Posted in knitting

The Never-Ending Blanket

Gather round and I’ll tell you the tale of the never-ending blanket…

It all began last summer, as Thing 1 was preparing to leave for college. I decided to make her something to take along with her. I asked what she wanted and she picked out this blanket:

Tree of Love Heirloom Crochet Afghan via Knitpicks

Now normally, I’m a knitter first and a crocheter as a last resort only (FOR GOOD REASON)! But I had just crocheted a super cute turtle for one of our foster children and was feeling pretty confident…

And so it began!

On June 18, 2018, I began crocheting away, knowing I could get the blanket done for my baby before she left in August!

But then August came and the blanket wasn’t done. Soon came Thanksgiving break and still, I had nothing to give her.

By that time, I admit, the length of the blanket seemed a little longer than I’d anticipated it being… And I was only halfway done!

It wasn’t until Christmas when I realized the truth — I’d been reading the pattern all wrong!!! I finished it quickly after that, but my 5’1″ daughter now has an over 6′ “throw” to cover up with…

And that, my friends, is the abridged tale of the never-ending blanket.

Posted in books

2019 Reading Goals

So yesterday I posted my blogging goals for 2019. Today, I’m sharing my 2019 Reading Goals!

I don’t have many, so this should be a pretty short post…

1. Read 52+ books

This one should be pretty easy. I only have to average a book a week in order to hit it. I usually read at least two, so this is probably way too low.

However, I have NO idea what 2019 is going to throw at me, especially with my neck.

I start injections this week and I’m super nervous about how that’s going to go. The blurry vision I was getting seems to be getting better, but I’m scared to get too optimistic… so I’m setting a safe goal of 52.

2. Read the Harvard Classics and the Shelf of Fiction

This has been a goal of mine for a really long time!! I’ve decided to make 2019 the year to make it happen!

To be honest, it’s probably impossible that this will happen in 2019. I fully expect it to take me at least two years. So this probably should go in a 2019-2020 goal list, but I’m including it here anyway.

If you don’t know what the Harvard Classics/Shelf of Fiction are, you can find out more and read them all for free on Bartleby or Project Gutenberg.

Project Gutenberg has this short explanation on their site:

Dr. Eliot, then President of Harvard University, had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf. (Originally he had said a three-foot shelf.)
The publisher P. F. Collier and Son saw an opportunity, and challenged him to make good on this statement by selecting an appropriate collection of works; the Harvard Classics was the result.

https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Harvard_Classics_(Bookshelf)

3. The Sookie Stackhouse Read Along!

I am SUPER excited for this Read-along! I’m aware this isn’t so much a “goal” as it is “something I saw and can’t pass up,” but my list was way too short and I’m dropping here and inviting you all to join!!

It’s hosted by What’s My Page Again? and starts January 6. Here’s the schedule (totally copied and pasted from her site, which you should go check out and join us!):

  1. 1/6-1/12: Dead Until Dark and Living Dead in Dallas
  2. 1/13-1/19: Club Dead and Dead to the World
  3. 1/20-1/26: Dead as a Doornail and Definitely Dead
  4. 1/27-2/2: All Together Dead and From Dead to Worse
  5. 2/3-2/9: Dead and Gone and Dead in the Family
  6. 2/10-2/16: Dead Reckoning and Deadlocked
  7. 2/24-2/28: Dead Ever After

I read most of the Sookie Stackhouse books right after the True Blood series started on HBO. Although I never finished the TV series, I fell in love with the books!!!

The first five are already in my posession (minus the one my daughter has), so I’m already set and ready to begin reading on Sunday!

Between goals #2 and #3, I should definitely be WAY over my books read goal for 2019… I should probably up that to about double!

4. Read the Books on My Shelf I’ve Never Gotten Around To

This is a goal that follows me around every year… read the books I bought but never actually read. There’s always a brighter, shinier book that sucks me in and forces me to read it first!

Let’s face it, that book I bought 5 years ago but never cracked the spine probably isn’t gonna get read in 2019 either. Maybe if it’s put here though, you guys can keep me accountable??? (It sounds good, anyway.)

Well, there you have it. Those are my 2019 reading goals. What do you think? What do you plan on reading this year? Leave me a comment below!

Posted in blogging

2019 Blogging Goals

Another Year Has Come and Gone…

Well, It’s officially 2019 and I’m both excited and a little sad to say goodbye to 2018.

The last part of the year was especially hard. To name a few of the most difficult…

1) We said goodbye to our foster kids, which just about killed me. 2) The pain in my neck spread to my arm, back and even caused problems with my head and vision. (I just realized I never actually posted about that.) And 3) My youngest went to live with her dad so I only see her on the weekends.

Some really great things happened during that time too, though…

1) I was able to interview my dad for StoryCorp. 2) I changed the name of the website and went self-hosted! and 3) I was blown away by the love my post received as the blog of the day via The Write Reads (go check them out!)

And with both the good and the bad of the entire past year now gone, it’s time to look forward to a new year and all it will bring with it!

Goodbye Jess Combs, Hello Combing Through the Pages!

So when I started blogging three years ago, it was a short-lived experience that revolved around me. It made sense for my blog to just be my name.

But I’m boring!

I quickly got tired of talking about myself and the Jess Combs blog died a quiet death.

One of the most exciting things about 2018 was combining the fun of blogging with my passion for reading and bookishness. Enter the name change and the birth of “Combing Through the Pages.”

Now that I have a new bookish name and it’s a new year, it’s time to start making some goals for 2019!

Blogging Goals for 2019

There’s a lot I want to do with Combing Through the Pages in 2019! Some of my goals are far-fetched dreaming, some are just practical things I should have been doing all along, and others are exciting ways to connect with other book lovers and bloggers.

Without further ado, I give you my goals list for 2019:

1. Catch Up on Review Posts!

My top priority for 2019 is to catch up on all the books I planned to have reviewed before the end of 2018. It’s no excuse, but with everything that happened from October-December, I got behind. There are some great books I’ve read that haven’t been written about yet, and a couple I didn’t get finished in 2018.

So my first goal is pretty simple… get caught up!

2. Finish Becoming “Combing Through the Pages”

So simply changing the site name from “Jess Combs” to “Combing Through the Pages” was pretty easy. But as I quickly learned, it takes a lot more than that to actually make the change!

A new logo, new about page, new headers, new social media banners, etc… There’s a lot that still has to be done to finish “re-branding.”

In a way, this one probably could go under catching up, but it’s a whole other beast to tackle and so it’s number 2 on my list!

Among the major things #2 requires, is settling on my logo. What do you guys think of the one I’m using currently? Do you have suggestions? I would absolutely LOVE any and all feedback on the site! I’m still learning so please leave your ideas, thoughts and opinions in the comments or send me a message through the Contact Me page!

3. Hit 1,000 WordPress and E-mail Subscribers

This is one of those far-fetched, if all my dreams came true goals.

I’m currently at 343 WordPress/E-mail followers. So I’d need 657 new people to subscribe to Combing Through the Pages before the end of the year. If I average 2 new followers a day, I’ll hit it, so even though it’s a “daydreaming” goal, I think it’s possible.

4. Spend 2+ Hours Every Week Supporting My Followers Blogs

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I want to be intentional in 2019 about supporting those who support me.

So my goal is to take at least 2 hours every week and just visit, comment and use affiliate links on my followers blogs. Those are all things I appreciate others doing for me, so I want to be sure to do the same for them!

5. Show More Love to Other Book Bloggers 

The book blogging community, as a whole, is amazingly supportive!

When I started reviewing book, I was lucky enough to stumble across two incredible ways to get connected, find support, and discover other great blogs!

The first was the New Bloggers support group run by Evelina at Avalinahsbooks. Whether you’re new to the book blogging thing or you’ve been at it for a while, she’s an invaluable resource! If you’re a book blogger and haven’t already, you should go check it out right now!

Again, with everything going on, I haven’t been able to participate a whole lot this past month or so on the app and I’ve missed it terribly! So part of this goal is to make full use of the community Evelina has made and retweet, reblog, and support in any way I can my fellow book bloggers!

The second great resource for me was The Write Reads on Twitter. The Write Reads makes it super easy to support other book bloggers! Every day, a different blog post is featured as the blog of the day. Others visit and retweet the post.

I’ve discovered a lot of new bloggers, new books, and great posts through The Write Reads. There have been days when the only other blogger I’ve been able to visit was the blog of the day so I’m super thankful to be a part of it and want to keep it going through 2019!

6. Create and Stick To an Editorial Calendar!

I am great at scheduling months in advance for my family, but I am horrible at it for my blog!!!

I tried to use a calendar to come up with ideas and a schedule for last year, but when I actually used it, I never followed through.

So… my goal is to actually make use of an editorial calendar. This should keep me from needing to play catch up in 2019!

7. Post 5+ Times a Week

This one kinda goes with #6, but I decided to give it it’s own number.

One of the great things about planning out posts for a month, is that I know what’s coming up! So I can write posts in advance and schedule them to post!

I’ve been getting better about this, but I want to do even better in 2019! If I stick to it, I won’t have any problem making sure I’ve got posts Monday-Friday.

8. Host 3+ Giveaways in 2019

I think I entered almost every bookish giveaway I saw at the end of 2018!

While I wasn’t fortunate enough to win any of them, I loved the idea and am really excited to do some myself! So stay tuned as I’ll be giving away books and gift cards soon!

9. Post more about Fostering.

While this blog is mostly about books, I’m also a foster parent and I want to talk more about that.

Fostering isn’t easy and people aren’t always supportive. There are things that people don’t talk about and there are some things that are just down right funny. I want to bring it all out in the open – the good, the bad, the funny, and the sad. I’m hoping to connect more with other foster parents and other bloggers who blog about their experiences.

10. HAVE FUN!

My last goal is just to have fun. Sometimes, blogging can feel like a chore instead of a hobby. So in 2019, I want to just keep enjoying what I’m doing and sharing with all of you!

So I’m looking forward to having fun as we comb through the pages of life together!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!