Book Review – The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

oystervilleBLURB: At the break of dawn, Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific.

She’s come home.

Home to a place she thought she’d left forever, home of her heart and memories, but not her future. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline’s car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment—five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian—a role she’s not sure she’s ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there’s Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who’s also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more . . . until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline’s best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle—where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She’s going to stand and fight for everything—and everyone—she loves.

 

MY THOUGHTS: I really, really loved this title. Obvs I only picked it up because of the needle & thread on the cover, but it completely engrossed me. The characters are very well drawn, right down to the supporting actors (for want of a better term) and the situations very real. As I read, one of the scenarios was coming to the court conclusions in real life – how much more relevant can it be?

The sad truth is that the #metoo movement has a lot of unsung members. This title is a homage to those women, children and men who haven’t used their voice yet. It’s also about looking around you and seeing how much you have, not how much you want. That’s a reminder I need!

Bookbub (the service I use to find free & discounted titles in my preferred genres) has some interesting questions should you chose to use this title for a book club, or even as a self-started review HERE

WIP Wednesday #265

Hello everyone! As I write this, it’s Wednesday afternoon and I am at work, plodding away at work. I keep ducking and diving away to the hospital – I was there until 1am today, back home for a nap, back in for a catch up with the doctors and a natter with Mum, then into work. It’s tiring, for sure, but it’s not permanent. Meeting tomorrow with the palliative care team, hospice team, family & medical. If you can, I would appreciate prayers for grace and peace in this last season of Mum’s life.

A quote via Vonna, who is The Twisted Stitcher: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia

Stitching wise, I have been plugging away at Fairy Idyll while watching the Miss Fisher Mysteries and last night (until I got an urgent call) the fictional Agatha & the Truth of Murder. I’ve got about 45min of that one left, which I probably won’t get to until the weekend now. Out & about I’ve finished the first panel on Antique Celtic Sampler and started the second. I’ll show you all the FI progress in my WIPocalypse update next week, it’s impressive!

Book Review – Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

BLURB: The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

MY THOUGHTS: I actually didn’t read this one. Unlike my normal “new to me” author process, I listened on Audible & thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve been watching the Australian adaptation on TV as I stitch, and that is very, very close to the author’s original. I am impressed!

If you like the cozy or gentle mystery or crime read, or you’re in to early Australian history, give this a try.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41022009-cocaine-blues

WIP Wednesday #264

Hello everyone! If you follow my IG, or know me IRL, you’ll know that this week has been a bit off. Hence putting the minced garlic in the dishwasher…

Stitching wise, I’ve done something every day this month. Quite a bit was done en route or at Hospice visiting Mum, or this week at hospital again with Mum. She only managed three days at home sadly. And right now we don’t know what the immediate future will be. But it is exhausting.

I want to save the two finishes for WIPocalypse, so here’s my WIP. Elizabeth Foster designed Antique Celtic Sampler, which I’m stitching with the recommended Weeks Dye Works threads, but on my own Mottled Frost lugana (Mum chose this). Despite stitching each cross as I go, it’s still quick.

Well, it would be quick if I didn’t keep miscounting!

Cross Stitch for Australia – bookmark as we keep adding new offers!

There’s plenty of charts, art & other goodies you can purchase in exchange for a donation towards the Fire Service, rebuilding, animal hospitals & the other great people helping out over the Ditch – or the Tasman Sea, if you’re not from Down Under or Godzone. Of course, New Zealand is Godzone!

I have a couple of Fiddlesticks charts already, so I knew the quality would be excellent. https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/753142836/koala-australian-bushfire-appeal-modern

I also purchased (& intend to stitch) Hands Across the Sea Sampler. There’s a lovely story about her on the site. https://hands-across-the-sea-samplers.com/

Linen & Threads have another wee koala on their site: https://linenandthreads.com/the-blackberry-rabbit-a-ray-of-hope-australian-bushfire-appeal-for-the-port-macquarie-koala-hospital?fbclid=IwAR0IucLcUGb03Z9_ibtfBWMIhZuFoG9cGlF4mxzqZoUoYvAA0ylevBOh80I

Frosted Pumpkin have another wee one: https://www.thefrostedpumpkinstitchery.com/collections/new/products/with-love-pdf-cross-stitch-pattern

If you’re into Tribal, or Roo’s, what about the one at Mo’s Sale (take a look at her threads too!) https://www.mos-sale.com/product-page/tribal-kangaroo-2020

Or Mo also has a Koala(thanks Brenda D from Stitch Maynia for this link) https://www.mos-sale.com/product-page/the-joshua-koala

Leone let me know about this one – Sassy Jack’s are making a donation for every finish shared to their site, IG etc. Details are on their site & the download is free: https://www.sassyjacksstitchery.com/

Gina from Stitch Maynia found this cutie! https://www.caterpillarcrossstitch.com/collections/best-sellers/products/koala-needle-minder definitely on my buy now list.

Cayleigh from KB Fine Threads on Etsy is donating a portion of her Australian patterns to the Country Fire Service. https://etsy.me/2FFYMFB thanks Wendy for the update!

Aw man, this one is super cute! Another suggestion from Brenda D, this one is on etsy also.https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/768512213/steve-irwin-inspired-cross-stitch

Wendyfrom Stitch Maynia found two more today (January 14th). This wee cutie from Tiny Modernist https://www.tinymodernist.com/products/aussie-buddies?fbclid=IwAR2VBxzidzu9BhSeHkNhrL5323aMy-05e1LZU8m3LIeelzp6kl0AmReQ8jU

And the ginormous Heaven & Earth Designs contribution. https://heavenandearthdesigns.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2070_2117&products_id=28464&fbclid=IwAR36jC7BhEMAtaIMBNJvnefnYqhRbSDnC-kO6O5YtDp3SUzA67fbDM_wDJI

There’s plenty more, including the wonderful Celeste Barber fundraiser. Please add your links in the comments!

January 2020 WIPocalypse & Intro

Hello everyone! This is my sixth year of WIPocalypse. It’s the most committed I’ve been to any SAL & I put that down to the pressure free, encouraging environment that Melissa hosts. If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

If you’ve not read from my blog before, I’m in my mid-40’s, a working mum to four (ranging from 25-10. I am book-mad, often found stitching & listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and I’m working more in my garden than ever before. We own our home near the base of Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges & can often be found working on it (new deck, gardens & a swim spa were added this summer) walking on the beach or in one of the many beautiful parks Auckland boasts. I’ve been hand stitching since before I was 10, can’t knit an even scarf or crochet to save myself and don’t often pull my machine out (not at all in 2019!!).

I didn’t do a December catch-up so here goes:

December Goals:

  • Keep up with weekly #magicalstitches homework YES
  • Plan January WIPs YES
  • No Spend! EH, NO

With Magical Stitches now finished, I stitched 5439 stitched in December, bringing my annual total to 77051 stitches (which I am certainly NOT counting in 2020!). Most of this was on Shakespeares Fairies, as this is my current favourite to work on, and is now about 2/3 complete after 12 months. I finished the year so far in the red for Stitch from Stash that I am a little embarrassed in myself, and have unsubscribed from a number of emails. This is not necessarily a bad thing; we crafters could all do with less time on the electronic things but a bit of a wake up. My One Little Word for this year is “reset” – and I’m applying it to my crafting as well as thinking.

January Goals:

  • Complete the first panel of Jim Shore’s 12 Days (new start)
  • Complete 500 stitches in Fairy Idyll
  • Christmas Ornament FO
  • Disney Cloudsfactory item for Aurora FO

Year Long Goals:

  • Complete all panels of Jim Shore’s 12 Days
  • Complete Fairy Idyll (I bead as I go with this one)
  • Complete Mermaid of Atlantis (which honestly is just the beading to go)
  • Complete the stitching on Shakespeare’s Fairies
  • Complete Tapestry Cat (my oldest WIP).

Let’s see how I get on!

Book Review – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For 2020, part of my “reset” is to read a decent (i.e. interesting, thought provoking) book a week. Any links will be non-affiliate, as always, and any thoughts are my own. If you’ve got a recommend, send it my way!

crawdads.jpgBLURB: For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one that got a lot of hype when it first released, and was on several influencer’s book lists, including Reese Whitherspoon and my fav, Ali Edwards. I should have read it then, but last year I was going for escapism and easy reads. There are some unrealistic aspects to this tale but it is beautifully written and the characters are well thought out and come alive on the page. I was gripped during the middle portion and blown away at the end – it wasn’t what I expected. 5 stars.

If you are thinking about picking this one up, Amazon have an extract on their US page HERE: