Threads of the Pattern

Posts Tagged ‘books

So, I have an interest in blacksmiths. I will admit that Perrin Aybara is top of my list of fictional characters that I’m in love with. I’m sure 75% of it, is that blacksmiths are like the green beret of making things, and I enjoy watching a project come together. Probably the rest of it is the fact that they, by way of their profession, naturally seem to be in control of themselves and the world around them. I guess in an era of impulse control issues, someone who is the antithesis of that type of behavior is attractive to me.

So at the library today I didn’t have anything specific I was looking for, so I wandered and did random searches on the computer. (Am I the only one who misses a proper card catalog, by the way? It seemed so much more straight forward than trying to find a computer and navigating the website, especially since my library is part of a network and any books you find may or may not be at that branch. Anyway.) One of the searches I did was for “blacksmith” under fiction.

Collars and midriff shirts: totally practical smithing wear.

Happily, one of the books on the first page was “Black Blade Blues” by J.A. Pitts. The description reads thusly:

“Sarah Beauhall is a young woman who has loved fire and the lure of the forge all her life. She is now living her dream as a blacksmith, by day creating works that are practical and fanciful, and working nights as a props manager for low-budget movies to pay the bills.

When Sarah’s favorite sword is broken on the set of a new movie, it sends the director into fits, and Sarah agrees to repair the blade to avoid reshooting scenes. One of the extras – who claims to be an actual dwarf – shows up at her forge and offers to help Sarah with her destiny.

That’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as he claims? Are dragons really living among us as shape-shifters, and are evil power brokers controlling our world? And why would he think that Sarah would be willing to kill a Portland investment banker just because he says that the guy is one of those supposed creatures?

She refused to believe…and then one of the dragons makes its move. Suddenly, what was unthinkable becomes all too real.

And Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine that is needed to save her world.”

The short blurb that was on the library’s computer also mentioned that Sarah is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I was intrigued.

As it was pouring out, I waited in the car and started the book before going in to my next errand. (Amusingly, I was waiting for it to stop raining so I could go buy a gallon of water. Lol) I’m now seven chapters in.

Not only has the SCA been mentioned a couple of times, but also Renn Faires, conventions, and the like. So we’ll have to play the “Was this written by a SCAdian?” game while I read the book. Obviously this is an author who has heard of these things, and has a passing knowledge (enough so far to know that SCAdians don’t use real swords, anyway), but we will have to see!

Aside from looking for the things that had initially captured my interest, I have to say that I can tell this is going to be a quick read. Not that it’s short. Just shy of four hundred pages, it’s a decently sized book, but the writing style is easy to follow, and so I’ll probably fly through it. The characters so far have been introduced smoothly and reasonably, and I don’t really have any questions about the plot. Except, perhaps, which group Black Briar is associated with, since Sarah seems to be involved in everything nerdy in order to sell her swords.

I’m loving that the main character is a female blacksmith. That just tickles me. Especially since it was written by a male author. I am kind of missing the apron in the cover art, but I guess I can forgive that. What’s the leather collar for though? I’m pretty sure that won’t protect her from anything a forge might throw at her.

Perhaps it will become apparent as I continue reading.

Want to read it? Click here to go through the author’s page: http://www.japitts.net/buy-the-books/ I’m not sure if he gets some kind of kickback if you buy it through their website, but it couldn’t hurt!

I don’t know you, Paulette the cashier, but the threads of our lives have briefly touched.

As a side note, I found this receipt in the book after I got it home. I’m always interested in what people use for bookmarks, and what those things might say about them. Looks like this person was travelling while reading, and bought a newspaper and a bottle of water at LAX back in July. Neat!

 

~Rosie

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This coffee cake is not my recipe. In fact, it’s the first coffee cake I’ve ever made. I got the recipe from a fabulous blog I love, called Diamonds For Dessert. Seriously, if you love to bake, you need to follow Susan. And I’m not just saying that because she also loves Ender’s Game and Back to the Future.

It’s just good stuff.

I made a red velvet/cream cheese frosting cake for a friend’s low-key wedding a few days before this. So I had a ton of strawberries and cream cheese left, because I can’t seem to stop myself from buying everything on the shelves for whatever it is I need to bake. I guess I’ve not gotten enough a few too many times.  Don’t ask how many boxes of light brown sugar I have. I think it would give you diabetes just looking at it.

First, you mix up your crumb topping. I’ve done this before; I love crumb topping. It makes me happy just to see pictures of crumb topping!

Then you mix together all the rest of your ingredients in that way that you do when you’re baking. (Wet together first, then add the dry to the wet.) I’m not going into too much detail, because it’s not my recipe. Also, look at my lovely Sunbeam Mixmaster. That poor thing. I think if you look closely enough you can see the smoke coming out of the vent from the severe overuse I put it through. I’ve had it for about 10 years, but if mixers could talk, he’d say he felt 90, I’m sure. (Yes, he, for the same reason that ships are male. ) Allow me to quote obnoxiously for a moment:

“A ship is alive, and he is like a man, with a true man’s heart. Treat him well and care for him properly, and he will fight for you against the worst sea. He will fight to keep you alive even after the sea has long since given him his deathstroke. Neglect him, though, ignore the small warnings he gives of danger, and he will drown you in a flat sea beneath a cloudless sky.”  Jorin din Jubai White Wing, pg 296, The Shadow Rising, Robert Jordan.

Ahem.

So once you have your batter mixed, put half of it in the bottom of your greased pan and slather it with jam. Not only is it tasty, but it’s fun to say slather. Then line up your strawberries in a covering layer. Then put the rest of your batter on top of that and smoosh it around until it covers all the strawberries. The directions say you can use a spatula or your fingers, but trust me on this and just skip the spatula.

Yummy crumb topping is next! Bake it all up and you get a lovely, light and fluffy cake that is absolutely scrumptious. Since I had more leftover strawberries (seriously, guys and gals, I have a PROBLEM.), I put two little slices on each square. This thing held up surprisingly well to sitting out on my butcher block, traveling in the car in plastic baggies and being passed around to various people!

Things I learned:

1. Coffee cake does not have coffee in it. I really thought that! It’s the sole reason why I have never even looked at a coffee cake recipe until now!

2. I should possibly not type blog posts when I’m sleepy. I get a little silly.

3. The picture below is while making the red velvet cake. There is a very good reason why I only do my baking when my husband is not at home:

~Rosie

I didn’t mention it last week when I posted about fixing up my craft room, but I started following this blog on organizing your home. The site has a 52 week challenge, but you don’t have to start it in January, you can jump in any time. Many thanks to Taylor at Home Storage Solutions 101 for hosting the challenge.

Well, it so happens that last week was organizing your crafting space, which I took as a sign that I should stick with this plan for a while and see where it takes me.

This week’s challenge (they’re posted on Mondays) is organizing the car. Admittedly, I don’t have much in my car right now, since it’s not running, but there was still some unnecessary clutter. By which, I of course mean books.
So, I followed the steps. Pull everything out, sort and decide what goes back, what gets thrown away, and what just needs to go elsewhere.

Now in my glove box, all I have are the car manual and other paperwork, and some napkins. I have a trash bag that’s tucked into the storage pocket in the backseat, and some wet wipes up under the dash in a weird space that you can barely see. I’m not sure why they built it this way, to be honest.

Anyway. I had this jar lying around, and it fits perfectly in the cup holder, so I decided to put it there and use it for loose change. In my center console, I have all my chargers and other car cords.

Everything else is in a plastic tub in the trunk. It’s not the most crafty way to store all my car supplies, extra hair and tooth brushes, puzzle book, CD player and sewing kit, but it does its job. Everything that’s not the tote in the left hand corner is what’s going into the house to be put away.

After a quick vacuum and wipe down, it looks so much nicer!
Things I learned:

1. I think I’m already finding that the steps to organizing anything are basically the same.

2. Some of these weekly challenges are going to be easier than others. My craft room took 7 days. This took me 20 minutes.

Next week, it looks like we’re tackling pet supplies. I’m sure Teddy Bear will be thrilled.

~ Rosie

p. s. Since someone may ask, the origami peacock was made by a former coworker of mine who has since passed away. It moves around my car as the whim takes me.



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