Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Girl on the Train // thoughts on the book

I first heard about this book from a review on Postcards from Purgatory and was intrigued when the reviewer wrote "[the novels discuss] that childlessness - in two very different circumstances -- is a breeding ground for self-hatred and insanity." (The other novel discussed in the quote is The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, which I haven't read.) Those lines piqued my interest so I placed a hold at the local library, only to stumble upon a sale at a local book store getting four books for $20 and ended up buying it (among others).

It's a pretty quick read and if you're interested in reading more there are summaries abounding all over the web (including in the review I linked to).

Initially, I was intrigued by the idea of childlessness breeding self-hatred and insanity. Having many children myself, and having them for pretty much all of my adult life, I don't really relate to the idea; however, I can see how the opposite can also be true. I feel like sometimes my children bring out the worst in me, or more accurately I show them the worst in me, which brings on the mommy-guilt like nobody's business. I love my children more than almost anything in this world (my husband beats them by just a hair, but he's sworn to me forever and someday, some far away day, my birdies will fly the nest), and I would willingly die to protect them from any harm, but they do drive me crazy sometimes.

Though, childlessness is a prominent theme in the novel, the theme that actually struck me most was how you can never really know a person. I've known this for quite a while now, but was impressed with how the author addressed the issue. The book is divided into character sections. We get snippets from the minds of Rachel, Megan, and Anna. The reader knows their minds but the other characters clearly don't. For example, the main character, Rachel, is struggling with alcoholism, severe alcoholism, and it causes her to act rashly at times, so we get her shame, guilt, and justification for behaving that way, which makes logical sense when reading from her point of view. But when we see the same scene from Anna's point of view, the whole thing looks completely different and often the two interpretations don't quite match up. This is done on purpose. We're supposed to question the motives, intentions, and sanity of these characters. Even or perhaps most especially in marriage.

Anna and Megan are married, to Tom and Scott, respectively. I was fascinated by the portrayal of those relationships. They are so different, yet both draw from the theme that you cannot fully, truly, know another person. Their thoughts. Their motives. Their trustworthiness. In the one instance, Scott is misrepresented in many instances by other characters, but it's his wife who ends up being most misrepresented; in the other instance, everything seems rosy, cozy, and fine, despite what seem like minor inconveniences. We know this because we get to see into the women's minds in a way that their spouses never do. Once events start to overlap, the confusion grows. We spend the most time in Rachel's brain, so we know her the most, but there is a point in the novel where I questioned her honesty with herself. She shatters her own credibility and even she questions herself, forcing us to question: how much can we trust our own selves? 

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an intriguing mystery.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Roamin' FWQ Week 2

So I have zero finished blocks for this week. I know, I know, I'm totally ashamed. But I did get some cutting done.

I'm working on #26 Cut Glass Dish and it's difficult. The triangles are small (1 1/2 inch) and there are 48 (!!!) of them. I did fussy cut a buffalo, so that's something, right?

I also helped Nins with this Yeti ice pack from Mollie Johanson's book, Stitch Love. So even if I'm not completing my own projects, I'm helping my daughter complete hers. I know it's still a bit of a cop-out and I sincerely apologize. I've totally dropped the ball and it's only the second week. I need to schedule in my sewing time, which makes it seem less fun, but if I want to actually accomplish any of the sewing goals I need to me strict with my time. So next week, I'll have at least one finished. Scouts honor.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Roamin' FWQ Week 1

I'm not going to lie you guys working with this fabric was a little bit stressful. It is a super high thread count and feels a little stiff to work with. I'm not sure if this is how all high thread count fabrics are but it took a bit getting used to.

With that now out of the way, I can get to showing the block. I started with the first letter. In this letter the lovely, Mrs. J. E. F. talks about living in God's open air. I loved that expression. I live pretty darn close to Big Sky Country (Montana) and spent a bit of time up there in my youth and the Big Sky is no joke. I'm not sure how it does it but Montana's sky is bigger than Idaho's, Wyoming's, and Utah's...combined. Being out there, feels all at once infinite and minuscule. Part of the world and detached.

So I based these blocks on the theme of God's open air, which conveniently for me, seems to fit perfectly in the Western and Roam motifs. The first block is #54 Kitchen Wood Box and was the first, and only block, this week. Cutting the fabric was mostly nerve-wrecking and piecing as mentioned above took a bit getting used to (I'm still getting used to it to be honest).

I still plan on doing the second block this weekend, but you know how life gets, so maybe next week, I'll have three. Wishful thinking, but still probable.

I'm thinking I might need to invest in some other template or rethink my strategy of cutting the fabric. Right now, I've got the paper templates and have been gluing them to cardboard as a stabilizer, but found it difficult to maneuver the fabric while keeping the cardboard from rotating too and ended up cutting inaccurately. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

* The legless sheep is a family inside joke, I never actually saw a legless sheep and neither did anyone else in my family (that I'm aware)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sewing Space

In the evening on New Year's Day, Husband and I sat down to discuss the goals that we were going to try to accomplish for the year. Yep, that's right, you guys knew my goals before he did and yes, we were a bit late in discussing them NYD rather than NYE. He knew most of my goals through passing conversations, but that night we sat down and discussed them in detail, so we would know how to help each other accomplish those goals.

If you read my list, you will remember that "create a sewing space" was number 14 on that list and I am happy to report: Mission Accomplished. 

We needed to go to IKEA to purchase some additional seating -- one love seat for six people just wasn't cutting it anymore. We bought their Poang chair. (Note on the price: Our chair was much cheaper than what is listed, perhaps site prices differ, I'm not sure, but we did not pay that much.) Oh, boy do we love it. It's comfy and it bounces, and I love the darker stain of the wood. We had originally planned on buying a fancy-cushy arm chair but we ended up really liking this one (and the price tag wasn't bad either). Since we had already planned on spending extra money, Husband suggested I get a desk for my sewing machine since it was part of my resolutions to have a designated sewing space. Now, I'm not advocating for spending money unnecessarily. In fact that is one of our family goals for the year, to spend and save wisely. But the timing was so perfect, we went ahead and bought the desk (and still managed to come in under budget).

I've spent the majority of my two sewing years moving between the kitchen table and a little end table and the sofa. It works fine and I was able to sew, but even in one day of having this desk I have finished one project and made headway on another. It's so nice not having to pack everything away because everything is already right there and I can sew in spurts rather than having to carve out a huge chunk of time. The drawers are filled with most of my notions -- pins, scissors, thread, bobbins, etc. -- and the cupboard holds my iron and a few WIPs. I'm still in the living room and have warned the kiddos that this is mama's space so not to touch. We'll see how long it lasts. 

It's not much in the way decorations, but I'll build it up in time. For now, it's nice to have my own little piece-of-a-wall sewing space.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Roamin' Farmer's Wife Quilt

Oh my! I am so so excited to be writing this post. Giddy. Seriously, you should see me, I look like a toddler that's had too much sugar or soda. Either way, it's funny.

My amazing husband got me this book and fabric for Christmas and I immediately set about to making the quilt using these fabrics. I love love love this collection! We live out West (and have for most of our lives) so this color palette really struck a chord. And we need a new queen sized quilt for the bed. Our five-year old duvet is starting to look a little worse for wear. This will be perfect.

And the buffalo. So cute. I once had a close encounter with a buffalo that made them not so cute, but I can almost forgive that large mammal for wanting to visit my mum and I on a snowmobile in Yellowstone when the machines weren't banned (are they still banned? I don't even know). I remarked to husband that this is probably the first year in many that we haven't driven up there only for him to remind me that we've only be once in five years! What the what?!? I used to go every year when Nins was little...okay littler. It seems strange not to have gone when some travel from halfway across the world and we are so close. The last time we were there though definitely left an impression. Wookie was car sick and went through two changes of clothes and was wearing Nins' extra jammies by the time we made it to Old Faithful, which I missed because I was searching for her shoes. I don't know how we lost two hot pink sparkly shoes from the parking lot to the lodge but we managed. So she went barefoot. But we did see buffalo and that's really the whole point.

I love every single thing about this line and am totally terrified that I'll screw it up somehow. It's bound to happen, but I am being extra careful because that's what being invested will do for you. I wish I had toned down the excitement for Wookie's Wee Wander blanket and taken it slow and really done a top notch job, but I really was just so excited (and it was my very first quilt). It's not bad, but knowing what I know now, I think I could do it better. The Cabin Fever quilt turned out pretty well and I took more time with that one, so with that in mind, I want to try to complete two Farmer's Wife squares a week and post on Fridays, but if I only get one square done but done right then, yay! I also plan on writing my thoughts on the corresponding letter because the quilt is only part of this book. The other parts, the letters, are so great and vital to providing context and depth to the quilt.

Farmer's wife Fridays! Has a beautiful ring to it.