Well – so much for willpower, as I said on the facebook post. I have not finished the Garden Porch mice, or the second set of waves on the Thames biscornu, but I started the Rogue Dragon.
In Nora Corbett’s patreon, the majority of people chose her red/orange colourway in the first posts. Me, I’m different (hold the phone!) but as I said then, I’ll work on a conversion. It was going to be blues, so Talith , from MacCaffrey. Talith was the dragon to suggest using the fire lizards stone to create the flame that kills Thread. I know, ironic isn’t it? Someone else is using Glaurang, from Tolkien; and I’m sure there will be other names from literature. And probably a Fred or two. And then I went greens, so this is Morath, who rescued Debera from her father’s attempt at imprisonment post Search. This is with seven day’s work.
And if you don’t know the series, start with Dragonsdawn by Anne MacCaffrey. That way you can read chronologically rather than as she wrote/published, as those dart around as her muse took her. And there’s a few books written by her children to round out the series. But only if you like fantasy. If you want a non-fiction, and I’m aware I may be a bit late to the party, but I was recommended and started Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Claire Hunter (pub 2020). It’s fascinating.
We had a lovely weekend away with Mase. He’s now 13, and we got the best email from his teacher, so decided to go do his things in Rotorua as a treat. Did the usual luge (where I watch, coffee and stitch while they race), a couple of touristy things like Paradise Springs, and another bout of mini golf where I won again, hooray! Si “borrowed” one of B’s rugby balls (turned out this was without permission, eep) so he took photos of the ball and sent them to B frequently. Who sent back ridiculous text messages in return. Oh dear, this is my life!
So it’s been a long while since I wrote. If you haven’t been on my IG, we’ve got a lot to catch up on.
Family-wise, we’ve grown although maybe not in the expected way. Back in February, Si was putting in the last of the Expol underfloor insulation. I was in the room above him and I heard an “oh shit!’ then a much much louder “go and get your mother!”. I went around and under the house where he told me that he thought we had rats. We don’t even have a compost bin and live in suburbia, and I thought this was really unrealistic. Sure enough, after I grabbed his headtorch and had a look, it wasn’t. I was exceptionally passive aggressive when I made the torch shine directly in his eyes and said “…it’s kittens”.
Turns out Mama Cat was dumped when the people behind us moved out. She wasn’t much more than a kitten herself and was malnourished and therefore so were the kittens. We found three live kittens and brought them into the house to be warmed up and fed. So now we have Charlie (was 205gm), Elise (was 225gm) and Kayn (was 265gm) – at nearly six months, Kayn is “average” while the girls are much smaller, but everyone is now thriving. Mama is now spayed and re-homed, but the three terrors are staying with us.
And I have a teenager again – and we’ve done the high school visit. Ouch.
Work-wise, nothing much has changed for me. The role has reduced down again, so it’s getting to time to look for something more. I have read over the material for the next Tikanga paper, and decided not to proceed there. I think language might be the go, or a dressmaking course. Honestly, it’s all about me so I’ll move the way I want to.
Reading-wise, I am devouring older Nora Roberts, Deb Kastner, Becky Wade and anything that has a Christian/K-9 Assistance trope. Luckily that’s a huge swathe of Harlequin novels so I’ll be there until that runs out. Re-watching older episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Taskmaster UK, and The Great British Sewing Bee. I made a lined waistcoat for Si, for his formal awards dinner (his team theme was loud), and now I’ve mastered darts and bagging out. Woot. Patrick Grant would still be looking down his nose at it!
Stitching wise, I have finished quite a few things, started some more and purchased even more. I have mastered a few embroidery stitches – queen was a real headache to ensure it was even – and have put off starting a Chatelaine mandala as (insert gasps here) I have fallen into the full coverage rabbit hole. I know. I know!! Please God, let me live to 102… Pattern Keeper is an amazing app
Mirabilia Fairy Idyll
HOD North Pole Trading Company (adapted to two antlers, not three)
Mill Hill Sunday Night (two of course, and FFO’d)
HOD Cookie Exchange SAL (need to FFO on a kitchen board)
HOD Reflect Upon Your Present Blessings
La-D-Da Sweet Pea (on Floba, FFO’d even!)
