Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday craft: UFO's. Then books read this month.

We haven't been doing much crafting over the past few weeks, what with one or other of us having visitors, illness, can't be botheredness or zombie apocalypses happening. But now all of that seems to have settled down again we were back into it today. 
Ngaire has been working on a quilt and was putting the finishing touches on that today all ready for some backing. Jan bossed talked her into making some matching cushions too. No big reveal on those yet, maybe next week......

Ngaire hard at it

Jan was giving her a helping hand and cutting out some fabric

I had a good sort of all the UFO's/WIPs 
(unfinished objects/works in progress)
I have quite a big pile going on in my craft room, so I decided to take a couple of those with me today to try and get the blimmin' things finished.
One item was a crocheted small blanket I made last winter and needed the ends sewing in, a job that took no more than an hour, plus the past year!!
It's a Nikki Trench shell pattern

I also managed to get a quilt top pinned ready to quilt
Apologies about the poor quality photos, 
lack of good lighting.

I started hand quilting it at Jan's

But I had an attack of the can't be botheredness and had a go on the machine when I got home. Well the machine hated the quilting thread so I had to change to some normal cotton thread and after a bit, okay a lot, of piddling around I got one square done.

Not exactly straight but now I've got the gist of it the lines should improve. Either way it's going to be better than what I can manage by hand as my hands seize after a while and I get bloody cramp in my fingers! What's that all about??
It's going to be quicker too.

Jan had a visitor today, he(?) comes quite regularly and eats the leaves off her Kowhai tree. He's a New Zealand pigeon, kereru. One flew into her window last year and left a perfect imprint on the window of his wings! It was okay, just stunned for a while.
Not the best photos I'm afraid, the sun had disappeared from that side of the house and I only had a standard lens with me, they're pretty big birds.


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Books read this past month


Last months Book Discussion scheme selections was Station Life in New Zealand by Lady Barker.
I wasn't sure I was going to like it but I was pleasantly surprised and found it a very interesting book, I would have liked to have read a little more about the actual sheep station operations. However her very descriptive writing gave a vivid and clear insight of life in New Zealand in it's infancy. 
I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads

 Station Life in New Zealand is a collection of cheerful and interesting letters written by Lady Mary Anne Barker (nee Mary Anne Stewart) that is a New Zealand "classic". These letters are described in the Preface as "the exact account of a lady's experience of the brighter and less practical side of colonisation". The letters were written between 1865 and 1868 and cover the time of her travel with her husband (Frederick Broome) to New Zealand and life on a colonial sheep-station at their homestead "Broomielaw", located in the Province of Canterbury, South Island of New Zealand. Although these letters are written with great humour and fine story telling, her life was marred by tragedy while in Canterbury through the illness and eventual death of her baby son.

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The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk KiddInside the abbey of a Benedictine monastery on tiny Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

Jessie Sullivan's conventional life has been "molded to the smallest space possible." So when she is called home to cope with her mother's startling and enigmatic act of violence, Jessie finds herself relieved to be apart from her husband, Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but on Egret Island-amid the gorgeous marshlands and tidal creeks-she becomes drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is mere months from taking his final vows........


I loved this, Sue loaned it to me and highly recommended it. It's a good read, she writes well and is a great storyteller. It was interesting for me too to read something of hers as the Book Sharing Scheme selection for July was The Secret Life of Bees also by the same author. 
I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads
 
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The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood: In this multi-award-winning, bestselling novel, Margaret Atwood has created a stunning Orwellian vision of the near future. This is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate 'Handmaids' under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed.

In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred's persistent memories of life in the 'time before' and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid's Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning
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I couldn't put it down, fascinating and a bit scary to be honest. A little bit to close to reality for comfort. I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

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Catch 22 by Joseph Heller: Features a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it. This work tells a tale of the dangerously sane Captain Yossarian, who spends his time in Italy plotting to survive.

OMG! This was totally insane, I had no idea what to expect from this book, within the first few pages I was laughing so much it hurt. It reminded me of the TV series MASH on crack! For me it was probably about 150 pages too long and I struggled towards the end. It may have been because it all got very depressing, but then war isn't a bunch of roses is it?
I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads

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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, 14-year-old Lily Owen, neglected by her father and isolated on their Georgia peach farm, spends hours imagining a blissful infancy when she was loved and nurtured by her mother, Deborah, whom she barely remembers. These consoling fantasies are her heart's answer to the family story that as a child, in unclear circumstances, Lily accidentally shot and killed her mother. All Lily has left of Deborah is a strange image of a Black Madonna, with the words "Tiburon, South Carolina" scrawled on the back. The search for a mother, and the need to mother oneself, are crucial elements in this well-written coming-of-age story set in the early 1960s against a background of racial violence and unrest. When Lily's beloved nanny, Rosaleen, manages to insult a group of angry white men on her way to register to vote and has to skip town, Lily takes the opportunity to go with her, fleeing to the only place she can think of--Tiburon, South Carolina--determined to find out more about her dead mother. Although the plot threads are too neatly trimmed, The Secret Life of Bees is a carefully crafted novel with an inspired depiction of character. The legend of the Black Madonna and the brave, kind, peculiar women who perpetuate Lily's story dominate the second half of the book, placing Kidd's debut novel squarely in the honored tradition of the Southern Gothic. --Regina Marler

This has to go on my top ten list of favourite books of all time, how wonderful it was to read. I'd seen the film a while back and loved it and it was very true to the book. I'm so often disappointed in the transition of books to the big screen but not this time. I'd found the book in an Op shop not so long ago and nearly read it, then it turned out to be the Book Discussion Scheme selection for July. We all loved it. Sue Monk Kidd is an author I will look out for in the future. I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

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And lookie here! See what I got......eventually! I pre-ordered it online through Fishpond NZ, they order through other suppliers. On the release date I got an email telling me they were re-ordering with another supplier, estimate delivery date end July, possibly August!! I...don't...farking .....think...so!
So I cancelled the order, got me money back and when I went  to meet Joe the next day at a shopping centre I bought it straight off the shelf and for $10 cheaper than anywhere else!! Choice!

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience. 
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.


At times this book was amazing and at others I wasn't so sure, I got lost sometimes and had to reread some sections. But come the end it all made perfect sense. Glad I read it and will no doubt reread it again sometime in the future after rereading To Kill A Mockingbird. If you've read To Kill a Mockingbird, then you have to read this, have to!
I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

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That's me done for today, my neck and back aches after a day of sewing and now sitting on the computer, I'm off to my comfy chair to watch a bit of TV before heading off to bed. Nightie night, or good morning depending on where you are.

Hopefully I catch up on some blog reading over the weekend.

See ya xx