Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reading: A Summer Secret



I went to Booksneeze to order a new book, but it turns out that I forgot to do a review of the book I had already read. This is the young adult book I mentioned in my last book review.

A Summer Secret by Kathleen Fuller is a young adult novel about an 13-year-old Amish girl who has three brothers. She spends time in an old abandoned barn on a neighboring property to get some peace and quiet, away from all of her chores, even though her father has explicitly told her to stay away from the dilapidated abandoned structure. It turns out that there is evidence that someone else has been there. The book is about what happens that summer with this stranger. The stranger turns out to be a foster kid who was abused by the foster parents.

It was a fun book to read, and I had a hard time putting it down to do my own chores. The book does teach values - the children were kind to the stranger, and to each other. This book follows the same formula that all children's and young adult books and shows seem to have lately - that whatever the children find, they tend to keep it a secret from their parents. I found that a disturbing trend in books, because I don't think that is good advice for children. My daughter kept a lot of secrets, and it makes me wonder how much of that was the modeling of the characters she saw in books and shows. I can't fault this particular author for this trend though, because it does make the book more exciting - ooh a secret!

Disobeying parents, and keeping secrets, and not seeking out the parents' help just don't seem to be values I want for my kid. Also it bothered me that the stranger was abused by his foster parents. Yes, I am sure that it does happen, but it seems that every fiction I read about foster parents is that the parents abuse the kid. I certainly hope that doesn't happen in reality. I know I didn't abuse my foster kids, and I am sure that most of the parents are well meaning, and do it to help the child. There is no pay in it, just reimbursement for costs and expenses.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

NQA Purchase


The thing with having more than one camera is you have to remember which camera took the picture you want. It's the new one. Then having to sort through all the cords to find the one that matches the camera which has the picture.

I thought I would show you what I bought during the NQA show. The first things I bought were the fat quarters. The three on top of the book, and the one underneath everything. The whole time I was making the African quilt, I kept remembering that I bought the fabric at the show one year, so I thought I should have fabric to remember this year. This was at the beginning when I wasn't going to buy anything.

Then I went by this one booth, and I liked all of the quilts on the walls. Turns out that most of the quilts had patterns in this book. I bought the book, walked almost to the end of the aisle, where there was a booth with nothing but books. Some of them were advertised as autographed. Stupid me! I had just bought a book from an author, and didn't think to get it autographed. I keep typing that as authographed, which might be a better term, even though it isn't a word. Yet.

Anyway, I walked back and got her signature. The next day, I bought the African fabrics. I have African fabrics left from the other year, and the ones in the booth looked similar or exactly the same as those, and I didn't want any duplicates, but I managed to spend quite some time looking at these, and trying to plan a quilt. I planned several quilts in different colorways, but I wound up buying just these three blue fat quarters.

Each little thing underneath the blue fat quarters is called a Cutie, and it is is sold by Sew Unique Creations It is 5 Fat Sixteenths - 9" x 10 1/2", and I think it will be wonderful for mini quilts and Dear Jane and other scrappy quilts. I think I am going to have to keep working on Dear Jane forever, or start another scrap quilt as soon as it is finished, because it gives me reason to acquire a lot of fabric. I probably have enough fabric to make several of that quilt. It was another one of those moments where I bought one, and when I was looking at the quilts, I decided to go back and get another couple of colorways.

It was just a strange year for me - going back to booths I had already been to, having all these indecisions, etc. but I am still glad I went. I did enjoy looking at the quilts, and I am enjoying my purchases.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flag


Today's offering from the treasure chest is the flag. Since I was able to free motion quilt on the last quilt, I decided to try again and follow my idea of writing something on the flag. My stitches are really way too close together, and I'm not sure if it will all be a jumbled mess if / when this gets washed, but it looks good for now. I had to skip the commas, and still need to dot each i. I wanted to keep the continuous lines, so it does look a little strange, but I'm good with it. Some letters, especially the s, feels wrong when sewing it as opposed to just writing it. I wrote it out in pencil first so I could space it. I realized that I would have extra room on the last row. Instead of spacing the words out farther, I decided that the quote seems fitting to start all over again. Of course, anyone younger than me won't be able to read cursive writing anyway!

