Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Have the Americans Ever Done for the World?

Hello, Americans! We have been having a bit of an image problem of late and truthfully we aren't looking quite as good as we used to, especially in comparison to some other countries which I shall not name.

Leave it to a Brit to remind us of our amazing legacy in Atom Bomb to Santa Claus! Basically a book of trivia on American inventions and inventors and artists in all categories of life, readers will be amazed at just what America can be thanked (or blamed) for.

Like air conditioning, first installed in 1924 at Detroit's J. L. Hudson Department store.

Author Trevor Homer briefly traces the history of shaving, including the Perrett "safety" razor that had a blade set in a wooden guard. But it took Americans King Camp Gillette, William Painter and William Nickerson to create the safety razor with disposable blades (thereby creating an eternal after-market).

Today across the world people of every class wear jeans, with zippers, both American born.

Bubblegum! Sliced bread! Coco-Cola! Liquid Paper! Kentucky Fried Chicken! Post-it Notes!Bubble Wrap! Where would we be without bubble wrap to pop? The hamburger and the hot dog and pizza as we know it--all American cuisine--as is the chocolate chip cookie and potato chips.

Okay, let's get serious now. The computer mouse, the Internet, email, Facebook, GPS, search engines, and video games--all American inventions. And credit cards and ATMs. Then there is rocket science and Frisbees that look like flying saucers. Don't forget Robber Barons and the megastores Amazon and Wal-Mart. Even criminals and hate groups and judicial punishments get their due! (Not as inspiring a chapter. Nor is the Weapons of War, from the revolver to the Atom Bomb.)

Howard covers music, too. Jazz and Rock and Roll and Punk and all the dance crazes and the machines we played records on, the Gramophone and the Jukebox (patented in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1905). And writers and architects and sports heroes and fashion designers.

I love the chapter on Unlikely Inventors. Where else would I learn that George Washington created the wine coaster to protect his linen tablecloths? Or that the swivel chair I sit on while typing this was an invention by Thomas Jefferson? Actor Steve McQueen invented the bucket seat for his racing cars and Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers invented the clamp which held the atomic bomb safe within the Enola Gay.

Then there are the movers and shakers of the world of invention, the Masters of Change, visionary inventors, moral leaders, and Thomas Nast, artist of political cartoons whose portrayal of Santa Claus set the standard which was later embellished by Coca-Cola's iconic Santa Claus ads.

Medical advancements and inventions include the polio vaccine (thanks to Henrietta Lack's immortal cells) and heart surgery to Botox and Viagra.

Howard ends his collection with a reminder of the basic Freedoms that are enjoyed in America, noting that while we may be far from a Utopia, we are still an example of what can be achieved in a free country.

Thank you, Mr. Howard, for reminding us.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Atom Bomb to Santa Claus: What Have the Americans Ever Done for Us?
by Trevor Homer
Thistle Publishing
Pub Date 29 Nov 2018
ISBN: 9781786080820
PRICE: £9.99 (GBP)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pin Pals: 40 Patchwork Pinnies, Poppets, and Pincushions with Pizzazz

 FORTY pincushions to make! What a great scrap buster idea! This could be your next addiction!

When I recently reviewed Antique American Needlework Tools by Dawn Cook Ronningen I was quite struck by the historic sewing objects women made, especially the pincushions. So, I was excited when I saw Carrie Nelson's new book Pin Pals.
In July 2017, Carrie made 49 pincushions in 31 days, inspired to sew every day by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts. The journey was about play, pleasure, and practice, and not about pressure and perfectionism.
Pincushions don't have to be tomatoes! They can be any shape or size. How about a tetrahedron?

You can use any kind of fabric scraps! Some of the patterns use very tiny pieces.

Carrie closes the stuffed pincushion with 40 weight thread then adds a diagonal "X" cross stitch over the area for extra security.

Aren't these little beach houses adorable? The photo shows the crushed walnut shells used to stuff the pin cushion. Other stuffing options include sand, sawdust, rice, and cotton or poly stuffing.
Most of the patterns are pieced, but there is an adorable daisy fusible applique. 

I have some gift items to make for Christmas, but I can't wait to make my own Pin Pals!

See photos of all 40 pincushions at

See more books with Carrie's patterns here.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Pin Pals - 40 Patchwork Pinnies, Poppets, and Pincushions with Pizzazz
by Carrie Nelson
$22.99 Print Version + eBook
eBook Only (-$8.00)
ISBN: 9781604689594

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

American Advertising Cookbooks: How Corporations Taught Us To Love Bananas, Spam, and Jello

Why do we eat the foods we eat? Someone told us to eat them. Or--"sold us" to eat them.

Christian Ward's American Advertising Cookbooks tells the story of how corporations and big business influenced Americans to buy their products, creating an American cuisine that included Jello, Spam, and 7-Up in baby's milk. 
As a kid growing up in the 50s I was deluged with television ads telling me to buy the bread with the red, yellow, and blue balloons and sugared cereals with cartoon mascots. Then came Golden Arches and Coke Cola vs. Pepsi and newfangled foods like Pringles and Fritos. Remember the Where's the Beef, Beef--it's what America eats, and the Got Milk? celebrity ads? How many thousands of food commercials have I seen?
 Velveta actually was once real cheese. Now its a "cheese product"
vintage ad from my collection

While we Boomer kids were pleading for the latest product marketed on our TV shows, our mothers were collecting recipes from the magazines she brought home from the grocery store. Did a 25 cent rebate inspire Mom to try La Choy Chop Suey? (Dad hated it.) Did she get her favorite Spanish Rice recipe from a magazine ad?

Perhaps this La Choy magazine ad inspired Mom to try Chinese
from my collection
Spanish Rice was one of Mom's standard meals. from my collection
I don't remember Mom having any two-inch-thick Cookbook Bibles. She did have a collection of smaller cookbooks published by companies. Hotpoint Ovens. Fleischmann yeast. The Joy of Jello. Pies Men Like. She had recipes that came with her Bundt cake pan and electric skillet and cookie press. Mom used Bisquick and had the Bisquick Cookbook. I remember the coffee cake with streusel topping she often made.

some of Mom's recipe booklets

I remember learning how to make mini-pizzas with English muffins. Another magazine recipe...

Mom made a few signature dishes from scratch, but she also loved to try every new product that came out on the market including frozen TV dinners. I am grateful for one thing: we never had to eat the ubiquitous canned green beans/mushroom soup/Durkee fried onion casserole at holidays. (Dorcas Reilly invented the casserole recipe for Campbell's Soup, the most famous and important recipe they ever created. I read about her passing while working on this review.)

When I married, we began with Hamburger Helper and recipe booklets and magazine recipes. Before long we were cooking from scratch, even making our own bread.

my 1970s bread recipes from Robin Hood Flour 
I am fascinated by the history of food. So the idea of a book about how Big Business inspired American housewives to buy products caught my attention. The book includes a history of what we ate and why and photos from Ward's advertising cookbook collection. There were some pretty awful recipes. Like Ham Banana Rolls. Chiquita Banana says it's good, so it must be. 

Seeing the advertisements and recipes is great fun. But the book is more than a trip down memory lane to laugh at the ill-advised foods we once ate. The essays on the history of food and cooking in America include some stories that may shock readers. Political intervention in foreign governments, environmental degradation, racism, manipulation to encourage buying things that are bad for us--This is the history of American capitalism in American kitchens. 
Jello Pudding Cheesecake advertisement, my collection

Did you know that Daniel Dole went to Honolulu in 1841 with a missionary group, then with his son Sanford helped to depose Queen Liliuokalani--and then placed Sanford as President of the Republic of Hawaii? The family then built their pineapple plantations. And no, pineapples are not native to Hawaii.

You have perhaps heard about Banana Republics. Bananas were brought to South America to feed slaves. North Americans first ate them at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. People went ape over bananas. Banana plantations were planted all over Central American, forcing out native species. Over time, United Fruit became the banana monopoly, powerful enough to interfere in Bananaland politics.

