Tuesday, April 26, 2011 in family

Birthday bonanzas

We had birthdays – me, Isabella and Ron. Actually, at this point Ron and I are thinking of rolling our celebrations all into one.

My family loves me, of course, and it’s not about the cool things they get me – a new blade for my rotary cutter from Emma who’s been helping me and paid attention to my mutterings, some extra trashy romance novels from Meaghan so we can talk about how terrible they are – it’s more about how they are paying attention to the little things. Meahgan also made me a cake, and I did not have to think about lunch or supper. Heaven.

oh my nom

Ron handed me a fist full of cash to spend at the quilt store, my father sent me a cheque, my aunt phone in a gift certificate, and my mom sent me a cheque as well.

The Christmas Crab Quiltery was also very happy it was my birthday. Because I DID spend it all in one place. 😀 Does my family know me or what?

temptation

And! the Cutest Granddaughter Ever turned one whole year old. We got to see her on the weekend after her birthday, tho I sent an ecard on the day and saw some videos of her. I’m getting her used to me by feeding her, which has worked so far for everyone else. I would hold a bite of cake out to her on my fork, and she would daintily pick it off the fork instead of putting it in her mouth.

Then she wiped her icing hands on my pants.

It was also heaven. I never wanted to wash my pants again. (tho I did. eventually.)

Ron had a quiet birthday, as our trip to town to see Izzy, and go to Sarah’s fashion show was part of his birthday. He got to skip the noise of the show and spend some time alone. Then he did get to see Sarah at the end.

Sarah, modeling

I also made him Good Food.

My BFF Rebecca also met me up at the Castle Inn in Plaster Rock, where we had tea & cheesecake in the solarium. It sounds way fancier than it is. We had a great time, cuz that is what we do.

me & reb at the Castle Inn

Mom and Carl and San also wound their way up to our house for part of Easter weekend, where I fed them of course. I think we are seeing a theme here of love = food. Also, we took mom to the quilt shop. Of course we did.

We also found a desk and chair for Meaghan’s new room , which is almost ready for her to move in to.

meaghan's new room

Monday, April 11, 2011 in crafty things

Runners

I’ve been either cutting up my fabric into smaller bits, or making table runners. I’m trying to use up my stash here, then I can build my own stash. 😀 Also: lots of gifting happening. Well, when I finish them…

Anyway! Runners are fast, usually quite easy, and let you try a few different blocks or techniques without committing to a bed sized quilt.

table runner!

Though I will note if one is tired, or has a case of the megrims, one usually makes mistakes.

But even simple designs, like the following are not without their challenges in such cases.

starry table runner

I ripped out and redid far too much on this for how simple it is. then when it was pieced & shown off, decided to back it and quilt it. Less than an hour later:

finished starry runner

This one I liked working up more than the top one, and I have recipient in mind. I used cotton batting, which is nice and flat, and it folds well. My seams are almost all matched perfectly and the whole things lays flat, which is an accomplishment. There’s more of all these fabrics, as I went through my stash of these prints (again) and cut out charm packs. I’d previously cut out layer cakes from the same prints, and still have some fat quarters left, as I’d started with half yard cuts of many of them.

I also made myself a new wallet, but will now have to make myself a new purse to match it.

new wallet

There was a part on the brown insert that needed binding, so I machine-stitched it all down and didn’t like how it looked. Of course I ripped it off and redid it “properly”. Sometimes you really need to do things by hand, especially when it’s smaller. I just knew the other way would bug me too much, and the way I re-did the binding wound up thinner and neater looking. Even though this wallet was not a fast project, and picking the fabric took almost as long as sewing it, I would probably make this again. I’m picky about my wallets, which should double as a small purse – and this held all my stuff with room left over. Pattern is A Safe Place. Hmm, if I could do a slight modification to have a closing flap instead of the red wraparound, and an optional long shoulder strap, it’d be perfect.

Round two, I guess.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 in books

Treachery in Death

I’ve long been a J D Robb fan and enjoyed a lot fo Nora Roberts books, so when Penguin Canada wanted to send me a copy of Treachery In Death I signed right up!

If you have never read this series, it is a murder / crime / mystery set in the future where Eve, the main character is a detective. Her eventual husband Roarke is a millionaire and sometimes operates on the grey side of the law. Even has her own history to work through, being the victim of a crime at a young age.

Some of the books in the series are just page after page of slogging through to the end. Whodunnit? Super cool future stuff. Roake. Eve. Long looks, hinting and stuff behind closed doors. Violence. More violence. This particular installment involved Peabody, a detective under Eve’s command, overhearing some corrupt cops. So, early on we know who did it, but we don’t know why or how they can bring them all down without winding up dead. Like that other guy. Oh, and that one. And oops – that guy right there. These novels are usually on the dark side a bit, but I foudn this one in particular to finally offer me some character growth. Not only did they solve the crime, but we had some real progression of threads going throughout the series. We even find out a bit more about the disapproving butler. The zippy dialogue also pleases me. It does usually tho.

