Sunday, December 10, 2017

Week in Reivew - December 3 - 9

Ok....take two!

I had this about halfway written, when someone (cough, cough) sat a cup on my keyboard and erased my post! Will teach me to save as I write and not to let Lady K get near my computer!


Yesterday was a busy day. 

First, we had the annual Breakfast with Santa in Downtown Helena sponsored by Bert & Ernies. Each year they have two seatings for a free breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes and bacon for families and a chance to take pictures with Santa.

While their decor is eclectic everyday, the additional Christmas lights make it really festive.

Lady K chowed down on bacon, but didn't wish to have her picture made with Santa. Too many people for her liking.

We then had about an hour to spend before we went up the street to make decorations, so we strolled over to the next block for some hot chocolate at General Mercantile.  I have to say they have the best hot chocolate going.

Besides the two huge koi swimming around, there are tons of little stocking stuffers for every taste. 

Then we moved up the hill a couple of blocks to Free Ceramics for the Christmas Ornament event. Texter and I wanted to go because we saw their posting on Facebook and they had a Montana and a USA ornament in the picture. We wanted to make these as mementos of our time here in Montana.

Ok, so my 'writing' on one isn't the best, but Lady K and I had fun. I can't wait until next week when we get them back.

I love what Free Ceramics has done with their space. I have watched it change over the past couple of years. My quilting friend, Ms. Montana, has her studio downstairs in their building. It's only getting better and better.

Otherwise, this week, I was fortunate enough to win a gift certificate from Downtown Helena and selected one from Herb and Garden. And selected a couple of 'new-to-me' orchids which are in bloom!

I set them in the window with my amaryllis. The weird growing amaryllis. The ones, which even though they were planted at the same time are growing at vastly different rates. In fact, the one of the left I didn't think was going to grow at all. 

The one on the right is actually growing a second flower spike and and more leaves. So it should be really up and pretty by Christmas. Lefty will be my New Year bloom!

Otherwise this week...

  • 5 books finished
  • Craft day at the 'school'
  • Clue 3 pieces cut out for the Mystery Quilt
  • Couple of book reviews written

The coming week...

  •  Monday night, Christmas at the Cathedral for Handel's Messiah!
  • Another craft day
  • Awaiting my order of country ham!
  • Finish up Clue 3 and start Clue 4 for the Mystery Quilt 
  • Movie night with hiking buddies

But for to make cookies and coffee cake!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Closet Essentials - Amber McNaught

I won this book on Goodreads and when I first received it thought it was 'too young' for me. I figured I would pass it along to the girls.

However, once I started looking through it, I had to give it a second look.

Closet Essentials by Amber McNaught is a good read for all ages.

With a two-page layout for most of the basic clothing styles you can find, from ballet flats, denim jackets, A-line skirts, she leads you to some very interesting combinations I would not think of. And they look good.

Believe me, no one who knows me would ever accuse me of being concerned with what I wear, both inside and outside the house. And in a day when the trend is toward minimalism and capsule wardrobes, there is a ton of no-nonsense tips on how to combine the most basic of wardrobes into something a step above. 

Now I'm going to have to relook at my closet with a different attitude and see what new combinations I can make out of what I have.

Note: I received this book as part of the Goodreads giveaway for my honest review. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Artemis - by Andy Weir

While I did check the book, The Martian, out, I never got around to reading it. And I loved the movie.  So when Andy Weir's latest book, Artemis, came out, I checked it out from the library. And this time I actually read the book!

Set in the lunar colony, Artemis, it's the story of a small-time smuggler, Jasmine Bashara, or Jazz as she is known. Being a small 'town' everyone knows everyone else and she's just a good girl who happens to smuggle on the side. Until...

Now, this would be a GREAT movie! 

Action. Lots of it. Crooks and murder and all kinds of diverse characters. And lots of technology and politics. And Jazz trying to stay alive through it all, causing a lot of the mayhem herself, but still wanting to do the right thing.

Whew...the last few chapters, once things get going, take your breath away.

Couple of things I really like about the book. First, Jazz is female. And not only is she a smart, savvy female, but she is also Saudi Arabian. And while she is at odds with her father, it's done in a very believable way.

Second, the mechanics of Artemis and living on the moon. She has no desire to return to Earth. She's lived on the moon since she was six. She wants money so she can have a bigger place to live, but no desire to leave the moon. Weir does a great job of describing how Artemis works, both mechanically and socially.

Third, she is very likable. Or at least I liked her. She walks the fringes, but she has rules and morals. 

While I am like Weir, who recently said in an interview he had no desire to go into space himself, it does make me wish there was really an Artemis on the moon. But I wouldn't eat Gunk.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Week In Review - November 26 - December 2

Christmas shopping is finished (I think). Just awaiting the packages to arrive in the mail, or UPS, whichever.

We have a tiny, tiny tree. Like 1 foot tall. But that is all which we have room for. Lady K has an advent calendar countdown of tiny presents. Boy, does she know the numbers 1 to 24 now!

A beautiful sunrise sent us on our way on Friday for a shopping trip to Missoula.

One of the downfalls of Helena (or some people might think it's positive) is there isn't any 'shopping' to be done here. No mall. No bookstore where you can go and sit in the cafe and peruse magazines and books. No Best Buy for electronics. No Krispy Kreme!

And does Lady K love her road trips to Missoula! 

Saturday had us at PetSmart for looking at 'critters' and making a turtle Christmas ornament. Lady K was a little disappointed they didn't have a lizard for her to hold, but she survived. Texter and I were disappointed we couldn't take the 'free kitties' home with us.

Thursday afternoon saw Texter and me at 'school', leading the class in making paper chains for holiday decorating. We have 3 more afternoons between now and Christmas we are going in and doing crafts with the kids. It was so much fun and the kids were 'thank you for coming' and 'this is fun', even though we know they do crafts every day. We have bags for them to carry their 'ornaments' home with them on the last day we do crafts.

Friday was clue 2 in the On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt. 

I have them cut out and ready to start sewing 200 flying geese blocks! Normally I hate making flying geese blocks, but with my Bloc Loc rulers and how to make 4 at a time, they are so easy now.

It will be interesting to see how they pair up with last week's blocks.

I also started a year-long knitting project. 

The girl who taught my drop spindle class this summer is also a pattern designer and asked for testers to make a 'Big Sky Weather' scarf.

Much like the premise of a temperature quilt or afghan, we are knitting according to the sky that day.

I am doing two rounds per day. The purple is a 'set up' ribbing and it's being knitted in the round, which should be an interesting scarf.  So the scarf above was started on the 1st, which started out sunny (yellow) and then turned partly cloudy (pale blue). Then on the 2nd, it was cloudy and a darker blue was used. Today is snowing so I will be doing a white for today for 2 rows. It's going to be interesting when I move to North Carolina soon and see what it does. However, a temperature quilt is still on my to-do list!

Otherwise this week...

  • Successfully completed NaNoWriMo (as in I did get 50,000 words in)
  • Had a planning time at Starbucks for the coming month
  • Started the decrease of my Corner-2-Corner afghan (which is almost 6 feet square when finished!)
  • Letter off to friend 
  • Finished 4 books

This coming week...

  • Saturday is "Breakfast with Santa"
  • Finishing up last week's Mystery Quilt clue and starting on this week's
  • Another craft day
  • Lots of reading and crocheting
  • Waiting on packages to arrive!

But for now, more coffee!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Out With November, In With December

Beautiful full moon shining in the sky which will be replaced by snow on Sunday. Not looking forward to the 's' word, but a big pot of chili was made yesterday, so I am good to go.

Friday, the 1st, also saw Texter, Lady K and I on the road to Missoula to do a bit of Christmas shopping. 

No snow or ice on the road and the weather, while cloudy, wasn't bad. Christmas shopping should be done (I think).

But a recap of my November goals...

  • Complete NaNoWriMo before Thanksgiving - made it by the skin of my teeth
  • Start the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt - week 1 done and today will start on week 2, staying caught up (so far)
  • Get the additional fabrics needed to do the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt - bought some neutrals and hopefully can squeak out what I have
  • Finish up the afghan I have started - a little over halfway through
  • Catch up on the Spirit of Life CAL - nope
  • Do some Christmas sewing - not really 
  • TONS of reading - did it and still have a ton to get through
  • Make mini-cupcakes for the Jensen Jeweler's Diamond Event - yep 
  • Another Gulch Distillers class yes!

