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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

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Great Photos

Pictures!

Just being myself… sigh. When I was in Colorado Springs with Michael and Dottie we got so involved with talking and enjoying our  mean, we forgot to take pictures together!

Michael was kind enough to send photos – and one has (drum roll please!) covers for his next books!

michael and covers
Gorgeous covers!

Dottie
What a great office! (And isn’t Dottie darling?)

 

Stretch in paper_110815_closeup
The office kitty, Stretch, King of all he surveys!
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Review: Quilting Arts Workshop: Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork

art quilt design
Check out the Video here.

I spent today in an “Artistic Haze” watching Sara Ann Smith’s “Quilting Arts Workshop: Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork”. I purchased the download from The Interweave Store, a rather guilty pleasure of mine. They are one of the best online arts and crafts stores on the Interwebs. They have so much: quilting, crochet, knitting, beading, jewelry making, needlework, sewing and spinning and weaving, even mixed media is represented.

hoffman fabric
2014 Hoffman Challenge

For a few years I entered the Hoffman Challenge every year, and am very proud to say that my quilt actually got to travel with the International Show two years running! When I got cancer, I had a quilt nearly finished, and had a friend help me finish so I could enter the quilt. It wasn’t up to my regular skill level, of course, so it got sent back to me, but I was happy to be strong enough to at least enter.

2013 Hoffman Challenge
Click here to see the 2013 Winners

Last year, I liked the fabric quite a bit, but I just couldn’t’ get into the quilting part. {My workroom was a mess, to tell you the truth, but I was too lazy and too busy to go down there and clean it up . . . sigh.} Anyway . . .

This year’s fabric looks like it is going to be really cool. So, I decided to pull myself out of my “quilting slump” and get more interested again.

This is a great video. First, Sara Ann is a wonderful teacher. She is smart, well trained in colour theory and design. The pattern she chose (the one on the cover) is beautiful, and requires just enough work to keep it interesting without freaking you out. The colours are, of course, awesome. She takes the video step-by-step, from choosing the right fabrics, the right tools, and the extra little items that make the process fun instead of work. She does a quick discussion of using paints and pens for darkening or lightening fabrics, which I found quite useful. I have done that before, but her skill taught me quite a bit.

sarah ann smith tomato
This is the quilt that you learn to make in the class.

She gives you different methods of patterning, and a choice of being meticulous or “blobby” in your cutting of pattern pieces. Once she has the fabrics cut and ‘tacked down’ with a hot iron on the ironing sheet, she helps you decide on the background fabrics.

Once you have your fabrics fused down, she then gets into threads, both colours and types, as well as how to choose the correct bobbin threads.

threadwork unraveled
Check out the book here. It’s on Sale!

She spent a good amount of time on blending threads, which I have always had a problem with and was really thrilled that she took the time to both show and describe the quilting. I intend to purchase her book, “Thread Work Unraveled” to learn more. As a note, it is on sale for $20.16, originally $28.95, on the Interweavestore.com site.

If you are at all interested in art quilting and thread painting, I highly recommend this beautiful DVD. I purchased it for watching online, in standard format, but there is also HD format, or you can buy an actual DVD.

Highly Recommended!

flood2
This is only one photo of the devastation caused by last night’s flooding. Clicking the photo will take you to the Colorado News 9 Website for further photos. We were fortunate. Linda tried to get to work last night, but was turned back because of avalanches in the Highway 6 and Highway 119 corridor. Some of the rocks that come off that mountain pass and down onto the road can be as big as cars – literally. We know it happened, but apparently no one can get through yet, so no photos.

Here is a video, courtesy of YouTube and Charles Fink, of Highway 119. You can see how dangerous the road can be with the threat of avalanche, rock slide, narrow or no shoulders and drunk and just-plain-dangerous drivers.  Click on the photo below to watch the video. This is one of the most beautiful drives – but highly dangerous. There is nothing quite like coming around a corner and seeing a car sitting on the side of the road with a huge rock literally squashing it flat like a Looney Tunes cartoon . . .

tunnel 1
Click for video

This is a Denver Post file photograph, but this is very similar to what Linda saw when she tried to get to work last night!

