Little Princess Angel Wings Pinafore

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Between cleaning and scrubbing, sorting and laundry, I had managed to sneak in some quiet hours with my children at the playground and the library, and made this cute little pinafore dress.

I knew I just had to make it when a similar dress popped up in my Pinterest feed – it was so straightforward I practically saw the pattern just by looking at it. With some variations, the Angel Wings pinafores are all very much alike. With a bit of crochet know-how, you can create endless different models of this lovely dress for the little girls in your life.

Step 1: Create circle. Crochet round and round, enlarging it until, folded in half, the circle is wide enough for the bodice and arm openings.

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Fold in half:

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Bind off the arm openings on both sides. The space between the armholes is the width of the bodice – now would be a good time to get your little one to try on the dress to make sure it is wide enough. If it isn’t, don’t worry – just unbind the armholes and add a few more rows to the circle, making it as large as necessary.

Once you have your desired width and you’ve bound off the armholes, crochet round and round the bodice, working down to the desired length of the dress. You can add more stitches to make the skirt puffy and ruffled. I used the adorable shell stitch.

I worked with crochet hook number 2.5 and a delightful soft and smooth bamboo cotton yarn. It’s wonderfully cool and breathy and will be just the thing for hot weather.

I’m so glad I was able to finish this before Pesach, and just in time for Hadassah’s first birthday – can you believe that it has already been a year?

Writing with my children

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The exciting day is here! Dragon Diplomacy, my first Middle Grade novel, is available in print and on Kindle, to my immense joy and satisfaction.

Let’s face it, with how little time I have, writing is often a guilty pleasure for me, and I go back and forth a lot on how long I can allow myself to spend it without neglecting my family. This book, however, had a different birth process. It was written with my children’s active contribution, and the reading aloud of each chapter was beautiful family time I can fondly look back on. We also drew the characters and made maps (not included in the book) and thought of ideas for sequels (working on that now).

The most important lessons I learned from writing this book are probably, 1) Kids love dragons, and 2) Kids are a brutally honest audience. My daughters had no qualms to say, “this is boring” or “change the ending”. I followed their advice, of course. What choice did I have? 

My first children’s book is here! (updated)

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I am happy and excited to announce my very first children’s fantasy novel, Dragon Diplomacy, is now available in print. The Kindle edition is available for pre-order now, and will release at the end of the month.

From the blurb: “Loriel is an inquisitive 12-year-old fairy living in the enchanted forest kingdom of Silverbell Wood. The peace and tranquility of Silverbell are disrupted by Gadrak, a troubled dragon who comes to live in the middle of the fairy domain. The dragon’s incessant raids on the bordering human kingdom of Elderland cause the wrath of its people, who are determined to invade Silverbell – a prospect that might end in disaster, with the protective enchantments broken and the delicate balance of the fairy forest disrupted.”

As all my fiction books, it is published under the pen name of Hannah Ross.

I really can’t say this often enough: I appreciate and love the readers who support me by buying my books. Without you, I would never be where I am today, with 12 novels and 4 nonfiction books under my belt, and more to come. So a huge thank you! You make me doubly excited about sharing my writing with the world, and you rock.

Environmental sci-fi book giveaway

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Short promo break: if you are into environmental sci-fi, The Last Outpost, first volume in my Antarctic saga, is free on Kindle until the end of the week. Features a global war, dark secrets, government conspiracies, and prehistoric monsters frozen in ice. From the description:

Scott “Buck” Buckley, an environmental scientist, accepts the position of general overseer at the McMurdo Antarctic research station. After signing a secrecy declaration, Scott becomes privy to the existence of Geyser Valley, an area with a unique warm microclimate, which is home to the mysterious indigenous Anai people. In an outrageous conspiracy, the world governments are keeping the existence of these people a secret, to avoid limitations on the division of land for natural resources.

I love writing environmental sci-fi because it allows me to explore my favorite premise: humans don’t own the world, and if they get too arrogant, nature might just have to show them who’s boss.

So if you’re looking for a weekend read, go ahead and snag a copy while it’s free.

Exciting News – Double Book Release

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I love writing fiction, and feel so incredibly lucky to have several books out in the world now, with more planned to come under my fiction pen name, Hannah Ross. Wild Children, the first part of a post-apocalyptic saga, was released close to a year and a half ago, and I’ve been working on the sequels ever since.

This project has been a long time in the making, because my publisher and I made the decision to release not one, but two sequels simultaneously.

The Hourglass is told from the perspective of Priscilla Dahl, a 16-year-old girl who forfeits her privileged position in society to seek justice. Freeborn is the story of the backlash that occurs when the government decides to rein in the outlaws it has shunned for many years. The beloved characters from the first book – the children from the orphanage, Benjamin Grey, his parents Rebecca and Daniel, and the new friends he makes in the world of freedom and precarious life on the edge – are all there in the sequels, too.

