Thursday, January 16, 2014

Testing the Jackie Dress

When Amy at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop asked for volunteers to test the Jackie Dress, I jumped at the chance.  All of her patterns are so well drafted, and I own roughly ten of her other patterns, so I felt like this would be a good chance to make another sweet dress.

As with most of Amy's patterns, this one was a dream to sew.  The PDF pieces lined up easily for cutting, and her tutorial made easy work of inserting the piping, the zipper, and the lining.  The only trouble to be had with this pattern was carving out the time to sew it.

I used some Violet Craft for Michael Miller that I got at a local fabric shop, and I have to say that I am really pleased with the slight spring-like feel of this dress.  While we're keeping it in the closet for April or May, this dress could easily be layered over a plain white tee.  It also looks darlin' with her little blue cardigan!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


And, just like that, I'm back. 

Life has settled down in these four years, and I find myself with time not only to read again, but to write.  It turns out that I have missed this writing more than I knew.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm sorry, everyone, but it is time to end this blog.  Over the past few months, I have really enjoyed immersing myself in the blogosphere, reading, writing, and experimening with new things.  Unfortunately, it's time for a change.

My son, Alexander, was born eight weeks early this week, and I have to readjust my focus.  Instead of blogging, and doing things to blog about, I am going to need to spend time just being--with Alex, with his older siblings, with my husband, and with my God. 

Thanks for the fun.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: Lolita

"You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style"

Book Details:

School & Library Binding: 336 pages

Publisher: Turtleback; 1st Vintage International Ed edition (April 1, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0613706250


I have read enough reviews with cautious admissions that the reader enjoyed Nabokov's Lolita.  I am not going to be cautious.  I loved it!  Sure, it was not subject matter that I found particularly appealing, and our society does--and must, I think--hold pederasty in the highest contempt.  However, this was a fantastically written novel, and I think everyone should be required to read it.

I won't give away much of the plot through my review because I believe this is the first book on the list that everyone MUST read, and I am fairly certain that many people avoid it.  I initially wanted to read it before the arrival of the next baby, simply because I thought people would frown upon a newly delivered mother reading Lolita.  Surely, there is some stigma attatched to the book.

On the other hand, most people will gladly watch Law and Order: SVU or other incarnations of the series, all of which are significantly more explicit than Lolita.  There were no incredibly explicit scenes, no "pornography" or anything like it.  In fact, reducing Lolita to the pederasty is akin to describing a gourmet dinner of filet mignon to "beef and vegetables."  Nabokov's masterpiece is far too rich, nuanced, and developed to be painted with such a broad brush.

I could wax on and on about my thoughts on the book: the richly developed characters, the clever plot, the brilliant prose, but, suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Lolita.  It was the first book on the list that I have "loved," and I hope there are more like it.

Was this a good read?
You bet!  Fantastic!

Would I recommend it?
Without reservation.

Would I read it again?
And again, and again, and again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Beginnings Friday: Lolita

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Becky at Page Turners. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."

This is probably one of the cheesiest opening lines, ever!  First of all, it doesn't tell me anything I don't already know from pop culture and the cover.  Secondly, it's all cliche.  There is nothing new or inventive about "...light of my life, fire of my loins."  These trite phrases can be found in just about any book, poem, or song lyric picked at random.

I already know that Nabokov is a master of prose, but this opening sentence is not his best...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Friday Fill-in 170

1. All you need is a hug from your beautiful children.

2. Listening to conversations between the kids fills me with laughter.

3. Each generation, as it grows up, has a chance to change the world.

4. A return to normal spring weather is something I have a hard time dealing with.

5. A trip to North Carolina is what I need.

6. Give generously to others and you get back.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to actually spending time with my husband, tomorrow my plans include baking for Easter and Sunday, I want to play in the sandbox!

Book Review: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

"--I said that I had lost the faith--Stephen answered--but not that I had lost selfrespect.  What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoheret?"

Book Details:
Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: Dover Publications; 2nd THUS edition (May 20, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0486280500


A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the second Joyce novel I've read in the last month, and I think it suffered for that.  The novel is narrated by Stephen Dedalus from infancy to late adolescence, including a memorable series of sermons on the nature of hell. Overall, the plot covers how his deep belief in Catholicism changes to atheism as he nears adulthood.

I remembered reading this book in high school and loving it, so I was excited to return to Joyce so quickly after Ulysses; however, my memories did not live up to the text this time.  It may be that Ulysses is such a superior manuscript that Portrait pales in comparison, or it may be that I have changed in the intervening years.  Whichever the cause, I was sorely disappointed to find myself slogging through a novel of only 192 pages.

My primary problem with Portrait is the character of Stephen Dedalus.  While I found him intruiging in Ulysses, he never ventures beyond adolescent petulance in this novel.  He spends hour upon hour imagining his death, first when Parnell dies, then when he thinks he's going to hell, and again when he believes he will be resurrected.  While I understand that the novel is about Stephen's "coming of age," the morose thoughts and childish concerns really got to me.  I found many parts of the novel unbearably whiny and annoying.

On the other hand, some of the religious discussion in the book was interesting.  Again, Joyce links Catholicism to true Irish identity, but ends up rejecting it.  The sermons on hell in chapter three are enough to make anyone repent and convert, yet Stephen ultimately becomes, if not atheist, at least agnostic.

Was this a good read?
Sadly, not this time.  I enjoyed it in the past, but I found myself slogging through it.

Would I recommend it?
I don't think so.  I used to recommend it for people who wanted to read Joyce, but I don't think I'll do that again.

Would I read it again?
Maybe, but I doubt it.