Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Needlework Tuesday - LoneStar Quilt Top

 I had such grand plans for sewing this past week, and I got next to nothing accomplished.  Instead, I spent days laying on my sofa due to a miserable cold.  Not fun. Day 6 and I'm finally starting to feel like myself.

I finally managed to finish trimming all my Lone Star blocks. I used some colourful tape to mark the block size.
 The quarter inch tape helped me ensure that I have sufficient seam allowance to keep the points of the stars.
After trimming two sides, I flipped the ruler and trimmed the other two . I took my time and worked on each set of four, taking a break before moving on to the next.  i didn't want to make a mistake. 
 I chose one of the layouts from the pattern.  At this point it is sewn into six rows at are just under 60 inches long.  it still needs one border of the background fabric, and then I'll be ready to quilt it.
Now for something totally different.  Daughter and I have cut up this super cool sea lion fabric for a project for her.  Hope to have some photos for you soon.  This time, she is going to do more of the sewing (my fingers are crossed).

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.

Monday, 30 May 2016

The Travelers by Chris Pavone

Being paid to travel the world should be a dream job, but one small change in the arrangements and it could become a nightmare.  Will Rhodes is a travel writer and enjoys his many overseas assignments with Traveler magazine until he sits with Australian adventure writer Elle Hardwick at a function in France.  From the moment he meets her, until the conclusion of the novel, Will it thrown into a crazy world where he has to question the validity of everything he thought he knew before hand.

This is my kind of action story.  It all seems reasonable, as though Will really could be the fellow working from the next desk.  He does his job well, is likeable and Ifound myself cheering for him to climb out of this deep hole he's found himself in.  Each time I tried to put the book down, I would delay and and bargain for just one more chapter.

The best, and possibly worst thing about this plot, is how close it could be to reality and I'll never know.  After have read and loved Chris Pavone's debut novel The Expats, I knew that I'd be on the edge of my seat with The Travelers.

Also by Chris Pavone:

The Expats

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House

Saturday, 28 May 2016

It's Fireworks season

This past weekend we celebrated Victoria Day with a huge, private fireworks show run by hubby.  Fortunately, one of my friends has a farm to provide the backyard.  I recorded the entire show, but I think three videos is enough to you and idea of what we were thrilled by.

(the sound was removed from one of the videos by YouTube)


Friday, 27 May 2016

The Good Neighbors : Book 1 Kin by Holly Black

It's not easy being a teen, and it doesn't help when your parents start acting strange.  Three weeks ago, Rue Silver's mother disappeared and her father has withdrawn, sitting in front of the television for hours on end.  To top it all off, she has started seeing things, or rather beings, that should and can't possibly be there.  Fanciful and possibly magical creatures.

Rue's world has met up with the fairie realm and she has no idea how to deal with it.

When we meet Rue, she is wearing a longish, girlie dress and it lulled me into thinking that she was going to be a weak clingy girl.  She is nothing like that.  She is head strong and determined to find her mom and get her family back together no matter what it takes and who or what she has to overcome.

As with most graphic novels, this is a quick read, but it left me with so many questions that I wanted more right away.

The artwork by Ted Naifeh  is excellent.  His drawings fill in all sorts of details in the story line and emphasize the other worldiness of the fairie beings. His use of black and white had me looking at each panel with equal importance. 

Author Holly Black is well known for her earlier series The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Cover image courtesy Scholastic Books

Thursday, 26 May 2016

SYNC Audio for Teens - Week 4

The next pairing of free audiobooks is now available.  For more information about this wonderful program, read my introductory post.  Remember, these are only available till June 1, 2016

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire

I'm excited about this tale set in Tsarist Russia
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Connecting with designers

Sorry I am a day late with this post; it was so gorgeous outside on Tuesday, that I couldn't drag myself indoors.

Are you ever compelled to contact a designer whose pattern you are working with.  I have done this several times and each time have received a lovely and helpful response.  Most recently I contacted Kimberly Einmo.  I am making a quilt using a pattern from her book  Jelly Roll Quilt Magic and my blocks are all too small.  I measured the pieces, I measured my seam allowances, but my blocks are too small.  I checked on her website and read comments about the quilt, nothing mentioned about size.

Finally, I checked on Kimberly's blog for posts regarding that design.  Again, nothing about the block size and no one commented about having any challenges with that particular quilt.  I decided to leave a comment on one of her posts and hope that she would respond.  I didn't want to start trimming my blocks and find out later that I had made a mistake.

Kimberly responded to me in a very short while and wrote a lengthy response.  She explained that when she designed the quilt it worked out perfectly to the size specified in the pattern as did the blocks of her testers.However, since then she has made many of these quilts and taught dozens and classes and realised that most quilters blocks turned out the same size as mine.  She has since edited her pattern to indicate the smaller size.

Oh glory be. I am so relieved to find that my blocks are the correct size.  I now feel so much better and am able to continue with trimming them.  Next week I'll have photos of a block before and after trimming and hopefully even one of the quilt top.

I am so glad that I wrote Kimberly as I would have forever after been concerned that I had done something wrong,  It would have continued to bug me.  Now I know that she is a lovely and considerate woman and I'll feel comfortable using her other patterns and recommending her to other quilters.  She is also a teacher on Craftsy, and if you follow the link from her website, she currently offers a 50% reduction on her class prices.

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.

Now I am curious whether you write letters/emails to designers either to ask a question or to compliment them on their work?

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

Cover image courtesy Kimberly Einmo. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Smoke by Dan Vyleta

 This book imagines a world similar to ours, but one in which sin is noted by the offender's body emitting smoke.  The greater the sin, the darker and oilier the smoke.  Children are born into sin and smoke almost continuously.

Soon after enrolling at an elite boarding school, Thomas is befriended by Charlie, a future earl, who takes him under his wing and helps him to learn to control his smoke.  The both strive to avoid Julius, the school bully, who has never been seen to emit smoke.

I was fascinated by this storyline.  A visual manifestation of sin.  Soon we learned that it was not so clear cut and that there was more at play.  For instance, how could Julius bully other students, yet not smoke himself.  Were noblemen really that good; they never smoked publicly.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book while it remained focused on the boys.  Once it strayed into the adult realm, the storyline got mired in cloaked discussions of politics, faith and scientific investigations.  I found this confusing, not knowing who sided with whom and whether anyone was looking out for the interests of the general public.  As I reflect back, I still can't decide whether it was that I didn't understand what the adults were up to or that the story had veered from the boys that disappointed me more.

Why did smoke have to be good or evil, it seemed to me that it was simply a fact of life.  Once people with power found a way to make money from it, then it became like any other commodity regardless of the impact that it had on peoples lives and well being.  Even though I wasn't thrilled with the entire book, the idea of smoke has stuck with me and I keep pondering what life would be like if we smoked.

To learn more about author Dan Vyleta, visit his website.

Cover image courtesy DoubleDay Books.  Thanks to DoubleDay Books for providing me with an ebook for review purposes.