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Whatcha Readin’? Wednesday September 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — gnomeintx @ 3:26 am

WOW, it’s been forever since I posted!  As I mentioned in my last post, I applied to graduate school.  I’m now a library science student at the University of North Texas, where I also got my undergraduate degree.  I’m taking a full course load of online classes, which “they” tell you should take up about 35-40 hours of time per week.  I haven’t been keeping track, but I’d say that’s probably pretty accurate.  Plus I’m still working part-time, so I’m a busy lady!  But I really want to work on writing and enjoying all of my hobbies, so I’m going to try and make time for the blog.  This week I’m going to recap what I’ve read over the past week, as well as the books I’ve read and reported on for my Adult Materials and Reading Interests class.

First up this week, I read Which End Is Up?, by Patricia Kay.  I picked it out from the library’s romance section in order to fulfill this week’s reading requirement for my Adult Materials class.  Unfortunately, although it was shelved in the romance section and published by Harlequin, the storyline was not really a romance plot.  It was a quick read, however, and a pretty good book.

Second, I picked another romance, this time from the library’s e-book download center.  Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie was a light-hearted read with all the typical characteristics one would expect from a romance novel.  I think this book would hold a lot of appeal for chick-lit lovers, as well.  I haven’t read many romances at all in the past, but I can definitely see the appeal.

This week I also finished The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.  I started this book a week or so before classes started, so it took me much longer than it would have otherwise.  It is a really good fantasy novel, and the first in a series, which is a big selling point for me.  I have the second of the series on hold at the library, so I’ll begin it as soon as possible.

Last night I began Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen since I’m between assignments for my Adult Materials class and I need something to read before bed and while on break at work.  I’ve only read about 40 pages so far, but I’m enjoying it.

 

Whatcha Readin’? Wednesday May 11, 2011

Filed under: books,inspiration,reviews — gnomeintx @ 11:38 pm

I’ve been a very bad blogger these past few weeks, but I have a good excuse!  I’ve decided to apply to graduate school, so most of my free time has been spent researching the 2 programs I’m applying to, filling out online forms, paperwork, emailing people, and working on my statement of purpose.  I did quite a bit of reading in between, so I can update you on the books I’ve finished!  These are in no real order, but I’ve read them all in the past few weeks.

Two Kisses for Maddy (Matt Logelin) – I read it without crying!!  I did tear up a few times, but there was no sobbing.  Matt does a great job of describing how he felt in the different situations he found himself in, and I feel like he stayed very true to his typical writing style, but without making it sound like a blog post.  The story is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.  I highly recommend it, especially if you’ve followed Matt’s blog.

Love Over Scotland (Alexander McCall Smith) – McCall Smith is quirky and humorous as ever in the 2nd installment of the 44 Scotland Street series.  I love how he always pokes fun at ‘typical’ Edinbugh culture while most of the characters only contribute to it’s traditionalism.  The whole series is great if you’re looking for a book you can pick up/put down easily, since the chapters are short.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Donald Miller) – Donald Miller’s latest book will inspire you to really think about what you’re accomplishing in your life.  Don tells us how he learned to live a better story through several anecdotes.  I think this would be a great gift book for graduating seniors (high school or college).

Through Painted Deserts (Donald Miller) – Another Donald Miller book, portraying his cross-country journey in a VW van.  More memoir than self-help, but inspiring nonetheless.

Slumdog Millionaire (Vikas Swarup) – I was very curious about this book after reading the synopsis (I also saw a very short clip from the movie at work and was intrigued by that as well), and I was very pleasantly surprised.  A fast-paced novel, I got sucked in and didn’t want to put it down.

Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex (Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus) – I was reading this as part of a women’s bible study at my church.  It is a very encouraging read, with lots of practical applications for your marriage.  I’d definitely recommend it to any woman who wants to improve her sex life and relationship with God and her husband.

This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (Marilyn Johnson)- I got this book from the library when I was doing some research for my grad school application.  It is a really interesting look at the modern information professions.  I learned a lot from this book and it also helped me to identify what I hope to accomplish as an information professional.

What have you been reading lately?

 

MMGG Monday! April 26, 2011

Filed under: gardening — gnomeintx @ 12:30 am

Since I took last week off due to lack of planning, I have LOTS to update you on this week!  Tyler and I have been staying busy out in the garden the past two weeks, and all of our efforts have definitely payed off.

