Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Our wedding.

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks now, ever since we got our pictures back. But I wasn't really sure where to begin! It's been so long since I've been in the habit of regularly writing blog posts, and then there's the fact that this one is about my wedding! No pressure. So bear with me.

I was never one of those girls who had her wedding planned out from the time she was a little girl. I did plenty of daydreaming about my future husband and our home and what married life would be like, but I genuinely had no ideas about what kind of wedding I would want. Planning a wedding was one of the most intimidating things I could imagine.

But then after Kenny proposed back in March, obviously we had to tackle wedding planning. :) Things did come together easier than I expected. My sister-in-law bought me a wedding magazine, and I did some Pinterest browsing (of course!), and I started to get an idea of what I liked. My main thing was that I wanted our wedding to reflect us and suit us perfectly. I'm not a fancy girl...I would be embarrassed to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding even if my family and I could have afforded it. (We can't, ha.) There's a lot of pressure with weddings: for them to be big and perfect and expensive and Pinterest-worthy.

Here's the thing: our wedding wasn't big or expensive or Pinterest-worthy, but it was perfect. Honestly, I can't imagine it any other way, and it couldn't have been any lovelier!

Kenny and I got married on October 28 in our little country church, by our pastor. We had a short, sweet ceremony followed by supper in the fellowship hall. There were about 70 or 75 guests there, all of our close family and friends. We didn't have a big wedding party...my sister-in-law was my matron of honor, and my brother was Kenny's best man. My niece Stella was our flower girl. (The most adorable and best flower girl ever! She was being very shy and not especially cooperative at the rehearsal, which made me nervous. But we had a back-up plan, and on the wedding day she did her job perfectly!) Since I'm a Jane Austen nerd, everyone else walked in to Dawn, from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. Stella and then my dad and I walked in to The Last Dance, from the 2009 Emma soundtrack. And then Kenny and I left to my favorite Sinatra song, The Way You Look Tonight. :)

All of the details really came together. We're blessed to have so many family and friends who helped us out tremendously with the wedding (and saved us a ton of money in the process!). Our venue was basically free (we made a small donation to the church for the use of the two buildings), and all of the tables and chairs we needed were there. A family member let us borrow all of the tablecloths. A family friend made our beautiful and delicious chocolate cake! My sister-in-law and I did all of the flowers in the bouquets and church, which were artificial (except the two real arrangements at the front of the church). All of the decorations were either handmade, from Hobby Lobby, or thrift store finds (the milk glass vases, ha). My dad made tree branch candle holders for the tables, and I made tealights with our own beeswax for them. And we had pillar beeswax candles in the church handmade by a fellow farmers market vendor. We did have a caterer and a photographer, both of whom gave us discounted deals.

I made Stella's flower girl dress, and her basket was a 25 cents thrift store find that we spruced up. :) I didn't make my dress, but it was handmade by someone local to us. I thought I knew what sort of wedding dress I wanted, but we went to David's Bridal to try on some, just to make sure. I found one that I loved, except it was sleeveless (I wanted elbow-length sleeves), too low in the back, and $800. (I'm sorry, but no way could I justify that.) So we took a picture to my dressmaker, he took us fabric shopping, and made my perfect dress. Custom made wedding dress for less than half of the store-bought one! My shoes were sparkly flats from Payless that cost less than $15. :)

Over the past few years, I had stumbled across blog posts that explained how they had managed to have a wedding for $10,000. That number always seemed so high to me...that was a bargain? (My car cost much less than that and I've been driving it for 11 years, ha!) After figuring up, I think that between us and our families, we spent about $2,700 on our wedding, and I'm very happy with that number.

I'm a person who tends to get very nervous easily, so I wasn't sure how I would be feeling that day. And everyone kept telling me that I wouldn't remember a thing, which wasn't very comforting! I just kept praying for peace, and I know that a lot of other people were praying for me too. Incredibly, I felt so calm that morning! I remember telling my cousin, who was fixing my hair, that I was paranoid that I didn't feel more nervous. Shouldn't I have been freaking out? The only rough time was when everyone had to leave me alone in the fellowship hall when the wedding started, until my dad came out to escort me in. Even during the ceremony itself, I was so focused on Kenny and what was happening that I didn't even get anxious about being up in front of so many people. I'm so, so thankful that I was able to enjoy our wedding day to the fullest. Anyone who knows me knows that nothing short of a miracle from God could have given me that kind of peace.

