Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hole in the Barn Door Quilt Block and What's on Your Nightstand?

Hole in the Barn Door Quilt Block

I'm participating in the monthly feature, What's on Your Nightstand?  Participants post what they've been reading the past month as well as what they're planning to read in the future.

Baby Board Books:
I recently spent time at a bookstore checking out board books to send to our grandson.  I bought copies for us and for him so that my husband and I can read the books to him even when we aren't together. 

I love these books by Sandra Boynton as well as Jamberry by Bruce Degen.  They are fun for both adults and children!




Picture Books:
I have been reading fairy tales with my third graders, comparing and contrasting different versions.  We read The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen and compared it to The Principal's New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson - a really fun version of the story. 
We also read several versions of The Princess and the Pea, starting with Hans Christian Andersen's version.  Then we read Janet Steven's wonderfully illustrated version as well as the hilarious The Princess and the Bowling Ball byJon Scieszka and Lane Smith.  We finished with the students' favorite and mine, The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea by Tony Johnston. 




Finally, I read The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis - a Caldecott honor book.  This is a picture book most appropriate for teens and adults, I think.  Years ago, my 6th grade teacher connected me with a penpal from Czechoslovakia.  Author and illustrator Peter Sis was born in Czechoslovakia the same time as my penpal (the start of the Cold War), so this book is of particular interest to me.  Sis tells his story using both pictures and journal entries.  A perfect read if you lived during the Cold War Era or want a personal account of it from the point of view of someone who lived behind the Iron Curtain. 

       
Middle Grade/Young Adult Books:
I am reading The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney with one group of 5th graders and Great Illustrated Classics Swiss Family Robinson with another group.  Everyone is enjoying the books, including me! 

Book Challenges:
This month, I'm participating in the Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge 2014.  For this challenge, I read:

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Writer's Life by Elizabeth MacLeod (picture book)

Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Author of Anne of Green Gables, written and illustrated by Alexandra Wallner (picture book)

I wrote a separate post about this challenge here.

Book Club Books:
I read the January selection for the online Quilters' Book Club, The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling.  You can check out all posts here. 

I also read The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan.  My local book club, Raspberry Mountain Readers, had a wonderful discussion about it.

This year, I've also decided to participate in the Reading to Know Classic Book Club 2014.  Our January selection is The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, which I also read for the Lucy Maud Montgomery Book Challenge. 

Professional:
I'm probably the last reading teacher in the world to finally have read The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.  And now, I'm in the middle of her next book that she wrote with Susan Kelley called Reading in the Wild.  Both books contain many good ideas and words of wisdom in this world of high stakes testing.

What's on Your Nightstand?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  By commenting, you'll be entered to win a hardcover copy of Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas!  The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning!  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sunflower Quilt Blocks Galore and Happy Birthday, Dear Kansas!

Sunflower Quilt Block Pattern Source
 
Today is Kansas Day.
 
Kansas Troubles Quilt Block Pattern Source
 
Kansas became a state on January 29, 1861.
 
State Fair Sunflower Quilt Block Pattern Source
 
Kansas was the 34th state
admitted to the Union.
 
Dresden Plate Quilt Block Pattern Source
 
Kansas Day has been celebrated since 1877.

August Redwork Birdie Stitches Pattern Source
 
Happy 153rd Birthday, Dear Kansas!
 
 
In which state or country were you born?  Inquiring minds want to know!  (Can you guess where I was born?)
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Maple Leaf Quilt Block and Tea with Anne (with an e).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Maple Leaf Quilt Block and Tea with Anne (with an e)

Maple Leaf Quilt Block on Point
 
After I finished teaching for the morning, I had an Anne (with an e!) Day!  I finished reading Anne of Avonlea, the second book in The Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery.  (I'm taking part in the Lucy Maud Montgomery Challenge during the month of January.)
 
Then I watched the wonderful Anne of Green Gables video that I picked up from the library.  (I had been on the waiting list for awhile.)  I've seen this video several times but always enjoy it.  It really stays close to the book. 
 
My husband built a fire for me while I watched the movie.
 
I also enjoyed tea time.
 
 
When I bought these miniature daffodil bulbs two days ago, no flowers were blooming yet.
 
 
They are so cheerful in January!
 
 
My Polish pottery tea-for-one
 
 
I mix and match different blue patterns with my Polish pottery.
 
 
I found some delicious Maple Crème sandwich cookies that were perfect for a tea time with Anne from Prince Edward Island, Canada!
 
Maple Leaf Quilt Block
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post More Burp Cloths Made from Cloth Diapers.

Monday, January 27, 2014

More Burp Cloths Made from Cloth Diapers


I've been busy making some burp cloths.  I made some for a friend's grandson and some for myself!  I've discovered that, as a grandma, I need to have some of my own baby equipment and supplies.  


I bought a 10 pack of Gerber prefold premium 6-ply cloth diapers at Target for $16.  Then I washed and dried them four times, using hot water and a hot dryer, so they would shrink as much as possible. 
 
I've already made several for my son and daughter-in-law to use with our grandson.  Some of these have the fabric down the middle, but we discovered these are not the best.  To cover the most absorbent part of the diaper with fabric results in a less functional burp cloth. 
 
Others have fabric around all four sides, but we feel these are not really the best either.  Edges are so useful for wiping up all sorts of things, and the diaper fabric is far more absorbent than the decorative fabric. 
 
In the end, we like the burp cloths best that have the fabric at the top only.  These are pretty, fun, absorbent, and useful - everything we want in a burp cloth!
 
 



It's such fun being a grandma!
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Galaxy Star Quilt Block and a Song for Sunday.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Galaxy Star Quilt Block and a Song for Sunday

Galaxy Star Quilt Block Pattern Source
 
 Our Great God
 
Eternal God, unchanging mysterious and unknown
Your boundless love unfailing in grace and mercy shown
Bright seraphim in endless flight around your glorious throne
They raise their voices days and night in praise to You alone
 
CHORUS
Hallelujah!  Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah!  Glory be to our great God!
 
Lord we are weak and frail, helpless in the storm
Surround us with Your angels, hold us in Your arms
Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm
Rise up, O Lord, and he will flee before our sovereign God
 
Let every creature in the sea and every flying bird
Let every mountain, every field and valley of the earth
Let all the moons and all the stars in all the universe
Sing praises to the living God, who rules them by His Word
 
by Fernando Ortega
 
You might also enjoy my previous blog post Star of Hope Quilt Block.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Star of Hope Quilt Block for My Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt

 
I made this Star of Hope quilt block for my Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt.  This block represents The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling, which was the January book selection for the Quilters' Book Club.  Hope plays a large part in this book, which also deals with friendship, forgiveness, and loss.  If you'd like to make this block, here's a free quilt pattern for a 15" block.  
 
In the free, online Quilters' Book Club, we read and discuss a quilt novel each month and then make a quilt block to represent each book.  I have long admired red and white quilts so decided to keep it simple and go with just two fabrics, Kona Snow and Kona Rich Red, for my blocks. 
 
If you love to quilt and read, please join us!  It's easy to jump in anytime.  Check out the Quilters' Book Club Schedule right here.
 
Have you chosen a quilt block yet to represent The Healing Quilt?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  By commenting, you'll be entered to win a hardcover copy of Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas!  The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning!  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.

Plan now to join us in February to read Jennifer Chiaverini's Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, set in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War years. 
 

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Mother's Dream Quilt Block and Author Lauraine Snelling.
 

Mother's Dream Quilt Block and Author Lauraine Snelling

 
Do you love to quilt AND love to read?  I invite you to join the free, online Quilters' Book Club.  Each month, we read a book, discuss it through comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.  I research several potential blocks to go with the book's themes, setting, main characters, and events.  And I find the patterns free on the internet, making it easy for everyone to access.  Each member can choose the block or blocks they'd like to make.

To join, all you need to do is become a follower of my blog so you won't miss any blog post.  To make it convenient, you can also sign up for my posts to be delivered right to you via email.  It is never too late to join and begin reading and sewing along with us.  

I have chosen to make my quilt blocks out of only two fabrics, Kona Snow and Kona Rich Red.  And I have a name for my quilt.  It will be called my "Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt."  But, please feel free to choose whatever fabrics you'd like to use for your quilt, especially fabrics from your stash.  We quilters are such creative people.  I can't wait to see what we all create!

If you check out the book each month from your local library and use fabric from your stash, there will be no cost at all to you!   

In the Quilters' Book Club, we read and discuss quilt-related novels.  Usually, the authors are quilters as well as writers.  That is not the case with this month's selection, The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling.  As Lauraine writes in her Acknowledgments, "I make jokes about this being a patchwork book by a blind seamstress.  Quilting books helped me.  Sue and Claudia, who teach quilting, gave advice.  I have no idea how many people prayed, but I know there were many and I thank every one of you."

She does have first-hand knowledge of another important matter, though.  Lauraine writes to her readers, "Back in 1986 when our daughter Marie died of cancer at age twenty-one, I had no idea what terrible, heart breaking grief is like.  Yes, my father had died as well as other relatives, but they were older and, in the natural scheme of things, they would die before I did.  But not my daughter.  God had healed her once, and I felt sure he would do so again.  He did, but not in the way I wanted.  When someone asked me if I would write our story, I said only when God is adamant that the time is right.  I asked him years ago whether, since I am hard of hearing to that still small voice, would he please say things three times so that I get the message.  When the time came for this story to be told, he bombarded me with signals.  Three, and then three, and then three again." 

