Sunday’s Stitches & Stuff – Episode 20

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Here in NC, we had a fabulous holiday. My parents were able to join us once again this year and Thanksgiving dinner was healthy & delicious, thanks to the wonderful recipes in Lindsay Nixon’s cookbook: Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings.

In addition, hubby and I celebrated Black Friday, as we always do, with our traditional mid-day movie outing. This year we saw Murder On The Orient Express. What a fabulous movie! I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s beloved story. If you have not had the chance to see it, I would say this movie is not to be missed. Now let’s move on to a few other activities from the week.

What I’m Stitching

Thankfully, I have not tired of my Happily Ever After piece, because I am still working on this stitch a long. This week I finished the July motif, The Wind In The Willows, and moved on to Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp, released in August. Here are some progress pics:

My progress is fairly steady and I’d like to finish this row of motifs before our trip to PA in 2 weeks.

What I’m Reading

As you read this post, I should be cracking the spine on Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens. Although I still have a few chapters left in Stalking Jack the Ripper (look for a review in the coming week), Never Let You Go is the book for my mystery book club which meets on Thursday. Therefore I am going to dedicate Sunday afternoon to reading this book. Hopefully the zoo will stay quiet while I am.

What I’m Watching

This week I’ve been rewatching Castle. There were no new shows or other TV series that really peaked my interest and, with the holiday, I had a lot of work to do this week. Having something I’m already familiar with on the TV was less distracting allowing me to work and watch. Unfortunately, this show is not available on the major streaming venues. Hubby & I really liked it so we collected the DVD sets.

Weekly Highlights

Naturally, the highlight of this week was having my parents down for the holiday. It was great to spend time with them and enjoy each other’s company. As a bonus, our doggies did not have to be crated for our movie outing, the “grand parents” watched them. As you can see from the picture they were in good company, four legged and two legged creatures sleeping soundly.

That’s all for now I hope you have a great week and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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Sunday’s Stitches & Stuff – Episode 18

This has been a very dreary week. It started well, with my personal stitching retreat on Sunday, but then the week went quickly downhill. On Monday I turned myself at an odd angle and my back went into full spasm, putting me out of commission for the whole day. The rest of the week was damp, cold and raining. The dogs and I were going stir crazy for a bit of sun and fresh air. However, I did manage to gather some momentum as the week came to an end and even manage to get outside and enjoy some nature and sun, albeit I did need a hoodie; I even got some beautiful pictures of our backyard tree which is turning gorgeous shades of purple. Continue reading

The Keeper Of Lost Things

The Keeper of Lost ThingsThe Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone has lost something or someone at some point in their life. Sometimes the loss is small, like misplacing your keys. Other times the loss is great, like losing your great grandma’s locket. While some items may be found again, others are lost forever, potentially impacting our lives profoundly. In The Keeper of Lost Things, by Ruth Hogan, we meet one such person, whose profound lose of a single, sentimental item, changes the course of his life, and ultimately the lives of many others along his journey.

The Keeper of Lost Things is one of the greatest pieces of literature I have read in my adult life. That may sound like a very serious statement about a relatively new work of fiction, but no story has touched me so deeply since I was a child. Every thought and idea presented is brought to completion, with vignettes that bring you to the brink of tears then pull you back with laughter. The main plot ebbs and flows like a river through a valley of heartbreak, joy, and fulfillment.

The book opens with the pivotal character, Anthony, who has spent the better part of his life collecting lost items. An umbrella, a single glove, even a tin of ashes come to live in Anthony’s collection. Due to his own loss, a medallion his late wife had given to him, Anthony comes to believe that each and every item he finds is potentially very meaningful to the owner, and Anthony choses to keep these items until they can be returned. Although he never quite figured out how to return the items that came to him for safe keeping; as his life is nearing its end, he bestows, not only his home and worldly possessions, but also the collection of lost things to his assistant, Laura, entrusting her with the daunting task of locating the owner’s of as many lost things as possible.

As Laura takes hold of her new home and new purpose, the reader has the privilege of experiencing Laura’s growth into a dependent and confident woman. While we learn that the catalyst for change happened years before, when she divorced her husband, it is not until she begins to explore the job Anthony left for her that she truly finds herself. Interwoven within the story of Laura and the aftermath of Anthony’s death, are the stories of the lost items and the people who lost them. While most of the stories are brief insights into how the items were lost, one story is consistently intertwined and ultimately poignantly connected to the beginning of Anthony’s journey as The Keeper of Lost Things.

