Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In my last post, I asked my readers to read a variety of books in order to get perspective and form your own reasoned opinion.  This book is one I would recommend to get a different perspective .A World Without Islam by Graham Fuller shows the history of the religions, and shows how some of the things that are attributed to Islam may not necessarily be accurate. It shows how the current war against terrorism really should not be a war against Islam. I haven't read very much of this book yet, because I am not a fan of politics or religious debate, and need some time to recover from the last book.  I got it from the library, so I don't need to review it.


All right, enough religion and politics.  In quilting news, I have sewn on the binding to my simply squares quilt, and need to hand stitch it down.  I have also made a list of the next few Jane blocks I want to make.  When I first started, I worked on a few at a time, assembly style, making sure they all used a different fabric.  By doing them assembly style, each of the steps in the process - the cutting, sewing, pressing, logging onto spreadsheet, scanning - was much more efficient, and it made it easier to do several blocks at a time in one "project" instead of making each block its own project.

I haven't focused a lot on quilting.  Taking care of the dog, dealing with books that need to be reviewed, and doing general cleaning (shedding!) inside and outside is taking up my non-working time.

I bought some lawn furniture online, on sale and with a coupon, and the next day it was substantially cheaper at the same store.  I called the company which purports to have a price guarantee, and a no hassle return guarantee.  They said that since my new coupon is only for this week, they could not simply give me the price difference.  I would have to return the first order and rebuy the product.  I thought they could do that without them actually physically having to ship me a whole new package, but they (the representative and his supervisor) said they could not. They would have to ship me a whole new package.  Shipping is free, so they have to pay for additional shipping, and I have to return a 60 pound box to the store. This is a lose-lose proposition.  I explained to him that I am unwilling to carry 60 pounds, depending on whether it comes in one box or several, so I may have to open the box, and return the parts and pieces separately. He was fine with that.  Since the price difference is substantial, I decided to go ahead and process the order as they recommended.  When the UPS man came, he brought one big box.  I asked him to put it directly in my car, but it doesn't fit.

I was in a cranky mood the next day, and thought I should work from home and stay away from people.  I had two telemarketing people come to the door(one came twice), and one by phone,  and a relative came to inform me that she has involved me in a fight she was having with another relative.  I think I must have some magnet that radiates negative energy towards me. At least that day it was in full force.

I am fine now.  I have assembled the ottomans and the table of the lawn furniture and one of the two chairs, and I am happy with the set. I think I can get someone with a larger vehicle to help me take the other box back to the store.  The weather is getting better, and the house and the yard are slowly looking nicer. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Radical Islam

The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam by William J. Bennett and Seth Liebsohn talks about the bombings on 9/11 and the Fort Hood attack as examples of the way the United States has been soft and apologetic against the war on Radical Islam.

While I agree with some of the viewpoints, this book scares me, because I don't think the authors really distinguish the difference between the Muslims in general and the few radicals who are committing terrorists acts and justifying them in the name of a religion. There are lots of people of all religions who have committed terrorist acts in the name of a religion, i.e. the Ku Klux Klan.

Personally, I think that by calling this a war against a religion (or even the extremists in the religion), we are diluting what we are trying to set out to do. If a person who says he is a KKK member shoots an important person or a big group of people, we should absolutely go against that person. Also anyone who aided him/her, so maybe let's go after the gang. But if we go after that group, and all KKK groups in the state or the country, then it is going to be harder on our resources to take care of the original problem. I think we should have dealt with the original problem, and then expanded out to other problems.

And then if we go after all people in the town, state or , the U.S. or the entire world, who might have even stepped on the same sidewalk with any KKK member anywhere, then we are infringing on the rights of all those residents. Of course you have to interrogate even the ones who did not know the existence of any of the terrorists, just to be sure. Calling it a war against Radical Christianity will help you justify your cause, but somewhere along the line, it will become very easy to forget that just because they are from the same town or state or religion does not mean they are KKK members or have anything to do with that terrorist group.

I hope that we still remember the lessons we learned about the animosity against the Jews from World War II.  And the way we treated our Japanese residents after the war.

I was telling my SIL about this book, and she was surprised that I was willing to have anything to do with this book.  She thought that if I was opposed to a viewpoint, then I shouldn't be reading the book, and I certainly shouldn't be blogging about it and making others aware of the existence of the book.

One of the reasons this book bothers me, just like the other political books I have shown on this blog, is that it is such an extreme, biased point of view.  I don't think we should be fighting extremism with extremism. Some things the government did not catch before a terrorist act is due to the fact that hindsight makes them appear more serious and more clearly terrorist.  There are lots of facts in the book that I didn't know, and I am glad to know them now.  In fact, a lot of other book reviewers loved the book because of the facts they didn't know. I am wondering how many of the facts were spun out of recognition, and I know for sure that the other point of view was hidden. There were lots of important facts that I knew that weren't mentioned at all.

And speculations that were listed as clear facts. It isn't clear that the attack on Fort Hood was a terrorist attack and not by a lone gunman who had psychological problems. Wikipedia says " A year after the Fort Hood shooting, however, questions still lingered as to whether the incident was caused by mental health issues, and government agencies still had not officially linked Hasan to any radical terrorist groups." But the book uses it as a clear justification of why we can't let up on our war against Radical Islam.

But on the other hand, that is exactly why I do want to read it.  I want to know what people with varying viewpoints think, and hearing if from their own point of view is helpful.  I want to make sure that I know all sides of the story, and that the biased thinking I am hearing is offset by the biased thinking of the other side.  Yes, that leaves me more confused and not having a clear answer, but politics is never as clean as it is presented in these books.

It doesn't bother me that I am reading the book.  It bothers me that others might read the book and solely form their opinion based on it.  I say read the book, but only if you also read other viewpoints too so that eventually you can get a balanced view of what really happened.

I got this book for free from Thomas Nelson so  I could review it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Did You Miss It?


It was Pi Day, then it was Saint Patrick's Day, then it was National Quilting Day, then it was Super Moon night. I mostly missed them all - remembering at the end of the day, and too lazy to do anything about any of them. But today is the first day of spring, and that certainly calls for a celebration, particularly since I noticed it in the morning.

I finally finished this block from the Jane Stickle quilt. It took me several days, since I did not work on it continuously. I used the leftover fabric from my Block of the Month. The center cross seemed like it would be easy, and it is, except the part about lining up the two triangles so that it actually forms a cross. This is after three tries, and I decided it was close enough. And the part about what color goes where. I made the center with a dark background accidentally. Even though it would be fine as an alternate design choice, I really liked the look of the light background better. So I started over and made another center with a light background.

I am pretty proud of the middle area. Instead of cutting those weird pencil shapes, I sewed rectangles, and trimmed them to size. That turned out to be much easier than I expected.

Unfortunately, since I was using leftover pieces, I did not have enough dark fabric to finish the border of the block. I decided an alternate design choice would be to reverse the colors - the dark was supposed to be the bigger part. Wow, I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to finish it with cornerstones because I was a quarter of an inch short of the dark fabric. See those little pieces do count, even to fractions of inches. Luckily, I found another scrap and was able to complete the block. In fact I have an extra inch of fabric for another cornerstone!

With the lighter border, I think the dark background center would have looked pretty good too. With each of the blocks in this quilt, there are so many beautiful variations of the same block.

This block has 23 pieces, so that makes my new total now 67 blocks and 1432 pieces.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Japan Relief Fund

Allie has joined Jojobi in the Japan Relief Fund by auctioning off this beautiful quilt to help the Japanese victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Click on Allie's name to bid on it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March BOM

I have finished the March Thangles Block of the Month.  These sweet and simple blocks are looking great.  I had some new friends look at my blog and they were impressed with them - the color and the pattern.  It seems strange because they are so simple that I don't think they are deserving of that type of attention.  I didn't tell them that though, and they are nice in their own way.  And they do each have 13 pieces each.

