Thursday, August 29, 2013


How often do you come across a book that you can't put down? 
I was a voracious reader from my childhood through adulthood, until I became a Mother, and then a quilter.  I hardly ever picked up a book then, unless it was some type of art or quilt book.  I would crawl into bed at the end of the day exhausted and just fall asleep.  If I read a few pages, I would have no memory of what I had read the next time I picked up the book. 
 Then, I would have to start all over again.  Press: REFRESH.
A couple of years ago, I started reading again.  I did it to fill up the time when I used to stitch by hand.  I don't do a lot of hand stitching these days, so I needed something to do while I was  traveling or waiting to see doctors or to fill some type of empty time. 
I would look to my friends for recommendations.  It turns out that it's like most things in life, there are some friends who have the same taste in reading as you do and some who do not.  I have one friend whose book recommendations are wonderful, but I don't go to her for restaurant picks.  If  she likes a restaurant I usually do not and vice versa. Taste does not necessarily cross lines.
Ever since I read the Stieg Larsson trilogy starting with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I have not found a book that grabbed me so much that I would rather be reading instead of quilting.  Lots of books had great beginnings and great endings but really seemed to drag in the middle.  I just felt it was a lot of blah, blah, blah just to fill up the pages.  That is until I started reading The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman.
The cover art  is beautiful.  The story flip flops between the past and the present. It's about the relationship of 2 sisters and the link they both had with a very talented artist.  In addition to the unraveling of secrets, the author's descriptive passages of the artist's paintings really opened my eyes as to how art historians see more than just a picture.
 I loved this book and have to say it is one of my favorite books of all time.
How do you find books to read?  I have started checking  After you have rated a bunch of  books, a list of suggestions are developed for you, plus you can see what your friends are reading. 
Become my friend  by clicking here, and let me know if you have found any must read books. 
 I'd love to know.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer On A Plate

 This has become my favorite summer dinner - presented by my hubby.
I call it summer on a plate.
I remember the first time I tasted an heirloom tomato. It was a moment I won't forget.  My quilt group, The Quiltinis, was out having lunch after a guild meeting. I had to stop on my way home that day at the local farmer's market to bring an heirloom home for my hubby.  We were shocked by the price, but decided then and now that they are sooooo worth it. 
 My favorite is Brandywine.   If you haven't tried one yet, you must. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday In The Saddle

I promise to get back to quilty things soon, but right now I am training for a bike ride across the state of North Carolina.  The ride starts at the west side of the state in the mountains and ends at the ocean on the east side. It lasts 7 days and the ride is 491 miles long.
 If you want to read about it, this is the website:
Today was an organized ride put on by the White Clay Bicycle Club in Delaware, called the Shorefire Century- a century being 100 miles.  Different lengths are available and I rode the metric century, or 65 miles. They provide cue sheets, road markings and snacks.
Today's ride was relatively flat through the farmlands of Delaware.

    I ride to eat dessert!


Distance: 66 miles
Avg mph:  14.3
Saddle time: 4:35
Real time: 6 hours

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday In The Saddle

Today I participated in the Lancaster Bicycle Club's
 annual Covered Bridge Metric Century Bicycle Ride with about 2200 other cyclists

along with the Turkey Hill cow

A metric century is 100 kilometers or 62 miles.  There were other options including a 1/2 metric century(50km) and a 1/4 metric century(25 km).
The bucolic scenery in Lancaster County makes it a wonderful place to ride. 

The bonus was all the covered bridges that we got to ride through.

It was a rainy day.  These horses were the only ones smart enough to find shelter under a tree!

Jersey - Note the swirls
Jersey with the necessary rain jacket
Miles: 66.25
Avg Speed: 13.5 mph
Time in saddle: 4 hrs 53 minutes
Real Time: 6 Hours

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Changing Course

Have you ever spent an entire day working on a project without any progress?  Today was that day for me.  I had been saving this empty snack bag ever since our trip to Israel in 2012. 
I really like typography and letters from foreign languages that differ from English. These letters are Hebrew.  It says Doritos.  My plan was to make a small, fun zippered bag. 
After opening it, I fused a vinyl coating onto it.

 I followed the directions on the package.
The only problem was I thought that the shape did not lend itself to a zippered bag.  So I started looking around sewing sites on the Internet and was seduced to try a portfolio. 
There are lots of tutorials. 
 I thought that the bag would make a great cover. 
 I picked out my favorite steps from each tutorial. I chose my fabric, cut out the squares and rectangles.  And I even sewed it together.
  After turning it right side out, I wasn't happy.  It was now afternoon.  Grrrr. It just looked sloppy.  I had 2 choices.  One was to rework the portfolio.  The other was to return to my original idea of making a zippered bag.
I chose to go back to my original plan of making the bag. Sometimes you have to go with your initial gut. (It makes me think of the Kenny Rogers song from The Gambler - "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.) It meant cutting apart the portfolio and basically trashing the fabric that I had already used.
 I like my Dorito bag, but it makes me hungry!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Beginning of An Heirloom

A few months ago, my pregnant DIL and I  had a wonderful day shopping in Lancaster County for fabric for the nursery. We hit all my favorite spots. 
This is the fabric she picked out for my soon- to- be- here grandson's room:
 It is a beautiful fabric, and of course you know I love it because it has those swirly branches. It has every color imaginable, so it made it easy to pick co-ordinating fabric
I made a tailored skirt for the crib.
 And I lined these metal baskets
for the changing table.
(Aren't the knobs cute?)
My last project was to decorate this toy chest.
It belonged to my son, the father to be.
I am kind of surprised that I have kept it all these years.  We even moved it from the house where he was a toddler. We do not have many family "heirlooms", so what could be better than passing this down.  After being in the basement for 20 years, it needed a fresh coat of paint.  I added the grey rectangle, to match the nursery walls, for the name, once the baby has been born and has been named. 
But I just did not want to give him a white toy chest. 
I decided to use the bird fabric as inspiration for the painted design.


I had a hard time parting with it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday In The Saddle

A view from my bicycle today.
A beautiful 35 mile ride in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
(If you would like the cue sheet, e-mail me.)

Miles: 36.3
Avg Speed: 12.2 mph
Real Time: 3 1/2 hrs