So let’s talk books shall we? All my intentions of getting a crafty blog written this weekend fell away after my visit to the bookstore on Friday. I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket and there is no better gift to me than a book.
I had been waiting eagerly for the next installment of the Flavia de Luce tale. I could hardly wait to crack the cover of The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. The titles alone make these books intriguing.
The previous book in the series, Speaking From Among the Bones, had left the reader hanging on the final words. Exciting and frustrating at the same time, when forced to wait a year for the action to move on.
To be clear, I have not been asked to write this review, I am doing so because I just love this series and I wish everyone could read and enjoy the adventures of the 11-soon-to-be-12 year old Flavia. I will also attempt to not give any spoilers.
This is a series that you simply must read right from the start. It opens with the first book; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, in the dawning of 1950’s England and introduces you to young Flavia as she cheerfully navigates the murky waters of that space between child and woman. I am continually astounded that the author, Alan Bradley, can capture the essence of an eleven year old girl so well. As I read I am transported back to my own tween years and find myself saying – yes I remember feeling exactly that way. She is both wise and naive in equal measure, incredibly brave, possibly because she is young enough to not see her adventures as dangerous, and she is as resourceful, as she is fearless.
The books move along with fast-paced plots and have a wonderful set of characters that you come to cherish quickly. The immediate mysteries are resolved with Flavia’s determined, though unsolicited, help thanks to her remarkably well equipped laboratory, love of chemistry (particularly poisons), and her ever steadfast bicycle – Gladys.
The entire series of six books is spread over a transitional year for Flavia and you see her grow. While each book has a satisfying puzzle of its own, there is also an underlying mystery of what really happened to Flavia’s long lost Mother. Here lies the tricky landscape of spoilers. This most recent book answers many of Flavia’s questions and lays a path for her future. I am not sure if Mr Bradley will continue the series, I sincerely hope he does, but even as a standalone series of six, these books are not to be missed.
There has been talk of a TV series and I heard someone from the wonderful Call the Midwife is involved. This gives me great hope that it will be well done. It is essential that characters so well drawn be cast with care so as to not disappoint the legion of Flavia fans.
One of my measures of a good book is how often I notice something in my world and wonder how it would be viewed through the eyes of a favourite character. Flavia continues to live in my heart.
Some of my copies are pictured below, not in order or a complete set.
Author : Alan Bradley
Series in order:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s bag
A Red Herring Without Mustard
I Am Half Sick of Shadows
Speaking From Among the Bones
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
“Meanwhile,’ said Mr Tumnus, ‘it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
My my it is more than a bit dusty in here don’t you think? What! Almost a year and no posts? I think it is time Mrs Murfin puts her pinny back on, cleans up the place and writes something. I have been doing a lot of sewing, and a lot of knitting and crochet too, so it’s not like I don’t have stuff to show you. The weather has been nasty and I have cabin fever. So let’s warm this place up a bit. Don’ you love this divided fabric basket? Pattern by Noodlehead . I’ll make some tea and be back in a flash or in a day or two.
You may remember that last spring was a bit of disaster for blooms. My heart broke when my much-anticipated magnolia was frosted.
Thankfully this year we did not get summer in March and had a traditionally cruel April with lots of hints at spring warmth, but very little actual sun.
Inside I have a lovely bunch of Daffies to brighten the fireplace wall.
And look! Buds on the magnolia! Stay tuned!!!
I thought it was about time to have a little spruce up. There are hundreds of themes you can choose for a blog and while I liked the one I had it was a bit starkly white.
I like this one for the slightly retro, country feel. The pictures seem to stand out better and it looks more …finished.
Comments are welcome!
Isn’t that a lovely thought? A cup of tea and a stack of magazines… what could better on a sunny Winter afternoon?
This little beauty is a thrift shop find. Only cost me a couple of dollars. I was drawn to the sweet picture of people skating on the mill-pond.
I don’t think it is particularly old. It may be a reproduction of a popular older pattern. Wm Adams & Sons did a lot of transferware. I am in love with transferware. Such a nice clean interior. The edge is a very odd green-grey. Not a colour you see a lot.
Let’s look at the couple skating up close.
Perfect for an afternoon cuppa’
It had to happen sooner or later.
If you own a cat, and you write a blog, sooner or later you will write about the wonders of your beloved and spoiled kitty.
Crookshanks speaks english. At least she comprehends what we are saying and responds appropriately. She is also polite. As you let her out she offers a brief “mew” in thanks and the same when you let her in. She doesn’t mew very often otherwise, just “Hi and thanks for opening the door, it’s bloody cold out there” all in one short “mew”.
I also know cats speak sign language. If you open the door and it is very cold or there is snow they will shake their front paw just once. Work with me here, she is a genius of a cat.
She also likes to go for walks. If we head out in the back yard for a stroll around the property she will tag along like a dog. Galloping ahead, and following when you go somewhere new. Today I headed out to grab some shots while there was brief sun, and sure enough she came along.
She scratches each tree like a dog might lift a leg.
When I am lining up a shot to get some snow on a rock….
then out of nowhere….PHOTOBOMB
I am belly down in the snow to get a level shot of the stream and …
There she is again. She was in a posing mood today.
So we did an arty shot to please her. She wants to call it “Cat Among Trees”
I did get a couple of nice shots with out her.
But really today was all about the princess.
It was Miss Murfin’s birthday last week and she and I decided to visit a tea room and indulge in a special high tea. She had never tried clotted cream before…Imagine!
We went to a place called The Silver Spoon in Kitchener Ontario. It was wonderful and we happily recommend it if you are in the area.
Since it was a mini snow storm that day we had the place to ourselves. The staff was warm and friendly, we felt very comfortable and just relaxed and enjoyed the whole experience. (for 2 hours!)
The table was laid with lovely china and the full high tea is three courses. With each course we had a new and delicious tea and more tasty nibbles.
They display their china all around the room. I love that there are all these different cups and saucers and tea pots.
Each course came on a two tiered server. This first course was earl grey tea with scones and small muffins and fruit.
The second course was tiny crustless sandwiches and quiches with a blooming green tea in a clear pot. My picture of that did not turn out so we skip ahead to the final course of Chai tea and sweets.
Whew! we were stuffed! You think you are just eating tiny little bites so you won’t get full, but it all adds up to a substantial amount of food. Since it was all YUMMY we had to take the chocolates home. Such a nice way to celebrate my special girl’s birthday.
I am trying to think spring. I bought some hyacinths at the Kitchener market last week. they were lovely for a few days but as the table is right next to the wood stove, they bloomed fast and are done in a little over a week. But for a few days it smelled like spring!
Just after Christmas the lovely Lisa at Bobo Bun blog (you can click on her name to take you to her blog) started a 4 Happy Things swap. Bloggers sent her their info and she matched us up together with another blogger and we went off to think of 4 happy things to swap.
I was matched with Cass at Upcycling, Vintage and Other life… ( < that is anotther link to another great blog!) She and I exchanged a few email and happily discovered that we had lots in common even across the pond. Though I admit that I am a bit jealous that since she lives in the very south of England she is already working in her allotment garden, where as I have this outside.
It will be quite a while before I am tilling a row in the garden.
I had lots of fun gathering up things that made me happy and that I hoped would tickle Cass. I wish I had thought ahead and taken a picture of the parcel as I sent it because it was quite colourful!
Last Friday Mr Murfin arrived home from work, stopping at the mail box as he drove in and had a parcel for me!!!
It was very exciting and all dinner preparations ceased for the grand opening.
OOOO red polka dots! and a pretty card with a pattern inside.
Lovely jewelry that Cass made herself. I am all thumbs for stuff like that. I put it on immediately and LOVE it. So delicate and sweet and it will go with lots of things I wear. Those are little confetti that she added too.
A froggy named Florence who just needs a bit of beans and a couple of eyes sewn on. Cass even included the buttons for the eyes! I remember making these froggies myself when I was younger. They are a great fun sewing project. I must dig mine out and introduce Florence I hope they understand her accent! I love the vintage print she used. Plus a curly wurly bar, it is a chocolate covered carmel candy bar. (and it was tasty!)
This is a gingham pillow sham with embroidered cross stitch hearts. I already have a pillow in it and it is in my chair in the living room. the scrap is some heavier material and I immediately saw it as a little pouch bag. Something to work on!
Two lovely vintage linen pieces. So pretty! I am spoiled!
Here it all it together, except the jewelry as I already had it on… I forgot to mention the knitted hedgehog pattern. Since both Cass and I love the little hedgies. So much stuff and it was all happy-making!
This was fun to do. I have made a new friend and found a new blog to follow. A big thanks to Lisa for putting it all together and hugs to Cass for the lovely swap. I hope Canada post hurries up and gets your parcel over that ocean.