Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Books: Samuel Lake

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield -- I had heard this was a good book, so I was looking forward to reading it. I knew one of the characters is a Methodist minister - which my dad was, too - so I thought I might be able to relate to the story. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Nothing "Methodist" about it resonated with me at all. The characters are one-dimensional, especially the "bad guy." He was a stereotypically bad, violent man with zero redeeming qualities. The good guys were also poorly developed and too shallow. It's a story about a family having their annual reunion, and one branch of the family ends up moving back to the home circle. There were a few things that kept me reading; I was curious about some of the characters, but overall I was disappointed and would not recommend that you spend time on this one. I give it two stars out of five.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

End of Boutique - Success!

I am happy to report that my quilt sold. My friend, B, bought it to put on her mother's bed in the nursing home. It isn't a bed-size quilt, but it will be an extra layer for warmth, and it can also be a lap quilt for her mom. I am honored that she wanted to buy it for her mother.

The bigger of the two pillows I made also sold. Someone kept looking at it, coming back, debating with herself, leaving, coming back. Finally she bought it. Yay! The boutique took in a little over $500. I think that's on the high-average end of our usual take. I'm not sure. As usual, I'm tired but happy after a successful boutique.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

More Than I Remembered

We have a church boutique once a year; this year's will be on Wednesday of this week (tomorrow). It takes place during a big turkey dinner. The boutique is a small, add-on affair that provides a bit of fun in addition to the dinner. It's not a big event that requires a huge inventory, but I never seem to finish all my ideas, mostly because I wait until the last minute to make them. However, when I took an inventory of what I've made, I have more than I remembered! I'm happy. I'll be even happier if the things sell.

Fabric-covered journals; I only made three. Wish I'd had time to make more. On the other hand, who knows if they will sell?

two pillows; the embroidery work was done by the mother from a family our church "adopted" last year for Christmas. She gave us several embroidered pieces as thank-yous. I still have more. If I start now, maybe I can get all of them made into something useable for next year.

a small table or dresser topper

Here is a knitted hat and scarf set that I made with yarn I was able to buy at a super-bargain price (that always makes me happy):


I even will attempt to sell a quilt! Selling a quilt at the boutique is doubtful, because most people are looking for small, inexpensive items. But one never knows. (To my surprise, I did sell a quilt at the boutique a couple years ago!) This is a good toddler/young kid size quilt. This photo was taken before it was quilted. If it doesn't sell, I have plenty of other possible destinations for this quilt.

I have a few other odds and ends which I won't photograph (home-made note cards and knitted dish cloths). Hopefully these will make a good addition to the inventory and will help make it a successful boutique again this year.

P.S. Here's a photo of that quilt, completed. I forgot I had photographed it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Books: Paris Architect

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure was a good read. If you want an exciting page-turner, this is it. The story has enough tension going on that you will want to keep reading to see what happens. It's the story of an architect who finds himself, reluctantly, designing hiding places for Jews in Paris apartments during the German occupation in WWII.

The characterization is strong; the reader will see human kindness in enemies and will also see how people's characters are tested during war - to turn in a neighbor to save oneself or to do what's right and put yourself and family at risk. They are tough questions.

A well done, well-told story written by an authentic architect who made his first foray into fiction with this book. As quoted on the back cover, it is "a fascinating picture of Paris during the Occupation, with all its contradictions -- the opulence and the fear."

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Long-Term Projects

Several years ago I vowed to focus on UFOs and get those done and out of my sewing piles. I have done quite well on that endeavor, but am still plugging away. Here is one that has been in the works for years. My sister and I both made blocks, and I finally got it put together. It will soon be in the hands of a machine quilter and will be done. Hooray!

the fancy name of this one, so far, is "small twin"

Recently I have also made a few blocks. These are string blocks for Jan M. in Australia.
And these are my October Lotto blocks for Sunshine. Tammy will use them to make a quilt for a child.

I have another UFO that has been calling to me. I need to get it done! It is my Tea Towel Challenge for which I have a button in my sidebar. It was a 2014 project, but I still don't have it done. I hope to get it done soon -- before 2016 rolls around.

If any of my readers remember making me a word block for my 60th birthday quilt.. well, that is also still in the works. Never fear. It shall be made. I am now 63, but it is still going to be my 60th birthday quilt, when I finally get it done. I wonder when that will be!? I'm hoping to get it done in 2016 - before I turn 64.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Just Some Chit Chat

I haven't just rambled, chit-chat style for a while. Now's the time.

Husband recently fixed my sewing table so it will now fit my sewing machine that I got a year ago. It's nice to have the machine sit down into the table like it's supposed to. It's handy to have a hubby who is handy.

We've been having a gorgeous fall here! Many long days of sunshine, comfortable temperatures, and blazing orange, yellow, and red trees!! I love it. I'm trying to soak it all in and memorize the colors so when gray, dreary November comes, I can be happy in my memories.

Last Saturday I went to a quilt show which was quite good - put on by Ladies of the Lake Quilters.

I have several more photos, but they're kind of hard to find on my computer at the moment, so I'm giving up.

