Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
I haven't read either book, though I have read a different title by each author and have based my decision on those. Here's the links to those reviews:
Lords of the Bow: The Epic Story of the Great Conqueror by Conn Iggulden This is his third book that follows the life of Genghis Khan and his descendents.
The Favoured Child by Philippa Gregory I read this before I started blogging, but did write a tiny review on Bookcrossing,
" It was a bit interesting, but it didn't keep me spellbound in my chair by any means, I did wander off to do cleaning and laundry.
As for Richard, stick a rusty knife in his heart and twist sharply. And Julia, get a backbone and keep it."
I voted for Bones of the Hills.
Now that you are familiar with the books, time to go to the HarperCollins Facebook page and vote. Click here to go to the correct page, then click on the cover of the book you want to vote for, when it pops up, you must click 'like'. By clicking 'like' you will be entered to win a copy of that book.
Final step is to leave me a comment telling me who you voted for.
For details on the earlier rounds of voting, be sure to check these post:
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Still knitting away on my cowl. I am on my third ball of wool and am now using the 4.0 mm needles. I have about 15 rows of pattern to complete, then a few rows of garter stitch and then it's the picot bind off on both ends.
This was a great week for machine quilting. I put on my glass gloves and away I go. Glass gloves are almost the same as those fancy gloves you buy at the quilting store, with the exception that they cost a lot less. I bought mine at Marks Work Warehouse. I managed to get a bit of quilting in each day. I tried to minimize stitch-in-the-ditch, but there were times when it was definitely needed. I used to tissue paper trick in a few spots and lots of free motion in the background areas.
Mennonite Relief Sale to be auctioned off in May 2013 in New Hamburg.
What have you been stitching this week?
Linda at Scrapmaster has been working on some cute house blocks.
Rikki at Rikki's Teleidoscope has crafted a thrifty hat.
Late yesterday afternoon, after the close of daily trades, I received a coded message from a trusted insider informing me that there are actually eight unsigned players in the game. That means 68 books, 60 selected by HarperCollins Canada staff, and 4 to be determined by readers. In my post yesterday, I told you about the first two unsigned
players books. I trust that you followed the links and voted for your favorite of the two. Today I present you with the next choices. These are non-fiction:
The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that Way by Bill Bryson and The Weather Makers: How We Are Changing the Planet and What it Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery.
Now that you have checked out both books, click this link, it will take you to Facebook. On that page, click the cover page of the book you want to win, and on the pop-up page, click 'like'. By clicking 'like' you will be entered to win a copy of that book.
For me the choice today was a no brainer, I was an environmental studies/geography major at university, so I had to select The Weather Makers.
After you vote, leave me a comment and tell me who you voted for.
On Wednesday and Friday I'll be back with the next two positions up for grabs.
Monday, 27 February 2012
HarperCollins Canada has once again hit the field running. They have entered their vaults and selected 65 of their top competitors and are ready to hit the field. What, 65, don't I mean 64
Now go to HarperCollins Facebook page (you might have to 'like' HC to be able to vote) and in the upper left are the covers for both books. Click on the cover of the book you like and the you need to 'like' that page for your vote to count. By clicking 'like' you will be entered to win a copy of that book.
Final step is to leave a comment telling me which
Next Monday, HarperCollins will reveal the full slate of 64 books. Be sure to vote then as the grand prize is a copy of each of those books.
Thank-you to all who visited and read my review of Hot Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland. If you missed my review, be sure to click on the title and you'll be taken to that page. As promised, one lucky commenter has won an ebook version of the novel.
I used Random.org to select the winner. The first commenter selected was the host who organized the tour, so I drew a new winner.
I have sent her a private email.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Nailer has to make a choice when he discovers a wrecked clipper ship loaded with a kings wealth of salvage. All of it could be his, if only he kills the lone survivor.
