Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Squares 18 & 19: Books

At long last, I finally completed my "books" squares.  As you may recall from this post, I tried to do this square several times and had to keep ripping it out, in total frustration.  Last night I went back to it, and pushed through to finish.  I can't say that I love it, but I'm glad that it's done.

I love books, love to read, and I always have.  I was the kid who was constantly lugging around 10 pound Stephen King hardback books with me everywhere I went.  I'm happy to say that my oldest daughter is a voracious reader (and we're crossing our fingers that our youngest will be, too). 

I've read a lot of books this summer, but here are a few of my favorites, if you're looking for a good read:

The Passage, by Justin Cronin: Huge book (I swear it weighs 20 pounds).  Basically, an end-of-the-world vampire book written by a literary author.  So, exactly my cup of tea.  Read it in 2 days -- still thinking about it.  It's scary, compelling, thrilling.  Highly recommend!!

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by  Katherine Howe: Salem witch trials meet modern day Harvard historian.  Not a perfect book, but it captured my imagination and had a touch of magic that I enjoyed.  Great summer read.

61 Hours, by Lee Child: the latest in the Jack Reacher thriller series.  Couldn't put it down -- love all of the books in this series.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson: I was probably the last person on the planet to read this book.  Took me awhile to get into it, but then I was hooked.  I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley: wonderful classic mystery, set in England in the 1950's, but with a twist: the heroine/sleuth is a young girl who loves chemistry and is obsessed with poisons.  I loved this, and the sequel is on my bedside table!

And if that's not enough, a few more of my all-time favorites:
The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton
The Stand, by Stephen King (unabridged, of course)
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (we read this last year for my bookclub, and I have to tell you, we were all just astonished by this novel -- amazing in so many ways!  Even if you've seen the movie a million times, like I had, I urge you to go get this book.  You'll be glad you did!)

Well, that's just a little taste of my bookshelf!  Hope you're having fun stitching and that you've read some lovely books lately!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Square 17: Mickey. And, a Decision

I dashed outside in between tropical downpours to take a quick picture of my next square.  (I think it's going to be a long hurricane season, y'all, but I digress.) So, here it is: a big pink Mickey head.  Oddly enough, this square, along with a few comments on my last post, helped lead me to make a big decision: I've decided to revise this project, from here going forward.  Here's why:

I've been wanting to stitch this silly Mickey Mouse head for over a month now.  But every time I sat down to do it I thought: Is Mickey Mouse a blessing?  Sure, going to Disney World is a blessing, family fun is a blessing, etc., but is it really worthy of a blessing square?  Do I have anything profound to say about it?  Is Mickey too shallow for a square? Round and round like this I went -- and nothing got stitched.

After mulling it over a bit, I've decided that for me, having every square represent a blessing is just too much pressure.  It was taking the fun out of the project for me.  I think that's why I hadn't been enjoying it as much (or working on it as consistently) as the 39 Squares project.  For 39 Squares, I just stitched whatever I felt like stitching on that particular day.  Sometimes it had meaning, but sometimes it was just a flower.  You know what I mean?  It was fun, creative, relaxing, even therapeutic.  That's what I missed when that project ended. 

Now, this isn't to say that some of my squares won't still pertain to blessings.  I have a lot of blessings in my life, and I'd like to incorporate them into this project when I can.  (Not to mention the fact that I have a central design that says "BLESSINGS.")  I just think that from now on, I'm going to free myself to stitch whatever I feel like, even if it has no deeper meaning or I have nothing in particular to say about it. 

So, given all of that, I give you: the big pink Mickey head.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Square 16: Spirituality

Each of us experiences spirituality differently; for some, a spiritual life is more important than for others.  I'm not a very demonstrably spiritual person -- to be honest, I can get uncomfortable with that pretty quickly.   But I'm grateful for a quiet, abiding spirituality; one that comforts in the difficult moments.

For this square, I stitched a remnant of antique lace onto the square, and then attached a small vintage holy medal.  I love the tiny shape and blue color of the medal.  I like how this square came together.

In an effort to get this project rolling again, I think I'm going to free myself to do more "assembling" of squares, to help spark my creativity when I can't think of a complete stitched square.  As I said in the beginning, 100 squares is a LOT! 

How is your stitching coming along?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

S is for Sandy Beaches

Hello!  I've been AWOL for quite awhile now -- sorry about that!  We were gone for two weeks in June on a fantastic Disney vacation that included lots of time on amazing sandy beaches in the Bahamas.  Here's an example:

I still can't believe that I was actually there -- it is just so beautiful!

Since we've returned, I've been having a hard time getting back into the swing of my normal routine.  My needlework has suffered.  I'm hoping to get back to the project soon.  But for today, the first "s" in "Blessings" stands for sandy beaches.  What a blessing to take a vacation like that with my family!

I hope you're having a wonderful summer, and still stitching along!