Thursday, December 31, 2009

Millenium Yo-Yo Quilt Finish!

I did it! I finished my Millenium Yo-Yo quilt before the end of the first decade of the 21st century and I just made it-I finished it last night! It is made with at least one yo-yo of all the fabrics that I had in my closet on Dec. 31, 1999-all the quilting fabrics, that is. Not every yo-yo is unique however, I didn't have that many fabrics!
It came out quite a bit smaller than I expected...I started with a 4" circle, making 2" yo-yos but when I sewed them together, they got a bit smaller.

Recognize any fabrics? There's everything from batiks to big florals to reproductions (that double pink is one of my favorite fabrics ever-I have about a 4" x 6" piece left :( .

This is probably how I will display it...isn't that a dreamy, romantic look with the net curtains, vintage bedspread and yo-yo quilt at the foot of the bed? Ever since I saw the movie "Twister" and the yo-yo quilt at the foot of the Aunt's bed, I've wanted one and now I have one!
Happy New Year! Drive carefully tonight! See you all in 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book Review: Exit Music by Ian Rankin

This is the last in the Inspector Rebus novels and the first that I have ever read. I know this is coming at this a bit backward but I’m not upset at all…I don’t think I really would like to read another.

I know these books are very popular…the book told me so: on the cover: Number One Bestseller and at the end of the book, well, 16 pages of Reading Group Notes including a bio of the author (he’s an OBE and his books have been translated in 30 languages), a list of discussion of points about all of the Rebus books and then a plot summary and discussion points on this specific book!.

So why am I bucking the trend…well, I’m not sure I am. Maybe if I had read the earlier books I would have enjoyed this more. It is very well written and it moves quickly (it was great reading it on the treadmill-the time just flew by). Maybe DI Rebus just needed to grow on me.

As it is, the 418 pages of complicated possibilities as to who murdered the poet and why, and other mayhem related to that murder (or not), was very interesting and then the whole was cleared up, rather prosaically too, in less than 30 pages-with nothing related to the previous complicated possibilities! (That’s a spoiler but what can I do!) That is what turned me off.

This is my twelfth and last book review for the 2009 Support Your Public Library Challenge. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm a Craft Gossip give-away winner!!

I'm so lucky! I won a give-away from Craft Gossip Needlework! This book just arrived at my house...
here's the back cover-check out that window!
and here's a close-up of the small left side square...I can't believe this is machine stitched!
Something new has been added to my mental list of 2010 projects-trying free motion machine embroidery! I'm thinking totally out of the box for me-some small embroideries to frame!

Thank you Denise from Craft Gossip Needlework and thank you Patty from Pip Stitch for letting me know about the give-away!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Book Review: The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

In this clever literary mystery, a wonderful first novel by Matthew Pearl, a Dante scholar and Harvard professor, 19th century Boston is brought to life. Soon after the end of the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translated Dante’s work into English with the help of some of his friends and fellow poets. They met regularly to discuss and review Longfellow’s translation and dubbed themselves the Dante Club. Mr. Pearl uses this as the jumping off point for his story of how someone is killing people based on the punishments from Dante’s Inferno.

Mr. Pearl has written a wonderful cast of characters, including of course, Mr. Longfellow and fellow poets, James Russell Lowell and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (the father not the Chief Justice!) taken from history but also Mr. Rey, as the first Black police officer in Boston, Mr. Bachi as an Italian immigrant and Mr. Camp as a Pinkerton detective-using them to discuss issues of race, immigration and corruption in the 19th century.

This beautifully written novel gets off to a ripping start with a scary “Caution to the Reader” preface by C. Lewis Watkins in wonderful mocumentary style!

I enjoyed this book very much and I’m looking forward to reading Mr. Pearl’s second novel, “The Poe Shadow”.

This is my 11th book review for the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vintage Thursday Thingie: Hannukah

This brass Hannukah menorah or Chanukiah was my grandparents on my Dad's side. You can see that its been well used ...its a little wonky and leans a bit to right. Not sure of the date-this is a traditional style so its hard to date. This is an illustation from a children's book of Jewish holidays that was my mother's. It was published in 1928 and she received it as a gift in 1933 (by the inscription) from her father.
The illustrations are by the Jerusalem Bezalel artist: Ze'ev Raban. It is a wonderful book!

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and New Year! (in case I don't make it back before 2010-I seem to be more hit and miss than I used to be :)

For more vintage treasures, please go to Coloradolady...she holds the key to wonderful vintage goodies!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yo-Yo quilt and Double Wedding Ring quilt updates

I've been working on the yo-yo quilt-mainly sewing "blocks" of 5 rows by 5 rows. It seems to make the whole thing seem more manageable! :) This pile contains 9 blocks. I've also been working on the DWR-I got it on the frame and I've started hand quilting! Yeah! I'm 1/4" outline quilting the ring wedges and I think it looks nice. (the top row looks like its quilted 1/2" inch because it is-I've left room for the binding :) and I'm very proud of myself that I remembered to do that!

I'm really happy with the way the design is looking too...wish it was a nicer day and I could get a better picture. I know I shouldn't complain but it has been raining for days!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

My son recommended this book and I have to say he picked a winner! If you like historical novels and books that are character driven, like I do, you will really like this book. But a word of warning, this is the first book in a series-four have been published so far-and I was so “smitten” that I j ust had to read the others. Now my public library did not have them all so I was reduced to “beg, borrow…and buy!”

This book takes place in an invented medieval world complete with Kings, Queens, knights, rival houses, heroes and villains. In Chapter 1, we meet the Stark family, northern nobles, and some of my favorite characters: the father, Eddard, mother Catlyn, boys: Robb, Jon Snow, Bran and baby Rickon and the girls, Sansa and Arya. Throughout the book, we follow their adventures and interactions with the King and House Lannister. Trust me, you will find yourself rooting for some and booing others!

The book is arranged in chapters narrating the story of each main character…I liked that a lot. While sometimes the chronology overlaps, it makes for fun reading and yes, sometimes I did peak ahead to read the continuation of that character’s story but usually I was very well behaved and was willing to drop that thread and pick up the next.

A word of praise: as complex as this story gets, there were no slip-ups- I never thought “but wait, earlier you wrote…” There was simply wonderful consistency through-out-all characters true to themselves (while growing and changing), all events remembered and built upon.

The Chicago Sun Times said it perfectly “…this novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal.”

This is my tenth book review for the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge .

(And no, I won’t be reviewing the others as they’re not library books but just know that I finished all of them in about 10 days-I couldn’t put them down).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tutorial: A quick and easy fabric grocery bag

I had this 1/2 yard piece of fabric sitting in the closet and thought this would make a great grocery bag! Here's how I did it... its really quick and easy! (click on the pictures to enlarge)

Cut 3" from the selvage edges and trim up the edges...

Fold 1/2" in on both of the long sides of the 3" cut offs...

Fold the piece in half and take it to the sewing machine. Sew 1/4" from the two- fold folded edges and then sew again right up against the fold.

Fold the raw edges of the short sides under about 3/4" and sew that down. Voila! A handle! I did it again and had 2 handles.

Refold the big piece of fabric with right sides touching and the wrong side up.

and fold down 1" from the edge (the edge I'd cut the 3" off ) on both sides...

and sew these hems down.

Put pins in the sides and sew up the side seams.

Pull on the bottom corners to make pointy triangles, measure 2" from the point and draw a line.

Sew on the drawn line.

Repeat for the other side, turn the bag right side out and press.
Find the middle of the top of the bag, put a pin in to mark the center and measure 2 1/2" from the pin and pin a handle in place.

Sew the handle on by sewing a "square" all round the bottom of the handle and then diagonally across. Done!

My new grocery bag...cute, reusable and it won't tear easily like those funny paper fabric bags...I'm going green and you can too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yo-yo quilt update and links to great vintage and antique quilts

I've been working on the yo-yo quilt and its grown! Its now twice the size it was-20 yo-yos by 20 yo-yos! For a lap quilt, I'm thinking I need about 28 yo-yos by 35 yo-yos so there's still a ways to go.
Thought I'd share some great sites for seeing antique and vintage quilts that I've found about recently.

Here's a wonderful place to see lots of Amish Quilts on line-the Indiana Museum collection. Thanks to Pepper Cory for this link that I'm just passing on!

The Quilt Index has now added a whole new section on Signature Quilts. These are sorted by period so you can just pick and choose the when of these wonderful quilts that you want to visit!
We saw some wonderful Signature Quilts two years ago when we were in Pennsylvania at the West Chester Historical Society. Signature quilts were very popular with church groups, both as fundraisers (you paid say $1 and had your name inked or embroidered onto the quilt) and as gifts to departing ministers. It was great to see these quilts as they are not your usual museum fare but more like the kind of quilts we all make...generally Historical Societies are great places to see the material comforts of long ago and not-so-long ago everyday life.

Here's another place to view vintage quilts:
and read some articles about them by quilt historians.
You can read some fun short stories-written by quilters-here. They're all written as if they were written by long ago women and all have quilts!
Have fun getting totally awed and inspired.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Book Review: The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

The Virgin’s Lover, a historical novel by the author of the best seller, The Other Boleyn Girl, explores the early days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I with an emphasis on her relationship with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The most interesting thing is that Philippa Gregory includes the view point of Amy Robsart, Robert Dudley’s wife.

Historically, it is well known that Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley were friends from early childhood, that Elizabeth I attended Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart’s wedding and that Amy Robsart died from a broken neck, from a fall down stairs. The speculation that a talented author can have with these bare facts is whether the relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley was more than friendship and did that have a direct bearing on the death of Dudley “inconvenient” wife…the real fun is how Philippa Gregory weaves her web of court intrigue and romance-bringing alive the days of 16th century England.

This is my ninth book review for the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vintage Thursday Thingie: 1950s-crystal jewelry and a very weird commercial

Today is Thursday and that means Vintage Thursday Thingie, hosted by Coloradolady. Don't forget to check out the vintage treasures waiting for you there but first...

This is a crystal necklace and clip-on earrings set from the 1950s that were my Mom's.
Scary marketing strategy in this 1950s commercial but check out the woman's outfit! Hmm, think she could be wearing a crystal necklace and earrings....No, probably pearls!