Amelia approved!

I whipped this bag up, as a Christmas gift, for our youngest grand-daughter, Amelia. Her family recently took up camping and you know, if you have ever camped, you can never have enough tote bags. Well, if you travel with young ones, you know you can never have enough tote bags, as well!

Poolside Tote by Noodlehead was super easy and quick to make. I used Cotton and Steel’s, All the States, canvas fabric. I used car headliner fabric as the inner liner. It is so easy to use and makes a tote stand up beautifully. It is a bargain at between $10-12 a yard (36″ x 56″) when compared to some of the fancy products sold for about the same money, in a much smaller quantity, (18″ x 54″), for the same purpose. I have to say I have never used this other product, but I have handled it and it has almost the same feel except headliner doesn’t get creases. I buy headliner locally and usually buy 10 yards at a time. It comes in handy for all pursescomputer bags, travel bags, weekenders… Pretty much anything you want to hold a pliable shape. Tote bag by Sewfrench This was my first time using Zippers by The Yard, the “cut to length” “add the zipper pull yourself” type zippers. It was pretty easy once I googled how to do it. The only reason I bought this style, as opposed to just a regular zipper, the correct length, or cutting even shortening it to fit, is because I wanted the big pull that came with this style. Normally you would have to buy a zipper meant for a coat, with larger teeth, to get the larger pull (and run all over town trying to find the right color one at that). I am probably more particular to finding the exact zipper for the job, but that’s just me…. Learned something new when I did it this way, I learned I could get it all in one zipper and get it at the same store I bought my fabric! Poolside Tote by SewfrenchI added a second exterior pocket, between the straps, on the flip side. I may have matched the fabric up a little too well to make it easily spotted, but it is there, perfect for something you need to easily grab, without digging. Noodle head Poolside Tote SewfrenchI love the All the States fabric when combined with the linen Mochi Dots, as the accent fabric. I like how the inside is faced, it makes for much easier and neater a finish as opposed to some other methods. Then I chose Moonshine by Tula Pink, (aka Forest Frivolity in Sky by Freespirit), a camping theme fabric, as the lining. What could be a more perfect coordinate? I’ll have to get back with you on whose fabric line that is, it has slipped my mind. I couldn’t have been happier that I was able to pull this together in our small, local, newish fabric store! Love shopping local! Inside Poolside Tote bag by Sewfrench Forest Frivolity in SkyWhen I first started reading about this bag, I kept reading/hearing how HUGE is was. Six large beach towels…. Enough for a family of four….. Yadda, yadda, yadda…. I have to say, it is not as big as I imagined, based on what I was reading, and that is a good thing. It is just a nice sized bag. It is the perfect size for an 18 month old’s  weekend at Grandma’s. Noodlehead Poolside Tote Bag by SewfrenchEven plenty of room for the tennis ball she plans to take home with her. I love how she just snatched it up and claimed it as her own, as she was packing up for home!! Linking up with: TGIFF LAFF Crazy Mom Quilts Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Weekend Retreat Behind the Seams

Posted in Christmas, Crafting, Design, fabric, Finishes, Gifts, Linkys, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

New Leaves

As for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, you vote by going here and then click in the upper right hand corner, of your favorite quilt picture. A red heart will appear when you have voted. Thanks if mine was a favorite!! If not, enjoy them all!!

High School graduation is always the time I think about turning leaves, turning the page, starting fresh, a new beginning.

Maple Leaf quilt @ Sewfrench

“In every change, in every falling leaf, there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” – Amit Ray

I started this quilt exactly a year ago.

how to make a maple leaf quiltI was testing out the stems of leaves, thin and a bit thicker… Then opting to leave them off altogether.
Stems or no stems @ Sewfrench

I knew it would be a graduation quilt for my nephew Seth. Seth is a pretty special young man in this quilter’s heart.

Baptist Fan hand quilting @ Sewfrench

He is also the “only” person I have made a second quilt for, because they wore the first one out.

How to quilt a Baptist Fan @ SewfrenchThe quilt was made for him when he was born, back when I didn’t photograph half the quilts I made. I don’t remember it very well, it was worn out well before most kids are ready to give up their blankies. I do know it was very similar to the pattern, Welcome Sunshine, which I used to make it.

Welcome Sunshine quilt @ SewfrenchSeth then went on to love on his older brother’s baby quilt, another unphotographed quilt. It is a good thing his older sister didn’t get her gift, of a quilt, until her HS graduation or he may have loved it to death, too!

New Leaves @ Sewfrench

Gotta love a guy who appreciates handmade quilts!

Quilt Label @ Sewfrench
This one is chocked full of good wishes and happy thoughts for all the changes to come!

Maple Leaf quilt by Sewfrench

New Leaves
Hand-quilting category
a maple leaf variation
for Seth
60″ x 90″
Kona cottons
machine-pieced
hand-quilted in the Baptist fan design
by Sewfrench

If this quilt so happens to be one of your favorites you can nominates it by clicking here. And copying and pasting this web pages’ address which is
http://sewfrench.com/2015/05/16/new-leaves/

Thank you!!!

