Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Books of 2011

I've been keeping track of all the books I've read for the last few years, and I decided to list all of 2011 here.  You can see I have a mix of good-for-the-brain books and fun romance novels.  Some months are slimmer than others, usually because I'm reading some giant tome.  It's fun to look back, because I can remember so clearly what was happening when I was reading these books.  I can see when I discovered a certain author and read through their back catalog - our London trip will probably always be linked with Loretta Chase in my mind.  When I got through something long and dense, like the flu book or Oldest Confederate Widow and let myself read whatever fun books came to mind.  Or when I was sick and read three old Rachel Gibson books in one day.  Books are only included here if they're finished, which gives me added incentive, but there were a few more that I just didn't make it through (and I read large sections of most of the Harry Potter books, but Deathly Hallows is the only one I re-read cover to cover).  2011 is the year of my Kindle, the year of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs, Loretta Chase, Jill Shalvis, and Courtney Milan (all new discoveries), catching up on Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, and re-reading some of the Harry Potter and Twilight books and some favorite Nora Roberts.  Some of these books were great, and have been recommended and passed on to others, and some are probably better forgotten, but I'm glad I have this record of what I read in 2011! 

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M. Barry

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Nocture, Syrie James
Vampires are Forever, Lynsay Sands
The Immortal Hunter, Lynsay Sands
Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Susan Vreeland
Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear
Power Play, Deirdre Martin
Salting Roses, Lorelle Marinello
Ape House, Sara Gruen

Treachery in Death, J.D. Robb
The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King

Breaking the Rules, Suzanne Brockmann
The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen

Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus
Blue Dahlia, Nora Roberts
Black Rose, Nora Roberts
Red Lily, Nora Roberts
My One and Only, Kristan Higgins
The Mapping of Love and Death, Jacqueline Winspear

Just Like Heaven, Julia Quinn
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
Pardonable Lies, Jacqueline Winspear
Simply Irresistable, Jill Shalvis
The Sweetest Thing, Jill Shalvis
When Tony Met Adam, Suzanne Brockmann
Miranda's Big Mistake, Jill Mansell
Beach Lane, Sherryl Woods
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, Lauren Willig
Just Breathe, Susan Wiggs
The Mischief of the Mistletoe, Lauren Willig

Messenger of Truth, Jacqueline Winspear
An Incomplete Revenge, Jacqueline Winspear
Among the Bad, Jacqueline Winspear
The Orchid Affair, Lauren Willig
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
Unlocked, Courtney Milan
Unveiled, Courtney Milan
Trial by Desire, Courtney Milan
Proof by Seduction, Courtney Milan
Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase
Mr. Impossible, Loretta Chase
Last Night's Scandal, Loretta Chase

Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase
Miss Wonderful, Loretta Chase
Not Quite a Lady, Loretta Chase
Don't Tempt Me, Loretta Chase
Yours to Keep, Shannon Stacey
Get a Clue, Jill Shalvis
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
Wild Ride, Jennifer Cruse and Bob Mayer

A Lesson in Secrets, Jacqueline Winspear
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Any Man of Mine, Rachel Gibson
Not Another Bad Date, Rachel Gibson
Tangled Up in You, Rachel Gibson

How to Knit a Love Song, Rachael Herron
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
How to Breathe Underwater, Julie Orringer
Unclaimed, Courtney Milan
Perfect Timing, Jill Mansell
Until There Was You, Kristan Higgins

Wartime Lies, Louis Begley
The Fairy Tale Bride, Kelly McClymer
Jane I'm Still Single Jones, Joan Reeves
Wicked Intentions, Elizabeth Hoyt
Heartstrings and Diamond Rings, Jane Graves
Small Town Christmas, Shalvis, Lang
Cover Me, Catherine Mann
Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer

Lessons in Seduction, Sandra Hyatt
The Accidental Duchess, Jessica Benson
The Next Always, Nora Roberts

Friday, January 6, 2012

Post-Christmas Gift Recap, Part 1

So, it's been quite a month!  I spent a good bit of December finishing up all the handmade gifts I had planned, spent a few days in NY for work (and walked my feet off), and then a week in Atlanta visiting family and friends.  Then New Year's and more sewing.  But I don't have many pictures to show for it.  I could go into detail about any of these things, but let's see the pictures of the gifts!
 Melissa's hat.  She wanted a hat similar to the red one I had knit myself, so I hope she likes it.  I have more pictures but I have to get them from my phone.  In the background you can see Daddy wearing the hat I knit him.  It was finished just before I drove home so I don't think I have any pictures of it. I actually wore it damp around my house while packing trying to get it to dry after blocking.  It's a simple ribbed cap, meant to just come down to cover the tips of your ears.  I would have made it a bit longer, but I was running out of yarn.  Also pictures to come of the one other knitted gift I made - Rebecca's pink scarf, as requested.  I have one other last minute gift I don't think I photographed - a Christmas skirt for Rebecca. 
 MG's dress, A la Belle Etoile pattern.  The pattern is Australian, so I hope I made the right size (I had to translate the cm to inches and I think I got her measurements right).  I thought the yellow and the birdies were so MG.
 Nate's pants, 2T (largest size in this pattern, sadly) Quick Change Trousers pattern from Handmade Beginnings.  I have made these pants so many times and I love them.  They seem comfy and they're reversible, so the seams are all enclosed and lots of fun fabric combos are possible.  I used a mixture of Christmas prints on the two pairs I made.  I may try to size this pattern up - I think it would be mostly about lengthening since you and Melissa have such skinny boys.
 Back of Nate's pants
 Sam's pants, 4T pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated.  I loved this pattern and am looking forward to making a few more.  They fit Sam perfectly, though I cut the waist elastic much smaller than recommended.  I love the finishing details and the way they can be easily let out (particularly those cuffs) for growth.  The fabric is a cross weave, and looks really neat, but will be interesting to see how well it wears.

 Jack's pants, 18mo. size, also Quick Change Trousers
 Back of Jack's pants
 Connor's pants, 3T, pattern from Sewing for Boys.  The fabric is from an Ikea crib duvet, and I had intended it for a more pajama-ish pants, since the pattern is so crazy.  But this pants pattern seems more of a going outside in public sort of pattern since it has pockets.  Maybe you'll let him go outside in his crazy circus little drummer boy pants.  I thought they turned out cute, can't wait to hear how they turn out on the actual boy.

Shannon's dress, Piccadilly Circus pattern, hopefully not too big (this is a 7/8).  The fabric is by Sandi Henderson.

More to come!  And really, I have plenty to tell you!