Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Indoor Garden Adventures| January 2019

More Than Books

One thing I really wish I could do is keep plants. I would love to have a room filled with plants and books, I have a plan for my future library of sorts. I am planning on turning it into a greenhouse/library. I may have taken inspiration from one I stumbled into in December. life

Anyway, I always want more and more plants, but I don’t have a ton of room for them. But, a few weeks ago I was walking through the store and I noticed that this brand was selling terrarium kits. I thought it would be a great way to start with my current limitations. I ended up picking up two different ones because I could not decide, as well as a mister for an air plant I will show in a future edition of this series. Anyway, I picked up a Forest Floor Scandinavian and Forest Floor Woodland. The Scandinavian edition has seeds for a plant called Hyssop and the woodland has Sedum.

As you can see the kits came with quite a bit. I had to assemble the layers as well and place the seeds inside. I am very nervous about these because I feel like it would be very hard to grow plants from seeds if you are not very experienced. But, I am going to do my best. The picture below is the first day of the seeds being placed in their new home. It is said that it could sprout from 7-21 days so I have a lot of waiting in front of me.

While this is quite a short post I wanted to put together this introduction to this new series on my blog where I am happy to share other interests I have outside of reading. Please wish my plants and myself luck because I am so worried I am going to fail at this and do these little seeds a disservice.

Anyway, if you know anything about plants or anything like that please share your knowledge. I could use all the help I can get!

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Finding Balance | Netgalley Backlist & Rules

FindingBalance12:17

Overall, I have to say I am pretty good with keeping up with my Netgalley list now. I used to be fairly bad at it. I would often go on requesting sprees because I was not sure if I would or would not get approved for books. I figured most were a long shot and I would just up my odds by requesting a bunch. Well, that approach did not work.

When I first started I had no system or rules in place, so I would just pick a random ARC I needed to review and read it every so often. I did not account for when it came out or how long I had on my shelf. I was kind of overwhelmed and I had a ton on my kindle. I really had no idea where to start so I pick threw a dart and read that one.

This was not the best course of action for me. I saw more and more books go into the 6 months or older section and I became stressed. I was getting approved more often as I handed in reviews, which I was excited about, but then I had more and more books coming into my kindle that I previously. One day I was just so over whelmed I took a day and just went through everything. When I did this I came up with a few rules and tracking system that helped me.

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My Tracking System

I made a really simple tracking system for myself. I write down the title, if I reviewed it, when it is to be published, and when it will be archived. When I go to read an ARC, I go to this list and I look at the published date to determine which one I will read next.

You may notice that I do not track which books I request. I used to, but now I only pick one ARC to request per month. You can see from the above image I have an ARC for February, March, April and July. I only requested one per month so I can’t get over whelmed with the ARCs coming in. Having one ARC a month means I can still read all the books I have on my shelf without worrying about getting my reviews in.

My Rules

Now these rules are just what works for me, that does not mean they will work for you, but I thought it would be interesting to share.

  1. Request one book per month, dependent on the release date.
    • This limits the amount of ARCs coming in
  2. Read the an ARC the month before it’s release date.
    • Takes the pressure off
  3. As soon as I get an approval email, add book to the ARC Tracker
    • This ensures I don’t forget a book I am approved for.
  4. Only request books I would pay to read.
    • This one is my top rules, this makes sure I request only books I will want to read asap. I will not want to put them off and I know I am not taking ARCs away from others who really want to read them.
  5. No book can make it to the 3 month or older shelf.
    • Ensures I keep my feedback ratio over 80%

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The Current State of my Netgalley

Feedback Ratio: 87%

31 Approved  |  27 Feedback Sent

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How do you manage your requests and netgalley reviews?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

DIY Tested | Creating a Serialized Book

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Hello and welcome to another attempt at me recreating a DIY! This time I am trying to serialize a novel. I first came across this DIY on instagram posted by Sarah on Book50Blog. When I first saw this back in August I was first shocked by the methods used, but she made a really good point. Doing this to a huge, mountainous book into something really manageable.

Now, because this was on Instagram stories, it disappeared in 24 hours, so thankfully I thought it was a great idea and I wanted to try it right there and then. I screen shotted the steps so I could try when the time was right. That time has just now arrived, but before I get into the DIY I want to explain what a serialized novel is.

This was very popular during the victorian era, many books that are now published and full novels were once realized in chunks on a set schedule. This could be once a month, once every two months, or sometimes every other week. It really depending on the magazine or paper that the story was published. Some of the popular books that were originally published in the manner were The Women in White by Wilkie Collins, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Bleak House by Charlies Dickens. I tend to read a lot of classics like this in their original form thanks to a website called Victorian Serial Novels. I suggest checking them out, it really give you a whole new reading experience, you get cliff hangers in places you wouldn’t even believe.

Now, the book I am testing this out on was partly published like this, but then was turned into a novel part of the way through. You can read all about that here. So I am taking a little bit of liberties with breaking it up for a few reasons. The first being I wanted to try this on a big book and the second was because I had a cheap version of this classic so I would not be horribly upset if it all went wrong.

The book I decided to try this on was War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy because I plan on reading it in 2019. So, here it goes, the doing part of DIY.

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Supplies

  • Book
  • Cutting device
  • Washi tape
  • Adult supervision-if you get hurt it is not my responsibility ask a responsible adult to help you cut. Using a knife or cutting device can be dangerous do this at your own risk!

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The DIY

First you need to find the sections, I decided to break the book down into 17 sections. Book 1-25 then he first and second epilogue. I think in herLes Misérables by Victor Hugo if I am not mistaken.

This is the part I was most worried about, I really thought I was going to butcher the edges and the entire book would fall apart page by page. But, I have to admit seeing the little bits of the spine actually looks kinda cool… did I just say destroyed book looks cool? Who am I?

The last step I think was the best part of this for a few reasons. The first being it kinda made me less worried about the book just falling apart and it made it look more uniform.

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This is such a wonderfully straight forward DIY, thank you Sarah! Three steps with not a lot of fluff, it gets right to the point. I think that is why it caught my eye right away.

Overall, I really liked this DIY. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would. I would say I did have to cut the sections two times to really get a clear cut. The first to open up the pages to get to the binding, then the second actually cut the binding. I am really looking forward to reading this now serialized edition of War and Peace in 2019!

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I hoped your enjoyed me testing out a DIY.

Which ones should I try next?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

More Than Books | Stranger Things & Unboxing

More Than Books

So here I come to you with another More than Books post where I am sharing more things I like outside the bookish community. I don’t know if you know, but I love binge watching TV shows and one I want to binge watch is Stranger Things. Well, I am also a big fan of TriwizardLetter over on etsy. Every other month they have a new letter that has a small print, stickers, and a bookmark with a theme. This month was Stranger Things! I took it as a sign, ordered Octobers letter and decided to watch an episode. Here are my thoughts on the show and what I got in my letter!

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Triwizard Letter

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My Thoughts on Stranger Things

The first thing I noticed was the cinematic look of the show. I really liked how they played with lighting and the overall way they shot the show. The angles and what they show and don’t show on screen was great. I also noticed that they really nailed the color scheme and overall look of the decade this took place in. They didn’t just place a few objects and the costumes had a few key things. They sets had details, the outfits were great and the hair styles were on point.

The second thing I noticed was the great acting, not just for kids actors, but over all true talent. I can see why many people really enjoy this show because you can have the best plot and script in the world, but if the acting is bad it will ruin it.

I love the storyline they went for, secret government project gone wrong. A great mixture of the horror I love and the science fiction.  I have always love watching horror and I think this was a great example of a horror that was not too over the top with gore which is the case with a lot of horror these days.

I will say after watching the first episode I will be continuing with the series and I am very expected that there are 2 seasons for me to binge watch in the near future.

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Have you watched Stranger Things? Did you enjoy it or dislike it?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

DIY Tested| Hollowed Out Book

DIY12:17

So, I have seen this around the internet for some time and I thought testing some DIYs would be really fun. I have always loved crafting and making stuff with my own hands so I thought to myself, “why not?” I will only be making ones I really an interested in and not just doing DIYs for the sake of doing them though. So I am starting off with one I have been wanting to do for some time.

Since I was young I wanted to have a box made out of a book. I don’t know why, but I always thought it was the coolest thing. Over the years I have seen them in the store, but they always looked so fake and I never really liked what the outside looked like. So, many years later I am finally deciding to make my own.

Here is the DIY video I am following/testing:

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Supplies

  • Hardback book, at least 1½” thick
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • Craft paintbrush
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil 

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Overall this video really helped me a lot. It is very straight forward and simple. One thing I think I would change about this DIY is that if you have a larger book I would separate it into sections like I ended up doing. That way if you don’t have a very long or large craft knife you wont run into so many problems in the corner and the opening stays the same size instead of developing an angle.

DividerI hoped your enjoyed me testing out a DIY.

Which ones should I try next?

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#Blogoween | Gory Magical Sweet

Blogoween

Prompt:

Monday 8th: Gory Magical Sweet
The objective is to create one or more snacks (sweet or savoury is okay) and a drink (if you want) that must be Halloween themed but created with a mix! Use common food elements and parts of our beloved mythical and magical creatures. Just to be clear: things like rainbow unicorn sparkles aren’t gory.

So one of my favorite things to eat is pizza, I know nothing quite so original nor a snack but I think you will really like my recipe. For the month of October I always add a special ingredient to my pizza, it really is a pain in the butt to get so I have to use it sparingly.

Items Needed

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 (1-pound) pizza crust
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Thinly sliced breaded eggplant
  • 1/4 cup Blood of a unicorn

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°.

 

Step 2

Combine the first the three cheese in a medium bowl. Drizzle blood of a unicorn all over the crust, leaving out a 1/2-inch boarder. Spread cheese over the crust, ensuring to stay within the area where blood is. Sprinkle crushed red pepper, black pepper, oregano and garlic over cheese. Then place your breaded egg plant over pizza, best to not over lap the pieces.

Place pizza on baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Remove pizza to cutting board; cut into 6 slices.

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Inspired by this recipe.

What is your favorite food to eat during the colder weather?

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More Than Books | Wild Crystal Box September 2018

More Than BooksSo as of late I have found myself wanting to share more and more of my non-bookish hobbies and interests. All around I have found I have been wanting to share more of myself with everyone. While I have previously shared myself trying to find a new hobby in my Find A Hobby Series I wanted to expand more. I wanted to share more about things I enjoy in my life, how I love to cook and create things, and my love of nature. I figured I would start with an unboxing of a subscription box I really enjoy.

Since I was a young girl I really loved crystals. My uncle used to go away and go to mines for fun and always bring me back a crystal when he found any. I have really find memories attached to them. To this day I enjoy having them with my for their beauty as well as the affect they have on me. I personally find it relaxing to have rocks, crystals, and other gem stones around me. I feel a connection with nature and I find it soothing. While you may say this is just be a bunch of hoopla, well it may be, but it still makes me feel better and it hurts no one.

Anyway, I wanted to share this unboxing. This subscription box sends various crystals every month and explains their significance. I enjoy it not only because I learn about new minerals and crystals, and I get to add to my collection. If you want to know more I will link their website here. I would also like to point out that this is NOT sponsored, I pay for this box with my own money.

Here is the box on the outside, I wish I could write in this font. I always want to learn calligraphy, but I never follow through… why?

Here is what you are greeted with when you open the box. This sheet is the information sheet about the characteristics of stones in the box. I didn’t want to take a picture of the entire sheet and infringe on their stuff. But, I will say that what they write is very detailed and an entire 8 1/2 x 11 page is always filled with information.

When you remove the bubble wrap and information sheet this is what you are greeted with.

Once you rip open the wrapping you are met with a jam packed box. This month I saw 3 pouches with a different item in each and bunch of sage.

I never burn sage, but I have a friend who does. I am not sure if it is the proper kind or not so I will run it by her if this is the type she uses. If it is not I will keep it because it does smell nice without it being burned.

This month each subscriber got a different necklace. I ended up getting sodalite. I will be doing some research into this stone as well as replace the chain. I don’t tend to mix well with fabric based chains. I do very much like the metal that is holding the stone.

In this box I was sent two pieces of Carnelian. These two stones are is very nice shape. They are tumbled well, with no edges. I liked that they added a little history to the fact sheet by sharing that in Egypt it used to be referred to The Setting Sun. The picture does not do the color justice, but I can say I can see why they called the stone this.

The last item in my box with month was a large and beautiful piece of Amethyst. I love the color of this stone and the angles. When the light hits this one it reminds me of the purple version of the Philosophers Stone in harry potter, the light just dances on its surface.

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Do you have a collection you keep adding to?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find A Hobby | Jewelry Making

FindAHobby

Welcome to the next installment of my journey into finding a new hobby. This time I tried my hand at jewelry making. I want to take the time to thank Ashley for giving me the idea. I also had no idea what I wanted to make so I put a poll on twitter and you guys voted fro necklaces.

So I went to my local craft supply store and got a few supplies. I really did not have a lot to go on because I have no idea what I would have actually needed. I decided since this was my first time making jewelry I would take the “easy” way.

I ended up picking up pliers, some gold colored wire, 3 pendants , some fasteners and some chain. I also ended up getting some fake leather cord to make a bracelet. This actually was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be since I picked up a lot of things that were on sale. I know when I am trying something new I don’t like investing a lot of money in it. 

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Once I had an afternoon that I could take time to create me new jewelry. I first decided it would be easier to play with the idea of making a bracelet and a necklace. I learned that making a bracelet is a lot more difficult than a necklace. You can see in the following picture the bracelet I made, you can see that the stone was way to heavy and would not play flat. I even took off extra length, but it continued to turn and move around so I ended up trying to make it into a necklace instead.  

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 The Outcome

I ended up making a total of 3 necklaces. I ended up tossing the idea of making a bracelet, I was getting a bit too frustrated. But, below you can see the three necklaces I made. They are all different lengths. The one on the left it s along necklace, I think I will get a lot of use out of, the middle is a short, almost choker length necklace and the one of the right sits right above the collar of most of my shirts.

Refections

Overall I liked the outcome of this little experiment, I walked away with 3 new necklaces that I adore. Might I add I LOVE the color of the pink stones? It is also very satisfying to make something with your own hands that you can wear out and about. The process itself had a few hiccups. The first obvious one was the bracelet, the stone would not cooperate at all. The second was the jump rings, I had so many of them bend funny and had to get new ones. It may be due to my inexperience though, I noticed after a bit of time it happened less and less.

I don’t think I will be needing to make jewelry in the near future, but when I need a new piece I think I will go to the craft-store or etsy and see if I can find a pendant or stone I really like and make something I love. I will also repair one of my favorites if they happen to break. I am not sure if I would just sit and make jewelry if that makes sense. I had a blast with this installment and I love what came out of it. I can’t wait to continue my journey. Thank you again Ashley  for the idea, I had a ton of fun.  Keep the recommendations coming!

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Did I do a good job? What should I try next?

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Operation Find A Hobby | Scrapbooking

FindAHobby

Welcome to the third installment of Operation Find a Hobby. This round I tried scrapbooking.  Now, I shall admit I have some limited exposure to scrapbooking. A few of my family members used to do it constantly. So I was able to get some first hand guidance. But, before I get any further if you have not see my previous posts in this series, you can find them here; Operation Find A Hobby | IntroductionOperation Find A Hobby | Embroidery, and Operation Find A Hobby | Puzzle. Now lets get into my experience trying scrapbooking!

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So first things first, I needed to figure out the actual purpose of a scrapbook. Now, this may just sound silly, but I felt like there was more to it than just taping pictures together. So, a quick google search gave me this definition thanks to Merriam-Webster.

Definition of scrapbook : a blank book in which various items (such as newspaper clippings or pictures) are collected and preserved

For me this still did not seem right. So I decided to actually go to some family members who used to/still scrapbook. I liked their definition a bit better.
Without rambling to much they pretty much told it is a way to celebrate and remember memories, milestones, and  events. Creating a scrapbook was a celebration, anyone can just put their photos and such in an album. But, creating a scrapbook and taking the time to create a page from nothing is giving value to the memory and honoring it. That seemed a bit more appropriate to me. Mainly because of the effort that people put into scrapbooks. When I was searching for some ideas/inspiration and from previous layout there were some detailed layouts. It seemed more than just “preserving items”.
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Now with scrapbooking you need supplies and some of these can get expensive. Let’s just say I used quite a bit of coupons and waited for the supplies to go on sale. I also raided the closets of loved ones. While I was confident I would like this hobby, I was not comfortable with investing a lot of money in a maybe.
I also felt that this hobby needed a but more planning than the previous ones I have tried. Completing a puzzle, all I needed to do was buy one. With Embroidery I was able to buy just one kit and complete it. These were more or less already set up for me where scrapbooking is something I would have to come up with from nothing. So I decided I needed a focus before I went and bought everything.
I ended up deciding that I would use my book to highlight a year and each layout would focus on a month. I then expanded on this and came up with a color pallet;  yellow, green, pink, gray, and off white.  With this I was able to get the creative supplies and the practical ones. Once I collected them from either the store or from others I got to work making my March pages for my scrapbook.
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My Book

My Supplies

Images, scissors, and paper cutter.
Paper backgrounds, stickers, and letters.
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 The Outcome


On this page I wanted to highlight the books I read this past month. So I printed out each of the covers and then decided to highlight my top three, which you can see at the center. I also wanted to remember that I got a new netgalley badge so I added those images to this page as well. I thought the pattern change at the center and the leaf stamps made the page pop a bit more. I will be keeping this method in mind for the future.

On this page I made it a bit more personal. I highlighted a conversation with an author I adore, even though it was totally not substancial in the eyes of some. For me I never thought I would have the guts to talk and ask one of my fav. authors a questions and actually hear back from them. I also added the description of my new netgalley badge on this page. Another things I added that I love is the buddy reads I did this month and who I was reading them with. Just a heads up if you ever want to buddy read a book you can always tweet or message me. If I can chances are I will buddy read a book with you. I find them so much fun!

Refections

Okay, I have to say that I really enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun to just take the time and make this. While it did take time. It took a lot less than putting a puzzle together, thats for sure. I enjoyed picking through my memories and deciding which bookish ones I wanted to remember and honor. I really just enjoyed the entire process, for me this was almost therapeutic. It is very rare that I truly take “me time”, so doing this was almost like meditating and made me more mindful and reflective on the things I have done over the past month.

I also loved that this was create and I was able to make something with my own hands. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to talk to my family members about something I had never talked to them about before. It was nice having a new topic to discuss. Overall, I have to say that this hobby is a winner and I am going to be doing it again in the future. Divider

Well, I am going to continue on my quest to find a new hobby!

Which hobby should I try next?

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Operation Find A Hobby | Puzzle

 

Welcome to my second experiment with finding a new hobby. This month I decided to take a shot at putting together a puzzle. I also want to take this time to thank all of you who have suggested hobbies for me to try. I have them all written down and I plan on trying quite a few of them. Also, if this is your first time seeing my Operation Find a Hobby series you can find the other two posts here: Operation Find A Hobby | Introduction , Operation Find A Hobby | Embroidery. Without anymore delayed here is my experiment with putting together a puzzle.

Now, I have always hated doing puzzles. So you may ask, “Luna, why are you trying to put together a puzzle if you hate it?” That is a very normal question that I can only answer with, I don’t know. I always found them to be annoying and time consuming.  I never thought the payoff was really worth it. So I thought, why not try it? It has been YEARS, maybe my view has changed.

With this experiment I decided to try and give puzzles the best shot. I chose a 500 piece puzzle, 1000 was just to much for an amateur like it. I also decided to get a puzzle I thought was very beautiful and tied to something I already liked. So I happened to be in a local hobby shop and I happened to find a book inspired puzzle. Honestly, what are the chances of that?

The puzzle I picked up was a Nancy Draw one, it consisted of 27 book covers and 5 illustrations pulled from the stories and quotes. They style of the illustrations were varies and I found that to beautiful. It was like seeing an evolution of the character. Below you will see a picture of the puzzle box. If you really like it here is an amazon link to the product, it is not an affiliate link. COBBLE HILL Nancy Drew Mysteries Jigsaw Puzzle.

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So a night when I had nothing planned I decided to break out my crafting mat and get to work. I decided to work on the floor so the mat was necessary for the puzzle to lie flat. From a young age everyone always told me to put together the edges of a puzzle first so that is what I did. Now this is just me being curious, does everyone put puzzles together this way or do some of you just find pieces and start putting them together? Anyway here is a picture of when I got the edge of the puzzle put together and the second photo is of the finished product.

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First off I will say, NEVER do a puzzle on the floor. My back, which never really hurt me, was so sore and it hurt. For the next few days I had to continuously stretch it until it got better. Complete a puzzle at a table where you can sit at a chair and you wont be bent over for so long.

Anyway, the puzzle took me about 4-5 hours to complete. The pieces were approximately 3/4 of an inch roughly 2 cm, in diameter so they weren’t horribly small so I was able to see a great deal of detail in a lot of the pieces. Others were pretty difficult like the illustrations that were not on the book covers.

Overall, I will admit I was not a huge fan of putting together a puzzle. That is not to say I hated it. While I was very happy when I finished, I just found that it was not a huge pay off for my 4-5 hours. I could have written a bunch of blog posts, read a book, or embroidered something and felt more accomplished. I just don’t think I have the personality for puzzles, I envy those who do. I am going to keep this puzzle and maybe do it with a group of friends one day, but I don’t think I will be buying anymore.

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Well, I am going to continue on my quest to find a new hobby!

Which hobby should I try next?

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