Book Review: A Stillness of Chimes

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Amazon - A Stillness of Chimes

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley opens with the main character returning to her hometown due to her mother’s death. Rumors have been circulating around town that Laura’s father, presumed to have drowned years before, has been seen. Laura joins forces with an old flame to find out if there is any truth in the rumors. Along that way, Laura learns more about her past and defines her future.

I had the opportunity to review this book before, but passed it up due to what I thought was an implausible story line. However, second time around, I thought I’d give it a shot and I’m so glad that I did. This was a very well written and interesting book that I recommend as a fun read. Some aspects of the story are predicable, like getting back together with her old flame, but it was pleasantly so. In addition, the twists of the story kept the overall book from feeling predicable.

Because there were so many twists and new developments in the story, I greatly appreciated the use of foreshadowing. Not once did I feel that any of the new developments were trumped up. Instead, the story was a clear unraveling of the past events and the impact on the character’s current lives.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Coloring May Lucky Stars

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I’m working through these blocks. Before you know it, I’ll be caught up! Just in time to go back to work (after maternity leave) and fall behind again…. Well, hopefully not, we’ll have to see how life goes. On, a happier note, here’s the May blocks.

Abstract Orbit

Abstract Orbit

Blades

Blades

Bubble Gum

Bubble Gum

Burst

Burst

Fractured Blades

Fractured Blades

Illusion

Illusion

Thin Pin

Thin Pin

Don’t Call Me Betsy - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club

Me Made May Week 4: Summing it all up

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Well, I did it! My first Me Made May! I hit my main goal and came close to my bonus goal. I do admit that I fudged on when my week started and ended. In the end, I wore four different me-made pieces approximately a week apart. Good enough for me! :)

Week 1: Batik Maxi Skirt
Week 2: Shirt Fail
Week 3: Funky Skirt
Week 4: Yellow and Black Skirt (no pics since I already blogged this one)

For my bonus goal for carrying accessories, I used the ring sling I made and I carried the purse I made, once I went back to work. So, I had a couple accessories for the month, but not as many as I’d hoped.

Because I was starting back to work after maternity leave, I figured my sewing time would be cut down too far to make much new. I thought I’d have to wear one of the two things I’d already made more than once. But no, I surprised myself and made three new items (and my husband is awesome and lets me disappear into the sewing room… ). One of the three things I made probably won’t get worn again, sadly, but I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience and move right along!

I’m so glad that I decided to go for this and that I completed my challenge. Most of all though, I’m glad I decided on a reasonable (for me) goal. Now I’m even more motivated to get sewing on a wardrobe. By next year, maybe I’ll be ready to sew with the big girls! :)

April Lucky Star Block Finished

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I’ve completed the April block. I’m so close to being caught up! I don’t think I’ll get May’s done this month, but I think I can get both May and June done next month. That means it only took me half the year to catch up. (When I say it like that, it doesn’t feel so warm and fuzzy…. Oh, well, better late than never! )

To state the obvious, but something that I’m still excited about: I’m getting better and better with each block I sew. Since this was a block with 8 seams in the middle, I was able to practice keeping the bulk down and getting all the seams lined up (since January’s really didn’t go well). I was halfway there; I got the seams lined up nicely, but the bulk was ridiculous! I’ll just have to make sure my quilting doesn’t go straight through there.

Lucky Stars BOM April

Lucky Stars BOM April

Ok, May, here I come!

Don’t Call Me Betsy - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club

Book Review: When We Were on Fire

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Mostly this blog is about sewing, but I’ve gotten the opportunity to blog for some free books. Since reading has been a love of mine from a young age, I could hardly pass up the opportunity. If this isn’t your thing, please feel free to skip this. I’ll return to sewing related topics in my next post. :)

The book When We Were on Fire is the memoirs of Addie Zierman during her journey through religious disillusionment. She was an on-fire youth, but had her heart broken as she grew up. The consequences of her broken heart led to destructive behaviors and questioning of what she’d believed so firmly before. She ends her book with her steps toward healing and return to her faith, however tentative.

Going into this, I was aware it was memoirs, but I anticipated it to be slightly more theological than it ended up being. This was a very personal story of pain and learning and growing. The author switched between first and second person narrative as a way to draw the reader in and further the story. In general, first person was used to demonstrate an event that the author wanted to highlight, while second person showed the passing of time and the changing of her character between events. At first this threw me a little, but once I got into the pattern, I found it very helpful. While I have much more in common with the author than not, the book was so personal that at times I struggled to relate. The switching helped the story keep moving and helped me feel connected even when she was doing or saying things that I didn’t really understand her reasons.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t say that I recommend it flat out. If you’re someone that has worked through your own journey of faith questioning, then this is probably something that you could relate to. Perhaps someone who had never questioned their own convictions deeply could relate, but it could possibly be difficult to empathize with some of her choices if you’ve never felt completely lost and disconnected from everything you held as true and real.

The conclusion of the book felt loose for me, that she didn’t really concluded anything. I hoped for more joy and freedom through Christ to come through the pages as a part of her healing. But that’s mostly because that’s how my journey of disillusionment ended, not necessarily hers, and that’s ok. I hope for her and for others that read this or are going through their own journey that you find the freedom, healing, and hope that can only come through Christ and no one, not even Church People, can take it away.

