Monday, January 30, 2012

update on grandmother's flower garden

I took the process pledge last year, so I think I need to upload some recent progress on my 45+ grandmother's flower garden hexagons. I have spent the past year hand piecing the outer green borders on these, and I am down to the last four flowers. I may have to add some half flowers at the top and bottom of the quilt, but this baby has been in process almost 3 years, so it may be as big as it's going to get. (I was hoping it would be a queen, but I think it is probably more of a double size. These flowers are currently just thrown down randomly, so I haven't figured out a color arrangement or the exact final shape of the quilt (whether it will be a little wider than long?)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I-Spy qult for my great nephew

Thes are shots of my latest I-spy quilt for my great-nephew who lives in New York City but whose lucky parents also have a home in Long Island. So the back has pictures of ships and semaphore flags and boat-y things. This is my second I-spy (pictures of the first "disappearing 9 patch" are also deep in this blog), and I expermented with picture-frame sashing and some little color groupings. I've been trying to do a backing with interest of its own so that when the child is older the reverse of the quilt won't be too babyish.
Nice quilting by Maria Davis.
This quilt had another new technique for me: I did mitered borders.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best books of 2011

I read (or listened to the audiobook version) 57 books in 2011. Here's my list of the top 10, particularly of literary fiction (I'll get to my junk reading later):
1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
3. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
4. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
5. Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantell
6. The Imperfectionists by Rachmann
7. Great House by Allison Krauss
8. How to Life Safely in a Science Fiction World by Wu
9. Parrott & Olivier in America by Carey
10. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

I also read the following classics, and they don't fit into a top 10 list
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (the generation gap in 1860's Russia).
The Brothers Dostoevsky by Fyodor Dostoevsky
(I had read this in high school but evidently forgotten all of it; it is still a fiction masterpiece but really sprawls in its "form". Wild mixture of psychological analysis of character, soap opera love triangles, religious and philosophical arguments and debates, and a law and order type murder investigation and trial. )

I read but was not a fan of or disappointed in Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, Foreign Bodies by C. Ozzick, Remember Ben Clayton, and Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I don't read as much non-fiction but did enjoy the following:
1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
2. The Checklist Manifesto by Gawade
4. The Pacific (audio book version of HBO miniseries)
5. The Talent Code
6. Manhunt (about Lincoln's assassination)
7. Bossypants by Tina Fey
8. When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
9. Naked by David Sedaris
Now, my junk authors:

I still love my John Sandford, both for Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers ("that f.... Flowers"), and enjoyed the following this year:
Rough Country, Buried Prey, Bad Blood
I've started reading Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels (the ultimate "have gun will travel" tough guy):
Worth Dying For, One Shot, 61 Hours
I also like the Ridley Pearson mysteries set in Sun Valley, Idaho, including Killer Summer
Connelly's The Closers and
Echo Park (LA cop)

I also read several of H.C. Beaton's Seamus McBeth Scottish mysteries, Death of a Bore, Death of Glutton, Death of a Gentle Lady, but they begin to get formulaic.
Also Nevada Barr's Burn was not up to her usual standard.
(Too many books with child abuse themes this year).

The book I most hated was Robin Cook's Intervention, which made all of the following professions look bad, and was probably incorrect on the technical aspects of each field: archaeology, Catholic priests, Gnostic gospels, the Apostle Peter, medical examiners, monks, chiropracters, alternative medicine,etc.