Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome 2017....I've Been Waiting for You!

This is the 3rd year I have participated in the First Book of the Year event, hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey. The year my pick is Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline.

I have had this book for a few months.  I have been wanting a special time to read it and there is none better than celebrating the First Book of the Year.  I am looking forward to getting involved with this one.

Last year I  joined several book challenges. I failed miserably at all of them except for the Triple Dog Dare Challenge.  That one was to only read books from my TBR shelves, from the first of the year until April 1st.  But all the other challenges were not completed. You can check out my 2016 challenges by clicking on the tab at the top of my blog.  This year I will do no other challenges as far as books go. I have lots on my shelves and downloaded on my Kindle.

I am doing some quilting challenges this year.  My Local Quilt Group, does a yearly challenge where we complete a UFO every 2 months. We write up a challenge sheet that has 6 projects that need to be completed or at least finished to a certain specification. One member rolls a die and whatever number the die lands on, that is the numbered project we work on. Then there is a show and tell 60 days later. I have the UFO's picked out, but we haven't met yet to submit our lists. When we do, I will have another post.

I am also participating in the All People Quilt  2017 UFO Challenge.  This one is for 12 projects. A number is posted every month and that is the project that is to be worked on each month. I have filled out the project sheet for the All People Quilt Challenge, and the challenge coordinator has announced the number for January at bit early. It is #6 Here is a copy of my list.

 I have 36 completed blocks, 5" unfinished. I need to decide if that is enough or if I need 6 more.

My stacks of crumb blocks. I have 36 so I think I will set it 6 X 6. The blocks are smallish and oh so busy, I will sash them with black 2" unfinished sashing and red cornerstones. I'll keep you posted. Hopefully!! It is a work in progress, no pattern,  so fingers crossed that it isn't TOO UGLY!!!

Well, that's as good as it gets for now
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, December 26, 2016

Clue #5 , a little bit of family and a White Christmas

Our Christmas weekend included Christmas Eve at our granddaughters home. Her mom and sister, our daughter and youngest granddaughter, arrived from Colorado on Friday. There was much hugging and laughing and good wishes.

I was anxious to try out Bonnie's new  Essential Triangles ruler on Clue #5. I had extra 3 1/2 inch strips cut previously, so I got right to it. It intimidated me at first but by the time I had 20 paired triangles cut, I was feeling the love. Because I am doing only 1/2 the amount of blocks, I need 34. I sewed the first 20 and then had to do other "get ready for Christmas" things.
Our great grandson was pretty excited about his first gift. Momma looks on while he plays with Jett and Super Wings playset. We couldn't get him away from this to open the rest of his gifts, so Daddy sat with baby sis, Bella on the floor and helped her.

She was pretty enthralled with the crinkly sounds of the paper as her daddy opened each one.

 And there was lots of trash to go to the dumpster!

Bella was such a happy girl all day. We got her the Bronco sleeper and her mom added the perfect Bronco blue headband. Isn't she a cutie?

 We headed home, across town only, after dark. The visibility was ugly. It felt worse than this picture indicates. Winter storm Europa blew and snowed all Christmas Day. A White Christmas but I was not happy.

As we got to our driveway this is the view to our front porch. Mr. Busy and our grandson-in-law had driven over together to make sure we could make it home and to shovel out the drift in front of the garage door. Then they drove back to where we women waited and picked me up. I did not really want to sleep on the floor at my granddaughters. I'm too old for sleepovers!!

This morning the wind has stopped, and the sun looks like it will shine. I think the plows are busy clearing city streets and highways. Not our residential streets yet, but they will.

 This is out our front door, Lots of white.

 Our back deck is drifted high in some spots and nearly clear in others. Those of you familiar with snow and blizzard conditions understand this phenomena. Nothing to do this early, except make coffee and go down to my sewing room to finish my 34 half square triangles   Here they are on my ironing board. I have a Quilt of Valor on my design wall behind, and you can see my overflowing basket of 2 1/2 inch strips, all colors.

If you are following along with the progress of participants in Bonnie Hunter's 2016 Mystery, En Provence, check out the link-up photos HERE>

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

ps: Those of you in the path of this storm, be aware and be safe.  My daughter just texted me and it doesn't look like she will be able to get home to Colorado this morning as planned. Still blowing snow on I-25 south. I am so concerned for them.

Monday, December 19, 2016

En Provence Mystery by Bonnie Hunter Clue #4

This is not the link to Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt. To find all the clues and the instructions, go to Quiltville's Quips & Snips. You will see the Monday Link-up today, but click on the En Provence Mystery Quilt tab at the top of her blog and there will be all the info so far.

Friday the 16th, Bonnie released clue #4.  Purple Tri Recs!!  I had some leftover neutral equilateral triangles from clue #2, so I was good to start. Purples were still on my cutting table because I was still building purple 4-patches.  Only need 40 of clue #4 because I am doing 1/2 the amount, therefore getting a smaller quilt. Bonnie usually designs queen size quilts. They are awesome and they are big.

Some of the Tri Recs in progress.....I don't sit for hours at my machine. My back won't let me. So I sew a bit, stand and press, then maybe cut.....when I can't do it anymore, I sit in my recliner for 20 minutes or so and then get up and go again. Slow and steady...I 'll get it done.

All my Clue #1s and Clue #2s are complete.

Clue #3 is more that half done and my binder with all the instructions and clues is complete. Cut a little, sew a little, press a little......done!  If you want to check to see how everyone else is doing, just click on this link to go to the Mystery Monday Link-up Part 4.

I also have been gathering my local quilt group's challenge projects. We do 6- 60 day challenges to get UFO's done. So I have been sorting and studying!   The best part!

So back down to the sewing room I go. Needing some alone time and some me time. Mr Busy just returned from the vet. We had to make the decision to "put down", our little dog, Emma. She was nearly 14, but came to us 2 1/2 years ago after his mom passed away. Emma was her lifesaver, after Mr. Busy's dad passed and his mom was alone. She was a big part of our lives. She will be missed by us, our kids, and grandkids.

Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, December 12, 2016

En Provence Mystery by Bonnie Hunter Clue #3

Clue #3 was revealed on Friday, the 9th. Yah!  Purples!!  Again we are doing four patches but only 168 for the whole quilt, and that means only 84 for me. These are to be dark purple and light purples in the configuration. I wanted a good variety so I cut some in strips and matched up pairs, but I also cut 2" squares of some real scraps from my stash. I have a pretty good variety now I think.

You can see I still have some neutral fabrics on my cutting table and the magenta is still laying out. I am pretty conservative when I cut, so I cut a bit and then sew, then cut more if needed. I am still sewing on the neutral 4 patches as leaders and enders on a Quilt of Valor that my local quilt group is working on. Most of us are making a top and backing and 3 of our members have long arm machines, so they will do the quilting. We hope to have them all finished for presentation in the summer at our state guild convention. Anyway, lots going on in my sewing space this season.

If you are interested in checking out the progress of others who are doing the mystery this year, just click HERE.  There are lots of us participating and there are some fabulous fabrics.

Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Monday, December 5, 2016

En Provence Mystery Quilt by Bonnie Hunter Clue #2

Bonnie Hunter posted clue #2 for this years Mystery Quilt on Friday, the 2nd of December. This Triangle in a square block is one I have never made before. So I am using the Tri Rec rulers for the first time. I was a bit intimidated with the angles, but the rulers made it "sew" easy. I always have a bit of a problem with ruler slippage, I think due to the fact that I don't have good strength in my hands anymore. Usually I can solve it with small sandpaper disks, but this time I tried a hint from Pat Spaeth. I used a scrap of shelf liner.  In this picture you can see the little dots I usually use and then the green heart shaped scrap of shelf liner that I am using this time. There is not significance to the shape of the green liner...just liked it.

Here are some pictures of more four patches from Clue #1 and the triangle in a square blocks. I have 10 complete and 15 ready to sew.

All the inside triangle are neutrals in the center and a constant of magenta making the square.

You can't see it very well here, but the fabric on the yellow cutting mat is a neutral with french words and images on it. Score!!!,,, it was in my stash! 

I'll spend the rest of the week, completing these two clues. I am only making 1/2 the amount, so I will get a smaller ( maybe lap size) quilt. 

Hopefully I will be able to keep up and to complete this fun mystery.  Link up HERE to check out what the others are doing. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

PS: Book related:  I finished " A Man Called Ove"  by Fredik Backman and narrated by George Newbern and so enjoyed it. Now I am listening to "The Opposite of Everyone" by Joshilyn Jackson. I am liking it. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

En Provence Mystery Quilt by Bonnie Hunter

Clue #1 is making 4 patches from neutrals cut at 2"  I dug into my 2" strip basket, but not too many neutrals were there. I had used many in a Leader and Ender project, Rick Rack Nines, also a Bonnie Hunter pattern.  But, never fear, I have oodles of neutral fat quarters. A quilting group, not really a guild because we have no bylaws, officers or many rules, exchanged birthday fat quarters for several years. I asked for neutrals 2 years in a row and now have lots and lots. I have used up the already cut strips, so now on the slice into the fat quarters. Twenty four patches are done. A couple of strip sets are in the wings and several twosies are awaiting being matched up. 

Are you joining the Mystery?  If you are interested, check out the Intro and the #1 clue  HERE. This is the first one I have actually started, although I followed along on Grand Illusion and Allietare.

We drove home from Colorado, yesterday in very strong winds. There was only 1 very short snow squall so the trip was OK.  Last night lots of wind and snow. Luckily not much accumulation, but it is still windy. My weather app on my phone says it 27 degrees, feels like 11 degrees. BRRRRR!!

So when I took a break from making four patches, I put up a little Christmas.

 This is a stitchery I did a couple of years ago. It hangs on the wall beside my chair in the living room.

And this is a 3 wick candle made by my sister sitting in an iron stand made by her husband. The small table topper I made lots of years ago, it is a quilt as you go, and reverses to orange, green and some jack-o-lantern fabric. Very versatile.

Here is the link to the link party:

Till the next clue on Friday,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book in 1969 when I was a young mother. Reading it now changed how I viewed the book. I fell in love with Francie Nolan and I understood her mother in a whole new way. What a wonderful story of growing up in poor America in the early 1900's. Betty Smith touches our hearts with poignant examples of how boys were treated differently than girls, how wives struggled and went hungry so their children could have a better future. Some of this still is happening, but thankfully not as prevalent as in the past.

This has become one of my favorite books.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

The Life We BuryThe Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I chose this book after a passionate review from Sheila at The Book Journey. I was not disappointed.

Joe Talbert is a college student at the University of Minnesota with a writing assignment. He is to interview a stranger and write a short biography of the persons life. Joe decides to go to a nearby nursing home and find a old person who will tell his/her story. At the nursing home, Joe is referred to Carl Iverson. He is a Vietnam war veteran with a Purple Heart. Carl is also a convicted murderer spending his last days dying of cancer at the nursing home, because the prison could not provide final days care.

As Joe begins to hear Carl's story and researches the backgound on his own, he begins to believe that there is something missing. A neighbor, Lila Nash, is pulled into his life when he brings his autistic brother Jeremy home for a visit. He has been interested in Lila for some time, but she does not return his words in the hallway. She does however, respond to Jeremy and thus they find a way to spend time together.

As Joe and Lila start to piece Carl's story together they discover a huge mistake made by the defense 30 years ago. Their passion for "doing the right thing" leads them on a path of interesting discovery and danger.

This book is part criminal mystery, part feel good story. I recommend it to anyone who likes a really great story, told by a really great writer, and in my case, read by a really great narrator.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins - A Review

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is one of the summer reads for my face to face book club. It is well written, captivating and yet was hard for me to read.

Rachael rides the train into London each day. She is a people watcher, well maybe just a watcher of certain people. She goes by the house she and Tom once lived in. Now he is there with Anna and a baby daughter. She is obsessed with watching and looking and wondering what is going on in the house that was once her dream home. Five houses down at number 23, lives another young couple, Jason and Jess she has named them. She doesn't know them, but somehow feels connected. They are the couple she had hoped she and Tom would be. She watches, she looks, she imagines their life behind the sliding glass door to the house just like the one she lived in, number 15.

View all my reviews

I will link this review to Women's Fiction Reading Challenge
hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. 

Taking a Posting Break

I will be taking a break from posting. You may have noticed that I have been absent already.

I will still review as I complete titles that fit my challenges.

Read the Books You Buy
Women's Fiction Challenge
What's in a Name 2016
Cruisin' Thru the Cozies

But not much else. I've hit a wall. I feel empty and inadequate. So until I recharge this blog will be a bit vacant.

Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Quilter's Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Quilter's Homecoming is an Elm Creek Quilts story, #10 in the series. Elizabeth and Henry are newlyweds and are embarking on a wondrous adventure. Henry has invested his entire savings in a ranch in the Arboles Valley, north of Los Angeles. Elizabeth packs her precious wedding gifts in the Wedding Ring quilt her aunts and friends made for her. She dreams of sleeping under that special quilt for the rest of their married life in the house of Triumph Ranch.

Her dreams are broken as she and Henry learn that have been swindled out of their money and the deed they hold is worthless. With no resources to return home to Pennsylvania, their pride forces them to take jobs with the family that really does own the ranch they had hoped to own. Henry struggles, but Elizabeth, showing true Bergstrom family resilience, vows to make the best of the situation. As she deals with being a hired hand and living in less than meager surroundings, she takes a found quilt in hand and begins to sew her story into the worn bed covering.

As she becomes more and more familiar with the neighbors and the family they work for, Elizabeth befriends a young mother, Sophia Barclay. Henry is given more and more responsibility on the Lundstrom farm and their life in California becomes the life they had hoped for, just not in the way they had originally envisioned.

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

If you read The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, then you have met Belle, the kitchen slave,  Sukey, a slave infant taken from her mother and left at Tall Oakes,  Lavinia, a white endentured servant working at Tall Oakes and  Jamie Pyke, the son of Belle and the master of Tall Oaks, Marshall Pyke.

Now we learn the rest of the story as Jamie is living in Philadelphia as a white silversmith. His story continues as he is adopted by a wealthy white family in Philadelphia and on their passing, inherits their fortune. All the while he is keeping his secret about his heritage. But secrets can't be kept forever and eventually James Burton must face his past.

This book is so well written, just like the first one and I recommend it to any one who likes historical fiction around the early 1800's. I listened to this story as an audio and the narrators were fabulous.

Although this story in mainly about Jamie Pyke's life, a good part of the story involves Sukey and a young woman named Addie, whose family comes to his rescue in a most important way. So I am going to link it to Women's Fiction Reading Challenge because both of these women shaped the future of black's in America at a time when the nation was struggling with the wrong of slavery.

Read or listen to this story and The Kitchen House. They do not have to be read together or in succession, but your experience will be enhanced if you read them that way.

Bake, Battle and Roll by Leighann Dobbs (2nd selection in the Cozy Mystery Collection)

Bake, Battle & Roll Guys (Lexy Baker Cozy Mystery, #6)Bake, Battle & Roll Guys by Leighann Dobbs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although I am a big fan of cozy mysteries, this one left me a bit wanting. I think it may be because it is #6 in the Lexy Baker series and I have not read the previous ones. I liked the characters of Nans, Lexy' s grandmother and her detective posse friends the best. Maybe all chefs are shallow, but I don't think so, and the bikers were just too cliche. I want to try to get a better feel for Lexy, and will go back and read the first in  he series. I have read another cozy by this author and liked it a lot.

To be fair, Lexy is a tenacious, nosy young lady. Anxious to enlist her grandmother's help in solving crimes that she feels most of the area detectives can't accomplish. She does love her fiance and police detective, Jack, but she even oversteps her bounds with him. And that's what cozy mysteries are all about. Nosy, buttinskis that can't leave the police work to the police.

View all my reviews

I am linking up this review to Yvonne's cozy challenge at Socrates' Book Reviews. 

Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs

Ghostly Paws
Leighann Dobbs
A Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery

Wilhemenia Chance has moved back to her home town of Mystic Notch in the mountains of New Hampshire to take over her grandmother's bookstore.  Previously, she worked "down south", as an investigative reporter. As in all good cozy mysteries, there is a cat.  Pandora belonged to Willa's grandmother and came with the house. And of course, Willa finds a body. And now the ghost of Lavinia Babbage has appeared and implored Willa to find her killer.

As Willa investigates. she finds that things are not what they seem in Mystic Notch. She begins to suspect even her friends. There are quirky sidekick characters. Pepper owns a tea shop, Elspeth is a neighbor with a love of cats and seems to always know what is happening in Mystic Notch. Then there is that strange green paperweight at her grandmother's house.

Will the killer be one of her friends or a complete stranger?  Will Sheriff Eddie Striker be there to assist or hinder her?  I think I am going to like this series.  I did not have the killer pegged until the very end, even though there were plenty of clues now that I know.

I am linking this review to Yvonne's Cozy Challenge at Socrates' Book  Reviews.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday Snapshots 7-9-16

Linking up today with Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads. Check out her blog for the few rules about posting photos. Have fun.

 She is here, our first great grand daughter.  She was born 7-7-16 at 1:47 am. It was a long
night for Mr Busy and me. We were in charge of big brother!

Our daughter, the grandmother, holding baby in the hospital just hours after her birth.

The new mom on the right,with her good friend's daughter, while her friend holds the newest baby. These moms had not seen each other in 8 years, and by chance the friend was visiting our town on the very day of baby's birth! I don't want to share too much personal info, but the two moms have similar names and the two daughters names are similar.

Big brother reading Green Eggs and Ham to Pa ( Mr Busy).  He loves that book, among others.

Another busy day. I have some household chores to catch up on and a bridal shower in the afternoon. Then, of course, more baby cuddling later.

Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. Share what you are reading, what you read recently or what you hope to get to in the coming week and then link up with Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great place to see what is going on in the blogosphere and to add to your reading lists.

I am really into this story now. Willa Chance just keeps getting into trouble. And Sheriff Eddie Striker seems to be there at every turn. Who will find out first, who killed Lavinia.

I have just started this library book.  I know I will enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed the ones that preceded it. 

I have this in the audio version and I am listening to it as I get my early morning steps in walking around our neighborhood and while stitching on a couple of recent projects. Multi-tasking is something that gives me a chance to do two things I enjoy or at the least to get into a story as I get some exercise

I am loving the narrator in this one. Very engaging. 

Have you read any of these books?  Happy 4th of July to my American friends and Happy 1st week of July to others. We are still waiting for the new addition to our family. Mama is so ready to be "not pregnant".  Baby is just taking her time deciding to arrive. 

Stay Busy and Stay Happy