Thursday, 29 November 2007

Perfect Copy : Unravelling the Cloning Debate by Nicholas Agar

After reading this book it is easy to understand that real life cloning is nothing like that portrayed in movies. As of the printing of this book in 2002, there had been no reported successful cloning of a human. That doesn't stop the author from exploring the many moral and ethical issues surrounding the possible and future cloning of humans. The two reasons for cloning that he examines in detail are for reproduction and the creation of replacement organs.
The presentation of the facts and the arguments of those both for and against cloning is the clearest I have ever read. One argument against cloning says to the effect, 'in our hearts we just know that it is morally wrong'. I loved the way that Mr. Agar deconstructed that angle.
After digesting the information in this book, i still don't know whether I agree with the idea, but i do understand that man will clone because we can.
I found this book at a Bookcrossing meeting and thought it would be interesting. It turned out to be a riveting read. Thanks to the donor for sharing it.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Hello Kitty Quilt is Finished

Yippee, Its finally finished and on my daughter's bed. She is so happy. Her name for the quilt is "Pretty Hello Kitty".

I will be adding a label to the back and making at least one pillowcase to compliment the quilt.

This was a challenging project. Not that the sewing was difficult. But that it took a leap of faith to try a new technique that used such large strips of fabric that you sewed on to the block, and then slashed off half of it. Also, I find it hard when I have to be trimming over sized blocks. I consider any block over 12 1/2 inches in considered over sized. Then there was a added challenge of using the hankies which ranged in size from 9 inches up to 15 inches. eeks. On top of that they weren't perfectly square. arg.

I have included two close up pictures to show the machine quilting. I used a variegated pink/red cotton thread. It turned out to be the perfect choice. All the quilting was done freehand on a regular sewing machine.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Trying hard to keep focused

I am working hard on the Hello Kitty Quilt. Have read a wee bit in the newest book, PerfectCopy: Unravelling the Cloning Debate by Nicholas Agar.

It was a snow day for my daughter yesterday, but she encouraged me to finish attaching the binding to her quilt. So it is now on by machine and needs to be folded to the back and neatly hand stitched down. The last step will be to add a label and then it will seek her bed. yippee.

I am concentrating on this quilt and really want to get it finished. Unfortunately there are so many other projects to distract me. In fact I have a quilt class this evening and it will be a new project. arg. I signed up for the class as part of my social life, not that I needed to start a new project.

Back to my stitching.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Good Sewing Progress

Wanted to send a progress update.

The quilting is now finished on the Hello Kitty quilt and I am ready to cut the binding and apply it. Will be posting a picture as soon as that is done.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

The Experiment by John Darnton

This 1999 books cuts very close to reality. It is a medical who done it that explores the underworld of cloning. The main character Jude is researching a news story on Identical twins when to his surprise he finds that he has a mysterious identical twin, Skylar. While the two of them work together to solve their mystery, they become enmeshed in a plot that reaches in the upper realms of the FBI, politics and big business.
The author kept throwing in curves and twist at every step. It definitely kept me turning pages eager for what would happen next.
Thanks to my sister for passing this book my way.

Monday, 19 November 2007

What to Read?

I am currently reading my 99Th book of the year. This is the first time since I started keeping a book log in 1993 that I have come anywhere near that number. I admit that some where shorter, but some where also massive tomes exceeding 1000 pages. eeks. If you are curious of which books they are check my Bookcrossing Shelf.

I don't think it is of much importance that I have read a large number of books, rather its the variety of authors and genres. I get my books from a number of sources, family, friends, foundlings, and recommendations from all over. This year I read lots by Canadian authors so I would have them to take overseas on vacation and be able to give them away (the books not the authors). Lately I have read a number of fiction that are similar to Biographies (don't know what the name of this genre). Mixed in were some rather strange fantasy, children's novels and even non-fiction. Yes, even a bunch of romances, most of them being set in the Regency era.

I have enjoyed almost every one of them. That doesn't mean that I would recommend them all, not by any chance. But for me, they all filled some sort of niche.

So, if a book strikes your fancy, go ahead and read it regardless of what the critics say, or what your family or friends say. Its up to you.

In case you are wondering, today I am reading 'The Experiment' by John Darnton. I welcome your suggestions.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

You have to work on a project to finish it!!!

Kinda a profound thought. I often start projects that tend to languish once I have done the part I really enjoy, which happens to be the concept and design phase. After I have started working on it and realize that its going to work and be a success, i really have no interest in finishing it.

Today I was working on a 'Hello Kitty' quilt for my daughter. Several years back my sister mailed me 12 hankies from Japan with the Hello Kitty character on them. It took a while to figure out a pattern so I could use all of them together. I used a technique by Sharyn Squier Craig called Twist'n Turn. Its a terrific way of using different size blocks together without having to cut them all to a specified size. The pictures and samples are very inspiring.

I am working on quilting the actual hankies and then will do the quilting of the boarder and finally the binding. Hope to post a pic for all to see within the next week.

Its good to get back to a project and work and it continuously and see the progress. I will be so happy to finish this, and so will my daughter.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Project

This is a very worthwhile project that is making comfort quilts for the families of Canadian Soldiers killed in the line of duty.

The Blocks shown here have been specially designed for these quilts. The one on the left has been fused and machine appliqued, and the one on the right has been traditionally pieced. They are not easy blocks, but when you think of the work our soldiers are doing, what is a little extra effort on my part. I plan to send these blocks along to another quilter whose guild will include them in the quilts that they are assembling. If you would like the pattern for these blocks (along with a paper pieced one) please check the CCRP website.
There is another project called Quilts of Valour which also supply quilts to our wounded soldiers. This project is an offshoot of the program operating in the United States. This group has made denim quilts for our seriously wounded soldiers. They have also made "Flaming Star Quilts" for the mothers and spouses of our fallen soldiers. For details on this project, please visit the QOV website.
If you are not a quilter and would like to become involved, donations of money and fabric would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

This is a very cool book.
Stark is the hero of this 'detective' novel. He lives in the COLOUR neighbourhood (where the surroundings respond to the clothing you are wearing and to your moods). The country is mostly one large city composed of a huge numbers of neighbourhoods, each with their particular idiosyncrasies.
He is on the search for a missing scientist from the next neighbourhood. Throughout the course of this search, Stark comes to realize that it has all been about him.
This is a book that you want to take your time reading. I am still trying to decide if this world is made up of multiple realities, or is it Stark's perception of reality at various times in his life that have created the realities.
He sums it up in one paragraph near the end of the book:"Everything you've done, everything you've seen, everything you've become, remains. You never can go back, only forward, and if you don't bring the whole of yourself with you, you'll never see the sun again."This book definitely deserves to be reread, perhaps several times.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Comfort Quilt

I think that it's every parent's nightmare that there child is injured and that there is nothing you can do to make it better. Recently a member of an online quilt guild (Maple Leaf Quilt Guild) experienced just that. Her daughter was shot in a drive by shooting. At this time it looks that she will have a good recovery.
As a mother, my heart went out to the two of them. As a quilter, I thought that I have to make her a quilt. Fortunately my online guild had completed some 'round robin' quilts for just such a situation. I added a final bright pink boarder, backed it with a soft pink fleece, some machine quilting and voila. A quilt to bring comfort.
For those not familiar with a Round Robin. It started with the log cabin block at the middle. This was mailed to a member who then added a small boarder around the block and the large white triangles that turned the block on point. Next member added her boarder of blue flowers and green leaves. Off in the mail again to the next member who added the row of striped hearts. The final member added the row of floral squares. Then it came home to rest with me until it found a need.
It was a wonderful way to participate in making a round robin, without the commitment of a huge quilting project. My mother will be delivering the quilt to the member sometime this week. I hope that it brings her the comfort and all the love and care that went into the making of it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

None of us are getting any younger

My Grandmother is in hospital having suffered two heart attacks. So I made her a quilt and took it to her. Truth be told, I made the quilt blocks several years back and finally got around to spending a few hours putting them together. I put cozy fleece on the back so it would be cuddly and warm. She was so pleased. She was calling over each nurse as they came into her room and showing it off. I suspect that she will have the best show and tell on the floor for the next few days.

Question for myself is, 'Why did it take me so long?'. As stated, I made these blocks at least 4 years ago, so why didn't I put it together at that time. I knew that both of us are getting older and that she can't live forever. She is 91 after all. Did I really think that by not finishing it, she would live forever? was I trying to deny my own mortality? I don't know the answer, but I do know that I have a few other projects that really should get finished in the near future.

To the left is the first quilt that I made for my grandmother. Its a sampler of all sorts of blocks. Some pieced, appliqued, embroidered, cross-stitched, and coloured with markers and crayons and such. One even survived a house fire and has a tiny burn spot where a spark landed on it and singed the wool. Most of the blocks were made by my sisters and myself. I had intended my cousins to help, but they didn't 'get' the idea of doing a memory quilt for my grandmother.

My grandmother was the hit of the family for months afterwards. The relatives all had to come see her quilt, the church asked her to bring it in to display during a Sunday service (wish I could have been there) and the ladies at her quilt group were thrilled. During our hospital visit, she told me that she has informed her children (my dad included) that this quilt is to come back to me now that she will be moving out of her house and into a long term care facility. Good thing I took her a new one to replace it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Charles the Bold by Yves Beauchemin

I like this book. I have no profound reasons why. It is a well told story!!!

We meet Charles as the moment of his birth. We follow him through the next decade or so of his adventures and mis-adventures. All of them are believable and quite possible to have happened to one young boy. At times I wanted to take Charles and give him the heartfelt hugs that he so needed.

Perhaps the story appeals to my mothering instincts?

There is a follow-up to the book, "The Years of Fire: Charles the Bold, Volume 2" due out in March 2008.

Nominee for the 2007 Evergreen Book Awards.