Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague - Enter to win a copy

 Derek Marston enrolled at the University of Calfornia Berkeley to get and education, he then moved into Cloyne Court Co-op to avoid a lengthy commute and because it was a cheap alternative to 'residence'. He did graduate from the university but it was the education he received  at Clayne Court that helped form the adult he was becoming and the course his life would follow.
Author Dodie Katague lived at co-ed Cloyne Court during the years 1977- 1979. In his opening, he tells the reader that 75% of this memoir is based on fact and the other 25% was added "for plot purposes."

Living in a co-op is a unique experience. As Derek found out, the residents set the rules of the residence and are responsible for it's daily operations. You want your room cleaned, then you clean it. When the common areas are dirty, you'd better hope that those with that job task get it done. There are no hired cleaning staff. Members also have to learn to deal with personality, culture and political clashes. There is no hired ombudsman to adjudicate. At the same time as the co-op members are dealing with their living arrangements, they also have to attend lectures and complete their assignments and study. More pressure than living in an official residence, though with the added benefit of learning how to live with a wide variety of 'roommates'.

Right from his first day, when Derek accidentally sits in on the Sunday night women's group and ends up explaining how he pleases a woman even though he has not yet 'been with a woman', he is thrust into an endless series of new situations. Co-ed showers. Ttemptations (sex, drugs, rock and roll).  Politics/social causes. Religion/cults.  Sort of a trial by fire situation.  There are no notes that you can read that will prepare you for every possible situation you will encounter when you first attend college/university.  You have to be flexible and open to new experiences.

I lived in a student run co-op during my university years. Waterloo Co-operative Residence Inc.  Reading this book was a trip down memory lane.  Much of what Dodie related, fit right in with my actual experiences.  Sure, there were some differences, we didn't have co-ed showers, but the relationships and the day to day functioning of the co-op was very much the same.  There was that very close inter-play between the residents.  Even if you weren't friends with everyone, you did become dependent on them pulling their weight and completing their tasks.  More importantly, the well being of all was dependent on the group functioning as a 'family'.  Just as Derek experienced, you lived with these people day in and day out and you needed to be able to deal with them or you would be miserable.  Along with his other building mates, Derek found out that they all needed to be more than people living in a co-op. they had to learn how to become a community.

To be entered to win a copy of Cloyne Court:, you must leave a comment and tell me where you lived when you attended college/university and at which school.  If you didn't attend, tell me something interesting about where you live now.  International entries are welcome.  There will be one winner.  If the winner is from Canada or the United States, then he or she can select either a paper or ebook version.  If the winner is international, then a coupon for a free ecopy from will be provided by the author.  Contest closes December 12, 2011

To learn more about Cloyne Court, visit Berkeley Heritage.  
There is lots of information on the web about co-operative living, you could start at this wikipedia article about student co-ops, though it is missing information on Canada.   For Canada, you can visit The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Needlework Tuesday - One Woman Quilt Show

Needlework Tuesday is open to all readers looking for inspiration, encouragement or who want to share their recent needlework project. Introduce yourself in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your current post. Feel free to grab the cute little mouse for your post.

Today I have a special treat for you.  I am hosting a one woman quilt show featuring some of the many quilts made by my mother, Elaine.
This is my mom, and she is a quilter.  She is holding her "Out and About" bag  designed by Brenda Miller of Among Brenda's Quilts.
Mom wasn't a quilter when I asked her to go to Paducha with me in April 2000 (?).  At the shows that week she watched to paper piecing demonstrations intently, bought a few patterns and came home and set to work.  It wasn't long before she mastered that technique by practicing on a whole bunch of potholders.

"Peace".  This neutrals quilt was adapted from a pattern by Joan Barnett.  Measures 22 x 30".  This was given to her mother-in-law Sophie.  When she moved to a retirement home, she gifted it to me. 
In 2005 I hosted a 'no sew' block swap.  I selected the pattern "Easy Flower" from Quilter's Cache.  Participants were to cut the flower and leave pieces and mail them to their swap partners.  Once you received all your swaps, you picked your background fabric, and started sewing.  Mom chose this lovely pink for her back ground.  The finished piece measures about 42" square and adorns the table in her living room.

