Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Small Big Tote Bag

This is the second Big Tote Bag I've made and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

The difference this time is that I reduced the pattern to 75%, as I liked the shape but wanted something a bit smaller to take my lunch to work.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Commit Sewing Crimes.

Yeah I know. I'm BAD. I'm bad. You know it. You know. (Thanks Michael Jackson.)

But rules were made to be broken, right?

I use cheap thread. Really cheap - like a triple pack for $2. Not always, but particularly for white thread. My machine is fine with it and I've never had any thread snap or nest.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Recent Reads

I think most of you know that I'm a bookworm! I thought I would share some good reads that I've enjoyed lately. I always love a good recommendation so please tell me about titles you've loved lately. Leave a comment so I can check them out!

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.

The final in this six book series (that starts with City of Bones). It was a fast paced read that introduces a lot of new characters from her new series The Dark Artifices (which is coming next year I think) but also wraps up The Mortal Instruments series nicely and gives some explanations to the ending of the The Infernal Devices series, which was completed earlier this year. If I'm completely honest, this series should have finished up at book 3 (City of Glass), but I still enjoyed it. The genre is YA paranormal fantasy with action and romance. I read a lot of this genre and Cassandra Clare is certainly one of the best writers of this type of fiction.

If you haven't read her books before, start with Clockwork Princess - The Infernal Devices series is my favourite of hers so far.

Lost On Planet China by J. Maarten Troost

I read a lot of travel narratives and I recently downloaded this one to my Kindle app, which I am using more and more. I do love turning pages of a real book but there is something so satisfying about an instant download! Do you agree? Books vs e-readers - what camp are you in? I'm on the fence right now and enjoying both formats.

But back to the book. This was a funny read and I've found there to be precious few travel books on China. There were moments where I felt the author was a bit intolerant of cultural differences but on the whole it was an interesting read and it took me to not only the big well known Chinese cities but some of the less known areas of western China. Very engaging and a real page turner - I finished it n 48 hours. If you like travel narratives give it a go.

Already Dead by Charlie Huston

Another vampire book. Yep I do enjoy the paranormal stuff and make no apologies for it. This one was a lot grittier than most. Poor old Edward Cullen would have had no chance against Joe Pitt, the main character of this book. Set in New York with political vampire factions, dark links to the paranormal underworld and lots of seedy street life, this book was a fun change of pace from the usual teen romance / vampire makes good literature that is out there. There is a whole series of the Joe Pitt books so I look forward to working my way through them.

Serena by Ron Rash

Not my usual choice but I confess I was interested to read this once I found out Jennifer Lawrence was playing the role of Serena in the upcoming film version. Set in North Carolina in the 1930s, the novel centres on newlywed couple Serena and George Pemberton. Serena is not your usual society lady and instills herself as a figure of harsh authority and fear over the logging labourers and anyone else who gets in the way of her ambitions. If you like historical fiction, American literature and period female characters that aren't the usual helpless romantic cliche, this one is for you. And you know if JLaw is on board, it's going to be good.

And right now, I'm enjoying Pretty Good Number One by Matthew Amster-Burton. It's another travel narrative about an American family who spend a month in Tokyo, and focuses upon their adventures exploring Japanese cuisine. The author tends to go off on tangents and seems amazed about everything relating to Japanese food culture, but maybe I'm spoilt by the wide range of Japanese ingredients and restaurants available in Australia. Apart from that it's still a really interesting read so far and for $4 (kindle version) on Amazon it was a great bargain!

What are you reading?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Red Diamond Quilt - Tutorial

You know those days you wake up and BAM! There is an idea in your head that you can't get rid of and you must MAKE IT NOW!

That happened to me with this quilt. It's the first quilt I have made for myself and it's been lovely this winter to snuggle into it while I watch TV or read in the evenings.

This is a lap quilt made with large half square triangles.  The final size is a 56 inch (142cm) square.
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