Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Quilt Inspiration

Happy Sunday!  It's been quiet around here today.  We saw all the kids and grandchildren early in the weekend, so we had an uneventful day, although I did cook a huge pot of spaghetti.  I guess that means I don't have to worry about supper.

After lunch, I sat down to finish the binding on a quilt--more on that tomorrow--and fell fast asleep.  I don't know why it is that handwork knocks me out so.  I do believe I can fee my heart slow down!  If nothing else, it's a great natural relaxer. 

Since I couldn't get the handwork done, I worked on a little inspiration for y'all, after the nap.  Hope you enjoy!

And for some Sunday afternoon fun, here are a few crafts to consider.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review: Nine Coaches Waiting

While I was at school on Friday, I picked up a couple of books for some summer reading.  Two of the books are Mary Stewart suspense-romance novels written in the 1950's.  I've been meaning to pick up one of her books for a while since they appeared to be the historical fiction genre that I love to read.  Other than that, I knew only that the novels are set in Europe, another of my favs.  

I was a little busy with sewing on Friday, but I managed a few pages of Nine Coaches Waiting, and yesterday, I managed a few more pages.  I woke up at three this morning unable to sleep for over an hour, so I gave up and gave in to the book sitting on the sofa.  I am so glad I did since I finished the last page right after lunch (and took a cat nap during that time).  An easy read with a bit of suspense, allusion, and romance.....what more could a girl ask for?

2007 photo of Mary Stewart
Exposition--The Cinderella character, Belinda Martin, is the English governess to nine-year-old Comte Philippe de Valmy.  Having lived the last ten years in an English orphanage, Belinda would gladly forget the tragedy of her parents' tragic accident were it not for the fact that Philippe has suffered the same fate.  Only weeks into her new position, Linda begins to question the accidents that befall Philippe until Raoul de Valmy makes his appearance and sweeps her off her feet.  Although unable to separate the de Valmy's individual intentions, Linda first trusts the family then accuses them equally for the mystery she can not fathom.  

Jacket photo of Mary Stewart
What's to love--The characters, villainous, paralyzed Leon; his beautiful, negligent Madame; quiet, brooding Philippe; and handsome acerbic Raoul, are expertly drawn and handled by Stewart.  The Chateau Valmy, situated on the Lake Leman region of the French Alps, is atypical in that Stewart paints it in the post World War II setting of a castle suffering from want.  The de Valmy fortune all but lost, the castle in disrepair, the family separated, this is a Cinderella story with a twist or two.  Her descriptions of the Haute-Savoie plateau with its rolling hills, towering conifers, and crisp air are the epitome of exposition.  She leaves no detail out, so that those of us able to visit only through words sit alongside Madmemoiselle Martin in the silk-covered settees, climb the hills, smell the fir and taste the biscuits--all in one adventurous day. 

What's not to like--truly very little, but parts of the plot feel contrived and the overly zealous allusions to Cinderella do get tiring.  Otherwise, the pacing is only a little slower than a more current novel but spot-on for its time.  

Recommendation--read this one if you like suspense or romance!  However, just in case you need more motivation, here are two sites that may help.

fan page:


A note of interest about novelist Mary Stewart: born in 1916 and now 97, she is well and living in England.  She has published 23 novels (three for young adults) and one book of poetry.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Friday Finish! Woot! Woot!

Yes!  A finish!  And just in time to go visit these cutie-pies, who just returned from vacation this week.  A week at the beach was good for the grandparents who didn't go.....their happiness in seeing us was a loving indication that we were truly missed.

So what did I finish?  Ah, glad you asked.  Those blue/green quilts are now complete.  Angie may pick them up any time after Monday....I want to show them off at the guild meeting.

This stacked coins quilt, for Hunter, is the one I finished today.

Here it is gathered up with the first blue/green, a stripy quilt with a bold blue section right in the middle, for Hayden.

And together, side by side.

