Author Archive: ladykatie32

April 2016 Reading Log

Whew, what a busy month! Every weekend in April was busy but I still managed to fit in some fun books. Fortunately my energy is back and so is my reading habit. Enjoying some uninterrupted beach reading was just what I needed! I also realized that having too many half-read books was driving me a bit crazy, so I turned in all my library books, cleared out the To-Read piles sitting around, and I’ve been focusing on finishing one book at a time before starting a new one. Sometimes I like having a half-dozen books to choose from, and sometimes it’s nice to start fresh. Bring on the summer reading!

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

Apri; 2016 Thoughts

Finished:

Holes, by Louis Sachar

The Amateur Librarian // March 2016 Reading Log

Start Date: 3/10/2016
Finish Date: 4/2/2016
Genre/Format: Children’s Lit (Newbery Winner) / Audiobook

I finally got around to this modern classic and I’m glad I did! The stories of two boys intersect at a camp for “troubled teens” where they have to dig a hole in the desert every single day of their sentence. History meets up with the present as the boys figure out the significance of the holes. I enjoyed the mix of stark reality with the magical realism of fate, and there was a surprising amount of depth too, touching on topics like race that I didn’t expect. I vaguely remember the movie and it seems like a pretty true adaptation – I might have to watch it again some time soon. (Quick tip – if you buy the ebook you can also get the audiobook for an additional $2.99.)

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson

The Amateur Librarian // March 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 3/23/2016
Finish date: 4/13/2016
Genre/Format: Fiction / Audiobook

Quick, entertaining listen recommended by the What Should I Read Next? podcast. Frances McDormand was the titular character in the recent movie version, and also narrated the audiobook – she was fabulous! This Cinderella story of a 1930s spinster discovering a new life of nightclubs and “fast women” was charmingly subversive, although a few old-fashioned sentiments (AKA casual racism) put a damper on any chance of this becoming a new favorite. The movie has been added to my “Must Watch” list.

 Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids, by Asha Dornfest– A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 4/4/2016
Finish date: 4/5/2016
Genre/Format: Parenting / Paperback

I’ve been a longtime fan of the Parent Hacks website, probably since searching the internet for babysitting tips in college. These hacks are old-school, non-branded, MacGyver-esque tricks to help solve everything from travelling quandaries to broken gear to entertaining babies and beyond. The release of this book was perfect timing, and it’s probably the first “baby” thing I bought for myself. After reading it through, I bought a couple more for shower gifts – it’s that good!

Where’d You Go Bernadette?, By Maria Semple– A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 4/8/2016
Finish date: 4/10/2016
Genre/Format: Fiction / Paperback 

Quick-paced, darkly funny commentary, and a mystery to unravel: yes please! I’m a fan of novels that vary from a straight narrative, and the collected emails, notes, and letters pieced together a compelling portrait of agoraphobic genius Bernadette from her daughter’s perspective. I spent an enjoyable couple days scarfing this down, and although it might not stick around in my brain for long, it was the perfect beach read.

Fairest (Lunar Chronicles #3.5), by Marissa Meyer– A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 4/13/2016
Finish date: 4/22/2016
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Audiobook

This prequel of sorts was released between the third and fourth books of the Lunar Chronicles, and it’s the perfect placement to delve into the villain Leavana’s backstory. Pretty much anything I say about the plot is a spoiler for the rest of the series, but it does a good job of explaining Leavana’s motivations and fills in a lot of details that aren’t covered in the other books. The Lunar society on the moon is one of my favorite aspects of this futuristic sci-fi series, so I enjoyed reading an entire book devoted to world building. It isn’t necessarily required reading for the series, but it’s definitely heightening my appreciation for the fourth book.

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, by Maja Safstrom– A

The Amateur Librarian // The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts Book Review

Start date: 4/26/2016
Finish date: 4/26/2016
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction / Hardback

The quirky illustrations that accompany the animal trivia on each page make this book stand out from other similar animal fact books – you can tell it was put together thoughtfully with an aim toward appealing to both adults and children. The facts are fun and interesting, ranging from bodily functions to world records, accompanied by black-and-white line drawings reminiscent of Shel Silverstein. I really loved the understated design, and each illustration feels special. Such a fun book to add to my “picture book” bookshelves, especially now that I have a future animal-lover on the way!

