Category Archives: Book Sharing

A Week’s Worth of Daily Life

Life in Washington continues to be more comfortable. Over the past week it seems like a lot has been going on both with me as well as my kids. I got a bedroom in the house painted, did a little crafting, and some sewing. My kids – well, their idea of daily lives differ from mine quite a bit (which is as it should be).

This mama had a litter of 21 piglets1

Julia is taking a class on swine management this quarter and she loves it. Springtime means birthing – lots and lots of piglets have been born over the last two weeks or so. When she was ‘on duty’ last week, she helped this sow deliver her litter of 21 babies. By the time Julia got there, seven had been birthed. She was there for the birth of the next 14 which took a couple of hours. She said it was hard work, fast paced and exhilarating all at the same time. She loved every bit of it.

Her hands are a little gross but that is part of the deal. She is in her element with this sort of thing and is hoping for another mama to birth piglets during her shifts this coming week. I can say for sure, pig birthing was not a part of the curriculum during my college experience!

The beekeeping family!

My son and daughter in law have been studying the world of beekeeping over the past months. They came across an opportunity to buy a whole beekeeper’s set up (gotta love Facebook Marketplace!) so they are fully experiencing the world of bees. H is right there with them. This process is much more complex than I knew.

Helping Dad.

These experiences are priceless. I am so happy to see them so excited and learning this together.

Before!

On to my less exciting projects! This picture shows Julia’s bedroom when we bought the house. It was lavender – like really purple! We didn’t like it at all! So now that lots of the unpacking is done, I found a day to paint it. The room isn’t too big so, with a little help from my husband, it only took one day to get it done.

After!

Doesn’t it look lovely? It is a buttery yellow shade now. When we moved here, Ray remarked at how much paint was left in the garage. So we browsed the existing paint and I chose this yellow. There was a whole gallon of good quality paint, and it covered in just about one coat. I am all for using up what is already on hand. Plus the color is very pretty. I do want to make different draperies for the windows. That gray is totally wrong in this room. I am happy this is done because Julia comes home in two weeks!

Before!

OK – next incredibly exciting project! Sometime ago, my mom asked me to get rid of this old wicker basket for her but somehow I never did. It just sat in the garage and when we moved, Ray tossed it into the truck. I like the shape of the basket though so off I went in search of spray paint. We didn’t have any I liked so this project did require a quick trip to Lowe’s.

After the first coat of paint.

I chose white ‘chalk’ paint. It looks so cool! I painted outside because wow, this stuff smells awful.

After!

Isn’t this cute? I think I will put it in the sewing room after it airs out a bit. It is tall enough for rolls of wrapping paper and I also keep a selection of cut dowels for hanging various size wall quilts. I can see this coming in handy upstairs!

I met up with my two local sisters on Monday. We had planned to get coffee and take a walk. However we made the mistake of getting the coffee and parking our posteriors on this bench. After 90 minutes, it was clear we were not going to take a walk at all. So we enjoyed a nice sister visit and some good coffee.

After the sisters left, I headed to the library which was just behind the bench we sat on.

The library in Port Orchard

Somehow having a library along the coast feels very decadent to me. Who can go to the library and the beach in one trip? Me, that’s who! I love it.

A stack of books

Here is the stack I brought home and my thoughts so far. Love the Denese Schmidt book and the Quilts Made Modern by Weeks Ringle. Both have fun info and some great patterns. The Simple Simon book is what I thought it might be. While it does include some cute bits from Liz and Elizabeth, the quilts very, very simple. This book is great for someone who is truly making their first quilt. The book on succulents is great. I love succulents and had to give mine away before we moved up here. Time to get some new ones started! Kate Hudson’s book, Pretty Fun, is pretty awful. I tried to like it – but yikes it is all fluff and a waste of time. So after a few chapters, I closed it and moved on. I am in the middle of While You’re Here Doc about a country vet in Maine. I love this sort of thing. I am thinking it is probably similar to the James Herriot book series – well, I think it probably is. I haven’t read those. But if I were to guess, this is the sort of story he writes! Hahaha. It is entertaining though. Finally I will be reading the Laurie Frankel book next – I love her books so much. I am currently listening to the audio version of Goodbye For Now.

OK – that does it for now. I am at my son’s house, babysitting the youngest while he is off celebrating H’s last day of preschool. She was so excited! She told me she is graduating to kindergarten today but has to wait for summer break first. They celebrate with a hot dog bbq and taking turns riding the horses that live at the preschool. She had a great year here. How on earth is it the end of the school year already???

Remember!! The second annual Positivity QAL kicks off this weekend, Sunday May 29th. I really hope you will join us and sew along for Mercyful Quilts!

Books, 49 in 2021

In the beginning of 2021 I decided to keep track of what I read through the year. Not for any real reason other than to encourage myself to read more. I keep a list on my phone of books people recommend as well as a list on Instagram of books I see there.

It turned out to be a fun thing to keep track of. I like looking back and seeing the various books I read and loved (such as Cold Sassy Tree, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Turtles All the Way Down and Four Winds). Then there are the books I read and didn’t love (such as Educated, A Day Like This and The Handmaiden and the Carpenter). Special mention for The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. If you haven’t read this and are in my age range, give it a try. It is a hilarious and sometimes serious memoir for growing up in the 1960’s. This was my second time through it and just as enjoyable as the first time!

I know Educated was super popular and what the main character overcame is truly amazing. But for me that book just went on for too long. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it. So I decided not to finish it. As for The Handmaiden and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg, that was a strange read for me. I have read and loved just about everything Berg has written and read many of the books more than once. So during the holidays I thought it would be fun to read her interpretation of the Christmas Story. But I couldn’t get into her perception of Mary and Joseph. It felt very strange to me. This book seems to be one that people love or don’t- and I didn’t.

Sometime during the year, I picked up a stack of novels by Elin Hildebrand at the local used book store. I read them and they are ok. But very light – lots of fluff. Now that I have read a few of them, they are feeling formulaic and I think I am done with her for a while!

I will be keeping track this year as well. It has been crazy busy so the list hasn’t been too long for the start of 2022 but I am sure as things calm down, I will have more time to read. Currently I am enjoying Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.

If you are a reader, and I know many of you are, share some of your favorites in the comments. I love having a list of suggestions!

JANUARY-

Three Junes, by Julia Glass

Heal Your Headache, by David Buchholz

Before You Go, by Elizabeth Berg

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris (audio)

The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Piccoult

All He Ever Wanted, by Anita Shreve

Something Rising, by Haven Kimmel

FEBRUARY-

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel, by Ruth Hogan

The Innocent, by Harlan Coben

Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns

How to be Cool, by Johanna Edwards

MARCH-

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

Happiness Sold Separately, by Lilly Winston

What to Keep, by Rachel Cline

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris 

Looking For Alaska, by John Green

APRIL-

Accused, by Lisa Scottoline

Betrayed, by Lisa Scottoline

Frederick Douglas’ memoir

MAY-

Redhead by the Side of the Road, By Ann Tyler 

Water Witches, by Chris Bohjalian

Summer of ‘69, by Elin Hildebrand

Fly Away, by Kristin Hannah

JUNE-

I See You Everywhere, by Julia Glass

7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Associate, by John Grisham 

JULY-

Big Little Lies, by Lianne Moriarty

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

AUGUST –

Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah

28 Summers, by Elin Hildebrand

Barefoot, by Elin Hildebrand

The Ugly Cry, by Danielle Henderson

SEPTEMBER- 

The Atlas of Love, Laurie Frankel

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson

Educated- 1/2 way but didn’t like it enough to finish it.

OCTOBER –

I didn’t record anything. Not sure what happened here and I can’t remember what I read! It was a very busy month – so who knows? Maybe I didn’t actually finish a book.

NOVEMBER-

The Island, by Elin Hildebrand

A Day Like This, by Kelley McNeill

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Harvest, by Tess Garritson (Audio)

DECEMBER

Where or When, by Anita Shreve

The Art of Mending, by Elizabeth Berg

Home Safe, by Elizabeth Berg

Strange Fits of Passion, by Anita Shreve

One By One, by Ruth Ware

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett (audio)

The Handmaiden and the Carpenter, by Elizabeth Berg

Just One Charm Pack – Blog Hop!

Finally! Today is my day on the blog hop celebrating the release of Cheryl Brickey’s second quilt book, Just One Charm Pack. I have been waiting to play with this book for quite some time. I loved her first book Modern Plus Sign Quilts and knew this book would be at least as creative. Cheryl’s patterns are not new to me. I have made three so far (Postage Plus, Pike’s Peak and Flock of Geese.) Additionally, I have carried her patterns in my shop for a long while and they are very popular. (Note – all quilt patterns, including Cheryl’s, are currently 25% off and have free shipping in the US. Take a peek!)

