October was another very good reading month. I finished 8 books and I liked each of them. I was most happy to have received the newest Mitch Rapp book form the library. It had been on hold for weeks. There was only one book that I couldn't finish.
My listening time for September was 95 hours and 42 minutes. Year to date that's 1141 hours and 32 minutes. That's 47+ days so far.
What great books did you read this month?
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb. Flat, cliched characters and a slow narration. Main character is surprisingly naive and trusting after having been raised by a greedy, uncaring mother. Every white person is racist, everyone else is greedy and there's no real mystery about who stole the violin. The author's own biography would have been a much more interesting read.
The Midcoast (587)
By Adam White, Read By George Newbern
Ed and Andrew grew up together in a small Maine coastal town. Andrew was the "rich" kid and Ed was destined to be a lobsterman. Years later Andrew and his family move back to town where Andrew gets a job as a high school teacher. He's surprised to find that Ed and his college dropout wife are now the town's major benefactors.
When a line of police cars show up at Ed and Steph's house in the middle of a reception for the Amherst women's lacrosse team, Andres starts to wonder how it all came to be.
The book about Andrew exploring his and Ed's lives and what decisions led them to where each is on adulthood. In the end, I think it's an exploration of envy. It doesn't not get great reviews on Audible (3.9) and had I read the reviews first I would have never tried the book. I'm glad I didn't because I enjoyed it. The character development is good but I think that most people did not like the slower pace of the book.
The Lost Daughter (865)
By Gill Paul, Read By Helen Duff
There are tons of books about the murder of the Romanov family and many that imagine that Anastasia miraculously survived. There have even been women who purported to be Anastasia.
This book imagines that Grand Duchess Maria (the middle sister) survived. Who would have saved her and what might her life been like? Maria's story is intertwined with that of Val Doyle. Val lives in Australia. She had a rough upbringing with her unloving father and is now in a miserable marriage. When her father is dying he confesses "I didn't want to kill her". She starts to research the confession and some of the items that he left behind.
It was an interesting read. The parts leading up to the assassinations are quite accurate to their real life. Of course, the rest is the fiction. It did start off a little slow but I liked the character development and the story.
I read another of Paul's books in August, The Collector's Daughter, and I enjoyed it too.
The Hope Family Calendar (601)
By Mike Gayle, Read By David Morley Hale
This is my third book by Mike Gayle and I've loved all of them. He is a master of drawing you into a book and getting you attached to the characters.
In this story we are introduced to Tom Hope. He's a successful TV producer and has a perfect life with his wife and 2 daughters. Everything falls apart when his wife dies in a car accident. His mother-in-law, Linda, moves in to help care for the family and that's just the right amount of support to allow him to avoid dealing with his grief. Eventually Linda realizes that she must leave for Tom to straighten out his own life and re-engage with his daughters. Linda doesn't know it but she needs the time away as well.
Gayle's character development is about as good any writer out there. You really know these people and care about them. This is a wonderful story about dealing with grief. It wasn't sad. It was, as the title implies, hopeful.
Oath of Loyalty (563)
By Kyle Mills, Read By George Guidall
This is #21 in the Mitch Rapp series. This series was started by Vince Flynn but when he died the estate selected (wisely) to have Kyle Mills continue writing the series.
This book picks up exactly where Enemy At The Gates left off. The last scene of EATG is the exact first scene of OOL except that each is told from a different perspective. OOL begins with the scene from Rapp's point of view.
After that event President Cook is convinced that Rapp is a danger to him. He forces Irene Kennedy, Rapp's ally, out of her position as head of the CIA and she negotiates a truce of sorts with Rapp and Cook. Except that Cook doesn't hold up his end of the deal. From there it's a super fast paced race to try to avoid disaster.
A fun read from Kyle Mills, as always.
On a Night of a Thousand Stars (700)
By Andrea Yaryura Clark, Read By Pam Christensen
This is a reasonably common theme of two time periods coming together where revelations are revealed. The unique and interesting twist to this one is that it's set in Argentina.
In the 1970, a group of young people are caught in the middle of Argentina's Dirty War. Thousands of political dissidents "disappeared" during this time. Santiago Larrea and his wife, Lila were able to escape.
In 1998, Santiago is being appointed as UN ambassador for Argentina and the ceremonies around the appointment bring old friends around to celebrate with the Larrea's. But it also means that their daughter, Paloma, who was born during the war, hears some comments that send her on a mission to discover what actually happened during that time.
I didn't get lost in the book but it was an interesting story, I liked the characters and it educated me a very little bit on some unknown history. It's not going to win awards for exceptional writing but it's a worthy read.
The Night She Disappeared (716)
By Lisa Jewell, Read by Joanne Froggatt
Lisa Jewell has a unique story style with well developed characters and parallel timelines. As the mystery is being solved in preset time the crime unfolds in the past time.
In this novel a young woman and her partner disappear after attending a party at a large mansion. The left behind their 1 year old son, Noah. There's not a trace of them and the party-goers "saw nothing".
A year later a novelist and her boyfriend move into a cottage on the edge of the mansion property. When out for a walk she sees a sign that says "dig here". She does and finds an engagement ring that belonged to the couple.
Joanne Froggatt (Anna from Downton Abbey) did a great job narrating this one.
Carrying Albert Home
By Homer Hickam, Read by Adam Verner (639)
This was a fun, folksy romp through the South during the Depression. I think that the carrying Albert home part was true but the adventures, not so much. But who cares, Albert had a great time in this version of the story.
It's based loosely on his parents, Elsie and Homer Hickam. They were married during the Depression and lived in Coalwood , WV. As a wedding gift, Elsie received a baby alligator from Buddy Ebsen (the actor she knew in college in Florida). Unlike most people receiving such pets, she kept Albert and raised him until the day Homer decided that it was either him or Albert. What followed is the most adventurous drive to Florida ever taken.
The book is very folksy but also very funny and heart-warming. I feel like the portrayal of his parents is pretty on point and that there was a trip to take Albert to Friday. The rest is just a fun trip to meet some interesting and famous people and go on some exciting adventures.
By Attica Locke, Read By JD Jackson
Books like this is the reason that I love the Chirp daily deals so much. Chrirp sends an email every day with about 10 book offered for $6 or less. Many are older but are still really good books. Pleasantville was on that list one day.
Pleasantville is a neighborhood on the north side of Houston and is recognized as one for upwardly mobile black citizens. The story open on electing night in 1996 and a canvasser goes missing and is later found dead.
Jay Porter is a struggling environmental lawyer who won a major case against Cole Oil about a decade earlier. Jay is brought into the case to represent the man accused of abducting her.
This is a book about corruption at every level of politics and governance. I thought I'd not like it given the current politicization of everything but this was different. It's the way books used to be written and is probably more accurate. Everyone is corrupt, regardless of party affiliation. I really enjoyed it.
Customer Gems - Linda Webster
This week's inspiration comes to us from Linda Webster. She used the Pueblo Gradient and the Cranberry Shades Pack along with other hand dyed and batik fabrics. Her techniques included raw edge applique and machine quilting.
For sharing, Linda 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.
Moss stitch baby blanket
Yesterday was my monthly meeting with the knit and crochet group at the Ashland library. I only take my donation projects to work on there and I was able to finish this baby blanket. I suppose they could decided to use it for a wheelchair blanket and I trust the ladies at the charity to find the best home for it.
Here are the details:
Pattern is Alpenhaus Easy Crochet Throw
Yarn is Lion Brand Mandala Ombre in the color Happy, 3 cakes
Chained 180 stitches with a J hook, worked pattern with I hook.
Finished size approximately 27" x 36"
I could have made it a bit bigger because I have one more cake but I'm using it to make a hat and scarf set, also for donation.
This yarn is so soft and squishy. I wish Lion Brand would come out with new colors. This is the second blanket I've made with this yarn and I have another color to make a third. I really like the linen stitch (combination of single crochet and chain 1) and it works really well with the self-striping yarns. This pattern is a keeper too!
So, there's one more finish for the month of October. It might actually be the only finish for the month!
Generating Christmas postcard ideas
First, thank you for all of your lovely comments on my Red Sunset quilt that I posted yesterday. I'm really excited about this quilt and I'm really looking forward to quilting it and getting it on the bed for good.
But, for now, I need to focus on the postcards and I spent yesterday figuring out ideas. I'll just insert right here that I don't think any of my ideas are original because I always start my idea search on Google. I look up Christmas cards and, especially, DIY scrapbook card ideas. I spent about 2 hours yesterday looking through Google images and sketching some of them on index cards.
Next I start looking through my supplies for materials that I might want to use. None of these particularly relate to the index cards. I usually try to do a card with symmetry fabric, so I pull some of that. I also have a holiday themed batik that I picked up in Maine, a sunprint that I made this summer with stars motifs and a stack of cards that I started and abandoned last year. One thing is crystal clear, I have enough postcard making supplies to last the rest of my life.
Then I started experimenting with different things and I think I've narrowed down the three ideas for this year.
I really want to use this sunprinted fabric so I'm going to add an appliqued star cut from a pearlized painted fabric and a bunch of crystals for a really simple starry sky.
After a year of marinating, I've decided that I actually like this card so I'm going to finish them for a second set.
I bought this batik fabric with the plan to specifically use it for postcards and I'm going to center that snowflake motif near the top of the card and add 3 candles. I'll get gold metallic paint for the painted flames.