Married life has been wonderful so far, and I feel very blessed! My life had basically been the same for so long that I didn't know how I would react to such a big change. But it has been so much easier of an adjustment that I expected. I still can't believe we're married, but at the same time it feels like the most natural thing!

So there it is, a rambling and sentimental account of our wedding day. :) I'm hoping to do another post soon with some honeymoon photos, and then another with finished pictures of our little house!

(All photo credit goes to our photographer, Adam Davis.)

Friday, December 1, 2017

What I Read: November

With post actually being on time, I hope this is the beginning of me getting back on track with regular posting here. :) I only read two books in November, and they seemed to sort of go together, both being quirky, strange British stories with very long titles. (Which was completely unintentional.) As always, click on the book title for my Goodreads review!

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night, by Jen Campbell. I wanted so badly to like this book! The cover is gorgeous and it sounded like a quirky, sort of creepy set of short stories. Unfortunately it was just a little too weird for me. I liked a few of the twelve stories, but overall I was disappointed.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. Now this one, I did enjoy very much, so much more than I expected. Neil Gaiman's books have always seemed like something I should enjoy, but up to this point I'd not really liked any of them. (I've read his children's books: Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Fortunately the Milk.) So this was my last try at one of his books. But this one was pretty magical. It was strange too, but in a good way. The beginning felt like magical realism (which I love) but then it became fantasy. The writing was beautiful and the story sucked me in. I'll be willing to try more of his books after this one!

Friday, November 17, 2017

What I Read: October

I'm only half a month late with this post too! :) I really do apologize for the lack of blog posts lately, you guys. But I have a good excuse...I got married three weeks ago! So obviously things have been busy. (And wonderful!!) I'll try to put up some wedding photos soon. We're settling in, and we have internet at our little house now, so I want to try to get on a somewhat regular posting schedule again.

(Also, I have to find a new spot to take my book photos. So bear with me! Our little house is very dark, ha.)

So here are the two books I read in October. One novel and one graphic novel...like I said, there was a lot going on! As always, click on the book title for my Goodreads review.

The Accident Season, by Moira Fowles-Doyle. This book was so weird. It was a good read for October, and it was atmospheric and pretty addicting. But overall it was just too weird for me to enjoy properly.

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson. I had heard really good things about this graphic novel. I enjoyed it a lot, but I didn't love it like I had hoped to. It was funny (though not hilarious), and the illustration style was pretty cute. Sometimes it had a bit too much of the typical comic book look for my taste.

Monday, October 16, 2017

What I Read: September

Hey! I'm only half a month late with this post! And I read twice as many books in September as in August...except that I only read one book in August. :) I'm sorry, you guys. Life is crazy right now. And I don't feel the same way about this blog as I used to, ever since Photobucket caused me to lose all of my photos. Does anyone even read this anymore? I'm thinking about just starting fresh, but more on that later. Here's what I read in September:

The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White. Somehow, even though Charlotte's Web has been one of my favorite books since 2nd grade, I made it through childhood without ever reading this one. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I think it got better as it went along. But it was like it couldn't figure out what it wanted to be! Sometimes it was serious, all descriptive nature writing, and then suddenly it's absurd slapstick comedy. I just don't know.

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex, by Sheila Wray Gregoire. This was by far the best of these type of books that I've read since getting engaged. More details in my review, but it was just what I was hoping for and exactly what I needed!

I also had one DNF this month. After "reading" this book from the first week of September to basically the first week of October and only progressing about 40 pages, I decided to give up on it. It was a middle grade book I'd bought cheaply years ago, on Book Outlet or somewhere, because the cover was cute and it sounded interesting. But I'm just not feeling it right now so off it goes to a new home, and I don't really regret it. :)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What I Read: August

Here is the most pitiful "What I Read" post to ever grace my blog. :) Oh well! I tried...there was just a lot going on in August. Here's hoping next month will be better.

In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. I really did enjoy this book, though it took me entirely too long to read! It seemed a lot less negative, and his voice didn't grate on my nerves like it does sometimes. I'm not sure if that's because it had been a while since I read one of his books, or maybe because he seems to be really fond of Australia and it shows (as with England in his books Notes from a Small Island). It was interesting and amusing! (My favorite part was his description of cricket. Pretty sure that made me snort laugh.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Knitting: sparkly midnight rainbow socks.

I feel like I was knitting these socks for the longest time! And truthfully, it was a long time. I cast on April 22, and just finished them this week. I did knit another pair of socks and some other things in the meantime.

But now that they're finished, it's worth it! I love these socks...they're definitely my favorites that I've knitted in a long time. I just did basic vanilla socks, with the heel from Hermione's Everyday Socks. The yarn is from Unplanned Peacock Studio in her sparkly sock base, in the Midnight Rainbow colorway. I love everything I've ever made from her yarn, and these are no exception!

Now I just have to wait until it's cool enough to wear them.

Ravelry project page.

Monday, July 31, 2017

What I Read: July

July was a decent month for reading. I mostly read short, quick reads and while I didn't discover any new favorites, I basically enjoyed everything I read. As always, click on the title for my Goodreads review.

4:50 from Paddington, by Agatha Christie. I've considered myself an Agatha Christie fan for several years now, but I have enjoyed the last few of her books that I've read so much. They're comfort reads for me. And even though I'd seen the Marple adaptation of this one, I didn't remember who was the culprit so it was just as enjoyable as if I'd never encountered the story before. :)

Displacement, by Lucy Knisley. Something else that I've really been enjoying over the past year or so: Lucy Knisley's books. They're graphic novel memoirs, most of them involving travel of some kind. They're definitely not perfect but I really like them. And you can fly through them...the two that I read this month probably took only me about an hour and a half or two hours each to read. This one is documenting a cruise she took with her elderly, ailing grandparents, so it's a bit sad.

How the Heather Looks, by Joan Bodger. This was my big disappointment of the month. I'd been wanting to read this book for so long, and I expected to love it. It wasn't awful or even bad, but it wasn't as amazing as I was expecting. It was a bit dull and took me way too long to read.

Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo. This one was also a little disappointing. I generally love her books, but this was lacking something. Even though it did have that quirky feel that I like and lots of unusual characters.

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married, by Gary Chapman. I'm getting married in a few months and I've heard this is a good book for engaged people to read. It was about what I expected, and a lot of it seems like common sense. But there were some good points, so I think I'll keep it to refer back to.

An Age of License, by Lucy Knisley. This was the last of her major books that I had left to read, and one that gets referenced a lot in her other books. It wasn't my favorite, but still good overall.

Come As You Are, by Emily Kagoski. Once again, I'm getting married and this one was recommended to me. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting...there was a lot of repetition of vague thoughts and metaphors. But again, it's something I might refer back to in the future.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Little house updates {number 2}.

First of all, I want to apologize that pictures of the little house* are always so dark and fuzzy. It really is dark there: lots of wood and not many windows. But I always seem to be trying to get pictures on overcast days, which doesn't help matters.

I thought it was about time for another update. Since I last posted, we've put down flooring in two of the four rooms that need it! Having real floors in the house feels like such an improvement and an accomplishment that I can't even explain it. Whenever I walk down there to do something, I find myself just admiring the floors, ha. :) We're trying to save as much money as possible, so we decided to try to install the floors ourselves. Not going to lie, I was very hesitant at first but I'm so glad we did! So far we've saved at least $700 in installation costs.

We used floating vinyl planks in the bedroom, which click and lock together. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy to install, though it was hard physically. (Crawling around for about six hours...I was sore for days afterwards.) But it was so satisfying to see the floor gradually coming together that it was hard to stop once you got going!

Because of how unlevel and imperfect and pieced together the subflooring is in the rest of the house, that flooring was only an option in the bedroom. This past week we put down the kitchen floor, which was adhesive vinyl planks. Again, I was wary of adhesive pieces of flooring, but it worked out really well. The kitchen was about half the size of the bedroom, so it went down quickly. (But while the bedroom is basically done, we still have several more things to do in the kitchen...replace the countertop, hang a cabinet, move back in the appliances and island, etc.) We're planning on using the exact same flooring in the living room that we used in the kitchen.

