Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Review: When You Reach Me

A short review today ...

I looked forward to reading this book, as I collect Newbery Award winners. One of my daughters gave this to me as a gift, knowing my love for children's literature.

I was ... dissappointed.

It's very likely I would have enjoyed it more if I had recently read Madeleine L'Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time. But it's been eons since I read that classic, so I missed a lot of the references in this book.

My two main objections?

I suppose I just got too creeped out by the notes Miranda was receiving ... notes from the future. This, of course, is likely what lots of kids like about the book ... the creepiness that comes with imagining time travel. To me, it was like having a stranger invade my space and steal from me. I'm super-sensitive to that scenario.

I also thought that the characters could have been drawn more distinctly. I was left with an image in my mind of only two of the minor characters, none of the main characters. That's pretty unusual for me.

I do recommend going over to and reading their Exclusive Q&A with the author, Rebecca Stead. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more, if I'd taken that step.

But I think it's a shame that I couldn't just enjoy this book on its own merits, picking it up blind and delving between the covers.

On a five star rating, I give it three stars.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

WIP: Single Rose 3

I had a nice block of time to stitch today, so worked on my Single Rose some more. The bottom 2/5 of this piece is just about done. For comparison, to the right is what the last update looked like:

And here's my latest progress:
I was hoping to get all the backstitch done in this section. I have just one more branch in the bottom left corner to finish outlining.

I've been enjoying the stitching on this piece quite a bit. I haven't used a blended needle very often, and this piece has a number of blended colors. Such nice subtlety!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Through the Rain

Road to California
This photo was taken last March when Jodie and I were on a road trip during her Spring Break.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

At Our Doorstep

The tulips and grape hyacinth have finally arrived at our front door.
At Our Doorstep

The lilacs can't be far behind!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Secrets: May 15, 2011

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

I could relate to the following two secrets from today's post:

It sucks that he picked alcohol over me and his daughters.
It ended up killing him.
We are thriving.

I didn't have the nerve back then
But I told him over 30 years later.
I still like him and keep in touch. 
We're like siblings now - only better.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday Secrets: May 08, 2011

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

PostSecret was full of Mother's Day cards last weekend. These were my favorite three:

When Julie was an infant, 
she saved my life as my marriage fell apart.
A sweet baby on my lap gave me hope 
when hope seemed lost.

My older daughters assure me of this over and over.
They're worth it.

My mom taught me how to be a good mom.
Tomorrow would have been her 90th birthday.
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WIP: Single Rose 3

I've made a fair bit of progress!
This piece is a joy to stitch -- so far!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

WIP: Single Rose 2

OK, so this isn't the most impressive post in town.

But I did get a chance to stitch for a few hours again today. Too bad it doesn't look like I got much accomplished. But as I was stitching along, I could tell that this was the type of design where I could get lost in the stitch count much too easily. So I pulled out some blue sewing thread, and stitched a grid.
The stitched lines on my fabric now match the dark grid lines on the chart, thus making it much easier to keep track of where I'm supposed to place my stitches. This, in turn, keeps the frustration level down and keeps those darn frogs at bay.

One thing a stitcher really hates is rippit, rippit, rippit!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WIP: Single Rose 1

I started my next cross-stitch project. This time, I'm stitching something for myself! It's called "Single Rose" and is a Dimensions Gold Collection petite kit. This is how it will look when finished.

I found this kit last year when I was on a trip to Denver to visit my daughter. I had the luxury of stopping at a little shop called Country Crafts in Greeley, CO and spent hours there, pawing through every rack and every basket and every flat surface.

Much of the background on this chart is stitched using a half cross stitch. I've begun in the bottom left corner.

The colors in this lovely piece go swimmingly with the decor in my living/dining room. So when it's stitched and framed, it will be displayed on a wall in one of those two rooms.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Dance: Easter

After several weeks of not stitching, yesterday I got around to finishing up this quilt square for my charity group. This Easter bunny square is for a quilt that will incorporate holidays from throughout the year.

The chubby bunny is a web freebie that I found on a French blog: Bienvenue chez Echevette
#16 - Joyeuses Pâques

The little basket in the original chart didn't quite work for this square, so I found another Easter basket chart that I hoped would work. Unfortunately, that basket was about twice as big as I needed. So using that chart as inspiration, I created my own little Easter basket design to stitch at the bunny's feet.

I sure love this little guy's attitude! He makes me smile each time I see him.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Little Extra Love

Let's hope we can teach the next generation more about love and kindness and diplomacy and cooperation and forgiveness than we do about retribution and retaliation and evil and hatred and revenge.

It's a harsh world with bitter realities. It's also a world where those who hurt are helped by those who are able and willing to give.

Let's teach our children balance.
If we err in balance, let's error on the side of love.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dry Run

My daughter Julie got hired at Silverwood theme park for the summer. Yesterday was the park's first day of the season, a dry run for the employees. Friends and family were invited into the park so that new employees could have a chance to get some on-the-job training before the public at large is invited in.

We had a charming time. It's always nice to spend time at Silverwood. The western theme town includes an old-time mercantile, a saloon with live musical acts, a theater that plays black & white flickers from the early 20th century, a candy store, a general store, a live theater that boasts a magic show, the Sugar Shack with freshly-made confections to satisfy your sweet tooth, an opportunity to dress in western gear and 'have your picture took,' and more.

Garfield the cat and his sidekick Odie can be found wondering main street. Then there is the whole midway and amusement park area with wild roller coasters and calmer rides for the more faint at heart. As the weather warms, the vast Boulder Beach water park will open.

A 'must' ride for old timers and bitty kids is this classic narrow gauge train ride through the wilds of Idaho. You get to see a herd of bison, cross the tremulous trestle, and then find yourself in a ghost town where hustlers board the train to rob you at gunpoint. The local marshal saves the day, of course, then serenades you until you're safe at the depot once again.

Engine No. 7
We took it slow, wandered through the town square, and were headed to the amusement park when the sky opened up with rain and hail. I've never seen a theme park clear out quite so quickly!

The the season has just begun. We will return. It's good to be transported to another time for a day.