April was a very interesting reading month. I seemed to have been plagued by some bad narrators. With audiobooks the narrator is key and ruined several of these for me.
by Ben Coes
This is the 1st book in a series featuring Dewey Andreas, a former Delta Force member. As this book opens he is managing an off shore oil rig that is attacked by terrorists. It's only one of many targets and Dewey is working to find the culprits.
As I think back it was a pretty good story. LOTS of action but also a good dose of absurdities. What really ruined the book for me was the narrator. He couldn't really do different voices very well so his solution was to give them strong accents. The head of the FBI is Mexican, an NSA chief is Irish and, best of all, an interrogator is German....but they are all American. The main character always sounds angry and the rest of the narration is in a tone like he's telling a secret. Incredibly annoying.
The next book in this series has a different narrator so I'll likely give it a try.
by Alex Berenson
This is another 1st in a series terrorist/spy novel. I liked it much better than Power Down. In this one John Wells is "the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover." The CIA isn't sure if he's still friendly or has crossed.
The narrator on this one, Dean Robertson, is much better too.
The Fifth Gospel
by Ian Caldwell
Reviews compare Ian Caldwell to Dan Brown. I suppose that's because of the subject matter. This book is a story built around the Shroud of Turin. "In 2004, as Pope John Paul II's reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome." It's an interesting story with believable characters and a mostly plausible story line.
I read the DaVinci Code and several other Dan Brown books and I'm not a fan of his writing. Ian Caldwell is a much better writer developing deeper characters and a more plausible story plot. I'll read Ian Caldwell again. I've read 2 Dan Brown books and that was my limit with him.
The Ghost War
by Alex Berenson
It's rare that I read 2 books in a series in the same month and I'm not sure how it happened this month. But I thoroughly enjoyed another adventure with John Wells. This time there's a mole in the CIA and China threatening attacks on the US. This is a sequel to The Faithful Spy.
This one was narrated by one of my favorite narrators: George Guidall. He's outstanding.
The History of the Ancient World
by Susan Wise Bauer
April was a month of big accomplishments for me including this website and finishing 2/3 of the great playroom wall. I can also count finishing all 26 1/2 hours of this book.
My history education in Bassett, VA in the mid-1970's leaves much to be desired and my interest in it was zero. I'm much more interested in history now and enjoy reading history books. This one is a comprehensive history of the ancient world (East and West) until the Fall of the Roman Empire.
Now I could listen to John Lee read the telephone book and he kept me going through this but it was a lot to slog through. It was interesting but I think this would be a better book to read with access to maps, timelines and maybe Wikipedia. I don't retain chronological history well and that's what this is. It's thorough but requires a lot of concentration. I made it through and I don't regret reading it but this one will not have wide appeal.
The Kill Switch
James Rollins and Grant Blackwood
James Rollins writes the Sigma Force series. I read the first one, Sandstorm, and didn't love it because there was too much of a fantasy element.
This one is the first in the Tucker Wayne series. Tucker is ex Sigma Force and travels with a well trained Belgian Sheppard.
His assignment is to extract a pharmaceutical researcher from Russia. Of course it's not simple. He and Kane end up on a long adventure to save the world from a weaponized pathogen.
This book was a nice break after the History of the Ancient World! It's not the best mystery book I've read but it was interesting enough to try the next one in the series.
By Dan Jones
I read another Dan Jones book, The War of the Roses, in January. I enjoyed it and was looking forward to this one.
As long as audiobooks have been out and as polular as they are, there's no excuse for poor narration but that's exactly what we have here. After 4 house of listening to Clive Chafer I decided that I did not need to suffer through a bad book and gave up.
The Silent Girls
by Eric Rickstad
At least I finished the month on a relative "up" note. I usually only buy books over 10 hours but this was a bargain book so I gave it a try.
Frank Rath is a private investigator. He raised his niece after his sister was murdered 17 years ago. Now the murderer is up for parole, his daughter is in college and there are young girls missing.
It was a good story with good characters and it left off begging for a sequel!
When I moved the old blog content to this new site I got to read through some of my older tutorials. A few of them weren't nearly as clear as then needed to be. One of those was my tutorial on centering a quilt back on the longarm. I used the QOV quilt this week to take all new photos and completely rewrite it. If you are a longarm quilter I hope you will find this technique useful.
Just so I don't leave you without photos. Here are the 2 quilts that forced me to figure out how to do this. You can read all about these special quilts here. These photos of the backs were taken after the quilts were quilted and bound.
If you are in need of a custom dyed quilt back I can dye one for you in any color combination or pattern.
It's done! I officially have 2 finishes for April. It may look familiar because I made my Shaken, Not Stirred quilt with the same pattern last year. My quilt club helped by making most of the blocks.
I'll admit that my favorite part is the spiral ice dyed back. I like making the tie dyed backs and then centering them on the longarm. If I get my act together I'll have an updated tutorial tomorrow for how I do that. If you want to see more details of this quilt check it out here.
If you need a custom dyed quilt back for your quilt contact me. I can make them in any color combination.
I spent all day yesterday grouting my mosaic wall and I should be sharing photos of that today. But I was too tired to take and edit photos. Instead I'll catch you up on our bird boxes.
For new visitors, we have 3 bluebird nest boxes on our property and have been "hosting" bird families since 2008. We mostly get Eastern Bluebirds which makes sense since the boxes are designed for Eastern Bluebirds. But we have also hosted Tree Swallows, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees. Some years are great years and some not so great but that's how nature works.
We also have a Carolina Wren nest in our propane tank every year and an Eastern Phoebe that nests at the top of one of our gutters.
The Eastern Bluebirds are nesting in box 1, the most popular box. Six eggs is a large clutch for our birds. We usually have 5. These should start hatching later this week or weekend.
Box 3 has either a Chickadee nest or a Titmouse nest. We aren't sure but think it's a Titmouse. There's a Mockingbird that hangs out near this nest and sometimes runs the nesting birds off. Hopefully these will get to stay.
Tomorrow I'll have the mosaic update. Today I'm cleaning up the huge mess that is the basement.
Before I get into my quilting weekend I want to try to help anyone who hasn't gotten the blog to work in your blog reader.
If you have Bloglovin' you have to search for the blog by searching "Colorways By Vicki Welsh"
If you are using any other reader you need to use the URL on the RSS feed : http://www.colorwaysbyvicki.com/1/feed
I hope that helps anyone still having ussues.
It's amazing how much free time I seem to have now that the website is done! I took full advantage of it this weekend. On Friday I quilted some veteran's quilts and Saturday I quilted my Quilt of Valor.
Then a miracle happened. I dyed a spiral quilt back form my QOV on Wednesday and got the quilt quilted on Saturday! All I have to do is the binding and this one is done and ready to deliver to a QOV rep.
Is it possible that I will have 2 finishes for April?
The true main reason for moving this website was to get into a better shop. Etsy is a wonderful platform especially when starting out but once you are paying them over $30/month in fees it's time to start considering moving to a dedicated platform. But the real impetus for me moving my shop (because I'm inherently lazy) was that Etsy no longer listened to me and they made it harder for me to do business. I couldn't put products in multiple categories, could only have 10 categories and they insisted on printing an obnoxious recycling message on customer invoices. I don't think customers should be given tasks, they should be thanked. Period. But the final straw was when I wanted to sell glass. I could not have 2 shops on one account. I had to set up a new email address specifically for the second shop.
That was enough for me. So when I was sidelined with my knee I took a few days to test out platforms (Shopify, Squarespace, GoDaddy and Weebly). Shopify was easy to set up but it blew up my browser every time I tried to add a product. After 3 hours on Squarespace I still didn't have one page configured. They could not make the process more convoluted. GoDaddy required too much work to integrate a bunch of separate components. Weebly, on the other hand, was a breeze. In 3 hours I had 10 pages configured and their support is amazing! This site is the result and here's why.
Most importantly, I can have as many different "shops" as I need. I have my fabric, glass and minuscule soap shop right under the SHOP button.
In Etsy I loved that there was a feedback mechanism and I've added the ability for customers to leave feedback here too. It's right at the top of the Fabric Shop page. If you've used my fabric in the past I'd love for you to leave a comment for other buyers.
Now that I have unlimited categories you can now search by color! I'm sure I will have to expand the color categories but at least there's some ability to search by color. I also can separate custom order in a new category so that they are easier to find too.
But the best part is that I can easily show you what's new! Also items can be in multiple categories. The Shades, Gradients and Stash Packs that are always on sale can now also be found in the Shades, Gradients and Stash Packs categories.
Take a look around and let me know what you think. Meanwhile here are some new fabrics added this week. These are not in the Etsy shop . The Etsy shop will remain active for many months not all fabrics will be added there.
Here's a little sneak peek to give you an idea of the fabrics that will be new in the shop next week!
