The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

★★★★☆

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is The Silent Sister alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

Enjoyable read. Although it wasn’t hard to figure out the mysteries involved, the writer developed the plot with enough characterization and details to make it interesting.

This novel, that admittedly, didn’t offer too many surprises, was well-paced, well-written and managed to hold my attention. Actually more than just hold my attention. Considering I’ve been feeling like I have been bogged down in American history books, this one had me excited enough to hop back on the treadmill to read more. Characters were well-developed, for the most part believable, and fairly complex. The story was intriguing and original, a midweight page turner for sure.

This was the first I have read of Chamberlain’s work. I recently read that if you are new to her writings it is probably not advisable to start here. Try The Midwife’s Confession or perhaps Necessary Lies instead. I’ve added both to my reading list. Or at least understand that she has books others loved even more.

Next up….
I just started Dark Places by Jillian Flynn and it has sucked me in quickly.

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

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.

Dark Places by Jillian Flynn

Also reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, this one has been a little slower to catch my attention, but I am still plugging along hoping the pace will pick up soon.

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

All the Light We Cannot See

What are you reading right now?

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It’s Monday, What are you Reading?

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

The thing about reading blogs…

is there is always something you didn’t know you needed until you see someone else makes it!

When I saw what Allison, at Cluck, Cluck Sew, had made, I went digging around until I found a our youngest’s most precious baby doll, Amy, tucked away for safekeeping.

Madame Alexander Huggums doll

This doll is the Madame Alexander Huggums doll. The perfect size for a first birthday baby doll. Our youngest lugged it everywhere she went for years. It is the same doll our granddaughter has.

I took her out, took some measurements, she is a 12″ doll for reference, and drew up a pattern for a sleeping bag of sorts. Allison has measurements for a larger doll, she calls it a baby wrap.

Baby Wrap pattern @ sewfrench

You get the idea.

Baby doll wrap tutorial @ Sewfrench

I cut my fabrics several inches larger than the pattern, sandwiched my fabrics, the front material, a scrap of cotton batting and then the back fabric. I did this for the back and a second set for the front pocket. I machine quilted them using a wide loose zigzag. It is  hard to see in the picture. If you aren’t happy with your machine quilting skills a busy pattern works well.

Baby Doll Sleeping Bag tutorial  @ Sewfrench

Same for the front pocket. Once the quilting was complete, I cut them to the pattern size.

Baby Wrap tutorial @ Sewfrench

I allowed an extra couple of inches at the top, of the pocket to make it easier for an 18 month old to stuff her baby in. This tapered down to the exact size, front and back, at the bottom. You don’t have to do this especially if your little one is a bit older.

Baby Wrap @ Sewfrench

I then bound the top edge of the front, same as I would a quilt. Then basted the front and back together and bound the entire baby wrap/sleeping bag whatever you want to call it. I tossed it in the wash and you can now see the quilted design a little better.

Baby Doll Bag @ Sewfrench

18 month olds are very much into putting things in to other things. They are working on fine motor skills and their hand eye coordination is improving. I think this serves all those learning categories well.

Baby Doll Wrap at Sewfrench

I can’t wait to play baby dolls with sweet little Amelia!

Thanks, Allison, for the idea!

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Posted in Crafting, Design, fabric, Family, Finishes, Gifts, Quilting, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Bright and bold fabrics appears to be my favorite

Mostly just been piddling around this past week.

Between getting twice weekly massages, and once a week chiropractic adjustments, I am feeling SO much better and back to walking 5 miles, every day. Only indoor walking, at this point, we still have lots of snow and an arctic blast is heading our way, as I type.

I am reminded how working out cuts into free time for other things. I have a renewed appreciation for those who work outside the home and still seem to accomplish it all!

I added a few more blocks to my Irregular Blocks quilt. I need to play with its layout. I’m still not sure what size I am going for so I can’t start sewing them together. I also need a real name for this one. Any ideas?

Irregular Blocks quilt

I also played with a bag idea, for something I saw online from Lazy Girl Designs, that doesn’t have a pattern yet. I’m still working on my version it, it is not quite what I wanted. The larger one I used headliner fabric to line it with. The smaller one I used fusible fleece. The headliner worked  fabulously. I can’t get enough of these shot cottons from Peppered Cotton fabrics, such luscious colors!

Zippered bag @ Sewfrench

That is all I’ve got. What about you?

Linking up with:

WIP
Let’s Bee Social
Fabric Tuesday
Sew Cute Tuesday
A Round Tuit

Posted in Crafting, Design, fabric, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Easiest liver cleanse ever.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver represents certain energy.

Movement.

If things are flowing nicely within your body as well as in life, the liver is working with balance.

Beginnings. Cleaning body. Elimination. Creativity. Exercise. Garden.

If there’s an imbalance, you will feel stuck.

Same old stuff. Clutter. Congestion. Overeating. Excess. Laziness. Weeds.

Since the liver rules the spring season, it’s a good idea to give your liver a break with eating more greens like spinach and arugula. But since we abuse our bodies year round, I think it’s a good idea to regularly eat liver cleansing foods.

And since this one is our very favorite salads, we could eat it days and days on end. And have been known to! Arugula is SO good for you and we just can’t get enough of that spicy, peppery bite, especially when combined with lemon and parmesan.

Arugula Salad @ Sewfrench

When you add fresh lemon juice as part of the dressing you have created a perfect food for a liver cleanse.