The book is divided into Why Are We Eating This and Empire Building in the Free World? Chapter topics include:
  • Bananas & Pineapples: The food of paupers and kings
  • Chiquita Banana vs. the World: Banana republics, pineapple princes, and the Boston families who started it all
  • Class, race, and cultural signifiers: How cookbooks reinforce and change our way of thinking
  • Rationing & Fish Sticks- Food as both tool and weapon
  • Invasion of the Home Economists: The uneasy relationship between food science and marketing
Photo chapters cover all the major 'food groups': jello, pineapple, bananas, mystery meats, and sweets. 

Ward discusses the roots of American cooking and the first American cookbook, and how immigrants were taught to make American foods as part of their assimilation. 

Readers learn how the government got involved to clean up the food business and how Home Economics became a scientific part of education and entertaining with food became an art form. 

The Mad Men era saw entertaining become an art form. Vintage ad from my collection.
American Advertising Cookbooks would be a great gift with wide appeal. It was Boomer nostalgia for me. My son and friends loved the idea of this book and can't wait to get a hold of it.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

American Advertising Cookbooks: How Corporations Taught Us To Love Bananas, Spam, and Jello
by Christina Ward
Publication: November 27, 2018
ISBN 9781934170748, 1934170747
Trade Paperback 208 pages
$22.95 USD, $33.50 CAD

from the publisher:
American Advertising Cookbooks: How Corporations Taught Us to Love Spam, Bananas, and Jell-O is a deeply researched and entertaining survey of twentieth-century American food. Connecting cultural, social, and geopolitical aspects, author Christina Ward (Preservation: The Art & Science of Canning, Fermentation, and Dehydration, Process 2017) uses her expertise to tell the fascinating and often infuriating story of American culinary culture.

Readers will learn of the role bananas played in the Iran-Contra scandal, how Sigmund Freud's nephew decided Carmen Miranda would wear fruit on her head, and how Puritans built an empire on pineapples. American food history is rife with crackpots, do-gooders, con men, and scientists all trying to build a better America-while some were getting rich in the process.

Loaded with full-color images, Ward pulls recipes and images from her vast collection of cookbooks and a wide swath of historical advertisements to show the influence of corporations on our food trends. Though easy to mock, once you learn the true history, you will never look at Jell-O the same way again!

I have shared many recipes from Mid-Century magazines over the years but also from Advertising Booklets. Click on the titles of the booklets below to read my posts.

Pies Men Like 
Coconut Dishes Everyone Likes 
Big Boy BBQ Book
641 Tested Recipes from the Sealtest Kitchen

1931 Advertising cookbook for coconut. From my collection.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

A cold and gloomy Sunday afternoon in November was the perfect time to finish Killing Commendatore. I sat down with a cup of tea and read the last 110 pages.

I had begun the book over two weeks previous. Usually, it takes me a few days to read a book. But this one was the size of two books--the advanced reading copy is 674 pages! It took several weeks to read, with little impetus to flip pages. The style of writing felt leisurely, describing mundane things like what people were wearing or what the protagonist was cooking. These details puzzled me, for I really wasn't sure of their purpose.

Still, something drew me on; I couldn't even name it. The story was a journey that I was willing to take. I trusted the author to make it worth my while.

The narrator's wife of six years decides she wants a divorce. He has made a living by portrait painting, believing he has settled when he could have developed his contemporary art style. He believes his wife gave up on him because he had settled.

First, he gets into his car and drives around Japan. A fellow artist and friend offers him the use of his father's house in the mountains, a retreat where he had created the traditional Japanese style paintings that made him famous. The father is now in assisted living with dementia.

The narrator moves into the mountaintop house. He is in a slump, unable to paint. He teaches art classes and has liaisons with married women. He is approached by Menshiki, a mysterious man from a neighboring mountain. "Menshiki" means "avoiding color," very apt considering his pure white hair and secluded and walled-off life. Menshiki commissions the narrator to paint his portrait, and then to paint a portrait of a girl he believes to be his daughter. The girl happens to be one of the narrator's art students. He discovers a new way of painting that is intuitive, impressionistic, and powerful.

Meanwhile, otherworldly experiences arise that disturb the membrane between reality and the unreal.

Soon after moving into the house, the narrator discovers a painting in the attic,  Killing Commendatore. It is based on a scene from Mozart's Don Giovanni but also perhaps an image from the artist's experience as a student in Nazi-controlled Vienna, painted in the traditional Japanese style. No one has ever seen the painting before. A ringing bell in the forest leads the narrator to a mysterious pit. Ideas and Metaphors take a corporeal form, based on the images in Killing Commendatore. When the girl disappears our narrator goes on a quest to save her, entering another reality, crossing a river, walking through a dark wood, and crawling through a narrow tunnel.

The last half was intriguing and rewarding. The novel is called an "homage to The Great Gatsby," and I can see that. But I also connected it to other literary works and mythology.

In the end, the narrator states that his capacity to believe made him different from Menshiki; he is not one of T. S. Eliot's "straw men," a hollow man without feeling., for he trusts there is some guide which leads us where we need to be.

This is a story of transformation, a death and rebirth re-enacted, and yet the narrator's endpoint is to return to the life he started with, as a portrait painter, reunited with his wife, embracing her child. It is enough, now, for them both.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Killing Commendatore: A Novel
by Haruki Murakami
A. A. Knopf
ISBN-10: 052552004X
ISBN-13: 978-0525520047

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Another UFO Finished and Book News

I just bound off a quilt I made 8 years ago and 4 houses ago! It was one of the many tops I took to the long arm quilter, knowing I would never hand quilt all the tops in my stash. 

I have a load of books to read before the end of January! Still, there were two non-review books I had to read. I obtained Bob Woodward's Fear: Trump in the White House through the local library and bought Michelle Obama's Becoming. I read Fear during the day and reserved Becoming for bedtime reading since it would be less likely to disturb my sleep, lol.

Several years ago I reviewed Barren Cove by Ariel S. Winter through NetGalley, a sci-fi novel set in a world run by robots. I loved the book, plus it's a retelling of Wuthering Heights so that made it more dear to my heart. I discovered the paperback edition includes a blurb from MY REVIEW! Added to my bookshelf now.

I was offered two books from the publisher.

Algonquin Books reached out in an email saying, "we saw your glowing review of Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho and think you would really enjoy an upcoming novel of ours, a debut that’s getting a lot of buzz, Sugar Run by Mesha Maren. We’d love to send you an advance copy of Sugar Run. Set in West Virginia, this is a searing story about making a run for another life."  My review will run in a few months, but it is a memorable book.

Atria Books sent me a surprise package with The Falconer by Dana Czapnik. I was uncertain until I started reading. The writing is brilliant! It is about a love-forlorn girl in 1980s NYC who loves basketball.
I won The Cassandra by Shara Shields from LibraryThing. I am eager to begin it, too! Inspired by the Greek myth, it is set during WWII about a woman working in a top secret facility.
I also won The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg from Bookish First, still to come. The address book in questions documents everyone Doris has met and loved during her long life.

Other books on my review shelf to be read:

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner is about girls who met in a WWII Internment Camp
Tinkers by Paul Harding is a 10th Anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel
The Escape Room by Mehan Goldin a thriller
A Glad Obedience by Water Brueggemann is on hymnody
Learning to See by Elise Hooper is historical fiction on photographer Dorothea Lange
Louisa on the Front Lines by Samantha Seiple is about Louisa May Alcott as a Civil War nurse
Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane)
Overrun by Andrew Reeves is about the Asian Carp threat to the Great Lakes
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts (The Perfect Horse, The $80 Champion) is about Mrs. L. Frank Baum
Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam, a story of a late-life transformation
The Editor is by Stephen Rowley, author of Lily and the Octopus
Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer is a thriller
Daughter of Molokai by Alan Brennert (Molokai)
It is exciting when books I have read come up for prizes. Here are some that I have been made aware of on social media. My reviews for all of these books can be found on my blog in the "search" bar.

