Saturday, 19 October 2013

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

The Book:

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time - and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are. 

The Inspiration:

Anya is an amazing woman. I loved her and her story. It frustrates her daughters no end that she constantly wanders into her winter garden ... in the middle of the night ... in the winter ... in her nightgown and bare feet. After reading this book, I want a winter garden. A beautiful place that I can retreat to in the winter (which is my favourite season). So what better block than a Garden Path block?

The Block:

You can find Garden Path block patterns all over the internet. This is the one I used. The silver fabric has been in my stash for a long time. I love the way it makes me feel: wintery, clean and fresh. It is a perfect representation of a winter garden - don't you think?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

The Book:

 The following about the author and book are from Goodreads:

Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time..

One stormy night a strange visitor comes to the Murry house & beckons Meg, her brother, Charles Wallace, & their friend Calvin O'Keefe on a most dangerous and fantastic journey, a journey that will threaten their lives & our universe.

If you want to know more, check here.

The Inspiration:

This book was one of my favourites as a child and continues to have a strong hold on my heart. My favourite character in the book is Mrs Whatsit. (if you have never read this book but have seen the movie - read the book!) Mrs Whatsit existed at one time as a star but she sacrificed herself in the fight against the black thing ... IT ... evil. This block is a tribute to Mrs Whatsit.

The Block:

 All appearances to the contrary, I assure you that this block is square with straight sides. Weird picture angle. The block I chose for the A Wrinkle in Time block is a traditional hourglass block. (hourglass/time ... get it?) The yellow fabric is a nod to Mrs Whatsit's star incarnation and the black represents the dark sky as well as the 'black thing'. I also like the contrast of the colours which can be seen as the contrast between good and evil. This block has been trimmed to a 6 1/2 inch square. Here is a fabulous tutorial for making an hourglass block, if you are interested. Just a note about trimming the block - be sure the centre remains the centre - if you know what I mean.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

The Book:

 Olivia Westerly is the only person Ethan Allen can trust, and he’s not too sure he can trust her. She’s got no love of children and a truckload of superstitions–one of them is the belief that eleven is the unluckiest number on earth. Olivia avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson.
 Winner of Five Literary Awards,BookBundlz Finalist, Voted Goodreads Best Unknown Fiction, FPA President’s Book Award Silver Medal
Great Book! Read my review here. Check out Bette's web page here.

The Inspiration: 

OK, I have to admit - before someone calls me on it - this was a no-brainer. If there can be coin quilts, there can be coin squares. And what is a small pile of coins called??? Spare Change, of course. (warning: I am about to do a little name dropping) To decide on the colours, I messaged my friend Bette Lee Crosby (the name sounds familiar because she is the author) and asked her three questions:
1) What is your favourite colour? 
2) What is Olivia's favourite colour?
3) What is Ethan Allan's favourite colour?
This is the response I got:
" Olivia's favorite color is emerald green (the color of her eyes) Ethan's favorite color is brown (the color of dog) My favorite color is probably a dark russet/burgundy-ish red."
And these are the colours I chose:

The Block:

I cut one 2 1/2 inch x 6 1/2 inch rectangle out of each colour and then sewed it together with 1/4 inch seams. It may not look like much on it's own but it is going to be a glorious addition to my literary quilt. I hope the colours are OK, Bette.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Challenge

Every now and then I get a little bored with my life and decide to add a challenge. Usually I regret it in very short order. But when I finish, the sense of accomplishment does some bizarre thing to my brain and I forget the regret. Before long I am back looking for a new project and the cycle begins again. Most recently, my out of control project was to make a lone star quilt for my daughter and son-in-law as a wedding present. To make it even more challenging, I decided it needed to be queen sized and hand quilted. It nearly killed me but here is the result:
Not bad if I do say so myself.
From there I put together a couple of small projects but now 'the challenge' is calling. The more I looked, the more I was drawn to the Farmer's Wife quilt. If you want to know more about it, take a minute and check it out here. Very cool. And definitely a challenge. But did it really 'speak' to me? Well not out loud - it just kind of whispered. If I am going to embark on 'the challenge' it had better yell - not whisper. Then from somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, an idea began to jump up and down waving it's arms in the air to get my attention. I could use the Farmer's Wife idea and integrate my own passion into it.

To make a long story short ... here it is... my new challenge: make small quilt blocks that represent 100 books that I have read and put it all together into a masterpiece extraordinaire. I have psyched myself up to the possibility that this particular project could take a couple of years from conception to completion. I am thinking I can do one or maybe two squares each Saturday and then blog about the book, the inspiration and the block. Why blog? you may ask. The answer is simple: I need the accountability. When the going gets tough, I tend to decide to quit. I'm counting on the blog to keep me going. I am so excited!! First block will be ready to post next week.