Quilt for Kim and Ryan Finished!

Posted 27 February, 2015 by Trish in Crafty / 18 Comments

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Jelly Roll QuiltIn October my little sister Kim got married to her sweetheart Ryan. As I was trying to think of a wedding gift to give them, it finally came to me that I wanted to make them a quilt. I immediately texted my mom and sister to see if they would like to help and they both enthusiastically replied that they would.

And so over the next several months, a beautiful quilt was made by six loving hands (sometimes with four little helping hands).

Coming up with the pattern was the most difficult part. It’s one thing deciding on a pattern on your own, but when considering the opinions of three people was at times a mental workout. Just kidding mom! We finally settled on some inspiration from Pinterest, came up with the dimensions and caluclations, and moved onto the fabric selections. Another fun decision for three varying opinions. Our local quilt shop, Happiness Is Quilting (best name ever), came to the rescue with their shop-made jelly roll. As soon as we saw the patterns we knew it was Kim to a T.

We cut and cut and cut, and then sewed and sewed and sewed. The irony of patchwork–cutting up material to sew it all back together again. To make this quilt we used the entire jelly roll plus maybe another fat quarter worth of scraps. A big huge shout out to the sweet ladies at The Quilt Asylum (our other local quilt shop) who watched us in amusement (and helped us) as we shopped and shopped and shopped for coordinating fabrics for the border, sashing, binding, and backing. For the quilting stitched around all of the boxes and then around the border.

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

 

At times we got a little bit loopy. And there were several times when we sewed pieces together only to realize we had to rip the seams apart and do it all again.

It was a work of labor–but labor of SO much love. My only one huge regret is that Kim could not work on the quilt with us. First, it was a surprise. Second, she lives in San Francisco.

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Kim with Quilt

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

“Stitched with Love for Kim and Ryan | <3 Mom, Trish, Brooke | October 2014″

 

Quilt for Kim and Ryan

The finished dimensions of the quilt are about 80″x90″ and we finally mailed it off to the happy couple the week that they moved into their very first home together. I know that they’ll have many many moments wrapped up in the love of this quilt.

Certainly Stitched With Love…

 

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[Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts]

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Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin

Posted 25 February, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 9 Comments

last train to istanbulTitle: Last Train to Istanbul
Author: Ayse Kulin (Translated by John Baker)
Published: 2013;  Pages: 395
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: Lost in Translation?

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: During World War II, Turkey evacuated nearly 20,000 Jews from Nazi occupied countries. This is historical fiction recounting of the Crescent and Star Train that transported thousands of displaced individuals to Turkey.

Why I Read: I think this one was an Amazon Daily Deal? I haven’t heard anything else about this one and I bought it on whim.

Thoughts in General: I remember in one of my undergrad history courses learning about all of the displaced Jews in the years leading up to, during, and certainly after World War II but I’ve since forgotten much of the details I learned. When I first started Last Train to Istanbul I wasn’t entirely sure what the story was about, but it starts out with a young Muslim Turk woman who eloped with a Jewish Turk. They ran off to Paris after their families disowned them even though Turkey was much more progressive and secular than many of the other European nations at the time. I admittedly also forgot that part of Turkey is considered European.

I learned a lot while reading Last Train to Istanbul. I learned about the cultural climate of Turkey during the lead up to World War II and it’s efforts to bring home its citizens (and free those who weren’t citizens) from Nazi occupied nations such as France. I learned about the cultural climate in France and what it meant to be an occupied country. It seems that I should have known a lot of these things, but I was hazy on the facts and spent quite a bit of time on Google reading supplemental information. I love when a book has me wanting to know more!

In that respect, Last Train to Istanbul was well worth the read. I did have some issues with the book, though I’m not sure how much of it might be due to the translation. The writing never pulled me in and while the story was always interesting to me it felt very ambitions–there were lots and lots of themes going on as well as many many characters. As a result I often couldn’t quite grasp which story was the main story and a lot of the book ended up feeling tangential or splintered by the end. This is a bestselling book and Kulin is apparently one of the more famous Turkish writers, but you know I’m always looking for a read that will really grab me by the heart.

Bottom Line: I’m so grateful to the historical pieces Last Train to Istanbul filled in my WWII knowledge puzzle, but I can’t help but wonder what was lost in translation. I recommend this one but not as an earthshattering or even an overly emotional read.

Just when I wonder if I’ve read all the angles on World War II I discover a new story.  Have you read any books that provide a lesser known history of World War II? Have you read Last Train to Istanbul?

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Beginning a Reading Journey with Small Children

Posted 23 February, 2015 by Trish in Mommyhood, Reading Nook / 24 Comments



 
Reading Journey

When I was pregnant I would prop a book in front of my tummy and imagine one day curling up with my little girl and reading all the stories with her. I may have dreamed about this well before I knew I was pregnant the first time. I may have been that crazy lady who started collecting books for one day and who hoarded her own childhood books.

Now that I have two little munchkins and more storybooks than I can count, we spend all day long reading story after story after story. We even have marathons where I read my own books and they pretend to read their storybooks.

Ha, just kidding.

While we do have a household filled with books, both for adult and children, storytime is generally reserved for bedtime and only for the older kiddo (who is almost four). I’ve heard stories from friends whose children want to be read to all day or who are happy “reading” books to themselves or their stuffed animals. I didn’t inherit these children. Nonetheless, we still to bring reading into our house and it’s something I’m constantly striving to do better.

How to Begin a Reading Journey with Small Children

When I asked you to Ask Me Anything, CaroG wanted to know how I share/bring my reading with the littles. Below you’ll find what I’ve been very good at…and things I’ve struggled with. Of course, as always, I can’t wait to hear your own input.

Fill Your House With Books

You know what is really annoying? Toys that have a billion pieces. You know what doesn’t have a billion pieces? Books! Ask your gift givers that you would love books for your kiddos rather than toys. Books never go out of style. We have books all over the house–next the the girls’ beds, in the playroom, in the family room, and of course on my bookshelves. This makes it easy to just grab a book and start reading. Besides, how does one become a reader if books aren’t easily accessible?

 

 

Find Opportunities to Read Outloud

Can’t get your child to sit still in your lap while reading a book to her? Me neither. Instead, if the busy little bee is playing with toys, I’ll plop down in the middle of the playroom and pick a book up and start reading out loud. Many times busy little bee will wander over to me and continue listening to the story. Or grab the book and start reading it herself. In many cases I have some of our oft-read books memorized so I can keep reading without the book in hand.

When my girls were little babies, we spent huge chunks out of the day reading books out loud. Um, because what else are you going to do with a 6 week old who doesn’t even smile yet? But really, even when I wasn’t reading one of their books, I would sometimes hold them and read my book. And depending on the book, you might even be lucky enough for the resistant napper to fall asleep.

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Establish a Storytime Routine

Storytime is something that is ever-evolving at our house. I don’t read to Evie at bedtime but Elle always gets a book. I started the routine with her when she was a little over a year and could patiently sit through the story. She has just recently started to interrupt storytime with questions but I’m thrilled at how she adores a book at bedtime. And I love reading the books to her! She usually has a teetering stack of books on her nightstand. Just like mommy.

I keep a basket of books next to Evie’s rocking chair. I grab a book and try to read as much as I can but she isn’t interested in sitting through a whole book at this point. We’ll keep trying and I’m sure that eventually she’ll join in for storytime with her sister.

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Explore the Bookstore and Library

Confession: I have never taken my kids to storytime at the library. It was never at a convenient time for me and honestly I just couldn’t be bothered. I don’t really like this, but for the sake of being honest…  I do take them to the bookstore with me, though, and they know that anytime we go to Sam’s Club they will come home with a new book. Can I tell you how happy it makes me that they get excited about getting a new book as a treat?

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Let Your Children See You Read

This is another area where I can do better–honestly sometimes I feel guilty plopping down on the couch to read when other people (or my kids) are around. Like I’m purposely ignoring them. Anyone else?  Someone must have said something to me once upon a time to make me feel this. But, if my kiddos are happily playing, I do try to grab my book and read a bit. Of course, picking up a book also seems to be a magnet for “What’s Mommy Doing? I need to see that book!” But the girls definitely know how important books are to me and I hope that continues to rub off on them.

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With all of this will my girls end up being readers? I don’t know. But I do hope that they develop a strong respect for books and reading and that one day we can pass books back and forth to one another.

What are some of our favorite books to read? I wrote about our Favorite Board Books a while ago and this list definitely needs to be updated. Future post plans include my favorite books to read to the girls (and their favorite reads).

How have you tried to foster a love of reading with little ones?


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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Posted 21 February, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 24 Comments

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kitchen confidential audio

 

Title: Kitchen Confidential
Author/Narrator: Anthony Bourdain
Published: 2000; Pages: 320
Audio Duration: 8 hrs
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir
Rating: Shocking and Entertaining

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short:  Bourdain looks back at his start in the culinary world as he moved through the ranks of the NYC restaurant world–part memoir, part exposé, entirely entertaining.

Why I Listened: I wish I could remember who specifically prompted me to download this one, but I saw it several times on the Weekend Cooking link-up and thought it would make for a fun listen. Good thing I didn’t listen during our family roadtrip like I had planned. Bourdain’s language is quite…ahem…colorful.

