Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Needlework Tuesday - Final Projects of 2013

My final post of 2013 and what luck that it's a Needlework Tuesday post.  I've had a lot of enjoyment sharing my various needlework projects with you this past year.  Knowing that I'd be writing a new post each Tuesday really did keep me on my toes.  I felt that I needed to have something to show you each week even if it meant stitching late on a Monday evening.  I don't regret any of those late nights because it meant I was moving forward on a much desired project.  

At the same time, I hope that I have been able to encourage you at least a wee bit toward working on your own projects.  Near the end of the year, I started adding Mr. Linky so that my readers could share their recent needlework posts.  That will continue in the new year.  Once again, thanks for joining me at my blog, Books and Quilts for Needlework Tuesday.

One last finish for the year.  These are mitts for my sister and they are from a KnitPicks kit.  Notice how narrow they are, a classic example of why you always should knit a tension square before beginning.  I used 2.5mm needles are suggested but should have used 3mm.  I stitched the thumbs with 2.75mm and they are still a bit snug  Hopefully my sister has slim hands....

The motif of the northern lights over the mountains is quite appropriate for my sister as she lives in Alberta.

Yesterday I cast on for this headband for daughter.  I love to knit cables and am having fun with this challenge.  Pattern is by my friend Paulina Chin and is available from from Ravelry.  Julie's Cabled Headband.  I am using Red Heart Super Saver yarn as I happened to have it on hand.  A wool blend would be a much better choice.  I do expect that I'll be knitting this pattern again, probably several times.
I also cast on this Wingspan scarf for myself.  I am using 2 balls of Tarantella from elann.com. 

Last week I shared some of my homemade ornaments.  I'm re-posting the link, as you probably missed it since it was posted on Christmas Eve Day.

Are you the type of person who plans out projects long ahead of time?  For me, it's usually what jumps into my line of view at that vulnerable moment after I've finished my last project.  I'm going to try to be a bit focused next year.  I have a lot of quilt tops that need quilting and I want to play with fabric postcards and also with Zentangle inspired quilts.  Tea cosies are high on my list for knitting and still I want to crochet a Christmas tree skirt for a cousin.  I also think that I'll be stitching more than a few headbands.  I haven't made any of them before, but they look like quick projects and besides that, I've made so many scarves for family members that I think they are ready for a change.

Stay tuned for Needlework Tuesdays in 2014 and see what I actually stitch.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

In the Moment by Olivia Jake

It's still a man's world when it comes to running and ad agency and even more so when  your clients are in the entertainment field.  Sam Davis knows this well and has worked hard to be at the top of her field.  Up until this client, she has never mixed work with pleasure.

Once Laurent Roman viewed Sam's company's proposal, he decided this was the company that would launch is new television network.  He also knew that his relationship with Sam, would not be purely about business.

Sam and Laurent are very much alike, both are exacting in their work and hold themselves to very high personal standards.  They dominate their fields, their employees and even themselves.  Sam is also the alpha to her two pit bulls at home. 

Author Olivia Jake created believable business characters and a feasible story line.  I did feel that even with an instant attraction between the two, they moved far too quickly into a Dom/sub relationship.  I had expected a conversation between the two to discuss how they would proceed and whether they both agreed to it, not just Laurent deciding to was going to be his way.  Sam is such a strong woman, but she just sort of goes along with everything Laurent wants.  I kept hoping that she would tell Laurent no at some point.  I had some hope for her taking back a bit of control when she most competently introduced her dogs to Laurent.  I would have enjoyed the book more if Sam played a more equal role in their private life.

The story continues in Moments Lost and Found.

Thanks to author Olivia Jake for use of the cover image.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Forbidden Call: A New Breed Novel by Martha Bourke

According to the Mayan calendar, the world changed on December, 21, 2012.  The effects are showing in Boston, Massachusetts where the Order is trying to keep ahead of Toltec and his destructive forces.