“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” – Amit Ray

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2015Previous BQF entries:
Flower Garden ~ Fall 2009
Mosaic Tiles ~ Spring 2011
Shoot For the Moon ~ Fall 2011
Bubble Quilt ~ Spring 2012
Out of This World ~ Fall 2012
Thousand Pyramids~ Spring 2013
Head Over Heels in Love ~ Baby quilt ~ Fall 2013
Take A Hike ~ Art quilt ~ Fall 2013
Blowin’ in the Wind ~ Spring 2014

Also linking up with:
TGIFF
LAFF
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Weekend Retreat
Fiber Tuesday
P.S. I have been told this quilt is in the book Vintage Quilt Revival Quilts. Though I have not seen the book, or the author talk about it, there is always the possibility that I have seen someone else make it, though I do not recall that either. That is not to say it wasn’t lodged in my subconscious, at some point, and if that is the case I would definitely want to give the designer credit where credit is due. I was going for an oversized maple leaf quilt and apparently Lee had the same idea as well!

Posted in 2015 completes, Design, fabric, Gifts, hand quilting, Quilting, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

★★★★☆

“Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  is a vivid, lyrical and thoughtful writing of a truly somber subject. The story draws you in emotionally, and the themes of war, choice, fate, and perspective are thought-provoking and powerfully rendered through characters that are fascinating, engaging and compelling. I found this one a challenging read. In some ways the prose was very dense– I often found myself needing to pause and take time to ruminate, and it required attentiveness throughout. Hence the length of time it took me to get through it.

Alternating chapters between a girl in France, Marie-Laure, who is blind and a boy orphan, Werner, in Germany, who fixes radios and is an engineering/inventing savant the story quickly draws you in.

Shy but courageous and resourceful, Marie-Laure has learned to navigate the streets of her neighborhood with the help of a wooden scale-model made by her father. He also sharpens her mind by hiding birthday gifts in intricate puzzle boxes that he carves.

Werner is sent to a special academy for talented German youth. We know the paths of Marie-Laure and Werner are set toward each other, but the slow unfolding of the somber story is handled in a way that reveals some of where it’s going but not all.

It was a bit long, but never difficult to read. Marie-Laure and Werner are both deeply inspired by science, but in different ways – Marie-Laure grows up with an intimate knowledge of natural history, shells, and sea snails through her father’s occupation. Werner has an innate ability to figure out how things work. I found his challenge – caught between poverty and opportunity through the Reich compelling. I think the descriptions of the blind girl, her loving father, and her damaged uncle were very well written.

Near the end of the book, Doerr moves the narrative to the 70s, some twenty-five to thirty years, after WWII. One particular quote that really hit home, “Every hour someone for whom the war was memory falls out of the world.”, will stick with you.

As an international bestseller, a finalist for the National Book Awards, and has been named a best book of 2014 at the New York Times, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, et al, it is one of my favorites of the year. This would make a great book club read.

Posted in Books, Finishes, Reading, Watcha reading | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant★★★☆☆

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable coming-of-age novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.

Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today.” She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naïve girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.

Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Anita Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.

Anita Diamant is best known for her book The Red Tent which I thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot say the same for this one.

The novel is presented as a monologue memoir chronicling her life, in Boston, from her birth in 1900, to Jewish immigrants, to her marriage in 1927. These years are covered in great detail, but her life after her marriage is glossed over.

I didn’t feel like there was anything particularly spectacular about The Boston Girl, but there was something about the tone ,and the ease with which the story was told, that made it tolerable.

Addie, the 85-year-old narrator, thinking back on her experiences as a child and young woman at the beginning of the 20th century, is a great story-teller but the emotion of her stories is often painted too broadly to let the book feel like an intimate, personal tale. At times, I found myself rereading, not believing what I just read. For instance, the funeral scene with half-sized caskets and the mournful remembrance, “He liked peas and his first word was ball”.

This book lacks sparkle. It is a plain and predictable recounting of her life: this happened and then this happened and then this happened . . . Things happen to her family and friends but not to her. At a young age, she is recognized as someone possessing intelligence and “gumption” and so acquires mentors and a circle of sympathetic friends who support her so she is never without a job or a place to live. When tragedies occur in her family, she seems largely detached; she describes her feelings, but she seems to recover quickly. The result is one anecdote, after another, with no suspense since nothing dramatic happens in her life. And once she is married, nothing noteworthy occurs.

The one thing that does stand out is Addie’s voice. Her tone is convincingly conversational. She speaks very frankly to her 22 year old granddaughter as if she is 9. She can be witty. Unfortunately, she doesn’t offer any new wisdom; she tells her granddaughter ,“Don’t let anyone tell you things aren’t better than they used to be”. And that’s it.

