Friday, October 24, 2014

Paint Chip Challenge 2015

In the wake of Halestorm (#HaleNo), lots of book bloggers are taking a break from normal reviewing for several days. I doubt I would have blogged books this week anyhow, but to show some solidarity here's a quilty post that had been brewing.
One search phrase that frequently sends folks to this blog is "paint chip challenge" because I had participated in one back in 2010. You can read more about that with the series of posts here. It was such a fun thing to do that when I became president of my guild this year, I decided to issue a similar challenge to guild members. I passed out close to 100 paint chips at our September and October meetings. They were in sealed envelopes, so no one knew what color they would receive. The rules are as follows:

  1. Use the color family represented by your paint chip as closely as you can manage.
  2. Use a minimum of 3 (three) tone-on-tone and/or solid colored fabrics.
  3. Use ONE multi-colored fabric or ONE neutral fabric (black, white, grey, etc). Remember, one or the other. NOT both.
  4. Use any technique or combination of techniques. There is no size requirement.
  5. When your quilt is revealed in June 2015, pin your paint chip to the front of your project.
  6. If you absolutely hate your paint chip, you may trade it in for another. But remember, the goal is stretch yourself, to try to use what you received.
Yes, a few people did opt to trade for another color, but most have stuck with what they got. I got this bright blue palette.

I've already found a couple of fabrics that are perfect! I'm doing mine in batiks. That's all I'll say.

For fun, here's an update on my Aviatrix Medallion project. I've made the 40 blocks for the next border. Aren't they pretty all lined up together?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I just need to say Thank You

The best part of my online life over that last 10 years has been that corner of the book world -- including both readers and authors -- where people talk openly and freely about the books they've read. Whether the reaction was love, hate, or something in between, those reactions are probably directly responsible for 99% of the books I've read (or added to the TBR pile) in that time span. Whether I've been introduced to a specific title or a specific author, I've derived countless hours of enjoyment devouring one book after another.

Look, I mostly lurk on the internet. I don't engage very often. In the almost 4 years I've had a Twitter account I've amassed a whopping total of 1,697 tweets. I blog here, what? -- maybe twice or three times per month. It's not in my nature to put myself out there. I'd rather read or sew. Still, I've managed to make some wonderful connections and discover where to go for the next great book to read. I'm so grateful for that.

So to all of you who take the time to give an honest opinion about a book, whether it be in 140 characters or in a 1500-word essay, THANK YOU. Seriously, thank you. Given the crap that has been happening to book bloggers over the last month, what you do is amazing. And appreciated.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September Reading

In an effort to show up here a little more often, I'm going to change how I talk about what I read. For the time being, no more "Phyl's Phaves." Maybe some random blathering will be equally useful and less taxing to write.

When I left off my Summer Reads post, I was getting ready to listen to Sarah MacLean's 2014 RITA winner, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. I tried, and quit about 4 chapters in. As much as I wish I could say her books appeal to me, they do not. I can see why they appeal to other readers, and I'm happy that her writing peers awarded her a RITA, but I am not the reader for her. Are they too anachronistic? I don't know. Maybe. But then please tell me...

Why am I so enamored of Grace Burrowes and Kristen Ashley? Burrowes is often accused of historical inaccuracy and Ashley writes a kind of contemporary fantasy that I find very appealing while I simultaneously go, No! That's just nuts! I introduced a friend of mine to Ashley's books and she'll periodically text me to complain that she just can't believe she's caught up in another one of her books. I find it comforting to know I'm not alone. Anyway, In September I read The Golden Trail and Knight by Ashley. I liked both, but preferred the former. One of things that appeals to me most about Ashley's books is the community she creates around her MCs. Knight focused pretty much only on the MCs, but was shorter as well. I also read Burrowes' The Traitor and I found it to be a very interesting look at what happens when a man is caught between a rock and a hard place. Burrowes has a style and degree of emotional depth that drew me right in to this story. I haven't liked all of her stuff, but the truth is she hits more often than she misses.

Right now I find myself craving the familiar. I sailed through the latest JD Robb, Festive in Death. A visit with characters I'm fond of is almost as good as re-reading. Which I did a little of. This time I listened to my re-reads, as I continue to explore audiobooks. My re-reads were Mary Balogh's Simply Perfect and Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. I think it's interesting to listen to a book I've read previously. If I tune out for a moment, I haven't really missed anything.

Other familiar authors include Sherry ThomasLiz Carlyle, and Stephanie Laurens. Actually it had been quite some time since I'd ready anything by Laurens. The plot of Loving Rose sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. It was so familiar I skimmed through the last half and decided that I'm pretty done with Laurens too. I loved Thomas' My Beautiful Enemy ONLY because I'd read the prequel, The Hidden Blade. Frankly, I think they should have been one book. That still ticks me off a little, but I have to admit, together they made a wonderful story.

So here is one thing that is UNfamiliar to me-- Outlander. I bought a print copy of it close to 10 years ago, started it and put it down for reasons I no longer remember. Then, about 4 years ago it was free for Kindle, so I "bought" it, gave away my print copy to save space, and left it unread. Now I have Starz only because it came with the sports package that gets me the MLB Network and NFL Red Zone. I really didn't intend to watch. Honest. Seriously. I mean it.

But two hours before the premier I set my DVR and watched. And yes, now I'm hooked. So, do I read the book or not? You tell me.

I'll leave you with a sneak peak at the latest quilt I started. The first of 12 blocks in a 3-color version of Elizabeth Hartman's Solar Eclipse pattern