Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Scrapbook Pages of My Recent Trip

I have a friend who I met on my trip to Greece, and then again in France, who loves fountain pens as much as I do (in fact, we went to a pen store together in Paris, where she bought a nice pen and I bought a leather pen case). She lives in Annapolis, and I went to visit her last week. We attended the DC Pen Show and had so much fun. Before the show, she showed me around Annapolis and we even found some time to sketch together (I haven't been doing much sketching lately; I've been concentrating on sewing and quilting).

After the pen show, I took the train to Philadelphia to meet my cousin, who lives in a suburb along the Pennsylvania Railroad. She showed me around Philly, where my two favorite things to see were the Barnes Foundation, with its huge collection of Impressionist paintings, and the Liberty Bell, because of its historical significance.

These are the scrapbook pages I did to remember the trip. You can click on the pages to see them larger and read the journaling.

Friday, July 27, 2018

France 2017 Scrapbook Pages

I realized recently that although I posted my scrapbook pages from my trip to France last year on my Facebook page, I never posted them here on my blog. I've decided that they need to be here as well. There are 13 pages, so this will be a long post. You can click on any page to see it larger and read the journaling.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Scrapbook Pages

I finished a couple of new scrapbook pages a few days ago. I am using an app on my iPad called Project Life to do my scrapbook pages these days, and it is so much quicker and easier than the way I used to do pages. Partly because I used to agonize over how a page looked, which I don't do so much any more, and partly because the app is just so easy to use. The app uses a grid format that I like, and it allows me to actually get pages done. So, here are my two newest pages:

Our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons visited us the last week in June. Our older grandson, Eli, loves to fish with his grampa. Our younger grandson, Owen, is a really happy baby most of the time (as long as he isn't hungry).

I'm really enjoying our new car that we picked up last Friday. It's the first SUV I've ever owned. It has all the new safety features, which is the whole reason I wanted a new car in the first place.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

New Car

We picked up our new 2018 Toyota RAV4 on Friday. I have been considering a variety of cars with new safety features for a few months now, and finally decided on the RAV4. It has the following safety features:

Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
Automatic High Beams
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

I drove it to Oklahoma City after I picked it up on Friday and love the way it drives! I will also enjoy having a car that holds a lot more than my 2011 Camry, and is also quite a bit shorter. We will be giving the Camry to our son in October.

Here it is:

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Two New Quilts

I attended a workshop with Jean Wells at Empty Spools Seminar back in February. This workshop took place at Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. It was a great class in a beautiful location, although I missed one full day of class because I came down with the worst stomach virus I’ve ever had. I worked on two quilts at the workshop and have now finished both of them.

The first quilt was started as exercises given to us by Jean Wells. She brought solid color fabrics of many different colors, and on the first day we were to choose 6 of her fabrics. We didn't know what we were going to be doing with them when we selected them. She demonstrated cutting and sewing gentle curves, and we were to use our fabrics to practice doing the same. She continued demonstrating  a variety of things that we were supposed to do, always without patterns; we were choosing from among our 6 fabrics and sewing them together in various ways. This is called improvisational piecing.

The next day we were to make blocks from our 6 fabrics. We could use the pieces we had done in the earlier exercises, or not; I used mine in the centers of my blocks. After we sewed our blocks, we were to put them together into a composition; I used some of the leftover pieces from the day before in this composition as well. The only fabric I added to mine was the background; all the other fabrics in the quilt are the 6 that I chose from Jean Wells' fabrics. I call this quilt, "An Exercise In Letting Go." It measures 22" X 46 1/2".

We were also supposed to bring photographs with us to use for inspiration. Although I brought quite a few photos, it turned out that I didn't bring very many that were usable for the way Jean Wells wanted us to use them. But I did find one that I could use.

I traced the major shapes onto tracing paper, then decided to crop it to use just the center section. I used the color scheme and the general shapes from the photo to create this quilt, which I call "A Paris Window." It measures 17 1/4" X 28 1/2".

I highly recommend Jean Wells as a teacher; I only wish I had been able to attend the whole class from start to finish. Not only did I miss one day of class due to illness, I also arrived late due to a last minute schedule change. This meant that I missed the introductions before class and the actual instructions regarding choosing our 6 fabrics. I was told by another student when I arrived to choose 6 fabrics, but I learned later that students actually chose 5 fabrics, then Jean Wells talked to them individually about their choices. After discussing their 5 choices, they chose a 6th fabric (they didn't know in advance that they would be choosing a 6th fabric).

Even though I didn't have the full class experience, I am very happy with how my quilts turned out, and I really enjoy working in this new way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

New Header

I have been meaning to update my blog header for a really long time, and I finally decided that today was the day. It didn't really take that long; I'm not sure why I waited so long. The three quilts in the header are, from left to right, Sticks & Stones, A Paris Window, and Happy As A Clam. All three are my original designs. Sticks & Stones and Happy As A Clam are improvisationally pieced (meaning that I didn't have a plan for the final outcome when I started each quilt) and were done independently. A Paris Window was started in a class I took from Jean Wells Keenan in February of this year at Empty Spools Seminar and used a photo I took in Paris in the fall of last year as my inspiration.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Fiberworks 2018

I am thrilled to announce that one of the quilts I showed in my last post, Sticks & Stones, has been accepted into Fiberworks 2018 by Fiber Artists of Oklahoma (FAO). According to  FAO’s website: “Oklahoma’s largest and best-known juried fiber arts show will celebrate its 40th year with Fiberworks 2018.” I have considered submitting quilts to the show in the past, but never have. I’ve attended the exhibit many times and have always been impressed with it.

According to the prospectus:  “This 40th annual exhibit provides Oklahoma fiber artisans an opportunity to showcase their work encompassing traditional crafts to innovative art. This eclectic show honors quality workmanship and original design. The exhibit also educates the public about the many facets of fiber artistry by presenting a wide range of media, techniques and traditions. The event will be held from June 15, 2018 through August 10, 2018 at Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO) Gallery, in Oklahoma City’s Film Row District, at 706 W Sheridan, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Gallery hours are 12 noon to 6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.” 

Sunday, June 03, 2018

New Quilts

I have been enjoying a new-to-me piecing technique called Improvisational Piecing. This is where you sew pieces of fabric together without a plan and see where it leads. I have also started naming my quilts more consistently; I used to only name a quilt occasionally. Here are two of my latest quilts:

Happy As A Clam
I called this "Happy As A Clam" for two reasons. First, it made me happy to make it. And second, the quilting pattern on the main (center) square is called clamshell. It is 15" W X 18" H.

Sticks & Stones
I called this "Sticks & Stones" because of the straight lines and the (sort-of) circles. It is 21 1/2" W X 15 1/2" H.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Quilt Guild Challenge Quilt

My quilt guild had a challenge that started at our Christmas meeting last year. Each guild member who wanted to participate brought a yard of an ugly fabric from her stash. It didn't have to be ugly; it could be a fabric that was out of style or you were tired of. When we arrived at the meeting, we put our fabric into an unmarked brown paper bag. Then after all of the fabric was collected, each participant drew a bag from the collection. The only way you could put the bag back was if you happened to draw your own fabric. We then had to use at least 75% of the fabric in a quilt, and bring the quilt to our May meeting.

The fabric that I drew was truly ugly. In fact, if there had been a prize for the ugliest fabric, I believe I would have won that prize. It was Duck Dynasty fabric; here is a picture of it.

I knew right away that the only way I could use this fabric was to cut it up into very small, unrecognizable pieces, so that is what I did. Here is my finished quilt.

I used the challenge fabric in the narrow strips within the colorful blocks, in the background, and in the binding. My quilt won 3rd place. It was a really good challenge that stretched my creativity and I enjoyed it. Considering what I started with, I was very pleased with my results.

Monday, January 22, 2018


Every year, for many years, we played a game of Monopoly on Thanksgiving day. I got tired of the game after awhile, but because it was a tradition, I continued playing it with the family (until the last few years, when we found a new game that everyone liked better). So when I read this poem in my weekly American Life in Poetry email, it brought back happy memories.

Introduction by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006: I'm writing this column on a very cold day, and it's nice to be inside with a board game to play, but better yet, for me at least, to be inside with a poem about a board game. This Monopoly game by Connie Wanek is from her book Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, from the University of Nebraska Press.


A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold, as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.

At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.
We used to play, long before we bought real houses.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Connie Wanek, “Monopoly,” from Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, (Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Connie Wanek and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2018 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge Wrap Up

I completed nine of the twelve categories for my reading challenge in 2017. When I started the challenge, I knew that I might not complete all of the categories and I am quite satisfied with the number that I completed. Here are all of the categories, what I read for them, and links to my reviews:

 1.  A 19th century classic - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (finished 10/15/2017)

2.  A 20th century classic - The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers (finished 2/10/2017)

3.  A classic by a woman author - Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers (finished 2/15/2017)

4.  A classic in translation

5.  A classic originally published before 1800

A romance classic - Emma by Jane Austen (finished 2/23/2017)

7.  A Gothic or horror classic - Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (finished 3/21/2017)

8.  A classic with a number in the title - The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (finished 6/3/2017)

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title - The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (finished 3/10/2017)

10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit - Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers (finished 4/30/2017)

11. An award-winning classic The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (finished 7/11/2017)

12. A Russian classic

I liked all of the books I read; my favorite books were Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier and Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Welcome Owen Thomas Gebhart

Our new grandson was born November 26, 2017, at 6:05 pm. He weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces and was 19 inches long; just slightly smaller than his brother Eli, who celebrated his 4th birthday 3 days later. We will finally get to meet him and see the rest of the family in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I had been intending to read Wuthering Heights for a long time, and after watching The Bronte Sisters on PBS recently, I decided it was finally time. While it was certainly well written and it kept my interest, I had a bit of a hard time with it because neither of the main characters (Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff) is at all likable. I don't think I can give a better description of the book than what is written on Goodreads:
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
Even though I didn't like the main characters, I'm glad I finally read the book, and I rate it 4 out of 5.  I read this for the category
1.  A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.
This is the 9th book (out of 12) I have read for the Back to the Classics 2017 Reading Challenge. At this time, I have no plans to finish the other 3 categories (a classic in translation, a classic originally published before 1800, and a Russian classic).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

This short novel is a coming of age story about Ponyboy, his brothers, and his friends, who are members of a gang called the greasers. They are poor and considered outsiders, as opposed to the Socs (short for Socials) who are rich and have everything going their way (at least that's the way it seems to Ponyboy). When Ponyboy's best friend Johnny accidentally kills a Soc, everything changes.

I read this book for the category

11. An award-winning classic.

This book won the Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Award for Secondary in 1991. It was a very moving story and well written. I was amazed to learn after I read it that S. E. Hinton wrote it when she was 16. I'm also surprised that I'd never read it before now. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The 39 Steps by John Buchan

I read this book for the following category in my 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge:

8.  A classic with a number in the title

I thought the book was pretty good, but not great. From Amazon:
The novel is set during May and June 1914; Europe is close to war and spies are everywhere. Richard Hannay has just returned to London from Rhodesia in order to begin a new life, when a freelance spy called Franklin P. Scudder calls on him to ask for help. Scudder reveals to Hannay that he has uncovered a German plot to murder the Greek Premier and steal British plans for the outbreak of war. Scudder claims to be following a ring of German spies called the Black Stone.
I rate it 3 out of 5.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

I read The Maltese Falcon for category #9 in my 2017 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge:
9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title
The "name of an animal in the title" is Falcon. I saw the movie version, with Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, many years ago, and have wanted to read the novel for a long time. I didn't remember much about the movie until I started reading, but a lot of it came back to me as I read. Now I want to see the movie again to see just how close the story is to the book; it felt pretty close, but as I said, it has been many years since I saw the movie.

I enjoyed the book, although the detective novel is not my favorite genre. And if I am going to read a detective novel, I prefer Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series, which is much lighter reading due to Wimsey's character. But The Maltese Falcon had a good story and was well written. This is the second book by Dashiell Hammett that I've read; last year I read The Thin Man for the Classic Detective Novel category in the same reading challenge. Between the two books, I liked this one more; even though The Thin Man was lighter reading, the two main characters (Nick and Nora Charles) annoyed me with the fact that they spent most of their time drinking.

According to the back of the book:
A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man named Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett's coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted generations of readers.
I rate The Maltese Falcon 3 out of 5.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers

I have really enjoyed the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers, but this one was my least favorite so far. What I've liked so much about the others is the characters, especially Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant, Mervyn Bunter. To me, the mystery has always been secondary. 

The Five Red Herrings was written in a different style from the earlier books. When the dead body of a painter is found at the bottom of a cliff, there are six other painters who could have been guilty of the murder. The book focuses on those six painters and their movements and motives in excruciating detail. I found it more confusing than the previous books in the series, and harder to keep the characters straight. In addition, Lord Peter played a smaller role in the story (although he was the one who ultimately solved the murder) and Bunter was hardly in the story at all. So I rate it 3 out of 5.

I read this for my 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge. It could be counted in several different categories (for example, #8, A classic with a number in the title or #9 A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title), but I'm going to count it as #10 A classic set in a place you'd like to visit (Scotland). However, I do reserve the right to change my mind on the category.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Mary Yellan promised her mother that after her death, she would go to stay with her Aunt Patience. What Mary's mother didn't know was that Patience's husband, Joss Merlyn, had become involved in evil schemes at Jamaica Inn, and that no one stayed at the Inn any more. Mary is intent on protecting her aunt as best she can. I found the novel to be very well written and compelling; I often couldn't put it down. I read this for the Gothic or Horror Classic category in my Back to the Classics 2017 reading challenge, and I rated it 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Emma by Jane Austen

This is the fourth book by Jane Austen that I've read, and it was my second favorite, after Pride and Prejudice. Emma Woodhouse is quite happy being single and living with her father, but she delights in trying to make a match for her protege Harriet Smith, against the advice of her good friend Mr. Knightly. When her plans unravel, she must face the unexpected consequences. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it to be quite humorous. I read it for the category A Romance Classic and rate it 4 out of 5.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

This is the sixth Lord Peter Wimsey book I've read (five novels and one collection of short stories) and I've enjoyed every one of them. But this one is my favorite so far. It introduces Harriet Vane, a novelist who is accused of killing her fiancé in a way she wrote about in one of her books. Lord Peter not only believes she is innocent but also wants to marry her. The delightful Miss Climpson, who made her first appearance in Unnatural Death, is back as well.

I read this for the category Classic By a Woman Author and I rated it 5 out of 5.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers

When elderly General Fentiman is found dead at the club, no one knows exactly when he died. And the exact time of death must be known to settle a half-million pound inheritance. Lord Peter agrees to help determine the time of death.

I read this for the category 20th Century Classic, and I rated it 4 out of 5.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2017

I have decided to sign up for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge again this year. I may not read 12 books, but there are several classics that fit the challenge categories that I want to read anyway, so I might as well read them for the challenge, right?

Here are the categories:

1.  A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th century classic - any book published between 1900 and 1967. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.

3.  A classic by a woman author

4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories). Modern translations are acceptable as long as the original work fits the guidelines for publications as explained in the challenge rules.

5.  A classic originally published before 1800. Plays and epic poems are acceptable in this category. Translations can be modern in this category also.

