Sisters Re-Cap, a Manic Mom-day and a Winner!

Let’s do this in order.  First, our annual camping trip/quilt show trip was great!  Good company, great location, some funny camping stories to add to the list…everything you could want except I didn’t get to go swimming.  I did, however, get to meet Mary Lou Weidman who was at the show with an awesome Cow Quilt Exhibit and meet one of my Flylady Quilter friends at the show (along with spending a lovely day with my older daughter and cousin.)  Oh, and Nick, our 12 year-old Lab got to attend the show for the first time and he loved all the attention.  We also found an awesome place for a quick gluten-free lunch and they even sold “Butterscotch Beer.”  Here’s a quick peek at some of the fun…just what was on my phone, I only unearthed the camera today!

Of course, every vacation ends with a harsh return to real life and ours was yesterday.  My younger daughter is doing theater camp this week and yesterday started with an ortho appointment for her, followed by feeling sick at camp, followed by a rush to the doctor’s office, to the ER for pain management and then home.  The good news is that we have a plan of action to avoid this in the future but the bad news is that the preferred treatment is not covered by her insurance and would have cost $900 for the Rx!  Thankfully, there’s a totally doable Plan B.  I was a tad frazzled after all that so I was very thankful that my husband thought to bring a chicken home from Costco.  It’s hot, hot, hot here in Oregon and we are all wilting.  He said there was a line at the deli in Costco with rotisserie chickens getting picked up as soon as they were packaged.  Obviously, no one wanted to cook any more than I did!

And now, for a winner.  Thank you to everyone who commented on the 501st post giveaway.  The winner, according to Mr. Random is comment number 46. wpid-ncm_0188.jpg

Keep your eyes open for a birthday giveaway.  At the end of next month, I’ll be turning 51 which I’m hoping will be a tad more fun than turning 50 was!  Now that I’m mostly past post-vacation re-entry trauma, I’m planning a few little fun projects.  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, happy quilting (and reading!)

Beth

“Sting of the Drone” Will Keep You Turning Pages!

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Richard Clarke takes you on an exciting and terrifying thrill ride through the US Predator Drone program in this fast-paced and exciting new book from the author of “Against All Enemies.”   The American Drone program has taken us into a new kind of warfare, one where a pilot sits in a darkened room and kills enemies a world away.  Now the enemies have decided to fight back…and the results may be worse than we can imagine.

Richard Clarke has a fine and polished writing style with an eye for detail and drama that will pull you right into the story and grip you until the end.   Clancy-like in his details of military operations, Clarke makes the reader feel as though they’ve really had a glimpse into the classified world of drone warfare.  If you like action, political thrillers and a good, modern take on a dog fight, pick up a copy of “Sting of the Drone.”  I think you’ll be glad you did!

This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review.  The opinions, however, are entirely my own.

Greetings from Sisters!

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It’s that time again, when Sisters, Oregon, becomes Quilt Town!  Today, the girls and I had fun at Scout Lake then came into town for an iced drink… we saved you a seat, wish you could join us!

A Fabulous Fourth and a Different Kind of Finish

Friday morning, the all-talented handyman husband says to me, “Honey, I have a three-day weekend and I don’t get many three-day weekends…let’s redo the entryway floors.” Well, I had, in fact, invited people to come over for fireworks on the Fourth but the baby I watch two days a week is minutes away from crawling and there are only so many throw rugs you can put down over a trashed, pine floor.
So, Friday found me pulling everything out of closets and sorting while my husband took something like 36 pieces of quarter-round off the walls (numbering as he went…smart man!)
We had an awesome time in the evening. My cousins brought their portable fire pit and we set off fireworks and hung out around the fire. I made a rhubarb crisp with rhubarb right out of the garden and an apple crisp.

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The next morning, we picked up sanders at he hardware store and the race was on! By Sunday night, the final coat was on and my formally-trashed-made-of-soft-wood-because-the-contracter-was-cheap entry floors looked like this…

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Pretty nice, right?  Now, if you look closely, the quarter-round isn’t back on yet but that’s because it has to be painted.  Then, the wallboard will need a new coat of paint.  Then…isn’t that how home improvements work?  One project leads to another and then another.  Hmmm, sounds like quilting!

I’m off tomorrow to Sisters for the quilt show.  On the list of things to do is another batch of book reviews but look forward to some quilty and camp photos soon. I’m taking my hexie bag and my hiking shoes so it should be a very good time!

Happy quilting.

Beth

ALYOF July Goal

Ok, so I’ve been way out of the loop on my Lovely Year of Finishes goals but the second half of the year starts now and that’s a kind of New Year’s do-over, right?

So, our guild has fabrics for baby/doll quilt inspiration and I picked up these last time.DSCN3025

I’m not sure what the final baby quilt is going to look like but I started in with four-patches and strips for 1/2-square triangles.

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As you can tell, there’s a bit of excavation of the mini-sewing area that needs to happen before I can get started again!

I’m linking up to ALYOF over at Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.

“The Opposite of Maybe” Has an Unlikely (or is that Unlikable?) Heroine

71rjsiR5s0L__SL1500_Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long and are so entrenched in their childless, slightly bohemian lifestyle that friends are shocked with Jonathan proposes and asks Rosie to move across the country to start a new life and new job with him. In the midst of all the planning and packing, however, Rosie begins to wonder if her life with Jonathan is what she wants or just what she wandered into. With the help of her aging, feisty grandmother and her grandmother’s handsome live-in gardener, Rosie learns how to look at her life from a new angle…what does she want out of life?
While “The Opposite of Maybe” is well-written and the characters are interesting, it was hard to really like the main character. She seemed more whining and insipid to me than anything remotely like inspiring or empowering. That, however, begs the question of what is a main character’s job, anyway? Do we have to like them, respect them, or agree with them to be entertained by them? Probably not. In “The Opposite of Maybe” I found myself ready to toss the book and the main character overboard but the grandmother was worth the read and enchanting in a sort of “grumpy Shirley MacLaine” kind of way. So, while two of the supporting cast were intriguing, “The Opposite of Maybe” is kind of the opposite of a book I’d recommend. I give it a three for good writing but overall, I’d give it a miss.
This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own.

“Daisies are Forever” Grabs but Doesn’t Hold the Reader

_225_350_Book_1200_coverGisela Cramer was sent to East Germany to keep her safe from the war but the Russians have brought the war to her doorstep, again, and she finds herself running for her life while charged with keeping her two nieces safe. Mitch Edwards has survived most of the war in prison since his capture by the Germans in 1940. His recent escape puts him in danger from all sides. A chance meeting with Gisela forms an unlikely alliance that may blossom into more…if they can stay alive that long.
Unfortunately, while this book has a good, accurate historic ring to it (which it should being based on the life experiences of two real women), it lacks the emotional depth to really grab and hold the reader. The action is interesting but the characters are lacking that spark of “spirit” that would bring them to life on the page. The story is well-conceived and nicely paced but lacks a certain zing that truly great fiction needs. Instead of living the story, we “read about” Gisela and Mitch and, frankly, I had no problem leaving these characters behind at the end of the novel. I would give this one a three. Not bad fiction but not great fiction.
This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own.

“Child of Mine” is Sweetly Predictable

51sM8INLTsL__SS300_Kelly Maines is determined to find her stolen daughter no matter what tricks she has to resort to. A little deception for a good cause is ok, right? But when she meets flight instructor Jack Livingston in an attempt to see if his adopted niece is really her daughter, Kelly forgets a recent promise to be honest and creates a lie to cover her appearance in their lives. When she begins to feel a real attachment to Jack, however, she realizes that her lie might cost her everything she ever wanted to find.
This “romance with a touch of Amish” is sweet but predictable. While there’s no shortage of complications for the plot, the ending is far too simplistic to cover the reality of having your child stolen from you. It is, however, romantic fiction and we like our romantic fiction to deliver “happily ever after” so it’s an easy transgression to forgive. Kelly’s search for a daughter meshes nicely with Jack’s nieces longing for a mother and the ending will satisfy one’s yearning for a sweet ending. Romance fans and fans of Amish fiction will enjoy this novel by David and Beverly Lewis. It’s a bit like apple pie…follow a classic recipe and you can’t go too far wrong!
This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!

501st Post Giveaway and Some Catching Up

So, when I wake up with cold symptoms, apparently the rest of my brain shuts down.  That’s how I came  to hit “Post” on a book review without remembering to save my 500th post for a giveaway.  I’m a quilter, though, and we’re all about flexibility and creativity, right?  (Ok, and I admit, I couldn’t fix this with a seam ripper so I had to adjust.)  I’ve hit my “busy season” at work with kids all day every day except weekends when I try to catch up everything else.  I’ve been having a bit of fabric fun, though, to keep me sane. We had our quilters’ tea with a floral theme and I got these fun fat quarters

DSCN3036 We choose extras to round out our twelve but I just showed eight of the nine traded…aren’t they fun?  I had an extra gift from Donna…she brought me this great scrap bag!  Fun, fun, fun!

wpid-ncm_0098.jpg  I do, occasionally, make things with fabric that aren’t quilts and I made this for my husband.

wpid-ncm_0107.jpgThe fabric is Michael Miller’s Waterfront Park and features the bridges of Portland.  Since my husband works for an architect in Portland it was a perfect fit.  The fabric, that is…the shirt is oversized and I need to take it in at the shoulders.  At least I didn’t layer up all three fabrics and cut them at once!

I did fly through this little baby quilt last weekend for a shower on Sunday.  It’s made completely from what I already had and the pattern is from “Quilts for Baby, Easy as A, B, C” which has been in my library forever (or so it seems.)  I think I’ve made at least twelve of these little quilts and I love seeing how the fabric choice makes each one come alive!

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I also used up (oh how virtuous that word sounds!) all the strings left from the big scrap cutting and made these blocks for my “Love Shack” project from Bonnie Hunter’s class here in Portland.  Strings are addictive…very, very addictive!

wpid-ncm_0115.jpgNow, on to the giveaway.  To celebrate my 501st Post, I’m giving away a quartet of 1/3-yard cuts of the new American Made Cotton Solids.  I looked all over a nearby mega-shop trying to find something special but settled on these solids because the colors were yummy and, well, we all need a good solid now and again, right?

wpid-ncm_0099.jpgWhy 1/3-yard cuts, you ask?  Well, they are about the same price as a fat quarter but you get more square inches of fabric.  (A tidbit learned from my accounting friend years ago.) How do you attempt to win these lovelies?  Just leave a comment.  If you’re a follower, leave a second one and tell me you’re a follower but please don’t feel pressured to follow (although I really love, love, love my followers!)  I do understand, however, that each of us has only limited hours in our day and can’t possibly read every quilting blog out there!  So, I’ll leave this giveaway open until I get back from the Sisters Quilt Show and draw a winner on July 15th.  Who knows, I might find a little something in Sisters to add to the mix!  And, yes, I’ll ship internationally.  Also, I expect to have a ton of book reviews up in the next few days so I’ll post a link to this post somewhere you can see it.

In the meantime, bedtime approaches as I have a 5 am wakeup call for tomorrow but I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of Gizmo.  Doesn’t he look like he’s laughing?  I imagine him saying to Jack, “And you should have seen her face when she looked in here to see the baby!”  Ah, cats are really the original evil geniuses, aren’t they?

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Happy quilting,

Beth

 

 

“Happily Ever After” is Fictional Fun and Games

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Sadie Fuller is a forty-six year-old single mom who churns out an unremarkable book every year as her cover story for her real writing career writing racy novels. While her own love life is lackluster, at best, Sadie’s characters are living a very different life. It’s ok, though, it’s all in Sadie’s imagination…or so she thinks. When her characters begin invading her real life, things take a turn for the decidedly funny!
Elizabeth Maxwell captures the humor and pathos of middle-age romance and/or lack of it in “Happily Ever After.” Sadie’s adventures with her errant characters and the changes and challenges they bring into her real life make for a humorous and engaging novel. Similar in feel to “Maggie Needs an Alibi”, this book will appeal to fans of both romance and fantasy genres. Maxwell brings her characters to life with a wry, witty and yet compassionate view that shows that we are never too late for romance or, possibly, to begin living the life we always wanted.
This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!