Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tangled Thursday: Daisy

Background by Heather @ Books & Quilts
Today is the kickoff of a new weekly feature created by Heather @ Books and Quilts.  Zentangling has become a favorite passtime for several bloggers, so Heather came up with the idea of a weekly "challenge" - not in a competitive way, but in an inspirational way.  We will take turns selecting the weekly theme.  Each member draws their own variation on the theme and we share by posting pictures on Thursday.  We will take turns selecting the theme for the next week.  If you are interested in joining us, please feel free.  Visit Heather's blog and leave her a comment so she can add you to the rotation.  

The theme for the inaugural week is "daisy".  My first thought was the "flower child" daisies of the 60's.  I used a Google image search to gather ideas and and here is my interpretation of daisies:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pin It/Do It: Quilted Basket

Seaside Stitches
"Quick and simple" seems to be the theme for my October Pin It/Do It entries.  This adorable little basket was done in less than an hour.  The original pin has easy to follow instructions.  This would be a great project for beginners of any age.  I plan to make more as Christmas gifts - fill with snacks, lotions, note pads and pen . . . lots of ideas for teachers, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  

My little coral box is on my desk at work, holding sticky notes.

The Pin It/Do It Challenge is hosted by Trish @ Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity.  Stop by and see what everyone is pinning and doing.  I signed up to do 8 pins this month, but I don't think I'm going to make it.  Only one evening left to craft and it will be spent completing my Halloween costume. The challenge may be over, but there will be plenty of crafting and sewing between now and Christmas.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Needlework Tuesday

The majority of my sewing this week was working on Halloween costumes.  I'll post pictures of them later in the week because they aren't quite complete, but here's a preview:  Some friends of ours are getting married . . . on Halloween . . . in costume.  Dave is performing the ceremony dressed as Alice Cooper.  Stop laughing, your tears are getting in the keyboard!  The bride loves Halloween, so this is her dream wedding.  I have "bedazzled" a tuxedo tailcoat and top hat for Dave.  I couldn't come up with a costume for me, so I decided to do the obvious and be "Mrs. Cooper".  I am making myself a red and black leather tail coat and gold brocade vest.  If they turn out to be wearable, I'll post pictures.  If not, I'll be scrambling for a backup costume.  I'll let you know on Friday.

In the mean time, the only other stitching I've done is to make a Pumpkin Pincushion that I posted about on Sunday.  But in sewing-related news, I have a new sewing machine. Make that a new, OLD sewing machine.  An early 20th century Montgomery Ward treadle machine.

We haven't been able to locate a serial or model number, but the machine was patented in 1886 and the cabinet mechanism in 1903.  I have a 1947 Singer machine and by that time machines had switched to electricity.  My amazing powers of deduction tell me that the treadle machine likely dates between 1903 and 1940.  All parts seem to be in working order, but the belt is missing.  A friend (a librarian, naturally) knew of a site to buy vintage parts, so we may get it functional, but it's really just for decoration.  My friend, Julie, described it as one of those things that just make you squeal when you see it.  *squeal*

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pin It/Do It: Pumpkin Pincushion

Things we know about me:
Original Pin from
  • I don't like Halloween.
  • I really likes Christmas (Seriously, a Christmas blog theme in October?).
  • I tend to skip over decorating or crafting for Autumn and go straight to Christmas.
But this little pumpkin pincushion was so cute, I had to try making one.  Turned out to be a very quick and simple project.

The instructions for curling the ribbon require starch, and I didn't have any, so I simply wound the ribbon around a pencil and steamed it several times with my iron, let it cool completely and slid off the pencil.  We'll see how long the curl holds.  Here's my version:

This project was under an hour - including time to dig through the scrap box for orange fabrics.  The original calls for two alternating prints, but I used four prints to use up some small scraps.  This is a great idea for a quick gift, or make them assembly-line style and whip up an entire pumpkin patch to use as table favors or craft fair items.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Bummers

Blood, gore, demons, and demented characters . . .  These are themes that abound this time of year, but I am not a Halloween fan - in fact I pretty much skip the whole thing now that I don't have kids at home.  Thanks to two highly anticipated novels, I've had way more than my share this October, starting with Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall.  Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. (from book cover)

The friend who recommended this series said "Prepare to be addicted."  I slogged through 27 cd's waiting for the addictive part, but all I found were throat slashings, stabbings, severed bodies and heads on spikes.  True, there were a lot of plots and counterplots, but none of them made me wonder "what's next"?  This series is now a hit TV show, which I haven't watched, but I can't image how it translates to TV.  Not a hit with me.