My plan is to get the materials prepped with fusible web so I can take them to the beach and cut out all of the elements. I could actually have these together in a couple of weeks.
I love it!
The top is done and someday I'll have a new quilt for this bed.
Remember when I said to be patient about these blue spikes and whether there was enough contrast? I think they are perfect on the corners of the mattress.
I also like the way that the gold spikes frame out the edges of the bed and the blue strips fade into the matching bed frame upholstery.
For now, this one goes in the closet probably until after the first of the year. I've got to get to working on Christmas postcards now so I can be ready to make new sample quilts for Paula Nadelstern later in November. Plus my friend is coming tomorrow for 3 weeks and we go to the beach Sunday!
I'll at least have one crochet update before the weekend.
This photo is all I have to show for my weekend!
We went clay shooting Saturday and had a great time but I didn't take any photos. I haven't done any shooting for over a year so my expectations were low. There were 4 guys (all hunters) and 2 wives. Chris said I was the second best shooter of the group! I was at least the 3rd best. All those lessons I took actually stuck and that was a nice surprise. As a bonus, it was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside.
Shooting took all of Saturday but I had finished piecing my 4 Red Sunset corners on Friday and spent all day Sunday ripping out the papers. You can see that it was a huge mess but I didn't mind. This is kind of a zen activity and fine work for watching football. Sometime this week I will get the corners pressed and sewn to the quilt. I'm already starting to think about what might be my next big project. I will definitely do more Judy Niemeyer projects in the future.
This week is going to be a weird week schedule wise and my posting will be intermittent for the next few weeks. My friend, Laura, is coming in from England Thursday and we will be going to the beach on Sunday for a few days. I've moved my dyeing day to today but should be able to get Red Sunset sewn together tomorrow or Wednesday. After that's done I need to get back to the longarm and get some quits quilted. But I'm not going to stress about anything. After Thursday, and for the next 3 weeks, I'm going to do whatever Laura and I are in the mood to do.
Today, I'm off to the dye studio.
One corner done
I didn't have a ton of time to sew yesterday but I had enough time to get one corner done! I'm getting exactly the effect that I wanted between the blue spikes and the gold spike border.
My goal is to get the other 3 corners together today because I won't have any sewing time tomorrow. Chris and I are going to go clay shooting tomorrow with some friends. They want to get in some practice before their hunting trip to Nebraska. I haven't shot in over a year so I expect my participating in the event to provide the comic relief.
If I can get all of the corners pieced today then I can spend football Sunday ripping out all of the papers.
This is my only goal for the weekend....except for ironing a bunch of fabric Sunday morning.
I didn't post yesterday because, honestly, nothing much is happening around here on the creative front. This week had turned into "checkup week". I dropped 10 vials of blood Monday for my physical, got another year reprieve on a glaucoma diagnosis Tuesday at the eye doctor and we get to check in on our retirement account losses today. Actually it's all good. It's just maintenance and chore week. By the time I'm home I'm not in the mood to quilt or sew. Instead I've been baking bread and cookies. After all, since the physical is done my doctor isn't going to know that I'm eating cookies this week!
But after I get back from the chiropractor this morning I will be working on putting these sections together for an hour or so and will return to it after our retirement review appointment.
For some color, here's where I am on the baby blanket. I worked on this some last night and quite a lot this past weekend. I just started the 3rd ball of yarn. I have 4 balls but I think 3 is going to make a nice size baby blanket or wheelchair blanket. I'll let the charity decide where it's needed most.
New Stash Pack
I love making and using Stash Packs and I couldn't resist doing a new one in tropical blues and greens. It's not even full on Fall yet and I'm already ready to head off to a tropical paradise (which I can only dream of). But dreaming was enough inspiration for this new Paradise Stash Pack.
Each Stash Pack has 10 fat eighths of fabrics in a variety of color combinations and color texture. I love them for scrappy style quilts but I think most people use them for elements in art quilts. You can use them any way you want!
Each Stash Pack has 5 streaky fabrics and 5 mottled fabrics. Here are larger views of 6 of the fabrics. The fabrics you receive will not look exactly like these but they will be these colors and general textures. I dye 2 yards of each fabric in the collection and the nature of dyeing fabric like this means that there's lots of variety over that 2 yards. Each fat eighth is a gem on it's own. There are so many possibilities for fussy cutting applique or landscape elements.
Fabric of the Week
f you love the new Paradise Stash Pack and want to add another Pack that coordinates well, look no further than the Caribbean Stash Pack. Caribbean is 20% off through Sunday.
A major milestone
for my quilt!
All of the components for my quilt border are done!
This is all I have to show for my weekend because I was on a mission to get the last borde segments done.
I did get outside some to trim up all of the shrubs around the buildings but, otherwise, I jsut worked on this quilt. I'm ready to put it all together.
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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.