Still Reading:

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, by Anthony Doerr

Start date: 2/17/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / eBook

The Amateur Librarian // February 2016 Reading Log

Still reading. I pick it up from time to time, but it’s not a particularly fast-moving memoir so I’m content to dip in and out. Haven’t picked it up lately, but I’ll get back to it eventually.

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), by Marissa Meyer

The Amateur Librarian // March 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 3/29/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Young Adult / Library book

Still reading. I put this one on pause to listen to the audiobook of the villain’s backstory, then dove back in. I’m almost afraid to finish the last book in this fun series, but at least there is a short story collection after it’s over.

I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage, by Mary-Ann Kirby

The Amateur Librarian // April 2016 Reading Log

Start date: 4/11/2016
Finish date: TBD
Genre/Format: Memoir / Paperback

Still reading. My mom lent me this book while we were at the beach, but now that I’m back to reading in five-minute chunks during breakfast each day, I haven’t made much progress. I’ve never heard of the Hutterite community, but the author’s story of growing up in a tight knit group and later assimilating into American culture when her family left the Hutterites is fascinating so far.

Books read in April: 6

Books read so far in 2016: 30

Still reading: 3

 

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of April, the fourth month of 2016.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Blogging for Books Review: The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animals Facts

Happy Monday! It’s about time for another Monday morning book review:
The Amateur Librarian // The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts Book Review
The quirky illustrations and great design make this book stand out from other similar animal fact books – you can tell it was put together thoughtfully with an aim toward appealing to both adults and children. The facts are fun and interesting, ranging from bodily functions to trivia to world records, accompanied by black-and-white line drawings reminiscent of Shel Silverstein.
The understated design, black-and-white line drawings, and absence of bright colors or realistic photography that you find in most books aimed toward children, all make for a special book that’s hard to categorize.  It would definitely make a great gift for any animal lover. You could even consider this a coffee table conversation-starter type of book, especially without sources for the facts which might lend more of an “educational” bent. However you want to classify it, I will happily add this one to my bookshelf.
To get a feel for the author/illustrator, check out her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/majasbok/
***I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.***
Quick note: I don’t have any intention of monetizing my blog, but I’m trying out the Amazon affiliate program on posts where I’m already linking to Amazon products – mostly books, of course! If you purchase anything on Amazon.com after clicking the link, I will get a small referral fee. Consider yourself disclosed!

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  Focusing on five little things that made me happy is my way of recapping the week and a reminder to stay grateful.

The Amateur Librarian // H54F The Amateur Librarian // H54F

1 – Homeownership. With the recent warm weather I’ve been feeling a surge of appreciation for all the “firsts” of being a homeowner. I’m sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but spending the weekend puttering around the yard (we even bought a weedwacker!) has been really fun.
2 – HBO. We binge watched the first two seasons of Silicon Valley so we could catch the premiere of the new season AND the premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday. So much good TV!
3 – Weezer’s White Album. The new album is bringing back some serious 90s nostalgia to my ears this week. Jacked Up is my new favorite song.
4 – Pub Trivia. We stumbled upon a pub trivia session while eating out on a Monday night and stuck around long enough to order dessert (that almost never happens even though I have a serious sweet tooth!). Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been savoring spontaneous moments like these since I know our lives are about to change so drastically in a few short months.
5 – Texas Frightmare. This week my main focus has been preparing for a work conference this weekend. Trying to look at the bright side: shaking up the routine work week, comped meals, hanging out with my co-workers, people watching… OK that’s the end of my list, ha! Wish me luck.

The Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch: April

This is my third year to work on a year-long cross stitch project, and the second year to play along with the mystery stitch-along month by month. Stitching Once Upon a Time in 2014 and Woodland Creatures in 2015 was so much fun – it’s addictive!

In 2016 I’m joining the Pumpkins on an adventure around the world. The fourth stop was Switzerland and I loved everything about this adorable scene, from the boy’s little hat to the swan in the moat to the sheep on top of the mountain. So super cute… and I can’t wait to see where we go in May.

A few progress pics:

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

The finished blocks so far:

 

 

 

 

 

 

April

April

 

Four months down, eight to go!

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

WIP Wednesday

Another weekly update on my current Works in Progress:)

Spring Ring Cross Stitch

 

My main cross stitch project I’m working on this year is the Pumpkin Passport mystery sampler, but after finishing up April’s block (pics tomorrow!) I couldn’t resist starting a mini project. I’ve had this wee 4″ hoop for a while and it is the perfect size for Alicia Paulson’s Spring Ring pattern. Picking out fabric and floss colors is always my favorite part, and this one should come together quickly.

The Amateur Librarian // Spring Ring Cross Stitch

Secret Sewing
Still chain piecing for some secret baby sewing. Here’s another sneak peek… little nine patches:)
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt

And that’s about it!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced

Behind the Scenes

Thanks again for all the love and support for the big news I shared last week. We’re so excited to meet our baby girl in October!

My brother was sweet enough to take the pics while we were all at the beach a couple weeks ago. We didn’t know the gender at the time, so we brought two little pairs of flip flops. Then we only needed to choose from half of the final photos:)

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

Here’s a little behind the scenes action of the pro (and his many “helpers”) at work!

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

Thanks again, bro!

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

Meow Monday: Outdoor Update

The new doors are by far the biggest news in the cats’ world these days (just wait until October… they are in for a rude awakening, ha!) and both Cora and Tali have had their share of adventures so far.

Tali has finally started using the cat doors, but only if we refuse to help at all. If she knows we’ll hold the flaps open for her or open the back door, she’ll wait around for us to do that. If we ignore her crying, eventually she’ll go through on her own. She’s a smart one… in her own way. Once outside, she explores a lot further than Cora does (including houses still under construction), but hopefully she’ll start sticking closer to home once she figures out the territory.

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

Cora brought us “presents” the first couple nights she spent out hunting, which we promptly disposed of outside. On the third night, she brought in one that was still alive… a baby bunny. We heard it scratching around early in the morning and thought the worst case scenario was that Cora was playing with something dead… but we had no idea it was actually alive and well! Fortunately neither of the cats seemed to hurt the rabbit while it was in the house, they just chased it around the laundry room. After we figured out where (and what) it was, both of the cats seemed to lose interest… I guess one night of play was enough for them. I had to get to work that morning and Sam couldn’t lure it into a cat carrier, but a wildlife removal specialist was able to trap and release it. Whew!

The Amateur Librarian // Meow Monday

The bunny adventure seemed to curtail Cora’s presents and hopefully that’s the last of the adventures for a while… crossing fingers and toes!

High Five for Friday!

I’m sharing the highlights of my week… five to be exact!  Focusing on five little things that made me happy is my way of recapping the week and a reminder to stay grateful.

 

The Amateur Librarian // H54F The Amateur Librarian // H54F
1 – Big Flipping News. Of course the biggest news is the secret I’ve been keeping the last few months!  We’ve been overwhelmed with the love from friends and family and it’s been so, so hard keeping it off the blog. (AND a big thank you to my brother for the fun photo shoot on the beach!)
2 – Outdoor Adventures. The cats are loving their newfound freedom outside. Cora has been bringing us presents from her outdoor adventures, and Tali left the porch for the first time this week.
3 – Secret Sewing. Now that I’m getting some energy back, my sewjo has come back too. Lots of projects in the works!
4 – Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation. I stick to the same makeup routine for years, but recently I was on the hunt for a new foundation and Kate recommended this one on Instagram – and now I’m hooked!
5 – The Jungle Book. Loved the new movie (and a theatre full of kids on opening weekend was fun)!

Big Flipping News

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

We’re flipping out… baby girl coming in October 2016:)

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

Photography courtesy of my awesome brother… and soon to be Uncle! I can’t resist sharing a pic of the grandparents too:)

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

The Amateur Librarian // Flip Flop Gender Reveal

WIP Wednesday

Another weekly update on my current Works in Progress… I’m slowly climbing out of my crafty rut and actually have a couple to share this week:)

The Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

In April we’re visiting snowy Switzerland and adding another character to the journey. I love this scene, and after a couple busy weekends I finally had a chance to get started. I even brought it to guild on Saturday, since I’m a delinquent quilter and sat out for the zipper pouch class.

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Pumpkin Passport Cross Stitch

 

 

Secret Sewing
I’ve got baby quilts on my mind – with a few friends expecting their first babies this year, I’ve been looking for some quick patterns so I can whip up a few quilt tops with the goal of getting them professionally quilted this summer. I finally landed on a pattern for baby quilt #1 and started cutting over the weekend… but it will have to remain a secret for now. Just a little sneak peek…
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Blueberry Shortcake Quilt

And that’s about it!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced

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