A Little of this and that.....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

River City Quilters' Guild Quilt Show

I had the pleasure of attending the Sacramento River City Quilters' Guild Quilt Show last weekend at the Scottish Rite Temple in Sacramento, California.  There were over 200 quilts on display. They awarded quilts in over 20 different categories.  This quilt quild is very industrious and puts on a quilt show every year!

There was so many beautiful quilts it was hard to pick my favorite.  I took pictures on my cell phone but the pictures were not very good for some reason.  Usually my phone takes excellent photos but not the other day.  I asked permission from the ladies from Quilt Inspiration blog if I could post their pictures and they graciously agreed that I could.  So thank you again Marina and Daryl!

Geraniums by Laurel Anderson


have had the privilege of meeting and talking to Laurel Anderson before.  She is a very sweet, talented and an award winning textile artist and applique quilt designer.  She came and did a presentation and talk to the Quilt Guild that I attend.  She was to come back and teach a class for us but for some reason it had to be cancelled.    This quilt won Laurel a Second Place in the category Appliqued Large Quilt.  

Lava Lamp also by Laurel Anderson and Lin Squires

                              

This quilt was inspired by designs of the 1960's.  The fabric colors move from dark to light in 9 shades with shimmers of gold and silver. Laurel has a pattern available at her website that I had previously purchased.  Now I really want to make a quilt like this!  This quilt won her and Lin Squires a 2nd place ribbon in the category of 2-person quilt -Pieced and Appliqued.


Twilight Star of Indonesia made and quilted by Susan Kooiman


This quilt was paper pieced and based on a pattern by Judy Mathieson.  It was made of beautiful batiks in orange, red, gold and deep blue violet.  The border of the quilt is flying geese in a circular design.   The very center of the star had a beautiful gold brooch with a purple stone.

View of Arles with Irises by The Fab 5 Group (Carole Pirruccello, Cathy Brorby, Phyllis McCalla, Jan Bawart and Jan Soules)


This quilt was comprised of five different panels that represented five different views of the flowers in the fields of Arles, France.  Each artist worked on their section of the project on their own and completely independently.  The fabrics are appliqued on with three dimensional pieces.  They were trying to render  Vincent Van Gogh's "View of Arles with Irises".  I think it is wonderfully done and can't believe that they did such a great job!


Mediterranean Sunset by Phyllis McCalla and quilted by Laura Jansen


Phyllis McCalla was the featured artist at this Quilt Show.  Phyllis is a quilt teacher, Fiber Artist and Consultant.  She previously taught classes at Cloth Carousel and several years ago I had taken a few of her classes.  She started teaching quilting classes in 2006 but I took my class from her several years later.  She is also a member of the Pins and Needles Art Quilting group.  

This quilt was longarm quilted by Laura Jansen.  Laura is a member of the Quilt Guild that I attend. She does beautiful custom work and her Feathers and leaves are gorgeous.  

The Skinnytaste Cookbook




This is a great cookbook for those who want to both eat great tasting food and have it be healthier too!  I was not familiar with the author Gina Homolka's blog Skinny Taste so this book was an introduction to her philosophy of food, cooking and healthy eating.  She had tried diets and like most people was not that successful with them.  She also wanted healthy "non-diet" foods to feed herself and her family.  She started her blog for fun and to share her recipes with others like her that was looking for healthy low calorie recipes.

The section The Skinny Basics is an important part of the book to read.  I read it over twice to make sure I got it all.  It goes into great detail about Planning Ahead and Eating Healthy All Week, Taking Charge of Your Kitchen, Dump the Junk, Fall in Love with Real Food, Keep it Simple, Forget the Fads and Serve Up Perfect Portions.  The Kitchen Makeover is another good part of the book.  It goes into detail as to what type of things you should stock your pantry with and what things you should get rid of.  It also has great freezer and pantry tips that we can all use.

I would compare this book to similar books like those in the Cooking Light series.  The book uses pretty easy to find ingredients that are in most peoples pantries already and easy to follow recipes.  Most of the recipes can be make in less than an hour and there is a lot of recipes that can be made even faster.  There are lots of great pictures too.  

A few of the recipes that I have made so far, thoroughly enjoyed eating and will definitely make again are:  Slow Cooker White Bean Chili Verde, Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Mongolian Beef and the Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken.  I plan on making the Cheesy Baked Penne with Eggplant and the Baked Bananas Foster a la Mode this weekend.  I would definitely like to try a few more of her dessert recipes as I am all about the dessert! 

"This book was given to me for free for my honest review from Blogging for Books.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Dogs Are



This is a beautiful children's fiction book with beautiful illustrations.   It is a story about a dog that helps a boy who can't see or hear.  God sends him to Earth to teach the boy, Brian, that he loves him. I agree that God loves us all.  I enjoyed the part of the story that tells you that dogs are wonderful, lovable and helpful companions.  I totally agree that dogs are great!  I have always had a dog in my family and consider my dogs part of my family.

"Go to Brian and just love him.  Stay by his side.  Let him lean on you.  Help him walk with confidence.  Let him hug your neck".  Then it goes on to say "From now on I will call you DOG - that's God spelled backwards".  

I really did not agree with the way the author wrote the story that Brian needed a helper so God sent him to Earth to help the little boy out.  The story then goes on to state that because the dog did a good job God decided to send other dogs to Earth.  I really didn't care that the book took something about God and Heaven and made it appear as a fact when in fact it has no biblical basis.  I was really bothered with that part of the book.

I read the book to my six year old grandson Connor.  I believe that Connor enjoyed the pictures and hearing about how much this dog loved the little boy Brian but he was confused by the fact that the book says "God then shouted after him, If you do a good job, I will send more dogs to Earth".   He was totally confused by that and I had to explain to him that it was just a story and not actually a fact. 

I thought the illustrations were very nicely done and any child who likes dogs will enjoy looking at this book but I really wouldn't recommend it to others.  You can find out more about the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Thank you to BookCrash for providing this book to me for free for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sugar Rush



I really love cookbooks and I love looking at them even more.  I can look through cookbooks for hours!  I mean delicious sounding recipes and beautiful pictures but no calories!  I really liked the cover photo on this book as it looked good enough to eat so I simply had to get this book.

A few of the recipes sound a little daunting, and you might need to be a little bit more advanced as a baker, but the photos and detailed instructions really help.  It is packed with 9 different sections of recipes in a variety of different levels of difficulty.  The sections in the book are:
Custards and Creamy Desserts
Eggs and Meringue
Caramel
Cakes, Cupcakes, Brownies and Muffins
Cookies, Tea Cakes and Biscuits
Tarts, Cobblers and Crisps
Yeast Doughs
Glazes, Frostings, Fillings and Sauces
Building a Balanced Dessert 

What I enjoyed most was that everything is beautifully photographed.  There are tons of pictures showing you the beautiful results of each recipe which is amazing and helpful when you're trying to make a recipe.  The pictures is what really makes me like this cookbook!

My most favorite section of recipes is the Caramel section.  There are several recipes that I'm looking forward to trying, such as the Caramel Pudding, Salted Caramels, Smack Caramel Corn and the Spreadable Caramel.  I plan on making most of these this Holiday season.  I think they will be well liked by my family as they are also Caramel lovers.

"This book was given to me from Blogging for Books for this review."

Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking

Johnny Iuzzini with Wes Martin; Introduction by Dorie Greenspan'
Photographs by Michael Spain-Smith




The First Christmas

I received the paperback book "The First Christmas" as retold by Janice D. Green and illustrated by Violet Vandor to review from Book Crash.


This is a nice 32 page paperback book with colorful illustrations that tells the story of The First Christmas in a easy read for children.  I originally requested this book thinking that it would be great to read to my four grandchildren aged 1 1/2 to 6 years old.  This book is definitely for for small children but I think that for preschool age children it is a little to advance for them.  My six year old grandson enjoyed me reading the book to him and I also think older children will enjoy it.  The book tells the main story of the birth of Jesus.  It is a complete account of the Nativity Story.

It included conversation starters or questions on each page that would enable the adult reader to check the child's understanding of each part of the book.  These questions will help the reader engage with the child and interact with them.  There is also a fun quilt activity that is included at the end of the book.  

This book was provided as a complimentary copy through BookCrash for my honest review.  This book can be purchased at http://honeycombadventures.com/books and also from http://amazon.com/First-Christmas-Janice-D-Green/dp/0983680825

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

God Gave Us Angels


My children grew up with me reading books to them on a daily basis.  Now that I am a Memaw to four lovely little ones I love to read to them just as much as I did to my children.  I try to read with them as much as possible.  I hope to impart to them how important reading is not only for enjoyment and knowledge but just for the love of reading!  So when I saw this children's book I thought it would be a great book to review.  

I had not heard of the book, God Gave Us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergen, but when I saw the cover I immediately wanted to pick this book.  I loved the adorable artwork on the cover of the big polar bear and the little polar bear with the polar bear angel in the background.  The very touching message in the book- God Gave Us Angels is only made better by the lovely illustrations!  

I had the pleasure of reading the book to my 23 month old grand-daugher and my 6 year old grandson this afternoon.  The little one sat on my lap and the other right by my side and were very still for the entire story.  They looked at the pictures and were eager for me to read the next page.  

The loving message about angels always being with us was very nice to share with my little grand children.  I loved that the book gave many reminders about what angels are and are not. Both of the children loved the book and I plan on keeping it in my "Memaw Library" for many years.  I am sure that I will read this book to them many more times. 

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More


Sweet by the editors of Food Network Magazine is the third book that I have received from Blogging For Books.  I was especially happy when I received this book because I love to eat Sweets!  Cookies, Candy, Cupcakes and anything and everything that looked mouth watering and yummy is in this recipe book!

I believe this book is extremely well organized with 8 different chapters.  It has the chapters separated into Cupcakes & Whoopie Pies, Cookies & Bars, Candy & Snacks, Pies & Crumbles, Fake-Out Cakes, Show-Off Cakes, Frozen Treats, and Holiday Desserts.  It has the most beautiful pictures of everything!  Every single recipe has a picture of what the desert or sweet should look like.  Some of the recipes even have photos of different steps of the recipes.

There are recipes for quick and easy treats and then there is also more challenging projects also.  This book has many things I plan on making.  The first recipes I will be trying real soon are the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Shortbread and the Sea Salt Chocolate Carmels.  As you can see I am very partial to anything made with Chocolate!

The recipes in this cookbook are very accessible to any home cook.  I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves to make desserts.  Happy Baking!

P.S. "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review".