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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter ...

So it turns out, there aren't any Christmas songs with the word "gingerbread" in them. But the "icing" on this gingerbread woman is sweet, if I do say so myself:
This was originally a Victoria Sampler pattern, "Gingerbread Cookies," but if you go to that link you'll see I made a lot of changes -- I got rid of the Santa hat and omitted the buttons and beaded necklace, instead filling in her dress with a blackwork pattern accented with the necklace "pearls." I did use two of the white buttons for eyes, and added a few white seed beads for the mouth. She's backed with a brown batik fabric and lightly stuffed. The picture is not great, but I'm really pleased with it.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

1 Year of Stitches: Week 49

(Eep! Almost done!)

A very bad back injury kept me from doing anything other than feeling sorry for myself the last two weeks. Also, we got a new (to us) car.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Beadboy1's quilt -- a decades-old commercial quilt of dubious quality -- is literally falling apart. He's getting a new one for Christmas, so I've decided to use the old one as a cutter for different projects (when I can wrestle it away from him to snip pieces). First up was Kathy Kerstetter's Vintage Snowmen Ornaments, from the 2015 issue of Quilting Arts Holiday:
The buttons on the middle pieces are vintage; the beads and buttons on the faces are not. And they are missing their "carrot" noses, which I only noticed after they were all done. Oops.

Beadboy3 was enamored of these snowmen and begged me to make one just for him, so I did out of craft felt:
I remembered the nose this time
He's sleeping with it as I type.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Halloween Sampler

I've finished the sampler I made with Stitchy Box's Halloween Countdown box:
This was a lot of fun! I'm in the process of charting it, although all the specialty stitches may be beyond my software capabilities.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Bookburners by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery

A story about a secret black ops organization at the Vatican that hunts down and neutralizes demonic books was an obvious thing to add to my reading list. Bookburners is the first "season" of a novel that was initially serialized on the internet; as such, it reads like a collection of short stories with an overarching plot that becomes increasingly important. 

The POV character is Sal, a NYC cop and non-believing Protestant who learns about the existence of demons, magical books, and demon-possessed magical books when her brother is ensnared by one.  In an effort to save her brother's life (and soul), she joins Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum. It's fast-paced and a lot of fun to read.

It's also quite smart.  The Church's take on magic is that it is too dangerous, too easily corrupted by demons, to use, but there are characters within and without (good, evil, and neutral) who disagree -- to them, magic is simply a tool, and humans should learn how to use it before it's too late.  But rather than fall into cliches about repressive institutions and freedom-loving individuals, the authors treat the matter quite seriously.  Both sides are heard, both viewpoints are respected, and the events depicted don't fully vindicate either take. 

This parallels the story's treatment of religious faith; Father Menchú's rock-solid faith, Sal's atheism/agnosticism, and Asanti's pragmatism are all treated fairly.  It makes for a refreshing take on the usual tropes, and I can't wait to read "season" two.