Saturday, 31 December 2011

OmniLit - All Romance ebooks

Early in December I came across a link/ad for OmniLit.  They were hosting a 12 days of Christmas promotion.  Each day, for the 12 days preceeding Christmas they were giving away a free romance ebook.  This was an offer I couldn't ignore.  I immediately signed up for their newsletter: Wildfire and got ready for the next day's offering.   OmniLit  carries a wide range of fiction and non-fiction ebook titles, while their All Romance carries solely romance offerings.

I have a Blackberry Playbook and was able to easily download the Adobe Acrobat version .  Be sure to check the help section to determine if there is a format suitable for your ereader.

Following are reviews for two of the books I elected to download.

Catch Me If You Can by Stacey Espino

Working in a bank is a good career option, but it sure can be boring.  When Christina found that her dearly departed grandmother had left her a two month vacation at a fancy rural spa, she leapt at the opportunity for a break from her humdrum existence.  Unfortunately her excitement evaporated the moment she spied the so-called spa.  It looked more like a run down ranch with none of the luxury she had expected.  Deciding that perhaps her grandmother knew best, she accepts the offer to stay, at least for the night.

The three cowboys on the ranch are almost as mystified as is Christina.  They aren't sure what to do with their guest either.  Each of the four have relationship issues that they aren't equiped to deal with on their own.  Can Christina help the men overcome their hurts and can they in turn help her regain her confidence.

I will admit that I was blushing as I read this story.  A menage a quatre in not my usual fare when it comes to erotic stories.  This was handled in a very caring and loving manner. It was plain to see the relationship develop between Christina and each of the men.  This story was more about the love and romance and the threat to their relationships than it was about the physical activity.    I would gladly read more by Canadian author Stacey Espino.  Stacey also writes m/m fiction under the pen name Winona Wilder.

Cover image from the website of Stacey Espino.

A Little Harmless Submission by Melissa Schroeder

FBI Agent Maria Callahan has a plan to trap the mad man who is killing women associated with BDSM clubs around the United States.  She will need the help of Detective Rome Casino of the Hawaii Police Department if her plan is to succeed.  Rome is a member of the local BDSM club and a reknown Dom.  Maria is willing to go undercover as his sub if that will lure out the killer.  After setting her eyes on Rome, she knows that the job will be dangerous for more than the obvious reasons. Her heart will be at risk.

This story follows all the expected lines of a police investigation, with the addition of the physical activity between Maria and Rome. In their run down of the possible suspects, we are introduced to an colourful set of characters, several of which could be the basis for a spin off novel (this is the sixth in a series, so perhaps that is exactly what has happened in the earlier books). Now that I have read this installment, I am curious of the events that happened in earlier books.   I enjoyed  watching Maria and Rome's relationship develop, even though it did occur at a rather fast pace for my more old fashioned morals.  Author Melissa Schroeder kept me guessing at the perpetrator of these murders, he didn't even figure in my mind for most of the story.

Cover image from the website of Melissa Schroeder.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

This story is set during the reign of Queen Victoria when Spiritualism and the holding of seances was most popular in England.  Violet's mother, Celeste Willougby, used peoples' belief in talking to ghosts  to exploit them for her financial gain. 

Violet hated being forced to participate in these deceptions, but saw no way out of this lifestyle.  While the two were on their way to the country estate of Lord Jasper, Violet's life changed for ever  when she sited 'corpse candles' and the ghost of a girl in the window of her carriage.  This she knew was the 'real' thing unlike the fraud her mother committed.  Somehow Violet has to resolve the death of this ghost/girl and come to an understanding of her ability. 

The descriptions of scenes and scents were so vivid that this book came alive for me.  I could feel myself getting breathless as Violet ran across the fields from Lord Jasper's to the adjoining estate.  The scent of lilies and lilac sprung to mind during the various seances.  I could even feel and smell the aroma of the rose petals that were scattered about Jasper's estate.  I couldn't see the ghosts, but I could certainly imagine them, especially when they crowded around Violet in an attempt to protect her from her mother's wrath.

Thanks to author Alyxandra Harvey for a totally enjoyable story.  The character of Violet was a pleasant surprise.  She is a strong young woman seeking to improve the situation she finds herself in.  She carefully considers who to include in her circle of friends and from whom to ask for assistance instead of throwing herself upon another and expect that person to resolve her problems for her.

I am happy to report that Alyxandra has written a sequel to this story.

