July 27, 2013

July 2013

Hooks:  Currently almost done with the dress for my second rosebud bear.  It's an easy pattern and I may attempt to make some pattern alterations and see what I can come up with.  I need to find some cheap teddy bears!!

Books:  I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which once it got going was pretty good.  I'm most of the way finished with Plenty.  In between them I read Hush, by Donna Jo Napoli, an author I really like.  It wasn't my favorite of her books, but it was interesting.  It was based off a story about a slave in Iceland who everyone thought was mute, until one day someone heard her singing to her child.  She claimed she had been a princess in her native Ireland.

June 08, 2013

Goodness I've completely forgotten about this blog!  I need to remember to update it, along with Goodreads and Ravelry.

Reading right now:  Animal Vegetable Miracle and Fast Food Nation.

Just finished:  The last of the Uglies trilogy, Specials.

Making:  A secret pal gift.  After that I must make another bear dress for a friend's daughter and I think my summer project might be my friend Abby's afghan.  Someone sent me a pattern I think will be perfect.

April 15, 2012

Rosebud bear

Rosebud bear
Originally uploaded by crochetgirl91
Rosebud bear

The Hunger Games series - Spring 2012

My friends had talked about these books for some time. I remember when Mockingjay came out, it was such a big deal. I had missed the boat so to speak. I knew about them and had not wanted to read them because they sounded violent and horrifying. I mean, a bunch of kids being forced to kill one another for other people's entertainment? How awful!

But after the movie came out and it was obvious that so many - SO MANY- people adored this series, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to go ahead and read them.  I got the first on sale at Marshalls for $6, but it still took a little while for me to read it.

Overall, I find the world Collins creates fascinating, and I like Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the rest of her characters. I enjoy how the relationships between Katniss and the two male love interests develop and grow - they didn't just lock eyes and fall in love without even speaking.  I appreciate Katniss as a strong female role model. She's smart, and strong, and independent.  Yes she's pretty.  Yes, she has 2 men vying for her affections, but that does not consume her.  She has more important things to do than fawn over the handsome hunter and the sweet baker.  Like you know, take care of her family.  Lead a revolution.  Survive. 

But I do find the violence of the Games disturbing, and it made it hard for me to read this series, and it is why I put it off for so long. I just can't seem to bring myself to read about (or watch tv/movies about) violent or horrific things (slavery, war, the Holocaust) anymore.  I've given up watching CSI, SVU and all those other crime shows where people are hacked to death or raped and left for dead on the side of the road. I just can't sleep at night after watching them. But I understand why the author uses the violence in the story, and it's certainly not celebrated or gratuitous. She WANTS the thought of children being essentially sacrificed for entertainment to be driven home and seen for how ghastly and atrocious it is. Because this makes you realize how despicable those in power must be.

The thing I liked best about the series was that it made me think. About government, war, control through fear and intimidation, the media, "panem et circenses" (bread and games aka society giving up political power for food and amusements), and other things too. The race issues that came up following the release of the movie also made me think about our society.

I won't say that I thought it lived up to the hype. Cause in my mind it didn't. Was it a good series? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will I read it again? Eh, maybe but probably not.  I do think it gained momentum as it went along.  Mockingjay was the best of the 3. But I did become engrossed in it, and have true affection for the characters. So I'll give it 4 stars.

ETA: I liked what my friend Mary said on her review in Goodreads so much that I wanted to post it here where I'll remember it in the future:
" A somewhat post-feminist comfort with her female characters. Women can be anything in these books. That includes the plucky, tomboy action heroine, and the healer-mother, but also any other role: resistance leaders, conniving politician, druggy soul-scarred survivor, bootcamp Sargent,propaganda-savvy director included. Come to think of it, men, too, are soldiers and hunters, but also cake-decorators, stylists, prostitutes, producers, and conniving politicians and druggy soul-scarred survivors (there are an awful lot of the last two in the series). And all of this feels surprisingly natural, surprisingly like Collins isn't trying to make a point with it. It's just the way things are."

April 01, 2012

Rosebud - Dress for 12 Inch Bear

Originally uploaded by crochetgirl91
rosebud bear dress for pto auction about 2/3 done

Pattern is from August 2003 issue of Crochet World Magazine. I had to alter it slightly to fit my own bear. I also made it one row shorter, even though it looks longer than it did in the pictures.

February 15, 2012

Little House - Winter 2012

My mother gave me a new set of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder for Christmas. These were my ultimate favorites as a child. I read them over and over. I loved imagining myself as Laura (although I'm more like Mary, snotty and goody-two-shoes ish.  Must be an oldest child thing lol), a pioneer, living in a little cabin in the woods or in a covered wagon crossing the prairies through Minnesota and Dakota territory, traveling on a train for the first time, teaching in a little one room schoolhouse. 

