Sunday, April 26, 2015

Signs of Spring … Part 1

You can tell when spring has sprung ... When the Shop Hops begin.  The last couple days was full of shop hopping here in Mid-Michigan.  I love reading the "The Country Register" newspaper that we pick up in the area quilt shops.                     

TCR front    TCR back

There is so much to learn in those 40 to 50 pages of printed ink.  This time we found the "Middle of the Mitten" shop hop starting Thursday the 23rd to Saturday 25th. “15 Years of Friendship” was a great theme to celebrate the beginning of spring.  It consisted of 6 shops and many miles on the road.

This little paper is a treasure trove of information for quilter’s to drool over. It has listings of all the area quilt shops listed in the state with a map on the back page.  The paper has store ads that are chalked up with such items as locations, hours and coupons.  Along with quilt/craft related articles, there’s usually one that include a featured quilt shop owner. We can find things like upcoming events, recipes and even patterns.  I have to admit that I have made up some of the recipes and stitchery patterns found in the paper. It was nice to have some kind remarks from the each of the items that I made, but I always gave credit where credit was due.

So back to the shop hop, on Thursday, we started out as a group of four. My friend Donna, her husband, Donna’s future sister-in-law and finally, me. I was picked up just before 11am and we was off.  It was exciting and I loved talking to Celia about her culture, foods and places that she has been in her travels. She recently came to the U.S. from the Philippines, so we had a lot to talk about in the back seat. We made our first stop was at Elm Creek in Farwell.  This a shop that we have visited in the past.  This place has lots of things going on inside.  Quilting, crafts, bird supplies, wood stoves each have their spaces.  There is so many fabrics, patterns and many other things for quilters to love on.  I simply love the batik collections that she has here.

Tricia 047     Tricia 048

Me and Donna was just in time to get the last couple “passports” for the hop. YEA!!  This is the first time I have done this particular shop hop. The “passport” was a jute shopping bag in honor of Earth Day (22nd), some other goodies to go along with a special pin to hold our charms and block patterns on that we collected to from all six shops .  And during the hop, shoppers received 20% off their purchases. Oh My! I think as I fan myself.  Here a couple pictures of the Shop Hop quilt that we are collecting the patterns for during the hop.

          Elm Creek           Heritage

The other things included a tag with a letter in it. This was for matching the letter with someone in the store with the same letter for a prize of a fat quarter. Donna was so generous that she gave me her fat quarters when she found a match.  Hey - it’s always nice to received a freebie.  Some of the stores went all out for the “Hoppers”.  They provided snacks & waters too. 

One shop had taco fixings, another had some subs & cookies to go with their bottles of water.  The 3rd one that comes to mind is the shop. The Heritage Quilt shop in Harrisville was the one that welcomed their “hoppers” with an assortment of homemade chocolate candies with a cheese and cracker tray. They made sure that everyone was welcomed, answered everyone’s questions and keep the crowds flowing with out feeling crowded.  I give big kudos to everyone involved.

Any ways, from there we went up the road to a little Amish ran place that wasn’t on the hop, but when we are in the area we love stopping in at Surrey Road Quilt Shop. It’s a little place but the prices are awesome. 
The Mister of the group needed to make a stop at Jay’s and General Jim’s.  They are just around the curve and he was driving.  {Wink} These are located in Clare, MI.

Tricia 003         Tricia 006

From there we are heading northeast for 3 more stops that had me going new places in my own state. I even spied a Row By Row Experience row that starts in June.  This one was at the Heritage  Quilt Shoppe.  I got to see Gladwin, Mio and Harrisville.  Along the way I saw Lake Huron, East Tawas and Au Sable National Forest. 

Tricia 008        Tricia 007

I would have been quite happy to be dropped off at any given point with my 35mm camera and tons of film. Yea, I’m old school like that.  I love the smell of a roll of film as I open the canister and the whirling sounds as it loads. Of course there is the sounds that the camera makes with the clicking of the buttons as I set up a shot. But I did have my little digital so I was able to take some pictures along the way that day.  Celia sees Lake Huron for the 1st time.  She was even treated to some loons too.

Tricia 018          Tricia 019  
Tricia 020        Tricia 022

With some food stops along the way, I made it home at 8 o’clock. Yes - we even got a picture of Celia in Sombrero at Mario’s in Gladwin.

Tricia 040        Tricia 041

Thursday is wrapped up with me counting 4 shop hop block patterns, 4 charms, 6 free fat quarters, 2 cookies, 1package of  peanut M&M’s and 3 panels for some up coming projects. I have more photos that I can share later, some Mexican leftovers for later on, but I can’t forget that I made a new foodie friend.  I have to admit it with all the fun we had it sure made for a long day.  But who cares!!   Until next time…


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quilts & Morgana

Today I finished another book.  This one is non-fiction and quilt related.  I found this in my local library on the new book shelf when attending one of my Wednesday morning quilting gatherings.  The book is American Patchwork - True Stories From Quilter's edited by Sonja Hakala. It was published by Thomas Dunne Books in 2007.  Here is a  picture link for the e-book from
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 individuals 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. With in the book, there are close to 70 stories that are shared from the likes of Earlene Fowler, Jeanine Williams, Jacqueline Campbell, you find a variety of authors to enjoy.  It is has titles that include A Guy That Sews, A Box of Tears and Project Linus that you can find in the Table of Contents. There were a few names that I recognized from the quilt industry. Others not so much.
As I read the stories, it was like I was getting a small peek into their personal life. 

I have found the quilters are generous people and they are willing to share their fabrics, talents and so much more with others around them. They are quick to rally to a cause when the need is seen.  Not only here in our community, state or country, it is a calling that is heard around the world.  No matter the skill level a quilter might be at.  They are always sewing, donating and gifting a bit of happiness will things have been dark & dreary. 

It really does take a quilter to really understand the underlined meanings of each story as we all have probably be in the same situation ourselves.  It shows me the reach that quilts have had one person's life and how it has caused a small ripple in a pond.  As the ripple moves out, the ripple grows far bigger and impacting even more of those farthest out in the moving ripple. I believe this book would also have that effect on it's readers. It goes across so many states of emotions that will have you looking forward to each one.  

The desire to understand human kindest, emotions and forgiveness are some examples of the stories in this wonderful book.  If you need time away from the sewing machine for one reason or another, this collection of short stories is one way to unplug with a world around us that never seems to slow down.  I found that when I was having to wait on something or someone for any number of reasons, this book give me the "food for thought" reading that would have me slow down and ponder what I have read.  I have recommended this book to several of the ladies in my little quilting group where it is making the rounds quickly.  We enjoy talking about the stories and it seems that we a variety of favorites that various as much as we do.  I do believe in it's a strong contender at 4.5 out of 5 stars personally and with the group it goes from 4.5 all the way to 5 stars.

Now for those who enjoy a good Arthurian based books. I just finished I, Morgana by Felicity Pulman.  I received this ARC from NetGallery and the publisher Momentum Books.  I have excepted the ARC in exchange for my fair & honest opinion.


At a young age, my thirst for anything that took place in the Arthurian time frame in my reading development. The Mists of Avalon, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Ivanhoe just to name a few. In those we know that legend has to how Arthur became the King.  There has been countless books, movies and apparently one season on TV before it was cancelled. So this not a new plot line so to speak.

But it this we are suppose to be looking at in a first person account view point of Morgana, Arthur's half-sister; who has grown old and longs to reverse time.  But age has stolen her magical powers so she must resort to taking up her quill & parchment instead.  

We all know that she not actually portrayed as a nice person in these stories.  Shortly before her father's death, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall; names Morgana his heir upon his death in ruling of his realm and  rule his lands wisely.  Morgana takes this oath to heart and solemnly swear that she would not let him down.  But even as the book opens and Morgana is working with Merlin, we can see that she is willful, undisciplined, quick to judge & has a venomous hatred for those she perceives of doing her wrong.

This short sightedness plagues Morgana through out the book. We find that many people end up on that list. Everyone from Uther Pendragon, Arthur, Merlin, Guenevere, heMorgana's 1st born son - Mordred and even Launcelot incurs she wrath.  All of the fore-mentioned have been on the receiving end of Morgana's sharp tongue, magical potions, deceit and her need for vengeance. We also learn of her indiscretions outside of the martial bed which produced two children out of three.  Mordred, Marie and then Owain - son of Urien: King of Rheged; whom Arthur married Morgana to as a way to gain a much needed ally.

Throughout the book I found several historically errors in the timeline. For example, Morgana and her father - Gorlios goes to London to meet with High King Uther Pendragon.  Well London wasn't called London in the 5th century much less have the Tower of London at the time.  

It would be nice to have some way distinguish the passing of time in the book.  I find that a bit disconcerting at that lacking detail. Then the mentioning of the Otherworld  was never really explained. Is this where Morgana had hope to find and go back to reverse history from all her mistakes, spitefulness and supposedly prevent the series of events in her mind?  Then she sends her daughter Marie and Guinglan through to the other side of the "Otherworld" to another time where they are suppose to be safe from danger?

To me, Morgana is betrayed as a scheming, vengeful, over-ambitious and deceitful to all that surrounds her.  She uses her magical powers to trick, poison, and attempt murder when she doesn't get what she wants.  It's hard to like her or even sympathize  with her.

The rest of the characters has other issues with me.  The book makes Arthur seem wishy-washy, weak, blind to the obvious (including the treasonous affair between Lancelot and Guenevere), and lacking the traits that should make him King.  Launcelot comes across as a man-whore who spends some length of time with Morgana at Joyous Gard and this results in  her becoming pregnant out of wed-lock. He also magically entangled with Guenevere to the play in a role in the demises of Camelot.  Then we have Guenevere who is a hot mess.  This comes across in her spoil brat attitude, she is whiny, jealous of any female who might talk to Launcelot and hatefulness towards Morgana.  Merlin is found lacking in the story and in court.  It's like it was half a thought that he was randomly tossed into the story because it was excepted.

And then ending after Arthur dies at the Battle of Camlann around 537A.D. at the hand of His & Morgana's son - Mordred. We have Morgana, Guenevere and Launcelot all end up in sort of abbey or priory to basically be forgotten.

This rendition of  the King Arthur saga just didn't have to the same feel to it's predecessors did.  I had hopes for this one, as it was taken from other view point than Arthur's or Merlin's.  I did finish the book and I liked it, but I didn't love it as I had hoped.  I wish the author had smoothed out some of the glaring wrinkles before sending it to publication.  I would give this 3.25 out of 5 stars possible.  Again please remember that is just my opinion on this book.  You may read the same book, swoon over it and give it a 5. But on the other hand you might not even finish it, as I saw on many other reviews.  I would even like to invite you to share you review right here for all to see.  Until then... this is where I will say good evening.  


Sunday, April 12, 2015

UFO Sew-A-Long

UFO Sightings!!

Well my friend I've been trying to work on some of my UFO's this year. It would be nice to see if any of you  would like to come and play with me in my UFO Sew-A-Long. It would be a lot kind to see what you might pull out of the dark corners of those stashes that we have deemed them some time ago. What would you pull out?  How would you feel when you pull something out that you have started and make some progress on the project? If I was able to make some sort of button that you could use to link with me, I would take most joy in seeing your wonderful before, progress and after pictures.   If anyone knows how I could do this, I would be most honored if you could share this with me as it this is one of the many banes in my blogging world. 

I try to think of the reasons why this or that project got sidelined. Maybe it was because life got in the way, or maybe company was coming and I had to clear the dinner table off. It could be that my son was here for the summer or like most other quilter's, I too; have been plagued with the "Squirrel Syndrome". What ever the reason it's time that some of them saw daylight.

Since the last time I post I have made much progress on the "Buttoned Up" Virtual Retreat Quilt. 

4-Patches & HST's Meet

This is not all that I have done on this project.  I was able to sit down turning these little pieces into larger segments.  

"Buttoned Up" Segments
To the Pinning of Segments

But this is not all that I work on. As I mentioned before I'm doing some cross-stitching when I need a quilt break. I chose a very challenging piece. I have made many errors that have been taken out time and time again so my input is crawling and if I manage to do an one inch square I feel proud of myself for accepting the challenge that I have given myself. Since there is no given deadline, I work at a leisurely pace as I'm sort of learning as I go. 

This is where I am
Close Up
You would think that would be enough for me to work on, but no; that is not me. I continue to do my appointed one hour of hand quilting on my "niece's" quilt. Most evenings I might put in more than that depending on what's on the television and if I have moved the quilt position in the hoop and have to make my 1/4" sewing marks. That alone can take me an hour to do. if there is time before bed I'll start a needle before calling it a night. This is third section that I'm working on. There isn't a deadline per say, but there is a date that I would like it to be done by.

Oh I was also asked to test a pattern out for someone. I had pulled the fabrics out of the stash somewhat recently. I had received them as gifts or obtained the remnants from the likes of JoAnn's. I can't show you the pattern.  The best I can do is to share a picture of the fabrics that I will be using for it at the moment.

Selected Pretties

It's what I would call "semi-girly". The pink won't be used a lot, just to make snowball corners. I wanted to make something out of my normal color palette and look pretty as it may end up being a gift for the newest grand-daughter's wall.

Oh then there is the pair of Kitchen towels I'll be working on too. This is why I'm on my fifth quilting/needle work journals. It might make for interesting reading for my relations in about a hundred years.

Well I just that is more than enough on the subjects at hand. I'm off to work on this weeks book reviews and hand work for the rest of the day after I have made a promised lasagna for supper. Thanks for coming and I hope that you might consider playing in my UFO journey.  I will have several postings this week on a few different topics.  Until next time...


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Featured & Books

One goes up, one goes down.


The stack of books up for review are just growing and growing.  They grew as the snow fell.  Image that .. right?  I mean what should you do when you can't get out of your driveway when the private road you live on is nothing but solid ice. 

In my case, I do what I normally do.  That means I sew, stitch and/or read in any given day.  Sometimes I combine that with doctor appointments.  Of course for me that means a 45 minute ride to the big city for what ever the appointment that it is.  

From there it's me walking in, letting the receptionist know that I'm there. Then the nurse will call me back to get vitals, place in a room to wait for the doctor to come in. Get my prescriptions, drop them off, more waiting then a 45 minute ride home.  Image how much I can get done during all that time?  Most the time I take my e-reader with me.  

So here we have some of those books that I have been reading.  There is 13 of them waiting for my reviews.  Now as I go to my NetGallery account and as I'm scrolling down my list I noticed something new.  There was a new symbol on 2 of my books.  It looks like this:

What does this mean I wondered.  After looking at the listings, I discovered that my reviews are being featured in the listed reviews on NetGallery for the following books. For Jane Porter's "The Kidnapped Christmas Bride" and Peter Kaufman's "Skull In the Ashes".

It might not mean much to others, seeing how I wouldn't receive royalties of any kind.  But to me, it was kind of nice to have someone acknowledged all the reviews I do with them.  I guess it's of a pat-on-the-back kind of thing that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.  

With all the books I've read lately I thought I would continue to mix the different types to include some quilt themed ones as well. 

This week I offer up "Love of Quilts: A Treasury of Classic Quilting Stories" by Cuesta Ray Benberr and Carol Pinney Crabb. from Voyageur Press.

 Love of Quilts
There are more than 20 million quilters in the United States, and 78 percent of dedicated quilters read for pleasure. To reach this vast group, we've expanded our line of quilting books by bringing back "A Patchwork of Pieces, previously published in 1993. "Love of Quilts features twenty-eight entertaining short stories about quilts and quilters collected from the pages of classic magazines such as "Godey's Lady's Book, Harper's Bazaar, and "Good Housekeeping, introducing readers to the captivating worlds of quilters in other times and places. From courtings that nearly go astray to husbands and wives brought together by quilts to quilters obsessed with securing scraps, "Love of Quilts has something for every quilter. Fascinating fiction, these stories also provide important social history. This book also includes a bibliography of quilt fiction and a time line that lists American quilt fiction, plays, poems, and patterns published from 1845 to 1940.

This was an interesting read that was gifted to me and will be a permanent member of my collection that I will read over and over.  This is a collection of short stories that lend themselves perfectly to times of waiting, or even just before drifting off to sleep.  It is difficult to decide which one is my favorite. It would be like asking me which of my children is my favorite. 

Quilts can cross so many spans of life and stations of life.  They can give us a piece of history that can be pasted down from generations to come.  We can feel them, pet them and dream of the relations that we have not meet before.

The historical view point is interesting as you read the different types of quilts and fabrics throughout the book with the historical publishing's for women of the times. We have some that represent the Civil War, some of them have a moral or lesson with in the story, there are some that are told from the different stations with in a household.  Think "Downton Abbey" and I love the timeline of events in the back of the book as well. Now some might have trouble with some of the dialect used in some of the stories, but I found that it lent it's self more to the time line in which the story happened. 

The stories are various in their telling, and subjects as there are quilt patterns, but they always have a quilt in them to bring the collection together.  The different stories will invoke a wide range of emotions.  You can connect with the writers and the stories.  

I enjoyed the book very much, so yes I would recommend it others like my local library;  so that more local quilters can share in the joy of the book.  I will give this 5 out of 5 stars. 

Not last week I mentioned that I was reading Michaelbrent Collings' "Crime Seen".  I won this book from the author in a give-away through  It
Crime Seen - Michaelbrent Collings

How do you kill a man who's already dead?
Detective Evan White is on the trail of a killer. A madman who slaughters at a whim. A murderer bent on destroying everything and everyone Evan loves. An assassin who can't be killed... because he's already dead.

Evan is about to begin the longest day of his life. A day that will determine what is true, what is false. What crimes are reality...

... and what crimes are merely seen.

OMG!!! This was a gripping thriller that I would compare to a love child of a couple of my favorite movies ever - "The Fugitive" with "Secret Window" and a small touch of  "Sixth Sense" tossed into the mix to making interesting. There is no doubt that this book will stay with me a long time. 

Evan White is a cop dealing with the horrid death of his cheating wife soon after making the startling discovery in their martial bed. He is bound & determined to find the killer in the cold case.

His partner - Angela is tough, sassy, dealing with the demons of her past after watching her father being torn apart drug crazed fiend as a child. She is small & petite but is a box of dynamite when the occasion arises. Oh and she is in love with her partner!!

But she isn't the only strong female character in the book. Nope there is Tuyen. She is a young lady caught in the battle of modern and traditional Vietnamese life.  We meet her in the bar with her rainbow hair, piercings, attitude and a gift of being psychic. She works in a Vietnamese voodoo shop and has had a rough life.

We watch as scenes unfold to take us to a gun blazing bar fight, an Vietnamese Mystic/Voodoo/Religious shop, to the dark and dreary spaces in a the police department building, to church to dark alleys.  

It's wicked fast-paced and a page turner that had me reading my e-reader long into the night. The plot was terrifying ellecent and I read this in about 8 hours over the course of two nights before bed.  This was my introduction to Mr. Collins and I'm  fascinated to the core!! Look out Stephen King, Dean Koontz - Michaelbrent Collings has arrived!