New Breed Warrior, Soaring Eagle (SE) has been saved from a senseless death by his mortal enemy Ana.  While suffering amnesia, he falls in love and finds himself mated to her. 

Forbidden Call is the first book in a new adult series by Martha Bourke.  The second title in the series is Deadly Call.  These books follow a story line started in her YA series Jaguar Sun.  While the author indicates that the reader doesn't need to read the Jaguar Sun series, I felt quite lost in the story line, not knowing who Toltec was and how he fit in with the shifters and hellions. 

This is a well thought out story line and the sexual tension between Ana and SE kept me reading late into the night, I just had to know what was going to happen next.  There are several descriptive sexual scenes that serve to further re-enforce  their relationship. 

The story ended on a high note which answered a few questions, but it left even more open ended and begging for a follow-up.

Thanks to author Martha Bourke for use of the cover image.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Needlework Tuesday - Homemade Ornaments

This is a special Needlework Tuesday post.  Instead of my usual needlework, I am sharing my homemade ornaments, some made by me and some by others and I invite my readers to share photos and stories of theirs.  I have added Mr. Linky for those who have posts of their ornaments.  Feel free to add a link to a photo of your Christmas Tree.

The red glass stars were made by a local artist and sold by a church youth group raising money for an overseas mission.

Painted for me by my hairdresser.  She recycled and old sock for the hat and a sealing lid from a canning jar for the face.

My son made this for daddy when he was 5 years old.  My mother has a pinecone painted silver that her brother made over sixty years ago. 

My godson made this for me about 20 years ago.  Alex passed away 2 1/2 years ago and this ornament has a very special presence on my tree.

I stitched this during my smocking exploration. It's the only one that I made.  I do think it was stitched about the same time my nephew made me the above ornament.

The two folded star ornaments were made at a smocking guild meeting.  I made a bunch more at home and gave them to family. 

This is my one attempt at Battenberg lace.  It was done as a sampler in a class with the smocking guild.  I never did any more, but did enjoy learning.  at that point I didn't have as much patience for slower projects.

One of my quilting friends stitched this a few years back.

My godson loved sprinkle donuts and when I saw the pattern for crocheted donuts, I knew I would have to make these.  I made them for all the family members and still have a dozen or so more in progress.  My favourite part was adding the beaded sprinkles.  Additional donuts are shown in this earlier post.

You are invited to add a link to your post about your homemade ornaments, or leave a comment and tell me about them there.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My Grandmother's 98th Christmas

Today we celebrated Christmas with my grandmother, Sophie Tucker.  This is her 98th Christmas. 
22 of use gathered for dinner, though we would have happily  made space for more.

l-r Len, Shelley, Paul, Marcus, Eric, Shannon, Sam, Andrew and David with Sophie at the head of the table.

r-l LouAnn, Sheri, Lori, Elaine, Sophie, Connor, Joan, Jerry, Sandra and again, Sophie at the head of the table.

Sophie, her daughter Joan, son Jerry, daughter-in-laws Elaine and Sandra.
 A video message from my grandmother to those family members who were unable to attend.  I missed a bit at the beginning, which is directed to her brother Tony.

Greetings from the family.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Tangled Thursday - Beginning Lines

I've been pondering a response to my friend Lisa who recently learned about Zentangles.  She sent me a lnk to some drawings she had done, and asked me is she was doing it right.  Something I can't really answer.  Instead, I thought I'd share some thoughts on how I work. 

First, is when to ink in your outside frame.  I pencil mine lightly, and once I have finished my work, then decide whether I want to ink it or not.  that approach gave me the freedom to draw one of these beads extending past the outline. 
Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my local and online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme  and them post our drawings in about 2 weeks time.  All are welcome to join in the fun.  If you are new to Zentangles, then visit the website for a complete explanation and all sorts of online resources.  I'm also a big fan of TanglePatterns.com.
In this example, I have drawn the outline of the tile as well as the string in pencil.  Both the knightbridge and the pokeweed tangles extend past the outer border. I could have easily contained them within the line, but I did  enough of colouring within the lines when I was a student.
The tipple fills in the spaces around the pokeweed and clearly delineates the border.  I certainly won't be inking the bordr in that area.  I will probably erase the lines that are showing, but it might not be required once I finish the shading.
I drew this tile when I first started.  At that time the first thing I did was ink in the outer border.  That left me with no option of continuing the swirls (upper left corner) outside the border.
In this tile, I even inked in the string before I started drawing any of the tangles.  I don't do that any more, it's too limiting as it takes away possibilities.
This is what a typical page looks like in my sketch book.  There is room for 6 tiles, though I  don't always work that way particularly with strip type tangles.  As with Pia, I like to try out lots of variations.  I find the colouring in of tangles the most relaxing.  I could do tile after tile of just knightsbridge.  One of my friends says she much prefers the line work ones such as Auraknot.  Each to their own.

In answer to my friend Lisa, if you are happy with  your work, then yes, you  are doing it right.  
If you are just starting and are looking for a book, I recommend Zentangle Basics by Suzanne McNeill  ISBN 978-1-57421-327-0.  It's a very affordable book and will introduce you to 24 tangles.  This is the book that started me on this journey.  I also recommend that you take a class if you are lucky enough to have a CZT Certified Zentangle Teacher nearby.  for a list of teachers, visit Zentangle.com
I have added Mr. Linky again this week and invite you to add a link to your Zentangles, a new post or one of your favorites.  I'd love to view your work.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Needlework Tuesday - Playing in the Workshop (no elves in sight)

I had several requests last week to post a photo of the wingspan scarf being worn.  Son consented as long as I cropped his face.  Well, it's a back view so no worry there.   I have wool for my next one, and plan to start it in the new year.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

I spent some good time working on the quilt inspired by the broken herringbone blocks.  It's now about 38 inches square.  I'm planning to put it on point, though have yet to work out those details.  Since these blocks have lots of bias edges, I decided it was time to try Best Press.  It's a bit of a splurge, but it really did make it easier to deal with the edges without making the fabric too stiff. 
My goal for the week is to machine quilt a baby quilt, instead, I completed two of the 15 1/2 inch slab blocks.  I felt the need to stitch pieces of fabric together again and again.  I plan intend to make more of these blocks, though I don't know when that will happen. 
Then, it was back to the baby quilt.  It's for a little boy, and I want to show 'boy' motifs in the quilting instead of some random design.  I have traced out a number of them and will be using one of those disappearing markers to transfer them to the quilt top.  I'll be sure to take lots of photos to share with you later.
Next week I'll have a special post sharing some of my hand made Christmas ornaments.  I'll have Mr. Linky available if you'd like to share your special ornaments at that time.  Today you are invited to share your current needlework project. 
Looking for a more seasonal post, then click to visit last years post about Christmas Tree skirts (you can still add a link at that post ).

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Children of the Fog by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

If you enjoy a book that has you looking over your shoulder and double checking that the door is locked, then Children of the Fog is the book for you.  From the very first page I was getting that creepy feel.  In fact, after reading the first page, I had to put the book down, then came back to it a few minutes later and started reading again.  That creepy feeling remained with me for the rest of the book.

It's the dying days of her marriage and author Sadie O'Connell is getting ready for her son Sam's sixth birthday.  The party with his young friends seems to go well, but that is the last thing that does.  it's all downhill afterwards.  Sadie is hit with the trifacta of a failed marriage, alcoholism and the heartbreak of a missing child.  Through all this, Sadie manages to hold herself together and deal with two of these issues.  Ms. Tardif made her a believable character and mother.    Philip was more absent, I felt I learnt little about him which is exactly as he was in their marriage.

