Monday, April 30, 2012

The Best Day

Today is the best day.  Why? Today is my niece's 4th birthday.  What makes it so special you ask?  Well, a year ago we didn't know if she would have a 4th birthday.  I always thought she'd beat the cancer.  I never doubted it and here she is one year later, free of disease and done with her scheduled hospital visits and treatments.

Happy Birthday, Allison. I am so very happy that today is your day. I love you so much.

 Here's to the rest of you life!!!!

In honor of my niece's birthday, I am donating to Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation  at  Please join me if you can.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Entrelac Continued

I am still working away at my entrelac scarf.  I even took it to a meeting with me this week.  I got a lot of complements on it and was asked if I could teach knitting classes.  So I felt pretty good about my knitting.

 I am nearing the half-way point.

Almost there, right?

So hollowing thought, if I would have picked thicker yarn and bigger needles, I would be so much closer to being done.  Every time I knit a scarf on thin yarn (this is sock yarn)  I promise never to do it again, only to do it again a few months later.  I am not sure what it is, but something drives me to the tiny needles and thin yarn paired with the really long scarf.  In fact, I have already bought yarn for my next scarf...sock yarn again.  I just do not learn!

Are you nearly done with a project? Halfway?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baby Items

I'm making stuff for a baby.  Not my baby.  I don't want to give off the wrong impression, no babies for me.  My friend in Nashville had a baby last week.  Usually I am pretty good at planning ahead and making something before the birth of a friend or relative's baby, but not this time. 

So I hit Joann's (with my coupons) last Friday night.  I like to go out on Fridays, you know.  I had a crazy time.

I picked out some fabric. I am going to sew some books. Everyone loves books says the librarian!

One of the books is the alphabet and one is numbers.  Now I just have to get working on the cutting them out with batting and sewing them together.  Maybe this weekend......

I also got some blue cotton yarn. I watched the hockey playoff games and knit some bibs.

I love watching hockey and knitting, there is something so pure and wonderful about it.  Knitting for a wee baby makes it even better.

Hockey interlude: The Nashville Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings advancing to the next round in the playoffs.  Not a lot of people care about this, but I do and it is my blog.  Go Preds! 

Are you making anything?  Or better yet, have you bought stuff to make but haven't quite got around to making it yet? (This is me times one million.) Or even better still, do you like hockey?  I highly suggest combining the two.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garage Sales

One of my favorite things about spring is garage sales.  I love the hunt.  The thrill of finding something great.  The low prices.  The sustainability factor of finding use for something that  someone doesn't want any more.  That is right folks, garage saleing is green.  You should do it.

On Saturday I did my first garage saleing of the season.  I hit a big sale that a group of Peoria moms put on every year and then hit a few sales on the way home.  I just followed the signs. 

I got D lots of great stuff but what I am very excited for is what I found for me.

Pretty great, huh?

Do have have immediate use for spray Modge Podge or spray adhesive?  No, nut they are great crafting tools to have around and at $1 each the price was right.

I also got this great box with everything in side for $2
I love the box.
I love the thread.

And I love what was all under it....buttons!  That was a surprise when I got home.  I though it was just full of thread.  I love random buttons.  You never know when you'll need one.

Pretty successful garage saleing.

Do you go garage saleing?   Any good finds?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Everything I Touch

I had a bad day yesterday.  Everything went wrong.   Everything I touched broke or didn't turn out right.  I even messed up a crockpot dinner.  Do you have days like this?  I was so down in the dumps, I didn't want to run, knit or read.  Now that is bad.  My goal with this blog is not to complain, so I won't, but man, I want to. Better things tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

We know how to party

First thing you think of when you think of me is party animal, right?  I mean beside all the reading, running and knitting.  Maybe not.  Well, my baby sister is getting married this summer and I am her matron of honor so the responsibility of throwing her a bachelorette party fell on me....the party animal.  Good thing my sister is very similar to me and isn't a partier. 

Last weekend was her wedding shower thrown by my mom's friends.  I decided after the shower would be the best time to take the bridesmaids and moms out for the bachelorette party since it would be the only time we were all together before the wedding weekend.  We went to Antique Anthropology (not the fancy store Anthropologie, we were in Iowa folks) .

Iowa has a lot going for it.  It is a great place to live and millions of pigs and people agree.  I grew up there and someday hope to return. One of the big things currently bringing Iowa fame is the TV show "American Pickers" on the History Channel. This is their shop in LeClaire.