This book, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, was chosen as the February read for my local bookclub. We are a group of women who enjoy science fiction. This selection was a bit of a stretch for some of the members. Foremost, few of them are readers of YA fiction. They wanted more back ground information about how the world came to be the way it is and a wider world view of how it functions now. These aren't things that concern teen readers that I know. They seem to be content to accept the world as the author presents it; they want to get on with the plot. We were all interested in the chasm between the extremely elite life of 'the survivor' and the day to day existance of Nailer and his crew. Was it really possible that 'the survivor' could know so little of the real world that provides the raw resources for her business and lifestyle.
We all agreed that we wanted to know more about the half-man Tool and his kind. How did they come into existance and why are they so loyal to their master.Several of us stated that we'd be looking forward to the companion book The Drowned Cities, due out spring 2012, which further explores these questions.
One of the members told us that at her daughter's school, this book is very popular with middle teen boys. Nailer is a good role model for teen boys, he has to make some difficult decisions and can't rely on his experiences with his brutal father for guidance. He has to consider what he has learned from the various people who surround him, take the best and forge his own morals.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
A couple of weeks ago, I spent three days chasing all over the net to find the clues and answer the 50 plus questions about the hottest YA books to be hitting the shelves in the next few months. If you are like me and can't pass up the opportunity to hear about some new reads, be sure to go visit The Apocalypsies. Once there you'll find posts from dozens of authors and links to their sites. Along with the major prize, many of the authors also hosted contests on their blogs. I was fortunate to win two of these prizes.
Anita Howard, author of the upcoming Splintered, a darker Alice in Wonderland spinoff send me this cool book plate. Now I am waiting to get that book, no library borrow for me. You can also read an introduction to Anita at The Apocalypsies site.
author Gina Damico. Inside I found this bookmark and book plate for her very soon to be released novel Croak. An introduciton to Gina can be found at The Apocalypsies site.
Splintered by Anita Howard
Croak by Gina Damico
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I did sit down this morning to write this post, but blogger seemed to be be mis-behaving. I waited, and waited, still the little spinning circle in the middle of the post area. Turns out blogger is not having problems, they have just stopped supporting my browser. They suggested going to Google Chrome, but that doesn't work on my slightly ancient computer. I loaded Firefox, latest version, but it still tells me that it doesn't support it, arg. I will fumble along and see how it goes. Back to the current Needlework post.
Last week I was telling you about a table runner that I was making for my mom. She doesn't have a coffee table, so she doesn't need a table runner. I decided on a table cloth size quilt. Once I had the blocks done, I needed to play with a design. This first photo shows the table runner that my mom made for me. Mine should look kind of similar, however, I got distracted and went in a total different direction. Following are several different designs that I tried out.
Fun, but wouldn't work flat on a table.
Could have been done with straight strips instead of all that piecing.
Getting there, but daughter said it was too square.
Still too square and she didn't like the pinwheel in the middle.
I was told to try something off centre.
I'll get to quilting it once I finish the bright pink piece that I showed you last week.
I spent a bit of time knitting this week. It's going very well. Onto my second ball of wool and moved to the 3.75 mm needles. Not sure if you can tell that the tension is a bit tighter at the bottom of the photo, it's supposed to be that way.
I hope that my readers found some time for their needlework projects. We haven't been having typical winter weather, so snow activities are out, but at the same time, it's a bit chilly for spring ones. Lucky me, I can stay inside and work on my quilts.
I'd like to hear what you've been up to, or better yet, send me links to your current needlework post.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Sixteen year old Jennie Lovell has not yet accepted the death of her brother Tobias, and now she is confronted with the death of her cousin and fiance Will. While she knows that Toby died from an illness, she has no clue as to why Will won't be coming home to marry her. She hopes that when cousin Quinn recovers from his wounds, he will be willing and able to answer her questions.
Quinn has returned home seriously wounded and reluctant to talk about his experiences. Jennie senses that there is something he is not telling her. She also thinks that the ghosts of her brother and fiance have returned home to comfort her. or are they trying to tell her something.
From the first pages, I found this a very enticing book. The events have already happened and we follow along with Jennie, finding the clues to uncover the truth. Author Adele Griffin made me feel as though I was truly reading words written by a 16 year old girl who had been brought up in a very sheltered existence. She was not worldly and had very little idea of how war could change men, that nice, civil men could lie, cheat, steal and even murder when their survival was threatened. Picture the Dead does talk about the Civil War, but it is not about the war, rather it is about it's impact on one particular group of young men. It also explores the practice of spirit photography. From approximately 1860 til 1930, there was a belief that the image of ghosts could be captured in photographs. Jennie must ask herself whether these ghosts are trying to pass her a message or are they there to comfort her in her grief.
