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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Outdoor Adventure Quilt



I have the privilege of being Titi to one special dude, who lives way far away in the beautiful land of Maine.  While I don't get to spend much time with him, I can still make him some cute handmade gifts, no? My family was able to visit them this past summer, and I picked up a cute panel while driving through Auburn, Maine.  Quiltessentials is simply the most fabulous quilt shop--I had the greatest time shopping there.  Later on, I stopped by Cinnamon's Quilt Shoppe in Jacksonville--another treat!  While there, I picked up Fat Quarter Shop's Perfect 10 Quilts book and the corresponding Perfect 10 ruler.  I had a quilt top sewn in no time at all, it seems:


My cutting table doubles as a basting surface, thankfully. 


I made the pieced blocks from a layer cake called River Adventure, or something close to that.  I thought it fit the outdoorsy theme well, and contained lots of more masculine blues, greens, and browns. 


I was really in a time crunch to get this shipped out before Christmas, so of course, I neglected to take many progress photos.  Here's the finished quilt:


Many thanks to my coworker, Janet for being my quilt model/holder!





As you can see, I did a swirly meander in a variegated 50wt cotton thread all over.  I stitched the binding on by machine, with the same variegated thread.  Gosh, I really need a photographer friend. 


Anyhow, this quilt is now in the possession of its recipient, and I do hope that it's helping keep him warm this winter.  Linked up with Finished or Not Friday and TGIFF this week. 


Until next time, God Bless. 














Recent Reads:


I Declare War: Four Keys to Winning the Battle with YourselfI Declare War: Four Keys to Winning the Battle with Yourself by Levi Lusko
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a timely read. It seems like every time that I needed to take a thought captive, I'd put this book on, and he'd speak truth into my life. It's really a strange feeling to listen to a book that feels like it was written for me, in my current circumstance, right now. I know that this book won't resonate with many of my friends, but this is exactly what I needed right now.

View all my reviews

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern WorldWonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked it okay. I don't think my interest level was very high when I picked this one up. It just happened to be on my "to read" list, and was readily available for lending. There were some really interesting tidbits about how some things came to be over the years, but overall, a pretty underwhelming read.

View all my reviews

EducatedEducated by Tara Westover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Simply fascinating. What kills me is that Tara is my age. I am continually baffled how people can still be raised this way in this country, in this time. I'd like to say that I'm disappointed with the outcome of this book, but how can I judge someone else's personal family choices? I can't. I was rooting for Tara the whole way through this book, and I suspect that anyone else who reads it will experience similar empathy for her plight, then flight. Great book.

View all my reviews

703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life by Nancy Makin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Scary interesting read. Scary, because this could be me, interesting, because we all deal with our issues differently. Nancy's story is inspiring, because she chose the healthy way out of her predicament, and she didn't let the fact that it was brought on by her own poor choices deter her from changing. A feel-good read.

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The Glass Castle: A MemoirThe Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Crazy. Simply crazy. I've read a few books now that detail these off-the-wall upbringings right here in the good ol' USA, and it never ceases to floor me. You just feel for this girl the whole way through. I kept finding myself praying that I could be a sane, loving, mother to my children, and that I refrain from doing anything to deeply mar their lives. The fact that I have to actively work to recall my childhood is a good thing--these memoirs are killing me!

View all my reviews


On our tabletop:


T.I.M.E. Stories.  It's set up, ready to learn, but still haven't played it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

My First Commissioned Quilt




So I completed my first commissioned quilt a few months ago:



The days were already getting shorter when I went to photograph this thing, so I apologize for the weird lighting.

I went TOTALLY outside of my comfort zone for this quilt.  You've heard me say before that piecing isn't my strong suit, but this pattern seemed "pieceable" enough.  It's from Natalia Bonner's and Kathleen Whiting's book Modern One-Block Quilts.  It whipped together quickly especially quickly, because I grabbed some charm packs to make it with:





My customer's intended recipient loves color, so I immediately though, "Kaffe."  Confession time: I cannot stand Kaffe.  I've yet, to this day, encountered a Kaffe print that I thought looked nice.  It's too much color in unconventional color combinations for me.  Yet, it works:



All that color, all those combinations, and it somehow all works.  I neglected to take a close up photo, but I did some nifty free motion swirly flower quilting edge to edge on His Royal Highness.  Gosh, he sews like a dream!  My customer was pleased, so we're all good.  Sometimes it's good to wade out into deeper waters, so to speak.  Linked up to Sew Fresh Quilts this week.  Until next time, God Bless!





Recent Reads:



Swipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and RomanceSwipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and Romance by Levi Lusko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of those books that you wish you had read earlier.

View all my reviews

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in HistoryFlawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a while to get this one done, but it ended up being a fun listen. I don't know about you, but I enjoy watching heist movies--it's fun to see the level of detailed planning that goes into these (fictional) high-profile thefts, but this was a real-life diamond heist--less glamorous, but still detailed. I don't remember this particular crime in the news back when it happened, so it made it more fun to read without knowing what ultimately happened. Fun read.

View all my reviews


The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust BowlThe Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We all read about the Dust Bowl in elementary school. In fact, you probably read Grapes of Wrath, didn't you? If you're like me, that's all the exposure you got to this trying time in America's history. I had this vague understanding--yeah, it was hard times, but never really understood that it was largely a manmade trial. I truly enjoyed this account--Egan paints a picture of what these lands looked like before we farmed it to death, and how we reaped what we had sown. Gosh, I enjoy history so much more when it's real, and that's what this account does for this particular place and time--make it real. Worth the read.

View all my reviews


On our tabletop:

Catan!  We finally played the "real" version.  
Dutch Blitz.  Quite possibly my favorite.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Just the Top

I finished a quilt top the other day.  I was frantically putting together this Amy Bradley applique quilt pattern to put up at Lil'Schep's third birthday party.  My husband, in his infinite wisdom, suggested that I shoot for finishing the top, rather than trying to finish the entire quilt in time for the party.  "You'll be disappointed," he urged, "if you rush the quilting and aren't happy with it."  So here it is:


Yes, there is a pirate ship on the playground!

Proud mama to this quilt top. 


I also got to flex a few more crafty muscles for this birthday party:

Can't go wrong with penguins.

I decorated my first cake!  I bought a cheapo cake decorating set on Amazon and got to icing.  Homemade buttercream definitely tastes better than the canned stuff, so I foresee icing more cakes in the future.  I took a page out of my mom's book and bought a toy to top the cake with, which doubles as a gift for the birthday boy!  I really am proud of all I managed to whip together for this party.  Even my Cricut got some action--those are homemade shark fins and a homemade sail.  It was a good time overall.  Thanks for taking the time to read it.  I'll eventually get around to blogging the commissioned quilt I finished a while back, so stay tuned.  Until then, God bless!




Recent Reads:



Sin in the Second CitySin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's hard to really like a book about brothels, but this wasn't bad. A true account of one of America's most notorious whorehouses, the story largely follows the two women that ran it. Some of the stuff is so outlandish that I had to laugh out loud. Overall, I thought it was an entertaining account of two colorful characters who strove for excellence in "entertainment."

View all my reviews
An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with DestinyAn Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff, Alex Tresniowski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bit of an emotional roller coaster ride here. The audiobook was performed wonderfully, so it was a very easy listen. A woman takes a child beggar under her wing, and what follows is a series of joys and heartbreaks. I didn't want the book to end. Read it.

View all my reviews
Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Meth AddictionBeautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Meth Addiction by David Sheff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, this was pretty heartbreaking. It's one thing to read about someone's drug addiction, and it's another to read about it through a parent's eyes. This book made me fear for my boys--I was privileged enough to have been raised in a way that prevented any exposure at all to drugs (I didn't even know anyone who smoked tobacco!), so will I be able to do that for my kids? And will I be able to educate them to make the right choices when I can no longer shield them from this? So many unanswered questions. I pray that God will help me make the right choices when it comes to raising them up.

View all my reviews
Tweak: Growing Up on MethamphetaminesTweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liked it, didn't love it. After reading his father's book, Beautiful Boy, I was really looking forward to hearing about their shared memories, and to fill in the gaps for those times where the two weren't in touch.

You know, Nic mentions "dark" books and movies a few times in this book, and how they weren't really the best things to be reading at those points in his life. For me, this was a "dark" book. I've never been exposed to drugs and have had minimal contact with those under the influence of drugs, so this world was (and still is) completely unknown to me. Hearing Nic describe his highs was rather disconcerting--having listened to this book at an emotionally trying time in my life, I kept thinking that I could use an escape like that. Of course, I wouldn't even have the first clue where to find them, but the fact that these thoughts even crossed my mind is a testament to how dark this book is.

The book ends flatly. Of course, you should expect it to, because apparently addicts are always addicts, even when they're in recovery. I don't know that I would ever share this book with my children. Yes, he's honest about the lows he hit, but he doesn't sound all that ashamed of what he's done in the past, and now, he's doing okay. I don't want my children thinking that they can throw away several years of their early lives and ultimately end up okay, because so many addicts end up not okay.

View all my reviews
Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical MysteryAgainst Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good, not great. It was eye opening to see what this family endured with their child's incurable condition, but I felt that this could have been a much longer, much more detailed account. That may be me being nosy, but I don't feel like I got a sense of how this impacted the family day to day, which is fine, but hence the three stars, instead of four.

View all my reviews
Code Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALsCode Name: Johnny Walker: The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the U.S. Navy SEALs by Johnny Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neat book. It falls in line with books such as American Sniper, so if you didn't like that, don't bother with this one. This book, however, is told from an interesting perspective--an Iraqi translator that worked with the SEALs during the war. I was hooked from the first page. The narrator reads the book with an accent that makes me feel as if it were read by the author himself, and I found myself empathizing with him and his family at every twist and turn. It's no spoiler to say that he is now living in the U.S. with his family, but I felt something akin to suspense, waiting for the moment when he would finally be permitted to come to his new home in the U.S. Worth the read.

View all my reviews


The OutsiderThe Outsider by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Two stars because it was read by Will Patton. Mark my words, this is the last time I let anyone talk me into reading another Stephen King novel. This new book was just as long and unbearable as his old stuff, and the only reason I finished it was Mr. Patton's delicious drawl. I'm done.

View all my reviews


On our tabletop:





UpperDeck's Legendary, Marvel Edition

Vegas Dice Game.  Surprisingly fun. 

Hasbro's Risk Legacy

Milton Bradley's Shark Tale Shark Attack, a remake of my childhood favorite!





Friday, October 5, 2018

BabySchep's Monster Quilt Complete!

Sooo, BabySchep's birthday party was back in July, but I've only just now gotten around to photographing the quilt.  Am I the only one who's that bad at this?  I really need a photographer friend! 


Well, here it is hanging on the wall at the party:


I opted for cupcakes instead of a big cake this time.

The birthday boy.  (With Abuela!)

Super cool birthday boy.
I've managed to put together a few progress posts along the way, but this finish was so frenzied, I neglected to take the last few block photos. 

Matching seams!
On the wall, ready for borders.
Basted on the dining room floor.
Pin basted, ready to quilt.
His Royal Highness, adding the final stitch. 
I love doing handwork, so these applique quilts are special to me.  Here's the finished product:

The hubby is always a big help.
These monsters play well together!
The other monster peeking out.  
 
Draping an applique quilt is just not the same. 
 

 Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.  Have a nice weekend!  Until next time, God Bless!





Recent Reads:

The ChildThe Child by Fiona Barton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first one. In fact, this is only a serial because of the reporter investigating the story, not because of the mystery itself. In a nutshell, they find a baby's skeleton at a construction site, and you follow multiple story lines, Kate Waters being the common thread throughout, until you figure out who the baby is. I did enjoy the audiobook, particularly because it was read by a full cast. It would be a great roadtrip listen. Slowly but surely, I'm becoming a fan of Brit lit!

View all my reviews


Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His HomelandBest. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Entirely too short, but laugh out loud funny. Every Floridian should read this, because we can all totally relate.

View all my reviews
 

Born SurvivorsBorn Survivors by Wendy Holden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, I need to stop reading Holocaust books. The title says it all--three babies born into captivity, who against all odds, survive the Holocaust during WWII. It was simply heart wrenching to hear these women's stories about how their families were torn apart, murdered, and yet somehow found the will to not only survive, but to bring these babies into the world. Amazing. The audiobook was superbly read, but try not to read this if you're already depressed. I am continually in awe that this happened in recent history.

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I Found YouI Found You by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More Brit lit. More missing memories. I guess I never tire of this genre. This book generates suspense through faulty memory--this guy turns up on the beach with no memory of who he is, or how he got there, and no one seems to be looking for him. Simultaneously, a new bride in a foreign country is missing her husband. Surely these story lines overlap--the thrill is in finding out how. Fun read, but nothing earthshattering.

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Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian


Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian by John Piper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very convicting read. I guess Piper usually is. I listened to this audiobook, but I wouldn't recommend it in that format. Just go buy it in print so you can mark it up at all of those "ouch" moments. Seriously.

View all my reviews




On our tabletop:


SmashUp by AEG.
Charterstone, by Stonemaier Games