Book Review: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

Hi lovely blog readers! I’m excited to share a book review with you today. This isn’t an ordinary book review, though…it’s the first ARC I’ve ever received, and I am geeking out about it! For those of you who aren’t aware, ARC stands for “Advance Reader Copy,” which is basically copies of books that are sent out before their release date to be reviewed. I requested one from Blogging For Books, and they were kind enough to send me a copy of this one!

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About the Book

35505416Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year.

When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

About the Author | Author WebsitePenguin Random House
Goodreads | 335 pages | I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review

I really enjoyed this book! I’m glad it was featured on Blogging For Books, because I would likely have not found it otherwise. I found that I liked Carrie Turansky’s writing style quite a lot. She writes in third person, which is my favorite, and alternates between the two main characters’ perspectives smoothly. Although the perspective often switches several times per chapter, I was seldom confused as to who was speaking: there’s always a paragraph break in between, which I appreciated. I’m not always a fan of dual narrators, but I liked it in this book, as you could see where each character was coming from.

I found myself liking the characters a lot. Isabella was my favorite, especially as I could relate to her dream of becoming a writer. However, she has it a lot harder than I will, because women rarely became journalists in the 1900s. I admired her ambition. It was also fascinating to see how journalism worked in the previous century, with Bella and her father actually having to travel to France to interview several pilots. No such thing as phone interviews back then. 🙂

When they visited France, there was a bit of French-speaking, which is always fun for me as a French major. 🙂 I always like when authors don’t come right out and translate the languages, even when I have no idea what the characters are saying: it just makes it more realistic. (Have no fear with this book, though: it’s still easy to tell what’s happening.)

I thought Bella and James were an endearing couple. They seem to complement each other quite well, and they’re supportive of each other’s dreams, which is really nice to read. Their relationship is built on friendship first, rather than them merely lusting after each other, which makes it much more sustainable than most of the fictional relationships out there. And they’re really sweet together.

There were only a few things I wasn’t a huge fan of. I wasn’t particularly interested in James’s family scandal and the investigating that happened – I was much more interested in the present day. I didn’t find myself overly invested in that subplot. The plot is also rather slow-moving, which definitely makes sense for the subject matter, but it did make me get bored in parts. It took me about a month to finish this book, because I kept getting distracted with other things. However, I really enjoyed it once I finished it, it just took me a little longer than usual.

This book is definitely not my typical genre: it’s a historical Christian romance. I wanted to give it a try because I don’t like racy books, and I felt confident assuming this would not be one of those. As I thought, it turned out to be a nice relaxing read. It never made me anxious and there is essentially no objectionable content, which is always nice. It’s something I would be comfortable recommending to just about anyone.

Rating: 4/5 stars

⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎

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Making a Playlist For Your Totally Awesome Novel

NaNoWriMo is in full swing! For the uninitiated, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month, where a bunch (meaning thousands) of people attempt to write a novel during the month of November. This will be my fourth year doing NaNo, although my third year attempting the full 50,000 words.

I am so far behind it’s actually quite amusing: I just hit 10,000 words, when I should be at the halfway point. But I’m okay with that. The whole idea of NaNo is to make yourself write, and these are 10,000 words that I didn’t have last month. So I’ll be happy even if I don’t win. My novel is called “How to Breathe in Space” and it’s my first attempt writing science fiction, which is a lot of fun!

I tried something new this year: many writers talk about writing to music or creating a playlist for their books, and I was intrigued by this concept. I love music, so I thought it would be fun to give it a go. So I present to you a Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Totally Awesome Playlist For Your Equally Awesome Novel.

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image: http://backgrounds.mysitemyway.com

1. Decide what sort of playlist you want: Brainstorming or Writing.

I feel that there are two categories for this. I am an introverted person who requires complete silence to concentrate. (To prove this point, I had to take a “what’s your learning style” assessment today, and it said mine was “Solitary.”) So it’s hard for me to write to loud music. I also find it difficult to concentrate to music with lyrics: I either end up writing the lyrics or just getting so distracted with the song that I don’t get anything done. So I tend to use playlists more for Brainstorming, rather than the Writing Process. So I will be discussing that in this post. If you’re looking for nice writing music, I recommend looking for “studying” music.

