CGM Podcast Episode 24: A Dragon Year

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes

  • Life Update: party recap, MIL leaving which means changing schedules/timimg/more craziness for the household as we adjust.
  • WIPs:
    • Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt
    • At Home in the Woods...don't ask.
    • Gaptastic cowl....possibly the slowest progress ever on a knitted item.
  • Next up Projects:
    • Baby quilt for my brother and SIL. They'd like it in gray, deep pink, and light purple.
    • Swoon Quilt! Have you seen this pattern yet? I'd be shocked if you haven't - it's everywhere! Like here, here, and here for a start.

  • Making Me Happy in Crafting: New blades for my rotary cutter and my scissor sharpener
 Shear Sharp Scissor Sharpener. 
Here is where you can buy it for less than $10.

  • New Segment: How CGM Keeps It Together. This week the "tip" is having a before bed routine or set of things you do prior to going to bed.
  • Book Reviews:

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

  • What I'm Reading Now: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult and the audiobook of A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick
Thanks for listening!



Slow Going With the Sewing

You'd think now that I have my beloved Lily (sewing machine) back from the sewing machine doctor I'd be hard at work finishing the 1 quilt I spent most of 2011 talking about finishing. Yeah, you'd think. No, instead I am spending my time alternating between piecing a new quilt (Disappearing 9 Patch) and knitting my cowl at a snail's pace.

OK, there MAY or may not have been a little (read: a lot) BBC drama watching thrown in there, including re-watching all of Season 2 of Downton Abbey. I've learned I just cannot sew and watch the television at the same time. At least not with these dramatic performances where just the description "dramatic performance" implies that much of the acting is body language - which of course you have to be looking at the screen to see.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

  • Disappearing 9 Patch quilt
  • At Home in the Woods quilt
  • Gaptastic Cowl in Lion Brand Chunky - Eggplant colorway

I have linked up this week with the following sites. If you have something you're working on, link up too!

Sugar and Dots:  What I Whipped Up Wednesday

Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell
Linkin' With Lil' Luna Wednesday

Junk in their Trunk: Link It Up Wednesday

 Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays



Books for Downton Fans

Thanks for the kind comments and emails I've received from my post about satisfying that "Downton Abbey" craving the series has brought out in so many of us. Well, you all know I'm a reader-before-a-watcher kind of gal, and I've loved reading this genre long before I was swept down the glorious halls of Downton. This includes everything from Edith Wharton's books to Jane Austen and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Since it seems a little obvious to give a rundown of those titles (unless you'd like me to in another post), I thought I'd branch out a bit and share some (new-to-me) books. I haven't read many of these (yet!) so I can't give a review or opinion of them. Several of them are currently very inexpensive as eBooks on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. Word-to-the-wise here, if you see an eBook that's only $.99 - $3.99 scoop it up now. As soon as the publisher wises up to the fact that people are starting to scramble to find books in this genre, they will definitely raise prices or keep the period of that low price to a minimum.

Swallowcliffe Hall series by Jennie Walters (thanks Pam!) All 3 eBooks are $2.99 each on Amazon.com and BN.com this week!

Below Stairs by Margaret Powell:
Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

And because I couldn't resist and because it is FREE FREE FREE in the Amazon Kindle store

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Happy Reading!




Dear Maddy,

I can't believe that exactly 1 year ago today I was being told by the Dr. "your baby is not responsive on the monitor or ultrasound. We're going to have to do an emergency C-section." We still had 6 weeks to go. You can't imagine the panic/fear/anxiety/stress/need-for-your-own-Mom feelings that set in, in a nanosecond, after hearing those words. In fact, I don't think I heard much after "your baby is not responsive..." Somehow I made it to the hospital on my own...risking life-and-limb while dialing your Dad, your Nana and Grandpa, and the mental Jesus hotline all at the same time.

And you were born. Perfect. Our little Peanut.

And my how you have grown! Almost walking. Independent. Funny. A bit of a bruiser with that right hook.

 Probably shaping up to have a big mouth like your Mom.

Happy Birthday my Maddy-Mad. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for you.



CGM Podcast Episode 23: Party Time

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes:

  • Life Update: I'm hosting 3 parties in the 4 weeks after Christmas.... Calgon take me away!
  • WIPs:
    • At Home in the Woods - hear about why finishing this quilt was thwarted by a machine that didn't want to play nice.
    • Disappearing 9 Patch w/ Ruby fabric line

  • What's Making Me Happy in Crafting: iPhone/iPod apps!!
  • I've been watching a lot of Downton Abbey and other period dramas while knitting and sewing. On 1/10 I posted a pretty long list of shows, so go here to look through it and see if anything appeals to you while you wait in between DA episodes, or after the season ends.
Book Review

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

Thanks for listening!!