I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Me Made May Week 3 – Funky Skirt

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A while back Hot Patterns and Fabric.com were giving a way a free skirt pattern. It’s a funky gored skirt with 8 ruffled panels. I got some cheap knit to make it out of, cut out 2/3 of the pieces, realized that I hadn’t bought enough fabric, so promptly let it languish in the UFO pile.  I finally bought the rest of the fabric I needed, let it sit for a while longer, just for good measure (yes, Sheldon, that’s sarcasm) and this last weekend finally got around to sewing it up.

It was a fairly quick sew once I got going on it. I still have troubles trying to stretch knit pieces to fit as they roll terribly and I get cranky about it. I think the next few projects will be in woven fabric just to help me to not rip any hair out. Any tips on keeping the rolling under control would be appreciated. Am I just doing something wrong?

This skirt isn’t my usual style, but it’s sometimes fun to have something a little different when you need to get out of a “business casual” rut, amiright?

 

Me Made May Week 3 - Gored Skirt

Me Made May Week 3 – Gored Skirt

I want to Swoon!

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I’ve been seeing Swoon quilts around and about the quilting world. I think some blogs even did a Swoon-a-long last year. I didn’t jump on the band wagon then, but I’m on it now! I bought the pattern and have pulled fabric for it. I’m thinking about adding sashing and borders to make this queen sized, but the jury’s still out on that. 80″ by 80″ is still a very good sized quilt.

My initial thought was a rainbow swoon (since I fell in love with this one from Living with Punks). However, I was short a few colors to do the full rainbow. Initially I thought whohooo! a trip to the fabric store! But reality set in when I looked at my fabric budget (*sigh* anybody know of a money tree? cause I’d love one!) and I decided to see what I could come up with from my stash. I decided to go with the warm spectrum of the rainbow. Maybe in the future, I’ll do a second swoon quilt in the future and do the cool end. :)

I’m also still deciding on the background fabric. I always default to a white background, but the fabrics I’ve selected also have a lot of white in them. I’m worried the blocks won’t pop enough. I might make a mini swoon block to see what it looks like. Any other background color suggestions?

 

Swoon Fabric Pull

Swoon Fabric Pull

 

Me Made Week 2 – Shirt: 1, Me: 0

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This post is a little late, as this was actually done and worn (for a short while) last week. I made a mistake with this shirt, which was: I thought I knew what I was doing. I’d seen tutorials around for “quick and easy” kimono sleeve shirts. Don’t believe the hype! Or at least, have better sewing skills than I do going in. Overall, I don’t like this shirt at all. The only piece that came out like I thought it would was the band. Nothing else seemed to work or look like I thought it would.

Enough of the dwelling, here’s the pics. I think this one’s going immediately into the refashion pile for when I’ve maybe lost some weight and I can do something else with it.

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt - Front

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt – Front

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt - Back

MMM Week 2 Kimono Shirt – Back

Bobbin Tension Issues in my Brother Machine

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I sew on a Brother BC-1000 sewing machine. To be perfectly honest, I don’t actually remember buying it or even remember when I bought it. I’m pretty sure I had it in college? Maybe not though because I don’t have any memory of jamming it into my tiny apartment. Either way, it’s been a while since I’ve had this machine and it’s been very good to me. I think the most I’ve abused it is when I made my purse on it. It really didn’t like all the layers of fake leather and interfacing, etc. But it pulled through and made me a wondeful bag that I’ve gotten lots of compliments on.

Brother BC-1000 sewing machine

Brother BC-1000 sewing machine. She’s been very good to me!

Awhile back, my steady little machine started having issues. It looked like bobbin tension issues to me. In spite of thoroughly scouring the manual and many many Google searches, I couldn’t seem to find anything on it. So I drove the 40 minutes to the closest Brother repair place.

Bobbin Tension Issues

Bobbin Tension Issues

When I got there, I showed the man my fabric sample. He spent exactly half of one second looking at it and said, “Bobbing threading issue.” Of course, this confused me because I had re-threaded and re-threaded the bobbing and re-read the manual and then re-threaded again. Then he proceeded to show me how the plastic piece that I thread under first can come a little loose. All he did was push down on that as he threaded the bobbing, and presto change-o, perfect stitches! I so appreciate his honesty; he could have had me going that it was a major issue!

On my machine, you can kind of see the arm with an arrow on it directly below the bobbin That’s the piece that I have to push down on to make sure it threads under.

Bobbin Case With Cover

Bobbin Case With Cover

Here’s a close up of the bobbing without the cover. The part where the thread is going through is what wasn’t getting threaded. Now I know how to feel for it as I thread it, so no more issues.

Bobbin Case Close Up

Bobbin Case Close Up

I wanted to do a post on this since I couldn’t find much info out there on it. I hope it helps someone else to not have to take a trip to the repair shop. :)

Coloring April Lucky Stars

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I’ve got the March block sewed, so now it’s time to color in the April block. I did all of them again. I keep saying to myself that I’m not going to do all of them each time. I just get to going and having too much fun and their all done again. I even had an idea for another color scheme, but I stopped myself from adding it. A girl’s got to know when to quit! :)

Abstract Orbit

Abstract Orbit

Burst

Burst

Illusion

Illusion

Fractured Blades

Fractured Blades

Blades

Blades

Bubble Gum

Bubble Gum

Thin Pin

Thin Pin

 

Don’t Call Me Betsy - the 2014 Lucky Stars BOM Club