Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Needlework Tuesday: On Starting a Canada Project

In less than two weeks, there will be flag waving, poutine eating and lots of fireworks and I have yet to start stitching my Canada Day quilted wall hanging.  eeks. I guess I should step up my game.

I did print out the outline of  a maple leaf and have scattered my buttons on the paper.  oops, I don't have enough buttons.  Plan two, I will make the maple leaf smaller and perhaps use some clusters of beads to fill in spaces.

This is one of those projects where size is not really an issue.  It will look terrific on my wall regardless if it is an inch or two shorter. Who will know or even care.

Often times, I get caught up on the small details of a project and it will delay me for days, weeks, months or even longer.  In this case, any further delays will spoil the concept of the project.   If there are gaps left between buttons, so be it, they can be filled in later.  I can add beads, but I could also add some silk ribbon flowers or embroider clusters of french knots (which to my surprise I have found I enjoy stitching).

I have another project that has sat languishing because I am held up by a small detail.  I am knitting socks for my sister and I need to shift the stitches around on the needles so that I can turn the heels.  Slight complication, I am knitting them on one needle (magic loop) but the pattern is not written that way.  I\m sure it will only take me a half hour to make the shift along with a wee bit of knitting, but why have I been stalling for several months.  I think what I need to do, is shift the socks to double pointed needles, then get them oriented properly for doing the heels and then put them back on the magic loop needle.  That would be so  much easier than trying to figure out how to do it using on the one long needle.  Arg.  The second step will be to purchase a book with patterns for knitting two socks on one needle.

It's wonderful to have a place, such as my blog, where I can voice my concerns/challenges and work them out or ask for help.  I quilt with friends and can ask they help/advice, but I usually knit or crochet alone.  Here I find the companionship I enjoy.  Thanks for all sticking with me and supporting me.  I greatly appreciate it.  I hope in turn, that you are getting the support/encouragement that need to continue in your stitching projects and in working out those small details.

Cheers to not letting small details continue to stump us.

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 19 June 2017

More of Me by Kathryn Evans

As my daughter travelled through her teenage years, she tried on all sorts of personas in an attempt to determine who she wanted to be.  Punk, drama queen, athlete and so on.  With each change, she learned more about herself and in time, she picked and chose those bits that she liked and melded them into the wonderfully diverse person she has become.  In More of Me by author Kathryn Evans, Teva has been forced into a similar situation, though not one of her choosing.  Each year, her new self splits from her older self and goes out into the world to continue as Teva, while the pre-existing, older self hides away in the house continuing on at that age.  Sixteen year old Teva likes her life and wants to keep it,  and at the same time, fifteen year old Teva is determined to reclaim hers.

At sixteen, Teva should be have a fun, carefree time. She is almost finished high school, has a loving, attentive boyfriend and best friend who keeps her grounded.  Will this be enough to get her through the struggle she is having in trying to determine what is real in her life and that which is imagined.

I loved this story.  It has such a unique story line that it kept me guessing through out.  I had this niggling feeling in the back of my head that wouldn't let me accept one truth and deny the other.  Each time I thought I knew the truth of Teva's life, some other clue would develop and I'd be back on the fence.

Teva's life epitomises what it is grow up. At each birthday, you look to the future and seize all that which you decide is the new, mature you and discard all that which made up the younger you.  Each year you become a new, older you, with the younger you left behind.  Each of us, even Teva, gets to decide how to integrate that old life with the new that it yet to happen.

This is  a wonderful and imaginative debut novel from British author Kathryn Evans.  I look forward to reading future novels from such a fertile imagination.  And yes, I do agree with her, that pink can be fierce.

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

Cover image courtesy Amulet Books.

#IndigoEmployee


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Needlework Tuesday - On Playing with my new Sewing Machine

 I met with the ladies from my quilt bee last week, and Sharon taught us how to hand piece this 3D bow tie block.  It's quite easy to do as long as you get the placement right.  I didn't want to hand piece as I had other plans.  I have purchased a new sewing machine and planned to start a new project on it.  This is a small one that will test out a variety of stitches and techniques.The machine comes with a free lesson(s) and Sonja, the sales lady, recommended I go home and sew a bit before scheduling a lesson. Good plan.

There was lots of page flipping and a bit of cursing, but I finally found the correct stitch for the 1/4 inch foot and I whipped through these blocks.