Here's a baby quilt I made.. a couple at church is having a baby but asked that our gifts to them go instead to a shelter where there are three pregnant women. So someone in need is getting this quilt. It was fun doing an anonymous baby shower, knowing the gifts are really needed where they are going.

Here's a quilt I'm making. I can't decide if I'm finished or not. The recipient asked for a longer than normal quilt (this one is) that is "heavy" kind of like a weighted blanket. I have that figured out, I think. What I don't know is if I have made it wide enough. I am hesitating taking it to the quilter until I figure out if I'm done or if I need to add some width to it. I'm eager to get it done! I just need to make a decision. Sometimes I can be indecisive!
I just realized this photo was taken when I was in mid-construction phase. It's not even the whole quilt top!

Well, this has been a disjointed chit-chat, but that's all I have in me right now. I'm tired and it's past my bedtime. Nighty-night!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Books: This One Took Two Months!

It took me two months to read this week's book. Don't ask me why; I can't tell you. Part of it was the big reading slump I was in. The other part is that I would put it down and then interrupt it with other books.

Well, I finally finished The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs. A man grows up in Newark, in a very poor and tumultuous part of the city. His single mother is a very hard worker and has high hopes for her super intelligent son. His father is in prison. As the title tells you, he does well in school and attends Yale University, but ultimately does not survive. It is a big leap to Yale from his crime-ridden neighborhood. This book is an interesting look into the life of poverty and the difficulties of breaking away from poverty's grip. Even with his supreme intelligence and many breaks he is given, the community of his birth and all its ramifications keep him from fully realizing his potential. Very interesting and sad book.

Don't take my two-month stint reading this book as a negative mark for the book. I give it 4 stars out of 5. It's quite good, and is worth reading.

photo of my friend's father reading; he recently passed away and is sorely missed

Thursday, October 15, 2015

So Many UFOs! -- and a little prize

I decided to gather up all my quilts that need finishing and to prepare backing fabrics for them. Omigosh, I have so many! And quilting takes me a long time, as it's a hard task for me. So who knows how long it will take for all of these quilts to be completed. I have a pile of eight, so far. This photo shows only seven. I have about four or five that are out on my table, waiting for me to piece together a backing fabric. This means my total to-be-done pile is going to be about a dozen. Eeek!

Want to make a guess? Place any bets? Put a guess in the comments, telling me a date by which you think I will finish these seven that are in the photo, and I will send a charm pack to whoever comes closest. This is Downton Abbey, Lady Sybil fabric by Andover Fabrics - 42 five-inch squares. (Sorry, USA shipping only.) This is nice fabric! Might as well add some fun and mystery to my "chore!" You have until Monday, October 19 at midnight Central time to put in your guess.

P.S. - Lest you think I really am rather organized; the list and photo of UFOs I have discussed here are only the ones I have on hand that I hope to give away in the fairly near future. I have several other UFOs that I'm not counting - things I want to make for fun, for me to keep, to give to family members, etc etc. My UFO pile really is endless.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Some Quilts for Kids

I had five quilts to bind, which always takes a bit of time. It's not my favorite part of quilt-making. I'm glad to say they are all done and the quilts can now be on their way to warm up some children.

Beth P. sent me a huge pile of pre-cut scraps, and I made this... and several more which will appear in time. This one is going to Quilts Beyond Borders.

This baby one I made as a distraction to myself when some other chore wasn't fun any more. I'll probably donate it to Bundles of Love through my local guild.

This is another baby size quilt. It was a sample I bought at a quilt shop and then had someone else quilt it. The only thing I did on this quilt was the binding. I am sending it to a friend who will make sure it gets donated to the Fond du Lac Reservation's Annual Baby Shower.

This one is also going to Fond du Lac Reservation. It was made from my guild's community service blocks and donated fabric.

This one is made from my scraps. It will go to Quilts Beyond Borders.

And that completes my most recent quilt finishes. Now on to all those other projects waiting in line... stay tuned.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Fun Family Wedding

I finally found my camera. I had left it at church! I didn't actually find it, but a church staff person told me she had it and was pretty sure it was mine. I was SO HAPPY to get my camera back. It's nice to have another option in my cell phone, but that phone camera just does not cut it when I want to take real pictures. And, unfortunately, I had not been reunited with my real camera when our niece got married a week ago.

Nevertheless I managed to get some nice pictures (and some duds) which I share with you today. The wedding was last Saturday: a beautiful though a bit chilly fall day. Wedding took place in a park, and then reception was in a building which used to be a church but has been renovated to become a community center. Beautiful place!

Before the ceremony -- professional photos were done except for a couple of shots like this... then they're walking back to the shelter to keep warm before the wedding begins.

parents of the bride (my husband's sister), and arrival of the grandparents, helped by our nephew:

Our niece was full of laughter and joy - bride and groom adore each other.

Below: happy hugs, our daughter and her honey, the 4 at the table are hubby's brother and his wife, with hubby and me.

Group shot above is all the cousins on our side (hubby's side) of the family, our kids' generation. Missing was our son who is in Korea.

The happy couple is back at their new home and new jobs in Nebraska. They won't get a honeymoon until a year from now.