Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Which won out - the UFO or a new project

For those who visited with me last week, you might recall that I was pondering whether to start a new project or to continue with an existing, or UFO, project.  Well, it was kind of a tie.  I picked the most pressing UFO and set to work.  It's a tee shirt quilt for my neighbour and I had a lot of shirts sitting ready to trim and add.

 I spent days cutting, trimming and figuring out what to do with the left overs.  Not wanting to waste the unprinted bottoms of the shirts, I decided to turn them into yarn for knitting/crochet.  I watched a video showing an easy way to cut the shirt bottom into a long strip. It's much easier using a rotary cutter than the scissors shown.  After putting the cut strips through the spaghetification process, I now have yards and yards of t-shirt yarn for a future project.

With that project securely moved into 'active', I turned to the new project I mentioned last week, the Spring Quilt along with Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt.

The project calls for 40 half square triangle blocks. I figured it would be a good thing to have extras for a future project, so I found a site with free printable triangle paper, Quilting and Whatnot and downloaded the finished 2 inch square.  I test printed one page and the test square measured a prefect one inch.  I then printed 10 additional copies and started sewing.  For those who haven't used triangle paper, you stitch on the dashed lines and cut on the solid lines.  I find it best to layer your fabrics in the following order, dark print facing up, light print facing down, paper on top.  Once you cut your triangles apart, then press the open before ripping off the paper.

 It didn't take long to make almost 150 squares.  Unfortunately, at some point in the process I realized that I had printed the ten pages to the wrong size, I forgot to turn scaling off and the triangles would be slightly too small . oops.

I'll still be able to use them, but I am not impressed with myself at making this avoidable mistake.  Always a learning opportunity and this one was not to be distracted by competing conversations.    I'm looking forward to assembling the top so I can move on to the machine quilting, which is what this project is all about.

I hope that you are having success with which ever project you are working on this week.

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan

 This is a well told story based on the true life of Kate Warne, the first woman detective of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  The character of Nell is fictional.

From the first chapter, I was sucked into the story and couldn't let it go.   I listened to the audio book almost non-stop.  Nell is very rough around the edges and in need of someone to take her in.  Her aunt Kate is a young working woman with no inkling of how to care for a child.  Together they make quite the pair.  The brash youngster and the refined lady.  How could I not love them and root for their success at forming a family.

I enjoyed learning some of the history of the Pinkerton's, the politics of 1860 and of the Underground Railroad.  It was thrilling each time my home town of St. Catharines, a northern terminus of the railroad, was mentioned.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by Christine Lakin.  She did a marvellous job of the very different characters especially when Nell and Kate were working undercover.  She captured the youthfulness of Nell and her brash nature.  I had no trouble believing her to be that rural farm girl.

Author Kate Hannigan brought the Pinkerton's to life and clearly showed both the excitement of being a detective as well as the great risks that those women and men take in that job.


To learn more about the history of the Kate Warne and the Pinkerton Detective Agency, visit the Pinkerton website. 

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

#IndigoEmployee

Saturday, 20 May 2017

I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 by Lauren Tarshis

I had been hearing so many good things about this book series from my customers and their parents that I had to read one of them for myself.  I knew very little about the Hindenburg and thought this would be a good chance to learn a more of it's history.

Author Lauren Tarshis tells the story through the eyes of eleven year old Hugo Ballard.  This is an effective method to interest middle school readers who are the target audience.   The meticulous research and attention to detail, makes this series good for class room reading and follow-up activities.

This series appeals to both male and female readers in the middle grades.  It is also suitable for older readers who are not ready for teen novels and for reluctant readers who are attracted by the high drama level and shorter length.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by David de Vries. 1 hour 31 minutes.

At present there are 15 books in the I Survived Series.

To learn more about the Hindenburg and other airships, visit Airships.net


Cover image courtesy Scholastic Books.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Start Something New or Finish a UFO

My quilt guild is participating in a quilt show next week and yesterday I was rushing to get my entries ready.  The quilting was all complete and the bindings sewn down, all that remained was to make and attach labels and then deliver them to the organizer.  What a relief when that was complete.

Now I'm ready for something new.  Well, that is the question, do I start something totally new or do I select another UFO and work on it.  I am steadily working on my current pair of fittens.  The first pair in the variegated black and white turned out awesome and I am about half way through the second pair.  Love the spiral effect of the colours.   Once this pair is complete, I'll cast on the next so that I can keep the to the program of getting enough finished for gift giving at the end of the year.

I have far too many unfinished projects, but i am sorely tempted by Lori Kennedy's current quilt along.  It's a free motion sampler titled: The Spring Sampler Quilt Along. Since one of my goals this year it to improve my machine quilting, this could prove helpful.  Would it be procrastinating to interrupt other items to make this sampler, or would it provide some fresh air to my brain and rev me back up to work on the existing backlog.  Which ever I choose, I always keep in mind that stitching is fun and when it stops being fun I am in trouble.  Honestly, it's always more fun to start a project but at the same time, it is exhilarating to totally finish a project.  Oh darn, that wee bit of enlightenment didn't help me at all.

Come back next week and find out what I decide to do, behind curtain #1 is a UFO, behind curtain #2 is the Spring Sampler Quilt Along.


 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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

Wonderful adventure story packed with scientific facts.  Parents will enjoy reading along with their kids while they learn together about Antarctica, the most southern continent.

Jack, Matthew and Ava are three orphans who have formed their own family unit.  While Matt and Ava are the brains, it's up to Jack to keep everyone on track and moving forward.  When an opportunity presents itself for the three to work with a top notch scientist, they jump at it.  When their association leads them to Antarctica, the children find that they may have met their match.

 I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  Coming from Bill Nye, I expected it to be filled with science and I wasn't disappointed.  The remote location of the story and the interesting plot should be enough to peak the curiosity of young readers.
Antarctica, Whaler's Bay
In a classroom setting, the book could form the basis for a unit on inventions as well as one on exploration.  I was fascinated when visiting the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand that featured a replica of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic hut.  What I saw there is far removed from the amenities the children had on their trip, though the weather and isolation were the same.

My god father, Jim Ellis, twice travelled to Antarctica.  It is not a luxury cruise ship that you travel on, but a working scientific research vessel.  Unlike the children in the book, before he left, he was given an list with an extensive wardrobe and items that he would need for the trip.  A standard winter coat isn't going to cut it.

Neko Harbour
 The landscape there is unlike anything I have experienced, it is beautiful in its starkness, but dangerous for those not prepared.
Admirante Station, Argentina

Half Moon Island

The second book in the series,  In the Deep Blue Sea, is due out September 2017.

Photo credits to Jim Ellis.  Thanks to my aunt, Mary Ellis for sharing with me these photos.  Jim was an avid traveller and visited well over 200 countries.  He enjoyed seeing the natural and man made sites as well as visiting with the people who made their homes at those locations.

Cover image courtesy Abrams Books.

#IndigoEmployee