Increase in USPS Rates

Ahem Ahem!

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, the USPS shipping rates increase will take effect. As I ship with First Class mail through the post office, the shipping and handling costs for my Etsy shop are also affected.

Weighing and Measuring

However, like before, Etsy will automatically calculate the cheapest shipping option a seller is offering. When viewing an item, buyers can enter their country or a U.S. ZIP code to show shipping costs.

If you have any questions, please contact me either here or through Playfully Grownup Home at Etsy.

Happy weekend!

Most Memorable Stories of the Past Decade

Books & Mags, Geek out!

So far this year, I’ve seen a number of posts listing the best books of the past decade. For example, the Boston Public Library has a top ten fantasy novels and a top ten sci-fi novels list, and Adri and Joe list their best books at Nerds of the Feather. And of course, the definition of best varies enormously from site to site and writer to writer. The point, though, is to talk about books. πŸ™‚

Here’s my take on the β€œbest of” list – the most memorable stories of the past ten years. And I’ll tell you upfront that I’m going to cheat: instead of listing a dozen or so monographs, I’m including groups of books when appropriate.

 

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor. The way an abused minor relative dismissed to the edges of the realm claims the throne and becomes an emperor who believes in himself is beautifully described.

Current Reading 2x Becky Chambers

Becky Chambers: ALL of it! The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; Record of a Spaceborn Few; To Be Taught, If Fortunate. I just LOVE her humanity-affirming style.

Thoraiya Dyer: Titan’s Forest series (so far I own Crossroads of Canopy and Echoes of Understorey). I don’t really care about the people, but the forest is so astounding it might as well be a major character in the story! (Note to self: Get Tides of the Titans.)

Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer. I wasn’t quite as grabbed by the sequels, but this one contains a scene so out of this world (literally!) that it got me to sit bolt upright in my armchair (when Isaac took the automaton to the moon).

N.K. Jemisin: The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. I had heard good things about TKM long before picking it up; I kept resisting it because of the title – at the time I was so, so, SO tired of dystopias and violence in my fiction. I wish I could remember why I decided to pick it up, though; whatever it was, I’m thankful, for Jemisin immediately became by favorite living author.

Mary Robinette Kowal: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. These surprised me, since I really am not interested in 1950s and 60s. At all!

Yoon Ha Lee‘s Machineries of the Empire series (Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun) is so different from anything I’ve read before. I’m lagging behind in my reading, though, and haven’t yet gotten to the third book. Bad me! (Note to self: Check whether I already bought it or not!)

Likitalo Waning Moon Duology

Leena Likitalo‘s historical fantasy duology The Five Daughters of the Moon and The Sisters of the Crescent Empress were loosely inspired by a setting that I find completely uninteresting (end of the Romanov family and revolution in Russia), but the books proved I should keep an open mind.

Karin Lowachee: Warchild. Shifting alliances and survival story extraordinaire. Without gore.

Emma Newman‘s Planetfall series: Planetfall, After Atlas, Before Mars and Atlas Alone. Which author has the gumption to destroy a planet and stay around to see what it does to people?

Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death. It was part of my 21 Authors reading project, and even though I like the Binti trilogy more, there’s no denying that WFD has serious staying power.

Mike Pohjola: Ihmisen poika. Autobiographical fiction that also includes some of the history of introducing larping to Finland. Note: Mike is a friend, and there’s also a reference to me, well-veiled but there. πŸ™‚

Current Reading All Systems Red Artifical Condition

Martha Wells‘s Murderbot diaries (so far published are All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, with full-length novel Network Effect forthcoming this year). The series is all-round excellent, but Murderbot really is the best grumpy, conscientious, self-preservation-centered protagonist there is. (Note to self: Must. Read. Again. Soon!)

 

Also, I unfortunately had to skip a couple of books like A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz or Kelley Eskridge’s Solitaire, either because they aren’t novels or I came to them too late.

What would you pick and why?

January 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Due to being sick, I have read a bit more than usual in early January. I also got an AMAZING selection of books and screen entertainment this Christmas; thank you, fam! Just some of the works I’ve already enjoyed or am looking forward to are below.

