Sunday, November 30, 2008

Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks

Charlotte Gray is a young Scottish woman who moves to London in 1942 to help the war effort. She falls in love with an RAF pilot who doesn't return from a mission to France a few months after they meet. She's in training as a secret courier, so when she completes her mission in France, she tries to find her pilot. She stays in France for several months helping the Resistance.

We had seen the movie version several months ago, and I wanted to get the full story. I got a much different and better story instead. I'm not sure why a movie changes the story of a good book so often - and rarely for the better. Read the book - skip the movie. I rate this book 4 out of 5.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two Creative Studios

I have posted information here before about classes I've taken from two of my favorite teachers - Sue Bleiweiss and Terri Stegmiller. They teach out of Two Creative Studios. Well, they are offering a fabulous giveaway just for subscribing to their newsletter. Here is what Sue has written about it:

"Every day starting on Sunday, December 14, 2008, Terri and I will choose one name from the Two Creative Studios subscriber list and that person will win a handmade item from both of us. Then on December 25th we'll pick a final grand prize winner and that person will not only win a handmade item from the both of us but they'll also win their choice of a free online class!"

Now I've not only taken most of these great teachers' classes, but I've also received some wonderful handmade items from each of them as well, and let me tell you, this is a very wonderful and generous giveaway! They also have some really nice free projects on their site, so be sure to check it out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mixed Media Collage for the Fiber Artist

I have thoroughly enjoyed this class from Terri Stegmiller.

Below is the finished quilt that I did for lessons 2 and 3. The background fabric is white cotton duck that I painted and stenciled and stamped.

Each leaf was done using a different method taught by Terri, but all were done on prepared for dye pimatex cotton. I used Jacquard Black Permanent Resist on the left leaf, Presist waterbased resist on the middle leaf, and black gel pen on the right leaf. I painted all of the leaves with Dye-na-flow paint. After heat setting the paint, I washed out the Presist from the middle leaf for a faux batik look. The black stayed in the other leaves.

In addition to doing this quilt, I've also been working on a quilt pattern and kit that I bought from Frieda Anderson called Autumn Mums (she has gorgeous hand dyed fabrics and beautiful patterns). I used some leftover scraps from that kit and her fusing technique to make the flower and added french knots to the center (amazing for me, since I usually do as little hand work as possible - but heat set crystals just didn't look right to me).

I rubber stamped the text on another leftover scrap of hand dyed fabric.

I finished the quilting and binding on Sunday, and added the french knots today. It's pretty much my own design, with inspiration and instruction from Terri Stegmiller and Frieda Anderson. I couldn't be more pleased with it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Paper Clips

We just watched the most amazing movie tonight. It's called Paper Clips. It is about a project in a middle school in Whitwell, Tennessee. The students are studying about the Holocaust and are trying to understand how many six million is. They decide to collect six million paper clips. It became a life changing experience for everyone involved - the students, teachers, and community. I cried through much of the movie, but it was actually pretty uplifting. Everyone should see this movie!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I finished this book over a week ago, and couldn't decide what to write about it. That isn't because I didn't like the book - in fact, I loved it. But it is a very unusual book that is very hard to describe (for me anyway). I read it for the book club I joined in September that meets at our local library.

Because I've had such a hard time figuring out what to write about this book, I'm going to cheat and quote

"Nicole Krauss's The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss's watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book."

There were plot twists and surprises, and I wanted to be sure I really understood what happened, so after I finished it, I read it again. I've never done that before. I rarely read a book more than once, and if I do, it is usually after many years have passed so that I don't remember it at all. But I found that I got much more out of the book the second time.

I rate this book 5 out of 5.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

What Color Green Are You?

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Look what Maggi awarded me. I was so surprised! Now I get to award this to 4 dedicated followers of my blog and one new one from another part of the world.

1. freebird
2. fannie
3. crazyquiltgaljennalouise
4. tracyb
5. annetteinoz

Thanks so much Maggi - I really appreciate it!

Sunset in Santa Fe Detail

Maggi asked me how I quilted this, so I thought I'd post a close up of one area of the quilt. The quilting shows up well on the background in this picture, but not as well on the star. I used various variegated threads in the star sections - different thread for each spikey area - and quilted flames in the narrow spikes, triangles in the wider spikes, and rays in the centers. You can see the quilting a bit better if you click on the picture to make it bigger.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sunset in Santa Fe

I finished this quilt a few days ago. I took a class from Deb Karasik at Quilt Camp in the Pines in July, and this was what she taught. All of the spikes are paper pieced, so it isn't quite as hard as it looks. But still - it's probably one of the more difficult quilts I've ever done, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. I quilted it myself too.

Deb called it Arizona Sunset, but I bought all of the fabrics for it in a wonderful quilt shop in Santa Fe, so I had to call mine Sunset in Santa Fe. I'm entering this in the Oklahoma Winter Quilt Show in January, so wish me luck!