Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The W List: August Books 2011

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo ~ A china rabbit with furry ears is lost at sea, then in trash heap, and finally in a doll shop. In the meantime, Edward learns to love and he learns that it is a painful, if rewarding, emotion. Enjoyed this! F (Children's?)

Readymade: How to Make (Almost) Everything: A Do-it-Yourself Primer by Shoshana Berger ~ I'm going to count this book as read because I looked at the pictures. And because I have very little interest in a lounge chair made out of recycled plastic water bottles, no matter how green it is. Many visitors to our house picked this book up, flipped through it and commented on the strange things within, so that makes it an interesting conversation starter. NF

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley ~ Really enjoyed this one! This novel contained many of the classic fairytale elements in graphic novel form. Loved the story of the circus and then the order of the bearded ladies! When I had some time to think about it, there were some impressive subtexts woven into the storyline regarding faith, love, friendship, protection, fairness, and the realized power of those others consider weak. Very cool! F GN

De:tales: Stories from Urban Brazil by Fabio Moon ~ Not as awesome as Daytripper, but the artwork was full of talent and promise. I am often impressed with what graphic novels can leave unsaid (unwritten) and still obviously convey to the reader. F/NF GN

Hush by Eishes Chayil ~ I gave up on this book 1/3 into the story. I am done with novels that have this hidden mystery agenda in revealing sexual abuse. This abuse took place in a heavily cloistered Jewish community and from what I read, I assume that the victim killed herself and then nobody spoke of the abuse or the death again, which, just so you know, can cause some trauma all around. I don't intentionally choose these types of books, but they seem to find me as there is this rape/incest/molestation/abuse topic floating through what seems to be a large quantity of young adult fiction. Yuck. YA F

Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Houses by Alan Hess ~ I looked at the pictures and they were pretty. The stained glass and woodwork were incredible. I didn't read more than a paragraph. NF

Contemporary Quilts (Quilt National 1997) ~ I'm beginning to figure out that Quilt National is not my thing right now. It's a little too conceptual and fantastic in an unattainable and currently unappealing way. The talent and creativity is undeniable, but most of these quilts are not functional beyond wall hangings and that is not for me. NF

Sew Charming: 40 Simple Sewing and Hand-Printing Projects for the Home and Family by Cath Derksema ~ This is a fun book for a beginning sewer and printer - there are bright fabrics and colorful, modern designs (think a bit retro 60's mod) and the how-to on creating everything from hand printed tablecloths to little boy pajamas. NF

Simple Contemporary Quilts: Bold New Designs for the First-Time Quilter by Valerie Shrader ~ Maybe "first-time quilter" is pushing these designs and techniques a little far. This was a comprehensive book, but nothing special. NF

Simplify with Camille Roskelley: Quilts for the Modern Home - Use Pre-Cut Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs, Fat Quarters & More by Camille Roskelley ~ Again, I saw this book and thought that I would get a lot out of it, but it really just slid on past my eyes. Her quilts were, as always, a bit of happy eye candy and appreciated. NF

Stash-Buster Quilts: Time Saving Designs for Fabric Leftovers by Lynne Edwards ~ This lady has some neat ideas; I think I've read more than a few of her books now. She utilizes color and her quilting is incredibly complementary. Good book. NF

Patchwork: 25 Sewing Projects for Fabric Lovers by Cynthia Shaffer ~ Cute projects and great ideas for using small scraps (think mere single-digit inches). Nothing jumped out, but this was a colorful, well-articulated book. NF

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch ~ A London copper that can speak with ghosts and solves paranormal crimes. He is also introducted to magic. It was an okay read, but it isn’t anything on par with Harry Potter or the Sookie books. I think it develops into a series, but this novel really got bogged down in archaic British terminology and London locations – there comes a point when I really don’t care where Armetishire is, okay? F

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi ~ This was sad, in a way, as a commentary on what humans have ultimately done to the earth. But really it’s about a boy trying to figure out family, loyalty, honor and love in despicable circumstances. It took me awhile to figure out what the “half-men” were and while the story followed the traditional, the context was futuristic in an engaging, curious way. Read it. YA F

The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi ~ Daisy Kutter is awesome. She is real and terrible and wonderful. Just read this graphic novel in an afternoon and you’ll be convinced that graphic novels are bigger than comics and contenders with novels. Surprising, touching, and talented, I am a fan of Kazu, no doubt. GN F’s Harry Potter Should Have Died by Emerson Spartz ~ Well, not to ruin the book for you, but the conclusion is not that Harry Potter should ha died. I hope any HP fans out there have checked out – it is a well operated HP website with fanfiction (of course) and lots of extras. This book was okay, possibly meant for a younger audience (in the list of debates, one was Who would you rather kiss? Voldemort or a dementor?). NF, based on F

Three Wishes: A True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak, and Astonishing Luck on Our Way to Love and Motherhood by Carey Goldberg ~ Well, I guess this book is what happens when you decide to pass around seven vials of sperm in the quest to become a mother. I take no issue with taking action to become a parent, spouse or not (and I know some do), but this non-fiction story remained trite and may have been best kept an anecdote told at social functions. NF

House Beautiful Small Space Decorating Workshop ~ This is a great book for pointing out all of the little places (in an already small environment) that you can create storage and encourage light to peer in. For example, in smaller kitchens, cabinets are great on the bottom, but open shelving (if it works) makes the entire area more spacious looking and even allows display of dishware/tools (red toaster, Fiestaware, pretty glass, etc.). Very cute book! NF

Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji ~ I really enjoyed the visual of some of these quilts, but do not understand the teaching aspect of a “random” or “improv” quilt. Introducing a measured method to something that is supposed to grow out of a creative mind just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe you can encourage creativity and spontaneity, but I’m tempted to write that you can’t force or calculate or write instructions for the same things. NF

The Radleys by Matt Haig ~ A vampire family story and I quite enjoyed it. The family dynamics and the hows/whys of vampirism are well explained and the book is a quick read with very short, quick chapters – would recommend (and it was recommended to me, by AM). F

Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink by Jeff Johnson ~ I read this for the stories and there were some stories for sure (the one about the serial killer still creeps me out). Not especially talented writing or continuity, but I’m betting the author is a talented artist. NF

Adventures in Bookbinding: Handcrafting Mixed-Media Books by Jeannine Stein ~ This is an example of an art/craft that I thought I would be interested in because I love books. And while I have learned a little about bookbinding, I don’t think that I am going to venture down that crafty path at this time. This book, however, is very enlightening and instructional and for someone who is interesting in creating mixed-media books, I think it could be an excellent resource. NF

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd ~ I’ve had two different people try and explain to me why it was so terrible for a Jedi to be friends with a Klingon and I think I might understand, but I’m still not sure. I watched some Star Trek (the Next Generation?) with my dad when I was little, but apparently that in no way prepares me for the nerdiness of the stories in this tome (see, I use words like “tome” – how does that not make me a nerd?). But I am still enjoying them. Even if I hate Star Wars and read a book through all three movies one night. Or were those the Lord of Rings movies that C tried to make me watch? Either way it was painful. F Anthology

Paper Quilts: Turn Traditional Quilt Motifs into Contemporary Cards and Crafts by Sandra Foose ~ Well, my interest is waning in both quilting and papercraft books, but this one seemed very straight forward with easy-to-follow directions and clear photographs. There were some three dimensional/origami type crafts in the back that I would love to devote more time to. NF

Simple Printmaking: A Beginner's Guide to Making Relief Prints with Linoleum Blocks, Wood Blocks, Rubber Stamps, Found Objects & More by Gwen Diehn ~ Too deep and too detailed for me – practically a definitive history of printmaking. But from that aspect, it was comprehensive as far as printing objects, medium, surfaces, and findings through archeological findings. NF

Creative Wildfire: An Introduction to Art Journaling Basics and Beyond ~ More of a bookbinding instructional guide, but still pretty cool. NF

Better than Running at Night by Hillary Frank ~ Nope, don’t recommend at all. It might have been personal preference on my part, as I enjoyed the art school portions of this book, but strongly dislike the relationship portions. I’ve read better. F YA

Water Paper Paint: Exploring Creativity with Watercolor and Mixed Media by Heather Jones Smith ~ This book is cool and if I find time to pick up my watercolors again, I might need a copy of this to guide me through paints, techniques and the very important paper choices. It covers the basics in a very modern way. NF

What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting: How to Support your Wife, Save your Marriage, and Conquer Infertility! (exclamation point part of the official title) by Marc Sedaka ~ I skimmed this book since it wasn’t really written to me, BUT it is awesome for men. I read parts out loud to C and he got it. There are many a lot of funny scenarios, realistic situations, advice and it’s presented in a way that most men can respond to: through sarcasm. Nothing is off limits, from the collection room to the details the author’s doctor adds. Very comprehensive and slightly dated (only because technology, science and medicine are racing each other in this field). I highly recommend – better than many of the books geared toward females that want to hold your hand instead of telling it to you straight (i.e. the test called an HSG HURTS! A LOT! and the ART process is expensive, NO JOKE!). NF

The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects that Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti ~ Neat crafts, but I'm still uncertain about walking that fine line between expression & art and the actual destruction of books. Granted, not all books are fit to be read (in anyone's opinion), so the crafts are utilizing old, unwanted books in a fresh, creative way. Interesting. NF

Whip Up Mini Quilts: Patterns and How-to for 26 Contemporary Small Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson ~ Actually rekindled my interest in small quilts as wall art or table runners, or, as my first quilting project went, a doll-sized quilt. Very simple and classically designed small quilts with little tricks to make them easier and more streamlined. EB - check it out. NF

It feels like the book reading petered out a bit this month. I’m still in a place where I don’t care all that much for fiction, not even my well-loved young adult fiction. I haven’t been able to go to that fictional place and care about those characters when there are real people telling real stories. Does anyone else ever feel that way? And I’ve put some hard prep work into my sister’s giant quilt, which is no small feat and a huge time killer. But for me, more design, house, style, dress books with a side of biography, memoir, and other assorted non-fiction. Surprise, surprise, 31 books this month. At least 20 can be classified as non-fiction and if you read the reviews, I was not fond of a lot of the fiction. September may prove to be sweeter.

- Posted from my mobile phone

Friday, August 26, 2011


C does this all the time, but I did it for the first time and there happen to be pictures.

Of course there is a story, but there is also patient confidentiality, my own privacy (and commitment to customer service, I might add), and the purported illegality of climbing into a manhole. So that leaves you with pictures, enjoy!

- Posted from my mobile phone

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Something to do with Sister B

She never reads this blog, even though C's brothers occasionally do. So I could say a lot of things about her and start all sorts of rumors. But I won't because I dearly love sister B.

Below is something that's a little more about me. I've needed fabric labels for my quilts/projects that go off into the world. I didn't care for any of the predesigned ones, so I set out to design my own. I should have just paid someone uber talented to get them right, but instead I spent five hours in the simple Paint program (no, I can't figure out Photoshop or GIMP, or any other complicated program). The cool thing is, once you have a design, you can upload it to a custom design fabric place (I adore and have them print it. Your cost/label drops significantly compared to the fabric label sheets you can run through your printer. Pretty cool, right?

These are what I came up with for now. The blanks I can fill in with a fabric pen/marker (I prefer Micron). Might have one of those talented people clean it up and color it in for future printings.

I found this fabric someone had designed on Spoonflower. I'm going to try and work it into the following project. It's got sister B's name written all over it (she's a hippo kind of girl - I can say that because she doesn't visit here)!

This is going to be the coolest thing ever. It's a quilt for sister B, who might have asked why I make quilts for other people's children, but not my only sister. Probably because babies don't have opinions on color, fabric, design, pattern or thread color. Oh, and baby quilts are smaller than the larger-than-queen-size quilt she wants. But sure enough, I took the challenge and have all the blocks pieced, cut out and need to find the motivation to cut all the sashing. I think it's going to be a beast, but spectacular.

Sister B will definitely get a "Made with Love" label. Unfortunately, this quilt will be nowhere near complete by her birthday in September. Happy birthday anyway, B!

- Posted from my mobile phone