Just in case you are new to Needle and Foot via Cheryl’s book celebration, welcome! I have been quilting on and off since 1978. Well, I made several quilts in 1978 and 1979 and then didn’t begin again until 2011. But as with most quilters, once the bug bit, I started quilting with a passion! Please take a minute to poke around my blog and visit. I have also had an on-line fabric shop for the last (almost) five years. I am in the process of retiring so all fabric there is on sale. If you’d like to check it out, click here!

Some time ago, Cheryl invited a group of quilt bloggers to make a quilt from the new book and share it upon the release of the book. We were able to choose which quilt we wanted to make and I chose the Ninja pattern which is based on a variation of the Friendship Star block.

My version of the Ninja quilt was made with 1/2 of a Kaffe Fassett charm pack that I had left from an earlier project. I was thrilled to see I could complete a quilt with just that small stack! I had both the white and the lavender solid fabric in my stash so it was a breeze to pull fabrics for this quilt. The lavender background is actually a solid cotton voile. I hadn’t made a quilt with cotton voile and have to say, I love the extra soft feel it has.

Piecing the quilt was very simple and because of Cheryl’s clear, concise instructions, there were no issues when putting the top together. By off-setting the placement of the Friendship Star blocks, there is nice movement to the design. I played around with ideas for quilting it until I took a closer look at the sample quilt in the book. It was quilted with concentric circles. The curved lines looked so perfect with the angular design. Not willing to free motion quilt that many circles, I chose to use my walking foot and do a pattern similar to a Baptist Fan. It was so simple to just begin in a corner and work to the center. Once I hit the center (or close to it), I just started another corner. Filling in between all four sections was the last step.

The quilt is backed with a dark purple flannel and the quilting shows nicely from the back side.

This cute little quilt (about 36″ x 50″) will be sent to a friend of the family. They just had their first baby, a girl named Natalie. I hope they will enjoy it and use it to pieces!

By the way, the patterns in this book are all traditionally pieced which means no paper piecing. For me, that is a big win! Another win, in my opinion, is that the quilt designs appear to be quite easy to enlarge. It would be no issue to just make more of these blocks and add to the width of the top and bottom border to make this a larger, lap size quilt.

Now that I have shared the quilt I made, I wanted to also show you a peek at some of the other patterns. Honestly, Cheryl designed some really fun, easy patterns.

Pieced by Cheryl Brickey, quilted by Carol Alperin

This quilt is named Fishies, rightfully so, don’t you think? I love the look of the school of fish all traveling together. So sweet.

Pieced and quilted by Myra at Busy Hands Quilt

This pattern is called Ships Ahoy. It was made by Myra of Busy Hands Quilts. Her colors are perfect for a bright addition to a nursery and that quilting is gorgeous. You can read more about her process here

Pieced and quilted by Liz, Savor Every Stitch

Finally, I have to share this version of Cat’s Eye. It was pieced and quilted by Liz at Savor Every Stitch. Just spend a minute adoring the quilting. Liz has such talent. To see more photos and read about Liz’s process, click here.

No doubt there is a quilt for everyone in this book. I encourage you to take a further look by following along with the blog hop. It began on July 15th and goes through July 29th. Cheryl will be posting the newest quilts on her site daily so you can read along.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Each pattern in the book uses a single charm pack, an additional fabric (called fabric A in the pattern) and a background fabric).  The book is the Hamburger Helper for charm packs, stretching one into a full quilt 🙂

You can grab a copy of Just One Charm Pack Quilts on Amazon or get a signed copy in Cheryl’s shop.  

As a bonus, if you purchase a signed copy from Cheryl’s shop, you can get one additional free stand alone pattern (digital or printed) by adding the book and a stand alone pattern ($12 value) and then using the coupon code HOPPATTERN (through the end of the hop 7/29) during checkout.

Quilting Cozy Series, Book Review & Giveaway

It has been quite a while since I have done a book review. When I saw an email from C&T Pubs in my in-box a couple of months ago, I was delighted.  I really enjoy working with them as they publish so many high quality books.  This set of books is a bit different though.

When I read that these books, the Quilting Cozy series, were described by the author, Carol Dean Jones, as a Cozy series of books, I didn’t know what that referred to.  Of course Wikipedia answered all my questions. Per Wikipedia, ‘Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.’ This is new to me. (I don’t generally read mysteries).  C&T Pubs provided me with a copy of a book in the series. Titled Tie Died, it is the first book in the series. About a woman who has recently moved into a senior living village,  she takes up quilting (among other hobbies) to meet other people.  The story is sweet and short and of course there is both a love interest and a murder mystery to be solved. I will say the twist at the end took me by surprise.

Each book includes the full pattern for the quilt shown on the cover.

