Aug 24

Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies 2015 wrap-up

CruisinCruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2015

This will be my third year to participate in this challenge hosted by Yvonne at Socrates’ Book Reviews and I have finished it in the first half of the year at the highest level because I love me some cozy mysteries and am working through several series. So I am going for Level 4-Sleuth Extraordinaire. Although it took me a little longer than usual to get through my cozy goal, I’m done long before the end of the year and it’s time to start finishing up some challenges and getting them posted.

Choose the level you wish to participate:
Level 1 – Snoop – Read at least 6 books
Level 2 – Investigator – Read 7-12 books
Level 3 – Super Sleuth – Read 13 or more books
Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 20 or more

Here’s my list of fun mysteries accomplished this year:

1. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce #7), Alan Bradley
2. Snow White Red-Handed, Maia Chance
3. The Return of Captain John Emmett, Elizabeth Speller
4. A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8), Jacqueline Winspear
5. Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9), Jacqueline Winspear
6. Owls Well That Ends Well (Meg Langslow #6), Donna Andrews
7. Death in Kenya, M.M. Kaye
8. Steeped in Evil (Tea Shop #15), Laura Childs
9. Hangman’s Root (China Bayles #3), Susan Wittig Albert
10. Miss Julia Lays Down the Law (Miss Julia #16), Ann B. Ross
11. Rosemary Remembered (China Bayles #4), Susan Wittig Albert
12. Rueful Death (China Bayles #5), Susan Wittig Albert
13. Eggs in a Casket (Cackleberry Club #5), Laura Childs
14. The Anatomist’s Wife (Lady Darby #1), Anna Lee Huber
15. Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles #6), Susan Wittig Albert
16. Chile Death (China Bayles #7), Susan Wittig Albert
17. Mortal Arts (Lady Darby #2), Anna Lee Huber
18. A Grave Matter (Lady Darby #3), Anna Lee Huber
19. Lavender Lies (China Bayles #8), Susan Wittig Albert
20. A Study in Death (Lady Darby #4), Anna Lee Huber


Jun 10

Ode to the 1930’s-blocks #6 & 7

After a long hiatus including grandkid birthdays, brief vacations, and illness, the 1930’s quilt group is back on track and making blocks. We are continuing in numerical order and still making the biggest blocks.

Block #6 Godey’s Lady’s Book 12×12

This block looks deceptively simple to piece, but as mentioned previously, this pattern uses no “easy” piecing techniques so all the triangles are pieced on the bias causing stretching and irritation. We worked over those yellow star points to keep them from undue stretching and warping. Grr. We strayed from the recommended color way by bringing in all those brights and we love them! We are tired of the pale pink, yellow, green theme and want some diversity so are slowly bringing in other colors. Our 1930’s quilt will definitely be more vibrant than the pattern. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 20

Latest quilting adventures & accidents

I started the hand-quilting on the spaceship quilt and managed two finishes last week. The first is a Schoolhouse tabletopper. It was the first project of 2015 with my quilting partner, ShaRee. She has a book with a zillion table topper patterns and keeps talking about wanting to make some. Our local quilt shop had kits of this one so I gave her one for Christmas and got one for me so we could work on it together in January and February. She is a retired kindergarten teacher so it’s apropos. The piecing was SMALL so we learned some stuff. I hand-quilted in the ditch around all squares and most elements.

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I also finally finished hand-quilting and binding on the Candy Shop quilt. The pattern came from “American Patchwork & Quilting” Issue 79 April 2006 p. 70. This quilt has quite the provenance. I began purchasing fabric in 2008 after my first quilt. Not knowing that 100% cotton fabric isn’t all made the same, it has a variety of fabrics from many manufactures, some of which are of dubious quality, causing stretching and wonkiness. I slowly cut and pieced the blocks here and there until finally last year I decided to get it off my plate. I hand-quilted it with an all-over random swirly no-pattern free-form thing I usually do. I trimmed the sides harshly to make it come out straight and unpicked and re-sewed parts of the binding four times to make it look mostly straight and finally decided it was as good as it was going to get. I’m not thrilled but it’s not too bad and still a fun quilt. Maybe someday I’ll make it again with quality fabrics. Sounds like a good scrap quilt.

Now for the accident portion of the post. After thirty years of sewing I put the sewing machine needle into my index finger on Friday afternoon. Are you kidding me? I was piecing a quilt top and pushing the fabric through and somehow, although I’m not sure exactly how, I pushed my left index finger up under the foot. The needle went into my fingernail and sliced through the end of my fingertip. I managed to save the quilt top and the carpet from the spurting blood. Yay! Got the bleeding stopped and had my nurse friend look at it and help me with how to care for it.

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Apr 19

A prize in the mail

Look what arrived in the mail yesterday from Canada!

I am the winner of the Riedel Fascination Gentle Spectrums Reading Challenge that ran Feb 2014-Feb 2015! Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! So my cyber-friend, Carolyn, sent me these books in UK editions. Fun! Thanks, Carolyn. If you’d like to join us for one of her 2015 Challenges: Ethereal, Gentle Spectrums, or My Kind of Mystery, click here for information.

I posted here about my adventures in completing the challenge.

Mar 30

First quarter 2015

I’ve been busy so far this year working on my One Little Word, EMBRACE. I spent all of February focusing on re-lighting my love of scrapbooking by participating in an annual event I’ve wanted to do for several years called LOAD. The purpose is to create a layout a day for each day of February. The overarching theme was Once Upon a Time and our connection with books, and each day the host, Lain Ehmann, gave a different prompt that we could use for our layout. These included design principles, color combinations, or a topic sentence, all from beloved children’s books. I managed to do a layout all 28 days of the month and I had so much fun. My output has slowed down in March, but I’m still working.

I did a layout showing the entire month’s work, which included a few extra layouts on some days for a total of 34. I count two-page layouts as one layout. Because I mostly stayed with the daily prompts, I had to do some layouts about me, which is a first, and also not chronological, which was fun and very freeing.LOAD28Here are my two favs from the month, both of which were color prompts:

LOAD5LOAD12This year I also signed up for Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class which gives monthly activities to help keep our word visible and in use in our lives. I did the prompt for January which involved a lot of reflecting and making goals and got those all in my album but haven’t finished some of the daily life pictures from January and none from February or March. Need to add those pages to the album in the second quarter. February’s prompt was to make a vision board and I had so much fun cutting up magazines and gluing that all together. It’s now hanging in my sewing room.


I’ve been doing some sewing, too. My new threesome quilt group is doing a 1930’s quilt this year and have several blocks done and I’ve posted about those already. My regular twosome quilt group made a Schoolhouse table topper that needs to be hand-quilted as soon as I finish the Candy Shop quilt, which is almost done. We are now working on an Arrowhead quilt, but it’s a secret project so I’m not posting much for now. But it’s looking mighty awesome so far. Other projects in the works include the following:

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I’ve spent a fair amount of time getting some pillowcases sewn up for the Festival of Trees gift boutique in December. Some of this fabric has been waiting around for two years for me to get it done, so I thought this was the year to get them all sewed up and off my plate. They turned into thirteen lovely pillowcases.

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I’ve only been out in the garden once so far this spring and it looks like it needs some major cleaning up. But Scott and I were asked to be in charge of a youth play at church and since I wrote it and am directing it, it’s taken up a ton of time this quarter. I have to spend a lot of time planning and organizing in order to utilize the limited rehearsal time and make it all seem effortless. The performances are this week and I will get some time and energy back.

We’ve also spent a lot of time discussing, planning, and researching the possible addition to our home and it’s amazing how time-consuming that’s been with very little actual progress to show for it. But lots of knowledge in our heads.

As part of my One Little Word this year, I made a list of things to get done. I’m working away on the list and crossing stuff off which is making me happy. Organizing my quilt patterns, cleaning up my scrapping studio, reading some magazines then moving them out, and reading books for my reading challenges. I’ve kept up with the two that have monthly goals and made progress on the others, and I’m eleven books ahead of schedule on my goodreads annual challenge of 104 books/year. Plus my dishwasher has been broken for most of the quarter and I’m washing dishes by hand, which takes time but lets me listen to audio books. Trade-off.

Here’s to the second quarter of 2015: may it be productive. EMBRACE the future!

Mar 26

Ode to the 1930’s-blocks #4 & 5

Remember how I said we were considering skipping around on the blocks in order to leave all the applique blocks to the end but decided to just be brave and go in order? Well, that brought us to block #4 and the first of the applique blocks. I had never done machine applique in my life and certainly not with my new machine. Terry and ShaRee had limited experience and honestly, we were all shaking in our boots. It was ShaRee’s turn to be the team lead and she took care of us splendidly. We had previously chosen the fabric for this block so she traced all the patterns and even provided us with a sample tulip on scrap fabric so we could test out our blanket stitch. Those samples all turned out great and all our machines did a beautiful blanket stitch. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 26

Ode to the 1930’s-blocks #2 & 3

After our first block, we were a teensy bit aggravated at the pattern. It’s awesome, but the designer mostly cuts squares into triangles and sews them together. This causes stretching on the bias and wonky squares, and doesn’t utilize all the quick half-square triangle and flying geese methods available. So Terry decided to work through block #2 in scrap fabric in preparation for our sewing day and see if she could identify some easy piecing techniques. It requires some figuring but she did a great job and the block went together much faster and straighter.

We selected a focal print for the centers and fussy cut them so that the flower really showed up and then used the suggested color scheme of yellow, pink and green. This block is kind of a star in a star as the green center pieces form a star and then the whole thing is a star. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 25

Ode to the 1930’s: A Sampler Quilt

You may recall that my quilting partner, ShaRee, and I spent 2014 making barn blocks into quilt tops. We have embarked on some new adventures that I will write about later. We meet every other week to sew so we decided we could invite a friend to join us and do a project with all three of us on the other week. I mean, YOLO, right? So in January 2015 we embarked on our grand adventure. We decided on “Ode to the 1930’s: A Sampler Quilt” by Lori Smith, It’s a challenging quilt with lots of piecing and (gasp) applique. But the purpose of working together is that two, or in this case, three heads are better than one and we all learn from each other. We each have different tricks to teach other and we can learn! Read the rest of this entry »

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