Blythe three dress giveaway!

Happy new year! I’ve been attempting to spend more time doing things other than the internet, hence the lack of posts. I’m not giving up on blogging – far from it! – but am trying to focus on mostly on making things and taking political action. I’m still planning to make time for blogging but I am also in winter hibernation mode, so posts will probably be more sporadic at least for a bit.

So, back to making things! I made these three dresses for Blythe and would love to give them away to other Blythe folks. Head over to YouTube and comment there to be entered to win. I’ll pick a winner on Friday January 13th so hurry on over!

Review: Doodletopia Fairies

Doodletopia Fairies
Doodletopia Fairies: Draw, Design, and Color Your Own Super-Magical and Beautiful Fairies by Christopher Hart

This latest entry in the Doodletopia series brings what fans will expect: an outline-based guide to drawing figures, in this case fairies, in a cute and anime-inspired style. This style fits well with fairies as it includes lots of large heads, big eyes, pointy ears, and svelte bodies (apparently fairies are all very similar in stature – no real differences in height or weight to be found). Some of the costumes are a little revealing on a level equal to Disney princesses (think Tinkerbell). A number of fairy poses are outlined for action drawings, and a few pages at the end are dedicated to fairy dwellings.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

new video: making a dress for Ash

I finally finished all the holiday knitting I had on my list and decided to make another Katie Cardigan for my Blythes. I love this pattern (if I do say so myself) and it is a really nice piece for pairing with a dress, so I decided to make a new dress to go with it.

review: Red-Blooded American Male

 Red-Blooded American Male

Red-Blooded American Male photographs by Robert Trachtenberg

This book contains dozens of very skillfully-taken photographs of mostly celebrities, all of whom are men (there are a few women in a few of the photos with these male celebrities, but not all of them are even named). There’s no denying the care that has been taken to set up each photograph including the setting, wardrobe, pose, timing, and all the other things that go into taking a good portrait. Many have been set up to elicit surprise or laughter in the viewer (Jimmy Kimmel wearing a Daenerys Targaryen costume, Bill Maher in a friendly hug with a spot-on George W. Bush impersonator, etc) and some are just very editorial fashion shots. Some capture the thing that the person is most known for and some seek to show an aspect of their personality. I can’t fault the skill with which this aesthetically appealing coffee table book was put together, but I just can’t get very excited about a book that has the sole purpose of celebrating a bunch of hyper-privileged mostly white dudes. I get the feeling that it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but that isn’t successful for me.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

happy scrappy

Over the weekend I finished a couple of quilts that I’ve been working on. These are scrappy quilts, using up the ridiculous amount of small pieces of fabric that I’ve amassed. I decided that these small pieces were taking up too much shelf space, so it was time to do something with them.

Boston Terrier applique crate quilt 1

I have a bunch of these that I’ve been working on assembly-line style, first piecing together the scraps by relative size and then those pieces together and then those and so forth, then added the applique, then made the quilt sandwiches, quilted, and then did the binding. I finally hand-finished the back side of the binding on these two over the weekend.

Boston Terrier applique quilt 2

This BT head raw-edge applique is something I came up with myself and I’m pretty proud of how it looks. I did each one in a different fabric combination, so there’s a lot of variation on these. I’ll be donating them to the Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue for fundraising – but for the moment, isn’t Coraline a cute model?

review: Quilting is My Therapy

Quilting is my therapy

Quilting is My Therapy: Behind the Stitches with Angela Walters

I’m not generally one to use patterns for quilting – I prefer to make things up as I go or get a general idea from something that is traditional (like a nine-patch) and then figure it out on my own from there. I do, however, love to get inspiration from looking at the quilts others have made, and this book is perfect for that. Exquisite quilts from a variety of quilters are pictured and while they all feature the intricate and very busy long-arm quilting that I don’t choose for my own projects (this is Walters’ specialty, I believe), the quilt patterns themselves give me lots of ideas. The running story of Walters’ own journey to becoming a quilter has some inconsistent punctuation and a number of what read to me as quilt-snob sentiments (she’s entitled to her opinion! I just don’t find it constructive for me as a reader), so I preferred to focus on the quilts themselves.

full disclosure: I checked this book out from my local library

snow time like the present

We got our first big snow of the winter yesterday. It feels like it’s late in coming, but it’s not really – it’s just that we had a lot of unseasonably warm weather this autumn so it’s only recently gotten cold.

Firefly Cottage looking super cute #FireflyCottage #mtpleasantmi #pureMichigan

A photo posted by Anne H. (@annethelibrarian) on

K and I both spent some time snowblowering and shoveling and were able to keep on top of it pretty well. It was also quite powdery which makes clearing it easier.

Roses in the snow #FireflyCottage #mtpleasantmi #pureMichigan

A photo posted by Anne H. (@annethelibrarian) on

Our somewhat lopsided xmas tree at #FireflyCottage #mtpleasantmi #pureMichigan

A photo posted by Anne H. (@annethelibrarian) on

It was really pretty, too!

Lilac still has leaves from getting confused during the warm autumn

This lilac got fooled into putting out new leaves during the warm autumn, and it is still hanging on to some of them. It is weird to see such bright green leaves in the snow.

This Lilac only grew a few confusion leaves

This one only put out a few leaves. We cut down the very tall branches of both of these plants in the spring, so they can now be shrubs again instead of gangly tall trees with blooms and leaves only at the very top.

Back of the house

I haven’t posted many pictures of the back of the house, but here is one! You can see the strange window layout the original owners chose on the shed dormer – the bigger one is in the stairway and the small one is in the upstairs bath. It makes sense from the inside but looks weird on the outside.

And lastly, a reminder that we forgot to remove the window screens this fall.

Strata #FireflyCottage #mtpleasantmi #pureMichigan

A photo posted by Anne H. (@annethelibrarian) on

review: You’re Saying It Wrong

You're Saying It Wrong

You’re Saying it Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse by Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras

This book provides a list of commonly mispronounced words with phonetic (but using the ‘normal’ alphabet – no schwas or other symbols used by academics and dictionaries) pronunciations, definitions, and a paragraph or two on the history of the word and in some cases an anecdote about ways to mispronounce it. The authors note at the start that they go with the correct or most commonly used pronunciation, regardless (note: see their entry on irregardless!) of how many other accepted or colloquial pronunciations there might be (a few entries have more than one pronunciation listed, but most stick to one). The entries include commonly used words (spurious, sherbet), historical words that come up sometimes (wassail), famous people (Wagner, van Gogh), phrases (would have [not would of!]), and others. Throughout the book, one-page lists highlight the pronunciations of words that fit into a particular area of interest: fashion, philosophy, gourmet food, and such. A fun book to look through for folks who like words and pedants who like to be right!

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books