Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Idaho Loners: Hermits, Solitaries, and Individualists by Cort Conley

via Good Reads
I've been wanting to read this book for a while. What more could a person want in a book? Loners (I'm kind of one myself) and Idaho! And naturally the mountains play a part.

Overall I enjoyed the book. There are stories of 12 people who chose Idaho to settle in and ended up living alone (either by choice or circumstance). Other than the last two stories being really long winded, the stories are interesting, just like the people in them.

I do feel a little guilty reading the book though, some of the "loners" mentioned in the book were still alive when the book was published. That mean they were given more publicity and probably more people bothering them. That makes me sad. Obviously these people are interesting, but they ought to be left alone. Maybe the book should have only been about those who had passed away or choosen to be in the book. Maybe that's just me thinking to hard about it!

Anyway it was interesting and I would very much like to be an Idaho Loner!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Crochet Confederate Flag Blanket

I keep getting asked if there is a pattern for this. I have no pattern. Get some graph paper and map it out. Also check out the comments for additional help. Feel free to comment if you need more help!

This is the most amazing crochet item I have even created. And I made most of the pattern myself. The only thing I didn't make up was the pattern for the star. I'm having trouble locating the exact pattern I used, but this one is very similar.

250 squares were crocheted.

The next step was to put them all together. I didn't plan the size very well (or at all) and it was hard to lay it out because I didn't have enough space.

The blanket ended up being a little over 3 yards by 3 yards. I stitched together each row and then stitched the rows together as I went.

I put a white border on it to bring it all together.

That's my couch under the blanket!

I am really proud of this blanket. I've only successfully made three blankets in my life and this one is the biggest.

I made this for a friend and hopefully he can find some use for a ridiculously huge blanket!

Next project: quilting!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy 80th Birthday Carol Burnett!

via Masterworks Broadway

I really can't believe Carol is 80. She never looks 80 when I see her. Mind you, I've been watching reruns of the Carol Burnett Show for several months.

I cannot get enough of this lady. She is brilliant. I swear she can do anything.

PBS's American Masters did an episode called Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character. You can watch it on YouTube. And I think you should go watch it. Most of you probably have no idea how amazing she is.

Here are a couple Carol videos. Both addressing fan mail (unintentional I assure you, I just picked two that I really liked). Shirley MacLaine's birthday was earlier in the week, so I thought the second video was perfect. 

In writing this I realized I only have one post about the Carol Burnett show, I'll remedy that next week.

Carol Burnett just announced that she'll be doing more tours this year and releasing another book. I am delighted about both and hope that she'll bring her tour out this way!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Ella Fitzgerald!

via TodOpera

It's Ella Fitzgerald's 96th birthday today!

If you don't know who Ella is you should go out of your way to find out. She has one of the most beautiful voices in history.

I am so grateful this woman shared her talent with the world!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Short Bozeman, Montana Adventure

My sister and I took a two day trip to Bozeman, Montana last weekend. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip!

 I love a Lewis and Clark reference! For those unfamiliar: Charbonneau was Sacagawea's husband. Lewis and Clark hired him knowing that he'd bring his wife along. Sacagawea knew they area the were traveling into and was invaluable to to Corps of Discovery on several occasions.

 An awesome old hotel sign in downtown Bozeman.

Delicious pizza and soup! I was so excited to learn they are building on in my area!

More downtown Bozeman!

The public school house in Pony, a sort of ghost town. They have a small population. 

From what I gathered this is the entrance into a wildlife preserve or something. Very cool. 

Nevada City. It's a ghost town that has been restored. You can even stay in the hotel. 

 Nevada City

And the grand finale of the trip! A sandwhich from Mountain High Subs in Lima, Montana! And a chocolate malt. YUM!

I should also note that a ghost town guide book printed in 1971 can be a bit outdated. We found that most of the ghost towns he listed in that area were much more populated than they were in 1971. But the book had a lot of good information. My sisters favorite bit of information from the book was that 190 people were killed in a seven month period in Virginia City. The book is Ghost Towns of the Northwest by Norman D. Weis. There are pictures and maps.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Help by Kathyn Stockett

via Across the Litoverse

So I finally got around to reading The Help (again, thanks to my best friend, E). And I loved it! Such a powerful novel about humans. My favorite line in the whole book is a revelation that Skeeter has while talking with one of her friends:

"We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."

When I first saw the film (amazing) a year or so ago I went to amazon to put it on one of my wish lists and read some reviews (I like to know what others are thinking). The majority of the negative reviewers were angry that Skeeter was the heroine and not Aibileen or Minny. I thought maybe I'd agree with these reviews after reading the book. WRONG. First of all the book doesn't really elevate any of the main characters (Skeeter, Aibileen or Minny) above each other. They are all humans. Learning humans. And all three of them are heroes, as is every woman who participates in the book or respects those around them (like Celia and Lou Anne). I think that sometimes people are looking for something to complain about and then they miss the entire point of the book. It wasn't to pit black against or above white or visa verse, it was to bring us together. Because we are all just people.

After the end of the novel Kathryn Stockett shares her story. Just like Skeeter did in the book. I love it. She is honest and you can feel it. 

You should read the book.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

via Random House

So my best friend, E, and I love the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. We identify with the characters and love talking about the books together. I have been meaning to read the final book in the series for a while now and luckily E reminded me last time we went to the library.

I loved it. and hated it. It was a great ending to the series, but like most life stories it was unpredictable and very different than expected. Ann Brashares is great at addressing how people really react to situations and remained very true to each character. I cried my eyes out most of the book, but am really glad I read it!

I think the Sisterhood books are great books for friends to read together and even greater for role models to read with young women. There is so much to be discussed and learned through these simple stories of the lives of four girls.

Anyone else out there a Sisterhood fan? Have you read this book? What did you think?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant by Jennifer Grant

via NPR

I enjoyed this book. Not as much as her mother's book Dear Cary, but as far as reminiscences (is it still a word if I put an "s" on the end?) go it was good.

It's not in any chronological order, but rather in subject order. Jennifer talks about how he father handled certain things (such as fame) and about things he taught her (such as budgeting). It is clear from her writing that Grant was a devoted father. Jennifer was his only child and came when he was in his 60s and had retired from acting. Grant had taken pains to save anything and everything from Jennifer's childhood. He even had recordings of her. She inserts small snippets of these conversations in the text of her book. The stories Jennifer tells are fun to read because this is a side of the iconic Cary Grant we've never seen.

If you are a Cary Grant fan (and enjoy reading up on him as I do) you will love this book.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant by Dyan Cannon

via My Books

I loved this book. First of all I adore Cary Grant (doesn't everybody?) and I've read another biography (Cary Grant: A Class Apart, I think). He was a brilliant man who shaped his own career beautifully. He knew who he wanted Cary Grant to be.

This book is a great look into his life with Dyan Cannon. I love the way she writes, it feels very honest. It's also easy to ride along with her. I found myself feeling excited for her at the beginning, then worried for her in the middle and proud of her at the end. It feels like you are listening to a friend tell you about her life. She's not bitter or angry, just grateful for her experience. Also she's just a good author. It was an easy book to read. 

If you like biographies about the stars of yesteryear you'll probably like this. I sure did!

Next up: Good Stuff by Jennifer Grant