High Five for Friday!

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  I love the idea of focusing on five little things that made me happy… definitely a fun way to recap the week and stay grateful.

The Amateur Librarian // H54FThe Amateur Librarian // H54F


1 – Flip flop weather. Crossing my fingers that the cold weather is done for the year – I’m ready for Spring!
2 – EPP Workshop. It was so much fun to get a refresher on English Paper Piecing and hang out with the Music City MQG!
3 – Nashville Neighborhoods. We’ve been on the hunt for a house in Nashville (most likely to rent) – sometimes it feels overwhelming, but mostly it’s been fun to look at all the listings. I’m trying to curb my obsession since we won’t be making any decisions for the next few months at least, but it’s hard to stop!
4 – Missing May. I read this quick little Newbery winner over the weekend, and it was so sweet! It reminded me how powerful children’s literature can be in under one hundred pages.
5 – Birchbox. I’m always a fan of my monthly Birchbox, but I appreciated it even more after a shipping snafu caused me to miss out on a box (don’t worry, they credited me with $10 worth of “points” and a free month). I would never pick out some of these expensive brands on my own, but it’s fun to try something new on a regular basis – who knew I would like clear eyebrow gel or vegan mascara?!

 …

Pinterest Inspiration

Every so often I go on a Pinterest rampage pinning everything in sight. When it comes to quilt inspiration, there are so many designs out there, both classic and modern… and I want to make them all! I realize there’s never enough time to make everything that catches my eye… so I have to settle for the eye candy alone. Below are a few of my favorite recent pins, themed by whatever I was currently obsessing over:

(pictures link to the original source)

Log Cabins

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

Stars

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

Barn Quilts (I really want to go on a road trip following a barn trail!)

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

Hexis

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pinterest Quilt Inspiration

Does anybody else have too many ideas and too little time?

WIP Wednesday

Let’s check in on some works in progress! I usually have some kind of crafty project going on (sometimes a few) but I usually wait until it’s finished to share on the blog… but this seems like a fun idea, so I’m jumping on board Freshly Pieced‘s linky party.

At the Music City Modern Quilt Guild meeting last weekend, one of the members taught an English Paper Piecing (EPP) workshop. We learned how to make hexies with paper templates, and two different projects – a  mug rug to feature the traditional hand stitching joining method and hand applique, and a mini quilt/pillow cover to showcase a modern layout using fusible glue instead of applique.

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

It was a lot of fun! We didn’t have time to finish both projects at the meeting, so I worked on them at home later. Mug rug complete!

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

For the modern layout, I’ve got all the hexies laid out and glued down. When I have time to get back to it, I’ll work on the quilting.

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

 

The Amateur Librarian // Modern Hexis

I’ve made hexies before (two table toppers blogged here – nautical and holiday) but it was fun to get a refresher and learn some new finishing techniques. I’ve never used fusible glue before, so that was great to see demonstrated in person. Plus, it’s always fun to learn with other people around.

Since I’ve been playing around with Waterlogue again recently… here are a few more pics!

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

 

 

Waterlogged

I like to listen to podcasts on the way to work, on road trips, when I’m cross stitching or sewing, or on a Monday night when there’s nothing on TV. I usually need to do something with my hands so I can concentrate – hence the driving, crafting, etc. But when I’m not doing any of those things, sometimes I’ll go back to my old favorite Waterlogue app to make some pretty pictures from random photos on my phone…

So today, a few recent watercolors that came about while I was listening to Pop Culture Happy Hour.

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

And just so we have a few more words too, here’s a list of my current favorite podcasts:

This American Life

Craft Lit

Dear Sugar Radio

Pop Culture Happy Hour

The Lively Show

Slate’s Spoiler Specials

The Splendid Table

How Did This Get Made?

(And if you missed the first season, Serial! I will definitely be tuning into Season 2.)

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

I still haven’t printed any of these watercolors, or the many others I’ve made over the past year or so, but a gallery or clothesline of them all in a row would be so pretty. Maybe one of these days…

The Amateur Librarian // Waterlogue App

 

Blogging for Books Review: Mequilibrium

Remember once upon a time when I used to do occasional Monday morning book reviews? I’m back at it! Check out past reviews here, or my reading logs since 2008 here.
Next up…
MeQuilibrium: 14 Days to Cooler, Calmer, and Happier by Jan Bruce, Andrew Shatte, and Adam Perlman
The Amateur Librarian // Book Review: Mequilibrium
I’m on a bit of a self-help kick these days… only a few months late for the new year, ha! I picked this one out to review for Blogging for Books, and started reading Gretchin Rubin’s Happier at Home around the same time. These two books actually complement each other pretty well, with lots of research-based ideas for enjoying this imperfect life.
Stress is a part of every day, and it isn’t going away, but how we react to stress can help make life easier. Mequilibrium presents 14 days’ worth of strategies which breaks down the program of effectively dealing with stress. For me, the most helpful aspects were about identifying emotions, common stressors, getting unstuck, and “iceberg” beliefs that cause stress.
Life being what it is, I got plenty of practice with these tips! It really did help to shift my thinking when something stressful came up, to analyze why it happened and how best to react to it. Or as the doctors put it, “trap, map, and zap the negative intruders.” Self-help language can be a bit gimmicky, but the research behind it helped to flesh out the ideas. There are some good examples of real life people who completed the program, although I wish there were more. I think my biggest takeaway, other than practical ways to handle stress, is that having perspective can change my whole outlook. Making connections to the wider world giving a sense of purpose to even the drudgery of everyday life can make more stress more manageable.
The best thing I can say about this book is that there were enough useful ideas that I could apply to real life without a lot of effort. And with a busy, stressful life, simple and effective is the way to go!
Blogging_for_Books_Lockup_1a
***I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.***

High Five for Friday!

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  I love the idea of focusing on five little things that made me happy… definitely a fun way to recap the week and stay grateful.


The Amateur Librarian // H54FThe Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 – Springtime! So maybe it’s in the 50’s again today, and maybe I’m crossing my fingers that this little rosemary plant makes it through the last bit of coldish weather… but the three days of sunshine we got this week were so, so nice! I’ve forgotten what it feels like to leave the house without a jacket.
2 – Brew Fest. We didn’t plan on attending the annual Brew Fest in downtown Franklin, but deciding to go at the last minute made it even more fun. The Irish music and revelry on a rainy Saturday night was just what I needed.
3 – Happier at Home. I’m really enjoying the sequel to The Happiness Project, and thinking of small changes I can make in my own life. Looking forward to Gretchen Rubin’s next book too!
4 – Cinderella. Such a gorgeous movie! I loved the beautiful scenery, costumes, and updated retelling of the classic Disney fairy tale (I just wish Cinderella and the prince had a bit more to say to each other).
5 – Unroll Me. My inbox has become overrun with newsletters, so I signed up for this nifty little service.  I never realized I was subscribed to over 145 newsletters… yikes! I pared down the list and now all the ones I actually want to receive are rounded up in one daily email. Suddenly my inbox feels a lot lighter!  (Check it out here if you’re interested.)

 …

#Nerdbery Update!

Last summer I decided to start reading all the Newbery Medal winners and join in the Nerdbery Challenge via the Mr. Schu Reads blog.  The main goal is to keep it stress-free: no time limit, no pressure to read every single book, and no need to re-read books I’ve read before. So far it’s been a fun challenge! One of my favorite parts is seeking out Newbery books at used bookstores – they’re always cheap, and it’s fun to be on the lookout.
The Amateur Librarian // Newbery Medal Challenge
It’s been about 9 months since I started the challenge, so it seems like a good time to update the list below – 35 down, 58 to go! (Blue means I’ve read it before, and links are to my thoughts on the books I’ve reviewed, if you’re interested.) The 2015 winner was announced in January (The Crossover by Kwame Alexander), so that’s also been added too.
2013: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
2012: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
2011: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean
2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan
2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo 
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
1999: Holes by Louis Sachar
1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
1996: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman 
1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry
1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli 
1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 
1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan 
1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
1983: Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt
1982: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard
1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson 
1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos 
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton
1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien 
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars 
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong 
1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska
1964: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville 
1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 
1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold
1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare 
1958: Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
1957: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
1955: The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong 
1954: …And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
1952: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
1950: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
1947: Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
1946: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
1941: Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty
1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy
1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink 
1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon
1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs
1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer
1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth 
1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field 
1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James
1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting 
1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
Fun reading ahead!

WIP Wednesday: Scrap Overhaul

One ongoing project I’ve been working on lately is corralling my stash of fabric. I recently rearranged the guest room closet to make way for more storage, and I bought some plastic drawers to better organize my bigger cuts of fabric by color. I keep anything that’s fat quarter-sized or bigger in the drawers, and then I have a separate bin where I dump all my scraps. My stash is pretty well under control, but the scraps are not so easy to find… stuffed in plastic bags vaguely labeled “coins” and “strips” and “small strips”… and then when I need scraps I go digging around but never know where to find what size because everything is haphazard.
Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Lori Holt has a great post on her blog Bee in My Bonnet about how she controls her scraps. The main idea is that she cuts all scraps into standard sizes that are used most often in quilt blocks – which makes so much sense! So that’s the goal I’ve been working toward with my overflowing bins and bags of scraps.
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul
On random days when I’m cutting for other projects, I take out the bin and start going through the pile, cutting each piece into more manageable 1-1/2″, 2-1/2″, 3-1/2″ and 5″ squares and strips. I bought stackable bins to keep these scraps in order (post-its are temporary, I just haven’t gotten my label maker out yet), and eventually I may get nicer bins and/or sort them by color too. But for now, this is a vast improvement! I think I’ll actually be able to use these pre-cuts if I start a new scrappy project, which would be a major time-saver.
I also ended up getting rid of a lot of scraps that are under 1-1/2″ big… they really weren’t usable, so I have no idea why I held onto them for so long! Having a system definitely helps weed out the scraps that shouldn’t be there in the first place.
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul
One more project helped add quite a bit of scraps to the bin: dismantling my very first quilt top. I did the bulk of the work a couple months ago, but I forgot to blog about it. This Turning Twenty quilt top was the very first project I ever worked on, but almost from the moment it was done I knew I would never finish it. My color choices have changed a lot since this quilt, I really don’t like the blue/murky brown combo, and a queen size top seems too daunting for my home machine.
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul
So I started ripping seams and trimming, breaking it down into the original building blocks of fabric… it took a solid afternoon, but several months later I’ve already used some of those fabrics in new projects, which is a lot of fun… and also the whole point of overhauling my scraps in the first place. Of course, I’ll never be “done” with this project, but at least it’s getting more manageable!
The Amateur Librarian // Scrap Overhaul

Franklin City Sights: Brew Fest

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Now that the weather is finally warmer (knock on wood), city sights are back again! Even the dreary rain on Saturday couldn’t keep us inside. I met up with a college friend for lunch in Nashville and thought about attending the free Irish Music Fest downtown… but the rain kept us away. Later, hubby and I spontaneously decided to get tickets for the Brew Fest in downtown Franklin, and even though we didn’t bring umbrellas, we ended up having a blast.
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
It was a really fun night of Irish music, beer tastings (over 50! I don’t even like beer that much, but it grew on me after the first 15 or so…) and exploring the shops on Main Street. I’ve strolled down Main Street quite a few times and felt like I knew most of the shops, but I realized how much I hadn’t noticed until we were waiting in line and browsing through every last one of them. We even got a beer mug ornament from the Christmas shop (I’m proud I only bought ONE thing the entire night, aren’t you?)
You know the drill… Photo dump!
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
The Amateur Librarian // Franklin Brew Fest
 More city sights coming soon as we explore the Nashville area!

Meow Monday: Catnip Time

Sunday was so warm and sunny after a week of rain that I woke up with the urge to purge – and after enlisting hubby’s help to clean all the nooks and crannies we usually ignore (underneath the couch cushions! The backside of curtains! The window sills! Baseboards!) I turned my attention to the screened-in porch. It still needs a good cleaning (couldn’t quite muster the motivation for that yet) but I knew what it needed most: plants! It may only feel like spring for a moment, but I figured we’re close enough that a frost won’t kill off all my efforts.  Off to the nursery we went!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

The cats were quite intrigued when we got home again, naturally.

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

Rosemary for starters, with catnip seeds in the pot below. I’m also starting some seedlings inside for some mint (mojitos!) and more catnip, just in case it gets cold again.

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

It remains to be seen if the cats will knock over the planters… but after a bit of sniffing around, they seem more interested in the sunshine.  I’m crossing my fingers, knocking on wood, etc.!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

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