Friday, 27 June 2014

Free Audiobooks - SYNC Week 7

SYNC for Young Adult Listening: Free Weekly Summer Classics & Novels
Available  from June 26 – July 2

FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, Narrated by Noah Galvin (Hachette Audio)

OCTOBER MOURNING: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman, Narrated by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Christina Traister (Brilliance Audio)

Thanks to SYNC for the use of all images.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tangled Thursday - String 109

Elaine challenged us to use string 109 this week, which can be found at  Unfortunately, life got in the way and I haven't finished mine.  I am hemming daugther's prom dress.  I figured it would take a couple hours and then I could get on to my tangles.  oops.  Little did i know that my sewing machine can't handle the sheer fabric of the skirt.  I was able to hem the satin layer, no problem.  But sheer was absolutely a no go.  It slipped all over the place, the feed dogs just couldn't seem to hold on to it.  eeks.  What to do.  I called my mom in a panic, after she calmed me down, we decided that a hand rolled hem was the way to go.  trouble is, there's 16 metres to hem.  **update - I just cut the extra from the top layer, and it is 13 metres itself, so 21 metres to hem.  It's a very full double layer of sheer over the satin kind of skirt.  It took eight hours to do one layer.  today the second layer. Thank goodness prom isn't till tomorrow.   After that, I'll continue with my version of string 109 and I'll be back and update my post.

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

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your version of string 109 or your current Zentangle inspired post.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Maintaining my Focus

 All last week I worked diligently on my crazy quilt block.  First step was to complete all the embroidery.  This still left space for further embellishment.

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.

Next was to add lace appliques.  I couldn't find small pieces, so I purchased a larger piece several inches cross and carefully snipped it apart.   I added these four pieces and then added some white shiny beads as accents.

Ribbon embroidery was up next.  I have dabbled in this many years ago and enjoyed that a few quick stitches resulted in a beautiful flower.  
French knots and detached chains made these cute little flowers.  If you look carefully, you can see the beads that I added to the middle of the lace motif.
i was quite surprised at how well the iris turned out.  They still look sort of like bunnies with droopy ears, but they make me smile.  Detached chain with a twisty droopy loop underneath and then stab stitch for the leaves.
Woven roses were lots of fun.  I practised on another piece first and made them a bit larger here.  I could have put them a wee bit closer together, though I did use leaves to fill in some of the extra space.  There is still a big gap that needs more flowers and a twisting vine, but first I have to hem daughter's prom dress.  Fortunately I have a rolled hem foot for one of my machines.  I'll be practising on the part i cut off before moving to the garment.  Of course, the lovely three inch swath I trimmed off the bottom has been set aside for a future project.  In fact, I have asked daughter's friends to send me the bits from the bottoms of their dresses so that i can make them some small wall hangings to remember their proms.  I'm thinking a small fan with stitches along the blades and then applique that to a pretty background.  Small enough they can pin it up in their dorm rooms in the fall.

Did you daughter have trimmings from her prom dress? What did you do with them?

Mr. Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.  Also leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Khaki = Killer by Connie Corcoran Wilson

It's not easy being a teen, and sometimes it is downright dangerous.  Such is the case with Tad McGreevy and his friend Stevie Scranton.  During their ten years friendship, they have endured more than most people do in an entire lifetime.  Tad has what could be termed a super power, that allows him to see colour auras around a person indicating their personality (including that of murderers who appear as khaki) and has been pursued by the violent Pogo the Clown aka Michael Clay, while Stevie has been abused by several adults in his life including a lengthy period during which he was kidnapped and held captive.   Their friendship has endured all this, though it is about to be challenged yet again.

The students at SkyHigh in Cedar Falls have been dealt a cruel blow when popular cheerleader Melody Harris Carpenter falls from the top of a pyramid formation and lapses into a deep coma.  Shortly after ward, two more girls from the class go missing with no hints of there where abouts. 

Stevie really shows his mettle in this third instalment of The Color of Evil.  I've really grown to like and almost admire him.  He has shown that you don't have to be a victim all your life, you can find the strength and the power of good and become a better person than your circumstances might seem to suggest.  Way to go Stevie.  The assortment of both good people and bad people in this story reads true to life as any daily news can attest. It also reflects a realistic interaction between the teens and adults.  Tad and Stevie do their best to help find the missing girls, but they know when it is time to turn to the adults in their lives and involve them. Be sure to read Connie's comments at the end of the book where she talks about her inspirations for the various situations.

While reading, ensure that you pay attention to the chapter headings.  The story does skip around in time which tended to keep my off balance by not being able to predict what could happen next.  Great way to add to my suspense.