2. Discover the theme or mood of your novel!

I’m not going to go all English major here and start talking about the themes of novels. But every book has a distinct feel to it. A romance novel would have a different soundtrack than a murder mystery, in most cases. My NaNo novel is space-themed, so I’m looking for songs that feel space-y. (Definitely a precise description.)

That being said, sometimes I like to have songs with a different feel in the mix to represent different scenes. Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series, is known for her super long playlists for each of her books with songs that symbolize each chapter. It’s pretty neat!

3. Curate a long playlist so you don’t get bored

The more songs on the playlist, the less likely that you’ll get bored of any of them. I am definitely guilty of making super short playlists and listening to the same songs over and over again, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t the most sustainable practice. Once I liked a song so much that I set it for my alarm clock every morning for a few months. After being woken by it every day, I developed a conditioned response to feel angry whenever I heard the song. You probably don’t want that for you and your novel.

4. Spotify is the novel playlist creator’s friend

I discovered Spotify about a year ago, and it’s helped me discover quite a few new artists. It’s a free app where you can stream music for free. There are a fair number of ads, but it is free, after all. My favorite thing about Spotify is that you can create playlists, and you can add pretty much any song for free. This keeps me from going broke with buying new music. One thing I don’t like is that you can’t choose which song to listen to – it shuffles your music automatically – but once again, it’s free. It’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t heard of it!

5. The Music-Fueled Brainstorming Session.

This is just what it sounds like. I listen to music when I take the bus or go on a walk, and listening to the Novel Playlist puts me in a brainstorming mood. I figured out the plot for this year’s NaNo novel over a month’s worth of walks and bus rides. It’s often helpful to have something to get you in a certain mindset. Just be careful not to zone out so completely that you miss your bus stop – not that I’ve come close to doing that or anything. 😛

6. Share your playlist with the world!

This is definitely just an excuse to share my playlist with the world. 🙂

  • Paradise – Coldplay
  • Breathe – Seafret
  • No Time For Caution – Hans Zimmer (Interstellar)
  • New Constellation – Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
  • Dead Man – Dia Frampton
  • The Loxian Gate – Enya (this is my favorite of her songs it’s so awesome)
  • Not Today – Imagine Dragons (Me Before You)

There’s a lot more, mostly Coldplay, but I’m still finding new songs. 🙂

***

Have any of you tried making a playlist for your novel? What kind of music do you like to listen to while writing? Or are you a silent kind of writer? 🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Top Ten Books I Would Read to Kids

I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday, for the prompt “Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read”. I decided to broaden this topic into books that I would read to kids in general…and maybe my future cats. 🙂

I decided to leave out “Harry Potter” because that’s an obvious choice, at least for me, and I wanted to branch out into some other titles!

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Also, there are plenty more bookish pictures on my instagram, @once_upon_a_yarn. Shameless plug over. 🙂

  1. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books were a fundamental part of my childhood – I remember reading them in first grade or sometime around then and becoming obsessed with them. I think historical fiction is great to read to kids because not only is it entertaining, but it teaches them about a different time period. Plus, the writing in these books is superb!
  2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I’ve only read this one series, although I know he has several more now. These books are fantastic for introducing kids to Greek mythology – with any luck, they’ll want to go check out the classic Greek myths when they’re finished! I think it’s awesome to have a basic knowledge of mythology and these books are a good introduction. (The author clearly knows a lot about it.)
  3. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Who doesn’t love the titular character in this series? It sounds like a fun book to read aloud because Anne talks SO MUCH. This is probably my favorite classic book because of all the adventures Anne has. Plus, it’s a whole series, so if the kid in question likes the first one, you can just keep reading. The later books chronicle Anne’s life as a grown-up, so it might not be as interesting to kids, but the first books would be an awesome read-aloud.
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Yes, there are a couple classic books on this list, simply because I loved these as a kid. Of course they’re for older readers because of the reading level. This book would be especially good for kids with siblings because of the four sisters in the story. I think Beth was always my favorite, and then probably Jo. 🙂
  5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This might be my favorite book ever. I first read this book in my high school French class and fell in love with it, and am now recommending it to everyone I know. If I had a child, I would love to raise them bilingually, so it would be awesome to read them Le Petit Prince. (Of course, first I’ll have to become fluent in French myself…) It’s never too young to start examining the differences in translations, right? 😛
  6. Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis. Continuing along the illustrations track, this series could be neat to read to an older reader – simply because the books are realllllllly long. It would be cool for a kid who lives in the Pacific Northwest because that’s where the trilogy is set, and it’s obvious that the author and illustrator know it well. Plus, the storyline and characters are super interesting.
  7. The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale. Shannon Hale is one of my favorite authors, so I was super excited when I learned she and her husband were writing a series of picture books for younger readers! The illustrations, by LeUyen Pham, are super adorable, and the story sends a great message: you can be a feminine princess and fight monsters, too. That’s exactly what little girls (and little boys!) need to hear, and I would be overjoyed to read something like this to a kid.
  8. Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. This is a graphic novel that tells the story of young Shannon’s difficulty making friends in elementary school – something I think all kids can relate to. The illustrations by LeUyen Pham are fantastic and imaginative. There’s also a bit about little Shannon struggling with what she later finds out to be OCD, which struck home with me, and I appreciate. I want to add this book to my own bookshelf!
  9. Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. I love her graphic novels, despite them not being my preferred “genre,” if you can call it that. Her art is fantastic and I especially love her autobiographical works, Smile and Sisters. Sisters would probably be great for someone with a sister, as it deals with all those sibling fights and challenges! (Also, you may remember I did a crochet project inspired by her book Ghosts!)
  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Although not literature, these books are hilarious and perfect for reluctant readers. They blur the line between a novel and a graphic novel, and the author is kind of a genius for coming up with this concept. These are great read-aloud books, and definitely not just for boys, either – I loved these books when I was younger (and I still find them hilarious!).

