Friday, February 28, 2014

Wish Triplet

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 I have been knitting patterns from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas for over a year and I find them simple, elegant, charming... The only thing I'd like better than patterns from Churchmouse Yarns is to go to their shop on Bainbridge Island just a 30 minute ferry ride from Seattle.

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Image via
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Here a a few projects I've made from their patterns:

Click for more information on Churchmouse Yarns and Teas and let me know if you might be interested in a triplet to a magical Pacific Northwest Island sometime in April...


Wednesday, February 26, 2014


So the Oscars are coming up this Sunday evening.  Guess where I'll be?  I think I may have missed the Oscars a few times since I was like, ten.  My Mom never missed them if she could and I was taken away by the glamour of the dresses and the dashing gorgeousness of male celebs in tuxedos.  I remember when a flasher sped by behind Elizabeth Taylor.  I remember Marlon Brando sending a native American to accept his Oscar.  I remember Barbra Streisand's see through outfit and Bob Hope's hosting. I remember and will still miss Barbara Walter's interviews immediately after the Oscars.

Having said that, I am not always blown over by the Oscars any more but I just can't stay away...

This year, I saw Philomena, Gravity, Her, Blue Jasmine, August: Osage County and  12 Years a Slave this year.  I tried to watch American Hustle but couldn't...  Osage County was a difficult story to watch.  Philomena was great, Gravity and Her were very so so and 12 Years a Slave... wonderful!

I am rooting for Michael Fassbender for his supporting actor role in 12 Years a Slave.  Fassbender has been on my radar for a few years now and if you haven't seen him in anything yet, watch: Fish Tank, Hunger, Shame and A Dangerous Method. For a little romance, check out his Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.

Granted he is tall and handsome, but his talent is huge.  He is a versatile actor. Whether his is subtle, convincing, sexy, or not, troubled, mercurial, joyous, angry, sad, torn, he transmits it easily on the screen.  He has been compared to Marlon Brando and I second that opinion.

He has taken many risks, not wanting to be pigeon-holed so you can see him in the X-Men and Prometheus and Angel and he did a very good German soldier in Inglorious Basterds.

Last year, he wasn't even nominated for Shame.  That was a shame.  Fassbender does some of his best work with director Steve McQueen and if you haven't seen Hunger or Shame or 12 Years a Slave, then give one of them a try and see this powerful young actor twist your insides with his performance.

Aside from that, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett were convincingly crazy in Osage County and Blue Jasmine. 

And then, there will be the red carpet interviews and Ellen's punchy hosting and gorgeous men in designer tuxes and no doubt some pretty out-of-this-world gowns to gawp at.

I may even make an Oscar soirée out of the affair and serve wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Anyone up for it?


Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Would I Be Without Books?

The weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
I've got a few books on the go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

 This week, the weather has plummeted to below 30 degrees centigrade with the wind chill factor.  Outdoor activity, not my favorite to begin with, is out of the question.

I looked at the weather in our little provençal town yesterday, it was 19 degrees centigrade! But as I am here and not there, I will attempt to make the most of it.

I finished reading: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and am now 49% (Kobo stats tell me) into The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.  What an interesting, intriguing story.  Set in the 19th century, the main character is a tall, not so pretty but very clever woman who becomes enamored with... moss. It's more exciting than it sounds folks... honestly!

My love of books has been a sure thing in my life since grade 5.  That's when our teacher read us a novel in class once a week.  I fell in love with novels then and have rarely been without reading material at my bedside and anywhere else I decide to take my trusty iPad.

I have a library of numerous unread books of different genres and can pick and choose what to read depending on how I feel at the moment.  That is very important.  Some books have to wait, (Anna Karenina)  others can be picked up and consumed instantly.  Got to have some of those too.

Reading has been my most constant and true companion over the years and for many years to come, I hope.  To read just for my pleasure or for my pleasure AND to share in a reading circle is mostly just plain fun.

I'm going to be reading a couple novels set in Venice because V. and I are going to spend a few days there this fall.  Novels are a great way to prepare for a trip.  They give you other kinds of details than travel guides.  They get you to feel the place and become familiar with it's personality. I remember clearly becoming familiar with Barcelona when I read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Name a book I didn't like?  As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross

One of my most favorite of all time?  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

What is one of your favorite novels?


Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I had visitors today, my niece S. and her adorable baby boy A.  They came over so that Tatie (auntie in French) could have A. snacks.  Fair trade right?  I give Mommy some lunch and I get A. snacks.

Is there anything more enjoyable than watching a baby?  This one is a full 8 months old and a mover and shaker.  He is strong, likes to explore and prefers odds and ends to the lovely toys his parents buy him (depriving themselves of delightful things they might like to have).

Today, he played with the tag on a vintage sailor suit that I purchased in France this past summer.  The tag, the feel of a throw, the scratch of the leather sofas all more appealing than Sophie or his monkey, his elephant or Mortimer his teething moose...

Here he is with his Daddy.  I made them matching tuques.  Aren't they (the boys not the tuques) adorable?
After a well-eaten lunch, he started to fuss a little so we made a fort on our bedroom floor and put him down.  He didn't make a sound, playing and then after a few snorts, fell asleep amidst the pillows like an angel.

Babies soften the heart and fill the soul. 




Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review: The People of the Book

Several years ago, my reading circle read Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks.  I was intrigued that this journalistic style writer had opted for fiction, and on the recommendation of a friend whose literary tastes are spot on for me, I read The People of the Book.

Now, this novel is not great for it's literary style but for it's story that zips from one country and century to another in an effort to explain the origins of the very famous Haggadah of Sarajevo.  A Haggadah is the text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover, including a narrative of the Exodus. This particular Haggadah exists and  is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, originating in Barcelona around 1350. (Wikipedia)

This read was a great learning experience for me, an adventure into ancient Jewish culture from Spain to Bosnia with visits to several other locations in between.  We follow Hanna Heath, an Australian book conservator who is responsible for restoring the Haggadah. The story alternates between sections set in the present day with Heath and other sections showing the history of the Haggadah linked to tiny evidences found in the book by Heath whilst conducting her investigation.

If you want a spell-binding, suspenseful read, if you like history, art, story-telling at it's best, take a plunge and read this masterfully-imagined jewel of a book.

For this and it's educational value, I give it 4+ stars out of 5.



Friday, February 14, 2014

While I've Been Away

While I've been away
I wondered and pondered and
just forgot about it
I came back and looked and
wondered and pondered some more
I saw Oscar-nominated films and
read great books and 
fretted and tossed and turned about 
my lesson plans for my university classes
knitted and knitted and entertained
visited my favorite blogs and 
wondered and pondered some more
till yesterday when I went to an author's 
lecture and she recited a poem that I felt
compelled to share with you
I didn't know when I would be back
It takes a poem!

Love, Stella

p.s. Will share said poem another time...