T Shirt Quilt

I volunteered to make a T-shirt quilt for a friend's daughter. Her favorite color is green and I found this gorgeous Amy Butler fabric on sale and bought 10 yards of it. It doesn't photograph in all of its glory, but it is bright greens, yellow, a little orange, and pink!

I started laying the t-shirts on the living room floor to get an idea of a layout.

I did some research and texted a friend as to what kind of fusible interfacing to use, she suggested Pellon 44F at 99 cents a yard at Jo-Anns. It is 20 inches wide, so I bought 12 yards. My rationale was 2 shirts per yard, cutting the fusible 18 by 20 inches. Everything I read said to cut the shirts up the side and across the neckline...then apply the fusible before trimming the shirt to the correct size. 

I then measured each front of the shirt with the design side up to see what a common size would be to cut. A friend loaned me plastic templates, a huge time saver....most of the shirts could be cut to 12.5 inches square, but 4 were too big and needed to be 14.5 inches square. So, I trimmed them all to 15 inches. I decided to seam two of the shirts together to make one shirt and did this twice. 
There was one shirt left when they were all laid out 4 x5, but I decided not to use that one. 

My plan is to add a frame around each shirt and a white strip in between, even without borders, I realized this quilt will be big...!!! My husband (the engineer) suggested making the first and last column narrower (12.5 x14.5) and the center row smaller. (10.2 x 14.5) 

It seemed to work visually, so I started auditioning fabric strips to frame the blocks. 

I didn't realize how labor intensive a "T-shirt" quilt is to make. 

Finally! All of the frames are sewn and I added white sashing around all of the blocks. The 3.5 inch flowered border has been added and it's off to the longarmer.

#tshirtquilt #tshirtquilts


The Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers

The Amish Cooking Class : The Seekers (The Amish Cooking Class, book 1) by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Ohio: Shiloh Run Press, 2017. 310 pages. Recipes. Discussion Questions. *****

Married for eight years without children and her husband won't adopt, Heidi Troyer decides to share what she does best. She advertises to teach a cooking class modeled after the quilting classes taught by her aunt. What Heidi didn't count on are the students who signed up for her class bring their troubles, concerns, and drama to her door. The cooking students are Charlene, who is engaged to be married, but is a disaster in the kitchen; Kendra, a pregnant teen; Loretta, widowed with two children; Ron, a hustler who parks his van on the Troyer farm; and Eli, an Amish widower who wants to learn to cook for himself. Add a mystery and romance between the students and cooking class is never dull.

Reading a Brunstetter book is like greeting an old friend. Her characters have a certain grace, peace, and faith. They work through life's problems and joys with drama and arrive at a quiet acceptance. One of her greatest strengths as a writer is her ability to bring her characters to life. I have read all of her books and each character is unique. When I finish one of her books I believe all is right with the world, escapism at its highest form. The recipes sound yummy and are a bonus! I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

I received a copy for a review.

New York Times bestselling, award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter, is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.

#amishfiction #christianfiction


Drop In

Drop In: Lead With Deeper Presence and Courage by Sara Harvey Yao. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 184 pp. *****

Yao has written a simple, yet effective, method for becoming present. Classified as a business book, it reads more as a life plan for navigating the complexities of life and work. Seldom has a book so resonated with me. I like to read self-help books and eagerly began this one. By asking oneself a few questions at any given time will remind you "the essence of you and your reactions are two very different things." For anyone who suffers daily anxiety, this premise can be life changing. Her chapter   "Accessing Your Connected Heart," discusses the power of listening and the four levels of listening. This chapter alone makes the purchase worthwhile. To fully listen and accept that the person speaking "was already whole, capable, and resourceful," is a lesson for all aspects of life. There were many aha moments and the marking of passages to return to and reflect on. Full of practical tools applicable for all aspects of communicating with others, both at home and at work. I recommend this book; buy one for you and one for a friend.

I received a copy for a review.

Sara Harvey Yao is a leadership consultant and coach who specializes in helping people lead from a state of presence by accessing the wisdom of their head, heart, and gut. She has developed and trained thousands of leaders across the globe, and her work is favored by leaders at companies such as Microsoft =, Smuckers and Brooks Athletics. Whether working one-on-one, as a facilitator, or presenting in front of large audiences, she is committed to guiding people to their innate clarity and presence. Sara is also the author of Get Present: Simple Strategies to Get Out of Your Head and Lead More Powerfully.



Solstice Challenge

Block #9 Among the Stars This block is huge and I love it!

Block #10 The Coffee Shop

                            Quilt Math # 11

Jacob's Ladder #12

I'm not too sure about this block, it might be too low volume with the other blocks. 

#SolsticeChallenge #Beyondthereef #handmakerfabrics


It Happens All the Time

It Happens All The Time: a novel by Amy Hatvany. New York: ATRIA books, 2017. 302 pages ****

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers---understanding each other when no one else does. While Tyler is in love with Amber, her feelings for him are strictly platonic. When she returns home after graduating from college and getting engaged to her college boyfriend, Amber questions her decision to get married and reconnects with her best friend, Tyler. Exploring her feelings for Tyler, Amber after a night of drinking, kisses him. Told in the alternating voices of Tyler and Amber, what happens next affects both of them and their families forever.

Hatvany has a gift for presenting both sides of a difficult situation and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. Telling how the events leading to that night occurred from Tyler and Amber's point of view added an authenticity to the story that is difficult to ignore. I was sympathetic to each character while I was reading their side and then would flip to the other point of view with the next chapter. The ending left me dissatisfied and I keep thinking about what each person lost on that night. There are no easy answers or solutions for this horrific event that "happens all the time" and Hatvany has given it a voice of outrage. There are many points of discussion which will make this a good book club choice.

I received a copy for a review.

Amy Hatvany is the author of Best Kept Secret, Outside the Lines, The Language of Sisters, Heart Like Mine, Safe with Me, and Somewhere Out There. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her family.

#WINTERVENTION @BookSparks #readalatte


Sweet Southern Hearts

Sweet Southern Hearts (Willow Hill Series #3) by Susan Schild. New York: Lyrical Press, 2017. 202 pages. *****

This is the third book in the Willow Hill Series and Linny Taylor has married Willow Hill's handsome veterinarian, Jack Avery. Linny is trying to be everything to everyone and life is getting complicated. Jack's twelve-year-old son, Neal, needs a place to stay because his mother and stepfather are fighting all of the time, so Jack and Linny's honeymoon is cut short. Linny's mother invites her on an RV adventure trip with her middle age friends and Linny enjoys getting to know her mother a little better. When her sister Kate falls and breaks her arm, Linny babysits her niece while juggling her career and responsibilities. Just like life, there is always a surprise around the corner.

This is one of those books that envelops you like a soft blanket and a hot drink. The women are strong, kind and look out for each other...bringing casseroles, offers of babysitting, etc. I definitely will read Schild's other two books in the series. While I was reading this book, it was cold and rainy outside, I didn't even notice or care. This book is filled with laughter, sunshine, and love.

I received a copy for a review.

Susan Schild writes wholesome and sunny Southern fiction. She likes stories about charming men, missing money, adventuresome women, sweet dogs, and happily ever after at any age.
You can visit Susan's website at www.susanschild.com  and follow Susan on Facebook.

#wintervention @booksparks #readalatte


Good Words and More Good Words

Good Words: Memorializing Through a Eulogy by Beth L. Hewett, Ph. D. Indiana: Westbow Press, 2014. 207 pages. *****

Dr. Hewett has written a sensitive, insightful book into writing what has to be the most emotional tribute to someone we love: the eulogy. This book organizes the steps in the writing process by the most-to-least important details. Writing is only part of the process; advice for delivering the eulogy with confidence is also covered. Each chapter stands alone, however, I recommend you read it cover to cover. Some of the chapters include: "Praise in Difficult Relationships" "The Parts of the Eulogy" and "Choosing the Right Person to Deliver the Eulogy." Chapter 6 addresses the issue of children: writing a eulogy for a child and preparing children for the ceremony and speaking their grief.
Appendix A includes sample Eulogies, Appendix B provides Example Words and Poetry for Blessing and Honoring, and Appendix C compiles it all into a Eulogy Writing Guide. This Guide is a step-by-step, fill in the blanks guide. I highly recommend this book and the following ones from Dr. Hewett.

More Good Words: Practical Activities for Mourning by Beth L. Hewett, Ph. D. Indiana: Westbow Press, 2014. 188 pages. *****

More Good Words is written to encourage taking active control of grief through intentional actions and activities. "The activities are applicable to any loss, such as divorce, incarceration, etc." Drawing on her own experiences and those of her family, Hewett normalizes the feelings that emerge when we experience grief. We may experience anxiety because now life is different and others want us to move on. She provides activities for mourning with our emotions, spirits, bodies, minds and socially. Well-written, practical, yet sensitive to the needs of each individual. One size does not fit all in mourning.

Dr. Hewett has also written a series of booklets:

  • Memorializing Through A Eulogy: Eulogies and Difficult Situations (Good Words) 978-1-56123-228-4. 5.95
  • Memorializing Through A Eulogy: Eulogies and Religious Settings (Good Words) 978-1-56123-228-4. 5.95
  • Memorializing Through A Eulogy: Eulogies For Children (Good Words) 978-1-56123-226-0. 5.95
  • Memorializing Through A Eulogy: Eulogies With Childrens Voices (Good Words) 978-1-56123-227-7. 5.95
  • Memorializing Through A Eulogy: Eulogy Writing & Delivering (Good Words) 978-1-56123-225-3. 5.95
  • Memorializing Through A Eulogy: Nontraditional Eulogies (Good Words) 978-1-56123-223-9
  • Grief In The Workplace (More Good Words) written with Dr. Richard Ottenstein 978-1-56123-240-6. 12.95

These booklets are inexpensive, yet, priceless. I once wrote a eulogy on a napkin in a bar the night before a funeral. I had written a very formal, stilted one for a family member and others hated it. We collectively rewrote it, hence the napkin. There is comfort in knowing that someone has written a guide to help during an extremely, emotional time in our lives. I highly recommend buying these books and reading them now before the need arises and then keeping them handy for when the time comes. Not one of us escapes the experience of grieving and mourning. (I thought the terms were synonymous before reading these books) Dr. Hewett has provided excellent guides to ease the burden and the importance of taking active control of grief. These books are such an excellent resource, they should be available in doctor's offices, hospice, counselor's offices, churches, etc. Well-done!

I received copies for review.

Dr. Beth L. Hewett is an experienced bereavement facilitator and counselor, facilitator trainer, author, public speaker, and writing instructor. Her specialty is mindful mourning with Bead Blessings, writing, and other activities. See More Good Words: Practical Activities for Mourning and her other books at www.goodwordsforgrieving.com and email: beth@goodforwordsforgrieving.com.

#goodwords #moregoodwords #eulogy #eulogies #grief #mourning