There is a reader’s guide available too. Ms. Jones put together a collection of discussion points and questions that go with the books.  Some of the questions do contain spoilers so you may want to read the book before looking through the reader’s guide.

I found it interesting to learn that the author, Carol Dean Jones, wrote her first book at the age of 73. She was a geriatric social worker prior to retiring.  This gives her a realistic perspective on the issues with aging and all that comes with this stage of life. This insight adds a very genuine touch to her books. Carol is also an experienced quilter which adds greatly to the stories.  Having the stories built around the lives of several women in this retirement village, Carol brings up thought-provoking questions about friendship, crime, responsibility, aging, and marriage. The books would be fun to read and chat about at your next small group quilt club meeting. You can read more about this author on her website.

These books were actually self published at first.  C&T Pubs is releasing the second edition now.  They are available as both hard copy and e-books.  The first six books in the series (Tie DiedRunning StitchesSea BoundPatchwork ConnectionsStitched Together, and Moon Over the Mountain) are already out; the next four books (The Rescue QuiltMissing MemoriesTattered & Torn, and Left Holding the Bag) are coming out in December and January.

The release of the Quilting Cozy series is being celebrated this week with a blog hop.  There is a very generous giveaway on each blog in the hop. C&T Pubs has given each of us one full e-book set to give to a lucky reader.

Check out these posts for more on this set of books as well as more chances to win.

Monday 12/3: C&T Publishing

Tuesday 12/4: Bonnie K. Hunter at Quiltville

Wednesday 12/5: Barbara Chojnacki at Six Gables Designs

Thursday 12/6: You are here!!  Bernie Kringel at Needle & Foot

Friday 12/7: Carol Dean Jones

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.

To enter the giveaway for the series of Quilting cozy e-books, leave me a comment.  Tell me if you are a reader and what genres do you enjoy?  Do you like mysteries? Did you know what a cozy was??  Have you read any of the books in this series?  I love to read and would love to chat with you about what you enjoy! Good luck everyone!  Giveaway is open until Sunday.  I will announce the winner Monday.

 

 

Fabric & Fiction, Round Six

It has been quite a while since I last started a round of Fabric and Fiction.  Somehow the autumn months went by and it just never happened.  With the beginning of the new year, I have been reading a lot.  I think it feels good to slow down after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  So far this year I have read Icy Sparks, by Gwen Rubio and The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

These two books couldn’t be more unalike.  Icy Sparks, an Oprah book club pick from about 15 years ago, is a dark but somewhat humorous look at a girl growing up in the 1950’s in Kentucky.  She suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome which wasn’t well understood at that time.  This feisty girl lives with her doting grand parents and suffers the wrath of her school mates, mean teachers and others who taunt her endlessly.  It made me sad to read it in part but I will tell you I liked the ending (I’m not saying more than that though!)  She befriends a very obese woman in town and they support each other as best they can, empathizing with each other as outcasts in their community.

 

 

The other book, The Undomestic Goddess, is a book about a high powered attorney who makes a mistake with one of her clients.  Horrified and not knowing what to do, she runs away and takes a job as a housekeeper for a ditzy but wealthy couple.  She hasn’t a clue how to cook, clean or do laundry and it is fun to read about her mistakes. Of course there is a sweet love story built in as well.

Remember Amelia Bedelia?

Kinsella’s book reminds me of a grown up version of Ameila Bedelia.  Did you read that series as a child?  I loved it. There were over twenty Amelia Bedelia stories written from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.  I believe the original author, Peggy Parish, passed away and her nephew has written more Amelia Bedelia books since her death.   Anyway, The Undomestic Goddess is somehow similar, very light, lots of fluff, and a bit predictable but I really enjoyed the story.  Not everything I read has to be deep and carry life altering messages.  Sometimes it is just fun to read and be entertained.

Since I skipped the fall book share, let’s go crazy and do two books this time!  Here is my plan.  I will open two book shares.  Six people can sign up for each one.  It might be best if you only sign up for one book so more people can participate. If we don’t get up to six people for either of the books, then you can sign up for the second book.

In case this is new to you, the way it works is I will send the book and three fat quarters of fabric to the first person on the list.  That person reads the book (please don’t keep the book any longer than three weeks or it takes forever for the book to go around) and then chooses three fat quarters and sends them along to the next reader.  It has proven to be too expensive to send the book out of the country so I think it is best to limit this to the US.  (I’m sorry about this!)  When you choose the fat quarters, try to select fabrics that relate to the book in some fashion.  Include a quick note about how the fabric made you think of the book (without telling too much and spoiling the book for the next reader!)