The quote:

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, the pursuit must go on. John F. Kennedy Jr.


When Helen came up with the prayer flag quilt challenge, I am sure she had a completely different idea of a prayer flag. But she did want to see different ways that this idea could be represented. Since she didn't make up any rules, I decided to make up my own. I think a prayer flag quilt would be one that followed the three criteria:
  • contains a prayer
  • is flag-like in some way
  • is a quilt

I certainly pray for peace, this is a flag, and it is a quilt. This one fits, and I am hereby submitting it for the challenge. I have two other ideas that might be closer to what she had in mind, and hopefully I will get around to making those as well.

Be sure to visit AmyLou's blog to see what other crafters have been doing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A finish!


First off, sorry about the lie in the next to last post. I told you I would be showing you the treasures in my treasure box, and I sneaked in a book review. Deadlines, you know how it is.

Okay, so the first thing out of the treasure box is a Quilt for Kids quilt. I finished it. And it is free motion quilted. I didn't want to take a lot of time deciding on a quilting design, only to find out that I couldn't get the free motion to work anymore, so I decided to meander.



The pictures for this quilt wound up with the quilt show quilts. You know what this quilt and the quilt show quilts have in common?

It is finished!

Be sure to visit AmyLou's blog to see what other crafters have been up to this week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: Art of the Mental Patient


Having finished a young adult novel, I decided to try something more grownup. Dorrance has a large variety of books to choose from, and this one seemed interesting to me. I majored in psychology in college, and have watched several movies where the psychologist / teacher found meaning in childrens' drawings. I have always been fascinated with what kind of meaning psychologists found when looking at drawings.

It is a fascinating topic and I am glad that it is being studied and written about. What does it mean when a person chooses a certain color scheme, or draws jagged lines, or grotesque figures, or horrid dramatic scenes?

This book was written at a graduate degree level. Which means, since I was going from reading a young adult novel, I had to really focus to understand what I was reading. Also, the author was born and raised in Jamaica, then studied in Europe (France and England). I think the cultural differences might also have lead to some of the difficulties I had in understanding the text. I understood the sentences for the most part, but the logic seemed confusing to me. References to other psychologists seemed to be fleeting, and it has been a while since I've studied them, so I didn't always remember what that other famous psychologist said about a particular topic.

I did not like the layout of the book. The art - the drawings are at the back of the book, and I think they would have been better if they had been spaced throughout the book, used as examples, and presented larger and in color. Or at least page or plate number references, so I could see the actual picture being discussed. I am sure it is harder to properly place the drawings throughout the text, and maybe more expensive, but I think it would be worth the effort. A book about art shouldn't have the art as an afterthought in the back of the book.

Once I got over those two reservations, though, I really liked the book. I learned a lot about how art is interpreted and used in treating mental patients. I especially enjoyed reading the case studies.

When people find out I was a psychology major, it makes them nervous, because they are afraid I will psychoanalyze them. I'd rather let them stay nervous, so I don't tell them I can't, because I have no idea how. I know how they feel, though. When I am quilting, especially stippling, I always wonder what kind of meaning people will find in my doodles. They are just shapes, really, based simply on which way was easier to move the quilt sandwich. Don't look for meaning.

I received a complimentary copy of Art of the Mental patient and Its Functions as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Camera



I've been wanting a camera for a while. Remember all my free after rebate stuff I bought, knowing that I wanted to use the rebate money for the camera? I was thinking that I should have bought more free stuff, since $60 doesn't seem like it would go very far for a camera.



Then last Sunday, I saw this ad, a camera as small as a cell phone that has 10 mp , at a fabulous price. The store was probably closed when I saw the ad, and I didn't get to the store until Tuesday after work. Duh, of course they had run out, as had all the other stores in the city, but they get shipments in on Thursdays, and they don't know if the camera will be in there or not.