Highway 6 closed

For those of you who are interested, this is the story of my town, beautiful Golden, Colorado in winter.

golden in winter
Photo courtesy of http://www.coloradochilipod.org
Photo courtesy of www.postofficeworld.com
Photo courtesy of http://www.postofficeworld.com
Clear Creek Canyon where I take my walks with my dogs.  Photo courtesy of
Clear Creek Canyon where I take my walks with my dogs.
Photo courtesy of Golden Chamber of Commerce

Panda Bear Baby Meets Mom

This, to me, is a perfect example of how wrong people are who think our four-legged-friends don’t have souls.

It’s Spring – Ah Choo!

russian olive
Photo courtesy of Ashteldar
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30343908@N06/

lavenderSpring has finally got her warm, sweetly scented embrace around us here in Golden. Complete, of course, with the Russian Olives blooming along the stream bed next to the house. Beauty often has thorns – and pollen, of course. Lots. And lots. Of pollen. Ahhhh-CHOO!

One of the things that helps my allergies and helps me sleep at night is lavender oil. (Should I put in here the “I am not a doctor and what I say isn’t medical advice”? Well, here it is, just in case!)

I have always loved lavender, since I first grew it in California. Of course, I still haven’t been able to figure out how to grow anything here on the giant sand pile, so I have to buy it from others, but maybe one day.

While I usually get my lavender from the farmer’s market when I can and from Whole Foods when I can’t, I was looking around online and found what looks like a wonderful recipe for an Almond Lavender Biscotti that looks delicious. It is on the Daybreak Lavender Farm website, but I am posting it here so you can try it if you like.  biscotti

Almond Lavender Biscotti

Submitted by: Anne Nofziger, Cincinnati, OH

Prep:
• Preheat Oven To 350
• Adjust rack to middle position

Ingredients:
• 1 C. Sugar
• 1/2 Cup butter, softened
• 1 t. vanilla extract
• 1 t. almond exract
• 4 medium eggs
• 3. C. all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 t baking powder
• 1/2 t. salt
• 2 1/2 t. dried lavender buds, finely ground
• 1/2 Cup sliced almonds

Directions:
In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in extracts and eggs (one at a time) and blend until combined. In a medium blown using a wire whisk, combine flour, baking powder, salt and lavender and blend well. Stir into sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Add sliced almonds. Do not overmix or cookies will become tough.

Halve dough and turn each portion onto the cookie sheet. The dough will be sticky. Rub a bit of vegetable oil or butter on to your hands to make it easier to handle. For dough into two 13 x 2 inch logs and place them 3 inches apart. Pat and smooth each log. The logs will not be perfectly round. Do not handle the dough excessively.

1st Baking:
Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool the loaves for the about 15 minutes.

2nd Baking:
Reduce the oven to 300 degrees
Place cooled loaves on cutting board and cut diagonally into _ inch slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about _ inch apart on the cookie sheet, cut side up. Return to the oven for 8 minutes. Turn each slice over, return to the oven and bake another 7 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Store biscotti in an airtight container for about month.

The Secret Life of Plants

So, you have this really GREAT idea . . . .

But how are you going to fund it? Maybe it is music, or software, or a trip across the country to write a book on the weirdest animal life you can photograph. Maybe you want to do something good, like raise money for a music program for inner city children. What do you do?

Kickstart! I learned about Kickstarter when C.E. Murphy posted a Kickstart for her book “No Dominion” about my favorite secondary character in her series “The Walker Papers”. Gary is a 70-something cab driver with a great secret – his very best friend in the whole world is a Shaman. A reluctant Shaman, to be sure, but a Shaman who relies on him for stability, a helping hand, and the occasional sword arm when it is necessary. And hey, when he can occasionally ride with Cernunnos and the Wild Hunt, well, what else could an old football jock ask for?

Anyway, back to the point (I did tell you, at some point that my mind wanders, right?)

I ran across this Kickstarter project earlier today. What plant lover doesn’t want to know just what their plants are feeling, what their needs are at any one point? Are we feeding them well? Do they have enough water, nutrients and light?

public lab
Click pic to go to Kickstart for Infragram!

If we can’t talk to them and have them answer back, well, what about a type of “x-ray vision”? Well, Public Lab in Cambridge, MA (those Cambridge people are just SO Smart, aren’t they?) are working on a solution.

In their words, the Infragram is:

A simple, cheap infrared camera which can measure plant health — for geek gardeners, farmers, and open source DIY scientists.”

(BTW – I don’t know where the purple cottage photo originated, only that I found it on Pinterest – it is linked there – and thought “Now THAT is my dream home!”)

There is an amazing video on the site that explains how it works. Check it out! Maybe it will help me figure out why I can only grow weeds in my yard . . . well, it could be that I am sitting on a huge sand pile that used to be the bottom of an ocean, I suppose?

A big thanks to http://www.sodahead.com/ for the great photo!
A big thanks to http://www.sodahead.com/ for the great photo!

It is a beautiful morning

I love this time of year. It is warm, (finally) and the birds are back.It is still cool in the mornings, and the lilac bushes are starting to put out flowers. It is easy to get outside and walk, run, bike, climb. Whatever you feel like doing. The dogs are blowing their winter coats and spending more time

Maggie Brushed

outside. (This is Maggie AFTER brushing out….) Little did I know, when Maggie was no bigger than Lily’s head what I was getting into when it came to coats! Lily was the gentlest 105 pound white Boxer you could ever imagine – she raised Maggie from a  baby. My Lily Bell passed away from cancer when I was fighting my own cancer.

rosielily01

She was such a doll baby…. Boxers are wonderful. You will hear some people say that they can be mean, but I have never, in all the years I have been around them, known one that was rude. Of course, seeing as how my babies are all spoiled within an inch of their lives, I would imagine that has something to do with it! Oh, they are disciplined, but in a gentle and positive manner that gives me a friend that is loyal, loving, and cuddly, but scary as all get-out if you threaten me. I have never had one of my babies bite, but they sure will make you think they are going to kill you first and then eat the evidence! Lily was a Therapy Dog and loved to go to the retirement homes and visit with the people there. She was so tall, she could lay her head right in the lap of the wheelchair bound and they could stroke her silky head. She had the softest fur of any dog I have ever known.

Well, the sun is over the yardarm, the birds are all wide awake, and the squirrels are at the feeder, so I better get back to reading. I have a few books backed up to read for review, so you will be seeing more from me soon!

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

blue buffalo cancer awareness

And I didn’t even know it. I saw a banner ad today from Blue Buffalo, which says that they are for more information). 

050
My big-hearted Tolkein

Several years ago I lost my big blue lovebug, Tolkein, my Chow, to cancer. No matter that I gave them all their shots, fed them well, they got plenty of fresh air and exercise, they still got taken out by this horrible disease. He was with me for eighteen years, so we had a long run, but it was a horrible way to lose my poor baby. 

More recently, while I went through my own treatment for stage-three breast cancer, I also lost my beautiful Lily, a 105-lb white boxer, whom I adored.

The beautiful Lily Belle.
The beautiful Lily Belle.
Satie, with his best friend Charlie.
Satie, with his best friend Charlie.

To add to the pain, my gorgeous Satie, a Lilac Point Siamese, died from the same horrible disease. Lily passed in her sleep thanks to big doses of pain meds, but my wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Valori, from Table Mountain Veterinary Clinic, was kind enough to come out in the night and allow me to hold Satie while she took away his pain for the final time. I was at one of my own lowest points at that time, and Dr. Valori’s kindness was an incredible gift. (More about Charlie later, he has his own story.)

Please, help fight the horrible scourge of Cancer in our beloved friends and family members. Please visit the link above, or any reputable organization for more information. Also, don’t forget to check out Care2.com  for this and other ways we can help our four legged friends. Thank you!

Time for bed

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