I have really enjoyed this book club of sorts and hope you will join in!  To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment and please tell me which book is your top choice.  I will try to create groups of six with you getting your book of choice, if possible.  It is first come, first serve.  Please, if you are reading this on Bloglovin, click through to my actual site and leave your comment there.  It is hard to track who was first to comment, between the blog and the Bloglovin reader comments.  If you have questions, leave them in the comments.

Thanks for sharing books with me in this way.  I love hearing from the group and finding out what each person thought of the book!  Now that I have finished the two books featured here, I am reading The Things We Keep, by Sally Hepworth.  It is a great read so far.  Maybe we will share it next time around!  What are you reading these days?  Share with us by leaving a comment.

*This is an affiliate post, meaning if you click through links on my page and make a purchase, I will be compensated.  My compensation does not change the price you pay.

 

Fabric and Fiction, Round 5

Time just buzzes by.  It is one year since I began hosting the Fabric & Fiction book group. Last June, while on vacation in Maine, I thought it would be fun to share a book and see what others thought of it. About five or six readers joined in and we mailed the book from one member to the next, including three fat quarters of fabric that were somehow relevant to the book. Since then we have read Vinegar Girl, Double Bind, and Open House. Currently The Book of Bright Ideas is in route to various readers. It has really been a fun way to build community, enjoy a fun book, and give and receive fabric. As the book is received and read by the members of the group, each person writes a short note about their opinion of the book and then sends it to the next person along with three new fat quarters.

Today marks the beginning of the next book share.  This summer we will share The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Liane Moriarty. Ms. Moriarty is a prolific auther who has written a number of really good books.  Last summer I read What Alice Forgot and it was excellent.  Liane also wrote Big Little Lies which I haven’t read yet. I am on the waiting list for it at the library though.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is about a woman who is a professional hypnotherapist who, until now, has not had many successful relationships with men. She meets Patrick, a widower with a young son, and feels like this might be ‘the one’ until she learns of a woman who stalks him constantly. I won’t tell you anymore but to say this is a really good book. I loved the characters, the setting, and the bits of information about hypnotherapy the author tucks into the story. The plot has a suspenseful element to it, making it quite hard to put down. It is a fun summer read and I hope you will enjoy it!

The first six readers to sign up via the comments are in.  As much as I hate to do this, I am limiting this round to readers in the US. We have been sharing within Canada and the UK but it is expensive and shipping out of the country really slows the book down. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone.

Before I close, I want to share the fat quarters I have received through the Fabric and Fiction groups.  I think this photo shows the fabric received from the first two books. The second two books have not completed the rotation completely so I don’t  have the books back yet.  I love this mix and I hope to add to it as we go.  When I have enough I will make a quilt just for me and it will contain fabric from all sorts of quilty friends!!

This group of fabric, sent to me by Rhonda of Rhonda’s Ramblings was a total surprise. She sent it as a thank you for organizing these reading circles. What a sweet gesture and a wonderful treat to open!!

I added the two gray and pink fat quarters to the collection for my quilt. The other two, the ducks and the vintage kitchen piece, will be used for other projects. I love all of them!

If you are interested in joining the summer group, please let me know in the comments!  Also, there is still plenty of time to join in the Summer Sewalong. We will be making a cute shirt with a very simple pattern.  Click here to read the details.

Fiction and Fabric, Round 4

With the beginning of Spring this week, I want to introduce the book we will be sharing for this round of Fiction and Fabric.  I have really enjoyed each of these book sharing events. Just in case you haven’t participated, you can read more about them here and here.  In a nutshell, I select a book that I would like to share. Those interested sign up (very quickly) in the comments. We then start reading it (the same copy) one after the other. I send the book with three fat quarters of fabric that I tie to the book in some way to the first person. Once that person has read the book, she makes a little note in the front cover saying what she liked (or didn’t like) about the book and sends it to the next person with three fat quarters that she chooses, again based on the book.

It has been great fun to hear the thoughts of the other readers as well as seeing what fabric they send.  Beginning with this round, if you are on Instagram, please share a picture of the book and the fat quarters you receive.  Let’s tag it #fictionandfabric. I don’t always get to see the other fabrics people select and it would be nice to see the different choices.  Remember that if you sign up, please don’t keep the book for too long – try to read it within three weeks and have it sent off to the next reader. If you choose “media mail” for shipping it is much less expensive (though it may take a bit longer to arrive). For this round, I am only opening it to readers in the US. We have had people in the UK and Canada participating but the book takes such a long time to get there and it is fairly expensive for the person that has to mail it out of the country as well as the international reader when she mails it back into the states.  I am sorry about this.  If anyone has suggestions on making it more feasible, please let me know in the comments.

