Author Archive: ladykatie32

Meow Monday: Kitten Pics

Every year or so I have to share this kitten picture of Cora… how can you resist a face like this?

When we got Cora, we didn’t have a couch or a kitchen table yet… but we were fresh from our honeymoon and knew we needed a cat!

Couch = 0, Cat = 1

Cora has always had plenty of personality to make up for what she lacks in tail.

And now… almost six years old and still plenty of spunk. She’s mellowed plenty too, and only has to be squirted with water a couple times a week (major improvement).

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

Tali came along about a year after we were married, the oldest of the bunch at the Humane Society and the sweetest one by far. We don’t have any kitten pics, but look how cute she was five years ago:

And now… she looks pretty much the same! Five years later, she’s still as sweet, and finally trusts us enough to pick her up and cuddle without freaking out. Progress!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

I think they even like each other now!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me… and happy Monday!

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 – Music City MQG. It’s always fun to hang out with the ladies from the local modern quilt guild! We had lots of new guests, so it was fun to meet new people too.
2 – Finish. Sorry for the double-blogging that’s going on this week, but I love my little mermaid finish! Also, it’s great to knock out two crafty resolutions in one fell swoop: (1) I finished this WIP before starting something new and (2) I’m planning on finishing it as a mini quilt, instead of another frame.
3 – Art on the Wall. Speaking of frames (and double blogging)… I finally hung all my cross stitch projects up! So happy not to have a big blank wall in the guest room now!
4 – Craft a Doodle. I bought this fun book a couple years ago and finally delved into it this week. It’s been fun to doodle instead of watch TV all night!
5 – Jane the Virgin. After a mid-season hiatus, Jane is back! Super fun Monday show, and I’m so glad Gina Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV comedy, she deserves it!

Finished: Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

I wish I were actually at the beach… but since that’s not in the cards, at least I can cross stitch a beach scene complete with a mermaid, puffer fish, and a smiling sun.  Greetings from the Beach (by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery) is finished!

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

I’ve been working on this on and off since last summer, so as part of my crafty resolutions I finished it up before starting something new.  Here are a few progress pics along the way…

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

Also in keeping with my new crafty resolutions, I’m planning to finish this in some way other than framing. I think I’m going to make this into a mini quilt to go along with my other two nautical mini quilts. Yesterday I shared my collection of mini quilts and I think it will fit in nicely with the other two in the middle.

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

I’ll share more when I figure it out, of course!

The Amateur Librarian // Greetings from the Beach Cross Stitch

It’s not a quilt (yet)… but I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!

Collections and Collages

I recently had three finished cross stitch projects professionally framed, and finally felt like I had enough of a collection for a collage wall.

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

The big blank wall has been begging for art ever since we moved in. In all its glory:

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

After quite a few deliberations, I finally settled on an arrangement. It was tricky to balance out the different sizes, frame finishes, and mat colors while still leaving room to grow if I add more projects later.

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

 

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

I’ve blogged before about all these projects, so here are some links if you want more details: The top left is a cross stitch that used to hang in my Grandmom’s house before my aunt passed it to me as a wedding present. Below that, the Welcome to Gingerbread Lane cross stitch that I finished around Christmas 2013. In the middle, the Once Upon a Time sampler that I worked on throughout 2014 and just finished up. The top right is the Autumn Harvest Festival cross stitch that I worked on last Fall. Below that is a another wintry sampler that I finished in 2011.

IMG_3748

I debated whether I wanted projects that were obviously “Christmas” or “Fall” displayed year round, but I decided the year-long project in the middle tied it all together, and with so many different  finishes going on I decided to embrace the mix and match feel.

Since I had a hammer in the guest room, I also rearranged my collection of mini quilts on the opposite wall. Here’s a look at the bakers twine clothesline (and old storage!) I had up before:

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

I got tired of the twine, so I just used push pins to bring the collection closer together. It looks a bit off center but that’s because the furniture isn’t centered to leave a clear path to the guest bathroom. It doesn’t seem too off-centered when you’re in the room, though.

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

 

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

I even found a place for the little wooden house I painted the other weekend:

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

Do banners and thread count as collections too? Because I also have some of both in the guest room too, above the sewing table.

The Amateur Librarian // Craft Storage

 

It’s nice to have a few of my favorite things in this room while I sew. And now that the walls are full, I think I’m done for now!

Top Ten Favorite Books… Updated!

Last year I put together my top 10 favorite books, with the qualification that I had to have actually read them recently, not just childhood favorites that I vaguely remember as being awesome (because re-reading old favorites can sometimes be a rude awakening, am I right?).
It’s probably a good time to revisit the list every once in a while, and with another year of reading recently wrapped up, now seems like a good time!
So here’s my extremely scientific way to go about compiling this list:
1. From five years of reading logs, I gathered a list of all the books with A+ grades (97 total)
2. I made another list of all my favorites from the A+ books (25 total)
3. I culled the list again (16 remaining)
4. Then I rearranged the list until I was satisfied with only ten (it was hard!)
It’s not a totally fail-proof process, but it’s a good representative of books I’ve read recently enough to remember as having an impact… and hey, it’s my list after all – totally biased, personal, and just the way I like it!
So without further ado…
The Amateur Librarian // Top Ten Favorite Books
My Top Ten Favorite Books
1. The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
2.  A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote
3. Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott
4. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed
5. Rilla of Ingleside, by L.M. Montgomery
6. Dear Enemy, by Jean Webster
7. A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L’Engle
8. Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth E. Wein
9. The Annotated Persuasion, by Jane Austen and edited by David Shappard
10. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
It’s always fun to take a look back at the books I loved throughout the years, and although the A+ ratings were sometimes surprising a couple years after the fact, I think this list represents my past and current reading preferences – a mix of classic, contemporary, young adult fiction, and children’s literature.  Although the majority are favorites that I’ve read and re-read for years, there are a few that I’ve only discovered in the past  year… and what a nice realization that my next favorite book could be right around the corner.
(Click here to see my Top 10 list from last year – a few spots have changed!)

Meow Monday: Water Feature

Happy MLK Day! I do not have the day off… but hubby does… so I’m trying not to feel too jealous. But the most exciting news comes from the cat world: we have a new water bowl. A fancy fountain of a water bowl!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

The old bowl wasn’t up to snuff – it got pretty gross pretty often, and it didn’t seem sanitary. We found this one at the pet shop and figured the cats would enjoy the running water feature. (The green bowl only holds 1/2 cup twice a day, per the vet’s recommendation… but somehow the cats are still fat.)

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

It’s so funny to watch them investigate something new… they are very suspicious at first, but warmed up eventually.

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

 

I’m not thrilled that it has to be plugged in and there’s a “tinkling” sound in the background now, but the cats do seem to like it, so we’ll give it a couple weeks and see how it goes.

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 – Golden Globes. The award show itself wasn’t that exciting, but I still love the red carpet and basically anything that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do.
2 – Framed! I got three finished cross stitch projects professionally framed and finally got to pick them up this week… love them!! I can’t wait to hang them up, hopefully this weekend.
3 – Wild. We went to a matinee last weekend to see Wild, and it is so, so good! I liked the book a lot, but the main character’s self-destructive behavior was really hard to read about… somehow the movie made it seem more understandable, and I felt a lot more sympathetic toward her. Plus, I love Reese Witherspoon!
4 – Greetings from the Beach. Picked up this WIP… makes me miss the beach! Hoping to finish it up soon so I can start on my next yearlong project.
5 – Paint. I broke out the paint bottles over the weekend for a little project. It was fun to mess around with a different medium… and reminded me that I should do this more often!

 …

I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!

H54F

Resolutions

Are people still talking about resolutions, now that we’re halfway through January? (And how did that happen already?)
I always hesitate to make long lists of resolutions for the new year when it comes to life changes… maybe because I know I can’t keep most of them, so it’s easier to strive for goals throughout the year instead of feeling pressure to change everything at once in January. But when it comes to reading and crafting, I have no such qualms… the longer the list the better! So here are a few resolutions that have been swirling in my mind lately…
…Reading Resolutions…
  • Continue the Newbery Challenge! I slacked off a bit in December, but I still have stacks of Newbery winners sitting around the house and on my Kindle, so I want to keep chugging along.
  • Ban on Kindle impulse buys… until I read the ones I’ve already bought! Those $1.99 sales get me in trouble…
  • In that vein… read more of the unread books on my shelves, too. I’m not quite ready to put another ban on buying ANY new books… but I want to make a concentrated effort to read what I already own.
  • Read more varied genres. I usually stay in my comfort zone of memoirs, YA and Children’s Lit… but I want to try to read more nonfiction, classics, unfamiliar subjects, maybe some more mysteries…
… Craft Resolutions…
  • Start a new yearlong project… I finally decided on one, the Woodlands Creatures sampler from guess who… Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, of course! My goal is to update monthly like I did with the Once Upon a Time project. I love their 2015 mystery sampler, all about literature, but it seems very similar to the fairy tales so I’m going to keep an eye on it to see if I want to start it later in the year.
  • Finish a needlework project in some way other than framing. Not sure exactly how yet, but perhaps using needlework in a quilt, or making it into a pillow, or something like that… I’m running out of wall space!
  • Speaking of which… I want to make a collage wall of cross stitch, to get all my projects into a finished condition and displayed together.
  • Make more home decor pieces. I loved the long, skinny patchwork tree table runner on the breakfast bar during the holiday season (and so did Cora) so I’d like to make more things like that. It’s nice to have handmade touches around the house.
  • Dabble more. I was pretty heavily into cross stitch in 2014, but this year I’d like to dabble in other crafts again too… maybe make something with my new knitting loom, or actual knitting again, more quilts, more drawing/painting… so many possibilities!
  • Finish WIPs before starting new projects!! I’m trying to work one project at a time, from start to finish. Not sure if I can pull it off, but I definitely feel more focused when I don’t have a million half-finished projects everywhere.

And that’s it for the resolutions! We’ll see how it goes in 2015.

And on that note… how about a fun flipagram with all the crafty projects completed in 2014?

