Friday, July 24, 2009

Feeding the Stash

First, a stashbuster report:

I haven't bought any fat quarters in over two years. What I HAVE been buying is yardage, and for the B's: borders, backing, background,and binding. Here's my latest acquisitions:

This blue batik with daisies will be for the backing of a king size quilt. There's 12 yards here, and if there's enough left, after I've cut the backing, I plan on making a couple of king size pillowcases to match.

Of course, while I was shopping on eBay for backings, I just had to pick up a few more batiks. These are all three yard pieces, from Phillyfabrics, one of my favorite sellers.

That top one has more lavender in it than you can see from the photo. I plan to use it as lining. The green with lizards and the aqua with leaves are even cuter in person. Most of all, I think I like the sherbet colored one on the bottom - I may have to make another fabric shopping bag with it, so it gets out of the house. :D

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Quilt Finished!

A couple of months ago, my guild had a UFO challenge - and it provided the impetus for me to finish the blue/purple pinwheels quilt you saw a few posts down, and this one, also, that I'm finally getting pix of up on my blog.

Fans of Bonnie Hunter will recognize it as her Carolina Crossroads mystery, with sashing. I've had this one as a completed top, tucked away with it's backing, for a long time, awaiting quilting. I didn't add a border. As you can see with it hanging on a fence, it's 72 inches square (six feet). That's a good size for a card table cover - a 4 foot square table with 2 feet of tablecloth drop on all sides. I suspect I'll use it mostly at the library, under displays of Christmas books.

Most importantly for me, as you'll see on the closeup picture below, it really allowed me to make a dent in all the Christmas fabrics I have somehow collected.

Mary S., in Missouri, did the all-over stipple for me, and did a great job, too. ;) I knew it didn't need anything intricate, as busy as the top was. And yes, those nine patches are made with 1½ strips, to finish at three inches. Even the backing is Christmas fabric.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Garden Update for Mid July

Have you been wondering about my little container garden? Here's the status. First, some tomatoes - The Better Boy and the Early Girl plant both have maybe 4 green tomatoes on them, a bit bigger than golf balls so far. I ate a ripe one tonight. Here's two from the Early Girl:

My Cherry tomato bush is producing one or two ripe ones per day, barely enough to keep me in snacks. I really like these things. This is two of the clusters on the bush.

Finally, my banana pepper plant has finally started doing something, LOOK! Two cute little banana peppers. I got a turkey cold cut sandwich at Subway just the other night, with banana peppers, and was wishing mine would grow... and it HAS! I have Peppers! :)

And the bush is full of little hard peppers that aren't even half an inch long yet, I'm so excited.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Winner and Reviews and Authors

First, the good news! Nessa, from NJ, won the muse from my random drawing over here. I have your snail mail addy, and she'll be on her way to you tomorrow. :)

Next, a little rant - regular readers of my blog will realize I don't do this often. ;) In fact, I can't remember any post yet, in years of blogging, where I've been even slightly negative.

As a "follower" Friday on Riding With The Top Down, I DID have a good time with the responses, some were pretty funny. But I'm disappointed too. Despite links to here, on the bottom of my post there, not ONE of the ten authors came over here to post. I don't mind if they didn't want a muse, pipe cleaner dolls aren't for everyone. But if I were an author and saw a post showcasing my most recent book released, I'd comment - even if only "Hi, glad to see you bought my book!" or... "Glad you bought my friend's book, hope you enjoy it!" Then I read This Post on authors relating to readers over on and it really made me think. So I'm gonna share.

You guys have seen the little Shelfari on the left sidebar there, filled with books *points to sidebar* and you know I sometimes review books here - being a librarian, I can't help it. With these three books I bought, I had been planning on doing what Mom taught, growing up ... If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. So I wasn't going to review any of the three books that are in the pictures below. But then I realized, they won't come over here to see it anyway, so why not be honest? I'm NOT giving them a mediocre review because they didn't come visit, either. I'm just going to tell about what made ME stop reading each book.

Granted, I don't read as much straight romance as I do other genres. I read more romantic suspense, mystery, etc. The two on the left WERE probably the first Harlequin/Silhouette paperbacks that I'd bought new, not at used book sales. Ever. I thought I'd give the Suspense and Nocturne lines a try. I read all genres, and mostly, I get my books from the library, on my card. And I have a time-tested way of sorting thru the multitude of books that I see.

Every day, at morning break, I'll pick from the carts of books-waiting-to-be-shelved. The book I pick gets a ten to fifteen minute read as I drink my diet soda. I read fast, usually thru the first chapter, sometimes more. At least 20 to 30 pages. If, at the end of break, the author has caught me up in the characters and story, to where I want to keep reading and find out what happens, then I'll stick in a bookmark, and leave it on the break room table to read with lunch. If I'm not interested, it goes right back on the cart with the other returns and new, but not bestselling books. After my 30 minute lunch read, the book goes through another quality check ... do I put it on the cart, or leave it on the table for further reading on my afternoon break, or put it on my library card?

This gives me three categories:

Uggh. Fifteen minutes of this was enough. Not my style, and I won't recommend it either. Probably only about 10% of the books I pick up. We have good book selectors in purchasing, and it shows.

Hmmm. This is only okay. After 45 minutes of reading, I might recommend this to readers who like this genre. I may or may not finish it, on my breaks. Probably about 60% of the books I pick up and audition.

Good! The books that I didn't want to put down. Characters I care about, enough conflict to keep me interested, so I'll check it out and take it home. I read a LOT, so 30% of the books I pick up, I probably take home.

Now back to the three in the pictures below - I'm still not finished reading any of them. For books I have at home, that's very unusual. The library didn't own them, but if I HAD picked them off the cart to look at, they wouldn't have come home with me. All three are that Hmmm category. Books that are okay for others, just not for me.

Kylie Brant, Terms of Attraction: For a tough, smart, sharpshooting sniper of a female character, Ava made too many dumb decisions. I stopped reading the first time after page 63, when Ava locks her door, goes to bed, then slowwwwly, groggily wakes up to find the main male character holding her down. She gets one good slug at him till he pins her. It's her BOSS. He climbed across, from his balcony to her balcony, to get in her room.

Sorry, but - no. I put the book down. You wake me from a sound sleep by breaking into my room and climbing on top of me in my bed, then think I'd still be working for you the next day? Even if you're the sexiest thing on the planet, that kind of behavior would be a deal breaker for me. I picked it back up later. I'd bought it, I should finish the book, right? I got to page 93 when this time, she wakes from a sound sleep, but is immediately fully alert, puts on her bulletproof vest,and is running down the hall with her gun in less than ten seconds. Barefoot. In a sexy camisole.

Bah. She should be smart enough to sleep in a bit more than that, after what happened the night before, especially! And plz, girl, take half a sec. to slide your feet into some shoes as you're putting on the vest. I put the book down again, and have yet to pick it back up. Now I know that the first book in the series has just won some awards, so I might have to finish it. Maybe the ending is better?

Michele Hauf, The Highwayman: I thought I was going to like this one, a main character who shapeshifts into a cat. You ALL know I am a cat person. But the character has only shifted a few times so far. First time is when she sees this guy who's been following her ... she becomes the cat, leaves her place by way of the cat door, walks across the street to his car, then, at his invitation, joins him inside his car and shifts back. But her clothes don't shift with her, so she's sitting there in only his coat. Why didn't she stay human, and dressed? I couldn't find any motivation for her shifting in the first place. She does do some nicely catlike behaviors, rubbing on things, curling up to sleep, hating to swim, the kitty characterization is good - but in general, the book is entirely too easy to put down, and even after two weeks, I still haven't cared to finish it. Maybe someday I will.

Lois Greiman, Unscrewed: Not sure what it is about this one I don't like either. A couple of my degrees are in counseling/psychology, so again, I thought I'd get into this, with the main character as a psychologist. But so far, she doesn't seem to really care much about the clients, she's too stupidly obsessing about this sexy cop/detective she's met in the previous book. She somehow strikes me as too old to be that dithery about her date with him, she's not in high school, after all. He knocks on the door to pick her up, instead of letting him in, saying... "Hey, c'mon in, I'm almost ready, have a seat." like a normal person, she goes all hyper. If she's a counselor/therapist, she should be a bit more together than that. So I quit reading this one too, and haven't picked it back up, instead, moving on to other books.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Does Blogging Sell Books?

Does Blogging Sell Books? Well, it certainly worked on me. And don't even ask why a librarian goes and buys books!

After meeting one of the ten authors, I started following this blog:

Riding With the Top Down

Lately, I've been reading their chat about their latest releases. Some of the little blurbs they wrote sounded interesting, so I copied their names and titles down and went off to WalMart to see what I could find. The picture above shows what I was able to score. ;) My book budget was thankful I couldn't find books from all ten of them!

I've been invited to be guest blogger over there for 'Follower Friday' tomorrow. And I've also decided to have a drawing. ONE person who posts over there *points to link to RWTTD above* and ONE person who posts over here will get a little pipe-cleaner muse that you see posed on the books in the picture.

Commenting on any post, even from way down the page, or from my archives, over here will count, I have all responses e-mailed to me. ONLY responses on my 'Follower Friday' post will count over there. Otherwise I might miss you. ;) I'll use a random number generator to choose the winners.

What good is a pipe cleaner muse? Inspiration! Works for quilting, writing, and anything else creative you may be doing.

How to use a Muse

First, take your muse down from her perch. (I have my two green ones hanging from the ceiling fan chain, where the cats can see them, but not abscond with them.)
Second, put on some music, and dance around the room with the muse. This serves a dual purpose - gets some blood flowing to your brain, and entertains any pets or family you may have.
Third, contort her little arms and legs, place her carefully on a backdrop and go get the digital camera to take a picture.
Fourth, rescue the muse from the cat. Lie and reassure the muse that the cat was only licking her chops and she was not in imminent danger of being eaten. Take the cat off the cushy backdrop. Use some masking tape to dehair the area. Re-pose the muse. Take the picture.
Fifth, go get a salad. Put some protein on top of the vegetables. Cheese, HB egg, tofu, tuna, ham, chicken... pick one. Oh, heck, dump them all on. The combo of vitamins and protein are good for the brain. Finish your meal with some chocolate.
Sixth, NOW you're ready to go back to whatever creative project you were stuck on. And since, if you're like me, you'd completely forgotten where you were, you'll be able to get a fresh start. Worked well, didn't it? :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tote and Fabric Letters for Header

Here's some other things I've been working on lately - a tote bag that folds up into a purse sized roll. There's a neat tutorial here, but it has a pocket that turns inside out over the bag. I changed the pocket just a little by adding velcro and leaving the last inch not sewn, so that mine becomes a roll instead:

It unfolds into exactly the same size as the plastic bags you get at most stores, in fact, you use a plastic bag as a pattern.

I've also been working on letters spelling my screen name, for a header for my blog. Inspiration from Tonya, of course, and the incredible header she has on HER blog. ;)

I was working on this at the quilting retreat, and also had my Seminole strips out to finish too - I'd done the larger version, but had about 20 inches more to do on the smaller size. The quilter sitting next to me thought I was making the Seminole strip for border around my ForestJane header... so now I may just have to do that.

It looks big in the picture, compared to the name, but the strip is only two inches wide, while the blog header above is about 20 x 14, without borders. Guess it'll be a wall hanging when I'm done. I was thinking back, and realized that I've been ForestJane online now for over fourteen years. Gosh, I'm getting old!
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