It looks bigger on TV.

But the cool car was there, near the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

Then, what do a bunch of 20-somethings and the bride's mom and future mother-in-law go?

Like I said, we know how to party.

My sister loves Build-a-Bear.  You should have seen her reaction we we told her we were going.  There were a lot of squeals, clapping and flaying of arms (this is how Nielsen girls show excitement, I do it too).

Here is the bride-to-be watching her bears get stuffed and doing the magic ritual.  Yes, they made her do all the silly stuff 4-year-olds love.

She is so happy with her wedding bears.

They are pretty cute.  I did not buy the car too, but it was perfect for a photo op.

After all this excitement, it was time for dinner

...and margaritas.

No one finished their margarita.  I came pretty close though.  We did get the big ones and they did taste like pure tequila.  Thank you Azteca 4.  So good.

After dinner we did some shopping at TJ Maxx, another favorite of my sister.

I got home just after 10:30 which was a big accomplishment because my husband said I would be home by 8:30.

It was a great night really.  We all loved it.  It was perfect for my sister and something she will always remember, I think.

What have you done for your sibling lately?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Reading Nephilim

When I last went to the public library, I made an impulse check out.  I almost exclusively use the public library's holds shelf to get all my reading material.  I almost never just browse the shelves.  But on this occasion, my daughter was picking out a movie (by looking at all options individually) so I had a few minutes to kill so I browsed the shelves and found Fallen by Lauren Kate.

I am a huge fan of the Young Adult genre and I know that this book and the rest of the books in the series have been prominently featured on YA blogs so I knew it would be good.  Plus, it was something marked as "to-read" in my Goodreads account (along with hundreds of others).

I started reading it Friday and finished on Sunday.  I read and read. It is over 400 pages (but unlike Kavalier and Clay it had big font and spacing).

To the gist of this book, and every other paranormal romance story featuring the Nephilim (those pesky, super hot fallen angels), is that the main character is female and strongly attracted to this super hot and sulky male.  Some where in the plot it is discovered that this male is a fallen angel and has to be grouchy an mean because of reasons out of his control.  In this series the fallen angel is Daniel and he has to be rude to Luce because he is stuck in a 17 year cycle where Luce shows up in his immortal life and they fall in love and when they kiss she disappears only to return 17 years later to do the same thing...for hundreds of years.  He is rude so she won't fall in love with him and hence not disappear on him again only to torment him more. But Luce does fall in love with him, this is how fallen angel stories work.  Luce does have another love interest, another fallen angel, Cam.  In fact...spoiler alert...almost everyone at her boarding school is a fallen angel.  This of course is discovered at the end of the book with the plot's climax.

It is true all books follow this simple diagram I learned in freshman honors English.

I really liked this book.  It is at a boarding school (key setting in YA) and paranormal, combing to great features of YA.  One great thing about not reading this series when it first came out is now all the books are published and I can read them all without having to wait for the next installment to be published to see what happens next. I will be reading both Torment and Passion in the near future. 

Reading Fallen, reminded me that I had started a fallen angel series (Hush, Hush) last year but never read the rest of the series, so I decided to read the next book, Crescendo.

In this story the fallen angel is named Patch and the main character is Nora.  Patch not only is Nora's love interest, but also guardian angel, after saving her from a Nephil is Hush, Hush.  Patch is too secretive for Nora so she breaks up with him.  Throughout this book Nora is in imminent danger because the person who killed her father over a year ago is now after her, but Patch can't protect her because after the break-up he was reassigned as guardian angel to a different person. So Nora and Patch have to work out who is after her, separately.  Of course this all culminates in a showdown at the end of the book.  I will have to read Silence to see what happens next.  You know, the exciting conclusion!

So now that I have tried to explain the last three paranormal books I have read, I feel a bit silly.  These are great books.  I loved reading all of them, but explaining the plot sounds so weird.  Well, they are weird, that is why they are paranormal books.  I like weird.

I love most aspects of reading a paranormal romance, except the Twilight factor.  It seems that every YA book is now rated on some Twilight scale which compares every protagonist with Bella and every love interest with Jacob or Edward.  I hate that.  These are books in the same sub-genre so there are similarities in plot, but they are not Twilight.  None of these girl's lives stop when their beau is not around.  None of them are trying to die for their guy.  They are all just "normal" girls with paranormal boys.  I think I would love to read this genre from the other vantage point too.  I would love to read about a boy who loves a female fallen angel. Now that would be something.