Reading Pile January 2020

From top to bottom: Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh and, finally, Gamechanger by L.X. Beckett.

Did you get anything especially great over the holidays? Do share!

Shop Open Again

Ahem Ahem!

Hello, everyone – how was your holiday time? Relaxing, I hope? Mine was wonderful. Sadly, both Hubby and I picked up a rather feisty virus while visiting family, so I had to postpone re-opening my shop.

However, I’m happy to say that now Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy is open again!

2020 Jan PGH Collage

As usual, in addition to this blog, I have also resumed regular posting on Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter.

Hope your 2020 is off to a good start!

December 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Everything else going on in December threatens to damp down my reading, but I won’t allow it! πŸ™‚ Here are some of the books in this month’s reading pile:

Reading Pile December 2019

From top to bottom: Loitsukirja by Paula Havaste, then two Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels, Third Girl and Hallowe’en Party, and finally Women in the Classical World by Elaine Fantham, Helene Peet Foley, Natalie Boymel Kampen, Sarah B. Pomeroy and H. Alan Shapiro.

Not bad company to wait for the turn of the year with. πŸ™‚

The Trailer for the New Emma Production Is Out

Books & Mags, Movies & TV

It’s almost time for the release of the new Emma production written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde that I blogged about earlier this year. Here’s the trailer:

Emma – Official Teaser Trailer (Universal Pictures) HD by Universal Pictures UK on YouTube

Judging by the trailer only (which I know to be a precarious business), I’m not sure what to think, except that Bill Nighy’s Mr. Woodhouse might completely steal the show. And this looks to be a tonally very different reading of Emma than the previous screen adaptations.

It’s hard to say anything about Emma and Mr. Knightley from these super-short glimpses; furthermore, I haven’t seen either actor before (Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn). On the other hand, I know Miranda Hart as Miss Bates is going to shine! The music-making looks lovely, and what we can see of the propping and costuming seems great.

Emma will be released on February 14, 2020, in the UK and February 21, 2020, in the U.S.

I am excite! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Yarn Winter Wreath from Upcycled Materials

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

Last year I tried my hand at making decorations out of upcycled materials (like the ribbon remnant ornaments I already blogged about). Here’s the quick and dirty how-to for a small wreath.

Yarn Wreath on Vase w Spruce Branches

For the wreath form, I cut out the plastic ring at the mouth of an instant oats tube. I used a sharp knife and went as close to the plastic without cutting into it as I could. Some bits of the cardboard did remain, but they were nicely covered by the fuzzy yarn.

Yarn Wreath Basic Materials

I covered the form with white wool-blend yarn unraveled from a sweater I wasn’t using, and also made three pompoms out of the same yarn for an accent. Finally, I made a bow for the top of the wreath out of a pale pink satin ribbon I’d saved from a gift box.

Yarn Wreath Collage

Granted, the wreath isn’t very big at all – the diameter is about 5″ / 13 cm. But for a whopping $0 it’s not too shabby, wouldn’t you say? πŸ™‚

What crafting successes have you had with recycled materials?

Online Finds: 2x Felt Winter Wreath

Arts & Crafts, DIY, Fabrics & Materials

What lovely felt wreaths these are:

Country Hill Cottage Cyna DIY Felt Wreaths

Cyna at Country Hill Cottage

I really love both versions – they combine the different shades so thoughtfully. And Cyna even provides a file for a precision cutting machine AND a pdf template for hand-cutting, plus measurements both in inches and metric.

Tutorial by Cyna at Country Hill Cottage. Lovely job, and thank you for sharing!

Next week I think I’ll post about a small wreath with pompom accent I made last year. Time to dig it and the rest of our Christmas decorations out of storage! *<:)

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Snow-Covered Backyard

Random Beauty

We’ve had the first snow storm of the winter. In two days, we got about 12″ / 30 cm. It’s SO pretty with the trees loaded up with snow! And the sun is also trying to get out.

First Snow Storm Morning Fully After

It’s going to be a great day, even if the town still hasn’t plowed the sidewalks. Then again, after two days of shoveling the driveway, I’m not in urgent need of a walk. πŸ™‚