Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year

Attached is my column for January for the newspaper.  I think I have bored all my readers away with only posting my column on this site for several months now.  My New Years Resolution (besides drinking more water) is to write more for both my blogs and if no one reads them, then thats OK too.

I still haven't read the Hobbit, but it is on top of my to read stack so perhaps I will get to it this month. I have been making a lot of lint at my book store this past month, catching up on sewing “rag” strips, to make into rag balls, to weave into rugs. Mostly working with denim, so it creates a lot of lint.
I now have 7 huge balls to weave into rugs and the sewing machine is put away for awhile. The store has been vacuumed up now and I can weave smaller items on my smaller rigid heddle loom here at the store. Anyone wanting a demonstration feel free to stop in and I will show you how it works.

A book I have had on my read list for some time is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. When I was in the library recently I found part 1 and part 2 of the movie version. Temptation made me check them out and watch them. I am now even more determined to read the book. I will wait till I have read the book version to do a report. Now here are a couple books I did read.

Ted Dekker

I have read several books by Dekker and find him difficult to place in a specific genre. His books are a mix of mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, and religious, in a good verses evil way. In this book, 5 people from various backgrounds find themselves in a little town in Nevada with a tornado boring down on them. Murder rides in with the storm and they find themselves pitted against a man known as Sterling Red. As this unlikely group band together we see they each have their own weakness that Sterling exploits, and he is trying to force them to kill the ugliest of the group. They also eventually find they do have something in common. They all suffered a special kind of epilepsy as teenagers and underwent an experimental procedure that cured them but also put them under control of the lab to make them believe they are in this game and they don't know what is real and what isn't. It is a really exciting read that I couldn't put down and the ending was not what was expected at all. Think I will look for some more books by Dekker.

Fear the Worst
Linwood Barclay

My first time to read this author and I really like her writing. Ordinary Tim Blake sends his teenage daughter off to work and she vanishes. The hotel where she claimed to be work says they never heard of her. Tim sets out to find his daughter and finds some very scary people are looking for her also. The detective in charge seems to spend more time dealing with her own daughter and the ex-wife is not much help. Tim has had his share of disappointments in life but he loves his daughter and risks everything to get her back. He uncovers that the hotel is involved in human trafficking, so how is his daughter mixed up in this? This was a really well done mystery and I am ready to read 2 more of her books that are waiting for me in my must read pile.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December column for paper

I have a confession to make. I have never read The Hobbit. It has now moved up on my long list of “must” read books for this winter. I have several books by John Irving on hand and many of them have been made into movies such as The Cider House Rules, and The World According to Garp, but I chose this one to read this month.

Until I Find You
John Irving

820 pages that drags you along in the life of Jack Burns. I am not sure it is worth the time spent reading it but you get caught up in a sort of voyeurism that you need to keep reading to see how things turn out. It starts out with Jack as a boy of 4 on a pilgrimage to norther Europe with his mother to find his womanizing father. They never find him but his tattoo artist mother indulges in some prostitution along the way. This all takes up about 100 pages. She returns home to Toronto and puts Jack in an all girls school so that he will be “safe” since he is such a pretty little boy. Of course this backfires and he is abused by the older girls and later by older women, which sets up his life of unfulfilled romances. Funny, but had he been a little girl we would have been more incensed by this large part of the book. Later on he becomes a famous Screen Write and finds out that his father has been following his life from a distance all along and in the end they find each other but under weird circumstances. So if you want a long long read that is not all that satisfying then you might like it. As for me I am sending it to my niece in Oregon who has run a tattoo/piercing business for years and I actually think she will like it.

The Marks of Cain
Tom Knox
This book takes you to Spain and France as two strangers, American David and Englishman Simon become involved in two apparently unconnected strands of what's revealed as one conspiracy. Through his grandfather's will and secret map David is urged to learn his true family history. It will lead him to the heart of Basque country, where he meets a woman who gets caught up in his quest.
Quinn is an investigative journalist and is working on two violent murders of elderly people. He finds that both had been in a top secret Nazi camp and there is a tie in with the same Basque area and a possible curse on a race of people found there. The story takes you on a journey from Arizona, to the Spanish countryside, to the heart of Southern Africa. In the end they try to supply a rational basis for the Nazi genocide. I found this to be a good read and would recommend it to others. I found myself going to my computer to search for facts about the area and people involved so it was quite educational as well.

Lisa Jackson

If you like authors who carry their main characters along from one book to another, you will like this 7th Rick Bentz/Reuben Montoya novel.
A murder of Sister Camille, an old high-school friend takes them to St. Marguerite's cathedral. Sister Camille's sister gets involved along with her estranged husband who just happens to show up the same day of the murder. This old Nunnery is the site of more murders and the connections with certain Priests and an older nun makes for a great who done it book.
Dorothy Cliff is the owner of Read Again Books in Granby.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November newspaper column

As I write this on Halloween day I am in admiration of the beautiful fall foliage this year despite all the rain that is trying to dampen it down.
Just a reminder as you start your Christmas shopping to think about buying from your small business locally. Gift certificates for hair cuts, or local restaurants are always nice. I have hand woven rugs for sale that make great gifts for something unusual and that will last for many years. I am usually weaving something at the store most days. I would still like to look into doing “memory” rugs, by using your
Grandpa's old bibs or baby blankets to create a lasting rug made from these special fabrics.
For you fans of Christian Fiction, I have a large selection now available, so come check them out.
I have had some interesting reading this last month. Here are a few books that I read.

The Help
Kathryn Stockett

First I have to say I did not see the movie when it came out. I waited till the book showed up in some trade in books at my store. I wasn't sure what I expected but I have to say it was a really good book. The setting is 1962 in Jackson Mississippi. I made me realize how we take our lives for granted and how many people, because of the color of their skin and the time that they were born live much different lives. The main character is a socialite, Skeeter Phelan, just returning to her home with a new college degree and a desire to write. Her mother just wants to see her married to the right man, which in her mind was why she sent her daughter to college. But Skeeter talks a New York editor into reading her material and takes on a project to write a book about the secret lives of the black maids in white homes of the South. She manages to recruit first one then a few others to tell her their stories. Some of the stories are heart breaking, some very demeaning, and some quite humorous. Skeeter is able to get her story and form bonds of friendship with women who just want to see things change for the better.
I loved this book and highly recommend it, especially for those of us who grew up during this time period with blindness to this subject.