 I want to make a small wall hanging for hubby's office, and this is the design I thought I wanted.  Its just not appealing though.  He loves orange, but this combination and the layout don't work for me.  Sharon showed use some alternative designs, so I thought one of them might work.    The bow tie blocks are 6 inches finished, and I didn't want to make any more or the finished item would be too big.
This layout, x's and o's layout, is much nicer, though that darker orange for the border is not going to work.
With the additional of narrow, darker border and a print for the outer border, I have something i can love.  Once it's layered up with batting and backing, I'll be back to the manual to finger out stitching in the ditch and then free motion quilting.

You're probably wanted to ask what machine I went with. A Janome Horizon.  It has the largest opening for machine quilting.  My mom has three Janomes so it made sense to go with the same brand.  She'll be my go to for all operational questions.Yeah mom.

I am planning to get this done quickly, so I can move back to the other orange quilt with all the half square triangles.  yes, they are the same orange fabrics.  The pieces were still sitting on my cutting table when Sharon told me which supplies I needed for her class.  Why press more fabrics when I had ones at hand.  I still have the orange fabrics out, so I expect at least one my small orange project before putting them away or using them up.

I finished the first pair of purple and green fittens. (shown in the upper left). Great stripping.  At my bee, I showed these to the other ladies and some of them are quite interested in stitching their own pairs.  They were asking about the pooling of the colours.  There is a good article on colour pooling on the Red Heart site including a list of their yarns that might/should work with the technique.

The second pair of slippers that I started are one size larger than the first, that is eight more stitches.  The colour change happens about every 9 stitches resulting in a very slow shift of colours in the second pair. Quite a different look.

I would be interested in seeing any of your colour pooling projects/attempts.  Add the link to Mister Linky (new or old posts are welcome).

Nothing like a new project or an exciting turn of stripes to add excitement and to revitalize a stalled stitching mojo.  A new sewing machine is extra invigorating.  That should keep me going for ages, now just imagine when I take my new serger out of it's box....

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Warriors #1: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Rusty, a kitten,  has only ever know the comfortable life in a house, until one night when he ventures into the woods behind his owners house.  There he meets a wild cat, which starts him off on an adventure that changes his life.

I had heard good reviews of this series from a number of young readers and I wanted to check it out for myself.  The story line does stand up to their praise.  The authors have created a rich world of cats that live outside the bounds of the humans.  They have a well developed society that is governed by a strict moral warriors code.  When Shadow Clan begins breaking those boundaries, all the clans are affected.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.  I forgot quickly that the characters were all cats and was drawn into their daily lives.  The readers sees the cats' world through the eyes of kittens Firepaw (Rusty's new clan name) and Greypaw.  From the moment they meet, they are drawn together and become the best of friends.  This is lucky for Firepaw as he has a lot to learn about living out of doors, things that being a house cat never prepared him for.

I can certainly see why this series remains popular with the middle school students.  It is full of action and cats to cheer for as well as a few cats to dislike.  The story moves quickly and covers topics that kids can relate to such as bullies, yes there are cats that are bullies, who knew.  Even though this book was written in 2003, it has aged well. The clans are under stress as their environment is being threatened by human development.  There is not enough food to go around, yet they don't want to leave as this is their ancestral homeland.

There are enough books in this series to keep an interested young reader going for at least a year.  Visit the Warriors web site for a full listing of the titles.  I would recommend starting with this title, the first written.

Author Erin Hunter is really composed of six authors: Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui T. Sutherland, Gillian Phillips, Inbali Iserles, and Victoria Holmes. 

Cover image courtesy HarperCollins Canada

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Needlework Tuesday - The Afternoon Edition

I'm a bit slow off the mark today, but I do have pearly white teeth now.  Yes, I had a dentist appointment this morning.  All is well, though I do need to replace a filling and have booked an appointment for that.  I still get anxious about any procedure beyond cleaning, but my dentist and all round cool person prescribes and anti-anxiety med to be taken before hand. It has transformed my dental appointment life.  If you have dental anxiety like I used to, check out my earlier post: An Approach to dealing with Dental Appointment Anxiety.  

 I did have a productive week.  I tried a new approach. I was having trouble staying on one task, so decided I would work with that.  I  wanted to read, I wanted to knit and I wanted to sew. I couldn't chose just one.  I decided to do all three. I rotated through the three and then started again.  I have the latest fittens at the decrease stage and am thrilled with how they are turning out.  The colours shift about 8 stitches each round.  The next pair I make from this yarn is going to be one size larger, which happens to be 8 stitches, and I am curious how they will turn out.  It could be bars of colour from the cast on bottom up to the needles.

 Second project is the t-shirt quilt for non-sewers.  I am planning to write tutorial for this one.  There are lots of runners who ask me about making a t-shirt quilt, but they don't sew and  paying someone to make one for them is quite expensive.  I think this hand technique would work for them.  The project is a surprise so I can't share a better photo.  I am using a large needle and non-dividable pearl cotton .  A roll of masking tape rounds out the supplies.  I want this to be a functional quilt that will get used.  It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it's all about the message behind the shirts that will be on it.  i am quite excited about how it is turning out.  Can't wait to share it with you.

 And finally, my Canada Day project.  I bought the white back ground fabric and have been collecting the red buttons for a while.   Nope, I'm not sewing them down in a heart shape, and I have no idea if I will use 150 buttons, but they will be individually hand sewn to the base.  Probably with red thread.  I can't wait to get started, especially since Canada Day is not that far away.

With it being Canada's 150 anniversary of confederation, are you doing anything special?  For those not in Canada, what do you like best about our great nation?  Perhaps the image of our Mounties, our maple syrup, or our amazing authors.  Please leave your comments, I am curious to know.

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

In no way is this your typical romance.

Dimple is looking forward to her summer away from home before starting university in the fall. She knows that successfully completing the distinguished web design summer program will open all sorts of doors for her in the future.

Rishi has other reasons for attending; he is going to meet his future wife, the one his parents have selected for him.

Both Dimple and Rishi were anticipating huge changes to their lives as a result of this summer camp, but they got far more than they expected.

I loved this book form the opening pages.  Dimple is a strong young woman, she knows what she wants out of life and has a plan how to achieve it.  She intends to beak out of the mould her parents have planned for her.

Rishi likewise knows what he wants and a has a pragmatic approach for his success.  He is very traditional, loves his heritage and embraces the idea of the life his parents have planned for him

All is going well for the teens and their plans, until they meet.  From that moment, I couldn't wait to read more, to find out how they both could succeed in their goals without totally crushing the other.  How could I not love both Dimple and Rishi.  They were both so sincere and passionate in their belief that they had chosen the correct life path.

As I read, I also pondered the idea of arranged marriages.  It is still widely accepted in many parts of the world but disdained in others.  To fully appreciate it's value, I feel I would have had to have grown up within it's practise.  To have had parent, grandparents and aunts and uncles watching over me and perusing perspective bride grooms.  It appears a years long, if not life long process of much thought and consideration.

I can imagine the lively discussions this book will initiate among teen  readers.  Tradition vs modern thought.  The value of involving your parents in your life and finally being true to yourself and your passions vs purely financial goals.

This is a wonderful debut novel from author Sandhya Menon.  Her next book is due out in 2018.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review. 

Cover image courtesy Simon & Schuster Canada.

#IndigoEmployee

Friday, 2 June 2017

In Too Deep :Stewart Island #1 by Tracey Alvarez

Piper Harland is a member of the elite police dive team and often is involved in recovering bodies of drowning victims.  When her brother needs help, she puts aside her work and rushes south to help.  While she knew it would be hard, physical work, she didn't expect that coming face to face with Ryan Westlake once again would be harder than anything she faced in her job..

I don't typically read modern romances, but I have a fascination with New Zealand and couldn't pass up the opportunity to learn more about the country.  I loved the rich details of Stewart Island and the closeness of the community.

This is a well written book that kept me interested throughout.

At the time of writing this review, In Too Deep is available free at some ebook retailers.

Cover used courtesy of author Tracey Alvarez.

#IndigoEmployee

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Extinction Reversed by J. S. Morin

This is a refreshing, original story.  Humans perished from the earth over 1000 years ago.  Over that time, robots have endeavoured to cleanse the environment and rebuild the resources and structures to make it habitable once again.  Even with all their progress, they have not yet reached the technological level where they are able to successfully clone people.  That has not stopped a number of rogue scientists robots from trying and failing until one experiment, Eve 14 escapes from the lab.

The story then follows Eve as she ventures into the world outside and experiences much that we kept from her by her creator.   It is not a happy go lucky life on a reborn earth, but rather a race for Eve to escape the clutches of her crazed creator.

