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 was a little too open for my taste.