Saturday, 26 January 2008

Making a Fabric Book

I was honoured to be invited to a first Birthday party for the daughter of one of my Bookcrossing friends. What could I take? A book of course. But not any book, it would have to be custom made.

I decided upon a colour book. Each page is made from 4 different 3 1/2 inch squares of fabric. They are sewn with 1/4 inch seams. Sandwiched between the two sides of the page is a layer of Hobbs 80/20 batting. After sewing the layers together, they were turned right side our, top stitched along 3 sides and quilted in the centre with a floral motif. (it is for a little girl).

The first picture shows the front side of each page, and the second picture shows the flip side.

If you look carefully on the 'pink' page, you can see some writing in the bottom right hand, that's the Bookcrossing registration number.

The green binding for the book was cut 2 1/2 inches wide and about 10 inches long. It was folded in half length wise and pressed. Then was sewn to the front and back covers with a 1/4 inch seam. I pressed the seams toward the centre. Next was to fold the tab of the binding in toward the middle of the book, where it would be hidden, and to continue the top stitching to hold it in place. In the third picture, at the top of the book the tab has not yet been folded in, at the bottom of the picture the tab is folded in and stitched in place.

The centre 2 pages were stitched together along their 'raw' edges.

Final step was to pin them in place on the inside of the back cover and fold the front over, adjust the pins and then stitch them in place along the edge of the binding. All the raw edges are hidden within the green binding.

The finished book is approximately 6 inches square. This is quite big enough for a small toddler. It is also washable.

Friday, 25 January 2008

By The time yoU reAd this by Giles Blunt

A classic 'who done it' set in Algonquin Bay, Ontario.
I really can't tell you much about the plot without giving everything away. Essentially, Detective Cardinal's wife commits suicide. But he is not convinced that is all there is to the story, so he investigates.
I loved the character of Detective Cardinal. Like a dog with a bone, he's not letting go until he's sure that he has every last scrap of meat. I found the character of Dr. Bell despicable. Guess that's what you need in a good mystery.
At just over 300 pages, this is a book that demands to be finished in one sitting.
This novel was a nominee for the 2007 Evergreen Awards.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson

An enchanting pre-teen read. This story involves 10 year old Ping, who is a young run-away slave and Danzi, an aging, imperial Dragon. The setting is 141 BCE China.
At a very young age, Ping had been sold into slavery by her parents. She does all the work that Master Lan is too lazy to do, including caring for the farm animals, which includes 2 Imperial Dragons. When one of the dragons dies, Ping becomes determines to take better care of the surviving one. Through a series of unforeseeable events, Ping and Danzi run away. Danzi is compelled to go to the ocean. The story follows their adventures/mis-adventures along the route.
While travelling, Ping is exposed to much that she had never known while a slave. While learning the everyday skills of living, she also develops the 'mystical' skills of a Dragon Keeper.
I feel that this is a positive book for a young person. While Ping is not formally educated, she comes to realize that she had learned many skills while dealing with Master Lan, that can be applied in everyday life. She just needed the confidence in herself to apply them when needed.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

This is not your average teenage romance, its much, much better.
Aislinn is not your typical teenager. She is being followed by faeries and she doesn't like it. She wants to be a normal girl, but the faery Keenan has other ideas. He needs Aislinn to become a faery herself.
Aislinn is a strong character. She doesn't want to be a faery and do as she is being told. She decides what she wants and then finds a way to achieve it. In the end its a win-win for everyone involved with her.
I will definitely be passing this along to my niece to enjoy.(she's returned it for my daughter to read)
Thanks to HarperCollins for the cover picture and the review copy.

Read Shannon's review at Illusion-Esk

Thursday, 17 January 2008

I'm Back

I've been away for the past week and a half, but am trying to get back up to speed. I did a bunch of reading while away, 6 books in fact. 3 of them are worth noting.

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan. The majority of this book is set in Myanmar, formally known as Burma. The story follows a group of tourists who disappear on Christmas Day while on a side trip. I was totally captivated as I followed the group and learned more about each member. The narrator is the ghost of the woman who was supposed to lead the tour, but she died mysteriously a few weeks prior to departure. The descriptions of the countryside are wonderful. Being a Geography major at University, I love a book that has a geographical bent to accompany a terrific story.

The Rainmaker by John Grisham. OK, I know that this book has been around for over a decade, but that does not stop it from being a gripping read. Its the story of a brand new lawyer who takes on a major insurance company who appears to deny all medical claims regardless of their merit. I do think that I must have seen this as a movie???

and finally

Breach of Promise by Perri O'Shaughness
This is a female lawyer who is representing a potentially very wealthy female client, who received nothing from her common law spouse when he left. Seems California doesn't recognize common law marriages and doesn't allow for equal division of property (at the time of the writing of the book, don't know if that has changed). A fairly quick read for a long book.

The Amy Tan book has been returned to the library, but the other two I registered with Bookcrossing and have now released to roam in the wild.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Flint & Feather: The Life and times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake, by Charlotte Gray

This is a very well written biography. It gives enough details about Pauline and her friends and companions to bring her to life. Though she died almost 100 years ago, I still had to wipe away tears when her passing was described.

I'm not going to detail what happens in the book, anyone can read it and learn for themselves. What impressed me most is how timely this book is. Many of the issues that Pauline addressed in her life are still vitally important. She strove to bring the Indian populations and the immigrant Europeans together and show that they could live and work together successfully. Herself, the product of a 'mixed marriage', she was torn between the Indian culture of her Mohawk father, and the strict English upbringing of her mother. Pauline was able to acquit herself well in either. She also spoke for the Indians who were losing their tribal lands as an astonishing rate.

These are all current issues. Not a day goes by without one of them showing up in the major news headlines. I used to think it amusing when a teacher would tell the class that there was much we could learn from history. This book has opened my eyes to what he was saying. For me, the story of Pauline Johnson will live in my heart for a long time to come.

Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me this wonderful book and for allowing me to use their cover picture.