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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

First of my 2015 makes and other ramblings.

Where has the time gone that we are already fast approaching the end of January and the first month of the new year.


In December 2014 I took it into my head to create some lovely cowls as Christmas presents for my colleagues at work.  I put myself so under pressure to get them all off the needle that once I had finished them I completely forgot to take any photo's before wrapping them up.
I then found some wool I had hidden away in my stash for what must have been at least two possibly even three years and so I decided I would make another cowl with no one in particular in mind to receive it once it was completed. Once finished I loved the colour so much that I decided that the perfect person to receive this latest addition to the cowl making project would be

ME

so here is my first make of 2015 tadah.....


  
I have to tell you it's had it's first wearing to work this week and not only has it had lots of lovely comments it has been incredibly warm to boot. 

I thought today's post would also be a good time to catch up on where I am up to with my challenges for 2015.

Just to remind you this years challenges are firstly to bake or make something I have either not made for a long time if at all and for January I made Tiramisu.
My second challenge is to go back and read some of the books of mine and my children's childhoods. 
I kicked off with Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. Who can resist the story of Mary Lennox, Martha & Dicken an Mary's cousin Colin.  This book just brings back memories of primary school when my then teacher Mrs Rose read us a snippet every afternoon until she turned the last page. It was always one of my childhood favourites and I enjoyed sharing this one with my own daughter. When I told her I had read it again she decided to unearth her copy and is happily reading it again herself. 

My third and final challenge is to get out my cross stitch again.  I have many of my cross stitches hanging around the cottage but haven't really done any serious stitching for quite sometime.


I was given this Magical Cross Stitch book sometime ago and had fallen in love with three of the charts. The Dark Sorceress, The Earth Goddess and The Fairy Queen all contained within.  Whilst I was at home over the holidays I decided to start one of the three and show you each month how far I have progressed, which means she can't be put back in the drawer and forgotten about.
  I picked The Dark Sorceress as my fist project

To the left is the point I was at in my post at the beginning of January and to the right is where I am now.  As you can see she has come on quite along way I hope you would agree.  I had tasked myself to at least have one day a week (usually a Sunday) to have as my cross stitch day and so now I have Cross Stitch Sundays, only last weekend it was Cross Stitch Saturday as I had completed the last square of my crochet project and spent Sunday afternoon starting to join them all together, but more of that another time.

As any of you who follow my Tea and Biscuits and a Good Book blog will know I am quite a readaholic and average about six books a month. This month I have gotten through nine. It's actually been a bit of a kindlefest this month, with six out of the nine being read on my kindle.
 I still love the feel of a real book too and it is one of those that I am going to tell you about.
Just before Christmas I kept seeing this book in the shops and I had picked it up and looked at it on several occasions including Christmas Eve but kept myself in check telling myself that if it didn't arrive via Santa that I would come back and buy it. Sometimes it can be the cover that will draw me in other times it's the wording on the back or the reading of a random page from within, in this books case it was all three.



So what is this book called I hear you ask.  Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah and guess what it did arrive in Santa's sack. .  It tells the story of two sisters and their elderly parents. One sister was a stay local to mum and dad, married mum of two daughters and works in the family orchard business, the other is a high flying photojournalist, who travels all over the world.  Their mother has never really shown them love and affection and now as adults they struggle to show her any love and affection  back.  Throughout their childhood their mother used to tell them a fairy-tale of the  Black Knight, the Prince and the Peasant girl. The girls loved this story so much that they decide one Christmas to do the story as a pantomime. Their mother becomes very distressed and never repeats the story, what the girls hadn't realised was that the fairy-tale was actually the story of their mother before she had married their father.  When their elderly father becomes ill he tells his wife now is the time that she must finish telling their girls the story.  This takes the three women on a journey of discovery and for their mother to finally discover the truth.

This was a truly un-put-downable book and wherever I was you would find the book in my hand.
I try and keep my books to my other blog but on that occasion when something so good comes along, well you just have to share it don't you. So if you are looking for a good book to read in the remaining Winter month then I would definitely suggest you have a look at this one, you won't be disappointed.  Having finished it I then passed it on to my book share buddy Lou in the office. I did warn her that a large box of tissues and big bar of chocolate would be required. When she bought it back this week she said she had thoroughly enjoyed it and found she had tears running down her cheeks at varying times during reading it much to the amusement of her husband.
Well sometimes you just have to have a good cry don't you.

So there we are a tah dah moment, a quick challenge update and to finish off a book review.

Have a lovely week one & all and catch up with you again next month.




Mx

   

19 comments:

  1. What a lovely newsy post. Your cowl is fabulous, no wonder you got lots of comments about it. I like the yarn too, it puts me in mind of the Woodlander yarn that I won in your giveaway. Your cross stitch has really come on this month, you'll have it finished in no time if you carry on at that pace. I'm loving my Kindle, I never thought I'd take to it as I have. The book you mention sounds good, I like to find a book which is hard to put down like that.

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    1. It's certainly been in use this week as it's pretty cold around here. The wind has been howling this morning. The wool is lovely and I have enough to make one more may be for my daughter. I am using Woodlander again to make D's blanket but that's a WIP as I'm trying to finish my daughter's for her birthday. I have really taken to my kindle but I bought the 8" which a bit on the weighty side. D bought me an iPad mini for xmas so I have the kindle app on there and tend to flit between the kindle and the ipad depending where I am or where I am going. The kindle does tend to hold it's charge better than the ipad but I suppose I use the ipad a lot more for other things. If you've not read a Kristin Hannah before Winter Garden was definitely worth a look I have another one downloaded to my kindle for in the future.

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  2. Love your cowl and well done on your challenges, especially the cross stitch. I really have trouble these days just seeing to do the stitches, but I do have a small one partly done on my challenge list. That books sounds good and reminds of a tear jerker I read called A Week in Winter by Marcia Willett. I needed a hankie all the way through. I'm part way through The Yorkshire Shepherdess and am enjoying it thoroughly. Thanks for the lovely post and take care.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments Susan. I've not heard of the book you mention so I might just have to look on Amazon and see if I can find it. I have a magnifier that clips to the frame otherwise I don't think my eyesight would cope anymore. That was partly the reason I had stopped but I really did miss it. She is certainly coming on a treat and once all three are finished they are going to look stunning. Then I'll have the problem of where I am going to hang them in my little cottage....

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  3. Your cowl looks lovely and warm, and your cross stitch is amazing you have done so much! I leave cross stitch as I always lost count and ended up cross eyed. The book sounds good, I am reading one about Anne of Cleves which is ok but sometimes all the tudor books out there kinda run into each other. But I am trying to read more! And yes good bye January! Its not getting totally dark till nearly 5 now. :)

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    1. I am loving my cowl but I must admit sometimes it does get a little too warm but is great when I am walking the four paws. Counting on the charts can be tricky if I am tired so that's why I only do some in the week if it's a block of colour otherwise I leave it to the weekend usually on a Sunday when I'm not rushing to do anything else. I like historical books but as you say they can be a bit samey and then I loose interest, but even I was surprised when I realised I had read 9 this month and I am now reading two simultaneously, The Mistletoe Bride in book form which is series of short stories by Kate Mosse so I can read one story a night before I go to sleep and I am reading Winter Folly by Lulu Taylor on my Kindle on the shuttle bus and lunchtimes and the like. It depends on how thick the books I am reading are as to how many I get through in a month. I did notice when I left the office last night that it was a little lighter thank goodness I was beginning to think I had turned into a mole.

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  4. I love the cowl you made, the tweedy colours are just gorgeous. I'd be pleased as punch to make something that looked as lovely.
    Thanks for the book review. I'm thinking of putting together themed season presents, either a which contains something from each or all winter, summer etc and this book may make a good addition, thanks for sharing.
    Lisa X

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    1. Your Season presents sounds like a great idea and I think the Winter Garden would certainly be a good addition to the Winter Season. It's now doing the rounds of the office so I think we are going to need to invest in some more tissues.

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    2. Your Season presents sounds like a great idea and I think the Winter Garden would certainly be a good addition to the Winter Season. It's now doing the rounds of the office so I think we are going to need to invest in some more tissues.

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  5. Lots to read about in this post Mitzi. Your cowl is really beautiful, it looks so soft and cosy, and what a gorgeous colour. Thank you for the book review and recommendation, that sounds like an intriguing read! I love a book that has me reaching for the tissues! X

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    1. It has certainly been in use this week with all the cold weather. There aren't many books that stay with me in such detail once I've moved onto another book but this one is definitely one that will stay with me.

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  6. Winter Garden sounds like a really good 'read'. I am struggling to find anything that grabs my attention at the moment so I will look out for it. Jx

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    1. I thought it was very good, it's not a romance it's one where the mother is a very complicated lady but once you get to know her story everything then falls into place and you can see why she has been the way she has. Those in the office who have subsequently read it have all seen why I thought it was so good. I will definitely look out for more of this authors books infact I'm sure I have one downloaded and more on my wish list.

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  7. Your cowl is lovely Mitzi, what a fabulous effect the yarn creates. The Secret Garden is a lovely story, it brings back memories of my youth, along with Pollyanna and The Water Babies. I like the sound of Winter Garden, might give that a go. Have a lovely weekend. Where did January go?
    Jane xx

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    1. Not sure where January went but if you find out perhaps you could let me know. The Shadow Tweed yarn is lovely and very soft and had lots of comments from colleagues about it too. I didn't much like the Water Babies I read it last year as part of my re reading those books we read at school challenge. I did love Pollyanna and Anne of Greengables. I have Anne of Greengables on my Kindle ready to read soon. And Winter Garden definitely. At least I hope everyone likes it as much as I did certainly it's now doing the rounds around the office and each one has come back and said very good but made them cry so depends on how much you need a good cry I suppose. Have a great weekend.

      Mitzi

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  8. Mitzi love the cowl you made and I'm sure the gals you gifted with the ones you made for Christmas were loved by the co-workers. I hate to be caught at the last minute doing things like that so I started way last summer with the things I made my sister-in-laws. But, no matter how early I start I always find myself doing something at the last minute. That book sounds great. I did visit your bookie blog and saw several others I would like to read as well. Thank you for sharing. I definitely will add this one to my to-read list. Now, to find the time to read.
    Susanne :)

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    1. Every year I tell myself I will be organised and start early but somehow than does very often come off. Maybe I should have made that one of my challenges for 2015. I am a bit of a bookworm but even I surprise myself how many I get through at times. Glad you found some books on T & B you might like. Time can indeed be a problem. I sometimes feel I could do with 48 hours in my 24 hour day.

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  9. I had no idea that you had another blog - but I am now following, and believe that I am in fact your first bloglovin follower! - anyway, that is irrelevant! The book sounds fantastic! How great that you enjoyed it so much after contemplating it so much. It sounds as though you are doing well with your challenges, your cross stitch is amazing!! Hope that you enjoy what February brings! xx

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    1. I read so many books Amy that Lazy Days would have been swamped so I set up the two and I am taking part in Laura's year in books through Tea & Biscuits but when I get a really good book I like to share on this one too. Thank you for joining T & B I always get excited when I get a new follower. My Cross Stitch is certainly coming along although not picked her up yet this week been hooking my daughters blanket as it's for her big birthday in February.

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