Wednesday, 15 October 2014

#Twinkle by S. J. Parkinson and Giveaway

I love watching fireworks, from the brilliant sparkles to the reverberating explosions.  They are like magic, dancing across the sky.  Author SJ Parkinson envisions fireworks with a more sinister motive in his newest novel Twinkle.

On July 4, Sir Marcus Brandon, the wealthiest man in the world, wants to celebrate the launch of  GNI, (Global News International) with a fireworks show.  To ensure worldwide enjoyment, he has arranged for it to be shot from satellites in orbit.   Inexplicably, all who viewed the fireworks start to go blind twenty-two hours later.  Only a handful of people around the globe, those who didn't view the fireworks, retain their vision.

This book is  set in the United States, but easily could have been  located in any of the world's major cities.  Much of the plot is centred around various levels of the military and the President, though the medical and general public are critical to the plot.

While I don't usually read military inspired stories, I was captivated from the first pages.  For two days I couldn't put this book down.  The military discipline and procedures worked well in this story. I wasn't lost by the unfamiliar terms, locations or processes of NORAD or the army/navy as Mr. Parkinson included succinct footnotes that answered my questions before I even knew to ask them.  Security surrounding the American President was paramount in this plot and explained equally as well.

Twinkle is fast paced, occurring over the course of a two week span.  There are frequent jumps between the main characters and locations, each is easy to follow and there doesn't leave gaps in the narration.   Even though the story moves along quickly, there is sufficient detail such that I felt as though I knew several of the characters.  My favourites being: Dr. Krause who was working to cure the blindness, Oscar Blake who was a patient of the doctor and missed the fireworks, and Colonel Alvin Smith who was on duty at NORAD during that night.



I recommend reading the author's end notes where he provides additional information clarifying fact from fiction  with regard to both the blindness and the military.  This is a well contrived story and should appeal to a wide range of readers.

For a chance to win a copy of Twinkle and four additional books by SJ Parkinson, use the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to Virtual Author Books Tours and author SJ Parkinson for my review copy. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting for Wine

As well as creating useful items, such as hat and scarves, I get pleasure making decorative items.  A wine bottle doesn't really require a cosy, but they sure do  look cute.  These will be finding their way to one of my cousins.  Her husband's family owns a winery, so I felt these would be welcome.

Both patterns are available free online.  I used to base pattern from the cabled bag on the green eyelet bag, though I adjusted the number of stitches.

Cable Bottle Cosy by JustBCrafty

I did eight cable repeats.

Eyelet Bag by Kathy North for Classic Elite Yarns


Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you

It was busy this past week with a visit from my sister and then Thanksgiving dinner with more family.  That didn't leave much time for  stitching. Did you have time to do any stitching this past week, Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current post.


 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tangled Thursday - The Letter P

The Letter P.  That was our challenge by Elaine, tangle the letter P in any way you want.  I took it literally and purchased a small wooden letter.  It's just over 6 inches in height and  2 1/2 inches wide.  Tangles used: papyrus, wud, intersection, floating disks, paradox and zedbra.

This was a fun challenge having so few instructions/rules. It gave me the freedom to do a letter shape, something I've been wanting to do for a while.

I'll be giving this letter to my nephew Paul.

Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my local and online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme  and them post our drawings in about 2 weeks time.  All are welcome to join in the fun.  If you are new to Zentangles, then visit the website for a complete explanation and all sorts of online resources.  I'm also a big fan of TanglePatterns

Did you play along this week and tangle with 'P'.  Add a link to your 'P' post, or your other current tangle related post to Mister Linky below.   

If you missed my Needlework post on Tuesday, you still have time to enter my "Guess the Scarf Location" contest. Read that post for details on how to enter. 



 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Finish of a Year Long Project

 After a year of stitching, and more stitching, my temperature scarves are finished.  I had to take them outside for their photo session.  They are slightly different lengths due to using two sizes of needles, but that won't affect the wearability.   I tried to get the fringe to lay to the right, but the wind kept blowing it all around.

The rows representing October 1, 2013 are in the foreground.  I added black rows to separate each month.  The scarves measure 8 1/2 inches wide and  212 inches long , that is 17 and a half feet, approximately.
#TemperatureScarf
 

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you


In all photos, my scarf, representing temperatures of Waterloo, Ontario are shown on the left and the mystery location is on the right.  This final photo shows temperatures for September.  Now for some fun.  What is the mystery location represented by the scarf on the right?  Correct answer will win, or a random draw if multiple correct answers, if no correct answer, then a random draw to select a winner.

edited to add helpful hints:

The location is in Canada

Following is a key to the yarn colours and associated tempertures in Celcius,


Use the Rafflecopter to enter, do not put your place guess in the comments,

Marie, at Daisy's Book Journal also knit a temperature scarf, of course, she lives at a different location, so her's looks very different.

