Good/Bad/Hopeful? News

Wow, I’ve been silent on this here blog for a while, haven’t I??? I’ve been busy: reading (a few book reviews are coming up soon!, and STITCHING!)

Which brings me to the good news: I finished 8 scarves in my ‘Special Olympics Scarf Project’! ๐Ÿ™‚

The first scarf I worked on was the ‘Cancer Awareness’ scarf . . . which I couldn’t complete until I was closer to the end of a skein of the yarn (because of how it needed to be put together). I think it turned out pretty well:

The second scarf I worked on was the ‘Simple Argyle’, which turned out to not be so simple after all! I think the idea of tapestry crochet is an interesting one, and maybe I’ll eventually make a foray into it, but it was too tedious to try whilst on a deadline! So, I ended up making the ‘Ripple Scarf’ pattern as scarf ‘#2b’:

I’ve already showed you the ‘Vegan Silk’ and ‘Granny Flair’ scarves, so on to scarf #5, which was the ‘Special Olympics Scarf’:

(Not sure why this one refuses to rotate, no matter what I try!)

Next up is the ‘Crochet Ripple’:

Then, the ‘Heart Sampler Square’:

And last, but not least, #8 was ‘Bev’s Special Olympics Scarf’:

I think I need a new camera . . . not sure what’s going on with the colours in this pic . . .

And, here’s all 8 together! ๐Ÿ™‚

I was so excited to be able to package these up and send them off to help up warm up the athletes in this year’s Special Olympics! ๐Ÿ™‚

However . . . there’s bad news. Shipping these scarfs would cost upwards of $40, which is entirely cost-prohibitive for our family at the moment! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I was so disappointed when I found out that news yesterday. I had worked so hard on this project and wanted to help out with a cause that I’ve a vested interest in . . .

This is where the hopeful news comes in . . . I’m going to offer these scarfs to you if you want them.ย  I want to raise money for the Special Olympics, but, due to the copyright and designer requests on some of the patterns, I cannot mark them as for sale.

That said, I CAN offer them to you for free, and if you want to make a donation to the Special Olympics (or a Downs Syndrome foundation), that is up to you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I will have my hunky tech guy post a ‘donate’ button on this site if you’d rather donate the money directly to me, and I will in turn send that same amount on to the Special Olympics . . . )

So, the scarfs are up for grabs . . . ready? set!ย  GOOOOOO . . . ๐Ÿ˜†


Kelly’s Chance

I never know what to write as a ‘synopsis’ of a book that I’m reviewing. I always worry that I’m either sharing too much of the plot line, or not enough. So, I made an executive decision: from now on, I’ll just copy what’s on the back of the book . . . ๐Ÿ˜€

‘Life for Kelly McGregor is a daily drudge of driving her overbearing father’s mules along Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Canal. She dreams of one day owning an art gallery where her own drawings and paintings are on display. But these dreams don’t include marriage . . . not after seeing what her father has done to her mother. How then can Mike Cooper, a general store owner, make her realize he is different from her father and wants to support her artistic talent? Will Kelly learn that dreams can walk hand in hand with a love created by God?’ (‘Kelly’s Chance’ by Wanda Brunstetter)

Wanda Brunstetter is known for her inspirational novels about the Amish. I have really enjoyed those books, which was why I chose to read ‘Kelly’s Chance’. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.

The book was good . . . but it wasn’t of the calibre I’ve come to expect from Wanda Brunstetter. The storyline felt too slow in places, and too rushed in others, and the characterisations weren’t as strong in ‘Kelly’s Chance’ as they are in her other books.

That said, it was a good read, and I will continue on with the ‘Brides of Lehigh Canal’ series.

3 of 5 stars

2011 Page Count ~ 2269

PS ~ don’t forget to vote in the poll below! ๐Ÿ™‚

Progress Report

The Special Olympics Scarf Project continues. Unfortunately, it’s looking like I didn’t buy enough yarn to complete the 12 scarves I had hoped for. I think what I’ll do is make a poll with multiple options. Vote for as many (or as few) of the scarves you’d like to see made, and I’ll go from there, stopping when I run out of yarn (or time . . . hopefully it’s the former and not the latter).

I was able to complete both the Vegan Silk and Granny Flair Special Olympics Scarf patterns though, and I think they turned out quite well:

Right now, I’m working on the ‘Special Olympics Scarf’, and I’m enjoying the pattern so much that I’m going to be using it to make a blanket. ๐Ÿ™‚

Remember, the choices look like this: Bergamot Ripple, Bev’s Special Olympics Scarf, Crochet Ripple, Heart Sampler Square, Lemonade Scarf, Ripple Scarf, Two Tone Scarf

You can vote for as many as you like. I’ll close the poll on Saturday morning. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

A House Divided

I’ve been in a book club for almost 6 years now (it will be 6 years in July). I’ve really enjoyed the chance to read books that I normally might not have chosen to read, and the friendships forged through the sharing of thoughts and ideas will last a lifetime! ๐Ÿ™‚

Before I joined this lovely group of ladies, they had been together as a book club for a while. One of the gals has been so organised as to write down each of the books that the club has read since she joined (a month or so after its inception). She emailed me the list, and I’ve been on a quest to read as many of the books on the list that I haven’t already read as possible.

One of those books was Pearl S. Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’. It was a book that I’d always intended to read, but never gotten around to. I finally read it last year and enjoyed it.ย  Imagine my surprise though, when I discovered that it was the first in a trilogy!

‘A House Divided’ is the last book in the trilogy (the second book being called ‘Sons’). It chronicles the young adult years (from 19-26) of the grandson of Wang Lung, who was the focus of ‘The Good Earth’.

Yuan feels trapped between the differing mindsets of 2 very different generations. He feels honour-bound to obey his father, who is very much a traditionalist, yet feels drawn to the cries of freedom he hears from those who are his contemporaries.

Repulsed by the fact that his father wants to force him into marriage, Yuan eventually sides with the other young people in the midst of the revolution in China. But, as he spends 6 years abroad, and then returns home to his people, Yuan comes to realise that there needs to be a bridge built between the old traditions, and the new freedoms in order to truly bring peace to himself and his family.

The ‘Good Earth’ trilogy is very good. I really enjoyed reading what happened to Wang Lung and his descendants. That said, I did find that I needed a break during the middle of ‘A House Divided’ (see previous post), simply because the subject matter and writing are a bit heavier than the tone of most books written now.

3 of 5 stars

2011 Page Count ~ 2051

PS ~ stay tuned for a progress report on the SOSC tomorrow night! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Hopefully there will be pictures! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Prom & Prejudice

Have you ever been reading a book, and you were enjoying it, but just needed a break? Right now, I’m in the middle of “A House Divided”, the 3rd book inย  the “Good Earth” trilogy. I’m enjoying the book, but let’s face it, sometimes Pearl S. Buck can be a little ‘heavy’.

So, I needed a quick, ‘fluffy’ read as a break from the Buck. (Does that sound as funny as I think it does?)

“Prom & Prejudice” by Elizabeth Eulberg fit the bill perfectly.ย  As the title suggests, this is a retelling of Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice”, but with a modernised prep school twist.

Lizzie Bennet is a scholarship (read not wealthy) student at Longbourn Academy. Her best friend, Jane, is crushing on Charles Bingley (an A-lister at nearby Pemberley Academy), and of course Jane invites Lizzie along for the ride, where she meets Charles’ friend Will Darcy, who for all appearances, has decided that all scholarship students are scum.ย  Humour ensues, yadda yadda yadda . . .

Since I’m very familiar with the “Pride and Prejudice” storyline, this was a quick, easy and delightful read . . . the perfect KitKat break!ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

3 stars

2011 Page Count ~ 1698


I’ve been making progress on the second Special Olympics Scarf (the Simple Argyle Scarf), but the progress has been slow at best. ย Note to self: do not attempt to learn a new technique when on a deadline!

So, what I’m going to do is put that one aside, and make the rest of the scarves. ย That way, when I’m done, I can re-evaluate how much time I have left over, and see if I have enough time to finish the argyle, or if I should frog it and make something else.

Looks like the Vegan Silk won for this round, so that’s next up. ย Once again, we’re voting for the following:

Bergamot Ripple, Bev’s Special Olympics Scarf, Crochet Ripple, Heart Sampler Square, Lemonade Scarf, Ripple Scarf, Special Olympics Granny Flair, Special Olympics Scarf and Two-Tone Scarf.

Thanks for voting! ๐Ÿ™‚


Three Cups of Tea

This was the book club pick for January. ย It’s been on my list of books to-read for a while, so I’m really glad I had the chance to read it finally! ๐Ÿ™‚

This book tells the story of Greg Mortenson, a former mountain climber who now is head of the Central Asia Institute, which builds schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan to provide a secular education to children (especially girls) who might otherwise not have that opportunity.

I had heard of Mortenson’s work before, and was intrigued while reading the story of how the CAI came to be. ย It was amazing to me to see the humility and willingness to learn that Greg had amongst the people in northern Pakistan . . . especially that he paid so close attention to the words of the leader of Korphe, Haji Ali.

The book was hard to get into at first, and the last few chapters kind of dragged a bit. ย The middle was my favourite part . . . this is one of those stories that reads like an adventure novel, when it is, in actuality, completely non-fiction!

A friend of mine told me that she had read the second part of Mortenson’s story (“Stones Into Schools”) and enjoyed it much better than “Three Cups” . . . perhaps because in “Stones”, Mortenson does not use a co-author. ย Either way, I’m excited to explore more into the life and work of this remarkable man! ๐Ÿ™‚

4 stars

2011 Page Count ~ 1467