I totally enjoyed this take.  It was unique from other robot stories I've read and nothing much like the cute cartoon movie Wall-E (which I loved).  The evolution oft he robot society wand hierarchy is well done.  With 1000 years for them to work, it's not surprising that their world would be so rich and detailed.

This story did have a few ah-ha moments I didn't see coming, though I knew how it had to end and I enjoyed following it's path.

Book 2 : The Brain Recyclers is due out June 2, 2017

Cover image used courtesy of author J. S. Morin.



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday : Now that is an Orange Quilt

 Bright, huh. You should see it in person, it's even more electrifying.  I love orange and I love orange quilts even more.  By one definition I read, you define a quilt as an orange quilt if it contains more than 10% orange fabrics.  I didn't do the calculations on this one, but it passes by a long shot.

This is the quilt top for the Spring Sampler Quilt Along hosted by Lori at The Inbox Jaunt.   For those working along on the project, you might notice my slight design variation.  Next up, layering with batting and backing followed by stitch in the ditch.
 I finished the second pair of fittens using the black and white yarn.  I wasn't going to have enough for the top, and decided that this red looked terrific.  My tension was a little different on the second pair, so the striping changed a bit.  No worries though, both pairs look great and will be warm and snuggy.
Keeping to the plan to knit a dozen or so pairs of these this year, I cast on the next pair right away.  This time I am using Red Heart Super Saver in colourway Sage Mary.  I'm pretty sure I had purchased this to make something, maybe a scarf, for my sister, but then forgot about it.  To be honest, she doesn't really need any more scarves from me at the moment, slippers would be more welcome.  With two balls of the yarn, I'll probably have enough to make three pairs.

Currently were having a rather warm streak of spring weather here in my part of Ontario. It's not conducive to large needlework projects which crowd all over my lap.  These small ones fit the bill perfectly. I hope I can keep the mojo going and finished up some more fittens and other UFOs.

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 28 May 2017

A Whole Latte Fuss

 Last weekend, hubby and I visited our favourite local coffee shop, Rumbletum Cafe, and I tried a London Fog with none dairy milk.  It was a fun change from coffee beverages.  When I was in the grocery store, I saw this package of London Fog latte mix that I could make at home.  It was even on the clearance rack, so I purchased it.  I was kind of in a rush and didn't notice that it was for a Keurig machine. 

I thought about giving the package away to someone who has a Keurig machine, but couldn't think of anyone with one.  We are a Tassimo family. 

 I next figured, that I could open the pod and put the tea leaves and what ever else in a tea strainer and make it with hot water.  Seemed simple enough.  While boiling the water, I got out a tea strainer and a mug.  Cut open the pod and poured the contents into the strainer.

 Well imagine my surprise when I found there are no tea leaves.  It's made with instant tea.  Why even bother putting it in a pod when it can be packaged in an envelope like hot chocolate mix.  All that expense of the Keurig machine, the non-recyclable pods, a foil lining bag and an over sized box. Of course that more than doubles the price of what would be charged for hot chocolate style packaging.

Fortunately, the London Fog Latte was enjoyable, but I won't be making that mistake on packaging again.

For more foodie fun, be sure to click the link and visit with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking post and linkie.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Which won out - the UFO or a new project

For those who visited with me last week, you might recall that I was pondering whether to start a new project or to continue with an existing, or UFO, project.  Well, it was kind of a tie.  I picked the most pressing UFO and set to work.  It's a tee shirt quilt for my neighbour and I had a lot of shirts sitting ready to trim and add.

 I spent days cutting, trimming and figuring out what to do with the left overs.  Not wanting to waste the unprinted bottoms of the shirts, I decided to turn them into yarn for knitting/crochet.  I watched a video showing an easy way to cut the shirt bottom into a long strip. It's much easier using a rotary cutter than the scissors shown.  After putting the cut strips through the spaghetification process, I now have yards and yards of t-shirt yarn for a future project.

With that project securely moved into 'active', I turned to the new project I mentioned last week, the Spring Quilt along with Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt.

The project calls for 40 half square triangle blocks. I figured it would be a good thing to have extras for a future project, so I found a site with free printable triangle paper, Quilting and Whatnot and downloaded the finished 2 inch square.  I test printed one page and the test square measured a prefect one inch.  I then printed 10 additional copies and started sewing.  For those who haven't used triangle paper, you stitch on the dashed lines and cut on the solid lines.  I find it best to layer your fabrics in the following order, dark print facing up, light print facing down, paper on top.  Once you cut your triangles apart, then press the open before ripping off the paper.

 It didn't take long to make almost 150 squares.  Unfortunately, at some point in the process I realized that I had printed the ten pages to the wrong size, I forgot to turn scaling off and the triangles would be slightly too small . oops.

I'll still be able to use them, but I am not impressed with myself at making this avoidable mistake.  Always a learning opportunity and this one was not to be distracted by competing conversations.    I'm looking forward to assembling the top so I can move on to the machine quilting, which is what this project is all about.

I hope that you are having success with which ever project you are working on this week.

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan

 This is a well told story based on the true life of Kate Warne, the first woman detective of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  The character of Nell is fictional.

From the first chapter, I was sucked into the story and couldn't let it go.   I listened to the audio book almost non-stop.  Nell is very rough around the edges and in need of someone to take her in.  Her aunt Kate is a young working woman with no inkling of how to care for a child.  Together they make quite the pair.  The brash youngster and the refined lady.  How could I not love them and root for their success at forming a family.

I enjoyed learning some of the history of the Pinkerton's, the politics of 1860 and of the Underground Railroad.  It was thrilling each time my home town of St. Catharines, a northern terminus of the railroad, was mentioned.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by Christine Lakin.  She did a marvellous job of the very different characters especially when Nell and Kate were working undercover.  She captured the youthfulness of Nell and her brash nature.  I had no trouble believing her to be that rural farm girl.

Author Kate Hannigan brought the Pinkerton's to life and clearly showed both the excitement of being a detective as well as the great risks that those women and men take in that job.


To learn more about the history of the Kate Warne and the Pinkerton Detective Agency, visit the Pinkerton website. 

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

#IndigoEmployee

Saturday, 20 May 2017

I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 by Lauren Tarshis

I had been hearing so many good things about this book series from my customers and their parents that I had to read one of them for myself.  I knew very little about the Hindenburg and thought this would be a good chance to learn a more of it's history.

Author Lauren Tarshis tells the story through the eyes of eleven year old Hugo Ballard.  This is an effective method to interest middle school readers who are the target audience.   The meticulous research and attention to detail, makes this series good for class room reading and follow-up activities.

This series appeals to both male and female readers in the middle grades.  It is also suitable for older readers who are not ready for teen novels and for reluctant readers who are attracted by the high drama level and shorter length.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by David de Vries. 1 hour 31 minutes.

At present there are 15 books in the I Survived Series.

To learn more about the Hindenburg and other airships, visit Airships.net


Cover image courtesy Scholastic Books.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Start Something New or Finish a UFO

My quilt guild is participating in a quilt show next week and yesterday I was rushing to get my entries ready.  The quilting was all complete and the bindings sewn down, all that remained was to make and attach labels and then deliver them to the organizer.  What a relief when that was complete.

Now I'm ready for something new.  Well, that is the question, do I start something totally new or do I select another UFO and work on it.  I am steadily working on my current pair of fittens.  The first pair in the variegated black and white turned out awesome and I am about half way through the second pair.  Love the spiral effect of the colours.   Once this pair is complete, I'll cast on the next so that I can keep the to the program of getting enough finished for gift giving at the end of the year.

I have far too many unfinished projects, but i am sorely tempted by Lori Kennedy's current quilt along.  It's a free motion sampler titled: The Spring Sampler Quilt Along. Since one of my goals this year it to improve my machine quilting, this could prove helpful.  Would it be procrastinating to interrupt other items to make this sampler, or would it provide some fresh air to my brain and rev me back up to work on the existing backlog.  Which ever I choose, I always keep in mind that stitching is fun and when it stops being fun I am in trouble.  Honestly, it's always more fun to start a project but at the same time, it is exhilarating to totally finish a project.  Oh darn, that wee bit of enlightenment didn't help me at all.

Come back next week and find out what I decide to do, behind curtain #1 is a UFO, behind curtain #2 is the Spring Sampler Quilt Along.


 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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

Wonderful adventure story packed with scientific facts.  Parents will enjoy reading along with their kids while they learn together about Antarctica, the most southern continent.

Jack, Matthew and Ava are three orphans who have formed their own family unit.  While Matt and Ava are the brains, it's up to Jack to keep everyone on track and moving forward.  When an opportunity presents itself for the three to work with a top notch scientist, they jump at it.  When their association leads them to Antarctica, the children find that they may have met their match.

