my spring reading project…

Since my spring making project is making me so happy, I decided make a spring reading project as well. There’s also likely to be a spring watching project…because I seem to wallow in excess. Said excess will soon be quite apparent when I start listing the books I’d like to get read this spring. But honestly, not in my wildest dreams do I imagine I can read all of these books over the next three months. I’ll be elated if I read a quarter of them. It’s just that for one reason or another, these are the books that are calling my name right now.

First up, the books for homeschooling. Which doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not happy about reading them–in fact, I wouldn’t be having Gray read them if I wasn’t counting on them having some value.

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
  • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
  • Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Blood of Angels by Johanna Sinisalo
  • The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
  • Forty Days of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas
  • Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Snow Crasher by Neal Stephenson
  • Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
  • Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky & Boris Strugatsky
  • Metropolis by Thea von Harbou
  • Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora edited by Sheree Renée Thomas
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • First Along the River: A Brief History the U.S. Environmental Movement by Benjamin Kline
  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
  • 40 Days and 40 Nights by Matthew Chapman
  • Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman
  • Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman
  • Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley
  • Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson
  • Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone
  • The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollen
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses by Dorothy Crawford
  • Pandemic by Sonia Shah
  • The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson IMG_0491

Poetry has been calling to me lately. These are the books that I have checked out or on hold from the library right now, so obviously I’d like to get to them.

  • A Maze Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
  • Fidelity by Grace Paley
  • Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  • Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest
  • The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance : Poems 1987-1992
    by Audre Lorde
  • Morning Haiku by Sonia Sanchez
  • Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

And so have essays.

  • Shrill by Lindy West
  • Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
  • Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Can’t have a reading list for spring without at least a few comics. These are three of the many that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while.

  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  • Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

I have an enormous pile of books that I started but then got set aside for various reasons (most often because I just had more pressing things I had to read for school). Some I’ll be able to pick up where I left off; some I’ll likely just start over. Would like to try to get a few off this pile this spring. Would like to do a lot of things though, so we’ll see.

  • The Illustrated Treasure of Fairy Tales edited by Rita Marshall
  • The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy by Raj Patel

Books I want to read so I can get them out of the house. Due to my never-ending desire to declutter. That desire that is never met because there are four others living in this house who possess no such desire.

  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (lent to me by Mom)
  • Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris (I own this series and want to read them but am fairly sure I won’t feel the need to keep them.)

Science and nature picks.

  • No Way Home: The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations by David S. Wilcove
  • One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals by Deborah Noyes
  • Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics, and Promise of Seeds by Scott Chaskey
  • Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum
  • Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

Other non-fiction.

  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Fletcher Wortmann
  • Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner
  • In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America by Laurie Edwards

And last but not least, other fiction that is screaming “Read me now!”

  • allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
  • See No Evil by Eleanor Taylor Bland
  • Passing by Nella Larson
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn IMG_0489

After typing all this out (and sighing profusely at myself for my lack of restraint), I thought I’d better change that goal of reading a quarter of them to a goal of reading a tenth or a twentieth of them. But then I actually counted; there are 72 books on that list. A quarter of 72 is only 18, and that should be quite an easily doable number for three months. It’s the sticking to the list part that isn’t so easy…

a happy place…

It’s not big. It’s not fancy. Hell, it has a concrete floor, cement brick walls, pipes and wires galore. Not to mention the furnace, the water heater, the circuit box. Yes, it’s in the unfinished part of our basement. Do I care? Nope, indeed I don’t. Because it’s mine. My very own dedicated creating space. Bliss.

The overview shots: IMG_0546


Comfy chair and crocheting supplies: IMG_0547

Sewing and cross-stitching:


(Yes, one day I really ought to sew a cover for my sewing machine. And that little space heater won’t normally be there blocking my Silhouette, but it is particularly chilly in there right now. And the printer will sit on my journaling table whenever I’m working on sewing projects, but the electrical plug situation makes it handier to live where it is when I’m busy printing photos. So yeah, not perfect, but oh-so-workable.)

And last but not least, the scrapbooking stuff: IMG_0549IMG_0551

I love having three work surfaces: my big one for scrapbooking (and for cutting fabric if I’m making something that requires a bigger surface), a small one for journaling and having my current project life album laid out, and a second small one for sewing projects.

I love having my comfy chair in there. The one piece of upholstered furniture that allows me to sit comfortably without aggravating my fibro.

I love my new little carts with all the drawers in which I organized all my embellishments and stickers and die cuts. One cart by theme. One cart by color.

I love that I have everything in one place, instead of hidden away in whatever little bits of space I could find around the house.

I love that this place is mine.

my spring “making” project…

Some people love making lists. I am one of those people.

And some people love projects. I am one of those people too.

And some people love making lists and turning them into projects…and then inevitably fail to complete them. Oh yes, I am so one of those people.

But this time I am DETERMINED! (Yeah, like I don’t say that every time…)

Okay, but the thing is, whether or not I actually finish isn’t what really matters. What matters is that coming up with these projects makes me happy. Working on these projects makes happy. And anything that I do actually accomplish is sort of frosting on the cake. (Side note: Buttercream frosting also makes me happy.)

Yep, finally getting to the point here: my spring “making” project. I have a miles-long list of projects I’d like to make (as most crafts-lovin’ people do). And I have far more WIP than I care to admit (again, as most crafts-lovin’ people do, or at least that’s what I tell myself). So the hardest part of coming up with this list was weeding down all the possibilities. Anyway, here are the things I’m hoping to “make” before summer arrives:

  1. Finish ugly blanket. I started ugly blanket years ago during a craft area purge. I decided that I really needed to do something with all those darn scraps of yarn leftover from literally decades of crocheting. So a big warm cozy afghan was begun. The “ugly” part emerged soon after. The blanket is ridiculously large at this point, but I’m determined to empty this bag of scraps. If I manage to complete this item (which “of course I will!” says the positive-thinking portion of my brain) , ugly blanket will be ready just in time for summer reading fort season.
  2. Add 90 hexies to Kar’s blanket. I was going to make it one for each day of spring, but I decided to cut myself some slack and made it 90 instead of 92 or 93 or whatever the correct number is. I really love watching this baby grow! IMG_0558
  3. Finish Annie’s duster. Should I finish this before the end of April (which is the plan), it will be a gift for her birthday month. If I finish it later perhaps it will be a going-away gift. IMG_0565
  4. Finish the rug for the hallway. I’ve been held up on finishing because I ran out of white t-shirts. But during the process of purging for our big room switch, Gray got rid of a couple of white tees that no longer fit, so I’m hoping that will be enough to get me to the end of this beauty. (I’ve got about a foot yet to add to get it to the length I want.) IMG_0559
  5. Frame artwork and hang gallery wall. Speaking of our mini hallway, Dad generously made me this set of frames I requested for Christmas. It’s past time that I framed the art I wanted them for and got them hung in our little hall area. IMG_0562
  6. Finish Advent gifts. Which is a set of 24 crocheted snowflakes (a different snowflake for each day) for each of four recipients. So 4 x 24 = 96 crocheted snowflakes. I have 20 crocheted at this point, so that leaves 76 left to do. Plus all of them to starch and add hangers to. IMG_0563
  7. Make a pile of dishcloths and washcloths for Annie. Since she’ll be moving out at in late summer. *sobs*
  8. Put in 20 hours on Chris’s x-stitch. IMG_0566
  9. Put in 20 hours on Rich’s x-stitch. IMG_0567
  10. Put in 20 hours on my needlepoint picture. IMG_0570
  11. Make 50 scrapbook layouts. IMG_0571
  12. Finish second strip of quilt, and sew third strip. This is such a big, but such a beloved, project. I really need to get back to it and see some forward progress. IMG_0573
  13. Make an x-stitch towel for part of Chris’s birthday gift.
  14. Finish cross-stitch sampler. I designed this sampler a good 20 years ago, but had completely forgotten about it (despite having packed and moved it for half a dozen moves over the years) until I came across it during the room switch.

I’m not particularly known for my common sense (and am actually known for my lack of it in some circles), so it will not surprise anyone who knows me that my list originally ended with #12. But I like the number 14 better than 12, so I went in search of two more projects I was interested in working on right now. #ownworstenemy

So yeah. My spring “making” project. I’m going to try to update here every Wednesday…kind of a WIP Wednesday thing. But let’s face it, I kind of suck at keeping to a schedule. “Kind of”–haha, aren’t I being generous…

winter robins…

The snow has been gorgeously falling all morning. The winter robins flitting around in the sumac–a pure delight to watch. (Though my photos leave a lot to be desired.)

(I admit it–I have spent much time during the past few years mourning the loss of winters as they used to be. I know there are far more harmful consequences of climate change than the pain it causes my winter-loving soul. And I need to do a better job at appreciating the beauty that still exists, while never giving up on the fight to save this planet.)