Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Books and Things...

I'm currently in a mode to read lots of things.  It goes in streaks, you know how it is.  Some months I read a couple of books a week, and then I go a couple of weeks where the only thing I read is whatever section of newspaper is left in the bathroom.

The thing is, I love murder mysteries!  And I get into a series of books like the Kinsey Milhone books from Sue Grafton, or the Robert B. Parker Spenser novels, and I want to read them from the beginning of the first book, and read them in order.

A lot of research is required to read an author in order, unless you're getting each book hot off the presses, as happened with Sue Grafton.  So discovering a new author and going back can be a challenge.

I like what Amazon has done with some authors... they'll put "detective xxx number 4" next to the title for some series.  I've read some really good ones and a couple of so-so series that I didn't read too many of... some of the ladies at church recommended the Left Behind series.  Really?  I started reading the first one and could not even get through half of it.  Sorry, I've read and studied Revelation, and I don't think I pictured it quite that way.  If you enjoyed it, more power to you.  Good thing I bought the book used or I'd be more disappointed.

So authors I like/really like:
  • Sue Grafton
  • Sarah Paretsky
  • Robert B. Parker (sadly, deceased and no new books are forthcoming) 
Spenser -- a Boston detective played on TV by Robert Urich and

Jesse Stone played in the made-for-TV movies by Tom Selleck.  Loved the movies but loved the books first!
  • James Lee Burke -- hard-boiled, but oh gosh his prose is more like poetry
  • Dana Stabenow -- Alaskan adventures at their most exciting
  • Ruth Rendell  -- classic English mysteries
  • Anne Perry -- Victorian novels in two series, I love them both
  • Dick Francis -- Don't know if he's still writing but he is a former jockey, his books all involve horses and racing.
murder most foul-- these will keep you up at night!
  • John Sanford
  • Michael Connelly 
  • Elizabeth George
  • Robert Crais
  • Lee Child
  • James Patterson  -- I like  almost anything he writes and now he's writing for kids too
Here's a list of light mysteries -- sometimes someone dies but it's not gruesome and gory most of the time:
  • Diane Mott Davidson -- her chef Goldie Schultz solves crimes
  • Monica Ferris -- knitting and crime solving
  • Maggie Sefton -- knitting and crime solving
  • Jennifer Chiaverrini -- quilting stories, sometimes a mystery, sometimes historical
So when I go to the used bookstore, Downtown Books in Milwaukee, I gravitate to the mystery section, and I'm always on the lookout for a new author.  Someone at work told me about Louise Penny.  He says she writes the same type of books as Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell.  I'm about to meet her detective, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec in the first novel, Still Life.

He also says the BBC is making the Inspector Gamache series into movies or TV shows and they'll probably be on PBS at some point.  I'll let you know how I like this author!

Reading makes you beautiful!  Or so I keep telling myself...

Sew on!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sewing with Nancy 2013

I'm getting ready to take the annual trek to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, for Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend.  Tickets are purchased, the suitcase is ready, and I've done the mapquest for my hotels.  Oh yes, this year I am staying overnight instead of coming home every evening and driving the 90 miles back every morning.  The cost of gas is less than the cost of a hotel room, but the time in the car is less.

This year, my favorite Midwest Ya-Ya Sisters, Rita Farro and Mary Mulari, are doing an evening presentation of their new wrap patterns on Thursday night.  They are always a total hoot when they get on stage together.  I cannot wait to see them this year!

I'm taking a friend from work with me, a NNSW virgin on top of it!  I consider it my responsibility to infect as many people as possible with the sewing virus and hope they are never cured...

I was both sad and happy to hear that Mark Lipinski couldn't make it this year.  Sad because I wouldn't see his two daytime seminars to hear all about his take on quilting, but happy that the reason he couldn't make it was that he's finally gotten his kidney transplant.  But Eleanor Burns is filling in, and there are lots of things to do there, even if you don't sign up for a class.

So spring is trying to make an appearance in Wisconsin this weekend.   The weather is good so far, and although it might not be 65 and sunny all weekend, at least it won't be 32 and snowing!

Come on over to Beaver Dam if you get the chance...  Once again Nancy is throwing me a huge birthday party.  I've got my birthday money in my hot little hand and my catalog all marked and my list made.  Maybe I'll see you at the warehouse!

Sew on...

Hand Print Quilt 2013

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Southeastern Wisconsin... in fact it was a gorgeous weekend.  The first one we've had all year, I think.  No rain, no snow, just sunshine and warm air.

I spent some time after church preparing my Purple Heart pickup, straightening out my closets and cupboards.  My version of spring cleaning -- Spring Cleaning Lite.

On Sunday afternoon, I had a project to finish for the church's preschool -- same as last year but different as my sister used to say.  Every year when the 4 year olds are studying the letter Q, they make painted hand prints on muslin.  The teacher writes their names on the squares, and they ask for a volunteer from the moms and grandmoms to make a quilt.  It gets raffled off on graduation day.

For several years I've been stepping in when there is no 'class quilter', finishing up the quilt in time for the last day at the end of May.  This year, they had TWO classes that didn't have a class quilter.  I volunteered our quilt group to finish up both of them.

This is Reese's hand print on muslin.  It's interesting to see the size of the little hands. For reference, the squares were cut down to 7 inches finished.  And there are some right hands and a few lefties.  I don't know how they decided which hand to use. 
This class used three colors: green, orange and blue.  I found a piece of fabric in our stash with stars that made a great sashing.  We dug around some more and found a nice green for borders.  The quilt will be backed with green and bound with stars.

This is the finished top hanging on my design wall.  I will layer it, someone else will quilt and bind it.
The second quilt has hands in pink, purple and yellow.  We found purple for sashing, and some floral for borders.  Someone else finished that one up.  I'll post a picture of that when it's done.  That one only has 16 hand prints so it's square rather than rectangular.
These are so cute I might have to make one for the family... hmmm, what a project that would make for the grands.  I'd only have to have them make FOUR sets of prints.  I'll put that on my 'to do' list.

Sew on!