Saturday, July 25, 2015

Go Take a Hike

I may be a little behind the hype on this one, since the book was published in 2012 and the film has already been released on DVD, but I recently read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and found it deeply moving so I want to share my review in case it catches the eye of anyone who is on the fence about it.  In my opinion, all the publicity surrounding this book is well deserved
As a reader, I appreciated that Cheryl Strayed seemed very honest.  She did not paint a portrait of herself as some trail goddess, effortlessly stomping past the nay-sayers.  Instead, she allowed an intimate and unashamed glimpse into her mishaps on the trail as well as her past, choosing not to exclude her failures.  The book bounces back and forth in time, between the author's family history and coming of age to her epic quest on the the Pacific Crest Trail.  This format made for a quick plot and a nice mixture of adventure and backstory.

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The plot gathered so much momentum that I started the book in audio format and had to switch midway through because I wanted to soak up the details faster than the narrator was giving them to me.  With the book in my hands, I tore through the pages to see if Strayed would make it to the "finish line" before having her will shattered by the various obstacles she encountered during her trek.  The hike easily materialized in my imagination with detailed descriptions of the ways she dealt with the loneliness of the trail, singing folk songs aloud during the day and clinging to the comfort of books in the evenings.  


I watched the movie shortly after completing the book, and I loved the experience of seeing the whole story come to life without being butchered by Hollywood.  The soundtrack is fantastic, and Nick Hornby did a superb job writing a screenplay that stayed fairly true to the book.  I will not soon forget this unflinching portrayal of one woman's rock-bottom and her inspiring quest to reshape her life.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We Were Liars

Just yesterday, I finished a book that completely swept me away.  I'm having a hard time getting it out of my head, and of course that may be because I'm in that dream-like haze one often encounters in the wake of a really good book.  But I can tell that even after the initial excitement wears off, this will be a story I'll carry with me.  I get so excited when I find a book like that, so I wanted to share this one because, judging by the buzz, I'm certain there are many readers out there who would find it as moving and engaging as I did.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


I was absolutely captivated by this book, from beginning to end. The pages of the story were sprinkled with quote-worthy lines, and kept me completely engaged. Although this is a YA book, it has such a wide appeal that it could easily find its way into the favorites of adult readers. With characters who feel like your own dysfunctional family and a plot that makes you anxious for answers, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I'm so glad I picked up.

I'll leave you with two of my favorite quotes from the book.



Have a great weekend!  Whether it's this particular title or not, I hope you find the time to relax with a good book.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Indie Emporium is Coming!

Good afternoon, friends!  I mentioned in my recent terrarium tutorial post that I took on a new position at work earlier this year.  I really feel like I'm in my element now, and I've become married to my work so to speak.  That being said, I decided it was important to participate in at least one craft show this year despite this newly increased workload.  If you've ever witnessed my excitement about Indie Emporium in past years, you might have guessed that even if I reduce the amount of craft shows I take on to one a year, THIS will be the one!

So rather than neglecting my blog and focusing 100% of my passions into my day job, I'm shining some light onto the crafty side of life by giving a you a little tour of what I have in store for this year's Indie Emporium!  Let's start with the swag.  Every year, there are swag bags consisting of samples and small gifts given to the first 50 people in line at the opening of the show Friday night.  The line gets longer each year since many of the vendors contribute to these bags, making them a treasure trove of fun things to browse (it is not uncommon to see the lucky recipients hovering in corners tearing into theirs, unable to overcome the suspense of wondering what's inside).  I've included things like guitar pick keychains, glow-in-the-dark magnets, herbal tea, buttons, and charms in the past, and I try to add something fun and fresh each year.  This time around I put together little sticker packs, each containing three upbeat sentiments.


Last year, I almost completely sold out of the craft kits I brought.  So this year, I'll be equipped with a huge stock of dream catcher kits and these fun sewing kits, which contain all the supplies and instructions for making your own little wallet.  I'll have plenty of bright new color combinations, too!


I also premiered my Slightly Slouchy Beanies last year to a pretty warm welcome, which made me happy because I came up with a pattern and tampered with it ceaselessly until I found what I believe to be the perfect fit.  I replenished my stock of solid colors for the 2014 show, and I whipped up some fun gradient style hats as well.


This idea came from a hat I made for myself in shades of green.  The shifting colors make it an easy accessory to fit into my wardrobe (in the photo above, I was acting goofy and wearing my gradient green beanie with a black tee and bright green corduroy pants).  Mine was getting a lot of use, and receiving some compliments too, so I came up with a variety of color combos to bring to the show.


Up next on the agenda, I'll be sculpting up some new creatures and a fresh batch of glitter acorn necklaces.  If you're in the Tulsa area and you've ever attended this show, you know what a blast it is and I hope you'll come back.  And for those who are close by but have never attended, you have GOT to experience this event!

Photo courtesy of Mandy Gross
There will be all kinds of fun, crafty things to do while you browse this impressive roster of makers.  I hope to see you in a few weeks at Indie Emporium 2014!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crochet Projects for Beginners

Hello there, crafty friends and creative souls!  In an attempt to help spread the art of crochet with young learners, I've been putting together a few very basic crochet projects designed with the absolute beginner in mind.  While my intention is to use these projects at the library to work with local teens on broadening their crafty skills, I also decided to share them with those of you out there in the world who either A) would like to learn and practice crochet, or B) already know how, but enjoy quick and easy project ideas.  

So this is the first and easiest of the two projects, and you can anticipate the other one very soon.  Today, I'm showing you how to make crocheted cotton washcloths (find the printable PDF version here).  I feel the need to emphasize how fast and easy these are to make.  An experienced crocheter can finish one in 15 minutes easily!  They work as washcloths, dish cloths, or even gifts- especially if you make a set of 4 and package them with some nice soap.  Grab your hook and let's get started!




You can finder a larger, printable copy of this tutorial here.  Feel free to share it with any budding crochet artists you might know.  Happy crafting!