Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Garden Adventures | March 2019

Gardening

Hello everyone, I am here again with another update on my gardening adventures. I am happy to say that there have been no plant casualties. I was so happy that I have been able to keep all the plants alive, I am still a bit uneasy about some of my plants, but I will get more into that in a bit.

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My Plants

As you can see in the above pictures, I have my first plant, my air plant, as well as a few others. I will list them from top row left to right then the bottom row. As you can see, I have my plants labeled so I can remember them a bit better. Especially since one was just sent to me with another plant without a name or anything. I had to ask twitter for help in identifying it.

  • Ionantha
  • Moon Valley
  • Marble Queen Pothos
  • ZZ Plant
  • Snake Plant

Snake Plant Identification

Thankfully, with some retweets someone was able to point me in the right direction and I was super happy about it. I was not happy with the seller I got it from. First the ZZ plant they sent me was not in good health at all, it was way over watered. They decided to just put this plant in because they were sending me a “bad” plant instead of just refunding everything, in fact it was root bound and I had to literally cut open the pot to try and save this plant. They did end up refunding the price of the plant, but not the shipping then sent me no information about this plant. Sadly, it has a fungi growing on one of the leaves so I had to cut it off. So far both plants seem to be doing alright, I hope the ZZ and Snake plants continue to thrive.


Marble Queen

I am a bit worried about this plant, when I got it, there were a few small brown edged holes in the middle of the leaves, now the tips are starting to turn brown. I was thinking it was due to under-watering so I am being more vigilant about it and am continuing to research the issue, but any suggestions would be helpful. You can kind of see the issue in the image above.


Moon Valley

My latest and random addition, I am kind of confused as to how to take care of it. When I picked it up in the store it said it needed low light and normal watering with getting dry in between. With my own research I found that they like a lot of indirect light and the soil needs to stay slightly wet at all times. So…. since more than one site said the latter, I am going to go with that? Wish me luck.

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Thanks for reading my plant updates for March! I know this is not my normal bookish thing, but I am really enjoying sharing other hobbies of mine.

Do you have a favorite plant? Do you garden, indoor or outdoor?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Indoor Garden Adventures|February 2019

More Than Books

Welcome to the second month of my indoor garden adventures, if you missed the first installment where I introduce the first terrariums I set up, Indoor Garden Adventures | January 2019. This installment I will update you with how the seedlings are doing and share a new addition I have added to my garden. I will say starting this in January might not have been the best start since I have been trying to keep the temperature nice and warm for my plants, but it has been so cold. Anyway, here are the updates!

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Updates

So, sadly I have an update that is not so good. Then a bit of an upgrade for one of my established plants The first bit of news is my air plant was damaged during shipping. Seemed the heat pack was too hot for the little plant and it was too stressed. I honestly felt horrible. As soon as I noticed something was wrong I thought I already did something to the plant. Turns out I personally did not, but the shipping did not go so well. I was sent a replacement plant, which arrived 2/29/19 and it seemed to be be in better condition. It felt like it had more heft to it and was brighter in color.

The second bad news, well not sure if I should call it bad news… my seeds never sprouted like I suspected they wouldn’t. This is true for my outside gardening as well. I can never do seed starters, but if you give me a baby tomato plant I will grow it larger than myself, yes that actually happened to me last year. My plant became bigger than me. I am still not sure how I pulled it off, but I have a green thumb somewhere it seems.

Also, I am happy to say that I have had an aloe plant for years. Sadly it is not able to live in my room because it needs more natural light than it can get in my room with the window I have. Anyway, it has gotten so big! It has 3 pups growing off of it now and I thought it was time to give it an upgrade! I am hoping it does well with the new pot and continues to thrive.

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Additions

So, while I was waiting for my replacement air plant I ended up picking up a grow light for my plants. I wanted them to get as much sunlight as they needed and the weather has been not so great the past month. Every day seemed to be overcast and dark. So I picked up a cheaper one and I am hoping that will help the little ones.

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What is your favorite plant or flower? Do you have a garden, indoor or outdoor?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Operation Find a Hobby | Making a Baby Blanket

FindAHobby

Long time no talk about my other hobbies! Over the course of this series, which you can read more here: Operation Find a Hobby, I explored quite a few hobbies. Since then some have stuck and others not so much. One that I did not post in that series was crochet. The reason why I had not posted about that topic is because I have previously dabbled in it, but it never stayed with me. Most of the books I was using as a reference were either confusing and my in person resources were limited.

Over the last few months I have gotten more and more into it. I made a simple scarf in December and a couple of hats for friends and my boyfriend. Now I am taking on a much larger project and it is nothing like I have done before and I wanted to share it with all of you.

So, for months I have been loving zig zag edged blankets. Something about them being irregular in a sense really appeals to me. For a while my friend and I have tried a bunch of different methods and she even asked a few people she knew who have been doing it for YEARS, DECADES actually, and still I had no luck with being able to figure out a pattern until I came across the site called Daisy Farm Crafts. I found her post called Crochet Berry Chevron Baby Blanket.

The pattern they made was exceptionally easy once I got the hang of it and I really enjoyed that there were some videos within the pattern to help you visually see the stitches when the abbreviations, which are new to me, were confusing. I would suggest you checking out their blog and seeing the patterns they have. I plan on trying more of them in the future, that is for sure.

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-My Current Progress-

While I am not very far into this project, I am very proud that I have finally mastered the zig zag pattern, but also learned how to do the berry stitch. Which, for me was very overwhelming because there seems to be about 6 or 7 steps for just one. Anyway, like I said I am not far into this project, but I wanted to share with you some of the things I am working on in my life and I thought this would be a perfect addition to the Operation Find a Hobby series.

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Do you crochet? What should I try to crochet next? What is your favorite hobby outside of reading?

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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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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

#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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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

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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