Saturday, November 5, 2016

Natural Color // A Blogging for Books Review

If you know me personally, or even if you just read this blog from time to time, then you know that I am an avid knitter. This hobby (really more like a lifestyle for me) extends into a yarn obsession and a desire to learn everything I can about yarn crafts. This curiosity has likewise extended to learning about hand-dyeing yarn, and when I received the opportunity to receive the book Natural Color, I didn't hesitate to take it.

This book is all about dyeing yarn, fabric, and other textiles using natural resources such as avocado pits, madder root, rose petals, and more. What I like most about this book, besides the fact that it is divided by seasons to make it easier to chose projects based on their seasonal availability, is that it makes yarn dyeing an accessible art. The projects listed are written more like recipes, listing all the ingredients needed and all the steps required to prepare the dye bath, soak the yarn, and set the color.

Although time has not permitted me to try out any of these yarn dyeing projects yet (and because it'd be quite a task to make enough guacamole to acquire the number of avocado pits I would need!), I am eager to give it a try. The idea of knitting from yarn that I dyed myself would make me unusually proud, haha. I have great plans for trying it out soon though.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Travelers // A Blogging for Books Review

I have to be completely honest: this book took me a long time to read. When I first started reading it, I was really into it, reading for a few hours, but after I put it down that night, I had trouble picking it back up. I mostly equate this to not being my typical go-to genre. I would classify this book as a spy thriller, and it did not disappoint with its edge-of-the-seat moments. Without giving anything away, the book is about a travel writer, Will, who becomes involved in a game of intrigue when he is offered a proposal that he can't refuse. However, this book was too long and not to the point. I kept confusing characters and outright forgetting who certain characters were, and for a novel that is built on intrigue, I found myself not always wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Nonetheless, I was engaged at multiple points of the book, so I'm willing to explore some of the author's (Chris Pavone) other works which have positive reviews and which will hopefully have more direction than The Travelers.

Also, side note, why do books like this always have handsome, mysterious male characters who objectify women? Okay, I'm done now.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

Despite the weather turning warmer, I still want to knit so many things. Do you find that you knit less during the summer? I don't stop knitting outright, but I what knit certainly changes. I move on from wool to cottons and linens and maybe pick up some cross-stitch too. The creating certainly never stops.

But for now, I have been on a shawl kick. What's pictured is Antarktis shawl no. 2. I just love the pattern so much that I had to make another. What are you working on these days? Is the weather warming up where you are?

Friday, April 15, 2016

On My Bookshelf: April

This month has gotten away from me, so this post is quite a bit belated. But that doesn't mean that I can't still share what I've been reading/still planning to read this month!

Divergent by Veronica Roth
I'm pretty late to the game on reading this book, and it really needs no explanation. It's in the same vein as The Hunger Games, but it's refreshingly not too similar. I love a good young adult read from time to time, and I've been listening to this on audiobook from the library on my way to and from class and work.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
This is another audiobook that I finished listening to already. I picked it up because I've been recently getting into sewing, and I was drawn to the "dressmaker" aspect. But if you follow me on Goodreads, you can see that I didn't rate this book too highly. It seemed to trite for such a serious story.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
I love Aziz Ansari, and now I'm thrilled to read his book about the perils of dating in this day and age. I've read a few pages so far, and I love that this book includes actual research about relationships. The math and technical nerd in me rejoices!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

We all know what second sock syndrome is, but I think I suffer from second item syndrome. In 2013, I made an identical Basket Rib Hand Towel to the one pictured above, and I then cast on another one right afterwards. My goal was the have a matching set. Well, three years later, I finally have completed that second hand towel. Yikes! Unfortunately, now the original has been well-loved and is looking a little worse for the wear. So much for having a perfect matching set! But I'm still glad I finally finished this towel. It was giving me serious guilt for having sat on my needles for so long. I don't think it helped that I was constantly borrowing the needles from this project to work on something else!

Also, if you haven't checked out my knitting podcast, I would love if you would do so :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

This past weekend, I visited Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL, and I didn't buy too much fabric. Instead, I discovered their supply of roving and went a little fiber crazy :) I bought eight oz. of merino top, and I can't wait to spin it up! I think my first handspun skein of yarn was pretty darn successful, so I'm eager to try out my drop spindle again, this time with these gorgeous colors. I'm so in love :)

I talk all about my WIPs and my trip to Vogue Fabrics in my newest podcast on YouTube, so please check it out and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

I have to confess that I have not been a monogamous knitter this week. I'm actually working on three different projects, but this is just one of them. It's definitely slow going because the lace weight yarn makes for small, slippery stitches, but I'm enjoying the pattern because it is having the prettiest results. I can't wait to finish it so that I can block it and wear it out. I love the lightness of the shawl, and it will be perfect for spring weather.

