Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tangled Thursday: Negative Space

It's been a while since the Tangled Thursday gang had a challenge, so I'm glad we are back on track.  I've been so busy on other projects that the Zentangle supplies have been abandoned.  I was excited to get them back out, but I have to admit, I was a little rusty.

The challenge for this week was "negative space" - fill the area around an object rather than filling in the object. To get back in the swing, I decided to revisit an idea used for my very first Tangled Thursday submission - a daisy on a background of blocks - this time featuring a little Christmas joy.

Visit our hostess, Heather, at Books & Quilts to see all the "negative" drawings.  And leave a link to your own art work, if you choose.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cleaning House

I'm sure every blogger has her own way of keeping track of ideas for blog posts.  For me, the easiest way is to start a draft and put in a few words, a quote, or a link to whatever inspired the idea.  If I'm not near the computer, I store them as a note in my phone.  It's a decent system - - except when I wait to long and then can't remember what my notes mean.  So occasionally a little housekeeping (blogkeeping?)  is called for.  Here are some ideas that will never make it to the blog page.

1.  I really can't imagine where my head was when I wrote this.  Seriously, this is all that was on the draft:
English - very annoyed, angry
urban dictionary - pissed (british) - drunk
Obviously, I was pondering the difference in the meaning of words between American English and British English.  But why that word?  Was I annoyed and/or angry?  Don't think I was drunk.  So ... I hope that tidbit of information is helpful to you in some way.

2.  I had a draft titled "The Best Day in Parenting".  This one I at least have a vague idea why I wrote it.  It was the day that our daughter, Amanda, admitted that she had no clue why she did most of the stuff she did during jr. high and high school.  I remember thinking all the sleepless nights and headaches and screaming matching had finally paid off - I was right all along.  Vindication!  Not sure how I was going to get an entire post from that.  

3.  "I Hate That Word"  This draft has been hovering around for several years.  The idea started when I read the work "bulwark" in a book.  Not a word you run into often and it struck me as an ugly word.  It's clunky on the tongue and grating to the ear.   So, I decided to start a list of words I hate and words I love, adding on as I ran across them, until the list was long enough for a post.  After all this time the lists were : 

Hate:  bulwark and jaguar
Love:  lovely and feckless (especially when spoken with a Scottish or British accent)

Then there was the enigmatic line:  "quote from 'Secret Lives of Dresses'".  I remember the book - loved it.  But I didn't write down the quote and I have no idea what it was and I'm not even sure where I got the book - probably the public library - so that I can go back and look it up.  So if you happen to be reading that wonderful book and you run across a great quote about words, please let me know.

4.  " Frustration:  The feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.

That would be me.  Recently, life feels like a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut-butter.  I'm driving a sports car and everyone around me is driving an Edsel."

Beyond that sparkling bit of writing, I have no idea what I wanted to accomplish by telling you about my frustrations.  So, consider yourself informed that I'm frustrated with the speed at which life is moving lately - too fast in some areas and frustratingly slow in others."  My "Life Under Construction" project is one of the s-l-o-o-o-o-w areas - but I'm not giving up.  I'll keep you posted.

Well, I feel much better for having cleaned out that blogging closet.  Left on the shelf are some serious thoughts on books, feminism, handwriting, faith, what makes a family, spaces that foster creativity, and The Saturday Evening Post.  So you have that to look forward to in the new year. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Scooby-Dooby-Do, Where Are You?

I'm still here, just incredibly busy.  Don't tell anyone, but I do a lot of my blogging at work when things are slow but, due to continual problems with our new computer system, I have been swamped.  Time at home has been filled with holiday preparations and working on several Christmas gifts.  There won't be any Christmas gatherings at my house this year so I'm taking advantage of the chance to change up my decorating a little.  For the first time, I have a full-size tree in my sewing/crafting room and I am using only hand-made ornaments.

In the process, I have discovered a new obsession:  origami.  I frequently have lunch at the Chinese buffet near my office, and one of the ladies who works there makes and displays incredibly intricate origami creations, and they inspired me to give it a shot.  Here are my VERY beginner-level creations.

Origami "bows" . . .

and snowflakes . . .

and stars . . .

and wreaths . . .

that convert to "ninja stars".

I've also made paper-pieced Santas, folded fabric Christmas trees . . .

and a Charlie Brown tree skirt.

Today we are at Mitch's for a belated Thanksgiving celebration.  I'm not a fan of Black Friday shopping, but we did make a couple stops late in the day, after the crowds had thinned, and purchased a couple gifts.  We'll return home tomorrow and, hopefully, l'll find time to finish making Christmas gifts and still meet you here for a chat.

How are your Christmas preparations going?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Planes, Trains and Automobiles . . .

The plan was for our daughter, Amanda, to travel from her new home in New Mexico to Manhattan, Kansas to surprise her brother to celebrate his 24th birthday. She would board Amtrak at noon on Wednesday and arrive in Topeka at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday.  One of her best friends would meet the train and they would get some quality time before I came to pick her up on Friday.  Saturday was the big birthday surprise and she would depart from Kansas City on Sunday to fly back to Albuquerque.  That seems like a pretty straight forward plan . . . Oh, how wrong we were!

We start on the train.  The Amtrak Southwest Chief left Albuquerque at noon.  At about midnight, Amanda texted that she had just passed through Syracuse, Kansas, where we used to live - right on schedule.   At 1:01 a.m. she called - in tears of frustration.  A Burlington-Northern train had derailed near Hutchinson, KS, blocking the track and keeping Amtrak from reaching it's next few stops - including Topeka.  The train would have to detour south, into Oklahoma, and back north to Kansas City.  An additional eight hours on the train and ending up in the wrong city were not making for a happy woman. Fast forward an hour or two and multiple calls to Amtrak Customer Service (who, btw, were angels!)  - and a new plan was formed. 

While I was chatting with Amtrak concerning our options, Amanda made her own plan.  A 17-year-old girl had also boarded the train at Albuquerque, on her way to Salina, KS to visit a friend she met at camp.  The friend and her mother were driving to pick her up.  Since the train could not get to their intended meeting place, they were driving on to Hutchinson.  As you can imagine, the poor girl was terrified of waiting alone.  She asked Amanda to stay with her while she waited for her ride and they would give Amanda a ride as far as Salina -- about 100 miles from Topeka.  Deal!  Amanda's wonderful BFF left Topeka at 3:30 a.m. and was waiting in Salina when she arrived - and the plan was back on track.

Until Sunday . . .
Her flight left Kansas City at 11:45 - so we subtracted driving time, plus the usual hour pre-flight check-in and determined we needed to leave at 9:00 a.m.  Wrong.  We needed to leave by 8:30 or possibly 8:00.  We realized the math error about halfway to the airport and Dave did his best impersonation of a NASCAR driver, but we arrived 25 minutes before departure and they refused to let her on the plane.  I understood their point that the luggage had already been loaded, so I offered to keep her bag (she'll be home again in 2 weeks) if they would just put her on the plane.  No dice.  Even though we could see the plane still sitting at the gate, a rule is a rule no matter how stupid, so we booked her on a flight out the next morning and took her home.  She and Dave left at 3:00 a.m. to make sure she made this flight - which she did with an hour to spare.  And once again the plan is  moving smoothly.  

Until Houston . . .

She landed in Houston with a short layover to change planes - - - but the new plane had no pilot.  They couldn't find him?  Or maybe he arrived for HIS connecting flight 5 minutes too late.  Whatever the reason, the waited 40 minutes for him to be located.  Then there was a "mechanical issue" with the plane.  Considering the timing, we had to wonder of "mechanical issue" is code for giving the pilot time to sober up.  Whatever the case, she took off an hour and a half late.  

Alls well that ends well, right?  We got to have a wonderful weekend with the kids, and have a story to tell and re-tell.   Mitched enjoyed his birthday - - Amanda arrived home in time for her job interview - - - and the saga of planes, trains and automobiles was over. 

Until Wednesday, when Amanda blew a tire on her car.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Quilt of Life

On Saturday, I wrote a post about giving up on quilting.  I won't bother to recap it here - if you are interested, you can find it here.  Basically, it's about doing what I enjoy rather than what I think I should be doing. 

Diane from DianeLoves2Quilt left a beautiful comment.  As often happens, Diane's comment was better than my post.  Here is what she wrote:

What's in a name? What is a quilter? Yes, it is someone who makes quilts, but how do you define quilt? It is much more than a large bed sized combination of fabric layers that is harder to push though the harp space of a domestic sewing machine than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. There are small landscape wall hangings, there are place mats, there are vests, aprons, table runners ,etc. that still fit the classical definition of a small quilt.
And then there is the non-classic, but equally valid definition of quilting ... the piecing together of different aspects of life. I love your book reviews, your Zentangle posts, your points of view on life under construction. If this is not the patchwork of life, then what is?
We all have projects we do not like. Maybe they are a requested color palette for someone else that we ourselves do not care for. Maybe it is a technique that is just not our preference. I love the look of paper piecing and have tried it but it does not float my boat to do it. There are so many worthy books out there that I have given my self permission to not finish those that I have given a fair chance and still hold no appeal to me. You are not quitting because you are not a quitter. You are making a wise choice based on getting to know yourself better. So, by your tight definition, you say you are not a quilter. If you define quilter that way then maybe in your mind you are not. Well change that "l" to a "t" and you are not a quitter, either.

Well said, Diane!  You made me rethink my definition of a quilter. defines the verb "quilt" as "to stitch together, usually in an ornamental pattern."  That definition covers a much wider variety of projects than just a bed cover.  And though I doubt I ever make a large quilt after the two I have in progress, many of the projects I make are a form or derivative of quilting.  

There is a quote, which I have used before but can no longer remember the source, that says "Love what you love without apology."  That quote wraps up the joy of living in the second half.  I" am not limited by anyone else's opinion of what I read or listen to or create.  I will "piece together the aspects of my life" into a pattern that pleases me - and that's enough.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Throwing in the Towel . . . or the Quilt Block

One of the up sides to life in the "second half", is self-awareness.  I've had 50+ years to get to know myself - what I like, what I can do, what I want to do . . .  And sometimes that includes knowing when and what to give up. 

I began quilting in 2002 - starting by hand piecing and quilting a small wall-hanging from a kit.  There was a stretch in there, when I was working at the library and had kids in high school, that I didn't sew a stitch for five years.  I picked it back up about three years ago. I have made a dozen lap-size quilts, a couple doll quilts, and a bargello wall hanging that I adore.  I have my first full-size (queen size) quilt in progress and actually nearing completion of the top, if I would find time to work on it.

I've posted lately about making the "world's wildest quilt" from fabric my daughter selected.  The body of the quilt top is finally assembled - but not easily.  I have sewn and "un-sewn" the blocks so many times that some of the seams were coming loose along the edges, requiring some re-stitching.  Even with my most cautious seam ripping, some edges began to fray, keeping points from lining up precisely.  By the time I got it assembled this afternoon, my frustration level was high and I wasn't doing my best work.  I just wanted it done!  And that's when it hit me . . .   This is not my thing.  

Don't misunderstand, I love to sew.  And I enjoy cutting and piecing the occasional quilt block.  But I do not enjoy assembling intricate blocks and I do not enjoy the repetition of making dozens and dozens of the same block.   And I really, strenuously* do not enjoy juggling yards of fabric through my trusty Kenmore machine.  I much prefer smaller projects that I can finish and move on.

Why did it take me all those years to figure it out?  Because I wanted to BE a quilter.  I wanted to be part of the quilt-iverse; to speak the lingo and visit the wonderful shops and buy beautiful fabrics.   I wanted to be in the Quilter Club with these women and their beautiful creations.  

But today I realized how silly that is, so . . . I quit.  I am focusing on sewing small projects and having fun.  I will no long try to deceive myself - or anyone else - that I am a "quilter".  But here's the best part - - I'm ok with that. I can still appreciate the quilts others make, and maybe adapt their ideas into smaller versions.  I can still spend hours browsing through a quilt shop.  I can still buy beautiful fabrics and make beautiful creations.  And if I stick to creating things I enjoy, I can do it well.  


* This is a reference to a line from the movie A Few Good Men - Demi Moore's character "strenuously objects" during one of the courtroom scenes.  It's a favorite phrase at our house.

This is the wild quilt top so far.  I'll post more about it when it's done - including a close-up of the fabrics.  The magenta fabric (in the top left block) has elephants on it, and the orange-ish looking fabric is actually magenta  with neon yellow squares.  The border and backing are two more wild fabrics.  And yes, the arrangement of blocks isn't exactly what I intended, but by the time I noticed it I would rather have set fire to it than take it apart one more time.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014


The Ho-Ho-Ho-Readathon has begun!  A week of fun with other Christmas-loving book lovers.  My goal for the week is to read at least three Christmas-themed books.  In my sign-up post I posted a picture of nine un-read Christmas books I found on my own bookcases.  From that stack, I have selected "O Little Town" by Don Reid (member of the Statler Brothers) and "Murder Under the Mistletoe" by Jennifer Jordan.  

I also have a Christmas-themed book club selection to read during November, so that is the third book on my goal list - "Christmas Crimes" by Anne Perry ("A Christmas Homecoming" and "A Christmas Garland")  On a side note - this book is actually two of Ms. Perry's earlier novels, repackaged and sold to suckers like me who don't read the fine print - one of my biggest book-peeves.  But oh well, the price for the Nook Book version was very good for two complete novels.  

The Ho-Ho-Ho-Readathon features seven challenges which are open throughout the week.  One of them, The Purr-fect Holiday Reading List Challenge, is hosted by Melissa @ Mocha, Mysteries and Meows.  Melissa asks us to share our all-time favorite Christmas books.  That's not as easy as it sounds because it's a long list, but these three are on my shelves and have been re-read at least once - sure signs of a favorite book.

Shepherd's Abiding is the Christmas volume from Jan Karon's Mitford series.  I adore the entire series, but of course the Christmas story is my favorite.  Skipping Christmas by John Grisham is a top-pick book that has become a top-pick movie; and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is, of course, a classic and a story that has been a fav with me since I listened to the audio version (then on a 33 1/3 LP) repeatedly as a child.  I try to fit in a re-read every December.

I can't wait to get started reading, but before I head to the couch with some hot chocolate and the first book, let me tell you how you can join in the fun.  Visit our hostesses,  Jennifer @ The Book Shelfery and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  Visit their blogs to sign up and read along.  

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

Books On Books Mini-Challenge

And the winner is . . . 
Ellie from Book Addicted Blonde
Congratulations Ellie, I will be contacting you about your prize.
Thanks to everyone who entered.

The mini-challenge is now closed.  The winner will be announced shortly.  
Thank you all for playing along.

Hello, Readathoners!  Welcome to Just One More Thing . . .  You've been reading for 20 hours, your head is bobbing, your eyes are drooping . . . so we're going to give your brain a wake-up workout.  

Fourteen books about books are represented in the picture puzzle below.  All you have to do is name as many of them as you can. 

 Since your brain may not be at it's best at this point, I'm going to make it a little easier:

1.  Cheating is encouraged.  Use the internet, scour your TBR pile, phone a friend - - whatever means you need to correctly name the books.

2.  Author is not required - just the title of the book. 

3.  I'll give you hints.  One to start you off, one at Hour 22, and one more at Hour 23.  However - the earlier you enter, the better your chances of winning. (see Rule 5)

4.  The challenge will close at the start of Hour 24 so I have time to announce the winner before the readathon ends.  Comments will not be visible till the winner is announced.

5.  The person who gets the most correct will be the winner.  If there is a tie, the winner will be selected by random drawing among those entrants.  HOWEVER, the earlier you enter the better your chances:

Entries received during:                Your name goes in the drawing:
         Hour 21                                                  5 times
         Hour 22                                                  3 times
         Hour 23                                                  1 time

What will you win?  New copies of Ex Libris and Rereadings by Anne Fadiman

Get yourself one more cup/glass of your caffeine of choice, shake your head a few times to wake up your brain, and have fun.  

     HINT #1:  The following words appear in the title of at least one book:

  • Read
  • Reader
  • Literary
  • Story
  • Book 
  • Diary
  • Bookmobile
  • Library

Still trying to identify some of those book covers?  Here are a few more hints:

1.  There are three books that do not contain any literary reference in the title - but the story is largely about books.

2.  One book is a graphic novel.

3.  One book is written entirely as letters between the characters.

4.  One book was originally written in German.


Still wondering about a few of the tough ones?  Your final hint is the author's last names.
  •  Brown
  •  Ende
  •  Bradbury
  •  Ahern
  •  Seuss
  •  Shaffer
  •  Kenney
  •  Bennet
  •  Niffenegger
  •  Zusak
  •  Christie
  •  King
  •  Sloan
  •  Myron

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pet Parade Mini Challenge

Tis the night of the read-a-thon and each place you look
some creatures are snoozing and some read a book.

Lola is nestled all snug by her dad
While he reads her stories of Lassie and Lad

Across the room, Gabby is asleep without care

No stories from HER dad; he snores in his chair.

Under the table, Miss Molly sleeps, too.

But Mom can't sleep yet, there's too much to do.

For Mom, in her jammies, has hours to go.
There's reading and challenges left, don't you know.

She slips to her reading chair with books, cup and light.
Merry Reading to all, and to all a Good Night.


