Author Archive: ladykatie32

Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch: August

I’m working on another yearlong cross stitch project (see last year’s Once Upon a Time sampler here) but this one is a bit more laid back since it’s an older pattern and I don’t have to wait for the mystery blocks to be revealed each month. I love Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery‘s Woodland Creatures sampler, it is so super cute!
I procrastinated a bit on the August block, but still managed to finish it in the nick of time. The little skunk and toadstools are so stinking cute! I’ve been looking forward to the September block all year… little hedgehogs!
Below are a few progress pics:
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
Here are the finished months so far:
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
Eight months down, four to go… I guess we’re really nearing the end of 2015 already, yikes!
The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
I’ll be sure to share my monthly progress, similar to last year. Stay tuned!

Reading Log: August 2015

It seems like just a couple days ago I was writing about July… the whole month of August just flew by. My reading was pretty light this month but it was fun stuff. All I want to read lately is fantasy and children’s lit – nothing too series! Maybe it’s because I just can’t believe summer is coming to a close and Fall is around the corner already…

Below is my Reading Log for August 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

August 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

 

 

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
How to Cook Everything Fast,
by Mark Bittman
7/19/15 8/9/15 A
LB
C
Go Set a Watchman,
by Harper Lee
7/26/15 8/10/15 A
HB
F
Invincible Louisa,
by Cornelia Meigs
8/4/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
CL
My Salinger Year,
by Joanna Rakoff
8/7/115 8/16/15 A
LB
M
The Night Circus,
by Erin Morgenstern
8/10/15 Still Reading TBD
AB
SFF
Princess Academy,
by Shannon Hale
8/11/15 8/23/15 A
LB
CL
Sorcery and Cecelia,
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
8/23/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
SFF
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir,
by Roz Chast
8/28/15 8/29/15 A
LB
M

Thoughts:

How to Cook Everything Fast, by Mark Bittman – A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

A whale of a cookbook, especially in library format! What sets it apart is the extra prep instructions at every step for the most efficient use of your time while cooking, and most recipes comes together in less than 45 minutes. Lots of useful info and a TON of recipes included. I liked the recipe-free basic techniques like stir fry, pasta, casseroles, etc. too. It was a bit overwhelming since it doesn’t stick to a theme, and because of its size I’m not sure it would become a go-to cookbook after you’ve got a few techniques down. But fun to read and I tried out a couple recipes, which is the whole point right?

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee – A

The Amateur Librarian // July 2015 Reading Log

Upsetting at times, and thought provoking always. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, and the conflicting reviews and controversy around the release do not help. The story is meandering for sure, with plenty of flashbacks that don’t really connect to the story but are still enjoyable to see glimpses of beloved characters. I did not re-read To Kill a Mockingbird on purpose, to read this one with a fresh set of eyes without the baggage of the one-hit-wonder overshadowing it. Despite everyone’s horror that Atticus is not the paragon of Right and Wrong that everyone thought him to be in TKAM, I can see how he’s a more realistic and nuanced character twenty years later when Scout finds him entrenched in racist activities in the 1950s. Sad but true. I still can’t figure out if it’s best to look at it as a sequel or a companion piece or a first book (with TKAM being the prequel) or just an interesting look at one writer’s process and how her writing evolved. Still glad it exists and that I read it, especially since a year ago no one would ever have thought another book by Harper Lee would be published.

 

Invincible Louisa, by Cornelia Meigs – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I love biographies about Louisa May Alcott, but her father (and the Transcendentalism movement in general) has always rubbed me the wrong way… and this book starts out with a LOT of info about Bronson Alcott. So far, it’s been hard to get into, but I’ll keep plugging along.

My Salinger Year, by Joanna Rakoff – A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Joanna Rakoff’s year of working at the literary agency that represents J.D. Salinger makes for a charming memoir. The beginning echoes The Best of Everything so closely that it has to be intentional, and it makes me wonder how many similar references I’ve missed in other books-about-publishing; it’s almost like a sequel, 40 years later, and it shows how little the publishing world has changed from the 1950s to the 1990s. It’s pretty obvious from the beginning that Joanna will break up with her socialist boyfriend of the time, and the passive aggressive disdain toward him is pretty hilarious – oh, hindsight! The fan letters that Joanna has to respond to on behalf of J.D. Salinger are interesting, but I wish there was more on that front. I’m not sure that the closure was as convincing as the author intended, but it was a satisfying memoir even without the end cap of Salinger’s death to bring it full circle.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading (or listening, rather). Love, love, love Jim Dale’s narration of this tale. I’m about halfway through and so far there is lots of magic, circus shenanigans, and mystery all around. If I were reading the book, I might be wondering where it’s all going, but I don’t mind the pace with the audio version.

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale –A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Don’t let the “princess” in the title fool you… this story is much more about empowerment and education than pretty dresses. The girls of a remote mountain town must attend an academy to become worthy of the prince, but along the way their newfound knowledge helps our main character and her village in surprising ways. By the time the prince arrives, he’s somewhat beside the point, and the girls have to rely on working together to make their lives better. Add some fantasy and compelling characters in there, and I was no longer surprised that this tale claimed a Newbery Honor award.

Sorcery and Cecelia, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I forget how I heard about this one but I’m glad I did! Witty letters between cousins in Regency England with a bit of magic thrown in = delicious reading!

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, by Roz Chast – A

The Amateur Librarian // August 2015 Reading Log

A really frank and hilarious look at caring for aging parents, from an only child forced to address the facts of life that her parents never wanted to talk about. The graphic novel approach is perfect for showing the funny side of the otherwise mixed emotions of the uncomfortable/tedious/sad process of watching both her parents die. I loved the photos interspersed throughout, especially the collections junk she had to clean out of her parents’ apartment – eyeglasses, pencils, purses, kitchen appliances, the contents of the fridge, piles of notebooks – it had to be thrown away, but not before immortalizing first. Even though Roz had a difficult relationship with both her parents, and especially her mother, you can tell she did the best she could and showed her love the best way she could, through the sketches and drawings that made up this book.

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

Foundation to Finished: August 2015

Time for an update on our new house journey…
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
… this month has flown by! In July, the permits finally got sorted out, but with lots of rain it seemed to take the entire month of August to finally get started.  I’m crossing my fingers for good building weather from now on.
My mama visited two weekends ago to see the lot – the plumbing is in and the slab foundation was set up but not poured yet.
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
We visited the completed model homes and the staged furniture makes such a big difference. It was a big leap of faith to commit to a lot before the model was even finished, but I’m really happy so far with the location we chose and that we’re getting into the neighborhood early.
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
Standing on the unfinished foundation of our lot, the space seems so small, and even with studs and then drywall it’s still hard to imagine the end result, but with furniture we finally got a sense of the true scale.  Everything seems really spacious… and it makes me even more excited to see our house come together!
Yesterday, we visited again but the foundation is still in the same state. Hoping it comes together soon!  Studs and wiring come next, and then another meeting with our builder before drywall goes up.
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished
I have a feeling September will be a major month for progress… so stay tuned! So far we’re still projected to finish by late October/early November!
The Amateur Librarian // Foundation to Finished

High Five for Friday!

Another 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 – Mama Mia. It’s always great to see my mama, especially when she drives 5 hours just to go with me to another infusion and another CCFA program. And somehow she always leaves behind so much food – I’ve been eating home-cooked leftovers all week long!
2 – Progress. Our pile of dirt and rubble is starting to to take shape (even though it doesn’t look like it yet)… so exciting!
3 – Sorcery and Cecelia. Isn’t it funny how you can stumble upon a book you’ve never heard of before, and find out that it’s exactly in your wheelhouse and has umpteen 5-star reviews? Regency time period + epistolary structure + casual magic/fantasy + friendship hijinks = my cup of tea precisely!
4 – Neighborhood Geese. I promise I won’t start talking about working out every single week but… the weather has been so nice that Ive added after-dinner walks to my workouts, usually as an excuse to visit the geese at the pond down the street.
5 – Katie Squared. Caught up with another Katie-friend this week while she was in town for work… and the barista told us we were only 2 of 4 Katie’s so far that day, ha!

 …

#Nerdbery Update!

It’s been a year since I decided to start reading all the Newbery Medal winners and join in the Nerdbery Challenge via the Mr. Schu Reads blog.  So it seems like a good time for an update!
The Amateur Librarian // Newbery Medal Challenge
The main goal is to keep it stress-free: no time limit, no pressure to read every single book on the list, and no need to re-read books I’ve read before. I’m definitely enjoying more children’s lit in my reading diet, and although I’ve hit a couple duds, I’m definitely still committed to reading through the entire list. This challenge has also inspired me to read a few of the Newbery Honor books that didn’t get chosen for the medal – The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt was fantastic, and I just finished (and loved!) Princess Academy by Sharon Hale.
Right now I’m also reading Invincible Louisa from 1934, a book I remember reading for the first time in the 4th grade. I think that must’ve been the perfect age for most Newbery books, since I remember reading so many of them for the first time in Mrs. Yarbrough’s classroom.  So far it’s been a fun challenge!
Below is the updated list – 28 down, 65 to go!
(Titles are linked to my thoughts on the books I’ve reviewed, if you’re interested.)
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

Not much going on this week, since I didn’t work on anything over the weekend, so here’s a quick update :)

 

Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch

Not sure I’ll pull this one off before the end of August (how is September next week already?!) but I love the little skunk and toadstools.

The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch

 

And that’s about it!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced

Nashville City Sights: CCFA Symposium (Again!)

