Saturday 29 February 2020

summertime reading #3

Here in NZ, this weekend marks the official end of summer
It's still hot & humid
and we're still getting our toes wet in the sea!

{follow the link to see more of my niece's nature pics}

And I'm still reading more than sewing! I really enjoyed 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens, a compelling story of a girl living in the unforgiving coastal marshes of North Carolina. It is a 'who dunnit' story, but it's wrapped up in beautiful writing, with delightfully delicate descriptions, and it's clear the author knows this land intimately.
And, it kept me guessing to the very end! Surely this could make a great movie!

'The Flat Share' by Beth O'leary was an easy, quick read. Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey is a hospice nurse, working nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it seems the perfect {if a little odd} solution, Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work during the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. They haven't actually met, leaving each other post-it notes as a way of communicating.  Funny and sad. And the characters were interesting!

'The Place on Dalhousie' by Melina Marchetta was another great read. It's a novel about building a family and healing after the past tragedies.
"After Rosie Gennaro and Jimmy Hailler cross paths and enjoy a brief fling while travelling through Queensland, neither expect to see one another again, but fifteen months later, Jimmy learns Rosie has given birth to his son. Rosie has reluctantly returned to the house on Dalhousie Street in Sydney, the home she once shared with her family, before her mother succumbed to cancer, before her father’s sudden death, but in which now her hated stepmother, Martha resides.
The house on Dalhousie is more than just a home to Rosie, it is all she has left of everything she has lost. As far as she is concerned Martha, despite being the legal owner of the house, is an interloper with no legitimate claim. The two live together as if strangers, Marta is no more fond of her sullen stepdaughter than Rosie is of her. 
Marchetta explores this complicated relationship, and it’s progression, thoughtfully"

It's real, it's messy it's complicated, and I loved it!

The Seven Sisters series tell the story of adopted sisters and is based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation.
'The Sun Sister' by Lucinda Riley was recommended to me by a friend and was to be my next book to read. However, on reading the blurb, I discovered this book is the sixth instalment, so I'm thinking I may need to start back at the beginning and work my way through the other books first.

Anyone else read this series? Can each book be read as a stand alone? Until next time, Linda

Monday 24 February 2020

meadowland #2 top finished

I do usually finish my quilt tops but not all are quilted - it really depends on whether the quilt is destined for a particular purpose. Sound familiar?
Loved to hear your stumbling points . . . fabric choices? stickability for repetitve piecing? quilting? binding? And your favourite part of quilting?

Here's a few progress pics of my latest finish, 'meadowland' quilt . . .

As Suz from allthegoodonesaretaken recently commented, keeping the same background fabric affects the overall quilt so much with this pattern. I used the same fabric in the corners and in the center squares, 'crochet' by Alison Glass.

Oh, and I'm sure you can guess... my favourite part of quilting?
... is choosing fabrics and mixing it all up!

Linking up with Kelly for 'needle and thread Thursday' here
Until next time, Linda

Saturday 22 February 2020

a little escape

We've just got home from a lovely little escape 'up north'. 
It felt like a world away, and I loved it! 

Mr D. & I drove up to Mangawhai Heads, a little out of the way, and a lot to explore. 

We arrived late morning, and followed the instructions to finding our rented 'book-a-bach'. Third exit on the roundabout, first left, and then up a steep drive.

And the bach, well what can I say, it was a bit like going back in time. Faded striped curtains, paper mache art vase, and an old radio on top of the bookcase. The crockery and cutlery were wonderfully mismatched, the whole vibe was classic 1970s.

It seemed to hold memories of a thousand holidays . . . daytime decisions tossing up about going to the surf beach or the estuary, evenings of families playing cards and scrabble, and, it had everything we needed.

There were lots of great food options - deli, takeaways and a couple of cafes - along at the shops, just 20 mins walking distance. We tended to eat out at lunchtime, and have something light for dinner so I didn't really have to cook anything. My kind of holiday!

I took a quilt, of course . . .

Back to reality now!

Wednesday 12 February 2020

and then there were nine

up on the design wall . . .

- On the left are six of my new blocks 
and on the right, my earlier scrappy version of the same quilt
Hm-m-m- are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Lots of people  #meadowlandqal2020 are making all-solid versions, which the pattern also lends itself very nicely to, but somehow it’s just not me. I've chosen to use 12 FQ's - low key prints with a couple of solids - and am enjoying this more ‘refined’ selection of fabrics. I think too, in the way the same fabrics are repeated in three different places over the quilt, there's a sense of calm washing over this quilt top.

Just a few more blocks to go
Linking up with Kelly for 'needle and thread Thursday' here at myquiltinfatuation

Until next time, Linda

Saturday 8 February 2020

and on to the next one ...

I do enjoy a good quiltalong! 
Here's my fabrics for the #meadowlandqal with @thencamejune  

You may remember that I made an earlier version of this quilt {here}. I used a quirky selection of fabrics, lots of soft greys, Liberty, Tilda, C&S, and favourite ginghams, along with my hoarded - very few - vintage fabrics and a couple of doilies.

This time, instead of all scrappy, I'm using a curated selection of fat quarters from my stash. After cutting each of your 12 (16) (20) FQ into the required pieces, you then mix and match the combinations. I'm guessing that if you only use those selected FQ, it hopefully leads to some sort of nice balance happening quite naturally - whether you go bright, or soft & pretty, use all-solids, or a designer bundle.

Using a sweet Liberty fabric as my focus, I've searched through my stash and combined a few tone-on-tones, a couple of solids, and dialled back the use of large colourful florals. And now I spy a set of 'meadowland' blocks all ready to go . . .

{wink wink} this could be the closest I'll ever get to making an all-solid quilt!

Linking up with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' here at quiltingismorefunthanhousework
There's a current quiltalong happening too over on ig if you are interested, 
pop on over here to #meadowlandqal2020 for lots more photos.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

{more} summertime reading

No sewing happening here, it's far too hot! 
Instead I've read a few more books over recent weeks.
It's a mixed bunch . . .

I found "Wearing Paper Dresses" by Anne Brinsden a compelling story about country Australia. The writing style is unique I must admit, everything is humanised (including the tea cosy), but once you go with it, it's kinda endearing.
City girl Elise marries country boy Bill and they end up moving back to (The) Mallee to help with Pa on the family farm. You get to know the characters well, Elise slow descent is heart breaking, and her two children are left to raise themselves as best they can.
Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can't forget..."

'The Alice Network' by Kate Quinn was my favourite read last month. It's a historical novel about how two women are brought together in an amazing story of courage and redemption.
Telling two parallel tales, one of several female spies in Lille during WWI, the other of a pregnant college student looking for her cousin who went missing after the end of WWII.
I hadn't read anything before about women spies during WWI, so this was unique. The characters were great, so well described with lots of depth of understanding of what it was to be them. I loved it!

"Hello from the Gillespies" by Monica McInerney was a fun read. "For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself and tells the truth...."
Monica McInerney immediately drew me into the lives of this family with Angela, Nick, their three daughters and much younger son, Ig. Again another Australian read, set on an the outback sheep station. I found all three daughters annoying as characters, but I still wanted to find out how things panned out in the end!
So easy on the computer isn't it, to just to push 'send'...

"Big Lies in a Small Town" by Diane Chamberlain is a story about two women born in different times, woven seamlessly together. 2018 Morgan is in a North Carolina prison, she's offered a 'get out of jail free' card and she jumped at the chance. She’s been picked to restore a 1939 mural, designed for the Edenton post office but never hung. The only problem is Morgan is not certain she has the skill set to do the restoration and there is a timeline. Little does Morgan know the secrets she will find as she researches & restores the mural.

Next up to read is a book that all our bookclub are reading over summer, "The Dutch House" by Ann Patchett, and I'm looking forward to it. This is the second book I've read by Ann Patchett, 'Bel Canto' was a novel about a hostage crisis that goes wrong. Where lines of good vs evil are blurred. Where time is suspended. And I couldn't put it down!

Here's a section of Goodreads review -
"The Dutch House is a story of siblings, Danny and Maeve Conroy, their obsessive connection with the iconic family house they lived in as young children and how their lives unfolded over the years. The story is narrated by Danny over multiple non-linear time periods. The various time jumps and reflections back to important events felt like a jigsaw puzzle being built, where there is the uncertainty of the next piece but once it is placed, the complete picture becomes clearer and clearer."

Happy reading, Linda