Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

I’m linking up here with The Artsy Read Girl for Top Ten Tuesday. I’m including blogs that I used to read that really helped encourage my reading, not only sites I use now, nor is this list comprehensive; I frequently find book lists on blogs or sites that I like that aren’t exclusively or mainly focused on reading which fact I love, I think I find a broader range of topics this way.

(1) My library site that allows me to order ridiculous amounts of books, suggest purchases, order interlibrary loans, and categorize my TBR lists.

(2) Goodreads. This site along with the book club that introduced me really helped spur my reading after my long slump.

Older blogs that aren’t being maintained regularly anymore including:

(3) Yet Another Period Drama Blog 

(4) Old-Fashioned Charm

(5) Classy with a Dash of Quirk

(6) Along the Brandywine

Blogs that I pull suggestions from now and/or have fun bookish posts such as:

(6) Elisabeth Grace Foley

(7) The Wilds of Wonder

(8) Both of Hamlette’s blogs: Hamlette’s Soliloquy and The Edge of the Precipice

(9) Coffee, Classics, and Craziness

(10) Random sources such as such the web; the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Francis Parkman prizes for history; and random websites from others’ links or that I’m browsing while not looking for books particularly

Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 4 Regency Accessories and Festival Wrap-Up

I’m on Instagram now, so I’ve been searching #JaneAustenFestival and finding lots of new costumers/historical fashion sewists to follow as well as some of the vendors. I will probably be featuring lots of articles here. I’ve been pinning tons of historical fashions lately too if you want to see my Pinterest board.

Also, this blog post features a lovely selection of excellent photos of the stunning fashions at the festival.

Here is the last of my shopping. A cotton print scarf and silk stockings from Burnley and Trowbridge. Two silk scarfs/shawls from 96 District Fabrics. A perfume vial from LBCC Historical (they carried several elegant styles), and a coral set (I’ve wanted one since I saw some in Williamsburg, again, harkening back to Felicity) from Design’s by Lady Anne.

What I Read in July

Fiction, Rereads

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Fiction, New to Me

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Little House in the Big Woods

A Place in Time: Twenty Stories of the Port William Membership by Wendell Berry

Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

At the beginning of the month I was still on my Agatha Christie kick and finished/read 9 more novels/collections: Nemesis, They Do It with Mirrors, Double Sin and Other StoriesAt Bertram’s Hotel, Postern of Fate, N or M?Partners in CrimeBy the Pricking of My Thumbs, and The Secret Adversary

Nonfiction

Epidemics and Pandemics: Their Impacts on Human History by J.N. Hays. This is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand history and the modern world. I would not stop here, but it is a great place to start as an overview of significant epidemics and plagues from ancient times until 2005 (when the book was published). A few notes although I would have a preferred a more updated version (obviously, the world has continuing outbreaks of the epidemics he mentions as still in force plus the Ebola epidemic and the Zika epidemic, just to name ones I know), this is still an excellent place to start on the study of the historical impact of disease. A few notes, I think a microbiology books would come in handy (he didn’t describe the modern understanding and remedies; I think a section for that on each epidemic/pandemic would have been helpful for connotation, and I think the author had a bit of a weird tone about modern medical science and sanitation in the more modern epidemics(or at least his tones was easily confused with the ideas of those about whom he was writing).

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Not what I was expecting, not sure what I was thinking, but it felt very stylized and impersonal. I think that is the style of personal writing then.

Vaccines: What Everyone Needs to Know by Kristen A. Feemster. An absolutely essential read for everyone. The author gives a brief history of vaccines, a brief explanation of vaccines, discussion on the development of vaccines and the usage and availability of vaccines within sections of society and the globe. She ends with a discussion of vaccine hesitancy (and there I do have a bit of a problem with her tone/take; as much as vaccine hesitant and anti-vaccine people infuriate me, her tone tends a bit authoritarian while the previous chapters were informative and persuasive; the people who infuriate me, I find aggravating because of deliberate ignorance/suspicion, not skepticism) I do think that some people may need a bit more explanation of vaccines, I don’t know how much everyone hears and remembers. I think this fit nicely with Epidemics and Pandemics, with the latter emphasizing the need for vaccines. And a good microbiology books would fit it quite well with these books also.

Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 3, Regency Patterns and Planning for Next Year

I’ve always loved historical fashion mainly pioneer (or prairie) girl with some Victorian and Colonial as a child; my knowledge stemmed from Little House and the American Girls, so the Regency period was an unknown time until I was introduced to Jane Austen. I sewed quite a bit for a child, but struggled to progress because of work-ethic and perfectionism problems.

I’ve wanted to make a dress ever since the first time I attended the festival. I bought a beautiful silk antique sari, blue cotton velveteen, and various silk ribbons at the festivals. I still have these along with the silk ribbon flower kit my grandmother bought me the first year. But time, maturity, finances, knowledge, discipline, and will-power never came together. And now I’m not sure I really want to use the sari for a regency dress, but rather for something more timeless; however, I would like to incorporate the other items into my ensemble.

I thought that I maybe could this year, and so I started researching and planning; I had to relinquish this idea out of practicality, but the planning has stood me in good stead. I had more purpose shopping and now planning for next year. I found three patterns that I had been looking at for quite a while plus a dress pattern that was featured in the style show. The rest of my patterns and materials as well as the actual construction, I can space out over the year.

The stay pattern is Past Patterns #038 Transition Stay Pattern and is based on an American garment. The shift/chemise is Kannik’s Korner although I’m sure I technically could have drafted this myself, but the wonderful thing about all this patterns is all the historical background and techniques included in the instructions.

The dress from Fig Leaf Patterns was new to me and is based on an American garment. While it is nice to try to find American garments, I’m not sure many people in my family would have worn them or worn them when they were at the height of fashion. I would like to do more research on what my ancestors would conceivably have worn, but I still want a fashionable regency dress as well.

At the first Jane Austen festival, I first heard mentioned that very young unmarried ladies often wore white, so I’d been planning on a white dress as most accurate. I realized to my chagrin, that I wouldn’t really fall into the category of young (I’m Charlotte Lucas’s age, and she wore colors while the younger Lizzy and Jane wore whites, creams, and pastels), but I had trouble finding prints I wanted. A lot of the block prints are more Georgian and Colonial (I have my eye on one I want for a Poldark inspired gown; I love the gowns I see on Pinterest from that show, the slimmer silhouette). Anyhow, I don’t think I’m terribly too old although white is a bit boring. I definitely want plenty of trimming and color in my accessories. The fabric I bought from Regency Revisited.

While I think I’d heard of Timely Tresses ages before, I first fixed on The Lucia pattern via this post because I’ve long loved Marianne and Lizzy’s hats of these styles the best of all the hats and bonnets in the movies.

Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 2, Regency Food and Regency Beauty

Because of a goof on my part, I wasn’t able to sign up for the teas on the first day, and so they sold out, but I put our names on the waiting list as soon as I could and received a call about openings just a few days before, so I was thrilled.

We had four types of teas from Bingley’s teas. I am by no means a tea connoisseur; I don’t often like it, period (I prefer cold, rather plain beverages of the milk, water, and fruit juice/lemonade variety). I have Emma’s Perfect Match and Marianne’s Wild Abandon which I bought at one of the earlier events, and I don’t care for them much (although I think perhaps the blending of the teas has improved since the early days?). I also tend to “need” a lot of sugar to enjoy them which is off-putting; I’d rather have a less-sugary sweet treat I like better.

However, I did enjoy my syrups teas more this time. We tasted Captain Wentworth (least fav, too strong for me), The Dance of the Musgrove Sisters (second fav, I think), The Patience of Miss Price (my favorite and one I want to buy), and one other (a rose, cherry, and green tea blend, I believe). I don’t know if only two of the teas were Bingley’s and the other two were one of the other company’s (Hellinger Kurtz Kaffeehaus or The Blessed Bee Herbals) or if Bingley’s had new blends that aren’t on their site yet. While perusing their site just now, I realized, I found several more I want to try! Although, sacrilege of sacrilege, I’d probably prefer them iced.

On our early wanderings we discovered the Half-Crown Bakehouse (Mom went back later and bought some bread for Sunday) which featured foods with names that were a blast from my childhood past such as Sally Lunn bread and Queen’s Cakes (Felicity cookbook anyone?!). I’m in the mood to research about historical foods after discovering The Townsends, a historical food YouTube channel, via Brijee Pattern’s post.

