Showing posts from 2010

Oh Christmas Trees!

Not too long ago I saw a demo at a local quilt shop about how to make these cute little Christmas tree ornaments. The pattern, from The Quilt Company in Pittsburgh cost a ridiculous $2.50. I bought the pattern, pulled some scraps, and got to work. Now I can't seem to stop making them!

I have quite a few. More than I need. Want one? I'll mail one to 3 randomly selected commenters. Leave a comment by Midnight EST (0500 GMT) and I'll do the drawing then. I'll try to get them in the mail to winners on Wednesday--if you live in the U.S. you might get it by Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas!

Phyl's 5 Phaves from November

Looking back at Novermber I have to say that once again my total of books seems on the low side, but I did get to read some really good stuff last month. It was hard to settle on just 5 to highlight, so I want to give an honorable mention to 2 books. The first is Vince Flynn's American Assassin. Since I prefer to blog about romance books, I don't always mention the non-romance I sometimes read. This straight suspense book featuring a young Mitch Rapp was reminiscent of Flynn's earlier books and the first one of Flynn's I really, really liked since he killed off Anna. The 2nd honorable mention goes to Suzanne Enoch's Rules of an Engagement. This is probably damning with faint praise, but I came close to giving up on this one part way in. I was browsing ahead trying to decide whether to continue or not. I noticed that the hero decides to woo the heroine and he has to persuade her that they belong together. So I went back to continue reading. Sure enough from there th…

Wishing for summer

I needed a quick gift and I had this little pattern called "Hurray for the USA!" by Country Lore Designs. I'm not sure when or where I bought it as it isn't usually my style, but it turned out to be good to have on hand. Plus, it was nice to think of summer while I worked on it. We've had an early cold snap, and that's made me cranky. I don't handle the cold well.

I like how the back looks. The applique serves as the quilting. The finished quilt is only 8" x 14".

So there. I finished something. Probably took a total of about 5-6 hours. I should make more tiny things.

Quilting update

Wow! I haven't posted a quilting update in ages. I went back and looked and realized that I haven't finished a project since September. Me, being me of course, started a couple of new ones. And I did churn out a dozen Kindle covers for my ... ahem ... Etsy store (Christine may now say "I told you so.").

Remember the paint chip challenge?

Here's the table runner I made (it's not quilted yet):

Remember the Block of the Month? The project that will one day look like this:

I've got 7 blocks done and a mile of sashing:

Now, if you want to see some seriously beautiful little art quilts that are bright and funky, you MUST follow this link. Frieda Anderson, a quilt artist & teacher came to town and I got to take a class from her a couple of weeks ago. The class project was the cone flowers quilt that's in the 3rd row of that link, 2nd from the left. Mine's only partway done, but here's a preview:

So that's what I'm working on.

Today I give thanks.

In the United States it is Thanksgiving Day. A healthy percentage of us will spend the day with family and/or friends. We'll eat too much, watch some TV (football!), and hopefully even spend some time thinking of those things for which are thankful.

In what has now become tradition, tomorrow, Friday, another healthy percentage of us will run out the door at some freakishly early hour to spend tons of money. Because despite how grateful we may be today, apparently we still don't have enough stuff. Since I hate crowds, odds are good I'll hibernate at home. But if you plan to do some shopping tomorrow, make sure you download this free app!

I think our society is very weird.

Meanwhile, since I'm 53 years old, I decided to list 53 things for which I am grateful today. In the order in which they occur to me:

My husband.My son.My parents, siblings, and their families.My in-laws, including my late mother-in-law. It's been 4 years since she passed and it surprises me sometim…

Phyl's 5 Phaves for October

Some computer problems have kept me off other blogs as well as my own over the last couple of weeks. So I apologize that this is so late. I just hope I can remember enough about what I read back in October to make this coherent!

The 5 books I've chosen for this list all have something in common--they have an uncommon twist in location (the historicals) and/or gender roles. It made for some rather fun reading last month and if you find yourself interested in any of these, I hope you, too, will appreciate what makes them different.

5. The Surrender of a Lady by Tiffany Clare. When I finished this book I was not at all certain that I would include it here. Surrender is Clare's debut historical romance and while I thought that this highly sensual book was beautifully written, it wasn't terribly romantic. The book begins as Elena is sold by her husband into Constantinople's slave market in order to pay a debt. Her husband is weak and foolish and loses his own life. When Ele…

Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet--Romance or Girl Utopia?

Utopia -- n -- any real or imaginary society, place, state, etc., considered to be perfect or ideal.

So tonight I finished Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts. There's an excellent review of it here at AAR. I loved that the reviewer called the series "wedding porn." Yeah, it's definitely that. All-in-all this proved to be an enjoyable, lighthearted series that celebrates love and the best of our WASP-ish wedding traditions. The books are heavy on various elements of weddings and the wedding planners who make them happen. The level of romance varies, and I think HEA is the lightest when it comes to the romantic relationship--in this case between Parker & Malcolm. That's actually a tad disappointing, because after the 3 previous books, Parker had the biggest buildup to be heroine in her own story. 
There's a sentence in that AAR review that got me to thinking:
Add that to the fact that four best friends are living together in a mansion (weren’t you planning to do…

A cover

Remember that contest I won?

The book is due in April. I found a picture of the cover on Candice Hern's website.


The Dangerous Viscount / Miranda Neville. 2010

Let me state up front that I found Miranda Neville's third release, The Dangerous Viscount, to be a highly entertaining read. My favorite sub-genre has been, and probably always will be, the Regency-set historical. Neville's books show great respect and affection for the period. In addition, she gives us characters who are usually a step or two removed from the London ballroom for a taste of something a little different. There is both humor and emotion in this book and I worked hard to squeeze in some quality reading time between all the game-watching and quilt-making I've been doing these days. It was worth the effort.

The hero of TDV is Sebastian Iverley, is a shy, bookish, misogynistic young man who has traveled to his uncle's country estate to use the library there. He is dismayed to find that his cousin Blakeney is hosting a small party. One of the ladies' attending the party is a wealthy widow, Lady Diana Fanshawe, who happens to have grown up nearby, and she…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from September

Obligatory baseball note: ROY HALLADAY throws a no-hitter for my beloved Phils. How awesome was that?

I've been working on this post for several days. Which really means I've been busy sewing. And giving serious thought to taking Christine up on her idea to open an Etsy store. I must be insane, but truth is, I recently got laid off from a part-time copy editing job. It was very, very part-time and I made just enough to feed my fabric habit. But the publisher took the work in-house and all of us contractors were left out. Hubby & I figure if I replace those hours with sewing, I might be able to replace the income so that my fabric habit doesn't hurt the family budget. And at the rate I'm hitting up the Kindle store, I may need the revenue to cover that, too. So, we'll see.

Meanwhile, back to our late, but regularly scheduled phaves post.

In September I finished 12 books. I haven't gone back to verify this, but I'm pretty darn sure that's the lowest t…

Less reading & reviewing; More sewing

My Phillies are getting ready to lock down their 4th consecutive NL East crown. With so much great baseball to capture my attention, not to mention the start of football season, my reading is down a quite a bit from usual. As of today I've only finished 9 books in September. Usually by this date I'd be closer to 15 or 16. I haven't felt much like writing any reviews either. I've read a couple of books I'd like to write about, but then I get focused elsewhere--on baseball, on sewing, on the new TV season...
But today, the UPS guy brought me a very special package: Look, my own brand new Kindle (the cheap wi-fi one)!!!
I didn't want to spend money on the case, so tonight I whipped one out. Took me exactly one hour. While the Phillies completed their sweep of the Braves. How sweet! Oh how I love this time of year! Happy First Day of Fall everyone. Hope you got to see the Harvest Moon where you are (we didn't--it rained).

I can't stop

This time I played with adding a 3rd fabric and squaring off the edges. It looks a little wonky, but I don't think you'd notice if you put it on a small end table. In the end, I think I like the rounded edges better.

So that's 3 of these things in the last week. Next time I want to make a bigger one.

Quick Gifts

When I need to whip out a quick gift, I love my ARDCO circle square templates. A good friend just moved to a new home. And my church was looking for some items to use as door prizes at an upcoming event. Each one of these only take 2 hours or so to put together. They are approx. 18" across.

I think the backs look pretty cool, too.

And speaking of gifts, I finished the binding on the baby quilt for my coworker. I showed you closeups of the quilting here a couple weeks ago.

Phyl's 5 Phaves from August

Ah, September. I'm very ambivalent about this time of year. I love the heat. I love the long days. I hate that today was probably our last 90 degree day of the year. However, I also love that school starts and a regular routine is re-established. And I love football season because I do lots of sewing. I guess in the end I'm not sorry to see August go.

Before I move on to the Phaves, remember that contest I won? Look what's up at Amazon! Only 6 months and 28 days to go! And BTW, I've slowly been spending my winnings. A special post will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, I suppose we must move on to the purpose of this post.

5. The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser. I almost wrote a full-blown review of this. Then I got lazy. Sorry. This will have to do. Let me say, I'm so glad I watched all of those BBC episodes of Sharpe's Rifles. Besides the awesome goodness of Sean Bean, those shows really help you visualize Spain during the Peninsular War and Fraser's debut n…

Paint Chip Challenge

My sister, the QBFFs, and I are doing a "paint chip challenge." We swapped paint chips and each of us has to make a monochromatic quilt using the color of our paint chip. I was the recipient of this lovely green paint chip:

Here are some fabrics I pulled from my stash (OK, I admit it--I did do a little shopping, but just a little!):

I'm thinking one or more of those might have to go. And since white and black are not colors, I may add a little of each for some "pop!"

What to make, what to make...

Actually, I have an idea. Stay tuned!

Catching Up

I've been neglecting my blog lately. Someone even noticed (thanks JW!). Between travels, the heat, reading, the heat, sewing, and the heat, well, I've just run out of steam at the end of each day. But I did want to make an attempt to catch back up.

So here's what I've been sewing. I machine quilted two quilts. One is a fairly large square "Blooming 9-Patch" from the book Tradition with a Twist by Dalene Young Stone & Blanche Young. This quilt is about 5' x 5'. My mother-in-law bought the fabric for me for my birthday about 6 years ago. I finished the top before she passed away, but sadly, she did not get to see it. The top sat for several years while I figured out how I wanted to quilt it. Here are some detail shots of the quilting from the front and then the back. It took me about 3 months to finish this, but I'm VERY pleased with the results. As soon as I get the binding on, I'll post some more pictures.

I also finished the quilting on a b…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from July

Blog? I have a blog? Goodness, but I have a lot to catch up on.

Before I get into the phaves, I do want to mention that I began reading Barry Eisler's John Rain series in July. I met Eisler at RT and purchased the 3rd book in the series there. He told me the 3rd book was a good place to start, but I decided to go back to the first one, Rain Fall, and got it at the library. I'm glad I did. I've read 2 of the books so far and they were a nice change from romance. I liked them both. But when it came to the phaves, romance won out.

5. One Season of Sunshine by Julia London. I have become a big fan of London's contemporaries even though I first began reading her historicals. I frequently find her books to be emotional and sometimes thought-provoking. I was intrigued by this story of Jane, a woman adopted as an infant, who is seeking her biological family. I once watched a close friend struggle with the same questions; that fact made Jane a believable and sympathetic character…

The Bikini Car Wash / Pamela Morsi. 2010

During May and June I read--and loved--three popular historicals by Pamela Morsi. Then I discovered she had a new book out which was released just over a week ago. I managed to be first in line at the library for it. Technically, this is probably more "chick lit" than romance, although there's a strong romantic relationship featured in the book. Normally I avoid this kind of book, but I was curious to see what Morsi's current writing is like compared to her older books. I dove right in and found myself captivated by this very engaging story.

Andi Wolkowicz leaves her successful corporate career to move back to her small home town. Andi has a mentally disabled twin sister and Andi believes her father needs help caring for her twin, Jelly, now that their mother has passed away. She moves in with them and begins looking for a job. Andi's father is retired from his car wash business and the car wash sits empty in the town's center, which is slowly dying because of…

Phyl's 5 Phaves from June

I discovered Pamela Morsi in May. I've begun a glom, so 2 of the titles below should come as no surprise.

5. The Time Weaver by Shana Abé. At least one review I read about this book described it as "lyrical." I think that's a good word to use--there's a beauty to the descriptions in this book that draws you in. Plus the way it is constructed reminds me of a symphony. There are several parts, all quite different, that come together to make a whole. Abé's latest book is the 5th title in her dragon series. In this book, Honor Carlisle is a dragon who cannot shift, but instead finds herself going back and forth through time. Her gift is that of "weaving" through time. She is drawn again and again to Prince Alexandru of the Zaharen dragons and their relationship is seen as threatening by the dragons in England. This book uses three different narrative voices: 1st person for Honor, 3rd person POV for scenes involving Alexandru, Lia, and Zane, and an omnisc…

Other random NQA photos

No commentary. Just some pictures chosen at random for you to enjoy.