Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 reading goals

I usually join a year long challenge or three, but I really couldn't find any that sparked my interest this year. So, I made up my own challenges/goals for 2015: or, technically, I'm rehashing old goals!

 For 2015, I'm going to:

  • read 60 books (craft books/cookbooks do not count unless there is non-recipe/pattern chatter that makes up at least 25% of the book)
  • continue to review at least 25 craft/cook books for the blog
  • reread favorite childhood series: Little House and Anne of Green Gables. This is one of those rehashing of old goals I was just writing about
  • read Robert Heinlein's books I haven't read before. He's one of my favorite authors of all times, but it's amazing how many books/short stories I haven't read by him. This is another previous book goal
  • new goal for this year: Reread North and South by John Jakes, and read the rest of the series 
  • continue my 2014 goal of rereading the Outlander series. Currently on #2
  • continue mixing my reading: some library, some netgalley, some amazon freebies, some reviews on books I got directly from the author, and most importantly, some non-fiction. I want to really try to concentrate on reading stuff off my TBR pile, something I always, always neglect!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

intentional living: goals Dec 28-January 4

How did you do working on your goals this past week? I didn't have a lot with the holidays and I managed to accomplish everything, for once! Here's this week's goals:
Is anyone interested in becoming an accountability partner?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Alyssa's hand knit sweater: flax

My niece, alyssa, wearing her new hand knit sweater by her favorite auntie A :).

Pattern is flax; yarn is vannas choice.

Of course, as a knitter we always knit pick what we make; the body's a smidge long (but she'll grow into that, at least) but the sleeves are just a smidge too short. I actually thought I knit the sleeves about a 1/2" longer than the pattern stated to make sure she had room to grow; I guess it's a good thing I did add the length!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy birthday dad!

My dad turned 65 recently, though he probably wouldn't be very happy with me for sharing that :).

We got together to celebrate with my dad today, just the four of us.

We had a nice quiet day - you can see my dad holding a photo of the two of us from earlier this year, in a frame I made with sea glass we gathered from that day.

We went out to eat at one of our favorite local restaurants, Cancun's (Mexican) and of course had drinks :).

We came back home, dad unwrapped more presents and we had cake and ice cream and managed to play some wii.

A nice quiet, relaxing, enjoyable day for my dad, I hope :)

intentional living: goals Dec 21-27

How did you do this past week with your goals? I did OK considering how close Christmas is and how busy we are.

I never joined a book club, but I did join an online MOOC that I'm super excited about on Richard III of England, a king I know some things about, but mostly because of historical fiction books I've read (and because I'm a geek, I often have to research to see what's true and what's false in a historical fiction book).

For my designing goals, I never did go onto Ravelry or work on my vest design, but I knew in setting the goals it was probably pretty futile.

Next week's goals:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Raspberry Lace Shawl

Another recent published design of mine is the Raspberry Lace Shawl.

I used the absolutely divine yarn made by Sweet Georgia Yarns called Trinity Worsted, in a raspberry color of course!

The yarn is a merino, cashmere and silk blend, and was just so pretty, and was so much fun to crochet with.

It is also in the Crochet Through the Seasons issue of I Like Crochet (remember the afghan I showed last week? Same issue).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Crochet world

I'm so excited to announce my latest design in the next issue of crochet world magazine! 

Hits newstands dec 30 so please check it out!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Progress on the advent calendar scarf

Intentional living dec 14-20

How did I do last week? Well it was my first week but I did ok.

I did some wrapping, our date night was spent sleeping, I did spend a lot of time setting up the planner for 2015. I did none of designing to dos and I did not stretch at all last week (or any other exercise for that matter). I did go on facebook which I normally neglect.

For the upcoming week (not much since we are so clue to christmas)

Friday, December 12, 2014

It's official! I'm signing up for COYER! I admit it, I'm a reading junkie, and my reading has been off this year because I haven't had an official blog reading home. I've done some posting here and there, sharing reviews at goodreads and the occasional other blog, but you guys are going to get stuck with me again. I'm thinking about maybe creating a website, separating the different subjects I'll be blogging about, but for now, here goes....

I'll decide upon a more official list over the weekend, but for now, some thoughts upon what goes on my list:

(amazon freebies)

(from netgalley)

  • Daughter of the Reef

  • Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad Christine Rudsel and Bob Blaisdell
I'll edit this list over the weekend when I have the time/energy to really go through my ereaders. 

If you join, please mention my name, so I can be entered to win a gift card to buy more books :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sinfully Simple Afghan in I Like Crochet magazine

I was really excited to design this afghan (though I do admit, the photo is not flattering).

The design is called "Sinfully Simple Afghan" because it is easy for anyone to make! I actually was rather sad when I finished the afghan, because i enjoyed making it so much (I was making the sample in the heat of August, which shows how much I enjoyed making it - in the heat and humidity of a Massachusetts summer with no air conditioning!)

It uses a few different stitches, so the pattern is always changing, but it is very easily memorized, very easy to keep your place, and doesn't involve any counting !

It is from the special Crochet Through the Seasons issue of I Like Crochet.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Intentional living goals dec 7

Wrap presents
Date night

Set up planner
Sign up for a book challenge
Get flute looked at / fixed

Vest design

Stretch 4 times


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Summer Drop

I'm so very pleased to announce one of my latest designs, Summer Drop.

 Ever since Snowdrop came out in Crochetvolution, I’ve wanted to revisit the shawl.

 I finally came up with what I think is a lacier, more upscale version. It still has the same asymmetrical shape, it's still very easy to make, and you can still use any yarn, any hook size and any gauge, and make any size you want.

This version is made using a fingering weight yarn, and a larger than normal hook, and used 100 grams of yarn.

 Heavy blocking is needed to open up the lace pattern, so using a fiber you feel comfortable with blocking is a must.

Pattern is on Crochetvolution for free!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Planner 😀

I'm so excited to join the planner community! I'm starting off with a plain ole 3 ring binder, but I'll move into an arc system at some point in 2015.

I've never used a planner - and - I barely have used a calendar. Yup my life has been a disorganized mess! I've always been a fan of list making though so here I am trying a planner and hoping to get organized!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (Zombie, #1)Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm very divided about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it - it was a very "read that it and don't stop until you are done" kind of book - it's been a while for me since I read one of the books. On the other hand, there is just so, so much you have to just accept in the book - most of all, the fact that not only can Allison find internet (fairly easily), but that there's a great big military wi-fi signal that doesn't require a log-in or a password (yeah, right) AND the fact that she can hold onto her laptop while fighting zombies and killing people.

I also got a little frustrated at how perfect Allison is. She obsesses about finding her mom (naturally enough) but that's the only remotely negative thing about her. She's writing blog entries at a run, but yet she uses complete grammar, perfect spelling, and she's never frantic or even really scared.... Okay, that's really believable... (insert sarcasm).

Yes, she was a grad student majoring in lit, but please, you are running for your life! She of course is so brave and strong, she can use an AXE for crying out loud, perfectly, the first time she goes to swing through a zombie's head ? Isn't cutting through bone a little hard? Shouldn't she have missed at least the first time with something as ackward as an AXE?

And of course she finds love almost right away - and that relationship is less than perfect (without giving anything away) but of course she handles it so so well with barely a blimp on her radar ....

All in all, yes, it's a great read, but take it with a grain of salt.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Long time no see! Despite my best intentions - having a "design" only blog, where I really only share design stuff, just doesn't work for me. I'm like all of you, I have many facets and having a blog with just one side doesn't work. I tried really hard to find a "group" blog or two that I could join to get some of the blogging itch out of my system, and I couldn't find one that was compatible. I wasn't looking for much; people in my decade, that's all folks. I didn't want to work with teenage bloggers on this very first blog. So, I think I'm switching it up again. You'll be seeing a variety of posts from me, whenever I feel like it. My current obsession is trying to find, learn how to use, and decorate a planner, so you may even see planner pages. I'm spending most of my online time now at instagram: I'm anastaciaknits, the cat is wedgethecat, and hubby's jonzittel (I think)

Friday, October 24, 2014


I'm still working on setting up my little planner. I'm making do - diy iny it all myself. My inserts for 2015 are taken out from a cheap spiral bound planner and I hole punched them to fit. What sections do you have? I have my calendar section,  a master list section, intentional list section (new to me but I'll try it), a gratitude and a book section.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

fall into fall kal / cal

Just a reminder - the fall into fall cal / kal is going strong!  Join us!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

mid- readathon survery

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? the Fifth Vertex

2. How many books have you read so far? Let's see... I finished We're Alive Season One & the Borrowers, & I started listening to the second year of We're Alive... 33% done Fifth Vertex. Read some of Grimm's Fairy Tales, which was on my list to read today. 

