Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pin it Wednesday #28

I've been seeing lots of Christmas in July posts on other blogs, so I thought I'd jump in at the last possible moment.  Maybe this will motivate me to think about the holidays--although I doubt it since we're about to start school!  In fact, I have exactly one week before I begin counting down the days to next break.  :-)   Oh, I love my job, but let's face facts: teachers are always looking for the next break.  Loving kids means really appreciating grown-up time!

But enough about school, how about some Christmas pretties from my "Merry, Christmas" board?

I love this letter!  A truly ambitious crafter could do this in different mediums for different seasons: acorns for fall, tiny bird eggs for spring, etc.  Wouldn't they all be darling?

I need to dig up the extra huge vase that I used to do this with.  I've never included pine cones, but they add beautiful contrast and texture.  We have tiny little pine cones on one of our trees that would really work well with this idea.

And in case you're sewing for Christmas......

Merry Christmas in July and Happy Pinning,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book review: Send

 All photos from
Send by Patty Blount is a teen fiction book with high aspirations.  When Kenny Mele's family is threatened after his return from a juvenile detention,  they change their identities and move to another state along the eastern seaboard. Now his name is Daniel Ellison and he has many secrets to keep.  He meets Julie on his first day at a new school when he helps Brandon, who is about to be beaten by the school bully.  Dan has secrets to hide but as he falls deeper and deeper for Julie, he discovers that the secrets which keep him safe also cause a riff in their relationship.

Dan and Julie's struggles to keep Brandon from harm, to deal with their individual problems, and to build a healthy relationship are compounded by secrets that threaten their lives.

What's to love: Blount's use of simile and her descriptions of character are nothing short of beautiful.  I also love her realistic dialog. Today's young adults may use foul language in ways I would never consider appropriate, but they also have a better command of language than adults give them credit for and Blount understands this.

Although Dan's imaginary "self" is distracting, the character of Kenny works.  I kept thinking Kenny would disappear at some point and tried to anticipate that.  It helps immensely that Kenny's dialog is in italics, but it's still confusing when other characters are also in a scene with Dan and Kenny.  As the narrator, Dan tells his story and brings us into his head when Kenny appears.  He describes Kenny, as though he is real but continually reminds us that he is not.  Yeah. Odd. But it works.

What's not to love: Blount's use of repetition gets old. I do not want to be told the same details three (or five) times. A motif should appear several times but motifs have a literary purpose.  Repeated details rarely do. I kept wishing the story would move along instead of telling me again details that I already know.  One such detail is that Pop hasn't spoken to Dan in years.  In fact Pop really has no specific purpose.  Dan's character is broken and confused, but his grandfather adds little to his angst or his eventual quietude.  

Awards: Junior Library Guild Selection 2012 
                  Kindle Teen Romance Bestseller. 

Addition Books by Patty Blount: Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior TMI (due out in August of 2013)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Quilt Inspiration

Because I'm working on a chevron quilt for my sister, and need some ideas for quilting it, I thought I'd find a few ideas to inspire us all.  

These are just a variety of some of the quilting patterns I found on Pinterest.  When possible I've added the web address so that you can visit the sites. 

The motifs above come from an interesting source: they are from which is a furniture and bedding store.  The motifs are those that customers can choose when ordering custom spreads, comforters, etc.  I can see how they would work very well on a quilt, can't you?
I hope you find some inspiration in today's post.  I know that I've found a couple of quilting motifs that I'd like to try and at least one that I want to use on the chevron quilt.  Which of the motifs do you think you can use?  All or parts of them?
Happy Quilting,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Swampin' Again

We did it again!  Two of my sisters and I went back to Lake Martin (post here) in Breaux Bridge to Cajun Country Swamp Tours for a two hour tour of Louisiana's beautiful swampland.   Although we went just last summer, we enjoyed the tour very much and saw some different areas of the lake.  For example, today we saw an alligator nest but missed the wasp area.  