So while I feel like I really didn't 'do' much in November, I did get the majority of my goals accomplished.

So for December, in between awaiting delivery of packages...

  • Stay on top of the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt (200 flying geese blocks for week 2 might do me in!)
  • Start and stay on top of the Big Sky Scarf I am test knitting
  • Breakfast with Santa
  • Three craft events at 'school' for Lady K and her classmates
  • Go through my 3 bins of files and consolidate, reorganize, purge
  • Re-do my 'list' of projects and update the order needing to be completed in 2018
  • Finish up my Corner-2-Corner afghan
  • Finish up 1 other yarn project
  • Read 21 books to achieve my reading goal for 2017!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Week in Review - November 19 - 25

It's been a crazy, crazy week!

Even knowing it was Thanksgiving week, and I had made 'plans', it seemed like I was in the kitchen for days. And not a picture made!

But Texter and I did join Lady K at school for Thanksgiving lunch.

Texter, who was off for the whole week (perks of getting homework done early), was busy getting things ready for the 4 days (1 per week) of crafts we are going to do at school with Lady K and her class. Christmas 'stuff', but a fun break (hopefully) for the teachers and the class. We start this Thursday with the first one, making paper chains. So lots of paper cutting coming up. 

Then Friday, the 24th, was the first clue to this year's Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, On Ringo Lake.
I found out earlier this year with the block of the week quilts I did with The Sewing Palace, I have to hop on it immediately, do that week's required sewing and then play with something else until the next week's release.

I have to laugh at myself because when cutting the strips for making these 9-patch blocks I over cut a bit. I now have 51 blocks which measure 3 1/2 x 3/12 unfinished. They use 3 of the 4 colors for the quilt. The fourth color is a salmon/coral color. So far I am loving the colors going together. The fabrics I am using are all batiks and a lot of the fabrics came from Ms. Montana, my quilty buddy's stash. Next Friday, when the clue is released, I won't be able to really work on it like I did this week as Texter, Lady K and I are taking a trip to Missoula for the day to do some Christmas shopping and consuming of Krispy Kreme donuts.

In between cooking and eating, I started preparing for starting The 12 Week Year planning. And one of the things I wanted to do was to be more accountable to myself for 'things'. One of the things I wanted was a tracker, but using my Hobonichi meant it was in the front of the planner and I didn't check on it on a daily basis like I should. So...

These are daily things and weekly items I want to get accomplished. Also are things I want to do on a monthly basis. I had the lists and Texter kindly (after I pouted and whined) made up the charts and laminated them for me so I can check them off daily and then see how I am doing on a weekly basis. The chart is also 4 x 6 so I can move it around in my planner and it's there in front of me daily. I might have to tweak it as I go along, but think it will work nicely. And she did it in green, my favorite color and green means growth too.

So for the rest of the week I...

  • Picked up a ton of books at the library
  • Finished 2 books

The coming week...

  • Craft session at Creative Horizons making paper chains to decorate the room 
  • Finishing up NaNoWriMo by the 30th
  • Finish up the C2C afghan by next Sunday
  • Start on Week 2 of the On Ringo Lake quilt 
  • Day trip to Missoula for Christmas shopping
  • Read, read, read!

So for now, off for more coffee and to find a dry erase pen to use on my tracker sheets.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

What can go wrong with Stephanie, Lulu, and brain-sucking zombies? Maybe you should ask what can go right!

Evanovich has hit another one out of Trenton, New Jersey with Stephanie on this one - Hardcore Twenty-Four.  And another late night for me along for the romp.

Zombies and headless corpses and missing brains have come to New Jersey. It's a bit of a problem as one of the latest bail jumpers is called Zero Slick. Plus Stephanie is having to take care of a large boa constrictor for another bail jumper. All with Lulu and Grandma in tow.

If that's not bad enough, she also has Morelli, Ranger, AND Diesel vying for her attention (I should be so lucky).

The worse part? Trying not to laugh after everyone is in bed, over the dead groundhog in one of Ranger's new cars.

Too bad it was over before it started!