Sunday, June 21, 2015

Twinkle, Twinkle

The other day we had a few people over to the house for brunch. And by a few, I mean 50. If you're gonna make breakfast, you might as well make enough for a crowd, right?

There was a very popular Bloody Mary bar...

And yogurt and bacon and cookies...


...And did I mention Bloody Marys?

And then we had a baby shower and a gender reveal! That's right! My baby's having a baby! And it's going to be a...

Happy dance! Happy dance!

My fabulous daughter-in-law, Ashley, has wonderful friends and sisters who served as hostesses. They came in a couple of hours before the shower began to cook and decorate.

The theme was Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and it started with these cute invites.

So we decorated with stars everywhere.

But wait what's that on top of the book shelf? Right next to the baby pictures of the new mom and dad and the sonogram?

Yes, that thing!

Why it's a folded book by Reading With Scissors, of course! What shower would be complete with one? (Duh!)

But, Stephanie, you ask, what's with the 28?

Well, dear reader, Ashley is also a reader, and when it came to taking those cute baby bump pictures that everyone's doing these days, she didn't want to do the standard "Baby is the size of a cauliflower" pictures. She wanted to do something with books. (I told you she was fabulous.)

So a few weeks ago, I decoupaged this cool Chapter sign and we've been using RDCBs to mark the weeks. We started at 20 weeks and she's been taking a picture every month since. Here's the first one we did:

...and the next

And now we are at week 28!

Wait...Week 28? That means the baby will be here before we know it! Happy dance! Happy dance!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book Review: A Spy Among Friends

Title: A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
Author: Ben Macintyre
Format: Paperback
Reading Dates: 08 Apr 2015 - 15 May 2015
Rating: *****

Before I read this book, if you had asked me to play a word association game and given me "Kim Philby," my immediate response would have been "spy." And that would have covered everything I knew about the man. I didn't even know which side he was on or where he was from. (Don't judge.)

That's what made A Spy Among Friends a real-live page-turner for me. I had to keep reading to find out how Kim Philby conned everyone, even his closest friends. Ben Macintyre has created a riveting read that follows Philby from his beginnings as a Soviet agent until his ultimate fate. (Are you like me and don't know the story? I won't spoil the surprise!)

I think what I found most interesting was how the spying seemed less like a James Bond action-adventure kind of job, and more like a Nick Charles witty repartee kind of job. Macintyre's description of Istanbul after WWI, where all the spies from all the sides seemed to know each other and dined and drank in the same restaurants, was especially vivid. Everybody was seemingly watching everyone else and writing home about it in encrypted letters.

This book really held my attention from beginning to end, which, by the way, includes a fascinating postscript from John LeCarre who worked in British intelligence at the same time as Philby. A fascinating book made all the more tantalizing by the fact that it's all true.

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review: The Signature of All Things

Title: The Signature of All Things
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Format: Kindle
Reading Dates: 17 Feb 2015 - 18 Mar 2015
Rating: **1/2

Hmmm...This is one of those books with beautiful prose that draws you in, but with a storyline that makes you go "what the heck was that all about?"

It is about a woman with a fine scientific mind who can tell you everything about every kind of moss, but who is never able to attract the romantic attention of a man--that is until she reaches middle age. So that's the first third of the book.

And then she does attract the attentions of a man, but that is just a painfully awkward story that results in a painfully awkward situation. So that's the second third of the book.

And then she takes off on a ship for the other side of the world where she discovers. Well, I'm not sure exactly what she figured out there. And that was the last third of the book.

And then it was over and I said "what the heck was that all about?"

Monday, May 11, 2015

Go Big!

Last week we celebrated the lovely Miss Holly's birthday with some southwestern fare in downtown Dallas and...

...iris folding!

Holly had requested an iris folded U.S. map several months ago with a special ask--she wanted it big! This took a little thinking on my part. I needed to find a frame the right size and then I needed to figure out how I was going to cut out a map that big.

How big, you ask? Well, if this is the size of the original iris fold map I did...

...THIS is the size of Holly's map.

I eventually ended up using my Silhouette Cameo to make the map out of two 12" x 12" pieces of cardstock and pieced them together.

Then came the fun part.

I used paper from two different atlases. 

This one...

...and this one.
And two different dictionaries, too. 

A mat and a frame later, and Holly got her big map.

Interested in a giant iris fold for your house? Give me a shout. I have lots of atlases waiting to be swirled.

Book Review: Salvador

Title: Salvador
Author: Joan Didion
Format: Audible
Reading Dates: 27 Mar 2015 - 01 Apr 2015
Rating: **1/2

On one hand I kept thinking this book was really dated and would have made much more of an impression on me if I had read it years ago, closer to when it was published. Salvador is filled with a litany of terror perpetrated by one side then another in the bloody Salvadoran civil war. Thirty years ago those horrors were the stuff of every day headlines, and I'm sure I would have wanted this book to help explain--if it could--what it all meant and who were the good guys.

These many years later, the politics don't seem to matter as much anymore, but that litany--the description of one horrific act after another--seems only to prove that inhumanity knows no decade.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Folded Book Kit Now Available on Etsy

For those of you who missed Eggstravaganza, the Reading With Scissors Folding Book Kit is now available to purchase on Etsy!

It includes instructions, a pattern and a book to fold! Pick your book cover pattern and color from a wide selection of options!

Now I can tell you all my secrets and I won't have to kill you. Whew!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Book Review: NPR American Chronicles: First Ladies

Title: NPR American Chronicles: First Ladies
Author: NPR
Format: CD
Reading Dates: 24 Mar 2015 - 26 Mar 2015
Rating: *****

What a great score from Library Thing Early Reviewers! I'm a big fan of NPR and a big fan of history, so this compilation of stories about the First Ladies of the US was a win/win for me. Cokie Roberts acts as the guide through the three discs, providing context for the stories in the introductions. It's one thing to hear these stories by themselves as they were produced over the years, but it's quite another to hear them told one after the other. The eras and situations in which these women found themselves may have all been different, but somehow the strength and dignity of each woman shines through. And oh, Mrs Harding, why have I never heard this story before??