So Close!


They’re fore-casting 80 degree plus weather for multiple days by the end of the week.    I think that means I’ll be able to plant my veggies next weekend.


Sewing Notes

So, having given up on the shirt I was working on, I needed a bit of a sewing win.      I’d bought some simple gray suiting fabric to make a skirt from a book that gives instructions for patternless skirts, but realized after buying it I’m pretty much a pattern girl.   Fortunately, I’ve been sitting on McCall’s 3830, which is basically a pencil skirt in five lengths.   I chose the knee length, because I ain’t wearing no mini skirt to work, yo.

I had a lot of fun with this yesterday.    There were darts (which I have done once before), and a facing (again, only second time for that), but the first piece of total excitement was the zipper!    I bought an invisible zipper, so originally tried with my invisible zipper foot, which ended with a broken needle.   So I decided to back track to the regular zipper foot, and isn’t it nice?

The only reason I didn’t finish this yesterday was the hem, which was excitement number two.    I tried out the blind hem stitch, but basted based on the pattern instructions, which was not pretty.    So I put it aside, and did a little research last night.    After reading a reference book that basically said your machine will have its own way of doing this, so I’ll show you what it looks like, but refer to your manual, I realized I really needed to ignore the pattern suggestions.   So I picked out that basting, and basted again this morning, based on the machine instructions.    And it was much better.   Sadly, I do have to do it again (which will not be happening today), as it’s really touchy stitch, and you have to have it lined up just right, or the blind stitches won’t catch, but at least I’m on the right track now.

I also finished the binding and the dowel holder for the Sunset Quilt, so that’s now ready to give to my father.

Dealing with Dragons – Patricia C. Wrede

Read for the Once Upon a Time VII Reading Challenge.

One of my favorite stories in the Book of Enchantments (which I recently read) was set in the world of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which I had not actually read yet, though I’ve been sitting on the first two.    After reading a story featuring the Frying Pan of Doom, I knew I had to give the actual books a try.

Princess Cimorene is not a particularly good Princess.     She hates etiquette, and would much rather learn from the court armsmaster or magician.   In a last ditch effort to try to make sure she’s fulfilling her princessly duties, her parents engage her to the prince of a neighboring land.    Not knowing what else to do, Cimorene runs away.    She runs into an enchanted frog who recommends she volunteer to become a dragon’s princess.   The Dragon Kazul is in need of a princess, and it turns out that what she needs most is someone to organize her library and make desserts for the occasional dinner party.   Cimorene’s in heaven.

Unfortunately, being a dragon’s princess means that a whole lot of princes now want to rescue Cimorene.   So between that, and some wondering wizards, there’s plenty for Cimorene to do.

Loved this book.    It’s just completely delightful.   The characters are charming (even some that should be irritating), and Cimorene and Kazul’s adventures are just plain fun.    Guess I’m going to have to seek out the rest of the books to make sure I complete my collection.

Sewing Notes

So, what’s a girl to do on a dreary, rainy, Memorial Day weekend?    Sew!  (Seriously, I’m wearing a sweater and socks.    Some start of the summer season!)

I made some binding and a hanger for the sunset quilt, and sewed the front of the binding on.     I’ve got the hanger positioned on the back now, and the rest of what I need to do is all hand sewing, which I can do over whatever tv marathon we end up doing in lieu of being able to do anything outside.

I also tried to advance on the shirt I’d been making.    And I’m a little stymied.   I’m using a pretty sheer fabric, which I have not done before, and it’s proving interesting.    The last thing I’d done was sew the yoke, and add gathering.    Which really gathered this fabric.    I’m now supposed to match the yoke lining, and it’s so well gathered, I can’t do that.    So, I may have to unpick the yoke.    Which I’m not yet mentally prepared to do, so I’ve put it away for now.    I may back track and do something a little easier first.

The Queen of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner

Read for the Once Upon a Time VII Reading Challenge.

In a Mediterranean land that isn’t actually there, Eugenides, the Queen’s Thief of Eddis, finds his country at war with the neighboring kingdom of Attolia – and it’s because of him.    The Queen of Attolia has punished him rather harshly, and his Queen cannot ignore the insult.   It’s up to Gen to figure out a way forward that will save both the kingdoms, as a neighboring empire is looming threateningly over them both, eager to snap them up into their ever expanding empire.

I really like this world.   It’s definitely based on Greece, but isn’t Greece.   The gods are slightly different, but the flavor of the land remains.    Gen is a really interesting character, and he has a very long road to tread in this story.    All of the characters have to change, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down, so I could see what would happen next.

The Broken Kingdoms – N. K. Jemisin

Read for the Once Upon a Time VII Reading Challenge.

The thing that marks my favorite fantasy worlds is an interesting take on their mythology, or founding magical systems.    The Inheritance Trilogy (this being the second book) has that in spades.    In the first book (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms), we’re introduced to a world where things aren’t quite right.  Long ago, the god Itempas killed his sister Eneja and imprisioned his brother Nahadoth.     That was all resolved rather spectacularly, with certain consequences including the return of the gods’ children to the world.   Which leads to The Broken Kingdoms.

Oree is blind, physically at least.      But she sees magic, which means she can see the godlings when they walk among men.     Enough to have attracted their attention, and even become friendly with some.    One day, she runs across a man in a trash heap.     Except that with her unusual sight, she can tell that this is no ordinary man.     In the morning, and when she is great danger, power rises within him.    But he’s clearly a very damaged soul.      What she eventually learns is that this is the god Itempas, forced into mortal form, to atone for his sins.    And because he is who he is, Oree finds herself in the middle of a battle to shape the future of the world.

There’s actually a lot more going on than that, but I can’t really say anything without spoiling half the story.   What I will say is to read these books!    I may actually pay to get the third one, so I can find out what happens next.

The Hidden Gardens of Paris – Susan Cahill

I don’t normally review guidebooks, even though I do often read them more or less cover to cover, but I made an exception in this case, because this book really seemed to be written for me.    It’s all about gardens – public squares, larger gardens, or even gardens attached to houses that you would never know were there and that you could visit.    And, it turns out the author and I are on similar wave lengths, because she includes nearby sites to the gardens, which almost always includes a book store.   So I now have several more English book stores I can add to my “to visit” list.

What I also like is that even in the larger, more well known places, like the Jardin des Plantes, she features a part of that garden that you might overlook if you just followed the crowds.    I really enjoyed the book – it’s got interesting little historical tidbits, and I would have enjoyed it even if I weren’t planning a trip to Paris.

Garden Notes



This weekend was all about positioning for next weekend.    Well, maybe.     See, normally, I can do my summer planting over Memorial Day weekend (the trigger other than date I look for is blooming iris).     But it’s been cold this Spring.    So much so that the gardening columnist in the local Sunday paper recommended waiting until June 1 to plant this year.   Now, I do have a pretty decent warmer microclimate going in the side garden, so I might be ok to plant there next week.  But, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on vegetable plants and then have to rebuy them, so we’ll see.    The iris are at least budding, so if they are indeed blooming next week, I might give it a go.

So, I’m at least set to plant next weekend.    I’ve got the back yard bunched up and leveled out, and the pots for the veggies in the side garden are in position.    So it’s up to the weather now.    I’ll just have to wait and see.

The Iron Tree – Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Read for the Once Upon a Time VII Reading Challenge.

Jarred grew up in the desert – raised by his mother, after his father disappeared, leaving only a broken promise to return, and an amulet for Jarred.    He’s long wanted to know what became of his father, and so when some of his friends decide to travel north to make their fortune, he goes with them.   After robbers injure one of the party, they stop in the marshes of Slievmordhu, where Jarred meets Lilith, and instantly falls in love.

Lilith’s family has not long lived in the marshes – her grandfather arrived there, bearing a terrible curse: both he, and his daughter, Lilith’s mother, went mad after the birth of their first child.    It’s a curse that Lilith has tried not to think about, until she meets Jarred, and suddenly contemplates having children of her own.

What Jarred and Lilith don’t know is that the mysteries of their past are intertwined, and only together can they answer the questions of their past.    Interestingly, this is the first book of a series, but it’s a surprisingly complete story – which really makes me wonder what kind of epic adventure is up for the rest of the series.