Tuesday, October 28, 2014


When I sat out to write a Needlework Tuesday post, it pointed out two things:  

  •  I didn't stitch anything this week.
  •  I'm slipping back into bad blogging habits - no posts for a week.

I hope to rectify both of those things in the coming week.

Just because I don't have any sewing to report doesn't mean I wasn't in  my sewing room.  I was there for hours - but most of it was spent "un-sewing".  

I started with trying to make a Halloween costume.  Friends of ours host a costume bash every year, and I'm always the party-pooper who refuses to dress up.  This year I decided to try, so I searched Pinterest and found one costume that I thought would be original, pretty and minimally embarrassing  - a peacock.  (Stop laughing.)  I purchased 40 yards of peacock blue tulle (because it was cheaper by the bolt than by the yard) and 100 peacock feathers (which were much smaller than I envisioned).  

Reader's Digest Version:  It didn't work as planned, I looked like an idiot, I "un-sewed" it and sold the entire bolt of tulle to another crafter.  (I kept the feathers - I'll find a use for them some day.)

Remember the World's Wildest Quilt I've been making for Amanda?  It was my first attempt at machine quilting each block individually and then assembling.  I finished four blocks and put them together just to see what I thought.  I thought I liked the design but hated the process.   I forced myself to trudge on and quilt two more blocks, then it sat in stacks on my cutting table - getting in the way of every other project I worked on - just to remind me that I need to get moving.  She'll be home December 10th.

After several weeks of staring at it, I made the decision to "un-sew" it.  As awful as undoing 6 blocks sounded, completing 18 more sounded even worse.  It really wasn't as difficult as I expected, and I got all six done in one evening.  Now I'm going to assemble the blocks in the traditional manner, add the borders and then figure out a new plan for finishing it before 12/10.

Yes, I have a stack of 14" backing fabric and batting squares, but they'll be just the thing I need for some project down the road.

In craft-related news.  A friend of Dave's bought a commercial building that has been sitting, unused, for years.  At one point, there was a second-hand store of some sort in a portion of the building.  We could see through the windows that there were shelves and shelves of books, so Dave got permission for us to see if anything was salvageable before they do a mass clean-up.  As we figured, dust, water and mice had destroyed most of the books, and many of what remained were Harlequin romances.  We did go home with a couple boxes of books, a basket, a couple hand tools, a Burger King toy from mid-90's -still sealed in the package (turns out to be worth about $4), and a promise from the new owner that we get dibs on the sewing machines we spotted, but couldn't get to without unstacking heaps of other junk.  Plus - a copy of Do-It-Yourself magazine from 1959.  The contents are mostly about jewelry making, nothing I could really use, so I framed it and it will hang in my sewing room - just as soon as I figure out how to hang things on concrete walls.

If you have been stitching (or un-stitching) anything this week, visit Heather at Books & Quilts  and link up.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Needlework Tuesday: Run Run Runners

Last week I showed you the fabric and table runner pattern I got as part of my Shop Hop bounty.  This week, I have the finished project!  I love the colors and the curvy design.  It was easy to make, once I caught on to making my own bias tape, and it fits perfectly on my coffee table.  I did the quilting on my machine - following the curved line on the maroon side and contrasting with straight lines on the gray side. 

The first one was so much fun, I decided to make another using some of Asian panels and coordinates that I also picked up at the Shop Hop.  Since I only bought a fat quarter of each of the coordinates, the first hurdle was making a 36" strip from a fat quarter.  It took a bit to figure out, but I'm pretty proud of how well the pattern lines up at the seam.

The next question was the trim along the curve. Bias strips of the batik coordinate made the first trim, but I like the look of the two trims on the first runner (gray strip plus black rick-rack).  I auditioned a blue batik that matches the blue in the butterflies, and then a green that matches the flowers at the bottom. Neither one looked quite right.  

It needs a touch of gold.  If you look closely (doesn't show well in the pictures) there are shiny gold highlights on the butterflies and flowers.  I have some glittery gold fabric that was in a box of Christmas stuff that belonged to my mother-in-law.  I have no clue what it's made of.  It's looks gorgeous with the other fabrics, but it is awful to work with and melts instantly if touched with a hot iron.  So I'm holding off finishing it until I can get somewhere to look for gold trim.

Here's what it looks like so far.  If you have other ideas for a second row of trim, feel free to throw your ideas out there.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather at Quilts and Books. Visit her blog to link up your own sewing/crafting post, and to see what everyone else is stitching.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas . . .

There's a saying defining insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  So just let me say right now:  Hi, My name is Tami and I'm insane.  

Fresh off the high of Dewey's Read-a-thon, it was easy for Sis to talk me into signing up for the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Read-a-thon.  Yes, I'm aware that I have a horrible track record for participating in book events other than Dewey's - but this time will be different . . . seriously.  Books and Christmas are two of my favorite things!

This merry event is hosted by Jennifer @ The Book Shelfery and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  I've never met these ladies, or even visited their blogs, until now.  But I see that at least one of them lives in Nebraska and they both obviously share my love of Christmas books - so they must be great gals.    Here's the scoop on their read-a-thon:
Grab those holiday theme books and bring your holiday spirit. Prepare to enter challenges, win prizes, meet new friends and Twitter chat with us. You can join for a day or sit by the fire and hang out every day. The more you participate the more entries you will earn for the Participant Giveaway.
Rules and other details, as well as the spot to sign up,  can be found here.  I don't see anything about setting a goal for number of books read, pages read, time reading  - - just read.  So - I'm going to start by selecting from this stack of books that I collected from my own bookshelf:

There are nine holiday books there - - nine holiday books that have been languishing on my shelves - unread.  That's disgraceful for a Christmas nut!  So, I'll start there and then drop by the library to see what's new.  

Thanks Kimberly and Jennifer, for hosting this fun event.  Can't wait to get started.

Books on Books: The Answers

I'm too old to pull an all-nighter!  I had a wonderful readathon, enjoyed it immensely, but it's harder to recover from sleep deprivation than it was in college.  By 6:00 a.m. on Sunday (Hour 23) my brain was so muddled that I totally forgot to post the answer to my mini-challenge puzzle.  Here are the fourteen books represented in the puzzle:
  • The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • Fahernheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
  • I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss
  • The Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kenney
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet
  • The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
  • Misery by Stephen King
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • Dewey:  The Small Town Library Cat by Vicki Myron
Thanks again to all of you who entered.  This was the first time I hosted in the closing hours of readathon, and I was concerned about getting entries.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Twenty-four people who really know their book covers (and were surprisingly coherent at that hour) stopped by the blog.  

Thank you all for entering and thank you for your kind comments.

See you in April 2015!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

End of Event Meme

Another readathon is nearly over, and I'm already looking forward to April.  A huge "thank you" to the lovely ladies who put this together.  As always, I didn't read as much as I thought I would - but I've learned to live with that.   Dewey's Readathon is about reading - but it's also about the community of readers and bloggers.  It's about having fun - sometimes in a very nerdy way - with a group of people who totally get it.  

Thanks also to the cheerleaders who keep us going and the creative folks who dream up all those wonderful mini-challenges.  They are the highlight of the day, for me.  

Happy Reading - See in you April.

Which hour was most daunting for you?  I fell asleep at 12:15 and woke up at 2:30 a.m., so I guess I would have to say that Hour 18 (midnight to 1:00 a.m. in my world) was most daunting

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  Unfortunately, I chose books that were too laid-back and character driven.  Next time I'll try to pick things that are more gripping.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Cheerleaders come to my house with cupcakes.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  Everything seemed to go smoothly - I didn't even notice any bad links, which is amazing with so many people involved.  Good work!

How many books did you read? That depends on your definition of "read".  I read portions of 4 books, but finished none.  

What were the names of the books you read?  (see answer above)
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
Return to Me by Lynn Austin
The Question of the Missing Head by E.J. Copperman
Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Jewel Box 

Which book did you enjoy most?  Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good - I'm infatuated with the entire series. 

Which did you enjoy least?  I pass

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  100% - God and schedules willing!  I love hosting a mini-challenge so I'll likely do that again.  May also try cheerleading again.  All aspects of the readathon are great fun . . . except hosting - that's terrifying. :) 

And in case you missed this video at Hour 16 (posted by Hostess Courtney) - this is the funniest thing I've seen in ages.  Get up and dance and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Dream Cast Mini-Challenge

Shannon at River City Reads poses this question:  If the book you are reading were made into a movie, who would you cast to play the main roles?  I love this question because I so often disagree with the casting directors in Hollywood (Like that guy who played Morelli in One For The Money ????)

I happen to be reading Someplace Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon.  I have been rereading the entire series in anticipation of this latest release, so I feel like an expert on Father Tim and Cynthia Kavanagh.  Since this is my "Dream" Cast, I'm assuming that there are no limitations (like that they are still living) on who I can pick.  

James Garner would have been perfect for the role of Father Tim and Helen Mirren is the picture of Cynthia in my head.

Fun question to ponder, Shannon.  But now I'm slightly disappointed that I'll never see this couple on the Silver Screen.

Best of the Year Mini-Challenge

I have had an awful reading year - probably the worst of my 40+ years of reading.  I have let sewing, painting, knitting and other crafts consume my leisure time and I haven't read much.  Also, what little I HAVE read, hasn't been very good.  So here is my very short "Best of" list 

Hands-Down Best Book of the Year:  Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Best Non-Adult Book:  Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings 

Best Re-read:  Shepherd's Abiding by Jan Karon

Best Ending:  The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks