Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2011

Its that time again: the Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2011...and more than 350 quilts are on view at Amy's Creative Side. I'm coming a little late to the party but I just put the last stitch on this quilt.

I'm calling it, not very creatively, The Circle Quilt.
The circles are made from left-over cut-offs from my Drunkard's Path Quilt. (BTW, you can see a tutorial on using Marti Mitchell's templates for this quilt on my side board.) I actually hand-pieced the quarter circles last spring when I was visiting (and helping out a bit with) my new twin granddaughters in Boston. I machine appliqued the circles with a buttonhole can see how I used iron-on interfacing to make this super easy to do here.

I used an overall free motion quilting pattern of simple round loops and I've really happy with the look...and it was quick too.

I love the bright yellow and white circles on this narrow red and white striped fabric. The stripes are about 1/8" wide. I used it in the binding and I'm enjoying the horizontal stripe in the narrow 1/4" binding.

Here's the back...a minimalist quilting delight!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Oops! my iPod died

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line...but there's no review this week.

My iPod died and while my new one is ordered I haven't yet received it. Sooo, no review this week as I haven't listened to any book! Hopefully, Tuesdays Tomes will be back next week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Circle Quilt

When I was in Boston last spring, I hand pieced the quarter circles I had left over from cutting my yellow and white Drunkard's Path quilt but I hadn't done anything with the circles. I was thinking about it however.

I wanted to machine applique them but I didn't want to do raw edge applique. So I decided to use non-woven iron-on interfacing. I thought of the shiny (glue) side of the interfacing as the right side and I pinned the circles to a rough cut square of the interfacing-right sides to right sides.
Then I sewed with a 1/4" seam allowance around the circles, trimmed the interfacing, and carefully slit the back of the interfacing.
Then I turned the circles out...
and laid them on red and white striped square and pressed. The iron-on interfacing held well enough that I could sew them (using a buttonhole stitch) without any pins.

The circles were about 9" and I played around a bit with the size of the striped square until I decided I liked a square that would finish at 11". (Any bigger and I thought the red was too dominant.)

I wondered if the interfacing would act as a lining and not let the red stripe show through but it didn't, so I cut out the centers.
Then I started playing with them on my design wall and I liked them off-set. It just added to the fun.
So I sewed it all together with sashing that finished at 3", then added a 3" outer border in white too and a fun red and yellow 3" square outer border.
I'm linking to Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop. Hop on over and see all the terrific stuff happening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Calico Cat by Charles Miner Thompson

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

The Calico Cat by Charles Miner Thompson

Mr. Peaslee and his wife moved into town from their farm one year ago and ever since he has been tormented by a rascally calico cat who likes his hen house. He’s convinced that this calico cat is the smartest, most annoying cat ever: a cat that delights in making him miserable.

When he’s full of his good news-he’s been called to serve on the county Grand Jury and pictures himself serving with wisdom and great dignity, he sees that calico cat sitting on the fence. He’s certain that cat is mocking him and he goes a little crazy. He tries to shoot it!

Now don’t worry, the cat is fine but the ramifications of that shot go far.

This hilarious, generous hearted tale of a small American village on the Canadian border is filled with wonderful characters.

A first novel (1908) by Charles Miner Thompson with illustrations by F.R. Gruger, this story first appeared in The Youth’s Companion, a family magazine (1827-1929). BTW, Francis Bellamy who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in1892 (it was adopted by Congress in 1942) was a staff writer at The Youth’s Companion.

Charmingly read by Allyson Hester, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf., e-Pub or Kindle format here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Shadow of the Rope by E.W. Hornung

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly review of vintage books available free on-line.
(Sorry for missing the past two weeks but I just didn't have any time to read while we were away...too busy sightseeing! :)

The Shadow of the Rope by E.W. Hornung

Romance? Mystery? While its hard for me to assign this book a genre, it is easy for me for say how delightful it is.

Young Rachel, alone in the world, jumps at the opportunity to travel from Australia to England as a lady’s companion. On the long crossing, she meets Alexander Minchin. They marry as soon as the boat docks. At first, things go well but soon Mr. Minchin begins to drink heavily and to gamble more heavily. They fight. She finally determines to leave him and having packed her trunk, goes out looking for a hansom cab. On returning, she is shocked to find the police in her home. Mr. Minchin is dead-shot- and she is accused of the crime!

Acquitted of the murder by the jury but not by public opinion, Rachel finds herself penniless and alone. White-haired Mr. Steel, who sat everyday at her trial, offers his assistance. She is hesitant- why would this man, a perfect stranger, want to help her? She has heard of other women, acquitted of horrible crimes, that are later besieged by marriage offers…is this his intention?

She accepts his help because she truly has no other choice, and because he clearly states that she will have her own rooms at a respectable hotel. The next morning he does propose marriage-a completely platonic one. His explanation of why wants to marry her is one of the delights of this book.

I want a wife; or rather, my neighbors seem bent upon finding me one; and, if the worst has to come to the worst, I prefer to choose for myself. Matrimony, however, is about the very last state of life that I desire, and I take it to be the same with you. Therefore--to put the cart before the horse--you would suit me ideally. One's own life would be unaltered, but the Delverton mothers would cease from troubling, and at the head of my establishment there would be a lady of whom I should be most justly proud.

Take that, Mrs. Bennet!

What should Rachel do? Considering her last hasty marriage, you would think she would give Mr. Steel’s offer a pass but she is truly friendless. They marry and after a tour of Europe, they return to his large estate in Yorkshire. She lives in fear of anyone realizing who she is-her innocence and acquittal seem scant protection from the notoriety-and she lives filled with curiosity about Mr. Steel’s never referred to past.

The Yorkshire characters are truly wonderful. We first meet them in Chapter 9-now a favorite of mine: kindly Reverend Hugh Woodgate , his young wife Morna and the incomparable Mrs. Venables (who thought Mr. Steel barely 45 when she wanted him for one of her daughters but now thinks him 65 at the very least). Another interesting and important character is Charles Langholm, a fiction writer.

The novels of Charles Langholm were chiefly remarkable for their intricate plots, and for the hope of better things that breathed through the cheap sensation of the best of them.”

I had to wonder if the author was thinking of himself but my favorite comment is yet to come.

"What!" he cried; "you call yourself a lady, and you don't look at the end before you reach it?"

Ahh, from now on, I will not feel guilty when I peek at the end of a book.

That’s it for now…you’ll have to read this 1902 novel to find out more about Rachel and Mr. Steel. This is the second novel by E.W. Hornung (brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) that I’ve read and I liked it even more than the first. (You can read that review here.)

Read by Christine DuFour, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf., e-pub., or Kindle format here.

Some rather cheesy yet romantic illustrations

Friday, October 7, 2011

Home Again: views from Hannover and the Harz Mountains

We're back from our trip! We celebrated Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, at reform synogogue services in Hannover. Tonight is Yom Kippur Eve.

We had a wonderful time. Hannover has a "Red Line" walking tour (with guidebook) which was perfect for keeping me busy while Dan was at the conference during the day. I really enjoy this type of walking tour-I always go into all the buildings along the way so it takes me days rather than hours to finish. Here are just a few highlights plus photos from the wonderful trip to the Harz Mountains organized by the Leibniz conference.

This simple and elegant monument in the plaza of the Opera House (right behind the monument) is the Hannover Holocaust Memorial.
It is the most powerful Holocaust Memorial I have ever seen-each person's name, age or date of birth and place and date of death is inscribed on the sloping sides. They finally have a gravestone.
I think I went to every museum in Hannover-large and small. Here are just two of the wonderful things I saw that I wanted to share: a pair of antique dolls ( taken through the glass case).
Most evenings we went out to dinner with other conference participants-it was nice to finally meet many people that I've heard Dan talk about for years. We did go to the opera one night (The Marriage of Figaro) and this is the door knob of the Opera House! Pretty cool!
Saturday, the conference organized a trip to the Harz Mountains (bird seed, anyone?). I've discovered that the Harz Mountains are really a plateau of rolling hills and
beautiful forests.
We made a friend...isn't he gorgeous!
The trip was organized around Leibniz, of course. Besides math and philosophy, he was interested in industry and general problem solving. The silver mines in the Harz Mountains had terrible problems with water in the mines...the solution was to use water wheels to run the pumps to get the water out! Leibniz thought he had a better way-windmills-or at least a closed water system that then utilized the water pumped from the mines to run the water wheels. It wasn't actually put into practice at the mine he worked with but both were later used at another mine.

We saw a model of a water wheel...
sluice and pump house.
And a real water wheel...look at the size of it!
How did they get enough water to run the water wheels? They dug channels to bring water from higher, more distant mountains-these covered miles and miles-
and they created reservoirs to collect the water from local streams and creeks-creating lastingly beautiful places.
Now that we're back, Tuesdays Tomes will resume-I definitely had no time to read on our trip!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hannover: Gardens and Bricks

While DH was busy at his conference (this part of the trip was "part work" for him and all vacation for me :) I took a bus tour around Hannover. I had been there two years ago but there was still lots more to see. The tour took us to the Herrenhausen Gardens-Ducal Gardens that are done in the formal Baroque style.

Look at this wonderful vista and the two gorgeous fountains! Unfortunately the high spray of the back fountain blends into the sky but you can just see the spout behind the round fountain.
Here you can see one of the formal mazes-with two special Hannover differences: 1) flowers and 2) the maze is cut very low (those aren't mutant giant flowers!)
Our hotel was in the old quarter and right down the street was the Old Town Hall...the streets were too narrow for me to get a picture of the whole building so this is from the internet.
Isn't that quite an amazing brick building? I just love the crazy high frontage. This is the most southern building in Germany done in the North German Brick Gothic style. Parts of the building date from 1410.

I was able to get some fun you can see not only the inside of the Gothic entrance but see that round metal loop-that was for the pillory-punishment was public and right in front of the Town Hall.
Historians don't know why this was added into the brick work on the side wall...maybe this is how the townsfolk felt about the local government!