December 28, 2013

Favourites of 2013

I think it's fitting that my last post of the year (60th) should be about books.  In particular, a few of the books that are on my favourite list for the year.

About two years ago, I heard about a British writer named Penelope Fitzgerald. At that time, I couldn't locate one of her books on Chapters or Amazon. So I ran to the local library found one of her books and ordered a few more via inter library loan. In the meantime, I kept searching the book stores databases and eventually that led to more and more success. Now, among others, Amazon offers a boxed set of three of her {in my opinion} most outstanding books:
The Bookshop, Offshore, and The Blue Flower. 

Fitzgerald has a subtle yet skillful style that becomes more evident as you turn the page. There's a succinctness to her style, but that doesn't mean her books are without depth. When you read the last page and close the cover, you are left contemplating that book's depth and marveling at the genius behind the pen.

 Covers via Goodreads


This year, I also enjoyed reading Tan Twan Eng's novels. I featured Eng in a spotlight that you can read here.

                                                                Eng's second book.

Another  excellent book that I enjoyed reading this year was The Purchase by Linda Spalding.

I began blogging back in April, and, so far, it's been a journey of fun and mayhem. Many thanks to all of you for bearing with me and reading along this year.

I would like to wish all of you a healthy, happy, creative, and prosperous New Year filled with love and great memories!

For old times sake or Auld Lang Syne...

December 19, 2013

Hither and Yon

Finally, one for me ~ these are so sweet.    By Kelly Rae Roberts.

We are surrounded by banks of snow, but they definitely enhance the beauty of the Christmas lights that twinkle a welcome splash of colour outside the houses at night.  

Like everyone else, this time of year, I've been busy, but that, in my books, is a good thing and Christmas is such a special time.
So without further adieu, I would like wish all of you and your families a safe and happy holiday filled with:

 Have a very Merry Christmas!

December 12, 2013

Full Steam Ahead

A few more of my fine fellas.

My Quince and Co. order just arrived. Yes!  This yarn is for the Jemma Cowl; I hope to cast on early in the New Year, or, with luck, maybe before. The odd ornament was made from sea urchins.
A few hanks might make a fine sweater. Thank you Santa!
As you can see, I've been keeping my fingers busy.
Enjoy the weekend!

December 05, 2013

All is Bright

                         As you can see, I am starting to get into the Christmas spirit. 

In case you are interested, here are a few Amaryllis planting tips and tricks...

Check inside the box before you buy an Amaryllis to make sure the blub is healthy. Sometimes the buds are already growing. That's fine. I once bought one that was pushing its way out of the box!

Your Amaryllis will bloom earlier if you soak the roots overnight. Just pop it into a bowl, and add just enough water to cover the roots. The following day, mix the soil in the kit with water. I add a little soil to pot and a little water. (The soil will be very wet.)  Once the soil is ready, dig a hole and plant the bulb being careful not to crush the roots. Leave an inch or more of the bulb above ground, you may have less soil than that--no problem. Place the plant in the sun, or bright light, turn occasionally for even growth, and water only when the soil gets dry.  (If you do not soak the roots or add water to the soil as you go, an Amaryllis can take up to two months to bloom.)

If you haven't planted an Amaryllis before, I'll warn you that they are top heavy; to keep them from taking a swan dive brace with dowels, alders etc.  For added stability, tie raffia or other ribbon around the stocks and leaves and anchor to the dowel.

  Amaryllis will also bloom the following season, or later if cared for properly.
The tall Amaryllis should be bright red, but sometimes I get a surprise.
I think of Santa as The Spirit of Giving. I love to collect Santas.
Have a wonderful weekend!

December 03, 2013

Spotlight on Munro

This year's Nobel Prize for literature has been awarded not for the novel but for short stories. Stripped to the essentials, short stories are difficult to write well and until recently they have been over-looked by publishers and large prize committees alike. (Although Alice Munro's mastery won her, her first Canada's Governor General's Award in 1968.)

Several years ago, I read a selection of Munro's short stories called: Who Do You Think You Are? Not the best question to ask because even if meant to instruct, (bragging etc.) it is still, as the book points out, a loaded question that can erode self-esteem and undermine one's hopes and dreams.

So throughout the days, months, and years to come, I hope Alice Munro, the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature, feels ten feet tall and levitates a little when she crosses a room because she has earned the right. And should that happen, (doubtful, I'd say, from the interviews I've watched; she has her feet on the ground.) I am sure that no one will have the nerve to ask, Who Do You Think You Are?

A small sample from a prolific writer whose short stories revolve around  people living in small Ontario towns.

But forget tame and bucolic. Psychologically astute, Munro often exposes what people leave unsaid, or would not admit thinking. And she can slide the truth out there in a manner that has often left me blinking.
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