Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Family Member, Rescues, & Mailings.

Oh baby…

This week has been interesting.  I became a Grandmother again.  I will be Uma Tricia to another red haired beauty of a girl with dark eyes.  The parents - Christen and James are thrilled as can be. 

Cordelia w Mom and Dad

                       Let us introduce you to Miss. Cordelia Melonie Rayne Kaczkowski. 

Cordelia #2 (2)

Miss Cordelia made her appearance on 2/26/15 via c-section at 8:39 am.  She was 8.13 pounds and 20 inches long. She is wearing a custom made outfit that matches the blanket that Christen made for her. I can’t wait to met her in person!

In other news…

I’ve been sort of all over the place with my projects. I’m doing cross-stitch for myself as I’m taking part in a cross-stitching challenge in one of my FB groups.  The goal is to start a project everyday for either 31 or 59 days. And then spend the rest of the year finishing them. I am using a much of UFO’s that was given to me in January. I do have a couple projects that I started myself and one finished project for an up coming blog hop.

I have been working hard on my Friendship Stars for my homesteading swap.  This is some pictures that just gives you a peek at the progress.

New patterns, mailings & POM 010  New patterns, mailings & POM 011

In the mail…

Then I had a great week in mailings. My friend Pat over there @ was so kind to send me her extra bird panel for the upcoming “Tree Bird” blog hop.  I’m thinking about how I am going to use it and need to make a decision quick to have it at least started for the hop. 

New patterns, mailings & POM 002 

I won the single pattern - “living a Charmed Life” by Six Gables Designs during “The Quilt Pattern Magazine”  birthday party event as a door prize. I can make everything from a lap quilt to a king size quilt.  So many options to play with.

New patterns, mailings & POM 027

Then a friend on the Quilting Board rescued a bunch of patterns and books from the trash at her church and offered them up for the cost of postage.  I was able to get the Southwestern/Native American themed collection.  Boy oh boy it was a heavy and plentiful bounty indeed.  Here was the books with plenty of eye candy to look at.  These patterns have not been open from the looks of them.

New patterns, mailings & POM 025

And if that wasn’t enough there were patterns.  As in 21 patterns!! Yee Haw!!!

New patterns, mailings & POM 016   New patterns, mailings & POM 022  

There was even the catalog that carried all the patterns.

New patterns, mailings & POM 024

This one had lots of blocks for it and are on large page the size of a half sheet of newspaper.  Each sheet has 2 patterns on it.  They haven’t been unfolded yet.  This could have the makings for a very nice quilt with it’s 30 blocks.

New patterns, mailings & POM 019   New patterns, mailings & POM 018

New patterns, mailings & POM 020   New patterns, mailings & POM 021

The blocks are 12” X 12” and according to the directions it finishes is 90” X 109” with 3” cornerstone & sashings and 6” borders.  That is one big quilt!!

In media news …

Did you know that Keepsake Quilting has a sister catalog just for stitchers? Like cross-stitching, crewel, embroidery etc. Oh my like I don’t already drool all over their quilting catalog.  Take a look at this!

New patterns, mailings & POM 013 

Then my friend found this new freebie in a quilt shops.  It is from local quilters from Newaygo, Mi. It has features on books, new fabric collection and an inspiration gallery.  We currently have issues 11 & 12 .  But wait for it…

New patterns, mailings & POM 014

…each volume comes with a free pattern!!!  Our favorite word…Free!!  At the moment me & Donna are doing 2 each of this pattern.  It kind of reminds me of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. This one is 30” X 30”.

New patterns, mailings & POM 015 

You can check out more about the “Quilter’s Digest online @  and share it with your LQS so that they bring it to their stores too.  You can also see the current issue there too.

Well that is enough for this edition but be sure to come back for the next posting for more exciting news and sneak peeks of things to come.  I’ll give you a hint on one of them …Minnie Mouse.  As always feel free to leave a comment on anything you like…even if it’s just to say “Hi!” Until then…


Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Sometimes I have to step away from the books I’m doing for reviews and do some “pleasure” reading. When I pick a book of my own pleasure, it gives me even more pleasure to read it.  Reading is calming to me, so when it has more of a free will approach to it; I enjoy it that much more. This weekend I finished another “pleasure” book.  This one is was an interesting pick as it is both non-fiction and quilt related.  I loved all the little tidbits that each author has shown us with their story. Some names I recognized but most I did not.  The book is "American Patchwork- True Stories From Quilter's" edited by Sonja Hakala. It was published by Thomas Dunne Books in 2007.

American patchwork

On the back:
For those who enjoyed the honesty and insight of How to Make an American Quilt, this is a moving collection of personal stories that highlight the laughter, sadness, friendships, frustrations, and triumphs shared by the more than 21 million people across the country who call themselves quilters.

These touching tales from sixty-seven contributors nationwide form a patchwork of their own in the words of each individual's unique narrative. From the quilt that reunited a family divided by war and an ocean to the twenty-two foot banner that accompanied a dying woman on her last journey, American Patchwork is sure to capture the hearts of quilters and quilt lovers everywhere.

Wonderfully varied, instructive, nostalgic, amusing, and often poignantly written, this gem of a book will be treasured for years to come.

I thoroughly loved this book. The stories were short, quick & easy to read. The stories had a pleasant flow didn’t have me trying remember what the book was doing before this. It goes across so many states of emotions that will have you looking forward to each one. It takes a quilter to really understand the underlined meanings of each story. At one point or another, we all have probably been in the same situation ourselves.  I ,the quilter and reader; was able to connect with the book on several levels.  I truly enjoy a book that does that to me. 

Because the stories are 4/5 pages or less (like most of them are) you will find that it you will have the time to read this book. In fact it prefect for carrying around in your purse or car. It is prefect for those times you are waiting.  Waiting for an after-school program to end,  for the doctor, for something in your normal everyday life to happen. It’s amazing how much time we actually spend wait for something. I took this book with me to several appointments and it was a nice distraction.  For the pleasure I got reading this book I would give it a 4.5 stars out 5 and recommend it to everyone besides quilters. I have recommend it to my local library as well, knowing that we have a large “quilt-themed books” following.

On the Back cover:
Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation—and her life—to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

For those of us who enjoy a good suspense thriller I have to tell you that Marcia Clark is another author to check out. “Guilt by Association: A Rachel Knight Novel” was published by Mulholland Books This was my first book of hers that I have read and the name was vaguely familiar to me in some dark recess of my mind.  When it finally dawned on me who she was, I still hesitate to read the book.  I mean here I thought she was just another lawyer hoping to write a book and publishing it on just the grounds of her name. Seriously I have read lawyer-turns-writer and found them ummmm… how to put this politely… wanting. This time I have to admit Marcia did use her knowledge for law and law enforcement with a pleasant twist.  I actually enjoyed the book and was surprised that I finished it. The development of the characters and plot line was well done with out feeling like I was trying to trudge through the La Brea tar pits over the details.  I look forward to reading more of Rachel Knight in the near future.  I think this book easily rates a 4 out 5 stars.

Please note that I got this ARC from the publisher through Net Gallery for free in return for my honest opinion of the book and has no effect anyone connected with the making of the book.

This little romance novel was sent to me for free ARC through Net Gallery in exchange for my honest opinion. The Kidnapped Christmas Bride: A Taming of the Sheenans Romance is written by Jane Porter. It appears that this is the 3rd book in the Sheenan’s series.  The publisher is Tule Publishing of Montana Born Books.

On the Cover:
Trey Sheenan has cultivated his reputation as Marietta’s resident bad boy, until one day he lets things go too far and he loses everything—his freedom, his fiancĂ© McKenna Douglas, and his infant son.

McKenna has loved Trey since they were kids, but she’s had enough. When Trey is sent away for five years, McKenna is determined to do what’s right for her and baby TJ, which means putting her mistakes—namely Trey—behind her, and move on.

When Trey is released early, he returns to Marietta determined to beg McKenna’s forgiveness and become the father TJ needs him to be, only to discover that he’s too late. McKenna’s marrying local insurance agent Lawrence Joplin in a candlelight Christmas wedding.

Or is she?
Once again, Trey risks everything, but this time it’s for love….and the memory of one perfect Christmas together as a family.

This one is the 3rd book as I said earlier, but the 1st time reading one of Jane Porter’s books.   Now having said that, I think the book stood on it’s own very well.  I didn’t feel like I was missing the bigger picture, which is a good thing. I tend to read Christmas stories during warm weather and vise aversive in the cold weather.  I thought it was a pretty story especially with little TJ.  He offered up some “aawww” moments in his innocence. The sweetness of the storyline was nice to read as the family is reunited for the Christmas holidays.  Even if it’s under the most unusual circumstances. It definitely has that “warm & fuzzy” appeal to it. Looks like I’m going to find the rest of the books in the series.  I think that I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

On the Cover:
The second novel in the Unbreakable Trilogy, The Golden Locket follows Gustav and Serena to New York.

Ensconced in their Manhattan penthouse, all seems blissfully happy for Gustav and Serena. Still in the first flush of love, they have every satisfaction they could need.

But as they enjoy their New York pleasure ground, ghosts start to emerge from Gustav’s past, and when his damaged younger brother, Pierre, comes back into his life, he brings with him a dangerous threat…

With temptation waiting at every turn, can Gustav and Serena survive all the excitement that the Big Apple holds?

The sexy sequel to Primula Bond’s The Silver Chain. A sophisticated and beautifully written novel perfect for fans of erotic romance.

Now if I recall correctly, I didn’t give the first book in the Unbreakable Trilogy a favorable review. Where I said that one was choppy and disjointed, this one had a smoother finish.  It didn’t feel rushed and more thought out as we can see more of the relationships growing not only between Selena & Gustav but Gustav & Pierre.  Ohhh and don’t let us forgot about Margot and Polly. 

I can add a few more words to my descriptions this time.  Sultry, exotic, scheming, steamy, intriguing, and turmoil would be some that I could use. Although I could say it shows much improvement over Silver Chain, I’m saying I liked but didn’t love it. Last time I had to really stretch to give it 2 stars…this time I can push it to a 3 out of 5 stars. 

Again please know that I got this free ARC from HarperCollins UK of Mischief Books in exchange that I give my honest opinion in return.  Even though I’m not screaming a high review from the roof tops, doesn’t mean that you can’t have another opinion about it. Just know that that these are my words and have no effect on anyone associated with making of the book.

Well folks I think I put this edition to bed as they use to say when send the printed newspaper to press. I’m hard at work putting the next group of books together for you.  I sure hope you found something here to add to your “need-to-read” pile and I’ll see you later.  Until then…


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Itty Bitty’s and “Tree Bird” Blog Hop

Sitting here I find myself challenged to write something for this week.  “What can I talk about that is interesting?” I ask myself?  Well I have been doing some sewing since the thermometer is showing itty bitty temperatures with not so little negative wind chills.  In our area the snow hasn’t been too bad though, so I guess that is the upside of this whole Arctic Blast.

This week I made the cutest little itty bitty nine-patch blocks that is 3-1/2” unfinished for a swap on my small quilt talk online yahoo group led by Kathy Tracy. We are making sets of 10 blocks to trade with other members.  I made 2 sets while most of the other members are doing 5 sets. I had received a nice blue tone-on-tone fat quarter with this tiny floral print on it.  I married it with a white-on-white print.  The second set is a soft purple calico that was paired up with a white-on-white paisley print that I treated to a light tea bath.

 redwork snowman 014                                                                              Nine-Patch Fabrics                    

nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 021Cute Little 3” Nine-Patches 

Using the little strips that I found in my stash for 3 out of 4 of the fabrics to go with the little blue print from a couple weeks ago, I had the makings for these.  I even managed to have a few extra blocks leftover for myself when all was said and done. 

And as I making them, I realized that I have some larger pieces of scrap have a Civil War-ish feel to them that I can make some more of these itty bitty’s.  I can make more of them and stash them away until I come up with enough to make a nice size quilt.  Even though I need another project like I need a hole in  my head. But isn’t that the way it is for quilters?

