Monday Musing: Quilting as a Metaphor

I first quilted 30+ years ago. I wasn’t very good. I was still in the “close is good enough” phase of my sewing. I had crooked seams, strips that resembled a weird trapezium more
than a rectangle. I still have one of my early efforts and to prove that I have basically no pride, I’ll post a picture.

quiltYeah. See that strip on the left.

Yep. I sewed that. And more egregiously, I left it!

Oy vey.

Fast forward a couple of decades and my sewing skills (and standards) were considerably higher and I decided to try another quilt.

But a small one. An easy one.

So I bought a kit for an expected grand-daughter. I planned to have it done before she was born. I think I had it to her before her second birthday. Give or take.

 

I really enjoy the process of piecing the quilt top. I’m less enamored of the actual quilting. I have several quilt tops done and ready for the backing and batting step. I have the batting and the backing fabric. I just can’t seem to bring myself to pin them together.

It’s a symptom, I’m afraid, of a larger problem. And I know I’m not alone. Finishing a project. I think I caught it from Stud Muffin. We have many home projects that are thisclose to be done. My office threshold was duct tape for nearly two years until I insisted he finish it. Friends often comment that they have the same problem.

Why is this? Anyone know??

The next few Mondays will be spent on quilting. I’ll try to get a picture of that baby quilt. It has one off square (free hint: do not try to piece satin or silky fabrics. They slide all over the place and are very difficult to work with).

The current stories I’m working on are set in Harts Leap, a fictional cross of Paso Robles, Stars Hollow, and Bass Lake, located where the real Bass Lake sits. In story number one, a local quilt shop, Pieces of My Heart, has a large role. I get to use some of my quilting knowledge in the story. And even more fun, every quilt is beautiful! No crooked seams!

Do you quilt? If yes, what do you love about quilting? If no, why not? And do you have a problem finishing projects? If yes, why do you think that’s so?

 

 

Wednesday Wanderings: Yosemite

I’m blessed to live just over an hour from the south entrance to the park. I’m less than two hours from Yosemite Valley. I’m blessed beyond measure to be able to spend time in Wawona, inside the park, but about an hour from the Valley. Wawona is beautiful, but less crowded than the Valley floor.

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Historic Wawona Hotel (now called the Big Trees Lodge–do not get me started on that!)

We’ve been going to Wawona for family vacations and long weekends pretty regularly for the past … twenty-mumble years. It’s a place of memories, laughter, and fun. We’ve celebrated milestones. We’ve grieved and cried. We’ve rested and healed. Yosemite is very near to our hearts, Wawona even more.

 

In the coming weeks, we’ll spotlight different areas of the park and the surrounding area. We’ll talk history. We’ll go on photographic tours.

Is there anything specific you’d like to hear about the park and the area? Anything I can find out for you?

Here’s a picture of our favorite swimming hole, just to whet your appetite.

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I can hardly wait to go back!

 

Book Talk Tuesday: 7 by Jen Hatmaker

I feel like I’m always a little behind the rest of the world.

I definitely got to the Jen Hatmaker party a little late, but I’m having a great time now that I’m here.

I recently finished 7, her book about simplifying life.

Really good.

Just what I needed to hear at that point.

7Basically, Jen took 7 areas of her life and pared them down to 7 essentials. She did each area for a month. Some of the practices made their way into her life permanently, others were for that month only.

The areas included food, clothing, possessions, waste, spending, media, and stress. For the month on food, she chose seven items and ate those exclusively for the month. In other chapters, sometimes she was limited to seven items, or she removed seven items, or instituted seven practices.

I’m trying to pare down my own excess in areas and the book helped me look at that and see that it’s doable and may not be quite as painful as I think.

Jen’s writing style is just like her on Facebook and live. She is herself. Warm. Funny. Engaging.

I got a lot out of this book and highly recommend it for anyone curious about how to get out from under the stuff that we, as prosperous and blessed Americans, accumulate as if there was a prize at the end.

Monday Musings

So after a few weeks of being a lazy blogger, I’ve been thinking about how to change things up a bit. My struggle with blogging has always been how to make it relevant to readers.

Let’s face it: no one really cares what I think or do about a given issue. ask

I mean, my family cares (I hope), but the world at large? Not so much.

I’m not an expert on anything.

I raised kids. I kept the home. And there are plenty of others already blogging on those topics with far more impressive credentials than mine.

After talking with my agent last week (–will I ever get tired of saying that? I don’t think so–) I’ve decided to retool the blog a bit, to make it more reflective of the series I’m currently working on.

The Harts Leap books are set in a resort town just outside of Yosemite. This is an area I’m well acquainted with. There is a quilt shop there that has a fairly prominent role in the first book. I’ve done some quilting. There is also a hoarder. I don’t really know anything about this topic that would make me an expert, but I can do some research.

So, my tentative plan for the blog is:

creative people iconsMonday Musings: My personal thoughts

Book Talk Tuesday: Book reviews as before

Wednesday Wanderings: Thoughts on travel, particularly around Yosemite

Thursday: Occasional Author Spotlights and Cover Reveals, as before

Food Talk Friday: Recipes and Restaurants, as before

That’s my plan! And those are my thoughts for my first Monday Musings. Thanks for stopping by.

Is there anything in particular you’d be interested in hearing about? I’d love for some reader feedback!

 

 

Book Talk Tuesday: WILD MONTANA SKIES

I snagged an advance copy of Susan May Warren’s newest. I loved her Deep Haven books and her Christiansen Family series. I was very disappointed when the series ended and I had no more to look forward to. And I was a little trepidatious to sample her new series.

What if I didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t the same? Silly, I know. Of course it’s going to be different. But come on, not like a Susan May Warren book?? Get real, Carrie.

WMSkies-CoverThe new series is called Montana Rescue. It’s about  Search and Rescue group in Montana, near Glacier National Park. And once I started WILD MONTANA SKIES I couldn’t put it down.

Kacey Fairing is on leave from her army job as a helicopter pilot. She’s come back to her Montana hometown to reconnect with her teenage daughter. She never expected to see Benjamin King there. He’s been off in Nashville, building a big music career.

The story is about Ben and Kacey finding their way back to each other after thirteen years apart. Both have misconceptions and mistakes to sort out.

The book opens with the local town being threatened by flash floods. Kacey and Ben have to work together immediately. The secondary stories are compelling as well.

At times, it felt like the book started in the middle of the story, but the backstory was layered in nicely. There are a lot of characters and I did sometimes get them confused, but I was able to sort out who was important to the story. And who will likely be getting their own book soon.

There’s lots of action (Search and Rescue! in Montana!) and plenty of emotion (star-crossed lovers!).

I loved it and now I can barely the Christiansens. Ingrid who? Deep Haven where?

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.


I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in return for a honest review. Done and done.

Book Talk Tuesday: RACE THE DARKNESS

Welcome to my Dreamweaver sis, Abbie Roads! Her debut novel releases today. I can only imagine all the feelings racing around her. Please, take a peek at what all the excitement is about!

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rtdRace the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 4, 2016


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Amazon | iBooks | Google Play | B&N | Indigo | BAM | Indie Bound

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Cursed with a terrible gift…
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them…
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

Continue reading “Book Talk Tuesday: RACE THE DARKNESS”