Next was Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.  I pre-ordered my copy months before it's release and, when that copy was back-ordered, bought the Nook version because I couldn't wait to start. I even joined a read-along group so I could discuss it with other readers.  
Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death. (from book cover)
 I read Section I, just over 100 pages, and had to give up.  I'll admit, I read The Shining over 30 years ago, when it first came out, and maybe my memory isn't what it should be, but I recall it being psychological terror - the effects of isolation.  When this story involved kidnapping and torturing a child, I called it quits.  There is so much real-life horror in the world, I just can't fill any more time, space and energy with imagined carnage. 

Recovery from alcoholism also played a large part in at least the first section of this book.  I can't begin to get inside Mr. King's head (thank heaven) but I assume that writing about Dan's battle with alcohol was in some way therapeutic for his own struggle with alcohol.  One of my other favorite authors, Lawrence Block, attempted a similar catharsis through writing alcohol recovery into one of his popular series.  I couldn't finish that book either.  Somehow, one person's experience with AA and their inner demons doesn't translate to the page - or perhaps it just doesn't translate to me.  Either way, it translates into too much work to read.  I can't believe I put Stephen King in the DNF pile!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Shop a Library Sale, or You Can't Judge a Book By It's Cover

Dave and I stopped by the library during our lunch hour today and stumbled on a used book sale - $2/bag.  My eyes glazed over as I grabbed a bag and began digging.  Dave sifted through a couple tables and deemed them all "fuel for a giant book burning".   I'll agree, there were a lot of  less-than-bestsellers there, but there were also gems among the dross, if you dug deep enough.  Here's what I discovered on the Mystery table:

It's a mystery-lovers bonanza:  Gilman, Christie, Rinehart, Gardner, Stout - and that plain brown book underneath is Westlake.  Throw in a copy of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines and a collection of Christmas stories and it's a pretty good haul.  

C.S. Lewis once said, "It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between."  I intend to try to follow that rule in the coming year.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I Can Do It Myself!

Dave and I have been car shopping.  We aren't car buying because we can't agree on the specifics of what we're shopping for.   This is the only vehicle we come close to agreeing on:
Nissan Juke
But I only want it if it's Cayenne Red with black leather interior . . . with the red stitching on the seats . . . and the red console . . . and costs less than we paid for our first house.  I don't think that's out of line, but car dealers seem to, so we're still searching.

 The search has confirmed something I've really known for years:  some of the standard features on new cars annoy me.  I'm tired of cars that think they know best. I am an adult, capable of making my own choices.  If I want my doors locked, I will lock them.  If I want my headlights on, I will turn them on.  If I want to wear a seat belt, I will put it on.   And - here's the biggie - I absolutely hate having the radio continue to run after the car is shut off.  I hate that moment when the car noise stops, but the radio continues to blare at what is now, in the absence of car and road noise, a jarring volume.  If I want to listen to the radio, I can do it myself! 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for luxury and pampering.  Heated seats are good.  Climate control heating/cooling is a must.  And those cool back-up cameras might have prevented the little fender-bender I had the other day.  But I want to choose when I use these features.  I don't want my car to be in charge. 

More and more, technology seems to be taking over life. I don't have proof, but my personal theory is that it started in the 1950's.
Electric stoves, refrigerators, toasters and kettles revolutionized the kitchen, and vacuum cleaners and washing machines shaved hours off time spent cleaning. Women could enjoy more leisure time while still creating a clean, comfortable home for their families.  -
Of course, you can't stop progress  - or so they say - and the appliances that revolutionized the 1950's have continued to evolve.  Appliance manufacturers continually add features that promise to do more so we can do less.   A microwave - unheard of when we got married - is now a standard kitchen feature.  Dishwashers not only wash our plates and cups, but will now scrub our pots and pans.  Washers include cycles for even our most delicate items - no more hand washing.  But to what end?

Automation and technology are meant to make life easier; to free up more time -- time we can use to go to the gym because, since machines do our work, we aren't getting enough exercise.  We continually increase the physical and mental jobs we hand off to machines.  Calculators have replaced the need to know multiplication tables.  MP3's and iPods have freed us from having to stack records on the stereo or turn the pages of a book.  Cell phones have nearly made watches, calendars, and address books obsolete,  We don't even have to make the effort to remember our best friend's phone number. 