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What books would you read to your future children? Have you read any of these ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Book Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Hello! Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my last post. Your feedback means a lot to me, and it makes me happy to know many of you will be fine with whatever I post here. That really means a lot. So, thank you all! I’ve decided to start posting some bookish things here, at least for the time being. One thing I’m learning about blogging is that you can be flexible with it. 🙂

I also want to apologize for being so behind on comments. I try to refrain from Unnecessary Apologies here, but I do want to reply to comments and visit your lovely blogs on a regular basis, and I haven’t been able to do that lately. I’m trying to establish a better blogging schedule, so I hope to catch up soon. Thank you for being so patient! 🙂

And now for today’s post (which is a re-post from my book blog, The Bookish Orca. There will be a few of these.)

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About the Book

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Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Goodreads | 288 pages | Where I got it – purchased at Powell’s.

This review will have mild spoilers.

I loved the characters. Taylor and Charlie are vastly different, and I liked having chapters from each of their perspectives. Sometimes I find it hard to tell characters apart when authors do this, but I didn’t have much of a problem in this book.

The diversity in this book is fantastic. Taylor has Asperger’s and is extremely socially anxious, and Charlie is Asian-Australian and bisexual. I liked how the author didn’t skirt over their diversity, but this isn’t an “issue book” either. There’s one instance where Charlie is trying to explain bisexuality to her boyfriend, who “doesn’t believe in it,” and I thought that was nicely done. I also like how she’s so confident in her own sexuality (without going over-the-top). It’s nice to read about a character who is comfortable in her own skin.

I could really relate to Taylor with the anxiety end of things. I’m quick to criticize books that paint a rosy picture of anxiety, or worse, shame people with anxiety. This book did neither of those things; it’s one of the best portrayals I’ve read to date (reminds me of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell). It’s ridiculously hard for someone with social anxiety to do something like Comic Con, and you can tell how hard it is for Taylor. She also has one very realistic panic attack in the bathroom.

“That’s what we do. We walk a tightrope every day. Getting out the door is a tightrope. Going grocery shopping is a tightrope. Socializing is a tightrope. Things that most people consider to be normal, daily parts of life are the very things we fear and struggle with the most.”

I liked that the whole book was set at Comic Con! I always think it’s fascinating when books take place over a two- or three-day period. You have to cram so much character development in there, and work in the backstory without info-dumping… which is hard to pull off, but this book did!