I have a hard time believing this is the same author as the writer of The Red Tent. A really hard time… This book lacks substance, a week from now I will barely remember having read it…

Posted in Books, Finishes, Reading | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Will these be on your St. Patrick’s Day table?

Taking the month of March, to recharge and reconnect, is priceless. We are alive and well, thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

We are spending more time in the sunshine,

Sewfrench @ Anna Maria Island, FL

reading,

Anna Maria Island, FL

walking, (10,000 steps is about 5 miles)

Fitbit charge @ Sewfrench

going to ballgames (go Detroit Tigers),

Sewfrench@ Detroit Tigers

than blogging, sewing or even computing. And still trying to figure out what to do for dinner!

I had half of an avocado, leftover from a salad and I remembered a recipe I recently saw and wanted to try, so I squeezed lime juice over it until I could make these Avocado Deviled Eggs.

So what will be on your St. Patty’s Day table?
These will be on ours.
And possible our Easter table, too. And 4th of July. And Thanksgiving….

Because we are away from home, I didn’t have my usual wealth of ingredients, and condiments, so I had to make do with what I had on hand. They were still a huge hit! And I don’t think you could mess them up if you tried.

Avocado Deviled Eggs @ Sewfrench

Avocado Deviled Eggs
printer friendly version

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
2 1/2 TBS mayonnaise
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp of hot pepper mixture (from the top of Supremely Spicy Hummus because it is what I had, Sriracha would be another great substitute)

Best Hummus ever!

This spicy topping is what I used when I had nothing else spicy, in the house.

Cut eggs in half, pop the yolks out and mash everything together  until smooth. Because you aren’t using very much mayo these do need a touch of salt added. As for the lime and spice level that is always an personal preference. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pipe or spoon into each egg white. Sprinkle with cayenne powder if you have it!

Alternatively you could follow the original recipe.

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
3 slices cooked turkey bacon, chopped,
divided
2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced (optional)
1 dash hot sauce, or to taste (optional)

Scoop egg yolks into a bowl; add avocado, 2/3 of chopped turkey bacon, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt. Mash egg yolk mixture until filling is evenly combined.
Spoon filling into a piping bag or plastic bag with a snipped corner. Pipe filling into each egg white; top with a turkey bacon piece, jalapeño slice, and dash hot sauce.

These are a nice guacamole flavored alternative to traditional deviled eggs. I’m thinking they will be a perfect use for some of those dozens of Easter Eggs that you will soon be looking for recipes for!

Enjoy!

Posted in Celebrate, Cooking, Eating, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nursery Door Silencer…

Latch Cover…. what ever you want to call it, it is what grand baby needs. This is how I did it. I also used 2 layers of quilt batting to pad it just a bit.

Nursery Door Silencer Tutorial at Sewfrench
And seeing how we have no traditional knobs in our house, I hope this elastic is stretchy enough for regular door knobs.
Nursery Door Silencer Tutorial at Sewfrench
And don’t get cute and think you can use colorful ponytail holders… Even these new, unused ones, lost all elasticity in just one trial installation….

Dirty Ironing Board cover @ Sewfrench
Installed. And this is not just to cover the latch to make it quieter.

Nursery Door Silencer Tutorial at Sewfrench
This is so Little Miss Cutie Pants can’t keep locking herself in her bedroom and then screaming for her mommy to rescue her.

She does love to close herself in the bathroom and talk to herself, too!

Linking up with:

TGIFF
LAFF
NTT
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

Posted in Crafting, Finishes, Sewing, video | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

 

Dark Places by Jillian Flynn★★★☆☆

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

For those that don’t enjoy true crime type books, Dark Places by Jillian Flynn , could be considered violent and disturbing. Though this is not true crime, it is a character based mystery and more of a narrative of the things the protagonist did and what she learned as the story unfolds. It was an interesting plot but it was definitely not as exciting a read as Gone Girl.

Flynn does a great job with both the struggling Libby in the present and the family in 1985, when the crime took place. The stark reality of a poor farm family in the mid-’80s along with Libby’s pathetic life as an adult makes for a pretty depressing story, but Flynn really sucks the reader into the plight of everyone involved. I was somewhat let down by the ending, but I can’t say much about that without spoilers.

It is a good read for those who don’t mind a raw story about just how much life can sometimes suck, even if you don’t get chopped to bits with an axe. As I type this,  the Kindle version is on Amazon for $2.99, a fair price, in my opinion.

Still reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. For some reason I am struggling with this one. I’m about half way through and enjoying it, but not rushing back to read on it every chance I get. Surely this time, next week, I will be reporting how much I enjoyed it.

All the Light We Cannot See

Next up… The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

The Boston Girl by Anita DiamantFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable coming-of-age novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.

Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today.” She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naïve girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.

Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Anita Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.

And with a review as detailed as that I hope there is more to the story!!

Linking up with:
It’s Monday, What are you Reading?

 

 

Posted in Books, Finishes, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments