Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Youngest Miss Ward -A review

One of the library books I recently picked up was another Joan Aiken called The Youngest Miss Ward. Aiken creates another sister for the Ward sisters from Austen's Mansfield Park.
The first Joan Aiken book I read I despised, but I gave her another try and really enjoyed the last two I had read of hers, so I was excited about this one!

There were parts of the book that I didn't like, but overall I was enjoying the book until I got to the very end.

I was thoroughly disappointed with the ending of this book.

The plot twist in the end was more than I was expecting,...and I was trying to prepare myself for the worst, but it was still more shocking than I could have imagined! Then, as I was trying to accept the change in the ending, come to terms with this outcome and feel like I could still be happy for the main character I read the last few letters at the end of the book (the style of the book goes back and forth between regular chapters and letters written between some of the books characters) and I just wanted to cry!

Why oh why did Aiken want to end this story as she did?!?

Overall I would not recommend this book. Except for Hatty, the main character, there aren't really any other characters that I cared for. Although her characters are interesting, they are not characters that you love, or would care to know more about, the ones I did like were killed off or not developed. If you read this book my advice is just to stop before you get to the last chapter or two and make up your own ending!!

I am not finished with Joan Aiken yet! I realized the other day that I actually own one of her books, The Watsons and Emma Watson, so I will put this one up to the top of my to read list! Hopefully I will like this one, since I own it, and also so that I am not at a 50/50 ratio of like/dislike when it comes to her books!!
Next up is The Host, by Stephanie Meyer (because it is a library book and I have already had to re-check it out THREE TIMES, since I have been too busy to get around to reading it!!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend overview

I started working on some of the Pink White and Green blocks from the No Sew block swap I did. I sewed one of the blocks up a week or two ago and I can't remember if I have already shared a picture of it or not, so here it is! I hope to get the rest of them sewed together soon. I was too busy with the owl blocks, sewing for my neighbor and preparing for the Easter Egg Hunt for our neighborhood last week to work on it!

The Easter Egg Hunt was a success! We had a wonderful turnout, the weather couldn't have been more beautiful and I even had lots of help, so it was a wonderful day indeed! I forgot my camera, but here are a few pictures that one of my neighbor's took of her little guy enjoying the event. I ended up stuffing around 600 eggs, and with the others that my lovely neighbors stuffed and put on my door step we ended up with quite a pile of eggs to hide. Thanks again to everyone who helped!! (Either by dropping off stuffed eggs, helping me hide them, or baking/decorating the cupcakes.) I really appreciate the help!

This is a sewing machine and table/chair combo that one of my neighbor's gave me a couple weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, the drawers inside the chair are full of who knows what and there is an old machine inside of it, but for now it is working out perfectly as an ironing board table!

After the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday Kev and I took my dresser/mirror, bedside table, our bedroom tv cabinet and an old chair (that was his Grandpa Ray's that he loves, but we just don't have any extra room for it!) up to my parents house...i.e. our dumping ground/storage place!
Here is a picture of my new dressers. (Which Kevin absolutely HATES, they are shabby chic and he thinks that look horrible!!) I picked up some contact paper over the weekend, now I need to clean out the drawers and put in the contact paper so I can get all my clothes off my floor and into their new home!!

We also bought a new vacuum over the weekend, I don't have a picture to show you, but you can click here to see which one we bought. No word yet on how I like it, I've only used it for about 2 seconds so far!

Holly Jolly Blocks

The Holly Jolly Christmas Swap blocks came in on Friday!I am feeling like a bit of a loser, my blocks are so simple and plain compared to the amazing works of art some of these other blocks are! I thought it would be best to let people add decorations as they wanted, but now I feel like my blocks will be a let down! Sorry to everyone that was in my group. I completely understand if you request to NEVER be in my group again!!

I am excited to try putting them into a quilt of some sort. I don't think I will put them all into one piece, because I don't think they would all really go together, but I will have to see!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Baby Shower

On Saturday we had a baby shower for Emily Murphy, who was one of Mary Faith's best friends growing up.Yikes! I feel old, my baby sister's friend is having a baby!!
She isn't due until June, but Mary was home for Spring Break last week so we took the opportunity to have a shower while she was going to be home!I worked on some projects through-out the week, getting everything prepared for the event. Mom, Betsy, Kels, Mary and I all hosted the event and it was fun getting everything set up together!
I just LOVE sister time!!

Emily is decorating her nursery in camo colors so we decided to decorate the shower with that theme as well.
We ate some yummy food, played some fun games, opened the presents and had a great time visiting with everyone.

(We played the game where you each cut string and see who is closest to the size of the mommy's belly, Mary's was EXACT!!)
This is the quilt I made for baby Dallas last week!
All the Binkley sisters with Emily (and Dallas)
Here is the mom-to-be with her Step Mom, Mother in Law, Mom and Sister
I would say that overall the shower was a great success!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Since I am a procrastinator...

I have known that I was a procrastinator since my days at Reinhardt College. (Which is now Reinhardt University.)

I was the one that studied my butt (mom will be offended I said about hiney?) off and worked really hard at keeping my GPA up, but when it came to papers (which I really liked writing, I was a communications major, believe it or not! If you read this blog on a regular basis you might wonder what happened there...let's just say I could use an editor!!) I would be up all night finishing it the night before it was due.
It wasn't that I wouldn't think about it before hand, I just couldn't get motivated to actually write it until it was down to the wire!

Now that I am out of college I am apparently still the same procrastinator when it comes to other projects in my life! (I think this may have something to do with the fact that I pretty much never say anything. I like to stay busy!) I was up until 2-3 am pretty much every night last week, and over the weekend and until after 1 am every night this week working on projects!

One of the things I was working on was the Owl blocks for the Block Swap I had signed up for. Aunt Pitty Pat is the host and I had done my first block swap with her as well. I finished up the owl blocks last night and got them sent out this morning! (Hopefully they make it in time, they are due on Saturday!!)
I also have been busy preparing things for the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt that is this Saturday, (Thankfully I have some sweet neighbors who are going to be able to help me this year, which is good because I have over 500 eggs to fill and 50 cupcakes to make and frost!) and some quick sewing for my neighbor who has an upcoming photo shoot. (She sells children's clothing.)
Side note:
Is anyone else wondering what's the deal with all the letters that keep coming from the census department?
I thought we were trying to cut back on spending people.
Is it really necessary to send out a letter telling me I am about to get the census,
then the census (pre-paid envelope to send back in, I am glad about that!)
and then another one saying I should have recieved my census please fill out and return.
That just seems a little wasteful to me...(not to mention bad for the environment, how many people will be recycling these letters?) maybe this is part of our problem!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thesis help for a fellow blogger

I filled out a form to help out a fellow blogger as she is working on her thesis. (Which she is writing about blogs!)
I found her through Cjane's blog.
If you have a blog and want to help her out, please go here and check out her request.

Big Pie in the Sky

My week last week, my entire weekend, and this week so far has been a blur of activity with really no down time, and hardly any sleep!!!

While I had a moment I wanted to post a few pictures from my brother in law Andy's birthday party that we had on Saturday afternoon at Big Pie in the Sky. The pizza here is MASSIVE!!! They were even featured on the tv show, Man vs. Food!

Here is the carnivore!!

Also, my adorable baby sister Mary was home last week for Spring Break and she bought me a surprise!! A neat Jane Austen themed book that she found on the sale rack at Books A Million! What a sweet little sister I have!! Love ya Mare!!

Monet paint night at Sips N Strokes

Here is one of the million things I was able to be a part of over the weekend!

I went to Sips N Strokes again on Saturday night. My mother in law, Barbara, and my neighbor Mandy and I all met up there for another fun paint night!

This time we were doing this FANTASTIC Monet painting:
But we were following the directions for their version of this painting which can be seen here.

Monet's version is a million times better than the one we did!! 1) because he was an amazing artist and 2) because his color choices were much better!!

Mine didn't turn out ANYTHING like Monet's,
but I had a ton of fun trying to learn some impressionistic style painting techniques and visiting with Barb and Mandy while we painted!

Here is the progression of my painting as the night went on...(I tried to take pictures at every step, but I missed a few here I think.)So that was basically the end, we just needed to add in the bridge at this point, but I couldn't get used to the yellow pond, so I just went in and painted over it all in some blues and added some more flowers along the trail as well!! (Mixing paints is I think my favorite part of painting-I absolutely LOVE mixing the paint colors and creating a ton of new colors!!)

Here are the final product paintings for each of us!

Me:Wow! That is embarrassing having my preschool colors (and talent) painting in the same post as Monet's beautiful masterpiece!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am so glad....

I gave Joan Aiken another chance.

I was a little weary to try another Joan Aiken book after reading Eliza's Daughter because I was so disappointed in that book. What she did to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility characters, the new characters in the book, altogether I was just not impressed! However, she had written several continuation stories from Jane Austen's books and I wanted to read them. So, I ordered them in to my library and gave them a shot.

I am so glad I did!!

I thoroughly enjoyed Mansfield Revisited. In fact, I think I would even like to own this one, so I could read it again! There was a lot riding on this continuation story for me. I think this is partially due to the fact that Mansfield Park is, I think, my favorite of Jane Austen's amazing books. Well, now that I have typed that out, I am not sure if I can really say that, choose one that I like more than the others, I love them all so much!! (It's like picking a favorite child, you can't ask a parent to do that. Although you know they have one, they could never admit it to themselves, forget say it out loud!! Before you get all crazy with this last statement, remember I don't actually have children of my own yet, so I can't truly make that statement, but it feels that way to me at this point in my life!)

I really loved what Aiken did with pretty much all the beloved characters from Jane Austen's masterpiece Mansfield Park. I think I like what she did with the characters even more than what I had imagined on my own! It was fairly short and sweet, my kind of book really, and I can not recommend it enough. I actually stayed up until 3:30 this morning finishing it because I couldn't put it down! When hubby's away the wife will play...I stayed up sewing (I finished the baby quilt, now I just need to wash it tonight!) and reading last night! He is in Florida with work, and I am hoping to get even more accomplished tonight since I have a full and busy weekend ahead of me!

I also read Jane Fairfax, another Joan Aiken book, and finished it over the weekend. This one looks at Jane Austen's Emma through Jane Fairfax's eyes. I really enjoyed this one as well! I don't think I loved it as much as I did Mansfield Revisited. But I did enjoy it and I thought she did a good job with Jane Austen's characters. I don't think I really imagined them the same way, but I liked it.

As I was looking online at some images for the books I was writing about, I found these images on this blog post. Apparently they are new covers from Random House publisher. I liked the look! I think the covers look like quilts so it brings together two of my loves: Austen and beautiful fabrics!! Love it!