Habits of the House ~ Book Beginning
I am currently reading the first page of Habits of the House by Fay Weldon. It truly is the book beginning. Here is the first sentence:
In late October of the year 1899, a tall, thin, nervy, young man ran up the steps to number 17 Belgrave Square. He seemed agitated.
Which begs the question--why? (Oh, and I have surmised from my reading that the British say "nervy" in the manner that we in the USA use the adjective "nervous".)

I have chosen to read this book as a counterpoint to my other current read, Empty Mansions, a non-fiction work about Hughette Clark and her fortune. So, I'm thinking that a bit of British upstairs/downstairs might be just the right read...something light.

Would it appeal to you?


Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas
May you be blessed.

The House in Amalfi

I've just begun this book which I'm reading mostly for the setting and the atmosphere. Elizabeth Adler evokes the sense of place so invitingly that I can feel  the breeze and smell the lemon trees.

'For two years I have lived alone, not allowing even a dog or a cat to intrude on my solitude. My friend Jammy Mortimer, who I’ve known since we were little kids, says I’m getting creepy. “All this loneliness is not good for you,” she says in her usual forthright manner. “You’ll end up a fat, eccentric recluse, refusing to open the door even to me.” '

 'I didn’t know it on that sunny morning in Rome, but I had yet to experience true happiness. The “real thing” would not come until the following year, when Jon-Boy took me to live in the house in Amalfi. The place where, ten years later, he would die so mysteriously.'

The Beautiful Amalfi Coast, Italy 


Color Work Crochet


Now that my Christmas knitting is finished, I can pick up a WIP that I started and stopped last month. Not that I did a ton of Christmas knitting and crochet, but enough. I knitted three pairs of fingerless mitts: for a friend (to match an ear warmer), for my son, and for my dear husband and crocheted a twin size throw (the Sports Blanket) for my grandson, several "Twinkle Stars" to decorate gifts, and a fancy facecloth for a Ravelry swap.

It was a case of start-itis when I crocheted the first several rows of this throw just to see it! And, I liked it. I liked it. So, now I'm back at the "Country Fresh Blanket" from Yarnspirations. I'm enjoying the simplicity of the stitches along with the color work that gives it life. Crochet Boulevard


Empty Mansions
Empty Mansions:
The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of an American Fortune
by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
"Dr. Henry Singman, an internist, was making an emergency house call on a new patient on New York's old-money Upper East Side. It was a sunny early-spring afternoon, March 26, 1991. Dr. Singman had received a call about an elderly woman. With no doctor of her own, she had sent out an SOS."
This non-fiction book begins with a lengthy introduction, setting the stage for the story beginning on page 20. If the reader is undecided about venturing into this story, the Intro will pull you right in!

"Though she recovered to excellent health, she chose to spend the next twenty years and nearly two months, or exactly 7, 364 nights, in the hospital."
Would you continue reading?


Victoria's Daughters

Victoria's DaughtersVictoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an easy to read historical account of the relationships between Queen Victoria and her daughters. Their influence throughout Europe yields a fascinating account of thunderous international decisions resulting from family interactions. The scope of wealth, romance, intrigue, war, love and hate, life and death adds vitality to this nonfiction work . I truly enjoyed this book.

View all my reviews


Sports Throw Finito

 My post about this throw as a WIP is here.
 This is made with Purl Essence yarn and a size J crochet hook.
The adapted Classic Baby Blanket worked perfectly for this throw. A stripe generator helped me to place the navy stripes with the cream main color.
 The pattern for the little helmet is here.
A simple, flat circle is the shape for stitching details to kinda-sorta resemble a basketball and baseball.Now, the attempts at making a soccer ball were total disaster!! My stitching left much to be desired to even approach a suggestion of a soccer. Its disappointing because little grandson loves  playing soccer. Crocheting a baseball bat is not my forte either. I do have limitations!!
He is such a sweet boy that I know he'll love it even without a couple of things I wanted to include. The throw will fluff a bit after a gentle laundering. Right now, it looks too "stitchy" --- know what I mean?



The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a story about a family and senses and food and loneliness. The title says it all. Sad cake --- sad reading experience. Not so much in the emotions as in the plot and style. I much prefer the extra-sensory and food approach by Sarah Addison Allen and Erica Bauermeister. The connections in this story failed to flow among the characters with the exception of Rose and Madame. The characters are well defined and interesting. The plotting just didn't grab this reader.

This book has obviously found its audience. Maybe you are one of them.

View all my reviews


Victoria's Daughters --- A Tease

I have been wanting to read Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard for a couple of years, so tonight I finally loaded it on to my Nook! Yaaay!! Here's the opening paragraph:
"Prologue:  Windsor Castle: Friday, November 3, 1944
Death had come as gently as sleep to Victoria and Albert's last child, Princess Beatrice, ninth born and fifth daughter, had always been 'the baby' to her august mother but now her name recalled only the haziest of memories for most. The world she symbolized was buried beyond recall, first in Flanders mud, more lately in a Europe being laid waste a second time. Yet at her passing, a distinguished company of Beatrice's countrymen broke off from their urgent wartime duties to gather and to remember what this woman had once been to their kingdom."
 And now, a little tease for you---
"Both parents were determined to give their kingdom a male heir, such production representing the most fundamental duty of a sovereign mother and consort father."
What are you reading?


Country Fresh

Help! I can't stop myself!! I've been starting new projects at the blink of an eye!! I am possessed by new projects!