A few years ago I was at the library searching for something, and came across the new series about Rose, Laura's daughter and her only surviving child. I checked a couple out of the library and read them.  In reading those I learned there was yet another new one, about Caroline, Laura's mother.  I have taken to collecting all these books as well, through Paperbackswap.  I have most of the Rose books, and a few of the Caroline books so far.  I read the first 5 Rose books (all I had) after getting through re-reading Laura's series. I haven't started the Caroline books, I'll wait until I have more of them.  Now there are 2 more series, one about Laura's grandmother, Charlotte, and her great-grandmother, Martha. I plan to collect these as well. So far I have one of the Martha books, but I don't think I have any Charlotte ones.

September 02, 2011

Summer 2011

I took a huge bag of books with me to read over the summer, but didn't get as many read as I planned to. I also ended up reading some of my mom's books.

Here were some of the books I read (links to my goodreads pages):
Incantation by Alice Hoffman 
Historical fiction, about the Spanish Inquisition and the "hidden Jews". I love historical fiction, so this was right up my alley. Alice Hoffman is a great writer too.
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Better than I expected, not great but if you like fairy tale retellings you'd probably like it. My sister and I watched the movie after I read it, and it was truly ghastly. I mean really, really bad. Don't watch it. It's too late for me...save yourselves!
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Since I love pretty much anything dealing with religion as a greater part of society, and learning about other cultures, I enjoyed most of this book. By the end it was growing very wearisome and I think I just skimmed the last couple chapters or so. But reading about her upbringing in Somalia and Kenya was truly fascinating, as well as her immigration to the Netherlands and adjusting to living life away from home, on her own.
Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper
A cat story something like a disabled feline version of Marley & Me. Homer is found as a tiny kitten with a severe eye infection and his eyes were removed to save his life. But that didn't stop him from living life to the fullest. Funny and touching, I really enjoyed this one.

May 14, 2011

Spring 2011

Reading: Got some new books at the Library Book Sale and also a few of my wish list books on PaperbackSwap.com came up, so I now have a few new books to read - like I didn't have a pile sitting there waiting for me! I'm still slogging through Radical Homemakers, but I find the later half slower going than the first half. I've started The Mayflower & the Pilgrims' New World over spring break. A couple of weeks prior to that I learned from looking through my uncle's genealogy binder that we are in fact related to some of the Pilgrims. Constance Hopkins (later Constance Snow) was my 9th great-grandmother, and her father Stephen Hopkins also came here on the Mayflower, along with her stepmother and 3 siblings. So I found it quite thrilling to read about my ancestor! I also started reading Infidel a few days ago and found the first few chapters completely engrossing. I love reading about other places, cultures, religions. Lastly I also started reading The Betrayal of Work: How Low Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans which is also engrossing. It reminds me somewhat of the Nickel & Dimed book I read a while back. It's really sad how in this country the rich keep getting richer and the poor just keep getting poorer, even though they are working so very hard doing difficult and demanding labor.

Creating: Working on something right now for Secret Pal. Won't reveal what it is right now though!

April 16, 2011

Winter 2010/2011

Reading: Re-read HP & the Deathly Hallows. So good, and this time I took my time and I think I followed it a little better. The first time I was in such a rush to find out what happened I don't think I really absorbed it. JK Rowling really is excellent at creating a complete world. I get really pulled in by her books and I think others do as well.

Am a bit more than halfway though Radical Homemakers. I agree with many things the author says, but being someone with a few chronic medical conditions I can't really swallow her ideas of no health insurance, but some of what she said in that section did make sense and from a few things she said it sounded as though she is a proponent of a state run health system like the rest of the free world has. Which I can certainly get behind.

March was National Crochet Month, and during that month I worked very hard on various things for the CLF's NCM Scavenger Hunt on Ravelry. It was a lot of fun and I made a few silly things for points. I also made another v-stitch shawl, this time in a red/orange combo called Saffron & Wild Fire I believe. Not really my colors but she liked them. Still have to work on Amanda's. Hope I can do that during break. Also made some squares for Heartmade Blessings again, for Operation Purple Heart.

January 30, 2011

Pattern: V-Stitch Shawl

V-Stitch - (dc, ch1, dc) in same stitch

Row 1 - Ch 4. 4 dc in 4th ch from hook.

Row 2 - Ch 4 and turn. Dc in same st, skip next dc, (dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc) in next dc, skip next dc, (dc, ch1, dc - v stitch made) in next dc. You should now have a small triangle shape with one "V" on each side and a "W" at the peak.

Row 3 - Ch 4 and turn, dc in same stitch. V-stitch in next dc, skip next dc, v-stitch in next dc, (dc, ch1, dc, ch1, dc) in next dc, V-stitch in next dc, skip next dc, V-stitch in 3rd chain of the ch4. You should now have 2 "V"s on each side and a "W" in the middle.

Continue the pattern - Ch4 and turn, dc in first stitch, then make V stitches up to the peak, make the "W" in the top DC, then make more V-stitches on the way back down, adding one V on each side on each row. Turn and repeat. Continue until shawl is as long/wide as you wish!

As far as I know, no one has written a pattern similar to this, I haven't been able to find one. I haven't really written a pattern before so I hope you understand my directions!
Close up detail
Shawl done in worsted weight Wool-Ease
Beginning of Shawl, done in Lion Brand Homespun, with J hook

Completed shawl with added fringe