I really appreciate the delving into historical aspects beyond fashion. My mother mentioned that this time it reminded her of Colonial Williamsburg (I adore that place, I’m wanting to go again, but I’d like to go for an event in historical dress now). The Living History feeling.

Another aspect to that was the beauty/apothecary place: LBCC Historical. Historical beauty recipes . . . sans heavy metals, lol.

Since I’m decidedly Marianne, I bought the Marianne set although I’d love the Jane one (rose!) as well; I hope they make the sets again, they were a special thing for the festival, I think.

Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 1, My Festival Background

Because I apparently don’t document anything, I had to rely on a comment I left on another blog to determine my festival attendance. I attended 2010-2013 festivals.

Some aspects of the earliest festivals

  • Contained to the back yard (I think the porch is the back side of the house)
  • Only two days
  • Smaller (and it was more local/regional while now it is THE national JA event, I think; according to this year’s handout, the first year had 660 and last year over 2400, and I’m assuming this year was even larger?)
  • Fewer venders
  • Less serious costuming (I know some people dressed in regency at the earlier ones, but my grandmother says not the majority while in 2018 it was the opposite; and the quality of the “regency” outfits tended to be far lower earlier while now it seems to be far more accurate and detailed)
  • The majority of the activities were the teas and the talks in the big tent

I feel that around 2013 the size and attention started to explode, and I got overwhelmed plus rather done with the event (too often plus waning interest in the era and author).

Here are some posts from bloggers who attended some of the earlier festivals: 2012 (one and two) and 2013 (one, two, and three).

Brijee Patterns Casey Skirt Pattern Testing and Blog Party

In June I participated in a pattern test for Brijee patterns. She is currently hosting a pattern giveaway on her blog here.

I made my skirt from Robert Kaufman Superlux Poplin in navy. I’ve needed some more business formal looking skirts (the color is darker than the photos, but I wanted the skirt to be visible). I shortened the the skirt, and I tried my hand at bound button-holes.

I’m not crazy about the waist-line, I might use a rounded one and I need more fullness in the back skirt (but not waist), but I will definitely be using the pattern again with adjustments. This is so flattering for my body type!

What I’ve Watched Recently

YouTube Highlights

The Bucket List Family on YouTube. Super cute family traveling the world. I also love their collaboration on the Home Love channel for their Hawaii house.

I was trying to find some goal and planning resources and happened across Lavendaire. I love her aesthetic, it is so feminine and soothing; sometimes planning resources can be more hardcore and masculine seeming with bold fonts and colors. I’m absolutely buying her Artist of Life book for next year.

Television

Clips from Friends. I’m not a television person, but since I have a huge diatribe below, I keep this short. I just wanted to watch the highlights after I started looking up Chandler who is definitely my soulmate. I remembered I’d got him when I took a Friends quiz ages back, and I think one my siblings said I was Monica. So I’m like him and should marry him?

Movies

The Greatest Showman. Fun for one watch, but the music and some scenes (belong to certain songs) are worth re-watching. But the sound seemed weird, reminiscent of La La Land; to me it sounded like some of the voices were suppressed in comparison to the music. I also didn’t feel that most of the singers were the best chosen (especially Hugh Jackman, ugh, although he wasn’t as bad as in Les Mis because Les Mis weirdly has everything sung/chanted), I want super strong voices, although with what seemed to me the technical suppression, it was hard to tell what full intensity could be. Also, I felt that when I listened to “Rewrite the Stars” Zendaya’s voice was more suppressed than Zach’s. I’ve only heard her in in Disney’s Shake It Up, but for some reason I had the impression her voice was stronger than that. I felt that the actress who played Jenny Lind had the best voice or at least wasn’t suppressed/auto-tuned to the same degree the others were. The inconsistency in voice quality, auto-tuning, and sound balance irritates me in modern musical film (e.g. the ludicrous difference between the soaring voices of Raoul and Christine in Phantom and Gerard Butler’s pitiful “singing” which I was totally judging against Ramin Karimloo, no one could win against him I know, but Butler’s singing was excruciating). I don’t like when huge stars are chosen for essential who cannot sing (Emma Watson, Gerard Butler), but the film-makers will. not. use voice-overs. You will shorten songs (in a iconic musical?!) and auto-tune (again, in an iconic musical?!), but using a real singer’s voice is just too, what? Good of an idea? End of musicals rant.

Black Panther. Rather boring.

27 Dresses. This was fun for one watch but quite shallow.

To Kill a Mockingbird. I missed a bit and as with many older or more serious movies, I need to watch again to soak in everything. I want to re-read the book too.

My sisters found a set of the first four Thin Man movies at Barnes and Noble, so we have been re-watching those and introduced my married sister and her husband to them. Nick and Nora are just a scream sometimes.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read by the Pool or Beach

I’m linking up here.

Apparently, I keep mixing up the Top Ten Tuesday topic dates, oh, well.

I’m not going to make this a TBR list, because that isn’t how I read. I’m going to go by what I think are a good fit for summer.

Any sort of the feels summery, light, mild adventurous. Lots of middle-grade books, I think. Nothing too serious, magical, or dark.

  1. The Penderwicks (I’ve probably already re-read these and read the new one by the time this posts, sorry, not waiting for summer)
  2. A Bridge to Terabithia
  3. The Grandma’s Attic series
  4. The Borrowers series
  5. The Little House series
  6. Keeper of the Bees
  7. Any L.M. Montgomery, but Magic for Marigold is especially summery as are:
  8. Anne of Avonlea
  9. Rainbow Valley
  10. Jane of Lantern Hill

What I Read: June

I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

When one adds Agathe Christie to the months reading numbers, one looks like a prodigious reader. Of the 10 books I read last month, 6 were Agatha Christie’s. I’ve already read 10 books this month (again, thanks mainly to Agatha Christie novels).

The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence #1), The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple, #2), The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (Miss Marple, #9), The Pale Horse, A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple #7), and Crooked House. These are just page-turners and most didn’t stand out much except the Crooked House which was the best mystery I think, but I almost cried at the end. The rest aren’t her most interesting.

Switzerland by Lura Rogers Seavey. This is a children’s Enchantment of the World series book. I think kids’ books are great for quick overviews of subjects, particularly for subjects I know very little about. I thought this was a solid source of beginning information on countries, and I plan on reading more of this series.

Outlaws of Time #3: The Last of the Lost Boys by N.D. Wilson. I’ve been less satisfied with most of his more recent writing, I feel like his unique voice is being drowned out or diluted. This novel was fast and forgettable and rather pointless I thought. This series is my least favorite.

Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson. I found parts of these books quite funny, but I think put together they were a bit repetitive, mundane, and tedious; the adults came across as spiteful (that ballgame section, ouch) and whiny especially since I was comparing my grandparents (who all were children in the 40’s like Jackson’s children) and their families’ to Jackson’s; I suppose the Northeast was quite a bit wealthier and more modern (e.g. my grandparents didn’t always have plumbing as children, I’d have to ask about a telephone, and I know my grandmother recently mentioned an aunt as having more money as the one with the camera) at that time period if this family was “tight” on money. Regional and historical differences like that are quite intriguing.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Throwback: Fictional Crushes

I wrote this and scheduled this months ago and apparently the topic was changed in the interim, but I’m still going to leave this.

I’m linking up here for Top Ten Tuesday

I’m a noodle is all I can say, I’m trying to remember by very early ones, when I really, seriously had a crush on a book character, not just theoretically.

  1. Henry from The Boxcar Children series
  2. Lewis from Little House Charlotte Years
  3. Ben from the Felicity books
  4. Drew from one of the Love Comes Softly books according to my sister (I was trying to remember all my childhood book crushes without much work, so I asked her); I don’t recall that name but I’m sure I had a least one crush from these books, I’d forgotten what I read then
  5. Laurie (of course!)
  6. Ethan from Calico Bush (Caleb was too young for my preteen/young teen self, lol)
  7. Sheftu from Mara, Daughter of the Nile
  8. Esca from Eagle of the Ninth (yeah, I liked him better than Marcus, at least in the old days
  9. Aquila from Lantern Bearers
  10. Mac from Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom

Yarn Along and Crafting On Link Up

I linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Nicole’s Crafting On.

I have, of course, more than one book going (and 2 more projects on the needles although I’ve been focusing on this one for awhile), but this was the prettiest arrangement. The blanket is Purl Soho’s Mosaic Blanket which is free and actually very simple. I think it is rather stunning.

Kristin Lavransatter is going to have to wait a bit while I finish or at least catch on up my local library’s summer reading program (they do one for adults and it is so fun this year) and the epidemics book.