I did finish a cute little cross-stitching piece for the “Tree Birds” blog hop that is coming up next month.  Lana is our cheerleader for this one and you can find out more about here.  This is the schedule for the moment. 

Friday, March 13

It Seams To Be Sew

Life in the Scrapatch

Amy Stitches

Lakeshore Stitches

Needled Mom

Quilt in a not - Shell

Suebee's World

Monday, March 16

Sew Peace To Peace

Moose Stash Quilting

Buzzing and Bumbling

I Piece 2 Mary

Quilt Doodles

Just Let Me Quilt

Les Quilts

A Stitch In Time

Tuesday, March 17

Tomorrow's Treasures Today

Childlike Facination

Stitch and Quilt


Ella and Nesta's Little Room

Thimblemouse and Spouse

Gracie Oliver Arts

Wednesday, March 18

Red Eye Crafts

Marjorie's Busy Corner

Ridge Top Quilts
Quilted Delights

Stitching By The Beach

Seams To Be Sew

Living My Dream

With Work In Hand

Thursday, March 19

The Raspberry Rabbits

More Stars In Comanche

Sew Many Yarns

Super Mom - No Cape!

Stitchin By The Lake

Jane's Quilting

Quilting Through Rose Colored-Trifocals


Friday, March 20

Freemotion By The River

Sew Incredibly Crazy

Tea Time Creations

Baa's Amazing Adventures!

Selina Quilts

Ramblings of a Quilter {{Here I Am}}

Busy Bee Quilts

Grandmamas Stories

Monday, March 23

Debby Kratovil Quilts

how arT you?

Pink Doxies.

Elizabeth Coughlin Designs

Fabric Bias
In The Boon Docks

Lovelli Quilts

Sew We Quilt

I can’t wait to see what everyone shares with us on this blog hop.  There is so many talented personalities for these it never ceases to amaze me.   I’m hard at work planning, stitching,and deciding my way to my post for the 20th. I’m hoping to have a number of projects of reveal.  I’m also trying to come up with something for a little give away that day.  So stay tune for more on that.

Elizabeth Studio's Tree Bird Panel

This is the sneak peek of the panel that Ms. Pat sent me so I too could use something from the fabric line that is being featured in the “Tree Bird” blog hop.  Thank You Pat.  Let me tell it is sooo much better in person. 

So what is going on in your part of the world?  How is the weather?  Comments are always welcomed.Until next time…


Monday, February 16, 2015

A Valentine Cutie - Tutorial

Valentine's Day Special
A couple of weeks ago I was digging through some things when I came across a sketch on some graph paper that had done my version of the woven heart block in 2008 but never made.  Those who knows me understands the time line reference there but I've digressed. 
Anyways, I was wanting to do a little posting for Valentine's day; so off I went looking through the gobs of scraps that are currently taking over my life. I was thrilled to find all the bits for this project. Yea!  Kudos to me for not having to buy anything for it. {doing my Happy dance here} Which is good as we are in another bone-chilling Arctic Blast at the moment here in Mid-Michigan.
How cold?  Currently it is 3*F but feels like -9*F @ 11:15 a.m. at the time that I started this posting.  And that folks is a heat wave.  I know certain points of this past weekend we was at -15*F and felt like -31*F.  We had some nasty wind gusts to drive the wind chill down even more as Old Man Winter decided it wasn't cold enough.  Thankfully the weather warnings and watches have gone a way for the moment but I'm sure they'll be back.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 037 
But back to the subject at hand. I have seen lots of examples of woven heart blocks, but they either used elongated rectangles for the tops or came to a sharp point.  I didn't really like the how the design looked to me, so of course I had to tinker with the design.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling
 I decided that I wanted to do 5" blocks at the time that I done by drafting so I ended up with a 5" finished block.  As I started this, I went with 3 blocks that I laid out in a  simple, skinny, but somewhat staggered effect for this wall hanging. Again this is another project that you can go scrappy or go with a controlled color palette. I was using what was on hand.
The amount of fabric will vary on how many blocks you want to make. I will assume that you have a bit of quilting knowledge under your quilty belt and know how to make HST's, how to use your quilting supplies like a rotary cutter, rulers, etc. so I won't go in to all that.  But if you need a quick lesson on how to make HST's you can see my picture tutorial here.
Remember this will be a 5" Finished block when the quilt is done.
For each block you will need a background fabric as Fabric #1, a Heart Color for Fabric #2 and a Second Heart Color for Fabric #3. It’s good to make tags for each group of squares and laid out in grid formation in order to keep everyone in their assigned spots.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 005
For Fabric #1 - you need to cut (4) 1-1/2" squares and (2) 2" squares
For Fabric #2 - you need to cut (10) 1-1/2" squares
For Fabric #3 - you will need to cut (7) 1-1/2" squares and (2) 2" squares
First we need to make some HST's from the (2) 2" squares from Fabrics #1 and Fabric #3. Once those (4)pieces are made and pressed open, you will trim these down to a 1-1/2" square and set aside.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 007
We then go onto sewing the (4) 1-1/2" squares of Fabric #1 to form a 4-patch. Set aside.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 010
Next we start assembling the rows. I made mine in two sections and labeled them as Section "A" and section "B".  Please refer to the photos for the layout. Please note that I used an exact 1/4" seam when assembling pieces. Be sure that your HST's are in their proper places in Row #1.
When the first row is done this is a good time to check your measurements. It should be 1-1/2" X 3-1/2".  If not check, your seam allowances and make adjustments.  It's better to figure it out here than at the end of the block making process. Continue to piece the (5) rows for Section "A" and give them a good iron. When ever possible, I ironed my seams open to reduce the bulk. This should measure 3-1/2" X 5-1/2". I like to trim the sections up after I've met my required measurements. Set aside for the time being.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 011
Now we are ready for Section "B".  We already have the little 4-patch block assembled for the first to rows of this section and they will be coming it play here shortly. Again referring to the photos for the layout. Starting on Row (3) be sure that the HST square is in the proper placement to ensure the Heart comes together the right way.  This row should finish at 2-1/2" X 3-1/2". Check seams allowances and trim as needed.  Repeat for Rows (4) and (5).
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 009
This is when we connect the little 4-patch and the threes Rows to make Section "B".  Once the section is done, ironed and trimmed, it should measure out to 2-1/2" X 5-1/2".
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 011 (2)
Now we can attach the two sections together in the final step completing the block as shown in the photo below.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 019
Again give it another good press and trim so the block is 5-1/2" X 5-1/2".  From here you can go on to make as many Woven Heart blocks as your little heart desires. Play with the layout that you like.  There is no set way to how this project has to look.  Sometimes I might like a block but not it's orientation, so feel free to put these on point or alternating facing left-to-right, right-to-left or even have some filler blocks in between; it's all up to you.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 013   nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 028
In my layout I wanted to do a skinny wall hanging for baby C's room.  I used 2-1/2"  strips to fill in the needed spaces. 
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 029 
I made a 2" binding to match the hot pink fabrics that me & my Stitchin' Sisters are making for this soon-to-be addition to the family. Her nursery has pink, hearts and butterflies in it so I know this will make for a wonderful gift that they can hang up from Uma Tricia & Opa S.
nine patch blocks for SQT- Heart walling 002
Well folks there you have it.  A slight delay I admit, but I hope that you enjoyed my little block tutorial.  I sure would LOVE to see your progress and finishes using this little block.  Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time....

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When 2 Become One

It's nice when two loves come together.  For me it's been my love for quilting and reading that has combined to give me this wonderful mix of ooey gooey of happiness.

This week I have some books for you that are based on both of them.  The first one is Quilts of Joy: Stories of  Hope From the Patchwork of Life by Mary Tatem and illustrated by Kevin Ingram. It was released by Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group in 2010.

From the Back Cover: (provided by

Draw these stories around yourself like a well-loved quilt Quilters flip through books and magazines and sort through scraps of fabric when planning a new quilt. But when God created you, he took more time and care than even the most careful quilter. Through inspiring stories based on twelve beloved quilt patterns, Mary Tatem uncovers the joy we have in God and the hope of beautiful things yet to come. You'll enjoy stories featuring the following quilt blocks:

Pickle Dish, Pine Tree, Bear Claw, Crazy Quilt, School House, Drunkard's Path, Tumbling Blocks, Le Moyne Star, Love Apple, Mariner's Compass, Rose of Sharon and Wandering Foot

Whether you're a quilter or quilt lover, Quilt of Joy will reassure you of God's faithfulness and his desire to bring blessing to your life.

"You don't have to be a quilter to appreciate Mary Tatem's Quilt of Joy. Take a stitch toward sewing joy into your life every day by reading one of Mary's treasured insights. You'll be pleased you did!"--Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author, A Mending at the Edge and Aurora: An American Experience in Quilt, Community, and Craft.
Mary Tatem is the author of The Quilt of Life. A Bible school teacher, Girl Scout leader, PTA leader, mom of four, and grandmother of fifteen, she speaks to women's groups and churches on marriage, family relationships, and the grace of God. She lives in Virginia.

I got this book through my local library on the recommendation from Ms. D of Canada when she posted it on my Facebook page back on the 1st of November. It took me a while to track it down but it was worth it. This book was an easy read with each story being only a couple pages long. So it makes the prefect bedside reader.  On those nights that I was really tired, I could read one or two before shutting my eyes.  Yes - there is a God/religious/spiritual theme to the book, but overall it didn't have that overly heavy "bible-up-side-the-head" feeling to me. The balance was well done and made for an enjoyable rhythm.  The illustrations depicting a quilt in the front of each section was beautifully done by Kevin Ingram. If you follow this link, you will get a sneak peak from; where you can get it in book format & Kindle format.  I also found out that this on one of several of her Quilts of series. Which I'm actively searching for by request through Mel-Cat program at my library. With this book I would heartily give it a 5 out a 5 star rating and plan to enjoy more of  Mary's books.  Thank You Mary for providing a wonderful mix of my 2 favorite past times together and leaving me an overall pleasant feeling and "Joy" that your book provided.

Next I have the final installment of Nora Robert's Cousins O'Dwyer Series: Book #3 - Blood Magick. The world of enchantment crosses borders and time traveling comes to life in the series once again.  It could have you believing in fairy tales again.

From the back cover: (provided by

County Mayo is rich in the traditions of Ireland, legends that Branna O’Dwyer fully embraces in her life and in her work as the proprietor of The Dark Witch shop, which carries soaps, lotions, and candles for tourists, made with Branna’s special touch.

Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…

She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion.

Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.

This was another great series from Nora Roberts.  There is no doubt that she is a fabulous author and shows it to us time and time again. For this trip we move about in a lovely setting of the land of fairies, hereditary magic and the emerald green rolling hills of Ireland. The word "Enchanting" comes to mind as I read the series. The author has a way of showing you the scene as it comes off the page, that is wrapping you up and transporting you into the story like few authors can.  She brings her characters to life by giving them realism. You see the trials and tribulations that each one has and all that they must go through to conquer them.  Time and time again I have to salute her for keeping me back book after book, series after series. Nora will always find space on my book shelves.  So huzzah!!  Without doubt or hesitation I give this book & series 5 stars.  I wait with bated breathe for her next series.

Now let us venture into another realm. The realm of Non-Fiction.  I had a parenting book catch my eye even though my children are not in my household per say.  Again it's religious based but I didn't let that hender my choice to read it.  Now this one I received through Bethany house Publishers a division of Baker Publishing group and Net Gallery in an actual book form.  Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo. 

From the Back Cover: 

Find Your Own Mothering Style

Trying to follow someone else's rules for mothering can take the joy out of being a parent. But Mothering From Scratch shows you how to develop your own style that helps you be the best mom for your kids.

Full of solid biblical truth, this book will help you
· explore your personality and examine your strengths and weaknesses in order to find what works for you
· tap into the resources surrounding you and get mentoring and support from other moms
· push past the fear of change or doing it wrong and allow room for grace in your mothering

Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo provide a flexible, customizable approach to help you discover your optimal parenting style.

Here is a book that I wished I had had 20+ years ago.  Maybe things would have been different with me and my 2 daughters. I also have to admit that I was a child trying to raise children at the young age of approximately age19 with the birth of my first  daughter.  Failure, frustrations, tears coupled with bad choices was my life back then.  This book could have helped me realize that there was no manuals are handed to you at the hospital with each birth.  That all the books should have been suggestions and was setting me up for the ultimate failure.  This book had me in tears as I read on.  The guidance of a higher Being was there.  The way the book is set up has a chapter that starts a personal look from each of the authors with "Lovin' Spoonfuls" that offer up a little prayer or encouragement are peppered throughout the chapter and followed up with "Stirring Your Thoughts" and "Let's get Cookin'" at the end of each chapter also.

"Stirring Your Thoughts" are a series of thought provoking questions that make you stop, thinking and realize where your thoughts are really at.  Give give you a moment of reflection & the chance to be REALLY truthfully to yourself.  This would be a wonderful tool for those "Mommy & Baby" groups or State ordered parenting classes.  But you could also use them as an one-on-one reference book and should be given out by ALL hospitals.  Especially young mothers like me back in the day.  "Let's Get Cookin" are lines of guidance or suggested plans of actions that help you along in your everyday life.  

I found that the book had a calming effect.  It didn't feel like it was being pounded into my head like a some overwhelming school course that force feeds you all the material that the "big Experts" believed to be the PROPER way a child should be raised. Just because they are the claimed "experts" they know what is best fr you & your child(ren). 

I will recommend this book to those with children, thinking of having children or know someone who is having child(ren).  It richly deserves to be a vital part of a parents book shelf. This deserves a 4.5 stars out 5. And I will passing this book onto my oldest daughter to guide her along the path of parenting.

This book comes to me through Net Gallery for the exchange of my honest opinion.  The view above is that of my own and should be taken with a grain of salt.  I hope that you will take the time to pick up a copy to read.  Thank You for allowing me to share my thoughts on it with you.

That is my reviews for the week but I have plenty more to share with you.  I'm currently reviewing a couple of quilting books from the library and my own personal stash.  So be sure to come back for those reviews in the near future.  Until next time...



Friday, February 6, 2015

February 2015 Project Of the Month Tutorial

Redwork Snowman Wall Hanging

The POM this month is this Redwork Snowman that I gave you a sneak peek at at the end of last month’s posting.  Here is a refresher photo for you.

 For QB-Snowman

I love working with the combination of stitchery and piecing in a lot of my small items. I feel that I can personalize it for a certain person. So let me tell you more about it.

This one starts with a subject search.  In this case I wanted a snowman.  The nice thing is that you can shrink or enlarge any drawing to fit the size you desire.  Now for the centers there are different ways to find the image that you would like to do.  One is the internet search of free coloring pages and clicking on the “images”  tab.  You can find just about anything that you can think of.  Another source would be coloring books.  Believe it or not, but I find the “Dollar Store”  or other discount stores coloring books are the best with their simplistic pictures.  Here are some examples: 

redwork snowman 001

   redwork snowman 002   redwork snowman 003

The first thing I do is find a piece of muslin. It can be bleached or unbleached depending on your preference. This time I used bleached muslin since that is what I had on hand.  I found the snowman in the Nov./Dec. issue of the  Michigan Country Register newspaper that is free in your LQS.  I took it with me and had the drawing enlarged to fit more of the 8” X 11” paper. 

I took the print out and taped it to the window so that I could trace the snowman onto the muslin. You can also use a light box if you have one. I always put my images on much larger pieces of muslin/background fabric then the actual drawing. About 2.5 times larger then the picture. This allows me to have room to place it in a hoop while I stitch.  Another reason is that it is better to cut down the center, then to have to piece your center.  I also prefer to use a pencil with a sharp point when doing my tracings.

snowman #1

Once you have gotten the picture into the hoop for stitching, I use 2 strands of floss for the stitching.  In this case I use DMC’s #323.  I like a plain ordinary outline stitch verse the stem stitch. You can google it or contact me if you have any questions on how to do that.

