etcetera, sewing

2021 in Review

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So I have a confession: I’m really, really bad at remembering what I’ve done this week, let alone this year. But it is nice to do these roundups, so I’ll dig through my blogs and calendar and see how I go in summarizing the year!

Books I’ve Read

All the books I read in 2021 – any favorites here?

Books are the easiest thing for me to quickly reflect on since I borrow all of them through our local library’s Libby app and track them in Goodreads! I have hardly any time to *actually* read, but I listen to books most evenings as I sew and do chores, thanks to these Soundcore Bluetooth headphones! This year I read 39 books (plus a 1000+ read alouds to my kids lol), and have a couple unfinished – Circe, which I couldn’t totally get into and so I may or may not get back to it; Shogun, which I’m currently listening to – it’s 48 hours long so it’s taking a while; and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, which I’m actually *reading reading*. I also just started reading Lord of the Rings to my older two kids (I’m pleasantly surprised at how much they love this series!)!

If I had to pick my top NINE favorite reads from this year, they would be (in no order):

  • The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi (fun discovery – the author is the sister in law of the pastor who married my husband and I! This book is a great one for giving you new (or not so new) ideas on getting things done more efficiently)
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (a fascinating look at 300 years of Ghanaian and American history channeled through the descendents of two Ghanaian sisters – one sold into slavery (ends up in the US), the other married to a British slave trader (remains in Ghana). Each chapter is narrated by the next descendent in the family tree.
  • The Lovely War by Julie Berry (A World War 1 love story is retold and directed by Greek gods – the audio is excellent!)
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Probably my absolute favorite read of the year! Addie LaRue is gifted an eternal life, but in exchange, no one ever remembers her.)
  • Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr (I read this out loud to my kids and there were times I was unable to read because I was laughing so much!)
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama (As a solidly purple voter, I don’t always agree with Obama’s politics, but I found this book fascinating all the same and especially loved the family history aspects)
  • A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (This was a great readaloud for my kids! The story is set in the same time period as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but rather than entering a fantasy realm, this story focuses on recently orphaned siblings who are whisked out of London during the Blitz and seek to find a family in a new town).
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (While I did find the ending of this book predictable, and at times I was ready to just skip ahead, I found the overall idea of rebooting one’s life to erase regrets, an interesting one).
  • The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, by Maryrose Wood (This series is so fabulous, ESPECIALLY the audio! This is probably the book series I recommend the most, especially for kids aged 7+. Warning: your children may start howling like wolves after reading this one!).

Psst, if waiting for library books is a challenge for you, you can get a deal on audible instead!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Some of the field trips and activities we enjoyed this year included:

  • The Biltmore in Asheville, NC and the Smokey Mountains, TN
  • Cox Farms Fall Festival, Centreville, VA
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD
  • Apple saucing party at another homeschooling family’s house
  • Homeschool rollerskating!
  • Homeschool Nerf Gun Battle
  • Mt. Vernon, Alexandria VA (George Washington’s estate)
  • Legoland NY and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in NYC
  • Camp Highroad, VA (the kids did archery, ziplining, canoeing, horseback riding and more!)
  • Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington DC
  • Smithsonian Air and Space Udvar Hazy Center, Chantilly VA
  • Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC
  • Washington Monument, Washington DC
  • Smithsonian American History Museum, Washington DC
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island, Washington DC
  • Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, Ashburn VA
  • National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle VA
  • Luray Caverns, Luray VA
  • Swim Team

Here’s to hoping more things open up this coming year so it’s easier to make plans and go places!

Favorite Sews

This year, I think I did about 21 pattern tests (one doesn’t release for a few more weeks!) for five companies: Liesl & Co., Peony Patterns, Itch to Stitch, Sunflower Seams, and Jennuine Design. I love that testing challenges me to make something new, learn new skills, improve my photography, and work to deadlines.

My favorite make of the year was definitely my Lagan Coat from Itch to Stitch. I adore the construction and LOVE the color! I wear this one whenever I can! The only downside is that, compared to my puffy jackets, this one is quite heavy, so I don’t wear it if I know I’ll need to be carrying it as well.

My other favorite for ME was the Jalie Florence dress. I loved wearing this one over the summer!

My son didn’t get many outfits this year, but I just loved this wardrobe I put together for him in the summer! The jacket and shirt were my absolute favorites!

My girls got a bunch of outfits of course! Some of my favorites for them were Sage from Peony Patterns, Iberis by Peony Patterns, Jalie Bonnie Romper, Lily by Peony Patterns, Hyacinth by Peony Patterns, Periwinkle by Peony Patterns, Honeysuckle by Peony Patterns, and I think my biggest favorite of all was Posie and Azalea by Peony Patterns! (As you may already know, I do a LOT of testing for Peony – and I’m on their admin team – so I have done my best to get as many of their products sewn up as possible! Haven’t got them all done though!).

Thanks for reading my blogs this year! It’s always fun to share what I’ve been working on, and I hope it is an inspiration to you, especially while so many things in our world continue to be so gloomy! ❤

-peace & joy-

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