Saturday, January 3, 2015

Graduation Quilt #2 - Jacob

I am proud to announce that the second graduation quilt was completed and delivered within the actual year of Jacob's graduation.  Graduation Quilt #1 is here; Quilt #3 has been pieced and is ready to quilt; in the meantime, another sweet boy has graduated and I've got to get started on Graduation Quilt #4.  Yikes.  Whose bright idea was this?

One of the first quilts my Grandma Hunley sewed when she was a young girl was a Grandmother's Flower Garden (how appropriate), made up of hundreds of little hexagons cut and pieced by hand.  I loved that quilt, and one of these days, I want to make one in her honor.  But with a sewing machine and a rotary cutter!

For my start at hexagons, I thought I should try something a little easier; the key was the Riley Blake Hexi Half Ruler.  I just cut two (or more) hexi halves out of each fabric, then lined them all up and sewed them together in strips -- no fussy piecing involved at all.  A little squaring up and adding a narrow border made this very pretty, if I do say so myself.

 Here is a not-so-beautiful picture of the back.  (Yes, I was in a hurry.)  The important thing to note is the strip of guitar fabric -- Jacob is a guitar craftman.  The quilting was simply 1/4" from the seams, done with the walking foot.

Happy Graduation, Jacob.  Happy wedding, happy life with Lauren.

And peace.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year of Books

Yippee!  It's a new year, which means new "Best Of ..." book lists.
And I love "best of" lists.  To me, this is the best of the best.

I read as many lists as I can, and have a little notebook where I transcribe those books I want to add to my own list.  The list just keeps growing through the year, and even though I know I'll probably never read every book on to "To Be Read" list, I don't get discouraged, because who can be discouraged by a chockablock book list?  

I pick new books by intriguing story lines, favorite time periods, beloved authors, and every once in a while, the cover.  I'm not ashamed -- someone goes to a lot of work to determine the perfect cover for the story inside, and I'm just honoring that work.   Right?

I only have two rules about books:
1)  If you love it, read it.
2)  If you don't really, really love it, put it down and move on to something you do.

There are far too many beautiful books in the world to read crap  something that doesn't capture you and make you wear a flashlight on your head so you can read into the wee hours and not disturb your bedmate.  (Thanks for that headlamp, Clay.)

The only codicil I would attach to this is that if you are in a book club, and the book chosen is something you would pitch aside immediately, try to read at least half of it, even if the main character is a talking cat or if there is a gruesome murder in the first pages (shiver).   Then read the last chapter, just so you'll know what is going on and can participate in the discussion.

This is just good manners. And don't be afraid to tell your group that you didn't like it.  It's OK -- how boring would a book group be if every single member loved every single book chosen?

(I guess I have one more codicil -- if you are reading a book for school or work, read the whole thing.  Do not watch the movie, read the Cliffs Notes or Google it.  Read it -- there is no substitute.  Don't ask me how I know this is heartbreakingly and grade-crushingly true, but you can thank me later.)

What did I read and absolutely love in the last third of 2014?

 Landline by Rainbow Rowell.  This is almost a time-travel book, and I don't really care for time travel.  Except this is amazing.  It didn't hurt that the main character's name is Georgie, and she is a cool Tina Fey-like sitcom writer.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This was on almost every "Best of 2014" list I saw, and there is a reason why -- it's beautiful.  Read it.

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.  I watched The Red Tent the other day on television -- I remember loving that book several years ago, and the show was OK, but it made me want to read more by Anita Diamant, so I downloaded this book and Day and Night onto my nook.  They are both great stories of strong women.

Currently, I'm reading Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (Pulitzer Prize winner, 1985) -- it is my friend, Polly's pick for January book group, and I am loving it.

What books are on my list?  Lots.  But here are the ones I'm starting 2015 with:


Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Plans

Happy New Year!

I don't make resolutions any more because I just break them in the first week or so and get all discouraged with myself.

But I do make plans, and one of my plans is to blog again.  Check.

First, I'll answer your questions.  Or, what I assume your questions would be.

Q:  Why haven't you blogged since September?

A:  This --
 Olive Rose, born on September 16
(thanks for this photo, darling Kelly)
and this --
Abigail Joan, born December 2
(thanks, Holly Von Buchler Photography for this amazing picture!)

And of course, I like hanging around with these guys, too:
 Paul and his Santa letter.  Happy to report that Santa delivered!

Tommy and Nate in the elf pajamas -- I think these were my best purchase of the season.

Q)  So, what's new?

A)  The downstairs floors, Clay's car and right knee and this:

Meet my new camper.  Well, she's not new, per se, but she's younger than me (she's merely 50 years old).  I have been wishing for a vintage camper for so long -- I've had a Dream Camper Pinterest board for ages and I wrote this poem to my future camper back in October of 2011.  I'll tell you the entire fortuitous story of how I came to acquire this gem soon, but for now, imagine how cute she will look next summer, with her turquoise stripe, awning and spiffed up aluminum.  I have found the perfect upholstery fabric for the cushions inside, but I'll save that for another post, too.  This will be fun, fun, fun!

Q:  What are your other plans for 2015?

A:  New things:

Help save the Monarch butterfly.          
Make my post-high school stage debut.  (Yikes, this is really happening!  I'll tell you this long story later, too, but you just might want to keep the weekends of February 13-14 or 20-21 open, just in case ...)

Same old things as last year:

Love and be kind.
Play more music, read more books and write more letters.
Finish sewing/crafty projects before starting anything new or buying new fabric or yarn.  Ugh.
Go to the gym and ride my bike on a more regular basis.
Garden and can.
Paint the upstairs hallway.

And the big one:  publish my book.  We'll talk more about that later, too.

Q:  So, are you going to blog more consistently, or is this just a big tease?

A:  Please, be nice.  I never claimed to be a consistent person, did I?   Have you had my meatloaf?

I was, however, thinking about dedicating a blogging day to each of the following:  books; food; crafty bits; my gorgeous kids and grandchildren; and general thoughts and whimsy.  So tomorrow, be ready for my first book post of the year.  I'm not promising that will happen every Friday, but I'll try.  Luckily for me, tomorrow's is already written.

So now, peace to you.  I'm off to eat some black-eyed peas, watch a little football and finish off one of those projects I had hoped to have completed by Christmas.  2012.