Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Hello! I don't have as much progress to report as I'd like, but I do have some. I'm very sad I didn't work on my Quilt of Valor on Memorial day, but I've promised myself I'll work on it this weekend.

Elephant Baby Quilt:

I'm quilting, quilting, quilting, but it doesn't look like it. I have a new admiration for those of you who do such beautiful straight line quilting. Not only does mine suck, but it's getting boring and a touch tedious. Perhaps it's because I'm dying to start sewing my Going Coastal picnic quilt?

All cut out and just waiting for me to start sewing! I should start working on the other baby quilt before I make something for me, but I'm not going to do it. I want a picnic quilt for the summer and that's that. Besides the baby won't need a quilt during the summer anyway (that's what I'm telling myself to absorb some of the guilt).

Even though I have way more quilting projects going than I'll ever live long enough to finish I am really dreaming about starting a cross stitch project. Seriously, I haven't cross stitched since high school, but I can't stop thinking about it. It might have something to do with our broken A/C (don't get me started) making me not want to wrestle a quilt at the moment, it could be this awesome project from Knotted Thread or just my desire to skip summer this year. I don't know what it is, but I'm really itching to start a Halloween/Autumn cross stitch. I did a little research and found a cross stitch store down the street from my LQS, so I might have to make a little trip this weekend. If I don't find anything I like at the store I have found some cute things online of course. I'll keep you posted...

To see what everyone else is up to head over to Lee's to check out her WIP Party.

Friday, May 25, 2012

SMS Giveaway Winner Announcement

I want to thank everyone who visited my little piece of blog-land this week especially those of you who chose to become a follower! I'm so flattered! I'll try to keep you entertained! What a fantastic time I've had reading each of your comments and finding new blogs through the giveaway! I wish I could give everyone a prize, but there can only be one winner and it's Jenn who said:

Blogger Jenn said...
We'll be spending lots of days at the pool this summer!! Love, love this print!

Congratulations Jenn! I hope you have fun at the pool and at the sewing machine this summer!

I hope everyone here stateside has a happy and safe Memorial Day! We are going to visit my parent's this weekend which is always a lot of fun. On Monday to celebrate the holiday I will work on my Quilt of Valor top and hopefully finish it. Anybody else planning on doing any sewing this weekend, patriotic or otherwise?

Have a great one everyone!

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Literary Moment #2

I am so happy to share this book with you. If you are a fan of southern fiction, you will love this book!

Tomato Girl

I had read about Tomato Girl a few years ago, and I added it to my long list of books to read. A couple of weeks ago I was browsing at my local library and saw it. I checked it out because I had remembered hearing such good things about it. I was not disappointed! At times it felt like I was reading a book by Flannery O'Connor or Truman Capote, it was deliciously dark and sad. This isn't what I would call a light-hearted read, but it is excellent. When I wasn't reading, I found myself wondering about the characters and what would happen to them. That's always a good sign!

The story is about a little girl ,Ellie, who is growing up in Virginia with her mom and dad. Her father runs a local country store and her mother is at home. From the beginning you learn that her mother experiences unspecified "spells" and that sometimes she isn't herself. Sadly, the pressures of caring for her mother gets to be too much for her father and he falls in love with the Tomato Girl who sells produce at his store. Suddenly, Ellie finds herself in circumstances that no 11 year old should ever have to face.

This is another title from the fabulous Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. I promise I do read other books, but I can't say enough good things about this publisher!

As a side note, the author, Jayne Pupek, passed away in 2010. During her life she published two books of poetry, but sadly, Tomato Girl was her only work of fiction. It's so sad to think of what else should could have written.

If you like to read fiction, I do hope you will check out this book. It was fantastic! If you do, please let me know what you thought of it.

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

I'm so excited to be participating for the first time ever! I usually miss it!

I am giving away something that I hope someone will love as much as I do! One day I was browsing at my LQS (sadly it has since closed it's doors) and I saw Echino on display. I fell in love with it instantly! The colors are so concentrated and I LOVE the animals in the prints. I bought it with the idea of making a pillow, but honestly, it has just been sitting on my shelf since I bought it. I've decided it's too pretty to sit! I would love for this to go to someone who can make something beautiful out of it!

Without further ado, I'm offering up a 1 yard cut of this beautiful Echino print. To win please just leave one comment. You can tell me about your summer plans, what sewing project(s) you are currently working on or whatever is on your mind. It's your choice. The giveaway is open to everyone! The winner will be selected randomly and I'll contact you Saturday morning.

Have fun looking at all the giveaways and Good luck!

**Giveaway is now closed as of 8:00pm May 25, 2012**

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Literary Moment

I have a confession to make. Before I had children I used to be someone who read at least a book a week.  I loved to read! I was constantly on the lookout for the next new book. I read all of the Man Booker Prize nominations before the winner was announced and was positively bummed when editions weren't readily available in the US. I only read book blogs (I know shocking considering how many quilt blogs I read now), and constantly scribbled little notes of their recommendations on little pieces of paper I kept in my purse. At the time I lived in a cute little condo in DC, so I was always going to hear authors speak at various bookstores and universities. Then I had kids and moved to the suburbs and everything flew out the window.  I would try to read when my children were babies, but honestly I couldn't concentrate.  My foggy, sleep deprived brain couldn't handle any new information, so I stopped trying.  I also fell back in love with quilting!

While I'm still in love with quilting, the past couple of months I have been finding more and more time for my first love.  It has been wonderful! While the baby is napping in the afternoon and my toddler is playing with his toys or watching Nick Jr I've been on the couch reading. It has become my new favorite escape (again)!

I've noticed over the past couple of weeks others have been asking for recommendations for good books to read, so I've decided to start mentioning on my blog when I have read something I've enjoyed.  I don't know how regular of a feature this will be, but I excited about it! I'm hoping someone will find it useful especially with summer just around the corner.  Everybody's looking for a good beach read right?

I've actually finished two books recently that I wanted to mention to everyone: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes and A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein.

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Matterhorn is the story of the Vietnam War told by a veteran. It took him more than 30 years to write, and once you read the novel you understand why.  It is absolutely brutal! Marlantes starts the novel off right in the middle of the war.  No background about the characters, no history lessons, just the Vietnam War presented to you through the eyes of a young lieutenant, fresh out of college. I of course have no idea what it is like to be in a war, but it really was almost like being in the jungle with them.  There were times I had to put the book down because some of the scenes were too much for me! **Disclaimer** While I highly recommend this novel, it is not for the faint of heart. If you don't like violence and filthy language this probably isn't the book for you. However, I think this is the closest way to know about the inner workings and thoughts of troops on the ground without having to actually fight in a war.

jacket image for A Friend of the Family

The book I read while escaping from the jungle of Vietnam was A Friend of the Family. I picked this book up from the library based solely on the publisher. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill is my absolute favorite publisher. I have never read a book from their collection that I didn't like. If you are a reader I highly recommend you check out the link above. I don't think you'll regret it!

The main character is a man who is "living the dream".  He's a successful doctor, has a happy marriage, and a cherished son.  He, like so many of us, never really appreciates everything he has, and only starts to when he is about to loose everything. As I approached the end of the book, I couldn't put it down.  I was dying to know what happened to Dr. Peter, his family and his best friends. The story is essentially the tale of the dangers of trying to have it all including the "perfect" child. I think one of the things I liked best about this story is that I could relate to the main character.  I've been known to take things for granted and I also have BIG dreams for my sons. I'm sure I probably won't go to the extremes Dr. Pete does in the story to protect my dreams for my children, but I can see how it would be easy to get caught up in making what I want happen instead of letting them do what they want.

If you are still reading this I appreciate it! I hope if either of these seem interesting to you that you'll check them out.  Also, if you have any questions about either of these books please let me know.  I would love the opportunity to discuss them with you. I'm always looking for new books to read please leave me suggestions in the comments.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Stash Report

Well, I have some progress to report this week!  I finally finished the top and back for my elephant baby quilt. Hopefully I'll have time to baste it this evening.  The quilting shouldn't take too long.  I'm just planning to do some simple straight line quilting along the seams.  We'll see how long it takes!

I'm still plugging away on my next QOV.  I've made good progress, but can't count it out until the top is finished. I've got my fingers crossed that I can count it next week! The pattern is Fourth of July by Bonnie Hunter. It is my favorite type of quilt pattern: easy to piece, but gorgeous!

I've started cutting out a sailboat baby quilt for my step-sister.  It will be awhile before I can count this fabric out, but at least I've started!  Her son was born on Tuesday in South Carolina.  Fortunately, it's pretty warm there is time of year, so I can get away with not having his quilt ready quite yet!

Since I'm just not happy until I've got a million projects going at once, I cut into my Going Coastal stash this week! After much deliberation, I've decided to make a simple patchwork quilt.  I wanted something easy and quick so I can use it this summer, but that would show off the awesome prints, so I think this will be perfect.  I can't wait to finish this one!

Along with the sewing I also added some fabric too.  I really just added more to my stash of fabrics I already have.  More Flea Market Fancy, Dear Stella Anchors Away and Going Coastal.  No pictures to share of the new additions because they've already been cut or mixed in with the existing piles, but trust me they are gorgeous!

The numbers this week:

Used this week: 7 yards
Used YTD: 23 yards
Added this week: 8 yards
Added YTD: 51 yards
Net Added: 28 yards

To see how everyone else is doing with their stash management go to Judy's.