Saturday, April 23, 2011

Freedom on the Internet

-We all use the internet all the time. As bloggers from many different countries, I thought that you might be interested in a report that just came out: Freedom on the Net by Freedom House. This report is both a follow up and an expansion on the Freedom on the Net report from 2010 which covered 15 countries-this report covers 37 countries as you can see from the picture of the cover of the report.

You can look at the summary with easy to read charts and graphs and to-the-point analysis here or read the booklet of key findings with more analysis here or access the full report here.

Freedom on the net is such a timely issue with all that has been in news lately about how the Internet has provided an organizing tool for the protests around the Middle East.

Freedom House is an independent organization celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. I guess you would call it a watchdog of democracy. It issues annual reports on freedom around the world, press freedom and now internet freedom.

How did I find out about this fascinating report? DD (Sarah Cook) is one of the authors/editors.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Colonial Embroidery exhibit

I had a lovely time at the Boston Museum of Arts. I went to see the Colonial Embroidery exhibit with pictorial embroideries...there were about a dozen-about half like the one above done in plain stitch on linen (a counted stitch embroidery like cross stitch and needlepoint but only going up and down) and half on satin and done with long and short stitch. One of these was especially beautiful. I asked about a catalogue but no, not even any postcards. :( You can see a few emore of them on-line here.

One of the most interesting parts of this exhibit was that the curators had identified the embroidery teachers of some of these schoolgirls: Elizabeth Murray and Jeannine (Janet) Day.

I totally lucked out: I went looking through the new reopened American Wing and I actually got to see the Harriet Powers Quilt. Its only on view for a while so if you're in Boston-go see it!
And listen to this: its machine appliqued with a simple straight stitch!! Now that's something you have to see the quilt to know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Master Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve and John W. Grey

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Master Mystery by Arthur B Reeve and John W Grey

“…When inventions threaten to render useless already existing
patents, necessitating the scrapping of millions of dollars' worth of
machinery, vested interests must be protected.
...Brent and his partner, Herbert Balcom, had evolved a simple method of
protecting corporations against troublesome inventors and inventions. They
had formed their corporation, International Patents.
Their method was effective, though desperate.They bought the sole rights from the
inventor, promising him glittering royalties.The joker was that the invention
was suppressed. None were ever manufactured.Hence there were no royalties and
the corporations went on undisturbed while Brent and Balcom collected huge
retainers (from the corporations) for the protection they afforded them." 
What a scheme? Who can stop them? Its been going on so long-not only hurting the
inventors but stopping progress!!Little does Mr. Brent know that his young 
assistant, Quentin Locke, is actually a federal investigator.Will Quentin Locke
succeed in arresting Brent and Balcom?
Mr. Brent's beautiful daughter, Eva, is unaware of what her father's business
really is but she does know that she really doesn't want to marry Balcom's son-
she's rather partial to her father young assistant.Will Quentin Locke succeed
in winning Eva?
Is Mr. Brent really evil or is he a dupe of Balcom's? How far will Balcom go
to stop Quentin Locke? And who or what is the Automaton??
If this review makes you think of a breathtaking, heartstopping silent movie
serial...well, its because this book is actually the prose version of a silent
movie starring Harry Houdini and the first ever movie robot! Enjoy this fun
romp with ever more death defying feats as a free audio-book (perfectly read
by Roger Melin) or a free e-book in pdf. or kindle format or watch below the
first installment. (You can see all the rest by following the links on the 
YouTube page.) Have fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Touring Boston!

It hasn't been all babies-all day...I've done a bit of touring too.

My cousin Diane, her friend and I went to out to Salem to the beautiful Peabody Essex Museum to view the wonderful Chinese house there. This house was completely dismantled and reassembled with all the family's belongings! Its simply wonderful. I don't know if I'll ever get to China but I now feel that I've taken a step in Chinese History.

You can view the house on-line here with wonderful explanations.

I also did half of the Freedom Trail...why only half of a walk that is really not very long-well, I kept stopping into all the museums along the way including the Old State House.
And I've got a complaint! :) They had Paul Revere silver pieces on display and they were tarnished-tarnished black! Really!

I also spent a long time in the fascinating Granary Burial Ground. Reading the tombstones was just so interesting as was looking at the skeleton/angel heads and noting when the change came about. (Sorry no pictures-these pix are all from the web-I didn't bring my little camera with me this trip.)
John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams are all buried here as well as the five victims of the Boston Massacre so when visiting Boston I definitely recommend leaving enough time on the Freedom Trail to stop and stroll through.

I definitely plan on finishing the trail-I've still got lots of time-I already have my ticket to the Paul Revere House!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hand piecing project

I knew I would need something to sew while with the kids, so taking a leaf from Karen at Quilts, etc. I packed a zip lock bag with a hand sewing project. Now I haven't hand pieced in years but I do still know how to do it!
I had all of these rotary cut quarter circles left over from the Drunkard's Path quilt (they were the cut-outs from the not-quarter-circle pieces) in yellow and white. I just drew a line a 1/4" from the edge for my sewing line on the straight sides of the yellow quarter circles...

and sewed away using a simple running stitch. Voila!
(Ooops, voila again...anyone know why I can't delete this twice uploaded picture?)
I'm thinking I could sew whole circles and then applique them to a background...
or do something like this or just use them in the border of a not-yet-designed quilt. Lots of possibilities.
And, of course, I just have to add some baby Mika looking very minxish
and Ella in a quiet moment (lots of her pictures came out blurry because she's always on the go!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Star Born by Andre Norton

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

Star Born by Andre (Alice) Norton

Generations ago a group of settlers left Earth seeking freedom and landed on Astra. There they met and were befriended by the MerPeople, a race that had been slaves to the Others and on gaining their freedom after the Others violent civil war lived in the seas and in coastal areas near the sea-still in fear of the Others.