This book left me feeling on edge an I had to keep putting it down until I was about half way through, and then I couldn't put it down.  I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep without knowing how it all turned out.  A good read for those who enjoy suspense with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.  If you are squeamish about children being hurt, then select one of Cheryl's other novels.

Thanks to author Cheryl Kaye Tardif for the use of the cover image.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Tangled Thursday - A Black and White Cow

A word. That's what Tami's challenge was for today.  I had several ideas, though this is the one that I settled on , for now.  I chose very black and white tangles and drew a cow.  Tangles used: cubins, corn rows, jonqal, zedbra, daggerly.
Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my local and online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme  and them post our drawings in about 2 weeks time.  All are welcome to join in the fun.  If you are new to Zentangles, then visit the website for a complete explanation and all sorts of online resources.  I'm also a big fan of TanglePatterns.com.
When I was at my local book store, WordsWorth Books, the other day, I saw that they had a Zentangle book in stock. Wanting to encourage the spread of the art, I offered to draw some shelf talkers (usually they are the little reviews of the books that the shop hangs from the shelf near where the book is stocked) for the art.  I dropped these by the store yesterday.  Hopefully they will encourage others to try Zentangles.

Mr. Linky is waiting below for you to add a link to your 'word' tangle.  we won't be having another challenge till the new year, though I will have my post and Mr. Linky will be there for you to share your art.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Needlework Tuesday - Finished Wingspan scarf

Most of you have met my mother, Elaine, in earlier posts.  In this photo she is modeling her latest bag.  It was made all with half square triangles and is from a pattern by Edyta of Laundry Basket Quilts.  Mom attends a monthly Laundry Basket Quilts Club at Cornerstone Quilts in London, Ontario and they are preparing for their club show early in spring.   She won't be giving away this bag until after the show.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.
Is the snow falling fast and heavy in your neck of the woods, then check out my post from yesterday for a bit of summer.
Among a layering of quilts on mom's guest bed, this little bit of something she is working on was peeking out.  Once she finishes the Laundry Basket projects laying on top of it, I'll get a better photo for you. I couldn't resist this little tease.  It's a design she put together using left overs from previous jelly roll projects.
Last week I showed the Wingspan scarf that I had started.  It's done.  I had to share two photos as the colour is off in both.  It is actually purples and greens.  Near the bottom right you can see a piece of wool attached, that was all that was left of the two balls after I bound off.  Now that was cutting it close.  I'll be mailing this gift of shortly.

I'm pleased with my progress on the quilt using the 'broken herringbone' blocks.  It needs some sashing and then I'm setting it on point as I want a larger top.  I'll have to introduce additional fabrics as I'm running out of these one. This is my favourite way to piece a top.  start with a known block and then improvise with what you have on hand and let that guide me.  Originally this was going to be a two block table runner, but that's been long forgotten.

Do you ever find that a project grows far beyond where you had thought it would go?

You are all invited to use Mr. Linky and add a link to your recent needlework post.  I'll be sure to visit and leave a comment.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Bloomin December

yes it's almost winter here, but not in my mother's kitchen.  When I walked in to that room the other day, I couldn't believe the profusion  of flowers on her almost leafless hibiscus plant.  Wow.  I'll take a treat like this any time.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Santa PurSuit - the Second Year

Saturday was perfect for the second annual Santa PurSuit in Waterloo, Ontario in support of the YMCA.   A wee bit of snow greeted the over 700  runners Santas as they waited for the start time. As usual, I had a fun time co-ordinating the volunteers responsible for feeding all those hungry Santa's after their warming run.

A few late arriving Santa's are seeking the starting line even as others are on their way.

No race can be run without a whole team of elves.  Shown here are some of the React team who are on hand for security and communications.
Thanks to RunWaterloo for another fun event.  Drop by their site for a post-race roundup with links to thousands of free race photos.  For those who didn't get enough, next weekend is the inaugural Santa PurSuit Toronto on December 15,2013, still time to register online.