Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A little machine quilting and a little Jane Stickle quilt progress

What a busy time of year! With house guests, classes and all I've hardly had time to quilt, visit blogs and except for Tuesday Tomes I haven't posted in weeks!

I did get one day to mark the Drunkard's Path quilt and because of the discussion here on using the Hera Marker I decided to try marking a cable using worked. I've usually just used it for straight lines but you can see in this pix the Hera marks and the one line already quilted. Its actually quite easy to see under the light of the sewing machine...and it must have been at least 10 days between when I marked the quilt and actually quilted!
Here's the cable completely quilted...
and here I added the free motion design right up to the edge of the cable...I've always wanted to do this on a quilt. And this is how the quilt sits...I now want to continue the "flowers" on the other side of the cable and between the yellow squares-I'm hoping to get to it soon. I've often taken months to finish a hand quilted quilt but this is the first time I've been so busy that a machine quilted quilt is languishing!
I have been sewing Jane blocks...well I sort of have to if I want to be ready for class! I am enjoying hand appliquing these blocks...
I always baste up an entire block of whatever I'm working on and then I can just sit and applique when I have time (usually sitting on the sofa next to DH in the evenings). The block on the upper right was curved pieced and then the little diamonds appliqued...
the bottom left was reverse appliqued-I haven't done much of that and totally enjoyed it! On the bottom right is a whole pile of basted blocks just waiting to be finished.

I'm now paper piecing some blocks...not my favorite technique but useful for those blocks with teeny tiny pieces-pix will follow.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! (and those on the East Coast are enjoying the snow!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Its time for some Gothic fun!

Beautiful, sweet, lonely Laura remembers a terrible dream from her childhood…she was just six years old and awoke to find a beautiful woman in her room. She spoke gently to Laura and lay down beside her. Laura fell back to sleep only to be violently awoken-screaming- by the feeling of two sharp pricks in her chest. Her nursemaid ran in-no marks were found on Laura and there was definitely no sign of any nocturnal visitor.

Years pass. One day a young woman and her mother, traveling near the Schloss where Laura and her father live, have a carriage accident. The daughter is shook up, ill and the mother must continue her journey…the daughter comes to stay at the Schloss for a few weeks to recuperate. The daughter’s name is Carmilla.

This is a fun read…written in 1872 (years before Bram Stokers famous book), it is psychological mystery rather than horror. Who is moody Carmilla? How does Laura feel about her new friend?

Jan asked in her comment last week, how do I find these books? I just troll through Librivox…I do download and listen to a lot of books. I don’t always finish them-I may find the story boring or the reader doesn’t suit me-but there are always lots more ready and waiting for me to discover. I love the different sensibility of these vintage tales and the different society that produced them.

Take this week’s book-now I confess I thoroughly enjoy watching Vampire Diaries on Tuesdays (lucky for me-its DH’s bridge night ) and here’s an interesting question: why is popular culture of the late 19th century and the late 20th/ early 21st century fascinated by the same idea?)

Read by the always wonderful Elizabeth Klett, you can download this free audiobook here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Not in the mood to read…well, you can watch Carmilla here…I’ll get you started.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Uttermost Farthing by R. Austin Freeman

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Uttermost Farthing by R. Austin Freeman

The Uttermost Farthing is definitely one of the strangest tales I’ve ever read. Mr. Humphrey Challoner lost his beloved wife just two years after their marriage. She surprised a burglar and was shot dead. The police can’t find the burglar/murderer and he vows to himself that he will bring the criminal to justice.

When we first meet him it is twenty years later and he has filled the time since his wife’s death amassing a strange anthropological collection.

He bequeaths his collection to his friend, Dr. Wharton, telling him that he will find the story of the collection in the Museum’s catalogues -written in diary style and telling the tale of each acquisition. We read the catalogue entries along with Dr. Wharton…

R. Austin Freeman, a British author, is one of those authors that I just knew nothing about until I read this book and wrote this review. Famed for his detective fiction featuring Dr. Thorndyke and credited with creating the reverse crime story-the first half tells you the crime (and maybe even the perpetrator) and the second half is all about how the crime is solved and the criminal caught. Sounds intriguing and I’m going to hop on over to Librivox and see if they have a Dr. Thorndyke mystery.