More about the book!! I first read The Book of Bright Ideas when it was loaned to me by my good friend, and fellow book lover, MaryAnn.  We meet for coffee each month (we used to work together) and often bring a book we think the other might enjoy.  I loved the book. It is a coming of age story set in small town USA and told  from the perspective of a young girl. She is living in a fairly dysfunctional family when two sisters move into town.  They are free spirits with a very different approach to life. The story follows the friendship of the two young girls, Button and Winnalee, as well as the relationship that develops between older sister, Freeda, Button’s mother, and Aunt Verdella. The story is set in the 1960’s when women were becoming a bit more independent and wanting to experience more in life. As with many good stories, the ending took me by surprise. I read this one quickly because it held my interest throughout.

This is the first book I have read by Sandra Kring. Ms, Kring resides in northern Wisconsin and this is her second novel to be published. She tells us that the idea came to her as she watched two young girls playing dress up and she began to think about the importance of that first close friendship made between two people. From there the character of Button evolved and told the story of how this happened to her one summer. There is a sequel to this book, A Life of Bright Ideas, in which Sandra brings Button and Winnalee back together two years later as eighteen year old young women living in the 1970’s. I haven’t yet read it but I plan to. When the first book ended, I was left wanting to know what becomes of these two little girls. Luckily, I will be able to read about it. 🙂

I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.  Sign up in the comments, first come first served. The group is limited to six people or it takes too long for the book to make its way through the group. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Sign ups are closed. We will do another round of Fiction and Fabric in June!

Winter Bookshare

Who is ready for another book share? The summer book, Vinegar Girl, has made it’s way home to me. The Fall book, The Double Bind, has reached the last reader in the group and should be on it’s way home to me soon. I think that means it is time for the third round!

If you aren’t familiar with this activity, I select a book that I have read and think people will enjoy. If interested, you sign up by leaving a comment (first come, first served) and we share the book. I mail it off to the first person on the list with three fat quarters that I relate back to the book in some fashion. Once that person is done reading it, a note is written in the front cover of the book for others to read. We usually just share a couple of sentences describing our thoughts about the book and then forward it on with a new set of fat quarters for the next person to enjoy. This has been a lot of fun and I enjoy hearing other’s opinions of the book.

For this round, I selected a book by Elizabeth Berg. She is one of my very favorite authors. A prolific author, Ms. Berg has never disappointed me. I believe I have read all of her books except for the  most recent one. (Only because it hasn’t been available at the library when I have checked!)  The book I selected, Open House, is wonderful. So much so, that this is the second time I read it. This novel is about a woman dealing with divorce. It is a heartwarming story of the process that the main character, Samantha, goes through as she grieves the dissolution of her marriage and figures out how to heal and become whole again. One thing she does is open her home to boarders so that she can afford to stay in her house.

Elizabeth Berg has the ability to develop characters that the reader easily relates to. I usually come to love the protagonist and almost always feel just a little sad when the book comes to an end. Berg writes about real people dealing with real life situations. Her stories are not deep or complicated but they are genuine. In this book, she does a good job of developing the secondary characters (the boarders and Samantha’s friends) and I enjoyed each of them. My only criticism is that the happy ending for Sam might have been better served if it hadn’t involved a man. She got to the other side of her divorce a much stronger person and not just because of her new relationship. This is a quick read and one that I am happy to share. This book is not a long one which will be good for the group. It takes a while to get the book to each reader so I thought it might be nice to choose a book that was on the shorter side.

Ope House  is an older book which was published in 2000.   I find it interesting that this was actually Berg’s first novel. After writing it, she decided she didn’t like it and went on to write another one. Later she pulled it out and worked it over, publishing it as Open House. It is often the case that we make something and feel disappointed in it, only to shove it back in the closet somewhere. Then we bring it back out another time, change it up a bit, and give it new life.  There is usually value in our work – it just doesn’t always become apparent at the very beginning.

Books are such a great escape for me. Ray and I both read quite a bit and I am pleased that our children enjoy reading as well. Here is a picture of Julia a few years back.  I found her in her room, looking over her stash of books and somehow she ended up balancing a stack of them on her legs. It made me smile to see this! (Granted, the photo isn’t the greatest quality – I snapped it with my phone.)

 

I will be out of touch for a week or so. My son is getting married next weekend. We are traveling to Toronto,Ontario for the wedding. Things will be back to normal in a week or ten days. Until then, be creative and make something you love. 🙂

Post Update: sign ups for this book share are closed- Sorry to disappoint anyone. Let me know if you wanted in and I will give you a heads up when I post the book for the Spring Book Share.

A Weekly Update

This week I have continued to work on the challenges set forth in Amanda Jean Nyberg’s lesson for the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club.  She suggested a few ideas for creating fabric pulls; not so much to create an actual project, rather just to go through the exercise of gathering fabrics for a certain element. This has been a lot of fun, not as easy as one would think, and a total mess making experience in the sewing room!

For one pull, I selected two pieces of fabric and pulled a selection that would work with them. This is the fabric I selected as the basis.

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Both of these fat quarters are Dear Stella prints. I bought them a long while back and they sit, along with so many others, waiting to be used. For the initial pull, I just quickly selected pieces of yardage or larger scraps  in grays, blues and greens that might work with them.

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Next, I pulled some pinks and reds that complemented the fabric and added different scale and density to the mix.

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I also took a quick minute to put a grayscale filter on the pictures to check for value differences.

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Finally I just put them all together and took out those that were misfits. The Allison Glass text print was a red that leaned to orange. I wanted reds that leaned to pink.  The green floral print looked weird and the Henry Glass light blue print (with the keys on it) was the wrong shade. Ultimately, I kept these in the group.

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This would be a fun pull for a project, right?

Another idea from Amanda was to take a pretty photograph and develop a pull around it. I chose this picture from our peach tree last summer because there are a limited number of colors in it.

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I thought it would be a good challenge to work out a grouping with greens and orange to peachy tones. Here is the first pull.

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Working quickly, so as not to overthink it, I removed both the brightest green and the green/yellow check – both shades were wrong. That left this set of five greens.

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Next I pulled the from the orange, yellow and peach grouping, leaving these.

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All three of the brown fabrics were kept, making this the final pull.

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This is a good pull of cohesive color, different values and large to small scale fabrics. It was very easy to sort through, leaving me convinced that it just takes practice. I doubt myself when I am putting colors together but these little exercises have really been helpful. I think the second pull is more interesting than the first. What could be added to the first one to make it more exciting??

Playtime is over and I forced myself to put all of these pieces back where they belong and get back to the sewing machine. It was fun though and an easy task to do while I endured a wicked cold that Julia so lovingly shared with her mama.

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A few more quick things… I want to share what I think is a really cool event that is coming up next week. Mari, of Academic Quilter is holding a Gratitude Sale. She has decided to do a huge destash (after recently moving, she unpacked her quilting stash and realized there are lots of pieces of fabric that she doesn’t want or need, as well as quilting books and notions). Rather than do a destash sale on IG, she wants to hold a “sale” where the buyer selects the items they are interested in, contributes to a charity and once Mari sees the receipt, she will ship off the fabric. I think this is hugely generous on Mari’s part. She has a list of three very deserving charities for you to choose from. She asks that the buyer pay for the shipping which won’t be terribly expensive with the use of the flat rate envelopes that the post office offers. If you think about it, purchasing fabric in this fashion has now made it a tax deductible event. It’s absolutely a win-win. Mari’s sewing room will be less chaotic, your stash will grow, charities will be supported, and you have another tax deduction come April 15th. I can’t find a problem in any of it! Check out Mari’s sale, running for the duration of next week! See you there. 🙂

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If you want an idea for any book lover on your Christmas list, I just read the sweetest book.

Provided to me for review by Blogging for Books, I read through this book in an enjoyable afternoon. Light and interesting, this book takes approximately 50 sayings from various cultures and explains them to the reader. Ella Sanders, the author of the book, does an excellent job of tying the phrases to a similar phrasing used in the English language. It was entertaining to get this small glimpse into other culture’s idioms and colloquialisms and gave me a bit of insight into what that culture values as important. She chose a collection of phrases and proverbs that are sometimes humorous and always very descriptive. Where possible,Sanders gives a bit of history around how the saying came to be. I think this is an excellent book to gift to a lover of language and vernacular. The illustrations are adorable and the brevity of each page (there is a different colloquialism on each page) makes it a fun book for the coffee table.

Another book I just finished is The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins.  I picked up a copy at the thrift store and it grabbed me from the very beginning. Have you read this? It was a thriller that is along the lines of Gone Girl. Crazy good and on the dark side, this was a gripping read. Just a suggestion if you are in need of a suspenseful, somewhat twisted, read. It has been made into a movie which was just released. I haven’t seen it yet though.

