Do Overs with a Difference

Sometimes you have a chance to do something over and make it better. For example, I’ve chosen to re-purpose some beautiful yarn, and have finally found the perfect project for it.

Do Overs – Fiction & Non-Fiction

As I’ve been working on this Hitchhiker scarf project, I was also reading the book Life After Life by Kate Atkinson about a girl who has no choice but to live her life over and over again. Looking at all the odd balls of yarn that I was re-using for the 3rd time, I thought the coincidence of “do overs” was enough to combine a book review + knitting for this blog post.

Yarn Do Overs with Tamdoll's Hitchhiker
I keep this project in my handbag and work on it at odd times when I’m stuck waiting somewhere. The pattern is pretty simple, the yarn is working up beautifully, and I’m pretty sure it’s a keeper! The first time I blogged about this yarn was when I crocheted an entire cardigan with it then ripped it all out. The yarn, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, is super soft & squishy – the garter stitch is a great fit for it. This time around I do have a lot of ends to work in because of the mess I made unraveling the first go-round (sigh), but it’s not that hard, just tedious.

Onto the fiction part of “do overs”…. I’m going to work on my book reviews. To date, all I’ve been able to come up with is “I really liked it, I think you should read it, too.” From here on, I’ll be trying to write enticing reviews, without spoilers, that will convey my opinions just a little bit better. Here goes…

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Audio version narrated by Fenella Woolgar)

“What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?”

Beginning in 1910, leading up to WW II through 1967, this book travels through the birth and life and death of Ursula Todd, again and again and again. In each iteration, she follows a slightly different path, with slight variations – some subtle, some dramatic, and she lives an entire new life each time.

This re-living experience was not like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book; there weren’t always clear-cut decisions each time that would change the path that Ursula took. Over the course of lifetimes, author Kate Atkinson shows us how Ursula’s path led her to be a victim of circumstances, at other times a triumphant survivor, and everything in between.

What if you could live your life again and again? The responsibility, the foreshadowing would drive me crazy. What a burden to bear and repeat, endlessly. To what purpose? Could you save the world? To whose purpose? Would you change history for your loved ones or the greater good?

I found the book fascinating, and listening to the audio book was riveting. I never found the story repetitive, the details given in each chapter kept Ursula’s story fresh every time she lived it. I cried, more than once, and still, I kept listening.

Well done and makes me want to read more of Kate Atkinson’s books.

I’ve always loved reading, and now with audio books I get to knit & enjoy a good story at the same time.

*Disclaimer: The Amazon links provided are affiliate links, I may be compensated if you make any purchase on Amazon.com after clicking through. Thanks for your support!

Drying Herbs

The standing, self-watering garden that my sister sent me is fantastic. Not only do I not have to break my neck to plant anything – there’s no grubs or critters digging through the soil. This one pictured just has one tomato plant and herbs. So far everything is thriving and necessitated a session of drying herbs way earlier than I usually do in the summertime. (I have the same plants in the ground, too, but they’re doing so poorly it would be embarrassing to photograph and include them here. I may never go back to regular gardening after this.)

Tamdoll's Standing Garden @GardenersSupply. I may never go back to regular gardening after this. tamdoll.com

Drying herbs is easy; I just take a few snips, and place them in a cool, dry place in a paper bag until they’re crumbly (6 second video below, if you don’t see it, please let me know!).

Faster Way to Drying Herbs on a Sunny Day

I thought I was being clever and quick until I dug up my old how-to from 2009, which was much simpler & would have been quicker on a sunny day!

Drying Herbs with the Sun. Simply cut, lay out on one layer, cover with a screen and put out until dry. via tamdoll.com

  • Cut herbs and lay out on cooling rack in a sunny spot.
  • Turn a screened window frame over the rack, so delicate herbs don’t blow away.
  • Bottle, label and pack them up. (Makes a nice gift!)

So easy, will definitely use this method on the next sunny day.

Drying your own herbs, or have summer gardening tricks to share?

Books and Dr. Who

Listening to audio books is a great way to pass the time while working repetitive tasks, like crocheting endless rows of the same pattern. They’re also great to listen to while cleaning house, long car trips and going to the gym, making boring tasks much, much more interesting!

I recently finished a crochet version of the fourth Dr. Who, pattern by Allison Hoffman. The doll was a gift for my dad since he was the one who introduced me to Tom Baker‘s Doctor, and the first time I’d ever seen the show. The scarf colors aren’t exactly accurate, but it was the best I could do in the time frame/resources I gave myself:

The Fourth Doctor Who and Books blog post by Tamdoll

Books

While working on this project I listened to NOS4A2, by Joe Hill. (The link is to Amazon.com, I actually borrowed an audio copy from the library.) This is the second book by Joe Hill that I’ve read and they are very creepy. The local, familiar, New England settings definitely add to the creepy factor.

Since I’m probably going to start including book posts more often in the future, there’s one book I read over a year ago that I really wanted to recommend before I start only talking about new ones: Wool (Silo Saga), by Hugh Howey. I picked it up on a recommendation and didn’t know anything about it when I started, then found the mystery of the situation kept me reading to find out “what happened?”. Now when I read blurbs of the story, I’m not sure if the descriptions would have made me eager to read it and I’m glad that I didn’t have that distraction. Would love to hear what you think if you read it.

You can find me on goodreads.com if you’d like to share book lists.

More: I find the story of Wool’s journey to becoming published fascinating.

 

         

 

* The Amazon links provided are affiliate links, I may be compensated if you make a purchase on Amazon.com after clicking through. Thanks for your support.