Tis The Season Abigail’s Sampler (good for learning new stitches)
Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (ready to FFO at the Thames Retreat)
Still to complete:
Chatelaine Castle I (still back stitching the gate)
Beth Twist/Heartstring Samplery Coffee Quaker (my over one conversion)
Mirabilia Princess Elliana (still working on conversion)
Mirabilia Le Nouveau Sampler (LHS of garden)
Mirabilia Fairy Tales (to bead)
Started since we last chatted:
Nora Corbett Coral Charms (converting to the same look as my Luce Mia mermaid)
Stitching Jules’ Watercolour Sheltie (via etsy, about 15%)
HAED Lesley Anne Ivory Tournee Le Chat Noir (about 12%, but it’s HUGE)
Ink Circles Red Velvet
HAED Aimee Stewart Cliffhanger (mini, just over 26%)
Just Nan Garden Porch Mice (on floba)
I’m also working on the Nora Corbett Patreon pattern, Rogue Dragon. He’ll be converted, as hers is red/orange tones, and that isn’t my jam. He’s the next cab off the rank once Garden Porch Mice is done, as I really do want to see what & how the humbug forms. I’ve not completed one of those before. One of the ladies at the embroidery group I go to had one done last month, but on 32ct so much smaller. I have the 32ct for this one still with the chart, but I doubt I’ll do it again. Also, the urn and mice could go well into another Hare, especially if I was to use the same shape as the Sweet Pea I finished this month.
Anyway, I will try to write more frequently. I’d like to get back into a weekly routine again, and Zeb has been asking for flosstube again. Not sure if I have the emotional spoons for that but we’ll see. Where on earth would I start from??
From the bestselling author of The Land Girls comes a beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women.
Sydney 1945 The war is over, the fight begins.
The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets and war correspondent Tilly Galloway has hung up her uniform and been forced to work on the women’s pages of her newspaper – the only job available to her – where she struggles to write advice on fashion and make up.
As Sydney swells with returning servicemen and the city bustles back to post-war life, Tilly finds her world is anything but normal. As she desperately waits for word of her prisoner-of-war husband, she begins to research stories about the lives of the underpaid and overworked women who live in her own city. Those whose war service has been overlooked; the freedom and independence of their war lives lost to them.
Meanwhile Tilly’s waterside worker father is on strike, and her best friend Mary is struggling to cope with the stranger her own husband has become since liberated from Changi, a broken man. As strikes rip the country apart and the news from abroad causes despair, matters build to a heart-rending crescendo. Tilly realises that for her the war may have ended, but the fight is just beginning…
My thoughts: This book is both quite deep and superficial. Sydney’s last few weeks of the War in the Pacific and the months of anticipation and recovery after form the background, and the lives and thoughts of a few central characters form the main focus. The struggle that women had against the resurgence of the pre-war chauvinistic ideals echoes still now in 2020 as does the difficulty the men have with coming back to the idealistic views of Home that has moved on without them.
I really liked the fact that I’ve spent hours walking around the Sydney that Tilly inhabits and could view her world as I read. The passage about Tilly’s thoughts and feelings when in the ANZAC memorial was amazing.
I haven’t read anything by this author before but she’s one I’ll look for in future.
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It’s available on most platforms and in stores from September third.
Synopsis:She looked away from his face and took in the clear spring night, full of stars. Her last thoughts were of her mother. Would she finally care, when one day they found her body, and a policeman came knocking at her door?
The body of missing tourist Bethany Haliwell is found in the small Coromandel town of Castle Bay, where nothing bad ever happens. News crews and journalists from all over the country descend on the small seaside town as old secrets are dragged up and gossip is taken as gospel.
Among them is Miller Hatcher, a journalist battling her own demons, who arrives intent on gaining a promotion by covering the grisly murder.
Following an anonymous tip, Miller begins to unravel the mystery of the small town. And when another woman goes missing, Miller finds herself getting closer to the truth. But at what cost?
My thoughts: It’s easy to see that this is a first novel (it’s not as well polished as it might be) but for all that, it kept me reading well into the night. I really enjoyed how this played out; from the descriptions of the cast to the woods around Coromandel and the typical sleepy town. I can also see why this won the Ngaio Marsh award for the best first novel in 2018 and I think it will make a great movie (it’s been optioned already). Disclaimer: I purchased this book via Amazon. 3 stars, am going to read more from this author.