Thoughts in General: Oh good golly miss molly. I’ve been thinking about this post for weeks and I’m still not really sure where to start with Bourdain and Kitchen Confidential. I was mildly familiar with Bourdain before going into my listening–seeing him on the Travel channel eating all sorts of really bizarre foods. And this is exactly where Bourdain starts his book–as a child and daredevilishly downing raw oysters must to the disgust of his family. From there it became a kind of addiction and eventually led way to his interest in all things culinary.

Throughout much of the book, Bourdain divulges what goes on inside the busy kitchens of hot New York restaurants. This is framed by Bourdain’s own move from the bottom rungs of the kitchen ladder further to the top. While much of the book feels like a kind of gossip column–who was working with whom and who was high on what kinds of drugs and what fantastical creations which chefs were making at which restaurants. It certainly doesn’t sound of interest, but it was an incredibly wild ride and Bourdain had me by the ear the entire time.

And I learned a lot, too. I learned about the best knives to use the kitchen and some of the more premium ingredients I can use to kick up my dishes a notch (I’ve only ever bought one shallot but perhaps it’s time for me to use them more). And shame on me for using that garlic press. Ha! And after listening to Kitchen Confidential, I will never again order the fish on Monday.

bourdain-kitchen-confidential

Bottom Line: Even when I couldn’t have cared less about the stories Bourdain was telling, I was still thoroughly engaged. I couldn’t even tell you why you might find this book interesting, but if you’re looking for a story that will make you laugh, that will leave your mouth hanging open, and that will keep you turning the pages (see note on audio), I definitely recommend Kitchen Confidential

Notes on the Audio: One of the best I’ve listened to. Bourdain was the perfect narrator for his own stories. He was fast talking but perfectly timed. He was expressive and emphatic. This is the only way I can imagine experiencing this book and I highly recommend the audio. There were a few moments of editing blips–where the tone of voice changed–but these were small distractions in the grand scheme.

 Are you a fan of Bourdain? Have you watched any of his shows or read any of his books?

 

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Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

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The Girls Right Now | Winter 2015

The Girls Right Now | Winter 2015

  I’ve decided it’s impossible for me to photograph both girls at the same time where they’re both looking at the camera. Here they’re sitting between the blinds and the window and the lighting was so sweet that I had to run to get my camera and pray that neither had moved when I got back. Those girls. My heart. Elle Right Now About 6 weeks shy of 4 years old. I look at her […]

Posted 19 February, 2015 by Trish in Life, Mommyhood / 26 Comments
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Bookish Problems that Plague Me

Bookish Problems that Plague Me

    Hi! I kind of disappeared again. We took a quick little trip last week to visit my dad (just me and the girls), but I left my phone in his car and was without it for a few days. It might possibly be the longest I’ve been without a phone in years and it was a bit liberating. Until all the times when I wanted to tell y’all something via Instagram or Twitter […]

Posted 17 February, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 38 Comments
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Bayou (v1-2) by Jeremy Love

Bayou (v1-2) by Jeremy Love

Title: Bayou Volume 1 and Volume 2 Author: Jeremy Love Published: 2009/2011 Pages: 160/160 Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy-Horror? Rating: Gutwrenching and Breathtaking Volume 1 On Amazon | On Goodreads // Volume 2 On Amazon | On Goodreads In Short: Set in 1930s Mississippi, Lee Wagstaff’s father is accused of kidnapping a little white girl. Little Lee journeys to hell and beyond to find the monster that snatched her friend. Why I Read:I first learned of this one during Diversiverse a […]

Posted 10 February, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 13 Comments
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The Beginnings of a Bookworm

The Beginnings of a Bookworm

    Christmas morning, 1983. I just asked Elle if she knew who this was. “Me!” Nope! “What kind of book is that Mommy?” Hmmm–maybe Cinderella? But I love this picture–all of those toys and dolls from Christmas and yet I’m most interested in the book. At least for the moment. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader. I’ve often wondered if people either are or aren’t readers and what makes […]

Posted 8 February, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 28 Comments
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Cook it Up! A Cookbook Challenge Link-up 7

Cook it Up! A Cookbook Challenge Link-up 7

    Welcome to the Seventh Edition of Cook It Up! Feel free to join in the challenge at any time, any month. The idea is to pull those cookbooks off your shelves and use them. These can be cookbooks that you already own or cookbooks that you’d like to check out from the library (or borrow from a friend?). You can cook from one cookbook over the course of the month or pick and choose recipes […]

Posted 7 February, 2015 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 13 Comments
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Las Vegas Getaway

Las Vegas Getaway

  See that? It’s a picture of Hoover Dam (or at least the bridge over the gorge). Last weekend Scott and I took a little getaway trip to Las Vegas. We had some free tickets on Southwest (which recently started flying direct to Las Vegas from Dallas) and were able to score a great deal at a new hotel on the Strip. My mom agreed to watch the girls and we were off! Three nights […]

Posted 5 February, 2015 by Trish in Travel / 34 Comments
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