Showing posts from 2007

Quick Christmas Panel

Usually I'm a snob about pre-printed panels, but even I couldn't resist this one. I'm a sucker for anything nativity-related for my Christmas decorating. This panel is by Nancy Halvorsen (who doesn't seem to have her own web site, or else I'd link to it) and there's a whole group of fabrics that go with it. I just bought the panel and straight line quilted around the boxes. Sometime after Christmas when I take it down, I'll quilt around the motifs in the boxes to give it a more textured look, but now it's good enough to hang up for what's left of the holidays. This was a very quick little project and very fun. My panel is flannel and I forgot how much lint it leaves behind in my machine. I'll have to give it a good cleaning on Saturday. I have to take an ornament to a Christmas party Saturday night. I found this free pattern tonight and I'll make it on Saturday. I'll make two. One for the party and one for me!

Rising Wind / Cindy Holby. 2007

While I love historicals, I admit that I've tended to avoid American historicals and Westerns. I find I'm rather squeamish about the less savory aspects of our history here in the US. Our historical landscape is littered with broken promises and inhumane behavior. On all sides. We human beings are incredibly cruel to one another (one only has to read the daily paper) and there are days when I just don't want to think about it. But extreme circumstances create great tension for an author to use and it can be well worth it to invest in a book like Rising Wind . RW takes place in 1774 when the American Revolution was brewing and colonists were in conflict with several native tribes as the colonists moved further and further west. Connor, a former bondsman sent over from Scotland, and Carrie, daughter of a British officer, meet in Williamsburg and are quickly attracted to one another. They are thrown together as they journey into the frontier to Fort Savannah to meet up with

Untouched / Anna Campbell. 2007

Anna Campbell's first book, Claiming the Courtesan was an unusual, dark, and controversial book. I read it and blogged about it last spring. I found that one to be a compelling, well-written book and I was anxious to read this one. Untouched is a very different book, although dark in its own way. The hero, Matthew (a Marquess) has been held in captivity for 9 years while his uncle/guardian convinced the world that Matthew is insane. Thus the uncle has control over Matthew's considerable fortune and property. Matthew lives in a "cottage" that is on what must be a rather large piece of land, surrounded by an unscalable wall. He lives in relative comfort and is able to maintain a scientific correspondence with the outside world. For reasons that aren't entirely clear (or else I missed the reasons), the uncle decides to procure a prostitute for Matthew. Two stereotypically evil henchmen are sent to Bristol to bring back the prostitute. Instead, they accidentall

Just stuff

Looking at the list to the right, I've read a lot of books this month, but I guess none had so much of an impact that I wanted to take the time to write about them. I have some interesting reads coming up; maybe those will prompt me to post another review. I have JR Ward's Lover Unbound that I got from the library and will have to read in the next week before it's due. Given some of the lukewarm to nasty reviews it received I can't say I'm anxious to get started. But I have liked the previous books in the series, so I hope my reaction isn't the same as others'. It's a thick sucker, too--just over 500 pages! If I'm going to devote that much time it had better be worth it. Anna Campbell's sophomore effort is due Tuesday. I pre-bought it from Fictionwise, so I assume I can download it at midnight tomorrow. Untouched sounds interesting and I'll probably interrupt LU to read that as soon as I've got it loaded into my PDA. I've had that

Some recent projects

I finished a few things recently. This first one is about 55" x 55" and was the mystery quilt project from the 2006 guild quilt retreat. I didn't do anything fancy, just stippled it with a varigated thread. A friend of mine saw it and actually wanted to buy it. I let her borrow it for a couple of weeks, but in the end the bright teal just clashed with everything in her home, so she decided not to buy it. I was flattered that she wanted it (she's a talented watercolorist), but I'm happy to keep it. I remember when I bought the focus fabric. It was way back in the early 90's and it was the first time my sister and I went to PNQE together. Next up are a couple of purses. I do like this purse pattern. It takes a little time to put together, but you can really highlight some beautiful fabrics with it. The Christmas one has a zipper. That fact is significant in that I do believe it's the very first zipper I've sewn since 9th grade Home Ec. 9th grade was seve

HP -- And I don't mean Harry Potter

I have quite a weakness for these little books and I wish I could tell you why. They’re like candy—super sweet and if you eat too many you’ll get sick. I find myself reading several of these all at once and then not going near them again for months at a time. They have the most awful titles and their plots are often based on communication failures. The “Big Misunderstanding” is frequently used as is the ever popular/most despised secret baby plot. There’s really a lot to hate here, yet lots of intelligent, rational romance readers go back for more time and again. I’m one of them. They’re so darn cheap on Fictionwise and if they’re awful, I can delete the electrons back into the ether. No trees have been harmed. If I understand it right, Harlequin Presents are supposed to be strong emotional books involving ruthless, rich, gorgeous heroes who are brought to their knees by the plucky heroine who generally seems to be down on her luck, but is determined to make it on her own. The good one

The Scottish Companion / Karen Ranney. 2007

I don’t really have time to review as many books here as I’d like, but I think I’d be remiss if I’d let this one go by. Once again I’m in awe of an author’s ability to not just write a novel, but to carefully craft it so that each word is important and if you read it too quickly you might miss an important point. The Scottish Companion is Karen Ranney’s latest book. I have a couple of her recent books on my TBR pile, but decided to read this one out of order as I’m not aware that it’s connected to any of her previous books. TSC is the story of Gillian and Grant—two people who’ve known tremendous loss. They are thrown together when Gillian, the paid companion of the title, accompanies her employer on a visit to Grant’s estate. Gillian’s employer, Arabella, is a very strange young woman who is obsessed with medicine to the point that she has absolutely no interest in anything that goes on around her unless it has to do with a medical ailment. Grant needs a wife and as he has no interest

Oh Happy Day!

My Phillies won the East--stole it right out of the hands of the Mets. It doesn't get any sweeter than this. I am not going to sleep all week, I know it! And there he is, the NL MVP, J-Roll.

Crazy for Circles

So I bought this circle tool at guild 2 weeks ago and tried it out right away. It was so much fun I made another one. And I have fabric laid out for a 3rd, only this one will be larger--16 circles instead of 9. It sure is a fabric hog, but they are so cool looking. The smaller ones will make nice table toppers. I'll make a new runner for the top of the entertainment center in our family room, too. Someone(s) will be getting one of these for Christmas!

If His Kiss is Wicked / Jo Goodman. 2007

I think Jo Goodman must be the best writer no one ever talks about. I am in awe of the way she uses dialogue to reveal character, advance a plot, and let us see how and why the h/h come together. Her books are lengthy, yet I never feel as if a word is wasted. Indeed, if you don’t read closely you could easily miss a key detail. Her books are to be savored and are best read in lengthy chunks of time when you can relax and engage. Her latest book, If His Kiss is Wicked , is another excellent read. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now, but postponed picking it up. Because now that I’ve read it, I can’t look forward to another new Jo Goodman until next year. Just like Jo Beverley. It’s worth the wait for a new book by one of the Jo’s. IHKIW begins with a prologue where the heroine, Emma, is persuaded by her cousin, Marisol to keep an assignation on Marisol’s behalf. Chapter 1 opens several weeks later and when I met Emma again I was totally unprepared for what had happened in the interven

Yea! Football season!

I get more sewing done during football games. I can choose between quilting the 2006 retreat mystery quilt or piecing the kid's gecko wall hanging. Not that you can tell, but there's Archie Manning on the tube. I'm rooting for the Saints, though. Hmm, colors on this one don't look quite right. It's not really so washed-out. I wish I were better at using the flash on my camera. Back to the game!

American Diva / Julia London. 2007

One of Julia London's historicals has an epilogue that takes place some 50 years after the end of the book when the heroine is on her deathbed. I read on AAR once that lots of readers hate that epilogue--they don't like the idea of ending a book with a death. I think it's a wonderful epilogue and I prefer to think of the book ending with a realization that this couple had a wonderful marriage and happy life together. Anyhow, that book made Julia London one of my favorite authors and I've enjoyed her contemporaries as much as I've liked her historicals. In fact, I think I like the contemporaries even better. So all this to lead into the fact that I pretty much devoured American Diva over the last 24 hours. AD is the 3rd and final book in her Thrillseekers Annonymous trilogy. Hero Jack Price accepts the job of bodyguard to pop singer Audrey LaRue while she goes on a nationwide tour because she's been receiving death threats. Don't be mislead, this is not a su

"Pink Rose"

About the same time we were getting new carpet installed in the family room, I saw a folk art pattern in the May/June 2007 issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting . The pattern, designed by Pat Sloan , struck me as simple, but bold, and an easy way to make something that would let me coordinate with the color of the new carpet. This was the result. It's 20" x 24" and made from fat quarters in my fabric stash. I managed to purchase some special yellow silk thread for the background quilting at the NQA show. Boy, was that stuff fun and easy to quilt with. I used normal 50 wt. cotton thread for the border. The border is free-motion leaves and flowers. That kind of thing is getting easier for me to do and the result is smoother and less jerkey. It feels good to have finished something again.

When I Fall in Love / Lynn Kurland. 2007

Back when I first rediscovered romance novels, I stumbled across Lynn Kurland's books and it wasn't long before I read most, if not all of them. I wasn't aware of terms like "wallpaper history" and her "lite" approach to medieval life didn't bother me. And it still doesn't. Because I sure do like the way she tells a story. I'd probably embrace these common criticisms of her work if I didn't find myself enjoying her characters. And I especially enjoy putting myself in her characters' shoes as they make such improbable, logic-defying journeys through time. What the hey, call me shallow. Over the last few years as I've hung out on review sites and blogs I've learned that the book many of her readers consider their least favorite, is one of my top favorites-- The More I See You . So there. This fact alone probably invalidates anything I have to say . When I Fall in Love is the story of the 4th and final McKinnon sibling, Jennifer

Survivor in Death / J.D. Robb. 2005

There are no words. None at all. Absolutely, hands down, this one is my favorite of the series so far. 'Nuf said.

Desperate Duchesses / Eloisa James. 2007

Eloisa James is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve looked forward to each of her new releases for several years now. Much Ado about You was one I reread a couple of times. But I have to say that her last two books prior to this one were rather disappointing. Now I’m going to venture into unfounded speculation. But I’ve wondered over the last year how someone who is the mother of two young children, holds a demanding full-time job (although maybe she gets her summers off), maintains a visible online presence, and is sometimes found on TV or in print interviews can possibly find time to write. Sometimes I want to tell Ms. James to crawl into a hole and write me some more books, dammit! Her second to last book in particular, The Taming of the Duke , had so many holes I just had to wonder if all that other stuff in her life had her writing to deadline rather than writing her best. Just wondering, and really, her life is her business. So, this made me rather wary about Desperate Duchesse

Check out my new iron!

It's the same size as my computer mouse. It's less than half the size of the Jenna Black book I'm currently reading. It's my new iron and it is NOT a toy! It really works, and works pretty darn well. I almost didn't buy it, but my kid talked me into it on Thursday. At the last minute I added it to my bag of supplies for Friday's class. and when I realized I wasn't doing a thorough job of finger pressing my pieces, I got it out and plugged it in. It made an instant difference in my foundation paper piecing. This project from the class has a ton of small pieces. The miniature lone star center has 240 pieces, all less than a square inch each. I'll post some pictures later. It's going to be very pretty, if I do say so myself! Meanwhile I'll play with my new iron. Guaranteed, these irons are going to be the "hot" new toy of 2007. Ha ha.

NQA Show Time!

I'm a sucker for a quilt with flowers on it. Not floral fabric, but some sort of depiction of flowers. I wonder why this is, as I don't garden, buy flowers for the house, or hang out at gardens. But the variety of methods always draws me in for a closer look. And when I look back at the pictures I took tonight at this year's NQA Show most of them seem to be of the ones with flowers. Not all, but most. So here are a couple that I saw at the Preview Party that I liked best: Sure is bright, huh? I don't think I could make something quite so green. But I still think it's wonderful. I like the little touches, although some are not obvious from the photo. I like the corner squares that match the flower color. I like the dimensional applique. And it's very nicely quilted, too. I'm so glad this one won a ribbon. It's got a rather unusual layout. I think the flowers are realistic looking and it takes a lot of attention to detail to make that happen. It's ver

Castle of the Wolf / Sandra Schwab. 2007

Castle of the Wolf is an unusual book, because it can’t be easily pigeon-holed into a specific type of story. It’s not a paranormal, but does have just a hint of the paranormal in it. I wouldn’t call it a gothic novel, yet it certainly has moments with a distinct gothic feel. It’s not a comedy, but there were many humorous moments, particularly in the beginning when Cissy arrives at the castle. The hero and heroine are common archetypes in historical romance-land—he’s disfigured from the Napoleanic wars (lost a leg), and she’s the spinster sister who refuses to settle for living under the thumb of her bitchy sister-in-law. The year of its setting is fairly common for a European historical (1827), but the place most definitely is not common (Germany’s Black Forest). All of these elements are deftly woven together by the author. In addition there are all sorts of literary references. Some I recognized, but many I didn’t. And it doesn’t come across as pretentious. The heroine is well re

Does this look like a jigsaw puzzle to you?

I was showing this off to a few people recently and at least 2 of them told me that it looked like a jigsaw puzzle to them. One asked me if I'd done it deliberately. Well, no, I hadn't, but I don't think I mind that it looks that way. I used bright purple thread for the quilting and a medium-weight cotton batting. My meandering quilting stitching is getting better with hardly any hitches. So I suppose the smooth curves, bright thread, puffy finish can make you think of a jigsaw puzzle. I was just playing and practicing. It's kinda' nice when it all finishes up so well. I do like this one. It looks nice in the powder room, too. It tones down that rather unfortunate shade of mint green :-)

Behind Closed Doors / Shannon McKenna. 2002

I've been reading alot of romantic suspense lately. And here I used to think I was such a die-hard historicals junkie. But since I've loved suspense novels since I was a teen, it really is a natural fit to move into romantic suspense. All the tension with a guaranteed HEA. Really, it doesn't get any better than that. Anyhow, I'm not sure where I saw the recommendation for this one, but I'm glad I was able to find it at the library. I'll be going back for the rest in the series for sure. Raine Cameron is a shy, timid woman who suffers recurring nightmares that center on the suspicious death of her father. The nightmares plague her to the extent that she decides to go after her father's brother, Victor (whom she hasn't seen in 17 years), to see if she can uncover the truth. Unwittingly, she stumbles into the middle of a secret investigation by Seth Mackey who holds Victor partially responsible for the death of Seth's brother. Seth and Raine meet and th

Slow Month

I just realized that here it is May 13 and so far I've only read 6 books. I'm way off the pace and this week isn't going to afford me much reading time. I have to buckle down and clean the house as I'm hosting a bridal shower next Sunday. It'll be worth it, but I do hate giving up prime reading time for something so fleeting as a clean house. And I've been sewing a little more. I need to post a picture, but that isn't happening tonight either. No matter. As if anyone would even see it.

Not Quite a Lady / Loretta Chase. 2007

I have no idea how many Regency-set novels I’ve read over the years. Hundreds and hundreds at least. So here’s to an author who can take a well-worn concept and put it in fresh prose, and make me laugh when she does it. Describing Almack’s on p. 18 we read, “…Almack’s Assembly Rooms, to which only the cream of Society was admitted—for the meritorious purpose, it seemed to her, of confining excruciating boredom to a small, select circle.” Such are the delights of reading a Loretta Chase novel. But it’s not just her way with words, it’s her way with characters, too. I always feel as if her characters are well-drawn; we understand who they are and what motivates them. Ms. Chase also understands the era she writes about and I think her characters are, for the most part, true to that era. Not Quite a Lady is the 4th and final installment in her linked series of books about the Carsington brothers. I have to say that Mr. Impossible remains my favorite, but I liked this one a lot. It was both

The Leopard Prince / Elizabeth Hoyt. 2007

This is Elizabeth Hoyt's second book and for me it was as enjoyable as her first one, which was my favorite historical of 2006. Her first book used this device of telling a fairy tale, bit by bit as chapter introductions, that paralled the main story. This book had a fairy tale, too; I'd known that from the reviews I'd read, but I expected the structure to be the same as in The Raven Prince . Instead of chapter lead-ins, the fairy tale is embedded in the dialogue as Georgina tells the story to Harry. The book is full of witty dialogue, but it really sparkles in the places where the fairy tale is told. In addition to the theme of the fairy tale being a parallel to the story, Hoyt uses it to highlight Harry's logical, pragmatic character and Georgina's creative, romantic side. They're rather stereotypical male/female character traits that resonate because men and women often do approach stories very differently. And while the telling of the fairy tale is really a

Paper pieced flowers

I've been working on the pattern to the right and here are the flowers I've made so far. I decided to go ahead and use all 4 of the pattern papers that came in the packet and make 4 identical little quilts. I can think of 2 people right off the bat I want to give one to. I'm sure I'll come up with someone else for the last available one. I haven't worked much on them in the last week; there's been a lot of stuff to do, especially for PTA and church. And of course, this being the day before the tax filing deadline, I finally had to pay attention to our taxes. Finished those an hour ago. Gee, a whole day early. That'll explain why my April reading list is relatively short up to this point. So, maybe I'll go read for awhile. It's too late in the evening to sew. Everyone else is asleep. And no baseball to listen to--Phillies were rained out.

Claiming the Courtesan / Anna Campbell. 2007

Like quite a few others, I read this book this week because of all of the attention it has gotten recently in romance reading circles. I'd read enough spoilers that I knew what was coming. Oddly, I think that actually enhanced my reading because I took my time, made sure I read every word, and watched carefully for the clues that would make this improbable romance work. And for me it did work. No doubt spoilers follow, but since no one reads my blog, who cares? It's hard to say something simple, such as "I liked this book" or "I didn't like this book." I'll say instead that I'm awfully glad I read it. Well written and carefully constructed, it caught and held me. It was not always easy to read, and as I got closer and closer to Kylemore's rape of Verity, I had to stop and put it down for awhile several times. Kylemore abducts Verity on p. 43. The 1st rape occurs on p. 128. That's 85 pages of rather tense build-up to what you know is the i

Games of Command / Linnea Sinclair. 2007

Just a quick word about this one which I finished over lunch today. I see that it's getting a lot of positive press in blog-land. While I enjoyed it, I wasn't bowled over by it the way I was with her Accidental Goddess , which I just loved. Still, it was a fun story with interesting characters. It had one of my favorite themes--a hero suffering unrequited love for years . And!* The hero was a virgin. That is such a rare thing in romanceland and I really applaud when I see it. Sigh. You could really feel his emotion and I liked the way he was written. Anyhow, this one had all the elements of a typical SF adventure. What brought it down for me was a sense that I was missing a lot of the backstory. I don't know if there's a prequel to this book or not, but there were numerous references to Tasha's past that are never explained. Plus we learn at the end that a very minor character is Brandon's brother. There's a story there, too. Finally, this also had an abrup

Voices of the Night / Lydia Joyce. 2007

Lydia Joyce sure has a way with words. And once again she proves it with her latest book, Voices of the Night. I’ve enjoyed all of Lydia’s books. Her stories are a departure from typical historicals and feature unusual locations. This one was set in London, but not in the ordinary way. Our hero travels in the world of the ton, but our heroine most definitely doesn’t. This book gives us a look at both sides. Maggie is an orphan with no last name. She’s known as Maggie of King Street, or Maggie King. She aspires to sing in the opera. It’s a chance for her to escape her past, and one man in particular. During an audition, she attracts the attention of Charles Crossham, Lord Edgington, who is looking for someone like Maggie whom he can turn into a lady and thus win a wager. This Pygmalian-like story includes fascinating lead characters, who are multi-dimensional and well fleshed out. They are attracted to one another from the start, and refreshingly do not dance around the issue. So there

I am my son's pancreas

I was taking a look at the JDRF web site yesterday and in one of the newsletters there was a column about how parents of type 1 diabetics need to give themselves breaks. A mom was quoted as saying something along the lines of "I get tired of being my kid's pancreas." Lightbulb moment. I never thought of myself as S's pancreas, but in many ways, that's what I am. I told S about it and he didn't seem to find the thought offensive. That's good. But someday, S will have to be his own pancreas. All the things I have to think about from hour to hour he'll have to remember. And that, I guess, is the real burden of diabetes. Not the diet, not the insulin, but the need to constantly be alert, to constantly be thinking about it. Makes me want to go bury my head in a new book. I have Lydia Joyce's Voices in the Night up next. But first, some sewing.

Warlord / Elizabeth Vaughan. 2007

When I read the first book in this trilogy 2 years ago ( Warprize ) I remember being struck by two things in particular. The first one was how well Ms. Vaughan had built a new world that was both familiar and alien at the same time. The second thing was how well it worked to have this story told in the first person. As a reader, I like head hopping; I want to know what's going on in the minds of various characters. But here it really works to have one, and only one POV. For me anyway, what made this work was learning about Keir and the people of the plains at the same time Lara did; it was if we were on a voyage of discovery together. It even worked when I re-read Warprize just before Warsworn was released. I've read a few other reviews of Warlord over the last couple of weeks. Lots of reviewers commented on the fact that Keir and Lara are separated for a good bit of the book. Well, yes, that's true, but I think it's mitigated by the fact that Keir is never far fro

Paper piecing fun

At the retreat 2 weeks ago one of the freebies we received was a sample paper piecing pattern from the company that does the "Little Bits" patterns, one of which I'm working on now. I decided to throw this together to see what it looked like. I like the way the colors went together, so I put some borders on it and have it ready to machine quilt. I think I'll hang it down by the kitchen table as a spring or summer quilt. It's about 22" x 22". With luck I can spend some time quilting it tomorrow afternoon.