How are you feeling these days? Stuck? Unfocused? Energized? Creative? Or maybe just bored with the salad options? Give this one a go and let me know what you think!

Arugula Salad with Lemon Dressing
serves 2-4
printer friendly recipe

1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon
4 cups (packed) baby arugula
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Put the greens in your salad bowl and gently massage a sprinkling of sea salt into the greens, this will tenderize them just a touch. We love this so much we use about 2/3 of one of those 5 oz plastic tubs of arugula for the two of us, the dressing is pretty much the perfect amount.

Pour most of the the dressing over the greens, add the  tomatoes, toss until the dressing is thoroughly combined, adding more as necessary and serve to the delight of your friends and family!

Now just back off and accept the compliments.

Linking up with:
CrazyMom

Posted in Cooking, Eating, Favorite Things, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Playing with Scraps

I just got this stack of beauties in the mail. So much fun in such a small package!

Color Your Stash

I “finally” got a round to signing up for one of those stash-building fabric subscription services. You’ve seen them, right? You pay a certain amount per month and they send you a stack of fabric. You can choose size of each piece of fabric, too, which will affect your monthly bill. This one works its way through the color rainbow and sends a variety, of one color, every month. There are several different companies that offer this service and I’m not sure why but I chose Fabric Shoppe’s Color Your Stash but I did. I chose the fat quarter size, I think it will be plenty for the type quilts I make. I couldn’t be happier!!

January’s color shipment was pink and I received my package of 12 prints that are from light to dark as well as a matching Auriful thread. Love Auriful. I was late signing up so I just received this one and expect February’s reds pretty quickly. How fun is that? Have you ever participated in one of these services? Were you happy with it? Did you stick it out through the whole color wheel?

I have been draining my stash pretty well, lately, and have felt pretty weak in certain color areas. I thought this would be the easiest way to start filling it in without having to make all those difficult decisions myself. Anyone else feel that way???

Fabric Organizing at Sewfrench

Or maybe I just felt like I deserved something for cleaning and organizing…. again….

And while I pet all those beauties, I am continuing to play with my scraps. I hate cutting into new fabric right away. I like thinking about all the possibilities!

Playing with scraps at Sewfrench

So playing with scraps, shapes and cardboard templates is what I’m doing while I wish this winter away. Somehow playing with color helps.

How about you?

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WIP
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Fabric Tuesday
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Posted in Design, fabric, organizing, Quilting, scraps, studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What Does the Fox Say???

Last week, when I was out photographing my Flower Garden quilt, I was amazed at the amount of tracks there were out back. It hadn’t snowed in a few days, but still WOW. These are not human tracks, this is a very private area. The back of our house is all windows, we would see this kind of party happening if there were people in our backyard.

DSC_7150

Every direction you look are tracks! I know we have a lot of deer, we have seen as many as 17 at once, most often we see a family of five and occasionally will see other critters but this is an insane amount of tracks.

DSC_7151

Then one morning recently, just after we got up, hadn’t even poured our coffee, My husband spotted this gorgeous fox out the window. We wondered what he was doing just standing there… He paid no attention as Peter grabbed the camera and started photographing, through the window.

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Then he laid down. Lying in wait…

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just before he pounced three feet into the air!

DSC_7125

He dove in, snout first, to snatch something from beneath the snow. We think it was a vole, it was bigger than a mouse anyway.

DSC_7126

And came up with his breakfast. He then layed it down to inspect it like a picky kid.

DSC_7128

Looks good to me. We’ve never seen such a beautiful fox. The red was vibrant and the white was pure. Apparently he eats well around here.

DSC_7130

And away we go.

DSC_7131

So what does the fox say?
Nothing.
He quietly minds his own business….

I imagine this is happening day and night around here. Thus all the tracks.

We live in an awesome neighborhood!

Posted in Nature, Photography, Quilting, View out my window | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Flower Garden quilt

I first talked about this quilt just a week ago. The quilt is based on the classic quilt block, Drunkard’s Path, and set with sashing and borders of the same size as the finished blocks. In this case 4″.

When I started I was just sewing blocks. I hadn’t decided on a finished quilt size.

Drunkards Path quiltI later decided I wanted the finished blocks to stand out more. So I decided to add sashing and borders using the same common size of 4″.

Flowers Garden quilt at Sewfrench

Loving where this was going, I decided this would be a baby quilt and was quickly getting too big. So I made the decision to stop at four flowers. The extras leave me halfway to another baby quilt finish. How many of those do you have?!!

I auditioned a lot of floral fabrics, from my stash, and decided on these two pieces for the back. I think they really compliment the front. One piece was from the 90’s and one was left from a quilt back I made last summer. You know that long piece you have left when you join two widths of fabric to make a back? When you need a piece wider than 44″ but not as wide as 88″? I am always happy to be using up things I already spent the money on!

Quilt back at Sewfrench

I opted to machine quilt, this one. I went with a wavy zigzag between 1/4″ and 1/2″ apart. It created such beautiful texture. I just love it! It makes me want to touch it.

Flower Garden quilt by SewfrenchThis one is shipping out to a sweet, great-niece who was born in October. I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it, especially for her!

Flower Garden by Sewfrench
“Flower Garden”
a Drunkard’s Path variation
Created by Sewfrench
Kona Snow and assorted scraps
Machine pieced and quilted
40″ x 40″

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Posted in 2015 completes, Design, fabric, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments