Good Reads Thrillers

Thursday, October 26, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
Good Reads Thrillers September House

It is the spooky season, and I’ve been tucking into some good reads thrillers this month. If you like true crime podcasts, Britbox mysteries and watching 48 Hours, these might be some good books for you. I’ve been following a lot of #booktok recommendations. Watching and then reading, you can kind of sort through which TikTokkers have similar reading taste to you, and which ones have no taste at all! I also wonder what they do for a living, based on how many books they read per week. Some of these I tore right through, and others dragged a bit. I’m a fast reader, but there’s no way I can work full time, do everything I need to around the house, and read eight books in a week.

First up on the good reads thrillers list is The September House by Carissa Orlando, which I am currently reading. I am really enjoying it and it is a fast read. It has an interesting premise, which the author reveals right away. The main character lives in a haunted house, and the haunting reaches peak each year in the month of September. It’s a haunted house, so you can expect some descriptions of gore and death.

good reads thrillers The One by John Marrs

Next up for good reads thrillers is The One by John Marrs. It follows several individuals as they interact with an online dating service that matches you to your one soul mate based on DNA. It was a super fast read, done in about five hours. There is some violence, and not all things turn out well in the end. Still, I think it’s well worth a read for its interesting concept and clear writing.

Good Reads Thrillers Wonderland

I am a sucker for a book about a carnival or amusement park. I do compare everything I read in this genre to Stephen King’s Joyland, which I consider to be the best. Wonderland wasn’t as good, but I still didn’t really expect the ending. It’s fairly long, and took me awhile to get through.

good reads thrillers Pretty Girls

Lastly, there is Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Lots of folks on TikTok recommend it. I do not. It’s violent. It’s mostly about snuff porn. I wish I hadn’t read it.

What are you reading this spooky season?

September Update

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 0 No tags Permalink

Now that the month is nearly over, I figured it was time for a September Update. The soybean fields are turning gold. The gardens are ready to be put to bed for the year. The robins are gathering to make their trip south, and the other seasonal birds are long gone. The crab apples at Mom’s house have dropped, and stepping on them always reminds me of this scene:

In fact, why don’t we just jump straight to October. I made a hat for a project. Three days, followed the pattern, and this is the completed project:

I have a very small head. But the hat wouldn’t even fit me. I’m not sure it would fit Schlitzie either. Mom’s second knee replacement went well and she is recovering quickly. I had an awesome time with Kirsten, and we even got the carpet removed from Mom’s bedroom. The construction project started up in the lobby of the shelter, which made everyone mad. Does anyone even read this site any more?

October is a spooky month, and I have no creative outlet for it. I will put together some small packages for my pen pals at least.

Canine Carnival Craft Fair

Monday, August 28, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
Canine Carnival Craft Fair

The Canine Carnival Craft Fair at the shelter took place Saturday, August 26. This year, the second year of the event, we added a craft show. Mom and I had a little crochet booth. Mom did lots of craft fairs when I was young, but this was my first time selling anything.

Bob and I arrived at 6am to start setting up Mom’s booth. After that, we continued to work setting up the shelter tents for the kid crafts, face-painting, scavenger hunt, raffle and t-shirt sales, and more. Shevy did an amazing job with having everything prepared and organized.

Canine Carnival Craft Fair

So, the craft fair. We had been so busy crocheting items ahead of time, but it looked like a lot less when it was on the tables! I had a giant strawberry, medium strawberry, six strawberry keychains, eight mini froggies, 12 medium froggies and one large froggie, plus 30 hair scrunchies and one shawl. Mom had a couple of shawls, three purses, two hats, a large chicken, two cats, two octopuses, a cactus, a mini whale, four monkey cup holders, an assortment of other cup holders, a goblin and a mermaid. I had put a lot of work into setting up the booth with different levels and props (ferris wheel for froggies), but it didn’t match what I had in my mind. Oh well.

Canine Carnival Craft Fair
Canine Carnival Craft Fair

In the end, I sold the medium and the giant strawberry, a medium yellow frog, three scrunchies, and four strawberry keychains for a total of $80. Mom sold the smaller octopus, a cactus, both kitties, the goblin, a red monkey cup holder and four bells for a total of $84.

I’m not going to add in all of the booth hard costs like the tables, tent, table cloths and display items as we can use those again. I’ll have to add up how much yarn I spent. The booth cost was $25. I was pleased I sold some items, and I hope they hold up and folks are happy with their purchases. Mom and I have both gotten some asks for commissioned pieces after the show, which is nice. Over the next week, I’ll be putting up our leftover items on my Etsy account here.