The Tenderness of Wolves
Stef Penney

I seem to be drawn to stories from the 1800's. In this one set in 1867 in the Northern Territory of Canada. The harsh climate described in the book almost gives you chills. It is a murder mystery, with many changes in the plot and many characters to remember. Due to their isolation and the corporate greed of the fur company it has the making for a good mystery. In the end there were several plots that left you wondering what the heck happened to them. I will say that it was hard to put down and I did order her second book that looked very interesting. It was hard for me to figure out how the book got its name, other than the Indians in the story and the whole feeling of a lonely environment.

The Broken Window
Jeffery Deaver
I think I am becoming a mystery reader. I do recommend this author as he carries the main characters in most of his books, so you can get a real feel for their personalities and lives. If you saw the movie The Bone Collector, you get the feel for his characters. Lincoln Rymes is a brilliant detective who had his physical life interrupted with a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from neck down. He has his cast of assistants who help him solve crimes. Number one being his love interest, Amelia, who is his feet and body as she searches the “grid” of the crime scenes for him. In this book they are after a cyberspace techno-genius who steals informational data that is collected by a huge company and uses this information to frame innocent people for the heinous crimes that he commits. With all its twists and turns you can't put this one down. One thing I got out of it was how vulnerable we are with all our electronics in our lives and how “someone” is collecting all this data on us to be used for our own good? Or to market us for what is best for us? Leaves you with a lot of questions about the technological society we have become.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Column

September was a very busy month. My book store did more business than usual. I wonder if its because it is fall now, if so come in and stock up on books for the winter. I now have a large selection of Christian Fiction books and I have prices for everyone. Also don't forget to buy locally crafted gifts for Christmas instead of imported stuff.
I was fortunate to participate in our fiber guild's annual event Sept 20th and 21st, which was in Mt. Vernon this year. We had the MARC center reserved and what a great place to hold our fiber classes. There were many vendors with their beautiful yarns and equipment for all kinds of fiber crafting. I took an advanced rigid heddle class and really enjoyed that. I keep my loom at the store so if anyone wants a demonstration I will be glad to share.
I wanted to report on what I know about Bright Futures. I was invited in August to attend the dinner at East Newton High School. It was well attended and there were speakers to explain the program that has been started for our school district. Bright Futures has its roots in Joplin after the tornado and people saw a need to assist students who where not having their needs met, weather it was in supplies, proper cloths, or food. The goal and focus is not so much a hand out to just meet the needs of today, but to keep these kids in school, so they will get their education and ultimately become good citizens as apposed to some of the alternatives. At the present time they are in great need for volunteers. A volunteer can help by being mentors, bus greeters, or assist with the backpack food program. You will see boxes in many businesses collecting food for this worthy program. So if you can't volunteer perhaps you can donate food items. A phone no. to call if interested is 417-472- 6231 at the school. You can also go to Face Book and type in Bright Futures East Newton and find their site with a list of people to contact. This is a good cause to help right in our own community.

Now for my reading this past month. I read a book that really caught my eye about Aboriginal wisdom. After the first book I had to go on line and get the second book. I will report on them together.
Mutant Message Down Under
Message From Forever
Marlo Morgan

Morgan lives in Lee's Summit Missouri. Her story in the first book tells of her “personal” adventure in Australia, doing a Walk About with a small tribe that lasted several months. In this book she tells her accounts of learning their ways and their spiritual history that goes back 40,000 years. In the second book she tells a fictitious story of twin Aboriginal babies taken from their mother at birth by well meaning missionaries so that they will be raised properly and not as heathens. So the story follows their separate paths and how they meet at the end but still do not know they are brother and sister. I was really taken with these books as the ancient spiritual wisdom seemed to have a strong ring to it of the American Indian.
But as I did some back ground research on Morgan I found that she has been greatly criticized for making it all up and that she did not really spend 4 months in the bush with the “last” surviving Aboriginal people. So either she is the real thing or a convincing fraud. Either way I enjoyed the books and they made me want to learn more about this culture. Isn't that what reading is really all about? To open our minds and make us think and sort out what we choose to be true for us. One statement that I will end this with from the book was “ All life is one life”.

Drowning Ruth
Christina Schwarz
The setting for this book is the winter of 1919 in Wisconsin with Amanda, a nurse, returning to her birth place to escape an event that changed her life. She returned to her younger sister who is raising a 3 year old daughter, Ruth, while she waits for her husband to come home from the war. Amanda and her sister Mathilda are very close and Amanda talks her sister into moving to their small island to live while they wait on the husband. Then her secret is revealed as Amanda's pregnancy becomes evident. The mystery is the death of Mathilda and what becomes of this new baby and who is her father, as Amanda and Ruth return to the farm house that they share with Carl when he returns to find his wife gone. I found the story being told in some of the chapters by the voices of Ruth and Amanda, and I like that. And why does the title say Drowning Ruth?? Have to read it to find out.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My newspaper column for Sept. 2013

Sept column
My book store in Granby, Read Again Books, will be closed the last week of September for a little R&R.
I am gearing up for a couple events for the fall. Sept 20th and 21st SW Fiber Folks will be hosting an event in Mt Vernon. It is called Fiber Daze. There will be vendors there to show all kinds of yarns, equipment, and a multitude of things. This is open to the public and is at the MARC Center. Classes are being offered and registration is still open if you go to our website to check things out.

Also I have registered for Farm Girl Fest the first weekend of Oct. held north of Carthage at Red Oak. I will have my booth to do weaving demonstrations and sell my hand woven rugs, totes, and much more. Also the fiber guild will be there with members demonstrating spinning and weaving. Should be a great event.

So what have I been reading?
I have just finished the first of a trilogy, Fifty
Shades of Grey. Oh, my, not for the faint of heart, and not appropriate to report on in this column.

I did read two Sandra Brown Books this past month.

Play Dirty
Sandra Brown

A great story about a former Dallas Cowboy superstar named Griff who spend 5 years in a Federal prison for throwing a game for money. He is now free and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life as he is not wanted back in the industry that he loved. Of course as with all Sandra Brown's books there is a romance thrown in as Griff falls for the wife of a multi-millionaire who has hired him to do a job for him that will leave you shocked and even for shocked that he accepts the offer. Lots of twists and turns here to keep you reading.

Sandra Brown
Another page turner that is a tale of corruption, betrayal, and murder. When a sick man is found lying in her front yard, Honor rushes to his aid, only to be held captive by a man accused of murdering 7 local people the night before. Eddie claims that she has something in her possession that belonged to her late husband that will prove his innocence. This all leads them into the corruption at the highest levels of law and government. Again a great read.

The Lucky One
Nicholas Sparks
Sparks is another of my favorite authors. U.S. Marine, Logan finds a photograph in the dirt, during his tour of duty in Iraq. The face of the woman haunts him and he ends up feeling that its presence in his pocket has kept him safe. Upon returning home, he is at loose ends and starts out on a journey to find this woman. He is able to identify something in the photo to guide him to the right city. Of course you must know he finds her and falls in love with her, but must go slow and he helps solve a mystery. A great story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us.

Next month I will report on the school program called Bright Futures. If you have not heard about it, you will.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Weaving rag balls made by another

A couple weeks ago a gal came into my shop with a box of rag balls that she had sewn and wanted to know what I would charge for weaving them for her.  She wanted a long rug 100 inches and a couple short ones.  The balls looked pretty neat and rolled up tight and she had 4 rolls of warp for me to use, a burgundy, cream, green, and tan.  So we negotiated a fee and I took it home.  Since my loom was empty I preceded to warp it using her carpet warp and adding some of my own to have enough to fill my loom.  Not going to all the work of warping a loom without putting the max on it.  Ended up taking all I warped with only enough to finish out with a short rug for myself.

Anyway as I started to weave I realized what a mess I had.  She had sewn the strips together wrong leaving wide untrimmed seams. Plus she had such a mixture of fabric, some strips of old blanket I threw out.  There was alot of prints, and old muslin.  Some had the hems attached.  So I had lots of trimming and ripping some that were way to wide and the silky stuff had to go.  Here is the big rug when it was done.  I was amazed that it looked as good as it was.  All the bumps and lumps from her seams actually gave it an old time look and when she picked them up today she was so happy with them.  I gave her a little lesson on how to sew the strips in case she makes any more.  But I could tell these old scraps ment alot to her as each fabric told a story of her mothers dress or the old pillow cases and flour sacks.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August column

I would like to apologize to my book store customers for my inconsistent business hours. I have a family member who is ill and I am the transportation for all the Dr. appointments. So having to be closed some days to take care of what is most important to me. I have posted my phone number and if you are coming from very far please feel free to give me a call to be sure I am there, 417-312-0956.

I have learned a new technique in weaving for my little table top loom. It is called tubular weaving and I have been busy making new tote bags on the loom. They are all lined with pockets. Anyone interested in learning more about weaving come by the store and I will be glad to give you a demonstration and even let you have some hands on. There will be some great classes offered at Fiber Daze on September 20th, & 21st at Mt. Vernon. Everything from crocheting, weaving, spinning, basket weaving, felting, and dyeing. Go to this site and you can look it over and register if you want. I will be there on Saturday as a greeter in the morning and will be taking a class in afternoon.

I find that I read a book and if I like it I will look on my shelves and find several to read. This month I have read several books by Kirk Mitchell. If you are a Tony Hillerman fan, you will like Mitchell. He brings authenticity to his books as he was a deputy sheriff on a Paiute-Shoshone reservation in Ca. The books here all have the same characters to follow and I find that interesting.

Cry Dance
Kirk Mitchell

Emmett Parker, a Chomanche and a seasoned investigator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Anna Turnipseed, a Modoc and rookie FBI agent are the main characters. A body is found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on Havasupai Nation land. Emmet and Anna are teamed for the first time to investigate this crime. It leads them into a complex mystery with Anna eventually used as bait for the killer to get to Emmet. It deals with the gaming industry on the reservations. Some tribes want to have it on their land and others want to maintain their heritage. A very good read.

Dance of Thunder Dogs
Kirk Mitchell

In this investigation Emmet and Anna work on a case on a reservation in Oklahoma. Oil well funds are being diverted from the rightful reservation recipients, but where has the money gone and why? Then a fellow investigator is murdered and Emmet becomes the prime suspect. In this book you start to see a little love interest developing between Emmet and Anna. I like the way this guy writes and the weaving of peoples lives to create a picture for you.

Spirit Sickness
Kirk Mitchell
What I find interesting about the way Mitchell writes is that his characters somehow manage to maintain their Indian heritage while upholding the law. Emmet and Anna are brought to the scene of a brutal murder of a cop from a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, and his wife. There are spirits and Gila Monsters added to the mix. The murderer has woven his personal madness with Navajo myth to create his own reality. They have to stop him before he kills again. The love interest between Emmet and Anna has evolved but has become complicated.

What day is it?” asked Pooh.
It's today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day..” said Pooh.
-A.A. Milne

Friday, July 12, 2013

My July column for newspaper

Goodness, where has June gone?? Of course by the time this is in the paper it will be July. It has been a busy month. My sister and I went all the way to Butler Mo. To the Poplar Heights Farm on June 8th. It is a living history farm and the event was well attended. We had some very interesting vendors around us. There was a black smith, cross cut sawing, music, home made ice cream, and a Civil War gun display with a cannon they fired several times. There was hay wagon rides, and the weather was beautiful. Of course there was weaving and spinning going on. We were able to set up under this row of very old cedar trees, that had been the entrance to the farm house. The old farm house and barn have been restored to original and open for touring, plus the gardens and so much more. It would make an awesome day trip for a family to see a bit of our history. Go to this web site to see info about the days they are open.