Linking to Lorna at Let’s Bee Social today as well as a few others. Find the URL’s at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Quilt Retreat and a Book Review

Remember two years ago when I went on a quilt retreat in Downieville and ended up buying a house? (You can read about that here.)  Well, this weekend was the Downieville quilt retreat for 2016. I had such a great time. When I was packing up and getting ready for the retreat, I was somewhat hesitant because I was not totally looking forward to the classes I signed up for. But that hesitance was all for naught. The weekend was wonderful and both classes so much fun.

Friday I took a class called Reverse Applique. I thought that it was to be a class on traditional reverse applique where the shape is cut from the top fabric, edges are turned under and the second fabric applied underneath the first (showing through the shape that was cut.)  Nope, this class was really a basic applique class but the images were sliced up a bit and stitched back together to show a negative image against the positive. I chose to make a snowflake theme. (There were several to choose from.)  These are really pretty though.

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The process was the basic trace, fuse, and applique. However this was the first time I used a clear polymer thread. Yikes – that was a strange experience.  While my sewing machine was ok with it, my eyes were not!  It was so hard to see what I was doing. There were so many little curves to work around. Once I had them appliqued, we split each one in half and sewed the half triangle to its opposite.

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I am in the process of picking the stabilizer off the backs so I can square these and put them together. I think it will hang up at Downieville. The colors are nice for the living room.

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Friday night most of us met for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. This is a tiny guild which makes for a small retreat. I like that though because it is easy to get to know the others. There was a string band playing music and we had dinner on the deck. Very relaxing.

Saturday’s class was a paper piecing project. This was the one I was nervous about. I have only paper pieced one block. While it wasn’t awful, it was tricky for me. Remember my lack of spatial perception? That comes heavily into play with paper piecing.

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But what luck. I had the best teacher! She was so patient and even offered to rip out my (numerous) mistakes for me. I didn’t let her do that of course, but it was sweet of her to offer. She patiently explained and explained the process to me and finally it clicked!

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Everything about paper piecing is the polar opposite of how my mind works. Placing the fabric from behind, stitching above where you can’t really see the fabric, trimming up for the next piece – it is a trick for me to put that all together. But I think I’ve got it. At least I hope so. I was able to finish three of the six little Christmas trees for this project. (That took me a good five hours to accomplish.) It will be interesting to see if I can jump back in and get the other trees pieced without a whole lot of difficulty.

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I am excited to have learned this and hopefully with practice, it will become easier!

As with many quilt guilds, The Mountain Star Quilters do an Opportunity quilt each year. They tend to make somewhat traditional quilts and this year’s was just lovely. I actually joined in with the sewing and had fun making some of the blocks (I think they are Sawtooth Stars?) We raffled it off and the proceeds go to the scholarship fund for the local high school. I took a picture of just a portion because there were people visiting and it blocked part of the quilt but you get the idea. It is a queen size quilt though.

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Finally, I wanted to share a bit about a book I recently read. Blogging for Books provided a copy of Still Here, by Lara Vapnyar to me for review. Honestly, I didn’t like the book.

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I chose this book because I thought the plot was really relevant to today’s world. Now that people have such an online presence, there are decisions to be made about one’s on-line accounts, blogs, social media, photos etc once a person dies. For example, when people are writing wills and going through the estate planning process, it is now thought prudent to give someone authorization to deal with your on-line property. Who will close your Facebook account, deal with your blog site or Etsy shop? This is something to consider and (obviously) is something that hasn’t had to be dealt with before the last 15 years or so.  I read the description of the book and thought that was to be part of the story.
However, this was not really the case. The story is that of four friends who are all in their late thirties to early forties and have come from Russia to live and work in the US. Honestly, the story moved incredibly slow. I had to force myself to pick it up and continue to read it. The characters are all a bit morose and their attitudes are quite negative as a rule. Each of the four are going through struggles, with career, marriage, parenting, losing their aging parents. I think it would be difficult to move from one country to another and strive to assimilate into the culture. But the four friends in this book are somewhat shallow minded and self obsessed. I kept hoping something would happen to change this. The ending is mostly positive and leaves the reader feeling that maybe these people are going to make some positive changes and possibly mature a bit.
The author does a decent job portraying (almost satirizing) people who are really steeped in today’s social media frenzy. The story is weak and left me feeling almost depressed. Not a great read.

I do think the subject of one’s on-line property is an interesting one. Have you thought about how you would want your accounts to be dealt with should something awful happen? Kind of morbid and uncomfortable, I know, but with the technology that has become such a large part of our world, it is a subject that will be reckoned with.

Linking up with a few of my favorites. Check them out a the top of the page, under Link Ups.