Some other things I liked:

  • Taylor’s love for Queen Firestone! I think the parallel would be Harry Potter, with Skyler Atkins being J. K. Rowling. 🙂
  • Taylor’s social anxiety and being on the Autism spectrum. I haven’t read about that much in books, so it was really interesting and awesome to find a character like her!
  • (spoiler) Charlie’s crush on Alyssa. I have a new OTP, and I don’t say that lightly. They are ridiculously cute together, and I like how they discuss their relationship seriously… so many YA relationships don’t involve any communication, just two people lusting after each other, and this book does it right. (end spoiler)
  • I loved reading about Charlie’s life as a vlogger and indie movie star!
  • Pink hair.
  • Going off that last point, the cover is ridiculously adorable.
  • It’s fairly short – 288 pages – which is just my speed as of late. It’s pretty quick to read, which also makes it wonderful to reread. I’m starting my third read of it now. 🙂

Sensitive Reader Advisory

Lots of swearing, including the F-word. Romance, as you can tell from the back cover (including some PG-13 stuff, but off-page). Definitely for the YA audience.

In Short…

An adorable, diverse, thoroughly enjoyable ode to fandom.

Rating: 5 stars *****

Poll: Future Plans for Once Upon a Yarn

Hello, lovely readers.

First, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement on my last post. It means a lot to me, and I’m so grateful to have your support and enthusiasm! 🙂

I’ve been absent from this blog for quite a while lately. Between college classes and stress, I haven’t had the motivation to post much. Plus, I haven’t been crocheting as much, let alone designing patterns, which doesn’t give me a lot of material to work with. What I have been doing recently is writing book reviews and other reading- and writing-related things, which I have been posting on my other blog, The Bookish Orca. That’s been a wonderful creative outlet, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. However, I really don’t like neglecting this blog.

So I was wondering your thoughts on an idea: How would you feel about me combining the two blogs? It’s just an idea, and it may not happen, but I thought I’d see how you all felt about it. I would post the usual crochet and crafts on here, but with book reviews and bookish posts in addition.

The reason I’m thinking about this is because my blog has evolved quite a bit since its beginning. I’m already posting a fair amount of writing on here, as well as book-inspired amigurumi, so it wouldn’t be a super drastic change. I thought it would be fun to combine my two loves: crochet and reading! My blog name also seems to fit with this theme, “Once Upon a Yarn.” 🙂 Another reason is that I’ve been writing bookish posts, not crafty posts, so I can’t see being able to update Once Upon a Yarn with crafty stuff as often as I used to, unfortunately.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. I could definitely see going either way, and I welcome your honest feedback! Please take a minute to let me know what you think. Again, here’s the link to my book blog if you want to take a look before voting. 🙂
What are your thoughts on combining Once Upon a Yarn with my book blog?

Whatever the verdict, I hope to be posting more stuff here in the near future. Thanks for sticking with me! ❤

Please Help “Unraveled” Be Published!

That’s a rather demanding title. Don’t worry, I won’t order you about. 🙂 But I did want to share some exciting news about the book I blogged about a year ago here on Once Upon a Yarn!

If you’re a longtime reader, you may remember Unraveled. It’s a novel I was writing, posting a chapter a week here on the blog. I believe there were twenty or so installments before I had to stop due to time. However, I’ve been working on it ever since, and I just submitted the final draft* to Swoon Reads to be considered for publication. ^__^

Swoon Reads is a publishing company whose submission process is entirely online – you upload your manuscript to the site, and readers all over the world read and rate your book. Then Swoon Reads chooses the highest-rated manuscripts to be published. I thought this was a super neat idea, so although I was nervous, I uploaded mine. And now I’m trying to acquire ratings before the next set of books are chosen on September 30. 🙂

It would mean a lot to me if anyone took the time to read and rate my book, as my dream is to become a published author one day. 🙂 Please click here to check it out, or keep reading if you’re curious how Unraveled changed over time!

*It’s not the FINAL final draft, as there are still many edits that need to be made, but it’s the final draft I did before submission. 🙂

The Curse of Magical Thinking-3

Read Magical Thinking on Swoon Reads

Emma Perez, expert crocheter, lives an ordinary life…until a mysterious crochet shawl appears at the store where she works, Yarn Emporium. Emma can’t stop thinking about the shawl, and it’s starting to take over her life. With the help of her genius little brother Will, she begins searching for answers.

Talia Bishop has a hard enough time fighting her OCD every day without a curse being thrown into the mix. But when her beloved grandmother dies, Tali suspects there’s something more to her death. Her investigation leads her to Emma…who she’s been crushing on for months.

Emma and Tali are led to a fantastical world where magic exists, faeries roam the land, and curses are all too real. As they navigate Feylinn and even begin to fall in love, can they break the curse and save Emma’s life?