First off, we finished constructing our split-rail/chicken wire combo fence.  The purpose of this fence is to keep the dogs out of the vegetable garden, since they like to dig and eat unripe veggies and fruits off the plants.  I have to give Tyler most of the credit for this project, but I did help a little bit. 🙂

We also relocated the compost bin from it’s previous location next to the shed (which was not ideal, sandwiched between the fence and the shed = not much light for the composter, which means it doesn’t get hot enough to compost effectively) into the garden area.  We also added a metal trash can (think Oscar the Grouch) to deal with yard waste.

Next, we finally got to put our veggie and fruit plants in the ground.  Last year we grew most of our plants from seeds, but since we got a late start this season we decided to go with seedlings from Lowe’s.  I can’t wait to see how lush and full the garden gets later in the summer!

Another project Tyler worked on was installing a miniature sprinkler/mister system in the garden box and in our herb boxes.  We purchased the kit at Lowe’s, and with about half an hour’s work, we have an easy way to water our veggies!  We wound up running a small hose from the faucet at the side of the house all the way along the fence line to the garden box, which we not-so-smartly built at the back of the yard last year.  So far, so good!  Next week I’ll have Tyler give a review of the misting system so you can get some more info.

Our final project was a small lavender garden next to the back porch, which we initially dug out last year but never got around to planting.  We got 3 small plants, some soil and mulch, and this is what we have now:

(Not a great picture, sorry!  I was in a hurry.)

Overall we’re really excited about our prospects this year!  We’re working on a plan to add some  fabric shades that we can move around to different sections of the garden during the hottest parts of the summer so the plants don’t get too wilted.  Stay tuned to see what we come up with!

 

Whatcha Readin’? Wednesday April 20, 2011

Filed under: books,giveaway — gnomeintx @ 7:28 pm

I don’t have a big post planned today, but I wanted to announce the winner of my Two Kisses for Maddy giveaway!  I ended up with 26 entries via Twitter and comments here on the blog.  Random.org chose entry #15:

which was:

Jessesco, from Twitter!  Congrats to you!  I will DM you for your address and get a copy of the book in the mail to you ASAP. 🙂

In other news, I finished The World According to Bertie yesterday.  It was a good, light read, and stays true to Alexander McCall Smith’s style of humorous, slightly pointed human observation.  Now I need to go back and read Love Over Scotland, but that will probably have to wait until I read Two Kisses for Maddy for myself.

What did you read this week?

 

Feather Your Nest Friday April 16, 2011

Filed under: decorating — gnomeintx @ 2:00 am

Welcome to the last of my weekly columns, Feather Your Nest Friday!  This segment is dedicated to everything needed to make your house a home – DIY projects, products, inspiration pictures, etc.  Feel free to participate and use my banner!

Lately I’ve been thinking that my house could use a few changes to bring us into spring and summer.  The navy slipcovers on our Ektorp couches are looking a little dark, as is our dark plum duvet cover in the bedroom.  Today I decided to turn to the Ikea website and see what they had to offer, and I was pleasantly surprised!

For the couch, I found a new option for slipcovers:

Meet the  Svanby green slipcover set for the Ektorp line!This vibrant green color is slightly lighter and brighter than the navy we’ve got going on now, and definitely says “spring” to me.  As with all of Ikea’s slipcovers, they’re affordably priced – only $249 for the 3-seater couch cover!

As for duvets, Ikea has tons of choices in several different styles – some modern, some a bit more traditional.  Again, I was looking for something light, bright, and springy, and came up with 3 good options!

Option #1 is a nice neutral stripe (and oh, how I love striped bedding!) that I think would go nicely with our yellow walls and black/espresso brown furniture.  Maybe a bit too neutral, though? (Ikea Andrea Satin duvet, $29.99 queen size, also available in both purple/dark blue/dark green and a pink/red colorway)

Option #2 is Kajsa Trad (also from Ikea) – the light green and blue + leaves is very springy, and a little whimsical, which is always nice in my opinion.  (Also available in a brown colorway, $29.99 for the queen.)