Now I am changing it up a bit and currently not reading a book about angels or witches or anything fantasy.  Last night I started reading Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

Its a critique on society told through beauty contestants stranded on an island due to a plane crash.  I have only read the first few chapters but I think I'll like it.  I have been meaning to read Libba Bray, I hear good things about her so I am glad I am finally getting around to reading something written by her.  This is my book club's selection; I have to have it read by May 2.  I am so happy that my book club is finally reading something in the YA genre.

After this I am going to read YA historical fiction.  I made my self a challenge to read 5 YA historical fiction novels and so far this year I have read ZERO.

Any YA historical Fiction recommendations?  I know I am going to read  Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, as it was a Christmas gift from a colleague to help with my challenge, and Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood since it is historical fiction and paranormal. Any others I should have on my list?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Fluff

So after reading the Pulitzer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  I was in the mood more much "fluffier" stuff.  I love reading books that are fun and not too deep.  I read to be entertained.  I want to be entertained with happy and sometimes magical things.  I read to escape so I tend to pick a lot of books that are easy and quick to read with lots of action.

First, I finished reading The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith.

This book is number twelve in the No. 1 Ladies Deceive Agency series featuring detective Precious Ramotswe.  I love McCall Smith and read most of what he writes.  I say most because he just writes so much and several series that I can't keep up.  Already #13 has been published in this series and the other series I devoutly read (the Isabel Dalhousie series) has a book out I haven't read.  I love Mma Ramotswe and her home in Gaborone, Botswana.  She has such a great outlook on life.  She is calm and collected and thinks a lot. I like her.  She is nothing like me.  I will read every book in this series!

Upon the completion of that book, I started in on Spell Bound. 

This is the third book in the Hex Hall series.  I am pretty sure the target audience on this is 14 or 15 year old girls, but I love it.  The series follows the life of Sophie Mercer who as a teen learns that she is a witch and her parents have been hiding her magical ability from her.  She is send to reform school for mischievous magical persons.  What is there not to love. Reform school, with reform school hotties and crazy teachers.  Magic.  Fairies, Witches, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves.  All good.  Definitely fluff and wonderful at that.  This installment ends the series and it was way too sugar coated.  Everything works out wonderfully.  But I guess it is hard to have a realistic ending to a book based on a world of magic.

Tomorrow more fluff...Nephilim fluff.

What are you reading in the fluff department?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I have another proud mama moment that I want to share.

Looks pretty good, right?  I had to coach her on the spelling and letters but this is a great start.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I am a reading machine

I have finished 4 books this month and have not blogged about any of them.  I feel like a reading machine.  I guess my life goes is these spurts where I knit obsessively, get on a crochet kick, go on a reading bender.  Right now, I am on the reading bender.  I love reading.  Good thing I am a librarian, right?  Not that librarians spend their days reading books, far from it.  But I love be surrounded by books and helping people find books.  Also having a great supply of books (with no overdue fees, great perk!) is pretty great.

The first book I finished in this bender was:  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.  My good friend Meredith suggested this book to me in 2005.  I bought it and it has sat on my self since.  I did read the first hundred pages or so in 2005 but I never continued (I was working on my first master's degree I was a bit busy).  I have few unfinished books in my life.  If I start it, I want to finish it (even if I hate it, I looking at you Catch-22 and  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court). So here, years later, I suggested this as a book for my book club to read, giving me a deadline and accountability to get it read.  Since this book is over 600 pages of very tiny print, I had to make a reading schedule for the whole month of March so I could finish it by April 2 for the book club meeting.  I read about 25 pages a day and that would take me about 45 minutes.  I am not a slow reader, it is just that Chabon wrote in such a style (and tiny print) that each page took quite a bit of time to read.

Kavalier and Clay is a pretty amazing book.  Something people call a "great American novel."  I mean it won the Pulitzer Prize.  I have read few Pulitzer Prize winning novels.  I tend to read the fluff.  Fluff doesn't win Pulitzer Prizes.

Set beginning in 1939, the story follows the life of two cousins: Sam Clay and Joe Kavalier through the era of World War II and into the 1950s.  It is heartbreaking at times and uplifting at times.  The story captures the American life: work, work, work and just when things are looking up, something unexpected happens.  Or at least his captures my American life.

