Archive for the 'books' Category

All Lovely Things by Lea Redmond

March 28th, 2015

Spring Cleaning time! Well, it will be here soon maybe….I have been so freaking busy, I am not sure that I will ever get to spring cleaning. I want to every year, as soon as I hear the frogs croaking, I get all thrilled for spring.  And then Bam! it’s July!

Recently the peeps at Penguin Random House offered to send me the book All Lovely Things – A Field Journal For The Objects That Define Us by Lea Redmond from their Perigee division. Normally I just don’t have time for books if they aren’t related more directly to my fiber obsession, but this one seemed different, so I said yes.

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And part of the reason that I said yes was because Lea talks in the beginning about the “things” around us. And like it or not, those objects around us, define who we are to a degree.  As Spring Cleaning comes around and we toss things or donate things or sell things in garage sales or on Craigslist or re-purpose things, I like how she talks about recording them in this journal and take the time to think about our lives; where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.   And the little promo flyer on the book talked about how we can get “to know ourselves better through the objects that are the inanimate companions to our lives.”

The basic concept on the “journal” part of it, which is Most of the book,  centers around two page spreads of blank “boxes” for you to fill in with sketches or photos, or what have you….basically to reflect on who you are…who those you love are, and then people you admire as well. It’s a very “Gestalt“y way to analyze and think about your life I think.  (and after I read the definition of Gestalt psychology, I realized that I think of it in the greater that than sum of all things, not other than the sum of all things… just so you know what I was thinking…if you even care! :) )

So anyway…Back to the book. it doesn’t have to be just about you either. It can be about family, friends, historic people that have meaning in your life.

Lea, the author of this book, gave numerous sample sections, Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau, pictured below, to give you an idea of what the journal is intended to do for you.

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I apologize for the lighting in some of these shots. The below is the actual light. I didn’t really work the filters as much as I should have on the above shots.

I think the real appeal that this book had for me is in the fact that we are headed to the phase of downsizing our household. The boys have moved out and may be coming back for short stays, but the fact is they will be going further and further away. And Mimi isn’t far behind them.  That and we have started working on actually budgeting in real way and we are realizing that we don’t really NEED all of this stuff. This isn’t an easy process by any means. I am a packrat by nature and everything seems very sentimental to me.

For my first sketch in this field book I started with this plate. It is not a family piece. We picked it up at a garage sale somewhere. But it is my favorite plate of this size.  And it’s developing a crack. So I know I won’t be able to keep it forever. So that is why I chose to start with it as my first sketch.  I have no idea how it “defines” me, but I love it and I want to remember it for a very long time.

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And a closer look at my sketches and the actual plate:

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Another cool thing that you can do with it, is have friends and family take a section too… I plan on having at least two of my kids do their own pages. Don’t think the oldest will want to do this.  There are lots of prompts, but then there are lots of blank sections too. So many cool things that you could do with this book.

So that’s it…A fun little book to use and record some of those things you may be tossing out or donating this year so you can keep a little bit of them behind for old times sake. Call it a scrapbook, a memory book, a visual diary….whatever, I think I will be enjoying this for a very long time!

And the Penguin peeps have generously offered to share a copy for a giveaway here at the Blue Nickel this week. So please leave a comment on this post about something that defines you…..something that would be the very last thing you would be getting rid of as you spring clean this year and into the future…and it can’t be fabric or your phone!!   :)

I will give you until April 2nd then I will draw a name sometime that day and the Penguin peeps will send you your very own copy.

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say (New readers, please remember that this blog is set up to have every comment approved before it is posted, so if you don’t see your comment right away, don’t fret, it just means that I haven’t gotten around to approving it yet).

Christmas books….

December 16th, 2012

Yup…this is LATE for Christmas books….but I have these two to share with you…and maybe two more tomorrow, if I can get to them!

This first one I shared about awhile back because I am a contributor to it and it came out in the E-version last year I believe.  Pretty in Patchwork Holidays came out in print version this year.  I really prefer the print version of all books so I was delighted to actually get it in my hands.



My friend John Adams put this baby together with many wonderful bloggers whom I am sure you know contributing to the project line-up. I started on this gift bag that John designed , and I had really hoped to get it DONE to show you, but I have been so overwhelmed by a great many NON-sewing related things in the last few months, I have had Very limited time in the studio.  Ok, almost no time in the studio....However, January is looking good to have a change around in that department, and I am ever so excited about that change!!



Anyway, there are MANY other wonderful projects in this book beside the bag including pillows, table settings, wall hangings, stuffed stuff, and the cutest little hedgehog embroidery pattern.


And of course there are quilts.  This one by John is one of my favorites. All snowy and chilly-warm using the only real shade of purple that I like, a “grey-ish” Perkin’s purple.


PIP John's Quilt


and of course I am fond of my quilt in the book as well!


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The next book to mention is Christmas Magic by Ingrid Perra.  This book is definitely a throwback to the early quilting revival days of the 70’s and 80’s.  Very country, very simple.  I am not sure if a lot of you would like this book or not just because the fabrics used in the book are very much that of that “Laura Ingalls Wilder” look.  They definitely would appeal to you if you like that current Scandinavian revival I see popping up here and there in the sewist arena.


Christmas Magic cover


Most of the projects are simple and very homespun looking.  Looking through the book, these two projects struck my eye as unique and interesting.   I could see them done in more contemporary fabrics as well.


I found this tree “basket” concept very interesting and love the concept behind it.  Same trees with some hip mod fabrics? Could be a fun project!


CMagic tree tray


And Linda and I are always looking for some fresh takes on the whole Advent Calendar theme.  This one is very “gingerbread” looking with these pinks and beiges,  but might be just as much fun in some Chartreuse and Cherry combo, right?


CMagic Advent House


So that’s it for today’s post…hope to have another one for you with two other Christmas books that you might really like to get yourself  which do include some fun things that you still might have time for this Christmas…...if you get them right away….and I get the post actually finished!!  :)

easter weekend–the aftermath

March 24th, 2008

That sounds ominous, but it wasn’t.  I just didn’t have time to write about the weekend during the weekend that is all….or I didn’t make time to write about it.  Anyway, Easter Saturday was a really cold morning.  When I went out for my morning fitness walk, Sassy, our beloved she-manx cat, barely lifted herself out of her bed.

S3010938.JPG  Here she is in her royal swan bed.  My dad made this bed as a planter, but after the first set of geraniums died, her royal highness Sassy, took over years ago, and it is now her place. It was so cold though, she wouldn’t even come to the door looking for a hand to pet her, or a handout of food.

This is the sunrise that greeted me on that Saturday morning.  I wanted to capture the abundance of snow on the foothills, but I don’t think this photo does it justice. We really don’t have snow on those hills very often, especially not on Easter morning.       S3010943.JPG  

Easter Sunday rather a disappointment to me, as I didn’t at all get the sermon at church.  The time of worship was good, but the best part was when my friend Mike read from Matthew the part about not worrying about the future, each day has enough worry of its own. It reminded me of a book I recently read called The Shack.  the shack.jpg  It is a very powerful book, and one of the best parts was about  God’s love for us.  The phrase “God loves you” is so over done these days, I find it rather meaningless but this book reminds us the God is “especially fond” of us…all of us, even if we don’t acknowledge His hand in our lives.  The whole “His” references are challenged in this book too, as God first shows up as a very large African-American woman.  I love it!   There are many far-right seekers of God that would be offended by that, and the far-left seekers get too wrapped up in themselves to see that God is both male/female.  He created us that way in His/Her image.  I still refer to Him as Him, but it is good to know that He is our mother as well…...Kinda trippy and metaphysical I know, but it is a good book, and the book is not hard to read at all.  There are no pictures, and I even managed to get through it in 3 days….

Another great book (with some REALLY trippy parts) as well is The War of Art war of art.jpg  

 It is rather strange, and parts of it are hilarious, but some of it speaks well about fighting artistic blockages of all sorts.  It rather demonfies “resistance” and glorifies perhaps defies art.  The author has some strange religious anger brewing underneath his ramblings, and some of that I found rather annoying, but I did like how he faced resistance head on and basically challenges the reader to keep plugging through all the barriers that keep one from creating.   I recommended it to my friend Mark Lipinski on the phone, and while we were talking he ordered it from Amazon.  I am wondering what he will think when he reads it.  I think the line that I read him likened the problems of Resistance to somethings like acne, world hunger, and erectile dysfunction.    I KNOW that the ED is in there, that is what made me laugh out loud. 

Anyway back to Easter Sunday….it rained and rained and rained…..not very “springy”......so the Pagan Easter part of the celebration was pretty drenched down….did see some neighbor girls way out back running around in boots and fancy dresses looking for eggs….that was pretty funny  The Christian part of the celebration left me rather sad….I think I must have missed it….all of it…the point of Jesus on the cross and ressurrecting on Sunday I “KNOW” it in my head, but my heart sure didn’t seem to notice, and I think that is the point where I was very disappointed by it all..

This is supposed to be an “Artistic” blog, so I don’t know why I wrote all that heavy stuff…it is not like anyone really reads this stuff anyway.   But there you have it, Easter weekend in a nutshell…..