Option #3 is Ikea’s Papaver duvet.  A very modern colorblock set, the purple and green reflect both of my favorite colors and would really pop against our black furniture.  ($39.99 for the queen)

I think Tyler and I are going to have a tough choice!  Once we decide we’ll take a trip to the closest store (about 40 minutes away) and go to town!  We also need to pick a up a new poster frame, since the glass in the one we have my Tivoli gardens poster in broke when we moved in almost 2 years ago.  I’d love to get that hung on the wall, but I’m not doing that without a solid piece of glass!  Anyway, I’d love to hear your opinions on which of the slipcovers you like best.  I’ve included a few snapshots below of our bedroom so you can get a feel for our tastes.

 

Whatcha Readin’? Wednesday April 13, 2011

Filed under: books,giveaway,reviews — gnomeintx @ 5:36 pm

Welcome to my third weekly column roll-out.  Wednesdays are all about the wonderful world of books!  As always, feel free to copy the badge and link back here so we can all share in what we’re reading each week.

(In case you’re curious, I chose some of my favorite books for the badge photo.  From bottom to top: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Memoirs of a Geisha, Jane Eyre, The Chosen, The Mozart Season, and my NOOK. 🙂 )

This week I finished reading Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson.  I found this book at the public library and checked it out quite a while ago, and then returned it without cracking the cover.  Recently I found myself wondering about it again, so I checked it out once more.  When I first started reading it, I was really not feeling it – I felt that the author was trying too hard to make every sentence the most dramatic, poignant, and important sentence ever written.  I was really curious about the plot, however, so I kept reading, and I am SO glad that I did!  The pretentiousness of the writing ebbed quickly and the dual plot lines began to emerge.  I found myself not wanting to put the book down because I wanted to know each woman’s entire story.  I would definitely recommend this book!

I also finished up the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith this week with The Charming Quirks of Others.  These quasi-mystery books are easy reads that give you a little bit to think about.  I also began The World According to Bertie, which is the fourth book in Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series.  I didn’t realize there was a 3rd book that I had missed, so I’ll have to pick it up the next time I’m at the library.

After last night’s trip to the library, I started Teach Yourself Visually: Handspinning by Judith MacKenzie McCuin.  I’m hoping it’ll help me with the science behind spinning, as well as help me troubleshoot any problems I encounter.  So far what I’ve learned is that spinning wheels are dizzyingly complicated, and I am perfectly happy with my hand spindle for now.

Lastly, I would like to do a giveaway!  Matt Logelin is publishing his first book, Two Kisses for Maddy, tomorrow, April 14.  I have been reading Matt’s blog since shortly after Maddy was born, and I have loved seeing the transformation of their family.  I know this book will be amazing, and I can’t wait to boot up my nook tomorrow to download my pre-ordered e-book.  I would also like to share the wealth, so here’s how to enter: leave a comment with a little blurb about why you’d like to win the book or Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter, using the hashtag gnomeintxWW.  I will number each entry and use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner.  You have until April 21 to enter, so tell all your friends. 🙂

 

Tink Back Tuesday April 12, 2011

Filed under: knitting — gnomeintx @ 8:14 pm

Welcome to the second edition of Tink Back Tuesday here at GnomeinTX!

This weekend, biomaj5, Liz, and I attended the DFW Fiber Fest in Grapevine.  We had a great time perusing all the booths and spending way too much $$$.  Here’s my loot, and a picture of the three of us enjoying my new sod. 🙂

(1) Butterfly Girl Designs spindle with labradorite whorl (1 oz.)  (2) Tyler finally finished knitting me a pair of socks!  Pattern is Wendy Johnson’s Double Eyelet Rib, yarn is Knit Picks Comfy in Lilac.  (3) Two if by Hand BFL roving, colorway Exhasuted (4 oz.)  (4) An improved photo of my Sprucey Lucy sock-in-progress.  (5) Spinning Straw into Gold Mixed BFL roving (4 oz.)  (6) From Left to Right: Myself, biomaj5, and Liz.  (7) Ozark Carding Mill fingering weight, 80/20 alpaca/wool.  (8) Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, colorway Terrarium(light).

I also snagged a new project bag by That Semifero Girl at The Knitting Fairy booth.

This week’s knitting only involved finishing my Ripened scarf (this morning at work, actually!).  It needs the ends woven in and to be washed, but I’ll get a picture up next week.  Now I can turn my attention back to the Sprucey Lucys and Geodesic.

Until next week, knit, knit on!