Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Books: Through Black Spruce

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (same author of the 5-star book I read two weeks ago, The Orenda) - The first half of this book was excellent. It was captivating, and I was eager to keep reading. Each chapter is the story as seen from three or four different people's perspectives. It intertwines more as the story goes on. I like this style. It was well-written and off to an excellent start. I liked the characters; the story had a bit of intrigue.

The second half was disappointing. It started to drag; I really wanted the resolution to hurry up and happen. Certain actions taken by the characters (e.g., Annie spending time in the cities) I did not enjoy at all. It took too long to wrap things up. By the end of the book, I was relieved it was over and I could go on to another book.

Too bad, after an excellent start. I'm giving it three stars for the redeeming qualities of the first half.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Mood Continues...

It's true! I'm still in the mood to do my own quilting! Since posting Monday's photo I have quilted two more tops. One is made using some of the fabric from Kenya that Terry distributed for some unique Wrap-a-Smile quilts. This one was made a while ago, but I finally got it quilted just this week.

I forgot to photograph the backing fabric. It is a cute animal fabric and is very soft.

Last Monday's squares quilt and this next squares quilt were made after I rummaged around and found some piles of donated squares. One pile was 6.5" squares (Monday's quilt) and another pile was 6" squares (today's quilt). They're not exciting, but I hope some kids will find them interesting. There are some cute novelty prints for them to look at... and at least they're warm which is one important aspect of quilts!

Both of these quilts are going to Wrap a Smile along with Monday's quilt... kids undergoing cleft lip/cleft palate surgery will get these quilts.

The biggest miracle is that my mood to quilt is still going strong! I have a couple more simple quilts on the design wall and hope to get them completely done in the next few days! I'm just going to keep going while the mood is with me, and not ask any questions!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Rare Quilting Mood Strikes Again

Yep. It happened. I had that rare urge to quilt my own top. So I did! Here it is:

Nothing fancy, but that's how I roll. I was so excited that the mood struck; I hope it carries on into today so I can do another one when I get the chance to sit down.

This one is for Wrap-a-Smile.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer is Winding Down

We went out to ... guess where? Red Lobster! to celebrate birthday of my husband, our nephew, and my BIL (hubby's bro). Good times. When their birthdays roll around, it's a sign that summer is coming to an end.

I realized that I had not shown the finished quilt top of this scrappy endeavor.

Had a sewing day for my local guild today. No one showed up, and I decided to leave if no one came by noon. One person came at 11:45, and we agreed to call it a day. Better luck next time! Maybe everyone was on vacation.

Time to squeeze in those last-minute vacays before school starts up again. (I know, some of you have already started.) Hubby and I are now free to take days off whenever we want. Funny thing, though. The calendar fills up anyway, and I can't see any vacation days coming up in the near future.

Happy end of summer, everyone!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Books: Please Rise!

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride -- This is a great book! There are several characters whose stories overlap a lot or a little. Mostly it is about an 8 year-old boy, the son of Albanian immigrants. His eye-witness account of his life is poignant: sweet and very perceptive. He and his family have suffered some crises and escaped from political persecution. Their lives are not easy.

We follow the events happening to this family along with parallel stories of two different soldiers who returned from Iraq with physical and/or mental-emotional injuries.

The book is asking us to think about atrocities and how people react to and/or recover from the trauma. Can life still be seen as beautiful and worth living?

While it's a sad book, I completely loved it and loved how the story wrestles with the question of bad vs good and trauma vs the beauty of life. A 5-star book, engaging and easy to read even though it grapples with a Big Question.

Reminds me of a Little Free Library.. except big. So cool!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Six Tops for QBB

I now have six quilt tops ready to send to Quilts Beyond Borders. I am so thankful that they will accept tops, as finishing a quilt is what takes me and is stressful. I'm pretty sure you've seen all the quilts, except this one you only saw as a top-in-progress. Here it is, a completed top:

and here are all six, almost ready to go. Now I need to find the perfect box for shipping.

Today I started some volunteer work at my favorite non-profit, Ampersand Families. I have talked about them before. They help place older kids and teens in permanent adoptive homes. They are fabulous. I am doing simple office stuff to help out... scanning, and database updates. They're too busy to do it all themselves. Since I can't give them a gigantic financial contribution, at least I can help ease the paperwork burden a little bit.

I love being retired and having the freedom to do this. Have I mentioned that before? Retirement rocks!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

I'm Sewing Again!

After an interest slump and also being busy with summer travels and Mom-in-hospital bouts, I am finally back to sewing. It is fun being prolific again. I'll show you some things that are not even done yet, because I have so much fun at the design and create stage.

blocks for Sunshine... a Get Well card...

another block for Sunshine.. a couple blocks for Halloween... a small doggy or kitty bed (upholstery fabric filled with sewing scraps)

two tops for Quilts Beyond Borders... the first one, made of 4-patches, still needs borders... the second one is made from the community service block pattern that my guild is making during the rest of 2014.

a small quilt (12" x 16") for the bathroom at church... the previous one I made was stolen!

still on the design wall.. I'm deciding which rows to sew snugly together and which places will have a neutral stripe for resting of eyes. This is also destined for Quilts Beyond Borders

I'm doing a Quilts Beyond Borders push right now, because they are calling for quilts for kids who are refugees from the war in Syria. If you want to join in the donations to QBB (they do a variety of drives, mostly for under-served children outside of the USA), check their blog here: