Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Mockingbird Next Door - Life With Harper Lee

My latest read  was The Mockingbird Next Door - Life With Harper Lee by Marja Mills. Not sure why this caught my eye, but it did. I am careful about books that have tried to capitalize on Harper Lee.  Ms. Mills has managed to give us a birds eye view of Harper Lee, but also to let the mockingbird continue to sing through her original work and thus maintain her privacy.

Interjection -- I read a lot and especially anything that has to do with Monroe County, Alabama. My mother grew up in that county. So I've lived a life hearing stories from that area. Continuing...

Needless to say, Marja Mills must have had the "journalistic gods" with her on the day she tapped on the front door of Harper and Alice Lee. To be invited in and then to spend time with the elusive author is what I call "happenstance" (circumstance especially that is due to chance). What are the chances? But it did happen and we now get a firsthand look at the life of Nelle Harper Lee and her older sister Alice Lee and their close friends. How she has managed to elude the press and people who would have otherwise stalked her is beyond me. I do know that when you go "visiting" in Monroe County or any little crossroads in that county, people will know you are there. It is a grapevine like none I've ever witnessed before. A license plate number that begins with letters other than their own county, is recognized as someone "visiting". The grapevine starts buzzing as to who might be "visiting". People will know who you are before you leave the county. Enough about the grapevine....

The book was an escape for me. It took me on a journey that you wouldn't understand unless you had relatives who grew up in that area. It is an understanding of a close-knit community of friends. Friends who treat you the same no matter who you had become in the eyes of the outside world. They let Harper Lee continue to live her life without interference and kept her confidences so she could do just that -- live a basic, unencumbered life.

Harper Lee did not write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird. A sequel could have followed. There is so much about Scout, Jem and Dill that would have made a sequel within reach.

My prayer is that more people will continue to read To Kill a Mockingbird and take to heart the life lessons conveyed by Atticus, Jem and Scout.

Thank you Marja Mills for not giving up and staying the course or as they say in Monroe County "keep on keeping on".

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Silk Hankies

So I found out quite by accident something that has intrigued me to the point of reading and finding out its history in the fiber world -- silk. I guess my interest was piqued when I went to the Alabama Fibers Arts Festival a month or so ago with my sisters. I purchased some sari remnants.  After that I was on a mission. I have read, watched videos and made an additional purchase. My recent purchase -- silk hankies. Yes hankies. Not like the cotton-type put in your handbag or you embroider with pretty designs, but squares made from individual cocoons that have been processed, stretched over frames and then dyed.

The processing and laying out of the hankies one on top of the other renders what looks like not much fiber, but when you start pulling the individual layers from the center the magic begins. What didn't look like much silk to begin with rendered this amount of silk to knit with:

A total of 22 cocoons made this much silk. I did not spin the silk, but opted to pull the fibers (really long fiber length) and will knit with it this way which will do just fine. I have three more packets to pull.

The silk fiber was purchased from See Jayne Knit. She has an ETSY shop and sells some of her hand dyed silk hankies there along with information on the amount of silk you can get from the hankies and expected estimated yardage. The color of my purchase is Monet.

I will knit something special as a gift and will post end results later.

Happy knitting....


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chevron Baby Blanket

So I had a special request from a woman I work with for her new little grandson. She gave me a piece of the gray and white chevron pattern that would be the design for the bumper pad and crib set. So I thought about this pattern and decided on my version of chevron while still using the gray and white. I incorporated a hit of blue for a little guy. She really liked the blanket.

Alabama Fiber Festival

Last weekend my sisters and I took a vacation day on Friday and went to Montgomery, Alabama. One day for family visit and another at the annual Alabama Fiber Festival.

Friday we spent the day with our 90 year old aunt. She is the last in my Mother's family. What a delight to spend time with her. She is as sharp as a tack and doesn't miss anything. My favorite picture of my aunt is one where she is holding her cellphone. Not bad for 90 years old.

On Saturday, the three musketeers went to the Farmers Market in Montgomery and looked at the flowers, fruits and vegetables. Really wish I had a pick-up truck. I would have loaded it up with plants and bushes for my backyard. Instead, I came away with red and green pepper jelly, Mayhaw jelly and apple butter. Saving the pepper jellies for Christmas to serve over cream cheese with crackers.

Then on to the Alabama Fiber Festival. What fun we had! Got to look at all kinds of fibers as well as the real live alpacas, sheep and rabbits. Bought an organic cotton baby afghan kit and two sari silk skeins. Little sister and I took a spinning class. Harder than you might think. Big sister took a weaving class. We came away with so much to talk about. Dreams of future purchases of spinning wheels and looms danced in our heads. We are planning on going to the next fiber festival in Georgia to be held in the Fall.

Relaxing today. May pick-up an afghan I am crocheting for the newest member of the family -- great nephew baby Nick.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

First Book Read in 2014 - The Joshua Code; Job Change

Finished reading my first book of 2014. The Joshua Code written by O.S. Hawkins. A spiritual guide book to various scriptures in the Bible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It definitely made me think about my past, present and future. There are times I need to read something besides fiction, biographies or history. This book fulfilled the times for something else to read. It also helped me to look hard at my present and where I want to be in the future....

I want to read more and work on my crafts in 2014. I have been too involved in my secular employment to the point where I am truly burn-out. I haven't found the energy to read or work on crafts. Both things I love. I have decided to find another job. I have worked for this company for 8 1/2 years and will not spend another December not enjoying the holidays because of my job.  When I left work on Friday before Christmas on Wednesday, I had chest pains and could hardly see to drive home. This from someone with heart disease. I will not let the stress do me in. So I am looking to either work at home or dial back considerably. I intend to keep my agents license and the designations that I have worked so hard to obtain over the years. So the change I will make is where I obtain a paycheck twice a month.

Time to call it a day and get some rest. TGIF tomorrow.