But I did come home and look over my Jane Stickle blocks and am making another one.  I have 66 blocks done, and I have considered making other blocks from the many block programs going around blogland lately.  I have been very distracted by all the different beautiful blocks and quilts out there, and making a few blocks might get it out of my system so I can get focused on finishing those things I have already started.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review: Lies the Government Told You

Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano talks about government and politics, and how things aren't as always as he thinks they should be.   The book jacket says it:
reveals how America's freedom, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, has been forfeited by a government more protective of its own power than its obligations to preserve our individual liberties.
The book is broken down into 17 chapters and goes through a wide range of issues.
Lie #1 All Men are Created Equal
Lie #4 Every Vote Counts
Lie #15 We Don't Torture 

It reminds us that laws are created by a group of diverse people, who find ways to negotiate, and laws and beliefs that aren't always consistent with each other. It is a very opinionated book, and I don't know enough about all the topics to know if important information is being left out or spun in a way that it doesn't reflect reality. Although I did not agree with all of it, and didn't know whether to agree with some of it, I found it to be an informative and interesting read.

I got this book for free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for this review.

Review: Blind Hope

Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher is about a worker at the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon who adopeds a dog from a shelter who winds up having more problems than originally imagined.  The dog was blind.  The veterinarian recommended and Laurie decided to keep the dog.  This story is about their relationship, and the Christian lessons Laurie (and presumably Kim) learned from it.

I personally had a hard time reading this short book.  There is a forward by Kim Meeder, and her style of writing is completely different from the writing in the main part of the book, even though the story is told from her viewpoint.  I imagine that Laurie is the one who did a lot of the editing. It just felt awkward reading someone describing themselves in the third person. Also I imagine that Laurie took writing classes, and did thorough editing to make sure the book followed all the rules that teachers tell you to do - choosing vivid words, showing detail, etc.   I think the writing classes were taken overboard and I found the writing awkward to read. Here's a random excerpt:
From atop my trusted horse, Ele, I looked over at Laurie, mounted on Lightfoot, a gray Arabian gelding. Lightfoot is the most balanced combination of what I like to call "gentle fire" - he'd become one of our most beloved horses on the ranch. The ease with which Laurie sat on him divulged that they were dear friends. Laurie's dark blue helmet drew out and deepened the color of her eyes, already framed by her sweeping eyelashes. The combination was simply lovely.
I got this book for free from Multnomah Books in exchange of this review.

Reading Blogs

from internet - my actual one is prettier with pictures

I use Google Reader to read my blogs, having switched over from Bloglines.  Bloglines could tell me how many unread posts I had, but Google Reader can't count past 1000, so I always have 1000+ to read.  I liked to be able to see the number going down, but  now it just stays at 1000+, even though I read a lot of posts everyday. (Ok, I will admit I skim through a lot of them too.) Google Reader lets you choose whether your posts are read when you mark them as such, or when you have scrolled past them.

When I saw a quilt I liked on Bloglines, I would keep a copy of the image and let the post disappear (instead of marking as unread).  I had thought about asking for permission to make a copy of the quilt or use it for inspiration - but let's face it, there is no way I am going to make every quilt I want.  But then I don't know where I got the picture from, so if I wanted permission years from now, I wouldn't know who to ask.  Now on Google Reader, I can not mark the post as read and keep it until I am done with it.  Which explains the 1000+ posts!

I had Kate's Another Little Quilt swap on my reader.  I had marked all the posts as read, except for the quilts that were on the list of quilts I wanted. So I had 11 posts - 10 quilt choices and one administrative message left unread on Google Reader.  I noticed that the number kept going down.  Strange, since I hadn't marked any as read, and I have it set up to only mark as read things I mark that way, not just things I have seen.  Today I only have one message left from that blog.

I am missing out on so much inspiration! I am going to have to come up with a new plan.


When I look at little quilts people make, a lot of times, they use a doll bed or a doll to model their quilt.  I thought I should go out and buy a model for my quilts.  But now that I have cleaned the basement, I think I might use my daughter's old dolls.  I've just cleaned them, and you might see them from time to time on the blog. I might have to have an audition to see which ones would make good models.