Additional Reviews for Picture the Dead:
Darla at Books & other thoughts
Artist Lisa Brown has done wonderful job of bringing Jennie and her family to life or death as it may be.
Check out the website dedicated to Picture the Dead.
Do you enjoy reading and talking about YA books, join Teen Fire
Thanks to Sourcebook Fire for use of the cover image and for my review copy.
Are you intrigued by the Spiritualist Movement, be sure to check out my earlier review of Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
Lately I have been wanting a hot and spicy bowl of Mulligatawny Soup. I know I have a god one here somewhere, but which one. This week I tried the one that was stuck with a magnet on my fridge. It turned out a very nice bowl of soup, but no, it wasn't the one that I was tasting in my imagination. This is a very hearty, meal in a bowl.
Esther's Mulligatawny Soup
1 1/2 pound chicken with bone
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large piece ginger, minced
2 large celery sticks, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large potato , peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
pinch dried red chili
1 cup tomato paste (I used a 19 oz can of diced tomato)
4 tbsp dry basmatai rice
4 tbsp dry red lentils
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice (I used slices of lime)
Chopped parsley, for garnish
- In a stock pot, place chicken and add enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes and then simmer until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool. Strain broth and remove fat using a paper towel.
- To broth, add onion, garlic, ginger, celery, carrot, potato, bay leaf, curry, cumin, coriander, pepper, red chili, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and boil until vegetables are half cooked. Add basmati rice and let it boil until rice is cooked. Add lentils and cook well. (I added the rice and lentils at the same time).
- Once chicken is cool enough to handle, separate meat from bone and chop finely, add to soup with lemon juice and parseley and heat through. Alternately, use slices of lime or lemon and allow each diner to squeeze fresh juice onto their soup.
Makes 6 servings. Recipe by Esther Joseph. This recipe is from an article printed in The Record, (my local paper), follow this link to an article about Esther in the Peterborough Examiner. It includes recipes for this soup as well as for "Aromatic Parsnip Soup" and "Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup".
Weekend Cooking Post. You are invited to add a link to your recent food related post.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Last week I had a mini contest for all readers who left a comment. There were three commenters, and I have decided that they are all winners. I'll be mailing each of you a lovely printed quilty postcard. Congratulations to Linda, Sherrie and Elly.
I spent time working on my 'snowball and nine patch' quilt. The back is now ready to go, and I have the batting. What I need, is inspiration for the actual quilting. I will continue to muse on that. In the mean time, I have been working on the Block of the Month for my local guild. I don't know where they acquired the pattern, nor do I know the designer. Will let you know should I find out.
Sew Sisters, and they are having a contest for the subscribers to their 'Fabric lovers' bundle of the month.
I have to tell you a bit about my local guild. They are a very conservative lot. When the guild started 10 years ago, they did a Block of the Month. I chose some lovely orange fabrics. Each month we brought our blocks and displayed them. I was standing behind some ladies, and they were talking about my block, to paraphrase them "She did a lovely job of the sewing, but a shame that she used that orange fabric". I was shocked. What's wrong with orange. My thought about their blocks was "a shame they used those boring florals". To this day, I rarely use florals and try and include orange in every quilt. The more orange the better.
Last evening I sewed my blocks together and pinned it on the wall. Even I had to admit that perhaps I got a little carried away. It was just to darn busy.
Needless to say, I just couldn't maintain myself, I had to keep sewing. Before I knew it, I had finished sewing the strips and had cut it into blocks. Daughter came home and saw the blocks and asked what it would make. I really did intend to make the table runner for mom, honest. Then I recalled that mom doesn't have a coffee table. I should make her a square table mat. By the end of the evening, I had finished the middle of the top and was auditioning fabrics for the borders. The completed top is sitting waiting for me to show it to mom. I can't show you first, you'll have to wait until I show it to her. You're gonna love how this table runner transformed into ....
Birds Nest Smoke Ring by Shui Kuen Kozinski .
I am using a much darker yarn. The yarn is Peruvian Baby Silk (20% baby alpaca and 20% silk) from Elann.com. It uses four balls of yarn and you change to a large size needle two times. This is my first project using a provisional cast on. Notice the white/black wool at the bottom of the photo. IN this photo I have completed more than one repeat of the pattern . Need to do a total of four repeats plus twenty rows. (almost five repeats). I hadn't thought I would get so much completed, but each time I picked it up, I didn't want to stitch just one row.
What have you been stitching this week? Did you get carried away by any of your projects?
Friday, 10 February 2012
Things heat up a further notch when Bambi's husband, Jimmy Ray determines that she was unfairly terminated and sues the sisters for an outrageous sum. Jimmy Ray is not a lovable person, though the sister's have to admit that he has done a great job revamping the local bowling alley.
Author Dawn Greenfield Ireland has created a very comfortable group of characters that I would immediately feel at home with, should I happen to be in Houston. Even though the sisters are extremely wealthy, they are not pretentious in any way. Lila Mae starts each day by making and eating breakfast with Amelia, her cook. Dorothea treats her staff, Maria and Joseph as though they are family. Ms. Ireland even managed to make me feel bad for the way Jimmy Ray is treated.
After you finish the story, continue reading and enjoy several recipes for the delicious food that appeared in the novel.
What I want to know is how the sisters got the marshmallow fluff to melt in their hot chocolate? Mine just sat on the top in an un-appetizing blob. I'll stick with my marshmallows; don't you love the giant ones, though they are way too large for my mug.
For a chance to win an ebook (PDF available for those preferring to read on a laptop) of this novel, leave a comment telling me your favourite comfort food and why. Include your email so I can contact the winner. International entrants welcome. You do not have to be a follower of Books and Quilts to win, but it would be nice if you were. Winner to be drawn February 17, 2012. For additional chances to win, visit Dawn's site for a list of stops on this tour.
Virtual Authors Book Tours and author Dawn Greenfield Ireland for my review copy.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for my contest.
Last week I shared photos of the snowball and nine patch blocks. I don't think I mentioned that the blocks are all 6 inches. They were from a swap that I did with 7 other members from an online group. Good thing I wrote this up or I would have forgotten that I have siggies (3 1/2 inch signature blocks from the participants) and I want to include them on the back. In this first photo I have added 2 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches light sashing strips and 2 1/2 inch square medium cornerstones.
To finish up I added some medium sashing strips between the nine patch blocks. I remembered to add some pink so that the 'pink' autumn blocks wouldn't stand out too much. At this point, none of the sashing or cornerstones are sewn, I left that for one big process.
Voila, the finished and pressed top. It measures approximately 48 inches square. This morning I bought some Hobbs 80/20 quilt batt (80 % cotton 20% poly) but want to pre-wash it first to reduce shrinkage after quilting. I have something special in mind for the backing to go along with the signature blocks. I'll show you that next week and then you'll understand why I am calling this quilt Snowballs in Vegas. As soon as I figure out how I want to quilt this, I'll be right at it. Then to find an interesting piece of fabric for the binding, I'm thinking stripes.... This is an original design.
I love when I hear from my readers that they are enjoying my projects and also that they have been working on theirs. Be sure to leave a comment this week, as I will be selecting one
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Tomorrow I will start mailing out my Valentines Postcards. Yes, postcards, not those flimsy creations that come in a pack to give out in class, but high quality, full colour, card stock printed postcards. These are adorable cards, some a bit 'mushy' (as my kids said) but then again, Valentines is for being all 'mushy' and sweet. You'll want to send one to your love, another to your mother, grandmother... everyone. I have permission to put a few images on my postcard blog, so check there next week for a peek inside this gorgeous book.
This book of 30 cards is from Darling & Company, also known as The Laughing Elephant , same company that published the Halloween Postcard book that I reviewed in October. ISBN 13 978-1-59583-007-4