Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Fundraiser Quilt and Good Omens

Quilting Sisters’ Charity Quilt

One of my Quilting Sisters (see posts Quilting Sisters, Part II and Quilting Sisters, Part I) is a breast cancer survivor and asked at this year’s annual Quilting Sister Retreat, if each of us would make two blocks for a fundraising charity quilt to raise money for breast cancer research.

The plan is to make different “star” blocks in blues and whites. This past weekend I worked on my blocks, made from the same block pattern from the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool – Four X Star:

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Here are the completed blocks, I used the same “white on white” background fabric and different blues for the blocks:

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The blocks are “nothing to write home about” but I needed to get them done (because I had procrastinated working on the blocks) in time for the quilt to get assembled by my Quilting Sister who is pulling all together and having it quilted for the charity fundraising event.

I like the blocks better turned on point and I do not how the quilt will be set. I will try and remember to share a photo of the completed quilt in the future.

Good Omens

I just finished an exceptionally funny and irreverent audiobook – Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The book is about heaven and hell screwing up the Apocalypse. It has two absolutely endearing characters, who are actually best friends, a bumbling angel Aziraphale and a demon Crowley (who actually secretly quite fond of humanity) who try to sabotage the Apocalypse.

The book is brilliantly narrated by Martin Jarvis who does an exceptional job with all the voices of the characters.

Filled with delightful bits and parodies of modern culture (well as modern as 1990 when it was published), I laughed so hard while trying to go on my daily walks that one time I actually stumbled! The authors obviously dislike telephone salespeople, tax accountants, and the fast food industry!

In addition it the awesome British humor and endless silly bits (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are actually “Hell’s Angels” bikers!), some of them with “Monty Pythonesque” humor, the book has some wonderful insight on humanity’s foibles and how we should try and be better to each other. It also is filled with heart warming sweetness of how much goodness there actually is in the world.

There are many wonderful quotes in the book. Here is one I found on QuoteAddicts.com:

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Postscript

The kale in my garden is ready to use!

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Hello Kale, I would like to invite you into my belly

Even though summer has started, I made my one of my favorite stews for supper: Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew .

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Used fresh tomatoes instead of canned

With some crusty bread, we had a very tasty supper last night! Check out my repost from  November 2016, A Girl’s Gotta Eat (repost), if you would like links to some of other favorite recipes.

All the topics on this post seem rather random, so I will continue to be random, and share the cover of a blank journal my friend Susan recently gave me as a gift. It makes me smile:

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A Crafter's Life, Quality of Life

Independent Bookstores (wonderful & magical places)

I won’t pretend I do not shop on Amazon.com for book deals or that I do not go to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore, but today I was reminded just how wonderful and magical Independent Bookstores are to have in one’s community. I plan to spend more time at indie bookshops!

Today we went for a wander around and hot beverage at downtown Bend’s Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe.

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As the sign upstairs at Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe reads:

Independent Bookstores are wonderful & magical places because each book will have been hand selected, you know all of them are jewels just waiting to be discovered…

After the friendly shopkeepers filled darling ceramic mugs with our hot cocoa (for me) and mocha (for Terry the Quilting Husband), we had a leisurely and delicious wander about the shop browsing and their well curated selections.

Come wander the shop with us for a moment…

Downstairs, where you enter Dudley’s bookshop and immediately think – “well this would be a fine place to nest for awhile”:

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People were nesting – they have WiFi and some were on their laptops and some were sipping their hot beverages and reading a book (or previewing a book!).

Among the shelves of books are fun things and objects to look at, including this wickedly funny sign:

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Now head upstairs (carefully carry your mug of hot beverage with you!) and check out the painted stairs celebrating books:

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(I love the step that reads: “Fifty Shades of Dudley’s)

At the top of the landing you will find a shelf of books (in case it was too long a journey to go without being able to browse any books from the bottom of the stairs to the top).

