Monday, September 30, 2013

Random Thoughts for October!

September is gasping its last, and October is preparing to burst through the door - How can it be? Ninety-two days left of 2013, and we won't even talk about how quickly the holidays will be upon us. Yikes!

So, for me it's time to stop thinking about the things I need to do and just do them. However, I work better with a list, so a cup of coffee is in order while I sit back and write out all the things I want to accomplish in the next month. As the weeks go by I will plug them into the days chosen for their completion; and when November shows up, I will have all of them crossed off... hopefully... maybe.

I wanted to write about my dolls today. The picture in my dolly's lap is of me on the Christmas I received her. I'm guessing I was five or six.

But then I decided I also needed to include the clothes I have for them that have been packed away. As you can see, they aren't ready for a photo shoot - so that will be put off for another day after they have been pressed. And that isn't even on my October list!

I'm anxious to start cutting into these beautiful, soft 'fat quarter'* flannels (that is on my list), but there is one other sewing project that needs to be finished up first. Then, let me at 'em!

Wish me luck on that list !!
PS: If you want to follow me on Instagram, look for gailswee.
Scroll waaay to the bottom to see what books I'm currently reading. Have you read something you've really enjoyed? I'd love to hear about it - always looking for the next good book!
*If you're not a quilter and don't know what a fat quarter is, Google it!
Until next time...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autumn 2013

Even though it is my favorite season, I don't mentally feel ready for it this year... Autumn.


Till next time...
Autumn Blessings,


Saturday, September 7, 2013

What I've Been Reading

For those of you that are readers, I want to share with you  some of the books I have read the past few months. I know it is sometimes difficult to find that next read, and perhaps this will help you find something that interests you. I keep track of what I read on Shelfari and it gives the option of rating books on a 5 Star system. I won't bother you with any 1 or 2 Star books. Chances are I didn't finish them anyway. 3 Star would be an average, enjoyable read. 4 Star is an above average book - something I really enjoyed, and 5 Stars indicates an outstanding read. Book images and descriptions from Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

These are several books that rate as 3 Star - enjoyed them all:
Tapestry of Fortunes - Elizabeth Berg
Room - Emma Bonoghue
A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia deLuce series) - Alan Bradley
The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison
Dark of the Moon, Heat Lightning, and Rough Country (Virgil Flowers Series) - John Sanford
Eye of the Needle - Ken Follett

City of Thieves by David Benioff -- Grisly though it was, I really enjoyed this book - loved the two main characters. I give it 5 Stars!

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

 Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline -- I enjoy reading historical fiction and this gave insight into the orphan trains that transported more than 200,000 children from eastern cities to the Midwest between 1854 and 1929. 4 Stars

Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Defending Jacob by William Landay -- The story twists, turns and dishes up surprises right up to the end. 4 Stars 
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive. Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

 The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett -- This is a 4 Star book. I enjoyed this trip into a world that is unfamiliar to me. The story held some surprises.

A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession . Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins. As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

 And this is my favorite book so far this year! Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger -- 5 Stars!

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank's perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God..

So there you have it - what I've been reading lately. I would love to know what some of your favorite books have been - I'm always on the lookout for that next great story.  Please share.

Till next time...