Quilt Show 2016

Brandywine Valley Quilters has a Quilt Show every other year and this is the year. The theme is "Quilting, what a novel idea!" The amount of planning is phenomenal from the theme to the program to the many members who make quilts, it is a class act.

This show I worked the first day in Receiving...the quilts are brought to the venue, checked in, looked over (threads clipped, animal hair removed with a lint brush, and checked for stains) and placed on a table in preparation for judging. The quilter receives a receipt to collect their quilt on Sunday. A new twist this year was to record a 30-second video of the quilter and the quilt to be used in a QR code. The code will be on display with the quilt.

The quilts are sorted by technique, type of quilting, etc.

On the second day of preparation, the quilts are judged by professional quilters against a pre-determined criteria. The judges will select the quilts to be awarded ribbons. This is the first time I have entered quilts to be judged. I entered four quilts in various categories and it is nerve wracking to think that someone will judge my work.

Because the theme is "novel" related, the decorations and signage were designed to reflect a library.

There was a line outside on the first morning of the Show.

Members outdid themselves in making items to be sold in the Boutique!

A new innovative idea is to add a "QR Code" to each quilt description, this allows the viewer to scan it and to hear the quilter talk about the quilt.  The name tag I wore was cleverly made by the Quilt Show Chair.

My Granddaughter and I were very surprised to win a ribbon for our "Wizard Wonderland" quilt! I pieced the panels with her supervision and she machine quilted it on the HQ Sweet Sixteen. 

The quilt received a "Harry's Choice" and a "Youth" participation ribbon. Harry is the maintenance man at the venue where the Quilt Show is held and he chooses one quilt to receive his ribbon.

Her reaction is priceless!

Harry, Shae and me!

Receiving the judge's comments after the show was enlightening, I am sharing them in the hopes of educating you as to what the judges are looking at in each quilt.

 This quilt is a "Round Robin" Quilt, "Promise." I created the center block and quilt guild members added rows to it. I added the last row to make it bigger.

Judge's Comments:
Interesting color choices
Straight lines need to be straight
Try to maintain traingle points
Quilting fills spaces well
Outside edge needs to be straight
Binding corners on the back need to be consistent with the front

"Connections" designed by my husband, Bob.  

Judge's Comments:
Very good use of complementary colors
Color and shape placement works well on this art quilt
Piecing generally well done
Quilting is appropriate
Quilt stitches vary in size and tension problems
Starts and stops visible
Binding well done

"David" This was created to represent Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne in Steampunk style. The Guild Challenge was to create a quilt to depict a "book" "author" "genre" etc. to fit the theme of the quilt show. 

Judge's Comments:
Gradation of background fabric was well chosen and adds depth
Embellishment well chosen for theme
Applique needs to be secure 
Machine quilting fills space well, tension problems noted
Nice choice of backing fabric

The Quilt Show was a wonderful and educational experience. The next BVQ Show will be in October 2018. Will I do it again? You betcha! 

#quiltshow #quiltshowribbon #judgedquilts


Saving Our Sons

Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success by Clayton Lessor with Lisa Canfield. St. Louis, Quest Project Press, 2016. 186 pages with index. *****

Targeted for mothers of teenage boys, Lessor has written a book that is relevant to all mothers and fathers. Lessor has worked with boys for 20 years and draws on that experience to explain and identify the problems faced by fatherless adolescent boys or those without an appropriate male role model. His historical perspective on how a father's influence has changed from working together on the farm to the absent, abusive, or distracted father and the impact of these societal changes on the maturity of young men. My favorite lines from the book, "Adolescent boys don't understand that becoming a man, at its core, means stepping up and accepting responsibility. They don't even know what that means."

Lessor explains The Quest Project, a once-a-week ten-week schedule of meetings to help a boy in a group/community setting to uncover his pain, face it and heal from it. The very first project included a group of eight troubled boys, who ranged in age from sixteen to eighteen years old. It grew to include activities for the Mom and son to work on outside of the sessions in an effort to better understand each other's perspective and point of view.

Eight boys and their families agreed to have their stories shared in the second half of the book. These stories of survival and success are inspiring and hopeful.

I highly recommend that this book be made available to single mothers, in high school guidance offices, and in doctor's offices. The guidelines for when to seek help are invaluable for a mother in the trenches.

Purchase a copy and gift it to a single mother of an adolescent boy, you will be doing both of them and society a huge favor.

I received a copy for review.

Clayton Lesser, MA, LPC is the founder of the Quest Project, an intensive, 10-week group program that helps troubled adolescent boys overcome their challenges and learn to be healthy, responsible young men. He lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri. More information at www.claytonlessor.com.

The Regulars

The Regulars: a novel by Georgia Clark. New York: Atria Books, 2016. 391 pages. ***

What if you and your best friends could change your "regular" look into your fantasy super model self for one week? Evie, Krista, and Willow are in their mid-twenties, trying to survive and find a niche in NewYork surrounded by successful, beautiful women. With one drop, a purple magic potion, "Pretty" will transform an average looking person into a totally different, glamorous, gorgeous, and successful woman. Willow, the first of the three, to try the magic potion is so transformed that her family and boyfriend don't recognize her. What starts out as a lark soon becomes complicated when their new selves are treated differently and they realize that the potion may not be the answer to what is holding them back from realizing their dreams.

This is an interesting story, part Alice in Wonderland, part horror, and realistic fiction. What looks fabulous and enviable from a distance, isn't always what it seems. Clark paints a realistic picture of the age old adage, "the grass is always greener..." and the ramifications of buying into a superficial lifestyle. Evie gets the girl of her dreams, Willow becomes a successful artist while seducing her boyfriend as Caroline and Krista gets the role of a lifetime. Laughs, tears, lots of sex, betrayal, and angst rolled into a story that will have you asking yourself, will you take the potion or walk away? Me, I'm not so sure.

