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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Dawn O'Hara, the Girl Who Laughed by Edna Ferber

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books. If you’ve reviewed a book recently-new or old- send me an e-mail and I will link to your post.

Dawn O’Hara, the Girl Who Laughed by Edna Ferber

“There are a number of things that are pleasanter than being sick in a New York boarding-house when one's nearest dearest is a married sister up in far-away Michigan.

Some one must have been very kind, for there were doctors, and a blue-and-white striped nurse, and bottles and things. There was even a vase of perky carnations--
scarlet ones. I discovered that they had a trick of nodding their heads, saucily. The discovery did not appear to surprise me.

"Howdy-do!" said I aloud to the fattest and reddest carnation that overtopped all the rest. "How in the world did you get in here?"

The striped nurse (I hadn't noticed her before) rose from some corner and came swiftly over to my bedside, taking my wrist between her fingers.

"I'm very well, thank you," she said, smiling, "and I came in at the door, of course."

"I wasn't talking to you," I snapped, crossly, "I was speaking to the carnations; particularly to that elderly one at the top--the fat one who keeps bowing and wagging
his head at me."

"Oh, yes," answered the striped nurse, politely, "of course. That one is very lively, isn't he? But suppose we take them out for a little while now."

And so we meet Dawn O’Hara, exhausted newspaper woman with a wonderful eye for the humor in life-even when ill and alone. Her doctors and sister agree that she must leave New York City to recuperate at her sister’s home in Upper Michigan. There her sister feeds her more eggs than could possibly be good for anyone (to “build her up”) and brings in a family friend and specialist, Dr. Von Gerhard, to examine her…is this a peek into early 20th century medical practice?

Once she’s better, she’s determined to go back to New York and newspaper work. Besides feeling that she must earn her own living she also has a responsibility for the care of her hospitalized mentally ill husband…her sweet brother-in-law has been paying for his care while Dawn recovered. Dr. Von Gerhard steps in and helps her get work at a newspaper in Milwaukee-he feels it will be much less stressful than a NY paper.

This is my favorite part of the book- Edna Ferber herself had just recently finished working on a Milwaukee newspaper (this 1911 novel is Edna Ferber’s first book) and I absolutely loved the description of Milwaukee and all the German immigrants. Be warned: the food will make your mouth water!

The writing here is absolutely perfect as Ferber describes the other residents of the German boarding house/hotel where Dawn lives. It competes with the delightful scene when Dawn received a visit at her sister’s from some neighbors.

Don’t fear- there’s lots more than food and neighbors…for one, plenty of thwarted romance with Dr. Von Gerhard. I couldn’t get enough of this book and took to listening to it without doing anything else!! Surely a good recommendation!

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


Friday, October 8, 2010

The embroidered heart baby quilt: quilted and bound: Finished!

The embroidered heart baby quilt is all quilted, the binding is sewn on and it is ready to be given to little Shirli. (Isn't it funny how names come and go-here Shirli (yes, that's Shirley) is a very popular name for babies right now.) The quilt was finished just in time-DD comes on Sunday for a visit and Shirli's Mom is DD's good friend since eighth grade so she'll deliver it.

Its machine quilted with curvey lines 1 1/2" apart plus a meander in and around the hearts and
a small free vine with leaves in the asymmetric border. I do like the look of the hand embroidery with the machine quilting. In this photo you can kind of see all the quilting designs...
but I think it shows up best on the back.
Here's the little vine.
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at Amylouwho so be sure to stop over there and see all the wonderful finishes for this week (and remember at Lit and Laundry they're not all sewing projects!)

I have to apologize-I said I would put up the pattern for the Bonnet Girl quilt (done!) and a tutorial for outline embroidery (not done!) That was an Oops on my part-I didn't think ahead and realize I would need someone else to photograph the tutorial! Now that DD will be visiting, I will have her take the photos and the tutorial will be up very soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Angel of Terror by Edgar Wallace

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books. If you’ve reviewed a book recently-new or old- send me an e-mail and I will link to your post.

The Angel of Terror by Edgar Wallace

Edgar Wallace wrote more than 170 books-many of them crime stories. In the Angel of Terror, (1922) he may have invented a new genre-the comic crime romance melodrama. Wonderfully read for Librivox by Allyson Hester, using a variety of comic voices, has gotten the perfect tone.