Last November my parents drove up to attend the Nashville Patient Education Symposium hosted by Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), and another program was hosted this past weekend. My mom was able to come along, which is always helpful to have another pair of ears to process the information. These education programs are always a good chance to catch up with the world of Crohn’s and see presentations by some of my doctors at Vanderbilt’s IBD Clinic. It’s good to see them outside of the doctor’s office… and a reminder that I’m getting really great care from the best in their field.
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
Last November, I shared a few thoughts about life in remission, and it’s still true:
I’m in a stable remission these days, so it’s easy to forget the turmoil of the past few years when my health felt anything but stable… the symptoms, diagnosis, medications, surgeries, ostomy bag, infusions… it’s been a roller coaster at times. I’ve had to come to terms with the “chronic” part of Crohn’s, and I still deal with it every time I visit the doctor. But it was interesting to sit in the audience and learn more about it all, which is so different from sitting two feet away from my doctor in a tiny, uncomfortable room to talk about how my body is sabotaging itself. Lots of good information, mostly positive, and plenty of food for thought.
Deep remission is a good place to be in, and I’m starting to get excited about planning for the next few years, which is a success in itself since I used to feel like I would never again have the privilege of counting on good health. It’s still hard to let go of that feeling that everything could fall apart again, especially hearing from other patients who are in the thick of the disease and are struggling for remission, but I’m feeling hopeful after almost two years of good health. I’m lucky to have a great support system and doctors who know what they’re doing… there are no clear cut answers when it comes to health, but symposiums like the ones that CCFA hosts are a great place to start.
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Nashville Symposium
Before and after the program, we spent the rest of our quick visit around home… cooked dinner in on Friday, stopped by the new neighborhood to see the progress on the new house, ate lots of free samples at Sam’s Club (we’re thinking of joining), and topped it off with dinner at Chuy’s.
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
The Amateur Librarian // CCFA Education Program
As always, the visit was too short… but it was nice to hang out with my mama for the weekend. She’s been by my side every step of the way from sickness to health and everywhere in between, and I don’t know how I could do it without her!
 More city sights coming soon as we explore the Nashville area!

Holly Jolly Stockings Giveaway Winner!

 Thanks for the comments over the weekend… and now it’s time to announce the winner… drum roll please…
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The random number generator says the lucky winner is:
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
Comment #5, Tiruba Tuba! I hope Janis and Charlie love their new stockings!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
Thanks for playing along, everyone, and thanks again to Lindsay for offering her pattern for this giveaway. (Don’t forget you can find it for sale here or get a free pattern by signing up for her newsletter here!)
:)

High Five for Friday!

Another 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 // H54F The Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 – Show and Tell. The monthly Music City MQG meeting is always a highlight! It was great to hang out with the guild ladies for the Open Sew… and of course show & tell! (image via @tennjenny)
2 – Briar Rose. Jayne from MCMQG destashed some Briar Rose fat quarters and I was the lucky recipient! Can’t wait to cut into these lovelies – I love Heather Ross! (image via @twiggyandopal)
3 – Birchbox boxes. Happy mail is even happier when the packaging is so cute. Now that Birchbox does different designs each month, I can never let go of the boxes…
4 – Happy place. I usually run errands during my lunch break, and JoAnn’s is my favorite place to wander, even when I only need one thing (hand quilting thread).
5 – This Weekend. It’s not quite here yet… but I’ve been getting ready for it all week. My mama comes into town today, and tomorrow we’re going to another CCFA symposium.

 …

Holly Jolly Stockings + A Giveaway!

Guess who’s ready for the holidays early this year?! This girl.
It’s all thanks to Lindsay of  Lindsay Sews and Craft Buds!  I recently tested her new pattern, and now the Holly Jolly Stocking pattern has been released.
Stockings have been on my To-Make list for YEARS but every year I run out of time. Turns out that someone else’s deadline makes a big difference!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The pattern is super easy to read and understand, even before I saw the final polish. The best part – it takes maybe an hour to put one stocking together, and it’s reversible!
I made two stockings with contrasting red and green prints for the fronts and cuffs, with a text print on the contrasting side. Library book cards for me, of course! I’ve been on the hunt for a low volume computer-related print for hubby’s stocking, but for now this Cotton & Steel “word find” print works well.
I chose to quilt the stockings, but you can just as easily do without… or add embroidery, names, patchwork. etc. to customize it even more.
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
It was great to finally cross this off my list, and I’m sure we’ll use these stockings for years to come. My favorite part of holiday sewing is using the same pieces each year… and this Christmas will be extra special since it will be the first holiday in our first house.
The Amateur Librarian // Holly Jolly Stocking Pattern Giveaway!
And now for the fun part… Lindsay has generously offered a free pattern to give away to one of my readers! This is truly a beginner-level project that anyone with a sewing machine can follow for a beautiful result… so please leave a comment to enter and I’ll pick a winner on Monday. Thanks again to Lindsay! :)
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!
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