I received a copy for a review.

Georgia Clark is widely published in women's and lifestyle magazines, has written for TV and performs improv. She is the author of YA novels She's with the Band and Parched. A native Australian, Georgia lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend and a fridge full of cheese. The Regulars is her first adult novel.

#bestsummerever @Booksparks


Naked Mountain

Naked Mountain: A Memoir by Marcia Mabee. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 289 pages. ****

"There's a mountain for sale." Marcia didn't know how that statement by a realtor in rural Virginia would change her life forever. Facing many setbacks and heartache in her life, escape from cancer, despair, and grief comes in the form of unexpected natural beauty. The wildlife and flora indigenous to her retreat help her regain strength and renew a commitment to preserve it for future generations.

Mabee writes a heartwarming memoir of unexpected love, friendship, survival, and grief. She has a gift for storytelling and recreating painful past memories. Cancer survivors may find strength and hope in her unwavering determination to overcome the many obstacles she encounters.

I received a copy for a review.

Marcia Mabee is a retired Washington, DC, lobbyist. After serving as professional staff for a committee of Congress, she represented nonprofit health associations before the Executive Branch and Congress for twenty-five years. She holds multiple advanced degrees, including a PhD in health policy, an MPH, and an MSW. She has published in the American Journal of Surgery and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and has written chapters for medical and nursing textbooks. She currently writes a blog about living in the middle of the Naked Mountain Natural Area Preserve, a property she and her deceased husband, Timothy Bell, purchased in Virginia in 1988. An ovarian cancer survivor, she also writes about her cancer and grief recovery. Naked Mountain is her first book.
Marcia can be contacted at: marcia.mabee@gmail.com, or through her blogsite: www.nakedmountain.net.

#magicofmemoir @booksparks


The Kept Woman

The Kept Woman: a novel by Karin Slaughter. New York: William Morrow, 406 pages. ****

Slaughter once again weaves an intricate tale of murder, revenge, and control. With the discovery of a body at an abandoned construction site and the realization that the vast amount of blood found there does not belong to the murder victim, sends Will Trent on a mission to confront his past. Throw in an accused rapist, who is a connected athlete both politically and powerfully, who happens to own the site where the body is found and Will's life gets even more complicated. Partially told through the eyes of Will's lover, Sara Linton, the GBI medical examiner, and stalker, ex-wife Angie Polaski, exposes their tangled relationship with Will and his past.

I love Karin Slaughter as an author and relish her complicated plots with all of their devious twists and turns and The Kept Woman does not disappoint. What Slaughter does best is to develop complex characters and expose social issues (physical and emotional abuse, abandonment, corruption) in a roller coaster of emotions.

I received a copy from BookSparks for a review.

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County series and the instant New York Times bestselling standalones Cop Town and Pretty Girls. There are more than thirty-five million copies of her books in print around the world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

#FRC2016 @BookSparks #thekeptwoman


A House for Happy Mothers

A House for Happy Mothers: a novel by Amulya Malladi. Lake Union Publishing, 2016. 391 pages. ***
Priya has everything going for her...a stable marriage, fulfilling career, a family who loves her, everything but what she really wants ---a baby. She becomes consumed by the thought of motherhood and convinces her husband to consider a surrogate. In an Indian village, Asha and her husband are struggling to provide for their two children, especially their gifted son. With money in short supply, there is no chance of him getting the education he deserves.  Asha reluctantly agrees to be a surrogate to earn extra money for her family and moves into the Happy Mothers House to finish out her pregnancy. Priya tries too hard and doesn't understand what Asha is feeling and experiencing as a pregnant woman who has to distance herself from the child growing inside her.

I am conflicted about this book, I enjoyed reading it, but it seemed somewhat disjointed. It will make an interesting companion read to Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline. Both of the main characters are likable and their situations and station in life are vastly different, joined by the desire to make a better life for their families. The premise of the story is a good one and different from other plots, but I felt it lacked an emotional connection for me.

I received a copy for a review.

Amulya Malladi is the author of six novels, including The Mango Season and The Sound of Language. Her books have been translated into several languages. She has a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's degree in journalism and works as a marketing executive for a global medtech company. She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children. She loves to connect with her readers on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/amulyamalladi and on her website at www.amulyamalladi.com.

#SRC2016 @BookSparks #bestsummerever


Swear On This Life

Swear On This Life: a novel by Renee Carlino. New York: Atria Paperback, 2016. 303 pages. ****

Emiline is stalled in her writing and is working as an adjunct instructor at UC San Diego when her roommate raves about a bestselling novel from unknown author, J. Colby, and urges her to read it. Emiline reluctantly starts it only to discover that it is the story of her life! The mysterious J. Colby must be her childhood friend and first love, Jase. How dare he write the story of her unhappy, desperate childhood and from her point of view. Emiline only has one choice to find her childhood friend whom she hasn't seen in over a decade and to confront her past.

Carlino drew me in from the very beginning, Emiline's story is compelling and heartwrenching. Told in alternating voices lends authenticity to this emotional tale of lost love and friendship. Do we each have that "one person" in our life or are there many for different stages of our life? Whatever the answer, Carlino tugged at my emotions and had me cheering for Jase and Emiline to be reunited. I won't give away any more of the story, but if you enjoyed Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, you will love this one too.

I received a copy for a review.

Renee Carlino is a screenwriter and the bestselling author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere but Here, After the Rain, and Before We Were Strangers. She grew up in Southern California and lives in the San Diego area with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. To learn more, visit Renee Carlino.

#SRC2016 #bestsummerever @BookSparks