Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Favorite books from 2011

I have read a lot of books this year. Most were very enjoyable; a few were standouts. Here's my list of standouts. I have included the Amazon link for each of them, not so you will order from Amazon but so you can get reviews and author information. My library "saved list" is full of titles I want to read in 2012

I Married you for Happiness
History of Love
State of Wonder
The Imperfectionists

Country Driving, A Chinese Road Trip
America Aflame, How the Civil War Created a Nation
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
Emperor of all Maladies: a Biography of Cancer
House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What I’m reading

The book list starts off a Michael Connelly book, Nine Dragons  In my very limited opinion, he’s one of  the best crime writer today.  Add to the list John Grisham books, The Summons  and The Broker, Nelson DeMille’s Spencerville and John Sandford’s Buried Prey. Tom and I listened to them on some recent travels. Best of the bunch, the Michael Connelly or Grisham books.

The book I’ve been reading for the past two months is America Aflame, How the Civil War Created a Nation. It was fascinating reading, but over 500 pages. It read more like a textbook than other non-fiction books I’ve read lately. If you think political squabbles, ineffective legislators, greed, financial collapse are something new to our era, this account will change that perception. The relevance to today’s events was uncanny.

Two quick reads were A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff and I married you for Happiness by Lily Tuck. Vintage Affair was about a young woman who resigns from Sotheby's auction house to open a Vintage clothing boutique. It is filled with descriptions of the clothing and the designers who made them. The plot however is more serious. If you enjoyed Russian Winter, you would like this book.

I Married you for Happiness is a slim book that is spare, but very powerful. On the first page you learn that the narrator's husband has died and the rest of the book is remembrances of their lives together. Sounds maudlin, but it's not. Lots of mathematics and probability references. I'm not a mathematician, but I found them very interesting. It is a post-modern book, so the does not move in a straight line, and often dreams are mixed with the present as well as the past. Not an easy book to read, but compelling. It will make the best of the bunch list for 2011.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Orphan block tote bag

I just finished a baby quilt, and had left over fabric and an orphan block. After an evening in the studio, here’s the result.
giraffe tote
I used Molly’s 20 minute tote pattern as my starting point, but added some additional features.  I quilted the fabric to canvas to give it body, covered the straps with companion fabric to dress them up, added interior pockets, boxed bottom corners, and added a bottom to the bag.
Here’s the quilt that inspired the bag.
giraffe love quilt

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

I am still obsessed with the fabric circles and wanted to find a way to use them with my Christmas decorations. I’ve beaded them and added ribbon and toppers. The toppers are meant to be slightly bent and remind me of a Dr. Seuss  illustration.


I stopped in my favorite thrift shop and picked up candlesticks and plates and made stands for them using instruction from prettyhandygirl. I wanted them to be all white or frosted, so I painted the clear ones with acrylic paint. As my mother would say, I did a good job “tackifying” them.