Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Money Moon: a Romance by Jeffery Farnol

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Money Moon, A Romance by Jeffrey Farnol

This humorous tale of Romance stars:

Mr. George Bellew, An American Millionaire

Miss Anthea Devine, An Independent Woman

Master George, Young Nephew

Sergeant Appleby, A Retired Soldier

Miss Priscilla, Housekeeper

Adam, Farm Hand

Prudence, the Cook

Mr. Cassilis, Local Squire

Ah, have you already guessed the match-ups?

George Bellew’s girlfriend has decided to marry a Duke and he, plagued by the “Haunting Spectre of the “Might Have Been”, decides that a walking tour is just what he needs. Off he goes from London to Kent where he meets first Adam (he falls asleep in Adam’s hay wagon) and then Young George-who takes him home.(The two Georges immediately have a bond-after all, they have both been called Georgy Porgy and accused of kissing the girls!) And there George Bellew meets Ms. Aunty Anthea and decides he’s found Arcadia.

I thoroughly enjoyed this really sweet and rather silly novel from 1911-a perfect summer read.

Jeffrey Farnol, with Georgette Heyer, is credited with beginning the Regency romantic genre: he does quite well in this “modern” romance.

Read by John Lieder, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jelly Roll quilt beginnings

While in NY in the spring, I picked up my very first Jelly Roll: Moda's Modern Workshop by Liesl Gibson.

I started thinking about what I wanted to do with it. Sketch #1:
Sketch #2: I liked this better.
But in fabric...too much of good thing?
So now I'm thinking about this...
and this.
Once I got the idea of doing some single color blocks I dipped into my stash a little. :)

I'm just going to make some more scrappy blocks and then I'll put it back on the design wall and decide which way I want to go. (Did you notice the light switch: my design wall is truly a wall-I just stuck a little masking tape behind the blocks and stuck them on the living room wall.

What's on your design wall? Check out all the wonderful work on Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Lodger by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowdes

Mr. and Mrs. Bunting are in desperate straits: they have a boarding house with no boarders. Since their last lodger left, they have quietly pawned many of their lovely things and have even borrowed money from their young friend, the police detective Joe Chandler . Retired from service upon their late in life marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Bunting never thought they would ever face starvation but they are very close now indeed.

Mr. Bunting hears a news crier, “Horrible Murder! Murder at St. Pancras!”…”The Avenger! The Avenger at his work again!” He hasn’t read a paper for days and it was always one of his greatest pleasures. He can’t resist-never mind the cost-he gets up and buys a penny paper.

“He stepped past her heavily, and though she said nothing, he knew she grudged him his coming joy. Then, full of rage with her and contempt for himself, and giving himself the luxury of a mild, a very mild, oath-Ellen had very early made it clear she would have no swearing in her presence-he lit the hall gas full-flare.

‘How can we hope to get lodgers if they can’t even see the card?’ he shouted angrily.”

Sure enough, a little while later there’s a knock on the door…a man looking for lodgings. As Mr. Sleuth settles in, Mrs. Bunting becomes more and more unsettled. The Avenger murders continue and she begins to suspect her lodger.

This 1913 novel is a psychological drama…the question is, is it a psychological drama of a serial killer or of Mrs. Ellen Bunting? I definitely feel that I know much more about Mrs. Bunting and yet have many more questions as to why she acted the way she did than I do about the murderer. We are told about the murders as they are reported in the newspaper: are they connected to the Bunting household in any way or is it all in Ellen’s mind? The suspense builds-I could hardly restrain myself from peeking at the end of the book. (Definitely don’t look!)

This is one of those books that is perfect for a Book Club-I know I could discuss Ellen for hours.

The Lodger has been made into several movies: the first by Alfred Hitchcock in 1927. You can view this silent film free on-line here (and yes the storyline is as usual different from the book).

Perfectly read by LeeAnn Howlett, you can download the free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A new blue floral punchneedle quilt block finished

We had a lovely morning swimming in the Sea of Galilee (actually a lake)-our first time this summer. We've been driving an hour to the ocean (actually the Mediterranean Sea) instead of just the 5 minutes to the lake but now the jelly fish have taken over the sea so we were off to the lake. We try to go early in the morning because by 1 o'clock in the afternoon it gets too windy.

After we came back, I finished up another punch needle block.
So now there are 7. Here are the six I finished earlier.
You can see my punchneedle tutorial here.
I'm linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times so hop on over and see lots of gorgeous work in progress.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Embroidered mystery quilt is quilted!

Here it is: finished! I just put in the last few stitches on the white binding-I'm so glad this is completed! Hand embroidery and machine quilting team up quite well!Here's a close up of one of the baskets and the diagonal curvy lines I quilted through the embroideries.
Here you can see the wandering vine with leaves I quilted in the large white areas and
the small vine with leaves and larger flowers I machine quilted in the smaller isolated white areas
The center embroidered block shows how the curvy lines meet in the middle.
Here's the quilt-folded on a chair and showing the white binding outside the black border.
I'm linking up with Sarah's Can I get a Whoop-Whoop today. Hop on over and see the wonderful things on view.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: The Cinder Pond by Carroll Watson Rankin plus illustrations

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

The Cinder Pond by Carroll Watson Rankin

This 1915 novel by Carroll Watson Rankin is quite a different tale than Dandelion Cottage also by this author and previously reviewed here. Dandelion Cottage was a delightful tale of four young friends growing up in favorable circumstances; Jeannette Huntington Duval’s story is quite different. All the “action” in Dandelion Cottage happens in one place, the girls’ home town; in The Cinder Pond, Jeanne does not have such a gentle life and has to deal with new places and people.

Jeanne’s mother died when she was very young and her father remarried the kindly but overwhelmed Molly. Her father, once a gentleman but now struggling to support his large family as a fisherman, builds a house on an abandoned formerly industrial section of wharf on Lake Superior-next to the Cinder Pond. (Yes, it doesn’t sound too healthy!)

Jeanne is clearly her father’s favorite: she is the child of his first wife, a lady, and he exerts a lot of energy and time educating her. Eventually he sends her away to live with her mother’s well-to-do family. She slowly builds a relationship with her Grandfather but never with her Aunt and Uncle or her cousins. After living away from her family for several years, Jeanne begs her Grandfather to let her visit home and knowing that he is nearing death and aware of how the rest of the family feels about Jeanne, he consents. Jeanne is thrilled but finds things not as she expected when she returns to Cinder Pond.

When reading this story, I couldn’t help but be struck by similarities with Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna and other young adult (girls) fiction of this period but there was an important difference: I feel that this book makes a serious attempt to explore class prejudice.

Read by the wonderful reader for young adult books, Betsy Bush, you can download this free audio-book here or read this free e-book on-line or in pdf download here. (BTW, this on-line reader does allow page flipping.

I thought I would share the lovely sketches/illustrations by Ada C. Williamson that accompany the text for all you audio-book listeners.

Here's a view of Cinder Pond Marina as it looks today in Marquette, Michigan. I have to say that I think Marquette is a must visit if I ever get back to Michigan. It would really be fun to see Dandelion House and the Cinder Pond Marina.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Punch Needle Quilt: Block 6 finished

I finished another punch needle quilt block...don't you think I work fast? LOL! This block was partially completed last summer-I had done the flower but I had run out of the green pearl cotton so it languished all winter!There are now 6 completed blocks and I'm really liking how they all look together on my design wall. This looks like a lot of red but it really isn't. Two of the blocks have the variegated thread, one a hot pink and only the one is truly red.
I've posted a punch needle tutorial here if you'd like to try this. Its fun, its fast and it's an easy take-along-to-the-pool summer project.Best of all, it looks like nothing else with its unique texture!

I'm linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times(I know, I'm so poky!), Finished for Friday at Lit and Laundry and Sew and Tell at AmyLouWho (now I'm an early bird so the links will go up tomorrow!:). Stop by and see all the wonderful projects everyone has going!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Democracy: An American Novel by Henry Adams

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

Democracy: An American Novel by Henry Adams

Happy 4th of July!

Politics as a dirty word has a long history. This novel’s sole purpose is to explore just how dirty it is. Written in 1880 by Henry Adams, grandson of President John Quincy Adams and great grandson of President John Adams, Democracy: An American Novel was published anonymously with the author only revealed in 1918 after Henry Adams’ death.

Mrs. Madeline Lee, a young widow who lost both her husband and child within a week of each other, had been living in New York. She tried to find meaning for her life in good works and philosophical studies but was still terribly sad and restless. Moving to Washington, D.C., she wants to understand what makes government “tick”. She quickly meets Senators, Ambassadors, lawyers and lobbyists. (Yes, there already were lobbyists!) Her home becomes a sort of “salon”.

Mrs. Lee becomes particularly involved with Senator Radcliffe of Illinois, a powerful man in Congress with his eye on the Presidency who is generally thought to be a bit “rough”. Mrs. Lee has a distant relative in Washington, Mr. Carrington, who befriends her and tries to guide her.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book-it really is very wordy in that 19th century way-but more importantly, the ideas (as intended) evoke disgust. I do think it is worth reading however. It raises questions that are important and touches on issues (campaign finance for one) that are as topical today as when this book was written. I liked Sybil and Mr. Carrington. They are definitely the most naturally rendered characters.

Read by Nicholas Clifford, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or Kindle format here.

I thought you might enjoy these photos of Henry Adams...the first is dated 1875 and the second is dated 1858 when he graduated from Harvard.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Punch Needle Tutorial

Last week when I posted my newest punch needle quilt block, several people commented that they were interested in punch needle and a punch needle quilt but had never done it. I thought I would post a punch needle tutorial to help people get started.

Here's what you need to get started: A punch needle, a threader, pearl cotton # 5, muslin (or white bleached muslin), a pattern to draw or trace onto the wrong side of the fabric and an embroidery hoop-size 6".

Punch needle can be done with many different kinds of threads or yarns...since these are punch needle quilt blocks, I'm using Pearl Cotton. There are many different types of punch needle needles-some of them have a dial that can change the size of the loop that the needle makes. I prefer using a needle that doesn't have a dial and therefore always makes the same size loop. If you are using a needle with a dial-try out different settings until you find the one best for your project. For quilt blocks, I recommend a short loop.

Any simple applique pattern-with fairly large shapes-works wonderfully for punch needle. My patterns are from the book: The Wickersham Signature Quilt from The State Museum of Pennsylvania, by Patricia Harants. The Wickersham Quilt was made in the mid-1850s in York County, Pennsylvania.

Here's the block I'm working on now. You can see the marked pattern, partially worked. Embroidery hoops come in two parts. Put the whole ring under the block. Open the screw (but don't let it come loose) and slip the top of the hoop over the block/bottom of the hoop.
Tighten the screw. You want the fabric as tight as possible in the hoop (like a drum) so if you need to, pull gently on the fabric around the hoop.
Now thread your needle. Put the needle threader along the groove all the way through the needle. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)
Now put your thread through the end loop of the threader...
and pull the threader completely out of the needle (with the thread! :)
Gently pull the thread out of the threader.
Hold the thread as shown and...
put the threader through the hole in the needle.
Put the thread through the end loop of the threader and pull the threader (and thread) back out the hole.
Here's the threaded needle. Leave only a small tail of thread.
Now you're ready to punch. Your needle should be held so that you do not see the groove in the needle-only the hole. (You can also punch with the needle facing side ways.) You will be punching towards your body.
Push the needle all the way in.
Lift the needle out just enough to clear the fabric and in it goes again for your next stitch. (Don't worry about the tail-we'll leave that for now.)
Keep punching-remember to have the needle go all the way in on each stitch.
Go along the outside, drawn line of your design.
The next row goes right up next to the first row...you'll slowly fill in the design. Remember to keep the thread loose coming off the spool.
The rows should be close together but don't worry if there's some fabric between rows. Look on the other side-the front side-at the loops and you'll see that its filling in nicely.
Oops! What if I take a break and when I come back some stitches have come out? Or, what if my thread was pulled too tightly off the spool and the stitches came out?

Don't worry! Here you see how a stitch has come out. Now, how do I get the thread back to being short-just a stitch from my fabric?
Just gently pull of the end of the thread...remember gently! just until the needle touches the fabric. Now punch some more.
Finished! How do I end? Hold your thumb on the needle and thread and gently pull the needle away from your work.
Now snip the thread very close. (You can snip the beginning tail now too.)
There, a leaf all punched and threads neatly trimmed.
Here's how it looks on the right side. (I don't see any funky long loops on this leaf but don't worry if you have some. I'll post a part 2 tutorial on how to finish up your punch needle that will cover that and more.)
Once you've finished part of your block and you have to move your hoop, you will have to have some of the punched area under the hoop. Its fine, it won't be permanently squooshed or anything but it will mean that the fabric won't be quite as tight in the hoop and you may have to gently pull on the fabric around the hoop now and then.
Hope that's helpful for getting started on your Punch Needle Quilt or any punch needle project.