Young Dalgard Nordis, a fifth generation settler, and his best friend, the MerMan, Sssuri, are on a trek to the northern lands.

About a hundred years ago, there was a political revolution on Earth (defeating the anti-science/anti space travel Pax) and now once again, man was taking to the stars.

Raf Korbi, small craft pilot, was waiting and hoping that they would find a planet to land on soon. They had been on this spaceship RS 10 for what seemed like forever and no one knew what their fate would be…no one even knew what had happened to most of the RS flights before them. Then the gong sounded-they’d made it-they had found a planet.

I loved the way this book was written-alternating chapters between the adventures of Dalgard and Sssuri and Raf and the Earthmen until of course, they eventually meet up. (Don't be put off by the first chapter and the many descriptions-its just setting the scene and no other chapter reads like that so stick with it.)

Lots of exciting adventures and there are some interesting insights into how people from different cultures evaluate their environment and how after all, evil reveals itself. For me, this book shows all the best of science fiction.

Pleasantly read by the always gentle voiced Mark Smith, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Andre Alice Norton wrote more than 300 books and stories. She was a tremendous influence on generations of science fiction and fantasy writers. She is probably best known for her Witch World series but she wrote many other series and singles. (Star Born, published in 1957, is technically the second and last book of the Astra series but it easily stands alone.) She was born Alice Mary Norton in 1912 and changed her name legally to Andre Alice Norton in 1934. She wrote mainly young adventure fiction and thought it would make her more marketable if her readers thought she was an Andre rather than an Alice! (This was not so unusual-I’m sure you can think of other women writers who adopted male names). I enjoyed this so much that I’ll be on the look out for more books by Andre Alice Norton.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby quilts

I finished the two baby quilts for my new granddaughters before I got on the plane...even the bindings were finished!

I've been wanting to make a coins quilt since I've been seeing them around the coins come in all different denominations-some fat, some thin! I quilted it with an automatic stitch on my machine that makes wavy lines in a grid pattern.
I love how it came out...crinkly and it was really quick to machine quilt.

Here's the second quilt:

I added the side borders because my blocks used pieces that I had already cut at 5" so the blocks came out a little smaller than in the pattern. I'm really pleased with it. To see the original and get the pattern (very cute, quick and easy!) go here. Thanks Jaimie!

I quilted it too with the same wavy lines but just vertical parallel lines for this quilt. So fast and easy with my walking foot! Both quilts were finished in less than a week!

LOL! I'm such an old granny...there was no pink in the quilt so I just had to use a pink binding.

Here's the back of the coin quilt-little baby foot prints.
Butterflies here.
And here's Mika under her coin quilt....
and Ella under hers.
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Spoilers by Rex Beach

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Spoilers by Rex Beach

The Spoilers is a “bosom heaving” romantic novel and much more.

Dextry and Glenister rescue the beautiful Helen Chester from the men chasing her and hide her away in their room on the boat taking them back to Nome, Alaska and their gold mine on the Anvil Creek, The Midas, for the summer prospecting season. Roy Glenister falls hard for Helen but can he ever win her? Can she ever forgive him for:

He stood over her, tall, virile, and magnetic… She was staring up at him unaffectedly, so close that the faint odor from her hair reached him. Her expression was simply one of wonder and curiosity at this type (of man), so different from any she had known. But the man's eyes were hot and blinded with the sight of her, and he felt only her beauty heightened in the dim light, the brush of her garments, and the small, soft hand beneath his. The thrill from the touch of it surged over him--mastered him.
"What I want--I take," he repeated, and then suddenly he reached
forth and, taking her in his arms, crushed her to him, kissing her
softly, fiercely, full upon the lips. For an instant she lay
gasping and stunned against his breast, then she tore her fist
free and, with all her force, struck him full in the face."

Little does Glenister suspect that the woman he so deeply desires has had a hand in helping McNamara and her uncle, Judge Stillman, steal the Midas right out from under him and Dextry and by using the Law to do it. They put up a claim jumper to state that the mine was his (which they knew it wasn’t) and then said that the mine had to be put into the hands of a receiver (McNamara) while it was all sorted out. The gold was to be deposited into the bank for now but the only ones with rights to the bank account were McNamara and the Judge.

This is a true story! Well, I don’t know about the romance but the attempt to steal and control the Anvil Creek mines is part of the historical record. You can read more about this and the real scoundrels Alexander McKenzie and Judge Arthur Noyes here.

I enjoyed this rollicking story, both the romance and the intrigue. Rex Beach wrote this in 1906 just a few years after it all happened (he was in Nome and witnessed all the shenanigans) but for us it’s an enjoyable historical novel. You may have seen the movie “The Spoilers” with John Wayne, Randolph Scott and Marlene Dietrich loosely based on the novel.

Perfectly read by Tom Weiss, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf or kindle format here.

For some wonderful photos of Nome at the time of this story, click here and here.