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April Reading List

I have been trying different strategies to be more centered this year and have been using the screen time timer on my iPhone with great success. It makes a big difference to set a daily limit and have that visual reminder when you get there. But I am feeling that I need to do this in a bigger way. My brain functions differently when I force myself to take a break from the screens. So for the month of April I will be offline- reading, sewing, writing and most importantly exercising and spending time outdoors. Here is my stack of current reads which I hope to read this month. I will report back with book recommendations and some new garments to share. Spoiler alert: I already finished and loved Daisy Jones & the Six. It was the perfect easing into spring read.

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Nursebean Reads: Winter 2019

I have really been enjoying reading this winter and have lots of new books to recommend. All the books below were terrific reads. I have a hard time singling any of them out because they are so varied and all so good but if I had to choose one it would be Chemistry, a spare, beautifully written book that is darkly funny, occasionally heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful. It is amazing what this author does in so few words-I am in awe of her talent and can’t wait to see what she writes next.

I loved Dani Shapiro’s latest book Inheritance. I would suggest not googling it. Just read it and let the story unfold. I read Devotion afterward and loved it even more and was so glad I had read them in that order.

Washington Black is a great read. The story and characters drew me in. It felt a bit like a cross between The Underground Railroad and The Signature of All Things-both excellent books themselves if you haven’t read them.

Once Upon a River was a great winter read. I loved the characters and the setting and the story. It started slowly but once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down.

Freshwater is an exploration of one woman’s experience of mental illness but it is not just that. She explores spirituality, culture, sexuality, family. She takes you on a trip that gives you a sense of her experience of the world. It is hard to do it justice describing it. A totally original voice.

I continue to read and love Patti Smith’s work. She makes me want to read and travel and write and seek out beautiful things.

I have also been reading my way through Joan Didion and loving her beautiful incisive prose.

In the same vein, I really enjoyed Alexander Chee’s collection of autobiographical essays. I love his writing and look forward to reading his fiction.

The Great Believers is a hard book in terms of the subject but I am glad I read it.

Waiting for Eden is short, beautifully written, heartbreaking.

The Line Becomes a River is the experience of a journalist who works for several years as a Border Agent. It was inconsistent but the last section was worth the wait. I am glad I read it.

I also listened to this book in audio. The narrator is amazing. I have listened my way through all 10 books of the series-I highly recommend them.

And I read this book along with the rest of the country. I am glad I read it. It was a little bit like reliving those years right along with her which was a bit depressing but it is well written and thoughtful and worth reading.

My to-be-read pile is overflowing and I couldn’t be happier. I just started Bowlaway. I love the premise and the quirkiness of the characters. I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

Winter and books. A perfect combination!

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2018 Me-Made Wrap-up

I sewed 30 garments this year, 28 for me and 2 for my daughter. These are my most-loved and most-worn.

They include the Beatrix blouse, the Isla dress, the Jade top, the Gemma tank and the Josephine blouse, all by Made by Rae, the Grainline Patterns Tamarack Jacket and the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan and York Pinafore. Details on each of these and most of the other garments I sewed this year are on the blog. Pictures of all of the 30 garments are on my Instagram ( #nursebeansews2018 ).

True to form, what works for me is to find a pattern that works well for me and sew it in multiple versions. I sewed 7 Islas to add to the many others in my closet and 7 York Pinafores. Those two patterns have become wardrobe staples. I have sewn both warm weather and cool weather versions. They both use just 2 yards of fabric and can be hacked to make very different looking garments using the same pattern. The Blackwood Cardigan is a quick sew and I wear my 4 versions all the time. The Tamarack Jacket was such a fun project and has gotten tons of wear. I have a second version cut out and ready to go.

I am looking forward to sewing some new to me patterns in the new year. Here is a picture of my #2019makenine plans. Can you guess the patterns?

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New Year New Make

I kicked off the new year with this Berlin Jacket (pattern by Tessuti) in boiled wool. Love it! I highly recommend this pattern! It is a quick and satisfying sew. I found it true to size but would add length next time ( I am 5’9″.)

Looking forward to a year filled with sewing and books. Happy 2019 friends!

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Nursebean Reads 2018

I am on book 100! A good year for reading. I enjoyed them all but these were the best of the best. To see what I am currently reading, you can scroll to the bottom on my blog where my Goodreads account is linked. I have posted many times this year and over the last three years with book recommendations. To find those posts just search using the terms books, reading or nursebean reads. This year I read more paper books and fewer on my kindle but I love them both. Happy reading! Linking to @annebogel whose podcast about books and reading is a wonderful source of wonderful books!

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