Did you do some stitching this past week, Mister Linky is waiting below for your link.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

Generally an author starts at the beginning of a story and proceeds to the natural ending. In this instance, author Rebecca Makkai has successfully done the opposite. She has started near the end, just prior to the turn of millennium and the threats of the Y2K bug.  Zee and her husband Doug have returned to her childhood home and taken up residence in the former coach house. 

For many years there had been an artist colony housed on the grounds, and Doug is obsessed with gaining access to their files.  Somehow he must find a way past his secretive mother-in-law's guard. A fateful confrontation with her  on New Year's Eve and a serious mis-communication  leads to even more questions rather than the long sought answers. Once this time line draws to some reasonable conclusions, Ms. Makkai skips back in time to when Zee's parents first arrive at the house over forty years earlier.  Once again, we are treated to some revelations but also to further questions.   This process repeats back through the hundred year history of the house.

I have to admit that I really didn't like most of the behaviour of the modern residents.  They all had secrets they were keeping and when they did talk with each other, they were poor communicators.  More walls than openings.

Once we had travelled back to the arrival of Zee's parents  at the house in 1955, I got more interested in what was happening.    I still didn't find Grace and George to be likable people, but at least I could understand their behaviour.  From this point, the secrets and the revelations just kept getting more fascinating and unexpected till the point where I could hardly put the book down.

It was interesting to have this look inside the artist colony and see the interactions between the various guests.  I can imagine that such  interactions could certainly spur their imaginations and output.

There was an intriguing sounding cocktail mentioned in the book, White Lady, and I had to verify whether it was a creation by the author or a real drink.  It was easy to check and it certainly does exist.  I love that mix of fiction and real.

White Lady

2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
one egg white  (I'm going to leave this out)

Mix in a shaker with ice, strain and enjoy.

Thanks to Penguin Canada for use of the cover image.

#HundredYearHouse

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Sewing with a Layer Cake

Even with the gorgeous weather we had this past weekend, I did manage to find a bit of sewing time.  I started this project along with a friend way back in March.  My friend finished hers long ago and I am still in the midst of sewing seemingly endless rows of strips together.  This quilt started with purchasing a layer cake, which is a packet of 40 different squares of co-ordinated fabrics 10 inches on a side.  I selected one called Road 15 from Moda.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you


Each strip is carefully numbers and laid in the order they will be sewn together

I decided the best approach would be to sew the strips together in pairs.  Just over half are paired in the following photos.  When I look at the strips with my glasses off, I can really see the pieces flowing together.  My only problem with this pattern is that we were instructed to press the seams open. arg, that means that every intersection has to be pinned. That's one heck of a lot of pins.  It is worth the effort and the seams are matching wonderfully.

I bought border fabrics today and am looking forward to completing this quilt top.  It should end up a good lap size, unless we decide to hang it on the wall.  #BargelloQuilt

Truth be told, I had intended to work on another quilt this week, but I haven't found all the fabrics I want to use.  I knew that if i rushed it, I wouldn't have been happy with the results.  Better to take my time in the preparation stage, it will result in a much better quilt in the long run.

I am getting so close to completing my temperature scarves.  Just have to record today's high, and then can finish knitting September.  Next week I'll have photos of both scarves in their full length.  #TemperatureScarf

Did you get a chance to stitch this past week?  leave a comment or better yet, add a link to Mister Linky. I'll be sure to visit and leave a comment.


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Tangled Thursday - Patterns inside Patterns

Tami, at Just One More Thing, challenged us to create a pattern within a pattern.  She posted a good example to illustrate. This led me to think of some quilt blocks I have been working on over the past year.  The blocks are made up of diamonds and triangles. Perfect for this challenge.  (I have five blocks sewn and many more pieces cut, but still a long way from revealing my progress).
Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my local and online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme  and them post our drawings in about 2 weeks time.  All are welcome to join in the fun.  If you are new to Zentangles, then visit the website for a complete explanation and all sorts of online resources.  I'm also a big fan of TanglePatterns.com.
After a bunch of playing around to lightly draw some pencil lines for guidance, I started in the middle with the mooka.  Since I am still not comfortable with that tangle, I kept them simple.  Next I did the outside points. I worked all same triangles/diamonds at the same time in an attempt to keep them as identical as possible.

This was worked on a 9 x 12 inch piece of multi media paper.  It was very flat looking before I added the shading.  #Zentangle

One of my earlier thoughts on creating this piece, was to draw each different triangle/diamond once in a larger size, photo copy and then cut and paste to make a very large piece of artwork.  That way I could include lots of detail in each segment.  I may still do that at a later date.

thanks to Tami for the fun Challenge. Elaine is up next and then it's Diane's turn.

I'm looking forward to seeing some other pattern within a pattern drawings.  Leave a comment below and/or add a link to Mister Linky and I'll be sure to drop by for a visit.