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Sunday’s Stitches & Stuff – Episode 17

If all goes according to plan, then while you are reading this post I will be beginning a cross stitching marathon. Even though I have the opportunity to cross-stitch every day, for which I am very grateful, I’ve never had the opportunity to go to a retreat. Recently, I’ve seen several posts on Facebook and Instagram, as well as several Flosstubers, regarding stitching retreats and how much fun they had. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to go to one, but in the mean time I started thinking about this idea of doing my own personal retreat. The opportunity has presented itself this weekend as my husband will be visiting with a friend from out of town and they will be attending a model train show all day on Sunday. Since, I never work on Sunday and the only housework I do is washing the sheets, it’s the perfect day for me to have a personal stitching retreat. So while you’re reading this, hopefully, I will be sitting on my porch, listening to an audiobook or watching flosstube and cross stitching away. Make sure you check out my Instagram feed, as I will surely be posting pictures throughout the day. Now let’s move onto the nitty-gritty of this past week.

What I’m Stitching

Thank the stitching angels, I have finally finished the white background section of the second quilt on my Spring Quilt pattern. I have to say that I hate DMC B5200! I don’t know what it is, but it just always seems to get dirty very fast it’s the only thread that always knots on me. But since I’ve already started this piece using that thread, then I’m going to suck it up and finish the piece, but I’m going to start exploring some alternatives for B5200. Anyway here is my progress so far:


Moving on in my rotation I am pulling out my Happily Ever After piece. As I mentioned last week, I’m determined to finish this piece on schedule in 2017. Haven’t had very many finishes this year, I’ve had a few smalls that I finished, but nothing requiring real commitment and I really would like to have this one done this year. So I am determined this month to stitch my heart out on Happily Ever After and hopefully only have the final installment in December to finish when it is released on December 1. Needless, to say this is the piece I’m going to be working on during my personal stitching retreat so here is my starting point:


What I’m Reading

This week I started reading Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. Although, I’m still in the beginning of the book, I know I’m going to enjoy it greatly. Stalking Jack the Ripper is Kerri Maniscalco’s first novel and it is actually the first book produced by James Patterson’s new publishing house. However, that is not what attracted me to the book in the first place. It was noticing her second book in the bookstore that made me want to pause and read the first one. Anyway, Stalking Jack the Ripper is starting off to be a fabulous interweave of historical context from the time when Jack the Ripper was leaving his mark on the world and some fictional characters thrown in there with a little bit of creative licensure. I love the main character Audrey Rose; only 25% of the way in and I love that she is going against the stream for what is acceptable for women of the time and challenging society’s views on the role of women. Anyway, a book review will be coming soon; once I finish the book of course.

What I’m Watching

With Halloween being Tuesday, I wanted to get into the Halloween spirit so I started watching Supernatural. Surprisingly, I never rally watched this show before. A year or so ago, I watched the first season then got distracted.

But for Halloween I thought I’d celebrate by watching Supernatural and I chewed through the whole second season and I’m now up to the third season and still enjoying it. However, I’m not gonna beable to binge watch through all 13 seasons right now, so I’ll probably have to take a break soon.

This Week’s Highlights

Three years we have lived in North Carolina and I still can’t believe 80 degree weather in November! Thursday and Friday were absolutely beautiful and we all took full advantage of the sun and the warmth!


That’s all for now I hope you have a great week and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur PepperThe Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you heard the saying: “never judge a book by its cover”? As a self proclaimed bibliophile, I take this saying seriously, both in its literal meaning and in the philosophical sense. However, in the case of The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper, this book is just as adorable as it’s cover.

This book grabbed my eye as I was perusing the aisles of a big chain bookstore. The cover was the initial draw, however, the book description further intrigued me and thankfully my local library had a copy on the shelf. The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper, while dealing with some complex issues, is truly a simple, bittersweet story that leaves you in love with Arthur Pepper.

*Spoilers*

Our story opens on the one year anniversary of the passing of Miriam Pepper. Her husband, Arthur, has decided it is time to pack her clothes and other belongings for donation, as he should be “moving on” or so his children keep telling him. In the process, he discovers a charm bracelet that he has no recollection of ever seeing before. There are several charms on the bracelet and the piece reflects a luxury that he and his wife never aspired to live. As luck would have it, the first charm has a phone number engraved on the back and with a combination of reluctance and curiosity, Arthur dials that number and unlocks the door to a multifaceted life his wife had long before Arthur Pepper.

The author does a fabulous job in this book of exploring the very unique process that one goes through when mourning the passing of a significant other. Beyond just mourning the loss of that person, there is the process of redefining who you are when you are no longer a “we”. In his journey to discover who his wife was before he met her, Arthur Pepper discovers there is a way to continue living his life without dismissing Miriam’s role in it.

Not only did I deeply enjoy this book, it will probably make it into my Top 3 Books of 2017.