The story begins immediately with the sentencing phase of the trial of James Meredith-accused and found guilty-mainly due to the testimony of his fiancée, Jean Briggerland, of the murder of Ferdinand Bulford.

Here’s what the judge has to say:

"To suggest, as you have through your counsel, that you called at Miss Briggerland's that night to break off your engagement and that the interview was a mild one and unattended by recriminations is to suggest that this lady has deliberately committed perjury in order to swear away your life, and when to that disgraceful charge you produce a motive, namely that by your death or imprisonment Miss Briggerland, who is your cousin, would benefit to a considerable extent, you merely add to your infamy. Nobody who saw the young girl in the box, a pathetic, and if I may say, a beautiful figure, could accept for one moment your fantastic explanation.

Ah, what fools are men when confronted with a beautiful woman with the heart of a snake. James Meredith and Jean Briggerland are first cousins-he extremely wealthy, she not. If James dies, she inherits. Rather simple really. But things don’t go as smoothly for Jean as she had hoped. James’ best friend, John Glover, arranges a marriage for James so that not only does James stand in Jean’s way but his new bride. Lydia, as well. How this all plays out-from the marriage to the end of the book makes for a rollicking and rather hilarious tale.

Edgar Wallace’s devotion to details of the scene-often at the tensest of moments- helps set the humorous tone. This tale includes just about everything from a trip to the Riviera to a dashing Moor (warning-there is a racial epithet used here) to gamblers and chauffeurs. Part of the fun-I’m not sure who is the intended heroine here, sweet clueless Lydia or beautiful, conniving, lethal Jean.

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bonnet Girl Quilt-Free Pattern Instructions

You can download the embroidery pattern for the Bonnet Girl here.

Fabric requirements:

For two background fabrics or the embroidery blocks: Fabric 1: 1 yard

Fabric 2: 1 yard

For a single background fabric for the embroidery blocks: 1 3/4 yards

For the bar fabric (I used a Robyn Pandolph fabric): ½ yard

For the border fabric (again I used a Robyn Pandolph): 2 yards

Cutting and Sewing Instructions for Bonnet Girl Quilt

For the embroidery blocks:

From background 1: Cut 2 strips 15” x 42”. Cut 6 squares 13” x 15”.

From background 2: Cut 2 strips 15” x 42”. Cut 6 squares 13” x 15”.

(If using one background fabric, cut 4 strips 15” x 42”. Cut 12 squares 13” x 15”.)

Embroider the blocks, Press. Trim squares to 12 ½” x 14 ½”.

Arrange block to your liking in 3 vertical rows of 4 blocks each.

Sew vertical rows.


Cut 3 strips 3” x 42. Cut one strip in half for 2 short strips 3” x 21”.

Sew half strip to full strip to create 2 long strips 3” x 63”. Cut each to 3” x 56 ½”.

Tip: We all cut and sew just a little bit differently. For exactly fitting bars and borders, measure your sewn rows of embroidered blocks. Take the mean or average length of all of the rows and cut your bars to that length. Example:

Row 1: 56 ½:, Row 2: 56” Row 3: 56 ¼” . The mean value of the three rows is 56 ¼”. Cut all the bars 3” x 56 ¼” rather than the theoretical 56 ½”. It will be easy to ease in that extra ¼” on Row 1 (56 ½”) and to “stretch” Row 2 (56”) when sewing the bars to the embroidery blocks rows. All three rows will now be the exact same length. (Clear as mud, I know but try it.)

Lay out your sewn embroidered block rows, check you like the arrangement and lay the bars between the rows. Sew bars to vertical rows of embroidered blocks .


Cut 2 strips 10 ½” x 42”. Cut top and bottom borders to 10 ½” x 41 ½”. (See tip).

Sew top and bottom border the embroidered rows/bars.

Cut 4 strips 10 ½” x 42” Sew two strips together to make long strip 10 ½” x 84”. Repeat.

Cut side borders 10 ½” x 76 ½”. (See tip). Sew side borders.

Congratulations: Your embroidered Bonnet Girl quilt top (61” x 76”) is finished. This size is good on a twin bed or as a lap quilt.