Sunday, September 2, 2012

August UFO

I've been very productive this summer and stayed on track in my sewing room to finish lots of projects and quilts.  Here is my finish for August.  I was so disgusted with this one, it almost ended up in the trash.

I started this during a class several years ago.  All pieces are cut with a 60 degree ruler and every seam in there is a Y-seam!  Well, the teacher used my fabrics to demo the technique and cut my fabric the wrong direction!  So, I had to proceed doing the entire quilt backwards with the angles and Y-seams.  Well, I did it but I don't think the effect worked so well color wise.  The quilt is named "Pretzel Party".  My daughter thinks it looks more like a Jewish star.  It think it is sweet and would make a lovely quilt for a baby girl.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Book Club titles

August went by so fast, I didn't get our August selection posted.  It was more of a "classic" that I recommended.  It isn't really so classic, just about 15 years old but a wonderful story of strong women, their culture, and bonds during Old Testament times.  The book was The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, published in 1997.  It's the story of Dinah, only daughter of Jacob, and sister to Joseph.  It's a very powerful and moving story, definitely a "chick" read.  I read it when it was first released and loved rereading every page for book club.

The Red Tent

September's selection is more contemporary and a little wacky sounding.  But we all loved the story summary and I've got it downloaded on my Ipad.  It's also available in paperback which is a prerequisite for our book club.  Here it is:


The book was written in 2011 by Karen Russell.  It's about a family living in Florida, running a gator wrestling theme park.  Here's an excerpt from the review on  The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly #1 in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost; and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, who dreams of becoming a scholar, has just defected to the World of Darkness in a last-ditch effort to keep their family business from going under. Ava’s father, affectionately known as Chief Bigtree, is AWOL; and that leaves Ava, a resourceful but terrified thirteen, to manage ninety-eight gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief.

I can't wait to read it!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

End of Summer Flowers

My husband sent me these beautiful flowers, delivered during a staff meeting at school Friday.  There was a lovely note about our fabulous summer.  It was fabulous.  We went to Monterey, Lake Tahoe, New York City, Cedar City, and Pine Lake.  It is fun being empty nesters!  I'm ready for the start of a new school year tomorrow.  But we already have several weekend getaways planned for the fall.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cooking up Salad Nicoise

We seem to get in a cooking rut at times, especially here in the four months of 105+ temperatures.  It's just too hot to use the oven, so the grill is big and so are salads.  Well, I was in a salad rut so I tried something new this week.  I went to my favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  It seems her recipes are easy to follow and use good fresh foods.  I didn't know if my husband would like this but he does love Ahi Tuna, so I went for it.

Here's the recipe -- I was a little worried because there was a recipe within the recipe for the French Potato Salad.  But I made it through all the pages and it was wonderful.  My husband gave his approval and said it was good to have again.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August UFO - Swoon

I am just crazy for quilts!  And this was a lot of fun to make.  The pattern and fabric line is by a mother/daughter team.  Their patterns and fabrics are so bright and happy.  The quilt pattern is named Swoon, and it almost made me swoon with delight!  The pattern required 18 fat quarters and that's for real!  The blocks are 24".  I added the two borders.  I just thought the quilt was floating with all the white out there.  It's big, 90" X 90".  I think it is destined for a niece of mine.  It just looks perfect for a sweet little girl, don't ya think?

Here's a closer look at one of the blocks.

And a closer look at this scrumptious border fabric:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reading and Listening

Summer vacation is winding down for me, it's back to school next week!  It is always exciting to start a new school year.  I know my reading time will be limited again.  It is such a luxury for me to spend time reading because unless I listen to an audio CD, I can't multi task.  I know I should get over it and just take time to read each day.  Maybe I will!

Anyway, here are some highly recommended books.

Vaclav and Lena 

Okay, I really LOVED this book.  It is wonderful and heart wrenching at the same time.  Vaclav and Lena meet in Brighton Beach at age six, children of immigrants that are in the same English as a Second Language class.  Vaclav dreams of becoming a magician with Lena as his lovely assistant.  But Lena doesn't really have much of a home with her aunt who works nights at a "nightclub".  Vaclav's mom comes to her rescue which leads to a separation for the two friends.  They do reunite years later.  There is much sorrow but more wonder with a sweet ending.  I loved every page.

Emily Griffin Where we belong
This was another lovely story, bittersweet and I'm not sure the ending was happy but more unsettled.  It's about a woman who gives a baby up for adoption at 18.  Of course, you can guess, the daughter shows up at her Manhattan penthouse door late one night.  There are many bumps for each of them as they try to fit into each other's lives.  And there is a lot of self reflection, drama, and tears.  But overall I loved it.  My daughter has it now.  It's a quick, easy read and worth the time.

Deep Dish

Mary Kay Andrews is a writer I enjoy.  She's funny, plots are easy to follow, and there's usually a happy ending!  Sometimes that's just what you need when you sit down to read a book.  This doesn't disappoint.  Gina Foxten is the host of a TV cooking show, Fresh Start.  Her life is falling apart -- her boyfriend is sleeping with a married woman (and the show's sponsor's wife), her show is about to be cancelled, and her younger sister is living with her in the condo she will soon be unable to afford.  Tate Moody is the host of a rival TV show and they are thrown together in a reality show cook-off with the winner getting a new show.  It's predictable at times but always enjoyable.  I listened to this book.

The Paris Wife

This quote is from Paula McLain's website and is a great teaser for the book (which I listened to): 
The New York Times Bestseller
Set during a remarkable time, the same period as Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises, Paula McLain's The Paris Wife brilliantly captures the voice and heart of Hadley Hemingway as she struggles with her roles as a woman—wife, lover, muse, friend, and mother—and tries to find her place in the intoxicating and tumultuous world of Paris in the twenties.

I have several friends that read this and recommended it.  One thought it was too sad and depressing.  Another loved every page and was inspired to re-read Hemingway's novels.  I'm with the second friend.  I just loved this too.  Hadley is very strong and really does triumph eventually and finds happiness, which we all know Ernest never did.  She was his first wife, married her at 21 and they went to Paris where Ernest wrote the Sun Also Rises, met Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and his second wife.  I may find time to read some of Hemingway's novels again -- it's been since college and that was a long time ago!

Anyhoo, these were all winners in my humble opinion.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Frayed Dresden

I found this quilt out in our family room when we got home from vacation too.  It was a quilt as you go quilt with the frayed edges look.  It's my older daughter's quilt. 

I really love the pale turquoise background with all the bright colored Dresden blades.  I think it's very hip for today's girls.  This was the backing.

I could make another one of these quilts!