Sunday, June 17, 2012

Once again ....

I'm always excited to have the opportunity to snap a few pictures
of the cardinals that hang around our neighbourhood.  They are
one of my most favourite of birds.  The males are quite vain and  
like to perch themselves somewhere conspicuous such as 
the top of a tree or a telephone pole or a TV antenna where
they proceed to sing their distinctive song to announce their
presence.   Fortunately Mrs Cardinal is usually somewhere
close by to keep an eye on her flamboyant mate and keep
him in line.

This guy was in our birch tree and was gracious enough
to stay there long enough for me to take a few pictures.

I took a picture of my currant stitching project
this evening so you can see where it stands
at the moment.   I am working on the square
in the upper right corner and have chosen to
stitch the butterfly ... after much dithering and
mind changing.

The blue bird on a pedestal had to be frogged
and restitched when I discovered that I'd 
stitched it in the wrong spot by one square.
I was tempted to leave it but it was causing
a chain reaction train wreck with the rest of
the design that would have been too 
noticeable ... and it would have bugged me
... so out it came!!

I've been sitting out in front of the house 
the past few nights stitching.  The 
portable magnifying glass (the kind that
loops around your neck) doesn't work
so well for me any longer so I just 
held my stitching frame up to my nose,
peered over my glasses and stitched ...
all whilst trying not to jab a needle 
into my nose!!!

Some recent book finishes to share with you ...
beginning with the first book in the Lady 
Emily series by Tasha Alexander.  

  The story: 

From gifted new writer Tasha Alexander comes a 
stunning novel of historical suspense set in Victorian 
England, meticulously researched and with a twisty 
plot that involves  stolen antiquities, betrayal, and 
murder. For Emily, accepting the proposal  of 
Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to 
escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a 
grand society match. So when Emily's dashing 
husband died on safari soon after their wedding, 
she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him.

Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that 
Philip was a far different man from the one 
she had married so cavalierly.  His journals reveal 
him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities 
collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with 
his wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new 
image of her dead husband and she immerses 
herself in all things ancient and begins to study 
Greek. Emily's intellectual pursuits and her desire 
to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet 
corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband's 
favorite places. There, amid priceless ancient statues, 
she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen 
artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to 
complicate matters, she's juggling two very prominent 
and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go 
beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve 
the crime, her search leads to more surprises about 
Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian 
society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.

I love mysteries but don't care for the kind that
goes into gory, creepy detail.   And I love when
the mystery takes place in  time periods other
then  modern day.   Hence my love for authors
such as Tasha Alexander, Charles Todd and
Jacqueline Winspear.   I have the first four 
books in this series on my bookshelf and as
soon as I finished this one I picked up the
second book to read.  

Lady Emily is a wonderful character who
really begins to enjoy the freedom that
being a widow allows her in the restrictive
society of Victorian England.   It's quite
an eye opener to read about the confined,
suffocating lives genteel women were
relegated to during that time when 
England was ruled by a formidable 
woman.  A paradox indeed.

Adding at the last minute:  finished book
two and now into book three!!   Book two
(A Poisoned Season) was even better then 
the first.

Ellen Airgood and her husband own and run a diner in a small
Michigan town south of Superior.   Sounds like the beginning of
a book doesn't it??   But it's true.   The author and her DH run a
diner by day and whenever she has some spare time between 
shifts Ellen writes.   South of Superior is her first book and I quite
enjoyed it.   Saw it in the book section of our grocery store as I
was browsing through their tables of new releases and liked the
synopsis of the story on the cover ... so I bought it.

The story: 

When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago 
and moves five hundred miles north to the
 coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper 
Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her 
life will change.

Charged with caring for an aging family friend, 
Madeline finds herself in the middle of beautiful 
nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two 
octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, 
the other sweeter  than sunshine. As Madeline 
begins to experience the ways of the small, 

tight-knit town, she is drawn into the lives and 
dramas of its residents.  

It's a place where times are tough and debts run 
deep, but friendship, community, and compassion 
run deeper. As the story hurtles along-
featuring a lost child, a dashed love, a car accident,
 a wedding, a fire, and a romantic reunion-Gladys, 
Arbutus,  and the rest of the town teach Madeline more 
about life, love, and goodwill than she's learned 
in a lifetime.

Had no trouble getting caught up in the story and 
read this book  pretty quickly.   I enjoy books with quirky 
characters and characters who are finding their way, their 
niche in the world and someone to share their lives with.   
This book has all of that in abundance.   I hope that 
there will be a sequel because I would like to hang out 
with these characters again and find out how things work 
out for them in the future.

Thanks to Goodreads for the above two book descriptions.

We get strange birds around here!!!
Phil couldn't figure out why one of our bird 
feeders was running out of bird seed so 
quickly these past few weeks.  It's one of
those feeders whose perch will only allow
the smaller birds to feed.  If a larger bird
lands on the perch it's weight pushes
the perch down and causes the holes where
the seed is to close.   Well, that's the
theory anyways.

Last weekend I happened to be looking
out the back door when I saw Chippy
literally running up the pole to the 
feeder and helping himself to the
contents, stuffing his cheeks with seed
before scurrying back down the pole
and heading off to home with his
ill gotten booty.   

Cheeky little devil!!!  It would appear
that Chippy's weight is slight enough
that it doesn't cause the perch to 
sag down and close the feeding holes.
Phil's going to try and adjust the 
thing (again) to try and fix this.

Spent much of Sunday working on a
new Smash journal ... my craft room
looked like a Michael's exploded in
it.   I'm a messy crafter.  Anybody
else out there do Smash journaling??

Have a great week and thanks for


barbara said...

We have some cardinals here and I love watching them. :)

Lynn said...

That's a fantastic pic you snapped of the cardinal! Ours will never sit long enough for me to get the camera out. The female is even more skittish!

Love your current PS stitch! Too bad about the frogging though. It's just so frustrating when you find you're out by one or two stitches. I know exactly what you mean by the train wreck!

Your little chippy seems to think he's found a goldmine! He better enjoy it while he still can!

BrendaS said...

So glad to see you are blogging again! I always look forward to your book reviews and to see what your stitching on. Your PS piece looks great and I'm going to check out the book South of Superior. Looks like my kind of book.

Dani - tkdchick said...

Cardinals are just gorgeous birds!!! I've only had a few opportunites to photograph one they don't seem to hang out around my place.

Sorry to hear you had to do some frogging on your PS piece but it does look great.

Brigitte said...

I always love to see pictures of cardinals but can you imagine that I haven't seen one in real life? They don't exist here in Europe and I didn't have the chance to discover one during my trips in the US. Maybe the next time.