The Uttermost Farthing was published in the US in 1914 and in the UK 6 years later and under a different title: The Savant’s Vendetta. Perfectly read by MaryAnn Spiegel, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Christmas Holidays at Merryvale by Alice Hale Burnett

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.Christmas Holidays at Merryvale by Alice Hale Burnett is a little bit of Christmas cheer. This very short book written in 1916 and intended for very young readers is a delight for readers of all ages. It is part of Burnett's series for young boys and follows three fun filled days leading up to and including Christmas morning...looking in at the toy store window and hoping, a snowball fight (with forts!), a sleigh ride to get the tree and children's generosity towards other children.

Cheerfully read by Kara Shallenberg, you can download this free audio-book here, the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here or just read it on-line here.

I'm sharing the lovely pencil drawn illustrations:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Jane Blocks

I've been busy on Jane...I'm almost done with row A. I have more blocks but they're in parts...I don't think mentioned that I'm leading a Jane Club (and also teaching a class) but I am and I've left those blocks unfinished for demonstration purposes-I should have the row done next week.

I'm not particularly fond of paper piecing so I use it sparingly. Most of the blocks are done by rotary cutting (or templates as in the green block) but I did use paper piecing for the triangles in the top block. Have you noticed that 2 of my little squares are little rectangles? LOL-I cheated a little on this block-I added a seam so that there were no set-in seams. Couldn't do that with A13-the green block. I don't think I've ever seen a block with so many set seams...everything but the center. I'm really enjoying doing this...I'm only using the book and its fun for me to figure out the best way to sew the blocks.
Wishing everyone celebrating a Happy Hannukah...just got that in-today's the last day.
(Yeah, I took this photo the night before last! :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: My Man Jeeves by P.G. Woodhouse

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

My Man Jeeves by P.G. Woodhouse

In this 1919 collection of 8 short stories (many which appeared earlier in the US in the Saturday Evening Post and in the UK in the Strand ) only half actually feature Jeeves…the first three and the last but it really doesn’t matter-the rest feature Reggie Pepper and the entire collection is humorous.

In the first three stories, Bertie Wooster and his man Jeeves are in New York City for their adventures with Bertie’s friends. Here’s how Bertie describes his invaluable valet:

Jeeves--my man, you know--is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn't know what to do without him. On broader lines he's like those chappies who sit peering sadly over the marble battlements at the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked "Inquiries." You know the Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: "When's the next train for Melonsquashville, Tennessee?" and they reply, without stopping to think, "Two-forty-three, track ten, change at San Francisco." And they're right every time. Well, Jeeves gives you just the same impression of omniscience.’

“Leave it to Jeeves”…how famous is that line and how I wish I had a Jeeves to leave it all too. You know a clever chappy who could not only tell me what clothes look good on me and how to wear my hair most becomingly but who could solve the little problems of my friends as well…well, solve their problems in the same way that House almost kills his patients before curing them!

Have you ever spent any time at the shore? Here’s a peak at what Reggie Pepper has to say about it from “Helping Freddie”

‘Do you know Marvis Bay? It's in Dorsetshire. It isn't what you'd call a fiercely exciting spot, but it has its good points. You spend the day there bathing and sitting on the sands, and in the evening you stroll out on the shore with the gnats. At nine o'clock you rub ointment on the wounds and go to bed.

It seemed to suit poor old Freddie. Once the moon was up and the breeze sighing in the trees, you couldn't drag him from that beach with a rope. He became quite a popular pet with the gnats. They'd hang round waiting for him to come out, and would give perfectly good strollers the miss-in-baulk just so as to be in good condition for him.’

