I had some great reading time this month. It was a huge help during the 10 days that Chris and I had our epic colds. Every book I read this month was good so I'm not going to pick a favorite. I hope you find something good and leave your recommendations in the comments.
Don't Open The Door by Allison Brennan. I've read two of her books previous to this one. One I thought was tedious and one that was a very interesting premise. This one is just annoying with cliche characters. After 2 hours, I gave up.
By Joe R. Lansdale, Read by Brad Sanders
Joe Lansdale can WRITE and Brad Sanders was the perfect narrator for this wild western.
Loosely based on the real-life slave-turned-cowboy, Nat Love, Paradise Sky is a brutal and beautiful novel about the wildness of the West in the last 1800's.
After the Civil War, Nat (formerly Willie) and his father have settled down to farming when an insane local landowner is cause for Nat to run and strike out on his own. A farmer named Loving takes him in and teaches him farming, cooking, shooting, horseback riding and all sorts of other life skills. When Mr. Loving dies Nat takes on his name as a tribute and heads West.
He becomes a Buffalo Soldier and eventually finds his way to Deadwood where he becomes a bouncer at the infamous Gem Hotel. The Texas landowner is still searching for him so his life will not settle until that business is taken care of.
This book reminds me of the style of Larry McMurtry. The characters are richly drawn and the scenes are vivid. It's a western so the language is crude and there's plenty of murder aod gore. If you like a good Western I think you will enjoy this one. It got me through a week of being sick and made the time pass faster.
By Robert Bailey, Read by Joe Knezevich
This is the 1st in the Jason Rich series. Jason Rich is that personal injury lawyer that you see on billboards around your town. He's never been a criminal trial attorney. He's also in rehab for an alcohol addiction so he misses 2 weeks of calls from his sister begging for his help.
Jason's sister, Jana, has been charged with hiring a hit man to kill her husband and she wants Jason to represent her. The two have barely spoken in years but he agrees to take the case for his nieces. He returns to his hometown to try to unravel what really happened.
This was good enough as a first in a series for me to want to read another.
The Invincible Miss Cust
By Penny Haw, Read By Lucy Rayner
This is a historical novel about Aleen Cust. She was born in Ireland in 1868 and always dreamed of being a veterinarian but women couldn't pursue that career and her mother wouldn't have her embarrass the family by trying.
But, of course, she did do it. With the help of mentors, she was the first woman to enroll in the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh. She wasn't initially allowed to get the formal certificate but she found a way to practice anyway. She was the first woman veterinarian in Britain and Ireland. It's an interesting story and holds closely to the knows facts about her life.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
By Helen Simonson, Read By Peter Altschuler
In a small English village a wonderful cast of characters reside including Major Earnest Pettigrew (retired). The Major leads a quiet life since his wife died. He sees his son infrequently as he lives and works in London. When the Major's brother dies it seems that everyone and everything around him is changing. His son and niece are after a pair of historic guns to be sold for their benefit. The local land owner seems to be planning a large development and his son shows up with a new girlfriend looking for a weekend cottage. In the midst of this, he becomes friends with Mrs Jasmina Ali, the local Pakistani shop owner.
What ensues is a story about manners and tradition and the humor of trying to stick to the old ways. It's an endearing story about people trying to be happy and relevant in today's society.
By C.J. Box, Read by David Chandler
This is #23 in the Joe Pickett series. Joe is a Wyoming game warden with a reputation for getting involved in things he shouldn't and for destroying a record number of state vehicles. After 23 books you would expect the story lines to get a little tired but Box does a great job of keeping the characters moving forward. He's also very good at using current events/trends as elements in the story. In this one we have crypto mining and CCP influencing US politics. All quite believable.
Joe is tracking a wounded elk during a big snowstorm. He has permission to track on the private property. He does find the elk but also finds the body of a man that was killed by the exhaust fan of a structure full of computers.....in the middle of a vast cattle ranch. The victim is a university professor. As Joe is trying to learn more the body disappears and everyone, including the governor, tells him to stop investigating.
