Monday, December 19, 2011

Winner announced! And Christmas countdown

Wow, my favorite football team - the Baltimore Ravens - played horribly last night, so I was glad for the distraction of assimilating all the comments I've received from you all to pick out a winner while watching the game.  This was not an easy task, especially because I wanted to be fair to everyone and stick to the rules that I had set out, so I went through and put in one entry for following and one entry for giving me the name of your favorite book ... extraneous comments and those posted after the giveaway closed on Saturday were not counted ... sorry!!

The winner is ... Michele!  She wrote, " My recent favorite books are all by Lisa See. Try her first one, Snowflower and the Secret Fan, and you'll be hooked by her."  Actually, she's right.  I love historical fiction, and last year for the family book-themed Yankee gift exchange, my Honey's sister contributed that book, which my Honey ended up with ... but I was the one who spent the day after Christmas reading it from start to finish.  Since then I've also gone through her books, "On Gold Mountain," "Peony in Love," and "Dreams of Joy."  I've also read several Anchee Min novels (slightly more history than fiction), both "The Painter from Shanghai" by Lisa Cody Epstein and "The Concubine's Daughter" by Pai Kit Fai which I received for my last birthday, and Ha Jin's "Waiting" is next on deck. 

However, I want to thank everyone who contributed the names of their favorite books.  Be reassured that I have already read the Hunger Games, Percy Jackson series, and Harry Potter (I do have an 11-year-old boy, after all), and am a huge fan of Jane Austen, rereading her books every few years.  I've read nearly all the classics, including everything by Dickens and Dostoyevsky, and much of Dumas (LOVE the Count of Monte Cristo), and Edith Wharton is another favorite author.  So I really appreciate a lot of the modern literature that others have recommended - I'm going to filter through the list and start adding some things to my library wish list!

Now, on the quilting front - the guild just posted photos from the December show & tell, including the Kaleidoscope quilt I made for my dad, so I'll share the photo here:
I was able to sew labels onto all three of my Christmas present quilts last week and need to get them washed and dried to give them that great "crinkly" look.  Most of the presents are wrapped and already under the tree, but the next thing on the list is menu planning.  Not only am I hosting Christmas Eve dinner for my Honey's family, but I have a whole week's worth of meals to think about for our houseful - three kids, my dad, and his girlfriend - who arrive on Christmas Day.  It's not easy going from two people to seven, and it tired me out last year, so I'm trying to do as much pre-planning (and freezing) as possible.  I think the crock pot will get a lot of use Christmas week!  We're also planning "theme days" with the kids during that week - one day where we get outside for a hike or to take the dog to the dog park, one day where we stay in our pajamas all day to watch movies and bake cookies, one day where we do some volunteer work, and so on.  But I'm planning on building in some good sewing time in there, including catching up on my charity sewing - comfort quilts, 4Patches4Hope, and pillowcases for the Million Pillowcases Challenge.  Does anyone else have any special sewing plans during the holidays?

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