Cathy Austin January’21

Banish the January blues: Read! Knit! Colour!

By Cathy Austin

Yahoo! A brand new year, brand new adventures, brand new things to do and enjoy! Sure COVID-19 is still with us, but now that we pretty much know how to stay safe and keep ourselves busy, let’s talk about books to read:

Cozy up to Outlander’s Scotland, a Pitkin series of small photo-filled books. This one is written by Phoebe Taplin and features a bunch of neat locales, lochs, and villages used in the Outlander series. Delightful photos and text. Settle in with your favourite cup of whatever and enjoy ‘travelling’ safely without any hassles!

For some delicious silly fun, do pick up Carl Hiaasen’s Squeeze Me. Set in Miami Beach’s hoity-toity residences – especially the Winter White House – very big snakes are set loose and mayhem ensues! Murder, mishaps, snappy dialogue, characters – you name it, it’s in here. Fiction at its finest!

The Residence by Andrew Pyper satisfies to no end. It is a great historical fiction horror. Set in the White House in 1859, the newly ensconced President and his wife are visited by ghosts and even worse things from the beyond. Excellent literature, a real page-turner.

The Break Down by B.A. Paris completed my December fiction reading, and what a book to finish on. This one was a snap to read, another page-turner and nail-biter as we watch Cass descend into certain madness; is it early onset dementia like what her mother had, or is she being driven to it by the killer of a woman in the lane near Cass’ cottage? Cass’ husband Matthew tries everything to calm her, getting the house alarmed to start, while friend Rachel can’t sort her out. Cass is simply obsessed with the woman’s murder, especially as she’d recently had lunch with her. Had the killer seen Cass? Are they after her? This is a fast read. You’ll be hard pressed to put it down if only to pour another coffee.

Knit, crochet, CRAFT! So many of us turned creative in 2020, captive at home for the most part unless grocery shopping or doing medical appointments (we did two by phone). There are a ton of easy-to-learn books on the ‘net. For me, Knitting for Dummies answered all my questions and set me straight – likewise for Crochet for Beginners. I’m an old hand at hooking up pretty much anything and have an extensive library, but my favourite books are the ones dedicated to amigurumi, squares, flowers, and soft toy stuffies. If you are new to either knitting or crochet, Garter Stitch is my go-to place for knitting and squares for crochet beginnings (once you learn to chain, of course). Craft books on all other creative things are plentiful and you’ll find it difficult to choose just one! Ravely is a great online source to check out.

COLOUR! Adult colouring is still a thing. I did a bit this year. I coloured a dozen note cards for future use, done a handful of tags, and there’s more to come. Mandalas are my current favourite and they are trending. There’s a Canadian artist named Crystal Salamon in Turner Valley, Alberta, whose wonderful colouring products are on my must-get list. Check out her Etsy shop.

PUZZLES are hot! So many of us indulged in this past time in 2020, a great thing to do alone or with the family. Me, I love Word Searches and finished off two small books this summer. I’m going into my third one – a big one into 2021. Sudoku isn’t my thing (I prefer words to numbers) but a lot of folks love it, too!

Whatever you’re into or not into yet, there’s something out there for you. A book or a craft is just waiting to unleash your interest, bring joy, and banish the blues!