Monday, October 11, 2021

Quilt Retreat and Checklist

 Quilt Retreats

I love going to Quilt Retreats and try to go to at least 2 a year. To avoid the risk of forgetting something, I created a Quilt Retreat Checklist. Not all items are needed every time, however, it is a good starting point. I updated it this fall to reflect new safety protocols. If one of the Retreats has a quilt project, contest or challenge and it requires materials, be sure to include those. 

Assuming you will be in a large room in a hotel or banquet hall, become familiar with the limitations set by the venue. Can you bring snacks to be shared? Are individual irons allowed? Will everyone need an extension cord? Must all attendees show vaccination cards and wear masks? Is alcohol allowed in the work room or guest's rooms? 

Quilt Retreat Checklist

Personalize for your needs. Do remember to mark your possessions with your name or initials, quilters are sharers and it's easier to pack up when you can identify your tools. If you and a friend are rooming and sitting together, you may want to plan ahead of time what each of you will bring so you can share your tools if you want to.

Seasonally I decorate my work space and thankfully I have sisters and friends who indulge me.

Calico Cutters Quilt Guild's Retreat has 3 rules:

Sleep when you want to.

Eat when you want to.

Sew when you want to.

Shop when you want to.

Quilt Retreats should be fun, NO QUILT POLICE! You will make new friends and learn new things. 

Quilt Retreat 2018

Retreat by the Sea

Quilt Retreat 2017

Quilt Retreat 2016

 #quiltretreat #quiltretreatchecklist 

Monday, October 04, 2021

Count the Ways

Count The Ways: A Novel by Joyce Maynard. New York: Willam Morrow, 2021. 445 pages. ****

Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the mid-1970's. Eleanor is an artist and writer; Cam makes wooden bowls. Fast-forward and they have four children and are living on a New Hampshire farm.

Eleanor is writing and illustrating a successful series of children's books, Cam is making hand-turned bowls from tree burls. When the demand for their books and bowls slow down, and money worries surface, Eleanor resents Cam's cavalier attitude that somehow everything will work out. When tragedy strikes because of Cam's inattention while watching the kids, Eleanor becomes bitter and can't forgive him. 

This is the first book of Maynard's that I have read and once started I couldn't put it down. It is so easy to analyze their marriage from the sidelines, however, I'm not sure I could be as strong as Eleanor in not telling the children the true story. I suspect the ending (no spoilers here) will have a different impact depending on the age of the reader. I recommend this book for a Book Club especially one with readers of different ages. 

Joyce Maynard is the author of eighteen books, including the New York Times bestselling novel Labor Day,  and To Die For (both adapted for film), Under the Influence and the memoirs, At Home in the World  and The Best of Us.  

Joyce Maynard is currently at work on a book about her return to Yale University two and a half years ago as an undergraduate, forty-eight years after dropping out at age 18.  

Joyce Maynard's website.

Follow me on IG @flamazing_books

#counttheways #family #betrayal

Sunday, October 03, 2021

The Madness of Crowds

The Madness of Crowds (17th in the series) by Louise Penny. New York; Minotaur Books, 2021. 439 pages. *****

"Q & A With Louise Penny on The Madness of Crowds." "A Word About The Cover For The Madness of Crowds."

All will be well. Ca va bien alter.

Chief Inspector Gamache and his family are enjoying the holidays and are looking forward to the New Year. The Pandemic has been officially declared over and the residents of Three Pines are celebrating with friends and family in a way that would have been impossible a year ago. 

The fact that Gamache receives a new assignment to provide security for a professor of statistics who will be giving a lecture at a nearby university is puzzling on many levels. Complicating his assignment is the appearance of Haniya Dad, the Hero of the Sudan, who claims to have come to the village to meet someone, however, she won't divulge the person's name.  Is it Ruth or the Asshole Saint and why won't she tell them? New Year's Eve ends in murder, which only raises more questions - has the wrong person been killed, mistaken for someone else or is this a carefully crafted murder? 

Louise Penny's latest book packs a punch! I have read all of her books in this series and this one could have easily been divided into two novels. Inevitably, books published now will include Pandemic/Covid situations and themes. That's what I thought when I started The Madness of Crowds, however, it veers in a different direction. There are many sub themes and yet, are they? Who gets to decide who lives or dies, is it a matter of economy, convenience, or viability? I highly recommend this series and suggest starting at Still Life (book 1) even though her books can be read individually. 

Previous Book:

All the Devils Are Here

From Louise Penny

"I live outside a small village south of Montreal, quite close to the American border. My husband Michael and I have long had dogs, all golden retrievers. Bonnie, Maggie, Seamus, Trudy and now Bishop. Some came as puppies, some were adopted as adults. All beloved.

Michael and I were together for 22 years and married for 20. He was the inspiration for Armand Gamache. Kindly, thoughtful, generous, a man of courage and integrity, who both loved and accepted love. 

He developed dementia, and died peacefully at home in September 2016, surrounded by the love he'd put into the world for his 83 years. 

So now it's Bishop and me. But we're far from alone. We have the village, and all our friends including My Assistant Lise, and the indomitable, happy spirit of Michael. And, of course, the company of Armand, Clara, Ruth, Gabri and Olivier et al."

For more information on Louise Penny -

Follow me on IG @flamazing_books.

#gratitude #themadnessofcrowds 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Simple Murder


A Simple Murder: A Kate Burkholder Short Story Collection by Linda Castillo. New York: Minotaur Books, 2021. 406 pages.  ****

A collection of original short stories from her Kate Burkholder series of books. Fans of the series will recognize and enjoy reading about her main characters. If you haven't read the books, these short stories are a wonderful introduction and provide a quick glimpse at Castillo's writing style. Perfect for the beach, waiting to pick up your children, short periods of time, etc. 

Linda Castillo is The New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder novels. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards. In addition to writing Castillo's other passion is horses. She lives in Texas with her husband. For more information, click here.

Follow me on IG @flamazing_books

#kateburkholderseries #mysteryshortstories #amishfiction

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Wish You Were Here


Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult. New York: Ballantine Books, 2021. 366 pages. ***** Publication November 30, 2021.

Diana O’Toole is right on track in her life. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the art auction world.  She’s not engaged yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galapagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. 

But then Covid begins to appear in the city. On the night before their trip, Finn breaks the news that he can't go. He must stay behind to work in the hospital. Their trip is nonrefundable, so Finn convinces Diana to go without him.

Diana is in shock when she gets there, and the island is evacuating. She decides to continue anyway and discovers that her luggage is lost, the hotel is closed, and the WIFI doesn't work. The island is under quarantine until the borders open again. She makes friends with a family on the island and begins to question her life's plan.

I read this book in one day. This is my first Covid Pandemic story, and it is well-written. Picoult's description of Finn's work in the hospital and the toll the pandemic took on the doctors and nurses was heart-wrenching. Communication between Diana and Finn is inconsistent and sporadic. Neither one can understand and empathize with the other's experience. Picoult's books force me to look inward, what would I do in a similar situation? There are so many people who probably have similar stories and experiences in the last year.  In her last two books, she focuses on life's choices and a "what if?" experience. I highly recommend Wish You Were Here  and I am already looking forward to her next one.

I received an ecopy for a review. 

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including The Book of Two Ways, A Spark of Light, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister's Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. For more information click here

Follow me on IG at flamazing_books

#wishyouwerehere #pandemicfiction #covidfiction 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

2021 Monthly Color Challenge - June

June - Pumpkin - Orange 


9 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkins

What are the Health Benefits of Pumkins

80 Best Pumpkin Decorations for an Easy, No-Carve Halloween Display

7 Delicious Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

This is the 6th block in the 2021 Monthly Color Challenge, you may find the block and instructions on Jen's blog, here.

Jen's patterns are clear and precise, make sure you look at the video too. In order to get my points centered, I ironed a crease down the center of the triangles and the square. 

Trim where indicated and your block should turn out beautifully!

If you don't have a 12.5 square ruler, it's not too late to purchase one. Very helpful when making these blocks.

These plastic boxes from Michael's are perfect for storing the blocks and the fabric. 


Make sure that you Link Up your block at the end of the month to win one of these great prizes!

Dragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio – Goodie Bag*

Bea Quilter – PDF Pattern

For the Love of Geese – PDF Pattern

True Blue Quilts – Book: Monochromatic Quilts Amazing Variety*

Make Modern Magazine – 6 month subscription

Island Batik – Fat Quarter Bundle*

Benartex – Fabric Bundle*

Quilters Dream Batting – 60 x 60 Dream Poly*

The Warm Company – 90 x 108 Warm and Plush 100% Cotton

Appliques Quilts and More – $10 gift certificate

Fat Quarter Shop – Gift Certificate

DayBrook Designs – 2 PDF Patterns

Patterns By Jen – Tucker Trimmer 1® ruler*

Follow me on IG at kathy.nester

#2021monthlycolorchallenge #junequiltblock #pumpkin #grateful

Monday, June 14, 2021

Hour of the Witch


Hour of the Witch: a Novel by Chris Bohjalian. New York:Doubleday, 2021. 400 pages *****

Seventeenth Century New England where every woman is suspected of being a witch. Twenty-four-year-old Mary Deerfield is the second wife of Tomas Deerfield, a cruel and powerful man, who rules his household with his fists. Thomas is very careful to treat his wife with kindness and respect when Catherine, the servant girl, or his daughter is present. Mary's life with Thomas becomes intolerable when he stabs her in the hand with a fork to see if she is a witch. Divorces are few in Puritan Boston, however, Mary fears for her life when Thomas is drunk and knows it is only a matter of time until he kills her. Will Mary be granted a divorce based on her injuries or will she be sent back to her angry and humiliated husband? 

I have always been interested in the Salem Witch Trials and wondered what was the true story? This book is fiction and not based on any one's life story, however I suspect it is a composite of people and circumstances that occurred frequently in this time and place. Given human nature the story is totally believable and it's a wonder anyone survived. Superstition mixed with jealousy, pettiness and cruelty, fueled the flames of religious wrath. Difficult to put down once started, yet I didn't want it to end and was fearful of Mary's fate. No spoilers here,  you'll have to read it to find out for yourself. Definitely add it to the top of your Reading List!


Witch Hunts in Puritan New England


Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 22 books.  His work has been translated into 35 languages and become three movies and a TV series. His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon. For more info, click here.

Follow me on IG @flamazing_books

Suggested Summer Reading List

#historicalfiction  #witchcraft #puritannewenglandfiction