Life Update: Here in Auckland we are back in Level Three restrictions. No-one is currently working outside of the home (Bran is sick, and both he & I seem to have succumbed to the seasonal flu, but are waiting on the Covid swab results). I’m working remotely, which is great for me (peace, quiet and a garden view) and supervising both the younger boys at school. And hallelujah, I am starting to read more than the most superficial books and finding that I can concentrate on them!
This week, I’d like to suggest a return to simpler times. Let’s go back to an old favourite book or song that brings out the “feel good” vibe that the world really needs.
But life is what novels are about. A novel can contain more truth than a thousand newspaper articles or scientific papers. It can make you imagine, just for a little while, that you’re someone else- and then you understand more about people who are different from you. Lisa Kleypass, Chasing Cassandra.
My all-time favourite author is of course, AA Milne. Gran taught us to read on his poetry and Winnie the Pooh and I can still snuggle down in my imagination in the house on Fantail Grove, Wellington, and hear her read to me.
Listening wise, I resurrected my old iPod from about 5 years of captivity. I got it in 2003, so it holds YEARS of listening pleasure, as I made a choice not to delete anything once it was loaded, except audio books and podcasts. There’s Nirvana, and classic Nickleback; Back Street Boys and Westlife; Bon Jovi and The Boss, and tucked away, a recommend from Kirsten, a then new-to-me artist called Kate Voegele.
BLURB: The bestselling author of the Sea of Freedom Trilogy returns with a sweeping family saga of two women in nineteenth-century New Zealand and their epic journey to survive in a world of their own making.
It’s 1837, and immigrating to a small New Zealand fishing village is an opportunity for Ida Lange’s family to build a better future. Yet for Ida, raised in a strict, religious, tight-knit German community, so much is still forbidden to a woman. Yearning for the poor day laborer she shared books with as a child, Ida is now trapped in a dire marriage to a man of her father’s choosing.
For Cat, who came of age in New Zealand under brutal conditions, life in the colonies hasn’t been easy. Through a strange turn of events, she is adopted by a native Maori tribe, and she begins to thrive. But when she challenges the traditions of her tribe, she’s banished, and left once again to rely on the only person she can trust with her future: herself.
When fate brings Ida and Cat together, they recognize in each other a kindred spirit. Out of common ground grows an enduring friendship that will not be broken by the hardships of the plains, threats from the past, or the trials of family and heartache. What they’ll discover is the depth of their own strength and resilience as they get nearer to the freedom they desire and demand. And their journey is just beginning.
MY THOUGHTS: This is the first Sarah Lark I’ve read – it came up on Bookbub one day and I liked the cover (shallow, much?) and the topic, not that I’ve done much reading or research on the founding of my country. However during the course of reading I’d flick over into Google and meander down the rabbit warren that is history and the author was really accurate for the times.
I enjoyed the character growth in the main group; and altho the language was a bit heavy at times it was probably more realistic for that. I am very glad that I don’t have the same day-to-day hassles as Ida, Cat and the other 19th century women!
I can see myself reading more from Lark in the future.
Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more. If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!
February Goals were:
Finish the second panel in 12 Days – just scraped in
Finish the second panel in Celtic Sampler – done & moved well past
200 over one in Fairy Idyll – nope, maybe I should rename her Fairly Idyll 🙂
Walk every day I don’t bootcamp – mmm, most days I hit goal. Just the one rest day each week, and I am noticing a lot of changes.
I also completed another of the Cloudsfactory Disney minis that I am doing for Aurora’s Christmas present – Belle is done now too. So that’s Ursula, Rapunzel, Lady T, Eric, Oscar, Belle, and half a Dopey and a bit of Mulan.
Celtic was my work (yay, aircon) and travel project. It got a bit of time in hospital, doctor’s surgery, waiting for dawn etc as it’s much, much smaller than 12 Days (and a different fabric too).
It was sooo hot (most days it was well over 27/28/29 degrees Celsius, and a muggy hot too, and I didn’t want a lap quilt worth of floba anywhere near me! Some days I barely managed one thread length on the 12 Days, other days were a little better.
Finish the third panel in 12 Days
Start a Chatelaine – see below.
Late Edit: add March is the first one-a-day SAL, I’ll be working on the beading of Atlantis. Copying Measi & getting the wheel to decide how many beads.
In honour of “Leap Year,” tell the story of a time you had to make some sort of a “leap” in stitching – taking the chance on a new style of stitching, attending a meet up or class, etc. I’m not very good at leaping – hence the growing collection of Chatelaines in my basket! I’ve made it a goal for this month to at least start one of the banners (I have three of the Mini Mystery Castle range) and master some of those embroidery stitches. After all, I’ve attended a class or two AND I’m not that stupid. I will be using mostly DMC rather than the original silks tho. My budget simply won’t stretch that far! And due to the expected intensity of this project, I’m not committing to much this month. I have looked into joining the local chapter of the Embroidery Guild, thanks to Anne’s advice & experience, and I’m attending my first meet up next week.
Stitch From Stash: I ended up finishing January in the red, mostly due to a fabric purchase. I’ve pulled that back in Feb, as I sold the spare Lady Mirabilia chart/bead pack that I had (broke even too) and had a couple of small finishes. However I’ve ordered the Duchess of Rouen (companion piece to The Baker’s Wife, both by Nora Corbett/Mirabilia) and the Hands on Design Nashville release, Well Rounded (expecting both in late March, early April). I also brought a kit by Tis The Season, a new-to-me business that I found in Whitianga, a coastal resort town here in New Zealand.
BLURB: Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?
Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.
MY THOUGHTS: I picked this title up not because it was a romance (altho it is one, and rightly Bookbub classifies it as such) but because of the interest I have in the battle of the brains that went on between Allied and Axis during WWII. From the “lighter” looks at the later code breaking teams such as The Bletchley Circle or The Imitation Game (I’ve watched this twice, despite Kiera Knightley’s acting) to the in-depth studies like The Secrets of Station X by Michael Smith or The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay (this one is super easy to read with lots of background about the people & activities that they did outside of “work”), I devour them all.
While the first title in the Codebreakers series, this title follows on from another. I didn’t know that until the end, and it certainly didn’t jar my reading in any way. The characters are real and have faults; they interact in a way that mirrors other WWI dramas – did you catch that? This title pre-dates the period I’ve been reading. I didn’t know that there was a Room 40 before I read this book – or at least, that little fact didn’t sink in (surprise).
Anyway, I’m off to read more of White’s books. Like, ALL of them. Ciao!
BLURB: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
MY THOUGHTS: If I met Strayed in real life, I’m not sure I’d stop and share time with her. I very nearly abandoned this title three chapters in, altho I’m glad now that I did persevere, I’m not likely to pick up another of her titles or go to her TED talk. She struck me as self-obsessed, willfully ignorant and frankly, annoying (naming herself “strayed”? really?).
However, even I with my distinctly non-rose tinted glasses could see her personal progression thru the book, and I did enjoy her descriptions of her fellow walkers and most especially the scenery. Oh my, that scenery. Three stars, and I’m not watching the movie.
If, however, I didn’t put you off or you also hadn’t read one of 2012’s Books of the Year (Boston Globe, EW, NPR etc) there is an extract and reading guide HERE
BLURB: Dear friends and army wives Diana, Carmen, and Joanie have been through war, rumors of war, marital problems, motherhood, fears, joy, and heartache. But none of the women are prepared when their daughters decide to enlist in the army together. Facing an empty nest won’t be easy. Especially for Carmen. With emotions already high, she suffers an even greater blow: divorce papers. Diana understands the fury and tears. She’s been there.
With nothing to lose and no one at home, the girlfriends impulsively accept an unexpected offer from their elderly neighbor. The recently widowed Tootsie has an RV, a handsome nephew at the wheel, and an aim for tiny Scrap, Texas, to embrace memories of her late husband. Still grieving, she can use the company as a balm for her broken heart. So can the empty nesters.
Embarking on a journey of hope, romance, and healing, Diana, Carmen, and Joanie are at a turning point in their lives. And with the open road ahead of them, it’s just the beginning.
MY THOUGHTS: I do remember reading Carolyn Brown a few years ago – particularly taken with her title genius – My Give a Damn’s Busted resonated with me at the time – but I thought then that the romance was ok, funny in parts, but it was something l sped read thru. This one was something that I slowed down on in parts, as it runs a vast range of emotions and circumstances. The scenarios are fairly realistic and you can see the characters grow and change. They aren’t in general one-dimensional and there isn’t anything surplus either. I can see myself reading more of Brown’s later standalones. Three & a half stars.
If you’re on Prime, or Kindle Unlimited, this title is free to borrow.