And Whoosh Go My Weeks!

Sometimes, I feel like a hamster on a wheel…the faster I run, the faster everything goes and I’m still panting to keep up! The last couple of weeks were no exception. I’ll try to stick to the relevant stitching news which is pretty much…I finished this pair of “big and little” charity quilts for my guild. I’m particularly proud of the lap quilt as it was pieced entirely on my 1918 White Rotary treadle machine.

"Big and Little" - a pair of charity quilts.

“Big and Little” – a pair of charity quilts.

This was a kit from the charity arm of my guild and I used the leftovers to make the doll quilt. Our guild collects doll quilts all year and donates them to a toy drive in the late fall.
I also came home from guild with more scraps from the free table…I know, someone needs to stop me but did you hear the word “free?”

Strips in progress!

Strips in progress!

I’ve been cutting away (at fabric) when I have a few minutes to spare which, incidentally, hasn’t been often as I had the baby three days last week and my “after-school” preschooler turned into an all-day preschooler due to some unforeseen circumstances. She’s adorable (so is the baby) but, let’s face it, she’s not going to have fun watching me cut fabric! She did help me cull black scraps from the pile today for my Wicked aka Black Cat Crossing blog hop entry. Here’s what we pulled and that’s all the hint I’m giving. Well, except to remind you that I have five cats.

Something "Wicked" this way starts!

Something “Wicked” this way starts!

I’ve got a couple free hours tomorrow while my little friend is in preschool and I’m rushing through my Rush Hour hop entry…ironic, isn’t it? Have you checked out the fabric for Rush Hour from E Studios? I love it but the budget wouldn’t stretch to all the pieces so I settled for two!
In the meantime, I owe everyone a winner…according to Mr. Random it is comment #39!

Thanks Mr. Random!

Thanks Mr. Random!

I’ll be contacting the winner to get a snail mail address.
Now I’m off and running again….I hope your fall has a bit more stitching time than I’m managing at the moment. How do non-fiber people stay sane, anyway?
Happy quilting!
Beth

“$10 Great Dates” is a Terrific Resource for Couples

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Let’s face it, budgets are tighter these days and, for many couples, that has meant the decline of the date night. Let’s face it, the old standby of dinner and a movie has gotten a lot more expensive and concert ticket prices are higher than ever. Peter and Heather Larson and David and Claudia Arp have compiled a terrific book of $10 date ideas. Filled with a variety of fun ideas to suit the varying tastes of different couples, “$10 Great Dates” has a little bit of everything. From “Workshop Dates” to “Home Improvement” and even a restaurant option or two! Each date outline includes a planning section, a set of hints for while you are on your date and a “great date takeaway” section to help you focus on what the date can add to your marriage. Even the most reluctant of “date nighters” should be able to find an appealing, easy-on-the-budget option with this handy guide! Many of the ideas take advantage of resources right in our own backyard (or pantry) and this book would be a great gift to tuck into the wedding gift of a couple just starting out or to give to busy parents of young children or, for that matter, to more established couples who just want to spruce up their dating life.

I’d give “$10 Great Dates” a 4.5 for originality, frugality and creativity. And, just think, with a sticker price of $9.99 from Bethany House, your trip to the bookstore can be the first of your $10 great dates!

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

“The Healing Quilt” is Full of Holes

healing quiltSeriously, I was really prepared to like “The Healing Quilt” by Wanda Brunstetter. An elderly Amish couple take in a group of strangers for a quilting class and, along the way, each member of the class finds help with a struggle in their personal life. What’s not to like? However, after the plot you really need to back a story up with a few minor things like good dialogue and an interesting characters. The characters in Wanda’s book talk like no one you’ve ever met. A verbal exchange between what was supposed to be two longtime motorcycle riders was enough to make me physically cringe. The idea that this couple would take on teaching quilting to a paralyzed girl without thinking about how she would operate a sewing machine (hello, “foot pedal,” anyone?) and other aspects of the book had me forcing myself to finish it just for the sake of the review. Frankly, I’m getting really tired of “Christian Fiction” not living up to its secular counterpart.   Editors, agents and publishers need to be reminded that good fiction is good fiction is good fiction. If people prefer to read books that align with their faith view, they should not be forced to choose between good writing and Christian Fiction.

This book was provided to me by the publishers for this review. The opinion, however, is my own.

See You in September…My Day! (And a Giveaway!)

Did you have to write those “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” essays in school every year? We did and I often felt like my fellow students had much cooler summers than I did. Now, I’m revisiting that feeling because, frankly, I didn’t get much done this summer!
Summer is my busiest work season with kids for 10-12 hours each day and, since I’m currently carrying around my own sub-tropical climate, heat and I don’t mix well! Having warned you not to expect anything mind-blowing, let me thank the wonderful Madam Samm and Shari of Living With Purpose for putting this all together.  Honestly, without this hop, I’m not sure I’d have made it up to the third floor to quilt at all!

My #1 finish is only partially mine.  A friend pieced this beauty and then handed it over to me for quilting.

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I really wanted to do this one justice so I did my first ever pebble quilting and used straight lines to help make the two different browns stand out.

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My second and third finishes are a bag for my nursing student daughter and a charity quilt for my guild.  In fact, you may remember that the charity quilt hit a snag when I discovered I did this…

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A big oops!

It took a little thinking through but I tossed my original idea and came up with this instead.  I knew it was ok when my younger daughter saw it and said, “Can I have it?”  (She only asks that about the ones she likes.)

Nurses tote and charity quilt.

Nurses tote and charity quilt.

Now, you may be wondering “Where’s the gingham?” and here it is…

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I used red gingham to line my tote bag because it reminds me of little Red Cross symbols.  I did plan to make some other gingham items but, as I said, it was a busy summer!

Now, on to the giveaway.  Today was my first day of “kids in school all day and no baby” so I took a jaunt to the quilt shop and these two “Fall-y” batiks caught my eye.  To be entered, just leave me a comment about how your summer (or winter for my Southern Hemisphere friends) was.  If you did something super fun, I love to live vicariously!  One winner will be drawn by Mr. Random after the hop to receive 1/2-yard of each fabric.  And, yes, I’ll ship internationally.

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Please be sure to visit the rest of our fabulous hoppers.

Friday, September 5
Stitchin’ By The Lake
Coeur d’Alene
Words & Stitches
TheSlowQuilter
Pig Tales and Quilts
All Thingz Sewn

As usual, I’m thrilled to be a part of such a talented and fun group and thank you for stopping by!

Happy quilting!

Beth

See You in September!

Do you remember writing those “What I did this summer” essays every September? Well, a talented crew of quilters and crafters are showing off their summer projects in the See You in September Blog Hop organized by Sew We Quilt! I’ll be posting my projects on Friday but be sure to check out all these other talented folks!

Wednesday, September 3
Sew Incredibly Crazy
Bumbleberry Cottage
Thimblemouse and Spouse
Mad Quilter’s Disease
In The Boon Docks

Thursday, September 4
Jane’s Quilting
Life in the Scrapatch
Sew Many Yarns
Gracie Oliver Arts
Everyone Deserves a Quilt

Friday, September 5
Stitchin’ By The Lake
Coeur d’Alene
Words & Stitches
TheSlowQuilter
Pig Tales and Quilts
All Thingz Sewn

Monday, September 8
Quilting Quietly
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Procrastination Queen
Lovelli Quilts
Cherry Blossoms

Tuesday, September 9
Just Let Me Quilt
Marjorie’s Busy Corner
The Quilting Queen Online Blog
Marla’s Crafts
K and S Sweets and Stitching

Wednesday, September 10
Secretly Stitching
Buzzing and Bumbling
Quilt n Queen
Quilted Delights

Grandmama’s Stories

Thursday, September 11
Susie’s World
Needled Mom
Cate’s Linens
How ART you?
I Like To QuiltBlog

Friday, September 12
Sunshine-quilting
Sew Peace to Peace
MoosestashQuilting
More Stars in Comanche
Living With Purpose

Monday, September 15
I Piece 2-Mary
Till We Quilt Again
Vroomans Quilts
Nini and the Sea
Seams To Be Sew

My Quilting Journey

Tuesday, September 16
Life, quilts and a cat too
Meadowbrook
Apple Avenue Quilts
Just Keep Swimming
Patchwork Sampler
Sew We Quilt

A Kitty Tail and Some Catching Up

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Hmmm…someone’s been hiding and it’s not just me!  The last couple of weeks of summer are always hectic but the last two have been very, very busy with back-to-school and last-minute stuff.  Plus, yours truly had a birthday and was treated to one of the nicest weekends that I’ve had in ages!  Both my daughters were booked with school things during the day so I had a lovely sewing day and then we headed to the Portland Art Museum for their free Friday night and then to meet my husband to join us for dinner.  The next day, we went to my brother’s house and watched Doctor Who on his big screen with some good friends.  All together, a quite fabulous weekend!  Now, school starts tomorrow and week I have two fabulous days with no children during school hours!  The weather is cooler, my sewing room beckons and there are three blog hops to get ready for!  What are you doing to celebrate the change of seasons?

What’s in a $1 Scrap Bag?

Remember this big bag of yummy fabric from the quilters’ yard sale at my LQS?

My  goodies!

My goodies!

Well, today I was  in need of a fabric petting session so I decided to cut up one of the scrap bags while the kids did their reading time.  (Specifically, I cut up the one you can see peaking up on the right with the light blue showing.)  What was hiding in that little bag? Here are the contents before I starting cutting.

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And here are the usable strips that came from those pieces along with the small pile of cutting waste.

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I did a little analysis on what I had and the outcome was

Twenty-nine 2.5″ strips (12 width of fabric, 6 more than 20″ long, and 11 strips that were 1/4 of the width of fabric)

One 2″ width of fabric strip

One 1.5″ width of fabric strip

Three strings

Altogether, it adds up to just past 1-1/3 yards of fabric if I’d cut those strips from a continuous piece.  All for $1.  Now that’s cheap therapy!

Happy quilting!

Beth

P.S.  Linking this post up to “The Purge” over at Stitched in Color!

 

“The Butterfly and the Violin” is a Haunting Love Story

untitledSera James is on the hunt for a picture, a beautiful, haunting portrait of a young woman and a violin that Sera saw once in a Paris gallery. Now she’s seeking the portrait as the crowning piece to a display of Holocaust era art and, frankly, to satisfy her own curiosity about the beautiful woman with her shorn head and tattooed forearm. When a duplicate of the portrait is located in an estate sale, Sarah is delighted. The owner, however, has his own decidedly peculiar terms for helping Sera on her quest for the original portrait.
I very much enjoyed “The Butterfly and the Violin.” Skillfully woven dual timelines take the reader back and forth between Nazi-occupied Austria and present day stories. The dialogue is well done, the horrors of the camps and the daily life and death struggles are brought to vivid life. The modern story line is interesting and fresh (although I wasn’t completely taken by the ending.) I think both romance and historical fiction readers will enjoy “The Butterfly and the Violin” by Kristy Cambron and I look forward to what she writes next!
This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own.

Historical Fiction Fans Will Love “A Triple Knot”

untitledJoan of Kent, cousin of King Edward III, knows that she is destined for a political marriage. Edward is engaged in a struggle for the French crown and plans to use Joan to further his goals. Joan, who has seen her father betrayed to his death by this same family, isn’t resigned to her fate as royal pawn and secretly pledges herself to one of the king’s knights. She struggles to remain true to her vow while the king continues to plot her marriage to another.
Emma Campion does an excellent job of capturing the political intrigue and manipulations that helped plunge England and France into the 100 Years’ War. The characters are vibrant and interesting and the court life is portrayed with a fine eye for detail. Joan of Kent’s story is a true one brought to life with skillful writing and excellent dialogue. Emma Campion has done her research and delivered an interesting side chapter of Plantagenet history. I believe that historical fiction fans will truly enjoy “A Triple Knot.”
This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!

A Lovely Year of Finishes Goal Setting

Well, it’s that time again. I’m trying to see what to do for August and I’ve decided (again) to finish my Jamestown Landing top this month. I only have a few rows to go and the piano-key border but it’s hot and my sewing room is on the third floor and I misplaced my mojo. (Whine, whine, whine…lol!) So, I’m going to caffeine up, sweep under the rug and find my mojo and get this one off of my piecing list! I have a friend’s quilt to quilt, too, and a baby quilt and, well…you have a UFO list, too, I presume so I don’t have to explain it.

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Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes over at Fiber of All Sorts!

Happy quilting!

Beth