Got it framed

I don't think the picture does it justice, but I'm so pleased with how the frame turned out. It compliments the gold fabric so well. I'm not sure where P intends to hang it; I told him he could take it to work or hang it here at home. S wants him to hang it here at home. Oma would have liked this. Makes me sad to think of stuff like that.

His Secondhand Wife / Cheryl St. John. 2005

I haven't really been interested in reading too many frontier-set romances, and I'm not sure why that is. After reading this one and Maureen McKade's A Reason to Live I suspect I really should make the effort to seek out more of them. This is another of those character-driven stories that are my favorite. Noah and Katherine are two very lonely souls, and this book works for me because the author succeeds in letting us see who they are and why they're so lonely without resorting to melodrama or overblown prose. As someone who's probably been reading way too many European historicals, one of the things that made this interesting to me is the pragmatism that undoubtedly ruled frontier living. When Noah proposes to Katherine, she'd been widowed for a relatively short amount of time. In a Regency or Victorian, it would be scandalous to marry again so soon, and I believe even illegal to marry one's brother-in-law. Yet everyone from Katherine's mother-in-la

2007 quilting retreat; JD Robb

Well, here's where I spent last weekend--my butt firmly attached to this chair and this year I actually got to use both of my machines! My roommates, B&L, spent more time off talking or eating, so they weren't at our table much; without them for a distraction, I was able to focus and get a fair bit done. On Friday I finished quilting the tree skirt Oma left unquilted, and I got the binding sewn to the front, too. That's ready for me to whip stitch in front of the TV one of these days. On Saturday I did the wolf quilt seen here. I am so psyched about how it turned out. I'm going to take it to a framer tomorrow and hopefully it won't cost an arm and a leg to be framed. I just think it would look a little more sophisticated in a frame instead of bound and hung the normal way. I'll post a better picture once I get it in the frame. On Sunday I finally started the 2 new purses I've wanted to make. I quilted the panel pieces and I can start assembling them when

Beau Crusoe / Carla Kelly. 2007

You know how it is when you wait ever so long for something that when it finally arrives whatever you've been waiting for simply cannot live up to expectations? I was actually afraid to pick this up and read it after it arrived in the mail a week ago. But 24 hour after it arrived I started in on it and I wasn't disappointed. It was trademark Carla Kelly all the way and full of the things that make her a distinctive writer and one of my top 5 favorites in any of the romance sub-genres. It was in turns funny and poignant. It's a lovely character-driven romance, which seems to me to be rather rare these days. The hero, James Trevenen was an officer in the Royal Navy who was marooned on a small, deserted island in the south Pacific for 5 years prior to the beginning of the story. He is on his way to London to receive a medal for a paper he wrote upon his return to society about a species of small crabs he spent many hours observing while alone on his island. I loved the

Mini Nora glom

When I came back to romance reading a number of years ago, I stuck almost exlusively to historicals. So even though her books are everywhere, I never read a Nora Roberts book until Angels Fall last summer. And even though I really liked it, I had so many books in my TBR pile, I wasn't ready to start in on her backlist. But with the Lifetime movies this month I figured I'd at least read those 3 books prior to watching their adaptations. I finished Carolina Moon last night and I wasn't disappointed. I loved all 3 books. So here are some random thoughts based on my NR mini-glom: Unlike some readers, I love all the head hopping and various POVs. I like her style that gives us a glimpse from the perspective of so many characters. Blue Smoke was my favorite of the 3. Reena's family made that book for me. I have read too many books with characters coming from dysfunctional families. I loved seeing that you could have this strong heroine who certainly had experienced trauma

Finally almost finished

I really like this one, but it had to be the most frustrating thing I've quilted to date. I went through a dozen needles and countless starts and stops with the way my thread kept shredding. It was the coolest, hand-dyed thread that matched the blues so well. But I'm not sure I'll try to work with this thread again. The fact that I was using batiks didn't help. Definitely a learning experience. The quilting itself is boring--just basic meandering. I seem to lack the courage to try something more complicated. One of these days....