Monday, January 23, 2017

Detained by Don Brown

Detained, by Don Brown, tells the story of two Lebanese nationals, Hasan Makari and his son, Najib.  Hasan has always loved everything about America, and he took Najib to see the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon the day the U.S. Embassy was bombed.  When Najib finally makes it to the United States to visit Najib who serves in the U.S. Navy, the father and son are falsely accused of terrorism in association to the U.S. Ambassador’s death.  

Once Hasan and Najib are arrested, they are transported to Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp in Cuba where they are incarcerated with the possibility of execution.  Navy JAG Officer Matt Davis is assigned to the Makari’s case, and believes their innocence.  However, monumental opposition, political agendas, and corrupt TSA agents stand in the way of their freedom.  The Makari’s stay positive throughout their convection, and Hasan constantly reminds Najib that God has a plan for them despite the system being rigged.

While studying for the General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security nomination, Emily Gardner, a TSA lawyer, discovers classified information that can expose the truth of the Makari’s convection in regards to a corrupt plan top power hungry officials have created in the TSA.  The question is, can she reveal the information before the Makri’s are executed while her own life is at stake?  

Once I got into the book (after the first chapter that was over 100 pages), Detained was a quick and easy read.  The author provides issues relevant to today’s discussions of military relationships, distrust in the government, and human rights (or the lack thereof) in Guantanamo Bay, and keeps up the suspense throughout the book.  Highly reminiscent of the themes from the movie A Few Good Men and the television series JAG, I consider Detained an entertaining book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. They did not require me to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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<\br> Heather

Friday, September 02, 2016

Country Haven

It's been so long since I've posted any finishes, that I've got many to share.  Today, I thought I'd start with Country Haven, a quilt I finished using the Little House on the Prairie line of fabric from Andover.
Somehow, I cannot find a photo of the entire quilt - it's already out for display at Jackman's Fabrics.  The weather must have been terrible if I don't have a picture of a quilt outside on the line, but you get the idea.
One of the best things about Country Haven is the corner treatment - nothing to match up...just end the bias vine with a nice big strip block.  And, I actually really loved doing this appliqué!  Jackman's really pushes me to expand my education by learning new techniques for display, and appliqué is one of those things that I generally shy away from!  On this quilt I used a stitch and turn technique using a thin double sided fusible webbing.  I also got to use bias bars for the first time - so fun and easy!
The pattern was a fun take on a Irish chain pieced log cabin style - so cool!  I finished it all up with a big cheerful feather pantograph in a thread matching the green border to pull it all together.

Country Haven
Designer:  Kim Diehl (Simple Appeal)
Size: 76x76"
Featured Fabric Line: Little House on the Prairie (Andover)
Panto:  Bountiful Feathers (Hermione Agee)
Quilting Thread:  Glide (Key Lime)

Disclosure: I received supplies to make this project from Jackman's Fabrics in Fairview Heights, IL.  The quilt will be hung as a shop sample in their store to promote sale of both the pattern and fabric lines.  In exchange, the quilt will be returned to me and becomes my property at the end of the promotion.  They did not require me to write a positive review of any of the products.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Thursday, September 01, 2016

I'm Back!!!!

I'm back!  I didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging, but life happens...
I had all intentions of getting back to posting - in fact at the end of every month, I told myself, "at the beginning of next month, I'm going to begin blogging again," and finally it worked!

This year, the guilds that I belong to elected amazing activities people!  There are so many projects going on that it's hard to keep up (but I'm managing for the most part) - not to mention the interesting programs and fun instructional workshops being planned!  I thought that for my first post back, I'd give a few details on what I'm working on for guilds over the next few month:

Heartland Quilter's Guild:

  • Veteran's Star Block collection (for a charity sew for Wounded Warriors) - these are great blocks to make a a group projects since the star points are far from the edge of the block, therefore, if some of the blocks collected are just "a little bit off," no points will be lost in the top assembly process!

Veteran's Star Block Wounded Warrior Quilt

  • Hopscotch Block collection (for a charity sew for Soldier Babies/Children's/Preemie Quilts) - another fun and simple block that is great for a group project!

Hopscotch Block Baby Quilt

  • Hobo Quilt blocks BOM - a few months ago, Debra Henninger, author of Hobo Quilts, gave a presentation to our guild about hobo history and the symbolism of the blocks in her quilts.  So many people purchased books that night that the projects chair decided to challenge us to actually use it (you know, instead of letting is collect dust on the shelf).  We are tasked to complete 5 blocks each month (and they are so addictive that I've already made blocks 1-16...sshhh.....).  I'm using old worn flannel shirt parts (super starched to reduce stretch) and background scraps/FQs that I would use in my civil war quilts - shopping the stash for this quilt!

Hobo Quilt (blocks 1-5)

  • Chairman's Challenge: "In My Garden" - no idea where I'm going with this theme yet (not really sure if I'm going to participate in this one - time will tell, it's still a very long time off). 

Ties, Needles & Threads Crafter's Guild:

  • Spin-The-Wheel challenge - this was a really fun idea!  Each guild member had the chance to spin a big wheel for an assigned project (zippered item, finished quilts block, mug rug, purse, placemat, pin cushion, etc.).  Once everyone had their challenge project, a twist was thrown in...each person had to draw the name of another guild member from a basket and make the project for that person!  Mine's all done - but I can't show you's not due until October and I want to surprise my buddy!  TOP SECRET!
  • UFO challenge - another fun idea!  Pay $1/UFO (up to 5 UFOs) into the pot.  For each UFO finished, you get a chance to win the pot!  The UFOs are to be completely finished (to include quilting, binding and label) by January 2017.  Mine are all done as of last month!  Woohoo!  I'll show them to you over the next few weeks:
        1. Buttermilk Basin BOM
        2. 4-Patch Revisited
        3. Bargello Americana
        4. Granny Square Bonus Quilt
        5. Elizabeth's Prairie Garden (PWSC)
  • Look Kevin, I Can Do Scrappy! BOM - a mystery quilt originally designed by Ann McNew of Attic Threads.  We're doing it as a 6-month step-by-step block of the month program.  So far, I've chosen a jelly roll I'm going to begin with (that's not saying much - but this month is all cutting directions - I'll get there).
  • President's Challenge: "I Like Stars" - I've got a couple ideas swimming around for this challenge.  Not sure which one I'll actually commit to, though (I've got time - it's not due until next spring).

Well, that about sums up my guild's projects, but we have so many fun programs and workshops coming up (and past) that I'd like to participate in, too, that it's going to be a very quilty year!  Who can resist jumping in on things like Pineapple Plaid w/Mickey Depre (this month!), Pineapple Nine Patch from Geometric Gems (a few months ago - not started yet), and Road to St. Louis (last year - not started yet)???

I'd love to hear what fun things your guild is doing or some of the most memorable things you've done in the past!  If you don't belong to a guild or sewing group, what projects are you feeling excited about working on?  Leave me a comment below and let me know!

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers is kind of an exciting finish!  I had this top hanging on the "to-be-quilted" rack for several months.  It was gifted to me by my good friend, Angela, with the request that I quilt it and donate it to someone who might appreciate it.  To be honest...when I first opened it up, it didn't look that appealing.  I wasn't sure how to tackle it, but now, I really like it and I think it came out really cute!

I used a simple tone on tone neutral floral print for the backing and my daughter quilted it with a nice big rose vine panto in a neutral thread.  This was her first time following a pantograph on the longarm and she did great!  Another lady offered to bind it for us and we chose a solid plum binding to make those plum squares in the quilt pop (and also to make them look like they really belong with those grape purples).  I can't believe it, but I'm happy to say the Purple Flowers quilt came out pretty darn good and was a fun group effort!
We've decided to donate Purple Flowers to a local woman who is currently battling pancreatic cancer.  I'm told that plum is the ribbon color for her illness, so it seemed fitting.  I hope it brings her some comfort as she continues her treatments.

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

February Goal

I am dedicating my studio time this month to finishing up Country Haven, a Kim Diehl design (pattern found in the book Simple Appeal) that I'm working up in Andover's new Little House on the Prairie fabric line.
The log cabin-style center section and the strippy border cornerstones are all sewn together.  Next thing to tackle is the applique border.  All of the applique shapes (vines, leaves, and berries) are all prepped and ready to be sewn on now.  I've been playing around with tensions for using nylon threads to machine applique, but I'm having a lot of difficulty.  The clear YLI thread is working pretty well so far, but it wasn't available in smoke at my LQS so I picked up a spool of Mettler nylon --- ugh --- I cannot get my poor machine to stop eating the Mettler!!!  grr.....

If you have any suggestions for dealing with nylon thread for invisible applique, I'm all ears!  I'm using a thin-ish needle (70/10) with a zigzag stitch length & width set at 1.0.  My tension for YLI is best set at 2.5 (normal 40wt. cotton is 3.0).

Q1 (Jan-Mar 2016) Finish Along Goals:
  1. Crumb Along (Jo's Country Junction)
  2. Strippy Spools (M*QC)
  3. 4-Patch Revisited (Bonnie Hunter)
  4. Spools (Bonnie Hunter)
  5. Purple Flowers
  6. Lunch Box Social (Kim Diehl)
  7. Country Haven (Kim Diehl)
  8. Buttermilk Basin BOM 2015
  9. That 70s Quilt Re-Do
  10. Rustic Stars (Wounded Warrior Quilt)
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