Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Making better use of my time

How in the heck did it get to be the end of August already.  I want back the sun, the shine, the heat, and the lazy days.  Oops, I'm thinking perhaps I indulged a bit too much in the lazy days and that's why I accomplished less than I had planned.

I will admit that when my children are here, I'll push every thing to the back and leave all my time open to whatever they want or need done.  Daughter has been home almost four months since her last school term ended.  I can't complain about a minute of the time I have spent with her, though I do wish I had spent my spare time a little wiser.

I did manage to read a handful of books and write some reviews.  I sewed several bags and have two more started.  I even started on the afghan shown, which is a gift for a neighbour's son who is getting married in the fall.  So why do I feel as though I haven't done anything.

Would a to do list help.  I know people who write them and then tick off completed items.  I could try that, a weekly or monthly list that would show what I've done.  Oh wait, I did that last year but gave up after about five months. I kept losing the list.  Fortunately I have this blog. It has all the tracking that I need. It has photos, lists of supplies, links to patterns and best of all, feedback from my online friends and readers.  What else could I ask for, except maybe for personal visits with each of you where we could stitch together, sip tea/coffee and chat. That would be great.

Back to the afghan.  The neighbours moved in at least fifteen years ago and we met them as they were building their house.  I'm on hugging basis with the entire family.  I could have went to the store and purchased any gift, but I like the personal touch.  A hand knit afghan is always welcome.  This pattern is from a ball band from Bernat Super Value Yarn.  It's the lacy Waves Afghan.  I selected three yarns different from that suggested: Honey #07469, Forest Green # 53243, and Redwood Heather # 53522.  The pattern is straight forward, though careful counting is required. I have had to fix a few errors during the first repeat. If I pay attention, I can knit one band of colour in an evening.  That easily will see it completed prior to the wedding.  If not, they are going on a honeymoon and won't need it till they arrive back home. whew, breathing space.

As I have been stitching, I was wondering who else stitches wedding gifts, what do you make?

Mister Linky is waiting below and he'd love to see links to wedding gifts you have made as well as a link to your current needlework post.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline

Zack Lightman has grown up without his father, but has learned of him from the journals he left behind.  As a teenager, he knows that the virtual reality games he plays are fantasy, that his father is dead and nothing can change these facts.  Then how does he explain that he saw an alien space ship that is identical to the one from his favourite online game.

It's time to grow up quickly when Zack is faced with a string of seemingly impossible situations.  There is no time to consult his mom or his best friends, he has to act immediately as lives are at stake.

I really enjoyed this book.  It moved at a quick pace and was jam packed with action.  At the same time, the story line didn't seem rushed.  There was ample detail and descriptions to satisfy both teen and adult readers.  Having watched my children and various nephews playing their online games, I feel that this story accurately portrays teens and their passion for gaming.  The level of skill they show and how immersed they got into their games was nothing different that what happens in front of my gaming console.

I particularly enjoyed how author Ernest Cline drew in real world examples of movies and games to support the plot line, particularly including reference to the movie The Last Starfighter.

I would not hesitate to recommend parents to purchase this book for their teen reader, though they might want to read it first as I suspect the recipient won't be putting it down once started.

Thanks to Read it Forward and Crown Publishers for my review copy. 
Visit Read it Forward to learn how you can enter to win your copy of soon to be published novels.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Penelope by Anya Wylde

I was looking for something different to read, I wanted pure fun and enjoyment, not something with a moral or deep thoughts to ponder and I came across Penelope the other morning.  Perfect, it had romance and was set in an historic period I enjoy. Doesn't get much better than that.

After her mother died during her birth, Penelope Fairweather was raised by a unloving step-mother.  When she came of age, her mother's dear friend, the Dowager, Lady Radclyff,  offered to sponsor her first season in London.  As Penelope is woefully unprepared to be presented to the ton, the Dowager, her daughter Lady Anne, and the mysterious modiste Madame Bellafraunde set on delicate task of turning her into a proper lady. 

While the plot was generally predictable, it did have some unexpected twists and had me laughing out loud at times  and cheering for Penelope at others.  I found her to be a fun character, so much more interesting that one of those prim little things that the ton wants to see at their balls.

If you are looking for a romance with a light side, then Penelope is a great choice.

This ebook is currently free at some online retailors.

Cover image courtesy author Anya Wylde

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Needlework Tuesday - A teaser, A challenge, An offer

Wow, last week sure was busy.  I was so absorbed in cooking and feeding the 150 runners and volunteers from the Endurrun Running Series, that I didn't have a chance to get to my blog.   We set a record for the number of hard boiled and devilled eggs, 18 dozen.  I used 395 ounces of chick peas in one week to make hummus and a few other dishes. And the list goes one.  Out of all the thousands of photos taken, so far, I have one found this one of me from the pre-race meeting.  From the serious look on my face, I must have been pondering just how big of challenge was ahead, that of feeding so many people with such different dietary needs.

My thoughts did flit to sewing a few times during the week.  The hardest part was when a package arrived.  Upon opening, I found it contained dozens of fancy floral cut zippers I had ordered.  They are 12 inches long and in eleven different bright colours.  Time only permitted sorting and caressing.  This week will be different.  Time to put them to better use that being a table ornament.

Aren't they pretty.  Don't you want some to play with.  I am most willing to share my bounty with  a few of my online friends.  There is a catch.  You have to make something with them, write a blog entry , then in October on the specified day post it and link back to my blog.  We'll have an online zipper party to show off our creations. 

If you want to join in the fun, leave a comment telling which colours you'd like (numbers 1 - 11 starting on the left), and I'll send two zippers each to a few commenters.

Now I need a little inspiration.  Share what you've been working on during these dog days of summer (or the end of winter for those in the extreme south).  Mister Linky is waiting below.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

It's Race Week

Hi All,
Wanted to update and let you know that it's race week.
Each summer at this time, I spend the entire week volunteering at the Endurrun Running Series.

It's a crazy busy week and I'm enjoying every bit of it.  i'll try and remember to take some photos to share.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Plaid is where it's at

Yesterday was a holiday here in Ontario. It was the perfect opportunity to head off to a friend's cottage.  Our families spent the last five days enjoying each others company, good food and plenty of sunshine.  We talked, laughed and reminisced about the past thirty years.  I love the time we spend together and am sad when it's time to return to our respective every day lives.

My every day life includes fabric and quilts, lots of both.  I have been visiting a few shops for the Row by Row Experience being hosted by hundreds of quilt shops across Canada and the United States.  I decided to purchase plaid fabrics at each shop I visit this year.  Not as easy as it seems. Not all shops carry plaid even though it's great for narrow borders and bindings.

Why plaid?  Recently, Bonnie Hunter of  Quiltsville introduced her Leader and Ender project for the year, it's Tumblers.  The information is all on her blog,  just click her name in the previous sentence and you'll magically travel to her studio (wishful thinking).  One of the example quilts she showed was made from plaids.  That is my inspiration.

Every quilt I make is a learning experience.  So far I have learned that not all shops carry plaid fabrics.  The green and the teal in the bottom of the first photo aren't quite plaid, but they'll do.  The second photo shows some plaids that I easily found in my stash and I'm sure there are several more at least.

I knew I wanted to make a few of these quilts and decided that a template was the way to go.  In the past I have had success with Marti Michell's products and since I had previously bought my mom Marti's Tumbler template, I bought the same for myself.

I'll be cutting the plaid tumblers at 5 inches as I want to show the fabrics off at their best with repeats of the design.  I am also cutting 3 1/2 inches as my mom already has a bunch cut that size and I often cut extra of many projects and share with her.  And to make best use of my smaller scraps, I'm cutting 2 1/2 inches tumblers.   I haven't started sewing them together yet.

At present, I am pinning images various tumbler quilts.   You can view my Pinterest board at this link

Have you made a tumbler quilt or are you following Bonnie's lead and making one as your leader and ender this year?  Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your tumbler project or your current needlework project.  I'd appreciate additional pins to add to my board for further inspiration.

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.