Turning It All Off...

We're off to the beach for a week! This blog/podcast/crazy-busy life will resume first week in July. In the meantime, here's my "theory" on family vacations/together-time:

Take 3 minutes to watch that and tell me if you're not grinning like crazy....Needless to say, I'm "turning it all off" for at least a week and flying a kite with the family.

Happy Summer!



CGM Podcast Episode 32: Flying a Kite

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 

Life update:  
  • Sam had her preschool "graduation" and dance recital....let's just say I'm glad we made it through!
  • We're headed to the beach for a week of fun in the sun and unplugging from the "real world" for awhile.

 F.O.'s and WIP's:
  • Finished! The La La Love You Cowl. I blogged about it HERE. 
  • Finished! A birdie sling (pattern by Amy Butler) using Soul Blossoms fabric line in orange. I will blog about it when I'm back online in July. Here's a picture of the bag though:

  • Still working on the king spiderweb quilt
  • Also working on some sketches for upcoming mini quilts...may be a series, not sure yet though. Stay tuned!
  • I have joined not one, but TWO Mystery Shawl KALs (knit-a-longs) this summer. 

How CGM Keeps It All Together...on long car trips with little ones: Surprise Ride Bags. 
Fill a tote bag or backpack with inexpensive treats for them to receive and paw through only when they're buckled in their seats in the car. I am filling Sam's with snacks (goldfish and animal crackers, juice boxes, etc..), coloring and activity books, crayons and pencils, a couple new books, and some plain white paper to play games and make drawings of things she sees while on vacation. 

Book Review:
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

I am currently reading: The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner (advance copy, on sale 7/10), Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Thanks for listening!



First Day of Summer....

And I'm making a little something before we head to the beach this weekend....

Fabric: Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler in orange. 
Something about this fabric just said "summer!" to me.

What are you working on?



F.O.: La La Love You Cowl

Not much to say except:

I love it!

Pattern: La La Love Cowl by Sandra Parks
Yarn: Everlasting Dream in Color, #704 Grow colorway



CGM Summer Book List for the Non Literary

OK, don't flame me for the "nonliterary" part in the headline, but I couldn't come up with a better (or shorter) way to put "...for the readers like me who are sick-and-tired of seeing summer reading suggestions filled with books more fitting a college course or that I need a dictionary alongside, than sitting poolside with a frozen strawberry margarita."

I mean, really, I'm sure there are plenty of readers who at this time of year like to pick up a heavy (read: high-falutin') book that has been critically praised in all the biggie places like New York Times Book Review, New Yorker, People, Oprah, etc... And I spend quite a bit of my time reading and reviewing "those" kind of books for work or if it's a particular author I love.

But there's something about this time of year that just calls to me softly, "Read the panned bestsellers...read the silly chick-lits.....read the trash..." OK, I'm sure the authors of these AWESOME books don't want their labors of love called "trash"...but I hope you know I'm being deliberately cheeky when I say that. This is the stuff that more people read than the "other" books that constantly get all the literary coverage and press (and awards). This is the stuff you can smile with because it's a straight-forward romance with a happy ending and a hot guy. This is the stuff you can laugh with because the characters and situations they find themselves in are so unbelievably unreal they're hysterical. This is the stuff they make movies that don't get nominated for Oscars, but were probably still big hits at the box office. This is the writing that is sometimes mediocre, but often very good, but the characters talk like you-and-I do and maybe the grammar ain't so correct, but whose is all the time?

Anyways, in short, here are my picks for summer reading you can just have some straight-up fun with and know at the end, you just read a dang-good book no editor would ever think of reviewing, but then again you're not exactly asking for his or her opinion anyways! I have broken them into categories so you can go straight to your flavor of choice. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave a comment below on your picks for the summer! As I've mentioned in my podcast, I am always happy to not only gab (on-and-on) about books, but my pen is always ready to write down what others are reading. I'll be the first to admit I don't read every genre, so any I've left off are strictly because I haven't read enough to recommend them at this time...please tell us yours!

Chick-Lit/Straight-Up Fun Stories Usually with a Romantic Angle

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue

On the Island by Tracy G. Graves
(Wow. Just Wow. SO good. Upcoming podcast review!)

The Great Escape by Susan E. Phillips

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Fiction/Not War-and-Peace or Canterbury Tales but a Book You Can Say "Damn, That Was Good!" by the End

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
(I'm bursting to tell you about this one...upcoming podcast review!)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
(another book I'm bursting to tell you about...upcoming podcast review!)
 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
(Book 2, Shadow of Night is out in July. I highly recommend 
sinking your teeth into this one first!)

Comedic Fiction and Non Fiction/Books To Make You LOL

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen
(pretty much anything by Carl Hiaasen will make 
you LOL, he's just THAT funny. And he writes the best 
"low-life" characters I've ever read. Hi-LARIOUS!)

Bless Your Heart Tramp by Celia Rivenbark
(OMG, if you haven't read Celia Rivenbark, run don't walk and get her books. SO funny.)

 The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
(a classic fish-out-of-water true life comedy)

Whatever You Do, Don't Run by Peter Allison
(freakin' hilarious)

Solomon vs. Lord by Paul Levine
(I just love this funny mystery series)

Mysteries/Thrillers/Women Who Kick Ass and Take Names

1st to Die by James Patterson
(This is a series, and the 11th book just came out in May. 
If you haven't read this series yet though, I recommend starting with this one)

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
(1st book in the Rizzoli and Isles series)

The Rope by Nevada Barr
(Anna Pigeon series = awe.some!)

(Eve Dallas series, one of my faves. This is #34, but you can read these 
as stand-alones or start with #1 Naked in Death)

Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow
(Talk about an author who doesn't get enough credit for 
great stories/mysteries. Dana is fantastic!)

Contemporary Classics/I Saw the Movie and Been Meaning to Read the Book

 The Princess Bride by William Goldman
"My name is Tanesha Nurse...you haven't read this book, prepare to die."

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Z. Bradley
(um hello, what rock have you been under if you watched all the Harry Potters, all the Lords of the Rings, and read a crapload of other scifi/fantasy/witchy/vampy books and haven't read this one? Read.This.Now!)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(I don't care what kind of book list I pull together whatever the season - this one will always be on it!)

(Do not deny yourself the rich experience of reading this book, 
no matter the time of year! It's like chocolate to my reading soul.)

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Quilt Fiction/Knit Lit

Ties That Bind by Marie Bostwick
(#5 in the Cobbled Court series)

Monkey Wrench by Terri Thayer

How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron

Tangled Up in Love by Heidi Betts

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig

Erotica/Smut We're Now Old Enough to Read (don't just skip to the "good parts" LOL)
    Bared to You by Sylvia Day
      Gabriel's Inferno by Syllvain Reynard

       50 Shades of Grey series by EL James
      (who the heck isn't talking about these books? Yes, I've read all 3
      ...maybe a PG-13 podcast review?!?!)

      So there you go! I hope you've found a few books to consider for your summer reading list. Let me know which ones tickled your fancy, and what you're also planning to read.



        F.O. (Finally!!): At Home in the Woods Quilt

        It's finally got a sleeve and is hung in our entryway. I think it's quite a show-stopper if I do say so myself!

         The entire top is done using fusible applique!

        Pattern: At Home in the Woods by McKenna Ryan. This was a BOM (block-of-the-month) from waaaaaay back in 2003 or 2004. So much for staying on track with that, LOL. In any case, I am in love with this quilt no matter how long it took to finish, and smile with pride every time I pass it. I have 2 more BOM's from McKenna Ryan in my stash, and even if it takes me another 8-10 years to make those, I'd say it's well worth the wait, wouldn't you?



        Devon Peasant Top

        I made a top for myself last week. Here it is:

        Pattern: Devon Peasant Top by Sis Boom

        Fabric used: Modernology by Art Gallery Fabrics

        This pattern sewed up so quickly and the fit was perfect! I am a 1X based on my measurements, and can I just say "thank you" to Ms. Paganelli for being one of the few out there offering their patterns in sizes XS - 3X. If you are buying a pdf file of this or any other Sis Boom pattern, don't be intimidated by the 300+ pages in the patterns - most of those are for the wide range of sizes offered, and you are given the page numbers to print out just for your size plus the sewing instructions on 8.5" x 11" paper.

        I've decided to make this in the dress version (above the knee length) too! Now just to find the right fabric for it. Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap blog and podcast made one of these tops as well! Go check hers out here.

        Linked up here:

        Katie's Nesting Spot

        Sew Chatty

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