I fear this is going to be a lazy blogging week for me. I have two books I need to write about that I finished over the weekend and an update to one that I am working on--North and South (loved, loved, loved this), The Lotus Eaters (thought it was excellent though somewhat emotionally draining), and Effi Briest (different than I expected though good and a little unique to my more recent reads). The thing is I am not feeling especially inspired or energetic, so I'm not sure which I'll get to this week. I know I say this often, but it still holds true--I love reading, but writing about books is really hard for me. I know what I want to say but have a hard time articulating my thoughts in a way that I'm happy with. I'll get it down in a post and then read it over and think, hmm, that's not quite how I was hoping it would come out. But then you know how it goes--we are often our own worst critics.
So, today I am just going to share a few easy things--new books and some needlework designs I pulled out of my stash bin. It was a productive weekend in a weird way. I even managed to rake the yard (though the trees mock me still with branches full of leaves--they will surely fall on the coldest day to come!).
Now on to the books.
Isn't this edition of Emma beautiful? I have lusted after this collection of books since I first discovered them: Penguin Threads. The design is by needle artist Jillian Tamaki. Imagine having your needlework on the covers of thousands of books! It's a little unfair of me as it isn't just the cover, but the spine, the back and insides of the jacket (it has French flaps...is that what they're called?). I should share them all with you, as the book is just beautifully designed. It has deckle cut edges, which I think are kind of cool, and the covers are textured so the needlework is sort of raised. The only downside is it does not have an introduction or any notes. The wraps are gorgeous but the inside a little bare (well, it has Jane Austen's work, which is of course anything but bare, but you know what I mean, right?). I'm tempted to get The Secret Garden and Black Beauty just for the artwork's sake.
I plan on reading Emma next month (or maybe even sooner if the mood takes me).
My other last hurrah before paying off my credit card (now when I look online the amount owed is $0--bliss) was to buy one of the new Persephone Books releases, No Surrender by Constance Maud, which is about the suffragettes. It was hard deciding, but as I had already read Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple (will buy it at some later point), I thought it best to buy one that is new to me. Of course the Persephone designs are simple yet elegant (French flaps, gorgeous textile reproduction for the inside flaps and heavy cream paper), it goes without saying. Now that I am in maintenance mode with my credit card I will need to think about which books I buy every month to stay within my budget.
I will occasionally look through my stash bins containing my needlework supplies, and like my bookshelves, I always come away with something interesting. I was looking for this chart in particular: "Petit Carnet d'Ouvrages" by With My Needle. I'm not sure what the exact translation is, but the idea is this is a reference book of motifs, alphabets and borders. Women would refer to them when stitching initials on their own linen or making samplers. It has four pages (front and back) as well as front and back covers. I forgot it was stitched over one linen thread (not my favorite sort of stitching), which is probably why it went into the bins rather than onto my stitching pile. I've got the supplies already, so I'll consider it (for a long range stitching project), but it would be a challenging undertaking.
I'm also in the mood for a little seasonal stitching. I was thinking I could stitch the winter design, and I've got everything ready to start it as well. This is Prairie Schooler's "Country Seasons". I'm sure you've heard me mention this designer before (I'm working still on her "February"). This is one of my favorite designers, and the charts are generally very easy to do with simple fabrics and flosses.
Or I could work on Just Nan's "12 Days of Christmas". I don't have the fabric however. I wouldn't stitch the designs for those frames as they are too costly for me to buy. As much as I love Just Nan designs, her kits are very expensive. She uses all the beautiful and expensive silks and cool accessories like these frames. I'm not sure how I would finish them. This is really a chart that should be started in January with the intention of stitching one a month. I think I've just talked myself out of stitching this one, but perhaps one to keep for the new year?
And one more that is totally different. The designer is Der Feine Faden and it is a Klimt Mosaic. It's just shapes and colors that are very Klimt-esque. Klimt is perhaps my favorite painter. His works (a number of which I have been lucky to see in person) are really breathtaking. The design is entirely filled with cross stitches, which I have never done before. It calls for overdyed floss, which I really like working with.
With the time change and the longer nights I tend to like to pull out my stitching more often. Maybe I'll be able to finish a couple of projects by the end of the year. (And by the look of things maybe start a few more before the end of the year, too).
Tomorrow, though, I think it'll be back to the books.