I’m a little surprised the froggies and hair scrunchies didn’t do better. They are quite popular for YouTubers doing their own crochet craft markets. Not counting the fair day itself, or the prep to get the stuff organized for the tables, the crocheting took a fair amount of time and didn’t yield much money or sales in the end. I think it’s a fine hobby to have, and I’d probably do a fair again, but only as a hobby. I can’t see it really turning into a money-making side hustle adventure.

Heartland Yarn Adventure 2023 Day Two

Friday, August 11, 2023 0 No tags Permalink

For the Heartland Yarn Adventure 2023 Day Two, we set off for another set of local yarn shops (click here to read Day One). We started off in Chelsea, which is maybe the loveliest town in Michigan! First shop up was Artisan Knitworks. Love, love, love this shop!

Heartland Yarn Adventure 2023 Day Two

Artisan Knitworks has a collection of the most incredible buttons you’ve seen, and gorgeous yarn. It’s cozy and you just want to stay there. If you go, bring your crochet (or knitting) and sit for a spell!

Artisan Knitworks

If you can’t make it to Chelsea in person, check out their website and order online. Also, follow them on social media. You won’t regret it! I went crazy and bought two yarn hanks, one from Hanks Yarning Co which is dyed right there in Chelsea, and one from a company called Fyberspates (UK brand).

After Chelsea, we headed to Ann Arbor. Unfortunately for us, we chose a day that also held the farmer’s market and we couldn’t find a single parking space anywhere. After driving around for quite awhile, we gave up and headed to our final shop in Adrian.

heartland yarn adventure 2023 day two

Tink and the Frog has such a fantastic social media presence, I really wanted to go there. We parked and then had lunch at The Buzz Cafe before shopping. It was really tasty.

Tink and the Frog

It’s a really cute little store, and worth going if you are near Adrian! I again bought two hanks of yarn, one from Wonderland Yarns in the color of Cheshire Cat, and Malabrigo Rios yarn in the color Diana.

Road construction in Michigan has been horrendous this year, but Google Maps sent us on a country-road trip for the way home which was nice. We really enjoyed this year’s Heartland Yarn Adventure, and look forward to joining next year!

Heartland Yarn Adventure 2023

Friday, August 4, 2023 0 No tags Permalink

Mom and I joined the Heartland Yarn Adventure 2023, and had such a great time! We visited just four shops in Michigan during two days. It was a great opportunity to visit interesting towns, enjoy great meals and local restaurants, and support local yarn shops and fiber artists.

heartland yarn adventure 2023

We started our yarn adventure by picking up our passport at the Yarn Garden in Charlotte, Michigan. It had been many years since I had visited the Yarn Garden, and it was even better than I remember. Probably because the last time I visited, I wasn’t interested in crocheting and yarn! The Yarn Garden is the independent yarn shop of your dreams. It’s so cozy and feels familiar and like the place your soul is meant to wander.

Yarn Garden

They have gorgeous yarn, wonderful sample projects using the yarn, and the owners are the friendliest people ever. You should absolutely follow them on social media for great content regularly updated.

Yarn Garden

I wound up purchasing these adorable little cotton yarn cakes to make washcloths, and a beautiful hank of Manos del Uruguay – Alegria Grande yarn (buy your own from the Yarn Garden online here). Mom got a pattern book for amigurumi and yarn cakes to make a cat.

heartland yarn adventure 2023

Next up, we went to Woven Art in East Lansing. The folks there are so friendly! It’s a great shop if you’re not only interested in yarn, but in weaving.

Woven Art

Their logo is a cute little black squirrel! I purchased a second skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn, this time in Marla.

After shopping, we stopped at For Crepe Sake, where we had a delicious savory crepe and French strawberry soda for lunch. It was a great first day of shopping!
Come back to see Day 2.

Summer Reads 2023

Tuesday, July 25, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
summer reads 2019

My last year of summer reads was 2021. After that summer, something happened and I was no longer able to really enjoy reading. I’d get a headache or I couldn’t concentrate or I’d fall asleep. Very frustrating. This year I didn’t set out to do a summer reading program, but I got a new pair of prescription glasses. Instead of my progressive lenses for regular life, this is my prescription complete with prism but only for reading. It has made all of the difference! Though I’ve been quite busy with crocheting for the upcoming craft fair, I’ve managed to complete three books so far this summer. And with the algorithm on TikTok feeding me #booktok suggestions, I’ve got a list of books coming up! Here is the summer reads 2023, so far.

summer reads 2023

Jane Harper has become my favorite author, and her latest book Exiles came out at the perfect time. Another mystery that takes place in Australia, this book is the perfect mix of interesting story and a gorgeous backdrop described in a way that makes you feel like you’re there. Honestly, 10/10 for me.

summer reads 2023

Next up, Emma Torzs’ Ink Blood Sister Scribe. I saw this one on TikTok. It is light reading for sure. This book follows two sets of characters who work on writing and curating magic books, and brings them together in a unique way. It was enjoyable, but probably forgettable over time. 7/10.

summer reads 2023

People on TikTok love this Riley Sager book, The Only One Left. It is a murder mystery and it is set in Maine, which in my view is a great place for a summer read. It is one of those books where it goes along at a good clip, but then everything happens in the last 50 pages. Sager throws in everything and the kitchen sink at the end. I enjoyed the rest of the book more than the ending. I didn’t guess all of the plot twists, but it felt like there were so many that you couldn’t really savor any of them. 6/10.

Next up on my Summer Reads 2023 is another TikTok recommendation. This week is supposed to be hot, hot, hot, 90 degrees plus. Halloween decorations are already out at the stores. Folks are already thinking of back to school, and spooky books are taking over on recommendations. Everyone seems to love The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. Although I think that’s a stupid name for a book, I’m going to give it a try. I just started watching A Discovery of Witches on tv, based on the trilogy by Deborah Harkness which I started reading in 2012. Spooky season is on the way.

What are you reading this summer?

Mid July

How quickly the summer is going! It’s already past mid July. We’ve finished our first two of three summer events for the shelter, attended the Battle Creek Garden Tour, and had a lovely visit with Aunt Suzie, Gail, and Sydney.

mid July

This year’s garden tour was amazing. This is our third year attending. It’s hard to pick which garden was my favorite. The weather was lovely, not too hot, with a glorious breeze. I think this year’s theme was whimsy. Each garden had a number of really fun little touches.

mid July

My garden at home is also entering its stride mid July. We are now starting to get some sungold cherry tomatoes and some green beans.

Aunt Suzie, Gail and Sydney came for a visit, and we had a great time. Lots of laughs, and we worked on crocheting! Sydney is learning and doing a great job. I continue to make progress on my items for the craft fair at the Canine Carnival in August. Hoping I can have quite a bit up for sale. I’ve been making leggy froggies in a rainbow of colors.

As I’m kind of going freehand with them, so far each one is a little different. Hopefully as I keep making them, I wind up with some kind of standardization. The green one was first and yellow second. I’m also making some little ones to put on the ferris wheel.

I have read a couple of books, and will do a summer reads short update soon. I’ve had a bad round of headaches this summer. Is it stress? Smoke from the wildfires? Who knows, but it’s wearing me down.

Fourth of July

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. I know, how fast is this summer going?! In June I did a garden update as well as a crochet update. We finally had a day of rain yesterday, and I need to get some more photos and a video as the garden is looking really great. We aren’t getting much veg as of yet; a couple of sugar snap peas, one sweet banana pepper, and some rainbow chard is all.

Fourth of July
Fourth of July
Fourth of July

I’ve been crocheting hair scrunchies for the upcoming booth at the Canine Carnival. I hope to have about 30 of them ready for it, plus some other various projects. I know it will come up sooner than I expect. The Strut for the Strays is already this weekend.

crochet hair scrunchie

It seems like I’ve booked myself into a too-busy July and August. It’s a bit stressful overall I think. I need to take extra time to relax after each extrovert event or meeting, so it doesn’t build up too much. I’m envisioning a world and a life where I’m not constantly doing extrovert things that deplete my energy. Mom is making dinner for the Fourth of July, complete with a strawberry rhubarb pie which is my favorite. It will be nice to spend some time with her and Fanny. I’ve had a little time to read as well lately, so later this month I might even have a summer reads update. Reading glasses seem to make the difference in being able to concentrate and not get a really bad headache.

Hope you are having a great summer so far.

June Garden Update

Thursday, June 8, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
June Garden Update

It’s well time enough for a June garden update. How quickly this time of year passes! I’ve been working on the gardens, and though I have yet to make a video, I do have some photo updates. The image above is from Wenke Greenhouse, on the day Mom and I went to pick up our flowers and vegetables. Mom had her knee replacement surgery April 18 and is still making progress. We shared carts at Wenke and River Street Flowerland, and still were unable to fit anything else in the car. The color displays at Wenke were gorgeous this year (photo example above)! Normally we also do K Drive in the afternoon, but we were tired out from the morning.

June Garden Update

Mom added a new pot garden in the front yard near the pine stump, and this year I planted my vegetables in fabric pots. I added some plantings to our backyard as well. We also did our regular cemetery planting.

And I potted up some plants at the shelter entrance.

June Garden Update

We haven’t had any measurable rain since the Whisker Mixer event May 19th, and last week was in the 90s, so we are watering every other day. Everything is looking pretty good so far, I think. The first colorway to come in our front beds is purple, from the salvia to the Siberian iris, chives, and catmint. I love the color against the bright almost neon green or yellow from the baptisia and ornamental grasses.

As I mentioned, I am working a bit more on some back yard beds. First is Cato’s Garden, which needs more planting in addition to the one pot with a fern and coral bells. The hardscape around it features blue stones and driftwood, as Cato was always partial to water. I would like to add a small water feature maybe. I need to open up the space a little.

June Garden Update

I added a similar pot to Maxy’s Garden, which needs to be weeded out and mulched. The brunnera, ferns, and hostas are looking pretty good though.

June Garden Update

This year I added two large pots near the regular birdbath. My vision for this year is to have views of the gardens from every window instead of having the focus of the gardens for the people driving past on the road. I’m not sure I was successful. Backyard pots:

June Garden Update

That’s it so far for the June garden update, but things grow and change so quickly. I plan on taking some video and maybe doing some shorts as well, so check back soon. I also owe a post on other events going on, including some lovely time with the Russell family lately. How is your garden doing so far?

Spring Crochet Projects

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 0 No tags Permalink

For whatever reason, since I started crocheting, I have posted my recent projects. I haven’t posted in awhile, so I thought it was time for a spring crochet projects update. I’ve done a little work on various things this spring, and will be doing a bit more in preparation for the Canine Carnival in August. Mom has a craft space at the event, and said she would sell anything I have ready. I have a small list of things I’d like to sell, including hair scrunchies, cat hats, pumpkins, and dish cloths. Pictured above is a baby blanket I crocheted for one of my Board members who is having her second baby. The theme of the nursery is space/NASA, with dark blue and gray-blue colors. It’s made using Caron Simply Soft, the usual for my baby blankets.

Next up is a comfort blanket for a loved one. This morning is very chilly for June, so I’m sure it is coming in handy. The picture doesn’t do the color justice. This is the first time I’ve used Brava Tweed yarn, in the color Heron. It’s gorgeous light blue with flecks in it. The yarn is my new favorite, an absolute delight to work with. Never splits, feels great on the hands, and is so soft when done. My favorite crochet hook for all blankets is the Crystalites Acrylic Crochet Hooks in the size L11. This one is a hdc stitch with a ruffle border.

One of my goals for this year was to learn Tunisian crochet. Mom gave me a set of hooks, and I watched Toni’s wonderful video on how to crochet. TL Yarn Crafts is my favorite source for crochet ideas and tutorials online. Toni is like your best friend. You will just love her immediately. The yarn is from Hedgehog Fibres in Ireland, and is 100% merino DK in the color Insomnia. HHF is lovely yarn, but super expensive. It is soft enough for me to wear this cowl when completed, and I normally can’t wear wool. It took one skein.

Finally, we have this shawl. It’s from a pattern called Sugarblush from Expression Fiber Arts. I think I may have told you my secret; I can’t read crochet patterns. But this one was written easily enough I could follow it and I’m looking forward to trying more of her patterns. Her yarn is gorgeous, too. But this yarn is from Hue Loco‘s Cozy Colorado collection in the color of Comfort. It’s 100% Merino as well, but a bit uncomfortable for me. I’m sure it would be fine for someone without a wool issue though as it feels quite soft in general. It does need to be blocked still. This took two skeins. I will be selling it at the craft fair.

For me, crochet is many things. It’s like a moving meditation. It just feels good to move your hands like that. It’s creative, picking the colors and pattern. It’s an art that has something useful as a result when complete. It’s an art that supports other artists, including fiber artists, dyers, and pattern makers. It’s a mental exercise, taking a single long piece of yarn and creating something more 3-D.