Thank-you to Penguin Canada for my review copy.

 Cover image from Alyxandra's website.

Are you intrigued by the Spiritualist Movement, check out my recent review of Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and illustrated by Lisa Brown.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Holiday Baking Party - Part 5

Oatmeal Fudge Bars
America's Test Kitchen

Peanut Butter Blondies
America's Test Kitchen

Raspberry cream Cheese Brownies
America's Test Kitchen

Cranberry Pistachio Coconut Triangles
America's Test Kitchen

Nanaimo Bar Cookies

Elfin Shortbread Bites
unknown recipe source - recipe in Part part 4 post

This is an image of the goodie tray I took to my friends' for Christmas Eve.

Earlier in the party I told you that I was making a cheese ball as my sister had specifically requested it.  I did taste it yesterday and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it.  The instructions are quite simple, but the results were very tasty.  Most of it was eaten before dinner.  Sorry no picture as I didn't really look like anything other than a blob of pecans.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

1  8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Mix in confectioners' sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball.  Wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Roll the cheese ball in finely chopped pecans before serving.

(I made a double layer of waxed paper and scooped the freshly mixed cream cheese mixture onto it.  I then gathered up the edges and placed the bundle into a small bowl, about 2 cup size and placed all that in the fridge.  This gave me the basic ball shape.  I figured I could skip the extra refrigeration step by pre-forming the ball, and it did work out well).

Earlier Holiday Baking Party post.

Thank-you to everyone who dropped by during the party and those who visited later.  I enjoyed your company and your comments.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Holiday Baking Party - Part 4

Wow, what a busy day.  I'm happy that I decided to share with my readers.  Extra hands help lighten the load.

Finished the "Nanaimo Bar Cookies" and they turned out terrific.  Even son had to get his camera and take some pictures.  That is high praise as he is at college studying photography.  These ones taste as good as they look.  This recipe is from the magazine Most: Celebrating Women over Forty - Waterloo Region  November 2011 issue.  Click the link for the recipe.

Of course I had to make my favourite shortbread cookies of all times.  I found this in a magazine at least a decade ago and it was love at first bite.  "Elfin Shortbread Bites" are just that, they measure only 1/2 inch on a side.

 Elfin Shortbread Bites

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tbsp round, coloured sprinkles

Stir together flour and sugar.  Cut in butter till crumbly.  Stir in sprinkles.  Form into a ball and knead till smooth.  The heat from your hands will help meld the ingredients together.

Roll on cookie sheet into 8 x 5 inch rectangle.  Remember to wash your ruler before putting it near your cookie dough.

I start by marking every 1/2 inch on all four sides.  Use a long cook's knife to cut the lines.

Separate the squares on the cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 F for 12-14 minutes or until just starting to brown.

Do not skip adding the sprinkles, they really do make these into magical cookies. 

While these were in the oven, I mixed up the "Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball" that my sister requested.  It is sitting in the fridge chilling so that I'll be able to shape it into a ball.  I'll have the recipe and photo for you tomorrow.

Additional posts from my Holiday Baking Party

I would like to invite you to enter my current contest to win some calorie free doughnuts that I have made baked crocheted.  Be sure to visit this post to find out how to enter.

Holiday Baking Party - Part 3

Dinner was lovely.  The pork tenderloin was cooked to perfection.  I diced mine up and served it over basmati rice.  Then it was back to the baking.

It took two pan to bake all the cookie bases for the "Nanaimo Bar Cookies".  They smell very good, but no tasting.  Must wait for the custard topping and chocolate drizzle.  All in the family have been warned to wait.

Back to the "Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies".  This recipe is from Holiday Cookies 2010 by America's Test Kitchen.   They didn't turn out as I expected.  The  directions said to drop the cream cheese mixture over half of the brownie batter and then smooth it over the surface.  Well, in my case, I think that my cream cheese mixture was a bit thicker than the brownie.  I did try and smooth it a bit, but it just tried to sink below the brownie.  Then I was to dollop the heated raspberry jam over the cheese and swirl it in.  Ha, the jam liquefied and ran all over. Ok, no spreading or swirling required.  Next was to top with the rest of the brownie batter.  Since it was not as thick as expected, it was easy to spoon it over the surface and achieve complete coverage with no need of smoothing.  This pan is in the oven now.

Hubby has made me a cup of decaf Earl Gray Tea. I'll take a bit of a break and then get on with the custard topping for the cookies.

Thanks to my party guests who have dropped by to say hello.

Earlier Holiday Baking Party posts:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

Holiday Baking Party - Part 2

Had to take a bit of a break and pick up daughter from school as we needed to pick up one more gift items.

The "Peanut Butter Blondies" are now chilled and they look great and taste even better.  I ever so slightly undercooked them so they would be chewy instead of crisp.
 "Oatmeal-Fudge Bars" are out of the over, but they need to cool for two hours before cutting.  This photo was taken when I was sprinkling the topping on.  There is a bit more topping than shown.

I have the cream cheese packages on the counter.  One is for "Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies" from the same magazine.  My sister sent a special request and asked that I make her a Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball.  I received the recipe from a Chocolate Survey panel that I am a member of.  Yes, I do regular surveys concerning Chocolate.  What a pleasure.

In the oven at this moment,  are the pork tenderloins that my son set to marinate just after lunch.  Once they come out, I'll put in the "Cranberry Pistachio Coconut Triangles.  The combination of tastes cried out to me and forced me to make them.  It took a while to shell the pistachios, it used almost an entire 225 gram bag (that would be about 1/2 pound).  The shortbread base needs to chill before I pour the sugary, fruit and nut filled topping over it.

I think I will continue in the order I listed my recipes, making "Nanaimo Bar Cookies" next.

  • Plan ahead of time to ensure you have sufficient ingredients on hand. 
  • Put butter and eggs on the counter to warm up. (safe away from your cat or dog)
  • Copy favourite recipes that you use every year and put them in a binder.   Much easier then flipping through dozens of cookbooks to find that particular recipe.
  • Line pans with foil or parchment paper for easy removal.  This is handy as you will probably need to re-use the pan for another recipe.
  • If you live in a cold climate, you can chill items outside, just remember to cover them securely.
Additional Holiday Baking Party posts:
Part 1
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Linda has left a fun recipe in the comments section of the first part of my Holiday Baking Party.  Thanks to  Linda's Grandmother for this one.

Holiday Baking Party

It's about time that I finally got a start on my holiday baking.  I used to start a few weeks ahead of time and get the shortbread ready and stash them away.  Also would make some squares that froze well, but I found that I ate too many and others in the house would find my hiding spots.  It's rather a shock when you go to get out some baking for guests who are arriving in a few minutes to find the tins empty.  Now I leave the baking to the last minute. 

For the past ten years or so, we have spent Christmas Eve with a dear friend and her family on their farm.  What a delight.  Her hubby is a talented cook and he makes the most amazing version of a Quebec Tortiere (meat pie).  Something to anticipate for weeks.  I have been bringing a sweets tray since the year of our first invite.  This year will be no different.

Since I will be spending at least several hours baking, I thought it would be fun to write posts as I go along.  I had wanted to host an online Christmas Party, but that didn't happen, thus an online baking party.  Leave me a comment and tell me about your holiday baking, favourite recipes and memories of tasty treats.

First up is "Peanut Butter Blondies" from the 2010 Holiday Cookies from America's Test Kitchen.   I'll be using this magazine for a couple of recipes.
There is a triple hit of peanut in this recipe.  I didn't have any dry roasted peanuts and have skipped them.  No worries, there should be ample pb taste with the peanut butter and the peanut butter chipits.  These ones are now out of the oven and cooling and I have moved on to dish two.  This is from the same magazine, "Oatmeal-Fudge Bars".  This is a triple layer bar with oatmeal crumble on the bottom, a layer of chocolaty goodness and then more of the crumble.   I have to bake the bottom part first, then let it cool for an hour before adding the chocolate layer.  This means I have time to decide on recipe number 3.

 Stay tuned, and I'll be back with photos in my next post.

Follow up Posts:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Be sure to pop on over to the Kingdom of Coco to see the wonderful gingerbread men that Cheryl has created.  Believe me, you haven't seen any like these ones.

