Summer Reading Kick Off

So on Saturday (June 4th) the library did their summer reading kick off. They had live music, wild games, a craft/bake sale and silent auction, and a car wash. Let me tell you for a rainy Saturday at the start of summer it was a huge success. They were using this opportunity to help raise funds for library programming.Many people think that libraries are just places to get books, but they can and do offer so much more. It’s true that you can check out books of all genres but they also offer puzzles, games, and even fishing poles. Then there is the free WiFi and computer access (nominal fees for printing of course). BUT did you know some libraries have a monthly game night? Or what about a free movie night? (Ours is offering Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies as this month’s movie) What about book clubs. or even writers groups? Do you like Dungeons and Dragons? Some libraries might even offer a dungeon night.

I will admit as a home schooling family I am pretty partial to our library. They let us get books without breaking the budget, and since we are tight with one of the librarians she even gets us books from other states (ok so they will do that for anyone with their interlibrary loan program). So as summer kicks off across the U.S. go show your local library some support. They might just surprise you. I’ll keep you updated with our events, so drop me a comment and let me know what your library is doing (or what you are doing for your library).

 

Keep on reading (and be on the look out for some new book reviews and craft projects coming from me.) And be safe as you enjoy your summer holidays.

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Getting Closer

May is quickly drawing to a close. The next week is going to be super busy on my end. In the coming days this is what is going on:

  1. Writing Group: We met yesterday and talked to a local magazine. The River Valley Journal of Art. (www.rvja.com) They are looking for a fresh face (people who have not been heavily published etc) to grace their pages. The items that he showed us as examples were definitely on the unusual side which works great for the group. We are the type that like to dance to our own beat.
  2. Library Craft Sale and Summer Reading Kick Off: On June 4th the local library is having its summer reading kick-off. Part of that is going to be an auction and craft fair to help raise money for library programs (like the writing group, book club, teen events, computer classes, etc) and to help raise money for the building fund to raise money to expand the library.
  3. Feel Better Friends: These doll requests are coming in so fast we are getting them back to back. For more information on this charity (or to donate or become a volunteer) check out http://www.fbfdolls.org. Or look for them on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/FeelBetterFriends/)
  4. Then off course there are my own personal projects (that I try to work on as I can). I am also reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff than I will be starting Sarah’s Key (our book for the June meeting)

Tuesday Writing Group

So my daughter and I participate in a weekly writing group (yes it is meant for teens but they needed more people so I participate as well). We discuss different writing styles, last month we did poetry (April is National Poetry Month), and then we write and discuss. Sometimes there are prompts other times it’s just a free writing time.

The adult group that meets right after us has published an anthology (River Valley Writers Presents Scenes of the South An Anthology) which got us interested in making one as well. The kids, and adults (we have 2 adults besides me one is a library employee and the other is a local author Miss Brandy Nacole), are working on short stories and/or poems to be published.

This has been an amazing opportunity for my daughter, she works every night at the computer pushing up her word count to try to get her work finished. Once everyone submits their work we will work of fine tuning it and then on to try to get it published. To think that our kids are going to have their names out there as published authors is an amazing thought.

I will keep you posted as things progress towards our future publication date. This is most definitely a busy time of year. Between writing club, book club, summer reading program coming up in June and trying to start my craft business (this is the start of craft fair season in my area also) I will hopefully have plenty to talk about.

 

After Book Club

So last night was our book club meeting. I will admit when I went in I had not finished the book (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). And I will be honest in saying that as of right now I still have not finished it. In fact I highly doubt I will finish it. This book was not bad (everyone but myself that was there highly enjoyed the book) but I have to much of an analytical mind for the constant jumping around. The book is written in an epistle (letter) format and trying to keep up with who wrote what to who and when made my brain hurt. Some parts where very entertaining and interesting and others were just the random thoughts of the main letter writer. I managed to get half way through the book before I just couldn’t force myself to go further. Next month we will be reading Sarah’s Key. I will post the Goodreads Synopsis below and let you know what I think of that one. (One of the members who was not there last night says she loves this book and I know we have similar book interests so I am keeping hope that it will be one I can finish).

 

Sarah’s Key

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Working on Saturday?!?

So I have been really trying to turn my craft hobby into a craft business. I got myself an Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/iCraftyCarrie?ref=l2-shopheader-name) after much thought and research. I have also been checking out my local competition both online (through the local Facebook groups, Craigslist, etc) and at the craft fairs that are starting to pop up now that summer is upon us.

Let me tell you, it is a lot of work and while I have not made any sales yet I have begun. Every journey starts with one step and y’all I took that first GIANT leap. I am hoping that this will help me to support my craft addiction and allow me to donate more (both items and funds) to causes that mean a lot to me (like Feel Better Friends @ fbfdolls.org and my local library system).

So today I want to thank each of you that have been following along on my journey, not just with my crafts but with my writing and my book reviews. I appreciate each and everyone of you and hope you will join me on the rest of my travels in this crazy thing we call life.

Long Time No Post

So I have been totally MIA for a while (no excuses I have just been awful about posting). So some updates!!!

  1. Book Club: Our local library has a book club that meets once a month. I joined a little while ago but haven’t really talked about it much. So let’s recap what I have read for it this year:
    1. January was A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner. Here is what Goodreads has to say: A beautiful scarf, passed down through generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away… September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her? September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive that terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers … the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?
      1. Sounds good right? Well most of the people in the group would agree with you. Personally I found the two main female characters to be portrayed as your stereotypical weak female. They both suffered loss and while I empathize with grief I do not agree with romanticizing locking yourself away from reality in order to avoid dealing with it. Also this is not the type of book I would normally choose to read, but it did prompt me to do some research about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fires since that was not something I had previously learned about.
    2. February was Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. Here is what Goodreads has to say:  A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel — an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics — their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him — nearly destroying him — Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.
      1. Now this one I was excited to read… BUT life got in the way and I haven’t finished it yet (It’s a longer one) SO as soon as I get my reading mojo going I will let you know what I think. This was one most of the group seemed almost ambivalent to.
    3. March brought us Civil War Wives by Carol Berkin. Here is our trust blurb from Goodreads: Here are the life stories of three women who connect us to our national past and provide windows onto a social and political landscape that is strangely familiar yet shockingly foreign. Berkin focuses on three “accidental heroes” who left behind sufficient records to allow their voices to be heard clearly and to allow us to see the world as they did. Though they held no political power themselves, all three had access to power and unique perspectives on events of their time. Angelina Grimké Weld, after a painful internal dialogue, renounced the values of her Southern family’s way of life and embraced the antislavery movement, but found her voice silenced by marriage to fellow reformer Theodore Weld. Varina Howell Davis had an independent mind and spirit but incurred the disapproval of her husband, Jefferson Davis, when she would not behave as an obedient wife. Though ill-prepared and ill-suited for her role as First Lady of the Confederacy, she became an expert political lobbyist for her husband’s release from prison. Julia Dent Grant, the wife of Ulysses S. Grant, was a model of genteel domesticity who seemed content with the restrictions of marriage and motherhood, even though they led to alternating periods of fame and disgrace, wealth and poverty. Only late in life did she glimpse the price of dependency. Throughout, Berkin captures the tensions and animosities of the antebellum era and the disruptions, anxieties, and dislocations generated by the war and its aftermath.
      1. Now don’t get me wrong this is a NON-fiction book. A majority of the group did not finish it, I was one of them. BUT I did do a little digging on my own and needless to say these women were interesting in their own rights but this book reads more like a dry history text book than anything else. It was very hard for me to get into it even though I am a fan of the Civil War Era.
    4. April brought us 2 books both by Harper Lee. Yup To Kill A Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman. Not going to give you the blurbs for both of these books since most everyone reads To Kill A Mockingbird at some point in their school life. So here is the down low on Go Set A Watchman: From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch–“Scout”–returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past–a journey that can be guided only by one’s conscience.  Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision–a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.
      1. I LOVE To Kill A Mockingbird, and that seems to be the general feeling of the rest of the group. There was a lot of mixed feelings about Go Set A Watchman and honestly several members REFUSED to read it (for many reasons including: not wanting to ruin their image of Atticus, and feeling like Harper Lee never wanted it published so someone possibly took advantage of her). I read it however. While it was an ok book, it didn’t have the same flow and feel as To Kill A Mockingbird. It truly felt like someone else was writing it (and Harper Lee wrote Go Set A Watchman first but was told it would not sell and needed to be re-written which is how we got To Kill A Mockingbird). Not my favorite book but also not horrible. Just keep an open mind and PLEASE finish the book, everything is not how it looks I promise.
    5. Finally we have this month’s book, The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Blurb it: “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
      Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
      Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

      1. We meet on Monday so I will post next week with the group opinion as well as my own little review. (I’d give you my opinion now BUT I’m still reading it lol)
  2. Etsy Store: You are reading that right, I opened an Etsy store to try to build my craft empire. It is still in it’s beginning stages but come check me out, favorite my shop, place a custom order you know help a sister out lol. I’m to be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/iCraftyCarrie?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  3. And Finally some craft news: I am on block 6 out of 9 on my Whovian Cal (that was supposed to be done at Christmas, I’m so behind lol) and I have a mandala madness cal I am participating in (We are on week 9 out of 18 and I am happy to say I am about to start this week’s work so I am where I need to be there). Here are some photo updates.

Just an update

So life has been a little crazy the last few months. I had to move from where I was living and an now in a new place, new house, new city, new county. I’m a person who normally despises change of any kind, it’s a flaw I know I need to work on, but I really like my routine. Well since moving I’ve been without internet unless I’m at the library so keeping up with things has been difficult. We got our internet connected yesterday so I’m hoping to start getting back to a more normal routine. I’ve got a few things I need to catch up on, my book reviews for one. I’ve got around for books waiting to be read and reviewed. I’m also working on a crochet temperature blanket for this year but I’m about the weeks behind on it since I’ve been dealing with bronchitis and no energy. Once I’m completely well I’m looking forward to catching up on my blanket, and getting back into my charity work with Feel Better Friends. So for now it’s all catch up but things are starting to turn back around. Here’s a doodle to catch your eye that I worked up this morning. Happy Thursday everyone.

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