For a fun, humorous look at life on the rich side on both sides of the Pond, you can’t do any better than this wonderfully written, genteel collection. Perfectly read by Mark Nelson, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here. (Its thanks to a reader’s comment that I thought to look for P.G. Woodhouse at Librivox!)

Here's Hugh Laurie as Bertie and Steven Frye as Jeeves

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Machine quilting between forest fire updates

Have you heard about the terrible forest fire here? It started on Thursday morning. 42 Prison Service officer cadets were killed when their bus got trapped by the fire-they were on their way to help evacuate people. A police car following was also caught by the fire. Several people are in the hospital in critical condition.

Kibbutz Beit Oren was completely destroyed. Yesterday, help arrived from all over. Cyprus, Greece and Turkey were the first to arrive with large fire fighting planes. This morning I heard that a really large plane arrived from Russia. With this help the fire fighters started to get the fire under control yesterday but during the night, when the planes couldn't fly, the wind came up again and by this morning two towns were under threat.

This is not the usual season for forest fires-let alone the worst fire ever-as its supposed to be the rainy season. We had one small rain in October and nothing since. The weather forecast is for scattered rainfall tomorrow...I just hope it rains up north here. We're east of the fire and don't even see a hazy horizon-just a hot sun and clear blue sky.

Between watching news reports, I've been doing a little machine quilting on the drunkard's path quilt. I decided to do a hanging diamond grid on the yellow...that's done by sewing parallel vertical lines (I'd done that already) and then crossing them with 45 degree diagonal lines. I used a Hera Marker to mark the lines-it just creates a crease in the fabric. It works great on a quilt sandwich...when I first got it I tried to mark just the top-that doesn't work.
I sewed each row with my walking foot. When I got to a white area-I finished off but didn't pull and cut the threads. I lifted the presser foot and moved past the white area and started can see the line of thread across the white area-look on the far left of the white. After I finished a line, then I went back and cut the threads, front and back and started on the next line.
I used the little guide that fits on my walking foot too...sometimes I'm a little obsessive. For the first set of plain vertical lines, I just used the guide but I was nervous about doing that on the diagonal...for one thing-the white areas would pop in at different heights so I didn't always have a starting spot from the previous line. I just eye balled it for the vertical lines but it actually was easier with the markings.
Here its sewn...pretty cool! I've always wanted to do a quilt with a hanging diamonds grid-I can't believe how many long-time goals are getting completed with this quilt. Now I have all those threads to bury...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H.G.Wells

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H.G.Wells

Scientists Bensington and Redford team up to create a wonder growth formula. First they give it to chicks-just to see what happens-at an experimental farm in the English countryside. The chicks soon grow to gigantic size.

The experimental farm however is a bit of a hap-dash thing-they simply hire an old couple (Mr. and Mrs. Skinner) to feed the chicks with the wonder powder. The Food of course ends up feeding much more than the intended chicks and soon huge wasps, weeds and even rats are causing havoc in neighboring towns.

Scientist Redford decides to give the food to his newborn son… what was he thinking! Mrs. Skinner leaves the farm in a hurry because of fear of the rats but not without taking two cans of the food with her…what for? Well, to give to her newborn grandson, of course. You can see where this is going…

This 1904 satiric novel is very funny at times-I laughed out loud- and while not as well known as other H.G. Wells books, has been mined by popular culture for many hilarious/horror movies. In 1976 a not very good movie by the same name, Food of the Gods, takes off from the early chapters of the book. And who can forget those two classics, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes 2”-which starred a very young George Clooney? My favorite is the wonderful 50s movie “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and my favorite scene is her looming over the screen at the drive-in.

This book was also published as a comic book (graphic novel)… I used the cover of the comic book for this post’s pix.

If you’re in the mood for a good chuckle and quite a bit of adventure you can download this free audio book here or the e-book in pdf. or kindle here. The audiobook was read by Alex C. Telander at a furious pace that while annoying at first grew to seem totally appropriate for this harebrained tale.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I've got Jane Fever

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends, lots of good food and as hosts-gifts. :) Debby from the Quilt Center (our LQS) brought me this beautiful yard of Kaffe Fassett fabric-my very first. Now what will I do with it? Something bright and cheerful for sure. Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely too!I've been hit with Jane took a while but I'm deep in it now. Here are the latest blocks I've done.

I started about six months ago but was so slow to get anything done that I didn't want to "go public". I'm jumping around the quilt so I've organized the blocks I've done in cellophane zip lock bags (I'm hoping they won't get a smell like fabric does in regular plastic bags) and punched holes and put them into a looseleaf notebook.
That's bag A on the left and bag B and all the others (including empty ones) on the right. I like that I can slip new blocks into the right bag without moving anything...I think I'm more excited that I thought of this than of anything!

With inspiration from blogging friends (check out Karen's blog-she's working on the triangles for the border for her red and white Jane-her second!) I'm sure I'll finish-and I'll use up lots of reproduction fabric scraps too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: From Plotzk to Boston by Mary Antin

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

From Plotzk to Boston by Mary Antin

This memoir of her trip from her homeland to America was written when Mary Antin was but eleven years old. It was originally written in Yiddish and translated by her two years later into English. For anyone with a 19th century immigrant family history, this memoir is an invaluable peek into what our ancestors trip may have been like.

She tells of packing up their home, saying good bye to all their friends and embarking on the first leg of their journey- a ride to the larger town nearby with a railroad. From there it’s to the German border where they are held up because of an outbreak of cholera in Poland and the fear that the travelers may be ill. More train rides, more hold ups, and always more demands for money.

Finally, they’re aboard ship and sea sick! 17 days later they enter Boston harbor and the joy they feel as they spot their husband and father on the wharf waiting for them is wonderful.

The charm and pathos of this immigrant’s tale is in the details and her youthful way of looking at the world…all the new things to see as well as all of the uncertainty.

Pleasantly read by Sue Anderson, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

My father immigrated to the US from Riga, Latvia at age 8. I was always delighted with his tales of the trip as a child. His family traveled second class on their journey so they had their own stateroom and a proper dining room but from what he said he was the only one in the family eating…in fact, for the first week he and another child were the only people in the dining room at all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I've been quilting

I've been busy with classes but I have done some machine quilting on the Drunkard's Path...I'm still working on the white areas and then I want to go back and add something in the yellow-I'm thinking of a diamond grid-the parallel lines are just too "straight" but I'm not sure yet. Its a lot of fun doing the free triple circle "flowers" in the white but they do take a lot of time and a lot of thread-I can't believe all the bobbins I've made!I've also been hand quilting on the Double Wedding Ring...I think I'm about half way now. I took this pix at night but I think you can see that I've quilted in my name-using a 30s style printing. (The color is a little yellow but with the flash it was totally washed out.)
Isn't this just a gorgeous feedsack? The friend that gave me this one, the next one and others that I used in the DWR is here visiting and will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner! We'll be about 14 this year-American friends from all over Israel-its really a lot of fun and a lot of good food.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve

The Old English Baron is a light historical romance novel set in England in the time of Edward VI (which means lots of castles and even a joust).

Edmund, a local boy of the village, has been taken into the household of good Lord Baron Fitz-Owen and raised with his sons and cousins. One day a knight from the north, Sir Philip Harclay comes to visit-he has just retired from the wars and returned to England and wishes to find his old friend, Lord Lovel. He’s told that Lord Lovel died about 15 years earlier and his pregnant wife died just weeks after and that his heir, his cousin, sold the castle to his brother-in law, Lord Fitz-Owen. He is received by Baron Fitz-Owen and there meets young Edmund and struck by the boy’s demeanor and his likeness to his old friend, offers to adopt him. Edmund asks to remain where he is, with Baron Fitz-Owen and Sir Harclay states that nevertheless he will always be a friend to Edmund.

Have you noticed already the clue? Edmund looks likes the original Lord Lovel…yes, this is a tale of uncovering the true identity of Edmund with, since the author calls this a Gothic tale, the help of the ghosts of the dear departed.

This book was published in 1778 but it is so very modern in tone and style that if I hadn’t Googled to find the date of publication- I never would have guessed. The author, Clara Reeve, talks about the influence of the Castle of Otranto (you can read my review of this very first Gothic novel here) on her.

Pleasantly read by MaryAnne Spiegel, read my favorite way with no character voices just in a pleasant voice throughout, this is a very satisfying light entertainment. You can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

There’s a master criminal about…he’s burgled and murdered with impunity. No one can catch him. Detective Anderson wants a chance but his police supervisor is reluctant to let him having already lost another fine young detective to the chase- Detective Wentworth was found gunned down with a paper bat pinned to his chest where his badge should have been.

Aristocratic and adventurous Miss Cornelia Van Gorder has just rented a country house in the suburbs right in the neighborhood where The Bat is now working. She thought it was so fortuitous-just when she decided she wanted to leave the city for a while, this house became available through the sudden death of the owner, Mr. Courtleigh Fleming of the Union Bank. With her niece Dale and her long time servant Lizzy, they have just settled in when suddenly all the servants, excepting the Japanese butler quit and a threatening letter arrives. “If you stay in this house any longer—DEATH. Go back to the city at once and save your life.” But Miss Van Gorder won’t leave!

This country house mystery romp is just chock full of interesting characters with several of them having hidden identities just to add to the fun!

Mary Roberts Rinehart is often called “the American Agatha Christie”. Her first mystery, The Circular Staircase (available here at Librivox –its good but because it has multiple readers I will not be reviewing it on Tuesdays Tomes) was published in 1906. Her last book The Frightened Wife was published in 1953.

In 1920, The Bat first appeared as a play (written with Avery Hopwood) and was immediately acclaimed on Broadway. In 1926, the prose The Bat was published. It is said that it inspired Bob Kane to create Batman! In 1933 RCA Victor brought out The Bat as a recording-one of the first audio books! It was made into movies in 1926, 1930 and 1957 with Vincent Price (but of course!).

You can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Embroidery Mystery Quilt

Have I mentioned that I lead the Redwork Club at our LQS? To start the Fall off right, we're working on a mystery quilt and I'm, of course, making it right along with everyone else. These are the fabrics that I've chosen...these would have been perfect for last year's Black and White Challenge. They're all from my stash though the one on the left is a recent addition.
The embroidery theme is baskets...
and flowers. How do you like my black embroidery? I love it...I wanted to work in one color floss embroidery-it is so much quicker-and I've been thinking about black embroidery ever since the B & W Challenge and a quilt that I didn't make! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Mary Cary: Frequently Martha by Kate Langley Bosher

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly review of mainly vintage books.

Mary Cary: Frequently Martha by Kate Langley Bosher

“My name is Mary Cary. I live in the Yorkburg Female Orphan Asylum. You may think nothing happens in an Orphan Asylum. It does….Today I was kept in. Yesterday, too. I don’t mind, for I would rather watch the lightening up here than be down in the basement with the others. There are days when I love thunder and lightening. I can’t flash and crash, being just Mary Cary; but I’d like to, and when its done for me it’s a relief to my feelings.”

That’s how we (and her new diary) meet this delightful girl: Mary Cary. This entire wonderful book is told in the first person by Mary to her diary.

Why was she kept in…well, Mr. Gaffney came to talk to the girls “for the good of their characters” and he told them that they had much to be thankful for and should be thankful for everything. And they should stand up to show that they understood and were thankful. Mary just couldn’t stand up. “I’m not thankful for everything…Can you be thankful for toothache, or stomache, or any kind of ache. You cannot. And not meant to be either.”

That’s Mary-truthful and insightful! You will just love her simple adventures and her heartwarming way of looking at the world.

This 1910 novel quickly sold over 100,000 copies-quite a bestseller in its day. Kate Langley Brosher peoples Mary Cary:Frequently Martha with a wonderful collection of personalities…from the lovely, kind Miss Catherine to the hypocrite Headmistress of the Orphan Asylum to the inhabitants of Yorkburg, Virginia everyone is revealed to us by Mary Cary.

Who’s Martha? Mary would like to be a good and sweet little girl so whenever she just can’t hold to that ideal-she’s Martha: smart, outspoken, stubborn and quick to anger at any sign of injustice. (Sounds like a good girl to me!)

Wonderfully read by Jan McGillivray (I’m convinced her voice changes and sounds like a 12 year old’s as soon as the chapter starts!) you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Basket Quilt for the Blogger's Quilt Festival

Its time again for the Blogger's Quilt Festival, graciously hosted by Amy. I thought I'd share a favorite quilt of mine-my basket quilt.
The pattern is actually called Cake Stand but I've always thought of this as my basket quilt. I just love the ribbon border. There are 36 baskets made with 14 different fabrics. I remember that from a fat eighth (9" x 22") I could get 2 baskets. I "gridded" the triangles and it was quite easy to make all the HSTs that way.
You all know how much I love vintage things. This was the first time I tried my hand at a "vintage look" quilt. I wanted a 1930s feel to the quilt-it was just when 30s repro fabrics were coming out and while I used some I mostly used quilting or dress fabrics that gave the impression that I wanted.
The above fabric was given to me by a friend (dress scraps) and the below is actually one of the early Japanese quilting fabrics.
It is hand can see below the feather wreath, a little fleur de lis design and one inch parallel lines that I used in the spaces between the baskets. (You also get a peak on the upper right of one of the 30s repro fabrics.) I just outline quilted the baskets with 1/4" and 1/2" lines.
This quilt was on our bed for years but then I noticed that it has started to fade. It was in the closet for two years but I missed seeing it so now I've put it out in the guest room (and I'm keeping the shutters closed unless we actually have guests!)

Hope you enjoyed seeing this quilt...hop on over to Amy's and visit all the wonderful quilts being shared this week.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson plus Dueling Monsters Questions and Answers

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly review of mainly vintage books.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

This week I couldn't resist sharing this movie poster rather than a book cover :)

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll’s friends are becoming concerned…something strange is going on at his house…someone strange, a Mr. Hyde, is often seen entering the house by the back laboratory entrance. And then there’s the matter of the strange will written by Dr. Jekyll which says in effect that in the event of his death or disappearance all his property goes to Mr. Hyde.

Mr. Utterson, Dr. Jekyll’s lawyer and our narrator, is certain that this will will cause trouble-if Hyde knows of it why he could murder Dr. J., hide the body and gain all of Jekyll’s considerable wealth. What could make his friend write such a will...blackmail?

Mr.Utterson is determined to find out more. What he learns of Hyde’s character is appalling-even his physical description is shocking. He’s said to cause immediate repugnance-even hatred-in anyone meeting him, though no one can say why. He seems to be the antithesis of good Dr. Jekyll-a humanist and philanthropist.

Now I usually don’t like to give away the story in my reviews but I think that the crux of this tale is well know-even if the story itself unread. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are one and the same person.

Dr. Jekyll himself narrates his tale of woe- he concocted a potion in his laboratory that divided his character. He would take a draft, hit the town as Mr. Hyde and return home to take another that brought him back to himself. What was his intent? Did he wish to explore his evil side? Why? As a Victorian (and this tale first published in 1886 is distinctly Victorian), he was conflicted that even as a moral man, he knew himself to slip…we’re never told exactly what these slips encompassed (gambling, drinking, woman?). He wished to explore or rather partake without having his conscience bother him…Hyde has no conscience. And that of course becomes the problem…Hyde is far more evil than anything Dr. Jekyll expected.

You can download this free audio book here (perfectly read by Kristen Hughes) or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Heather J. at Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books and Fizzy at Fizzythoughts joined up for a wonderful October read-along: Dueling Monsters-Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (with Heather J.) and The Picture of Dorian Grey (with Fizzy).

Here are the questions posed by Heather and my answers. I’d love to hear if you agree or disagree with me.

Part of the implication of "Dr. Jekyll’s Account" is that Man Cannot Always Be Good. No matter how hard Dr. Jekyll tries to live a good, upstanding, sober life, he can’t resist the temptation of transforming into Mr. Hyde. Is this true of mankind? Can we never build a good society?

The dichotomy illustrated by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is too extreme. Dr. Jekyll himself embodied both good and evil with the good far outweighing the bad and with the bad kept in check by the good…the saving grace of human beings is that we have a conscience. We just need to use it-both in our daily lives and as a society. We need to remember that “doing nothing” is doing something and weigh in when we see wrongs occurring around us.

Having read Dr. Jekyll's version of events (and assuming we believe him), how much blame can we assign him? Should we blame his oppressive society or his lack of moral character? Another way of asking this: is Dr. Jekyll a sympathetic character?

Personally, I don’t find Dr. Jekyll a sympathetic character. Firstly, we hardly know anything about him-he never really speaks in his own voice. Secondly, when he speaks of Hyde and tells of the first time Hyde came out he describes him as small and puny-because this side o his character was underdeveloped-Jekyll then seems to revel in the growth of Hyde.

Does the novel suffer due to its lack of female characters? How would it have been different with, say, a female narrator?

LOL! Not only does the novel suffer due to its lack of females, Dr. Jekyll does as does his whole circle of friends. No one seems to be married! He wouldn’t have even felt the need for his experiment if his life had been a bit more balanced.

Evaluate the book’s psychological accuracy. Do these characters think the way people do?

Surprisingly, yes. Even given the distance of time and the lack of women, I think that the friendship shown by Mr. Utterson and even the questions asked by Dr. Jekyll resound today.

What do you think about the way in which the book is told, with multiple viewpoints with a dry lawyer at the center? Does it work?

Yes. I found the dry lawyer to be the best of men and a solid anchor that I could identify with.

What is the effect of the two narratives at the end? Does this dual explanation have anything to do with the dual nature of Jekyll/Hyde? Or is it just to provide an eyewitness account?

I took it as an eyewitness account but I like this question. Clever of Stevenson, eh?

Do you think Dr. Jekyll is a reliable narrator? Why or why not?

I think we have to rely on Dr. Jekyll as only he can tell us what he did…we can see through him as well.

In what sense might the Victorian period’s rigid moral standards be responsible for Dr. Jekyll’s tragic transformation into the evil Hyde? In other words, according to Stevenson’s story, what makes a man like Jekyll--a good Victorian, really--become the criminal Hyde

Stevenson was compelled to write this tale because he lived in the Victorian period but it is not confined by its time and place. In any society that puts a emphasis on appearances, problems will lurk under the surface.

In an earlier short story called “Markheim” (1874) Stevenson wrote that “evil consists not in action but in character.” How is that statement applicable to the various characters’ interest in discovering the facts behind “the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”?

I really don’t understand this question…Dr. Utterson uses the stories of Hyde’s actions to attempt to discover what is going on. I think the more interesting idea behind this quote is that it really explains to us what Stevenson thought and how different his Victorian sensibility was from ours. Today, I would say that “think what you want, but do good” is quite satisfactory. "Actions speak louder than words". This is a real political problem here in Israel-our present government gives lip service to peace but does everything to undermine it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Drunkard's Path Quilt Top Finished!

My drunkard's path quilt top/flimsy is finished! I thought about the border all summer and I'm so glad at how it turned out. Its really a happy quilt! I'm planning on basting it on Tuesday (DH plays bridge in the morning so the floor will be mine) and now I'm thinking about how to quilt it...any ideas?

The Drunkard's Path was really easy...the large curves were a cinch to sew. I used the Marta Michell templates (that I won in a give away at Quilts...etc) and you can see my tutorial here. Rotary cutting the pieces was so much faster than drawing around a template and then cutting with scissors.

