And breathe out….

I made it, I got to the end. I did at one point think I was going to meet myself coming the other way.

I now have two weeks off work, apart from a slight diversion of a few Christmas Decorations to be dismantled and a staff Christmas lunch come while Monday. That is me done!

What lies ahead?

Reading and Sleeping a plenty.

Swimming and exercise a  plenty.

Friends, Family and food a plenty.

All of it a plenty and in varying different orders for whatever fits the day!

I have a few more presents to wrap – whoever invented glittery wrapping paper is the devil – the carpet is covered in the blinking stuff. I have a few ends to sew into a pair of gloves, which I need to do before the wrapping stage, but I can confidently say I am pretty much done.

Of course as the end of the year approaches, it is time to reflect and I hope now that I have got time, I will be able to finish those reviews that have been hanging around. Tell you all about who I met and saw author wise during the year. I have some ideas I want to explore.  I want to have a good sort out of books and will no doubt need to update my goodreads and think about challenges for the year ahead. My book club is on a bit of a festive break, it needs to be reinvigorated for next year, if other members want.

I need to clear up some of the craft stuff that as emanated from the basket by my settee and is slowing spilling out onto the carpet and beyond! It’s my house, its clean and reasonably tidy and it is my stuff, so I should probably stress a little less. It will always be there tomorrow….. Although working on a Christmas decoration in January might be a bit much – that is one aim for this weekend.

A Good Yarn – Debbie Macomber

This is the second book in the series which is known as The Blossom Street Series. We are back with Lydia who owns the yarn store A Good Yarn on Blossom Street in Seattle.  Of course there is much to catch up on with Lydia’s life and her sister and now colleague Margaret.

But it is not just their lives that Debbie Macomber tells us about in these books, it is those people who for many reasons appear in A Good Yarn.

They all have differing reasons and they come from all walks of life, class and age.

This time we meet Elsie, divorced from the only man she loves and living with her daughter due to some financial problems. It is not where Elsie wants to be and when her ex husband makes an appearance in her life it seems that everyone thinks he has changed except for her.

Bethanne had everything, home, husband and children. It seems her husband wanted someone else and now she has to become the breadwinner and parent and she finds it is not as easy as she thought. A blossoming idea leads to something else and Bethanne maybe able to turn everything around.

Courtney is a teenager in angst. She has had to move from the place she knew, whilst her father works abroad, separated from her older siblings and dealing with the death of her mother, she comes to stay with her grandmother. It means making new friends and starting a new school. Courtney feels she is going to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

These three women, come into A Good Yarn as a way of meeting new people, escaping the past and trying to deal with the present. Knitting for them gives them a diversion, a purpose and most of all friendship that they never knew they needed or wanted.

Of course everything is interwoven like the most simplest knitting pattern to form a great story and these books are cosy familiar reads just the same as putting on your favourite cosy knitted jumper!

On track….

It appears my reading is on track to hit the 100 by the end of the year. According to the Goodreads challenge.

That is about all that is on track – the reviews are getting behind. I apologise as some I should have been writing about long ago and singing their praises daily on this blog.

There is lots I have been mulling over in my mind that I want to write about and I just haven’t.

Christmas is sort of in bags and needs to be sort of wrapped up labelled and start being distributed as some people I will see soon and not at all near the big day itself.

I must go and get the cards out to write. I know where they are so that is a start.

Life is not on track for various reasons. I need some focus and I need some time.

 

A new home

I bought them before I had even seen them.

I bought two, one for me and one for my parents.

I went to see them, but I could not pick out the ones I ordered.

Others have been to see them.

They may well have brushed past royalty.

They have been made with skill and care, both so unique.

They have seen all weathers (apart from snow).

They could have been there since the beginning, the middle or even the end.

But they have just arrived with me, to their new home.

IMG_2183In fact they are both going to live together at my parents house.

I wasn’t sure when I was going to receive them, and was most surprised to receive a text Sunday just gone, to say that they had been dispatched, to then some thirty minutes later getting a knock at the door to give them to me.

The boxes they came in were decorated inside with a picture of this installation and instructions on how to put them together. The stakes are rusty and still covered in some mud. You can see where the weather has touched them, which makes it all the more special.

A wonderful idea which has touched so many and I am feeling very privileged to have been a small part of it.

November Roundup

Well that was November. Did you see it go by? I seemed to have missed it somewhat and certainly the reading has taken its toll this  month although as of this post I am on track to reach my target of books read for the year but it is going to go to the wire, if it were a competition (with myself!)

But what did I read?

More Christmas reads, I seem to have started much earlier this year than in previous years and they have tended to be short reads at that. You cannot go wrong with Katie Fforde – A Christmas Feast and other stories which is just like a delicious Katie Fforde selection box.

Another author I discovered this year was Kate Forster – The Perfect Christmas this is her short story for the year and actually reminds you how much Christmas is not about material items but love.

Veronica Henry – Christmas at the Crescent was where I popped in to see what was going on. Another short story, but it took you in straight away and again reminds you all about the pleasure of being together as a family and that love at Christmas.

Away from Christmas and in the commemorative year of the First World War our book club choice was Eric Collinson – The Bootlace Boys. Although the war only featured in the last quarter or so of the book, it was an interesting read about the coal miners of the North East.

More history came from the wonderful new novel by Lucinda Riley – The Seven Sisters* the first of a series of seven novels, starts to build the scene, the characters and takes us to Paris, Brazil and Switzerland. How can three so different places come together? Of course if you know Lucinda’s writing then you know it will and it was such a wonderful journey.

Another journey I took at the beginning of the year was with Don and his Rosie Project. Now for Don it has turned into an effect. Graeme Simison – The Rosie Effect* is the sequel to the book. It was great to be back with Don and Rosie, and it was also nice to see life portrayed a lot more real than in some books.

If I have not been reading I have been doing crafts and of course some knitting, I have also been reading about it. (A most tenuous link) to Debbie Macomber – A Good Yarn, this is the second in the Blossom Street series and I am back in the yarn store in Seattle and finding out what is happening to the store’s owner and some of the many customer who pop into learn a new skill. A real variety of people.

I did start a book and had to stop, as I was not really concentrating on it as I was reading it with another book at the same time, which was not working for me. Especially as my brain is not calming down and therefore cannot cope with everything whizzing round it. I will go back to it, as there was nothing wrong with the writing I knew it was me.

Going back to reading only one book at a time for the moment sees me ending November reading a Patrick Gale novel, I had forgotten how much I enjoy his work and writing.

I might be a bit behind on reviews but they will be forthcoming but maybe a little more slowly.

* Review yet to appear on blog.

Carry on Cowboy

Way back in September I posted about all my unfinished projects, my craft projects:

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There is a bookmarker which I enjoy making which has yet to be finished. Trouble is I started another. I think I might need to sell these
  • An ornament I made just needs its ribbon re-stitching on there.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A purse needs finishing off and the crochet by my mum needs attaching Cannot show a picture as it is a present for someone. 
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Then I saw some entralac knitting and wanted to have a go….. The picture of this on my earlier post has been abandoned, it was my test piece. I have started another bit, but that is languishing. I might finish off the ball of wool and add it to my bag of test pieces! 
  • But I am in the middle of knitting a cowboy and here he is 

It started way back here

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And then progressed to what you saw back in September

photo (35)

Luckily he is now able to speak and hear

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Of course he cannot do much without the appropriate chaps!

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It needs to be fixed on correctly all the way round

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Although he will never be able to stay on his horse without arms

IMG_0597And to make him look like a rather sophisticated we need a scarf and hat to complete the ensemble

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He is rather taller than other dolls that I have knitted, but apparently John Wayne did not wear hats like this!

I am pleased to have ticked some things of my ever-expanding list – so the list looks like this now

  • I have some cross stitch I have not picked up in months (if not over a year) and it has not that much to do on it but yet it remains untouched.
  • There  are some knitted hearts that I need to do something with
  • Knitted juggling balls just need finishing off and bells attached
  • A pom pom explosion has happened and I have had a fanciful idea of making a rug… it has waned somewhat.
  • Finish Entralac knitting square test piece
  • IMG_0625Finish the gloves which I started to  – A. to see if I can remember knitting on four needles and add a cable into the mix as well. B – to stop me snacking. Christmas present?IMG_0627
  • Of course I have a Christmas Decoration that needs finishing. A kit I bought when I went on my annual outing to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. IMG_0628
  • I did but some snap fasteners at the show and have actually used some material I bought from a previous year and made two little purses. Rather pleased with these as I am not really a machine sewer and only tend to do the basic things.IMG_0629

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So plenty to keep me busy and I must get on with it really so if you will excuse me………

The Perfect Christmas – Kate Forster

When you are one of the most in demand actress in the world and there is nothing you can get, you would think that your life would be wonderful.

How wrong you can be. Maggie is that actress but behind closed doors she is fighting with her husband when he decides to take his son to Mexico, Maggie doesn’t want to be left at home on her own.

She books a trip to London, dragging along her overworked manager and friend Zoe, they turn up at The Dorchester Hotel.

There every need is catered for by the love struck Holly. It seems that if Maggie cannot get a happy Hollywood ending for herself she is going to give it a try for someone else.

You get a glimpse of an ideal Christmas(snow in  London!) and also how the rich can live in such sumptuous surroundings with anything but that basically all they want is something that no matter what money cannot buy – love and happiness.

This short story, by Kate Forster is just long enough to enjoy if you only have limited time to be reading during the festive break.

Thank you to netgalley for a copy of this book. 

This book as many short stories/novella’s do has an extract of the forthcoming novel from the author. These marketing aims are lost on me I am afraid. I really cannot start a book and then have to wait sometimes months and months for it to be published. So some of the book goes unread, but the forthcoming book is always added to my wish list. So in some ways the marketing has worked? 

My Christmas reading seems to have started a lot earlier this year. I apologise. However, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Kate Forster’s The Perfect Location which I read at the beginning of the year. I am off to investigate which ones I have not read and perhaps indulge.