Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Start of You and Me

This is close to a five star book for me. Maybe if there was a dragon or two in it I would be there (lol). Note: I did NOT read the emails at the back of the book. I loved the ending and wanted it to just stop there; with all the unknown future ahead.
Title: The Start of You and Me
Author: Emery Lord
Genre(s): Young Adult, Teen
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“The Start of Me and You” is a young adult book that appears to be the same old, same old story of some tragedy and the teen overcoming it. You may be (at least I was) excepting some in-depth comments or statements on life similar to those made in “The Fault in Our Stars”. You know the ones the outrageously philosophical one-liner that it’s very unlikely a teenage would ever think it. Or perhaps you are expecting a typical shallow girl YA book that uses tragedy as a crutch. In both cases you would be wrong. I surprisingly adored this book with its high school culture and awkward moments. 
I laughed, cried and felt joy with every moment of this book. And the best part is that the ending isn’t ‘all perfect’, it’s obvious it will be subject to the same ups and downs of any one person’s future. I can’t say much more about this book without giving things away. What I can say with absolute certainty is I know 20 years ago when I was a teenager I certainly had many of the same emotions, thoughts and experiences of our characters. And this book brought me back to that time and my emotions then. While difficult in some way to revisit my own experiences of: losing a grandparent when I was fifteen, watching an amazing friend slowly die one year later (from CF), and being a part of a high-school romance that was as tumultuous as it was endearing; I’m glad I could look back on those moments and realize that what I was reading was so similar to my own story. I validated in how I felt at the time. If any part of me was feeling like I did something wrong back then I am confident that Emery Lord has dispelled all doubt from my mind by showing that humans young and old all deal with tragedy in their own way. No one of us is right or wrong necessarily and eventually we all have to get through the firsts and lasts of those times in order to allow ourselves to move forward.  
If you lost anyone at all close to you as a teenager, or are a teen dealing with death, this is the book for you. Alternatively if you just want to read a realistic teen, no literary nonsense or bloating of situations book then pick this one up as I do believe there is something for everyone in “The Start of Me and You”. 
I believe in the future this book will hold a special place in my heart as a bittersweet reminder of my teenage friend Scott. I plan to purchase a printed copy of this book to add to my library.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

All the Birds in the Sky

I read this book last summer and it really stuck with me. This is one of those unknown gems that if more people knew about it would be an instant bestseller in my opinion. All the Birds in the Sky is a futuristic story in which technology has become a physical part of humans existence. A reality in which AI has developed its own consciousness. At its core however this is a love story.  It not your typical annoying teen type. A slow burning realization instead.

Title: All the Birds in the Sky
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars

Here's my original review from March 2016: 
It's difficult to decide where to start or how to classify this book. But it might be described something like this; the weird, possibly boring book a teacher forces you to read and write journal entries about each chapter. You get confused and feel overwhelmed in places, while in other places you are speechless. But then the final pages make you realize you just read something PROFOUND. Words and a story that will stay with you.
This is an "ah-ha" book.

For me my original "ah-ha" story was The Giver. Charlie Jane Anders has taken our world today, imagined it in the not-so distant or maybe really distant future and forces the reader to really think about life itself. Not just our lives, but life in all its forms. I believe this could easily be a teenagers "ah-ha" book and that any youth would be well shaped and inspired by its messages.

The core question of this book, can technology and nature co-exist, is (ironically?) put into place when you think that: we write on paper (made of trees using technology), using our brains (nature) to type (computers) a story that ultimately becomes a combination of both technology and nature.

If you start reading and feel lost, or get halfway and feel uncertain; trust me and finish this set. It's more than worth feeling a little lost as then when it all comes together you'll feel like it was worthwhile.

All the Birds in the Sky

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Once Upon a Time there was a bookworm...

Much like my stitching blog is called Epic Stitching because I do epic large stitching; this page is called Epic Reading as I adore science fiction and fantasy books. Large epics with lots of detail and characters are exactly where I like to be. I also read a lot of young adult/teen books these days as they are so often dystopian, fantasy worlds.

I've always been an avid reader. As a child I was more likely to have a book in hand than be hanging out with friends. Books have always been an important part of my life and anytime someone asks what luxury item I'd want to take on an island I have to debate between stitching and a book. I usually pick a book as it's something I can read over and over again.

GoodReads instantly became one of my favourite sites (and apps) as social media took over our lives. I have never, ever been able to find so many great books (or people) in one place before!
What started as a hobby to track my books read per year (which I did before GoodReads existed) and keep track of what I want to read but don't own quickly became a place where I could have my opinion/review of a book. In the last couple years I've being reviewing every book I read and loving spending the time in reflection on the book after closing the last page. Thus, I became a NetGalley reviewer and am now taking the next step in being a book reviewer by creating this page on my blog.

What you can expect to read on this page: 
- Reviews on books I've just read (pre-releases or older ones)
- Posts about past books I've adored and loved
- Hype for new books coming out that I've interested in

I'd like to thank all my stitching friends and current followers for being so supportive of this page being added to Epic Stitching!

2017 Stitch Alongs

As always the beginning of the year brings with it many new stitch alongs. In the past I have done stitch alongs at my own pace, and plan to do that again this year.
There are three that I think are just awesome this year. One I will definitely be doing, one I'm considering doing, and another I just want to at least collect all the pretty patterns for!
I personally think all three SALs are reasonably priced given the difficulty of the pattern and profile of the designer. I was not asked to or paid to endorse these SALs; I'm just sharing what I plan to do this year. :)

1) Canadian Patriotic Series - by Jeannette Douglas

As many of you know I kind of love Jeannette, both her designs and as a lovely person (she lives in my hometown). This year is the 150th anniversary of Canada becoming an independent nation (although we are still part of the British Commonwealth). Lots of big things happening across the country this year and of course major celebrations in the nation's capital Ottawa on Canada Day (July 1). While you may not think Canadians have a lot of patriotism, both myself and most of my friends are very proud to be from and live in Canada. So this is a big deal to us.
I plan to actually stitch this up as one large sampler piece this year. I just need to figure out my plan for linen and threads.
My link is to local shop that has Jeannette's work. You can get the patterns from your LNS, but the fancy boxes may not be available everywhere.
Check it out at: http://www.traditionalstitches.com/p_JDDCPS+CP.html

2) Birthstone Dragons - by Ingleside Imaginarium

This is a new designer who sells on Etsy. I love dragons, and even if they end up being similar but different colours in this monthly SAL I won't mind one bit. lol.
The first one has been released. See a photo to the right of January's dragon. I'm not sure if I will actually kit these up right away or not... but as they look nice and easy and use DMC they might be a good little quicky one to work on.
There is a facebook group to chat about this SAL here: https://www.facebook.com/InglesideImaginarium/
And here is where to purchase the pattern: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/498195209/birthstone-dragon-mystery-stitch-a-long?ref=listing-shop-header-0

3) Fairy Tale Princess Dress-Up Collection - by Brookes Books Publishing

I've done many of Brooke's lovely patterns as most of them are on perforated paper! They are like an experienced stitchers version of the Mill Hill kits I like. Lots of breads, usually metallic thread and sometimes a speciality stitch here or there.
While I don't know what I would do with these patterns... I just think they are crazy gorgeous! So this SAL (first two are out) is more about collecting the patterns and not about stitching them this year. I might do these up as one large sampler but won't be deciding until they are all out.
You can buy the patterns from your LNS or order direct from Brooke on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/484393654/50-off-presale-for-all-12-accessory?ref=shop_home_active_4 

Bonus: I still have the Calendar Girls by Little House Needleworks kitted up with a wonderful Gingham Checkered Linen. This was a SAL from a couple years ago that was monthly. My plan is still to do all the girls in a row without the calendar names. As it's kitted (as it uses DMC) and ready to go. It's also in my pile of top projects to start next. So it maybe that I will have the patriotic one and calendar girls on the go this year. Like I said before SAL's are great and all but I rarely follow the timeline as I find that too stressful and just don't have time for it.
These patterns are available at any major online stitching shop or your local LNS.

In other news: I had to delay ordering my fabric and missing threads for my HAED as there was a bead show this weekend and I might have spent the money for the HAED on beads for the store (lol!) but I will be getting that HAED going in the next few weeks. So stay tuned for the surprise!

My husband is finally starting to walk! Only been walking with a limb or one crutch for 4 days. He is now at physio, has daily exercises and is in a lot of pain again (boo). But we were prepared and he is very motivated to get back to sports and climbing as soon as possible. We're hoping in 6 weeks he will be back up on the wall. For me, everyday gets a little easier as he can now help out a lot more. Plus the snow gave me a reprieve this past week, so no shovelling.

Hope everyone is staying warm and finding lots of stitching time! 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Mill Hill Kits

First, let me just say WOW! You have all blown me away at how supportive you are of me expanding this blog to have a new area about books. So thank you so much to all of you for your support and being so amazing!!! I'll be launching the new book tab in the next week or so.

New Mill Hill Kits! 
As many of you know I am absolutely obsessed with Mill Hill kits that have perforated paper. So I was beyond excited to see the new Spring line of MH! My absolute favourite is the cute little lizard (seen on the right). He's just adorable. I know they will likely never have a snake one that I can make to honour my own pets (we currently have four snakes) but a lizard is darn close. :)

Even though I am terrified of the ocean and water I can appreciate the colours and design of the Lighthouse pattern (to the left) another of the new Mill Hill kits for spring.

In other stitching news I'm super excited to share with you all, closer to the end of the month, that I will be starting a new HAED. I'm just getting supplies and things sorted out for it. I have realized that I haven't been working any of my current HAEDs even though they are all kitted up and ready to go on scroll rods. Over holidays I saw a new pattern that my husband loves more than any other and so I'm hoping my desire to actual pick up this HAED will be stronger than the others have been.

My mermaid is still coming along as well and I'll have some new pics for you all soon.

For those interested my husband is doing okay. No new news but hey no news is often good news right? It's snowy and super cold here so I'm still working hard at keeping up with all the chores and outdoor stuff (like shoveling). I'm getting faster at it so I'm going to take that as improvement in my ability to move snow. LOL!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Beading & Another Question

For those that popped in before holiday time you'll know that I was trying to decide if I was going to bead up as I went on my scroll rods my Mirabilia Mermaid. In the end I decided to bead a small section and scroll it up with some fabric. I also beaded anything that was a size 15 bead (because they are so itty bitty). What this really means is that I moved back into stitching with thread and krenik fairly quickly and am going to do the remaining 95% of beading at the end. ;)

Here is the beading being folded underneath my scrolls (look in the far right area):

A question, your opinions wanted! I'm considering having a new tab added to this blog that will be where I post book reviews of books I've just read. Most my of my favourite people to follow on GoodReads are fellow stitchers who blog!
If you're wondering why it's so that I can post reviews of books, have book giveaways and do things that I can't do on GoodReads but are not appropriate for this main stitching blog.
You would still come to this blog first if you come to EpicStitching.blogspot.ca. However it might be that my book review posts will show in your news feed because you subscribe to the stitching part of this blog. So honest answers please! Would you be okay if a book tab was added to this blog?

Thanks to everyone for good wishes for my husband. We made it through the holidays. He is on crutches still until Jan 18 but we're hoping for good news to start weight bearing that day. We're both ready to get 2016 behind us and start 2017 off a lot better!