In our cars, automatic transmission makes it unnecessary to shift and clutch.  Radio seek and scan features free us from the strain of turning a knob.  Windows glide down, and out-of-reach rear doors lock with the push of one finger.  These are all convenient and/or helpful ways to make life just a little easier. 

However, we have become so accustomed to our automated lives that physical work seems daunting when we have to do it ourselves. Just suggest to a farmer that he bale his hay in hundreds of small square bales and stack them by hand, rather than in large round bales moved and stacked with a tractor.  Or ask a young lady who has always "Swiffered" her kitchen floor to scrub it on hands and knees.  Baking and sewing are no longer mandatory subjects for high school girls because everything they need is available on a Wal-Mart shelf.  These once-mandatory skills have been changed to "crafts" by the convenience of technology.

The features in new cars that annoy me, however, move beyond convenience.  They think for us - or at least the engineers who design them do.  Locked doors, buckled belts and blaring radios are no longer optional.  Someone, somewhere has decided that their preferences are right for everyone, and I can not be trusted to make my own choices.  I want to yell, "I can do it myself!"  I know, I know - it's just a car radio. It's not life and death.  And you're right - in the end, it probably won't stop me from trading cars.  

But these annoying features are a microcosm of bigger issues; of the growing list of opinions that are forced on me.  The message is clear: "These are the opinions you must hold in order to be an upstanding, clear-headed, politically correct citizen of this world.  All those who disagree are not only wrong, but obviously subordinate."  What about personal choice?  What about open-minded debate?  What about agreeing to disagree at times?  Those things are rare in the 2013 world - largely because our easy lives have made us lazy and apathetic.  Instead of putting out the effort to fight, we watch our glorious nation slide faster and faster down the slippery slope toward the attitudes and oppressions our ancestors have repeatedly gone to war to escape.

Overly dramatic?  I hope so.  But I'm afraid not. It's time to remember that "progress" is meant to make life better, not just less demanding.  It's time to stop accepting the "standard options" just because it's easier than taking a stand.  It's time to stop conforming just because we're too lackadaisical to protest.  It's time to stop taking the easy road and put our country back on the right road.  It's time to stop allowing the government to do for us and say "I can do it myself."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pin It/Do It: Christmas Table Topper

This post is doing double-duty for October Pin It/Do It and Needlework Tuesday.  I pinned this project quite awhile ago, but was undecided on fabrics.  I also had a collection of 5 Charlie Brown Christmas fat quarters that I wanted to make into something that didn't require cutting them up too small or the prints would get lost.  Behold the perfect combination.

The original pin called for a plastic wedge template for cutting the pieces but, because of my self-imposed $5 spending limit for this challenge, purchasing one was not an option.  Instead, I printed a Dresden Plate template off the internet, enlarged to the proper size on the copier, and squared the outside edges to get rid of the scallop.  It would be cute to leave the scalloped edge if you're talented at finishing. Not I!  My pattern called for 16 wedges rather than 20, as in the video.  This went together very easily and quickly.

The video shows a slick trick for getting the center piece perfectly round. 

Tip:  Be very (I mean VERY) consistent with your seam sizes.  A little too big or too small and your circle won't lay flat.  Of course the video calls for finishing the outside edge with bias binding.  And of course I didn't do it.  I hate binding.  I layered my finished top with cotton batting and the backing fabric and stitched the outer edge, leaving a space to turn.  If you look close, you can see that my circle puckers just a little bit in places - proving my point about consistent seam sizes. 

Also, don't try to sew as a distraction when upset.  I had just received news of the death of a co-worker who had been battling cancer and my mind was wandering.  The finishing isn't as good as it should be.  I'm debating ripping it out and restitching the outside edge, but most likely I'll just use it as is.

Here is the original Youtube video by Missouri Quilt Company:

If you missed yesterday's post, back up and check out my other sewing project this week.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather at Books and Quilts.
The October Pin It and Do It Challenge is hosted by Trish at Love, Laughter and a Bit of Insanity.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October Pin It/Do It: Roll Warmer

from Virginia at Gingercake
I love vintage kitchen things, and I actually remember these roll warmers from years and years (and years) ago.  They are incredibly simple to sew and I'm sure there are many creative uses for things other than dinner rolls.  

Virginia's version calls for two coordinating prints, but my version uses four fabrics.  I had partial fat quarters left over from a throw pillow for our daughter's apartment, but none large enough to cut three 12" circles.  So I cut one each of three coordinates and three of the coral solid.  

I matched up 1 print circle and one coral to make the three required double-sided circles. 

Stitch together following Virginia's easy instructions, add three snaps . . .

snuggle a dinner roll into each pocket and you're ready for thanksgiving dinner.

I like the look of the three prints, but I also like the other examples on Gingercake that are one solid color.  I'll be making more of these.   Let me know if you have brilliant ideas for other uses.

The October Pin It and Do It Challenge is hosted by Trish at Love, Laughter and a Bit of Insanity.

Readathon Wrap-Up

Wow!  It's 7:00 a.m. once again and the readathon is over.  I never accomplish quite as much as I planned, but I always have a great time.  Here are my final thoughts:
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  Evidently Hour 19 - that's when I finally HAD to go to sleep, but I came back for hour 24
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  The only book I finished was Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg.  Very good!  For the later hours I had to move on to a thriller by James Patterson because they are always page turners and don't require deep thought.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  No - they are always amazing!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  I especially enjoyed the Twitter conversation - that seems to be growing with every readathon.
  5. How many books did you read? I finished 1, but read from 6.  I have to jump around to keep myself alert.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?  Tapestry of Fortunes; You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado; The Sallie House by Debra Pickman; Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite; Mistress by James Patterson
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Tapestry of Fortunes
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  The Sallie House - interesting true story but by an amateur writer.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  It takes more time than you realize.  I tried to cheer for 3-4 blogs/hour but it was tough to do and still participate in reading and challenges.  Next time I will probably devote a block of time to do nothing but cheer.
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  100% chance that I'll participate again!  I think I have tried all the roles now - reader, mini-challenge host, cheerleader and host.  I may leave the hosting duties for the younger ladies who are more informed on all the social media, etc., but I will definitely do all the others again.
Thank you, Hostesses and Coordinators, for all your hard work and commitment.  This is an amazing event.  I'm already looking forward to April!

Hour 19: Show it Off

It's hour 19 - and I'm winding down fast.  The house is quiet again.  Everyone has gone to bed - even the dogs.  I'm going to try to make it all night but will probably have to take a snooze.  This hour's mini-challenge is called Show it Off, hosted by Kay at Dead Book Darling.  The plan is to photograph the books from our personal library that we are proud of - signed copies, well-worn favorites, out of print - the ones you would grab in case of fire.  

Well, my bookshelves are in the guest room, which is occupied by a sleeping daughter so I can't get a picture.  I'll just have to tell you my most precious books:

Dave has a paperback signed by Louis L'Amour.  He actually has every book L'Amour ever wrote, but the autographed one is special.

I don't have any books with monetary value, but there are a few that are dear to me because they are frequent re-reads:  The entire "Cat Who . . ." series by Lilian Jackson Braun; my childhood copies of Charlotte's Web and Harriet the Spy; and, of course, three Bibles - one belonged to Dave's mother, one to his Grandmother and one is mine - a gift from my grandparents in the mid 60's.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hour 13 Mini-Challenge: The Best of the Year

Lisa at Lisa's World of Books would like to know, "What are the best books you've read this year?"  She has a list of categories and asks us each to name a winner in at least 3 categories. My problem is, I'm not sure how to categorize some, so I'm just going to give you my three favorite reads (so far) of 2013.  And the winner is.....

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman.  Beautifully written.  A good story with that little extra "something" that moves it into 5-star category.  My review is here.

The Fate of Mercy Alban  by Wendy Webb.   "A perfect read for a dark and stormy night," according to the cover blurb.  An unusual mystery. My review is here.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.  This one wins for Best Book I Should Have Read Years Ago.  

Readathon Update

As we enter hour 12, here's a quick run-down of where I am. 

Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg - on page 184 of 219.
You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado - on page 59 of 159.
The Sallie House Haunting by Debra Pickman - on page 49 of 266.

Mini-Challenges entered:  5
Prizes won:  0
Blog's visited as a cheerleader: 20

Mid Event Survey:
1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? - I've dozed a couple times, but it's only 6:00 p.m. in my time zone, so the tough hours are still ahead.

2) What have you finished reading? - Nothing, because I keep switching between books.

3) What is your favorite read so far? - Tapestry of Fortunes

4) What about your favorite snacks? - I'm trying not to snack much, but I did have an apple with peanut butter that was pretty yummy.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love! - I've visited a lot of new blogs and found some new friends on Twitter.  I'll have to sort it all out later when there's more time, but I'm amazed at the variety of blogs.

Readathon: Through the Tea Leaves

Love, love, love this challenge hosted by Katrina's Reads.  The idea is to make a blotch on paper using a tea bag, coffee or ink.  Then, create a drawing of a character from your book, using the splotch as your outline.  I made my spot using coffee on brown craft paper - not the best idea because it doesn't show up very well, so you'll have to take my word for it that I followed the outline.  Here is my awesome creation (not!)

Now the hard part - what character from my book does this represent?  Well, the book I'm reading is about a group of 4 women, so I'm going to say this is the ex-boyfriend the heroine is hoping to reconnect with.  Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to this poor guy. :)

Thanks, Katrina, for the fun idea.  I'm going to go spill some more coffee so I can do more of these later.

Now - since I have spent the past two hours closing out my own mini-challenge and working on others, I better get back to reading!

Readathon: Mad-Libs Challenge

This fun challenge is hosted by the ladies at Nisaba be Praised,  The idea is to select a short paragraph from the book you are reading, remove words then ask a friend, neighbor or total stranger to randomly select words to replace them - creating a "Mad-Lib".

Here is my original sentence, from page 71 of Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg:

"But I think maybe it was just one of those times when a memory picks you up and carries you off like dandelion fluff." (which, by the way, is an awesome sentence)

Here's the Mad-Lib version created with random words selected by my husband, Dave:

"But I think maybe it was just one of those times when a rifle picks you up and passes you off like a pumpkin."  (not as awesome - but strangely graphic)

Thanks for the fun challenge, girls.  Back to reading.

A Puzzling Mini-Challenge: The Winners!

A great big thanks to everyone who entered my mini-challenge.  The Challenge was to identify the 10 food represented by 10 book covers.  Out of 50 entrants, 9 got them all correct: (my apologies if I got blog/Tumblr names, or participant names wrong)

Megan @ YA? Why Not?
Caladiel @ This is Neurotica
Laura @ Please Pardon the Interruption
Tiffany @ Truthfully Tichwi
Nadia @ Eu e o Ban
CaroG @ A Girl Who Lies Books
Maenad @ Naked Came the Maenad
Esther @ Are You Sitting Comfortably

Way to go, guys!  My great-niece, Elaine, drew a number to determine the winner, and the winner is:

Maenad @ Naked Came the Maenad

Elaine also drew a number to select the runner-up winner from all entrants.  And that prize goes to:

Deb Nance @ Readerbuzz

Congratulations, Maenad and Deb!  Please contact me at with your mailing address and I'll send your prize package.

And Honorable Mention to Stacy @ Stacy's Books who got 9.5 correct.  She incorrectly identified Milk Glass Moon as Big Cherry Hollar - another book in the same series by Adriana Trigiani.  So close!  But sorry, there's no prize for that. :)

Here are the correct answers:
Fried Green TOMATOES at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
The GRAPES of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PIE by Alan Bradley
The Guernsey Literary and POTATO Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer 
The Particular Sadness of LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender
Playing for PIZZA by John Grisham
CHOCOLAT by Joanne Harris
MILK Glass Moon by Adriana Trigiani
Green EGGS and HAM by Dr. Seuss
On the Banks of PLUM Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hour 4 Mini-Challenge

Heather at Capricious Reader is hosting this hours mini-challenge:  Book Spine Poetry.

I'm not much of a poet even when I have ALL the words to choose from. Limiting myself to book titles makes for some hilarious results.  Here's what I came up with:

In case you can't make that out - 
The wind in the willows after the rain,
Soaring eagle,
Sweet salt air,
A place of quiet rest.

A Puzzling Challenge

I'm tallying answers as fast as I can and will announce the winner ASAP.  Thanks for all your entries.  Hope you had fun!

Hey, Read-a-thon-ers!  Welcome to Just One More Thing... where we like puzzles, books and food.  This hour's mini-challenge combines all three.  Below is a picture puzzle with portions of ten book covers.  The title of each book contains a type of food (for example: If You Give a Moose a Muffin, would qualify.)  How many can you name?

Leave your list of the ten foods represented in the comment section.  No need to include the full book title - unless your just compulsive that way.   Comments will remain hidden until the challenge closes in three hours (12:00 noon, Central Time).  The winner will be randomly selected from all correct entries.  Even if you don't know all ten, list as many as you can - there will be a second random drawing from all entrants.

And speaking of prizes . . . The winner will receive this prize package:
Recipe box, autographed copy of Peas, Beans and Corn by Jennifer Wixson, 
English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier, and The Scarlet Pepper by Dorothy St. James

An entrant drawn at random will receive a set of recipe cards.  Good Luck!

click to enlarge
A big thank you to Jennifer Wixson for donating the signed copy of her book.  Find out more about Jennifer and her books here.

Read-A-Thon: And Away We Go . . .

It's that time again -- twenty-four hours of reading,  entering challenges, reading, meeting new friends, and reading!  If that sounds like your kind of fun, you can still join.  Visit the Dewey's Readathon site for all the details and to sign up.

I am reading from my home in SE Nebraska - a two acre plot we call "Green Acres" (see the "about" page to find out why).  It is fall harvest in Nebraska, so Hubs, who manages the local grain elevator, will be at work today.  Since we are empty-nesters, the only distractions in the house are the two dogs.  I really have no excuse for not getting some reading done.

My reading plan begins with Bible devotions, then I'll be moving on to the books I've already started:  Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg and You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado, and The Sallie House Haunting by Debra Pickman (a true story of a supposedly-haunted home we visited a couple weeks ago).  My experience from past read-a-thons tells me that I get more read if I switch between books frequently.

These books (and more) from my own shelves are waiting in the wings: 

Along with these books from the library:

I like to leave my options open - obviously.

So - time to pour a cup of coffee and get started on twenty-four glorious hours of reading.  Come back at 9:00 a.m. (Central Time) for my Puzzling Mini-Challenge.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Pin It/Do It: A Sheepish Pin

This is such an easy pin that I almost feel guilty counting it for the October challenge. Almost. 

School teacher, Julie Joest, posted this picture of a project she assigned her class - create a card by drawing a doodle or Zentangle on an old book page, and glue to construction paper.

I didn't necessarily need a card, but loved the idea of Zentangling on old book pages.  Since I keep a box of books from an estate sale for just such crafting occasions, I tore out several pages and gave it a try.  I experimented with a couple types of paper, but the best result was on the porous paper rather than paper with a shiny finish.  I especially liked the look of the yellowed edges.   

I have no idea what I'm going to do with these, but then I have no idea what to do with an entire sketch book full of Zentangles.  But if a use ever comes up, I'm ready.  And we'll call that Pin #1 for October Pin It.

Visit Trish @ Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity to see what everyone is pinning and doing, or to join.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Needlework Tuesday: Halloween Costumes

I spoke with a young mother the other day who was lamenting the high cost of Halloween costumes.  This family is not in a position to buy a lot of extras at the moment, so she was trying to create a no-cost costume for her 10-month-old daughter.   While I was brainstorming ideas, I thought of the aprons I've been making and "voila" - the perfect idea for an easy, low-cost costume.
These are perfect for infants and toddlers.  For the Candy Corn costume, dress the child in one of the three colors, add apron and a white cap.  The Lady Bug costume includes a black elastic headband with pipe cleaner and pom-pom antennas.  Dress the child in black and you're ready to go.  I am also making a Jack-O-Lantern version.  

I forgot to put anything in the picture for size perspective.  This version is approximately 12" long from top of bib to bottom of apron, since the are intended for infants.  As in the regular aprons, the neck strap is elastic, and the waist band hooks with Velcro.  Also like the originals, they are reversible, so the back side could be a second costume, or an apron for kitchen-play later.

This is a quick and easy costume that can be made from scraps.  I had a fat quarter of the red fabric and I could cut three aprons in this small size. If you have any babies/toddlers to dress up for Halloween, feel free to borrow this idea.  I'll even provide measurements if you need them.

The only other stitching I did this week was a couple hours spent on perfecting my tatting.  I've improved enough to move to smaller thread for a more delicate look.  I'm not quite ready to try making something other than a chain of loops, but I'll keep practicing until I am.

Needlework Tuesday is a weekly feature sponsored by Heather @ Books & Quilts.  Stop by and see what everyone is stitching.