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I'm running out of time to read... I'm not a night owl, and I'm not staying up for the readathon (kudos to those of you who do!) so I'm looking forward to just finishing the Fifth Vertex

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Many, many :) some my own, some that couldn't be prevented. I'm not worried about it - it's all in good fun, and any reading I get done today is more than I usually get done on a Sat

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Hmm. Nothing, really... sorry

finished during the readathon: book reviews

Finished during the Readathon: The Borrowers (The Borrowers, #1)The Borrowers by Mary Norton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

one of my favorites as a kid

We're Alive: A Story of Survival, the First SeasonWe're Alive: A Story of Survival, the First Season by K.C. Wayland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

LOVED it! Got through the first season in about ten days. I was trying not to rush it too much. Can't wait to start season two - in about ten minutes from now.

View all my reviews

mini challenges

Hour three mini challenges are done! And the first book has been finished - the Borrowers, by Mary Norton. weird reading position - I was trying to take a pic of me reading under the bed (I used to do that as a kid) but there wasn't enough height under the bed to take the photo - and for the shelfie challenge, my knit/crochet books - Now off to read - Fifth Vertex, a book I got from netgalley

read a thon

Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? a little town in MA 

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? TGI Friday's chips

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm a 30something professional knit & crochet designer

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Getting some books read & hopefully meeting new bloggy friends!

First mini challenge completed - I prefer coffee: (follow me on instagram: I'm anastaciaknits)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dewey's 24 hour readathon / run from reality / trick or treat / chills and thrills readathons!

Anyone who knows me, knows that my two big passions & joys in life are yarn & books. I try, for the most part, to stick with yarn for this blog, though in the past I've blogged about both & had a just craft blog & a just book blog in my blogging life.

Well sometimes a gal can't resist the temptation to write about books anyway - the temptation has been so bad, I've been chatting with a nice gal online named Ana about us maybe starting a book blog together, 'cause I just miss it so much.

Anyway... I digress. I'm participating in Dewey's 24 hour readathon this year, which starts... tomorrow. I'm signing up way late to the game, but I'm so behind on my behind on my personal & review books, that I need a readathon to get caught up!

I am currently in the middle of reading about 6 different books - so I'll work on finishing Through the Looking Glass (struggled with this one, as I did with Alice in Wonderland), though I'd really love to just finish it today... if I don't finish it today, it's first on the list for tomorrow. finished! I also want to finish the Romanov Sisters.

I also joined Ana's Run from Reality (love that name) readathon, which starts right after Dewey's - and runs through the end of the month, and a couple Trick or Treat Halloween / chills and thrills readathon that run from Oct 24th through Halloween. I'm going to be away for our anniversary for some of that time, so I probably won't get much reading done, but it's fun to dream about anyway. My only definite plans right now for the "horror" themed readathons is Frankenstein & Dracula & Six Women of Salem (non-fiction, not really "horror" but I figure it fits the theme!) Does anyone think Grimm's Fairy Tales fits the theme?

which runs Oct 24th through the end of the month. Yes, I'm really hoping to get some reading done!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stitch It Simple

Stitch It Simple: 25 hand sewn projects to make and shareStitch It Simple: 25 hand sewn projects to make and share by Beth Sheard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A simple little, beginner sewing book, complete with templates and full color photographs. The book has a variety of projects and filled with ideas for items to make for your home. It's designed for beginner sewers (like me), but unfortunately, most of the projects aren't anything I would actually make, as they are a little too cutesy and a little too, well, plain.

That being said, it's a great book for beginners who want to learn to sew for the home (which to me is easier because you don't have to worry about fit issues like you would in making, say, a dress).

received a review copy for free from netgalley

View all my reviews

Friday, October 10, 2014

review: Christmas Ornaments to Crochet by Barbara Christopher

Christmas Ornaments to CrochetChristmas Ornaments to Crochet by Barbara Christopher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An extremely disappointing crochet book.

The designs are extremely simple - most are 4 or 5 rounds, use only a few basic stitches, and most of the ornaments are variants of one another, with only one or two rounds different from each other. The photographs are very simple (each ornament photographed on a plain background) but what got me about the photography is that clearly the ornaments were not properly blocked & / or stiffened, like all thread ornaments should be. I got the impression that perhaps the designer is not as experienced as one would like, to make such a rookie mistake (the only other book I can find by the author is another crochet ornament book, with equally badly photographed & unblocked ornaments).

Another thing I found really unaccepted for a thread crochet book are that none of the ornaments are charted.

View all my reviews
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