"Hidden Garden"  May 2006
Block Pattern - Rosie's Calico Cupboard
this was a challenge from the London Friendship Quilters for their 25th anniversary.  You had to use 25 different fabrics and measure 25" on a side.

"Christmas Butterflies" Aug 2006
from the book Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth.

When entered in the Western Fair in London, Ontario, it received a 2nd place ribbon.

This is the quilt that I have been sleeping under when I stay at my parents.  Not quite a twin size.

Most of the fabrics in this quilt were from an 'uglies' swap held at a quilt retreat.  We started with 1 metre of fabric each and quickly passed them around the circle.  When the music stopped, you ripped the fabric in half.  When the music started, you kept one of the now half metre pieces and passed the other.  Again, when the music stopped, you ripped the fabric in half, resulting in two fat quarters.  Kept one and passed the other.  This continued until we were down to a 5x5 inch piece.  You ended up with a very mixed assortment of fabrics in a number of sizes, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, all useable.  You were allowed to add more fabrics as needed but were supposed to use as much of the swapped ones as possible. 

Made for Grandson Ben.  Large lap size.  2007

These wonderful safari animals belong to Grandson Sam.  When mother was making this quilt, Sam saw it and asked who it was for.  When he heard it didn't have an owner yet, he asked if he could have it. 

This African inspired quilt belongs to Grandson Andrew (my son).  It is a large lap size with wonderfully soft fleece on the back.   Next photo shows a close-up of the fabrics.

"Bento Box" 2007 from the pattern with the same name designed by Tracy Brookshier.  Was the result of a class taken at Reichard: The Quilter's Shop, St. Jacobs, Ontario (when it was still located in Elmira, Ontario).  It was entered in the Western Fair, London, Ontario and won the 1st place ribbon and was the Reserve Champion (it would have moved onto the provincials if the overall winner had backed out).

"The Gift" September 2008.  I participated in a 'no-sew' block swap and asked for Christmas fabrics.  I then gave all the block kits to my mother for Christmas that year.  She put them all together and this lovely quilt is the result.

Belongs to Grandson Paul.  Measures less than 200 inch perimetre.  Pattern source: unknown internet.

This was a President's Challenge from the London Friendship Quilters.  Had to use a given fat quarter and the perimetre was to be no more than 200 inches.
Belongs to Granddaughter Shannon (my daughter).  2008  pattern unknow.

Belonged to Grandson Alex. 2009.  Unfortunately Alex passed away July 4, 2011.  The quilt now resides with his mother (my sister).
Belongs to Great-Niece Alyssa.  2009  Pattern by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.
I love the embroidered labels that my mom makes. 

Belongs to Great Niece Shae (Alyssa's younger sister).

Belongs to Great Niece Tessa, youngest sister of Alyssa and Shae.
The girls love it that my mom used some of the same fabrics in each of their quilts.

It doesn't show all that well in this photo, but the little girl is machine embroidered.  I think she is almost as adorable as the Great Nieces. 

Thanks to my cousin Tyler for the photos of his daughters quilts.
Thanks to my son Andrew for the photos of the quilts for Alex, Ben, Sam and Paul.

I have shared with you half of the quilt show.  Be sure to return next week for more.  Mom has been very busy in 2010 and 2011 and has lots more to share.

Part 2 of the show continues here.

Sorry I don't have the pattern names for some of the quilts.  If and when I find them, I will add them to the post.  I apologize to any designers I have missed.

I know that your fingers haven't been still this week.  Leave a comment and let me know what you have been working on, better yet, leave a link to your current needlework post and I'll add you in.

Sherrie over at Just Books has finished her Granny Square project and started making hexagons. She has some lovely photos posted.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Recipe Thursday - Cake Flop

 When reading my local paper last week, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Cake.  It sounded yummy. Chocolate is tasty and pumpkin is so good for me.  I figured it would be a winner.

It looks good in this 8 1/2" springform pan.

 Looks scrumptious in this mini bundt shape.

Even looks great on the plate ready for eating.   Too bad it didn't cook properly.  Even though the tester came out clean, the middle of the cake was totally undercooked.  The recipe said it needed 46 - 60 minutes, I left it in for 70 minutes.  On top of that, it just isn't tasty.  It does not taste chocolatey nor does it taste like any other particular flavour.  It's blah.  What a disappointment.  I was all set to take a big hunk of cake to my dad tomorrow.  He's undergoing chemo every week and I felt it would be a nice pick-me-up.  No such luck.  I'll have to bake for him while I'm at his place.

Next week I will be doing a special Recipe Thursday post.  Along with the cancer, dad has heart issues and now kidney troubles.  The doctors have told him no more canned soups.  Dad likes soup every day.  I have been taking them homemade soup every week, but I do feel they are ready for the challenge of cooking together and making soup.  Turns out that they are in need of recipes.  Next week's post will be about soup.  I'll be putting up a Mr. Linky and asking that my readers add link(s) to their soup recipe posts.  It doesn't have to be a new post, but it does have to be soup.  So, check back next Thursday and leave a link and a comment.  I'll print out all the recipes and comments and put them in a binder for my parents.  For those who don't write food posts in their blog, but have a recipe they would like to share, email it to me directly at heatherdpear at hotmail dot com.   (you know what to do to change it to a real email address).  Thank-you.

For additional foodie fun, be sure to visit Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking post.  Included are links to a variety of food related posts including: recipes, cookbook reviews, book and movie reviews and other food topics.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Needlework Tuesday - Progress on All Fronts

Needlework Tuesday is open to all readers looking for inspiration, encouragement or who want to share their recent needlework project. Introduce yourself in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your current post. Feel free to grab the cute little mouse for your post.

I  know that you are all curious to see how stitch 11 turned out.  From Cheryl's photo it was hard to tell what this stitch should look like (blame my bifocals).  It took me two repeats of the pattern to understand what was happening.  I love this stitch.  It's fairly easy to do, though more of that knitting in the second stitch and then knitting in the first, but I am sure getting the hand of it now.  I am showing the eight pattern repeats, but it's too short, so I am going to do at least two more repeats and then knit my seperator rows.
Pattern Stitch 12 is now up.  So pop on over to visit with Grandma Coco and she'll share the pattern with you.

Lots of work on my snowflake afghan.  I am now on the final row of filler motifs (bottom right corner) and then seven more full motifs to hook.  Then the whole thing gets a white round of single crochets.  Hope to show you the finished project next post.
Yesterday I was determined to work on the border for my 'Convergence' quilt.  I had a strip about 4 1/2 x  20 inches of the main fabric as well as a handful of 2 inch squares. 
 I added two blue/green fabric to the mix and started playing.
A narrow border was first added as I wanted to bring out the red/brown tones.  We have a lot of oak in our house and this made it look as though it belonged hanging here.  Playtime, lots of measuring, sewing, un-sewing, re-pressing.  Dinner was a bit late, but the last stitches were in before hubby came home.

Quilting is yet to be done, though I do have a good idea of what I want to do.  Mostly, I want to emphasis the sun rays.  I think I will use the shiny gold poly embroidery thread for that and some other cotton for the rest.  Now to find a piece of fabric for backing and away I go.  Hubby and I both feel that this will be a good quilt for his office.  He hasn't had one hanging there for over year, so time to shake things up and re-decorate.

How did you do on your projects last week?  Did you finish something, or did you push aside the old and start something new?

