Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Fairy Babies

     I finished The Fairy Babies a few weeks ago. It's a book I saw in an antique store and bought for my daughter-in-law because she likes fairies. It was different. The fairy babies were "baby" ink-bottles. The babies heard stories about a magic spoon, a magic pitcher, and a magic rocking-chair. Dwarves also figured prominently in those stories.

    My children and I love fairy-tales. We have all the Andrew Lang "color" books of fairy-tales, Grimm's, Andersen's, Greek myths, Norse legends, etc. All are worn and tattered and are picked up and re-read often. We might even be connoisseurs of fairy-tales. This book was pretty much a dud.

    I consoled myself with the latest Flavia de Luce mystery, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley. On to a biography of Christopher Wren!

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

    I finished The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe about a week or so ago. Very calming, very predictable 15th novel in the series by Alexander McCall Smith. I do enjoy routines, predictability, and uneventful, boring days. This book was not boring, but it was what I needed after a very rushed and hectic month of birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and a wedding.

    Then I ordered, received, and read All the Light We Cannot See. Loved it. Now on to another calm and quick read: The Fairy Babies.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Road to Serfdom

   I finished The Road to Serfdom a couple of days ago. It was a book that made me look at current events and wonder if Hayek was able to see into the future - because it often seems to me as though we've made the trip and arrived at our destination of total servitude to government. I dog-eared pages, starred and underlined passages, and then gave the book to my son who is majoring in economics and told him he must read it.

   Now on to a little lighter fare... .

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

England Have My Bones

   When I began reading England Have My Bones I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was written in the form of a diary or journal (and I LOVE reading diaries!). The first section chronicled a fishing trip to Scotland, and brought back happy memories of reading The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton. I'm also enjoying White's observances on birds while he's out and about.

   The section about White's lessons in learning to fly an airplane was interesting. In the middle of recounting his hours in the air towards getting his pilot's license, one reads this: "The Shire still possesses some of its oldest families. The best of them has continuously occupied the same house for five hundred years. I should like to see the inside of such a place. It seems that the lived-in-ness of the antiquity gives it a startling reality, a feeling of time telescoped and eternity. I dare say you would find a pair of crusader's boots under your bed, owing to the boot-boy having muddled them, and probably there are a couple of battle axes or rapiers mixed up with the umbrellas in the hall."

   I finished England Have My Bones by T.H. White last night. I think it was his first published book. I realized that I'd read other books by White decades ago, and that my tastes have changed. This is not fiction, so it appealed to me for that reason (and the diary form) and for the depiction of country life in the England in the mid-1930's.

Labels: ,

Monday, December 01, 2014

Winter Reading Challenge

Janie at Seasonal Soundings is hosting a Winter Reading Challenge.  No list of books to read is too short or too long.  Everyone is encouraged to become intentional in reading. 

Here is my winter reading list:

England Have My Bones - T.H. White
The Road to Serfdom - F.A. Hayek
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe - Alexander McCall Smith
The Fairy Babies - Laura Rountree Smith
His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren - Adrian Tinniswood
In Spite of All Terror - Hester Burton
Water Wheel Turn - Hilda Boden
Allen Tate: Collected Poems 1919-1976 - Allen Tate

Come, join the reading fun!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A wreath for a knitter

Someone posted a picture on Facebook of a wreath made with balls of yarn and knitting needles.  I asked Jacy and Joan if they would make one for me if I supplied the materials.  Yesterday afternoon Joan went out with a list and this morning I have a new wreath on my door!

We looked at the website with the original picture, but couldn't find instructions.  Still, it was easy to figure out a way to make it, although the wreath that was our inspiration may have been put together differently.

Supplies for my wreath:
 * 1 wire wreath frame
 * 3 packs of styrofoam balls in 3 different sizes
 * florist's wire
 * yarn in various colors, gauges, fibers
 * 1 pair of large (mine are size US 13) and long aluminum knitting needles
 * Modge Podge, if desired (we ended up not using it)

I showed Joan how to wrap the yarn around the styrofoam balls, as if she were using a nostepinne.  We thought about spraying the finished yarn-balls with Modge Podge, but Joan just tucked the yarn-end under the wrapped yarn, then slipped florist's wire under a few strands of yarn and wired them to the wreath frame.  Finally she stuck the needles under the yarn on several balls and it was done!

Labels: , ,

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou may'st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by-and-by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
   This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
                                             ~William Shakespeare

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 10, 2014

November baby blanket

I found a new-to-me crocheted edge that I love!  It's from the book The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden and it's called "Crown Picot Edging."  A couple at church is expecting their first child later this month.  They will find out if the baby is a boy or a girl when the baby is born, so I made single crochet rounds in gray, pink, blue, yellow, and green before finishing up with the crown edging. The edging does have a strong tendency to curl, so unblocked it looks more like a ruffle than a crown.  However, using a good steam iron on it flattens it enough to coronate the blanket. (The body of the blanket is crocheted using the "Turtle Stitch" from the same book.)

Labels: ,