On Thursday, I called customer service to find out if the cameras were in the shipment, and they didn't know. Stores have a tendency to put things on sale without making sure they have enough supply, and it is all aggravating. After listening to me telling them how to run their business for a while, he finally told me that they are out of the cameras nationwide, and there aren't any more cameras being shipped.

I went to the store anyway, (it is on the way between home and work and convenient to get to) and asked for the manager, thinking they should be willing to offer me a substitute camera - and they did. Next time, I'll ask for the manager right away. I got a better one actually. It doesn't look as cute, but it has 12 mp and more zoom, which is much more important to me. I have to buy an xd card though, and they weren't on sale, so it'll have to wait. Can't spend this much time saving money just to waste it on accessories. Don't worry, they are $10 cheaper this week.

Oh and I finally decided how I wanted to use my big box that I bought free after rebate. I decided to put all my in progress quilts in it, instead of leaving them out. I know I have this out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality, but I figure if they are all in the same box, then they will all be in my sight. It actually feels like I am opening a treasure chest when I open the box to see what I want to work on next.

My next post will show some of my treasures in my treasure chest.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

NQA Quilt Show



Last year, when I went to the annual NQA quilting convention, I was very excited. I bought a three day pass, and was there from when the show opened and stayed until it closed almost everyday. My sister and mother joined me on one of the days so we could experience it together.

This year, I was looking forward to going to the show for weeks, but when the actual weekend arrived, I wasn't as excited. Bah Humbug! I worked on Thursday, so I already missed a day. I had people who were going to join me for the show on different days, but they canceled at the last minute.

I got there early, and went straight to the vendor booths, like I did last year. The crowds are looking at quilts, so the vendors booths are pretty empty. Of course, it means I will have to carry my purchases around all day. But as I was looking, I knew that I had given my daughter all of my quilting budget in order to buy fabric for me, and I really shouldn't be spending anything here. I kept my purchases small. Relatively. We weren't allowed to take pictures at the vendor booths without asking, and the first place I asked said not unless you purchase that pattern, so I decided I wouldn't bother anymore.

Then I looked at the quilts. There were lots of beautiful quilts. I took lots of pictures, but by that time there were many people there, and I kept getting in their way trying to back up so I could take a picture of the whole quilt. And I saw a sign that said I could take all the pictures I wanted, but I couldn't post any without permission from the quiltmaker. I wish I hadn't seen that sign.

All those finished quilts made me feel guilty about my quiltathon quilts that aren't finished. I decided to leave early, and save some energy and enthusiasm for the next day.

I had some buyer's remorse, and went back the next day to return my purchase. It was an expensive return, since I had to pay for parking again, but I tried to stay and look at the quilts again. I stayed away from the vendor booths, but did buy rolls for the Strawberry Fields quilt. I guess I am going to have to make it now! I managed to get pictures of the quilts I missed the first day, and since I wasn't in any hurry, I could wait until the crowd moved on to the next quilt so I could take a picture. I do wish they gave more photo taking space for the big winners. But my feet were hurting, and I decided it was silly to make myself stay past the time that my enjoyment was waning.

The show was a good one, and it was nice to meet some fellow bloggers in person. Now when I go visit them in the future, I will know what they look like and have a better feel about their personality.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday


I took today and yesterday off work. Because people expected me to be at work, I didn't get any phone calls (except for the phone call from UPS telling me that the bank had sent me a check for $25,000 but had neglected to pay the $99 shipping and handling fee. That's a seriously heavy check.). I finally got a chance to do some cleaning. Everything isn't really spring-cleaning clean, but it does look much better than it did, and hopefully I can get into the closets and nooks and crannies a little at a time going forward.

The dryer is still under warranty. Making the appointment was incredibly easy. I might be able to get dry clothes this weekend!