I will leave the other three books to another post, as they are more in the "fluff" area of fiction.

What have you read lately?  Any Pulitzer novels?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Birthday Overview

So my daughter has been 4 years old for a week and a half. 

D turning 4 was very hard on me.  I was okay with her being an infant and a toddler, but now at 4 she is a preschooler.  She isn't little anymore...not that she ever was "little" for her age. 

On her actual birthday, she was so pleased to go to schooldaycare and have a special day with everyone paying attention to her.  She got to take in birthday treats.  I visited her at lunch.  And then after school, she got to pick the restaurant for dinner and open presents.

One of her favorite things to do is play dress up bride at school so, we got her an outfit for at home too.  She also got some room sets for her doll house, some books and movies and a bride and groom Barbie/Tangled set.

It was a nice birthday with just the three of us.

On Saturday we celebrated with family and we went to Incredible Pizza, which is a pizza buffet with an arcade.  It is like a Chuck E Cheese for all ages.  It worked out great because both sides of our family could celebrate together while eating the foods they like and playing their favorite games.

D had a great time riding the rides and playing the games.  She even got her face painted.  It was a great time.

Spring is a busy time for birthdays.  Soon it will be my niece's birthday, then my brother's, then Grandma Lil's, then mine then my nephew's and that is skipping all my cousins with birthdays in May.  Tons of stuff coming up.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Steady as She Goes

I have been working on my entrelac scarf for weeks (since March 3rd).   It is not very long (about 21") and still a very long way away from being a scarf, but I am making progress and very happy with the project.  I feel so clever making the weaving pattern.  I love the yarn and how the colors are pooling together.  I love everything about it. 

This is my go -to project and it is still slow going.  Spring is just a very busy time of year.

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Failed Shawl

I made a shawl.  My very first shawl.  And it is pretty cool.

It is called Wingspan.  I saw it on Raverly (it was trending) and thought, I could make that. Plus, I needed a shawl for my 2012 project challenge.

I used  a very cool yarn called Rhythm from Jojoland.  Love it.  The color change is amazing.

So, first I read the pattern wrong and made the first section way too big.  I re-read the pattern and re-made the first section, liked it and moved on (big mistake).

So my shawl turned out more of a scarf size.  I did wonder why it worked up so quickly.  I probably should have stayed with the larger knitting section I had first accomplished.

Oh well.  It was a learning experience.  I don't get to count this as the shawl in the challenge, but I do plan on remaking it in the shawl size in the same yarn...some day.  For now I am happy with the scarf or maybe D can use it as a shawl.

Have you had any recent "learning experiences"?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter magic

I had some Easter magic over the weekend.  I got two good photos of my family.

It is so hard to get D to smile.  She usually looks like she is in terrible pain and won't look a the camera.

Did you have any Easter or Passover magic?  Or just the regular family get together?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Race

I am a week behind in my posting.  Last week just got way too busy too fast with my daughter's birthday, tons to do for work and traveling and visiting for Easter weekend.

So pretending this is last Monday....I just finished my second half marathon.  All 13.1 miles.  It was a pretty cool morning.   I went outside to let the dogs out and made an emergency wardrobe change from running skirt and short-sleeved shirt to capri pants and long-sleeved shirt layered over the short-sleeved shirt.

I had my husband just drop me off before the race. I was freezing waiting for the race, but I did run into a few running friends, mainly my Realtor and a friend for the knitting store.

The Heights Half Marathon was an excellent and well organized race.  There were probably around 500 runners either running the whole race or the two-person relay.  The route was very scenic and there were lots of loops so you always knew where you were going.  All the runners were friendly and called encouragements to each other.  I saw an old cross country teammate.  She has gotten faster since high school, while I am slower.  She finished as the #7 woman in that race and she was running injured.  She is amazingly fast.

My main goal for the race was to run faster than my 2:06 finish at my first half marathon race.  I am happy to say I smashed that time.  I ran 1:59!!!!  That is an average of a 9:09 mile.  I was the 66th female.

I got a few photos taken a long the route, but I don't look too happy.

I guess I need to start practicing smiling while running.

My husband took a few of me once I got home.

I am much happier when it is over.  I have a few races I want to run this summer and then I have another half marathon for September.

What have you accomplished lately?  Anyone want to go for a run?