This is something that I've needed to do for at least a year. Coordinating and integrating a separate blog and shop was unwieldy. Plus the old blog has 9 years of posts (over 3000) and finding anything there was becoming almost impossible. At the same time Etsy is really limiting me in the way I want to categorize and display my product. When I had to rest my knee last month I realized I had the perfect opportunity to make a new site happen.
New Name too
Why a new name? When I opened my glass shop on Etsy a couple months ago (it's closed now) I realized that I needed a name that would tie everything that I do together. What's the underpinning of all of my pursuits? Color! Color in many different ways. That's how Colorways By Vicki Welsh was born.
In another post I'll tell you how and why I chose Weebly and talk a bit more about the shop. Today I want to show you around the blog.
I think the first thing you will notice is that it's a lot cleaner than the old blog! I can add things as I want and need but, as with my sewing room, I'm going to try to keep this place tidy. I wasn't able to convert the history of my Field Trips blog but, no worries, all of the "important" information is here and much better organized. I spent weeks moving all of that content to the Galleries and Tutorials sections above. Have a look around and let me know what you think! I have more things to add but about 80% of the old blog is right here and much easier to find.
I love 99% of Weebly and the 1% that I don't like has to do with blog comments. When I receive notification of your comments the notification does not come with your email. I used to be able to reply to you directly from email. Now I have to respond on the blog.
This is the comment box that you will see if you click the Comments link below. If you want to see my reply you will need to click that little box. I did a little test and it seems that the only notifications you will receive are direct replies to your comment.
I have already put in an enhancement request to have then send me your email when they notify me of your comment. But I'm not holding my breath for it.
I hope you will like it here well enough to continue subscribing. I know that a couple hundred of you subscribe by email and you can still do that. Just look for the FeedBurner box on the right and enter your email there.
If you use Bloglovin' you can find this blog by searching "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" in the Bloglovin' search. For some reason Bloglovin' doesn't find the feed url.
For all other readers (Feedly, Inoreader...) click on the RSS Feed link and copy the URL in the new window. Paste that feed URL into your reader.
I don't like to post without a photo so I'll leave you with this veteran's quilt that I started yesterday. Now that the new website is mostly done and my knee is better I'm happy to be back quilting. I'm going to knock out a few veteran's quilts while I work on grouting the wall this weekend. I'll show you how I did this one in another post.
Enjoy wandering around the new website. If you see anything broken or weird just let me know!
It's ridiculous that it took me 3 years to make these pillow shams for the guest room but I'm glad to have had a quick project to work on this week while I finish up work on the website. Even with piecing curves and inserting zippers in the back these could have been done in one afternoon.....3 years ago.
They were needed because the pillows kind of stuck out on the bed. I know why I procrastinated. I couldn't settle on a design. I was making them much more complex than they needed to be. In the end I just followed the name of the color palette - Red Sunset.
The quilt is double sided. You can see the other side and more photos of the bed and headboard on the Gallery Page.
I even took an extra 10 minutes to change threads for top stitching the flange in place. I prefer flanges to ruffles. They are easier and I'm just not a ruffle kind of girl.
I had a small panic this week with the quilt. The mattress that I bought for this bed is REALLY firm. Too firm. So I bought a foam topper to help out. I completely forgot about the size of the quilt. I made it to tuck under the mattress as you can see on the Gallery Page. Fortunately the topper wasn't a half inch thicker!
The fabric also matches our red recliners so I recovered my chair pillow so it would match better.
At least I have 1 thing off the UFO list for April!
Yesterday started off as a great day with friends visiting and then having my quilt club meeting hast night. Then I came home to some very sad news. So I start today with a heavy heart. I'm glad to have a lot of dyeing work ahead of me to keep me busy today.
Meanwhile I do have some pretty pictures to look at. I have new fabrics in the shop today! Also, on this new website I finally have an easy way to find the newest fabrics with a "What's New" section of the shop! It's a little thing but it's made me very happy.
I have 3 gradients back in stock this week.
I also have some pretty new One Yard fabrics. In the new store I'm renaming these "Stars" and the larger one-of-a-kind pieces are Galaxies. Here are the new Stars.
My brother, Tim, sent me a photo of the Cathedral Window quilt in it's new home. It's perfect on this antique bed! I asked him to let Lulu model the quilt because she was the first to "admire" it when I gave it to him. I laid it on the sofa and she immediately jumped on it and settled into a little quilt nest.
I'm so glad that the quilt has found a perfect home and hopefully the grandchildren will enjoy sleeping under it. If you missed the Cathedral Window drama you can read all about the background of this quilt on my Cathedral Window page.
In website news, I am sooooo close! I have about 60 more products to load and then I'll be ready for you to visit.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.