This book did have a different tone that the previous two in the series, The Color of Evil and Red is for Rage . I found those two more creepy and on edge, where this one was more of a story telling and getting on with life.  There was still the suspense of not knowing what would happen in the various situations that developed, but I didn't find myself turning on lights and flinching at every sound.    I would suggest that you not read this as a stand alone, but to start at the beginning of the series.  There are a lot of characters re-introduced in the opening chapters and you'll be missing their back stories if you start here.  And besides, you really do want to read The Color of Evil to learn just how loathsome Pogo the Clown really is.

** Red is for Rage will be available free on  Kindle June 26-30, 2014.
**Khaki = Killer will be available free on Kindle July 9 - 13, 2014.

For a chance to win an ebook of Khaki = Killer, visit the blog So Many Precious Books, So Little Time and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.  Open internationally.

The Color of Evil Series:
  1. The Color of Evil
  2. Red is for Rage
  3. Khaki = Killer

Thanks to author Connie Corcoran Wilson and Virtual Author Book Tours for my review copy. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Free Audiobooks - SYNC Week 6

SYNC for Young Adult Listening: Free Weekly Summer Classics & Novels

Available June 19 - June 25, 2014.

I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter, Narrated by Renée Raudman (Brilliance Audio)

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery, Narrated by Colleen Winton (Post Hypnotic Press)

Thanks to SYNC for the use of all images.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

1222 - Hanne Wilhelmsen #8 by Anne Holt translator Marlaine DeLargy

Retired police Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is not an openly warm person who invites confidences.  When she is stranded at an isolated mountain resort due to a train derailment during the worst winter storm in Norway's history, all she wants is to be left alone.  The other 268 survivors just want to get warm and be rescued as soon as possible.  None of them had any suspicion that there was at least one murderer in their midst.   Hanne is quite content to leave the case alone for when the police can arrive, but is spurred to action when a second murder is discovered.

The story is set in a hotel in the remote area of Finse along the route from Oslo to Bergen at an elevation of 1222 metres.  The temperature is so cold and the storm so severe that no one can come in and no one can leave.  It might be a great place to commit a murder, but not to escape from.  Will rescue come before the murderer can strike again.

I liked the way that the Norwegians on the train seemed to take the whole situation in stride.  They just sat back and waited, with the exception of a few who were demanding of attention and intervention.  These people made for interesting events and possibilities.    Even though the majority of the story took place in the lobby/sitting area of the hotel, I never felt confined.  Hanne is such a large and commanding character than I never had the urge to leave her presence.  She seems a cool, indifferent person, but she is drawn to young Adrian and likewise, he is drawn to her.  I do hope that this unlikely relationship continues in a future book.

I totally enjoyed listening to this audio book  I feel that I learned  a bit about Norway, on the surface, stark and cold, but once you look below the surface, all sorts of richness, emotions and depths emerge.

This book was translated from the Norwegian to English by Marlaine Delargy.  She has included some familiar English terms, though they do not deter from the enjoyment or readability of the story,

I listened to the audio book as read by Kate Reading.  Blackstone Audio, unabridged 10 hours 39 minutes.  Ms. Reading brought Hanne to life for me.  I could feel the resignation in her voice, that she was making this trip only because she had to, and would have rather been anywhere but in a hotel in Finse.

While 1222 is the eighth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone novel. 

Thanks to Blackstone Audio for use of the cover image.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Needlework Tuesday - One of my Quilting Goals for this Year

Back in January, I set three quilting goals for myself: become comfortable doing blocks with set in seams, embrace machine quilting and take it to the next level, and learn crazy quilting.  Today I am sharing my progress on the third goal, crazy quilting.

I have been doing an online class with Kathy Shaw.  She has designed a wonderful class that cover all beginner aspects of crazy quilts and if I had actually read all the words instead of just skimming and looking at the diagrams, I would have avoided several errors.  All participants are making the exact same design, including block and embroidery, though we picked our own fabrics and colours.  I am about half way through the embroidery and then have the silk ribbon embroidery and a several other accents to consider. 

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.

Following are close ups of some of the embroidery and beading.

I've been working at my sewing table and it's a good thing as I have been stitching with my supplies spread out.  This way I have access to additional threads should I need a change.  My boxes of beads are closed and moved slightly away from the edge of the table (don't want them to become vacuum fodder). The supplies shown in the bottom left corner and those currently in use.

I included this photo as i wanted to show how I actually work.  Generally, I am not a kit person, I gather far more supplies than I will need and then par it down as I go.  I am pretty sure by this point that I have narrowed down the colours of floss I'll use, but never say never to adding a new one if needed.  An the huge spool of pink rayon embroidery thread, that's from another project and it just didn't get put away.

Best thing I did was to purchase some new packages of needles. This way I know that I am using the proper type for embroidery .  The eyes are big enough to thread but not so large they are hard to pull through the fabric.  It always helps to have the proper supplies at the start.

I am curious whether you do embroidery or crazy quilting?  Do you have a favourite product you always come back to or a book that you can't work without.  Please leave a comment below and if you have a blog post about this, enter it with Mister Linky.   I look forward to visiting with you.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

What kind of world do you live in

We all make choices everyday about  the type of world we live in and perpetuate.  We can shut and lock our doors both physically and metaphorically and keep ourselves away from our neighbours and country men.  We can ignore the happenings in our own neighbourhoods and allow children to cry in the streets.  Or, we can do the opposite, we can walk out our doors and embrace our neighbours and our world.

Cupcakes that I made with my son for his hair stylist's birthday

It can be as simple as a hug , a plate of home baked cookies to a neighbour, a few minutes weeding in a community garden or even sharing your extra garden produce with your co-workers.  It doesn't have to be something big, it can be a tiny effort for you, but it might make a world of difference to another.

My dad and mom
I was thinking of my dad the other day and realised that he was such a person. He made a difference in many small ways.  These weren't planned efforts, but rather, just the way he was.  He saw something needing doing and he did it.

He had a little white pickup truck that he loved to drive.  If he was going somewhere and saw a grocery cart along the way, he would stop and put it in the back.  Later he would drive to the store and put it back in the lot.  He didn't go it to claim money for returning the cart, they are very expensive to purchase, he did it because he felt it was the right thing to do.

He would also drive his little truck along the street he lived on and stop at each tree.  He would get out his pruning sheers and snip off the tiny branchlets that were starting to grow from the trunk  as well as the sprouts from the base of the tree.  Something that should have been carried out by city work crews, but never seemed to get done.  Nobody seemed to mind, though he felt that the little white truck helped, since it was similar to the trucks that were used by the city.  A small thing you might think, but trees that he pruned have been growing better than the un-pruned ones, and they looks so very much better.
My sister, mom and dad at Niagara Falls

In case you are thinking that he only did these things because he was retired and had nothing better to do, not so.  One summer when I was home from university and dad was working out of town, he picked up a hitch hiker along the route.  When we asked him why, because he rarely did this, he said it was because the fellow was holding a sign saying he was looking for a ride to Niagara.  Niagara is region not a specific spot.  Dad figured he was a tourist and he was, a student from Germany.  Dad brought him home, fed him, gave his some souvenirs from the area and then drove him to Niagara Falls, toured him around and then dropped him off at a hostel.  Why would he go to all that effort for a stranger. He told us that he hoped that if his children where strangers somewhere, that another person would show them such kindness.

My grandmother at her 97th Christmas
I don't have to wonder long where he got this from, my grandmother used to take cookies to the staff at the doctor's office, she would make lunch for workmen who were hired to do work at her house and many other little things.

 I find myself doing similar things, volunteering at races, warm cinnamon rolls to share with my neighbour, picking up garbage off the street when I am walking.  Small things in the vastness of this world, but each one of them a positive force.

I want to live in a world that is friendly and inviting.  Where I know my neighbours and they know me.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Free Audiobooks - SYNC Week 5

SYNC for Young Adult Listening: Free Weekly Summer Classics & Novels

Available June 12 - June 19, 2014.

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, Narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell (Bolinda Audio)

THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill, Narrated by Bernadette Dunne (christianaudio)

Thanks to SYNC for the use of all images.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Tangled Thursday - Your favourite tangle

 I started dabbling with Zentangles less than two years ago.  Going back through my sketch book, I found that Knightsbridge was the seventh tangle that I tried.  The first sketch shows the variation that I drew.  I was happy with the results and loved the quiet time spent colouring in the alternate squares.  As I paged further through my sketch book, I found many more examples of this tangle.  It's  a fun one to play with by varying the distance between the lines, whether they are straight or curved and how to 'fill' the resulting squares.

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
 CZT Margaret Bremner has a tutorial on her blog the Enthusiastic Artist from which I gained some further ideas.  Beez in the Belfry shows how to do the variation with the water drop enlargement.
 I drew quite a few with curved lines to find out whether I'd be able to sense the movement in the surface. 

An assortment of variations. i particularly like that you can vary the distance between the lines depending on the area being filled.  

Sets of curved lines.  Not sure what I think about the 'squares' at the edges. They really have lost their shape.

Random thread with an overall grid but then different fills for each area of the thread.

Fun with coloured markers.  I was thinking of Dutch  artist Piet Mondrian when I was working on this piece.  While he mostly stuck to straight lines,  i let mine curve where they wished.

I hope that you had time to play with your favourite tangle this past week.  Mister Linky is waiting below.  Feel free to add a linky to the post of your favourite tangle or to your most recent Zentangle inspired post.    Elaine will get back to us shortly with your next challenge.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Needlework Tuesday - Well it doesn't really look like a cupcake

Does my title have you wondering why I am talking about cupcakes in a needlework post. Actually, it does make sense. In April I started crocheting a tea cosy that is supposed to look like a cupcake.Daughter and I chose the pale blue for the cupcake paper.  It is a very thick stitch, double crochets alternating around the front post and then back post.  Single crochet for the chocolate cake and then a long white spiral for the frosting.  It is cute but both of us think it looks more like a 'magic mushroom'.  The most fun part was adding the sprinkles/beads at the top.  I did notice that I sewed on the cake part to look big and fluffy while the pattern shows it tucked within the liner paper.  The Pattern is from Patons and is free from their website.
I do hope that you had a chance to view the three parts of the quilt show that I posted last week.  The quilts are by members of my local guild and by the members of the St. Jacobs Mennonite Church.  Part 1 - Black and White QuiltsPart 2 - Embroidered QuiltsPart 3 - Assorted Styles of Quilts.

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 used really large beads for this project, size 3/0, as I felt that regular seed beads would have been lost in the stitching.  I sewed them on with regular white cotton thread and knotted after every couple of beads.  I don't expect this cosy will get washed often, so they should be quite secure.
After finishing the salmon afghan, I was ready to start a new project.  Daughter has been asking that I knit an eternity scarf for one of her friends. I happened to have a 200 gram ball of Softie by Jessan in Holland.  It's been sitting in my closet for years waiting.  A pure white like this just doesn't look good on me, but her friend really rocks white.  I cast  on 60 stitches on 4.5 mm needles and am k6p6 maintaining the pattern for 6 rows and then reversing.  The resulting checker board pattern is very pretty yet still incredibly soft. I'm not sure how long this needs to be, though when it reaches that magic length, I'll stitch the two ends together and call it finished.

Have you knit/crocheted/sewed an infinity scarf?  I'd love to see what you made.  Add your link to Mister Linky below and I\ll drop by for a visit.  All visitors are invited to add a link to their current needlework project.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Monument 14 & Monutment 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Set in Monument, Colorado, fourteen school kids experience a fantasy and a nightmare rolled in together.  First you get a lengthy time off school and are locked in a huge department store with no adults to stop you  from indulging in your favourite treats.  Unfortunately, locked in the store with you are a bunch of other kids, from kindergartners to other class mates you are not on good terms with.

A series of ecological disasters means that its not safe to exit the building or to breath the outside air.  You have lots of physical resources but very little information from the outside world.  Then when the outside comes knocking at your door, you question whether you can trust it/them and when is it safe to open that door.

A big shout out to all those school bus drivers who care for our children every day.  Mrs. Wooly, is the school bus driver who brings these fourteen students to safety and then ventures out in search of help.

Our narrator is Dean Grieder, a junior in high school.  He already has opinions of most of the older kids and quickly labels the little ones.  It was interesting to watch how his thoughts and feeling for them changed through the course of the story.  Not all of his assumptions held true once he started living with and working with these people everyday.  He found strengths in them that he could never have guessed at.

I really want to tell you more about how NORAD is involved and about the trouble with blood types, but that would reveal too much.  Monument 14 and it's related stories would be a great choice for your summer reading, oh yes, and don't forget to share it with your pre-teen and teen child, they'll love it as well.

The story of the Monument 14 school kids continues in Sky on Fire.  The group is now divided physically, but they are determined to re-unite.

This is a very fast paced telling with no time to site back and relax.  It is a one sitting read, as you won't want to put it down once you start.

We learn more about the strengths (moral fibre) of the characters and we finally feel the governments response.  We also learn how others in the community have reacted to this catastrophe.  These varied responses seem  very true to me.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Savage Drift, the next book in this series.

Monument 14 Novels and companion stories:

Monument 14
Sky on Fire
Savage Drift - due out this month

Jake and the other Girl  - free at

Dress Your Marines in White -  free at
What Mario Scietto Says  - free at

Cover images from author Elly Laybourne's website.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Elmira Needlesisters Quilt Show 2014 - Part 3

An assortment of quilts from the Elmira Needlesisters Quilt Show 2014 in St. Jacobs, Ontario

Part 1 - Black and White Quilts
Part 2  - Embroidered Quilts