eluding to a big event in the past that I knew nothing about. There was lots of mystery surrounding it. I don't know if this was covered in another book, but it didn't bother me to have sketchy details about it.

I loved all of the characters. My favourites were McGuire and, especially Hardy. I loved the way he handled things in and out of court. I'm thrilled that there are many more books featuring him.

I thought I saw a big twist coming at the end. One that would have thrown the motive, the integrity of some of the more innocent characters, and well, everything actually, out the window. However, the author didn't end it that way. That's not to say that the author didn't throw in some juicy twists at the end, because he did and it was a great ending. I was just a little disappointed that it wrapped up so neatly when it could have been extremely messy.

My one small complaint deals with the way the story was told. The story format added tons of suspense and mystery to the story, but with the different story lines and time frames, it was a little confusing as to who knew what when with regards to the crimes. That was a huge deal when it came to motive, opportunity, and such, so I was trying to pay close attention. I'm thinking it was my fault, though, rather than the fault of the author. I was interrupted a number of times while reading and perhaps that left me a bit distracted.

I'm surprised that this author has written 20+ books because his name isn't familiar to me. I'll definitely be looking for more of his work. Because of his huge back list, I won't have to look far.

Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster Canada and Atria Galley Alley for this review copy.

The Ophelia Cut by John Lescroart, Atria (Simon & Schuster) ©2013. ISBN 9781476709154(Hardcover), 418p.