 I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  Coming from Bill Nye, I expected it to be filled with science and I wasn't disappointed.  The remote location of the story and the interesting plot should be enough to peak the curiosity of young readers.
Antarctica, Whaler's Bay
In a classroom setting, the book could form the basis for a unit on inventions as well as one on exploration.  I was fascinated when visiting the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand that featured a replica of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic hut.  What I saw there is far removed from the amenities the children had on their trip, though the weather and isolation were the same.

My god father, Jim Ellis, twice travelled to Antarctica.  It is not a luxury cruise ship that you travel on, but a working scientific research vessel.  Unlike the children in the book, before he left, he was given an list with an extensive wardrobe and items that he would need for the trip.  A standard winter coat isn't going to cut it.

Neko Harbour
 The landscape there is unlike anything I have experienced, it is beautiful in its starkness, but dangerous for those not prepared.
Admirante Station, Argentina

Half Moon Island

The second book in the series,  In the Deep Blue Sea, is due out September 2017.

Photo credits to Jim Ellis.  Thanks to my aunt, Mary Ellis for sharing with me these photos.  Jim was an avid traveller and visited well over 200 countries.  He enjoyed seeing the natural and man made sites as well as visiting with the people who made their homes at those locations.

Cover image courtesy Abrams Books.

#IndigoEmployee 

Friday, 12 May 2017

Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Lost Legacy by Gwenda Bond & Christopher Rowe

 A wonderfully creative story that is sure to catch the imagination of any young reader.  With a pinch of magic, a dash of insecurity and a heavy serving of whimsy, authors Gwenda Bond and Christopher Rowe have created a hotel in the heart of New York city at which most children would love to stay.

Stephen's first visit to The New Harmonia Hotel is on the day of his dear grandmother's funeral.  That is the same day that he learns that there are indeed monsters, or supernormals as they prefer, in this world and that is is one of them.

I loved this book.  It is funny and then suspenseful in the next moment.  With all the different creatures in the hotel, Stephen must quickly learn to be sensitive to their different appearances and manners so as not to offend.  At the same time, he is grieving the lose of his grandmother, moving to a new state and learning huge secrets about himself. Wow.

The story is brimming with amazing characters, two of my favourites being Cindermass and the elevator.  Nope, not going to tell about that one other than to say that Stephen shows the strength of his character by his treatment of elevator.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to your middle schoolchild.  This is the first of a new series.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review. 
 
Cover image courtesy HarperCollins Canada.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Raggy, Shaggy and Looking Great

 It's here, the post you have all been waiting for. I have two quilt finishes to share.  Yes, quilt show time is quickly approaching and I offered to lend 3 of my newly finished quilts (well, one is still in the process of being bound) and that lovely pink cable afghan I knit for daughter.

First up is the rag/denim quilt I made for hubby.  It measures 45 x 55 inches, the perfect size when sitting in a lawn chair.  This is the back view.
 Close up of the orange peel quilting
 Front view.  have yet to clip the edges
 Full front view.  I decided I liked the scalloped edge instead of turning those to the front and stitching down.
 I have clipped the edges every centimetre or so.  Doesn't have much effect at this point.
After washing and machine drying, with tons of lint.  i had to clean the lint trap at least every five minutes.  Looking much fluffier.

And finally, the complete project.

Not to rest on my laurels too long, I needed to get the binding done of two quilts. Both I finished the quilting on over a year ago and then they sat waiting, always pushed to the back of the to do stack.  But remember the quilt show...

 This quilt is the result of a swap of ugly fabrics.  I know, you are looking at the quilt thinking how beautiful it is, right.  yep, it started with four fabrics that another quilter thought were ugly.  The rules said I could add as much other fabric as I wanted, but that I had to use 90% of what I had been sent.  I selected a pattern from a book by Judy Martin . Sorry, can't locate that book at the moment, though it is out of print.  Measures about 47 x 47 inches.
 I'm really pleased with the binding fabric. It fits well with the snail fabric.
 To ensure I used the 90%, I have a pieced back.
And the four fabrics I was originally sent, they are showcased in the block to the right including that cute snail.

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.  If a fabric, thread, yarn doesn't work for you, then perhaps one of your friends or fellow stitchers will fall in love with it.  Don't hold onto what you don't love, pass it along to another who will cherish it.

I hate to leave you here when I am on  a finishing roll, but the binding on that next quilt is calling to me.  I'd love to see what you are working on this week.

 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.

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