You know that song “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”? Well, I’m the complete opposite! I always look forward to Mondays because it is my weekly chance to chat with you! And it’s a double win when I see your comments in my inbox!
And I love a rainy day, they are just so very comforting and relaxing. And especially this time of the year when the air needs a good cleaning from all the pollen.
So, not only is it Monday, but it’s raining! Sheer bliss!
Luckily, I snapped a picture of the progress of the painting of our house this weekend to show you where we are.
The back and part of one side still needs to be done, but they won’t be back today and possibly even tomorrow because of all the rain.
And thanks for all the kind comments about the new look for the blog! Have you had a chance to look at the front page? If you do have any thoughts or suggestions, please do let me know. I am still able to tweak it.
new on the blog
Will you be planting strawberries this spring? If so, make sure to check out this list of great companion plants for strawberries. And if you missed it last week, pop over for the post on companion planting in general and the printable guide.
not new, but updated!
Are you using the Knit Journal/Organizer? I keep mine in my office and especially appreciate the yarn inventory/organization pages! I’ve redone the cover and spine pages (finally) and even have a printed version if you are interested.
a surplus of scrumptious strawberry recipes
If spring hasn’t quite sprung in your area, maybe pick up a pint or two of fresh strawberries from the grocery store and nudge it along. With any luck, Mother Nature will take a hint. And frozen berries would work for several of these recipes if fresh are just not available.
from the knit studio
- If you are tired of knitting washcloths, give this linen stitch potholder a try! And trust me, potholders are equally welcome as a useful gift!
ideas for Easter
- Naturally dye your Easter Eggs!
- Make sure to save all those egg shells for your garden!
- Carrot bread for breakfast or brunch
- Moss Balls for your Easter table
on my nightstand
At the end of every month, I share my ‘reviews’ of books I’ve read, as well as where I stand for the year. I’ve set a goal to read. Many of you have written that you enjoy and appreciate my ‘book reviews’ (if you can call them that!), but I always struggle with not giving too much away and am also cognizant that my likes are not everyone else’s likes.
I am doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge again this year. Last year I read thirty books, and this year upped it to thirty-three. So with that said, I’ve read nine thus far in 2023. Here is my quick and dirty review with one to five thumbs-up.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 Wow, where to begin with this one? It’s a quick read, but it doesn’t feel quick. There is very little ‘feel good’ in the book, which is not a reason not to read it. McCarthy’s spare prose puts you right in the midst of this post-apocalyptic world, where, despite the suffocating hopelessness, a father and son still find hope. McCarthy does such a phenomenal job putting you in that world that one morning after I had read it the night before, I was slightly startled to hear birdsong.
- Howard’s End by E.M. Forster 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 On the other end of the prose spectrum, this was an at times humorous and at times somber satire of the social strata of early 20th century England. I had never watched the movie before and followed the book by watching the Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson movie. The movie takes very few liberties, following the book closely.
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 When I was describing this book to my mom, I read the first paragraph of the book jacket and remarked, “not sure why I choose to read something that sounds so depressing, but I’m glad I did.” It is a historical fiction based on the last beheading in Iceland in the early 19th century. Kent does a brilliant job with her prose of placing you in the stark and merciless world of Iceland at that time. We know how the story ends before it begins, but it is the way that the tale of our protagonist, Agnes, unravels that will keep you totally immersed in the book. It is a rare day that I take time during the middle of the day to sit down with a book, which I did with this one over the weekend. It is haunting, yet somehow lovely at the same time.
- Brain Maker by David Perlmutter 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 A little non-fiction intermission! I am interested in gut health and how it affects our entire body. If this area interests you too, you’ll find this book enlightening. The bottom line, we are what we eat.
- Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 Oh my heavens, I am on a roll! I’m afraid to say that out loud for fear of jinxing myself, but this was another gorgeous book! This book is meant to be savored; it is not a page-turner. O’Farrell has an incredibly poetic way with words that creates lush and melodic prose. This is ostensibly the story of Shakespeare, his wife Agnes, and their young son, Hamnet, who died from the plague. I say, ‘ostensibly’ because while Shakespeare is never named, you know it is him. And it is less about Shakespeare and more about his wife, her interests, her passions, and their relationship before, during, and after the death of their only son. Once again, I enjoyed this book so much that I reserved several more of her books from the library.
- The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼.5 There is no ‘half a thumbs up’ emoji…hence the .5. The only reason this is a 4.5 is that I don’t want to be too generous with the 5 thumbs to lose my credibility, and compared to Hamnet, it wasn’t quite as lovely. All that said, it is still a good book! Once again, not a page-turner but a slow unveiling of the relationship between two women of two different eras.
- The Good People by Hannah Kent 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼. Like her Burial Rites, this is based on true events. This time the story is set in early 19th century Ireland amongst a group of people struggling with poverty and a hardscrabble life. The belief in fairies (The Good People) figures heavily in this story, as does the conflict between that belief and the church. This ended completely differently than I expected and has I predicted last month! It is a sad story for all of the characters.
- I’m on a bit of a Maggie O’Farrell bent. I just really appreciate her writing, it is almost poetry. Her book, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 is my least favorite, but I still enjoyed reading it. A bit of a biography and I appreciate the insight into her life.
- The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 by Maggie O’Farrell is the story of two women of different generations who are related, but did not know it. The younger character takes in the elder and uncovers her heartbreaking past. The story does go back and forth in time, which didn’t bother me at all. O’Farrell does such a great job making you really care for her characters.
- Right now I’m almost finished with This Must Be the Place and very much enjoying this story, which at its core is a love story told in O’Farrell’s gorgeous prose.
Well friends, I’m off to find some little treats to send to my two nestlings along with their loaves of freshly baked bread! This will be the third time I’ve sent them loaves of bread and so far the bread has arrived in two days and they claim, perfectly fresh!
Until next week!