Genre: Young Adult fantasy novel

When I started writing Unraveled, I thought it was going to be less than 10,000 words – a quick summer project. It turned into a 60,000-word fantasy novel. 🙂 I changed the title to Magical Thinking to call more attention to the fantasy storyline, and also because “magical thinking” is part of OCD.

Parts of the story are the same as the ones you read on the blog. However, I only ever posted about half of the story on the blog, so if you were curious how it ended, this is your chance to find out. 🙂 (I’m really not good at sales pitches, am I?)

One of the biggest changes I made was having Emma and Tali (previously named Catherine) fall in love. I initially wrote another love interest for Emma, but it just didn’t feel right, and I realized they were much better suited for each other. So obviously Emma had other plans. 😛 I also added Tali as a narrator, and fleshed out her backstory more. I rarely see OCD in books, let alone in fantasy, so I tried to write the book I could’ve benefited from when I was younger. 🙂

This book is a special project to me, and I wanted to share it with you because you guys have been so supportive throughout my blogging days. 🙂

So here’s where I ask for your help: If you have the time, please consider reading and rating Magical Thinking on Swoon Reads! You do need an account, but it’s free, and it would mean the world to me. It would be so helpful for it to be considered for publication, and on top of that, I really want to share this story with you guys. 🙂

Thank you for visiting, and have a wonderful day (or night)! ❤

Solar Eclipse Amigurumi: Free Crochet Pattern

Two posts in two days? Unlike me! 🙂 But I wanted to do something to commemorate the solar eclipse that’s happening tomorrow. I happen to live in the path of totality (well, 99% totality), and it seems that we got the last few pairs of eclipse glasses in the country. All that’s left to do is find a good viewing spot amongst the hundreds of tourists that have flocked to the city. 🙂

Instagram has a special sticker for the solar eclipse, and I thought it was the cutest thing ever. So I had to make a commemorative amigurumi inspired by it.

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You could also modify this to make a lunar eclipse – just put the sun in front of the moon! 😉 I’m kidding. I know that’s not how lunar eclipses work, hehe.

Here’s the super cute sticker that inspired this. I can’t handle how adorable it is! ^__^

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Materials

  • Worsted-weight yarn in light yellow, gold, and light gray. I used a mix of acrylic yarns like Red Heart Super Saver and Caron Simply Soft.
  • G (4.00 MM) crochet hook. I’ve been loving my new Clover ergonomic one…it saves my wrists!
  • 3 x 6MM safety eyes (you only need one for the sun).
  • Small amount of thin black yarn to embroider the mouth
  • Polyfil stuffing
  • Stitch marker
  • A pink crayon for the blush (optional)

Notes

-I use US crochet terms in all my patterns.

-This is worked in amigurumi style, so don’t join your rounds.

-There are some strange construction steps, but I’ll walk you through them. 🙂

Here’s the view from the back. I wanted it to look more realistic (well, as realistic as amigurumi can get) by having the sun entirely visible from this angle.

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Sun

Circles (make 2 in light yellow)

1: 6 sc in a magic ring

2: 2 sc in each st around

3: *sc 1, 2sc* around

4: *sc 2, 2sc* around

5: *sc 3, 2sc* around

6: *sc 4, 2sc* around

Fasten off, invisible join.

Joining the circles

Hold the two circles together with the right sides facing out. Using gold, join to the stitch after the one you fastened off. You’ll be stitching through both circles. *Sc 5, 2sc* 4 times. Now switch to crocheting only on the BACK layer, so the front one is left unworked. *Sc 5, 2sc* 2 times. You’ll have a little opening. Sl st to join.

Ch 2, dc in next st. Ch 2, sl st in top of dc. Ch 2, sl st in next st.

*Ch 2, sk 1, dc in next st. Ch 2, sl st in top of dc. Ch 2, sl st in next st.* Repeat between * and * all the way around. At the end of the round, fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

With the hole facing to the right, attach the eye between Rounds 3 and 4, one stitch up from the center. I waited to embroider the mouth until I’d sewn the sun and moon together.

Moon

Circles (make 2 in light gray)

1-6: Work as for Sun.

Hold the two circles together with the right sides facing out. Using gray, join to the stitch after the one you fastened off. You’ll be stitching through both circles. *Sc 5, 2sc* 4 times. Now switch to crocheting only on the FRONT layer, so the back one is left unworked. *Sc 5, 2sc* 2 times. You’ll have a little opening. Sl st to join. Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing.