The best part of the trip is being able to spend some time with my sisters.  We don't get to see enough of each other, so this weekend has been fantastic.

If I were to choose the part of the tour that is my favorite, I'd have to say the lotus flowers.

They are beautiful and smell wonderful.  The sweet scent lightly waifs into the boat adding another dimension to the beauty of the swamp.  

And they are everywhere.  Lily pads and white flowers dot the open water and there seem to be hundreds of them in an area.  

I was surprised to learn that the young leaves are edible and can be cooked like cabbage.  The seed are also edible, but I didn't try tasting any of it.

I picked a seedpod and opened it to see what the seed look like, but I wasn't so brave as to eat one.  The pod was brown and dry, and the tour guide said that those need to be cooked, like dry beans.  We didn't get close enough to a green one, but I wouldn't have eaten one anyway.

Who wants to get sick in a boat in the middle of a swamp?  Not me. And while I wasn't really worried that the seed would get me sick, I didn't know for certain and I surely do not want to tempt fate!

Angie and Laura would not take me on another adventure if I did such a goofy thing.  Besides we do enough goofy things just being ourselves. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Finish, Food and Fun

Finish a quilt top today!  Of course, it's only the top: I still have the quilting to do and hope to load the quilt on the long arm machine tomorrow afternoon.  

In the morning I'll go on a swamp tour with my sisters Laura and Angie.  We did this last year (here's the link to that post) and had a wonderful time.  Laura got some great photos--one of which won a competition at Paragon Casino.  I blogged about that photo here. The rest of us enjoyed the wild life and learned quite a bit about Louisiana.

Speaking of Paragon Casino in Marksville, several of us met there tonight for their Friday night seafood buffet.  The food is so good, but I mostly ate the crab!

 Happy swampin'

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Storage Solution {on the cheap}

While looking through Pinterest and reading a few blogs, I ran across a tutorial (which I can't find now to give someone the credit) for some recycled storage jars.  They're so much prettier than anything I've been using. 

Seriously?  I am pretty good about taking the labels off, but the lids...well, I need the lids.  Dust has a way of finding anything not sealed. 

That translates to: I use the lids just as they are...yes, the clearance stickers included.  

The solution?  Glad you asked, cause the solution is really pretty and....ta da!  can be matched to your decor.  Or in my case, to the free paper you happen to have.
I guess you need the backstory now.  I received these "books" of sample fabrics from a friend earlier this summer.  In some of the books are glossy print pages of card stock that show the coordinating wallpaper for the line of fabric. 

Crafters keep everything, right?  So of course, I kept the papers.  As I take the books apart, I make a few piles: fabric, card stock and plastic (the clear cover of the book).  I toss the heavy cardboard, but everything else has great potential.  

I had the jars and lids and the pretty card stock--the main ingredients for this project.  AND it's cost me.....$0.  Yahoo!

Hmm, the only other ingredient is Mod Podge....nope.  Didn't have any.  But I have Pinterest, so I found a recipe for decoupage medium--Elmer's glue and water.  Those I had.  The recipe calls for equal parts glue and water, so I poured the glue into a glass bottle and filled the glue bottle with tap water to measure and get the last smidge of glue out. Can't waste a drop, you know.

I must have played an hour or so, but the results are pretty nice, don't you think?

Thinking of covering some jar lids?  Here are a few suggestions: 
1. Prepare to get messy.  Using your fingers to roll the paper around the edges and into the inside of the lid works much better than anything else I tried.

2. Apply the glue mix to the lid and let it begin drying while you cut the paper.  Remember that you need a circle large enough to cover the lid, the sides and roll into the inside.  The inside section should be long enough so the glass jar catches it when you screw the lid on.

3. Use the jar.  After you get the paper going around the lid and into it, hold the paper and push the lid onto the jar.  That just worked wonders for me.  I removed the lid to let it air dry.  After the first bit of glue dried, I put the lid back on the jar and painted a couple more coats of glue on holding onto the jar.

Happy Crafting