Daily Archives: August 1, 2009

First Quilt Project: COMPLETED!

Tabletopper.Finished42009-08-01 Tabletopper.Finished62009-08-01

*Click on any image to enjoy a larger view

I started this 25″ X 25″ tabletopper about two years ago – in fact, I took a class to learn how to quilt and this was the project. So it is only fair that it be my first quilt project to actually be completed. I stitched this myself from beginning to end, including the machine quilting and binding. Here is the detail of me quilting the top:

Tabletopper.Quilting22009-07-31 Tabletopper.Quilting2009-07-31

See that little guide on the right hand side? I love it! I makes sewing straight lines a breeze and you don’t have to mark up your quilt top.

And here is the back detail:

Tabletopper.Detail.Back22009-08-01

Many thanks to JJ at JJ’s Log Cabin Quilt Shop who took time out of her busy day to show me how to pin a quilt and quilt it (and also for her quick tutorial on stitching a binding).

What I learned from making this project:

  • It was worth the $30 to buy a walking foot with straight line quilting guide for my sewing maching.
  • You don’t have to be perfect to quilt, but it helps all your triangle points to line up if you are accurate with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  • You should finish what you start.
  • Machine quilting is not as hard as you might think.
  • Fabric has quite a bit of stretch so you can fudge a little if things are just a little bit off.

Please visit my new page at Caribousmom: All Things Creative. This is where I am going to keep track of my creative projects so check back often as I update things!

Random Reading Challenge – LINKS to REVIEWS

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This is where you are encouraged to link reviews to the books you read for The Random Reading Challenge. Please link DIRECTLY to your review (not just to the main page of your blog). Give us the title of the book you read, then your name in parantheses. Example:  The Good Thief (Caribousmom)

Haven’t signed up yet? Go HERE for sign ups.

Wrap Up – Themed Reading Challenge

2009themedreading1I hosted this challenge – and completed it by the skin of my teeth!

Here is a summary of what I did:

Option 3: Read at least 6 books that share MORE than two themes.

My themes were:

1. Female authors
2. New to me authors
3. The plot has some sort of mystery which must be solved
4. A child or children play a central role in the book

Here is what I read:

  1. What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman (Completed June 16, 2009; rated 4.5/5; read my review)
  2. The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti (Completed July 29, 2009; rated 3/5; read my review)
  3. Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris (Complete July 24, 2009; rated 4/5; read my review)
  4. In the Woods, by Tana French (Completed May 22, 2009; rated 4/5; read my review)
  5. Between Here and April, by Deborah Copaken Kogan (Completed July 20, 2009; rated 4/5; read my review)
  6. Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St. John Mandel (Completed June 1, 2009; rated 4.5/5; read my review)

Overall, these books were really good. My favorite reads were What The Dead Know and Last Night in Montreal. My least favorite read was The Good Thief.

A REMINDER TO ALL PARTICIPANTS:

  • Please drop by and leave me a link to your wrap-up post HERE. I’ll be closing those links by the middle of August.
  • If you have reviews of books you have not yet linked to Mr. Linky, I will be leaving up the links to the review posts (you can find them ON MY SIDEBAR) through the month of August, and then I’ll be closing those links.

Thanks to all who participated! I will be hosting the third installment of this challenge beginning February 2010…so watch for sign ups around then.

The Good Thief – Book Review

goodthiefHe had no memory of a beginning – of a mother or father, sister or brother. His life was simply there, at Saint Anthony’s, and what he remembered began in the middle of things – the smell of boiled sheets and lye; the taste of watery oatmeal; the feel of dropping a brick onto a piece of stone, watching the red pieces split off, then using those broken shards to write on the wall of the monastery, and being slapped for this, and being forced to wash the dust away with a cold, wet rag. – from The Good Thief, page 4 –

Ren, missing a hand,  has lived for eleven years at an orphanage in New England – a place where children are whipped for infractions and schooled in Catholic doctrine. His friendships are few and his questions are many. Then one day a man named Benjamin Nab arrives at Saint Anthony’s claiming to be Ren’s brother. His wild stories convince the authorities at the orphanage to let Benjamin adopt Ren – and thus begins Ren’s second life filled with grave robbery, violence, and lies. Along the way, Ren makes friends with a paid assassin, a dwarf, a landlady who has a heart of gold, a nun, and a drunkard. He also begins to uncover the mystery surrounding his birth.

The Good Thief is a fast read and filled with unexpected events and excitement. Hannah Tinti’s story is a bit Dickensonian, but with more violence. Ren’s character is likable (he is the good thief, in case you were wondering)…he wants to do good, but is forced to lie and steal to survive. The writing in the novel is clean and vivid.

But, despite these strengths, I did not really enjoy this book. At times I felt the plot was too contrived, and the violence overdone and gratuitous. The number of evil characters in the novel turned me off a bit. I found myself wanting a better life for Ren and wondering if there were any loving adults in his world. Luckily, Mrs. Sand (the landlady) ends up being someone who provides the love Ren has never known. And although Tinti redeems some of her “bad” characters,  the novel overall was just too dark and depressing.

Many readers liked The Good Thief – in fact, it has won a host of awards including:

  • Winner, American Library Association Alex Award.
  • Winner, John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize 2008.
  • New York Times Notable Book of 2008.
  • Washington Post Best Books of 2008
  • San Francisco Chronicle, 50 Best Fiction & Poetry of 2008
  • Kirkus, Best Fiction of 2008 list
  • Nominee, 2008 Borders Original Voices AWard
  • One of the Best Books of 2008, Paste Magazine.
  • Indie Next list for September 2008.
  • Borders Original Voices pick for September 2008.
  • Featured Alternate of Book-of-the Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, and The Literary Guild.
  • Foreign Rights to The Good Thief have been sold in thirteen countries.
  • When I read through that list, I wonder if I was just not in the mood for this book at the time I read it. Reader’s who like fast-paced fiction and are not overly disturbed by graphic violence, might give this one a try.

    3stars

    The Author’s Website

    Other Blogger Reviews:

    Books I Done Read

    Adventures In Reading

    Stephanie’s Confessions of a Bookaholic

    BCF Book Reviews

    The Book Bind

    Stella Matutina

    Life Wordsmith

    Library Thing Reviews

    Have you read and reviewed this book on your blog? If so, leave me a link, and I’ll add it to my review.