With the hole facing to the left, attach the two eyes between Rounds 3 and 4, one stitch down from the center. I waited to embroider the mouth until I’d sewn the sun and moon together.

Essentially, the moon and the sun are the same in this pattern except for which side the hole is on.

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Assembly

Stuff the insides lightly, on the side away from the holes. We’ll add more stuffing as we sew.

Slide the sun and the moon together so they look like a solar eclipse: From the front, the moon should be overlapping the sun, and from the back, the sun should be overlapping the moon. Basically, you don’t want the sun sandwiched inside the moon, because that’s not astronomically correct: the moon does not gobble up the sun during a solar eclipse. 🙂

Sew the front edge of the moon to the sun with the gray tail. At this point, you can add in some more stuffing – you want it to be evenly distributed through both circles. Then flip it over and sew the sun to the moon with the gold tail. I left the sun rays loose and just sewed through Round 7.

Last, embroider mouths with black yarn. I decided to add some blush on their cheeks with pink crayon for some added cuteness. 🙂

Now you have your own solar eclipse to commemorate this amazing event!

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Are any of you planning to watch the eclipse tomorrow? Remember your eclipse glasses! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

Peaceful Earth Mandala Cardigan

Hello my lovely blogging friends!

I know it’s been awhile since I last posted, but I’ve been quite busy. I finished my summer Mythology and Folklore class, finished writing Unraveled (which is now called Magical Thinking and is drastically different from the draft you guys read), and started a new blog and Instagram. I’ve been wanting to start book blogging for a year or so, and I finally did! I’m on Instagram as @the.bookish.orca, and my book blog is The Bookish Orca. I’m having a bunch of fun writing book reviews, so if you want to come visit, I’d love the company. ^_^ No pressure to follow, but I thought you guys might like to know where I’ve been lately. Surprising though it is, crochet is not my only passion…I’ve always been a big reader. 🙂

I saw this beautiful mandala cardigan from Morale Fiber and fell in love with it. It’s a FREE pattern, amazingly, and the designer did a gorgeous variation with cardigan sleeves. And since it’s made with Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, there are very few ends to weave in…the color changes are in the yarn itself. I was lucky enough to find some Shawl in a Ball at Michaels; I didn’t think Michaels sold it in stores. I loved the colorway Peaceful Earth. And I’m so happy with how the finished cardigan turned out. It actually fits!

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Please forgive the awkward poses throughout the post. I’m terrible at modeling. 😛 My mom was very kind to take these pictures for me…I couldn’t get a picture by myself!

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This sweater is quite comfortable, and I’m really picky about how clothes fit. I love how the yarn looks, these colors are so pretty together…and it’s aptly named, I think! I thought it would bother me having two different-colored sleeves, but I actually like it. And the shell edging is so much fun to fiddle with.

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The blogger has a face! 🙂 This cardigan is sort of off-the-shoulder, as you can see, so I added some ties to hold it on. I’m also thinking a shawl pin might work nicely.

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Maisie approves. ^_^

I honestly have a new favorite brand of yarn. First, it’s just so PRETTY… look at those lovely skeins! ❤ I actually felt kind of bad unwinding them, because they’re just so pretty as is. Each skein has a different order of colors, as you can see. It’s not exactly cheap at 9.99 a skein, I think, but each skein has a LOT of yarn (hence the name Shawl in a Ball). It’s just so much fun to crochet with! I love seeing what color comes next, and the texture is super cool…some parts are skinnier and some are fluffy, like handspun yarn. I think it’s 100% acrylic, but it feels almost wooly, yet not itchy. I Love This Yarn will always be my favorite, but this comes next. Well worth the money. Plus, a sweater for $30 is not bad at all. 🙂

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I love the edging. I felt like people were giving me weird looks when I took this picture outside my classroom, during a break. 🙂 Also, I like having rainbow nail polish. I pick my nails so having a picture where they look decent is quite rare. Anyone else? 🙂

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Have I mentioned how much I love making mandalas? 🙂

This was such a fun pattern to make, and I’m so happy that Morale Fiber provides it for free! I’d love to make more of these in different colorways.

