Thursday, January 05, 2023

What I Read in 2022


It’s time for my annual roundup of the books I read in the previous year. 2022 had two themes: Bible studies and biographies. I read the most Bible study books I’ve ever read in a row. This was one of the busiest years of my life with two children, and I needed some help structuring and simplifying my Bible study time. I usually study on my own and reference commentaries as I go, but I needed to simplify my approach this year. Study books helped with that.

I also got into celebrity autobiographies, with a Jane Austen biography thrown in. There’s something about reading about other people’s lives that puts your own into perspective. You can read their stories and think, “wow, I have a normal life!” or think “wow, I want to reach goals like they did.” I have a few more celebrity autobiographies I’m wanting to check out for 2023. It’s interesting to read about the people we see on TV and in media. I’m okay with a boring life and will just read about other people’s drama!

I didn’t read much fiction this year. I wanted to, but there were a few times I would start a fictional book and not be able to get into it. I don’t have a lot of time to read, so I decided not to force any reads I wasn’t interested in. Even if I was several chapters in, I gave myself permission to stop. I did that to three fictional books this year. I’ve also been on the waiting list at my library for several fictional books.

I read ebooks on my iPad more than ever before, mainly because that was how I could access free books from my library. I still prefer physical books, but I can’t say no to free.

I tried one audio book this year, another autobiography. I liked hearing Bruce Springsteen read about his life, but I just don’t jive with audiobooks. I felt like I could have read the book so much faster than listening to it. My mind also wanders with audiobooks. I gave up and decided to try to hunt down the physical book to finish it that way. I know some of you love your audiobooks, and I wish I could too, but my brain just doesn’t process in that way. I’m a visual learner and need to see words on a page.

I definitely could have read more in 2022, but sometimes I just wasn’t mentally in a place to read. I was too tired or too overwhelmed or working on our home remodel or reading to kids or do countless others things that I chose to do over reading. And that’s okay! That’s life!

I haven’t set any reading goals yet for 2023. I think I’ll just take things as they come, which is what I did in 2022.

What reading goals have you set for the New Year?

Books I Read in 2022:

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Milkmaid/Dream Top Pattern from Lydia Naomi

Pretending I’m writing poetry in a field…or milking a cow since this is a “milkmaid” top…but let’s go with the first scenario.

This is the Milkmaid/Dream top pattern from Lydia Naomi. She offered it as a free download a year ago, and I finally got around to making it. Although it’s no longer free, it’s still available to download for an affordable price on her website. I’m going to make the dress version next! She also has a few videos on how to make the dress/shirt and make size adjustments.
I did a separating zipper (like is on a jacket) at the back instead of an invisible zipper under the arm. You’ll probably need help zipping it up if you do the same, but I wanted to give it a try. I raised the neckline by a hair but will probably raise it even more the next time I make it. I’m constantly bending over to pick up a kid, so I’d like the top to come up a little higher. I also made the bottom ruffle a little longer so it wasn’t cropped length.
I really liked making this top and already have the fabric picked out for the dress version! The shirt fabric was given to me by a lady at church and is a screen printed linen. It’s such a nice fabric.

Toddler Dress and Bloomers

When an outfit makes you feel goooood
My mom made the top and bloomers for Harlow when she was a toddler, and now Elodie is wearing the outfit. I made the headband when Harlow was little.
The outfit pattern is Simplicity 2375. I realized after the pictures that I should have ironed the top before she wore it, but oh well.

Travel Watercolors

We went camping last week at Bull Shoals-White River State Park. When it was time to pack up, I told Colin I just needed 10 minutes to do something for myself. The trip was full of family time, which is why we went, but I’m trying to carve out time to also do some things I enjoy (by myself ;) ). I decided to start this practice on our last trip to Woolly Hollow State Park.

At this current stage of parenting, I can’t really sit and read uninterrupted for any length of time. Our youngest might wander off! But I can take 10 minutes to sketch and paint with watercolors while she naps or while I keep watch to make sure she doesn’t head for the water’s edge.
I’ve had this watercolor kit for about a decade but it has been neglected for far too long. It’s compact and perfect for traveling. Water goes in the brush handle, so there’s no need for a cup of water. The paints are very pigmented and blend well. I sketch with a pencil then paint over it. I only have a few minutes to work, so I don’t strive for perfection (although, what does that even really mean in art?). I just strive for a minute to do something I enjoy and to capture a moment from our trip. I paint in my notebook where I log our trips.
The rainbow trout represents our time on the White River. The pennant I painted at Woolly Hollow is of the pennant I made from felt and vinyl for our girls’ last birthday party that’s hanging in our camper.
I encourage you to take a few minutes for yourself to do something you love, to try something new, to take in the moment, to show your kids that they can do the same.
I got the watercolor kit at @hobbylobby where you can sometimes catch it on sale. It’s also available on Amazon.
Kit with a different color palette:
What do you like to do when you have a moment to yourself?

Open Back Tank Top

I’ve been wanting to make a top with this hand-me-down fabric for awhile but couldn’t make up my mind on what to do. So I made my own pattern.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, because it’s what I think when I see posts about self-drafted patterns— that doesn’t help me! How am I supposed to make that without any instructions or patterns? Well, if you want to make something similar, go check out Jenna Phipps’ YouTube video DIY Summer Dress. It has a similar look, can be made into a shirt, and is a bit more simplified in that you don’t have to curve around your armpit or have buttons like I did. She’ll walk you through the process. It’s a good beginner project.
Back to what I did…. I wanted the top to be somewhat fitted at the bust, so that meant I needed a way to open it to put it on/take it off. I did buttons in the back. If you go with a looser fit, you can just slip it over your head and skip this. I didn’t have enough fabric to do a ruffle all the way around, so I did a ruffle in the front and left it flat in the back. I also left the back open, because it is really hot here and all the airflow is needed to keep cool. I didn’t do a lining, but I did use a serger to finish all the seams and edges.
I drafted a paper pattern for this so I could get the fit just right and use it for future projects. Making a pattern takes a little more time in the beginning but saves a lot of time in the end when you want to make more of the same top. Making adjustments and changes is easy when you have a base to start from. This garment is my wearable toile and will help me get the pattern just right for future garments. I think I want to do a front button top and no ruffle layer the next time.

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