Quilt Retreat


I am getting ready for a Quilt Retreat later in the week and I am thinking about what to pack. I have a Quilt Retreat Checklist that I use and it is very helpful, however, I want to consolidate and not take so much "stuff" with me. Some of us are starting the "Gypsy Wife Quilt" and if you are familiar with the pattern, it requires a lot of different fabrics. Also, we are going to be making fabric bookmarks and stuffed pumpkins for the Guild's Quilt Show in October. I create best when I can just go into my stash and play with the fabric. I am also working on the "Splendid Sampler" quilt along with Pat Sloan and I don't want to haul the fabric for that quilt, the next pattern will be released on Thursday while I am at the retreat. I do have a hand embroidery block I can work on. I always pack too many projects and I am easily distracted by the noises and conversations in the sewing room. I love the comradery of sewing together and don't really accomplish a lot. I need to pack with all of the above in mind. 

I ordered this new ruler from Massdrop and I am debating whether to take it with me. The ruler is bigger and heavier than I anticipated. Ever since my right shoulder surgery, I don't always have the strength I need in my right hand to hold the traditional ruler steady. This new slidelock ruler has grippers that descend to hold it in place.

After I use it for awhile, I will post my comments and let you know whether I like it or not.



Come Away With Me

Come Away With Me: a novel by Karma Brown. Ontario: MRA Books, 2015. 350 pages. Reader's Guide. ****

Tegan Lawson has a dream life;  a husband who adores her, she's expecting her first child and has a loving family. Telling Gabe to slow down doesn't stop a spin on black ice that changes her life, hopes, and dreams.  No matter what anyone does or says to her lifts the heavy veil of grief. During a happier time, she and Gabe created the Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and activities. Tegan agrees to travel with the hope that she will begin to feel like herself again. After drawing three destinations from the jar, Tegan and Gabe  embark on adventures in Thailand, Italy and Hawaii.

An emotional story of love, grief, and denial; Tegan's heartbreak is raw and all-consuming. Brown has spun this tale in an unexpected, surprising direction. Even though it was the first novel by this author, Brown immediately drew me into the story and kept me there until the end. I look forward to future novels by Brown. 

Karma Brown is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. When not writing, she can be found running with her husband, coloring (outside the lines) with her daughter or baking yet another batch of banana muffins. Karma lives just outside Toronto with her family. Come Away With Me is her first novel.



Bonus Block - #TheSplendidSampler -Easter Bunnies

Easter Bunnies - designed by Jane Davidson:Quiltjane

This is the cutest block! The pompoms will be sewn on when the top is finished and quilted. I still have two more blocks to complete before Thursday's block is released. Block #11 "Crocheted Thoughts" designed by Alyssa Thomas looks like a crocheted doily and Pat Sloan has also a "Just for You" bonus block. 


This Way Up

This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life by Patti Clark. Berkeley: She Writes Press, 2016. 313 pages. ****  Recommended Reading List.

The book is divided into two parts: an allegorical tale of 50 plus year-old Kat, who takes her youngest child to college and is overcome with the thought of returning to her empty house and a Workbook of Weekly Exercises to transform your life. Kat stops at a bar on her way home and the next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital. While there she is dream visited by Gaia, a spirit who guides her to a better life by understanding the Seven Tools for Transformation: Visualization, Heart-Centered Goal Setting, Be Happy Now, Meditation on Love and Compassion, Frame of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Uploading and Downloading from the Source---Taking Action on Inspiration. Clark invites the reader to participate in a twelve-week process by journaling and exploration.

Kat's story simplifies the process of transforming into the creative person we are each meant to be and her explanations of Gaia's message to her sister and best friend allows the reader to absorb it in language easily understood. Clark drives home Marianne Williamson's message that "We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world." 

Anyone over 50 will identify with Kat's feeling of invisibility and vulnerability; Clark provides realistic tools to empower the reader seeking a better path and life. This book stands out in its unique format as a self-help workbook starting with Kat's tale.  The activities presented are applicable to any age group of women and provides the way for a new creative, more joyful life. I am working on the exercises myself, so stay tuned for an update.

I received a copy of this book from Patti Clark's publicist for a review.

Patti Clark was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. After traveling for several years, she and her husband settled down in New Zealand. Patti's enthusiasm and love of working with people of all ages has led her to a career as a workshop facilitator. She has been facilitating workshops around New Zealand since 1993 and is dedicated to supporting individuals on their journey toward an extraordinary life. Patti lives by the beach on the Coromandel Peninsula with her husband, Jeff and two sons, Lukas and Devin. This Way Up is her first book.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016. 432 pages. ***** Published April 2016 *****+

It's 1939 in London, war is declared at eleven-fifteen and eighteen-year-old socialite Mary North signs up to volunteer at noon. While envisioning life as a spy or, at least, an attache to a general's staff, Mary learns to accept her job as a schoolmistress. When the children are evacuated to the countryside, Mary finds her true calling in teaching those children who are not wanted by foster families and return to London amidst the bombing. One of those children, Zachary, whose father works in the minstrel show, captures Mary's heart and is pivotal to the story. The tale revolves around strong main characters, Mary, Tom, and Alistair. Tom is in love with Mary and is in charge of maintaining the schools.  Alistair is Tom's flatmate and has enlisted to do his part, fighting against the Germans and then protecting Malta. When Mary and her best friend, Hilda, drive an ambulance in London to treat and retrieve the wounded, the sights and sounds of war become real.

This haunting tale is influenced by Cleave's Grandfather and his service in World War II. Cleave has a gift for characterization as well as setting the stage for a moral/ethical dilemma. I read his books wondering what would I do in the same situation. I find myself affected by his stories long after I have read them and the most frustrating part about receiving an ARC is not having someone to discuss it with. This is one of those stories. I felt like I was in Malta, could hear the bombings in London, imagined the hunger of rationing food and the many sacrifices that are made during war times. This will be a great Book Club choice, many discussion points and is sure to be a best-seller.

I received an ecopy from NetGalley for a review.

Chris Cleave is the author of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, Gold, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Little Bee. He lives with his wife and three children in Kingston-upon-Thames, England. Visit him at Chris Cleave or on Twitter @ChrisCleave.


Somewhere Out There

Somewhere Out There: a novel by Amy Hatvany. New York:Washington Square Press, 2016. 344 pages.  Readers Club Guide. *****

"I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been desperate." Jennifer is a young single mother, no job, no home, no money. She is trying to raise her daughters, Brooke, who just turned four and Natale, only six months old by living in her car and begging for money on street corners. She is too proud to call her mother and ask for help which leaves her very few choices. When sentenced to jail for petty theft, child endangerment, and neglect, Jennifer makes the ultimate sacrifice to give up her daughters to foster care to be adopted. Brooke is convinced her mother will return for her and Natale, so she is devastated when Natale is adopted without her. Natale grows up in a loving secure family until she discovers that she is adopted and her mother will not discuss her birth mother or anything related to the adoption. When Natale's daughter is assigned the creation of a family tree, Natale resolves to find her birth mother and get the answers she seeks to her past.

Hatvany takes us on a journey through the lives of three women and the impact of their choices.  A loving, haunting tale of a naive mother, adoption issues, and the legal system. When all seems lost, Hatvany gives hope for a better future through acceptance and forgiveness. Well-written, extraordinary characters who come alive through the difficulties they face daily and their interactions with each other. Life doesn't always provide nice, neat, happy answers. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Catherine Ryan Hyde will love this complicated story.

I received a copy from BookSparks for a review.

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


Blocks 8 and 9 - #TheSplendidSampler

Block #8 - Friends Around the Square - designed by Julie Karasek

Block #8 was difficult for me to visualize, but I am happy with the way that it turned out.

Block #9 - Local Quilt Shop designed by Jane Davidson

Block #9 was lots of fun! I personalized it by naming it "Nona's Quilt Shoppe." I will probably add more detail after the quilting, maybe a button for a doorknob. 


The English Son

The English Son by Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter. (Part1- The Amish Millionaire series) Ohio: Shiloh Run Press, 2016. 124 pages. *****

In this quick read, Joel Byler has left his Amish family and community and is a successful businessman in the construction industry and is engaged to Kristi. Joel has big plans for his future, however, his impulse purchase of a 1967 tuxedo-black Corvette Stingray for $250,00.00 derails his dream of buying Kristi an engagement ring, building a house and paying his contractors what he owes them. Will Joel's estranged father loan him some money or will some big money contracts come through in time?

The English Son is the first book of six for Wanda Brunstetter's new series The Amish Millionaire. Co-authored with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter. Fans of Amish fiction will welcome this new series. I read it in one sitting and can't wait for the next one. The Brunstetters deliver a complicated situation and ethical dilemma in an easy to read succinct story.

I received a copy for a review.

New York Times best-selling author Wanda E. Brunstetter and her husband live in Washington State but take every opportunity to visit friends in Amish settlements throughout the States.

Jean Brunstetter enjoys writing about her Amish friends' simple way of life and takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities.



Look what came this morning! A box of books, umbrella, page flags, and a Challenge...woohoo!

Blocks 6 and 7 - #TheSplendidSampler

Blocks 6 and 7: "Focal Point" designed by Natalia Bonner and "Snug as a Bug" designed by Amy Sinibaldi

Making these blocks my own has been so much fun and drawn on my creative powers...Using the Layer Cake by Tula Pink with its unique designs has been challenging, however,  I am loving how all of the blocks are coming together!

In case you noticed, the first block is a Bonus Block, so really there are 8 blocks completed!


Round Robin Quilt

My Quilt Guild,  The Brandywine Valley Quilt Guild, is starting a Round Robin at the next meeting. Why do I think everything will be easy? I thought I would just find a pattern, use fabric from my stash and ta-dah, a quilt is born!

Here are the Guidelines:
  • Center square should be a minimum of 12" square and a maximum of 16" square. (mine is 14")
  • Each round/border must be no more than 6" and no less than 3" wide. 
  • The rounds may include but are not limited to: checkers, flying geese, half square triangles, stars, embroidery, and/or applique. The border does not need to be symmetrical in shape, color or style. 
  • Due Dates - April 12th, May 10th, June 14th, July 12th and August 9th. 
I decided on a "Glamper" because they are just so much fun. I'm not a camping kind of gal, but these fit right into my fantasy of hitting the road and seeing the USA. No Glamper would be complete without a flamingo and since I grew up in the 50-60s, the block needed a hippie flair. My word for 2016 is "Promise" so I had to include it somewhere!

Along with the center block, there is a journal for thoughts on the process, notes from the contributors, etc., a fabric pen, a label and suggested fabric to be used in the borders. I included a checklist of items as a reminder.

I found this box to put everything in...just happens to be aqua, my favorite color!

Our Guild Quilt Show is October 15th and 16th, perhaps you will see our finished Round Robin Quilts there!

Find Her

Find Her: a novel by Lisa Gardner. New York: Dutton, 2016. 402 pages. ***

Seven years ago, college student Florence “Flora” Dane was kidnapped during spring break  and held captive for 472 days by self-proclaimed monster Jacob Ness. Flora has never returned to the person she was before Jacob turned her into "Molly," a pale, lifeless, victim. Flora may have been released from the box Jacob confined her in, however, will she ever be free from her darkest thoughts? Sergeant Detective D.D. Warren is called out to a scene and finds Flora Dane naked with zip ties on her wrists. Flora uses resources in the garage, a packet of food and anti-freeze to attack the bartender who while pretending to save her, kidnaps her. Warren finds out that this is the fourth such incident that Flora has been involved in. Complicating the situation is that additional girls have been kidnapped and D.D. is working the case to find them. Is Flora a victim of being in the wrong place, wrong time, or does she have first-hand knowledge of who the kidnapper is? 

Find Her is Lisa Gardner’s latest D.D. Warren book, the eighth book in the series. Gardner has a talent for drawing me right in and holding me captive inside her stories. This one, not so much. The plot was great and I was constantly second guessing Flora's role, however, it was somewhat predictable and disappointing. It was told from Flora's point of view and I was sympathetic to her plight and the horror of it was real, but there was something keeping me from totally "buying" the story. I'm not even sure why...could have been me.

I received an ecopy of this book from NetGalley for review. 

Lisa Gardner is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of seventeen previous novels, including her most recent Crash & Burn. Her detective D.D. Warren novels include Fear Nothing, Catch Me, Love You More, and The Neighbor which won the International Thriller of the Year Award. She lives with her family in New England. 


Blocks 4 and 5 - #TheSplendidSampler

Blocks 4 and 5 - #The Splendid Sampler

Block #4 - Happy, Happy designed by Jen Kingwell

Block #5 - Simple Simon by Celine Perkins

This project has been so much fun! It is a challenge to choose the fabric for each block from the Saltwater layer cake. I do have some yardage to supplement, but I am saving every scrap in case I need it for future blocks!