I had a really fun month in terms of embroidery, working on a mix of landscape, animal, and floral pieces. I revisited a couple of past designs (the cherry blossom and the flower crown), and I’m particularly pleased with how the tiger portrait turned out. I’m hopefully going to have a small stall at a local fete at the end of this month, so I’m enjoying the challenge of building up enough pieces to stock it! That said, there are still several things available over on my Etsy.
Last but not least, I promised some more Ted updates, and I’m happy to oblige! He continues to be a delight, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Just for good measure, here are some recent pictures of Oscar and Frankie: as much as I’m obsessed with Ted, I’m still obsessed with them too!
Though not vast in quantity, when it comes to quality, this is easily one of the best reading months I’ve had for some time. Here’s a look at what I picked up, with links to reviews if you’d like more thoughts.
Books read: 6
Yearly total: 19
The books I read in March
1. The Antarctica of Love by Sara Stridsberg, Tr. by Deborah Bragan-Turner
Favourite of the month: The Most Dazzling Girl in the World is fresh in my mind, but honestly all of these were great!
March was also a fun month craft wise. Finished projects included a matching pair of autumn trees, a large owl embroidery, a little starry landscape, a floral woven wall hanging, and a miniature cross stitch of a cosy cottage. Some of these are still available over on my Etsy.
I also promised some more Ted pictures last month, and frankly I’m always happy for a chance to show him off! He’s continued to settle in and make friends really well, and he’s still an absolute delight.
There we have it! What was your favourite read in March?
In terms of both reading and embroidery, it’s safe to say February wasn’t my most productive month, but thankfully there’s a nice reason as to why this time: There’s a new four legged friend in my life! I adopted 10 week old pup Ted earlier this month and I am more than a little bit smitten.
He’s a cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Miniature Poodle), and he’s settled in so well – even the cats are tentatively warming to him, lol. I could gush all day about how cute, friendly, affectionate, fluffy, playful, and delightful he is, but I suppose I’d better mention some books!
As for embroidery, I’m just finishing up a matching pair of tree designs which were requested by my cousins, but the following pieces are all up for sale over on my etsy shop: a large whale hoop, a contemporary rainbow piece, and a squirrel cross stitch magnet.
How was your February? What was your favourite read?
My reading year is off to a somewhat tentative start, as I found myself reaching mainly for short reads as and when a burst of motivation hit. Given my desire to ease the pressure on myself if/when a slump is lingering, I’m okay with that! Besides, there were a couple of gems in the mix.
Here’s a quick summary of the books I read, with links to reviews if you’d like to know more.
Favourite of the month: A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Meanwhile, I had a pretty productive month craft-wise. As well as a couple of classic floral pieces, I loved working on a slightly larger embroidery of woodland animals, and I tried out an aerial landscape for the first time.
I’ve also been continuing to delve into hand weaving a little more, which resulted in the mini wall hangings and decorations shown below.
(Some of these pieces are still available over on my Etsy shop.)
I don’t think I need to bother reflecting on the kind of year 2021 turned out to be overall. It happened; let’s move on, shall we?
In bookish terms, I felt like much of my year was defined by a lingering reading slump, meaning it came as a very pleasant surprise when I surpassed my goal for the year (by 1), reading 101 books in total. That’s the lowest figure since I started tracking my reading, but objectively, I’m aware it’s still a lot of books, and considering the backdrop we’ve all been living against, I can make my peace with it! I talked a little about my 10 favourites here.
My average rating was 3.6 stars. That’s .1 up on last year’s average, and it means I’m still enjoying the majority of the books I pick up, so I’ll take that as a win!
Though I always pick up books based purely on what appeals to me at the time, as the year comes to a close, I like to look back and break them down based on a few key areas. It’s clear to see I’m still drawn to the works of women far more than I am men, and I’m also pleased to see that my intake of non-binary authors has gone up a little – though this could certainly still be higher.
In terms of authorship, I’m pleased to see it’s not a terrible balance, but I could always stand to read more from authors of colour. I’d be much happier if it could move closer towards a 50/50 split, at least.
As per the trend of the last few years, more than half of my reading is given over to novels/novellas, and the proportion of my reading dedicated to poetry has edged up slightly again, which I’m perfectly happy with!
It also seems that around a quarter of my reading is made up of works in translation, which is pretty consistent with last year. I’d like to maintain or even boost that proportion moving forward, if possible.
I’m still going to set myself some goals for the year ahead, but in the spirit of not wanting to pile the pressure on when we’re still going through the wringer, I’m going to keep them simple:
Read 90 books: This is lower than I usually set my target, but I want to respect the fact my reading slowed down for much of last year. While it’s good to motivate myself with an ambitious end goal, reading is something I love, and so I never want it to feel like a daunting chore. Life is rough at the moment; it’s okay to ease the pace a little when we need to.
Commit to WITmonth: I love joining in with Women in Translation Month, which takes place every August. For the last few years, I’ve committed to reading exclusively women in translation during that month, and I’d like to do so again.
Re-read Saga: I read and loved the first 7 volumes of Saga as they came out, but I fell out of the loop and haven’t picked any up for ages. I believe the series is coming to the end of a hiatus soon, so I’d like to refresh my mind and get caught up.
As always, I’ll finish this little retrospective by bringing together every title I read throughout the last 12 months (followed, this time, by all the embroidery projects I completed). If anything catches your eye, feel free to drop me a comment. Thanks for stopping by – Happy reading, and all the best for 2022!
Since December always seems to end up being a bit of a hectic month, I didn’t get through a huge number of embroidery projects, but the ones I did work on, I loved. These included a couple of larger pieces – a pair of blue tits, and some Van Gogh inspired sunflowers – and a couple of mini pieces – personalised reindeer decorations for my niece and nephew.
There we have it! What was your favourite read in December?
October was definitely another month where quality took precedence over quantity when it came to my reader, but I can certainly live with that! Here’s a quick roundup of my month in books, followed by a look at the embroidery (and weaving) projects I’ve been working on.
6. The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman, tr. by Leslie Camhi
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ | Review to come
7. Women & Power by Mary Beard
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ | Review to come
Favourite of the month: Tonight We Rule the World
Thankfully, October was much more productive for me when it came to embroidery. This included getting a head start on some festive bits and pieces – It’s early, I know, but I wanted to make sure I factored in plenty of time for international shipping, and for those who like to get organized ahead of the game! I’ve also been trying out (and loving!) hand weaving, which led to a few mini wall hangings. Here’s a look at the projects I completed throughout the month, some of which are still available over on my little Etsy shop.
September was definitely a month of quality over quantity, as though I picked up fewer books overall than usual, two of them are real contenders for my reads of the year list. Links to reviews of each book can be found below, followed as usual by a little look at the embroidery projects I’ve been working on recently.
Favourite of the Month: Once There Were Wolves & Love and Fury
As for embroidery projects, I completed a landscape and a custom necklace, both of which are off to their new homes. I also worked on a couple of mini Halloween themed pieces and a floral design, which can be found over on my Etsy.
Did you have a good month? What was your favourite read in September?
In terms of reading, August was easily the most productive and enjoyable month I’ve had so far this year. That was thanks in large part to it being Women in Translation Month, which I always love getting stuck into! All of my reads throughout August fit into the WIT category, with my 12 picks representing 9 languages across 12 countries. Below are links to my full thoughts on each, followed by a look at the embroidery projects I’ve been working on recently.
The books I read in August
Books Read: 12
Yearly total: 71
1. The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez – Argentina – Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
I had a lot of fun with embroidery projects this month too, including trying out some embroidered bookmarks for the first time. I also hit 30 sales over on my little Etsy shop; a small but lovely milestone! Here’s a quick look at the pieces I worked on throughout August.
What was your favourite read in August? Did you pick up anything for WIT month?
It definitely felt like I started to break out of my reading slump somewhat throughout July. Though the number of books I finished remained on the low side (compared to my usual pace), there were definitely more full length works in the mix this time, which is a decent step in the right direction.
The overall quality of what I picked up was also pretty good, so let’s hope this upturn continues into August! I’m feeling optimistic that it will, given that it’s Women in Translation Month – which I love! But without further ado, here’s a quick glimpse at what I read this month (with links to full reviews if you’d like to know more), followed by a look at some recent embroidery projects.
8. Frida by Sébastien Pérez & Benjamin Lacombe, tr. by Alison Anderson
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ | Review to come
Favourite of the month: The Butterfly Lampshade & Frida
In terms of embroidery, I really enjoyed working on some more original designs throughout the month, which resulted in a couple of landscapes, a seascape, and a tribute piece to Frida Kahlo. I also tried out some embroidered jewellery for the first time, which was a lot of fun! As before, you can find available pieces over on my Etsy.
Thanks for stopping by! What’s the best thing you read or did in July?