A few months ago, just as we were finalizing some details of the impending release, a dear and beloved friend of mine, Julie Ryan, unexpectedly passed away. As I was reeling from the shock of these horrible news, my publisher asked about the book dedications, and I thought that it would be a fitting tribute to dedicate The Hourglass to Julie. The theme of this book is time – the running out of it, and doing things that will make every hour and day of our allotted time count. This is something Julie understood well, and taught me – in her life, and ultimately in her sudden death. She made every day count. She lived her life to the fullest. So, dear one up above, this book is for you.

In celebration of this double new release, Wild Children will be free on September 15th and 16th, so go ahead and download your copy. Your support in the form of shares, reviews and social media mentions is always appreciated. Thank you.

 

Up in the Clouds with G-d

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Today, I logged into Facebook and received a punch in the stomach – Julie Ryan, a great and noble woman and one of the people dearest to me on the other side of the Atlantic, unexpectedly passed away.

There are no words to describe Julie. Those who knew her, even a little bit, will never forget her. I never had the privilege of meeting her in person, but nevertheless, she was an enormous spiritual influence in my life. I am firmly convinced that Hashem led me to blogging first and foremost so I could get to know Julie. Though not Jewish, she was the one who first taught me the importance of what Rabbi Nachman from Breslev calls hitbodedut, just being out there alone with G-d and pouring all our feelings and prayers and cares and sorrows, our thankfulness and our fears and dreams, to Him in our own simple words, like a child speaking to their father.

Julie used to have a blog called Eyes of Wonder, where I first found myself on the receiving end of her kind and loving words. She eventually stopped blogging in order to protect her family’s privacy and her own time, but in years to come we have kept in touch – occasionally, as Julie was the busy mother of ten children and grandmamma to several grandchildren, and I also got married and started a family of my own – but she was in my thoughts very often. I have a whole notebook, which I treasure, filled with inspirational quotes from Julie’s blog, and excerpts from emails she had sent to me. Here is one, which I know she wouldn’t mind me sharing:

“Dear precious Anna, I have written you so many letters in my heart (and have a couple in my saved drafts folder, that never got completed and sent along—as I seem to always try and write a *longer* letter than time actually allows, then end up sending nothing–please forgive me for that, my dear friend). So, this morning I am sending along much, much, love to you—and an enormous thank-you for sharing your beautiful life and family with me, with all of us. We treasure you and have been so very blessed and honored as you have shared your beautiful wedding and priceless gift of your baby (and the exciting journey with all the sweet steppingstones along the way to actually holding your jewel in your arms and taking him/or her to your breast). ((Anna)) thank-you for continuing to share with me/us, even though at times life has not permitted me the time to respond as I would have so liked to. Thank-you for being my friend, for always thinking the best and hoping the best, and freely giving from your heart. I am so grateful that it is so.”

I am torn between sorrow for Julie’s passing, and thankfulness for there having been such a woman, mother and friend in the world.

I will conclude this with a poem Julie loved, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Out in the Fields with God. It just about summarizes her simple, childlike faith, and the very essence of her being:

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds that play,
Among the lowing of the herd,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what might pass
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay,
Among the hushing of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born —
Out in the fields with God.

Image: Grey Havens by Carel de Winter

The Last Outpost: new environmental sci-fi novel

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If you are fans of environmental science fiction, I hope you check out my new novel, The Last Outpost, now available both on Kindle and in print. It is set in Antarctica, with its theme being the precarious balance between man and nature. Also features a mysterious indigenous tribe, an outrageous government conspiracy, and ancient monsters sleeping under the ice.

From the blurb:

“Scott “Buck” Buckley, an environmental scientist, accepts the position of general overseer at the McMurdo Antarctic research station. After signing a secrecy declaration, Scott becomes privy to the existence of Geyser Valley, an area with a unique warm microclimate, which is home to the mysterious indigenous Anai people. In an outrageous conspiracy, the world governments are keeping the existence of these people a secret, to avoid limitations on the division of land for natural resources.

Scott is fascinated by the unique culture of the Anai, visiting them and learning from them as much as he can. In the meantime, the world becomes more and more unstable as global war is about to break out. Just before darkness sets over Antarctica, warfare tears the world apart, and the research station finds itself completely isolated for the long and sunless winter.

In the loneliness of the winter, Scott remains facing difficult questions all alone: who are the Anai, and how did they come to Antarctica? How much truth is there in their legends about giant ancient reptiles frozen in ice, waiting to come back to life? How is McMurdo going to hold on until the communications and supply lines are restored? And where are the limits one is not allowed to cross, not even in the name of survival?”

I’m also looking to hand out 5 review copies (in digital format), so if you are interested, please get in touch with me through the contact form. Thank you!