I've never had much of a yarn stash and have considered myself a "pattern stasher". I have printed and alphabetized patterns in assorted notebooks setting on my book shelves. I have a file drawer stuffed with patterns divided into knit and crochet, then subdivided into types of projects which are then alphabetized. Of course, there are my patterns neatly saved on Ravelry, whimsically separated into "Queue" and "Favorites" and in the pattern library. No rhyme or reason for me with my Ravelry assortment. Just click and save. I have personal pattern libraries at Lion Brand, Red Heart, and Patons web sites.
I have patterns saved to my hard drive, discs, flash drives, and on our netbook. That pretty much covers it, I think.
Now I have taken the next, crazy step. Instead of merely saving patterns, I am saving, printing, and starting to make the beguiling patterns, thus stacking up the WIPs. I am powerless to resist.
This is the latest WIP that's making me happy, "Country Fresh Blanket" with yarn I have on hand. The free download for this throw is at  My colors are tan, burgundy, moss green, black, and oatmeal. It is now in rotation with my Christmas crochet and whatever else I'm inclined to do.

Are you a pattern stasher too?
 My current read is How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny, another in the Inspector Gamache series.


The Photograph

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it at
 From The Photograph by Penelope Lively:
"Glyn is holding something out to her. She takes the photograph. She takes the scribbled note. She looks first at the photograph. She look at it for quite a while. Then she reads the note."
Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader:
"The landing cupboard is stacked high with what Glyn calls low-use material: conference papers and student references and offprints, including he hopes an offprint that he needs right now for the article on which he is working."
The PhotographThe Photograph by Penelope Lively
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While this story is ingeniously crafted, the author does tend to be repetitive and wander a bit.

I liked this description: "She is astute, she is generous,she is warm; she is also gifted with the power of detachment."

View all my reviews


The Photograph Teaser
  "He sits holding the photo and the sheet of paper, looking from one to the other. Kath is everywhere now, the landing is full of her, and the staircase, and the big brimming treacherous cupboard; there are dozens of her, from different times and different places, all talking at once, it seems."
Kath steps from the landing cupboard, where she should not  be." 
The teaser and intro are from The Photograph by Penelope Lively, a good story that I am continuing  to read with the hope that it will soon become a page turner!
What do you think? Would you continue reading?

A Mitt and A Square

Hello to Ginny, Tami, and all the "Yarn Along" yarnies. This week I am knitting the Number Nine block designed by Lily Chin in the pattern book "Great American Afghan". I've been doing so much crochet that I have yearned for more knitting recently.
The yarn is Plymouth Encore (as usual!) in beige with gray undertones and size 8 needles. Love this yarn and have used it for many years.

Also in the WIP department is the second fingerless mitt. Apparently, second sock syndrome applies to second mitt! Maybe the calendar will keep me on track to finish this quick knit side-to-side mitt?!
I'm cruising along with size 7 needles and could complete it in a couple of hours if I quit putting it
down and typing!
Still reading The Photograph by Penelope Lively. I just haven't been reading as much lately--too much happening so that I'm too tired to concentrate on a book. Sad.

So what is happening with your needles, hooks, and books?


Sports Blanket WIP

Youngest grandchild (age 8) loves sports, so his blanket must reflect that interest, don't you think? We're on our way with this cream and navy striped WIP. The grand plan is to crochet sports appliques---baseball, soccer ball, football and such---to scatter on this background. Some touches of red will be involved. I am doing double crochet in the back loop to add texture.

If all goes according to plan, this sports blanket will be B's Christmas present. Fingers crossed!

My current read is The Photograph by Penelope Lively. It's an interesting story, but hasn't grabbed me. A man finds a surprising photograph and is spurred to rethink his life and investigate the circumstances surrounding the photograph. While well-crafted, the story is not a page-turner at this point so I'll continue reading at my leisurely pace.
Visit Tami to see many Works In Progress and add your own!


Teaser Tuesday

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
"Nor did I tell Tony about his former student. Everyone knew as much as they needed to know in order to be happy."
That strikes me as very good advice! 

I'm having trouble get into this story. Has anyone read this or had the same problem?


Fingerless Mitts

A cool Fall day is perfect for knitting by the fire place. How fitting that I was knitting fingerless mitts to give to my Dear Husband for Christmas.

 This simple rib pattern is perfect for men and women and is  free here. You can see more details and pictures of  mitts on Ravelry.
I used the ever wonderful Plymouth Encore Tweed in color T789 gray and two size 8 circular needles to knit in the round. Watching Cat Bordhi on You Tube certainly helped since I hadn't knit with two circs in quite a few years. It was so much fun to do this project---something a little different for me.
While this pattern is quite masculine, it would be great for a woman too. The stretchy fabric makes this an easy-to-fit pattern. It is my first FO for Christmas! The only other Christmas WIP at the moment is a crocheted throw for our eight-year-old DGS.
What's on your needles/hook?
Have a good weekend!


Temair Flowers

Ginny has a beautiful blog where she invites yarnies to share their WIPs on Wednesdays along with the book they are currently reading. Do pop over to see the many lovely projects.

My back burner WIP is the Temair Throw by Nicky Epstein. These sweet pink flowers are the B motif which encircle the large center motif.
 This is my first experience with Ella Rae yarn. I am very pleased with the hand and the colors of this Ella Rae "Classic" which is 100% wool worsted weight. This gentle pink is simply gorgeous and sweet and soothing. Great yarn and a size G hook are making me very happy!
While I may occasionally stare at a blank screen, the one above is displaying my current read that I downloaded from the Denver Public Library, Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan. Since I am on page 14, I really don't have much of a sense of the story yet. I need some extended reading time to really get into it!

What is your WIP?
What are you reading?
May your day be blessed.