I give this 4 stars and a thumbs up. I might even keep it. I usually do not keep fiction because I rarely re-read books unless they are really good. This might be one of my exceptions and I may finally start hunting down more of the series at book sales and read them over from the beginning.

4.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 3, 2011 in books

Mists of Velvet

Pengiun Canada sent me a copy of Mists Of Velvet
for review.

Now, I am a fan of the romance novel. I am also a fan of the hawt ones. (Sorry kids, look away!). This novel was supernatural / fantasy and also labeled “erotic”.

Hardcore is more like it, Holy Moses. Usually the romance genre, even in the super-hawt lines, still sticks to certain editorial guidelines during sex scenes.Maybe because this is outside the usual publisher’s lines I read, but I found the sex scenes, while definitely part of the storyline, unnecessarily explicit. If I wanted to read a Penthouse Letter, I’d do that. These were about the same.

Otherwise, getting over the giggles, the storyline was actually not that bad. Not near as completely unbelievable as some of the romance / fantasy blends I have read, but well enough that if the romance storyline was tamed down and the sex scenes eliminated you’d still have a story. And one in which I’d want to find out what happens next. Good thing this is part of a series.

The author did do a good job at bringing the reader up to speed with what happened in previous books without going into too much detail for filler, and leaving just enough out to make me want to read the rest of the series.

There’s an Otherworld (of course there is) where goddesses live and control the live of men. Mere mortals that they are. Of course one of them (Rhys) is destined to be with a partner with Annwyn, who is a seer for the Queen. Rhys also has a Shadow Wraith (Kier) whom he has an “interesting” symbiotic relationship with. Underneath it all, the real reason for everyon to come together is to defeat evil forces. But you knew that, right? It always is for that reason.

Regardless, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 in books

A Bone To Pick – Charlaine Harris

Penguin Canada sent me some books to review and one of them was A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden, Book 2).

While I am a fan of Charliane Harris, I haven’t read many of her other books. This is your typical girl-falls-into-mystery type of books where these things just seem to happen. Obviously, since this is part of a series, there was a lot of explaining of events that had gone on in the first book so I did feel like I was caught up and not lost on previous events.

It was a little slow though, and at one point I set it down for a week and didn’t pick it up again. Usually I plow through a book to get to the end if I really enjoy it. this was also the kind of mystery book where you didn’t have to think to much to figure things out or pay attention to lots of details.

Basically, the main character has a friend who dies and leaves her the house and some money. But in the house Aurora finds a human skull and a note. She has to figure out whodunnit without winding up in jail herself, and while juggling a new boyfriend, her mom, her ex across the street with his new (and very pregnant) wife and her job.

As with other books from Chairlaine, I found there was a lot of the main character being in a situation and brushing it off with a big, “Oh well! Events will reveal themselves!” That’s the only down side I ever see in her books. Things just seem to happen, and while they are explained, the main character often seem secondary to the action. She’s just there. It seems like it was written as a break between other books. Light, fluffy, not too much to think about.

oh well.

3 out of 5. I’d pick up another one at the library or at a book sale for a dollar, but I wouldn’t buy them new.

Edit: I did some homework (not hard) and found out Ms Harris wrote these before the Sookie Stackhouse books, and they are re-releases to capitalize on this. I do think she has grown as a writer, thankfully. I still think they could be better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 in crafty things

Quilts on the go

I cut out a whole pile of new quilts recently, so I’d better list the ones in progress.

Jitterbug – 30’s prints from jelly roll book. Currently away as I’m taking a break
Christmas Cross – Ron & I picked it out. Blocks almost done.
Green/pink/brown/blue – jelly roll I finally figured out what to do with. kinda Trip Around the world. Maybe 1/4 done, if that. Lots of tiny squares.
Blue & Yellow bento box – all blocks done. need to lay out & put together.
yellow/pink/orange – yes, this one is really bright. crazy eights pattern, which works up really fast.
green/brown/red – Picture this, large blocks and I cut out enough for a queen sized bed because I am insane and it used up a lot of fabric. still have a lot left tho.

edit: forgot the red/black/brown one – this was a brick pattern, but I pieced the big rectangles in a long strip to cut it up smaller, and like the big pieces too much. the fabric is pretty, so it will be 3 or 4 rows of HUGE rectangles instead of 24 rows of tiny ones.

This doesn’t count all the finished tops waiting for quilting. I need batting.