I also published the second episode of my podcast this past Sunday. If you're curious about the other projects that I am working on, you can watch it here :)

My Ravelry notes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

I'm so excited for two reasons today. The first is that I finished this enormous blanket at last! It only took a year after all ;) I used it on my bed last night for the first time, and although the weather is slowly getting warmer, it was so cuddly and comfortable to sleep with.

The other bit of news is that I recorded my first knitting podcast which you can find here on YouTube. I'd love for you to check it out--that would mean the world to me!

You can find my Ravelry notes for the blanket here.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

On My Bookshelf: March

I do the majority of my reading at night before bed, but between lots of school and lots of work, I've been falling into bed exhausted every night, and although I try to read a few pages before turning off the light, I have literally been unable to keep my eyes open past a few pages. As such, despite knocking the socks off of February in terms of finishing lots of books, I honestly don't think a whole lot of reading will be happening this month. None the less, I will try to finish a few books, even if they're done via audiobook (still counts!).

Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs
This book would probably be better read during the Christmas holidays, but nonetheless, I am reading it at the end of winter/start of spring. But I'm not really concerned that the book is supposed to be a seasonal read--I welcome Christmas good-feelings anytime of the year :) I've read the first two books in this series, and while they're definitely not difficult reads, I love books that center around knitting.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
I'm pretty sure I've professed my love of Jack Kerouac many times on this blog, and having read the majority of his work, it seemed like the next natural step to read his colleague's work as well. I'm listening to this on audiobook, so I'll be listening to it on my way to and from class and work.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This memoir was written after Kalanithi learned that he had cancer and ends all the way up to his death a year ago in March 2015. I've heard such wonderful things about this book, and it's an interesting study on what makes life worth living despite the inevitability of death.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Power of Broke // A Blogging for Books Review

The Power of Broke by Daymond John is all about starting from nothing and building a successful entrepreneurial business. From the idea that desperation breeds innovation, John takes us on a journey to understand how to think big and to strike quickly when opportunity knocks.

I enjoyed this book because I think it can apply in a non-business setting as well. For me, the book is all about garnering personal strength and energy to make a personal goal attainable, whether this goal is to start a business or not. This book is really just about being a more successful person, and success is applicable to any aspect of life.

My only real complaint about the book is that it focuses mostly on the success stories of other people and not on Daymond John's story, even though his story would have fit into the concept of the book. I do appreciate being given several examples of building a business from nothing, but I wanted to learn more about the author's own tricks and tips that worked for him.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

This week has been all about adventures in yarn spinning! I don't have any pictures to show you yet, mostly because it has been quite the learning curve for me, but I will hopefully have some finished yarn soon that I'm not too embarrassed about.

David gave me this drop spindle and wool top (pretty sure its top and not roving) for Christmas, and it's been sitting out staring at me, asking me to give spinning a try. I am definitely enjoying the process, but so far it's been tedious and a little frustrating as I learn the nuances of spinning.

Maybe one day I'll be an old pro and using a spinning wheel. Those are my spinning aspirations, haha!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

On My Bookshelf: February

I read way more books that I thought I was going to during January. I had three books originally planned (Anne of Green Gables, Carry On, and The Jane Austen Book Club), but I read three additional books as well (The Prophet, The Martian, and I'll Give You the Sun). I don't know why, but I just couldn't stop reading last month. I think it has partially to do with the fact that I recently joined the Chicago Public Library, and books that I had on hold became available all within the span of a few days, so I only had three weeks to read them before I lost my chance. I guess that's a pretty good problem to have :)

This month, I hope to read the following books:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Okay, so I actually already finished this book. I devoured the last 50% last night because I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened next and how it was going to end. And I definitely enjoyed it. It is a fast-moving book, so if I could do it all again, this would definitely be the perfect beach read.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
You might have heard of this book before because Marina Keegan tragically died just days after her graduation from Yale. This book is a collection of some of her essays, short stories, and poems that were published posthumously.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I love Elizabeth Gilbert for her extremely famous book, Eat, Pray, Love, and I'm so glad to dive into her newest book which is all about creative living and being empowered by the creative person within each of us.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
David and I have taken the 5 Love Languages test online, but I'm excited to read this book just to continue to learn to love better. David and I have been engaged since June, and we're working everyday towards our lives as a married couple, and this book is a perfect tool to learn to love in ways that the other person responds best :) I'm actually listening to this one on audiobook, so it will be coming along on the train with me on my way to work and school.

After You by Jojo Moyes
So this book is actually still on hold at the library, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will come in before the end of the month. After You is the sequel to Me Before You which I read this past summer. I loved the first in the series so much, and it's actually been made into a movie that will be coming out in June. I anticipate some ugly crying in the theater over this one. But anyways, clearly I'm excited to now read the sequel even though I don't think anything could ever compare to the first one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

Nothing like having a new project on the needles! This is going to be a variation of Purl Soho's Classic Cuffed Hat, and I'm knitting it in KnitPicks Capra yarn which is so yummy and soft.

And that's all for today! Hope your Wednesday is wonderful :) 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cats in Paris // A Blogging for Books Review

Adult coloring books have really exploded recently, and I'd be lying if I said that I haven't gotten sucked into the trend too. Although I like to just use a coloring app on my phone, I also like reverting to my childhood days of pulling out my colored pencils and deliberately filling in the lines on physical pages.

Another thing I love?


Therefore, this coloring book is really perfect for me. It combines my old love of coloring with the adorableness of sweet felines in all their quirkiness.

There are a lot of new adult coloring books floating around out there, but I'm really happy with this one because it has a level of sophistication without being too hard. I hate getting halfway through a coloring page and losing steam because it's too tedious or boring, so this particular book is a perfect balance of staying interesting and cute without taking forever to finish.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

Why hello there! I'm so excited to share this pseudo-finished project with you! It still needs a button, hence the pseudo, but for all intents and purposes, I'm calling this sweater complete! It turned out so well, and I can't wait to wear it out. It's really heavy and warm (100% wool), so it should be a nice layering piece now that winter is finally here.

You can find my Ravelry notes for this project here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

On My Bookshelf: January

In 2015, I completed my goal of reading 30 books by finishing 37, and this year, I plan on hitting the same goal with the hope that I can exceed it again. I read so many amazing books last year, and I hope that I also have some amazing reads this year as well! If you have any book suggestions for me, please let me know! I read pretty much everything, so no suggestion will go overlooked!

This month I hope to read:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I actually started reading Anne of Green Gables a few days before the new year, but I didn't get very far into it, so I'm adding it to this list for the month. I had forgotten how good this book is though. It is so well written, and while the plot is pretty basic, the words are absorbing.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
If you've read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, then you'll know that each chapter is preceded by a little sub-story. Well, that sub-story has now been expanded upon and placed in its own book, and I'm excited to read it! It's a little Harry Potter-esque, which is never a bad thing.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
While I'm usually a proponent of reading books before seeing their movie adaptation, I actually have already seen this movie already and am just now getting around to reading the book. But that's okay! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and since I am a proponent of all things Jane Austen, I have high expectations of the book too.

Friday, January 1, 2016

16 Things to Do In 2016

Wow, 2016 already. 2015 was quite a year. So many unbelievable things happened, coupled with some really sad times as well. But that's the way that life goes--every day is new and different, and it's hard to anticipate everything that is going to happen in a year. Because as this past year has shown, a lot can happen. But I'm definitely looking forward to 2016. This year is going to hold some really great times, and even though David and I haven't set a date yet for our wedding, who knows, maybe we'll get married this year! Since I can't write that in stone yet, 16 other things that I want to happen this year are as follows:

1. Finish reading the Bible in its entirety.
2. Learn how to sew.
3. Visit a state I've never been to before.
4. Build my personal brand.
5. Take more pictures.
6. Learn to knit cables.
7. Learn to be a better fiancee, sister, daughter, and friend.
8. Read at least 30 books.
9. Attend the wedding of a friend.
10. Write more poetry.
11. Find something positive in every situation.
12. Go through my belongings and weed out items to donate.
13. Get a yoga mat and start doing yoga again.
14. Sell something that I've made.
15. Get a raise at work.
16. Keep kicking butt at grad school.

I think #11 is especially important. Negativity is such a drain on energy, whether physical, mental, or emotional, and it can genuinely affect our health. Every situation is what you make it, so put your best foot forward and keep going, trying to find something good in every person and every aspect of life. Bad days happen, but don't take it out on yourself or others.

I'm not a huge fan of winter, but I'm trying to see it not as a time of being permanently chilled, but a time of reveling in hot drinks, sitting by a fire, snuggling under hand-knit blankets, and sharing kisses under mistletoe.