Thursday Thoughts

  • I don't really make New Years resolutions.
  • Anymore.
  • Being a habitual list-maker, I just update my "to do's" lists for the year.
  • I have quite a few to do lists going all the time.
  • Home
  • Work
  • Kids
  • Crafts
  • Grocery
  • Decluttering - which is a secondary list to home.
  • This week I've been focusing on my crafts list.
  • I have 73 crafty things listed that I'd like to do.
  • This month.
  • I already smacked myself upside the head.
  • I've determined that I'm suffering from a bad case of Squirrel.
  • You know how a dog can be moseying along, sniffing the ground, looking for the next spot to lift his leg.
  • Basically going about his business with what looks like focused intent.
  • Then all of a sudden a squirrel comes into his sight and he's off after it.
  • Squirrel runs to safety, sticking his tongue out at the dog from high above.
  • Dog barks for a few seconds.
  • Then goes back to sniffing along.
  • Another squirrel bravely crosses the dogs path.
  • Dog is off and running....
  • That's me.
  • The "squirrels" I'm getting easily distracted by are new fabric.
  • New projects my favorite bloggers are starting or sharing.
  • Like quilt-a-longs.
  • This one by Elizabeth Hartman of the Oh Fransson! blog really isn't fair it's so gorgeous.
  • New patterns.
  • Like handbags. This one from Clover & Violet is one I "may or may not" have been stalking them to add to their shop for several months now.
  • Just when I realized my "squirrel" problem, and decided to stop buying, they go and add it to the shop!
  • Insert mean name here, but I like them so I only whispered it to myself as I clicked "add to cart"
  • Have you heard about World Book Night yet?
  • If you haven't RUN! don't walk over to their website.
  • Read about this fabulous movement to get more people to read books.
  • Sign up by February 1st to be a volunteer.
  • I will be talking more about it on my podcast in the next episode.
  • Which I'm recording tonight.
  • I added it to my "To Do for the Podcast" list.
  • But just trust me on this.
  • If you love to read like I do, you want to sign up for this awesome event.
  • You will literally be putting a book into at least 30 people's hands on April 23rd.
  • FREE!
  • Don't you feel like I just shouted Squirrel?
  • Hee hee.


Caught the Downton Abbey Bug Yet?

If you read this blog, or listen to my podcast, I'm sure you've heard me mention (many times) how much I love Downton Abbey. I was lucky enough to be able to watch all of Season 2 prior to Christmas, so I am already anxiously awaiting Season 3. Too bad they don't start filming it until next month!

Of course I am watching Season 2 again on PBS this month, along with everyone else. However, my need for more British period dramas has reached obsession-like proportions. I have been scouring the Internet for past and present series to fit the bill and hold me over for another year until DA Season 3.

Here is my list of TV series and movies that I will be watching through 2012. In fact, I have already watched several on this list, but figured I would include them here for those of you who are also "period drama obsessed" and want anything/everything you can get your hands on, like me. Many of these are available on Netflix Instant Streaming or Amazon Prime Instant Streaming. I still have the DVD plan on Netflix, so I am fine with getting them that way too....like I said, it's an obsession/near-addiction so I'll take my "fix" any way I can get it, lol.

Lark Rise to Candleford: Seasons 1-4

I can't believe I missed this series! I just finished the first 3 episodes of Season 2, so I have a ways to go. I am really enjoying this one. 
Synopsis: In late 19th-century England, young Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan) must adapt to many tough changes when she moves from rural Lark Rise to the wealthy market town of Candleford, where locals contend with the myriad dramas of Victorian daily life.


Synopsis: In this BBC-produced drama set in post-World War I Liverpool, England, three sisters (Catherine Tyldesley, Kerrie Hayes, Leanne Rowe) face the usual coming-of-age struggles in a world that offers few choices to women of no financial means. That doesn't, however, stop the Moss girls from finding laughter as well as pain as they struggle to make their way in the world -- one making chocolates, one selling corsets and one working as a parlor maid.

Wish Me Luck

Synopsis: This first-rate period drama follows the adventures of British women -- including housewife Liz Grainger and factory worker Matty Firman -- who are recruited to serve as spies in occupied France during World War II.

The Forsyte Saga

Synopsis: This epic miniseries follows the Victorian pride of the Forsyte clan through the scandals and mistakes of the patriarch, Soames. His ways change when he sees his cherished daughter grow into a captivating young woman who carries on the family pride

The Buccaneers

I've already watched this miniseries and thought it was very good! If you listen to The History Chicks podcast, you may recall them mentioning the Edith Wharton's book, The Buccaneers, during the Gilded Age series.
Synopsis: Four sisters shunned as "new money" by elitist New York society travel to London to look for husbands, where they're courted by numerous suitors. But as old and new worlds clash, something has to give.

The Grand

That is one miserable-looking hotel maid isn't it, lol?
Synopsis: Welcome to The Grand, a four-star, 1920s English hotel where melodrama is served in high style. Love, lust, adultery, greed, prostitution and plenty of juicy gossip come into play as owners John and Sarah Bannerman host a crop of colorful characters.

Land Girls

Synopsis: "Land Girls" is a period drama set on a farm in the English countryside during World War II. The program follows the lives, loves, highs and lows of four Land Girls (members of the Women's Land Army) working at the Hoxley Estate.


Synopsis: Adapted from George Eliot's novel, this BBC miniseries tells the story of virtuous Dr. Lydgate (Douglas Hodge), who heads up Middlemarch's hospital, and well-do-to Dorothea (Juliet Aubrey), who's determined to help the needy. Along the way, the dreams of these two altruists are derailed by bad marriages and selfish people, yet they also play a part in their own demise. Will this deserving pair find happiness in the twisty-turny conclusion?

Berkeley Square

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this period drama. The only problem I had was that it ended after the first season, and ended with a cliffhanger! That was very disappointing, but it's still well worth watching.
Synopsis: In the posh London enclave of Berkeley Square in 1902, a deep friendship blooms between three young nannies: tough East Ender Matty (Clare Wilkie), heartbroken Hannah (Victoria Smurfit) and naive farm girl Lydia (Tabitha Wady). Meticulous period detail, a rich soap opera plot and winning performances highlight this enormously popular 10-episode British miniseries, a bighearted drama of the Edwardian era.


I vaguely recall my Mom watching this series, but I never had a chance. It sounds really good, so this one may move up higher on the "to-watch" list!
Synopsis: In Victorian London, independent Dr. Eleanor Bramwell (Jemma Redgrave) defies societal conventions by pursuing her chosen profession, and after she is fired for disagreeing with a male doctor, wealthy Lady Peters helps her open a free clinic in a poor neighborhood. 

Road to Avonlea

OK, this one is set in Canada, not the UK. But as a HUGE fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery and the Anne of Green Gables/Avonlea books, I cannot help but add this to my list!
Synopsis: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved stories come to life in this enchanting series about young Sara Stanley (Sarah Polley), who struggles to adjust when she's forced to leave her luxurious home in the early 1900s and live with relatives in the small village of Avonlea. Sara finds adventure with her cousins but often argues with her imperious Aunt Hetty (Jackie Burroughs). As she matures, Sara learns about romance, independence and responsibility.

Upstairs, Downstairs (2010 version)

Having already seen the original series (and if you haven't, it's definitely one-to-watch!) I am looking forward to this one. Yes, I know there's something to be said about not fixing what isn't broke, but this has received rave reviews. It looks like it picks up where the original one left off.
Synopsis: It's 1936 and Sir Hallam Holland and his wife have bought the iconic London townhouse at 165 Eaton Place. Luckily, former Eaton Place maid Rose Buck, now at the helm of her own agency, knows just what kind of staff the diplomat and his new home need.

The Jewel in the Crown

Synopsis: The passionate, turbulent and controversial love affair between a British-raised Indian man and an Englishwoman during the waning years of the British Raj is portrayed in this Masterpiece Theatre miniseries based on Paul Scott's novel The Raj Quartet. Spanning 14 episodes shot in exotic locales in India and England, this exquisite human epic received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries.

The House of Eliott

Synopsis: Set during the raucous Roaring Twenties, this television drama follows suddenly orphaned sisters Beatrice and Evangeline Eliott (Stella Gonet and Louise Lombard) as they start a haute-couture fashion business amidst the free-spirited hustle and bustle of London. As the sisters carry on scandalous affairs and otherwise gain worldly sophistication, they battle embezzling bankers and deal with other threats to their expanding fashion empire.

Wives & Daughters

Synopsis: Family life changes drastically for the good-natured Molly Gibson when her widowed father decides to remarry, and a woman with her own set of rules -- and a beautiful daughter -- becomes her stepmother.


This is a U.S. based TV show I vaguely recall watching several episodes of when it aired in the early 90s. I have seen rave reviews for it on Netflix and Amazon, and most series like this with a strong, independent woman merits a look in my house!
Synopsis: Set in turn-of-the-century Appalachia, this heartwarming family drama centers on determined 19-year-old Christy Huddleston (Kellie Martin), who leaves her upper-class city lifestyle for the rural community of Cutter Gap, Tenn., to teach impoverished children. Christy takes time adjusting to the villagers' social customs and way of life, and soon becomes romantically drawn to two men in this series based on author Catherine Marshall's best-seller.

A Dinner of Herbs

Synopsis: Childhood pals Roddy, Hal and Mary Ellen reevaluate their relationships as adults in this sweeping epic. After an affair that leaves Mary Ellen pregnant, Roddy rejects her and leaves town, forcing her into a safe marriage to Hal.

Bomb Girls

Synopsis: Set in the 1940s, Bomb Girls tells the remarkable stories of the women who risked their lives in a munitions factory building bombs for the Allied forces fighting on the European front. The series delves into the lives of these exceptional women from all walks of life peers, friends and rivals who find themselves thrust into new worlds and changed profoundly as they are liberated from their home and social restrictions.

North & South

OK, "Presumptive American" moment here. I have seen this series pop up as a "recommend" in my Netflix account many times. I kept passing it over since I assumed they were referring to the United States North & South series, which I have seen several times (young, shirtless Patrick Swayze..enough said) Well dip me in dumb sauce, because this refers to North & South England. Doh!
Synopsis: When her father moves his family to an industrial mill town, the parson's daughter, Margaret Hale, struggles to adapt to her harsh new surroundings. This BBC series is based on the popular novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.

East of Eden

Synopsis: The trials of the Trask family unfold across three generations of American life as a beguiling but venomous beauty (Jane Seymour, in a Golden Globe–winning turn) sets in motion events that drive a permanent wedge between brothers. Arguably the most faithful adaptation of John Steinbeck's epic novel, this acclaimed 1981 miniseries features a star-studded cast that also includes Timothy Bottoms, Bruce Boxleitner and Lloyd Bridges.


Synopsis: Adapted from the novels of celebrated Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell, this Emmy-winning BBC miniseries follows a group of women in a town wrestling with modernity and the inevitability of change.

Based on the huge success of Downton, I suspect we will see several more period dramas coming our way this Fall and next year. I can almost hear the U.S. television execs scrambling over one another to scoop up any likely candidate screenplays, can't you?

I would love to hear from you if you plan to watch any of these throughout the year. And if you know of any others, let me know!


edited 1/24/12 to add a few more!

Synopsis: Recently orphaned, Christina (Christine McKenna) is sent to live at the Essex estate of her wheelchair-bound uncle and finds herself thrust into a male-dominated world centered around the hunting and drinking antics of her two cousins. Based on the award-winning trilogy of novels by K.M. Peyton, this miniseries set in the early 1900s follows Christina as she struggles to find her place -- both within her family and in a rapidly changing world.


All Passion Spent

Synopsis: After a lifetime in the spotlight, Lady Slane (Wendy Hiller), the 85-year-old wife of a recently deceased politician, is allowed to shed her public persona and retreat to a cottage in the Hampstead countryside. But rediscovering her identity is no easy task with meddlesome family members constantly questioning her propriety. Adapted from Vita Sackville-West's classic novel, this acclaimed Masterpiece Theatre production was nominated for four BAFTA awards.

London Hospital

Synopsis: Romance, surgery and history combine in this vivid, atmospheric drama based on the lives and case notes of doctors, nurses and patients at the Royal London Hospital a century ago.

edited 2/10/15 to add a few more:

 The Paradise
Synopsis: Denise Lovett (Joanna Vanderham) is the bright-eyed country girl who finds more than just shop-girl work when she brings her clever ideas and ambition to The Paradise, a glamorous, Victorian-era department store. John Moray (Emun Elliott) is the store’s dashing and enigmatic owner, an entrepreneur with more than his share of passion -- and secrets.

Mr. Selfridge
Synopsis: Centers on the real-life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge's, London's department store.

 Call the Midwife
Synopsis: Call the Midwife, based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth, tells colorful stories of midwifery and families in London’s East End.
The third season takes viewers to 1959, the eve of the Swinging Sixties. The winds of change are sweeping through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House face some momentous changes of their own.

Million Dollar American Princesses
Synopsis: Join Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) as she takes an in-depth look at the young American heiresses whose real life stories inspired the acclaimed TV drama "Downton Abbey." This series explores the time between the 1870s and the outbreak of World War One, when more than 200 daughters of America's new industrial millionaires marry into the money-strapped British aristocracy. They use their affluence, allure and ingenuity to their advantage, and they bring dramatic changes to the English ruling class and eventually the world.

The Crimson Field
Synopsis: One of the untold stories of World War 1. Kitty Trevelyan tries to put the past troubles behind her as she joins two other girls to volunteer at one of the busy war hospitals in northern France.

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