E. C. Huntley notified me that The Tyre was up for the People's Book Prize. 

Spaceman in Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar is up for the Arthur B Clark Award and the Dublin Literary Award. Other nominees for the Dubin Literary Award include books I reviewed: Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed, The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne, Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, Tin Man by Sarah Winman, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas; non-review books which I have read include Exit West, The Leavers, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Sing Unburied Sing, and Lincoln in the Bardo.

The Aspen Book Prize includes The Boat People by Sharon Bala, American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and There There by Tommy Orange.

The Southern Book Prize nominees include The Barrowfields by Philip Lewis, The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash, and Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin.

The Costa First Novel Award includes Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson; the Cost Award Shortlist includes The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman.

100 Notable Books from the New York Times books which I reviewed include American Marriage, The House of Broken Angels, State of Freedom, There There, A View of the Empire at Sunset, Warlight, Calypso, The Library Book, and Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy

"It is the year 1937 that I feel on my skin." from All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy

As a toddler, Myshin suffered from convulsions, which led his grandfather to nickname him after the character in Dostoevsky's The Idiot. The nickname stuck, even after the fits stopped--much to the boy's chagrin. "Innocents are what make humankind human," his grandfather explained.

In 1937 Myshkin's mother warned him to come straight home from school. Fatally, he was delayed. He never saw his mother again. She ran off with Walter Spies, a man who left his German homeland, an artist who had mentored her in her girlhood when traveling the world with her liberal-minded father.

Suffering so much loss in his life, Myshkin had turned to the things that make roots and last: trees. He became a horticulturist. He had planted a grove of flowering trees to add shade and beauty. Now the city wants to tear them down. Does anything last in this world?

Myshkin is in his sixties when a package arrives from his mother's best friend. The contents send Myshkin on a journey into his past.

All the Lives We Never Lived is Myshkin's story about how he came to terms with his past. Set in 1937 through WWII, in India and the Dutch East Indies, the setting is unfamiliar and exotic.

The human story is universal:

The life-long hollowness of a man whose childhood recurrent fear of abandonment became real.

How the conflict between private life and the work of political revolution split a family. Myshkin's father, an academic, was active in the Indian Independence Movement, an idealist who could not understand his wife's joy in painting and dance.

The motives, and costs, behind a young woman's breaking free of the constraints of her husband's expectations.

The fear that incarcerated non-hostile aliens during wartime.

I was moved by Myshkin's story. The intensity picks up when we learn the contents of the package, letters from his mother to her friend. From the personal suffering of a child, the novel turns to her tragic story.

Roy's research into the time period and the historical persons who appear in the novel bring to life a time few Americans know about. I am thrilled to have read it.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Read or hear an excerpt at

All the Lives We Never Lived
by Anuradha Roy
Pub Date 20 Nov 2018
ISBN: 9781982100513
PRICE: $26.00 (USD)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

John Boyne's novel The Heart's Invisible Furies was one of my favorite books of 2017. If the protagonist of Furies was sympathetic, the main character in Boyne's new book A Ladder to the Sky offers readers an entirely different type of character. For Maurice Swift uses everyone to advance his obsession to become a lionized writer of prize-winning books. On his way to the top, he breaks hearts and ruins and even ends lives. We despise him while finding him fascinating.

The story has a noir quality as Swift's crimes become darker. I was reminded of The Talented Mr. Ripely by Patrician Highsmith. One feels almost guilty about how enjoyable it is to read about very bad people.

The people Swift has used as rungs up the ladder tell their stories, until the end when we finally hear from a declining Swift. It is a compelling story.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

A Ladder to the Sky
by John Boyne
Hardcover | $27.00
Published by Hogarth
Nov 13, 2018
ISBN 9781984823014

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Identity Politics

The current political climate in America has led many to consider how we became a country torn asunder by factionalism and hatred of those who do not think or look or love or worship like 'us.'  There have recently been quite a few books out on Identity Politics and I have read several.

A LibraryThing win, The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on Today's College Campuses by William Egginton considers how higher education contributes to divisiveness vs. the free exchange of ideas in America. The author considers identity, inequality, and community and how these values have changed in American society over my lifetime.

Egginton argues that identity politics has segregated society and that a sense of community and reasoned conversation must be rediscovered if the American experiment in Democracy is to survive.

His argument calls for a compromise or synthesis between a society dominated by an elite few and the tribal mentality of today.

He promotes a liberal arts education as pivotal to the education of good citizens, in terms of learning to dialogue and reason and communicate. Yet, with college education so competitive and expensive, few parents or students can justify the cost of a liberal education. It's all about money, today, preparing for "economic self-improvement" as Egginton puts it. I saw that even back in the 1970s when I completed my education.

"Listening to each other isn't just some surface fix, it's fundamental to the very idea of liberty that the United States claims to embody." William Egginton, The Splintering of the American Mind

The importance of establishing a nationwide sense of community is of tantamount importance. And Egginton believes it begins on the campuses of our colleges and universities. Emphasized is teaching for empathy and dialogue and communication, finding the universal experiences in literature, learning to tolerate differences, supporting freedom of expression, and creating an educated citizenry able to employ critical thinking and dialogue. A section of Media Literacy caught my attention as something I had used in my volunteer teaching with high school students. And of course, the importance of a groundwork upon which we can all agree.

I was inspired by his hopefulness.

"Yes, American history is a history of slavery, oppression, and extermination. But it is also a history of redemption, coming to terms with our nation's sins, and of overcoming them  on the way to a better future, on the way to, in Abraham Lincoln's words from the blood-soaked battlefield at Gettysburg four score and seven years later, "a new birth of freedom."

"The point is that our history, as full as it is of examples of depravity and corruption, oppression and discrimination, is equally full of stories of altruism and redemption, of the triumph of community over selfishness. These are the stories we need now." 

I was not comfortable with all of his interpretations and arguments. I appreciated his consideration of inequality and the call for reestablishing a common ground based on conversation and empathy.

The Splintering of the American Mind
William Egginton
Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 97816355713

After hearing about the book on NPR my husband suggested I read Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment by Frances Fukuyama.

One thing I appreciated about this book is how the author presents his arguments, explains them, and before he moves on to his next argument restates his case to that point. It really makes it easier for the general reader because this is a theoretical book.

The author offers a brief history of the development of identity from the ancient Greeks through the Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and revolutions in France and America to establish the rising concept of individuals' need for dignity and personal recognition. He discusses how democratic governments have failed to "fully live up to their underlying ideals of freedom and equality," with the violation of the rights of the poor and weaker citizens at the hand of the few rich and powerful.

Another aspect he traces is the rise of industrialization and cities which broke down traditional communities. The social upheaval and adjustment to a blended society left a nostalgia for a remembered and idealized past.

He blames the contemporary left for focusing on "ever smaller groups" instead of "large collectivities such as the working class or economically exploited." He also blames the rise of "self-actualization" as a form of narcissism. He sees the rise of Multiculturalism as divisive.

Fukuyama calls for the need of a strong national identity, with an official language and civics classes and shared cultural values. This need not negate diversity. He writes, 'National identities can be built around liberal and democratic political values, and the common experiences that provide the connect tissue around which diverse communities can thrive." He mentions India, France, Canada as countries who have successfully created a strong national identity that embraces a diverse population.

Fukuyama asks, "How do we translate these abstract ideas into concrete policies at the current movement?" He continues, "We can start by trying to counter the specific abuses that have driven assertions of identity," by protecting the rights of minorities and women, and promoting "creedal national identities" based on the ideals of a liberal democracy. He also calls for better assimilation of immigrants.

by Frances Fukuyama
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374129293

My frustration is that the policies presented in these books are not easily or quickly accomplished. Focusing on education will prepare future generations for citizenship if we can hold things together until then.

These books were challenging reads and I am glad I read them. They are interesting as a study of how we 'got to here' but I left with the need for something more to hold on to, something concrete that offers me real hope and surety.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Red & White Quilts: 14 Quilts with Timeless Appeal

I adore red and white quilts and was eager to get a look at Red & White Quilts from That Patchwork Place.

Fourteen designers were asked to create a red and white quilt they would treasure for a lifetime. 

Red and white quilts have been popular for generations. Turkey Red was one of the few colorfast dyes available to early quilters who could pair the red with white and not worry about bleeding. Today the color combo continues to attract quilters.
Red & White Quilts includes patterns ranging from the vintage-inspired to a modern vibe that will appeal to young people today.

One of my favorite quilts in the book is this mandala inspired wall hanging. It makes me happy to look at it! Helen's instructions for applique uses a glue stick, a tool I have been enjoying in my applique work.

Flower Power by Helen Stubbings, 52" x 52"
Patterns include patchwork, applique, and English paper piecing, each with an artist's statement and step-by-step illustrated instructions.

The designers include Lissa Alexander, Karen Styles, Susan Ache, Jill Shaulis, Helen Stubbings, Sarah Huechteman, Debbie Roberts, Lisa Bongean, Sue Daley, Kim Diehl, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Carrie Nelson, Camille Roskelley, and Jen Kingwell.

One of these quilts could be your next masterpiece, a showstopper stunner to be proud of!

Circles are a clear theme in several of the quilts. Sue creates large medallions with English Paper Piecing and presented in a Medallion setting.

Forever Thoughtful by Sue Daly, 64 1/2" x 64 1/2"
This original quilt on a circle motif uses interesting techniques that will expand your repertoire.
Enough With the Curves by Jen Kingwell, 46 1/2" x 46 1/2"
Don't let this stunner scare you! The diamonds are made with strips! Set-in seams are not as hard as you fear, thanks to good instructions.
Ruby Jubilee by Karen Styles, 76 1/2" x 76 1/2"
 This star block variation in scrappy red and white feels fresh and modern.
DayDreams by Camille Roskelley, 70" x 70"
Inspired by antique quilts, this is actually made of Flying Geese blocks. Instructions for using Triangle Paper is offered. Lisa starches her fabric well when working with small pieces.
Memory of a Masterpiece by Lisa Bongean, 76 1/2" x 76 1/2"
 Flying Geese around a common star makes for a dynamic quilt!
Stars in Flight by Jill Shaulis, 42 1/2" x 42 1/2"
Pieced units are sewn log-cabin style to form the blocks in this unique quilt. This photo doesn't do it justice as the quilt in its entirety has an almost Three-D effect.
Twisted Cabin by Sarah Huechteman, 76 1/2" x 76 1/2"
The alternating color in the blocks creates an interesting design with a lot of visual activity in the quilt below. It again uses strip sets to make the triangles.
Happy Accident by Susan Ache, 76 1/2" x 96 1/2"
A pieced quilt can fool the eye into seeing circles!
Sweet Dreams by Lissa Alexander, 78 1/2" x 96 1/2"
Inspired by antique Turkey Track blocks, Debbie's quilt adds a floral wreath center that keeps the design from being too heavy.
Tracking Tradition by Debbie Roberts, 57 1/2" x 60 1/2"
Kim collected fabrics in a range of values then mixed piecing and applique to make this Modern Traditional quilt.
Scarlet Song by Kim Diehl, 63 1/2" x 63 1/2"
Here is another way to use your red fabrics in a scrappy quilt. The zig-zag pattern constrains the scraps in its powerful design.
Walk With Way by Carrie Nelson, 71" x 76 1/2"
Victoria loves repetitive patterns using simple shapes. This unique quilt has a lot of activity that keeps the eye guessing.
Crowd Pleaser by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, 88 1/2" x 98 1/2"
I hope you are inspired to make your own red and white quilt to cherish!

I received a free ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Red & White Quilts: 14 Quilts with Timeless Appeal From Today's Top Designers
On Sale Date: November 15, 2018
ISBN 9781604689624, 1604689625
Paperback |  112 pages
$27.99 USD, £26.99 GBP

Red and White Single Wedding Ring, circa 1915, made by Harriet Nelson