Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Books: Review from Across the Pond

By the time this review is posted, and you read it, Husband and I will be waving back at the USA from Prague, Czech Republic! I never dreamed I'd get there, but we are off on an adventure, and having a blast anticipating it. (I am writing this review a couple hours before going to the airport to start our trip.)

I just finished reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. This is an excellent book. I loved it and loved Hattie, a character who on the surface seems hard to love. She appears to be strict, a little mean, and far from tender with her children. But inside, she loves them dearly and does what she does in order to keep them alive and thriving. She also is dealing with a difficult life of her own, and growing to adulthood during the migration of African American families from the South to the North.

Each chapter is a different year and focuses on different characters. The first chapter is Hattie and her twins in the early 1920s. Then each chapter works through the years until the last chapter, 1980, which focuses on Hattie's granddaughter.

The stories, characters, and flow of the story will grab you; you may even have trouble putting this one down. I give it 4.5 stars.

Stay tuned, and I'll soon return home with stories of our adventures -- maybe some great bookstores -- in Europe!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Books: Solar Storms aka Water-Something

Last Friday I could not post a review, because I had not finished the book. I finished it later that night, around midnight. A week later, here's my review of Solar Storms by Linda Hogan.

This is going to be the book we discuss at my cousins' annual gathering - tomorrow! We read one book a year. One of my cousins suggested that the title doesn't seem to fit the story, and she proposed that we all think of alternate titles for the book. I agree, "Solar Storms" is kind of out of nowhere.. I'd give it a title something about water. But, I'm surmising that the publisher made her use that title. It's more catchy than something like I was thinking: Water Shapes Us or... something like that. That's very dull.

It's the story of a 1970's teenage girl who has Indian (native American) heritage but grows up in Oklahoma, removed from her clan of origin. Her mother was abusive and the girl had ended up in foster care. As a teenager, she returns to her clan's area of land and villages, to search for her mother and to figure herself out. Water plays a big role in the story; it's also a coming-of-age saga of this young girl. It also involves another culture clash between the dominant White American society and the Indians' culture of the area in question (northern Minnesota and Canada).

The writing is beautiful! Fabulous language in this book. I couldn't read it quickly, though, because the story made me sad. I needed little breathers. That's why it took me over two weeks to read the book. I loved it and yet... it was hard due to the pervasive sadness. Actually there are quite a few times when the story is light-hearted, hopeful, positive, and pleasant. But overall I felt sad about the whole situation.

It will be interesting to hear what my cousins have to say about it tomorrow. I give it 4.5 stars; I definitely recommend this well-written, beautiful book.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Finish on a Big Quilt!

I finished the gorgeous quilt!! I'm really happy with it. I took a million pictures. I'll try to post a few less than a million here for you to enjoy.

beautifully quilted by Diane S.!

backing fabric that I dyed myself

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review or Cute Baby?

I can't believe it's already Friday and time for a Friday Books review from me. I can't give you one! This week really flew. I didn't have much time to read, so I'm not done with my book (close, but close only counts in horseshoes).

How about, as a great replacement, I show you some darling baby pictures? This is my new great-nephew on his 8th day of life. It's hard to believe a human being can be so small. He's a little under 7 lbs. I know they come even smaller, but I rarely see them this small. I'm smitten.

I promise I'll have a book review for you next Friday!

Henry with his mommy, his big sister, and his grandma

Henry with his great-grandma

Henry with his great-aunt (moi)

Henry being cute

Henry with great-uncle, my hubby

Henry being cute again (he's good at that)

This shows the quilt I gave to Henry; his big sister loved it and wanted to play and cuddle with it right away. THAT is a sight to see -- warms a quilter's heart.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gorgeous Quilting

I have a beautiful quilt in my possession. I made it recently and then took it to my friendly machine quilter, Diane. She does fabulous work!! She pretty much had free rein.. I knew she would do it up beautifully. I picked up the quilt on Monday and was awe-struck. It is GORGEOUS!!!!

Here are a couple of teaser pictures. These are photos of the back, trying to capture the beautiful quilting designs. This is that large piece of fabric I hand-dyed, and it was very uneven... but it makes an interesting quilt back.

I am not showing you the front until I get the binding on and it is totally done. Just wait.. it's a sight to behold.

While you wait, wish my Favorite Son a Happy 27th Birthday today! Where has the time gone??

Saturday, September 07, 2013

It's a Baby!

My niece had a baby boy this week. He came 4 weeks early, but he was plenty big and fully grown...7 lbs 5 oz and 19 inches long. Baby and Mama are both doing fine. Introducing my great-nephew: Henry Roscoe!

I love his name. My dad's name was Roscoe. He would have been so tickled to have a great-grandchild named for him. Instead the rest of us are tickled on behalf of our Dad.

I haven't met little Henry in person yet, but I hope to soon. Aren't babies the greatest things ever??

Friday, September 06, 2013

Friday Books: Solar Storms

It is currently early Friday morning, and Google tells me that today is Jane Addams' 153rd birthday. Jane Addams is my hero! She has been my inspiration ever since I read a biography of her when I was about 9 years old. The biography was called "Jane Addams, World Neighbor." I wonder if it is still in print. I got it for Christmas; I think the year was 1961. I love how books can change a person's life, or at least, help direct the way one's heart wants to go.

I ended up in a career that is a "helping profession." I knew I needed that aspect in a job. I could never sit at a desk and crunch numbers. Instead I sit at a desk (cubicle) and I crunch language! What a fascinating job.

My book this week is Solar Storms by Linda Hogan. I can't tell you much yet, because I'm only halfway through. But I can tell you that the main character is trying to find herself. She needs to figure herself out from her inside soul to the outside. Maybe then she can know enough about herself to steer her life in a way that perfectly suits her dreams.

I was lucky enough to do so.

Next week I will have this book finished and can tell you all about it. Right now I'll tell you this: the language is beautiful. What a gift good writing is!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Selvage Blog Featured Me

After I made my bookcase quilt from selvages, I found out there is a selvage blog! I shared my picture with the blog author, and she featured me there today. Here's a link.

Here's more work I have in progress. All these blocks came from Joann in a big box of her extras. I still have tons more from her. I'm having fun playing with them.

semi-assembled, still being designed and soon-to-be finished

playing happily with more pieces from Joann

Monday, September 02, 2013

A Quilt for MHC

Margaret's Hope Chest asked for a few baby quilts for a project in Kenya. They only needed about 8 quilts. I volunteered this one.

Off it goes, soon to be cuddling a sweet baby in Kenya.

Yes, the orange is some of my own dyed fabric!

Backing: animals driving cars