A couple months ago I immersed myself in all things Robert James Waller. I read 4 of his books, watched the movie again, Bridges of Madison County, and even went on line and in reading his bio found out that he is a musician so ended up buying his CD and love it. He is sort of a folk singer and a few of the songs were about the characters of Bridges. He has written other books that I have not read. I will report on the ones I read in the order they were written.

The Bridges of Madison County
Robert James Waller

This was his first book written in 1992 then later made into a movie staring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. This is one of the rare times when I felt the movie was just as good as the book. The main character is Robert Kinkaid who is a famous photographer for National Geographic. He has traveled to Iowa to photograph the covered bridges in Iowa, and accidentally meets Francesca who is a farmers wife with 2 nearly grown children. Her family happens to be gone for a few days to the fair and she and Kinkaid find a special “once in a life time” love in the 3 days, but must it must last them a life time as he has to leave and she won't leave her family and go with him. I couldn't help but feel that the author Robert has put just a bit of himself in this Kinkaid. Just a feeling I get from reading about him.

Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend
Robert James Waller
This book was written in 1993, is another novel set in Iowa. Again the main character falls in love with a woman he shouldn't have. Michael is a college professor and Jellie is the wife of a fellow colleague. They are both mature adults and the attraction is irresistible. Jellie disappears and Michael must travel to India to find her and things get very complicated. This is a small novel and I enjoyed the plot.

Border Music
Robert James Waller
Also written in 1993 this was a fun book to read. With a guy named Texas Jack Carmine who is described as “God's only freeborn soul, rider of the summer roads, traveler of the far places”, you know it is going to be interesting. Texas Jack meets a down and out waitress in Minnesota and rescues her by loading her in his old truck and they head for Texas where he owns a one-horse ranch. He is an old Vietnam Vet and fighting his own demons, so can they make a go of it? Waller really has a way with words and I really think this would make an excellent movie

A Thousand Country Roads
Robert James Waller

This was the book I was really looking for. It was written in 2003 and is an epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County. The story goes back and forth between the lives of Robert Kinkaid and Francesca. It reveals how they have spent their lives apart and still think of each other and the near misses they have in meeting again. Again I felt that Waller was writing about himself in many ways. He was able to recreate the intensity of their feelings for each other. The surprise is to find the unexpected joy that Kinkaid found toward the end of his life. This is a very satisfying conclusion to the lives of Kinkaid and Francesca.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

OK here it is  This is the link to my main blog.  I find it hard to keep up with both of them and seems I usually write on this one because I am working on my weaving or have info about my store.  So when I write a big blog on this other site I wish I had it here too and don't want to duplicate to here you go. If you are someone who knows me or who gives a hoot you can travel on over to the other site and join my peeps there.  Thanks.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The saga of tubular weaving

While on a trip recently to Iowa to visit friends I had the opportunity to teach some weaving techniques to the gal (and her daughters) who taught me to weave.  I told her "now pay attention Grasshopper"!  
I had learned from my weaving class how to do the tubular weave.  They had never heard of it and just couldn't believe you could weave two sides at once with the sides closed.  Well here it is step by step.  My tie up was the usual 1,2,3,4 sequence that I use for all my rugs, so no problem there.  And with my table top it is easy to "treadle" the sequence.  I used:  1----1,2,4----2----1,2,3    Repeat, repeat, ect......
I closed the bottom of the bag with regular Tabby weave then started the tubular weave.  I have some soft knit fabric that my friend gave me.  She had a huge spool of it from a factory. The stretch is across the short side of the fabric so it wasn't stretchy to weave with.   In the second picture you can see the tube starting.  You can put your hand into it to be sure.
This is the finished tied ends.  You have to remember to keep doing the tubular weave as you to the top header. 
The last picture is finished with lining and a strap I made by doing a half hitch type braid using the fabric the bag is made from. I put a couple pockets in the lining and hand stitched it around the top.  Think I could have done it on the sewing machine but just liked doing it by hand.

So there you have tubular weave on a loom, easy as pie!

My thought for the day:  Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there----- Will Rogers

Friday, June 7, 2013

My column for June

June column

First I want to report that the Farm Girl Fest at Cave Spring School north east of Sarcoxie was really a lot of fun. It got a little hot in my long prairie dress but at least we had our shade. Ended up having to put my flip flops on so that at least my feet weren't hot. There were some great vendors prestent. I set up with 7 other Fiber Folks and I think people enjoyed watching us spin wool into yarn and weave rugs. They had good food and entertainment. Looking forward to perhaps doing the show at Red Oak in the fall. For now I have plans to go to Butler for their Summer Festival on June 8th and 9th. It is a living history farm so they encourage us to dress in our “old” cloths and do demonstrations of our art, plus we get to sell our products. My sister and I will take in this event together.

For this month I read a variety of books. Actually I read more than I can report on but will report of the three that I liked the best.
Jerry Spinelli
Milkweed is a book written for young adults and would be very good to use to teach about the Holocaust.
A young boy in Warsaw in 1939 survives by stealing what food he can, but he knows nothing about his background. All he is called is Stopthief. He thinks he might be a Jew or maybe a Gypsy. He is befriended by a band of Jewish boys and they give him the name of Misha. When he sees people being marched in the streets he thinks it is a parade and he is excited and wants to join in. He sees the Nazi soldiers and admires their shinny boots and marching, so he thinks he wants to be a Nazi. He does not comprehend what is happening. Eventually he is marched into a camp along with a young Jewish girl and her family. Because he is so small he is able to squeeze thru a hole and continue to steal food to help the family survive. This is a very good story for young adults to read and be able to see the events of the Holocaust thru the innocence of the eyes of a child. The ending of the book was unexpected but was heart warming at the same time.

In Search of Eden
by Linda Nichols

Miranda comes from a difficult childhood with an unfeeling mother who forces her to give her baby up for adoption with out even knowing if it was a boy or girl when she was 16. She was told that the baby went to a safe place. Later as an adult of 27, when her mother dies she finds a clue hidden in a desk, a picture of a baby with the name of a town. She sets out to this town in Virginia to try to find her child that she knows nothing about. The local sheriff takes notice of her and is suspicious of her from the start. It is fairly easy for the reader to put the pieces together that the sheriff's niece is her lost daughter but Miranda doesn't find out till the end. Miranda searches out the connection of why her daughter was sent to this small town and finds her own sad family history that helps her to understand her mother. I really enjoyed this book and will look for anything written by this author.

                                                     The Guardian
Nicholas Spark
What could be better than a Nicholas Sparks book with romance and a faithful dog. I am never disappointed with any of Sparks books. This one starts out sad as you know this young woman looses her husband, but he has left her two things, a promise to watch over her and a puppy, a great Dane of all things. Four years later Julie has a dilemma of two suitors. The dog becomes very possessive and the book takes a twist into the thriller type mystery that makes you want to hit Julie on the head and say “Listen to your dog”! A very good read.

Friday, May 24, 2013

sample of leno lace

This is just a beginner sample of what I learned at the fiber guild mtg last Sun.  We were learning how to do some fancy patterns on the little rigid heddle loom.  Still have a ton to learn but like the idea here.

Just took this big 80 inch rug off the loom last nite, still has the filler in place and ends not tied off.  It is actually more gold and browns than the picture shows.
Had a great time Sun doing another weaving demonstration and actually got to sell a few rugs at same time.  Here is a pic of me at my post.
You will notice that my feet got hot!   Also the guy on the left is spinning some nice rose dyed wool into yarn.
Off on a little vacation for a week.  Will have pictures when I get back.

Thought for the day: Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How long does it take to weave a rug Part Two

I managed to get a little work done in my weaving "studio" (that would be the living room that we never use so I took it over:)  Here is a picture one end of the room where I try to keep the majority of my "stuff".
I managed to finish threading the warp thru all the heddles and then get it rolled onto the back beam,  I forgot to take a picture of it as I started that process but here are 2 pictures I took of another wrap I did on same loom last winter.

In the lower picture here you can see the warp being warped onto that back beam (on the far left)  It is all wrapped onto that back then the ends in the front are tied onto the front beam and you are about ready to weave. The first pic below shows that back beam on the right. So the warp will be pulled toward the front with a hand crank as I weave.
I am weaving this rug from a batch of selvage  that I order from a company.  You can see it wrapped on the stick that is laying on top of the loom.  It is the cut off edge of fabric that a factory has left over when they weave huge bolts of fabric or blankets, afghans and such.  It is stringy looking but packs in and makes great textured rugs.
If you see the "rag balls" in that first picture you will see the "rags" that I create to weave into rugs.  These may be denim jeans, sweaters, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or old sheets.  I have been known to pick up a yardage of fabric at garage sale and cut it into strips.  All this has to be laundered prior to cutting or ripping into strips, then the strips are sewn together with the seams trimmed, then rolled into balls.

So you can see it may take me from 1 to 2 hours to WEAVE a rug but the prep time may run into days, with actual hours not possible to count accurately.
As with all fiber arts, it is a thing you love to do and you don't count the amount of time involved.
As I said before it is all a labor of love. 
That can not be measured or priced.

Friday, May 10, 2013

How long does it take to weave a rug??

I get asked this frequently.  I usually just smile and tell them about an hour of actually weaving.  BUT  here is how much work really goes into weaving a rug.
I borrowed this pic from the Internet but have one just like it, but didn't have a picture of mine.  This is the first step, it is called measuring the warp.  The warp is the "string" that runs the length of the rug.  Each cross on this is one yard, so if I am counting this right there is  about 9 to 10 yards of warp so will make several nice size rugs.

The warp is taken off the warping board by making these loops over your hand to sort of hold it all together then where the cross over is, you slip the lease stick into it. See how handy that folded up tread mill is??  That is my little table top loom sitting on the floor.  But I am warping up the big floor loom for my instructions here.
This picture shows that lease stick tied to the front of the loom.  By the loops being crossed it keeps them straight so you can thread them thru the beater bar that you see here.  There are little slots and each 320 ends are threaded thru. I really like to warp my loom from the front to the back.  So much easier when doing it by myself, and I get an even wrap which is extremely important in weaving.
You can just see to the left of last picture the wire heddles, each one has a hole in the center and you thread the warp thru these heddles in a certain sequence depending on if you want a pattern to your weaving.  So now I have 320 ends to thread thru these.
I have been a couple weeks puttering with this so far.  I will add a couple more pictures as I progress with the warping of the loom that has to be done before you ever weave at all.
So what do you think I should say when someone says "how long does it take you to weave a rug?"
I do have to say that most weavers would never complain about all this work as it is a labor of love and each step is important for the end results.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fabric bowls

Been working on fabric bowls to sell at craft shows this year.  This is the first time I have made such large ones and I like them alot.

This is a pretty orange/white fabric.  I am weaving a set of matching mug rugs to go with it. 

This one is 12 inches across and 3 1/2 inches deep.  Hope my hands hold up,  twisting the fabric on tight is rough on my arthritis I am getting in my thumbs.

So this is what I have been up to this week besides getting my looms warped.  The 18th of May I am doing a weaving demonstration at a local (40 miles away) Civil War deal.  They are raising money to renovate an old school house.  I get to set up a table, with my table top loom  and sell some of my rugs so that is good.  Will be wearing my prairie dress.  Then in June I have another one a little further away (will stay over nite as it is 2 days)  It is a living history farm festival that should be fun, again in costume.  Going to be hot hot hot... Sister going with me and a big booth set up, share motel expense.
Needless to say I have had to change my store hours.  They were interfering with my activities.  LOL  So no more Saturdays.  I picked up Tue. instead.  It will work out as Sat. is usually slow and I have had to be closed several times on Sat. so folks prob don't know if I am coming or going.  There is a sign on a coffee shop on main street that says:  Always open except when closed!  Thats ME!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May column

Tomorrow is May Day, May 1st so I am really on the ball to post my newspaper column today.  So I am caught up and maybe can find something interesting to post before long.  Have been doing alot of sewing and some weaving with my little rigid heddle loom to get some things ready for a craft show coming up in 3 weeks then another one in June.  I am excited about them so will write more soon with some pictures.

May Column:

I have had my book store open since 2006 with the one and half year out in the middle when I moved out of state. I have always been open on Saturday but am rethinking that and have decided that I will change my days to Tuesday thru Friday 10 to 4. Saturday's are usually pretty slow and I have been finding that I have other projects that seem to always fall on Saturdays. I belong the Fiber Folks of South West Mo. Check out our web site I will be at Farm Girl Fest on May 18th in La Russell Mo. Which is just east of Carthage. They will be raising money to help restore and old school house. The Fiber Guild will have a booth also and we will be wearing our Civil War costumes and be doing demonstrations in weaving and spinning. A good event to check out.
Also want to mention I will be closed for a week the end of May so I can catch up with my friends in Iowa and stomp around again in Van Buren County where I grew up.
Can't believe how many books I have read this spring. It is going to take a bit to catch up with them. This month I have a mix of mystery books that have caught my eye. Usually I don't like mystery's because I am afraid they have gruesome stuff in them. Silly me, they don't all fit that category.
Catch Me
                                                    by Lisa Gardner

Charlene Grant believes she is going to die. For the past two years, two of her childhood friends have been murdered one by one. Same day. Same time, one year apart. Now she’s the last of her friends alive, and she’s counting down the final four days of her life until January 21. But she doesn't plan to go down without a fight. She has been working with a trainer to learn to fight and shoot, and she has picked out a homicide detective, D.D. Warren to handle the investigation should her efforts be in vein.
But as D.D. delves deeper into the case, she starts to question the woman’s story. She would like to dismiss her as nuts but Charlene is very convincing and in her own way assists in finding the killer just as the day gets closer. She is drawn into the drama and you will have to read the book to find out who “done it”. Gardner has written six books with detective Warren as the main character. I think I will read a couple more.

One Second After
                                              by William R. Forstchen
I found this to be a very scary book because of the plausibility of the facts. Newt Gingrich writes the forward for the book and gives warning that the events could happen to us. It is an apocalyptic thriller about a high-altitude nuclear bomb of uncertain origins exploding over the USA, unleashing a deadly electromagnetic pulse, EMP, that instantly disables almost all electrical devices in the U.S. The country is plunged into darkness and chaos. The story setting is a small town in North Carolina. Professor Matherson, who is also a retired army colonel, lives there with his two daughters. The town is just a small cosmos of what is going on all over the country with starvation, disease and roving gangs. I found the story to be very well written with the town working to safeguard their own survival. It really makes you see how vulnerable we are and how poorly prepared we are for any kind of event like this. Actually the only way to prepare would be to be proactive and have our equipment made so that it would withstand this kind of attack. We could be destroyed without a shot fired. Very scary stuff!

Monday Mourning
                                                  by Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs has written at least a eighteen Temperance Brennan novels with a voice of authority since like her character she is a forensic anthropologist and formerly the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina. Reich was the producer for the FOX television hit Bones. In this book Tempe investigates three skeletons that were found in the basement of a pizza parlor. She discovers that the victims are young women who were killed in the 1980's. Thru Tempe's forensic sleuthing and attention to details she pieces the puzzle together. There is romantic tension involving Andrew Ryan, a Montreal detective. It is easy to get caught up in her personal life and her dedication to finding the cause of death when she examines bones. I think I will be reading a few more of her books.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Column

I just about forgot to post my April newspaper column.  So here it is.  Been a busy month as I was closed the first week of April due to a little surgery I had on my shoulder area.  Doing real well and getting back to normal.

April column

First thing on my list today is to report that I will be closed the first 10 days of April. I am having a little surgery on my shoulder and not sure how long before I can drive. So don't forget me and come in when you see my flag out.
Do you believe in synchronicity: I do and love to see it pop up in my life.
One day a couple weeks ago I left the store a little early so I could go to the local country store to pick up a bag of oatmeal that I had ordered. So it took me on a different highway to go home from there. I had the radio on to this oldie's country music. A song was on by Jimmy Dean called Big Bad John. The split second that it came to the part of the song when he sang about him going to the Promiseland, I looked up and was passing a country church with a huge sign (you guessed it) Promiseland! It was really like I had just received a message from someone. You could call it God, The Universe, My higher self, what ever your belief. But it was real and I smiled all the way home with a feeling that I had someone watching over me and they just wanted to give me a little nudge to remind me.

Consider the Butterfly
Carol Lynn Pearson
I have believed in synchronicity for many years. I have often read a word that I had never heard of and in the same day seen it on a billboard. When I saw this book I knew I had to read it. The author talks about how you can find meaning in your life by watching for these “coincidences” She calls it “transforming your life thru meaningful coincidence”. Carol finds things almost daily that make her believe that there is someone watching over her. The title of the book comes from an event that in a single day at least 8 phrases about butterflies came into her life that gave her meaning to connect with a child she had lost that had an affection for butterflies. I challenge you to watch for these “coincidences” in your life, and remember there are no coincidences!

I have never actually read and entire “diet book” But I was intrigued with this one when I saw the author on one of the TV Doctor shows. I would call it a nutrition book and after my report I think you will see why.
The Happiness Diet
Tyler Graham & Drew Ramsey, MD

The first part of the book gives a very clear explanation of how we have eaten for centuries and what the turning point was that completely changed our eating habits and for the first time in history, too much food is making us sick. They refer to the Modern American Diet (MAD) that is expanding our waistlines but also starving our brain resulting in a big increase in obesity and depression and they explain how they are linked. I found that sugar is the number one “bad mood” food, no real surprise there. I find it interesting how in the last 100 years or so we have discovered so many “new” diseases and disorders while at the same time we have greatly increased consumption of sugar and other refined foods to the extent that for those who eat the MAD diet are most likely to be sick or depressed. I have actually tried to avoid all processed foods and chemical additives like artificial sweeteners for the last 2 weeks. I have focused on whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Also I tried to not eat anything that listed more than 3 ingredients. I honestly can say that I have more energy. I think this is all stuff that we already really KNOW, but it becomes to easy to ignore. Maybe we need to stop ignoring the elephant in the room.

by Scott Westerfeld
I enjoyed this teen fiction book. It is the first in a series of 3 books. If you like apocalyptic novels, you might want to find all three books to read. The Uglies is set several hundred years in the future where the Rusties (people of our time period) have left the civilized world in ruins. Living in a Utopian world a young girl named Tally is getting ready to turn 16 and go thru the transformation surgery to make her beautiful and give them a new personality. But she meets Shay who is a rebel and takes her on a trip to the Smoke, which is a primitive settlement in the frontier where the rebellious Uglies go to avoid the operation. The theme of conformity against individualism is strong. Tally eventually learns that she isn't ugly at all and she fights to avoid being forced to conform. I think it was a well written book and can see why the younger crowd would enjoy reading this. The second book is called Pretties.

Lastly I want to mention that a gentleman came into my store this last week. He also writes a column for this paper so you will be familiar with him. Randy Turner has written three books now related to the Joplin tornado,May 22, 2011. I will be carrying them in my store to sell if anyone is interested in them. The first one is Spirit of Hope and is about the tornado and the events afterward. The second is 5:41 and is about the rebuilding of Joplin. The third is Scars-from the tornado and it is composed of personal accounts, mostly from Mr. Turners students of how they survived and are recovering. It looks like he has done a really good job to document this historical event.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My column for March

While I have been reading a lot this winter, I have to say I just finished book 4 of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon that I mentioned I am re-reading. I used to think people were nuts to read a book a second time when there are so many books to be read. But I have to say, I have loved every moment of it. I read the books back in the 90's up to about 2005 and there was many months between them. By reading them back to back the story just flows and I pick up story lines that I think I missed before as I had forgotten a lot about one book by the time I got to the next one. So if you have a favorite series of books I strongly suggest that you take the time to read them again. I think you will be surprised.
Now I did manage to read a couple other books along the way.
Cruel Harvest
A Memoir
Fran Elizabeth Grubb

A dark tale of despair, this story based on Frans childhood, back in the 1950's. I didn't know what I was getting into with this book even though the title was a big clue. It is an incredible story of survival and forgiveness, but also very disturbing. That a father would drag his family all over the US to work as migrant farmers is bad enough, but his physical and mental abuse to his family is outrageous. Fran learns as a little girl how to hid her pain and make herself invisible to avoid her fathers hand. This book would not be for the faint of heart as it is pretty explicit in its telling of the story of Fran. What is the most amazing is that she was able to forgive her father at the end of the book and find her own joy in life by letting this horrible past not ruin her life forever.

The Gilded Cage
by Troy Soos

The time and place is 1893 in New York City. Marshall Webb is an independent writer for The Harper Weekly newspaper and Rebecca Davies is a “spinster” from a well to do family. She runs a shelter for women who have been the victims of abuse or casts out of society with no way to support themselves, with no help from her wealthy father. The story deals with the depression that is gripping the nation while crime bosses run the government even using unscrupulous methods to get their votes. Secret land deals and Wall Street swindles are just a part of the City Hall's political machine. Rebecca gets entangled when she invests some personal money in an effort to raise capital for her shelter and looses it. Marshall works to link some of this together and uncovers some of the criminal factors in the city and writes about it in the paper and helps get reforms moving to make life better. Apparently this is a second book written by Soos about Marshall and Rebecca. The first book is Island of Tears, dealing with the immigration experiences at the turn of the century and how they were treated. I think it would be interesting reading.

Thought for the day: “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be to late” Ralph Waldo Emerson

My new little project board

My little project board I made the other day.  24x24  light padding on one side and just wood on other side.  My cutting board just fits on the wooden side and give me a solid area to cut my fabric.  The padded side will work for arranging quilting squares and what not.  Pretty handy.  I am making some little place mats where you arrange 2 inch squares of fabric on this fusible grid. After you iron them in place you turn it over and stitch tiny seams up each line of the grid and then across.  Then you have perfect corners of your little quilt blocks.  Finish off with some quilt stitch and binding.  And I said I wasn't a quilter.  Paah!

Friday, February 8, 2013

My new little rigid heddle loom

Warping my new baby with some plain yarn. It is an Ashford 12 inch, and I ordered the extra heddle so I have 2 sizes to work with.

Weaving with some gray yarn so I can see how it works.  I love it and it is so perty!!!  Not my weaving but the loom.  For sure I think I like weaving with carpet warp and fabric better than yarn, but maybe someday I will change my mind.  Getting the feel of the loom for now.
The Weaving Guild will be held this month at the home of a gal who will be teaching about the rigid heddle loom. Hope to pick up some pointers and how to do some patterns.  Will probably use it mostly to make table runners and mug rugs.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Newspaper column

January was a very eventful month and I apologize for having to be closed much of it. We tend to take our health for granted most of the time and actually do very little to really take care of it and appreciate it. My husband is recovering very well from a serious incident that started Christmas Eve. As we look back at the last month we are very grateful for his recovery. So my message is that we really do need to treat our bodies with respect and take good care of what we have.

One of my best memories of my mother is of her reading to my brother and I when we were small children. We were allowed to buy a book each month which she read to us. Remember all the Golden Books like The Bobbsey Twins, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka and many more?
One of my favorites when I was able to read myself was a book by Marguerite Henry.

Misty of Chincoteague
Marguerite Henry

This book was written in 1947 and was inspired by a real Chincoteague pony named Misty. Chincoteague is a small island off the coast of Virginia and the book tells the story of the Beebe children, Paul and Maureen and their efforts to raise a filly born to the wild ponies. Each year the herd is pushed across the water at low tide from the Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. There the fire department pens the horses, trims hooves and sell a few of the herd in order to maintain the size. The children from the Beebe ranch save their money and buy a mare Phantom, and her filly foal. They work hard to gentle the mare but the next year the stallion from the Island coaxes her back to the wild, but Misty the filly stays with the family. Much of the story and additional books that followed are based on true horses and events. They still do the horse penning and it draws thousands of visitors to the island and there is a Beebe Ranch, where there is a museum. Misty and her daughter Stormy reside at the ranch in their taxidermically preserved figures.
I found the research on the author and the islands to be quite interesting. You can Google the island name and learn more.

The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck

One of my goals in the coming year is to read more of the old classics. Somehow I missed reading them back in the days when I should have. This is one that has been on my list. The Good Earth was written in 1932. A simple story written by a woman who grew up in China, the daughter of missionaries. In the story a poor peasant farmer, Wang Lung, who goes to the great house of Hwang to obtain a bride, O-lan, from the slaves. She is very plain but a good wife who gives him sons. They live thru famine and many hard years, but she works along side of him making great sacrifices to raise his children. Their time is the pre-revolutionary China in the 1920's. By accident they find themselves the recipients of riches beyond their dreams and Wang Lung knows that if he owns property they will never be poor again. He buys land from the house of Hwang, and as he prospers he buys more until he owns this rich house for his family. You can see the different attitudes between one generation and the next. The story is very rich in irony yet told in a simple fashion that has made it a true classic masterpiece.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I am hooked and I can't stop reading

This fits me to a tee!  I am into the third book of the Outlander series and the main character is such a strong woman that lives her life with such passion that you makes you want to crawl into her skin for awhile and see what it must be like.  Of course she has a big red headed Scottish warrior to be passionate about. But beside that she is one who knows what she is born to and nothing gets in her way.
I have just put down one book and picked up the next.  I know I will have to read something in between so I can do my book reviews for the paper.  I think this next month it will be rather skimpy.  Hey, I have been busy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A re-read

I am re reading the complete set of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of 7 books with the 8th promised.  Maybe by the time I get thru these the new book will be out.  I first read them over 8 to 10 years ago and I read them as I was able to find them.  So now I am into the second book  Dragonfly in Amber.  It is rather fun to read a book that you have read before.  I am amazed at the details that I either forgot or didn't grasp when I read them the first time.  Sort of makes the reading a little richer and you already feel you know the characters.  This is probably my favorite series. 
You may think I am weird but I am planning on re reading the Clan of the Cave Bear series again.  I think they were really well written and it has been many years since I read them as they were printed back in the 80's.

Had a new customer in the store last week and she saw my book lying on the counter and commented that it was her favorite series, and when I mentioned wanting to re read the Clan series again she said she was planning to do that too.  Found out she is a weaver and knows some of the folks at the college where I have been taking weaving classes for 2 semesters.  She has set her loom aside for several years.  I think I got her interested in coming to the Fiber Guild mtg for Feb with me.

Feels good to be back at my regular hours in the store now. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I am back

I have had my book store closed for over 3 weeks due to family health issues.  It is good to be able to re-open again even though I am only there 4 to 5 hours a day.  Its a start.  I made a new flag to hang out when I am there.  So glad we are having a mild winter so far, as it has made it easier to not have to deal with shoveling snow and all.  Being the only driver in the house I take all 3 of us to all our appointments, shopping, banking, and McDonald runs.  (We are addicted to the coffee there)

Not having any luck today down loading pictures.  Will try again next time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My January newspaper column

Happy New Year to everyone. Since this is now published we know that the world didn't end so lets make 2013 a great year. I have made one major change for the new year. I no longer have a land line for telephone at the store. I have upgraded my cell phone to a “smart” phone that I can access the Internet with my laptop anywhere. When they call it a smart phone they weren't kidding. I probably won't figure out everything but have found some pretty amazing features on it. So this phone will be shared personal and business. Hopefully when people call the other number they won't think I have closed down. I have been trying to notify everyone as I can. The other advantage is that I will now be able to swipe credit cards with the phone so my customers won't have to run up the street to the ATM machine.
Gathering Blue
by Lois Lowry
After reading the first of this series and reporting on it last month I was anxious to start on book two. As I said before these books were written I believe with the young adult in mind but I found them to be very good reading. In this one a young girl with a talent for weaving colored threads is taken to the Council of Guardians when she becomes an orphan. She is also crippled in one leg and feared that she would be taken to the “field” where no one returned. There is also a young boy that was orphaned who lives there and he has a talent to carve pictures in wood. Their talents are pushed by the Council to repair the wooden staff and robe of the “Singer”.
Annually there is a gathering where the Singer sings the history to the people, using the staff carvings and pictures on the robe to guide him. But when these youngsters begin to learn how they became orphans and what their life will be like they make a choice that could change their history. The title of course has to do with a color that she needs and in finding it she discovers a wonderful thing.
There is one more book to this series that I will read soon.

by Diana Gabaldon

I never thought I would be one of those folks who keep books and actually read them again. But have you ever finished a book and felt a sort of loss? Its like you just left a good friend and wish you could keep them with you. I read this Outlander series several years ago. There are seven books so far, with the promise of another to come. When I collected the series I promised myself that I would re-read them one day. Well I didn't do it last winter so this time I actually got started and I am so glad I did. Gabaldon is one of my favorite authors. She makes you feel like you were there! The story line is about Claire Randall who is a nurse in the war in early 1940's and takes a vacation to Scotland with her husband. She takes a walk and goes thru these stones and ends up back in 1745 in the wilds of Scotland. She is taken captive by a Scottish clan who think she is an English spy. Of course the English think she is a spy for the Scotts. Later she is rather forced to marry one of the clansmen to give her protection and to give him protection in another way. His name is Jamie Fraser. So the story follows their narrow escapes from a Captain Randall who happens to be a very distant relative of her husband from 1944. Are you confused? Oh, I forgot to mention that she finds her true love in Jamie and he in her. It is a great story and as I said you feel like you came back to an old friend.

As I finish this column today on Thursday after Christmas and get it ready to send to the paper I must report that my store hours may be irregular again due to health issues with a family member. I will be closed till after New Years for sure and maybe beyond. Feel free to call to be sure I am open or send me a text is good too. Don't give up on me.

This was my newspaper column that I turned in just after Christmas, if you follow my other blog that is linked here you will see the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say.  Happy New Year!
(I deleted the phone number for this blog.)