35 books finished in 2015: First Person Rural

35 books finished in 2015

how to move up North,
build fences, feed a wood stove,
and enjoy yourself

Rebecca recommended this guy, saying he’s sort of a Northern Wendell Berry. Awesome, right? His collections of essays are mostly humorous, or poking fun at ill-equipped farmers (himself), or educational manuals for wannabe farmers (a younger version of himself). He has a lot to say about types of trees!

This was perfect light bedtime reading. I’ll probably track down a few more.

34 books finished in 2015: Kristin Lavransdatter

34 books finished in 2015

I’ve been delaying this post, thinking I’d borrow a hard copy of the book from the friend who recommended it, because this Kindle title page is SO BORING and, also, does NOT give you a sense of how EPIC this book is. 1168 pages!

But, ugh, the backlog is tormenting me. It’s been…more than 2 months since I posted a book.

Daughter of Lavrans
happily ever after
not always happy

What should I say about this book? Well, I’m terrible at recapping it, but my friend Katie, who convinced me to read it, said it’s a lot like what would have happened if Romeo & Juliet hadn’t died. Or, any star-crossed lovers, really. The first book (of three) is of the lovers meeting, falling in love, making rash choices, etc. And then the story continues, showing how their impulsiveness will affect their lives, and their children, for decades to come.

So, maybe this is another epic, like Middlemarch, that I’d summarize with, “Don’t marry a fool.”

What was interesting about this book, to me, was the depiction of 14th-century Norway. There was a lot of Catholicism, a lot of mysticism, and a lot of shame and secrecy tied up with those.

Also, the ending, which I will not spoil, was a total shock/surprise, but accurate for the setting.


I’ve been feeling frustrated with myself, with the fact that I haven’t made any clothing in the last few weeks. But then I reviewed my latest version of the Infinite List and realized that I’ve made progress on many fronts.

1. Sleep shorts? MADE SOME. Made a lot, actually! Multiple copies of both the Salme Elastic Waist Shorts and the Lakeside Pajama Shorts. And I’ve been sleeping in them, rotating as I always do with pajamas. My absolute favorite pair, the ones I wish were never dirty, are the Salme version I made from an old set of pillowcases. I think the Salme pattern will be my winner – the one I return to for more versions of lounge shorts – but I might have to give my Lakeside one more try, in an equally soft cotton. Either way, I AM WINNING AT SLEEP RIGHT NOW.

2. Fitness shorts? I reviewed the swatches and color cards, and decided to commit to a few yards of a high-end compression fabric. It’s sitting at home, waiting to be cut into.

3. More Lady Skaters? It hasn’t happened yet, but I think my last two were impulse sewn, which means I’m just waiting for another impulse.

4. Pencil skirt? I haven’t made one yet, but I bought one with a gift card from the Gap, to tide me over. Wearing that has helped me to determine that I probably want a non-stretch pencil skirt (because it is both wrinkly and baggy by the end of the day, and I’d prefer just wrinkles).



I have no idea when I started making this, but it’s a bright green rayon, fully lined. The original intent was to add an elastic waist, like its dress twin, but after a few frustrating runs at the armhole finishing, I think I put this in time-out. It waited there, un-elasticized and un-hemmed, until one morning when I was motivated enough to HEM THIS DRESS AND THE LINING before work. Since that morning, I’ve worn it both belted and with a cardigan.

#bestfriendquilt 👍 #bestfriendquilt

Also, THIS HAPPENED. Or, if I’m honest it’s been happening for years, and I found myself approaching a significantly fun moment in the process. What that means is that a lot of my evening sewing time has been focused on quilting instead of garments.

And not just for one reason…

For everyone who asks how long it takes to make a quilt...(everyone)...I was able to stitch eleven of these blocks while watching M:I-3 tonight. There are 100 blocks on the quilt. #dothemath #thisiswhyidont Since it's finally cool enough to have a big quilt on my lap. #handstitched

Now that the nights are getting colder, I’m reminded that I don’t have a quilt large enough to drape over all sides of my bed. (They’re all closer to an Epic Throw size – large enough to cover a mattress but not hang over the sides.) This one was just waiting to be quilted and bound with no particular deadline. I decided on a simple hand-quilting design, and 100 stitched boxes later, it’s ready to be bound and washed and thrown onto my bed triumphantly! (Next time I plug in the sewing machine, this will probably be the reason.)

32 books finished in 2015: Getting Things Done

32 books finished in 2015

needed improvement
in work productivity
went straight to the source

My friend and former housemate Katie casually mentioned that she re-reads this book every time she has a new job, and like most things she says/does, I immediately latched onto it as THE BEST IDEA EVER.

This book is classic self-help. I am such a sucker for this type of book, which is why I can’t read very many of them. I was practically rabid during the first section, as he’s explaining the reasons why one might need to use this system and the ways it might improve one’s life. And then, as soon as it was application time, I got SO OVERWHELMED. But I kept reading, and I’ve been applying and re-applying these lessons. I have the book sitting next to my desk. I’m putting little encouraging notes/reminders on my wall. I’m already understanding why he suggests implementing it for work and life at the same time (because I did not, and my life feels so much more chaotic compared to my work now).

So, this is a strong recommendation. This book is a classic for a reason. Know that it’s going to challenge you to change some habits, so don’t read it unless you’re willing to change.