What have you lovely people been up to recently? Thank you, as always, for reading…and for all the lovely comments you’ve been leaving! Your friendship is much appreciated! 🙂

Amigurumi Fringe Observer

I am beyond excited about this project! I’m crocheting the main characters from my favorite TV show, Fringe. 🙂

You may have gathered by now that I’m a big fan of this show. It’s been off the air since 2013, but my parents spoke highly of it, so I started watching. It’s an absolutely fantastic show: the plot is complex and interesting, it’s science fiction for non-sciencey people, and the characters are likable and well-developed. Plus, it’s not overly violent or racy like a lot of the shows running today (although there are a fair amount of squeamish things), which is a win in my book. It was pulled from Netflix and Amazon Prime, so I was delighted when I found out all 5 seasons are on Go90. I know I sound like a Fringe spokesperson, but sadly I am not sponsored. 😛 I can’t recommend it enough, though!

Without giving away too much, there are characters in the show called Observers. As you might guess by the name, they just watch what’s going on, and they’re very mysterious (at least until season 5…) One of them is named September and is friends with Walter, who is the mad scientist of the main characters. What’s cool is there’s an Observer in every single episode of Fringe – some of them are easier to spot than others, but it’s fun to look for them!

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Here’s crochet September, and real September for comparison. 🙂

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This was one of the most fun amigurumi projects to date. I know I say this every time, but I think he might be my new favorite. Both of my parents thought he was hilarious, and he keeps making me giggle. Definitely one of the sillier amigurumi I’ve made, which is why I’m so pleased. 😀

Poor September looks quite chilly without his hat:

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Anyway, here are some details on the process! :}

Hat

Using Lion Brand Heartland in grayish black, and G hook:

1: 7 sc in a magic ring

2: 2 sc in each st around

3: *sc 1, inc*

4: *sc 2, inc*

5: *sc 3, inc*

6: sc around in back loops only

7-10: sc around

11: in front loops only, *dc 1, 2 dc* around. Join, fasten off, weave in ends.

Coat

Using Loops and Threads Woollike in Black, and C (2.75 MM) hook:

Body

Ch 22. Dc in 3rd ch and in each ch across.

2-5: Ch 2, turn, dc across.

6: Ch 2, turn, dc 2, ch 5, sk 5, dc in rest of stitches.

7-16 (10 rows): Ch 2, turn, dc across.

17: Ch 2, turn, dc across until 7 sts remain, ch 5, sk 5, dc 2.

18-22: Ch 2, turn, dc across

Sleeves

Ch 14, dc in 3rd ch and in each ch across

2-6: Ch 2, turn, dc across

Fasten off, sew sides together and sew sleeves to armholes.

Fold back lapels and sew down, then sew front of jacket together in one spot. Or you could attach a hook-and-eye clasp. I attempted this and discovered it was beyond my skill level. 😛

Tie

Using G hook and whatever yarn floats your boat:

Ch 8. Starting in second ch, work the following stitches across: sc, dc, hdc, sc 4. Fasten off, leaving long tail. Wrap the tail around the top of the tie to resemble a knot, then weave in end.

I chose to sew a snap onto the tie and his shirt so he could have interchangeable ties. Which means, should September feel like it, he can wear ties like this:

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Spiffy? 🙂 I’ve always wanted to see the Observers in brightly colored outfits!

I’m so excited to start on the rest of the Fringe team… are there any Fringe fans out there? What shows are you guys obsessed with? 😀 Thanks so much for your interest in my fandom crocheting, I really appreciate your lovely comments and you reading! 🙂 ❤

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Oso gonplei nou ste odon

Hello my faithful friends!

I’ve been watching The 100 for about a year now, and I’ve become a little obsessed. (By now you likely are familiar with my obsessive personality, so I doubt this comes as a surprise.) It takes place after a nuclear apocalypse where humanity lives in a space station, the Ark, and 100 teenagers are sent to the ground to see if the earth is habitable. Hence the name. 🙂 It’s definitely more violent than I care for, but the characters make it worth watching, so I’m hooked. I just caught up on all four seasons and am now waiting in agony with the rest of the fandom for Season 5. That cliffhanger was awful! 😛

