Sunday, September 26, 2010

Foray into Hobby No. 4,039

Better than an alphabet sampler for a first project.

As hobbies go, embroidery is not on my Exciting Things to Do With My Life list. Though, I should have seen it coming--the fact that I would one day get tangled up in embroidery (literally, at times)--because even when I was a child, my favorite pillowcases were the ones with embroidery on them (same with hand towels, clothes, etc.) Turns out, I like embroidered things.

Recently I reached beyond merely liking embroidered things:  I started creating them.   Hello!  I have my very own Pegasus embroidered entirely by me!  (let's not look too closely at the stitches, friends, because neat, even stitches aren't my strength yet).

The big drawback is that embroidery involves hand sewing--heck, it's just combinations of different hand sewing techniques. And I am not one for sewing pretty and even little stitches by hand, let alone for finagling with needles and thread (I don't even like reading about girls in books  sewing things by hand with pretty, even little stitches.  Yes, that means you Little House on the Prairie).

You know what did me in though? It was a book that I checked out from the library during the summer doldrums that showcased different types of stitches (though I think the book was billed as hand quilting, not as embroidery, which was very sneaky of them). To my delight and surprise, I successfully completed some of the stitches, including a tricky looking flower one.
By "successfully completed" I mean,they look sort of like the ones in the book.

I had a fantastic idea for making little bracelets with embroidery on them, and my practice run turned out to be a beaut.

At this point I figured I was ready to see what the next step was in the world of embroidery.  Thankfully there are two embroidery books on the market right now that quite captured my attention--one, Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart, has a pattern I love
(cheerfully colored skulls! hoorah!)

and the other, Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs, has a pattern I couldn't live without. So I braved dark roads and a snooty parking garage in Scottsdale to get my very own copy (with my 40% off coupon, of course).

Image from country Bumpkin & Inspiration

My pegasus at the top of the post is a modified version of a winged unicorn pattern by Aimee Ray--which can I tell you that I would have LOVED this as a coloring book page when I was 5 years old? Unicorn pegasus with stars on it and a long, flowing mane and tail! Does life get any cooler than that?!

I'll tell you my secret to fun times while embroidering: good audio books. May I recommend Neal Shusterman's Everlost--the reader (Nick Podehl) is INCREDIBLE!--and the story is interesting and creative and the charaters are unforgettable.

Another audio book candidate (I'm only through disk one right now, so the jury is still out on it) The Curse of the Blue Tattoo--focuses on a girl (who in the last book was posing as a boy in the British navy) going to finishing school in Boston (in the Fall, har har) and having to EMBROIDER!

Audio books like these make the minutes fly by--and at the end of the disk or book you have more than just a good story to show for your time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I may not have a great idea, but she does!

Cathe Holden (who I blog stalk regularly) has a seemingly never-ending source of creative ideas that I LOVE. Her latest is to take ordinary objects, scan 'em, blow them up (as in make them bigger in size) then print them out and use them for all kinds of things. Check out her post.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I went out to vacuum my car this afternoon and happened to glance down and see this:

These are some great (albeit a tad gruesome for the grasshopper) photos, and it was an interesting scene to stumble upon. In my delight, I proudly showed my newfound spider to The Rock when he arrived home a few hours later (the spider was still latched onto the grasshopper).

With mild amusement he said, "Oh, yeah...and that's a black widow."
"No it's not. There isn't any red on it. I looked."
He leans closer. "Sure there is, it's maybe a little faded."
Scooting my face to within inches of the spider I said, "No. There's no red. Just black." I kept looking, watching the spider move, and then I saw it. There WAS red on it's abdomen.

There was a mad scramble to smash the spider.

The moral of the story is: If you are ever inclined to stick your hands into our flower pots...well, let's just say the Big Bad Black Widow escaped execution tonight. (shiver).

P.S.  In honor of the grasshopper (har har).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thoughts on Being a Librarian and New Releases in Young Adult Fiction

So I started my job as a librarian a few weeks ago. And it's fantastic. My only complaint is that I was already addicted to reading! How often does what you do in your free time coincide with what you do at work?!

I placed my first book order--which means I've been researching new releases, while trying to cram in a bunch of books I wanted to have read so I know who to recommend them to. See what I mean! Work is creeping into my free time territory. (I know: poor me, right?)

Ok, so now you're a wee bit curious as to what's up and coming, right? Well, I'll give you a few YA titles to maybe look forward to yourself.   (these are what I would order for my personal library, only some of them will be coming to the library I work for).

Robing McKinley.  Enough said.  (Big Mouth here: isn't the cover beautiful too!)

Bartimaeus is hilarious (thank you Mr. Stroud for writing another one!)

By the author of  The Mortal Instruments Series, which I liked well enough.  (ok, so this one came out on Aug. 31.)

Seems like there might be some time travelish thing between a girl in Revolutionary France and the present day.
Girl spy/revolution/disguises...

Did you know Orson Scott Card is writing a trilogy for YA?  Yeah.  The first book, by the name of Pathfinder, is scheduled to come out on November 23.  I'm curious to see if I'll like it. 

And the book The Agency: A Spy in the House is already out, but I haven't read it or heard anything about it until now.  (So if you have first hand info on it, give me the scoop!).

Also, (this is a long book post), have you read anything by Brandon Sanderson?  I've only read one, Mistborn, and I loved it.  The others are on hold all the time, and they are fairly long, so I haven't gotten to them yet.  BUT!  He has a stand alone book (sigh of relief because this isn't a common thing anymore it seems) called Warbreaker. AND!  it's free on the internet right now.  I haven't read it yet, but I'm itching to get started on it.  Let me know if you do.

One interesting thing is that now it seems people feel obligated to mention books they've heard about or read. Even before I worked at the library I was plenty happy to talk books, but now it seems I can't escape it. I wonder if that happens to high school teachers: people divulge their own high school experiences because that's what they know about high school?   I'm undecided as to whether these book confessions are a good thing.  Well, either way, you can give me book recommendations, but maybe not too many all at once, seeing as how I'm already bringing home piles of books to read. It's dangerous to methodically go through an entire library's shelves. You might be surprised what you've overlooked.