Wednesday, October 26, 2016

{Yarn Along} Pocketbooks and Pistols

It took me two months to knit the first sock. There was a completed pair in the middle with a bit of lace work, but that's still way too much time to spend on one sock. I'm on day five of the second sock and two of those days I only managed a couple of rows. But I'm getting there. Maybe I'll even have these done in time to cast on with the yarn I'd intended to knit with in October!

I think I've finally figured out what I like so much about the Haley Randolph mystery series by Dorothy Howell. They're like guilty-pleasure reality television. It doesn't matter that Haley is kind of shallow or that she doesn't have a particularly strong work ethic -- she's fun to read about. She's also grown a lot as the series progressed and has always cared about her friends and family.  (And she's a refreshing change from so many other cozy heroines who are perfect and know it.) In the latest book, Pocketbooks and Pistols, Haley is working two jobs. Being an event planner suits her well, and her part time job at the unbearably Holt's Department Store gets her a fabulous discount at a high end chain where she can buy the clothes and designer bags she lives for. In fact, this time it looks like she'll be able to just walk in and buy a Mystique, this season's hottest new accessory. But then she finds a body by the Holt's dumpster and she finds herself involved in a murder investigation. Because if Holt's closes, she loses her employee discount and the bag of her dreams.  And Haley isn't going to let that happen.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy by the publishers. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Yarn Along 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How do You Feel About Fussy Cutting?

I love the results that other people get, but I'm always hesitant when it comes to fussy cutting. My usual goal is to use as much of the fabric as humanly possible, especially when it comes to a favorite print, but for the project I have in mind I'm going to need to get the right image and to get it more or less centered.

I think the rectangles I've marked out are the best plan, but I'm going to sleep on it before I do any actual cutting. Just in case I change my mind.

Monday, October 24, 2016

7 Days to Halloween

I actually drove past this car without noticing the skeletons. HOW?!  Once Teenage son pointed them out to me (and asked how I could possibly miss them) we circled back for a parking space so he could get pictures.

Because they're adorable in a realistically skeletal way. This is the absolute best Halloween thing I've seen all month.

I've seen all of these posts about how hard it is to take a break from social media. It's not. Just spend a very long day at the Retro Gaming Expo with your teenage son and follow it immediately with an even longer day at the pumpkin patch with your two younger boys. You'll be too tired to even think of looking at Facebook or Pinterest or writing a blog post. Or maybe it doesn't count because while they were waiting in lines I read two books on the Kindle app of my phone. (I say it counts because it would count if I'd been reading something on paper.)

I didn't intend to do those two things back to back. The pumpkin patch was supposed to wait until next weekend, but the weather looked good and I decided it would be better to be dry and exhausted than getting as absolutely soaked as I did last year. On the plus side, I've never, ever seen my youngest boys wear themselves out like that.   I've got three happy sons and I'm not leaving the house again for days.

Unless I need something for Halloween costumes, because I'm running out of time and have absolutely no plan.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Food52 A New Way to Dinner

The idea behind Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Strategies for the Week Ahead is that you do most of the prep work on the weekend and then use what you've already cooked to make quick meals the rest of  the week. That sounds like exactly the kind of miracle I've been looking for, so I happily accepted a review copy from  the publisher.

There's a lot about this book to like. There are a lot of  recipes here, all with clear instructions. Weekly shopping lists are divided  into categories to make the trip to the store easier. Shortcuts and substitutions are offered in case your weekend doesn't allow for all of the suggested tasks. There are deserts and alcoholic beverages and lunches, not just dinners.

Ultimately, this isn't the book that's going to solve my nightly struggles. Too many of the foods are either completely unfamiliar or things that I know my family won't eat (and that's just taking the adults into consideration.) I'm looking for meals that I can prepare with products from the local grocery store... I'm not expecting to find ramps or garlic scapes when I can only find leeks on a good day. That's not a complaint about the book, though. It's a great looking plan that's not well-suited to our household.

What's your nightly plan? Anyone know of a cookbook or great website that's got healthy food with less exotic ingredients?

Disclosure - The publisher provided me with an electronic ARC. 


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