It's fast paced, plausible and a fun read.
By James Hayman, Read By Stephen Mendel
This is #3 of 5 in the McCabe and Savage series. This story centers around the theft and distribution of Canadian OxyContin. A young woman is found mutilated and a local doctor is lying in the road nearby, a victim of a hit and run.
Maggie Savage returned to the small seaport town to help with the investigation because the doctor is her best friend. Her partner, Michael McCabe, joins her after a few days.
As the investigation develops and other bodies are discovered, it seems that the man they are looking for might not exist. Only the sister of the murdered girl may have a clue, but she is missing.
The ending wasn't a huge surprise but it was sure fun getting there. The story is fast paced with plenty of twists and turns. This is an older series (this book is set in 2009) but if they didn't mention the date in each chapter heading, you would never know.
By Mary Roach
Once the days start to heat up in the Spring I try to get a little sun each day to prepare for our family beach trip at the end of May. I want to spend lots of time in the sun at the beach but I don't want to burn. When I sit in the sun I like to have a book to read so I don't get bored and antsy. This book served me well in my sun because each chapter takes about 15 - 20 minutes to read. One chapter for each side.
The book is a collection of essays about the conflicts between humans and nature and each essay is a completely unique topic and each is in her light-hearted but serious writing style. In each chapter she introduces specialists in some very unique areas of science: cougar trackers, danger tree blasters, macaque managers and lots of others. The footnotes are gems on their own.
It's an interesting and fun book and I learned a few things. I'd be inclined to suggest this for young people interested in animal welfare but a lot of her humor references things that anyone under 50 probably wouldn't know. Who actually remember Charles Nelson Riley?
The River Between Us
By Liz Fenwick, Read By Lucy Scott
You know how there's a "Cozy" Mystery category? Well, if there was a Cozy Historical Fiction category, this book would be in it. It's kind of like Kate Morton, but Kate Morton is a better writer.
Theo's (Theodoro) marriage has just ended and she escapes to the River Tamar near Cornwall. It's totally run down and she's looking forward to making it liveable again. On her first day, she finds a stash of letters from WWI (that no one else has ever found before). These letters were written from a servant of the nearby manor house to a young woman who lived in the manor.
Meanwhile Theo's own family history has some secrets that are coming to light since her Grandmother died. There's lots of DNA testing going on in Theo's era that tells some of the story of 100 years prior.
It's a fine book of escapist reading. EVERYTHING ties together and everyone is happy in the end. It's a little too gift-wrapped for me but I think a lot of people would really enjoy this book.
Who Is Maud Dixon?
By Alexandra Andrews, Read By Theresa Plummer
Florence Darrow dreams of being a writer and starts her adult life as an editorial assistant in NYC. She's frankly, not very self-aware or likable. After a stupid affair with her boss, she's given a chance to start over as an assistant to the reclusive writer Maud Dixon. They head to Marrakesh on a research trip and Florence has a terrible car accident. She awakens in the hospital with Maud missing. Can she become the writer?
I picked this up because I read Carole's book review post last week. Most of the books she recommended are new and not yet in audio format. But this one was and I decided to give it a try. To be honest, if not for her recommendation I would have stopped listening after 2 hours. It's a slow start but it does pick up speed and has a lot of twists. It's a very interesting plot and this book is more psychological thriller than standard mystery/thriller. If you like books like Gone Girl, you will like this one.
In the end I did enjoy it. I thought the plot was clever but, boy, did I hate both characters.
The Book Woman's Daughter
By Kim Michele Richardson, Read By Katie Schorr
I was so excited to see that there was a sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and I was not disappointed. Both books are historical fiction about the real-life Fugate family of Kentucky and about the packhorse library of rural Kentucky.
Honey Lovett is the 17 year old daughter of the famous blue packhorse librarian. When her parents are arrested for breaking anti-miscegenation laws (blue people were considered a different race and not allowed to marry whites or other races), Honey is left alone. Worse, the county social worker is determined to put her in a children's prison workhouse where she would have to stay until 21. She's determined to prove that she can take care of herself.
The narrator is perfect for the story and I couldn't put this book down and it was a great way to end the month.
I really love this quilt and I'm happy to know that it's going to one of our veterans. This quilt is all scrappy. The gray fabrics are leftover from previous veterans quilt backs and the colors are all from my hand dyed scrap bin. I tend to periodically cut my scrap bin contents with my Accuquilt Go. I already had a big stack of 4" HST pieces when I got the idea for this quilt.
This quilt wasn't my idea and, unfortunately, I don't remember where I got the idea. But it's a simple quilt. This is the block.
The secret to this quilt is that it's all the same block but alternating blocks are turned upside down.
I worked up the EQ file in 2 different shades of gray so you can see the block layout.
Cool, isn't it?
I may need to make another of these.
I actually finished these placemats last month but I was waiting to share them until I got the napkins dyed. The napkins turned out a little brighter than I wanted but they will work just fine. I don't get too fussed striving for perfection in placemats! These are for just the fun of it but I have some many for myself that it's time to give some away.
These were made with the leftover blocks and fabric from the veterans quilt that I quilted this weekend and will share in tomorrow's post. I had exactly enough HST blocks left over to make 4 placemats.
I wanted the napkins to be a tad bit grayer (less turquoise, more orange) but they are still cute. I had some foam shapes and used the triangle one to stamp some Jacquard Color Magnet on the before dyeing. The stamped areas pick up a lot of excess dye.
I decided to have some fun quilting them with a different filler pattern in each one.
This is another set of 4 placemats that I will take on the family beach trip for my family members to choose from.
Tomorrow I'll have the binding finished on the veterans quilt made from these blocks.
Last week I promised you a new Stash Pack but I still wasn't happy with all 10 fabrics and will give it another shot this week. But I don't just dye one thing most week. I like to get ahead when I can and this week the plan was to get ahead on some new Reflections fabrics. I actually need to dye more of them but I can only do 4 fabrics at a time with my set-up.
This week I focused on blues because they are , by far, the most popular of all of the Reflections fabrics. I promise that the next batch will have more colors for those of you looking beyond blue.
In this batch I have a pale gray-blue (Gagan), light sky blue (Celini) and 2 darker bright blues. The one in the upper left, Sadira, is darker than the one in the lower right, Binda.
There are several other Reflections available in browns, greens, golds and purples. You can see them all in the shop.
Fabric of the Week
The fabric of the week this week is the Pebbles Stash Pack. In hindsight, I should have called this one ground cover. When I look at the fabrics from a landscape quilt POV, I see sand, tree shadows, moss, rocks, water ripples and all sorts of other landscape elements. This stash pack is 20% off through Sunday!
I did all kinds of things this weekend but it started by quilting my last 2 veterans quilts! This one is the same pattern of the green cougar one in Friday's post. Like I said then, I think Gwendolyn made both of these quilts....but I might be wrong.
This is quilt #13 of this month! I know this one was made with the Accuquilt Go 6" HST. I think that Sharon made this one.
I delivered two of the finished quilts to Becky and Nancy on Friday. Nancy had another top ready but I asked her to keep it until the May meeting because I needed the break from veterans quilts for a couple of weeks to work on some of the other quilts I need to quilt. I know I could have just hung it in the closet but I think I needed to feel a sense of being "done", like when the laundry basket is empty.
I switched to the star and ribbon pantograph for these last 2.
These are all of the trimmins from the last few months of quilts. It's time I made more pet beds for RAL.
Next I moved on to making some birthday postcards. One of them was due April 6th. That was after my beach trip and was in the middle of the massive cold that Chris and I had. I sent my friend a birthday text and promised her a card before the end of the month. She's a fellow Hokie so this ribbon, that I bought for my Ultrasuede bear, was a good start.
This is what I came up with and I love it!
I started with 4 of them but....oops!
I ended up with 3 of them and that's enough for the people I need to send them to.
I started another set of cards but I won't be able to share them for a few weeks. The card is for Mother's Day and for my friends having birthday in the next 2 months. I'll get them finished this week.
The other thing I worked on was finding a a blue that would work with this quilt. It's a quilt that my quilt club is making for a local food bank. We give them a quilt every couple of years to raffle as a fundraiser. I want to dye a gradient back but I want it to match the front and this color will work perfectly! Believe it or not, ths one has a lot of grape/boysenberry in it. It's about 70% grape to 30% cerulean.
While I was walking to the mailbox Saturday I noticed that the first iris are blooming.
This week's inspiration comes from Patricia Caldwell. She made it submit to the contest, "No Boundaries". She used Blue Green Shades Pack, Sunshine and Shadows Gradient, Star fabric in gray and Black.
Artist statement ~ Energy Waves ~ When I think of energy I think of unseen waves going through space and time. I wanted the quilting in the quilt to show the movement of the waves going in different directions and forming different patterns. They change as they move.
The crystal beading is also energy that some believe interact with the body's energy fields, also known as vibrational energy.
Energy is neither created nor destroyed but changes from one form into another form-- therefore energy is boundless.
For sharing, Patricia received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
Let's start with the good stuff, the baby birds. Even though it's the same thing every year and all of the clutches basically look the same, I never tire of seeing this. But I couldn't stay too long because there was more quilting to do!
I got today's 2 quilts loaded and basted Wednesday and the quilted yesterday. This one was made by Sharon and might look familiar. Glenda made one like this a couple of months ago. Sharon saw it, liked it and decided to make one too. It's a simple design of 16-patch blocks but it's very striking.
I just couldn't do another set of quilts with the Square Spiral so I switched to Woven Wind for these 2. Woven wind is probably the fastest pantograph in my small collection to quilt.
I think I'm remembering correctly when I say that Gwendolyn made this quilt. It's a really nice layout and I love the green and black as a palette.
Inside the squares is this cook cheetah fabric. The color is more accurate in the full quilt photo. This one is showing a little too yellow.
The last 2 quilts are loaded and the first one is quilted! I got it done last night. I'll finish the last one for the month this morning while the chimney sweep is here. I think I'll take a couple of days break from quilting and do some sewing instead. I need to make some postcards, bind my one veterans quilt and work on the hiking backpack. After I finish those projects I'll get back to quilting because there's a baby quilt, the firefighter quilt and 3 queen size quilts waiting to be quilted. Lots to do!
This weekend is going to be about my sewing room projects though and I'll get back to the longarm next week.
I hope you have a great weekend.
I didn't get any quilting done yesterday because it was dyeing day and we had company last night so I thought I'd take a moment to check in on the 3 crochet projects.
This is the 7th of the big blankets that I've been making and I'm near the end of the 2nd (of 7) skeins. At this point, this is a lovely mindless project to work on.
My little gray/purple top is moving along a lot faster than I anticipated. The blue stitch marker is where I started in the last session and I got about 4" stitched in one evening. That's much more progress than I anticipated. The brown stitch markers on the right edge mark every 10 rows so that I can make sure that I make the front and back identical.
It appears that I might run out of yarn on this one. This yarn is still available but it does have dye lots and I bought mine over a year ago. I'll contact some of the vendors to see if I can get a matching dye lot. If not, I'm thinking that I might get a different, but complementary, color to do the mesh stitch yoke. I'm going to keep going until it gets to the length where the mesh starts and see where I stand on yarn and then I'll make a decision.
The baby blanket has been a little more of a pain. The original plan was to use the light turquoise Caron cake for one of the colors but when I started using it I realized that, although both yarns are worsted weight, the Caron yarn is much lighter than the Hobby Lobby yarm.