A romance classic. I'm pretty flexible here about the definition of romance. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot.

7.  A Gothic or horror classic. For a good definition of what makes a book Gothic, and an excellent list of possible reads, please see this list on Goodreads

8.  A classic with a number in the title. Examples include A Tale of Two CitiesThree Men in a Boat, The Nine Tailors, Henry V, Fahrenheit 451, etc. An actual number is required -- for example, Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None would not qualify, but The Seven Dials Mystery would. 

9.  A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title.  It can be an actual animal or a metaphor, or just the name in the title. Examples include To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Metamorphosis, White Fang, etc. If the animal is not obvious, please clarify it in your post.

10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit. It can be real or imaginary: The Wizard of Oz, Down and Out in Paris and London, Death on the Nile, etc.

11. An award-winning classic. It could be the Newbery award, the Prix Goncourt, the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Award, etc. Any award, just mention in your blog post what award your choice received. It must be an actual award-winner; runners-up and nominees do not count.

12. A Russian classic2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a classic by any Russian author. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Back to the Classics 2016 Reading Challenge Wrap Up

I completed my reading challenge for the year; I read 12 classics in a variety of categories (which gives me 3 entries into the prize drawing!) and posted reviews of them here on my blog. The categories, the books I read, and links to my reviews follow:

 1. A 19th century classic - Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (finished 9/11/2016)

 2. A 20th century classic - Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (finished 2/1/2016)

 3. A classic by a woman author - Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (finished 2/26/2016)

 4. A classic in translation - The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (finished 5/24/2016)

 5. A classic by a non-white author - Passing by Nella Larsen (finished 6/12/2016)

 6. An adventure classic - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (finished 6/8/2016)

 7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic - A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (finished 4/20/2016)

 8. A classic detective novel - The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (finished 6/1/2016)

 9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title - Howard's End by E.M. Forster (finished 7/25/2016)

10. A classic which has been banned or censored - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (finished 10/5/2016)

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high-school or college) - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (finished 1/25/2016)

12. A volume of classic short stories - Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers (finished 7/3/2016)

My favorite books were The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (I can't believe I'd never read it before!) and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I rated both books five out of five. My next two favorites were Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers and Passing by Nella Larsen, both of which I rated a four. Then I had five books that I rated a three: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery, Howard's End by E.M. Forster, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, and Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers. And finally, there were three books I only rated a two:  The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr., and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

I had a little harder time completing my challenge this year compared to last year, which may have been due to my choices, so I'm not sure whether I will do the challenge again next year. It partly depends on the categories, and partly how I'm feeling about it at the end of the year when the challenge is announced. Or I may sign up for the challenge but not feel bad if I decide not to complete it. Or I may sign up and only complete some of the categories instead of all 12. We'll see . . .

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

I read this book for the following category for the 2016 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge:

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

This is my last book for the challenge, and it was one of my favorites of the 12 books I read (my other favorite was To Kill a Mockingbird). I can't believe I'd never read this before. Of course, I knew some of the stories, because they are iconic (Tom getting his friends to whitewash the fence for him; Tom's infatuation with Becky Thatcher; Tom attending his own funeral). I'm glad I finally took the time to read it.

According to The Christian Science Monitor:

That other Twain novel about Huck Finn has faced a raftload of controversy ever since the day it was first published. But "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" was also banned when librarians said they found Mr. Sawyer to be a "questionable" protagonist in terms of his moral character.

I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn MANY years ago, and it was also a great book; I may have to re-read it at some point. I rate The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 5 out of 5.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

I read this book for the following category in my 2016 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge:

 A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

I had wanted to read this book for a long time, ever since seeing the movie version several years ago. It was a good story, but much too long. And don't get me wrong, I actually like long novels. But this one just made me feel that the author was being paid by the word. There were many MANY asides, or editorial comments, that seemed to go on and on. I kind of liked some of them at first, but after reading 680 pages, I just wanted to read about the characters.

The book is a portrayal of life and manners in London in the early 19th century. The story is about Becky Sharp, a woman of no money or breeding, who tries to escape her place in life as governess to Sir Pitt Crawley's two young daughters. It follows her and several other characters over the course of about fifteen years. I rate it 3 out of 5.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Polka Dots

My quilt guild is doing a challenge. In May, we were to bring one yard of polka dot fabric. We then tore it in half, kept half, and passed the other half around until the music stopped (think musical chairs but with fabric). We repeated this several times until we ended up with 5 different polka dot fabrics in successively smaller sizes. We are to make something with these 5 fabrics and bring it to the December meeting. We can add additional fabrics as desired. This is a sneak peak at my quilt, which I finished a couple of days ago. Four of my 5 fabrics show up in this sneak peak - orange with purple dots, black with multiple color dots, gold with purple and brown dots, and pink with white dots. My 5th fabric is green with white dots, very similar to the pink. It didn't have to be quilted for the challenge, but I was having so much fun with it that I just kept working and got it done.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Digital Scrapbook Layouts

In addition to sketching last week, I also completed 3 digital scrapbook layouts.

Journaling reads, "We enjoy seeing the Williams here each fall. It has become a nice tradition we look forward to."

Journaling reads, "We had planned on seeing both Zion and Bryce National Parks in addition to Cedar Breaks National Monument, but right after lunch on our drive there, Glen got violently ill and we ended up spending the night in Frisco, Colorado (he may have been served garlic at the B&B in Estes Park). The next day, Glen felt better and we had just enough time to see Cedar Breaks. We were really glad we did. It was spectacular; like nothing either of us had ever seen before."

In 2012, we met our son, daughter-in-law, and her family at Black Mesa, the highest point in Oklahoma.

Journaling reads, "Glen and I hiked halfway up the mesa, as we planned, while the rest of the group (Ira, Billie, Parker, Holden, Catherine, Cooper, Bryan, Kyle, Jacey, Jessica, Brian) made the whole 8 mile hike in very hot weather. At right is the whole group as we started the hike. Below is Brian and Jessica (and me) shortly before Glen and I stopped. At bottom right is the group going on after we stopped. I sketched a bit when we stopped."

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sketches from Colorado

As I said in my last post, my husband and I spent last week in Colorado. We always enjoy our time there, and this year was no exception. We stayed in a cabin on Spring Creek, between Gunnison and Crested Butte. I took photos and sketched while my husband fished, we hiked, played games, read, did some site seeing, went to a play in Gunnison, and shopped at an art festival in Crested Butte. We've been going to this area for 31 years now, so we obviously love the area. Here are my sketches from the week:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Imaginary Visit to a Tulip Festival

Even though I haven't posted much, I did keep up pretty well with my lessons in Laure Ferlita's class. At least until the bonus lesson Laure provided because of some computer glitches she had. I still plan to do that bonus lesson at some point; it just won't be for the class. Anyway, I wanted to post the remainder of the lessons that I did complete:

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

I always enjoy Laure's classes, and this one was no exception. The only reason I didn't get the bonus lesson completed was that we spent last week in Colorado, staying in a cabin with no internet access. I did do some sketching, which I'll share in my next post. And we had a really good time, so it's all good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Howard's End by E.M. Forster

I read this book for the following category in my 2016 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge:
9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title.  It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.
The story concerns the relationships between three families; the Wilcoxes, who are pragmatic and materialistic members of the middle-class, the Schlegels, who are idealistic and intellectual members of the middle class, and the Basts, who are aspirating members of the lower class. When Mrs. Wilcox bequeaths Howard's End (her beloved country home) to Margaret Schlegel, Mr. Wilcox disregards her bequest. For me, the book had a slow start, and I might have given up on it if it had been longer (it was only 246 pages), but I ended up liking it by the end. I rate it 3 out of 5.