Besides those major updates, we've been doing some random painting and staining to spruce things up. I'm so proud of that bathroom cabinet. We almost just replaced it (because we're going to have to replace the sink anyway), but I'm glad we kept it. I painted it dark brown (it was light gray originally) and changed the knobs, and it looks brand new. (Look at the state of the subfloor in the bathroom! That's what we're dealing with. And that's after we had the rotten spots replaced, ha.) And I've been planting flowers. It doesn't even bother me that they'll be dead by the time we move in this fall, because they already just make the house look so cozy and homey.

So two floors out of four...we're halfway there! The living room will be a big job but hopefully it'll look amazing. It makes me so happy to see real progress on the little house, and it will be that more satisfying when it's finished and it's our home to know that we did so much of the work ourselves. (By the way, I do post pretty regular progress on Instagram. More often than here, unfortunately.)

Other things have been happening too. Wedding planning, obviously, since the big day is now less than 3 months away! (What???) I'm making little bits of progress here and there. Within the next couple of weeks I'm going to sew my niece's flower girl dress, which I'm excited about. Some knitting has been happening, though not much. I haven't touched my cardigan in probably a month, and I feel like I've been knitting on the same pair of socks for my entire life. :) But I'm trying to knit some more baby and children's hats for craft shows this fall. It probably wasn't the best idea to attempt that with everything else going on, but I can use the extra money (more this year than ever!) and I do enjoy selling at those.

*When the house is empty, my family always refers to it as "the little house." It's on the same property as my parents' house, so that makes it easier to differentiate between the two, ha. But when someone is living there, it's referred to as that person's house.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Knitting: mermaid socks.

I finally finished another knitting project! It's been a couple of months since that happened. This is just a pair of vanilla socks, and they took me an embarrassing amount of time to finish...even worse because they're short socks. (But I've also been working on another pair of socks and a sweater.)

I used the heel from Hermione's Everyday Socks, because it's so pretty. The yarn is from Makers Haven. She has such lovely yarn, and I like her podcast too. When I saw these two small skeins in her shop, I thought they might look good together. Overall I think they're cute, though maybe what I used for the contrasting shouldn't have been quite so variegated since the main yarn was. But I like contrasting heels and toes, and I think I'll try to do that more often.

The blue yarn was in the colorway Mermaids Lair in a 50 gram skein, and I used 41 grams of it. The contrasting was in her Cozy colorway in a 20 gram skein, which I used 11 grams of. It turns out that I could have made the socks longer, but I was afraid of running out of yarn at the time. And at least now I have leftovers for my scrap blanket. :)

Ravelry project page.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Five films I never get tired of.

I recently saw this video, and it make me think about the movies that I never get sick of. These are movies that I've watched dozens and dozens of times over the years. (Ones that I've sometimes even watched multiple times within a week, ha.) I can definitely see a trend here: these are all "chick flicks" that are light, sweet, and funny.

Pride and Prejudice. This has been my absolute favorite movie since I first saw it...about eleven or twelve years ago now? It's just perfect. (Review here.)

You've Got Mail. Such a cozy and charming movie! It's bookish too, which always helps.

While You Were Sleeping. I might even love this one more than You've Got Mail, though I don't watch it quite as often. Some scenes definitely have a classic movie feel, and I love that Lucy is much more of a normal girl than chick flick female characters tend to be. (Review here.)

The Princess Diaries. This is the oldest favorite on my list. It came out when I was ten, and I got it on VHS for Christmas that year, and I've loved it ever since. It's so hilarious and sweet and cheesy and it makes me feel all nostalgic. And Mia is probably the most relatable character I've ever come across...I'm basically Mia (minus the whole princess thing). (Post here.)

Austenland. This is the newest one on the list, but it was an instant favorite and I think I watched it three or four times the first week I bought it. It's so over the top, but this movie probably makes me laugh more than any other movie. (Review here.)

What are the movies you never get sick of watching?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

What I Read: June

{Just a little heads up: I'm having blog issues right now, thanks to Photobucket no longer allowing certain features of their free accounts. Because I can't afford a $400 a year account, nearly all of the photos in my blog posts from the past four years or so have disappeared. I'm starting with my newest posts and working my way backwards to replace the photos, but honestly I don't think I'll ever finish. I don't have the time or patience right now to work through several years worth of blog posts. So I'm sorry about that!}

June was a really good reading month! Apparently all it takes to motivate me to read more is to make a summer reading list. :) It's been a long time since I read this many books in a month...though to be fair, two of them were graphic novels and therefore very quick reads. As always, click on the title for my Goodreads review.

Bigger than a Bread Box, by Laurel Snyder. I'd read one of this author's books before and I didn't like it all, so I was hesitant about reading this one. Thankfully it was much better than I expected! It deals with separation and divorce, so it was heartbreaking and depressing at times, but still very good.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by Jenny Han. I first read this book back in 2015, but I wanted to reread it so I could read the other two books. It's not perfect, but it's fun and easy to read. The chapters are so short that you just fly through it. Lara Jean can be wishwashy and immature at times, but I love the family dynamics in this trilogy. The relationships between the Song sisters and their dad are so sweet.

P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han. This one isn't as good as the first. Lara Jean is more annoying, what with her crushes on so many guys. I also don't really like Peter in this one. But the whole thing about Dr. Covey dating again was good, and it was still a quick read.

Going Solo, by Roald Dahl. I was not in the mood for this when I first started it, but I was sucked in after no time at all. Because Roald Dahl is one of the best storytellers ever. It doesn't matter what he's writing about or if you have any interest in it at all, he tells the best and most vivid stories. So, so good. (This is his second memoir, this one dealing with his time in Africa and then as a WWII pilot. His first memoir, Boy, is an account of his childhood.)

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley. This is basically a foodie themed, graphic novel memoir. I'm not good at cooking (it makes me very nervous), so I was hoping this might motivate me to learn. :) There's no overall plot, just how she connects food with memories and certain events in her life. I liked it better than French Milk (her travel memoir about a trip to Paris), and less than Something New (her memoir about planning her wedding, which I read back in January). Her illustration style is really cute.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean, by Jenny Han. A good conclusion to a cute trilogy! No love triangle in this book, thank goodness. :) It does a good job of capturing the weird, nostalgic feeling that comes with growing up.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, by Stephen Collins. This was a strange little book. Sometimes I like to pick up quirky graphic novels that grab my attention, which is basically the only reason I have for choosing to read this book, ha. The art style was really lovely and had a lot of personality for just being black and white. But the story was lacking and I didn't like the ending...it was a little too open for my taste.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

On Instagram.

I recently got my first "real" cell phone. I'm not a phone person at all, and I've always just shared an old Tracfone with my mom for emergencies. But Kenny added a line to his phone plan for me this past month, and with that came a new phone. The main advantage of this is that I can now text Kenny easily and more often, of course. :) But I have to admit that it's also nice to have the ability to take pictures without dragging along my camera.

And I have Instagram now. I've been browsing through the amazing yarny and knitting community on there for at least a year now, and I even made an account several months ago on my computer so I could more easily keep up with my favorite accounts. But until I got the new phone, I wasn't able to actually post pictures.

I'm not good at photography, so don't expect amazing pictures and a gorgeous, cohesive look. But if you'd like to see what I'm up to (knitting, reading, and possibly wedding/house stuff?) on a somewhat daily basis, feel free to check it out. I much prefer blogging and have no intention of giving it up, but Instagram is a nice filler in between posts. :)

{I might try to participate in the #WishfulWonder challenge that Rissi is cohosting in July.}

Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer reading list.

For several years, I made a summer reading list. (I skipped last year.) My reading has been a little off lately, so I thought trying a list again this summer might motivate me to read more. With everything that's going on, I'm sure this list is much too optimistic, but I'm not expecting to actually finish all of these! So here's what I'm hoping to read between now and August or the beginning of September...


Raising Demons, by Shirley Jackson. Because I want to read everything by her, and I enjoyed her first memoir-ish book: Life Among the Savages.
How the Heather Looks, by Joan Bodger. This has been on my to-read list forever. It's travel memoir meets English children's literature...could anything be more perfect for me?
In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. It's been a while since I read anything by Bill Bryson, and his Australian book seems appropriate for summer.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley. Hoping this one will encourage me to learn how to cook. :)

Children's Literature:

Going Solo, by Roald Dahl. Again, I've been meaning to read this forever. (It's also a memoir.)
The Titan's Curse, by Rick Riordan. Still working my way through this series, rather sporadically!
Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo. I always love her books, and this one seems especially summer-ish. Also, the cover is adorable.
The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White. I love Charlotte's Web. I might have read this in elementary school, but I remember nothing about it. It's one I pulled off my shelf randomly to add to the list.


4:50 from Paddington, by Agatha Christie. Because a Miss Marple mystery is always a good idea! I've seen the TV version of this, but I don't remember too much about the plot or the mystery.
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. This book is huge and intimidating. I want to read it sometime this year, though I'm not sure I'll get to it this summer.
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, by Julie Klassen. It's been too long since I read some historical fiction.
Reflections on the Psalms, by C.S. Lewis. It's also been too long since I read some new-to-me C.S. Lewis! I found this brand-new at a library sale last year and would like to read it soon.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy, by Jenny Han. Now that the third and final book has been released, I'd really like to finish this trilogy. I read the first book several year ago, so I want to reread it before picking up the other two. (I don't have the third one yet...I don't want to buy it unless I really enjoy the second book so that's why it's not pictured.)

What are you planning on reading this summer?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Works in progress {knitting and future home}.

It's been a while since I've had enough knitting happening to justify a post about my works in progress. For most of this year I've been in a knitting slump, but right now I'm having the opposite problem...wanting to cast on all the things when I already have enough to keep me busy!

I started some plain socks out of this beautiful sparkly yarn, which unfortunately doesn't look nearly as pretty in pictures as it really is. I'm currently working on the heel flap of the first sock. It would probably have been finished by now if I hadn't gotten distracted by some new sock yarn I ordered from Makers Haven. It arrived last Saturday, and I cast on that day. These are going to be shorter socks, because I purchased smaller skeins, but that means they go by so quickly...I'm already on the foot of the first sock.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally cast on a practical sweater project that I've been needing to make for a while. I have two constantly worn, lightweight cotton cardigans (black and brown) that I bought at Target years ago that I want to replace with handknitted sweaters. So this is the start of my black one: the Dexter cardigan in Bartlett Yarn sportweight. It's not soft but it's sturdy, rustic American wool and will hopefully last forever. I love watching top down raglan sweaters grow in their funny shape.

As for another kind of work in progress....we've been working on the little house where Kenny and I will live after we're married in October. (Honestly, I still can't believe it, you guys. I write something like that and then think, what?? I'm actually getting married?) The house is on my parents' farm property, basically next door. It's not very old (built in the late 70s, we think), but some leaks and shoddy work over the years have caused problems. I wanted to post some "before" pictures, because right now the house probably looks worse than it ever has, ha. (And hopefully by October I can share some lovely "after" pictures!) We've torn up all the floors, except in the one room where it was salvageable, and we have to get some of the damaged subflooring replaced before we can have new floors put down. We've done some cosmetic projects (painting, little repairs, new hardware and stain on the cabinets- which was an amazing improvement in itself!), and we have a few more to go (new countertop, bathroom sink, etc.). But the floors are the biggest hurdle right now. I am so excited for the little house to be our cozy home, but it's currently a bit of a disaster.

So that's basically what's going on with me. (Wedding planning is happening, too. Mom and I are going with the dressmaker tomorrow to pick out wedding dress fabric, which I'm very excited and nervous about!) I'll be back soon with my hilariously optimistic summer reading list. :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I Read: May

I didn't read a ton in May, but there are twice as many books in this month's post as in last month's, so that's a good thing. :) Overall it was a good reading month and I enjoyed everything I read.

One Year in Coal Harbor, by Polly Horvath. This is the sequel to Everything on a Waffle, which I reread last month. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to that book. It was longer and had more characters and subplots, but something was lacking. I still liked it, though. (And the cover is gorgeous!)

Talking as Fast as I Can, by Lauren Graham. I've been a Gilmore Girls fan for years now, so of course I had to read this book. (I've only seen the first two episodes of the revival series though, so no spoilers please!) It was very enjoyable and funny, and I definitely feel like Lauren Graham must be a little like Lorelai in real life because a lot of her personality shines through. (Like Lorelai but much more likable.)

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Ever since I got hooked on Shirley Jackson's writing, I've wanted to read this: it's one of her most well known books. I'm a wimp and don't do scary things in general whether it's books, horror films, etc. But I do love a good creepy story with an unsettling tone, and that's definitely what Shirley Jackson does best. This book was so weird, but it sucked me in and got under my skin. Until the second half, that is...things began feeling off and disjointed then. So, not my favorite of hers (that would be "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"), but still good. (Sadly, the 1963 film version was not good though. Kenny and I watched it together and Eleanor's endless inner monologues are awful. This book just needs to be left alone because it doesn't translate well to screen.)

The Yorkshire Shepherdess, by Amanda Owen. A friend from knitting group let me borrow this memoir, and I really enjoyed it! It's similar to James Rebanks' "The Shepherd's Life," which I read earlier this year. I liked it even better than that book, honestly, because his attitude grated on my nerves sometimes. The writing in this one isn't amazing, but the author is really likable and keeps things interesting as she writes about raising sheep and her seven kids on an English farm.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Knitting: navy Marion cardigan (plus a dress).

I've only had this cardigan finished since the beginning of February. February! I have no idea why it has taken me three and a half months to finally get pictures of it. It was 90 degrees over the past few days (yuck! I'm not ready for Virginia summer), but thankfully today was cool and damp so I could squeeze in another wearing of this sweater before packing it away until fall.

The pattern is Marion, by Andi Satterlund. This was one of the first sweater patterns I ever wanted to knit...I added it to my queue years ago. I bought the pattern three years ago, and I always pictured knitting it in some shade of blue because the cables reminded me of nautical ropes. When I needed a navy sweater to wear over some sleeveless dresses I'd sewn, this seemed like the perfect time to finally knit Marion!

I'd previously knitted one of this designer's sweaters, Miette, which is a pretty basic pattern. But because of some fit adjustments, I had to do a lot of tweaking and reworking with that one. Thankfully things went much smoother with Marion. The only thing I changed was to make the body and sleeves slightly shorter. This sweater was made specifically to wear over dresses, and there's a particular length I want for that.

I used Quince and Co.'s Lark yarn in the Pea Coat colorway. I love that their yarn is made with American wool and it's pretty soft. The only thing is that sometimes it has a strange stiffness to it, almost like cotton. Also, as you can tell in some of the pictures, it is already starting to pill in spots. I do think this yarn shows off cables really well though...and even though they're subtle, I especially love the little cables knit into the ribbing on the sleeves.

You might remember that I got obsessed with the thought of using a certain type of vintage buttons on this sweater. I only had two, but I found some more on Ebay and ordered them. They seemed to be a perfect match...until you got in sunlight, when it was obvious that my two were navy and the others were a brighter blue that clashed with the sweater. So sadly I just had to settle for plain new plastic navy ones.

One more thing...this is a dress that I sewed at the end of last summer and never blogged about! It's the same pattern as the others I made last year, nothing special. The fabric is just basic cotton from Joann's. I think it's supposed to be a floral, but up close the print reminds me of fireworks and I liked that. But see that crease across the neckline? Obviously I still haven't got the fit perfect.

Ravelry project page.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Knitting: Mother's Day socks.

Here's proof that at least some knitting has been happening lately...I just couldn't share it until now. :) Knitted socks are a standard gift for my mom, because she loves them and wears them all the time. So I made her these for Mother's Day. They're just plain vanilla socks, though I did use the heel from Hermione's Everyday Socks. (Just because I love how it looks and the garter ridge edge looks so nice and neat when you pick up the stitches.)

The yarn is from Twist Fiber Studio, some that I picked up at the Carolina Fiber Fair back in March. It's her Fairview base in the "Girl at the Rock Show" colorway. My mom loves pink, so when I saw this yarn it made me think of her. I absolutely love how it knitted up. I don't like pink at all, but I still think these socks are pretty. :)

Ravelry project page.