September wasn't a great reading month for me. I only finished 7 books and, as you will see, I'm using the term "finished" very loosely. Football started this month so some of my reading time has been taken by the television. We also have friends visiting and it's a bit rude to plug in an audiobook while everyone else chats.
Of the 7 books I read I didn't finish 3 of them! This is why the Audible Deal of the Day is sometimes a crap shoot. Marine One was my favorite of the group this month with The Easape coming in at a close second.
by David Baldacci
This is the 3rd in Baldacci’s John Puller series. In this one we get to spend time with his brother and learn all about how he was framed for espionage. The book opens with his escape from military prison. It’s another reliable Baldacci thriller with our action hero, John Puller and a trove of cliché military officers: men and women. I enjoy this genre and enjoyed this book. It was a little annoying that Baldacci insists on military form to call them by their last names. It’s gets confusing at times with 2 “Pullers”. But, hey there might be times when you would want 2 pullers.
Another note about this book is that it is “enhanced” with periodic music and sound effects. It drives me batty. What I love about books is that I get to define the characters and the scenes in my own imagination. When the music, gunshots or screeching tires are added it’s very jarring and distracting to me. Hachette does this routinely with their books. Every time I read one I send them an email and they used to reply that most of their customers like it. They don’t bother acknowledging me anymore. So, I’m curious. If you listen to audiobooks do you like the new trend of adding sound effects and music? (My ego is prepared to be on the wrong side of this vote.)
When Gods Die
by CS Harris
This is the second in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. These books are set in Regency England and the Price Regent is suspected of murder when the unfortunate Marchioness is found in his room. I like this one better than the first so will keep reading the series. I can’t, however, figure out what her book titles have to do with the books except there’s a point in the book where someone is asked if they believe in God. I guess she just likes very clever titles and I’m good with that.
I just discovered that she (Candace Proctor is her real name) has another series under the author CS Graham that is go-written with her husband. I’ll try one of those out soon.
No special sound effects in these books and the narrator, Davena Porter, is one of my all-time favorites.
Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
by Professor Dorsey Armstrong
I love The Great Courses books and have learned a lot from them. I've also listened to a previous course by Professor Armstrong on King Arthur and it was one of my favorite of the series. But I can't recommend this one. She is trying to cover too much ground in one course. She addresses poetry, essays, rhetoric, drama, autobiography and I don't know what else because she lost me. It's really just an overview of successful writing concepts. I gave up half way through because it became a chore to listen to it.
By Laurie R King
What did I do to deserve 2 really bad books in a row?
This is another book in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series that I've been enjoying. I picked it specifically to follow the Analysis book so I'd have something fun to read. Holy cow. It's been a long time since I've been so bored by a book. I gave up at Chapter 11 (of 29) because we are still wandering the desert trying to figure out what's going on. I decided that I didn't care enough about what was going on so I left them in the desert to find their own way out.
by Anne Perry
This is the 3rd in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. This time Thomas is investigating the rape and murder of a young woman in the neighborhood where Charlotte's sister lived. I generally enjoy Anne Perry's books but this one was a bit of a let down. It couldn't have been more obvious from the beginning who did it. The writing just seemed a little lazy to me.
The books in the series are mostly under my 10 hour minimum so I probably won't read any others.
by James W. Huston
It's a dark and stormy night and the President needs to go to Camp David. Marine One is to take him. The helicopter crashes on the way there killing everyone inside, including the President. Now it's time to search for blame. The first target is the French manufacturer. They hire former helicopter pilot and attorney, Mike Nolan to help with their defense.
This book moves at a fast pace and there's a lot going on. It focuses mostly on the courtroom drama and proceedings leading up to the trial. It's very fast paced and a fun read.
by Mika Waltari
This is a historical fiction book that is meant to give us a walk through history via the travels of one character. I don't know if it was the narrator or the writing or both, but this book was horrible. The main character is supposedly a brilliant physician but is otherwise a bumbling idiot who just barely gets out of scrapes. it reminds me of a Christopher Moore book so much (the narration contributes to that feeling) that I kept expecting a laugh line. I gave up a little more than half way through.
The Potholder Factory
Did anyone wonder where I was yesterday? I did mention a couple of days ago that my posting might not be regular while my friends were here but I didn't miss yesterday because we were having fun.
The evening before just as I was getting ready to leave to teach a class I decided to unload the dishwasher. On one of the bends my back decided to spasm. Don't you hat it when that happens?
I'm fine and mostly just sore today but I was really uncomfortable driving and teaching Tuesday night and spent yesterday just resting.
But Laura wasn't bothered by my lack of activity. She set herself up a little potholder factory in my sewing room.
A few years ago I made potholders for everyone for Christmas. I think I made over 20 sets of potholders. People loved them and I wrote a tutorial so I'd remember how I made them. Laura got some of them and wanted to make some to take home for Christmas presents. She had free and unlimited access to my stash and I had a couple of yards of Insul-Brite so she got to work. Here are 2 of her first 3 sets.
She even made a set for me. The ones that I made a few years ago are getting pretty ratty. I probably need to set up my own factory and make new ones for my family and friends.
While she was sewing and I was resting, the landscape guys are working as hard as they can between rainstorms. We have had so much rain lately that they are far behind. I'm not bothered by it. They are doing great work and are the nicest group of guys you could have working on your property.
One sidewalk is finished except for sanding. They have to wait for the weather to be dry to do that. We've had some serious rain since they put in the drains and it's really exciting to see them work.
But I love the new sidewalk. It's a huge improvement.
Don't ask me why this house has brick gutters in front. The guy who built this house was a history professor and, we think, he was trying to build himself a plantation. It all fell short of the mark because plantations cost a lot of money! Anyway, we have brick gutters so we had drains put at the end of them and now they are actually working like they are supposed to.
They should get this one laid out today before the rain starts again. The guy by the far door is the lead guy and his level of meticulousness makes me look like a slacker. We are lucky to have him and his crew. I can't wait to see it all finished.
Experiments in ice dyeing
Laura and I are continuing to have a little fun around here. Today is my last day with her for the next 10 days so we are going to do a little shopping and such around town today. Then I'll try to catch up on "work" before she comes back and we leave on a little trip week after next.
Today's post shares some dyeing from last week. I ice dyed last week and have a lot of fabrics to iron, photograph and list but I also experimented with a few other things.
I continued to chip away at my family Hatteras beach towels for next summer. I've never ice dyed one but I'm really pleased with it and will do more. What I have discovered is that turquoise is a total waste of dye for ice dyeing. It really needs heat to set so I won't use it in my ice dyeing again.
I am absolutely doing more ice dyed clothing. I expect that Laura and I will do a bunch when she gets back from her Nashville trip. The one on the right is mine. The other is for the husband of a friend.
These are tea towels from Dharma Trading. They are a little pale because of where they were located in their bins. I love the effect and I think these might be my Christmas gifts for this year.
Today we are off for a little shopping at Costco and the craft store. I have finally started to think about my Christmas postcards designs for this year and need a few supplies. I need to get started on them soon.
I didn't do nearly as much stitching as I planned but I finished the second border.
I only had this one pink flower to finish and as much as I hate pink, I do think this is a particularly pretty blossom.
This is as far as I got on the new border.
Laura hates football so while we were watching with Ian she was making potholders. Today we are dyeing a quilt back for her and going to check out the Country School Quilters exhibit before it comes down Wednesday.
and more veterans quilts....
Two more veterans quilts are done! Estelle made this one. I always love her autumnal color palettes.
It took 3 passes to do each row of blocks but they were very fast with a wavy line. Can you figure out the travel path?
Maybe a look at the back will help to figure it out. Seriously, I quilted this in about an hour and a half.
This one was pieced by Miriam from blocks submitted by other members. I used the border as inspiration for the quilting.
Straight lines with circles worked out really well.
Looks good from the back too.
Our friends from the UK are here for about 8 weeks so my posting might be intermittent for October.
I'm a little distracted and this is why. Our house is over 25 years old and over that time the house has settled along with the sidewalks. It was time to do some drainage work, get new sidewalks and regrade the driveway. We are adding drainage basins in the driveway and at the end of the brick gutters so hopefully this will eliminate some of the pools of water that collect during rainstorms. The old sidewalk was about 5" thick so it took 2 days to remove. Now we wait a few days for the ground to dry out some and they can start the sidewalks.
It's really messy so I just keep repeating "It will be worth it in the end"...almost like a prayer.
When I'm distracted like this I find that I need "easy" things to do and that's why I'm working on veterans quilts again.
This scrappy 4-patch was made by Cathy and she's been waiting on it for a while. I did some quick all-over swirls on this one.
With the block design in this quilt I decided I wanted something a little more custom to highlight the block pattern. I don't know who pieced this one.
For quilts like this I generally do some sort of continuous curves design. Once you have a travel pattern you can add any kind of swirls, spikes or feathers to the curve. I quilted the block in 2 passes (top of the block left to right and the bottom right to left). Each pass included one edge of the blue section.
I think it made a nice pattern on the back.
I have a couple of more quilted and will get them trimmed and photographed today. Then I have lots of fabric to wash out.
New in the shop!
Well the fun and games continue around here. Yesterday just after the guys got the old sidewalk we had a downpour that created a pond right up next to the foundation and steps. The guys worked frantically to dig a trench for most of it to drain while I scooped about 20 gallons of water from the new pond. I just knew that it was going to get in the basement but, fortunately, it didn't.
So what didn't happen yesterday is dyeing. After all the drama subsided I was too tired to dye.
Instead I decided to fold some mandalas for some ice dyeing and I ended the evening with some zen quilting on veterans quilts. I'll share those later because today I'm finally getting last week's dyes posted. Here's what's new in the shop this week:
I think of Sundance as my signature gradient (see the blog header on the home page). First Draft Pub in Denver, CO selected Sundance to hang in the atrium of their bar.
Blue Sky is the most popular gradient of all time and it's back in stock! One of my favorite art quilts made by Patricia Caldwell is this one she made with Blue Sky. No surprise that this one sold soon after it was made.
Other new/restocked fabrics are:
This is not my week for technology
You know we all have those weeks where everything in some aspect of our lives goes wrong. This is my week of technology challenges. We are having tons of rain and, being on satellite, we've had more than our share of internet outages. Add to that some issues with Weebly and the fact that it takes them 24 hours to respond to an escalated issue and you can probably feel my frustration.
Last night I had a "therapy" session with a friend over a glass of Macallan and got things back in perspective.
Today the landscaping people arrived and are getting some drainage issues resolved that will allow me to mosaic the front wall of the basement. So that's a happy event.
We aren't doing this so that I can mosaic the wall. We seriously needed to do it anyway and seriously needed to replace the 25 year old cracked concrete sidewalks. So new grading and gravel and things should be pretty for another decade or so around here.
In other good news it was a spectacular football weekend for me this weekend with the 49 - 0 blowout of Boston College and the Eagles win over the Bears. Both team are too new to expect that to be a weekly trend but it made for a very happy weekend and lots of good stitching hours.
I'm one flower and one football game away from finishing the second border. I'll do the corners after I get all 4 of the borders sewn onto the center of the quilt.
My stitching isn't perfect.
But stand back a little and it looks just fine.
Thursday night should take care of this one.
Customer Work - Holly Gangelhoff
I didn't think I was going to have anything to share today but a customer came to the rescue! Holly Gangelhoff is taking an online class with Melody Johnson (of the Chicago School of Fusing fame). I can't find links to the class but if someone is participating please add info in the comments.
Holly purchased a Color Wheel Medium Stash Pack and added some of her own fabrics to this fun piece. I've followed Melody in the past and I think she's really a master of composition and is sharing her skills in the class.
A little quilting
After a long day of dyeing fabric I still eeked out a few minutes after dinner and before football to finish quilting the swirls quilt.
I rolled the swirl quilt forward and have this one ready to baste and quilt. I probably won't get to it today. I'm meeting my cousin for lunch and friends for drinks so I pulled together my long errands list and will spend the afternoon stopping in just about every store on the West End. Tomorrow I'm teaching at Visual Arts in Richmond so you probably won't hear from me again until Monday for my next applique update.
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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.