Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Brand of Silence by Harrington Strong

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

The Brand of Silence by Harrington Strong

This mystery tale, published in 1919, reads like a serial…you know what I mean-cliff hanging endings to chapters, repeating information given in an earlier chapter in a new way, etc. I haven’t been able to find out if this was a serial but the author, Johnston McCulley here using one of his many pen names, was certainly a master of the genre. Johnston McCulley is best known for creating Zorro-first introduced in 1919 (yes, the same year as our tale) in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly but he wrote over 50 books and hundreds of stories-often using different pen names.

Sidney Prale is returning home to New York City after 10 years in Honduras making his fortune. Did he succeed? You bet! He started with $10,000 and now he’s returned with a cool million! He’s looking forward to seeing the city and meeting up with his old friends. But even before the boat docks, odd things start happening.

He goes to his stateroom to finish packing and realizes that someone has been in the room and messed with his things. Nothing is missing but there’s a note pinned to the pillow…”Retribution is inevitable and comes when you least expect it.” Whatever could this mean?

Odd things keep happening…he’s asked to leave his hotel, only one old friend, Detective Jim Farley, is glad to see him, the bank that received his money from Honduras doesn’t want to invest it for him. In fact it wants him to transfer the money that very day! (Now who ever heard of a bank refusing money!)

And then he’s accused of murder!

Besides the obvious murder/mystery plot there are some very interesting insights into finance and money…the value of money and who regards it as important and who doesn’t.

Read by the ever pleasant to listen to Roger Melin, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: When Mother Lets Us Cook by Constance Johnson

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

When Mother Lets Us Cook by Constance Johnson

This is a charming cookbook for children from 1919 with a ton of recipes and all the tips and rules written in rhyme. The rules are dispersed throughout the book-on the left hand page opposite a recipe.

“Things to Remember”

16 tablespoons make one cup

If milk and or water fill it up;

It takes but 8, heaped full and high,

If what you measure ‘s fine and dry.”

Here’s another very useful rhyme called “Ps and Qs”:

Two cupfuls make a pint; in short

Four even cupfuls make a quart.

And folks have found this saying sound-

A pints a pound the whole world round.

Besides the usual pudding or cake recipes-all very simple and geared for children (there’s a very easy fudge recipe on page 90-it almost sounds too good to be true), there are other interesting recipes.

On page 67, there’s a wonderful recipe for making your own cottage cheese…I’m keeping that one for the next time milk goes off. It’ll be fun to try and I may have a success!

And some “Ever wonder”s are answered!

Ever wonder how Beef Tea is made? (I have-it often comes up in novels and I’ve wondered how it differed from beef broth.) Well, the answer is on page 71!

How about Milk Toast…page 72 tells all.

Neither of these sound particularly appetizing to me but it is nice to finally know how they are made.

I definitely think you should take a look at this charmer…its fun to read. I particularly liked how Constance Johnson tells where to put the saucepan-on the hot part of the stove for example in the fudge recipe-now that is something I never realized. You didn’t just turn up or down the flame on a wood stove-you had to know your stove and know where the hot spots and cooler spots were.

You can read this free e-book on-line or download it in pdf. or Kindle format here.

If you have ever wanted someone to read a cookbook to you, here’s your chance. Kara Shallenberg does a delightful reading of this free audio-book available for download here.

There are some lovely woodblock prints as illustrations throughout the book-this one is the frontpiece.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mystery Quilt Reveal

Here it is finally! I'm not sure about the black border...what do you think? I like how the black border brings out the embroideries but I'm wondering if I should use no border and just a narrow 1/4" black binding.

Here you can see better the true colors of the fabrics.
As leader (and designer) of the mystery quilt I told the group that they needed 4 fabrics for the blocks plus one for the embroideries. I chose to use the same fabric-white-for one of the 4 block fabrics and for the embroideries. You can see how this mystery quilt looks with 4 different fabrics here-Barbie @ the Quilt Center posted hers earlier this month-scroll down one post to the May 3 post.

I have the batting...now I just need to decide on the backing and solve my border/binding dilemma. I don't want this to just go into the closet-I want to be inspired by all of you who actually finish your quilts!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe

Oops! I scheduled this post while Blogger was having difficulties and I guess it didn't register so here's Tuesdays Tomes on Wednesday!

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.A Sicilian Romance...oh what a tale! If you like romance, mystery, beautiful heroines, a bit of "It was a dark and stormy night" this book is for you.

Ann Radcliffe was the most popular writer of her day (as Jane Austen readers can testify to-Harriet Smith (Emma) was quite fond of The Romance of the Forest and Catherine (Northanger Abbey) couldn't stop talking about The Mysteries of Udolfo).

In this second novel (1790) by Ann Radcliffe, two sweet sisters, Emilia and Julia, live together with Mme. de Menon, their governess and dear friend of their late mother, in their father's castle-the castle of Mazzini on the northern shore of the island of Sicily. Their father seldom comes even to visit-he quitted the castle, taking his son, Ferdinand, with him, soon after his wife's death. He and his second wife prefer the lively times in Naples.

When the old retainer Vincent becomes deathly ill, the Marquis de Mazzini returns with his son, his son's friend Hippolitus de Vereza (that has to be the worst name for a hero ever!), his second wife and various friends and hangers-on.

Here's just a peak at what awaits: Julia loves Hippolitus, he loves her, her father wants her to marry the rich and powerful Duke de Luovo, they try to run away but her father catches them, there's a sword fight...and that is just a bit of a spoiler.

Several years ago, I started to read The Mysteries of Udolfo but I found it so tortuously slow that I gave up. Not here-in A Sicilian Romance the first two chapters quickly set the stage for all the swift moving events that follow.

Perfectly read by Betsie Bush, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Ann Radcliffe has been called the Mother of the Gothic Novel but in my opinion, that should be amended to the Mother of the Romance Novel. Yes, she excels in the atmospheric and there are certainly enough abbeys, ruins, caves and trap doors in this novel to satisfy everyone but its her touch with young love that I found most endearing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival-Spring 2011

It's that time again...time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. I'm a little late to the party but better late than never! :)

I decided to show my Drunkard's Path quilt because it is truly one of my favorite quilts.
I wanted to make a two color quilt, a drunkard's path quilt, and use hanging diamonds quilting since I started quilting over 20 years ago and its all in this quilt. Plus, I really love the way I doodled the free machine quilting-I'm really happy that I doodled right up to the cable.
You can see what I mean in this pix-lots of machine quilting and I love it!

Hop over to Amy's and see all the amazing quilts being shared this week.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mystery Quilt update: Last block embroidered!

Was Blogger hacked? I tried to post yesterday and I got a message that Blogger was down. I checked it out and it doesn't seem that Blogger was hacked-rather someone made an "Oops" during regular maintenance. Hope your post wasn't one of those eliminated.I've finished the last embroidery block for the mystery quilt. Its not a great picture because I took it with the block in place with all the blocks laid out on the bed. I've pinned the rows and have started sewing them! This is the large center block-12" x 12". The quilt also has 12 6" x 6" blocks and I actually embroidered 13 which was good because I didn't like how one block came out.

More pix later in the week-the mystery quilt is coming to completion!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Life Magazine (featuring the May 31, 1948 issue)

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line. Today is something a little different: Life Magazine free on-line.

Today is Israel's Independence Day so I'm featuring the May 31, 1948 issue of Life Magazine-with that historic photo of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. (page 19)

Of course, there's lots more in the magazine: from joy (Shirley Temple showing off her new baby, page 34) to sadness (Boys Town buries Father Flanagan, page 30). You'll just love the ads too!

Just click here and be transported back to May, 1948. For a history trip or a nostalgic visit to the Life Magazines you remember , click here for a scroll bar linking you to every Life Magazine! The bar is broken up at 5 year intervals so just click on the time you want and there will be all the Life Magazines for those 5 years. Enjoy and thank Google and Google Books for this fun read.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm back home! I'm tired and jet lagged but its good to be home.

The babies were wonderful on the flight and now they're with their other grandparents but we'll see them soon too. DH got to hold them and coo over them at the airport for a bit but he can't wait for more. They're visiting for a month so there'll be plenty of time.

Big news! DS got a wonderful fellowship so he won't have to teach next year...which means that he and DDIL will be able to handle the child care between themselves and we won't be going to the US for the year after all. :( I think that is the very best child care arrangement possible but it would have been fun to be the nannies and fun to be in Boston for the year.

As the babies got a little "older" and quieted down a bit I got to tour around Boston quite a bit and I even went to NYC for a week with DD. I had a great time and did a lot of shopping! :)

Can't wait to "wake up" from this jetlag and get into my sewing room...lots of unfinished projects await me plus I have a lot of new ideas (and even a bit of new fabric) to play with.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Jill the Reckless by P.G.Wodehouse- A Romantic Comedy

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

Sorry I missed last week-I was worried that I wouldn't have much time to read while away so I wrote and scheduled a series of reviews but not enough. This past week, I went to NYC to see my daughter so I had a chance to listen to this hilarious book while on the bus...it got a little embarrassing when I'd chuckle out loud!
We first meet our heroine, Jill Mariner, at the theater. She is there with her fiancee, Sir Derek Underhill, MP, his disapproving mother and a childhood friend, Freddie Rook, when she strikes up a conversation with the man sitting to her left. The play is abysmal and the gentleman turns out to be the playwright! He's not only the playwright but another childhood friend...well, maybe friend isn't quite the right word-he used to put worms down her back. (A sure sign he liked her!)

Things go from bad to worse with Jill and Derek, under the undermining influence of his mother and her dislike for Jill's unconventional and independent ways (like talking to the man sitting next to her at the play!)

Derek breaks off the engagement and then Jill discovers that her dear Uncle Christopher has lost her fortune in a speculation. Well, what shall she do? In P.G. Wodehouse fashion-its off to America where Jill's adventures take a happier turn...she joins the chorus of a Broadway show and meets up again with her old "worm tossing" friend, Wally Mason.

I loved having a woman as the heroine of this hilarious Wodehouse tale from 1920 and as usual all of the characters are a riot. Wally is "to die for" he's so sweet but I think my favorite is the rather ridiculous Freddie Rook.

Adding to the fun is the reading by Don W. Jenkins for the audio book available for free download here or you can download the e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.