Okay now you have stitched your little picture, trim you picture to the size that you are looking for.  Mine is approximately 8.5” X 11”. Now to find the center of your block.  I usually fold my into quarters.  This helps me find the centers of my HST’s rows.  You can see how that works later on down the page.

Tricia's tree blog entry & such 024

From there you can add the contrasting sashing like I did on mine.  I used strips that were 1.25”.  Sorry it looks like I forgot to take pictures of this stage as I was working.  I had included it later before adding the HST sashings.  This brings the size to approximately 10.5” X 13.5”. 

Now it’s time to make the little 2” HST’s that surrounds the contrasting sashing.  For this I had a mini charm pack sent to me in one of my Secret Pal boxes here on QB.  I found that I really liked the 2.5” squares for this. So you make your HST’s using your favorite method.  Here is some pictures that I took as I was making them. 

 Tricia's tree blog entry & such 010    Tricia's tree blog entry & such 012   

Tricia's tree blog entry & such 008

This is my favorite method.  And I tend to use a scant 1/4” seam.  I like to chain stitch pieces at one time because it uses less thread.

Tricia's Chain for Snowman 006       Tricia's tree blog entry & such 007

This allows me to trim up the blocks to the necessary size. In this instance it’s becomes a 2” block when I trim them.  Of course you have to iron the HST’s open with the seam to the darker color or the red side as shown below.

 Tricia's tree blog entry & such 013     Tricia's tree blog entry & such 014

Our next step is to trim them down to size.  See pretty they look once the shed those unnecessary threads that make them go wonky.

Tricia's tree blog entry & such 016     Tricia's tree blog entry & such 015

Once you have them all trimmed up, it’s time to figure out your layout and stitch them into rows. Remember when I talked about finding the center of your picture earlier? Well this is where those creases come in hand.  I was able to line up the HST’s as I figured out my layout.  What isn’t in the picture is the contrasting sashing. As I explained… it got added after the first picture was taken.

Tricia's tree blog entry & such 018

Tricia's tree blog entry & such 023       Tricia's tree blog entry & such 021

From here you can stitch the rows on.  I put the side bars on first before and the top & bottom row.  This brings the top to approximately to 13.5” X  15.0” depending on your seam allowances.

The next thing I wanted to do was to add a 3.5”  sashing for a 3” border. When I originally sewn them on – it just screamed bright white to me.  It was the wrong look and threw off the whole piece.  After looking through all my stash & scraps I was able to find shade the shade that I wanted, so I headed for the kitchen.   Time to do a little tea-dying.  Within 5 minutes from start to finish, I came up the shade that was more pleasing to my eye.

redwork snowman 006

As you can see from the picture above, you can see the end results.  You can see the muslin that I did my Redwork on. On the left is the bright-white fabric as is.  On the left is the same print after it’s tea bath.  The softer color worked better then the original one in this case.

We are now heading towards the finishing line.  Once I got the borders on to the rest of the top, my measurements move out to 19.5” X 21.5”.  I put my walking foot on the machine and went to town.  This was the first time I used it to do some machine quilting. I thought a nice echo pattern was a good choice for this wall hanging. I did 3 lines of white before doing an accent line in red.

redwork snowman 017

It doesn’t show up as I had hoped in the picture, but you can see the one red accent line before I did another 2 lines in the white.  I happened to have a package of wide French folded binding to use on this. From there I placed the pre-made binding on and gave it the 2 lines of stitching to finish the whole thing off.

completed snowman

And there you have it.  Another finished project that you can put into your gift giving box for that special person who loves snowmen.  This is a great example of how a simple picture done in an outline stitch and those 2.5” mini charms can work together.  Everything that I used in this project was made with items in my stash.  Even the batting was pieced to fit the project.

I look forward to see your Redwork pieces.  And remember just because the name says “Redwork”, it doesn’t have to be done in red.  There is other colors to play with. This one would look great in Blue Redwork or even in Black Redwork. 

Until next month…