I found out that the optical illusion quilt I was trying to design has already been designed in full force. Look here. It did seem strange that it hadn't been attempted before. I think I might still try to do it the way we designed it to see how we did. At least that way I can say it was inspired by the antique quilt, and not by something more modern. That ruler is mighty tempting though.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Content?

The queen anne's lace looks pretty, but it is really a weed, and it doesn't photograph well.


I told you a couple of posts ago, that I was content. That's because I didn't know what was going on around me. Besides the pending "showers and thunderstorms" there was a conversation that was pending because we were playing phone tag. I had not forgotten to push the start button on the dryer. It wasn't my fault, it was the dryer's.

My attempts at spring cleaning (which technically started in January) keep getting waylaid - by back problems, allergies, phone calls from talkative people, authorized overtime. This weekend (Saturday night and Sunday anyway, since I worked Saturday day), I thought I would get a chance to catch up but I got a long phone call, which took away the little time I had on Saturday, and then a short phone call which invited me to a family gathering, which took away most of the time on Sunday.

Then to top it off, this morning, I tried to rant, but blogger was down.

I am glad I didn't know all this stuff, because at least I had some time I could be content, even it it was an illusion.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Showers and Thunderstorms


Usually in the morning, I wait until the weather announcement before I get out of bed. But because I am still half asleep, every morning, for the past five weeks, it generally has been sounding like this, "Blah, blah, blah, showers and thunderstorms, blah, percent, showers and thunderstorms, blah, blah, umbrella, blah blah, morning, showers and thunderstorms, blah blah, showers and thunderstorms, evening, showers and thunderstorms, blah showers and thunderstorms." They must be getting paid by the words because I would just have said "It's going to rain all week."

And generally sometime during the day it rains a little bit, but for the most part, I miss it, because I am either asleep or at work working.

Whoever made up that saying about April showers bringing May flowers is very wrong. I know this, but I have to learn it anew every year. Maybe once in my life, it must have rained in April.

This morning though, when I got up at o'dark thirty, there was no weather announcement. Since sane people generally like to sleep in on a Saturday morning. Not that it would have mattered, because I have been hearing the same thing for five weeks. But when I went outside, it was clear that something is about to happen.

It's not bad enough that I am working on a weekend, and it is not bad enough that I am going early in the morning, I have to up the ante and I drive into the storm. I became fully awake with the thought, "I am driving into the storm."

It was fine for the first 1/4 part of the of the trip. The second fourth, it started to rain a little bit. The third fourth, though, it came down hard, and my wipers were in full blast so I could see enough to get by. I had to rely a lot on my memory of the road, because it was very hard to see. Then it happened. The last fourth is in a busier part of town, and there were many other cars on the road to look out for. And, there's more! There was flash flooding. Don't be fooled by the picture.

Not only could I not see the road because the rain was coming down so hard and my wipers were going crazy, there wasn't really a road to see. I was driving through water. I guess it was time to figure out if my car knows how to swim. There were three of those sections. I guess the car did okay, but the weather forecaster slept through the whole thing.

Of course as soon as I got into the parking lot, the rain slowed down considerably. And of course, the other people in the office were smart enough to sleep in and completely miss the storm.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June



It's June already and I haven't posted yet this month. I had a teacher tell me once about journal writing that if you couldn't think of anything to write, you should still write something, even if you write that you can't think of anything to write. You can blame her for many of my blog posts.

You've probably noticing, as you go through your tour of blogland, people who are showing vacation pictures from exotic places (and others who happen to live in exotic places where everyday looks like a vacation picture), beautiful quilt shows, graduations and weddings, etc. This is as exotic as it gets here on the High Road.



I have to say though that I am really enjoying my plain vanilla life and my plain vanilla days. There is minimal drama and I am content. My drama right now consists of forgetting to push the start button on the clothes dryer, and not fully appreciating the people who are around me supporting me, especially people like my mother who is still cooking and cleaning for me and my boss who gets overtime authorized for me and otherwise lets me work without micro-management.