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Now, turn the corner…and…WOW: Here is the cozy reading nook you might have searched for while browsing any bookstore (and maybe dreamed about in your own home):

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The secret OCD person inside of me wanted to go and fix the left side of the curtain, but I was here to browse books, not adjust decor so I left it alone – ha!

After walking by the cozy reading nook, you come upon the upstairs room with more books to browse – how about a Art/Film/Music book to add to your collection?

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Even the bathroom was delightful and had this great poster called A Plotting of Fiction Genres:

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If you would like to know more about this poster, I did find it online at Pop Chart Lab. I did not want to spend too long in the bathroom reading it, but I was very impressed with it in my brief time with it!  Here is a better overall photo from the seller’s website.

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I could not leave Dudley’s Bookshop without a little something. If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I love our local public library and lately I get most of my reading through borrowing from the library (as I have been very naughty at bookshops in the past and have a huge book collection). I am trying not to add more books permanently to my home but I did want a little something from the indie bookstore, so I bought a cool set of greeting cards that you color yourself!

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Two of my many favorite authors, Neil Gaiman and Ann Patchett are huge advocated for preserving independent bookstores (Ann Patchett even owns her own indie bookstore, Parnassus Books) and have lauded the value of preserving these shops in their writing.

I will close this post with a Neil Gaiman quote, which is also on the Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe website, from his wonderful and magical book American Gods:

What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul. – Neil Gaiman

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Neil Gaiman

I am in love with the author Neil Gaiman. Unabashedly in love.

My love is not in a crazy obsessed “fan girl” sort of way (I have no plans to stalk him at Science Fiction conventions). My love is more a deep awe and respect for him as a writer and his incredible creative mind.

He is my favorite fantasy/science fiction/horror writer. His work transcends genre and I am not sure where he neatly fits. His writing is like HP Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Adams were locked in a room together until they created something wonderful.

I have read many of his works, some of my favorites being:

  • Trigger Warning (2015) – a collection of his short stories
  • American Gods (2002) 
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
  • Neverwhere (2009)

I have also read some of the Sandman series of graphic (illustrated) novels.

Most of Gaiman’s novels, I have listened to on audiobook.  I remember several of them (if not all) being narrated by Neil Gaiman himself – my favorite type of audiobook to listen to: where the author reads their own work. Neil Gaiman has a delightful British accent and the timbre of his voice is nearly hypnotic as he shares his tales.

Before I started on a path, a couple years ago, of primarily reading/listening to nonfiction books, I only read or listened to fiction.

My favorite genre of fiction is Science Fiction and I love when it mixes with Fantasy (like a Tolkien or Fairy Tale flavor) or Horror (like an H.P. Lovecraft flavor).

I am currently listening to my first nonfiction book of Neil GaimanThe View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2016). It is an excellent collection of his essays and speeches and narrated of course by Neil himself.

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photo credit: amazon.com

Neil Gaiman is a kindred spirit of mine related to his love of public libraries and bookstores. He shares in The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2016), wonderful stories of summers in the library as a child. He also pleads and lobbies for the protection/preservation of public libraries in the UK (where it sounds like they are in danger). He discusses how important libraries are in creating and fostering a literate society; and that reading fiction as children develops their creativity.

I am only 5 essays into the book but I am also enjoying the stories behind the development of some of his greatest works to include American Gods (2002). He also discusses his evolution as a writer and the sources of his inspiration.

Neil Gaiman is a huge fan of Ray Bradbury and in the preface/instruction to his book Trigger Warning (2015) he shares how Ray Bradbury inspires him and how he got to meet his childhood hero. I have read several of Ray Bradbury’s novels (including the mandatory Fahrenheit 451 required in my high school) but now I have a longing to return as an adult and an experienced reader to the science fiction classic and revisit them.

Thinking about taking a break from nonfiction, self-improvement books for a while and lose myself in worlds created by brilliant authors.

So what are YOU reading these days and what authors have you fallen hopeless in love with? 


Feature photo credit: Bob Smith, free images.com