Book Review: The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

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alohaquiltThe Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

Another season of Elm Creek Quilt Camp has come to a close, and Bonnie Markham faces a bleak and lonely winter ahead, with her quilt shop out of business and her divorce looming. A welcome escape comes when Claire, a beloved college friend, unexpectedly invites her to Maui to help launch an exciting new business: a quilter’s retreat set at a bed and breakfast amid the vibrant colours and balmy breezes of the Hawaiian Islands. Soon Bonnie finds herself looking out on sparkling waters and banyan trees, planning quilting courses, and learning the history and intricacies of Hawaiian quilting, all the while helping Claire run the inn.

As Bonnie’s adventure unfolds, it quickly becomes clear that Claire’s new business isn’t the only excitement in store for her. Her cheating, soon-to-be ex-husband decides he wants her stake in Elm Creek Quilts, which threatens not only her financial well-being but her dearest friendships as well. Luckily she has the artistic challenge of creating her own unique Hawaiian quilt pattern to distract her and new friends like Hinano Paoa, owner of the N’Mele Hawai Music Shop, who introduces Bonnie to the fascinating traditions of Hawaiian culture and reminds her that love can be found when and where you least expect it

This is practically a stand alone novel in the series, and concentrates on Bonnie, one of the original members of Elm Creek, travelling to Hawaii to help her friend Claire establish a new quilting retreat, whilst putting some distance between herself and her husband during a rather acrimonious divorce.

The new setting allows Chiaverini to introduce her readers to a new way of quilting – this is number 16 in the series after all! – as well as giving a potted history of Hawaiian history (no idea if it’s right or wrong but fair dues to her for even trying!).   The Elm Creek Quilters are barely seen until the end, for various reasons, so is pretty much a standalone book.

The divorce has been a long time coming, so it’s a relief that it’s finally over, even if it’s a small part of the back story.

Claire is the opposite of Bonnie – the former ignoring the things she sees as negative, where as Bonnie takes everything the wrong way and thinks it’s for the worst.

I have to admit I did skim the occasional small set of pages in this book – there were parts that it did seem to be more of what us Brits call “a party political broadcast on behalf of…” so it ran very close to being a lecture on how bad things had gone for the Hawaiians over the years.

So in summary: a fairly standalone book in the series, that gives the reader a decent overview of Hawaiian quilting, and finishes one of the long running threads in the series, but little more

Assisi WIP

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A current WIP of Assisi work, that first appeared in a copy of New Stitches magazine (back issue number unknown)

I think I’ve stitched this before, and stitched up the edges to stop them fraying.  It is suggested as a possible table place setting, and is certainly big enough for a centre piece, butI havent taken that route before.

It’s taken me about 3 weeks, on and off, and is being used to slowly ease me back into some hand sewing

photo 2

New Acquisitions Jan 2014

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This will be an intermittent style of post to highlight the Acquisitions that I have managed to acquire in the period since the last post. Hopefully I’ll be able to make this monthly

alohaquiltThe Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

Another season of Elm Creek Quilt Camp has come to a close and Bonnie Markham faces a blean and lonely winter ahead, with her quilt sjop out of business and her divorce looming. A welcome escape comes when Claire, a beloved college friend, unexpectedly invites her to Mau to help launch an exciting new business: a uilter’s retreat set at a bed and breakfast amid he vibrant colours and balmy breezes of the Hawaiian Islands

As Bonnie’s adventure unfolds, it quickly becomes clear that Claire’s new business isnt the only excitement in store for her. Her cheating, soon-to-be-ex decides he wants her stake in Elm Creek Quilts, which threatens not only her financial well being, but her dearest friendships as well. But when she makes a new friend, who introduces her to the fascinating traditions of Hawaiian culture, Bonnie is reminded that love can be found when and where you least expect it

A bookcrossing friend of mine knows I love this series and managed to send it to me just after the New Year. This is later in the series than I’ve read to date (it’s apparently #16) so interesting to see where people have got to

Craft Books in 2014

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Saw this post today, where the author discusses the craft related books in 2014 that she’s looking forward to.

I have been out of the loop for so long in terms of looking at craft books, especially those still to be published, that I have *no* idea what’s out there or on the future publication lists

Anyone have any books they are looking forward to in 2014? Any recent releases you’d like to recommend?

 

New Year’s Crafty Resolutions 2014

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I’ve already made some resolutions with regards to my book reading so I’ve decided that I may as well do some for my crafty side.

  • Listen to at least one audiobook a month, which will allow me to do stuff with my hands
  • I have a number of courses that I brought in the sales on Craftsy.  Undertake and complete at least one of these courses.
  • Visit the Birmingham Embroiders Guild, at the library at the very minimum, but look to go to evening meetings in Cotterage as well (and pay up membership if I decided to join full time).
  • Include more reviews on this blog, of magazines, books, products, shops and events.  Since I am doing none at the moment I should look to do at least 1 a month
  • Identify and follow more craft related blogs and interact with others.  I have very few craft bloggers giving me regular updates, so I Must Do Better
  • Make use of such websites as ukcraftblog and their newsletters
  • Go through my stamp and paper stash and decide on some form of plan as to how to make use of it 
  • Go through my fabric stash and decide on some form of plan as to how to make use of it.
  • Split my crafty twitter feed off from my book twitter feed (already done) and allow my crafty twitter to interact with other crafty people

 

Mend and Make Fabulous by BurdaStyle Editor Denise Wild

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mendandmakefabMend and Make Fabulous by BurdaStyle Editor Denise Wild

I am seeing promotions for this book coming out to allow people to pre-order ahead of release. Which leads me to ask: do you repair, adjust, or otherwise change your clothes? Add or remove decorations? Change buttons? Add ribbons?

I admit that I dont, I’m not a follower of fashion and dont feel the need to replace my wardrobe every season.  I wear clothes till they practically fall apart.  Seams wear out, buttons disappear (to be replaced by a close relative from the button box). Cotton shirts get recycled into scraps for quits, socks get holy then discarded.

What about you – are you a Make Do and Mend kind of person or not?  Who taught you to darn and mend?

Lavender Bags

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Anyone got any directions for making up Lavender Bags (different formats such as using tuille etc)?

I still have a load of blossom in my house and I should really use it up as it’s not doing anything useful sitting where it is at the moment.

We have a German Market every year where I live and each year I see them on sale for several pounds a shot. Every year I think “I’m not paying money for that when I have stuff at home”, every year I think “great presents” and each year….I do nothing. So once again, there’s another thing I need to add to the list of “things to do in the new year”.  Any suggestions – I’m looking for different examples as I dont want them to be all the same

Kaffe Fassett colours

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Now, I’ve got quite a few Kaffe Fassett books around the house – some even signed by the man himself at one quilt show or another. Some of his pieces are lovely, and I’m glad someone loves colour and attempts to make good use of it in whatever format they feel like.

BUT – anyone produce pieces using his fabric exclusively? Because there are so many patterns, designs and shapes, I’m rather intimidated by some of the stuff that comes out under his brand. Anyone else?

Here is an example of the current Kaffe Fassett Catalog What do you think – you up for using any of it?

2013 in Review

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In terms of crafting in 2013, as you can probably tell from this blog, it wasnt going very far. I spent much of the year reading books instead – and I found some really good ones too! Still have loads more books to read – i’m sure they breed when I’m not looking!

I did do some hand sewing, making use of some scraps lying around and keeping my hand in (ahem!). I also found a new shop up the road from me that sells batting, and when I’m in the mood I’m going to try and do some making up of quilting to see whether I can do it easily enough.

I’ve been to a couple of shows up at the NEC – namely The Festival of Quilts and the ICHF shows (Sewing for pleasure etc)

I seem to have acquired loads of stamps, plus ink packs, but again, have done little with them to take that forward (are you seeing a trend here? Lots of acquiring, but little doing….).

I havent done any cross stitch, but then havent acquired any new patterns or kits after last year’s purge so that’s ok then, isnt it

So going forward, what am I going to do? Well,

  • I’ve split my twitter accounts, so that one is book related, the other is craft related, so I can stop having one drown out the other.
  • I’m going to try and drag more craft books into my reading schedule and review them more – and maybe even do some of the projects!
  • I’m going to attend those shows that are close, and blog about them more
    I need to review those items I have already picked up and done little with and blog about those too.
  • I will interact with more bloggers and twitter users and see if I can get inspiration from them
  • Do less acquiring and more doing

For the last item therefore – do you have any suggestions as to which twitter users and bloggers I should be following?

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