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day - December 3, 2011

This morning while reading today's issue of ShelfAwareness I learned about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.  It's happening December 3, 2011.  There are lots of shops in the United States who are already onboard with special activities, and a few in Canada.  I'll be contacting my local independent to ensure they are aware of the 'celebration'.  Check the link and see what activities your store has planned.

For information about ShelfAwareness, scroll down my left side bar till you come to their button.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Receipe Thursday - For the Love of Sweet Potatoes

 The sweet potatoes I usually buy are about one pound.  This slugger weighs in just under four pounds.  I couldn't resist sharing some photos with you.  That's my daughter hamming it up.  I'll be taking this vegetable to my college living son.  It should feed him for a few days.

From the comments, seems I should be telling you that this beauty of a potato came from my local mass market grocery store.

For more foodie fun, be sure to visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.  You are further invited to add a link to your recent food related post.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Not Ready for Winter - /Wordless Wednesday

I took this photo last winter along the Conestogo River. 
 I am not ready for this to return, but it does look peaceful.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Needlework Tuesday - Those Flying Fingers

 Needlework Tuesday is open to all readers looking for inspiration, encouragement or who want to share their recent needlework project. Introduce yourself in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your current post. Feel free to grab the cute little mouse for your post.

Over this past week, my fingers have been ever so nimble and they have been flying along the yarns.  I love when I see the projects growing before my eyes.  I don't finish big projects all that often, and now that I am seeing these one nearing their end, I am getting excited. 

Over at The Kingdom of Coco, Grandma Coco has put up stitch pattern number 11.  It looks like the most challenging so far.  To the left is stitch 9, Farrow Rib.  Very simple to stitch, a two row repeat, though when taking the photo I noticed that I did make a mistake, right near the centre of the picture.  Oh well, can't go back and correct that one.

I have started pattern 10, Star Stitch.  At first it seemed a bit daunting with a 'purl 3 together' in every wrong side row, but those actually are going very well.  It's a four row repeat and I need to do nine in total.    Looks like I have three completed at this point.

I had a hard time putting down my snowflakes.  I'm almost finished row four. Yippee.  Two more after that, well, I do have to stitch the filler motifs as well, but they go rather quickly.  Good thing I bought seven skeins of the multi coloured yarn.  I just started the second ball of white, but am almost through with the fourth ball of the multi.

What are you up to this week? Anyone making ornaments?  I did some crochet ones many years ago and haven't attempted any since.   I would love to see photos of your stitched ornaments. 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Lady Alexia Maccon should have been at home with her husband Conall celebrating her pregnancy; instead she is traipsing across Europe with her ever unflappable butler Floote and  with her female inventor friend Genevieve Lefoux. It seems that Lord Maccon, as well as the rest of knowledgeable society, believe that an essentially dead werewolf couldn't sire legitimate offspring. Yet, for some unknown reason this pregnancy is not being celebrated amoung the supernaturals of London.  Sorry, I don't feel that I can say more without getting into some serious plot activities.
This third installment of the Parasol Protectorate series has brought back some of my favourite characters.  Of course, Alexia is in more than fine form.  She is peeved at her husband, yet misses him at every turn, even though she is not prepared to admit such to anyone.  For much of the book, it is Lord Akeldama absence that keeps me guessing.  He is such a staunch supporter of Alexia, yet when he is needed most, he is nowhere to be found.  And finally there is Floote, butler/secretary/librarian.  He worked with/for  Alexia's father for years and he is there for her.  He has depths that this story just starts to touch on.

I loved this book.  I poured through it and found myself near the end long before I was ready.  There was so much build up of events, that I found the final resolution a bit too quick.  I had expected Lord Maccon to play more of a role in the final events.  Even though I wanted more, the solution to the 'events' was quite in fitting with the characters involved.  I am now looking forward to listening to the audiobook version of Heartless, the forth novel in this series.

For those who have read this book, in the future I will not be looking at ladybugswith the same indifference.
This is the third book in the Parasol Protectorate series.