Holly and Mistletoe, Mostly Finished

I have a bad habit of calling a quilt finished when the quilting is done. It is not, in fact, completely done until the binding is all attached, but here I am again, telling you about a quilt that I’ve just “finished.”

I posted last weekend about it, whining about how I just a little bit of the border to finish quilting. It took me all of about an hour yesterday, and then I got started on the scalloped binding.

Like we all do, I Googled for help, and found a great post here. If ever I do scallops again, I think I’ll consider doing as she did on the quilt in that post, and just doing them on two sides. Love the look that gave her quilt.

I got through sewing all of the binding on this morning and posed my quilt outside for some photos for you. It will now be added to the stack of quilts that have their binding attached to the front, but still need to be turned and stitched to the back. Depending on the quilt and it’s future use, I may or may not stitch by machine. This one will be done by hand, and it might be awhile before I get to. Considering the fact the quilt was started in January 2010, I’m doing pretty well, I’d say. I figure I have until January 2020 before I should get really embarrassed about how long it took to finish.

{That’s a joke. I have numerous other quilts that are unfinished and at least as old. I’m not embarrassed at all. Well, except for that one quilt that was supposed to be a baby gift for a kid that’s like, in junior high, or something now…}

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Pattern is “Holly and Mistletoe” designed by Blackbird Designs from their book “When the Cold Wind Blows”.

Machine applique, hand-guided machine quilting.

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With this one off the frame, I’ve got that itchy feeling that I’m allowed to start something new.

Or maybe I should go look at that pile of partially finished quilts again………

“Going Bovine” by Libba Bray

Going Bovine Book Cover Going Bovine
Libba Bray
Juvenile Fiction
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers

2010 Michael L Printz Award Winner

In an attempt to find a cure after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob (aka mad cow) disease, Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen-year-old boy, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital.

“Going Bovine” is a strange trip of a book. I read this a few years ago, probably close to when it was first published. I enjoyed a lot of it, but frankly, I felt like there was too much of it for me. It’s based on “Don Quixote” and like it’s source material, the adventures ramble on. And on.

I’m also thinking that the emotional impact of the story was lessened by the fact that it was a reread. This might have also been why it felt so long: I knew what was coming, and kept checking the progress meter (I read an ebook this time), wondering if I was done yet.

I can see why it won many awards, and the message about what it means to actually live, and not just exist, is something more of us need to think about. Even though I had a bit of a struggle getting through it, I think a first time reader would get more out of it, and I would definitely recommend it to teenage readers.


“This quilt is taking forever” — a pathetic story, by Suzanne

This is the quilt I wanted to finish over the weekend, but ignored in favor of apples.  I feel like it’s taking forever, because it is. I think the original post about starting it is buried in the blog archives here, somewhere around 2010 (ish?). The machine quilting got started around the first of the year (2015).

I foolishly decided that this straight line quilting would look awesome in the border, and, while that is a true statement, it’s also the bane of my existence. It doesn’t really take that long, but I have this mental block telling me that it does. Brains are weird.

I really only have two more side border sections to do, plus a corner, but here I am, posting a stupid blog post about it, instead of turning the machine on and getting it done.

I’m all about looking for sympathy, I guess.

Just wait until I whine about doing the curved binding this thing is going to need after I cut the border into scallops.

Apple Sunday

I had one goal for today, and that was to finish the quilt that has been on the frame for months.

But then I stayed in bed until 10:00 and decided I wanted to try to make applesauce, so my day was instead spent making a gigantic mess in my kitchen.

No quilting happened, but I have nearly 6 quarts of applesauce, an apple crisp, and a cleaned up kitchen. I still vaguely sticky from all of the apples I processed, but it was worth it.

I thought maybe the boys would be interested in helping peel the apples, but one time through satisfied their curiosity. I lost count of how many I used — an entire 5 gallon buckets worth!IMG_3900

The apple peeler/corer/slicer came from my mother-in-law’s house. I was so glad I was able to find it! I would have given up if I’d had to peel by hand. After this first apple, I had to figure out how to adjust the depth of the peeler blade, to actual peel all of the peel, but once I had that going, there was no stopping me!

Having never made applesauce before, of course, I had to turn to the Internet for recipes. Many called for freshly squeezed lemons. I went with the lemon in a bottle, I was feeling adventurous enough making applesauce: squeezing lemons seemed a step too far for today. I’m not a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman, but I settled on following her instructions (except for the cinnamon).

My mom happened to stop over when I was getting ready to put the first batch through the blender — she made a comment about how she liked to leave hers chunky when she has made it in the past. NO CHUNKS for us, please. It needs to be SMOOTH. So in to the blender to be pureed! Mark has taste-tested and approved the texture. I think I probably used more sugar than his Mom used to, but I think I got the texture right!


And if that weren’t enough, I turned about 10 apples into a Caramel Apple Crisp. Oh heavenly day. Usually I’m a “it isn’t dessert if it isn’t chocolate” kind of  a girl, but wow. This was amazing. (Found here. I didn’t have pecans and I doubled it).

I still wish I had gotten some quilting in today, but I’m pretty thrilled with how my day turned out!

“Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith” by Deborah Heiligman

Charles and Emma Book Cover Charles and Emma
Deborah Heiligman
Juvenile Nonfiction
January 6, 2009

Michael L Printz Honor Book 2010


Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.

Deborah Heiligman's new biography of Charles Darwin is a thought-provoking account of the man behind evolutionary theory: how his personal life affected his work and vice versa. The end result is an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion for young readers.

Charles and Emma is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

I didn’t dislike this book, but I couldn’t quite figure out why it was considered worthy of honor by the Printz Committee — or of any of the honors it received.

It was…fine? I learned quite a bit, actually, about Darwin’s work and how he came up with his ideas, which was quite interesting, but the writing didn’t feel all that spectacular to me.

I guess I found myself comparing it to another non-fiction book that won a lot of awards recently — “Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin, and it did not hold up favorably. “Bomb” was a wonderful book — it was fast-paced, non-stop, and read like an adventure novel, but it was real!

“Charles and Emma” — it meandered and backtracked, and talked about a lot of minutiae. Maybe I just wasn’t crazy about the way in which the author wove in commentary from letters and journals — it all felt somewhat awkward and contrived.

I could tell that the author was very passionate about her subject, just as Darwin and his wife were passionate about their family, their love for each other, and the work that Darwin was doing. I guess it just wasn’t enough for me to really end up loving this book, too.