Happy quilting,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pin It Wednesday #23

Happy Wednesday!  I managed to get into the studio yesterday and loaded the blue/green quilt that I'm making for my sister Angie.  Today I spent a bit of the day quilting it.  I'm practicing feathers and adding stippling and swirls so that it will go quickly.  So far, so good, although I haven't taken many photos as I've worked.  I'm going to have to work on that.

 I might be finished by the weekend!  If so, I'd sure like to get back to work on the barn quilt.  It is just sitting in the way, percolating in my brain, and needing some TLC.  I think I may have a next step and really am itching to give it a try, but I must finish Angie's quilt first.

Let's pin, shall we?  I've amp'ed up the fine art board.  In fact, I have 670 or so pins on that board alone.  It's my biggest board, but there's just so much beautiful art available and I love just looking at the photos and really appreciating the workmanship.  I love the masters!

Following the fine art are a few vintage finds that I thought you'd enjoy.

Don't forget to visit the Meet and Greet Blog Hop!

Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meet and Greet

I really enjoy blog hops.  And because they are so much fun, I've decided to join another.  This one is hosted by a couple of bloggers: "To Just Be You," "Created By Laurie," "Sleepy Single Girl," and "Mommy Mentionables."  Wow!  Now there's a great start to a fun party!  They are all young, interesting quilters and crafters with lots to say about their creative pursuits.  Please go by their blogs and enjoy the many subjects they are so adept at discussing.

I plan to spend a bit of time looking over their tutorials.  It's been a while since I've posted one and I need some ideas!  I'm hoping that reading theirs will help something click.  

Each week they will have a guest blogger, this week it's "One Fine Wire."  Another blogger to visit while you're visiting the 18 others that have already joined.  If you like reading blogs, this should be a fun way to enjoy the rest of the week, don't cha think?

Since I'm on the blog roll, I should answer the question of the week or day, or whatever.....What is your perfect vacation?

My perfect vacation is any place where my hubby happens to be.  If it also happens to be cool, so much the better!  (Our 100 degree summers get old fast.)  Oh, let's include the kids and grandchildren, but because it would be so easy to lose them.....let's put everyone on a cruise!  There we are--a perfect vacation includes the entire clan of Marcotte's on a cruise to Alaska.

Photos from Google images.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: The Quilter's Book of Design

I've been muddling though Ann Johnston's The Quilter's Book of Design.  This paper back book is interesting, analytical and filled with photographs that show examples of each concept as she discusses them.  

Johnston focuses on the "visual tools" of balance, unity, variety, line, shape, value, color, pattern and texture.  One reason I chose to purchase this book is that I wanted to learn more about quilting from an artistic point of view.  I've always been interested in visual art, but considering my quilts "art quilts" has been a step I've been afraid to take.  
photo from Ann Johnston's website

Review from we see step-by-step fabric illustrations of her personal inquiries into various ways of dealing with each visual tool: balance, unity, variety, line, shape, value, color, pattern, and texture. Not settling for just blocks to illustrate the tools, she gives us finished art quilts to illustrate the tools. And even better, throughout the book Johnston gives us examples of quilts from various series of her work, so that by the time we come to the end of the book, we pretty much know how her mind ticks in her hungry quest for yet more excellence in her art making, as the series grow and evolve. We see the building of a personal style, and she's been telling us all along how she made decisions to get there.

Do I recommend the book?  Absolutely, but with reservations.  It's not an easy, fun read, but it is interesting, informative and helpful in learning about artistic design.  I had to push myself at times to get through the sometimes dry material, but I'm now happy that I did.  
photos from Ann Johnston's website

One of the things I most appreciate is that while I read, I found myself either agreeing or feeling that I already understood Johnston's theory.  Having studied fine arts as a teacher, I think I had an intuitive understanding of the concepts but not a way of explaining them to others.  Now I have a great resource for defining and explaining them.

Learn more about Ann Johnston, her books and her art at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: Women's Work

I don't know about you, but I love old photos and paintings.  These are all about women and the work they did to keep their families fed, clothed, healthy and happy, although most are doing some type of needlework.  Some are by the most famous masters, others I have never heard of, but what matters more is the person in the portrait.

Happy Quilting,