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Thanks for reading, have a great day.
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Sunday’s Stitches & Stuff – Episode 16 – I’m Back

First let me say, I’m sorry; I’m sorry that I have been MIA for so long. It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything, in fact my last post was a brief one about World Cross Stitch Day back in August. Then I just fell off the blogosphere. No real reason, just a lot of little things all happening at once, including work changes and health issues. Things right now seem to be settling and for the moment I can return to a some what normal routine. That of course includes blogging and I have several drafts waiting to be finished and scheduled for posting, so there should be a steady stream from me for a while. Now that we’re back together, let’s take a look at what I’ve been up too!

What I’m Stitching

As I type this I have two active WIPs, but I am about to put one away and rotate. The first WIP is my Stormtrooper Sugar Skull, by Stitch Line on Etsy. I purchased this pattern sometime last year, then kinda of forgot about it, but for my birthday I wanted to start something fun and just for me, enter Stormtrooper. Because purple is my favorite color, I decided to stitch this piece on 14 count Aida, hand dyed purple, that I picked up at Stitch By Stitch in Cape May. Here are a few progress pictures:

Additionally, I am working on my Spring Quilt, from the Five Seasons Of Quilts by Leisure Arts. While I enjoy this piece while I am stitching it, for some reasons it seems to require an effort on my part to pick it up. Maybe I’m just not in a Springtime state of mind. Whatever the reason, I plan on finishing the section I am currently on then I’m going to switch the Spring Quilt out for Happily Ever After. I really would like to finish Happily Ever After this year and need to get caught up with the SAL. Here are a few pictures of Spring Quilt:

What I’m Reading

Despite being well under my 2017 Reading Challenge goal, I still have a pretty good reading bug in my system. This past Thursday was my monthly Mystery Book Club meeting, where we discussed Below the Belt, by Stuart Woods. Check out my review here.


More recently, I finished reading The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick. A review is forthcoming, (click here for my review) but I will say that this was such an enjoyable book. The story is bittersweet in all the right ways, and the main character, Arthur Pepper, is one I fell in love with and was sorry to say goodbye to when the book was over.

What I’m Watching

Actually, I haven’t been watching that much television lately, instead I’ve been reading, listening to music, or watching YouTube. However, I do have a current favorite show: The Good Place.

This is the second season and it is just a really great sitcom. Season 1 was fantastic, and the reveal in the last episode was shocking. Season 2 takes that revelation to a whole new place and makes for some fabulous comedy.

This Week’s Highlights

This week has been fairly uneventful, however, I still working my way through the Konmari method, from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although, I do have to adjust some tasks and techniques to accommodate for my back, I am slowing make my way through the categories. Currently, I am “tidying” my crafts and I am really trying to thin down the amount of supplies that I keep on hand, only keeping those that “spark joy”. If you are interested in this process, there are loads of bloggers and Youtubers who have done reviews and step by step break downs of the process, I am not planning on taking that on right now. But, here is a before shot of my craft area, which will hopefully look much better by next weekend.


That’s all for now I hope you have a great week and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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Below the Belt, A Stone Barrington Adventure

Below the Belt (Stone Barrington Novel)Below the Belt by Stuart Woods
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Below the belt was chosen by my Mystery Book Club for our October selection. While this is the 40th book in the Stone Barrington series, it was my first time meeting him and my first experience with the author, Stuart Woods. Truth be told, I would never have chosen this book for myself, however I have committed to give every Mystery Book Club selection a fair shot. In this case that commitment paid off!

There are two reasons why I would not have chosen this for myself. First, it is the 40th book in the series, I always prefer to start with the first book as I assume information would be needed from that to enjoy subsequent stories. While at certain times, in the beginning of Below the Belt, I felt there may have been reference to details shared in previous editions, they quickly resolved themselves and were never distracting from the story.

The second reason I would not have chosen this for myself is that it is a political suspense story. I hate politics! I don’t enjoy political novels, fiction or otherwise. However, in the case of Below the Belt, I became so intrigued by Stone Barrington that by the time the politics came in to play, I was already entrenched with the story.

While I typically like to give a short synopsis at this point in my review, I will instead refer you to the Goodreads summary. My disinterest in the political underline of the story would certainly leave my synopsis lacking. Let me just say that I truly enjoyed spending time with Stone Barrington and his “girlfriend”, Holly. Although at times I felt the plot was running flat, never reaching an ultimate climax; the story flowed freely from one event to another allowing the reader to easily transition through the subtle twists & turns. Of course there was that one point when the reader (me) gasps out loud as the red herring is revealed, or rather exploded.

This book, while perhaps not a piece of literary history, was a fun read, easily digested and entertaining. Stone Barrington’s is definitely a story I would read again, perhaps the first one next. Have you read anything good lately?

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