Time for the Mid-Event Survey: 

1. What are you reading right now?  I'm still alternating between Somewhere Safe with Someone Good by Jan Karon and Return to Me by Lynn Austin

2. How many books have you read so far? Zip - but I'm breaking out some shorter, easier selections in the wee hours, so I have high hopes of finishing a book.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  After one of the mini-challenges lead me to pull down some classics from my childhood, I'm looking forward to some re-reads.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? TONS of interruptions - "grandparenting" a Great Dane puppy, fixing lunch for Hubs and Son, K-State football game (tried to read AND watch the last quarter), a little laundry, a little unintentional snoozing . . .  I deal with them by saying "c'est la vie".  I'm having fun with the challenges and socializing.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  Hmmmm.... No real surprises so far.  I will be surprised later if I'm able to read through the night.  I'm hosting the mini-challenge at 3:00 a.m. (central time).

Show It Off!

Kay @ Dead Book Darling is hosting this hour's challenge to show off your favorite, most valuable or most interest books:  "The unique, signed or simply dear-to-your-heart editions that you’d grab if there were a fire."  

I have shelves of books I love, but the ones that are "dear to my heart" are the books with a connection to someone special.

1.  365 Bedtime Stories by Nan Gilbert - A great aunt (I think) gave this book to my sisters and I sometime in the late 60's.  One short story for each day of the year, but I couldn't wait and read the whole book.  My older (rule-following) sister declared that I had "ruined it" by reading ahead. :)  This is not the original - this is a 1955 copy I bought on ebay, but it looks identical.

2.  More Poem Portraits by James J. Metcalf  (Published 1951)  Inscribed with my Grandma's name.  I believe it was a gift to her from a friend.

3.  Gold of Friendship - a collection of poems and sayings about friendship.  The book itself is nothing special, but it was a gift from my BFF who was being treated for leukemia.  She purchased it in the hospital gift shop because that was the only store she got to visit.  Wanda passed away in 2004, so this book is a treasure!

4.  The Yearling Gift Library For Girls (Set 1):  
  • Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
  • The Empty Schoolhouse by Natalie Savage Carlson
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

 This set was a Christmas gift from my parents in 1969 (I was 8).  I read them all, but Charlotte's Web and Harriet the Spy were the ones I returned to again and again.  I haven't taken them down from the shelf for years (witness the inch of dust that was on top) but I believe I'll add them to my readathon book stack.  They would be great for those late hours when concentration becomes more difficult.

Thanks, Kay, for a fun challenge that lead me down memory lane.

Read-a-thon Update #1

It's been four-and-a-half hours since Readathon kicked off - I've read 70 pages.  I know, pretty sad page total, BUT - I also entered several mini-challenges, started a load of laundry, cleaned up the breakfast dishes, and I'm doggie-sitting my son's Great Dane pup -- not conducive to concentration.  Considering all that, I'm not doing bad.  I'm going to fix a bite of lunch and return to the books.

This hour, Kim at On The Wings of Books is challenging readers to post a picture of one of the books they're reading, staged with items that go along with the story.  

One of the three books I'm reading today is Return to Me by Lynn Austin . . . and how can you return somewhere without a road map?  Ok, lame, I know -- but I couldn't find a shofar (that's the animal-horn trumpet he's blowing on the cover).  Fun challenge, anyway!

Now, back to the books.

Coffee or Tea?

This hour's mini-challenge is a question posed by Amanda at Fig & Thistle.  Do you prefer coffee or tea with your books?

I'm definitely a coffee girl - especially in one of Grandma's cups and saucers.   #TeamTrollope

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon Is Here Again!

It's that time again. Round up the books, chase the family out of the house and put on a pot of coffee . . . it's READATHON DAY!  It's 7:00 a.m. in my part of the world and I've been up preparing (and maybe getting in a little sewing) before the reading day begins.

The coffee's ready, as is the book stack, and I'm pumped.  I'm assuming we will be starting with the standard questions, so here goes:

What fine part of the world are you reading from today?   I'm in the southeast corner of Nebraska, USA

Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  Somewhere Safe With Someone Good by Jan Karon.  I've had the book for about a week and have forced myself to wait til this morning to start.  

Which snack are you most looking forward to?  I'm trying to remain on the healthy eating road today - so fresh fruit, carrot sticks and hummus await me.

Tell us a little something about yourself!  Wife, mother of adult children, grandma, reader, crafter, sewer, cupcake addict.  For more info, click the "about" tab.

If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?  I've participated many times and I usually have the same plan:  Read 45 minutes of each hour, spend 15 minutes on mini-challenges, etc.  For the first time in years, I'm going to try to read through the night.  

So, welcome fellow readers!  Have a great day of bookish fun.  If you aren't participating, there's still plenty of time - nearly 24 whole hours!  Visit the website and sign up.

Come back at 3:00 a.m. (Central Time) for my Books on Books Mini-Challenge.

Button artwork by HelgaMcL - available on her Etsy store