January 2019 reads…

I’m trying not to make judgments about the number of books I get read in any said month, but it’s a hard habit to break–the always wishing I’d got more read thing that is. Because of course of course of course, what really matters is how good the books were. And on that front, it was a winning month.

10 books read.

  • My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle.
  • Destroyer by Victor Lavalle.
  • Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Volume One: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gilman
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

8 fiction/2 nonfiction.

5 by women/3 by men/1 by nonbinary/1 by a combination.

7 by BIPOC creators.

1 by lgbtq+ creator.

0 by creators with disabilities, disfigurements, and/or neurodivergence.

3 comics/graphic novels.

0 poetry/1 short story collection/1 essay collection.

1 reread.

2 physical book/3 ebook/4 audiobook/1 combination.

0 middle grade/2 YA/8 adult.

2 own shelves/2 library/6 Scribd or Marvel Unlimited.

Three favorites, but not necessarily in this order:

  • What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson



my unofficial Year of WIPs and Stitch 9 Challenge line-ups…

Because I am utterly clueless when it comes to Facebook, I’m not joining in on the official Year of WIPs Challenge hosted by Melanie of Soulful Stitching on Facebook. (Despite being an old dog, I can still learn new tricks…Facebook just hasn’t been one of them.) The gist of the challenge is to pick at least 18 of your cross stitch WIPs and to complete at least half of them by a given date in December (the 18th, I believe). As per my style, I overdid it on my choices, going with 42. Which means to call it a “win” I need to complete 21 of these puppies. I’m feeling confident…she says with fingers crossed behind her back.

The #stitch9challenge is being hosted by @farmgirlstitcher on Instagram. The goal here is to pick 9 WIPs or 9 new starts or a combination and complete them this year. Obviously I chose 9 projects that I’d already chosen for YOW. Hmmm…maybe I shouldn’t say obviously–let’s just say, I sure as hell hope I did because I will kick myself if not.

Okay, so on to the projects:

  • YOW project #1: Black Cat in Santa Hat by Maria Warmke. img_4978
  • YOW project #2: Blackwork Noel by Glory Bee. Times 2, but I’m only counting it as one project. (I don’t have a picture of the finished project, but the pattern is a freebie on their website.) img_4979
  • YOW project #3: Holiday Chickadees by Country Cross-Stitch, based on artwork by Carolyn Shores Wright. fullsizeoutput_1cec
  • YOW project #4: Peacock by dailycrossstitch.com

  • YOW project #5/Stitch9 project #1: Plague Doctor by Buzzbee Designs. fullsizeoutput_1cef
  • YOW project #6: Tweet Heart by Lucie Heaton. Times 2, but I’m only counting it as one project. img_4987
  • YOW project #7: Fa La La La La by Amy Bruecken Designs. Times 2, but I’m only counting it as one project. img_4989
  • YOW project #8: Woodland Santa by ??? (Sadly, I just don’t know who the designer is–I tore this pattern from a magazine a bazillion years ago.) img_4988
  • YOW project #9: Wintry & Woodsy by Open Road Abode Needleworks. Times 2, but I’m only counting it as one project. fullsizeoutput_1cf2
  • YOW project #10: Christmas Hare by Barbara Ana Designs. Times 2, but I’m only counting it as one project. img_4991
  • YOW project #11/Stitch9 project #2: Stories of the North, Part One by Ginger Gerald Designs. img_4992
  • YOW project #12: Jam Jar Alphabet by Cross Country Stitching. img_4993
  • YOW project #13: Eastern Cougar by Cross My Heart, based on artwork by Dede Willingham. img_4994
  • YOW project #14/Stitch9 project #3: Frida by Barbara Ana Designs. img_4995
  • YOW project #15/Stitch9 project #4: Mouse by Cross My Heart. img_4997
  • YOW project #16: Poppies and Daisies and Chickory, Oh My (my pet name for it) by Vervaco. img_4998
  • YOW project #17: Santa trio by Leisure Arts. fullsizeoutput_1cf5
  • YOW project #18/Stitch9 project #5: Red-winged Blackbirds by Carriage House Samplings. img_5000
  • YOW project #19: Bullfrog Witch by Casey Buonaugurio Designs. img_5001
  • YOW project #20: Autumn Woods Sampler by Lois Winston for DMC. img_5002
  • YOW project #21/Stitch9 project #6: Graphic Acorns by Kathleen Berlew of KBB Crafts & Stitches. img_5003
  • YOW project #22: Ye Old Crow by Heart in Hand. img_5004
  • YOW project #23: Halloween Village (page 1) by Stoney Creek. img_5005
  • YOW project #24: Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow (middle block) by Carriage House Samplings. img_5021
  • YOW project #25/Stitch9 project #7: Redwork Snowman design by Pearl Louise Krush, adapted to cross stitch by Sharon Pope. img_5006
  • YOW project #26: Winter Scene by Polly Carbonari for Leisure Arts. img_5007
  • YOW project #27: Halloween Party by SodaStitch. 

  • YOW project #28: Indigo Bouquet by DMC. (I don’t have a picture of the finished project, but the pattern is a freebie on their website.) img_5010
  • YOW project #29: Home is… self-designed, so no picture of finished project. img_5011
  • YOW project #30/Stitch9 project #8: A Walk in the Woods by The Cricket Collection. img_5012
  • YOW project #31: Cozy Owl by Barbara Sestok. img_5013
  • YOW project #32/Stitch9 project #9: Home Sweet Home by Erik Shipley of Ship’s Manor. img_5014
  • YOW projects #33 and #34: Mushroom Sampler (pages 1 and 2) by nichestitch.img_5015
  • YOW projects #35 and #36: The Amazing Animal Kingdom (pages 1 and 2) by Heaven and Earth Designs, artwork by Aimee Stewart. img_5016
  • YOW projects #37 and #38: Epic Pokemon Generation 1 (pages 5 and 4) by Servotron. 

  • YOW projects #39 and #40: Colorful Cow (pages 3 and 4) by Artiste. img_5019
  • YOW projects #41 and #42: The Pilgrim (pages 1 and 2) by Long Dog Samplers. img_5020

Okay, it nearly took me a year to write this post…and I think I can actually stitch all these in a year…BWHAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

bout of books 24…

Grab button for Bout of Books

It’s that time again. Time to spend a week indulging, trying to spend at least a little more time than one normally would dipping into the pages.

Here’s the official blurb:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I don’t want to set myself any goals other than to just have fun. And I’ll likely just update this post each day (as opposed to making separate daily posts) with my progress.

Happy Reading, one and all!



Books read from:

  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Books finished: none

Pages read: 248


Books read from:

  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Books finished:

  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Pages read: 166


Books read from:

  • Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla Saad
  • Destroyer by Victor LaValle
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Books finished:

  • Destroyer by Victor Lavalle

Pages read: 219


Books read from:

  • Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla Saad
  • What Is No Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Books finished: none

Pages read: 40


Books read from:

  • Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Volume 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero

Books finished:

  • Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Volume 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero

Pages read: 22


Books read from:

  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Books finished:

  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

Pages read: 81


Books read from:

  • As The Crow Flies by Melanie Gilman
  • Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Books finished:

  • As The Crow Flies by Melanie Gilman

Pages read: 281

Weekly totals:

Books read from: 7

Books finished: 5

Pages read: 1,057


And I would call that a very successful readathon for me. Many thanks to the hosts!

within the pages 2018…

93 books read.

70 fiction/23 nonfiction.

63 by women/22 by men/2 by nonbinary/6 by combination.

49 books with authors and/or artists of color.

18 books with lgbtq authors and/or artists.

5 books by authors and/or artists with disabilities, disfigurements, and/or neurodivergence.

18 comics/graphic novels.

3 poetry collections/4 short story collections/1 fairy tale collection.

2 rereads.

3 classics.

The books I really loved. (I don’t think I read a single book that I didn’t like, but these were the best.) For a variety of reasons:

  • Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (vols. 1-3) by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
  • Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxanne Gay, Yona Harvey, Alitha Martinez, and Afua Richardson
  • “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (volumes 1-3) by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos
  • Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • Vital Lies by Ellen Hart
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and China Martens
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adyemi
  • Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead
  • Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzie Lee
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
  • Dawn by Octavia Butler
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
  • Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Tell No Tales by Eleanor Taylor Bland
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • Scream in Silence by Eleanor Taylor Bland
  • Pleasantville by Attica Locke
  • The Living Blood by Tananarive Due
  • Food & Spirits by Beth Brant
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

I’m really happy with my 2018 year of reading. I’d hoped to read a few more books than I did, but I refuse to complain because the quality of my reading this year was pretty damn phenomenal. Here’s hoping 2019 treats me just as wonderfully.



the year ahead…

The last couple months of a year tend to see my brain mulling over all the glorious possibilities of the coming year. Some years I write down plans and goals; some years those ideas never leave the confines of my skull. As much as I do love making lists (and love may not be a strong enough word), it can also be said that a list initiates some need inside me to rebel. I’ve yet to discover a solution to this contradiction. Other than to just sit back and see how things play out. And that’s what I suppose I’ll do again this year–I shall make my list of “I hope to…”s but give myself permission right up front to shift things around as my priorities and opportunities and desires change.

*Get back to bullet journaling. It helps immensely in keeping myself organized, and in general I enjoy it…so why I’ve let it go by the wayside I can’t quite say.

*No specific goal as to the number of books I’d like to read. My biggest goal here is to keep reading diversely. Ideally, I’d love to see at least 50% authors of color. Additionally, I’d love for at least another 30% of my reads to be other diverse authors, such as lgbtq authors or disabled/disfigured/neurodiverse authors.

*I’m going to try to do #nostarts2019, an idea started by Sarah of Stitchin’ Mommy from Flosstube, in which one concentrates only on their already started projects for the year. I am giving myself one extremely large loophole though: I’m allowing myself the joy of Stitch Maynia, in which I’m giving myself permission to start as many things as I want as long as they are gifts.

*I would also like to participate in Melanie’s (of Soulful Stitching on Facebook) Year of WIPs this year. I am, however, completely clueless about all things Facebook, so I’m just doing it unofficially.

*I sort of wish that I could extend the whole #nostarts2019 idea to all my other crafty arenas, but I’m just didn’t have enough time to get myself organized properly. I do plan on sitting down in the next few days though to decide what sewing, crochet, and scrapbooking projects I’d like to focus on this year.

*Pick one bigger project to focus on each month. Not a crafty project, but a home improvement or organizing sort of thing. January’s focus is to clean, reorganize, and generally make useable my craft area. I’m not kidding–it is not useable at present.

And I think I’ll just stop there. There’s no point in overwhelming myself before I even get started, now is there?



my week in WIPs #11…

Though it’s really more like a week and a half, and I’m thoroughly disorganized and am not even sure what all I worked on. Yes, I’ve kept up with my #darktobermanic stitching plan…but in mini form. Because it hit me last week just how close Christmas was, and I sort of went into panic mode. But I sat down and wrote out a list of all the gifts I wanted to get made. Some tiny, some rather large. The list is 40 projects long. Some that were already in progress, but most not. Oh Debra Anne, why the hell do you do this to yourself?!!

So what did I work on…

I do crochet a bit more on the Halloween afghan, but not enough to show much of difference so I just forego a pic.

I’ll try to get back to being more organized and sharing more specifics next week, but for this post, here’s for my #darktobermanic stitching in collage form, including the one little finish I had:

I also had an FFO:


Before my Christmas panic set in, I spent a day scrapbooking, starting the little mini album I’m making my husband documenting his birthday month. Didn’t get terribly far, but managed to make the covers for the album and do the first few pages:


And finally we have the Christmas gift progress. It was probably a tactical mistake, but I decided to whip out the few super quick and easy projects just to get some things checked off the list. Hence, these three cup cozies that will be stocking stuffers:


And another fairly quick stocking stuffer for my daughter, a jewel-toned hat that if I didn’t look so ridiculous in hats I’d be tempted to keep for myself:


And I got back to work on some cross stitch ornaments I started over the summer. One for us, four for gifts. All in various stages of completion:


And finally I started a gift for one of my best friends. I’m actually making this cross stitch piece for myself as well, and perhaps I should have just worked on that one to give away and started another for myself later. But I love this piece so very much, and was afraid I might never get around to restarting it. I love working on it though, and am hoping I can finish it before the end of October. It’s one of the few gifts that I’ll have to mail (as are the ornaments), so they get priority. Anyway, here is my start on Frida for my dear friend Chris:


Hopefully I will have my act back together for next week. And I know it’s just psychological, but I think that Mondays will make for an easier day to do my weekly updates.

Here’s to a crafty, creative week ahead!

my week in WIPs #10…

I gotta say that I’m feeling pretty damn good about my progress this past week: a couple of FFOs, a couple of finishes, a WIP, and a couple of new starts.

First up, I finished “Red Tulips,” my needlework project. Yeah, it was about ten years in the making. And if left up to me, it would likely be another ten in the framing. But I think my sweet, wonderful mom might either have it done or do it herself as a Christmas gift for me. That would make me soooo happy!


(“Red Tulips” kit by Needle Treasures with #13 cotton canvas and wool tapestry yarn and cotton embroidery floss)

Next up, I finished my dear friend Karen’s afghan! Woohoo! I had assumed that it would take me another couple weeks to have a finish on this, but once I picked it up I just couldn’t stop until it was done. And it’s actually an FFO, because it turned out to not really need any blocking. She’s seen a picture of it, but I can’t wait to hand it over in person.


(Premier Yarns: Parfait, in azalea and teal/K hook)

Then, because I finished one crochet project, I deserved to start another, right? And what I started was another afghan. This time for us. A Halloween afghan! I’ve wanted to make a Halloween afghan for ages, but never made the time. And this afghan I’ve now started is not what I’ve long had pictured–varied width stripes, deeply zig-zagged in lime green and orange and purple and black. I’d *still* like to make one like that one day. But the throw I’ve started is just a straightforward tulip stitch all-over pattern. (Here’s a well-written tutorial for the tulip stitch.) I think the tulip stitch is quite lovely, but in this variegated yarn I’m using the stitch definition is pretty much entirely lost. I’m okay with that though because it’s giving this blanket a lovely texture, and I love the haphazard look it’s giving the colors.


(Herrschers Worsted 8 in Halloween Shimmer/H hook)

Next, I finished “Halloween Kitty” by Jan Fate of Angel Stitchin from the October 2017 issue of Just CrossStitch. (I talked about the changes I made to the pattern here.) I know how I’d like to fully finish it, but we’ll see if it works out.


(25 count story clouds lugana/DMC floss, not the called for colors/stitched 1 over 1)

October 1st marked the start of #darktobermanic. “Halloween Kitty” was actually my first (of 13) projects for #darktobermanic (an event on the Soulful Stitching Facebook group). It was also the start of the #turkeysal. So I started this turkey piece by Elizabeth Spurlock from Cross-Stitch & Needlework November 2012. (I will, however, be removing the pilgrim’s hat.) Not enough progress yet to even tell what it is, but I’ve worked on it a little each day so far.


(25 count vintage country mocha lugana/DMC and Classic Colorworks/stitched 1 over 1)

My 2nd #darktobermanic piece is “Double, double…” by The Prairie Schooler, which I worked on Oct. 2nd and 3rd (and will continue to work on today). Not a lot of progress (I already had the cauldron and the smoke tendrils stitched), but I do love working on this! IMG_3358

(32 count vintage smokey white linen/Weeks Dye Works and DMC/stitched 2 over 2)

And lastly, a final finish of “Scary Night” (by Nancy Boyarsky of Glory Bee from the 2014 Halloween issue of Just Cross Stitch). My very first flatfold, and I am positively smitten! Serious, serious love for how this turned out! While I did a few things differently, just based on what I had on hand, the credit for this finish goes to Vonna Pfeiffer for her awesome tutorial on YouTube.


(25 count story clouds lugana/DMC floss/stitched 1 over 1)

I would love for this week to be every bit as productively crafty, and perhaps it will be. But I’ll not hold my breath on that. Nonetheless, here is to crafty, creative week for one and all!