For more cooking fun, be sure to visit Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking post as well as links to many other food inspired posts.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Looking for a new Series? ebook deals

Tired of waiting for the next book in the series you are reading, then click on over to Sourcebooks.  They are currently offering a deal on the first book in a series (ebooks only)  for over  60 series.   Following is information that I received:

Sourcebooks announces its most extensive eBook promotion to date! For a limited time, purchase the first book from a Sourcebooks author for only $1.99—books that are the first in a series, or the first book that Sourcebooks published by that author (and a few extra for good measure). More than 65 exceptional books ranging from young adult to adult fiction, romance, and non-fiction. For complete details, please visit our landing page devoted to this promotion: The complete list of titles is listed below—Discover a great new author!
As always, please be patient if our online retail partners don’t have every single title uploaded to their discounted price points, but the promotions are set to begin on the start dates listed below. These deals are available with all major e-Book retailers!
You can always receive the latest information about our eBook deals by checking out our eBook page:

Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

SOURCEBOOKS eBOOK DEALS! It All Started When… First in “Series” for $1.99
Dates: 12/21/11 - 1/8/12

Complete Details:
1. Battle 100 by Michael Lee Lanning
2. Best Little Stories from the Civil War by C. Bryan Kelly
3. History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War by Thomas R. Flagel
4. It Was Over When... by Robert K. Elder
5. Killer Book of True Crime by Tom Philbin and Michael Philbin

Young Adult

6. Beautiful Dead Book 1: Jonas by Eden Maguire
7. Merlin’s Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton
8. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

9. Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley
10. The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
11. God is an Englishman by R.F. Delderfield
12. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
13. Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw
14. The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee
15. The Immigrants by Howard Fast
16. The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick
17. Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell
18. Miranda's Big Mistake by Jill Mansell
19. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
20. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
21. An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell
22. The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
23. Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
24. Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis
25. Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell
26. A Secret in Salem by Sheri Anderson
27. Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin
28. Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell
29. Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell
30. To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds
31. A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly
32. When Harry Hit the Hamptons by Mara Goodman-Davies
33. The World from Rough Stones by Malcolm Macdonald

34. 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom
35. Awaken the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney
36. Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle
37. A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare
38. Cover Me by Catherine Mann
39. Cowboy Fever by Joanne Kennedy
40. Cowboy Trouble by Joanne Kennedy
41. Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers
42. A Duke to Die For by Amelia Grey
43. The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy
44. The Goblin King by Shona Husk
45. Heart of the Highland Wolf by Terry Spear
46. Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear
47. The Heir by Grace Burrowes
48. The Highlander’s Sword by Amanda Forester
49. I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell
50. In Over Her Head by Judi Fennell
51. It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare
52. Kiss at Your Own Risk by Stephanie Rowe
53. The Legend of Michael by Lisa Renee Jones
54. Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
55. The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen
56. Making Waves by Tawna Fenske
57. Merely Magic by Patricia Rice
58. The Mistress’ House by Leigh Michaels
59. One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
60. The Return of Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman
61. Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye
62. SEALed with a Kiss by Mary Margret Daughtridge
63. Slave by Cheryl Brooks
64. Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase
65. Taste Me by Tamara Hogan
66. Tyler by C.H. Admirand
67. What a Goddess Wants by Stephanie Julian
68. Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson

(I have added links to the titles that I have reviewed at this blog)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Needlework Tuesday - A Finished Present

 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.

Last week I shared pictures of the Snowflake Hostess Apron, from Red Heart, that I had started for my husbands step mother.  Daughter is modelling it in this photo.  If I were to make it again, I would change one step.  In the Bodice, row 21, it says to make 4 sc in one sc, twice in the row that falls around the bust.  You can clearly see these in the photo and they look awful. Sort of like eyes. I assume it was done to make space for the 'bumps', but really, how about two crochet in each of the next three sc. 

I'm sure the gift will be appreciated regardless.

For those who haven't entered already, I invite you to visit my post from last weekend, No Calorie  Doughnuts, and enter the associated contest.  You must leave a comment at that post to be entered.

I will have more doughnuts to show you next week.  They are in various stages of baking making hooking . stitching.  As soon as I publish this, I'll be back to figuring out how to make the yarn look like a Boston Cream Donut.  Then it's on to the 'Camoflauge Glazed'.

Did you get a chance to work on any of your needlework project this past week?  Be sure to leave a comment and your link and I'll add it to my post.  Thanks so much for taking you time this week to visit, and remember to click the link above to find out what my contest is about, and how to enter.

Sherrie at Just Books, has continued with progress to her hexagon afghan.  You definitely want to check it out.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Weekend Cooking: No Calorie Doughnuts

This is the best Christmas baking I have done in years.  No calories, no dishes nor pans to wash up.  And they last.  So why am I crocheting these little darlings.  My dear nephew passed away July 4, 2011.  From the time he was a little guy, he loved sprinkle doughnuts.  If you wanted to surprise him, you brought one, if you wanted to divert him, you brought a doughnut, if for (insert reason here), you brought a doughnut.  He also enjoyed sharing them with his siblings and young cousins when they arrived.  As he got older, he didn't lose his appreciation for this bakery delight.  In memory of him, I have been making these treats.

Two of these have been mailed to family in New Zealand to hang on their trees.  I have one on my tree and am busy stitching baking up more. 

The pattern is free from Red Heart yarns and if you know how to do simple crochet you can bake up a dozen as well.  As for the beads, the tiny seed beads I used on the one, are just too small.  I have bought a tube of larger ones, does size 3/0 mean anything, they are about 2mm in thickness.

Any reader who leaves a comment to this post, will be entered for a chance to win a sweet treat of a couple of these doughnuts.  I'll close the contest some time after the 25th.  International entries welcome.  I'd appreciate if you become a follower, but not required.  Do tell me about your favourite doughnut or sweet treat as part of your entry.

If you are set to 'no reply' be sure to leave your contact info in your comment so that I can contact you. 

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

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

It isn't easy being a single mother to a young child.  Fran Hunter strove to do all the right things while raising her daughter Cassie on the isolated Shetland Island.  Returning home from walking her to school after the Christmas Holidays, Fran spotted something unusual in a snow covered field.  Why was there a splash a red in all that whiteness. 

Inspector Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate the murder of Catherine Ross, a teenager and a newcomer to Shetland.

Why do the long time residents of the island immediately suspect Magnus Tait. Yes, the body was found closest to his cottage and he has a well deserved reputation of being the oddest man in the area, but does that make him a murderer.

That's all I can tell you about this story without giving away too much of the plot and the clues to deciphering 'who done it'.

I loved author Ann Cleeves descriptions of the beauty of the area as well as the remoteness.  Of students from even remoter islands having to board in town so they can attend high school.  Of having to take a ferry or a plane to the mainland for special events.  I couldn't help but be intrigued by the people of the town.  How could Fran almost be afraid of Cassie's teacher Mrs. Henry.  She was a neighbour after all, and since she was teaching primary students, how mean could she be. The Isbister family kept me fascinated with every mention.  The father seems to be of mythical proportions and that the sun rises and sets on him, while his son in a ne'er do well who is living off  his father's flawless reputation.

I will admit that I thought I had  figured out who killed Catherine, several times in fact, but was wrong each time and had no clue when it was finally revealed.  Excellent, I love a book that keeps me on my mental toes.  I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series The Shetland Quartet.

The Shetland Quartet:
Raven Black
White Nights
Red Bones
Blue Lightning

Map of Scottland showing the location where the events depicted in Raven Black occurred.

To learn more about the Up Helly Aa Festival, check this website.

Author Ann Cleeves sponsored a  short film contest for the young people of Shetland to show the world what Shetland is like.  Following is one of those films.  Imagination, by Roseanne Watts.  It is the modern re-telling of a Shetland folktale.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Needlework Tuesday - Yarn Eating Vacuum

 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.

The Great Soup Recipe Hunt is still on. Do you have a soup recipe you want to share, or are you looking for that perfect recipe, then check out my earlier post. I"m collecting homemade soup recipes to put in a binder for my parents. Dad has been told by his doctor he can't have canned soup anymore, too much sodium. Please add a link to your favourite recipe , or send it via private email to heatherdpear at hotmail dot com.

Did you ever have that moment of panic, you have the vacuum out and it gets a bit too close to your needlework project that is laying on the carpet.  What would you do if the vacuum started to eat your yarn?  Oops, that happened this morning with tragic results.  OK, only tragic for the yarn.

There is a surprising amount of yarn wrapped in there and I was very quick at pressing stop.

So just how long is this tangle - 17 1/3 yards.  eeks. That could be just enough to require the purchase of an additional ball of yarn depending on the project.  Fortunately not in my case.  Further down in this post I'll show you what I am using this yarn for.

 Week 12 of the Grandma Coco Papa Bear Sampler Scarf is finally finished.  This final section is "Double Moss" Stitch. I've got a lot of ends to work in and then a gentle blocking to get it in shape.  Should have a final photo for you next week.  While you are visiting with Grandma Coco, I recommend that you browse through and check out the cookies she has been decorating.  They are a work of art.

Have you been working along with me on your Dusty Snowflake Throw?  I am so happy that it is finished.  Still have some ends to work in, but it is already in use on the sofa.  I am so in love with it.  If you are looking for the pattern, it's available for free from Redheart.  Remember, if you use their variegated yarn, you need 7 balls not the 5 that the pattern suggests.

 Calorie free snacking.  This is the project that used the vacuum food.  Er, I mean the yarn that the vacuum ate.  Left is the plain donut and right is the chocolate glazed variety.  It still needs it's beaded sprinkles.  Pattern from Redheart.  When finished, each will get a gold thread loop for hanging.

So why am I making sprinkle donuts for my tree and for my family.  In July my dear nephew Alex passed away at the age of 26.  From the time he was quite young, he loved sprinkle donuts.  This was not a passing fancy, he enjoyed them throughout his life.  A trip to Tim Hortons for a coffee and donut was a regular outing.  Almost every time we visited, at least one of use would go to Tim's with him.  I am making these for my family and friends in memory of Alex.

Not one to rest with just one new project, I added another.  This one is for my husband's step mother. It is from Redheart and is their "Snowflake Hostess Apron".   I am using the Red Heart Shimmer as suggested in the pattern.  Daughter said no way to the Christmas colours and choose instead this vivid blue.

Snowflake waist band.

 Mesh belt.

Shows the foundation row for the skirt.  I found this the hardest part of the project.  Making this row was OK, but picking up the stitches from here drove me crazy.

The skirt part is done in a 'v' stitch.  double crochet chain two and double crochet all in the same stitch.  I blew it by not checking my tension.  When I finished all the pattern repeats suggested the skirt was about 5 inches too short so I had to add a lot of rows.

 This final photo shows the bib section.  I am at the point where I am ready to start the straps.  then it will get more of the pretty white picot edging.  Pictures next week of the finished item.

One of my favourite sewing projects is to make pillowcases.  You thought I was going to say boxer shorts since I have made so many for my kids. I have a pair of these made for a dear friend and her husband.  He is a printer so I think they will fit right in.  She's a reader of this blog, so I am expecting a comment from her.

I was shopping with mom at Fabricland on a sale day.  Her Fabricland has a $3.00 table.  Our goal was to find pillowcase fabric at that price point.  I was thrilled to bring these two home.   This set is for my bed.  Hubby will bet his in his stocking.

I am curious, what kind/colour/pattern of pillowcases do you use?  My daughter has a whole slew of Halloween theme ones that she uses all year round.  My mother and I make lots of them for the various nieces and nephews.  I don't know that the plain ones that come with the sheet sets ever make it out of the cupboard.

If you had your choice, what would be on your favourite pillowcase?  I have a fiery orange flannel one that warms me up.

Remember to add your comment and link to your Needlework Tuesday post.

E-book promotions - Do you love Mr. Darcy?

Today I want to pass along some e-book promotions from Sourcebook. 
A Darcy for Everyone! Sourcebooks Celebrates Jane Austen’s Birthday!

From Tuesday December 13th – Friday December 30th the following eBooks will be priced at $1.99 at all online e-tailers. Whether you like Darcy as a tortured vampire, a modern day rock star, a Texas rancher or anything and everything in between! There truly is a Darcy for everyone!

A Darcy Christmas – Carolyn Eberhart, Sharon Lathan and Amanda Grange

Darcys & the Bingleys – Marsha Altman

Darcy’s Voyage – Kara Louise

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star – Heather Lynn Rigaud

The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice – Abigail Reynolds

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One – Sharon Lathan

Mr. Darcy Goes Overboard – Belinda Roberts

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife – Linda Berdoll

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre – Amanda Grange

Pemberley Chronicles – Rebecca Ann Collins

Pemberley Ranch – Jack Caldwell

Searching for Pemberley – Mary Lydon Simonsen

Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy – Sara Angelini

Darcy and Fitzwilliam – Karen V. Wasylowski

You can find all of the titles and information here:

Also, just a reminder you can still get the FREE three chapter preview of one of our anticipated upcoming January releases Scrumptious by Amanda Usen. You can get the free preview below and you are more than welcome to post the info. Please let me know if you have any questions about this as well. Thanks!

The book has received great early praise from the following publications and you can read more about the story below.

“In the small but expanding niche of foodie romance, Usen’s debut rules the kitchen with lip-smacking prose and rowdy protagonists who put Iron Chef to shame...the pacing, emotion, and erotic exuberance all sparkle.”

- Publishers Weekly

“In her superbly crafted debut, Usen blends together two realistically complicated protagonists, a well-realized culinary setting (complete with mouthwatering descriptions of food), and plenty of incendiary love scenes. The resulting literary dish is a smart, sexy, simply irresistible contemporary romance.”

- Booklist

“The title perfectly summarizes the feel of this book. Both the main characters and the culinary dishes are described in such a way that readers can practically taste, see and feel every word. Usen has a way with words and it translates to a solid storyline with great sex scenes.”

- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he's going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he's denser than a thick slice of chocolate ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there's no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?

Thank-you to Sourcebooks for the cover image.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Needlework Tuesday - One Woman Quilt Show Part 2

 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.

As promised last week, I am back with part two of a very special quilt show.  I am featuring quilts made by none other than my mother, Elaine Tucker.  If you missed the first part of the show, click here to view part 1, then return here and continue.  I have tried my best to post the quilts in chronological order.

Shelley's Song - This large lap size was made for my sister Shelley.  She is an accomplished singer, hence the title.  2010

"Row by Row This Quilt Did Grow"  September 2010.  Round Robin quilt make with members of the London Friendship Quilt Guild.  My mother pieced the second row of three blocks.  Other participants included: Christine Racher, Ellie Elderidge, Margret Parsons, and Karen Cole.

 Irish Landscape - from a class taken during the Irish Quilt Show in Ailsa Craig, Ontario in 2010.  Teacher Miriam Gogarty from Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland.  Finished September 2010.  Prior to taking the class with Miriam, my mother had traded fabric postcards with her many times.

"By the Slice" July 2011.  Made for Grandson Paul.  This was presented to him on the occasion of his 10th birthday.  Pattern by Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville.
During the summer of 2011, the online quilt guild that both of us belong to, hosted a mystery project.  I suggested to mom, that we both make it, with the intent of giving the finished project to the other.  Here's the one that mom made for me.  She chose colours she knew I would love, lots of orange and made it the perfect length for my coffee table.  Unfortunately, she is still waiting for the one I am piecing for her.

"Huggs" 2011.  This is destined for a great nephew.  It is made from the "H" block as his last name begins with that letter.
Don't you just love this panel that mom used on the back. 

 "Kisses" 2011 is destined for another great nephew, a cousin of the one receiving "Huggs".  Back panel is the same, though in a different colour.  The block used is called "Jacob's Ladder" since that is the recipient's name.
 "Camelot" February 2011.  Pattern idea came from a magazine, though we couldn't find that specific issue.  Elaine sewed a 4 patch block, then angled the ruler and trimmed.    She didn't have a name for this quilt, and decided that she would randomly pick a piece of fabric that she had set aside for her next quilt.  Whatever that fabric was named, would be the name for this quilt.  Turned out to be a great choice.
 This is the most recent quilt that mom has completed.  It is made from a jelly roll using that "Jelly Roll 1600 inch" technique.  This one belongs to my father.  He was very ill and mom needed something to distract her, and quilting filled the bill.  The top was already pieced, but it needed a back. 
 My dad loves Halloween and all the wonderful orange colours that are used for decorating.  Mom found this amazing panel and added a bit extra fabric and used it for the backing.  This is kept in the front room where dad spends much of his time.  It is at hand to pull over my legs when I am visiting.
I have run out of photos, though there are at least ten more quilts out there with mom's name on the label.  I will be posting those when I am able.  In the mean time, I want to tempt you with some of the dozens of fabric postcards that she has made.  The ones shown in this photo are about 1/4 of the ones she has received in exchanges.  Following are links to my other blog, Send a Postcard a Week, where I have posted pics of the cards she has sent to my house.

Not all of the cards we have received have yet been shown on my postcard blog, here are a few more that I particularly love.  Hope you enjoy them as well.  Thank-you so much for visiting my mom's One Woman Quilt show.  Please leave a comment as I will be printing them out for her.

I have tried to give credit for pattern and block sources when they are know.  I apologize to the designer of any patterns when I haven't.

Are you ready for a calorie free treat? Then pop on over to Lit and Laundry to view the cute candy ornaments that are being made. 

Over at Just Books, Sherrie has made good progress on her hexagon afghan.  Love the little colour surprise she has put in the middle of each block.