 

 

Reading Right Now

I have to admit, it’s nice to have Wednesdays freed up for something over than WIWW… and I’m getting out the door much quicker in the mornings now that I’m not taking pics of all my outfits! I still haven’t decided if I want to participate in another link-up (like WIP Wednesday) or something like Wordless Wednesday… or if I’d rather have the freedom to post whatever I want instead of sticking to a schedule.
For now, though, I think I just want to chat about books and what I’m reading right now. I always pick up a few new books around the holidays, and in January I want to read all. the. books! Just like my crafty life right now, I’m a bit all over the place. Once I finish this batch, I’ll probably slow down again to one book at breakfast and one book on my Kindle. But it’s fun to dabble!
Here’s what I’m reading right now…
…Breakfast Book…
The View from Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg
The Amateur Librarian // January 2015 Reading Log
I stepped back from Newbery books during December, but I’m back at it. I remember this cover so clearly in my elementary school library, but for some reason I never picked it up. So far, I’m liking it even more than From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I read a few pages at a time while I eat breakfast every morning, and it’s my favorite way to start the day.
…On the Kindle…
Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters
The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log
Obsessed is probably an accurate word for how I feel about this book. I’m nearing the end and I still have no idea what is going to happen next… so many twists and turns! It’s like a Victorian Gone Girl, full of mesmerizing characters and dark schemes. I can’t get enough.
A Fatal Grace, by Louise Penny
The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log
This is on the back burner until I finish Fingersmith, but then I’m jumping right back into it. I love the quaint Canadian town where each mystery takes place, and there’s something comforting about “cozy mysteries” this time of year.
…Listening…
Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log
Each week the Craftlit podcast comes out with a new episode and another chapter of Herland… along with lots of interesting background info, listener questions and feedback, and the crafty adventures of the host. I love the book club feel, and definitely look forward to new chapters every week, either listening in the car or while I sew/cross stitch. It’s a great satirical story so far, of three men in the early 1900’s who discover a utopia of women… and what they make of it.
I’m definitely looking forward to listening to some of the back episodes eventually, since there are almost 10 years’ worth of books from the public domain… wow!
…After Hours…
Twelve Recipes, by Cal Peternell
The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log
I love memoirs and I love reading about food… even if I don’t actually cook it that often… so chatty cookbooks are my favorite, of course! I heard about this on Splendid Kitchen (another favorite podcast) and put it on my Christmas wish list. The recipes are basics with endless variations, but what I like the most is the relaxed vibe of a family kitchen, without too much fuss over exact instructions. Fun reading for snuggling on the couch with a cat or too after work.
A Month of Sundays, by Cheryl Arkison
The Amateur Librarian // January 2015 Reading Log
Instead of food, insert the word “quilts” into my thoughts about the cookbook above and that’s exactly what I like about this book too. I usually favor more projects over more chitchat when it comes to crafty books, but I love the mix of simple recipes, stories, and non-quilting projects in this one. Also fun to read on the couch with the cats, daydreaming of future quilts!

What are you reading right now?

New Toys

 The holidays are over, it’s back to the grind again… but at least I have a few new toys to play with! Below are a few of my favorite new additions, perfect companions while I hunker down for the rest of winter.
Duraflame Fireplace Heater
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014
I love this thing! It’s basically a space heater, but it looks like a fireplace. A portable one, at that. And even when we don’t need the heat, I still turn the flames on… makes for super cozy nights!
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014
Ten Year Journal
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014
My parents gave me this for Christmas, and I love the idea so much. Instead of a blank book of pages, it’s structured so that you just fill out one line a day – and there’s enough space to journal for 10 years! I’m enjoying my new habit of jotting down the day’s activities every night, and hopefully I can stick with it. Imagine January 1, 2020… and being able to look at New Year’s Day for the past ten years!
Knitting Loom
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014
I’ve seen these knitting looms for years but finally got a kit over the holidays… so much fun! It’s like knitting in the round but all you need is a hook instead of needles. I finally had time to sit down and start playing around with it, and it’s super easy to learn. It’s fun to pick up a different craft that I haven’t tried before… it’s been years since I’ve done any knitting, but I always feel the urge during the winter time.
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014
Office Storage
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014

 

(Cora helped put it together, of course.)

(Cora helped put it together, of course.)

The guest room is a bit of a hodge podge… my sewing table and machine are in there, as well as office stuff, books that don’t go on the bookshelf (cookbooks, quilting books, needlework books, etc.), all my crafty supplies, holiday storage, big stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else like suitcases and cat carriers… and oh yeah, a place for guests to sleep. The furniture is a bit of a hodge podge too, but I finally settled on exactly what I need: cube storage! This takes the place of two small bookcases but holds even more, and I think it can also transition into other rooms down the road if needed. I searched and searched online for something like this, and then saw exactly what I wanted at Wal-Mart, of all places! It’s made by Better Homes & Gardens and seems a lot sturdier than most of their particle board furniture, so we gave it a try and so far I love it. It’s great to start 2015 feeling organized!
The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014

Cheers to 2015!

The Amateur Librarian // Christmas 2014

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