I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho. Stop by there and see all the lovely finishes for this week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Badge of Infamy by Lester Del Rey

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

Badge of Infamy by Lester Del Rey

Technically this 1973 book is science fiction but in reality it’s really just a good adventure story that happens to take place on Mars.

Dr. Daniel Feldman has lost his right to practice medicine and with it, his wife-all because he saved the life of a friend by performing an emergency operation outside of a recognized Medical Lobby hospital. With nothing to look forward to on Earth except a life as a homeless beggar, he hops a freighter to Mars. There he is welcomed by the colonists. They need his medical knowledge and even though he shouldn’t be practicing medicine he can’t refuse to help.

The colonists are engaged in a battle for freedom from Earth (yes, it definitely brought to my mind “No taxation without representation” parallels).

There’s also Chris (Dr. Feldman’s estranged wife and head of a Medical Lobby hospital on Mars) and a plague- which will either destroy Mars and Colonial Martian society or save it.

This is a good adventure story and unlike many science fiction tales the characters are well developed and relationships are explored. There also is not a lot of gobbly-gook pseudo science speak…definitely a good book for a newby to science fiction.

Pleasantly read by Steven Wilson, you can download this free audiobook here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This, That and a Recipe

It has been a fun and busy week. I finished another punch needle block and I think this one is my favorite so far...
and I started working on the border for my Drunkard's Path quilt! That has been a long time a-waiting.Last Sunday, Beth of Love, Laugh, Quilt, while on a visit to Israel, stopped off at the LQS, The Quilt Center, where I was teaching. It was so nice to actually meet a blogging friend.

DH went to the beach while I was teaching with the plan being that I would join him for the afternoon and then we'd pick up DD at the train station (Gotta love that Train to the Plane!-or in this case Plane to the Train.) The beach is just about ten minutes north of the shop but suddenly the weather completely changed...turning first cloudy and then by the time I got to the beach-drizzle. So what should we do until the train came in?? Hit the mall, what else!

Off we went to be dry and kill some time, window shopping. We thought we'd go to the movies but there were no shows until 5 pm-too late. But next door to the movies was an Arcade! Oh boy, did we have fun with that hockey game and the basketball game...two old geezers just having a jolly old time of it.

There are lots of benches in the main aisle of the mall, so Dan went off to sit and read the newspaper and I tailed along...and there right in front of his bench was a kiosk selling...

Now I have had curly hair all my life but as I got older it became much less curl and more frizz.
I am happy to say that with this wonderful gizmo my head is now a Frizz Free Zone. This is so easy to use and the results are fabulous. Much better and easier than using a blow dryer and a round brush. DD and I had fun giving her straight hair some curls too-after swimming in the Sea of Galilee in the morning, we had a home salon in the afternoon! :)

The next day, was Girls Day (DH was at bridge)...we went shopping for clothes for her (I got a sweater too) and then on a lark, we rented a motor boat for half an hour and had a wonderful time boating on the Sea of Galilee.

DS and DD's good friend since high school came up to help celebrate her birthday...I loved the timing of her work related trip to Istanbul-she could pop over to see us for a week before returning to NYC and was here for her birthday!

I made a huge dinner including her favorite chicken dish...absolutely the easiest chicken recipe ever-Plum Chicken. (You can just see our festive table with a bright yellow tablecloth and pink dishes!)
All you need:

1 chicken cut into eighths (quarters work too)
1/4 cup onion soup powder (1 packet Liptons onion soup)
1 can plums (16 oz./approx. 500 grams-and make sure its purple plums and not prunes)

Arrange the chicken pieces in a casserole and sprinkle on the onion soup powder.
Open the can of plums, pour the syrup over the chicken...
cut the plums in half and remove the pits (if it isn't canned pitted and halved) and arrange on the chicken pieces.
Cover and put it into a cold over. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C for 1/2 hour. Lower temperature to 350 F/175 C for 1 hour. Then take off the cover -it will look like this just barely browned...
return the chicken to the oven for another 1/2 hour to finish browning and for the sauce to reduce.