I went to the yarnchives and found this Hobby Lobby yarn that's almost turquoise and thought it might work. It doesn't. It's got a little yellow in it and it looks dingy with the white and navy.
Then I remembered this medium blue yarn that I got at the recent Hobby Lobby clearance. It's a 100% recycled yarn that is pretty indistinguishable from I Love This Yarn.
I'm back in business with this project and I'm really happy to be back on my 3 project rotation schedule.
The boys left this morning for Myrtle Beach. I'm having lunch with my Mom and cousin and the drinks this evening with friends but I should be able to get in a little quilting in between.
Veterans Quiltapalooza is continuing at a good pace. In the last 2 days I finished 3 more quilts. This first one is one that I made. After I get the binding on it I'll do another post showing the simple construction method for this one. I like it a lot and expect that I'll make more in this style.
When I finished this top I had an idea that I might like to quilt it in orange thread but I had to wait around for another quilt to pair with it that could also use orange thread.
As soon as Becky showed this quilt top at the April meeting I knew that my quilt had found it's quilting mate. I could do orange thread on this one......even though Becky doesn't much like orange. But we have a rule that, for veterans quilts, only the quilter has a say in the color and pattern. The piecers are happy to accept that rule to avoid having to quilt their own quilts. Sometimes we use these quilts to practice motifs or, as I'm doing this week, we use them to use up some of our threads. I have an obscenely huge thread stash that I collected in the early years of my quilting and I should have never bought some of the colors.....like multiple spools of different oranges. I'm trying to use up some of the lesser-loved thread on the veterans quilts.
Here's how it looks up close with the orange thread. I love it.
I have actually finished off one cone of purple thread this week. I used it on 2 quilts and got it down far enough that I was able to finish off the rest by doing basting. That's 2 empty cones for the year so far and that's pretty good!
Here's quilt #9.
Occasionally have single quilts to quilt. Either I have leftover backing fabric that can be pieced for one quilt or I have a leftover chunk of batting for one quilt or I just end up with an odd number of quilts. In this case it was all 3. I had a pieced single backing, a single batt and this quilt didn't have a mate. So I did it quickly yesterday afternoon.
That takes my total to 9 and I have 4 left to do.
I got 10 and 11 loaded and basted last night before dinner. I think I'm just going to continue on with the Square Spiral pantograph. It's quick and easy and is a good neutral pattern. It really just provides a little texture with a grid-like pattern. It will work great on both of these. The last 2 quilts are patriotic so I might switch to the ribbon stars pattern. We'll see.
There won't be any quilting today. It's dyeing day and then we have 3 guest for dinner and to spend the night before they ahd Chris head to Myrtle Beach for a golf weekend.
That's right, I have the weekend to myself! I should have these last 4 quilts quilted for sure. Today I'm dyeing 2 backs for 2 of the 5 non-veterans quilts that are in the to-be-quilted closet.
Tuesday is usually shop update day and I had big plans to unveil a new Stash Pack today. But I wasn't happy with 2 of the fabrics in the pack so I'm dyeing new ones this week and will have the Stash Pack next week.
Meanwhile, let's check in on the birds.
The first baby bluebird hatched! These are Eastern Bluebirds and we can usually count on at least one clutch each year. I took this photo Sunday and won't check in on them again for a few more days.
The Carolina Wren is a cute and tiny bird with a loud voice and an even bigger nest. She just love the propane tank. We've tried to dissuade her from building here but her second favorite place is inside my car bumper. She can build a big nest like this in my bumper in a few hours. We gave in an let her have the propane tank. It doesn't seem to do any damage. It's also right next to the wood pile where she likes to hunt for bugs.
She also had 5 eggs.
We have a Purple Finch that's nesting on the downspout under the eaves of the house, right outside our bathroom window. I can't get a photo but sometimes I sit in the sun with the binoculars just to watch for a few minutes. So far I just see her sitting on the nest. No babies yet.
It's always fun to see what Spring will bring to entertain us.
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In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
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.