The ending is well ... unexpected. Yes - unexpected is a great word for it!  But I'll give no clues before it's time.  Go - RUN!! For your own copy, you'll be glad that you did.  This scare has earned a solid 4.5 out 5 stars and has me heading for the library for more by this author. 

I won this book from the author on I'm offering up my humble review on the book without any influence from anyone associated with the book. Please take it with a grain of salt and then read it and form your own.

I am still reading the other two books that I mentioned last week. They both sort of have the same thread to them and they are pretty good reads.  I will be turning out several more postings on my reviews and then I'm going to offer up a book give-away or maybe 2.  You can never tell with me.  {winks}

So until next time y'all...




Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Weekend & More

First off.... will my "Tree Bird" blog hop winner please contact me through my e-mail so that I might send her winnings.

        #31 - Material Girl!!!   

This week I have been very busy with this and that.  With a few out of house days, I did things like grocery shopping today for Easter supper.  We will have a nice ham, baked potatoes, corn, biscuits and deviled eggs.  I also will be having some asparagus.  I'm trying to decide if we will have apple pie or lemon loaf bread for dessert. But I do wanted to say Happy Easter to all my readers out there. {{ waving @ you readers}}

But I have been  consistently doing all week is each evening is spending it hand quilting a baby quilt for a special little lady that is my adopted niece who resides in Scotland.  I put in a minimum of one hour while watching TV in the evenings.  Some night have more done depending what is on or how into a movie I might get.  I find it relaxing and a good way to wind down before bed.

But that isn't the only thing I've been up to.  I pulled two of my UFO's out to work on.  The first one is my Thangle project that Ms. Midge sent to my year ago.  I'm making progress that one.  And then I pulled out my TQPM virtual retreat quilt.  It is was further along as I ironed and trimmed the 4-patch blocks and I was able to separated the squares for their HST's sections.  next I'll iron & trim out the strips.  

While at Wal-mart, I was able to pick up some black  fq's; so that I can make the little 4-patch blocks that I need for Bonnie Hunter's "Bricks & Stepping Stones"  pattern.  I have the bricks cut out so I'm ready to going as this is my scrappy challenge quilt for this year.  Several of my Stitchin' Sisters are doing a Row Robin that I had to opt out of.  But I decided that I could work on some of my rows from last year along side them. 

Speaking of the Row By Row Experience.  

Did you know that we will be able to take part in it again this year!!  The theme is Water.  This year there is shops from ALL 50 States and 7 Providences of Canada!!!  Whooo-wie!!!   Want more information.  Go here with the start date of June 21st.  You also can find which stores are playing in your State.  

In the mail I got a new book to review through NetGallery.  I'm reading this one "Finding Me", along with this book: "Deadline" that I won last year in a give-away on and to on the e-reader I have  "Crime Seen" by Michaelbrent Collins which was another winner from  I also do book reviews on

Yes I tend to have more than 1 book going at one time.  Which would explain why I currently have 12 books to do write ups for.  LOL.  I read the e-reader at bedtime. "Finding Me" is my on-the-road/waiting book and "Deadline" is my at home reading piece.  This one will have a special place in my collection as it is a signed copy and came with some additional swag.   

Next in the mail I received a block from my friend Bonny.  I was more than happy to introduce her to block swapping.  I sent her one of my Friendship Stars that I had left over from that I made for a swap. And in return I received this one from her in return called "New Hampshire Star".  

Then finally I received my blocks from the SQT 3" nine-patch block swap.  You might remember them from here.  I got lots of pretties in return.

Well  folks it's time for me to go and do some hand quilting on Mollie Sue's quilt for the evening.  I once again want to say thank you to all of you who left me a comment during the "Tree Bird" blog hop.  So until next time ... 

Tricia <3