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Another reason I like the show so much is that it has a language invented for it, created by the guy who did languages for Game of Thrones! It’s called “Trigedasleng” and it’s basically a derivative of English, and I believe it’s verbal only (of course you can transcribe it, but in the show they speak rather than write it). The title of this post is Trigedasleng and means “Our fight isn’t over.” I’m absolutely fascinated by languages, so I really enjoy this aspect of the show – I think it’s amazing that a linguist actually created a language with working grammar, and he translates stuff into Trigedasleng for the writers of The 100. Also, the grammar is super interesting because of how the verb tenses are formed: from what I understand, there are a bunch of little words added to verbs that make the tense different. Which is super interesting to me, a French and English major. (French has at least 12 verb tenses, including the subjunctive, which doesn’t exist at all in English – we just have a subjunctive “mood”!) But you probably didn’t come here for an unsolicited French grammar lesson, so let’s move on. 🙂

So I made Clarke and Lexa, two of the main characters! Clarke is the main character, and Lexa is introduced in Season 2. Major spoiler alert! Scroll down and highlight to read:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Lexa is Clarke’s love interest later in the show, and I thought they were perfect for each other, so I wanted to pay homage to it in crochet form. :}

As usual, I used the Free Spirit pattern from By Hook, by Hand. Click on the ‘Fandomgurumi’ link at the top of the screen to see the basic details of how I do fandom dolls! My sister helped me do Lexa’s warpaint, with some of her eyeshadow. I’m very grateful for her help, and I absolutely love how it turned out!

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Clarke Griffin

I’m trying something new and just posting the notes I took. If you’re keen on making one of these dolls, it should be fairly self-explanatory by the time you get to my notes, but please feel free to ask for clarification!

Same as Cinder’s pants and shirt.

She has a quilted coat in the show, so I learned a new stitch for this purpose: the Diamond Stitch, with a super awesome tutorial from Hopeful Honey! I used Loops and Threads Woollike and a C (2.75 MM) hook. For the sleeves, I chained 17, and for the main coat body I chained 40. Then when it came time to divide for the armholes, I left nine stitches for the fronts and three for the armholes. Other than that, I worked straight in the pattern.

Hair was Red Heart Super Saver in this light blonde color. I think it’s called “Buff.”

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Lexa kom Trikru

Shirt

Using 2 strands of Loops & Threads Woollike held together, and an E (3.50 MM) crochet hook:

Ch 30.

Row 1: Hdc in 3rd ch from hk and in each ch across (28)

Row 2-4: Ch 2, turn, hdc across

Row 5: Ch 2, turn, hdc 10, ch 8, sk 8, hdc 10

Row 6-9: Ch 2, turn, hdc across

Row 10: Cut the yarn. Flip the shirt over so the WS of Row 9 is facing, skip 10 stitches, and join to the 11th one. 2 hdc in that st. Hdc in next 2 sts, 2 hdc in next st. *Hdc 1, 2 hdc in next st* 2 times. Now work on the chain side, and do the same thing: skip 10 stitches and work that same sequence. Do not join; we’ll be working in rows, and sewing it up the side once it’s on the doll. (That whole thing counts as Row 10.)

Row 11: Ch 2, turn. Hdc across, doing one increase at each armpit.

Row 12-14: Ch 2, turn, hdc across. Fasten off.

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Corset

Using Patons Metallic yarn (I think that’s the name), and a G hook:

Ch 30, sl st to join.

Ch 5 (counts as dc, ch 2). Sk 2 sts. *Dc, ch 2, sk 2 sts* around, sl st to 3rd ch.

Ch 5, sk chain sp, dc in next dc. *CH 2, dc in next dc* around, sl st to join.

Shoulder Guards:

Using same yarn and hook, ch 4, 7 dc in 3rd ch from hk. Fasten off.

Cape

Using dark red yarn and an H (5.00 MM) hook:

Row 1: Ch 31. Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in next ch, hdc 3, dc to end.

Row 2: Ch 2, turn (or use a standing dc). Dc until 7 sts remain. Hdc 5, sc 2.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc 2, hdc 3, dc to end.

Row 4: Ch 1, turn, sl st loosely across.

Fasten off and sew to shoulder guard on left shoulder.

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The hair was the really fun part! I followed this YouTube tutorial and was super happy with the result. Although it’s really implausible that Lexa could manage this hairdo on her own, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief. The costumes on this show are amazing!

 

Have any of y’all watched The 100? Are there any shows you’d recommend to watch in the long wait for season 5? 😉

Thank you so much for reading! I’m so grateful for your blogging friendship. ❤