In this book, does it matter that the author is not a quilter?  How important is it that she has first-hand knowledge of grief and loss?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  By commenting, you'll be entered to win a hardcover copy of Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas!  The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning!  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.
 

Plan now to join us in February to read Jennifer Chiaverini's Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, set in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War years.  
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post My Irish Great Grandpa Quilt Up Close and Personal, Part IV.


 

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Irish Great-Grandpa Quilt Up Close and Personal, Part IV

I created my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt to accompany a biography of my great grandfather, James Lynch, written by my grandmother, Hazel Lynch Skonberg.  Read the idea behind the quilt. 
 
My long-armer and friend, Jane Heroux, did a wonderful job quilting my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.  The block above is the Yankee Puzzle block, the seventh one in my quilt.  You can find the link to the free pattern and the biography portion behind this block right here.

The eighth block in my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt is called Courthouse Steps.  You can find the link to the free pattern and the biography portion behind this block right here.
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post My Irish Great-Grandpa Quilt Up Close and Personal Part III.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt Up Close and Personal Part III

I created my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt to accompany a biography of my great grandfather, James Lynch, written by my grandmother, Hazel Lynch Skonberg.  Read the idea behind the quilt. 
 
My long-armer and friend, Jane Heroux, did a wonderful job quilting my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.  The block above is the Panama block, the fifth one in my quilt.  You can find the link to the free pattern and the biography portion behind this block right here.
 
This is the sixth block in the quilt - Gold Nuggets.  You can find pattern information and the biography portion behind this block right here.
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Writer's Block Quilt Block and Tea Time with Lucy Maud.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Writer's Block Quilt Block and Tea Time with Lucy Maude



Join me for tea with Lucy Maud Montgomery, best known for her beloved Anne of Green Gables series.  This year I decided to participate in the 5th annual Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge sponsored by Reading to Know.  You can check it out here.

Enjoy some tea and Coconut Macaroons with us!  The recipe comes from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate Macdonald and illustrated by Barbara DiLella. 

Coconut Macaroons
3 room-temperature eggs
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 
2.  Cut a large paper bag into a rectangle that will just fit on a cookie sheet.
3.  Break the eggs and separate them, putting the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a large bowl.  Beat the whites with an electric mixer until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy but not dry. 
4.  With a rubber spatula, carefully fold the sugar, coconut, and almond extract into the egg whites.  Do not stir.
5.  Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto the brown-paper covered cookie sheet - about 1 inch apart.  Bake the macaroons for 20 to 25 minutes, until they look dry on top.
6.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven.  Dampen a tea towel and lay it on the counter.  Lift the brown paper and macaroons onto the tea towel.  Let them cool completely.  Peel the macaroons off the brown paper and put them on a plate.



Reading to Know - Book ClubFor the challenge, I first read The Blue Castle, which is the only one of L. M. Montgomery's books not set on Prince Edward Island.  It's one of only two of her books written for adults as well as the first book I read of hers that wasn't an Anne book.  After reading the intro to the book, written by Collett Tracey, I didn't think I would like the book - but I really did enjoy it.  The Blue Castle is also the January selection for the Reading to Know Book Club, which I'm participating in this year.

I also read two picture book biographies about the author.  Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Writer's Life by Elizabeth MacLeod has lots of photographs as well as a timeline.  Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Author of Anne of Green Gables, written and illustrated by Alexandra Wallner, has beautiful illustrations.  They both provide insight into the author and her books and are quick reads worth reading, I think.



I reread Anne of Green Gables this fall and am currently reading the second book in the series, Anne of Avonlea.  And I'm waiting for the wonderful Anne of Green Gables video (starring Megan Follows) from the library.  I have seen it many times, but I never tire of watching it! 



Are you a kindred spirit?  Do you enjoy reading Lucy Maud Montgomery books?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  By commenting, you'll be entered to win a hardcover copy of Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas!  The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning!  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others.

I'm linking up with the following posts:
Tea Cup Tuesday - http://www.marthasfavorites.com/ 
Tea Time Tuesday - http://sandimyyellowdoor.blogspot.com/
Tuesday Cuppa Tea -http://www.antiquesandteacups.info/
Friends Sharing Tea~
http://blog.bernideens.com/
Share Your Cup Thursday~
http://jannolson.blogspot.com/
Home Sweet Home~
http://thecharmofhome.blogspot.com/
Free Motion by the River - http://www.conniekresin.com/2014/01/linky-tuesday_21.html

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post Ladies' Aid Quilt Block.